How Is Fate Working for Star Wars?



I've had the opportunity to use every official Star Wars RPG out there. I've played all three incarnations of the West End Games Star Wars RPG, all three of the Wizards of the Coast, and an Edge of the Empire Game that borrowed material from Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny.

I've had fun with all of them and if I were in another group that proposed any of those games I'd be fine playing any of them. It was a bit unusual for me to take a stab at going my own way with a home-brew Star Wars game. I'd thought about using Savage Worlds in the past and did a one-off Wushu Star Wars game once but Fate was a bit out there for me given my earlier experiences with it were a bit so-so - I liked it but I was unable to really grok it.

What I wound up doing was deliberately avoid other adaptations of Star Wars for Fate. Now that I've been playing it for a while I've gotten more comfortable checking out what others had done but I wanted to start as minimalist as possible. We've no Force-users in the group and haven't made use of vehicular combat, though the latter will be changing in next week's game. I'm also pretty certain I'd be able to handle a Jedi or other Force-user pretty easily should we want to add one, but to be honest I've been enjoying the Rogue One feel of a group without Force-users.

What I discovered was Fate Accelerated as written, pretty much did what I wanted it to do. Which was a bit surprising, given how darn short it is. There are two big lessons (and probably lots of smaller ones) we've needed to absorb - and are still getting better at absorbing. The first is in accepting the abstractions of Fate, especially in its accelerated incarnation. A character attacking with a knife can do as much damage as one with a lightsaber. In Rogue One we see a stick used rather effectively against Stormtroopers. I've been fortunate with all the players avoiding min-maxing when it comes to using the various Fate approaches to determine their actions - it's not that they don't look for the best approach they can use, but I've not run into cases of stretched credibility, like a Flash backstab... Similarly, I've seen cases where characters were getting their tails kicked in by a baddie and they survived by forcing him to change his approach.

Second, we've been learning to really pound on Aspects and on creating Advantages. In a lot of games I've played taking a round to get a bonus often isn't worth the effort. However, in Fate it is an essential part of the game. I realized we were beginning to grok the system as the Advantage creations became as common, if not more so, than Attack actions.

I think it's worked rather well for Star Wars, fitting in well with Star Wars being a universe whose heroes and villains are extremely competent individuals who don't depend on their gadgets. In the Geonosis arena, Obi-Wan and Anakin survive without the use of their lightsabers and Luke takes on the Rancor without a weapon at all. When it comes to gadgets, droids like R2-D2 just happen to have what they need.

Have I found the perfect game that I'll play forever more? Almost certainly not - heck I can easily see at some point wanting a crunchier Star Wars game. And there certainly are times I like a bit more of a simulation-style game, with everything broken down. I'm sure there's a Dungeon Crawl Classics or Call of Cthulhu game in out future at some point. If I were to bet, I'd guess our next campaign will be Dresden Files Accelerated, also using Fate Accelerated. That said, even though I've been distracted here and there by shiny stuff, I'm hoping to keep this going a while longer yet.

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