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[FATE] What are the major differences between the versions?

The Dragon Master

just this guy, you know?
Validated User
I've just started getting into FATE with DFRPG, and while working on a modified version of it, I've been looking at threads about other versions of the system. But I'm wondering how different the versions(1.0, 2,0, 3.0) are, and what the major differences are. The major bits I'm familiar with are of course Fate points, stunts, aspects, and the ladder. It's my understanding that these major points are basically the same between the versions, but are they?

And yes, I realize that I could always download the SRDs, but that's a lot of text to read through if there's only some minor differences in the systems, so if anyone is familiar with the different iterations I'd appreciate any help you can provide.
 

Matt Greenfelder

former armageddonsock
Validated User
I have never seen FATE 1.0. I don't know that anyone can even get it anymore - even the authors seem to have written it off as "so bad, just don't bother" (as I recall from a post somewhere - if I'm mistaken, sorry).

FATE 2.0

This was a very generic toolkit - there was no defined list of skills (though there were examples). Aspects were very character-centric, I don't recall any discussion of having aspects on anything other than characters. Aspects were also rated on the ladder like skills and their rating represented the number of times you could use the aspect before a refresh (so a Good (+2) aspect could be invoked twice and then you need a refresh to clear the two uses). You didn't power aspects with fate points - though I believe that was a common house rule.

Character generation was staged with phases, however those could represent all kinds of things (seasons, years of high school, stages of a career path) - that was all up to the GM to match the phases to the genre he was working with. Skills grew in a pyramid over stages and there was no set number of appropriate phases to use for a starting character (though there was an optional column setup for skills as well).

There were no stunts as-such - there were some example magical/supernatural powers presented that were the stepping stones for what we think of as stunts now, but they were not codified like they are in FATE 3.0 games.

There were several types of resolution presented (Tests and Challenges, both having a Static and Dynamic variety) that allowed things to be simple single roll-offs or multiple roll-and-accumulate-successes, building up effects from the successes type scenarios. Combat was evolved from the Dynamic Challenge form of resolution. There were tables for armor effects and weapon modifiers - much more "traditional" in presentation that Spirit of the Century I think.

Really, FATE 2.0 was the definition of a toolkit - a whole lot of great ideas, all presented as plug-and-play options. There was at least 1 optional dice mechanic included (d6 additive pools as I recall).

FATE 3.0

Starting with Spirit of the Century, things got shaken up. Aspects became more prominent as a key mechanical feature, they dropped their rating and became directly powered by fate points. Stunts got formally defined and became a giant grab-bag of "cool stuff you can do." The Stress and Composure tracks were introduced and the idea of performing maneuvers to place temporary Aspects was included.

There's more, but my build just finished compiling.
 

The Pugilist

Elder of the Trusted Hand
Also, it is worth noting that DFRPG is really almost a FATE 3.5/4.0 (and it is likely that the rules changes in there will make it into the proposed generic "Core FATE" rulebook).

Changes include, but are not limited to:
Composure stress being broken down into Mental and Social.
Stress damage mechanics shifting away from a "hit point" structure to a "wound level" one.
Fewer character Aspects.
 

Kiero

Retiring User
Validated User
There are some notable differences between the FATE 3.0 games. SBA/LoA vary from SotC in their handling of Stress, and the impact weapons and armour have. They also offer different starting levels, treating SotC characters as the top tier of starting character.
 

Victor Eremita

New member
Banned
And Diaspora, the lightest version of FATE3 to date. It goes away with the option to just buy success with fate points (you have to use aspects) and contains rule that you can't use more aspects from one scope (so you can't use three aspects from your character, but for example one from your character, one from scene and one from enemy) that makes maneuvers even more fun. It contains exactly four stunts.
 

TheMouse

garmonbozia
Validated User
One of the ways to resolve things in FATE 2 was an early version of a stress track.

Basically, you give a task a stress track. Then you accumulate checks in the boxes as you go in order to build greater degrees of success. When you top the track off, you've succeeded. Additionally, you could set places on each track where something happens.

When I say something happens, I mean that generally you've reached a milestone of some sort. So if you're knocking down a wall, you could set a point whereat you can see what's on the other side, then another point at which the hole is big enough to reach through, etc.

It was a sort of neat idea.
 

Le Corback

Registered User
Validated User
I've just started getting into FATE with DFRPG, and while working on a modified version of it, I've been looking at threads about other versions of the system. But I'm wondering how different the versions(1.0, 2,0, 3.0) are, and what the major differences are. The major bits I'm familiar with are of course Fate points, stunts, aspects, and the ladder. It's my understanding that these major points are basically the same between the versions, but are they?
From memory, so there will be errors.

FATE 1.0 was never published. It was used for an Amber campaign (Born to Be Kings).

FATE 2.0 was a toolkit: many options, and you had to build your own version of it.
Aspects could only be used once each, and you could have the same one several times to compensate. Many home-ruled that you could uncheck an aspect when compelled, instead of gaining a fate point.
Some supplementary material for FATE 2 can still be used (like organisations on the Yahoo group).
A few variants too, but rather modest.

FATE 3.0 the toolkit has not been written as such. You have instead several interpretations of what it will be, when the Evil Hat folks have the time (Dresden is now out, so they have more time and more experience both).
In all of them, aspects are streamlined: pay fate point to use, get fate point when compelled. No ratings.

Spirit of the Century is the first attempt.
Powerful pulp characters.
Weak advancement rules.
Lots of stunts, frighteningly so, which is a shame as the stunts creation "system" has been reverse engineered and is quite simple. The actual stunts are one of the largest example sets ever (and most are good to great).
Borked damage system (he corrected version is on the wiki as "Faster Conflicts" and has been used in all following FATE games.
Simple (but good enough for me) weapon, armour and gadget rules.
A few magic systems on the wiki or in Spirit of the Season. I like the simple ones based on Stunts and either skill replacements or artefacts.
Updated companion rules in the wiki or in the Yahoo group.

UKG Publishing has written some liht Spirit variants. Nothing revolutionary, but I found a little something of interest in most of them, and they were cheap, so I mostly got what i paid for.

Starblazer comes next.
Spirit in space, except as noted.
First published game to use the new damage rules.
More randomness (d6-d6 instead of 4dF).
Adds the FATE 2 organisation rules, plus star system creation rules.
Some alien and power stuff, but rather elementary.
Ship creation/use rules I needed some time to appreciate: some things went counter to my intuition, but I get them now (so if you dislike them, sleep on them and try again, just in case).

Add Free FATE, the address is somewhere in one of the forum's members signature.
A 50 pages condensation of FATE 3.
Mostly good to have nearly everything in one single file, but adds some interpretations.
I do not use it, so I must have forgotten things.
It's more recent than Diaspora, but uses mostly the Spirit/Sarblazer variations, hence its position in my list.

Diaspora is the odd one.
The authors took the rules and did their own thing (which is good).
More hard-SF than pulp.
I think the authors are Traveller fans.
Uses the new damage system, but with different settings (more gritty).
Simple but efficient stunt creation rules: fewer stunts, but usually more significant (no insignificant stunts as prerequisites for the more influential ones).
Star cluster creation rule.
A few mini games for social interaction, mass combat and such. Good ones, but adds complexity: YMMV.

The Dresden Files is the second Evil Hat FATE.
Great job. They thought over what they had done before, and cut away the dross.
Skills, stunts, aspects and refresh are mostly decorrelated.
Fewer aspects, but with a better direction.
Stunt creation rules, with examples.
Stunts and powers cost refresh (think permanent fate points).
More flexibility for skills and stunts at character creation (with some added choice and thus slight complexity).
Good advancement rules.
More complex weapon and armour rules than in Spirit.
Power rules, some more crunchy than I would like, but good. Some balance issues between powers and stunts, but that comes from the source material.

Legends of Anglerre is the second Cubicle 7 game (after Starblazer).
The PDF is too heavy for my puny netbook and I do not read much on the desktop, so I just skimmed it, waiting for the dead tree.
A descendant of their earlier Starblazer.
Lots of powers, toolkit-style. What I saw looked interesting.
Aspects and skills are still linked, like in FATE 2. Bad idea in retrospect (I confess that was the way I did it in my own variants). That makes advancement a mess. It feels like FATE 2 updated to FATE 3, and that does not work. You cannot manage a score of aspects, for example.
There are still many interesting things in the book (powers and organisations or example). I just feel the Cubicle 7 folks follow, rather than innovate, and in this case, they may have followed a dead-end track.

The somewhat negative comments on Cubicle 7 are probably unfair, and I found many interesting things in all their books. I have just been disappointed in some of the execution, probably all the more since I could recognise my own mistakes in theirs.

There are other games in development, like Strands of FATE.
This latter seems an old-school reinterpretation of FATE 3 (from my limited knowledge of it). YMMV.

In my opinion, the ultimate FATE 3 game is currently Dresden.
This may change, and reading (or at least skimming) all of them helps understand the whole.
Some of the strength of FATE is how easy it is, to tinker up your own variant. The more versions you have seen, the more elegantly you will do it.

Anyway, have a good read.
Or a few good reads.
 
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Matt Greenfelder

former armageddonsock
Validated User
Legends of Anglerre is the second Cubicle 7 game (after Starblazer).
The PDF is too heavy for my puny netbook and I do not read much on the desktop, so I just skimmed it, waiting for the dead tree.
A descendant of their earlier Starblazer.
Lots of powers, toolkit-style. What I saw looked interesting.
Aspects and skills are still linked, like in FATE 2. Bad idea in retrospect (I confess that was the way I did it in my own variants). That makes advancement a mess. It feels like FATE 2 updated to FATE 3, and that does not work. You cannot manage a score of aspects, for example.
There are still many interesting things in the book (powers and organisations or example). I just feel the Cubicle 7 folks follow, rather than innovate, and in this case, they may have followed a dead-end track.
Emphasis mine.

Who what in the why? Legends of Anglerre's implementation of aspects does not differ all that much from Starblazer Adventures/Spirit of the Century. They offer some ideas on creating "future aspects" - goals that you are trying to attain, and there are some stunts that have a type of aspect for a perquisite (like the magic user stuff requires a "magic user" type aspect). I don't remember any skill/aspect linkage.
 

Le Corback

Registered User
Validated User
Who what in the why? Legends of Anglerre's implementation of aspects does not differ all that much from Starblazer Adventures/Spirit of the Century. They offer some ideas on creating "future aspects" - goals that you are trying to attain, and there are some stunts that have a type of aspect for a perquisite (like the magic user stuff requires a "magic user" type aspect). I don't remember any skill/aspect linkage.
Maybe I remember some things wrong.
The PDF really is cumbersome.

I had the Phases/Aspect/Skills link in mind, which may be a mistake.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure that advancement gives you more aspects.
Potentially a lot more aspects over time.
As in, too many to manage.
That was OK in FATE 2, when aspects were one-use, and you could take the same one 2 or 3 times.
That is not so any more.

Too many aspects dilute the important ones.
You need to have a mostly set number of aspects, that does not vary all that much with experience (if it ever does).
10 is quite a lot, over that is self-defeating.

That was probably my most stupid mistake in hacking up my own FATE 3 variant, and I'm quite sure it is FATE 2 still lurking in my brain (and probably Cubicle 7's collective one).
 

The Dragon Master

just this guy, you know?
Validated User
Thank you all for the infodump. Makes me glad I'm starting with Dresden as my jumping off point. Fate 2.0 (as described) would probably have left little impression on me. I'd probably have played it a few times, been real excited about some of the ideas in it, and then moved on.

As it is though I'll probably stick with Dresden for a while, get a feel for it, then go look at Diaspora, StarBlazers, and Legends. I've been flipping back and forth through Dresden, and I'm now making sample characters to get a handle on the Power rules to see how they'd apply to a setting/variant I'm wanting to put together (check the Trans-National thread for the inspiration), and then I'll move to the next one to see how it might apply (and those organization rules sound like they might be useful for what I have in mind).

And I guess there's always reading up on the yahoo group. Probably be the cheapest option at this point. ;-)
 
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