Similar to FUDGE, Fate maps out difficulty on a verbal scale ranging (as written) from "-2 Terrible" to "+8 Legendary", and handles rolls with six-sided dice labelled "[+][+][ ][ ][-][-]". Unlike FUDGE, Fate gives each character a long list of skills and defaults all of them to "0 Mediocre" apart from any skills the character is supposed to be good at. These can be used among four general actions—attacking, defending, overcoming obstacles, or creating an advantage.
These rules become more fast and loose with "Aspects" and "Stunts". Aspects are short phrases that describe noteworthy things about either a character or a scene, which can be invoked at the cost of a Fate Point to grant either a re-roll or a +2 bonus to the result. On the flipside, Aspects can also be "compelled" by offering whoever has the aspect a Fate Point at the cost of having something bad happen to them that's related to the aspect. Stunts, meanwhile, are (by default) pre-determined abilities written out in a list in the book that grant characters specific benefits.
Fate has had many iterations over the course of the 2000s, with the first two editions both seeing releases in 2003 and the third edition appearing in 2006 with Spirit of the Century, with other iterations in the meantime such as The Dresden Files. However, the version people are most likely to be talking about is the 2013 iteration known as Fate Core (or alternatively, its more streamlined version, Fate: Accelerated Edition). Given the setting-flexible nature of the system, there have been many different settings for this particular version of Fate published throughout the RPG market, both first-party and third-party. A lot of the in-house settings were published across the four Fate Worlds compilation books, while standalone settings are available on Evil Hat's Fate Worlds directory.
The full rule SRD is available here, with the full book providing more setting advice and artwork.
Games released using the Fate engine:
- Achtung! Cthulhu (2016) - The Cthulhu Mythos in a World War II setting. (Versions for the 2D20, PDQ, Savage Worlds and GUMSHOE rulesets exist.)
- Apotheosis Drive X (2015) - Real Robot-centric Humongous Mecha space opera set during a period where human technology has reached an extremely advanced philosophical question-provoking stage.
- Atomic Robo (2014) - Sci-fi action setting based on the webcomic of the same name.
- Base Raiders (2013) - Scavenging in the bases of departed superheroes.
- Breakfast Cult (2016) - an occult high school where the discovery of magic secretly has sinister beginnings.
- Bulldogs! (2015) (originally released for the d20 System, but later editions used Fate 3.0 and Fate Core) - Grimy comedic sci-fi.
- Cloudrunner (2023) - Steampunk fantasy adventures in a world in the sky.
- The Dresden Files (2010) - Supernatural mystery investigation
- Dresden Files Accelerated (2017) - The same, but streamlined.
- Eclipse Phase: Transhumanity's Fate (2016) - A supplement for converting transhumanist sci-fi RPG Eclipse Phase to Fate Core's rules.
- Ehdrigohr (2013) - Set in a Constructed World based on multiple Native American mythologies.
- Fate of Cthulhu (2020) - At least one player character has travelled back in time using the power of Yog-Sothoth and teams up with the other players to prevent the future rise of an Eldritch Abomination.
- Icons (2017) - A combination of Fate and Mutants & Masterminds in terms of both rules and settings.
- Mecha vs. Kaiju (2014) Humongous Mecha fighting off giant monsters. (Alternative version exists using the True20 rules)
- Mindjammer (2014) - Transhuman Space Opera. Best described Eclipse Phase meets Traveller. (An alternate version exists for the Traveller ruleset)
- Shadow of the Century (2019) - 80s action movie setting, and sequel to the below-mentioned Spirit of the Century.
- The Small Folk (2015) - Wainscot Society Urban Fantasy starring tiny humanoids.
- Spirit of the Century (2006) - Pulp adventure starring characters from classic literature.
- Venture City (2016) - Superheroes in a cyberpunk setting.
- Wearing the Cape (2017) - Superhero setting based on the novel series of the same name.