Tuesday, September 10, 2013
1 Character, 13 Systems - Part 7: Fate Core
I described my character, Korsanian, in a previous post here.
Swinging from the high-detail of GURPS let's go low-detail with the Fate Core system:
Books Used: Fate Core rules
Approximate time to create: 40 min
Korsanian Vambrae - Cursed Wood Elf, Devourer of Magic
High Concept: Carries a powerful burden
Trouble: The darkness inside
Phase 1- adventure:
While patroling the forest he encountered a necromantic curse which he has taken into himself.
Aspect: Can no longer be a Ranger
Phase 2- crossing paths:
Left the forest for the largest northern human city. Met a wizard who helped him gain the trust and support of the Wizard's Council.
Aspect: Stranger in a strange land
Phase 3- crossing paths again:
While investigating the curse's origin he stumbled across an evil cult, was saved by a paladin.
Aspect: Doesn't count the cost
Great (+4)- Will
Good (+3)- Lore (arcane), Lore (nature)
Fair (+2)- Contacts, Craft, Notice
Average (+1)- Deceive, Fight, Investigate, Shoot
Absorb Magic- can use Will to counter magic spellcasting or suppress effects
Detect Magic- can use Notice to detect sources of magic
Physical stress-  
Mental stress-    
Consequences- mild  moderate  severe 
Fate is quite the change of pace from the other games so far. I both like and dislike the open-ended nature of it. On the one hand, thinking of trouble for the character got me thinking about how his curse was basically an evil spell, so having it bottled inside him much be doing something bad. Which I had sort of in the back of my mind, but with the free-form definitions it sprang out as something to think on more carefully. On the other hand, when picking his Stunts I had no idea what exactly to make up. The absorb and detect magic seemed obvious, the only other stunt I could think he might have would be something related to his alchemy, but I don't know mechanically how to use it. I thought afterwards of maybe letting him substitute Craft for Shoot (saying he throws bombs), then I'd drop the Shoot skill and have to think of something to replace it. And while Lore is just one skill, I felt it worked better if his wizardly arcane knowledge and his ranger nature knowledge were two separate skills.
As with 13th Age I like how the character sheet actually has something about the character, through all the Aspects (which do a far, far better job of showing one's nature than the simplistic alignment system). I like how Fate also has something about the rest of the party on your sheet with the background phases (though, it's hard when you're making a character alone like I am). Since this was my first Fate character ever, I'm sure with practice I could turn them out in 20 minutes or less.
Since Aspects are so crucial to Fate, in how they generate positive and negative plot twists, I want to do a quick rundown of each Aspect I took and how it is good and bad:
⦁ Carries a powerful burden - positive: that powerful part, he constantly absorbs magic which has expanded his mind and senses; negative: that burden part, he didn't want this, and it is an evil he has to keep contained (also which others may want to release)
⦁ The darkness inside - positive: it shows his strength of will and determination, negative: who knows what it is whispering into his soul?
⦁ Can no longer be a Ranger - positive: has the knowledge and skills and reflexes of a ranger, negative: no longer has the body of one, has accepted his fate but is not exactly happy about it
⦁ Stranger in a strange land - positive: no one really knows him or what he is capable of, though an elf his shrunken form makes him look more like a gnome; negative: this is his first time out of the forest, and studying other cultures is not the same as knowing them
⦁ Doesn't count the cost - positive: mostly fearless, willing to sacrifice for a cause, negative: tends to get in over his head, has a hard time knowing when to stop
This Aspect system is what I love about Fate, and why I'd like to play it. It is a character dynamic, about conflicted choices, rather than most games that are role dynamics, ie, do your job. Not many games have these character elements. You'll notice, there is no equipment listed on the sheet- it's all about the character. I do like that a lot. However, these kind of character dynamics are harder to deal with; because they are ambiguous it takes some negotiation on what applies to which situations. But it opens up an extra layer of possible gameplay. My only wish is that the "role" side of stunts and skills was a little more traditional RPG, there the open-ended nature made it really hard to choose.
Overall I'm quite happy with how this version turned out. A lot of his story and nature made it onto the character sheet, and it stayed true to the concept.
P.S.- you know, after all the time making this character and writing it up, it only just now occurred to me that I'm missing his animal companion. I guess I'd drop the Alchemy stunt and make Sovan the faelynx a +2 bonus to fighting (only when attacked/defensively) as an Animal Companion stunt; I think that would work mechanically and it would fill in a part I somehow overlooked.