So I just finished reading the Fate Adversary Toolkit and wanted to get my thoughts down. One of the things that I have always liked about Fate Core is the fact that it was easy to lift the ideas presented in it and incorporate them in other games such as the Savage Worlds that is my normal system of choice. One of these days I want to play and or run a Fate system game, but until then I will continue reading those books and seeing what ideas I can lift for use in my games.
The Fate Toolkit Series
This page really just introduces you to what the series that this book belongs to is going to be about. A book on a specific subject, Adversaries in this ones case, that provides tools and suggestions to extend the game on that subject. There are a number of these in the works such as the Fate Horror Toolkit and Fate City Toolkit. You can find the list of books that Evil Hat are currently working on here which includes the various toolkit books (some of which I didn’t know about until I just looked).
This is an introduction to this specific book where the previous page was an introduction to the series of books. It gives you a quick one page rundown of what you are going to find in the book as well as a description of what is considered an Adversary in Fate Core (anything that challenges the characters).
Types of Adversaries
This is the first section and it breaks down adversaries into several types each with some subtypes.
- Enemies with their sub-types of threats, hitters, bosses, and fillers
- Obstacles with their sub-types of hazards, blocks, and distractions
- Constraints with their sub-types of countdowns, limitations, and resistances
Each of these type gets a couple of sentences describing them and the each sub-type gets a paragraph describing the purpose of the sub-type and how it relates to the other sub-types.
The sub-types for enemies are not really surprising. In fact as I think about it they follow a similar breakdown to the player types that are built into most games and were given explicit names in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition. And I have found inspiration in thinking about each of these sub-types for the games that I run.
This chapter is pretty much the meat of the book from a toolkit perspective. It is the second longest chapter and it gives advice for creating each of the sub-types that were described in the previous chapter for use in your game. There is a lot of good information here about combining different types as well as recommendations on which of these to use sparingly. Some of my favorites were the suggestions around the different enemies and the Countdown constraint.
The enemies one because it made me see that there are better ways to build encounters than just using batches of enemies, but to tailor those enemies to fit different roles to make the encounter dynamic.
And for Countdowns, I have been a fan of the Countdown clock from the Apocalypse World Engine since I first read about it in Monster of the Week, and this gave suggestions for using it in a number of different ways with a number of different scales (campaign, adventure, and scene). I see a lot of similarities in this to Apocalypse World Engine Countdown clocks and to the way the Seventh Sea second edition handles Action Sequences.
This chapter gives added suggestions for modeling environments in the game by suggesting different ways to setup the Zones used to depict where things are in relation to each other. Some of these suggestions include making sure that the zones are important and tying mechanics to these zones. The book also gives suggestions on how to encourage the players to interact with the zone in a conflict instead of just ignoring it.
We finish this chapter with a section on different ways to visualize the zones. From the Fate Core book we already had zones as a physical locations and from the Fate System Toolkit we had a section on expanding zones to include Mental and Social conflicts. This book expands the physical zones to include such things as relative zones which are great for chases and similar to what is used in Savage Worlds for chases, and mobile zones. Finally this chapter concludes with a bit on conceptual zones such as being hidden.
For such a short chapter there is a lot of really good ideas that I need to think about how I can include in my games.
This is the final chapter and it is the largest by far. In it you will find a selection of settings each with one adversary set that can be used as either a one shot session, an interlude session, or expanded into a multi-session campaign arc. Each of these comes with enemies, obstacles, and constraints as well as notes on why they were put together the way they are, and how to tweak them. The settings included are Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Pulp Adventure, 80s Action, Space Opera, Spy Thriller, Supers, Post-Apocalyptic, and Regency Romance. All in all this is a huge selection of different types of adversaries and settings needing to be dealt with by violence or by social maneuvering (While Regency Romance is not my thing, the example of a social heavy adversary and how to deal with it was a welcome inclusion in the list of adversaries).
All in all I am really glade that I spent the money to pick up this book and I am looking forward to making use of it. I am going to be examining my next Savage Worlds session through the lens of this book, and at some point I hope to make use of it in this system as well.