I finally getting around to responding to a reader’s question…
“Hey, Scott, why do you hate Fate so much?”
I don’t hate FATE, so much as I find some of the fast and loose aspects (See what I did there..?) can create a much higher level of complexity that is needed. I had the same issue with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying and Firefly from Margaret Weiss — which are essentially Fate with Cortex die schemes. The plehtora of assets, complications, etc. adding to dice pools can get a bit hard to manage. (Although it doesn’t reach the wheelbarrowful dumping of dice majesty of d6 Star Wars when a Stardestroyer opens up on you.) I also dislike the “damage” system of the rules. (I’m not a hit point guy, either.)
Speaking of dice: I hate the idea of the Fate dice, which is why the MWP stuff is a big more palatable for me. Similarly, I was okay with the positive/negative die mechanic of Chameleon Eclectic’s The Babylon Project, although I’ll admit it was also a crappy way of resolving chance. I’ve bought the Ubiquity Dice for Hollow Earth Expedition, but they aren’t needed; they simply make rolling dice pools (and Ubiquity does have a Shadowrun-esque love of dice pools) easier. You can play HEX with a bunch of coins, if you need to.
“But, Scott, you can do Fate die with a normal d6 — just assign positive, negative, and nought to the sides.” Well, there you go making sense. Away wi’ you!
The real issue isn’t Fate — they’re great pick-up game rules that can be tweaked any ol’ way you wish — it’s that I can’t seem to get a game that doesn’t have Fate trying to claw its way into the game mechanics. It’s like trying to escape OGL d20 junk in the early aughties.
“You like [enter game name]? you know you can get those rules in d20, right!?!” Scott: “Screw you, and get off my lawn!”
I’ve looked over a bunch of the new Fate and Fate-infected products that have been hitting the shelves over the next few months. There’s some really good stuff. I’ve been very complementary of Mindjammer — a game that really plays to the strengths of Fate — and Firefly — a Fate-ified Cortex product that makes good use of some of the Fate ideas, while retaining some of the flavor of old Cortex, but which, like the previous book, really shines for the writing, production values, and background material. I’m looking forward to Atomic Robo, but anticipate that’s going to get played using the MHR rules.
Addendum: This is also, apparently, the 1000th post for The Black Campbell!