FATE is a FUDGE derivative.

This entry is based mostly on the Free Fate PDF v0.6 and Fate 3 as defined in the Spirit of the Century (OGL SRD). Both versions are freely available.

There are many flavours of FATE making an overview harder. There is an incomplete and somewhat out-of-date comparison on the Evil Hat Wiki.

As of January 2013 FATE was successfully funded on kickstarter and will be released as a Creative Commons Fate Core. Because the project was wildly overfunded there will be a lot of extra material such as toolboxees, adventures, campaigns, etc. written by many respected and exciting names in the RPG industry.

Character Creation

Character creation is usually done by selecting two aspects in each of five phases, assigning skills and five stunts.

  • Phases
    • 1 - Background
    • 2 - Conflict
    • 3 - Debut Novel
    • 4 - Guest Star
    • 5 - Guest Star redux
  • Skills: 1 Superb (+5), 2 Great, 3 Good, 4 Fair, 5 Average

Task Resolution

Task resolution is based on using a skill to defeat a difficulty (with the help of aspects, stunts and using fate points). In "FATE 3.0" four Fudge Dice are rolled (six sided dice with a +1, -1, 0 result that can be simulated with normal dice) added together for a result of -4 to +4 (a bell curve result) which is subtracted or added to the skill. This is noted as 4dF.

Other versions, like the light free version, uses 2D6 of different colours. One is the minus die and if it is the lowest it subtracts from the skill rating. The other is the plus die and if it is the lowest it is added to the skill rating. If both dice are the same the skill rating remains unmodified.

In either case if the result is equal or greater than the difficulty the character succeeds.

FATE uses a ladder with adjectives that correspond to numbers to describe skills, difficulties, modifers, etc.

  • Skill Rating ranges from mediocre +0 to legendary +8 with mediocre being the baseline for any skill not known.
  • Difficulty Rating ranges from abysmal -3 to legendary +8.
  • Effect is the result minus the difficulty and each step above the difficulty gives one shift which can be used to:
    • Reduce Time Required
    • Increase Quality of Outcome
    • Increase Subtlety
    • Inflict Stress
    • Gain Spin (do something exceptionally well)
  • Modifiers adjust the difficulty up or down.
  • Skills may be combined so that a secondary skill might give a +1 bonus or impose a -1 penalty.
  • Contests are handled by using the opponent's skill as difficulty, but only one party roll the dice.
  • Fate Points are used to get +1 to any roll, power a powerful Stunt or make minor narrative declarations (although the GM has veto power). Fate Points are also used with Aspects.
  • Aspects are invoked by players when his character that conforms with an Aspect. If the GM accepts the reasoning for invoking the aspect the player gets +2 to the total of the dice roll or may re-roll the dice again. Aspects can also be invoked with a fate point for effect, using it for a benefit that is not related to a dice roll. This allows the player to add descriptions or make declarations that can help, but they must still fit with one of the character's Aspects.
  • Invoking aspects is known as Tagging Aspects and supporting characters, items, locations and even the scene itself can have Aspects the players can tag.
  • Other Uses of Aspects: An aspect can sometimes be tagged to allow the use of a different skill than would normally be used. An aspect can be tagged for effect to compel the way a supporting character will act in general terms and that character then receives the fate point spent.
  • Hidden Aspects can be discovered and new ones created for a scene, location or person with a declaration or manoeuvre and this rewards the player a free tag of that Aspect as long as it occurs immediately.
  • The GM can compel a player aspect to make him act in a certain manner, usually to his detriment or to add a complication to the task at hand, force and automatic failure or introduce difficulties "off-screen" (i.e. something happens elsewhere, the old "meanwhile…"). A player must accept the compel and if he does he receives a Fate Point and this is the primary way to gain them. Refusing a compel costs a Fate Point and players can also voluntaire a compel. The GM can also escalate a compel to 2 fate points which the player can accept or lose two fate points.
  • Stunts: Stunts allow the usual rules about Skills to be broken – or at least bent.
    • Concentration Stunts: +1 to particular skill when used in a particular manner (e.g particular type of weapon such as a sword).
    • Specialisation: +2 to a skill when used in a very specific way (e.g. a specific weapon such as a katana)
    • Skill Switch: Allow one skill to be used in place of another for a particular situation (similar in scope to concentration stunts).
    • Benefit: Any other stunt that provides access to resources, equipment, special abilities, etc. Fate Points may be needed for such stunts if deemed especially powerful.
    • Pre-Requisites: Some stuns require other stunts to be gained before they can be used making more powerful stunts harder to obtain. This ca be satisfied with Aspects rather than other stunts.
    • Uses per session: A limit on the number of uses an aspect can be used per session to limit its power.
    • Combined Limits: Several limits may be applied for especially powerful stunts.

Combat Resolution

Combat - both physical and social interaction - is handled through Conflicts. For a conflict a scene is described and initiative determined and actions resolved according to initiative until the conflict is resolved.

  • Initiative: According to Alertness skill for physical conflicts and Empathy for social conflicts (ties resolved with Resolve). The initiative is constant for the entire conflict.
  • Scene: The GM describes the location and any obvious Aspects of the scene.
  • Zones: Loosely defined areas that determine how characters can interact.
    • Same Zone: Within reach.
    • One Zone Apart: Within throwing range.
    • Two or Three Zones Apart: Within shooting range.
  • Attack: Resolved as a normal skill against a difficulty and as for contested skills only one party rolls. This is usually the player attacking or defending.
    • A successfull attack inflicts Stress equal to number of Shifts (degree attack exceeds defence/difficulty) plus any weapon Stress bonus and less any armour reduction. A defence that wins with a spin of 3 or more gives the next test by anyone +1 or -1, but only if that character can explain how he was able to help or hinder the next action.
    • The attack and defense skills that apply are as follows.
Purpose Attack Defence
Wound/Kill Fists, Guns, Weapons Fists, Athletics, Weapons
Deceive Deceit Resolve, Empathy
Scare Intimidation Resolve
Charm Rapport Resolve, Deceit
  • Manoeuvre: Any action in a scene which is not an attack such as grabbing a rope, getting attention or change the subject of a debate. It can be versus a difficulty or contested. A successful manoeuvre adds a temporary Aspect to the scene or a target and earns the character one free tag of that Aspect.
  • Temporary Aspects: Only last until circumstances change in most situations (usually when tagged), but can occasionally be "sticky" and so don't go away when tagged (this may require Spin to achieve).
  • Full Defence: +2 on reactons and defences but may take no action
  • Hold Action: Action declared between other player's actions
  • Block Action: Use a skill to prevent something from happening
  • Supplemental Action: Simple actions in addition to the main such as drawing a weapon. Each supplemental action imposes -1 penalty to the primary action.
  • Movement: Moving from one zone to the next counts as a supplemental action. Moving more than one zone makes it a primary action (sprint) and requires an Athletics roll to move a number of zones equal to the shift. If there is a border between zones, such as a fence or moving from a rooftop to the street, the border's numerical value is added to the penalty for a supplemental move and subtracts shifts from a sprint action.
  • Stress: There is a Physical Stress Track (violent attacks) and a Composure Stress Track (social attacks). When it equals or exceeds the Stress track the character is "Taken Out" unless it can be absorbed by taking Consequences. Stress is usually cleared after a scene unless GM says otherwise.
  • Consequences: Reduces Stress taken by taking an Aspect that the attacker gets to tag for free. Consequnces have four severities: minor, major, severe and extreme. Only 3 consequences can be carried at any time and never more than one of the same severity.
    • Minor: -2 Stress - lasts minutes
    • Major: -4 Stress - lasts hours or days
    • Severe: -6 Stress - lasts weeks
    • Extreme: -8 Stress - lasts months
  • The nature of the consequence depends on the conflict - so an injury for a physical conflict or an emotional state for a social conflict. It is usually the person taking the Consequence who gets to describe it as long as it is compatible with the attack and the GM has final say.
  • Taken Out: Stress >= Stress Track and already taken three Consequences. The opponent may decide how the character loses, but must be reasonable, apply only to that character, be limited to the scope of the conflict and make sense.
  • Concession: A character taking a Consequence can offer a Concession which is effectively a surrender before being Taken Out. The concession can be refused, but if the GM thinks the offer was reasonable the person offering it gains a Fate Point and the character who refused loses one. If accepted the character is Taken Out under the terms of the concession.
  • First Aid and Long Term Care: First Aid can be used to remove Physical Stress. One Shift is required and every two shifts beyond the first removes one more Stress. Long Term Care can be used to reduce the time to recover from a Consequence by one step, but takes a scene and requires medical kit and can only be done once. Difficulty are based on the consequence and range from mediocre (+0) to fantastic (+6).

Character Development




Publishing Company

See Links below for free rules and Games for roleplaying games that use the FATE system.


There are many games that use FATE, but some are liste below:


Fudge System 1995 version © 1992-1995 by Steffan O’Sullivan, © 2005 by Grey Ghost Press, Inc.; Author Steffan O’Sullivan.

FATE (Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment) © 2003 by Evil Hat Productions LLC; Authors Robert Donoghue and Fred Hicks.

Spirit of the Century © 2006, Evil Hat Productions LLC. Authors Robert Donoghue, Fred Hicks, and Leonard Balsera.


System Analysis

Taken from rpg.net (credit to Teataine for posting the links):


  • Aspects and Fate points provide a great link between game mechanics and story narration
  • Very Flexible
  • Zones (and borders) are a great and innovative alternative to traditional hex or grid battle mats
  • Skill Pyramid is an effective, yet simple, mechanism to prevent min-maxing
  • High degree of abstraction
  • Vehicles and spaceships can be created as characters!
  • Some flavours such as Diaspora has rules for generating worlds and fun ways to collectively create the setting


  • Despite a lot of rules Fate is mechanically light (i.e. not very crunchy for the rules overhead involved)
  • The finer nuances that makes Fate shine can be quite difficult to grasp and use effectively for new players
  • Tracking zones and borders in combat can get complicated - especially if maps are not used
  • Being rules light and due to the nature of Aspects can mean a lot of rules arbitration
  • Pressure on GM to compel player Aspects and keep the Fate Point economy running smoothly
  • Meta gaming as players need to keep thinking about how they can invent and exploit aspects to tag (some might find this distracting to character immersion)
  • High degree of abstraction

House Rules


The Free FATE rules (v0.3) are a cut down & condensed version of the FATE System (Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment), and are intended to appeal to gamers who prefer uncomplicated rules and to act as an introduction to the full system.

Fate Core is available from DriveThruRPG as "pay what you want" - even free, so an update or new article based on Fate Core would be great.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License