Oh, now that’s a bold title, isn’t it? Editing your destiny! Except what I’m actually talking about is the Fate RPG.

(That’s right, folks. He’s back to talking about roleplaying games.)

About a year ago, I officially abandoned all other game systems (at least for the games I run) for the Fate system. My current gaming group is enjoying the Second Edition era of the popular campaign setting The Forgotten Realms, but using rules I adapted from The Dresden Files RPG, published by Evil Hat Productions. I like this system because it’s not just a rule system that interprets dice rolls, nor is it centered around combat. The rules actively encourage roleplay to the extent that the story actually affects the dice, rather than the other way around.

The Dresden Files RPG is based on a popular urban fantasy of the same name (which I’ll likely review at a later date), and until last December represented the absolute best version of the Fate rules to date. It added additional content, clarified and streamlined old material, and presented itself in a highly amusing, actively entertaining fashion. It quickly won multiple awards as well as general acclaim. The only problem, of course, was that this latest greatest version was tied up in the Dresden IP. You can’t copyright game rules, but you can copyright the books and their descriptions, so the Hat (as the company employees refer to themselves) needed to boil things down again to use it elsewhere.

Last fall, they announced that they would finally release a copyright-free version of the latest iteration of the Fate system, which would be called Fate Core, and future Fate products would be based on this system. Anyone would be able to download it for a donation of any size (including $0). Still, they had spent a lot of time and effort getting it ready, and they wanted it to look good. So they decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise $3,000 for art costs. They figured they could get that fairly easily, and had additional goals to add and goodies to offer, but the main purpose was to get three thousand dollars for art.

They reached their goal in well under an hour.

The campaign is now up to over a quarter million dollars.

Backing the campaign is an amazing deal. You can get the Fate Core rules for free, of course, just by waiting a few more months for it to get finalized and published; but you can get it right now for a pledge of just one dollar. (How many things can you get for just a dollar these days?) In addition to early admission, that gets you in on the playtest for the Fate Core rules.

Ten dollars gets you a first-class ticket to Overloadland. You get a huge number of supplements at that level, but only if you’re a Kickstarter backer, and it ends a week from Tuesday. Because of the huge number of backers, Fred Hicks and his team have been racing to find new goals for raising money — which includes the ability to essentially give those backers about two dozen PDFs of core material and supplements for free. At a mere $10, you’re paying for maybe one of them, and getting the rest as a bonus.

So if my previous post talking about the benefits of roleplaying games for a writer made you want to try them out, this is probably the best deal you’ll encounter. Ever.

But that’s not the only reason I’m talking about it. I have a personal stake. See, Evil Hat Productions is one of the companies I’m currently working for. In fact, on Wednesday, I just finished editing a draft of the Fate Core setting Burn Shift, a post-apocalyptic setting where civilization can barely be said to exist — and where the players get to choose what gets rebuilt. It’s expected to go live on Saturday, letting Kickstarter backers playtest it to their hearts’ content. I’ll talk more about it in another update, probably tomorrow. I don’t get a cut of sales, but I hope to get more editing gigs from them. Their stuff is fun to work with!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in exactly what a $10 pledge gets you today, here’s a list. You will get access to all of the following in PDF format, available for download, both during playtesting and as the final version. (Other formats may be available, such as ePub and the Kindle-friendly Mobi.)

  • Fate Core: The basic rules. All the rules you need to create and run a game of your own.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Fate Accelerated Edition: An even more basic version of the game, designed for quick start.
  • Extras Toolkit: Optional rules you can use to expand a particular game.
    The magic rules are available for playtesting!
  • Burn Shift: Post-apocalyptic adventures with a pulp-action feel.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Camelot Trigger: King Arthur finally returns . . . in spaaaaace! With giant mecha robots, no less.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Court/Ship: Alien invasion . . . in the time of King Louis XV!
  • Crime World: Con games and grifting — penned by Leverage head writer John Rogers!
  • Fight Fire: Possibly the first RPG setting ever centered around firefighters.
  • No Exit: Psychological horror, trapped in an apartment building with no exit.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Timeworks: Time travel . . . I guess you can edit fate!
  • White Picket Witches: Even magic won’t save you from the challenge of living in a small-town community.
  • Wild Blue: A fantasy/superhero version of the Wild West.
    Available for playtesting!
  • The Ellis Affair: A mystery tale based on real events, set in 1923.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Kreigzepplin Valkyrie: A steampunky mini-campaign set in World War One.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Tower of the Serpents: A fantasy adventure, ready to play.
    Available for playtesting!
  • Shadow of the Century: Evil Hat’s popular setting Spirit of the Century gets updated for the year 1984 — and the brink of destruction!
  • Do: Fate of the Flying Temple: The closest thing you’re likely to get to an Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG, designed to be played with just the Fate Accelerated rules.
  • Fate System Freeport Companion: The city of Freeport is somewhat famous (and infamous!) among RPG circles. Its publisher, Green Ronin, has partnered with Evil Hat to produce a version of the Freeport setting using Fate!
  • Young Centurions: The Shadow of the Century setting gets a prequel designed with just the Fate Accelerated rules, aimed at kids just starting out with roleplaying games!
  • The Day After Ragnarok: A setting where you get to find out what happens after the Norse tales end. (Yet to be unlocked, but donations are rising!)

Yeah. All that. All for ten bucks. Not all at once; some of these won’t be finished for a full year. But spend ten dollars now, and you get them the moment they’re up. As a gamer, I’m incredibly excited about all the stuff to come.

And as an editor who gets to work on some of this stuff? Well, let’s just say. . . I love my job!