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[Fate/FAE] What's not to grok?

Hammel

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I think this system deserves its own mention, because it seems to be a popular generic system along with Savage Worlds. What do you think is there that others might not grok about Fate/FAE? What are the stumbling points that can turn people off to this system? Do you have ideas on ways to work around this lack of grokiness and the stumbling blocks? I can name a few that people including me might have difficulty wrapping their heads around to the point of not grokking the system:

1) Creating an Advantage
2) Special dice, even if there are ways around it
3) The GM giving up narrative control to the players, to a point, though I feel the GM still has a heavy role
4) Working with Aspects, Invocations, and Compels
5) How to use and name boosts
 
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Soylent Green

Polar Blues
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I think there are different reasons for different people.

For some Fate introduced a very different playstyle, one less focused on efficiency and where complication was not a bad word, which was confusing.
For others Fate introduced formal rules for stuff they were doing all along and for whom the need for this extra layer of rules seemed confusing.
Then there was a lot of abstraction and a lot of terminology ("Fate fractal"? Am I the only person who doesn't tend to use the word "fractal" in everyday conversation?) which I suspect caused confusion.
And Fate came with a lot of variants, official and not, and different editions in a relatively short period of time, which, for those who weren't paying close attention to which edition was which and might even still write FATE in capitals, was confusing.
And of there were always many different ways of doing the same thing with the system, which was confusing to some.

On the other hand, it's been one a great success stories of the past, so it must have done something right?

PS: Thinking back, I think what I struggled mostly is with compels, mostly trying to find a consistent way to determine what is a genuine complication that is worth Fate Point and what is just colour. Also the timing the consequences for a compel doesn't quite work out. If you offend a mob boss because of your Trouble, you don't always get to that point in the game where mob boss takes his revenge. And it still seems madness that players need to pay a Fate Point to refuse a compel. If a player wishes to refuse a compel maybe is was never a good compel to start with. The solution, as it usually is with gaming, was not to overthink things.
 
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neomerlin

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Personally, I struggled with the whole thing and I blame the book not being written particularly clearly. Pretty sure I'm not the only one, too. But when it all clicked for me is when somebody pointed out that Aspects aren't just a mechanical widget worth a reroll or a +2, they are passive opposition, they permission granting or denying, and most important of all, they are a statement of fact, of what is true. And since they are true, whatever flows from them must also be true. Now you and your game group work out those implications on the Aspects in front of you.

After that, everything else made sense.

Also watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and asking "Why does that bullet wound in his arm only ever trouble him once in the whole movie, when that guy punches him? Ooooh. Because the GM spent a Fate Point on it. Now I get it."
 

My Hero Zero

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Validated User
I think this system deserves its own mention, because it seems to be a popular generic system along with Savage Worlds. What do you think is there that others might not grok about Fate/FAE? What are the stumbling points that can turn people off to this system? Do you have ideas on ways to work around this lack of grokiness and the stumbling blocks? I can name a few that people including me might have difficulty wrapping their heads around to the point of not grokking the system:

1) Creating an Advantage
IME, creating an advantage was never the issue, but naming them was. I did have a player very used to D20 that I had to spend some time dealing with his complaints about a lack of granularity. When he got that things like a D20 Trip maneuver (rendering your target Prone) was just creating an adavantage to do the same thing, he warmed up to it.

2) Special dice, even if there are ways around it
While buying special dice might be a thing, using them was never a thing. I even played a pick up game where we used standard d6s and read them as 1-2 (-), 3-4 (0), 5-6 (+) and after only about half an hour of playing it became second nature.

3) The GM giving up narrative control to the players, to a point, though I feel the GM still has a heavy role
Yes, I have encountered this a bunch. A GM from an old Mutants & Masterminds game was not comfortable with this notion. He hated it when players used their Hero Points in M&M to Edit the Scene.

4) Working with Aspects, Invocations, and Compels
In general Aspects were pretty straight forward (see #1). When to compel (the timing of it) I've seen some struggle with. The name of the action (Create an Advantage) also has caused some struggles, e.g. people forgetting that it's used to also Discover other people's aspects. I usually just tell players that unless you're attacking/defending (inflicting stress), or overcoming a given obstacle (which should be very clear), you will be using CaA.

5) How to use and name boosts
Yeah, this--if I had to label it the sticky wicket--is the killer during game play. Time and again the game comes to a halt as players trying to think of what to call it. Using them, not so much. But the desire to be clever--and coming up short--frustrated a lot of players. The point I always brought up trying to normalize the experience was to remember that printed material and their clever aspects, etc was most likely not of the top of anyone's head (unless they had a particular genius for it--I know some of them, and I hate them).

Ryan Macklin has [yet another] great piece on this. His site is worth its weight in gold-pressed latinum.
 

My Hero Zero

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Validated User
PS: Thinking back, I think what I struggled mostly is with compels, mostly trying to find a consistent way to determine what is a genuine complication that is worth Fate Point and what is just colour. Also the timing the consequences for a compel doesn't quite work out. If you offend a mob boss because of your Trouble, you don't always get to that point in the game where mob boss takes his revenge. And it still seems madness that players need to pay a Fate Point to refuse a compel. If a player wishes to refuse a compel maybe is was never a good compel to start with. The solution, as it usually is with gaming, was not to overthink things.
Ryan Macklin addresses this here
 

Victim

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Validated User
Personally, I struggled with the whole thing and I blame the book not being written particularly clearly. Pretty sure I'm not the only one, too. But when it all clicked for me is when somebody pointed out that Aspects aren't just a mechanical widget worth a reroll or a +2, they are passive opposition, they permission granting or denying, and most important of all, they are a statement of fact, of what is true. And since they are true, whatever flows from them must also be true. Now you and your game group work out those implications on the Aspects in front of you.

After that, everything else made sense.

Also watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and asking "Why does that bullet wound in his arm only ever trouble him once in the whole movie, when that guy punches him? Ooooh. Because the GM spent a Fate Point on it. Now I get it."
OTOH, I thought everything made sense up until Aspects always being true, fictional position, narrative permission and everything became a big deal with the core/accelerated versions of the game. Those elements seem like the system throwing up its hands and going "well, we can't actually tell you how things work, it's all up to you." When the rules are actually covering what is important in a game, you don't need to worry about 'fictional positioning.' There's just positioning.

And the bullet wound thing makes less IMO when you "And since they are true, whatever flows from them must also be true. Now you and your game group work out those implications on the Aspects in front of you." Either it's always true and everything flows that, or it's only relevant because the situation, prompted by a fate point, make it relevant. But I have a hard time seeing how it can be both.
 

neomerlin

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OTOH, I thought everything made sense up until Aspects always being true, fictional position, narrative permission and everything became a big deal with the core/accelerated versions of the game. Those elements seem like the system throwing up its hands and going "well, we can't actually tell you how things work, it's all up to you." When the rules are actually covering what is important in a game, you don't need to worry about 'fictional positioning.' There's just positioning.

And the bullet wound thing makes less IMO when you "And since they are true, whatever flows from them must also be true. Now you and your game group work out those implications on the Aspects in front of you." Either it's always true and everything flows that, or it's only relevant because the situation, prompted by a fate point, make it relevant. But I have a hard time seeing how it can be both.
Haha. After spending much of my morning being told about why Powered By The Apocalypse games work, in another thread, I suddenly feel like I'm on the other side of that conversation.

I'm not going to change your mind. Fate doesn't work for most of my friends the way it works for me. I don't see it as a contradiction the way you do, but I do see how you could look at it that way. (I'm still going to give you my rationalisation, though)

In the heroic pulp adventure world of Raiders, an implication that "everything is harder with a bullet in your arm" isn't true. It doesn't flow from the Aspect in this case. In another game, it could have been true, and it could have meant passive resistance.

The table has decided that. However, "getting punched in your bullet wound is extra painful, but only if you're willing to make a dramatic deal out of it with your limited control of drama (Fate Points)." is a valid implication of the Aspect. It's like Roger Rabbit can only escape the handcuffs when it's funny. The extra pain only exists when it's dramatic.

But, again, in another game, it might be valid all the time and then it's passive resistance against Indie's attempt to dodge the attack. No fate points necessary. It's up to the table to decide. And that's what I love. Fate is damn near my perfect tool box.
 
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The Unshaven

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Thinking back, I think what I struggled mostly is with compels, mostly trying to find a consistent way to determine what is a genuine complication that is worth Fate Point and what is just colour. Also the timing the consequences for a compel doesn't quite work out. If you offend a mob boss because of your Trouble, you don't always get to that point in the game where mob boss takes his revenge. And it still seems madness that players need to pay a Fate Point to refuse a compel. If a player wishes to refuse a compel maybe is was never a good compel to start with. The solution, as it usually is with gaming, was not to overthink things.
Yeah, when I ran into how that was handled in online discussion I was Very Confused.

It'd seemed intuitive to us that there was a big difference between "not wanting a compel because it wasn't a good fit for the kind of situation you were expecting to be in character," and "not wanting a compel that IS appropriate and would apply."

The first one doesn't cost anything because it's a conversation of getting on the same page, and mostly people suggest a compel that would work better as an alternative.

Mostly "paying a Fate Point to avoid a compel" has come up for us in the form of "A character who is terrified of fire pays an FP to resist their fear and try to rescue their friends" level rather than anything else.

As far as the Mob Boss one goes, you're right that took some figuring out. Fate Core seemed clearer for it by the phrasing templates that make it clear that there is an immediate, concrete consequence of the Compel.

"Damn your luck," etc.

- The Unshaven
 
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Brawndo

Murder Time Fun Time!
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Well, grok doesn't just mean "understand." I understand FATE, I own a bunch of FATE books, but I've only run it once and I mostly use FATE material as inspiration for my Cortex Prime kitbashing, because that is a system that I grok. I understood it intuitively from the jump, and it's wormed its way into my brain.

Reading Demon Hunters really tuned me in to the commonalities in the two systems, they do occupy a pretty similar conceptual space, but I can't even really explain why one works for me so completely and the other one just doesn't inspire me at all. On paper, FATE should be right up my alley, and in a world without Cortex Prime, I probably would be running everything in FATE.

It's very similar to me being deep deep into what I call my "Cinematic Unisystem period,"(because that sounds more artsy and pretentious than calling a "phase") but not really grokking Savage Worlds, even though they have similar feels and I heard them being compared all the time. This other one got its hooks in me, and even though I should love this other game that's similar to it, there just isn't room in my heart right for anything else at this stage in my life.
 
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