I just introduced my gaming group to Fate, and some of the players have expressed interest in the Dresden Files RPG. I understand that Fate Core has introduced some changes and refinements to the game, relative to the version used for Dresden Files. I'd like to know the benefits and risks of playing DFRPG with newer Fate Core rules. Specifically:

  • What does Fate Core change about the system that would improve or streamline game play?
  • Are there any “gotchas” or Fate Core rules to avoid when playing DFRPG?
  • Overall, is mixing the two systems a good idea or more trouble than it's worth?

Because my group has only played Fate Accelerated, I don't need to worry about “unlearning” rules from DFRPG, which is one of the usual obstacles to system upgrades. Likewise, I'm not too worried about cosmetic and terminology changes, like how they renamed tags to free invocations, but it would be helpful to know about them so that they don't trip me up.

Update: In researching this question, I have found a few partial conversion guides online. Along with my general points above, comments on the usefulness of these guides (or lack thereof) would also be helpful:

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Not worth an answer, but one option is to wait. Evil Hat is planning to update Dresden Files, and even make an Accelerated version of it. That doesn't help us now, but if someone looks at this question in around a year, they might be better served checking for an official version. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgneusJotunn While it's not an option for starting a game in the near future, it's a reasonable answer for folks thinking more long-term. You should post an answer (with links to the official announcements). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Official Dresden Files Accelerated page is evilhat.com/home/dresden-files-accelerated. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


In the Fate Core rulebook, there's a section called the Veteran's Guide on p.294. That's a good place to start for differences, but it turns out it's even easier than that. On the G+ Fate Core community, someone compiled the rules changes from Fate Core to Dresden Files.

I thought this was rather light, but after playing, I can tell you that this distilled document is pretty much the complete list of changes, though one bit did throw me off. In the document, its stated that spin is no longer optional; it's a bit simpler than that. I suppose that the author was trying to define things so that people could see it using completely the DFRPG rules. That part is actually distilled down to the fact that there are four outcomes (which distills spin). There is also succeed with a cost, which definitely has opened up some avenues in my own experiences in Dresden Files.

There's also the simplified actions- those being Attack, Defend, Overcome, and Create an Advantage. A couple of things that were also left out from the Veteran's guide - the fact that aspects can be invoked in new ways: teamwork, to give another character +2 to roll vs. relevant opposition, and most importantly to me, to create or fortify an obstacle, i.e. give +2 to active opposition, or create opposition if it was not already there.

A couple of things that are left out which we had already started using, but others may not have. Zone borders are replaced by situational aspects. This is very important, and we had started to use those in any case in my game. What this lets you do is play without maps, and it's very helpful in other realms, as I found even defining zones when in the NeverNever to be a bit limiting. Supplemental actions and skill modifiers are removed- and we'd already done so.

There's also one rule from Fate Core that I did institute to help even more. I found that the focus on fewer aspects in Fate Core was definitely a good change, and after talking with my players, we were able to pare down our aspects. They didn't begrudge the change, and it didn't really limit them, but it does take conversation, as it does, on the surface, seem like you're losing something.

As far as whether it's worth it, in the end, I've made several other changes that fit together with Fate Core a lot more, so it was definitely worth it to me. In the Pros columns just in general, Fate Core is much clearer and definitely better written IMO. In the Cons column, there's a lot to Dresden Files that isn't really in Fate Core, so you're going to need two books for rules. But other than those two details, it really depends on what you're comfortable with. There's no inherent dissimilarities that would make it a no-go, and I think that was done on purpose. Even though Fate Core is said to be the ground zero of a generic Fate system, it really is iterative, and there aren't really any incompatibilities that I've found.

UPDATE: Looking at the additions in the question, there are some interesting ideas there. But other than a couple of things from the skills, I probably wouldn't use them. In the end, my particular flavor of Dresden Files has gone more narrative. If I don't need it for the narrative, I don't sweat it. Both the tweaks and the Evocation seem like they add a lot of complexity for its own sake, when Dresden Files is already complex enough. And they don't really add anything that the ballparking it from the rules of Fate Core and ignoring the rest do. For example, the rules about moving zones haven't really come into play a whole lot in my game- mostly because the whole zone thing has been one of the weakest parts to me. The situational aspects of the scene help a whole lot more with making zones narrative, and since adding them, my RCI (Red Court Infected) in my game has actually felt a lot faster as opposed to the movement through zones, and the others have actually not stumbled over the use of zones as much- it's just organic now.

There are some good ideas in there- I'd just try to look at the flip side of what you're giving up. Fate Core to a large extent is just more intuitive to me. And in taking that same philosophy in my translation and in my moderation, things have started going a lot faster since I've been integrating them, and we've made a lot more actual narrative progress.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the update! I think those conversion guides would make more sense if I knew the DFRPG rules better. :) I get the impression that they're trying to preserve DFRPG crunch as much as possible while translating to things like the universal four action types. I also favor keeping things fast and loose though, so your take on it is helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it's a dumb question, but what is an "RCI"? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 1:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Scrollmaster - Red Court Infected \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 3:00

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