Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: Dresden Files Accelerated

While I had been aware of FATE because of Evil Hat's Spirit of the Century, their publication of the Dresden Files RPG is what hooked my interest in their company. Sadly, I find FATE (Core) far too complex for what, to me, is supposed to be a rules-lite game. Thankfully, the Hats made a version of FATE (Accelerated Edition) more to my liking and decided to create Dresden Files Accelerated for those in the same boat.

I'm reviewing the PDF version which clocks in at 256 pages and it's art, layout, and funny bits are as well done as their previous 3 efforts. Evil Hat knows how to make an appealing visual product and this project is no different.

The book is up to date through Jim Butcher's Skin Game and is chock full of spoilers if you have not read the novels or are behind.

For those unaware, Harry Dresden is a Wizard in Chicago's phone book, wizard who finds trouble at least as well as trouble finds him. He often works with the police, though in fairness the police are often working against him to. He faces spirits, fae, vampire, werewolves, and all kinds of things are not supposed to exist and his life is about as easy or as pleasant as any other gumshoe from your favorite down-on-his-luck detective yarn.

Fate Accelerated is a stripped down version of FATE Core that reduces the Skill Pyramid down to 6 Approaches (Flair, Focus, Force, Guile, Haste, Intellect), fewer Aspects, and fewer Stunts.

Most of the book explains, fairly in-depth, the world that Harry inhabits (which is usually trying to kill him, though often because of a choice he made) and the rules by which it operates.

A major component to Dresden Files Accelerated are Mantles, which are bundles of Stunts and Conditions (which determine how quickly you regain access to that Stunt after using them) and really help you quickly find your place in Dresden's world. They are things like Clued-In Mortal, Criminal, Magical Practitioner, Knight of the Cross, Werecreature, Summer Court Fae, or Red Court Vampire. They also provide optional Stunts that you may take that lowers your Refresh. The FATE system uses FATE points that allow you to get a bonus on a roll, tag an Aspect (to get a bigger bonus on a roll), change the scene of the game, or Compel someone to do something (or prevent the GM from compelling you to do something). Refresh is how many FATE points you regain after an appropriate amount of time.

The Stress Track (Mental and Physical Hit Points) is also treated differently, with your base Track each simply having a 1 in each box to represent 1 Stress and not requiring you to mark a particular box based on the amount of Stress. In traditional FATE, if I take 3 Stress and and I have 4 boxes, I would mark the 3rd box to the right. Under Dresden Files Accelerated, if I take 3 Stress and I have 4 boxes of Stress with a 1 in each, I can mark any 3 I want. It's a simple change that smoothes over a small learning curve. Each character also has an In Peril box which counts as 4 Stress and a Doomed box which counts as 6 Stress. Lastly, there are Indebted boxes to check, as well.

Pros If you love FATE or rules-lighter games. If you love the Dresden Files. If you want rules for Modern Fantasy that can be easily kit-bashed.

Cons It's not as rules-lite as it could be.

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