I understand the mechanical differences between the two games (notably, approaches instead of skills and a consolidated stress track), but is FATE Accelerated Edition simply meant to be "FATE Core Lite"? That is, is FAE meant to let new players get started with the system quickly while expecting that they will graduate to FATE Core at some point?

If this is not the case, what are the key differences that I should be aware of in my decision-making process as I pick between the two systems for my games? My primary concern is one of whether the added complexity of Core over Accelerated is worth the increased depth that it provides, in terms of storytelling possibilities and narrative pace. With my group's busy schedules, we prefer quickly-resolved conflicts to drawn out brawls, while maintaining some mechanical depth and flexibility in our narratives.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you read the introduction of Fate Accelerated in Fate Core's kickstarter? \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 6:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't; do you have a link? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 6:10
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Why Accelerate Fate? \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 6:18

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't call FAE a "lite" version of Fate because it is a complete game. There aren't any gaps in the ruleset where you have to graduate to the "full" version. FAE does let new players get started quickly, but you could also use FAE to transition a group of habitual Dungeons and Dragons players to Fate.


  • As RPG systems go, Fate Core is on the light side of what I would call "rules-medium". It has a robust skill list that follows the traditional RPG pattern (albeit simplified), which serves to differentiate characters by what they can do. The driving factor in assembling a character sheet is education, and advancement implies further training or practice in the field.

  • Since the skills list is the only really granular part of the central Fate system, simplifying it and abstracting it further makes it very much a rules-light system. The simplified skill list has been renamed and re-themed to express the character's personality. In FAE, what the character can accomplish doesn't matter as much as how the character accomplishes it. Harry Dresden can throw a punch, burn a building down, or intimidate a magical malcontent because all of those things tap into his Forceful personality.

Making the Choice

There are two questions that you should ask:

  1. Do I want characters' skills or their personalities to be more important to how they approach conflicts?

  2. How quickly do I want players to be able to create characters and get into the game?

Those answers should point one way or another.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for I wouldn't call FAE a "lite" version- that's the reason I think they use Accelerated vs. some other term. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I kind of hate that spelling. ;) But yeah, the guys at Evil Hat aren't the types to create training-wheels versions of their own games like White Wolf did for WoD and Exalted. They developed FAE because they thought it would be a cool game and different enough from Fate to warrant a different book. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 7, 2013 at 19:05

From the perspective of someone just entering the world of RPG, and using FAE as my first attempt.

  1. FAE makes frequent references to the Fate manual, particularly in the aspect of being a GM, and to a lessor degree in world creation and other similar facts. It seems to me that the Fate system is complete, and while FAE is mostly complete, it still lacks a small piece that having a good working knowledge of Fate Core is helpful, at least for the GM, if not more.
  2. FAE is complete, and has enough differences from Fate where they can be marketed as two separate products. Particularly, the skills system is much simplified in FAE.
  3. It seems to me that Fate will appeal more to those who like to spill out more details (Skills, etc), which is more likely to appeal to the hard core RPGer off the bat. FAE is in a sense Fate Core Lite, but it is a fully workable system, including ways to do full blown story arcs.
  4. Fate in general seems to be more structured than FAE. It has more formal templates for things (See, for instance, the Game Creation worksheet), while FAE is much more informal.

I've found 5 places, in fact, where FAE refers the reader to Fate Core, which should give you an idea of how FAE feels like it doesn't completely stand up to itself. It should be noted that every instance is about getting more ideas, not about the rules or mechanics, so in effect, FAE is a complete system, just lacking in details.

  1. "For some great advice about how to design the framework of your game, see Game Creation in Fate Core, available for free at www.evilhat.com"
  2. "See “Succeed at a Cost” in Running the Game in Fate Core for more ideas."
  3. "If you’d like to read more about the construction of stunts, see Skills and Stunts in Fate Core."
  4. "If you’d like to read more about the art of GMing Fate, there are several chapters in the Fate Core rules that you should check out: Running the Game, Scenes, Sessions, and Scenarios, and The Long Game are particularly helpful"
  5. "Fate Core has a way of handling this, called mobs (see the “Creating the Opposition” section of the Running the Game chapter in Fate Core)."

Bottom line is, FAE is an easier to use system than Fate Core, but lacks some of the complexity that people who have played multiple RPGs might like. Serious FAE players will likely gain much from reading the chapters of World Creation, being a GM, etc from the Fate Core book, but this isn't completely required. As a new RPGer, I found that I've had to read significant parts of the Fate Core book to better understand FAE, but that I will be using the FAE system in my first attempts, and not mess with the full Fate Core.


Based upon looking at the text, but not the forums...

FAE is not "Fate with Training Wheels." It's a streamlined, fast-to-play version of the core concepts of Fate: The Ladder, 4dF, Aspects, Fate Points. Approaches are simply very broad skills, mechanically, though some people don't see it that way due to the conceptual difference between what you know and how you apply it.

The key difference, Approaches instead of Skills, is mostly about "Who is the character"... It's not "what does he know" but "How is he going to be most effective." This is highly suited for high-action games, and FAE isn't the only such game to use the approach. (For reference, Hollowpoint by VSCA uses a very close approach, calling them Skills; the dice mechanics are quite different, but Brad's also an active Fate Developer - Diaspora is his baby. MWP's Leverage can be seen using similar super broad how do you do it, but calls them Roles.)

Because you're defining how the character interacts, rather than what they know, less tendency to second guess the GM's reactions should be evident.

Likewise, Stunts are simpler in FAE than in Fate Core; further, they serve the same role as Skills in Fate Core - specific competencies.

The differences also include the lack of inter-player involvement in Character generation. This alone speeds starting play considerably - people can generate characters beforehand.

Not having multiple stress tracks doesn't speed play, per se, but does increase the risks of stress. This is good for the high-action dramatic mode that the introduction uses.

FAE can be seen as a lighter-weight game, but since the core elements are functionally the same, it's better to look at it as a "Get to table and play" version. Accelerated is a good term - it's done away with the elements most likely to slow down getting to play: Stunts, Skills, and backstory-driven generation.

FAE is perfectly suited for action heavy, disposable character settings; you've less time and group effort involved in the character at the outset, and can both get to play sooner and can define the details easier for wilder settings.


In terms of storytelling possibilities and narrative pace, Fate and Fate Accelerated Edition are identical.

The underlying systems – which is what is responsible for the way Fate supports narrative roleplaying – are the same. Only details that are relatively minor or irrelevant (to your purpose) are changed, such as skills lists and how quickly characters are created. Aspects are the most important, er, aspect of the system for your purposes, and how they work is not meaningfully different between the two.


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