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 Post subject: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:15 am 
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hiro wrote:
Sorry to take things off topic, what are your thoughts on Fate? What style of game is it best suited to?


Well, there are quite a lot of Fate implementations and some of them, such as Starblazers Adventures, I haven't really looked at closely. They do vary quite a bit. My experience of Fate in actual play is confined to Spirit of the Century.

I find Fate a bit weird and disconcerting, because what I expect of an RPG is that it is for determining what happens when I ask it, which I do when my understanding of world logic/realism, dramatic appropriateness, or game fun doesn't make that clear to me. But Fate doesn't seem to be for determining what happens, it seems to be for deciding which player gets to choose what happens and within what limits. There are rules in Spirit of the Century in which a player whose character has expert knowledge of a matter first decides what his or her character says, and then rolls (and maybe spends fate points) to see whether it is true. The basic approach seems to be to make the players like a team of writers in the writer's room of a pulp adventure show, collaborating to make up a fast-paced, twist-packed, boppy adventure show that doesn't take itself very seriously and is sometimes even ironic. It's a system that seems to encourage technobabble and arse-pulls in the interests of always being fast-paced and fun.

It doesn't seem to be good for games that are about the character investigating, exploring, and discovering things that GM knows and the other players don't. It doesn't seem to be very good for games in which the PCs have to husband resources and make tactical choices to overcome a challenge with limited resources and opportunities. Unfortunately the campaign I tried it out with — Red-Blooded Earth Men — is both.

It probably is good for any style of game aptly described with the word "rollicking", and for a style of game in which everyone has to think of their feet to deal with the utterly unexpected.

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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:41 pm 
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I had a friend say I should try it out after I expressed my disappointment that most of the SFRPGs I had tried weren't attracting the kind of story based game play I was most interested in seeing. I'm not sure if a system should be relied upon to give that rather than the players and GM agreeing that that's what they want the game to be.

Thanks for taking the time to tell me your experiences, it's most appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:53 am 
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You nailed it in one.

FATE (and a few other similar systems) are basically what are referred to as "collaborative storytelling" where the GM doesn't have full control / doesn't have to full responsibility for how the story goes. It is almost crafted on an ad-lib basis.

It's a really good system if you play with a lot of those (IMO disagreeable) players who basically insist on free-form storytelling "sandboxes" and prize their freedom of action over everything else. They're basically are impossible to write "adventures" for - if there's a pirate ship they'll jump out of the system, if there's a damsel in distress they'll simply call 911 then continue on to get dinner, and similar kinds of intentional actions because they dislike anything that even vaguely feels "pre-scripted" to them. The GM honestly doesn't have to put that much preparation for the story because FATE doesn't work that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:02 am 
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Sometimes it's hard to not feel that sticking with a 2d6 system is kinda dated but I really don't think it's the biggest limiting factor to how a game plays out. That would be the players and GM. Perhaps the issue is that certain systems attract a certain kind of player? Last time I played in anything like a club it raised a small smile to look at who was sat at the D&D table and who at the Traveller table. You can probably guess who was the most animated set!


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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Quote:
free-form storytelling "sandboxes"


Traveller seems to me like the ultimate sandbox. Go where you want, do what you want to do. Jason Kemp, who wrote up the Cepheus rules, did a whole series of posts about designing a Traveller sandbox. I highly recommend it.

FATE can be a little weird for players who aren't used to having a lot of agency at the table. They kind of go overboard at first, but then you find some equilibrium after they get it all out. "OMG I CAN DESCRIBE WHAT I DO? I STOP ALL TIME AND KICK HIM IN THE SOUL!" Okay, are you done? Feel better? Great. Take a deep breath, now back to reality...

It's definitely a good fit for a pulpier style of play, but there are books out there for more "mundane?" kinds of stories. I think there's one for playing firefighters, for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:22 am 
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Matt Wilson wrote:
FATE can be a little weird for players who aren't used to having a lot of agency at the table. They kind of go overboard at first, but then you find some equilibrium after they get it all out. "OMG I CAN DESCRIBE WHAT I DO? I STOP ALL TIME AND KICK HIM IN THE SOUL!" Okay, are you done? Feel better? Great. Take a deep breath, now back to reality...

It's also weird for players who are used to exercising agency without having to fiddle with Fate Points to do so. But mostly it's weird for players who are used to relying on the game system to answer certain question and support them across certain gaps. Rather than decide what happens when no-one is sure, Fate decides who has to decide. This sometimes forces character-players to make out-of-character choices, which some prefer not to do.

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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 Post subject: Re: Fate for SF games
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:35 am 
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It may be a 'one particular GM' thing, but in most Fate games I've had LESS agency than I normally do, because the system means you whiff a lot. So, for example, we're trying to find out who is plotting to assassinate the Archbishop of Alpha Centauri and have some suspects to talk to...
1) Talk to a dodgy bishop. Spend a Fate point to activate "everyone tells me their woes", roll the dice and... Fail. No info.
2) Try again. Spend a Fate point to activate "smartest guy in the room", roll the dice and... Fail. No info.
3) Try again. Go talk to the Bishop's secretary. Spend yet another Fate point, roll the dice and... Fail. No info.
4) Get really, really, really narked when the GM then just gives the frakking info to another PC!

That particular GM's games also tended to have conversations like this:
GM: You have Coward as an Aspect. I'll give you a Fate point if you run away from the Bishop's bodyguard.
Me: Fate points are useless. They do frak all. I'd rather be in the scene without one, than remove myself from the scene to get one.


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