BHAW – Pretty, but is it Fate, Part II?

This is a follow-up on my previous  Pretty but is it Fate? 

One of the hardest parts in designing a game is selecting what goes in and what to cut out. Lot of great ideas have to get the chop because ultimately they don’t fit with the rest. And if working with Fate, the range of options you have available to include and discard is quite overwhelming.

One of the signature feature of Fate which has been getting ever-increasing attention is how Aspects can apply to anything or more accurately anything be it a ship, a sword or an entire country can be treated as a character.

In Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands I’ve chosen to take a step back and said, Aspects are cool, but I want them just to be for characters because it’s the characters I am interested in, the rest is furniture.

Every time I invoke an non-character Aspect I am saying “Look cool and dramatic this piece of furniture is” when I could be saying the same about a character instead. Of course you can do both but there is still an opportunity cost. At any one point in the game there are a limited amount of Fate points and a limited amount of spotlight available, who are you going to give it to, the player character or the furniture?

An example that comes up a lot is adding “Out of ammo” as an Aspect on a gun. Personally I find it more interesting if the out of ammo condition is a reflection on the character with an Aspect like “Always unprepared” or “Tight with money” than a property of gun itself. Sure

maybe Mjolnir, Excalibur and Vera warrant an Aspect or two, but to use it on regular equipment just seem wasteful to me.

The other reason behind this design choice is that Aspects to a large extent seem to confuse people new to Fate. I’m very keen that Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands remain a simple, accessible game. The fewer different uses of Aspects in the game the easier to understand I expect they will be for new players.

Of course, as I mention in my previous blog entry on the subject, veteran Fate players can easily add more involved uses of Aspects without breaking anything.


2 thoughts on “BHAW – Pretty, but is it Fate, Part II?

  1. I am not familiar with Fate. I suspect I. At have played an iteration at a convention but didn’t totally understand it.

    On the other hand I totally understood BHAW so whatever choices you’ve made seem to be the right ones.

    And remember, anything you leave out now can be explored in the supplements. You should already be thinking about your idea for your first supplement.

  2. I’m glad you found it clear. The next draft should make things even easier to follow. As for future developments, if I were to go that way I already have a lot of material (more bounties, setting fluff and the exploration sub-system) which did not make the cut for timing reasons. We’ll see.

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