I think it’s safe to say that I’m back to playing RPGs on a regular basis. I don’t play them as regularly as board or card games, but RPGs are hitting the table at least once every month. If you are new to RPGs or if it’s just been a really long time since you played an RPG, then I would suggest that you check out Fate Accelerated from Evil Hat Productions.
Fate Accelerated, or FAE, was designed to be playable in minutes, even with first-time gamers. Obviously, it’s going to be better if you can sit down with someone who has played before, but it really is a simple yet flexible system for all levels of experience. FAE is a condensed version of Evil Hat’s Fate Core system.
You can download a copy from the Evil Hat website, or you can do what I did and purchase it from your friendly local game store for a mere $5. If you do that, Evil Hat will also send you a PDF copy of the rules. It’s part of a really great program called Bits & Mortar that serves customers that want access to electronic content but still want to support their local brick and mortar book or game store. Basically, if you purchase a physical copy of a game, you can get a PDF copy of that content for free.
You will also need some dice. You can use regular 6-sided dice or you can pick up some Fudge dice, also available at your FLGS. You will probably want to have some paper and pencils. 3×5 index cards work well for this game. You will also want some Skittles because they will give you a +3 bonus when you try to taste rainbows.
FAE is not a rule heavy system and most of the crunchy stuff is highly abstracted so that players can focus on telling stories. Players are encouraged to contribute to the details of the ongoing story, so it’s ideal for situations when you just want to sit down and start playing with a minimum of preparation. I sat down with a couple of friends and in about two hours we were able to come up with a game concept, make characters, figure out the rules, and have a great time telling a story. Remember, we went through all of this in two hours with no prep.
I don’t usually do session reports, but I will make an exception this time.
We decided work within a comic book/superhero genre and tell a story about a couple of low powered heroes that patrol a smallish city. Isaac creates a hero named Shinobi Jones, a private detective who learned ninjitsu from watching low-budget action films, and Joe creates Icebox, an overweight teenager with some ice powers and an aspiration for crime fighting. I was the game master and created a classic comic book villain.
Shinobi Jones and the Icebox met at city hall and decided to patrol Micropolis on a rainy summer evening. Hearing that nothing was happening in downtown, the burbs, or industry park. the heroes decide to head down to the skids. They take the bus, although Shinobi Jones rides on top of the bus.
Arriving in the skids, the heroes rescue Irma Banuelos from a multi-cultural street gang. Escorting her safely back to her room at the self-storage, the players learn a few strange things about Irma’s life. Her son Hector has recently gotten a job working for someone downtown, and has been giving her additional money. Irma has an operable type of cancer, but she has huge medical bills. Icebox notices that there are an excessive amount of yellow pencils around the room. The heroes leave and interrogate one of the fallen gang members, but do not discover anything that would solve the mystery of Hector Banuelos.
The heroes decide to try a long shot and visit the pencil factory in industry park. The place is closed, but there seems to be some activity inside the warehouse. Icebox uses his cold powers to lower the temperature of the padlock far enough that Shinobi is able to break the padlock on the gate with a single blow. Sneaking in through a door on the side of the warehouse, the heroes observe a meeting taking place between a group of men dressed in yellow zoot suits wearing pink fedoras and a figure hidden in the shadows. The men seem to be discussing the contents of a couple of nearby crates.
The heroes try to get closer but a watchdog notices them as they approach and barks out an alarm. The men grab pencil shooting tommy guns from the crates and threaten the now exposed heroes. Icebox manages to distract Pinky, the watchdog, with a strip of beef jerky he just happened to have in his sweater, while Shinobi Jones tries to engage the armed gang.
The shadowy figure behind the table is revealed. What appears to be a man made of pink rubber stands up and says, “Rub ’em out my No. 2’s! They will rue the day they dared to enter the lair of the Eraser!”
We stopped there because it seemed like that would have been a good final page of a comic book.
If you are interested in getting back into RPGs or trying one for the first time, I highly recommend you go pick up a copy of Fate Accelerated.