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FATE (role-playing game)

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Title: FATE (role-playing game)  
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Subject: Fudge (role-playing game system), List of OGL publishers, Jim Butcher, Spirit of the Century
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

FATE (role-playing game)

Designer(s) Fred Hicks, Rob Donoghue
Publisher(s) Evil Hat Productions
Publication date 2003, 2013
Genre(s) Universal

Fate is a generic role-playing game system based on the FUDGE gaming system. It has no fixed setting, traits, or genre and is almost entirely customizable. It is designed to offer the least possible obstruction to role-playing by assuming that players do not want to make large amounts of dice rolls.

Fate was written by Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue, with the 1st edition published early in 2003,[1] and the most recent version (4th edition) published through a very successful Kickstarter in 2013. Fate gained a large number of adherents both for its high level of support, which is unusual for a free game, and for the numerous innovative gaming mechanics.

Differences between FUDGE and Fate

While Fate uses FUDGE's verbal scale and Fudge dice, it does not use the standard FUDGE experience point mechanic, and has some more explicit character design conventions.

Fate breaks from many other role-playing games by eschewing the use of mandatory traits such as Strength and Intelligence. Instead, it uses a long list of skills and assumes that every character is "mediocre" in all skills except those that the character is explicitly defined as being good at. Exceptional abilities are defined through the use of Stunts and Aspects.[2]

Stunts are exceptional abilities that grant the character a specific mechanical benefit; these may be drawn from a pre-defined list of stunts included in the rules, or created following guidelines provided by the authors.[3] Aspects, on the other hand, are always defined by the player. For example, a player may choose to give their character an aspect of "Brawny" (or "Muscle Man" or "Wiry Strength"); during play, the player may invoke those aspects to gain a temporary bonus in a relevant situation. Aspects may also relate to a character's possessions, e.g. the character Indiana Jones for example, might have the Aspect "Whip and Fedora".

Aspects are an important and original concept in Fate. They are not intrinsically good or bad; they are simply descriptive, up to the level of detail the player requires. In addition to the obvious direct character help in most cases, the Fate system also provides a mechanism to reward the characters when one of their aspects has restricted their choices or landed them in some trouble.

FATE versus Fate (naming conventions)

When the system was originally published FATE was considered an acronym for “Fudge Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment” and then “Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment”. Most recently Fate has been simplified to just be Fate and is no longer an acronym.[4]

Fate OGL resources

While there has been concern that FUDGE would restrict its "open" license and thus force Fate to change to a different underlying mechanic, such fears have subsided once FUDGE itself was released under the Open Gaming License. Fate has an associated Yahoo! Group to discuss the gaming system and share settings and conversions of other role-playing games.

Fate 3rd Edition

The 3rd edition of Fate was no longer a generic RPG like the first two versions, but set in the pulp genre. It is called Spirit of the Century and was nominated in 2007 for an ENnie award for Best Rules.[5] The 3rd edition rules also are used for the Dresden Files role-playing game.[6] The System Reference Documents for Spirit of the Century[7] and Diaspora[8] are also currently available. Several other role-playing games are built on the game mechanics of Fate 3.0.

Fate Core (4th edition) and Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE)

A new (4th) edition called Fate Core (again a generic version) was Open gaming license.

As a result of the crowd funding effort, Evil Hat Productions released Fate Accelerated, a streamlined version of the rules based on the same core mechanic intended to get players into the game faster. One notable difference is that skills are replaced with approaches, e.g. Clever, Stealthy, Forceful, etc.

Kickstarter Success

To release the new version of Fate, Evil Hat Productions ran a Kickstarter campaign that initially asked for $3,000. At the end of the campaign they raised $433,365 and expanded the product line significantly, adding two world books and a system toolkit, as well as a host of other boons.[9]

RPGs based on Fate

This list includes implementations of the Fate system as well as RPGs explicitly inspired by it.[10]

  • Age of Arthur
  • Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
  • Awesome Adventures
  • Bulldogs!
  • Chronica Feudalis
  • Dawning Star: Fate of Eos
  • Diaspora
  • The Dresden Files
  • Houses of the Blooded
  • The Kerberos Club (Fate Edition)
  • Legends of Anglerre
  • Malmsturm
  • Nova Praxis (Transhuman Sci-fi)
  • Spirit of the Century
  • Starblazer Adventures (based on the Starblazer comics series under license from DC Thomson)
  • Strands of Fate (Presents the Fate rules as a universal system for use in any setting, power level, or genre.)


In the 2003 Indie RPG Awards, Fate won a number of awards:[11]

  • First Place - Best Free Game of the Year
  • First Place - Best Support
  • Third Place - Indie RPG of the Year
  • Recipient - Andy's Choice Award

The Fate roleplaying game has resulted in winning the following ENNIES awards:

  • 2011 Best Game, Gold Winner; Best New Game, Gold Winner; Best Production Values, Silver Winner; Best Rules, Gold Winner; Best Writing, Gold Winner; Product of the Year, Silver Winner — Dresden Files Roleplaying Game[12]
  • 2008 Nominated for Best Supplement — Spirit of the Season[13]
  • 2007 Best Rules, Silver Winner; Best Game, Honorable Mention — Spirit of the Century[14]


External links

  • Role-Playing Game
  • Evil Hat Productions, makers of Fate
  • Rules SRD (HTML version)
  • Core and FAE SRD (the new rules from the Kickstarter)
  • Fractal (podcast)
  • The Game's the thing #21 (RPG): Evil Hat Productions Interview (podcast)
  • The Dresden Files Role-Playing Game
  • Void Star - Strands of Fate and Nova Praxis
  • -based games at DriveThruRPG
  • Wordplay Games - Age of Arthur
  • Dawning Star homepage, science-fiction campaign setting using Fate Core
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