The Fate Fractal in Other Games
Posted by docryder
(Basic Idea: Why can’t the Fate Fractal be applied to other game systems? Answer: It /can/. Provide examples.)
The past few days I’ve gotten my summer cold. Today the tickle finally appeared in my chest, which is the beginning of the long haul of the chest portion of my colds. It sucks, and I felt somewhat yucky yesterday (less so than Saturday, when my head was congested and achy), so I didn’t get around to posting. Something I’ve learned this time around that I don’t think I really realized before is that A) NyQuil really wipes me out, as in a full dose will have me sleeping up to 12 hours, and B) I have some really strange dreams while on NyQuil. In my dreams, I don’t have carpet in my bedroom, but rather weeds and grass. Go figure, the teetotaler gets wasted on NyQuil.
Lately, I’ve picked up and read bits and pieces of some rules-lite systems. Breachworld and MiniD6 in particular stick in my mind, and I’ve mentioned previously that I’m being attracted to Cypher System again. After looking at an older version of Fate, I think I’ve finally figured out why:
Fate gives me analysis paralysis.
There are so many ways I could do what I want for the StarSea that I feel like I’m trying to shoehorn the setting into the game. I’m trying to find the most efficient way to do what I want with the game system, and no one way is shining as particularly efficient or screams “Pick me! Pick me!”
The idea of creating my own game system has crossed my mind. That’s a whole lot more work than I want to take up, though. I’ve tinkered with my own systems before, and I tend to overbuild. I think in that route lies madness (and frustration for players). That may be an issue with the setting in general (that is, I may be trying to throw too much stuff into the world), which makes it more important that the system be clean and free of cruft.
On the upside, I did trim down one idea. I’d wanted to include tanks and personnel carriers, but as I’ve gotten to thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you have flying ships of various sizes, why do you need tanks? Well, you don’t, assuming that the boats can do the same thing. I’m thinking that I may need to start doing some cutting with other parts of the setting. Possibly some of the orders, possibly going from a groups of planetary systems to a single world (which will sink the whole “sea of stars” thing), and maybe a few other changes.
However, one idea from Fate that I’d like to port around is the Fate Fractal. The idea of the Fractal is that any object can be built like a character, with aspects and stress tracks, etc. One variation of the game includes the plot line as an item that can take stress. However, typically the Fractal is used for vehicles or other character possessions, and often for organizations.
I found myself asking “Why can’t this idea be used in other game systems?” And I realized the answer was “It can.” Cypher is one that does it, in a round about way. The rules are a bit simplified, but they’re basically there. Back when I had wanted to write for Wizards, I proposed an article about large scale combat in 4e, making military units extensions of PCs (or other characters), acting as weapons and armor, and in the case of 4e, potentially giving them powers that would be appropriate on a battlefield.
And I think scaling is another issue that needs dealing with that the Fate Fractal handles better than others. Breachworld and MiniD6 both wind up giving battleships and other large objects mountains of defense and offense (upwards of +24D6!) because of their size, rather than simply rule that such huge objects can’t be harmed by man-portable weapons, and they can’t target objects smaller than a certain size. It seems a waste of everyone’s time to be rolling such phenomenally large numbers of dice regularly. Of course, Champions lives on that, but that’s another kettle of fish altogether.
Well, I need to be up in the morning, so I’ll end things here. Later.