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I've read the FATE Core rulebook and am starting to read the Dresden Files "Your Story" and "Your World" books as well, but when looking to describe the differences to friends I would like someone with more experience and insight to help me describe what are the major design/philosophical differences between Dresden Files and FATE Core

Any other insights into a comparison between the two would also be welcome so long as focus of the question is addressed first.

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@wraith808 I'm not simply asking for specific rule changes, (although part of the question is the overall mechanic differences), but also design philosophy differences which I think BESW summed up quite nicely. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Sep 11 '13 at 18:38
    
@JoshuaAslanSmith - if that's the case and that's the important part of the question (and BESW's answer is the type of answer you're looking for), then I think the part about mechanical differences should be removed, as he didn't cover those. –  wraith808 Sep 12 '13 at 1:15
    
@wraith808 Did you know you can retract close votes now? It's a very nice feature for cases like this where the objection has been addressed. :) –  SevenSidedDie Sep 12 '13 at 15:13
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

DFRPG has more mechanics, which each individually accomplish less.

DFRPG is a lot crunchier. Although it maintains the "players can make up their own setting and features" ethos that is the hallmark of Fate, it has a LOT of subsystems in which to do this. For example, it provides a solid and complicated magic subsystem. You're free to make up your own spells and schools and so forth, but the rules those things function within are set.

By contrast, Core does everything it can to prune away subsystems. It's left with a handful of mechanics so robust that you hardly need to create subsystems at all, although it provides guidance on how to do so if you want to make a magic system or the like:

Whereas each previous Fate game had a specific way of dealing with powers and gadgets and stuff, now there are a variety of options for you to choose from (as befits the toolkit nature of the system). (FC 294)

This means it is possible to imagine a group using the Fate Core manual to come up with DFRPG on their own, using the guidelines to create a vast number of extras and fractals, but it's unlikely: a lot of DFRPG's "narrow" mechanics are filling a void that Fate Core later filled in by making the main mechanics wider.

Vocabulary and mechanical tightening-up

DFRPG has a relatively unnecessary sprawl of specialized mechanics, some of which aren't defined particularly well. Core rolled many of them up into a handful of more robust mechanics that filled the same function:

Movement is now a function of the overcome action, create an advantage subsumes assess/declare/maneuver from previous games under one banner, and blocks can be handled a number of different ways[,... and] zone borders have been replaced by the use of situation aspects[....] (FC 294)

In that spirit, action economy is greatly simplified: supplemental actions are gone and free actions simplified. Most turns in an exchange consist of a single action.

The same is true of Fate vocabulary. Core boiled DFRPG's half-dozen different kinds of compels and invokes down into invoke and compel (event compel and decision compel are subcategories of compel, but they're more for clarity of intent than a mechanical distinction). Likewise, the specialized word "tag" for free invocations was excised as needless jargon when "free invocation" works just as well.

Other thoughts

DFRPG's established subsystems may make it a more comfortable system for a player with D&D-like prior experiences to break into Fate, and it's certainly going to provide more opportunities for mixing and matching pre-designed options instead of making your own.

There's also a distinct difference in the tone and quality of the manuals: DFRPG's text is chatty and rambling, great for giving setting atmosphere but not so good for presenting the rules unambiguously and being easy to flip through for reference at the table. Fate Core's text is still informal, but it's also precise and concise, and beautifully referenced.

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I run Dresden Files with Fate Core terminology now. There's also a similar but cleaner magic system coming with the Fate Core Toolkit. And if you like really slimmed down systems they are going to be putting out a Fate Accelerated version of Dresden Files sometime in the next year or so.

The core difference is the slimming down and cleaning up of the game terminology. The magic system is not in Fate Core at all. It's meant to provide you the tools to 'build your own' game. Dresden Files is a full build.

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Welcome to the site! Please take a look at the tour and the help; they're a useful introduction to the site. It's cool that you're running a DF game in Core, but this is a Q&A site, not a forum. Can you please expand your answer so that it addresses the actual question (about the differences between the systems)? And once you have 20+ rep, feel free to join the chat! –  BESW Sep 12 '13 at 15:11
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