Way back in 2013, I wrote a post called The Simplest RPG. It was an extremely slimmed down RPG with very little mechanics. But it still used dice as a resolution mechanic. Reflecting on the idea again, I decided that I didn’t want the dice. So I set out to create a diceless version. More pondering essentially turned it into a Diceless Fate hack. So here’s that idea.
This game plays a lot like Fate, but with a few changes: 1) remove rolling – always act as if you rolled all blanks. 2) All Aspects always give a +1 if they can be applied to the situation. 3) You typically have a lot more Fate Points. 4) Because of the increased number of Fate Points, 1 Refresh gives 3 Fate Points.
That last point goes off the idea that Refresh is pretty much the same as usual. You could instead triple the amount of Refresh, giving 1 Fate Point per Refresh, causing Stunts to cost 3 Refresh, then.
Some Variants on the Basic
If you wish to simplify some, you can reduce the maximum bonus of Skills to 2 or 3 and remove Stress. Personally, I’d try that. Keep the same number of Skills, with the “pyramid” being seven Skills at +1 and three at +2.
If you’re doing Approaches, you could have two at +2, three at +1, and one at +0 while removing Stress.
Resolving an Action
When you attempt to resolve an action, you simply compare numbers. You get a +1 for every Aspect (including Game Aspects, Situation Aspects, Boosts, etc.) that applies to what you’re trying to accomplish. Luckily, this means you even get +1 per Consequence on an enemy, if they apply. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to have Consequences than most enemies, which means they’ll get to use the bonus against you more than you against them. If you want to get a higher result, you can invoke Aspects as well for additional +1s. As a last resort, you can take a Mild Consequence to get a tied result, if you can justify it narratively.
Additional Bonus Increase: Time
This was something in older versions of Fate: the Time Ladder. To simplify it, though, you can double the amount of time an action takes to gain a +1. As always, it has to make narrative sense for extra time to give you a better chance. This bonus can theoretically be gained infinitely (increasing the amount of time by the original amount – getting a +3 boost quadruples the total time), but almost all situations have some sort of time limit where something bad will happen after a while.
If the GM cannot come up with something to happen from it taking too long, or dealing with the consequences would slow the game down too much, the GM can cap off the amount of time bonus you can take, including making that cap 0.
This can be done in combat too, if it makes sense. This is sort of like automatically succeeding in creating an Aspect with Create Advantage, but with no chance at getting two free invokes, and the bonus cannot be shared with other characters. Only you can use it.
What do you guys think? Comment below and let me know.