About this project
Are you already a backer? Then go to this backers-only post and download the latest copy of Fate Core right now!
*** Feel like you need a spreadsheet to figure your pledge level out? We've got a Backer Pledge Calculation Sheet right here!
Found a typo or other error in the draft? Don't fret. We've gotten hundreds of pieces of feedback and are working on a revision. To keep our team sane, we've closed off taking any further errata on this draft, but if you want to see what's been caught so far: Here's the report.
Expansion books are available! Learn more about this in Update #5.
Looking to support a local retailer by preordering Fate Core? Here's the list we're compiling of stores that are backing this project.
Wish you could back this, but can't use the payment method? If you can use PayPal, here's an alternative.
Fate started as a "house rules" project for the Fudge system during a car ride Rob Donoghue and Fred Hicks had back in 2001. After seeing some success with it in their home games, they created a free, downloadable version for anyone who cared to grab it. They figured a few dozen people would have a look. Instead, hundreds did, and it fast became one of the most popular variants of Fudge out there, spawning its own thousands-strong discussion list and eventually helping to launch Evil Hat as a commercial game company.
From there, Fate grew into new revisions and iterations, showing up in Evil Hat's own Spirit of the Century in 2006 and the Dresden Files RPG in 2010 (each one leading to a temporary shortage in the supply of Fudge dice as demand spiked), as well as dozens of third-party Fate games and a few other popular games that borrowed ideas from Fate, if not the whole system.
Today, Evil Hat is proud to bring you Fate Core: the latest evolution of the Fate role-playing game system. Inside you'll find refined, clearer language about every part of the game -- ranging from streamlined language about aspects and skills, to a unified approach for game actions and outcomes, to our trademark, rock solid GM and player advice.
Simply put, Fate Core is the best version of Fate we can possibly make, built upon over a decade of play and design experience by Evil Hat, and with the Fate player community at large, taking the best lessons from all of gaming and distilling them into a cohesive, compelling whole.
With Fate Core, you'll be able to drive right to the heart of your characters, using simple-yet-deep rules to make the most of those stories. Throughout, you'll use Fate Core's mechanics to model how fiction, not physics, operates, producing an experience that's better than "realistic" -- it's authentic.
After the kickstarter campaign concludes and the game's text, art, and layout are finalized, the PDF of Fate Core will be made available to everyone on a "pay what you like" scheme. We'll also be selling a printed version of the game, and will use the system to power upcoming games like the Atomic Robo RPG.
Upon publication we'll place near to 100% of the Fate Core text into the Open Gaming License as open content, once again continuing our commitment to supporting third party efforts to build the Fate games everyone wants to see.
In the meantime, as a backer of this Kickstarter campaign, you will get immediate, early access to the laid out text of Fate Core as it currently stands (see the link right below the video). You will have the opportunity to tell us what you think, and help us determine the final shape of the game.
It's an exciting time for Fate, and for Evil Hat, and we hope you'll join us as a backer, a fan, and a member of the Fate community. Let's rock this thing!
cover art by Kurt Komoda
We've set the project timeline on this to the maximum because we want a solid two months for our backers to have a look at the Fate Core preview, give it a whirl, and let us know what they think. We'll be iterating through the feedback you give us in that time to make any necessary tweaks to the text and the layout.
As project funding progresses, we'll continue our efforts to get the art buy and execution put together for Fate Core. At launch time we don't expect to have all of our art done, of course -- but we believe in getting a head start when we can afford to do so. Depending on complexity and speed of execution, art creation and placement into layout may run past the end of the Kickstarter campaign; we're giving it about a month.
Once the art is in and the text and layout are final, we'll charge hard on getting the print run complete. We'll be going with one of our established, fast-on-execution-and-quality domestic book printers for this. Setup and proofing will eat a week; manufacture shouldn't run much longer than a month, if that.
After that point, it's all about shipping, which is probably the most potentially elastic part of our timeline. But we'll be shipping out the copies we owe to all of our backers before we put the book on sale anywhere else.
Signed copies, consultations, and fudge dice will take a bit longer to get out there, due to the added steps involved.
The PDF: As a backer of this project at any level, you'll get immediate access to the early preview PDF (see the link at the top of this page, under the video) before the kickstarter campaign even concludes.The final PDF that will be released after the conclusion of the kickstarter will be available on a "pay-what-you-like" basis -- which includes free for those so inclined. (But folks who don't back this project will have to wait a few months before they'll get to see that.) We're doing this because we want you to see what's already been done -- and for you to get a chance to provide us critical feedback that will improve the game in its final form.
The HARDCOVER Book: Those backing at $30 and higher will receive a 6"x9" formatted hardcover, black and white interior version of the Fate Core rule-set, with a page count somewhere in the lower 300 range. Shipping in early spring 2013.
The Digital Expansions: Backers at $10 or higher will get access to a digital expansion pack that starts with a fantasy adventure playable with Fate Core. Our stretch goals on this kickstarter will add more expansions into that pack at no additional cost to the backers! The higher we soar, the more awesome the expansion set gets. After the kickstarter concludes, each individual PDF in this expansion pack will sell for about $5 each, so this has a chance of being a real steal.
UNLOCKED: The Fate System Toolkit Book: A $20 HARDCOVER book containing the Magic System Toolkit and other unlocked "system-tinkerer's" content. See Update #5 for how to add this to your pledge. Shipping sometime in summer 2013.
UNLOCKED: The Fate Worlds Compilation Books: A two-volume set of softcovers for $30 total containing the non-Toolkit expansion content from the Fantasy Adventure on up through Camelot Trigger. See Update #5 for how to add this to your pledge. Shipping around mid-spring/early summer 2013.
UNLOCKED: The Fate Accelerated Edition Book: A $5, 32-ish page softcover book containing the very basics of Fate for fastest learning and use. Shipping by early spring 2013.
UNLOCKED: Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate: A $15 softcover, 200-ish pages, of the Young Centurions-set young adult novel by Carrie Harris, shipping late in 2013.
UNLOCKED: Strange Tales of the Century: A $40 softcover by rockstar nerd-researcher Jess Nevins, hundreds of pages, filled with pulp character archetypes and timeline material to bridge the gap between Spirit and Shadow.
Fred's Fudge Dice Stash: Folks who pick a reward that includes Fred's Stash will get four fudge dice of one random color (i.e., all four dice will be the same color, and that color will be picked randomly) included with a signed-by-Fred copy of the Fate Core book. The six colors include the three bronze, copper, and gold tones of Grey Ghost Games' Olympic Fudge Dice set, and the translucent red, translucent blue, and glow-in-the-dark yellow-green of the no-longer-available Wizard Fudge Dice set that Evil Hat produced.
Fred's stash includes the largest quantities of the front row pictured here (the Wizard dice), and a smaller number of the back row (the Olympics). We will try to take requests if it seems feasible, but can't offer any guarantees about the color you'll get. Supplies will dictate!
The Consultation: Got a particular thing you want to do with Fate Core for your home game? We'll pair your ideas with an Evil Hat approved expert who will help you sort out your Fate Core implementation for your home game, and will also write up to 2,000 words so you'll have an official reference document to work from. Part of your contribution will be used to pay the experts for their time and wordsmithery. You'll share rights to the document with Evil Hat, or we can simply agree to enter it into the available open content surrounding Fate Core (assuming it's viable for us to do so) -- your call. This will be carried out either by a Skype call or an exchange of emails (or a mix of both), as fits the schedule of those involved. If it turns out your ideas exceed what's feasible in 2,000 words, consider this a starting point rather than a total solution -- but we'll do our best to cover the essentials!
Feel like you need a spreadsheet to figure your pledge level out? We've got a Backer Pledge Calculation Sheet right here!
We have a number of stretch goals in mind. Below, we reveal some of the ones that lie ahead. Stay tuned for updates as the project continues to learn of more!
The Fantasy Adventure (Tower of the Serpents): When our project hits its first funding goal, we start the roster for our set of digital expansions with a fantasy adventure playable with just a few friends, some dice, and the Fate Core rulebook. This will be written by Brennan Taylor, author of the Bulldogs! Fate game published by Galileo Games. [Learn More][Preview & Playtest]
Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie: Our first stretch goal travels to a mini-campaign set in a World War One that isn't quite like you read about in the history books. You play the multinational barnstormers and daring fighter pilots of the era, crewing the biggest airship that ever flew, as you take on the forces of a mad scientist and his army of galvanic automatons. It's one part pulp, one part Battlestar Galactica, and100% high-flying zeppelin-and-biplanes action, from Evil Hat's own Clark Valentine. Once unlocked, the Valkyrie will join forces with our EXPANSIONS package for our backers. [Preview & Playtest]
Magic system toolkit: In one of our earlier incarnations of the Fate system, Evil Hat co-founder Rob Donoghue lost his damn mind and included a chapter of over half a dozen different magic systems for use with the game. With this stretch goal, Rob will create a new supplement doing exactly that for Fate Core to be added to our EXPANSIONS package for our backers. This will be included in our Extras Toolkit (see below)! [Learn More] [Preview & Playtest]
Multiple electronic formats: You've made us commit! We will release the final electronic version of Fate Core in multiple formats -- PDF, ePub, and mobi (for Kindle) at the least.
Wild Blue: From Bulldogs! co-author Brian Engard comes this setting of six-guns and superpowers, monsters and outlaws and keeping the peace on the frontier. It's a dangerous world out there, but opportunities abound in the Blue Lands for those willing to help themselves. You're one of the Queen's Wardens, a newly inducted recruit into the land's most elite law-enforcement team, a team made up entirely of Powers, people born with unique capabilities beyond those of the common folk. You're a superhero, a law-bringer, a Warden. But all power comes with a cost, and being a hero is never without danger. [Learn More] [Preview & Playtest]
Court/Ship: The court of Louis the XV of France was a weird place. He had a place called a "Deer Park" where he kept a stable of young mistresses, he kept his court in the cramped and weird living situation of his palace, and from all reports lived a crazy and decadent lifestyle. Women would come to court to become his mistress to gain a title and lands. This was also the time of the "gentlemen scientist" when there was growing interest in science and technology, as well as new systems of government. Into this environment... an alien invasion begins. This Fate Core expansion by J.R. Blackwell will explore themes of identity, hierarchy, and what it means to be human. [Learn More]
Hardcover upgrade: It's our first mega-stretch goal. We've gotten a lot of inquiries about a hardcover option for Fate Core. When we looked into it, it wasn't terribly workable as a partial thing, where some books would be softcover, others hardcover. So with this stretch goal, we're gunning hard for hardcovers -- hit this mark, and we'll be able to add enough extra cash to the print budget to make the whole Fate Core print run a hardcover affair, while keeping the same cover price of $25 that we would have charged for the softcovers!
Burn Shift: From the Mindjammer mind of Sarah J. Newton, a post-apocalyptic vision of the future! The Age of Space is gone, blasted to atoms in a devastation which buckled continents and boiled seas. Now the sky flickers with many-colored lightning and roiling clouds, and the air is heavy with poison. Twisted by strange energies from forms already geneered beyond natural adaptation, the remnants of posthumanity struggle to survive in the ruins of a once-glorious civilization. But for every one who succumbs to the curse of the Wounded Earth, another thrives with the Burn Shift -- the new power which gives survivors an edge in this harsh and nightmarish world. Where most post-apocalyptic RPGs stop, Burn Shift starts: it’s not about wallowing in the devastation, but about pushing through it, reforming and rebuilding communities, going beyond... Whatever the future will be, it won’t be like the past. [Preview & Playtest]
Fight Fire: Fight Fire expands Fate Core's handling of objective hazards, answering the common question "the warehouse has the On Fire aspect... now what?" Not only is this answered -- literally -- but it is enhanced and expanded in the form of a mini supplement that tackles both the day-to-day operations of urban firefighters (using tactics cribbed directly from the FDNY) and their lives off the clock. Raised in a firefighting family, Fiasco author Jason Morningstar takes Fate Core in a direction that tempers hard-researched realism with drama and danger. [Learn More]
No Exit: From writer Shoshana Kessock, take a journey into psychological horror, "Lost" style. Characters find themselves living in an apartment building they can't leave, and must come to terms with who has put them there and what they did to deserve it. Dark truths will come to light, in No Exit. [Learn More] [Preview & Playtest]
The Ellis Affair: In May of 1923, an American businessman dies while abroad. Investigators are dispatched to try to make sense of it, and uncover a hidden world of conspiracy, diplomacy, and covert operations gone awry. Who was Earl H. Ellis? Businessman, or spy? Was his death accident, or murder? And why was the last man to have contact with his ashes found catatonic and weeping while clutching them to his chest? It's up to you to solve this real-events-based mystery from author Lisa Steele. [Preview & Playtest]
CrimeWorld: Leverage television show head writer (and series co-creator) John Rogers uses his extensively-researched knowledge of cons and capers to craft this sourcebook for running grifts and heists in your Fate Core games. Use CrimeWorld to run a game in the world of the ultra-criminal, or apply it as a toolkit to give added depth and adventure to confidence games and thievery in any game based on the Fate Core RPG system. [Learn More]
Fate Core Dingbat Font: In the final digital release, we'll include a font (used to create the little pictures you see next to the headers on this project) that sports the icons for the four actions, icons for fudge dice, and strings-of-boxes you can use to create a stress track quickly. Maybe more!
White Picket Witches: Small towns are cauldrons full of family secrets. In Salem, those cauldrons bubble over. Inspired by paranormal cozies like Practical Magic and the Witches of Eastwick, White Picket Witches give the players magic and charms to deal with small town pressures... and sometimes, the forces of evil. It's about accepting the past, fitting in, or breaking out. It emphasizes friendships, brother/sisterhood, community, and a touch of romance. Designed by Filamena Young of Machine Age Productions, who has worked with Margaret Weis Productions, White Wolf, and many others. [Learn More]
Timeworks: "Want to have developed the iPhone? We can make it so that your firm had the idea before Apple. Want to get rid of a tricky rival? We'll make sure his parents never met. After all, it's only murder if someone gets killed. Not getting born doesn't count. Our time technicians are experts at moving the timestream in revenue generating directions. We're discreet, careful, and always on time. After all, we know you expect the best. Timeworks. Making time work for you." From game designer Mark Diaz Truman. [Learn More]
Extras Toolbox: We'll take the Magic System Toolkit and absorb it as one chapter -- then go beyond the field of magic, doubling (or maybe even tripling) the word-count, to create the Extras Toolbox, a series of collections-of-extras that will illustrate in greater depth how to construct full add-on options for your game. Each collection will be viable as a plug-and-play addition to your game, if it turns out to be a fit. We'll look into exploring ways to implement powers, vehicles, gear, and more, with a few system-tweaks and variants for extra spice. If funded to this level, we'll also be taking your suggestions -- and maybe even contributions! -- to make sure this covers, at least lightly, all the "gear-head" topics you're hungry for. [Learn More]
And better yet...
Extras Toolbox IN PRINT: ...Backers at $30 ("The Book" level) and up will also get the option to add more to their pledges to get a printed copy of this book. See above for details and [Learn More]
Camelot Trigger brings a mecha setting to your table. The One and Future King returns to a solar system filled with battles between knights in 80-ton armor on the field of honor. Duel a Venusian princess for her hand. Hunt outlaws in the asteroid belt. Travel to Earth to joust for a seat of honor next to the High Orbit King. Star Wars Saga Edition writer Rob Wieland remixes Arthurian legend and big stompy robots in a setting featuring courtly intrigue, duels of honor, and XTE-78 Lancepack missile launchers. [Learn More] [Preview & Playtest]
Creative Commons for Fate Core: One of the things we've done with Fate Core is write the rules up from scratch. This got us the clearest text possible. It also meant that absolutely none of our rules text uses text written by someone outside of Evil Hat. With that kind of ground-up ownership of the text, it frees us up to do more than just the Open Gaming License (OGL) if we want -- and the most popular other-license request we've gotten over the years has been for some kind of Creative Commons licensing alternative. With this goal funded, we'll put the time in to make that a reality -- we will choose a commercial-friendly, non-viral license that fits our vision for others using Fate Core (likely CC-BY), and provide documentation for how to properly follow the license if you decide to go that path with your own derived material, as well as protocols for commingling your CC-derived work with others' OGL materials if you happen to design like Frankenstein.
More Words for the Toolbox: We'll add 10,000 words (about 30-40 pages in the 6x9 Fate Core format) to the wordcount budget for the Extras Toolbox if we hit this goal.
Compilation Book for all non-Toolbox Expansions: If we hit this goal, all the expansions up to this point (from the beginning, up to Camelot Trigger) that aren't in the Extras Toolbox will get bundled together in a softcover compilation book that will ship at least a few months later than Fate Core. Our rough estimate suggests this will be a 6x9 softcover book with at least 300-400 pages of content -- bigger than Fate Core itself! [Learn More]
All Expansions in Multiple Digital Formats: All the expansions will be released in ePub and mobi (Kindle-friendly) formats as well as the originally-promised PDF.
Even More Words for the Toolbox: We'll add another 10,000 words (about 30-40 pages in the 6x9 Fate Core format) to the wordcount budget for the Extras Toolbox, putting us at a minimum of 40,000 words all told (~130-160 pages), about half the word count of Fate Core itself.
Shadow of the Century: The Spirit of the Century setting moves forward to 1984 -- where the world is poised on the brink of explosive technological advance... and the end of all things! If we hit this stretch goal, we'll put Shadow of the Century on the 2013 development docket, all backers at $10 and up will get the PDF of this project when it completes in late 2013 or 2014. [Learn More]
Deck of Fate: We'll put the Deck of Fate into production in 2013. You can learn much more about the Deck of Fate in Update #9!
Hardcover Toolkit: If we hit this stretch goal, all copies of the Fate System Toolkit will be in hardcover instead of softcover -- at the same price!
Fate Accelerated Edition: At this stretch goal, we will produce Fate Accelerated Edition: a compact (32-ish pages) lighter-weight version of Fate with all the dials cranked towards ease of use and learning. Fully compatible with Fate Core! When we hit this goal, backers will have the option to add to their pledges ($5 per copy, plus shipping charges as needed) to add a copy of the printed version. The electronic version will be made available on a pay-what-you-like basis, just like Fate Core. [Learn More]
Do: Fate of the Flying Temple: Adapting the setting of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple to the Fate Accelerated Edition, this unlockable goal will feature tiny worlds, big hearts, young heroes, a lost temple, and trainable dragons. The PDF will be made available to all backers at $10 and up if funded. [Learn More]
Fate System Freeport Companion: Evil Hat will partner with Green Ronin Publishing to create the Fate System Freeport Companion. Combine this with Green Ronin's Pirate's Guide to Freeport and fight cultists, pirates, and serpent people in the streets and tunnels of their legendary Freeport campaign setting! [Learn More]
Young Centurions RPG: Spirit of the Century finds a Fate Accelerated prequel in the young-adult-oriented RPG Young Centurions! [Learn More]
The Day After Ragnarok: Fate Core Edition: Kenneth Hite's post-pulp-ocalyptic setting comes to Fate Core under the guidance of Leonard Balsera! [Learn More]
Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate: A Young Centurions young adult fiction novel written by Carrie Harris! [Learn More]
Strange Tales of the Century: Superstar nerd-researcher Jess Nevins updates the Spirit of the Century timeline, builds a bridge to Shadow of the Century, and tours an entire planetfull of pulps in this massive supplement. [Learn More]
Dresden Files Accelerated: Can we do it? In 2014, with your funding, we can! [Learn More]
Lead System Developer: Leonard Balsera
Assistant Developers: Brian Engard, Ryan Macklin, and Mike Olson
Editors: Jeremy Keller and Ryan Macklin
Layout & Graphic Design: Jeremy Keller
Fate Core System Logo: Fred Hicks
Cover Art: Kurt Komoda
Video Editing: Jeremy Keller
Brand Marketing: Chris Hanrahan
We love answering questions! If you have any for us, please ask in the comments, and we'll do our best to give you an answer quickly. You can also follow us on twitter at @EvilHatOfficial and on Facebook.
Risks and challenges
Evil Hat is an experienced RPG publisher. We've produced multiple printed role-playing games in a variety of physical formats over the past six-plus years. This puts us in a fine position to take on the risks and challenges that will arise -- and as with any project, experience tells us a few problems and bugaboos likely will.
Here's what we can anticipate as potential problems.
The Art: The art could take longer to execute than we're hoping it will, or could simply manifest in a fashion we find unsatisfactory (requiring a 'do-over'). Artists are people with real lives and those lives come with schedule-complicating problems. If any delay looks like it will be short, we'll likely roll with it, and we'll let you know what's up. If it looks like something long, we have an assortment of other artists we've worked with over the years who we know can execute quickly and on-time for a deadline.
The Text: While the editing and layout of Fate Core is largely done, it's possible that you will identify some glaring issue that we need to address before we take this fully to publication. That can add time, for sure. Luckily we have several Fate-savvy writers available if we need a fix, and our editor is also our layout guy, so making changes should proceed quickly.
Printing: Our company has grown up alongside the big boom in digital short-run printing technology. Thanks to the advances made there, we'll be able to print the softcover, affordably, in any quantity we need. We're also adept at working with domestic hardcover suppliers to get product quickly. But printers can run into problems all the same: supply shortages, unexpected delays due to company holidays or industry events, or simply goofing up the manufacture or shipping of the books in some way. With a number of potential domestic printers to use, we'll always have a back-up we can go to in the event that our first choice printer has to be set aside. In the event of defective product, we will send a replacement at no cost to you.
Shipping: Packages get lost. We'll send replacements. Shipping can take longer than expected. We won't put the book on sale until they've shipped out all backer copies. Shipping costs can end up higher than expected. We'll absorb the overage.
Finances: Thanks to the success of the Dresden Files RPG and our other projects, Evil Hat is a -- for the game industry -- perhaps atypically solvent RPG company. We've already spent $10,000 on getting Fate Core to this point, and our bank account continues to look plenty healthy. If an unexpected cost arises, we've got the cushion to take the hit.
If there's any risk or challenge YOU can think of that we haven't mentioned here, please write in and ask. We love to answer questions, and we do our best to provide an unparalleled customer service experience whenever possible. We intend to impress you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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