FATE musings: Merged FATE and D&D next

As people watching my youtube channel may be aware I recently reviewed the playtest D&D Next material that has been released:
Whilst looking at the D&D material it seemed obvious to me that the creators of D&D Next had realised that the crunchier rules systems were slightly falling out of favour currently and that a new crop of more storytelling orientated games were proving increasingly popular with the RPG market.
I was idly doodling away at some ideas after filming the video and thinking about how one of my Rogue Trader players isn’t a particularly massive fan of the FATE system, when it occurred to me that D&D Next would be eminently adaptable to work with FATE, perhaps more so than any earlier edition of the game.
I’ll admit that i’m mainly coming at this from a Fate Accelerate Edition (FAE) point of view since that’s my FATE system of choice at the moment; lets have a look at the D&D Next character sheet:
Ability Scores
The standard six abilities familiar to any D&D player, STR, DEX, CON, WIS, INT and CHA – these could easily be used as your approaches in a FAE hybrid.
D&D Next doesn’t appear to have a skill system in the same way that previous versions of D&D games do, however there are class and racial abilities (plus feats although these are an optional subsystem in Next) that give you bonuses to certain rolls. Most of these work in such a similar way to Stunts that any conversion would be very simple.
Weapon & Spell Attacks
Although FATE (and particularly FAE) don’t by default offer a lot of granularity to weapon damage, there are a couple of systems suggested in the FATE core book that would work fine and numerous variants available; assuming of course that the FATE GM wants this level of complexity for weapons.
The same pretty much goes for armour.
Class Features & Racial Traits
Racial traits are a small group of bonuses acquired for being a dwarf or an elf for example; these could easily be wrapped up in a single racial Aspect.
Class features might be a little more difficult since generally FATE characters start off more competent than the standard first level D&D character but they don’t advance or change as much; by representing class abilities as Stunts this can be simulated in a couple of possible ways:
  • Allow the PCs to start with a few more Stunts before their refresh rate starts to drop.
  • Increase the frequency of milestones within the game.

This is a new mechanic for D&D Next where you receive a bonus on intelligence rolls if you have that particular area of Lore ticked on your character sheet, again this is easily accomplished with Stunts or Aspects.
The Advantage

One of the main new mechanics that I like is called Advantage/Disadvantage, basically if you have the advantage then you roll 2D20 instead of one for a test and take the highest result, if you have the disadvantage then you take the lower result.
I can think of a couple of ways this could be done in FAE:
  • Keep it the same, a players rolls his 4DF twice and picks the higher or lower result.
  • If the PC has the advantage give them a free re-roll without them spending a fate point and the player chooses which result to use; if they are at a disadvantage then the opponent may force them to re-roll and the opponent chooses which result for them to use.

Spells and magic would be a trickier conversion and it’s one that has been covered extensively elsewhere; to keep things short I would suggest an Aspect that allows you to use magic and then having either a Stunt or an Aspect for each spell.

4 thoughts on “FATE musings: Merged FATE and D&D next

    1. Yes, that would be my thought as well, have an aspect such as "Illusionist", "Necromancer" or "Cleric of Pelor" or whatever that governs what sort of spells you can take and then have the actual spells be Stunts.

      I suppose you could split it down further and have each individual school or sphere as an Aspect something like "Schooled in [insert name of school]" or "Bless with knowledge of [insert name of sphere]."

    1. Very interesting article (and blog in general) many thanks for linking it to me 🙂

      I think there is a certainly a case for discouraging narrowing the focus of Approaches in FAE since you don't have the additional skills and other facets of the character that somewhat compensate for this is standard D&D; however D&D Next uses characteristics (the standard STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS and CHA) for almost every role and uses discrete powers (analagous to Stunts in FAE) to distinguish them in other areas.

      I would certainly not insist for instance that a player use STR every time they were attacked but would encourage my players to take a broader interpretation of the Approaches.

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