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I am planning to run a solo Fate game inspired by videogames (Legend of Zelda in particular, since I've been playing that a lot) and their long progression from a no-name hero to a world saviour. It is intended to run for a long while, and as such I'd like to leave a lot of room for character progression during the game. One of the ways I plan to achieve this in is starting the character at a low level - one +2 skill, two +1 skills, three or maybe four aspects (including the core and trouble ones), one or zero stunts. Refresh would stay the same, however.

There's another, albeit small, consideration to the reduction of power and complexity - the player is new to Fate Core and hasn't played a lot of RPGs in general. It would help me ease them into the game, but I know they won't have a problem with a fully-fledged character normally if need be.

Usually starting skills and abilities serve to differentiate different characters within the party, and in this case it won't be a problem. However, I am worried that I haven't foreseen other problems with that approach, such as the player feeling powerless or bored with rolling the same things over and over. So my question is - are there any problems with the approach I presented?

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I would not recommend this approach. Fate is not about zero to hero progression. It's about competent, dramatic, proactive characters. I've run long Fate campaigns with only two players, so while I don't have long-term solo experience, I can extrapolate from a party of two with occasional solo sessions.

The idea that Fate lacks character improvement is bogus - you don't have to worry about a lack of opportunities to develop. PCs at the end of long campaigns are much more capable than they were at the beginning.

There are two things I would suggest you look into instead:

  • A lower initial skill cap - which can be raised via milestones as usual. This will enforce the idea that the new character is a novice with mechanical weight. I would not use a +2 cap, that seems far too limiting. I'm not a hero but I'm good at things I'm good at and can do them under pressure with a reasonable rate of success.
  • Using the fast character creation method so you start with fewer aspects and skills in play, allowing for a sense of growth and discovery as well as limiting the number of items that the player has to keep track of - all skills will be 0 until the player decides to call them out.

If using the fast character creation method, I might even go so far as to limit the number of times per session that something could be filled in on the character sheet - by putting a Fate point cost on it or something. This would serve to extend the early growth period, allowing the player to come to terms with the system at a slower pace as well as extending the sensation of being a novice forced to learn fast to survive.

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