Friday, September 27, 2013

Looking for an OSR Chassis With some Fate-Like Trappings...

From what I've read (both in response to yesterday's blogpost and the corresponding thread on G+), Fate is too far from my comfort zone to ever run for more than a one shot. Without character development like a more traditional RPG, I don't see how you could hope to run an extended campaign of any sorts. Without the real risk of death of your character, there really isn't any risk at all.

This does not preclude me from playing in a game of Fate, I just don't see myself ever running it. As I GM 95+% of the time, I doubt I'll get much Fate in.

Now, I remember FUDGE, which Fate is built upon, but that's like saying Monsters & Magic was built upon OD&D - it's not, even if some of the superficial trappings are there. It is very much it's own game.

Is there a game / hack that combines "Old School" sensibilities (levels, expo, live or die combat) with some of the elements of Fate? Dungeon World doesn't seem to be it and I haven't read Torchbearer enough to see if it fits the mold. Monsters & Magic is a great game to convert old school to new school, but the play is most certainly new school.

Fate intrigues me and I love the settings - but the mechanics or lack there of leave me cold.


  1. Isn't 13th Age D&D with a touch of FATE. The D&D may not be exactly Old School, but it has the elements you listed, doesn't it? I know you got a copy, maybe you should take a longer look at it. Unless you have and already dismissed it.

  2. Dungeon World is the first to come to mind, but you already nix that. Maybe Barbarians of Lemuria or it's swashbuckling descendant, Honor + Intrigue? The system has an old school sensibility, light systems, and a taste of the new stuff. I like it a lot, and it is light enough to bolt some ideas from Fate onto without breaking under the weight. It has small numbers of experience points that you buy improvements with instead of levels, though, so that may disqualify it on your criteria. Take a look though.

  3. The Burning Wheel also comes to mind as being somewhere in the space in between, though probably more at the Fate end of the spectrum.

  4. Actually running a campaign without character advancement in the sense of 'mechanical advancement' isn't that hard. Players just need to be on board for it, and it needs to fit the setting. I've been doing a FASA Star Trek for nigh on two years now, and I can tell you as written the system is way more lethal than anything OD&D style throws in your direction.

  5. I wouldn't say that Fate games don't work in an extended campaign. I mean I played a campaign using Legends Of Anglerre's version of Fate (which is tailor made for the Fantasy genre) and it was all there. Character advancement was really nice and fluid. Just start the PCs at the lowest power level and gradually give award them with the options of getting extra stunts and/or extra refresh and/or extra Aspects and/or extra skill points. You can use the Fate Core version and port the advancement mechanics from Legends of Anglerre and it should work like a charm

  6. Whitehack, with it's "groups", comes close. Groups are pretty much Aspects, just tied to one or more characteristics. Plus, Whitehack is a super minimal OSR core.


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