Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Has "Powered By Fate" Reached d20 Levels of Critical Mass?

Just saw this last night. It's an entire line of Fate Core books - one-hundred pages and some change, all $15 apiece - that didn't exist before October 2013. That's seven ten books in the span of slightly more than eight months

I haven't looked at them in any detail, and other than the cover art looking like it's at least halfway decent I have to wonder: how good can these possibly be? We're talking a month apiece for development - that's not nearly enough time to playtest...well, anything. Considering that all of them contain some stripped down version of the Fate Core rules, I also have to wonder how much new content or new ideas is actually in each.

It's a production schedule to rival...crap, I swore off talking about them

Which comes down to the crux of my post. Sure, it's easy to glom things into Fate, particularly the genres that these books are shooting for. That's kind of the point - anybody can do it. But is it worth $15, particularly if there isn't really anything new? I mean, I don't have Atomic Robo yet but from what I've read it brings some new milkshakes to the yard. It looks like there are cool widgets in it that actually expand upon the Swiss Army knife that is Fate Core. These other guys on DTRPG would have needed about three weeks apiece  to get their ten books out in the span of eight months. Is there any way that could be an honest attempt to put out an innovative product in the spirit of the awesome little blue books currently sitting between my Portal bookends. Something in the vein of Atomic Robo, or Day After Ragnarok, or Apotheosis Drive X, or the other handful of great Fate products that have come out? Or are these guys just attempting to cash in on the current fad ? [That's a rhetorical question, I think I know the answer] I'm no expert on the d20 glut, considering at the time I was too busy spending all of my money on Exalted hardbacks and overpriced Tribe 8 books, but my impression is that the deluge of half-baked products for d20 wasn't seen favorably. Hell, Tribe 8 second edition had fucking d20 rules in it. For me was a total and complete waste that could have been spent, I don't know, fleshing out the setting some more.



Worse still, I have some projects in mind that I intend to leverage Fate Core as the engine. It's just now I have to contend with the possibility my choice to use Fate would be seen as just because it's the latest craze, instead of the real reason: I actually want to use Fate as the foundation instead of just slapping some aspects together and calling it done. Hopefully, by the time any of these projects see the light of day a lot of this stuff will have dried up. Until then, I think we're going to be doomed to see a Fate appendix in every game from now until people get tired of it.

Finally, if anyone not associated with Starbright Illustrations actually has seen one of these books, I'd be very interested to know what the rules quantity vs quality is, as well as if the implementations are vanilla Fate Core or have any adaptations for their genres.