Fate Supers: Initial Thoughts

I was recently asked if I would be trying my hand at writing a Fate Supers implementation of Fate Core/Fate Accelerated. I must admit, I love supers first and foremost and have a hard time creating a game where I don’t imagine how super strength will be implemented (despite the game in question not having super attributes). Writing a supers RPG has always been a dream of mine, and after hearing that Mike Olsen’s Atomic Robo RPG isn’t technically a supers genre book, the answer is a resounding yes! After Jacob Poss and I finish Jadepunk.

Writing a supers game is challenging, and I wouldn’t want to go it completely alone. Suffice it to say that I’ll be asking for help from other developers and probably launching a Kickstarter to pay them (make that definitely!). But besides bringing in the big time developing help, I’d also like to open this up to the community by being as transparent as possible at every stage of creation.

So, onto my initial ideas. Because we need a place to start.

A supers setting requires two major components for success: setting and attributes. Setting is obvious just by looking at Kerberos Club. Setting makes a HUGE difference in how a game is received. But let me explain attributes a little more, because I’m talking to a Fate crowd here.

By attributes, I mean expanding on what is already four primary skills: Athletics, Notice/Empathy/Investigation, Physique and Will. For today, let’s focus on Physique, as that’s usually the problem child in a supers setting (and because I might not include Athletics in the listing, as it’s primary a method for modifying skills, and that’s not what I’m after here).

My thoughts on this are to separate Physique from the skills list and make it a modifier (I’m not going D&D on you, I promise…kinda). Here’s what my thoughts are on Physique’s initial offering.

Super Physique (Strength and Toughness)

  • Starts at +0 for average human, +1 for above average and +2 for exceptional humans. (Goes up to +6-7 for super-humans.)
  • Acts as both your weapon and armor modifiers for close combat. Apply the modifier to your roll as any other weapon mod (Physique 4 = +4 shifts of effect!), but subtract your opponent’s Physique (Physique 4 – Physique 3 = +1 shift of effect). This is a built in tier system comparing apples to apples.
  • Physique is only rolled to against “fortitude” effects (if I can borrow some M&M terminology). If you are hit by a poison or disease (or a half-phased martian or android) roll your Physique as a defense.
  • Acts as a lifting marker (see below for lifting).
  • Acts as passive resistance against opponents trying to overcome advantages you’ve created related to grappling them (if you grab someone and you have Physique 4, they have to roll a 4+ in order to overcome that advantage and wiggle free).
  • Rolled to overcome situation aspects or succeed on challenges related to brute force or endurance.

And that’s about it. Since everyone has it, it’s equal utility all around. Kind of like the power stat in Guild Wars 2.

As for lifting, I’ll be clear: I hate long lists of poundages and relative weights. I hate them because I get obsessed with getting my Spider-man analog to that sweet spot between 5 and 6 tons (which used to be standard for ol’ Spidey, but he’s gone through a lot of power shifts in recent years). To replace those long lists, I’ll borrow from Star Wars Saga Edition and use object sizes instead of weights.

  • Small (Physique 0): A chair, child, dog, etc.
  • Medium (Physique 1): A grown man, couch, park bench, etc.
  • Large (Physique 2): Motorcycle, small automobile, etc.
  • Huge (Physique 3): Sedan, small truck, etc.
  • Gargantuan (Physique 4): Large truck, tank, etc.

And on and on. I won’t go into too much detail because I guarantee those will change benchmarks will change.

Any thoughts on my initial thoughts on super strength?



    1. I was thinking the same. super-strength 5 adds to Physique +1. If super-strength is cancled then a return to normal skills. Power Man and Spiderman have the same super-strength but very different Physique.



      1. I was thinking that it would be a power effect/stunt that Power Man has that allows him to be invulnerable (Defend against physical attacks with Physique). Spidey is still really tough, just not invulnerable.

        I’m loathe to defer all powers to stunts. That is how it’s typically done, but stunts are such a confining space with too many rules dictating how they work. I think it’s better to expound upon the “typical” skills and then apply power effects similarly to how a stunt is put together, for cohesion and balance.

        But maybe a departure from the typical Physique is in order (you’re supposed to customize the skill list to your game, yet I’ve heard from several people who speak heavily about adhering to it…).

        Probably something like a typical Marvel stat block: Strength, Durability, etc.


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