Two-column Fae (or Fate) is a term I mention from time to time and other people have used it in their hacks, but I was thinking of a particular thing to be done with it today, and it occurred to me that i have no explanation of the foundations of those idea, so this is where I’m going to lay that out.
Two Column Fate basically uses two lists of skills, approaches or similar. When it comes time to make a roll, the character takes one from column A and one from Column B, totals them up and makes the roll. Structurally, this is very similar to a classic “Stat + Skill” model, and it could be used for that, but the real utility of this model is to handle much more interesting cases.
There are a few mechanical benefits to this – notably it can bring the intuitive simplicity of Fae in line with the numbers you see in Fate. But the biggest virtue of this system is that it allows for the two columns to have drastically different origins (both thematically and mechanically) which allows for a wide range of interesting mechanical effects.
Consider a few examples –
The other thing that excites me about this is that you can treat the columns as interchangeable elements. If you want to run a mech game, you can swap out one of the columns for the mech stats column when you’re in your mech. Different character classes might use a different second column. One column might be fixed, and the other on change over the course of play. It’s a huge avenue of responsive rules and customization.
So, putting a pin in it, so I can save the explanation in future conversations.
- Fae2 is technically a two column hack, except that the two columns have the same content. ↩
- The idea that struck me was inspired by demonology type magic. You could totally use a summoned demon as your second column, so that you use its bonuses when you act through the demon. That’s pretty standard. But where it can be fun is to make the demon’s list all nasty verbs, like Destroy, Corrupt, Reek and so on. Even if you don’t use it for evil, it just kind of LEANS that way. ↩