Fate: Gear levels and aspects


In Fate, even equipment items have Aspects.

In most RPGs, weapons and armor have individual stats, armor values, features, damage types etc…

Fate, on the other hand, elegantly handles in two ways: with a number from 1 to 4 and with Aspects.

The Rating System

The simple rule to show how effecting weapons and armor are is to give them a rating from 1 to 4.

  • 1 is stuff like dagger, brass knuckles, improvised weapons and light armor
  • 2 is short blades, clubs, bows or pistols and medium armor
  • 3 covers most swords, maces or other 1-handed weapons, crossbows, rifles and heavy armor
  • 4 is reserved for large, 2-handed weapons, power weapons or heavy weaponry. Only the rarest full plate or Power Armor is in this category.

For weapons, the numbers outlined above give you a bonus to your attack on a success or a tie. Thus a weapon with a higher rating will always give you an advantage, even on a tie with someone else. To give you an idea: even on a tie, a weapon:4 hit will take out 4 average goons in one attack phase.

For armour, the number deducts from the number of the weapon. So a weapon:2 hit against armor of 2 will be reduced to nothing.

Keep in mind that there’s a significant difference between different items at the same number “level”. A sub-machine gun and a crossbow are both at level 3, but there’s a big difference between how they work and how effective they are. Also, an expertly crafted sabre built by a master will have the same level as a dirty wooden club.

These differences in quality and effectiveness are handled with Aspects.

Gear Aspects

The most important Aspect is Primitive vs. Not-primitive.

As mentioned above, a crossbow and a tommy-gun are both level 3 weapons, but the former is Primitive and the latter is not. In a gun fight, the tommy-gun wielder will be at a huge advantage.

On top of that, there are many other aspects that come into play.

For equipment and tools, they would have aspects like:

  • Grappling Hook: Reach High Places
  • Multi-Key: Open Any Lock
  • Stealth Cloak: Hide in Plain Sight

Weapons and Armor work in similar ways:

  • Medieval Long Sword: Primitive, Long reach
  • Lasgun: Sturdy, Reliable
  • Bolter: Loud and Explodey, Expensive Ammo
  • Chainsword: Scary, Cuts through anything, Power source
  • Leather Armor: Light, Easy to Repair
  • Plate Armor: Super Tough, Clumsy
  • Space Marine Power Armor: MEGA tough, Power source

This will make more sense when I outline how combat works. It is VERY simple and elegant, trust me!