RPG Mechanics: Fate Core

Having a background in statistics, I like evaluating the mechanics of roleplaying game systems. I have previously blogged how 3d6 is not less swingy than d20 comparing different types of systems at a high level.

This post is a more detailed dive into Fate Core (the 4th edition), which has a bell curve based dice result distribution.

Fate Core is an open source roleplaying game, available under both OGL and Creative Commons licences, with several published books (available both printed and as nicely formatted PDFs). The Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) version is a short (only 40 pages) and lightweight variant of the system, with the recent Fate Condensed a streamlined version of the full system with clarifications and minor updates such as a safety tools section. (All are considered part of the same edition.)

There are several highly rated settings that use different versions of Fate, including Dresden Files, Fate of Cthulhu, Disapora, and Spirit of the Century.

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3d6 is not less swingy than d20

With tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) systems, sometimes I hear a claim that bell curve dice rolls, e.g. 3d6, are “less swingy” (less variance) than a linear based dice roll such as d20 or d%.

This is, however, incorrect.

While the distribution of dice rolls are different, the distribution of outcomes – success or failure – are the same, and for equivalent circumstances have the same statistical variance / standard deviation.

Although the outcomes have equivalent distributions, the underlying type of dice system is important for analysis of modifiers and skill progression.

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Firefly RPG rules summary and characters

Following on from my Mouse Guard summary, here is some similar material I created for my 2017 Go Play game, running the What's Mine scenario from the Firefly RPG.

I prepared a Firefly RPG rules summary, with a summary of how to build dice pools and various game rules, how plot points work, a summary of skills and attributes, and then some notes on Game Master dice pools and plot points.

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Mouse Guard RPG rules summary and character sheets

When running convention games, I often prepare a 1-2 page rules summary for players, particularly for those unfamiliar with the game. There are also usually a bunch of pre-generated characters for the game.

Here are the Mouse Guard - Summary Rules that I made for my Go Play X game last year, where I ran the Dam Beaver introductory scenario.

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Go Play – Mouse Guard RPG playtest

So, I will be running some Mouse Guard quick shot (90 minute) sessions at the Go Play Brisbane 2018 gaming convention in September this year.

To test out the system I ran a bunch of young (pre-teen) children through it: my daughter and the kids of a few friends. I figured if it can survive them, then it will survive any players.

I played the introductory scenario "Find the Grain Peddler".

Here are their character sheets; I let the players pick their own cloak colour:

mouse-guard-playtest-sheets

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