Well, yesterday my player and I were running a game, and I have to say: we had fun with it... to a point.

The whole game was good in the way it looked like watching an Anime Show on our heads, it took us two hours but it was very action-filled and dynamic, with his characters (he's running 4 ATM) kicking butts here and there... however the last battle was mostly anti-climatic; the characters faced a Necromancer Demon princess who was supposed to be strong and a pain in the butt to defeat, however they managed to get over her by my player since he spammed the +3 Apporaches they had.

He explained to me how they got used, but still some of them (specially Flashy attacks) seemed to be "broken" in my opinion, since we could EASILY debate if the approach was energic or flashy, and we've had NASTY arguments about Approaches before. He uses many other aspects when outside combat, but during combat he's mostly trying to justify why the higher aspects can be used turning some battles into cakewalks.

Is this ok?

  • \$\begingroup\$ On an abstract level, this is the same problem as you can have in other games that allow adding bonuses to rolls - you always get people who go out of their way to gather as many +x as they can possibly and impossibly justify. There are two straightforward solutions for the GM: (1) Disallow it when it goes overboard, and (2) make the difficulty of the encounter such that players need every little bonus they can get in order to succeed. However, on a fundamental level, your player (and you?) may not fully appreciate one of the key aspects of fate: failure can be interesting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonas
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 Fate Accelerated does make it tempting to focus on your +3 aspect as much as possible. Great question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:02
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not in a position to make this into an answer, so maybe someone else can: this article by Rob Donoghue talks about exactly this problem, why it happens, and the kind of change needed to address it. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not in a position to answer it either, having never run FAE. But I would like to help whoever makes the answer @BESW suggests by pointing out that the article has lots of info, but many of the solutions exist in this comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't you invoke some aspect of your Necromancer Demon Princess and declare that attacking it in certain way will be inefficient? Not all approaches makes sense in every situation. Forcefully attacking a stronger opponent shouldn't work just because it's your best approach. I never finished reading Fate so I can't really answer... \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


Tag with Aspects

Remember NPCs can create advantages, compel aspects, etc. If someone's acting in a very odd way it's likely that other characters can start tagging him with aspects disadvantageous to him. Someone that's doing everything flashy could easily get a "Showing off" situational aspect created on them that makes it easier for people acting sneakily or carefully to beat them in a contest (user can invoke advantage for +2)

That said: Change the Contests Away from their Advantage

When someone defends, the ways they can reasonably go about defending depends on how you attack. Someone has a harder time defending carefully if you're attacking quickly or sneakily, since it takes time to be careful. Similarly, avoid attacking a flashy opponent forcefully or sneakily, since these are the more reasonable times when they could use their preferred approach. Instead: be quick, be clever (the sample text for clever even says "finding a weakness in the opponents swordsmanship")

As a GM, you have every aspect and approach arguing power the player has, and an easier time approving your reasoning since it falls to the GM to approve approaches.

Of course this part relies on you not getting taken out before you have a chance to act, but hopefully your major villain can't be gibbed in a single action, give them stunts to act first or otherwise improve their survivability if you keep getting taken out before you get a chance to act.

Ultimately : Loose rules systems thrive or fail on the resolve of the GM

Basically, FAE's rules can be pushed any which way by someone that talks cleverly or imploringly enough, as the GM though you get to say though whether some reasoning is good or not. Same thing when it comes to aspects and stunts. As you noted, the game can't withstand it very well if someone can use +3 on everything. And if the other players aren't playing that way, it diminishes its value to the game. So you have to say no some times.

From the book :

So your first instinct is probably to pick the action that gives you the greatest bonus, right? But it doesn’t work like that. You have to base your choice of approach on the description of your action, and you can’t describe an action that doesn’t make any sense.

Roleplaying is about keeping things fun and interesting. I've seen sessions be interesting and enjoyable laughfests because everyone was on-board with figuring out how to best solve problems according to their character's styles. If fun is being had, let them be a little crazy (and join in on the crazy with your NPCs), if things aren't being fun, it's time to put the foot down.


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