So recently I dipped my feet into running FATE for the first time. After playing many sessions of FATE and three campaigns of the amazing Dresden Files RPG. So as I set to reading the FATE rules for the first time as a GM I began giving much thought on what kind of game and setting I wanted to run. I quickly picked up FATE Freeport and thumbed through it. It offered several things that I found appealing.
First of all it was as much like D&D as you were going to get. Now I did not set out thinking I was going to run D&D by another name. But for your first game of FATE D&D is about as old hat for me as I can get as I have been running it now off and on for 30 years. The first thing I noticed with Freeport is how it was tooled to feel as much like an old school D&D game as they could make it.
With only six skills in FATE Freeport and those being STRENGTH, DEXTERITY,CONSTITUTION,INTELLIGENCE,WISDOM,CHARISMA.
With this set up the game immediately has an old school feel to it. If you want to leap over a table roll a Dex check.. need to shoot an apple off your friends head. Roll a Dex check it really takes calls to the heart of old school D&D.
Now FATE Freeport does not have classes but the use of High Concept like any other FATE CORE game. But this does not distract from its D&D feel in any way. In fact it frees the players up to be much more than just a class. Now they truly begin to take on the roll of a class instead of being confined within a class. Race is handled much the same way. If you want to be of a certain race you include that in your high concept.
Your Aspects are your catch-all. They are there so that you can further define your race or class, motivations. This gives the players a wide range of freedom that many players might not be used to in a Dungeons and Dragons style of game.
Stunts are a great way to emulate special abilities, feats, magical powers. You can also use them to represent spell-like abilities, or you can make up spells as well as use ones provided in the FATE Freeport book.
As to the game play, It moves fast and smooth like any other FATE game. And when you find yourself at the table regularly calling for skill rolls based on old school D&D attributes you really slide easily into the mindset that this is much like any other D&D RPG. But the difference here is that once you actually get into combat. Much like many FATE system games including Dresden files. In FATE Freeport one is not required to have a dedicated healer in a game unlike Dungeons & Dragons where one is indeed needed.
This makes for a refreshing element to your fantasy game. Suddenly everyone at the table is now free to make and play the character that they want. No one is stuck with the part’s proverbial “band-aid”.
For me the largest pro was the surprisingly old school feel I got from playing Fate Freeport. As well as the with the lack of emphasis of a need for a player to be a healer in system. This alone allows for far more versatility at the table. Now granted you will likely want some form of healing at the table. But there is no reason why any spellcaster could not have a healing spell if they should choose to go down that route. After all this is FATE not D&D so you can decide at the table just who can or can not heal.
The FATE wound track system leaves you ripe for a more gritty compelling story with the potential of injury’s staying with players for more than a scene or two as well. This also bring us to Physical and Mental damage. You may have a player healthy as a horse but shaken out of his mind where this is not nearly as well represented in D&D.
Fate Freeport also has an intersting option for casters as well to help keep them in check at the table if you chose to add it to your game. It definitely feels more dark and Lovecraftian with it and Really helps knock home the Freeport setting. Taint: Corruption & Madness, This is a place where man is not meant to use magic and in choosing to do so comes at a hefty cost. These are not things that are taken lightly in the setting and help make the setting shine.
If I would say there is a con I would say the one true con of this setting book is that is just digest size and even at 185 pages this book could have been 100 pages more and you still will want more. The good news here is with FATE being such a flexible system. Pretty much any other Freeport resource you will find should be easily adaptable to this rule set. They even go so far as providing you examples of how to convert D20 based material to FATE.
Simply put if you have played the FATE system and you enjoy Fantasy. You need this product and you should give it a play. If you have been looking to step away from the D20 system products yet still want to play in a fantasy setting that feels old school at its core. You need to get this system.
It’s tremendous that they took the time to help guide you in the process of converting other D20 source material for your Fate games. Simply put if you like FATE and you’re a fan of Freeport this is hands down a MUST OWN product.
I know Paizo put out a Freeport book recently or around the same time in hardback and color. If this would have had that extra production quality and been a full-sized color hardback with maps ( I know they offered a map in the KS) I would likely rank this book at a 19 or potentially a 20.
DTRPG Fate Freeport
Amazon Fate Freeport
Evil Hat Productions Fate Freeport