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

Noclue

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I think we can all find ways to riff off of the Fate rule set and there’s even toolkits that help you do that, but I’m not sure how helpful it is to bring those ideas into a discussion about simply grokking the game.
 

Reverend Uncle Bastard

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I think we can all find ways to riff off of the Fate rule set and there’s even toolkits that help you do that, but I’m not sure how helpful it is to bring those ideas into a discussion about simply grokking the game.
But the essence of the Fate Core rules-as-written is that it IS a tool kit, and the basic rules are about some basic principles that can be applied in many different ways to achieve what any particular table desires. I would posit that "grokking the game" is impossible without understanding that Fate Core isn't a game, it is a toolkit to create a game. It is almost impossible to understand how aspects or create advantage actions or overcome obstacle actions function without discussing the different ways that they can be applied. This is what the rules-as-written are trying to get across.

The example of Fire seems to confuse people because there is no acknowledgement that Fire, as an aspect, can be defined, and function, in almost limitless ways depending on what you are trying to achieve. There is rarely a single answer to any Fate rules question, this isn't because responders are trying to confuse anyone, it is because they are trying to answer a question analogous to "how do you make a chocolate cake". There are many acceptable answers depending on personal preference.
 

Noclue

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Sure, it's a toolkit, but we don't really need to range so far afield in order to address basic issues. Like, say you're setting my character ON FIRE as a Create Advantage action. The CA rules are really clear on what you can do with this action. "Sometimes, that means you're doing something to actively change your circumstances (like throwing sand in an opponent's eyes or setting some-thing on fire), but it could also mean that you're discovering new information that helps you (like learning the weakness of a monster through research), or taking advantage of something you've previously observed (like your opponent's predisposition to a bad temper)." So, setting someone on fire seems doable here. And the rules state what happens if you succeed, "When you succeed, you create a situation aspect with a free invocation."

So, you've set them on fire and there's an aspect with a free invocation. Seems easy enough, and it is. It works perfectly fine that way. If you want to invoke the aspect, invoke it. Take your +2 or reroll and narrate how the fire impacts the character. If you want to compel it, compel it. Offer the player a Fate Point and narrate what complications they must deal with. If you don't get around to using it, eventually the scene will end or the character will snuff out the flames. No big deal.

But, you say, if aspects are always true, shouldn't the fire be doing damage to the character? And my response is "How much damage should it do?" If you're making characters take stress from a CA, you're deciding two things on your own. First, that CAs lead to characters taking stress at all and how much stress it causes. And that's fine, but if anyone looks in the book, they won't see any rules about that. They'll see this about how to deal with non-sentient threats under Environmental Hazards.

"Simple: treat it as a character. (This is the Bronze Rule of Fate: You can treat everything like a character. We're going to get into a lot of different ways to work with that in the Extras chapter, but let's stay on topic for now.)

• Is the hazard something that can harm a PC? Give it a skill and let it make attacks just like an opponent (which is basically what you're doing if you just deal stress, but the PC can ostensibly defend here).
• Is it more of a distraction or harassment than a direct threat? Let it create aspects.

• Does it have sensors it can use to discover a PC's aspects? Give it a skill for that.

And there you have it. If the GM wants the fire to matter, the GM has the power to play the fire. Everything is good. The fire is true. The GM can make it matter. It can cause stress and consequences. They can make it matter in multiple different ways, invokes, compels, and the bronze rule, plus simple narrative color. And it's all grounded in the actual words that the new player can read.
 

Noclue

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I think this is oversimplified. Ryan Macklin has some great points about just how to interpret the Bronze Rule and its limitations.

If a fire, all by itself, was created, then sure it could be a "character" doing damage on its own. But if you set a character "on fire" with CaA, I'd argue that you wouldn't go this route. First, it's far too powerful for one player to be able to just create that from whole cloth. Because by itself, it's just an aspect, and needs invocations and possibly Fate points to be able to get mechanical bonuses.

Certainly if the fire were to be ruled to have gotten out of hand, and now the Whole Damn Place is On Fire, then that might add something to the story. But a regular ol' You're On Fire, Dude, shouldn't be elevated to a Bronze Rule Character.
"We've already seen some examples of this earlier in the book; you give your game its own aspects during creation, you place situation aspects on the environment as well as on characters, and the GM can let environmental hazards attack as if they had skills."

I think the GM has the authority to do whatever they feel is appropriate with the fire, per the Bronze Rule. If the GM wants to treat it as a character and make attacks, that's the GM's call. I'm not going to second guess their decision sitting here nowhere near their game. I'm not sure where in the Bronze rule it implies that GMs need invocations and Fate Points to apply it.
 

My Hero Zero

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"We've already seen some examples of this earlier in the book; you give your game its own aspects during creation, you place situation aspects on the environment as well as on characters, and the GM can let environmental hazards attack as if they had skills."
Environmental hazards (as aspects) are not the same as aspects placed by a character through CaA. All players have to have equal agency. Just because you can come up with a particular concept for your aspect, doesn't mean it should be treated with more or less effect by its nature.

There has to be a balance between mechanics and narrative. If you can just exploit the narrative to win, you're not putting the fiction first--you're gaming the system.
 

kyoryu

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Except you're forgetting that aspects (created by CaA) can still be Overcome. So if you put someone on fire, and the fire is treated as that significant, then a highly concerted effort will be made to put out the fire.

And that's the cool thing about CaA. It's a feature, not a bug. Once you embrace the truth of aspects, then the game (especially Conflicts) becomes a lot about manipulating the environment and trying to create a situation that favors you, and becomes less about hacking through Stress tracks. And that is AWESOME.
 

My Hero Zero

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Except you're forgetting that aspects (created by CaA) can still be Overcome. So if you put someone on fire, and the fire is treated as that significant, then a highly concerted effort will be made to put out the fire.
To me that's just roleplaying. You're On Fire. You don't just shrug that off and carry on. What I'm saying is that while fire, in general, could be elevated to character status, I wouldn't for any CaA aspect because that would be granting special status to it.

The mechanics should matter. So if I roll well and succeed with style (2 free invokes) then that should have some weight to it. Not that a player wants their aspect to carry more weight because they thought of something that wins--like some kind of trump card.

My point is to honor the stress/consequence track, honor aspects, and have fun with the system. Not to game it for unfair advantage.
 

Victim

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Except you're forgetting that aspects (created by CaA) can still be Overcome. So if you put someone on fire, and the fire is treated as that significant, then a highly concerted effort will be made to put out the fire.

And that's the cool thing about CaA. It's a feature, not a bug. Once you embrace the truth of aspects, then the game (especially Conflicts) becomes a lot about manipulating the environment and trying to create a situation that favors you, and becomes less about hacking through Stress tracks. And that is AWESOME.
Once you embrace the freedom of an action with no inherent limits on scope creating aspects with no inherent function but instead whatever someone interprets, the rest of the game becomes nonsense.
 

pesterfield

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creating aspects with no inherent function
All aspects have the base function of later being invoked to help an Attack, Defense, or Overcome.

Why is someone trying to set the character on fire, and what's the scene surrounding it?
Why a CA instead of either just narrative color for a Take Out level Attack or a Boost from an attack?
 
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