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Fate Horror Toolkit €8,37
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Fate Horror Toolkit
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Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2021 13:08:39
A toolbox of horror - a Mephisto review

Fate Horror Toolkit

The adaptation of the role-playing game Fate to the horror genre is thought to be not quite easy. This is mainly because Fate provides players with far-reaching possibilities to influence the game's plot directly. This approach can be quite detrimental to a horror atmosphere in which the characters should be rather helpless. However, while the topic has already been touched upon in subsequent publications after the basic rulebook, the Fate Horror Toolkit now provides a specifically dedicated kit to genre adaptation.

The book first takes the time to analyze the horror genre and define what actually constitutes horror. Above all, the sensitive topic of dealing with the players is addressed comprehensively: A horror game round should definitely get close to the player's fears - but definitely not too close.

After this introduction, the book initially revolves around rule adaptations. Attention is paid to what is needed in character creation to generate characters appropriate to the genre. Of course, aspects such as the death of player characters are just as much a topic here as, for example, the idea that deceased player characters continue to play along as ghosts or shape a legacy aspect with their death. The question of how to create suitable non-player characters is also discussed. Other new ideas include a collaborative Fate point pool and expanded rules for compelling aspects. In particular, the concept of using cleverly worded aspects to set up a dilemma so that player characters are faced with difficult decisions is presented in detail.

A separate chapter is devoted to the question of how confronting horror changes player characters and what scars in physical and psychological terms these encounters leave behind. It introduces, for example, trauma aspects and discusses how to deal with the sensitive topic of mental illness. Even the topic of splatter effects and their effect on the player characters are discussed.

No sourcebook of this type would be complete without a chapter on creating appropriate monsters and enemies and skillfully implementing them within the Fate rules and representing them in the game. Some classic creatures exemplify the whole approach. Even the genre variant, in which one's own body becomes the enemy, is given extensive space.

This is followed by several chapters specific to setting conventions - for example, games where it is clear that the story is heading towards inevitable doom or campaign basics focused on survival horror. The comparatively new topic of so-called feminine horror is also addressed. More surprising, there is a chapter for young players, which describes in game terms how to implement more humorous ghost stories à la Scooby Doo within the framework of this rulebook.

The Fate Horror Toolkit is a very comprehensive book on the genre, discussing elementary topics as well as adapting Fate's rule base accordingly through rule modifications and additions. If you plan to play Fate with a horror background - or want to add more horror elements to your existing Fate campaign - you will not only find a toolbox full of helpful adaptations, but also various ideas and, above all, tips and tricks for a coherent atmosphere, but also for a good interaction with the players. Even if, as with most books of this kind, you will probably never use all rule aspects in the game, this book seems to me to be a well-made tool that can greatly enrich a corresponding Fate game.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2020 23:06:36

Fate is my favourite system but for years I never ran or played horror in it, because I'd so often heard people say it just wasn't suited.

I bought this because I was curious, and a couple of weeks later I ran my favourite horror one-shot ever, in Fate Core with some modifications and tools I'd gleaned from this book.

I've now run several more and I wouldn't hesitate to run a horror game in Fate these days: with a little tweaking and thinking, the system becomes a great fit. The Fate Point Economy was maybe the one thing I feared would break horror the most, but the advice in the toolkit helps you turn Fate points into a desperate version of the "how much do you want it" central question they usually embody.

It's an excellent Fate sourcebook, but honestly it's far more than that, it's a great piece of writing about what horror in gaming really is, the different flavours of it, why it works when it works and why it doesn't when something is off.

I've been playing and running TTRPGs since 1991 and Evil Hat remains the company I hold in the highest esteem.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by the h. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/01/2018 17:28:30

This is an interesting mess of a supplement. I'm hopefully going to be writing a more in-depth critique over the next few days, because I've got quite a lot to say about it, but here are some general points:

  • Given that most of the introduction is centred around player consent and comfort, returning to that theme at the start of several chapters feels redundant. I'm glad this stuff's in here, and I'd definitely rather have too much than too little, but it comes back a lot.
  • Somewhat related, and something of a nitpick: why is there a Dresden Files Accelerated page reference every time conditions come up, even though the introduction specifically notes that condition rules are available elsewhere (including in this very book)?
  • The use of conditions in general is more often questionable than fully justified. They often come across as a much more complicated way of doing something that could just as easily be achieved with consequences, stunts, or some other existing feature.
  • The book generally takes too long to say what it needs to. I'm not sure we really need, for example, a full six pages describing how to give a monster aspects and skills, which are already the heart and soul of the system. I don't have a problem with advice as opposed to rules content, but a concerning amount of this book isn't really either of the above.
  • A particularly egregious example of this problem: four pages on gore. It's pretty much just "use aspects or the Bronze Rule, stunts can make people resistant because stunts can do things like that", but in far, far more words.
  • Consumable aspects are fantastic. The whole survival framework is smart and well-structured, and it's easily the best chapter on offer; my only complaint is that survival games feel like they might deserve more space than a single chapter.
  • The feminine horror chapter feels like a flabbier, less focused take on Sarah Richardson's excellent piece in the Fate Codex (which makes sense since she has a writing credit for this). The connection to femininity for a lot of the listed themes is tenuous or unclear, and nowhere is this more blatant than with feminine horror aspects: they don't feel distinctly feminine, and, worse, the supercharged fate points they grant completely undermine the sense of helplessness they're meant to evoke.
  • The Scooby-Doo chapter (sorry, I can't think of it as anything else) is fun and looks mostly sound, but a framework aimed at children feels very out of place in a book with this title, this cover art, and the dark, mature material featured elsewhere. There's nothing wrong with it but I'm not sure it belongs here.

All in all, the Horror Toolkit is a solid attempt to justify Fate for a genre it's arguably not all that suited to. I'm not sure I'd recommend it, but it's definitely an interesting piece, and horror enthusiasts may find some broad ideas and advice worth using even if the specifics aren't always well-executed.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by David M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2018 11:47:01

This is an excellent Fate Core supplement. The mechanics blend seamlessly with those of the core rules to provide the GM with the means to present horror in a game. You can take a little bit and add it to an existing campaign, or build a complete horror-themed world. The discussions of horror tropes alone are worth the price, and because the toolkit offers guidance as well as mechanics, it can be used in a system-independent way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Anton B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2018 01:48:33

This is a "how to" guide, not a toolkit. Too low number of new mechanics and extras.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Totally understand where you're coming from, but it's worth noting that the Toolkit line is going to contain no small amount of "pure advice" content, as the Horror Toolkit does (along with a number of new mechanics, extras, and techniques). Our goal is to create something that's useful not only to Fate GMs but to folks looking to take the advice content and apply it to other games and systems.
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