Tag Archives: fanboys

I Hate FATE

Well, not FATE per se.  It’s a handy enough little minimalist game system.  But I hate all the FATE fanboys.

Every couple years, a new game becomes the darling of the rpg.net crowd and it’s touted as the perfect game for everything.   Want to run gritty horror, epic supers, wild west, comic mobsters?  FATE is the best tool for the job of course!

The most annoying thing is that when it comes up, the person hasn’t actually USED it for that, you understand.  They’re just SURE that it will be perfect for it.  In fact, they really haven’t played much FATE; usually they’re the normal sort of RPG forum dwellers who for some strange reason never actually play RPGs, possibly because that would interfere with their endless theoretical opinions about them.

Not too many years ago, Risus was the standard answer. Someone is looking for a game to do X with?  Use Risus, of course!

But it’s all foolishness.  Pick a sufficiently light system, and of course it’s “good for everything.”  Which is to say, doesn’t specifically support what you’re doing well without you doing a lot of work. Here’s my new system – you roll d6 and on 1-3 you succeed at whatever, and at 4-6 you suffer a setback.  OH IT’S PERFECT FOR ANYTHING!!!!

At least for the couple years rpg.net was obsessed with Exalted, it’s a rich game with loads of rules and backplot and they didn’t bother everyone else telling them they should run cops and robbers, transhumanist SF, and greek epics in it.

Anyway, fanboys, please do FATE a favor and quit it.  When it’s used for a real game like Spirit of the Century or ICONS it’s fine.  You’ll note that those games add on a bunch to the core mechanic to make it suitable for their specific genre and setup, right?  But your unthinking pimping of the game in every context just leads to overexposure and then people of discernment, like myself, start to say “Hmmm, they’re just using FATE to be trendy trendertons, forget it.”

Consider if someone is asking for a game to do something specific, that probably a game that supports that specific thing may be better.  Just saying “use FATE” to any query is only one touch better than saying “play pretend, durr hurr hurr.”