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Is Fate Accelerated Edition lighter in tone than Fate Core? To rephrase is Fate Core inherently better at running dark or noir games than Fate Accelerate Edition?

This is the impression given by the examples in the two books, and also the competency ratio of the two games (using the default skill list).

Fate Core starts characters being competent (ie any skill bonus) in 10 of 18 skils.

Fate Accelerated Edition starts characters with a bonus in 5 of 6 approaches.

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You can run dark gritty games in Fate Accelerated, and light games in Fate Core. Fate Accelerated is Fate Core in a lot of ways—it's built out of that engine—it just shows you how to run the game with less mechanical detail. But mechanical detail is not an equivalence for grit, despite what other games in the RPG field have tried to teach us on that point.

The art in Fate Core is certainly a little darker in tone, while Fate Accelerated's art is lighter. That was a deliberate choice, but it's a deliberate choice made for marketing and audience targeting reasons rather than system-driven ones.

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Hello, and welcome to the site. It's always good to have an official answer! –  Tynam Jul 15 '13 at 17:02
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It doesn't look that way to me.

Fate Core is more detailed, and probably grittier, but not of need Darker - the very ungritty but extremely dark Hollowpoint shows that the two need not be linked. Likewise, Grey Ranks is very light mechanics, but very dark (you're playing the Polish Resistance during the Nazi Occupation, and we know it eventually failed).

The key difference is the nature of the rated abilities. Fate Accelerated, it's how you approach the problem, while Fate Core it's what you know. This difference is interesting, since the how you approach a problem has been used in Hollowpoint, and in a couple other games, and my experience is that that approach lends itself quite well to a darker game than a skill-based approach.

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I've played and GMed Fate Core. Recently I decided to run a very gritty one-off adventure in which the player characters played the part of ordinary citizens forced to confront a murderer on the loose in the midst of the 1977 New York City Blackout. Rather than Fate Core, I used FAE. It worked very well.

Fate Accelerated may have actually been better for this particular scenario than Fate Core. As @aramis mentioned, the removal of skill-based success tests makes a difference. Because tests in FAE are so closely tied to who the character truly is, as opposed to what the character can do, there's a real sense if import about every action.

Based on my experience with that first one-shot, I'm working on another, similarly gritty adventure. I'll be using Fate Accelerated.

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