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Author Topic: FATE (From the comments on Show 400)  (Read 5246 times)
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Ion
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« on: October 14, 2011, 12:50:02 PM »

From the comments on show 400, I originally posted:
Quote from: Rob
Have you guys played any of the games that use the FATE system? I’ve been having a lot of fun with those lately, perhaps you could review one of them?

and Josh replied:
Quote from: BG_Josh
FATE is one of the things on our list to talk about. The short version is, for a very traditional RPG it is one of the best. In comparison to more advanced RPG designs it just can’t hold up. So I place it with the better unpolished “trad games” like savage worlds and DnD 3.5

I thought it might be interesting to start a thread to discuss it further.

Of all the game systems I have tried, the ones that have become my "go to" favorite game system for a time have been D&D 3.5, Savage World, and now the various fate games, in that order, so I find it interesting that you have put those all in the same category.  Other than "Games I've liked" I haven't considered too much what they might have in common.

What games are you contrasting them too?  Is a "more advanced" RPG something like Burning Wheel? What do you consider the main features of "Traditional" vs. "Advanced" RPGs?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 12:53:18 PM by Ion » Logged
Josh
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 08:19:58 PM »

We actually have a show on this topic coming out. 

The element that binds those games (Fate, DnD 3.5 and SW) is the authoritarian nature of the game master.  The term for this is "abrahamic" also the games were designed using traditional methods.  Games like Burning wheel are known as "egalitarian" and use "modern" game design methods. 

Fate incorporates some somewhat newer ideas but does it in a traditional and abrahamic framework.  The key advantage is that most techniques for game mastering translate across these games. 

Also the other term i used is "polished" DnD4th is a more complete more polished game compared to the other abrahamic games.  The flaws weaknesses and exceptions are mostly winnowed away
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Ion
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 09:56:33 PM »

Does the show that is coming out discuss the various jargon employed in your post? 

My instinct is to say that if the measure was how "authoritarian" a GM was empowered to be by the rules, then Burning Wheel and FATE would at least be in the same wheelhouse...BITs and Aspects filling very similar roles; providing a mechanic for the player to ensure what is important to them about their character impacts the play of the game.

Does "games like Burning Wheel" mean "Burning Wheel, Burning Empires and Mouseguard"? or are there others you would classify as "egalitarian"?

Regarding Polish:
I agree, D&D 4e is the gold standard for a polished game, though among the various incarnations of Fate I think Dresden Files and Diaspora more polished than Starblazer Adventures, Legends of Angelerre and Spirit of the Century.
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Josh
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 11:35:17 PM »

The show is about jargon, these terms are part of a larger discussion.

Abrahamic games give the GM ultimate power.  Typically even telling him to ignore the rules if he deems it necessarily.  The power dynamic is: GM -> game -> players  egalitarian games are structured like this: game ->player and GM (there are some exceptions). 
This means the game entirely rests in the skills of the GM to entertain the group.
Also, in abrahamic games all control flows from the GM (except for character building).  In Fate: The GM decides what aspects everything has, arbitrarily sets difficulties, has to approve any player action, he decides when an aspect is compelled (yes you can ask him to compel, but you ask him to).

Now don't get the impression i dislike abrahamic games.  Mysteries and good dungeons need to be done in this fashion.  As do many other types of adventure. 

When I said "like burning wheel" I meant modern egalitarian games.  There are dozens of those.  Most of your forge derived games fit in this field.

Polish: of that set the most polished game is actually Spirit of the century.  It is the only fate game that flows from the rules rather than the rules are shoehorned to fit the game.
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Ion
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 07:26:17 PM »

Perhaps discussing what makes a game polished would be a good topic for a show?  (Or is there one in the catalog somewhere that I'm not remembering?)

Hearing your further explanation, i think I've got a pretty good handle on what makes a game Abrahamic, and I agree with your classification of FATE, Savage Worlds, D&D, etc as falling into that camp.

Based on my understanding of the term, if I had to name a game that was egalitarian I would point to How we came to live here.  The game has two GMs, and play goes something like: GM 1 takes a turn introducing a conflict from inside the village, Player 1 gets a turn framing a seen about their character, GM 2 takes a turn about a conflict outside the village, then Player 2, GM 1, Player 3, GM 2 and so on.

I recall from skimming through Mouse Guard that there is a bit where it is specifically the Player's turn to set a scene to advance their character's goals.  Is that the bit that tips the game towards egalitarian? If so, is there something similar in Burning Wheel?

My basic understanding of BW is that during the play the GM introduces some complication or challenge (based on someone's BITs maybe?) and the GM thinks that there will be an interesting outcome if the player succeeds or fails this challenge.  The GM then sets an Obstacle for the challenge, the players roll the dice and the action gets resolved.  My understanding of the game may be flawed, but if I'm close, that all sounds fairly Abrahamic?  Is there some other feature of the game that tips it towards egalitarian?



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