I am trying to get to know FATE a little bit better, but I am afraid even the official site isn't helping me understand everything:

  1. On the resources page there is a "Fate 2.0" download, which I understand is the ruleset for the FATE Core, but inside the PDF it states "Fudge Edition". Why?
  2. Spirit of the Century SRD is in the "Fate 3.0" category, but the name suggests that it is not core ruleset but, rather, a specific ruleset for a specific setting. What is it then?
  3. Why are there four different SRD PDF's for Spirit of the Century?
  4. Is the Fate 3.0 considered complete and finished at the moment?

3 Answers 3


1) FATE is built on top of the old FUDGE system, which still shows in the die mechanisms. FATE 2.0 was close to those origins and therefore acknowledges them. (FATE 1.0 was never a full published game, just an early internal set of designs.)

2) Spirit of the Century was originally a standalone game set in a pulp-like world. This was the development of some of the ideas in FATE 2.0. FATE 3.0 is built of rules and ideas used in SotC, Diaspora, and Dresden Files. Dresden Files is the "most up to date" FATE 3.0 rulebook, and can be seen as the "definitive" version.

3) Because internet. There isn't an "official" FATE 3.0 SotC, but it was first published in 2006 and the FATE system has improved in several ways since then - in some ways SotC is "FATE 2.5". So several SotC fans have updated it for the newer 3.0 ruleset - each in their own way.

4) Yes, but it's also about to be superseded. The closest there is to a final "Fate 3.0" rulebook is the Dresden Files rulebook, which includes all the improvements to date.

There is a new version funded on Kickstarter, Fate Core. Fate Core is essentially content-complete (as of March 2013), but not quite sent to press yet. They're still taking last-minute corrections and suggestions, but there won't be any major gameplay changes. Fate Core is based strongly on FATE 3.0, and includes most of the gameplay improvements in Dresden Files, but has been tidied up and rewritten.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's important to mention that many Fate Core ideas were born in the Bulldogs!, the newest Fate game book. \$\endgroup\$
    – illotum
    May 28, 2013 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illotum: True, but I haven't played Bulldogs! and didn't want to guess at what was included. Would you like to edit it in? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tynam
    May 29, 2013 at 12:31

The core Fate system, which is not the same thing as Fate Core, has not existed as a separate, independent game system since Fate 2.0. This is the (*ahem*) core of why Fate versions are confusing.

The "core" of Fate is something that had been evolving inside other games for the past decade. Spirit of the Century used Fate 2.0 and built on it. Dresden Files RPG further developed the central Fate system, but is not under an open license like SotC is. That's why the SotC SRD has been considered the core reference implementation of Fate – it's the most recent version of Fate that is available under an open license. Some people call the system at the heart of DFRPG "Fate 3.0", but Fate 3.0 is not an independent thing that exists outside of a specific game.

Various other Fate games that are not made by Evil Hat are based on the version of Fate in the SotC SRD, and are offshoots of the system, evolutionarily speaking. Diaspora, Legends of Anglerre, Strands of Fate and others are not using or examples of core Fate system, but do contain ideas that have influenced Evil Hat's work on the core system.

There is currently no core Fate system more recent than Fate 2.0 (very old) or the version that can be extracted from the SotC SRD (still pretty old). Shortly there will be Fate Core, which will incorporate the developments since SotC and will be the next version of standalone Fate. Once it is published, it will be effectively "Fate 4", except that Evil Hat isn't using that numbering scheme because it causes confusion.


There are a few more implementations of FATE than listed here. Fred Hicks has seen what versions he could find and put good overview of the five biggest branches plus a significant amount of minor versions and their dependencies in his blog. The blog post is from 2011, so some versions will be missing (in particular FATE Core is not on there, but would be part of the first set of Core FATE/Fate 3), but it gives a nice overview of the flavours of FATE out there and tries to reduce the amount of confusion when talking about “FATE”.


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