Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Expanding Fate Approaches

Normally, Fate Accelerated (FAE) uses Approaches instead of abilities and skills.

A few alternatives expand the approaches. This blog post looks at a method to expand approaches.


Approaches are defined as
"there are six approaches that describe how you perform actions."
The six approaches are careful, clever, flashy, forceful, quick, and sneaky.

Approaches vs Abilities (stats) and Skills

I see approaches as already accounting for natural abilities and learned skills mixed together forming "how" a character performs actions, normally separated in other games. A few proposals have attempted to expand or explain the dynamic interaction of approaches

One common expansion of Approaches

Some people expand the approaches by adding modes or categories of skills. These categories sort of mimic skill bonuses to a point. To me, that type of system moves away from what FAE does in the first place. It almost uses the approaches as ability scores.

Bidirectional Approaches

I was interested in expanding the types of approaches. Rather than having one approach, have two polar opposite values for each approach. Having two methods of doing actions might add an interesting dynamic towards storytelling. A character can either do it one of the established methods, or a method opposite of the established method. Doing so would create contrasting methods of doing actions.

Normally, the approaches are unidirectional. As the approach rating increases, it means your character gets better in how they perform the action. However they perform the action in one manner or quality.

Rational of Bidirectional Approaches

When I looked at 'Clever', what came to my mind was that psychology says that there are 'thinkers' and 'feelers'. Thinkers think out their solutions, but feelers follow emotions to solve their problems. Clever, I thought, focuses on thinking rather than feeling. Feeling out solutions isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is just different than thinking.

I then looked at 'Careful'. Careful to me is someone cautious and alert. I thought about the opposite is being carefree and spontaneous. Sometimes it is better not to think about things and just to jump in and act. Sometimes a person can overthink things out and miss opportunities due to delaying action.

'Flashy', although dramatic in groups, doesn't help when a character is in isolation. In fact, a highly flashy character should struggle when there are no people around, like many charismatic social butterflies. Quiet social introverts would thrive when trying to do things on their own. They are self starters.

Does someone always have to be forceful? What about characters that want to heal or be helpful? Someone that doesn't want to be aggressive, rather passive. Someone that is friendly and has higher degrees of friendliness - which isn't the same as charismatic flashy characters that put on a show.

Is being quick always a good thing? Sometimes slow is better. Someone that is accustomed to doing things quick has a difficult time slowing down. They can be impatient. Just as someone slow from the countryside can have trouble speeding up when they go to a major city.

While sneaky and deception is good for backstabbers, sometimes being upfront, direct, and to the point is better, calling out battles and confrontations. Direct people get to the point and don't skirt issues.

Basic model of Bidirectional Approaches

  • alert/casual, for careful
  • brainy/instinctive, for clever
  • social/lone-wolf, for flashy
  • hostile/friendly, for forceful
  • speedy/slow, for quick
  • deceptive/direct, for sneaky

Psychological basis - Meyer's Brigg & Five Factor

careful - sensing 
clever - thinking/feeling conscientious
flashy - extrovert/introvert - extroversion
forceful - perceiving - agreeableness

I consider two additional Approaches to complete a standard psychological model.

adaptable/unchanging, for innovative. 
based on - intuitive - openness

willful/crazy, for stable. 
based on - judging - neuroticism

A Bidirectional Approach model

careful - alert/casual
clever - brainy/instinctive
flashy - social/lone-wolf
forceful - hostile/friendly
innovative - adaptable/unchanging
quick - speedy/slow
sneaky - deceptive/direct
stable - willful/crazy

In another post I will continue this proposal continuing to how this model could be used dynamically and how they relate to Fate Core skills.

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