This question started out tagged and . It was retagged with just , and then the two original tags were re-added.

Now, as I understand it Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition are unique game systems running on the FATE engine. Although Core is the current "official" version of the engine and Accelerated is its DSL brother, they are discrete and separate from games like and , which also run on the FATE engine.

So when a question like the one linked above, which was inspired by experience in Fate Core and/or FAE but is equally applicable without modification or adjudication to just about any game running on the FATE engine...

How the hayfeathers do we tag a universal question?

If we're tagging it and , it feels like we might as well pile on other game-specific tags like until it fills up. Clearly that is silly.

But just tagging it seems... sparse and suboptimal for people searching for help on the issue.


4 Answers 4


We should consider relegating to being a super-tag for Fate games, but prefer to use the tags for specific published RPGs like , , and instead.

Why? Because I've had enough experiences answering a question tagged "fate" with what I thought was a canonical answer, only to find that it was specific to a particular book I was familiar with, to realise that there is no such singular thing we can call "Fate". I've had this happen with when I was answering based on Diaspora, and I've had this happen with when answering based on Dresden Files RPG, to mention only two. The fact of the matter is that there is no "Fate RPG", only a family of Fate games, each different in exactly the sort of details that we get questions about.

This is analogous to our tag: rarely can we properly answer a question based on merely "it's a d20 game", since our answers are almost always going to be specific to whichever game the asker is actually playing, whether it's D&D 3e, 3.5e, Pathfinder, or one of the myriad games derived from the d20 SRD. (And to drive it home more, D&D 4e is technically a "d20 system" game! Just like Strands of Fate is a "Fate system" game; yet both are their own, entirely distinct beasts from their distant siblings.)

This is exactly the situation we find ourselves in with Fate games: we need to know which game you're playing, since an answer about (e.g.) who gets spent Fate points is going to depend on which published book you're using to play. (Example: the answer to What happens to the fate point after a character invokes an aspect? (DFRPG) is different from the answer to Who can earn fate points from invoking attached aspects? (Fate Core) due to changes in how the GM handles Fate points.) Since the corner cases are the sort of things we get questions about, it makes more sense to treat as a rarely-used tag for questions that apply to every game, and to prefer RPG-specific tags for all other questions.

Effectively, what has happened is that Fate has just gone through the same process that GURPS did in 1986: something that was previously published as an embedded system in other games has been published as a stand-alone generic RPG. (What eventually became GURPS began as a book named Man to Man in 1985.) The only difference is that there's such a volume of "Fate" games that came before that we've got mental habits about how "Fate" relates to all these RPGs, mental habits that are no longer accurate and don't agree with reality.

Fate Core has an entirely different relationship to other Fate games than what we previously called "Fate" does: "Fate" as we knew it is a sort of amalgamation of inferences about the "core" system of multiple distinct, disagreeing RPGs. And worse, which RPG we used as the authority when books disagreed kept shifting, changing the answers to questions as our guesses about this nebulous "fate system" had to adjust. Now, Fate Core is the authority on what the Fate (analogous to GURPS) system actually is, but it's still a distinct game from its parent RPGs, Spirit of the Century and Dresden Files RPG. Answers for Fate Core are no more applicable to "Fate" as we knew it, or to DFRPG, than answers for Pathfinder are applicable to D&D 3.5e or AD&D: i.e., answers for one only apply to the other where they just so happen to agree or where importing rules makes sense, but each game is its own master and doesn't change its RAW based on the other. As time goes on, Fate Core will become the basis for new specific RPGs, but each will differ by how they use and change the rules in Fate Core, just like how games based on the d20 SRD are different from D&D 3.5e, and questions about them can almost never be answered based on knowing D&D 3.5e. This new status for Fate Core as "first among equals" will be more obvious as time goes on, but we can start rearranging how we think of Fate games now.

So, to repeat myself, due to this fundamental shift in the relationship structure of the Fate games, we should tag questions according to which RPG is being played (Fate Core, DFRPG, SotC, Diaspora, Legends of Anglerre, etc.), and leave the general tag for questions that are truly applicable to all Fate games, such as How to explain stress tracks to new players and the question about escalating Aspect invocation that kicked off this discussion.

The disadvantage of tagging this way is that you can't track all Fate-based games now just by subscribing to the tag, but then, who subscribes to and expects to get all questions about D&D 3.5e, 4e, and Pathfinder? I think we will actually find separating the games from the tag to be valuable, since we will stop seeing so many answers that are wrong simply because someone is answering based on their experience with a different Fate game.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 - you explained what had been bugging me about the situation a lot better than I was communicating it! \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, this nails it. (Glad my answer prompted the right discussion, but this is a better solution - it gets to a similar place, but explains exactly why in ways that I was failing to.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tynam
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 7:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe there should be a fate-philosophy tag? There are many questions that aren't so much about the rules as the general FATE approach, and the impression I get is that this is shared between the games even when the rules specifics differ. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @starwed Cross-game stuff would go under [fate], though renaming it is a possibility. I was thinking of [fate-family], but I'm not sure it's necessary. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 22:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Renaming is necessary if you don't want folk to tag every FATE question with it! :) Remember it'll be the first thing to come up when someone starts typing FATE into the tag box. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 22:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @starwed Maybe, maybe not. Most of our questions come from regulars, so it won't take long for everyone to start using the more specific tags. New user questions will need retagging, but that's almost always necessary already. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 22:56

To build on SevenSidedDie's excellent answer: The various Fate games have a lot in common when it comes to system design, philosophy, GM advice, social issues, etc., but mechanically they vary in subtle and significant ways.

If I'm playing a specific Fate game, I'm going to want the mechanical aspects of answers to relate to that specific game, whether I'm asking a question or browsing them. Therefore, if a question is likely to have (at least some) answers rooted in interpreting or tweaking the mechanics, I would prefer to tag it with , , etc. At the same time, if answers are likely to include general GM advice or system design issues, the more general tag is a good idea.

In the case of the question under discussion, I would expect most answers to have more of a GM-advice nature, so the tag is appropriate. However, I can also easily imagine answers based in rule interpretation or tweaking, and for those answers it's important to know whether Problematic is playing versus .

While that does weaken the general tag, I don't think it's quite so bad as reducing it to the status of a meta-tag.


I'm actually inclined to leave it at . While I agree it seems a little sparse, it's discoverable enough for generic Fate questions (like the one that prompted this) - the user will either start typing "fate" or "fate-core"; either way they'll find the tag.

World-specific questions will inevitably gain their system tag as well as the generic tag; I propose the usual scoping rules - delete if the question is entirely about the world or mechanics unique to it, keep it if the question applies to Fate mechanics in general. (I expect several juicy new Fate game-specific tags later this year...)

The biggest downside to this proposal is not the tag itself, but that its existence makes slightly less discoverable.

I suspect that over time, and are going to become synonymous, with and even becoming effectively a subset of . When this occurs, we can retag and merge . But that's definitely premature right now.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1. [fate-core] hasn't replaced our more general [fate] tag. If/when it does, we cross that bridge when it's relevant. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 16:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds good to me. (DFRPG is being retooled for FAE next year, but I know of no plans to make it Core-compliant; DFRPG is so crunch-heavy that a middle ground like Core wouldn't make a lot of sense.) \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ If this is the case, then fate-core seems redundant. Either we're versioning or we aren't, IMO. There really wasn't a generic fate before fate-core came out. Fate-accelerated seems a different beast, but unless Fate was referring to the prior edition (sort of like the D&D tags) Fate-core is rather redundant. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - To expand on my prior comment- in the case of settings specific implementations of fate, you either tag them for the setting, if its a question specific to the setting, or fate if it isn't, or fate + setting if its both. With Fate-core, there isn't a setting- so every question along those lines would by necessity need to be tagged fate and fate-core, making fate-core redundant as there's no setting specific items; everything is related to fate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 17:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 Interesting. I don't consider [dresden-files] a setting tag, but a game tag. Perhaps we should reconsider [fate] as a system tag, and instead only have game tags? Seeing as there is so much variance between games, a generic system tag might actually not be sensible, and it would solve our tagging problem to only tag with the game in question / specific implementations of Fate. So [fate] becomes analogous to the (little-used) [d20] tag, while [fate-core] becomes analogous to [dnd-3.5e] and [dresden-files] analogous to [wheel-of-time-rpg]. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - I guess that the reason that I consider dresden a setting tag is that the differences between it and SotC and Fate-Core are very minimal as someone distilled them down for reverse engineering, and they are less than a page. I do think that your solution is pretty elegant no matter what you call it though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 I've made it an answer then. Your comment made something click in my head, and it explains the problem I've had for ages with [fate] as system tag: it has never been a singular system! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 19:03

Use system specific tags for the Fate variant you are playing always, unless your question truly transcends the Fate variant boundaries.

The question about Fate point arms races was about Fate Core and Fate Accelerated. An answer that starts with "Well, Dresden Files has X subsystem which means [useful resolution]..." is not going to be useful or helpful or even relevant to Fate Core/Accelerated. If it can be ported, a good answer should say how it can be ported.

If the issue is relevant to other Fate variants, that doesn't mean we should retag it. People using other Fate variants can learn from this question about this variant. It happens all the time with our D&D tags: people don't retag a question about armor with or because other editions also had similar armor mechanics; that's irrelevant and people from those systems can learn from this 3.5e-specific one. Same thing here: it relevant to other Fate variants and Fate in general, but that doesn't mean we should be retagging it. Use the system tag for the Fate system the player is actually using.

(This pretty heavily overlaps with Bradd and SSD's positions, but I felt it was worthwhile to bring this specifically up and from the asker's perspective)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .