A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    I've been attempting to cook up a game for some friends using a more free-form ruleset so I don't need to do as much rejiggering of actual statistics to fit the concept (a post-apocalyptic setting where Wal-Mart dominated the globe and people fractured into store-section-based tribes when the economy collapsed).

    Two systems I've been looking at are Fate: Core and Monte Cook's Cypher System (Numenera/The Strange/Gods of the Fall minus the world-building), and in curious as to which would be easier to learn and to run. Up until now, my friends and I have mostly been d20-based with the occasional Storytelling System (White Wolf/Onyx Path), so I want something that'll be easy to "pick up and play" as it were, and something where it'll be easy to staple a wide variety of weird character concepts like cereal mascot samurai, pet store tribals who rode giant tabbies into battle and science nerds who can invent seemingly magical electronic devices onto.

    Who here has had experience with either of these systems? Which is easier to GM? Which one would better suit the wide variety of character concepts I'm bound to get from my players? How do these games do "level progression?" Thank you all in stance for your help!
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    I'm not a particular fan of either of these (although I love Fudge, which Fate was largely based on), but I can cover the questions, implicit and explicit.
    • Pick up and Play? Both of them fit this pretty well, with reasonably fast character generation (particularly compared to WotC and White Wolf/Onyx Path games).
    • Character variety? Fate has the advantage here - the Cypher system has three character classes that characters fit into, and while they are broad it's still fairly focused compared to the typical classless game.
    • Easier to GM? It depends. Both of them have a relatively low mechanical load overall, plus a couple of weird quirks that take a disproportionate amount of attention. In Fate this is dealing with Aspects, in Cypher it's accommodating the depleting attribute system and throwing in a lot of one use items that the game is practically built around. I have no idea which of the two is going to be easier for you.
    • Level Progression? First things first - the standard term for this is "Character Advancement", and knowing that makes it that much easier to look into when searching through games that aren't really level based. For the cypher system I'm just going to link this, because Monte Cook is going to explain his system better than I will. For Fate there's a few things that get increased - refresh (how many fate points you can throw around without having aspects used against you to get them first), skill levels, stunts (roughly analogous to feats), and sometimes number of aspects. It's a pretty standard system for levelless games, where you just get them individually.


    EDIT: Forgot to use the List function, leaving a travesty of document design.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2017-04-29 at 10:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    I've only played Fate, and unlike a lot of the other supporters on the board, I have... mixed feelings.
    • Fate is very good at the talky, roleplaying side of things.
    • Fate is good at distinguishing mechanically similar characters-- you could make, say, three special ops soldiers or three Green Lanterns with near-identical skills and powers, but Aspects mean they'd still work somewhat differently.
    • Fate is either good or bad at abstraction, depending on how you look at it. You basically wind up boiling most things down to "you create an Aspect," which you might see as nice and convenient and you might see as dull and repetitive.
    • Fate is not very good at dealing with superpowers or magic-type systems, as the advice basically boils down to "make it up yourself."
    • Fate is not the easiest system to pick up and play. The underlying Fudge roots are, but in my experience it usually takes people a while to get used to how Aspects and the Fate Point economy work, especially coming from more rules-heavy gamist systems like D&D or White Wolf stuff.
    • Fate is not the easiest system to GM-- there aren't really encounter-building guidelines, you have to create enemies from scratch, characters can have quite divergent abilities to contribute to fights... all of which is fairly common to non-D&D games (seriously; flawed as the Monster Manuals and the CR system are, you really miss them when they're gone), but Aspects add a huge new element to keep track of. Not only do you need to do all the normal GM things, you have to sprinkle in enough Compels and suchlike to keep the points flowing.


    If you want a well-polished system that does weird, widely divergent character concepts well, it's hard to go wrong with Mutants and Masterminds. It's not as light as the ones you mentioned, but it's sufficiently generic that you won't need to do much re-jiggering or stretching to fit in concepts like you mentioned.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2017-04-29 at 10:26 AM.
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    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    If you want a well-polished system that does weird, widely divergent character concepts well, it's hard to go wrong with Mutants and Masterminds. It's not as light as the ones you mentioned, but it's sufficiently generic that you won't need to do much re-jiggering or stretching to fit in concepts like you mentioned.
    STaRS is also good for this, and if you're not going to bring it up I will.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    STaRS is also good for this, and if you're not going to bring it up I will.
    Aww, thanks! It makes my day every time someone brings up STaRS without my prompting.

    I have a homebrew system, STaRS, which is designed to be rules-light and flexible without relying too much on GM fiat or narrative logic (like Fate does). Character creation takes minutes, NPCs can be made up on the fly, the basic conflict rules can be used for all sorts of things besides normal combat, and it's intentionally highly generic.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2017-04-29 at 10:45 AM.
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    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I'm not a particular fan of either of these (although I love Fudge, which Fate was largely based on), but I can cover the questions, implicit and explicit.
    • Pick up and Play? Both of them fit this pretty well, with reasonably fast character generation (particularly compared to WotC and White Wolf/Onyx Path games).
    • Character variety? Fate has the advantage here - the Cypher system has three character classes that characters fit into, and while they are broad it's still fairly focused compared to the typical classless game.
    • Easier to GM? It depends. Both of them have a relatively low mechanical load overall, plus a couple of weird quirks that take a disproportionate amount of attention. In Fate this is dealing with Aspects, in Cypher it's accommodating the depleting attribute system and throwing in a lot of one use items that the game is practically built around. I have no idea which of the two is going to be easier for you.
    • Level Progression? First things first - the standard term for this is "Character Advancement", and knowing that makes it that much easier to look into when searching through games that aren't really level based. For the cypher system I'm just going to link this, because Monte Cook is going to explain his system better than I will. For Fate there's a few things that get increased - refresh (how many fate points you can throw around without having aspects used against you to get them first), skill levels, stunts (roughly analogous to feats), and sometimes number of aspects. It's a pretty standard system for levelless games, where you just get them individually.


    EDIT: Forgot to use the List function, leaving a travesty of document design.
    Numenera Character Options 2 adds two new classes, and the Cypher System Core Book has 4 classes with a reasonable system to swap in skills/abilities from other "themes", which adds a lot of flexibility to the class portion of the system. The Cypher System Core Book and Expanded Worlds also support more "mundane" Foci, in case your world isn't heavy on magic, cybernetics, mental powers, etc.

    The Reddit and G+ communities for Numenera and the Cypher System are fairly active, they might have more ideas/advice.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I've only played Fate, and unlike a lot of the other supporters on the board, I have... mixed feelings.
    I really dig Fate. But, a lot of what Grod says has a basis in truth, at least from a certain perspective. I'm not attempting to dispute what he's saying here, but just to say the same thing from a different perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    [*]Fate is either good or bad at abstraction, depending on how you look at it. You basically wind up boiling most things down to "you create an Aspect," which you might see as nice and convenient and you might see as dull and repetitive.
    Fate is very poor at "mechanics-first" play. If you knock someone down, they're knocked down, they're knocked down, with all that entails. We make a note of that by creating an aspect, which gives us additional mechanical hooks (which are themselves rather freeform).

    A lot depends on how you look at it - is the mechanical interaction the "real" thing, or is what's happening in the imagined world? Fate is not great at the first style of play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    [*]Fate is not very good at dealing with superpowers or magic-type systems, as the advice basically boils down to "make it up yourself."
    Ultimately, this is kinda how Fate works. It's very much a "rulings over rules" system, and the basic flow is:

    1) Start by saying what you're doing
    2) Figure out what rules apply

    For people expecting a system where the system mechanically defines what you can do, and figuring out the optimal thing is a big part of gameplay, Fate doesn't work well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    [*]Fate is not the easiest system to pick up and play. The underlying Fudge roots are, but in my experience it usually takes people a while to get used to how Aspects and the Fate Point economy work, especially coming from more rules-heavy gamist systems like D&D or White Wolf stuff.
    I haven't had this experience - most people I've introduced to Fate have "gotten it" pretty quickly. But it can be a very hard system to *GM*, especially if you're bringing in a lot of assumptions from other games.

    Heck, I wrote about 10,000 words on the subject (available for download from the Evil Hat site, actually - people seem to think it helps you get over the learning curve).

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    [*]Fate is not the easiest system to GM-- there aren't really encounter-building guidelines, you have to create enemies from scratch, characters can have quite divergent abilities to contribute to fights... all of which is fairly common to non-D&D games (seriously; flawed as the Monster Manuals and the CR system are, you really miss them when they're gone),
    Eh, it's not that hard. Really, if you start with "equal opponents to the number of PCs, at equal strength", you're in good shape. Combined with the fact that you have Fate Points to help get over bad rolls, and usually loss in conflicts boils down to a Concession, and the fact that the Fate playstyle heavily encourages the idea that it's okay to lose once in a while as conflicts should be decision points, not gates, and there's a much, much bigger sweet spot of "close enough" in balance.

    [QUOTE=Grod_The_Giant;21964264] but Aspects add a huge new element to keep track of. Not only do you need to do all the normal GM things, you have to sprinkle in enough Compels and suchlike to keep the points flowing.[/LIST]

    Yeah, I disagree with that pretty heavily. If I Compel 3 times in a game, that's a lot for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    If you want a well-polished system that does weird, widely divergent character concepts well, it's hard to go wrong with Mutants and Masterminds. It's not as light as the ones you mentioned, but it's sufficiently generic that you won't need to do much re-jiggering or stretching to fit in concepts like you mentioned.
    M&M is certainly not bad if you're looking for a more "crunchy" (I hate that term), mechanics-first experience.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Ultimately, this is kinda how Fate works. It's very much a "rulings over rules" system, and the basic flow is:

    1) Start by saying what you're doing
    2) Figure out what rules apply

    For people expecting a system where the system mechanically defines what you can do, and figuring out the optimal thing is a big part of gameplay, Fate doesn't work well.
    That wasn't the crux of the issue-- I'm fine with saying "Oh, you have a Fire Magic skill, it can do these sorts of things, roll and see if you can pull it off." But I remember getting really irritated at the Fate Core rulebook for being so vague about how to create limits, and how to handle superpowers beyond "I dunno, aspect and stunt?" I don't mind "rulings not rules" as long as there's good guidelines about how to make the rulings, which I found lacking. Your mileage may vary there.

    I haven't had this experience - most people I've introduced to Fate have "gotten it" pretty quickly. But it can be a very hard system to *GM*, especially if you're bringing in a lot of assumptions from other games.
    I've played a few games, with both experienced and newbie groups, and I constantly have to remind people to use their Aspects. Like, c'mon, man, you have a High Concept, that literally exists so that you can (almost) always use throw your points at a problem.

    Yeah, I disagree with that pretty heavily. If I Compel 3 times in a game, that's a lot for me.
    That's certainly been my experience... but it's also been my experience that there's a common argument in Fate-proposing threads that goes something like
    "I don't like the focus on scene Aspects; it bugs me that they generally don't do anything. It makes them feel not-real."
    "Just spend a Fate point to put the spotlight on them."
    "I don't feel like I have enough points to spend like that."
    "What? There should be a constant flow back-and-forth. You're doing it wrong."


    *The suggestion that Aspects have natural consequences like creating passive opposition? Very clever, but not at all clear in the rules.
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    STaRS: A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system.
    Grod's Guide to Greatness, 2e: A big book of player options for 5e.
    Grod's Grimoire of the Grotesque: An even bigger book of variant and expanded rules for 5e.
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    That wasn't the crux of the issue-- I'm fine with saying "Oh, you have a Fire Magic skill, it can do these sorts of things, roll and see if you can pull it off." But I remember getting really irritated at the Fate Core rulebook for being so vague about how to create limits, and how to handle superpowers beyond "I dunno, aspect and stunt?" I don't mind "rulings not rules" as long as there's good guidelines about how to make the rulings, which I found lacking. Your mileage may vary there.
    While I'll agree that the corebook is very bad at giving advice when it comes to limiting extras, I'll argue that's because limits that work well for swords and sorcery magic don't work well for over the top superhero action (meanwhile a superpowers system that lets you create Superman 2: Bigger and Better with a standard 3 Refresh character is just useless for a game where you're playing ordinary bunnies).

    While this makes Fate a very POWERFUL system, it doesn't make it the world's most user-friendly system. A system that can run Eclipse Phase, Dragonball, Star Wars, and Doc Savage is awesome, but it's going to take some work to get to any of them and I could just pick up Savage Worlds for 'mildly crunchy but easier to pick up and play than Mutants & Masterminds.

    FWIW there are two superpower systems out for Fate, one which goes 'Aspect and build with Stunts' (Wearing the Cape) the other goes 'stunt trees with a few extras' (Venture City). I like them both, but even then the power level is relative (are PCs DC-level characters? Street thugs have no more than Average Fight), even though Wearing the Cape pseudo-shackles Super Strength to hard limits (joke's on them, I just removed the need for characters to strictly adhere to the Class structure's 'be this tall to ride' requirements, because maybe an A-class Atlas isn't as good at using their strength as a B or C class).

    I've played a few games, with both experienced and newbie groups, and I constantly have to remind people to use their Aspects. Like, c'mon, man, you have a High Concept, that literally exists so that you can (almost) always use throw your points at a problem.
    Yep, I definite have had this experience before. I've had similar experiences with anything that had a metagame currency and wasn't called Mutants & Masterminds (and even then only one group considered spending Hero Points when it wasn't do or die, the other group's GM would give them out so rarely you effectively had one a session).

    Aspects are a slightly bigger stumbling block, but next time I get to run Fate I plan to lead by example and make liberal use of character and situation Aspects.

    That's certainly been my experience... but it's also been my experience that there's a common argument in Fate-proposing threads that goes something like
    "I don't like the focus on scene Aspects; it bugs me that they generally don't do anything. It makes them feel not-real."
    "Just spend a Fate point to put the spotlight on them."
    "I don't feel like I have enough points to spend like that."
    "What? There should be a constant flow back-and-forth. You're doing it wrong."
    Eh, I'm someone who would have no problem with a group not using Compels and just giving their characters higher Refresh. It's not how the game's meant to be played, and I wouldn't run it like that, but if a group just hates Compels but loves the ability to invoke Aspects for Cool StuffTM then more power to them.

    I also feel like Permissions don't get used as much as they should in some groups. If I'm the Feared Pirate Copybeard of the Southern Data Sea then I can get narrative bonuses from that without spending a Fate Point. It's more obvious if your Aspect is something like Magey McMageson, which has the obvious permission of letting you use magic, but what's stopping Captain Copybeard from automatically knowing the secret pirate handshake and a good place to lie low if the party pisses off the police? Not every Aspect needs permissions, but they can be useful.
    Last edited by Anonymouswizard; 2017-05-06 at 10:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    That wasn't the crux of the issue-- I'm fine with saying "Oh, you have a Fire Magic skill, it can do these sorts of things, roll and see if you can pull it off." But I remember getting really irritated at the Fate Core rulebook for being so vague about how to create limits, and how to handle superpowers beyond "I dunno, aspect and stunt?" I don't mind "rulings not rules" as long as there's good guidelines about how to make the rulings, which I found lacking. Your mileage may vary there.
    More examples would definitely help, but a lot of that is dependent on the group, since "+4 Physique" doesn't mean the same thing in every setting - at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I've played a few games, with both experienced and newbie groups, and I constantly have to remind people to use their Aspects. Like, c'mon, man, you have a High Concept, that literally exists so that you can (almost) always use throw your points at a problem.
    Yeah, certainly the first few sessions with people, I usually have to remind them about their Fate Points. I don't consider that a bad thing, though, just part of the learning curve. Since it's an interesting decision point, I don't mind putting the decision front-and-center. Same with Concessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    That's certainly been my experience... but it's also been my experience that there's a common argument in Fate-proposing threads that goes something like
    "I don't like the focus on scene Aspects; it bugs me that they generally don't do anything. It makes them feel not-real."
    "Just spend a Fate point to put the spotlight on them."
    "I don't feel like I have enough points to spend like that."
    "What? There should be a constant flow back-and-forth. You're doing it wrong."
    It's certainly *a* view of Fate. It's not the one I hold. I know plenty of others that don't have it, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    *The suggestion that Aspects have natural consequences like creating passive opposition? Very clever, but not at all clear in the rules.
    Oh, agreed entirely. It took til Core for them to point out that you can't sprint with a *Broken Leg*, because it never occurred to them that it might be in question!

    And the rules definitely point out that looking at aspects in play for Passive Opposition is a thing, but they don't call out that it applies to created aspects, too!

    There's a lot of things implied but not made explicit, and I think that's a real fault in the book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    While I'll agree that the corebook is very bad at giving advice when it comes to limiting extras, I'll argue that's because limits that work well for swords and sorcery magic don't work well for over the top superhero action (meanwhile a superpowers system that lets you create Superman 2: Bigger and Better with a standard 3 Refresh character is just useless for a game where you're playing ordinary bunnies).
    Right, how you make Iron Man as a character depends heavily on the overall game you're making him in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    While this makes Fate a very POWERFUL system, it doesn't make it the world's most user-friendly system. A system that can run Eclipse Phase, Dragonball, Star Wars, and Doc Savage is awesome, but it's going to take some work to get to any of them and I could just pick up Savage Worlds for 'mildly crunchy but easier to pick up and play than Mutants & Masterminds.
    Eh, after I internalized it pretty well I found I could run most settings pretty well without a lot of effort. YMMV, of course.

    I also put a lot of effort into internalizing it :)

    That's the biggest issue with Fate, really. It kind of works on different first principles, and so trying to apply the skills you've learned from other games to it is kind of counter-productive. And what those principles are isn't really well explained, so going through that curve is harder than it needs to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Eh, I'm someone who would have no problem with a group not using Compels and just giving their characters higher Refresh. It's not how the game's meant to be played, and I wouldn't run it like that, but if a group just hates Compels but loves the ability to invoke Aspects for Cool StuffTM then more power to them.
    Sure, so long as you increase your FP budget accordingly. Fate Points should, in my opinion, be a limited resource, to make you really decide if you want to spend them on any given scene, and make you really think about what's important.

    If you make them flow like water, you lose that. It's still a game, it's just a very different one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I also feel like Permissions don't get used as much as they should in some groups. If I'm the Feared Pirate Copybeard of the Southern Data Sea then I can get narrative bonuses from that without spending a Fate Point. It's more obvious if your Aspect is something like Magey McMageson, which has the obvious permission of letting you use magic, but what's stopping Captain Copybeard from automatically knowing the secret pirate handshake and a good place to lie low if the party pisses off the police? Not every Aspect needs permissions, but they can be useful.
    Absolutely.

    And denials too - if you're *Trapped In A Web*, you can't run around, because you're *Trapped In A Web*.

    Once you start using permissions (and denial) effectively, then a lot of the game becomes manipulating teh situation so you have an upper hand - which is, to me, a lot more interesting than going through ablative hit points.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I haven't had this experience - most people I've introduced to Fate have "gotten it" pretty quickly. But it can be a very hard system to *GM*, especially if you're bringing in a lot of assumptions from other games.

    Heck, I wrote about 10,000 words on the subject (available for download from the Evil Hat site, actually - people seem to think it helps you get over the learning curve).
    Where can I find this on their site, or what name is it under?

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by GregTheHun View Post
    Where can I find this on their site, or what name is it under?
    http://fate-srd.com/odds-ends/book-hanz

    "Book of Hanz" at https://www.evilhat.com/home/fate-core-downloads/

    The guy that runs the SRD just did a Kickstarter for a print version: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ok%20of%20hanz . Don't know if you can still get an order in.

    Also setting up a website with that and including some of the posts at https://bookofhanz.com/. That's not set up yet though.

    (It's a very embarassing name. I didn't do it, somebody else gathered all the posts and published them with that name)
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    I'll chip in on the Fate end of things, since that seems to be where most of this is focusing.

    Fate is an easy system to operate. It is a harder system to play well.

    As mentioned previously, Fate is a narrative game. It isn't a crunchy game. It's reasonably rules light, and a lot of the player options come down to "make up something reasonable". The core gameplay loop is "state an action and see if it succeeds or not", and it's done on a single check--either a roll against a set DC, or an opposed roll. Fast and furious, but again, very little crunch to be had.

    But that's not a reason to play Fate. That's just a run-of-the-mill rules light system. The reason you play Fate, and the defining mechanic of the system, is Aspects.

    Aspects are words or phrases that describe everything. People, objects, settings, etc. Everything has Aspects. And the game is designed where Aspects are supposed to be used frequently, which help you drive home the custom elements of your characters, setting, etc. They work REALLY well for creating fun, memorable combats--when people remember to use them.

    And therein lies the rub--Fate is a great system if your players are willing to use it to the fullest extent. It gives players a ton of agency and flexibility with how they approach problem-solving, and make your job as DM much easier, because the players are interjecting elements into the plot to help you make it cooler (by, essentially, making up Aspects in a scene, they're helping you to understand what it is they want to see, and then you just say "yes", provided it makes sense).

    The problem I've run into (and I am somewhat guilty of this as well in my current Fate game, but I think that's as much a function of the DM as anything else) is that players won't use Aspects frequently, and the ones they do use are the ones written on their character sheet (better than nothing, but part of the point is defining the world around you to your advantage).

    So the real question you'll have to ask yourself is this: are my players going to use the Fate system well enough to justify it, or should I pick a different system that focuses more on elements my players are interested in? Because without Aspects, Fate is a pretty tame, run-of-the-mill system.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    As a GM, I really have to get players to (especially) lean on Create Advantage, as that's where a lot of goodness in the system lies. That generally comes down to a few things:

    1) Putting up stakes on scenes or rolls that the players care about
    2) Making difficulties high enough that the players don't want to lose
    3) Letting them lose, and making it meaningful

    If those things exist, players will use Create Advantage, they will invoke things, and do all of the other stuff. You may need to prompt them on occasion, but believe me, they'll get it. If not, there's little reason to.

    Without these things, Fate can feel awfully flat.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    As a GM, I really have to get players to (especially) lean on Create Advantage, as that's where a lot of goodness in the system lies. That generally comes down to a few things:

    1) Putting up stakes on scenes or rolls that the players care about
    2) Making difficulties high enough that the players don't want to lose
    3) Letting them lose, and making it meaningful

    If those things exist, players will use Create Advantage, they will invoke things, and do all of the other stuff. You may need to prompt them on occasion, but believe me, they'll get it. If not, there's little reason to.

    Without these things, Fate can feel awfully flat.
    Yeah, also accepting Compels and using Fate Points. People don't always get that the key to Fate is having a lot of Aspects in play and a liberal flow of Fate Points to creat organic highs and lows.

    The other thing that I find people don't remember well is that anything can be an Aspect, and that characters don't have to be limited to five Aspects if the group agress, or even have the same number of Aspects (which gear is great for). My gun is my only momento of my family, while a bit long, is a perfect Aspect for the right game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yeah, also accepting Compels and using Fate Points. People don't always get that the key to Fate is having a lot of Aspects in play and a liberal flow of Fate Points to creat organic highs and lows.
    Eh, I don't necessarily agree that you need a "liberal" flow of Fate Points. It's a style of play, and a valid one, but the game also works fine if Fate Points are fewer, and used with more deliberation.

    I think in most of my games, people get more points from Conceding than they do Compels. I probably average 1-3 Compels in a two hour session.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    As a GM, I really have to get players to (especially) lean on Create Advantage, as that's where a lot of goodness in the system lies. That generally comes down to a few things:

    1) Putting up stakes on scenes or rolls that the players care about
    2) Making difficulties high enough that the players don't want to lose
    3) Letting them lose, and making it meaningful

    If those things exist, players will use Create Advantage, they will invoke things, and do all of the other stuff. You may need to prompt them on occasion, but believe me, they'll get it. If not, there's little reason to.

    Without these things, Fate can feel awfully flat.
    As always, I think the best way to get players involved in invoking aspects is to lead by example. Have opponents invoke them with frequency, and players will start to look for the mechanic. For a lot of players, the issue is that they come from systems where players tend to have very little (mechanically derived) plot-based or world-based agency, and so they 1) don't remember to use it 2) don't know how to look for it. Coming from relatively constrained systems, players will often be very shy about using aspects in the beginning. If the DM is constantly hammering them home, however, players are less likely to forget.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    As always, I think the best way to get players involved in invoking aspects is to lead by example. Have opponents invoke them with frequency, and players will start to look for the mechanic. For a lot of players, the issue is that they come from systems where players tend to have very little (mechanically derived) plot-based or world-based agency, and so they 1) don't remember to use it 2) don't know how to look for it. Coming from relatively constrained systems, players will often be very shy about using aspects in the beginning. If the DM is constantly hammering them home, however, players are less likely to forget.
    Showing them is always a good way.... after they've had defeat snatched from the jaws of victory they'll definitely find it a tool worth using :)

    Invokes are pretty much only for swinging action success anyway, so that's a bit less about world/plot agency. A lot of plot agency in Fate happens at the character level anyway, without going into the more "authorship" kind of stuff. Like, the "plot" in Fate is a lot about how players decide to deal with the situation in front of them, where they succeed, where they fail (which is influenced by where tehy choose to spend Fate Points/Consequences), and the fallout of their actions.

    Compels and Declarations are where the direct authorship stuff happens, mostly. And the level to which that happens is definitely based on the table.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    I'll chip in on the Fate end of things, since that seems to be where most of this is focusing.
    Probably because Cypher, for all it's larger books and lots of option is a much simplersystem.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Eh, I don't necessarily agree that you need a "liberal" flow of Fate Points. It's a style of play, and a valid one, but the game also works fine if Fate Points are fewer, and used with more deliberation.

    I think in most of my games, people get more points from Conceding than they do Compels. I probably average 1-3 Compels in a two hour session.
    Okay, sure, styles vary. But I've run entire sessions with players stuck in the 'I might need these Fate Points for later' trap, as well as not asking for a Compel when I forget. Just personal experience, and I like a lot more back and forth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Okay, sure, styles vary. But I've run entire sessions with players stuck in the 'I might need these Fate Points for later' trap, as well as not asking for a Compel when I forget. Just personal experience, and I like a lot more back and forth.
    Sure! And there's nothing at all wrong with that. Fate's a fairly big tent.

    My usual fix for "hanging on to Fate Points because we might need them later" is to make sure they need them now. Besides, hoarding them and taking losses is perfectly fine - that's The Empire Strikes Back. And then they spent their hoard of them in Return of the Jedi.

    How the heck else do you think Ewoks took down that many Stormtroopers????
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    How the heck else do you think Ewoks took down that many Stormtroopers????
    My headcanon is that, to cut costs, the Empire was running boot camp at the shield generator station
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Showing them is always a good way.... after they've had defeat snatched from the jaws of victory they'll definitely find it a tool worth using :)

    Invokes are pretty much only for swinging action success anyway, so that's a bit less about world/plot agency. A lot of plot agency in Fate happens at the character level anyway, without going into the more "authorship" kind of stuff. Like, the "plot" in Fate is a lot about how players decide to deal with the situation in front of them, where they succeed, where they fail (which is influenced by where tehy choose to spend Fate Points/Consequences), and the fallout of their actions.

    Compels and Declarations are where the direct authorship stuff happens, mostly. And the level to which that happens is definitely based on the table.
    When a player tags an aspect of the setting, of an item, or of an opponent, and the DM accepts the attribute as being appropriate, it changes the way players see and interact with the scene.

    Let's say that the players go into a tavern, looking for information. I describe it as bustling and full of local regulars.

    A player, looking for the inside scoop, invokes the aspect "All Kinds of Dirt", hoping to get some dirt on a local politician, but also implying that the tavern is a bit of a dive--dingy, ill-kempt, but still full of cheer. Maybe a laborer's respite, or a favorite of farmhands. That now changes the way I describe the scene going forward, the type of people who might be encountered there, and the type and quality of response the players get.

    Let's say instead the player wants to invoke "Where Everybody Knows Your Name". That has a different feel, and would elicit different responses.

    Over time, regular locations will have a lot of aspects defined by players (ideally). That builds up an organic, player-driven feel for the setting that could be wildly different from group to group. While the examples given aren't exceptional, I think they show the point I'm going for.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by malloc View Post
    When a player tags an aspect of the setting, of an item, or of an opponent, and the DM accepts the attribute as being appropriate, it changes the way players see and interact with the scene.

    Let's say that the players go into a tavern, looking for information. I describe it as bustling and full of local regulars.

    A player, looking for the inside scoop, invokes the aspect "All Kinds of Dirt", hoping to get some dirt on a local politician, but also implying that the tavern is a bit of a dive--dingy, ill-kempt, but still full of cheer. Maybe a laborer's respite, or a favorite of farmhands. That now changes the way I describe the scene going forward, the type of people who might be encountered there, and the type and quality of response the players get.

    Let's say instead the player wants to invoke "Where Everybody Knows Your Name". That has a different feel, and would elicit different responses.

    Over time, regular locations will have a lot of aspects defined by players (ideally). That builds up an organic, player-driven feel for the setting that could be wildly different from group to group. While the examples given aren't exceptional, I think they show the point I'm going for.
    I think you're using your terms loosely.

    "Tag" isn't a thing in Core, and even in 3.0 (specifically DFRPG) it meant "free invoke". Invokes are specific mechanical things, giving you a +2 or a reroll on action resolution.

    What you're describing is closer to Declarations, though to be honest I'd be loathe to charge a Fate Point for them. This feels more like Apocalypse-World-Session-One "okay, tell me what it's like" stuff than anything that's actually mechanized in Fate. In DFRPG, there was "invoking for effect", but that got mushed into Declarations and Compels with Fate Core (it was mostly ground covered by those anyway... Core merged a lot of mechanics that were basically doing the same thing... like a whole bunch of stuff got mushed together into Create Advantage)

    Which is cool, and all. And it's a common play style in Fate, but it's not a necessary one, and there's not a lot of stuff in the books really demonstrating it.... again, that's not saying it's wrong, just that it's not necessary.

    Practically speaking, I tend to do that kind of stuff implicitly... like, why are the players in a bar anyway? Presumably, because they decided to go to one, so they'd tell me what kind of bar they were looking for and boom, that's it.

    Player: "Hey, I wanna go to a bar and see if I can get some dirt on this guy?"
    Me: "So, since this guy is kinda underworld, I'm guessing you're looking for more of the seedy type?"
    Player: "Exactly!"
    Me: "Yeah, cool, you ask around a bit and hear of a place called The Worm's Underbelly, and head over there...."

    Being more explicitly author-like is cool, of course.

    GM: "You go to the bar. What's it like?"
    Player: "It's kind of a seedy place, full of gossips..."
    GM: "Cool, how about a All Kinds of Dirt aspect?"
    Player: "Sounds perfect!"

    Both of those work and are valid and supported ways to play.

    I'm actually not sure what you mean by "invoke" in your example - creating an aspect? More of a Declaration? Like, how does this play at the table? What is said?
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2021-04-07 at 12:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    My two gaming groups really love Cypher System. We have played supers, CoC 1920s horror, Numenera, another sci-fi setting involving AI stuff, and fantasy.

    Speaking of fantasy with Cypher, my players were kinda disappointed about the lack of spells and items and stuff, even with Godforsaken. I made some stuff and they thought I should post it as it looked professions, so here you go. If you are playing Cypher Fantasy, you will like these books: (if this is not allowed in this forum, let me know where to move/repost if possible)

    It is available through DriveThruRPG, it is searchable by Dragonsbane Games or it's title, Cypher System Fantasy Compendium.

    Cypher System Fantasy Compendium

    Spells! Magical Items! Monsters!

    Below I present resources to make your Cypher System fantasy genre games more robust and complete. Not only can you create your own fantasy adventures, but with these Compendiums, almost all D&D 5th edition (and some 3rd or even older editions) adventures and modules are compatable for play with a minimum of conversion or hassle, focusing on narrative and story without working on tedious stat blocks or conversions of spells.

    These were originally made for my personal players, but they and a few Reddit members insisted I put them here. These books have information, not tons of art and fluff text so I can offer them for next to nothing. Enjoy!

    Spell Compendium includes:
    All D&D 5E OGL spells (and a few from 3E), converted and playtested for use in any Cypher System fantasy game, with limits via assets on stacking and power levels - no bonus actions/reactions/concentration/multiple instances of spells

    Detailed spellcasting rules to convert your own spells, and make them balanced

    Additional rules for spellcasting, including Potency, the Spellcraft skill, attacks of opportunity, defensive casting, and mid-spell concentration

    50+ spellcasting foci that emulate bloodlines, otherworldly patrons, druidic circles, schools of magic, & divine domains

    Spell lists that can be used as flavors for current character types - druids, mages, magus, priests, paladins, rangers, and bards

    A revised Adept class that uses limited spell slots and familiar powers to enhance their spells or craft magical items

    Magical Item Compendium includes:
    Many 5E magical items converted and playtested for use in any Cypher Fantasy game - both cyphers (potions, scrolls, wands) and artifacts (armors, weapons, rods, staves, wondrous items, etc)

    Robust rules for determining magical item levels and values, including lists of powers for DMs and PC crafters alike

    Creature Compendium includes:
    Complete rules for converting any 5E creature or NPC into Cypher System, including level, Armor, attacks, damage, abilities, resistances, conditions, and more

    Over 50 creatures and NPC, including almost all of the creatures from 5E modules LMoP / Starter Set

    =-=-=-=-=-=-
    Under Development:
    Creature Compendium is being worked on and will triple in size as my current campaigns I run continue on, and next include all GoS and CoS creatures as well as more of the MM, updated here for free

    Still doing final passes on typos and grammar as well as spell schools, defense types, etc.

    Book of Lairs style set of very quick one session adventures

    =-=-=-=-=-=-
    About Me:
    I am a grognard who started playing D&D just after the White Box in the early 80s and then transitioned to AD&D. I have always been the Forever DM and have DMed, created adventures, and created gameworlds for D&D 1E, 2E, 3E, Pathfinder, D&D 5E, Vampire, Mutants and Masterminds, Blades in the Dark, and Rifts, running hundreds of adventures with some of my players still around from the 80s. Cypher System is my current favorite after having too many house rules for D&D.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsbane View Post
    My two gaming groups really love Cypher System. We have played supers, CoC 1920s horror, Numenera, another sci-fi setting involving AI stuff, and fantasy.

    Speaking of fantasy with Cypher, my players were kinda disappointed about the lack of spells and items and stuff, even with Godforsaken. I made some stuff and they thought I should post it as it looked professions, so here you go. If you are playing Cypher Fantasy, you will like these books: (if this is not allowed in this forum, let me know where to move/repost if possible)

    It is available through DriveThruRPG, it is searchable by Dragonsbane Games or it's title, Cypher System Fantasy Compendium.
    Okay, while the only Cypher book I own is The Strange (a.k.a. the Cypher Generic Prototype), I'm somewhat confused.

    Most of this stuff seems to be converting D&D stuff, and despite using a d20 Cypher does seem to run on a relatively different set of assumptions to D&D. Especially with how spells are laid out, maybe it's been updated since The Strange but I remember Paradoxes being more about hindering than damage.

    Honestly, what I'd be more interested in are more focuses. But for that I'll just pick up some of the official settings, and maybe the actual core system at some point (although I do like The Strange as a metasetting).

    It's still not my favourite system, but it's definitely workable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Cypher System vs. Fate: Core

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