Sunday, November 21, 2010

So You Want to Play FATE....

A little mini-meme project has spontaneously sprung into being over on RPG.net: FATE pamphlets. RPG.net user TheMouse did an excellent run-down of FATE basics that easily fits on a single double-sided sheet of letter-sized paper (and A4, presumably). Prompted by my half-joking suggestion for a FATE rules pamphlet akin to pamphlets you might find in a doctor's waiting room, user Glyptodont rose to the challenge with this pamphlet-style treatment of TheMouse's text, followed by Diaspora co-author Brad Murray, aka Halfjack, who added some art, a title ("So you want to play a gorilla in a bi-plane"), and true pamphlet-fold formatting.The call has now gone out for FATE genre pamphlets, for fantasy, sci-fi, and etc., though none as of yet has materialized.

Why is all this so great? A couple reasons.

One, it's proof that thick FATE books like SotC and Legends of Anglerre aren't massive because they have to be, but because the authors wanted them to be. The rules themselves (note that the pamphlet necessarily cuts out skill and stunt descriptions, but that's okay) clearly don't take up all that much space, so what else is in those books? Examples. Extrapolations. Expansions. In other words, more creative content. Y'know, the stuff you're paying for when you buy a book.

The other reason I think the FATE pamphlet is awesome is that it hopefully signals the beginning of a new shared project for the FATE community. TheMouse's slimmed-down FATE rules aren't the end-all, be-all of FATE, nor are they intended to be; they're just one gamer's attempt to illustrate that FATE doesn't have to be hard to learn. I'd love to see more takes on this same idea by other FATE fans. There's no definitive version of FATE out there (I think most of us can agree on that, anyway), but can you make a pamphlet for the FATE you play at your table? If you like your FATE by the book, fine -- can you make, say, a Starblazer Adventures pamphlet, or a DFRPG pamphlet? I know I'm going to make a FATE Kerberos pamphlet for convention games, that's for damn sure. And how great it'll be to leave FATE pamphlets lying around like so much propaganda at conventions. I mean, FATE isn't exactly a hard sell at Strategicon, but still, it'll amuse me.

In other words, could this be the beginning of Microlite FATE? I'd like to think so. If it is, you're a part of it!

UPDATE: And here's Eclipse Phase creator Adam Jury's take on the pamphlet.

UPDATE: Here's RPG.net user TechOgre's Legends of Anglerre-specific pamphlet. [As of 12/7/10, this link is no longer working. Following up with the man himself to see what's up with it.]

UPDATE: Here's TheMouse's fantasy-specific FATE pamphlet. Note that it isn't drawn from any one FATE source; it's pretty much his quick-and-dirty version of fantasy FATE, and it looks pretty good to me.
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