Dry Fate17 Nov 2023
A Fate Core Hack
By Fábio Emilio Costa
- Fate Core (CC-BY) 2012 Evil Hat Production
Dry Fate objective
Dry Fate is a minimalistic hack from Fate Core that, albeit minimalist, still preserves what I think is the Fate core features. It recurs to rules from many sources, like Fate System Tookit, Uprising – The Dystopian Universe RPG, Good Neighbors and others.
What Dry Fate IS NOT!
Dry Fate isn’t a full-scale replacemet for Fate Core or Fate Acellerated, but a minimalist game that can be used as an introduction to the basic features on Fate. It’s highly recommended you get and read Fate Core and Fate Accelerated (by Evil Hat Productions at https://faterpg.com or https://evilhat.itch.io) after some games so you can overcome some doubts and know better Fate.
What Dry Fate doesn’t comply?
Some rules and tips for adventure creation. Aside this, Dry Fate is a complete game, completely compatible with any Powered by Fate game
Aspects are phrases that defines important, unique characteristics about characters or any other element on the game setting, that defines Truths on the game while they are in game. Aspects normally are ambivalents (have “good” and “bad points”), clear and descriptive
On Dry Fate, all character Aspects also need to describe some kind of Occupation. This can be done on direct way, like Undomitable cop or Investigative photographer, or on an indirect, ample way, like the fact a character is a silly stoogie that could not see a children cry.
Choose five Character Aspects. On those, three will define the High Concept (what the Character is at the core), Trouble (the problems that can refrain their actions) and Motivation (what the character wants to do). The two other Aspects are free and can be used at will.
After that, you’ll set a Competence Level for every of you Aspects (and so their Occupations). The High Concept will always have a Good (+3) Competence. Set two of the other Aspects as Fair (+2) and two others as Average (+1).
If the player has no idea for the Free Aspects, you can let those Aspects blank. However, the player will need to set at least one Aspect with a Fair (+2) Competence and another at Fair (+1)
- Invoke: by this you improve the chances of success of your character’s actions, thanks the “good points” of your Aspects
- You need to use a Fate Point, except when the Aspect have Free Uses on it (more on this below). You can get one and only one of this per use:
- +2 at a roll result
- +2 on opposition difficult
- a reroll (discarding the old one)
- Declare that a advantageous event occurs without rolling (under Narrator discretion)
- The same Aspect can’t be used more than once per action, but you can use as much Aspects you want on the same action, as long you have Fate Points or Free Uses enough;
- You need to use a Fate Point, except when the Aspect have Free Uses on it (more on this below). You can get one and only one of this per use:
- Compel: by complicating your characters or their allies’ life, changing the events at the games thanks to the “negative points” on it.
- The player can negate a compel by paying a Fate Point;
- If accepted, the player receive a Fate Point;
Free uses and Boosts
Some Character actions makes Aspects get in game, and those actions make those Aspects receive Free Uses. When using those Aspects, as long there’s Free Uses, the character doesn’t need to use Fate Points, using the Free Uses instead. The Aspect in question doesn’t disappear when the Free Uses are exhausted.
Some actions also provides Boosts, that are short-lived, one-use-only, Aspects, representing some short-live advantage and fast upper hands that the characters get thanks their actions. There’s no need to use Fate Points to use a boost, but once used, it disappears. Also, they can disappear, even if not used, after some short time (a round or two at most)
In general, Aspects stay in game until some action take them from the game (normally Overcome obstacles actions: see below) or a change in events take their relevance away (a Burning Store certainly will become ashes when the characters get back it place some scenes after). The exception are the characters Aspects, changed on their Milestones (more below) and the Boosts, that disappears as long used or some short time they appeared.
Stunts are very special things your character can do, thanks specific training, high-quality equipment, special skill, or any other plausible justification. Every character can get 2 Free Stunts before pays Refresh , and they are describe under those templates:
- As I’m/I have [anything special], I get +2 when [Overcome/Create Advantage/Attack/Defend] when [Specific Situation]; OR
- As I’m/I have [anything special], once per session I [describe the cool thing you can do]
Refresh and Fate Points
Fate Points are a representation of how much you can change the Narrative by your character’s Aspects, by improving rolls or bringing auspicious Narrative Descriptions to the game.
The Refresh sets the minimun Fate Points a characters starts the game session: it can happens that, thanks Compels on previous games, a character starts a session with more Fate Points than the Refresh. If this happens, the character stays with the Fate Points they have.
The default Refresh is free, and can rise with the Character Evolution and fall when a character gets more Stunts than the Free ones (1 per additional Stunt). Except under Narrator discretion, no character can have a Refresh below 1.
Rolls and Tests
At Dry Fate, we use two pairs of six-faced dice, that will be called pD (positive Dice) and nD (negative Dice), that will provide either the value and the sign of the roll.
Roll the pairs and keep the dice with the smaller facial value. If there’s dice from both pairs on this set, the roll will be considered +0. Otherwise, consider the roll as being of this facial value, with the sign being provided by the pair from where the dice came.
- pD: 4,4; nD: 4,1; smaller pD: 4; smaller nD: 1; results: -1
- pD: 3,2; nD: 3,4; smaller dP: 2; smaller dN: 3; results: +2
- pD: 2,5; nD: 2,4; smaller dP: 2; smaller dN: 2; results: +0
If you have Fate Dice at hand (either physical or digital dice rollers), you can use them if needed. Also, you can use the Baby’s First Fudge Dice, by marking six-sided pip dice with a permanent marking with symbols of
0, by the template below, or uses the default emulation standard (1-2 =
-, 3-4 =
0and 5-6 =
+). On both cases, every + will add 1 to the roll and every - reduces the roll by 1, blanks doesn’t changing the roll… All the methods presented are equally functional
NOTE: Dry Fate rolls can return values +/- 5. Although those values are outside standard roll range, they probability of those happens are so small that those rolls can be equally discarded or accept under the game group criteria without no special impact in the game.
To the roll is summed the Competence level of any single Occupation (without stacking) that can be applied to the events, and of any appliable Stunt and Aspects use, and comparing it to a specific difficult, from Terrible (-2) to Legendary (+8) (it’s suggested a Fair (+2) default difficult). Then the final roll value is compared with dificult to the Resolutions as below:
- Roll result goes below difficult: Failure – the event doesn’t happen or it occurs with some complicaiton (a complicated definition, enemies discover your intentions)
- Roll result equals difficult: Tie – the events happens, but with some perk (tools are lost, enemies notices weird stuff…)
- Roll result goes over difficult: Success – the events happens without problems
- Roll result goes over difficult+2: Success with Style – the events happens with some additional benefit (enemies got to the characters’ side, get some extra information…), normally by a Boost
Teamwork: if a character have a similar Competence from the one rolling the dice, this character’s player can forfeit his action at that time and provide a passive +1 bonus to the character’s roll. The number of characters that can join teamwork on a test is under Narrator discretion.
Everything under Dry Fate can be solved under the default Four Actions as below:
- Overcome obstacle: Doing the actions under their Competences (A Photographer taking or understanding pictures, a Doctor diagnoses diseases, …)
- This action also can be used to Remove Aspects, but not change them;
- Create Advantages: Prepare or obtain something that can be used to provide some upper hand in the future, that came to the game as an Aspect (A Photographer can obtain and equip Teleobjective Lenses, a Doctor can look for Extra exams…)
- All Aspects created under this actions get a Free Use (two under Sucess with Style)
- Failure offers a Free Use to the Opposition
- Create Advantage can be used to Change an Aspect at Game (Hostile Warriors can become Valuable Allies…)
- Attack: any action that looks to cause Damage to other (a Cop beat a thief, a Bully humiliate a kid, a CEO looks for an hostile takeover on another company at market)
- Normally is an action that triggers or is used under Conflicts (more below)
- Defend: any ACTIVE action focused on avoid the previous events (the Kid start to sob and point the bully, the CEO of the victim of the potential hostile takeover call for a stock buyback…)
The final results are avalied under the guidelines under the Resolutions previously defined.
When you need to resolve complex situations, you can use Challenges, Contests and Conflicts
A sequence of Overcome Obstacles actions (linked or not) that will solve a group of events to acheve some objective:
Force a door to run from a zombie horde at the same time a barricade is built to hold the zombies for time enough
A sequence of rolls between two or more groups, that looks upon objectives that only one side can achieve, but at the same time none of those sides wants to provoke direct prejudice to each other.
Various motorsports racers looks to win a very important race with a big cash prize
- Set the values and Aspects involved
- Set a minimum difficult if applyable (for example: judges or rough terrain) or if the characters are only challenge each other and are no other element is involved;
- Each side do a roll with an adequated Competence and compares their results.
- The side with a the best result gets a Victory on that exchange, but needs to at least tie with any minimun difficult, otherwise no one gets that exchange’s Victory;
- If the winning side goes over the loser side or the minimum difficult, it gets two Victories
- Ties between both sides (above the minimun difficult) provokes some twist on the events: there’s changes on the victory conditions or on the environment, other sides (hostile or not) appears…
- The side that achieves three victories first wins the Contest;
When both sides wants to damage or prejudice directly each other, there’s a conflict:
- First, set the Zones where the conflict happens and any adequated Aspects on the conflict enviroment:
- Zones are places where people can interact with each other (either physically or not and hostile or not);
- Characters can go from immediatally nearby zones freely. Distant Zones demands adequated Competence checks;
- Set who are the first one to act, based on everyone’s Competences;
- Each character can do an action per round, Attack or not (they can be Create Advantages, for example)
- If it is an Attack, the target can do a Defense Roll;
- If the Attack was bigger than the Defense, the target checks a Condition
- If the Attack was bigger than the Defense by 3 or more, the attacker can force the target to check two on a Conditions OR check a Condition and get a Boost;
- If the target can’t or don’t want to get Conditions apropriated for the Conflict, it will be taken out and their faith are their Attacker’s hand;
- Before the dice are thrown, you can give in, getting out of the conflict but you can save some of your bacon:
- You get a Fate Point on a Give-in, +1 for each Condition marked on that Conflict.
- The one that acted can choose any other character that didn’t acted this round (including Non-Player Characters). The last acting character can choose who will be the next to act (including themself)
- The Conflict ends as soon one of the side get totally taken down, gave in, or under common accord of all involved side;
Every character can get up to three Conditions. Conditions are Aspects that are Marked when a character is hit and stay at game as Aspect until there’s time and the right circunstance to realize all action to clean (remove) those Conditions (plaster a Broken Leg, get a rest to recover the Tireness, rationalize the Horrible visions you saw in your dreams). When the Condition is marked the Attacker side gots a Free Use on it.
How to name the Conditions:
There’s two ways to deal on while naming Conditions
- Pre-naming: make sure your characters have their Conditions previously named, like on Weary, Disturbed, Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fthaghn! or anything right for the game. Then he’ll Mark the Condition when getting it, cleaning when recovered from it.
- Strong Suits:
- It become clear the kind of damage suffered by the character
- Can be useful to planning situations
- Can be used by the Narrator to reduce abuse
- No flexibility;
- Too dificult to maintain;
- it’s very easy to make a group to be taken down as a whole on a bad moment
- Post-Naming: the Condition-describing Aspect is set on the fly, and it’s erased when the Condition is recovered. This is Fate default on Consequences;
- Strong suits:
- The characters are more resilient, as Conditions are used as needed;
- More flexibility
- it can be abused as people can “play around” on the game
- Optional Rule: Crippling Attack – if the target get a Success with style or have no appropriated Conditions, he can suffer a Crippling Attack that chances one of their Aspects. Don’t mark Conditions, but rename an Aspect on a way to reflect the damage suffered (for example: from Undomitable Cop to One-Eyed Undomitable Cop). There’s no impact on the Competence on this Aspect, but the Attacker still get a Free Use on it
On Dry Fate there’s two kinds of NPCs: Extras and Main NPCs.
Main NPCs are created as common characters, only changing their scale:
- Lieutenant get only one Condition, 2 Stunts and 2 Aspects:
- Good (+3) High Concept
- Average (+1) Motivation
- Bosses get 3 Conditions, 3 Stunts and 3 Aspects:
- Great (+4) High Concept
- Average (+1) Trouble
- Good (+3) Motivation
Those are the ninja sent only to be heroes cannon fodder, the wallflowers, the side cast. They don’t get Conditions and only two Aspects, a Name Aspect (like Foot Clan Ninja), and a Weak Spot (like Weak-hearted when on small numbers)
Normally the Name Aspect will be Average (+1) or Fair (+2), and the Weak Spot will be Terrible (-2). Some a little stronger Extra can get a Good (+3) or better on Name Aspect, on this case the Weak Spot can get only Poor (-1)
If you want, you can group Extras on an Horde: add +1 to the Name Aspect and add a Condition for each two Extras (round down). Each Condition marked reduce the Horde bonus on -1
It’s those moments where the character improves their chances to be successful (or not) on their actions. On Dry Fate there’s two milestones
- Minor Milestone: small lessons learned, that normally happens at the end of the session. You can do ONLY ONE of those list:
- Clean a Condition
- Rewrite a Stunt
- Buy an Extra Stunt, if you still have Free Stunts or have Refresh to Pay
- Exchange two Competence Levels from two Aspects except the High Concept
- Rewrite one Aspect except the High Concept. You can also exchange the Ocupation on this;
- Major Milestone: those are the big lessons learned by the character that will improve they lifes and push them to another league. The previous dangers are no more that serios, and the opposition became worse and worse. A character can get as much of the benefits below:
- Receive 1 Fate Point
- You can use it immediately to buy a new Stunt
- Receive 1 Point to improve a Compentence
- You can only yse this to improve the High Concept Competence if at least another 1 Competence is on the same level;
- You can rename your High Concept, including your Occupation;
- Get a benefit from the Minor Milestone
- Receive 1 Fate Point
Sample Character - Thyrar, Rogue Paladin
|High Concept||A sneaky halfling rogue||Good (+3)|
|Trouble||The Fair Mellows Mounts Communals are becoming really pesky||Average (+1)|
|Motivação||I want to know the world outside… And their treasures||Fair (+2)|
|Alyeda, Fate Goddess, light they followers’ ways||Fair (+2)|
|Fezair’s Illusions doesn’t get me||Average (+1)|
Stunts [Refresh: 3]
- As a Rogue, I know to do Sneaky Attacks, so once per session I can Attack an unaware target as if it have only Mediocre (+0) to defend
- I have Shady Contacts on the riffraff, so I get +2 when Creating Advantage as a Halfling Rogue when looking for information with criminals.