Apophenia Evolved

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A very different FATE Idea

I know it has been a while, but I have just finished by finals and by the end of this week I will be a completely free man with a Bachelors of Computer Science. My freedom will last just as long as it takes me to find a full time job. However that has absolutely nothing to do with FATE.

Now for the topic I am actually talking about. I have been having thoughts about a fairly different style of FATE adaptation. Really, it is more of an overhaul of the system that I just wanted to mention my thoughts on.

(*) For purposes of this document the GM is considered a player who controls as many characters as he wants and has no fate point limit. Unless the GM is specifically mentioned then assume a rule applies equally to the GM.


Skills are rated from -1 to +3 instead of from +0 to +5.


Superb +3
Great +2
Good +1
Average +0
Terrible -1

A character will probably have One Superb, Two Great, Three Good, and probably Two Terrible. Every other skill is Average.

The distinction between levels on the ladder is mainly cinematic.

Terrible means the character routinely fails at that type of task.

Average means that just that, the character is no better or worse then most people.

Good means the character professionally good at something. Most people are Good at what they do for a living.

Great means you are seriously accomplished in your field. Professionals who have been working for years generally reach this level eventually.

Superb is the best of the best. They are the geniuses that everybody knows about. You simply can’t get better then this.

Simple Actions:

The player rolls the appropriate skill against a difficulty chosen by the GM (Usually Average or Good). If the player meets or exceeds the difficulty then the player gets Privilege, otherwise the GM gets Privilege.


Both sides roll the appropriate skill and the player who gets the highest roll gets Privilege. If there is a tie then both players get Privilege.

[[I’ll get into conflicts in a later post.]]


(Name taken from the Houses of the Blooded)

The player(s) with Privilege gets to determine what happens as a result of the action. They get to determine who succeeded and failed and what happened as a result. Their decision must be appropriate for the skills rolled and the situation.

Multiple Players with Privilege

If there are multiple players with Privilege and they can’t jointly decide what should happen then those with privilege will roll the skills again until there is only one person with privilege or those remaining can agree on a result.

GM and Privilege

While a GM is supposed to move along the story and make things happen, a GM is NOT considered to have Privilege unless the players fail to match or beat the difficulty of a Simple Action or a GM controlled character wins a Contest. This is because Privilege allows a player to determine what happens to other players characters.

A GM can put a pit along the players path but he can’t dump them down it unless he gains Privilege. Though if one of the players has an aspect like ‘Falls down holes’ then the GM can try compelling that even without Privilege.

Spending Fate Points

First, fate points aren’t used to boost your skill. Whatever you roll that is what you get and the person with Privilege is decided. However after Privilege is decided but before that person decides what happens the other players can spend fate points (Even the players what weren’t involved in the roll).

Starting with the players that failed their roll, all the players without Privilege can spend fate points to Invoke or Compel aspects. They can continue to do this until they wish to stop or run out of fate points.


A player can invoke any of their aspects or any aspect not belonging to another character. The fate point spent is returned to the fate point pool.
When a player invokes an aspect then they declare something that must happen because of that aspect. If this happens during an action then the player(s) with Privilege must work that into their description of what happened.

Swordsman A is having a quick dual with his rival but he lost a roll. He can spend a fate point and say he is an ‘Unrivaled Swordsman’ so he couldn’t have lost in a fair fight. The player with Privilege now has to find a different way to beat the character. Maybe the rival used dirty tricks to win or maybe something happened in the middle of the fight that interrupted it.


A player can compel any aspect belonging to another character. A compel is the same as an invoke except that the owner of compelled character gains the fate point instead of it returning to the fate point pool. Also the owner of the compelled character can spend one of their own fate points to refuse the compel. If that happens then both the spend fate points are given to the compelling character and that particular aspect can not be compelled for the rest of the scene.

GM Invoke

Outside of an action the GM doesn’t need to worry about invokes. If he wants something to happen then it happens. However when another player has Privilege then this isn’t true. In that case the GM can Invoke aspects by giving fate points to the player with Privilege. If multiple players have Privilege then they need to decide which of them gets the fate point.

Earning Fate Points

There are currently three main ways of earning fate points. Rolling a Terrible skill and Compels, and GM Invoke.


When you roll one of your Terrible skills you gain a fate point. Since you will probably lose any roll where you use a terrible skill you get a fate point in return. This serves the purpose of showing that the character is actually bad at things and it gives them a bonus for occasionally failing deliberately.


When another player compels your character then you gain a fate point (Unless you refuse it). You can not compel yourself, however you can suggest compels to the other players.

GM Invoke

When a player has Privilege and the GM chooses to Invoke an aspect then that player gains a fate point.

[[I might think of more ways to get fate points later.]]


Folly of Fools

This is when two or players try to roll using a Terrible skill. When this happens only the player who rolled the lowest gets the fate point. However if there is a tie for lowest then every player who rolled gains a fate point and the GM is considered to have Privilege instead of whoever rolled highest.

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