I am shortly going to be starting a game of Fate with my friends, using either Fate Core or Fate Accelerated Edition (hereafter just “Core” and “Accelerated”). I am well aware they are both the same system underneath: some modifications are made between the two, and the complexity dials are tuned differently. However, the various differences are somewhat major:

  • Some features have their dials turned to different settings: Skills vs Approaches, the complexity levels suggested for stunts, and the differences in how the stress track & consequences function.
  • Some features are present or absent. For instance, in Core, players can spend a fate point to declare a story detail.

Core and Accelerated are naturally going to have some difference in the gameplay experiences on offer, due to the various mechanical differences between the two versions. Depending on the sort of campaign I want to run, either Core or Accelerated may be more suitable. However... I’m not sure how the two versions’ differences will impact gameplay.

So: how does the gameplay experience differ between Core and Accelerated? Especially, how does it affect the way the players make decisions?

I am looking especially for answers which compare the two versions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not quite a duplicate of how do fate core and fae differ in purpose... but VERY close. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Jul 8, 2013 at 7:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aramis Related, and sounds similar, but is a very different question. :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2013 at 8:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener - I've seen more disparate closed by the mods as "duplicates"... far to often. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Jul 8, 2013 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aramis I'll put it this way: I'm not sure the sorts of answers Problematic intended to receive, but what it received was explanations about the various mechanical differences between the rule sets. What I am wondering about is: given those differences, how's that affect behaviour, gameplay and storytelling? The only answer in Problematic's question to touch on that is yours (which it does briefly). In your answer here, the two lists are helpful in that they provide a concise summary of the differences - but the two paragraphs at the end contain the sort of information I am really after. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2013 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Point of information: Fate Accelerated also allows 3–5 Stunts on a standard character. However, as it's the accelerated edition, they recommend that characters start with as few as one stunt defined in order to get playing faster. In fact, they also recommend that characters start with as few stunts as the least experienced Fate gamer at the table, just so every character is on an even footing. Thus it's possible to start at zero. Characters that start with one stunt are entitled to take two more free later. It's after buying that third stunt that the PC has to start spending Refresh. (I t \$\endgroup\$
    – user8863
    Jul 12, 2013 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Point by point comparison

Fate Core

  • skill driven - characters competency is in specific fields of endeavor.
  • Stress track increases from base with certain skills and certain stunts, thus not all are equally able to take stress
  • Separate Physical and Mental stress tracks, plus optionally, Wealth, Magic, and Karma stress tracks.
  • PC's by default start with one skill at Great (+4)
  • 3 background related aspects. Plus up to 2 more of personal choice.
  • Background created collaboratively
  • 3-5 stunts

Fate Accelerated Edition

  • approach driven - character competency is in how the task is approached, not in specific fields.
  • Everyone has the same sized stress track and same number of consequence slots; everyone is thus equally able to take stress.
  • one unified stress track.
  • No PC starts better than good at anything.
  • a high concept aspect, a trouble aspect, and 1-3 other aspects.
  • No background required
  • One stunt.


Fate Core

Fate core is somewhat grittier; characters are distinguished by skills and stunts as well as aspects, and can have widely different resistance to various kinds of stress. It's more "realistic" in that way. It's also more involved, and focuses on group collaboration.

Fate Accelerated

More cinematic. Characters differentiated primarily by their aspects and stunts, and are much more broadly competent, but less likely to be particularly skilled in any given area. Also, due to the ability to do character generation alone, the party need not generate together, so it's better for drop-in/drop-out campaigns and one-shots.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, this is useful. I would like to point out however that FAE characters get up to three stunts for free, rather than just one, and can have up to two extra (for a total of five stunts) if they sacrifice refresh points for them on a one-for-one basis. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2013 at 8:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Check FAE page 11; it's a bit murkier than that. "By default, FAE suggests choosing one stunt to start with." Your Refresh is only reduced after the first three stunts, but by the book you don't start with that unless everyone in the group wants to. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jul 8, 2013 at 11:35

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