Why do you play tabletop roleplaying games? It’s a simple question but there are so many good answers to it I won’t even attempt to give a fraction of them lip service here. For me it is an opportunity to try something new out. To put myself into the head of someone who never existed in our reality, and try to figure who that person is and what he might do. It’s a chance to be heroic, something I don’t get to do very often. It’s a chance to be dastardly, something else I don’t do very often. I get to try things and play around in a sandbox with friends, creating a story. While I do enjoy rolling dice, it’s not the major attraction for me.
Last year I had the good fortune to find FATE, a story driven roleplaying game. They were in the middle of doing a kickstarter although I had already heard of it. I read a lot of stuff in online communities about RPG news and this one caught my eye, because of the shared storytelling nature of it. These days I tend to be a GM first and a player second. Not exactly by choice, but I do enjoy that people seem to be happy to play in my games. So when I hear of a system that encourages players to be creative, rather than asking me to be, you’ve got my attention.
It’s easy to call FATE generic. The ruleset is, by design, intended to be malliable to whatever type of game you want to play. A good friend of mine has troubles with it because it doesn’t provide enough structure for starting a game. It’s a reasonable concern, but it’s also an easily solved one. FATE is the engine that powers a large number of exciting games. It is also easy for a productive GM to crank out a setting with custom rules (known as “hacks” in FATE) to get that same kind of customized flavor that lets players really get into your game.
Character creation in FATE is fantasic. It’s a group effort; at some point you hand your charter sheet to another player and you integrate your story, this introduction helps define who and what your character is. Good or bad you start with a little bit of history with your party members, and this is a really good tool for players who are trying to decide how to interact with the other characters. Character creation is truely one of FATE’s superpowers.