Game: B
From 1858 reviews

Fate

Fourth Edition

Another, More Narrative-Focused, Generic System (That's Great for One Piece)
Contents

Publisher Description

Grab your plasma rifles, spell components, and jetpacks! Name your game; Fate Core is the foundation that can make it happen. Fate Core is a flexible system that can support whatever worlds you dream up. Have you always wanted to play a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western with tentacle monsters? Swords and sorcery in space? Wish there was a game based on your favorite series of books, film, or television, but it never happened? Fate Core is your answer.



Fate Core is a tabletop roleplaying game about proactive, capable people who lead dramatic lives. The type of drama they experience is up to you. But wherever they go, you can expect a fun storytelling experience full of twists…of fate.

 

A Genric Story-Focused RPG That's Perfect for One Piece [ edit ]

Fate, like GURPS, is a generic role-playing game designed to be used with a variety of campaigns and genres.  However, the two systems couldn't be more different.

While GURPS rolls have outcomes from 3 - 18, Fate instead uses four of its own unique dice to provide an outcome from 4 to -4.  While GURPS provides extensive lists of advantages, disadvantages and skills to cover almost every possibility (with even more such options in various supplements), Fate only provides a relatively short list of skills.  It also encourages you to modify that list for your campaign, and every other aspect of character creation is open-ended, with the player defining their character's aspects (ie. powers).

In short, GURPS tries to give detailed "simulationist" rules for everything, while Fate instead provides far more minimal rules that are designed to keep the story flowing and not focus on the details.  Either system can be great for a One Piece campaign, but which one is best for you will depend on your RPG preferences.

Fate, Fourth Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

Fate's character creation emphasizes it's unique narrative focus, and it involves the entire group in the process.   To start each player decides on a "high concept", such as "Wizard Private Eye" or  "Low-level Thug for the Syndicate".  While this is sort of like a class in another system, it's entirely up the player: there's no list of concepts.

The player similarly selects a "trouble" for their character, which is the central complication in their life, such as "Anger Management Issues" or "Don Giovanni Wants Me Dead". After that they just pick a name, and then start their first "adventure" ... by writing down a few sentences describing it, on an index card (or shared Google Doc).  They also gain another "Aspect" from the adventure , which is just like their concept/trouble (eg. if their life was saved by an NPC in their adventure, they might gain "Owes Life To That NPC").

Then the group rotates stories, and adds a complication involving their character to the adventure they inherited, again gaining an Aspect.  Then they rotate (in the same direction) and repeat the process, so at the end everyone has a first adventure involving two others, and they have five Aspects.

Next each character chooses a "pyramid" of Skills (ie. one skill at the highest bonus of +4, two at +3, three at +2, and four at +1).  While there is a fixed list of skills, groups are encouraged to modify it for their game.

Finally each character gets stunts, which are unique "tricks" the character has, similar to feats/advantages/edges in other systems.  Although the rules provide some guidelines, again the players must define their own stunts.  Characters can start with up to five, but players are encouraged to pick only one at creation and choose the rest later.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

To accomplish things in Fate a player rolls a special set of four "Fate Dice", which have symbols indicating 1, 0, or -1.  Regular d6s could easily be used instead as long as you don't mind doing quick mental math (1-2 = -1, 3-4 = 0, 5-6 = 1).

The potential outcomes for any roll can therefore range from -4 to 4, and a character adds their skill bonus to this roll as well. If they can make a connection from the action to one of their Aspects they can either add +2, or get an opportunity to re-roll. The result has to beat their opponent's roll, or (if there is no opponent) a number chosen by the GM based on the action's difficulty.

If they win by two or more the action succeeds in style, giving the character an added bonus.  If they tie, the action still succeeds, but at a minor cost.  If they lose, the player can still opt to have the action succeed, but in the process they incur some kind of major cost.

Combat [ edit ]

As with many narrative systems, combat in Fate is just one type of "conflict" (other examples might include surviving an interrogation or a dangerous journey).  Conflicts mostly uses the game's same core mechanics, not a new set of rules (like Dungeons and Dragons).  

By default turn order in combat is determined by comparing the participants' Notice skill, and having the highest go first.  However, Fate has a variety of other optional initiative systems, ranging from "popcorn initiative" (where the GM picks the first participant, that player chooses who goes next, and so on) to simple GM fiat.

Combat itself is resolved as an opposed roll between the attacker and defender.  Damage comes in two forms: Stress (essentially "hit points") and Consequences.  Consequences represent serious injuries, and are essentially negative Aspects that the player gains.

However, in addition to simply attacking a foe, a character can instead use their action to provide a fellow character with a bonus.  For instance, one character might try to trip the opponent (providing a +2 to the next player who attacks them).

Because of Fate's rolling mechanic, a single difficult foe might have a much greater chance of being able to hurt the characters than they have of hurting it.  In such fights, instead of having every player try (and likely fail) to "chip away" at the foe's life (D&D-style), several characters might just focus on providing bonuses (eg. one trips the foe, while another throws something on their face to blind them) so that a final character has a greater chance of success.

Finally, it's important to understand that in Fate only combats that have a narrative reason should actually be played out.  An entire "fight" (in a game like Dungeons and Dragons) might be handled with just a single opposed roll in Fate ... if that fight is an unimportant one with more minor opponents.

Fate for One Piece [ edit ]

Aggregated Review Scores

SourceAverage Score# of ReviewsAs Of
Amazon4.8 / 53851/24/2022
Drive Thru RPG4.5 / 53411/24/2022
Good Reads4.18 / 58101/24/2022
RPG Geek7.96 / 103221/24/2022

As you can see from the review scores above, Fate itself is a very popular RPG.  The game earned 4.5 / 5 or better on both Amazon and Drive Thru RPG.  RPG Geek (usually the most critical) still gave the game almost an 8/10.

Interestingly, Good Reads, with the most reviews (810), had a comparatively low 4.18 / 5.  That's still a very strong score, but it was lowered by reviews from gamers who clearly weren't fans of narrative-focused RPGs, like this fellow:

A lot of it seems fairly vague and wishy-washy, and while that may in part be because of the narrative nature of the game, it doesn't do much to make me like it. 

In short, Fate is an excellent and popular game, with a large fan base and flexible rules system ... but if you're not a fan of narrative-focused games, you're probably not going to enjoy it.

But is it Good for One Piece?

Generic RPG systems (like Fate) are designed to adapt various stories into adventuring campaigns ... but is Fate good for adapting One Piece, specifically?

Well, one new Fate fan was so convinced that they wrote a long Reddit post detailing how One Piece essentially was a Fate campaign.  Of course, as a poster quickly corrected them:

I think you have it backwards. The reason for those similarities isn't that the narrative of One Piece by sheer coincidence resembles a Fate Campaign, it's because Fate models narratives.

But at the same time, this post just demonstrates how easily Fate can be tailored for One Piece (or any other story, anime or otherwise) ... and another poster in that same thread had already done exactly that:

As someone currently DMing a FATE One Piece campaign... yep, it's pretty easy to convert. Even the bloody swords have tiers in-universe, easy as pie to attach them to +1 to +4 shift weapons system.

And that Reddit thread isn't the only place where Fate fans discuss their One Piece campaigns; there's also this thread, this thread, this thread ... well, you get the idea.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a more story-driven, open-ended RPG to run your One Piece campaign, Fate will offer everything you need to make it happen.  And with so many others having already used the system to run One Piece, you can be confident that Fate's generic system is able to handle devil fruit, Monkey D Luffy, and all the rest of One Piece.