It’s Not My Fault!

Fred and I ran something of a secret playtest at Metatopia. Yes, we had copies of the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game to playtest, and that went swimmingly, but we had packed something else – It’s Not My Fault

There is a particular style of game that I’ve run a number of times for friend where chargen involved drawing cards containing archetypes. Fred took that idea and ran it through a filter of FAE, then combined it with Two Guys with Swords and added a great kickoff mechanism to produce a small deck of cards with which to make an on-the-fly RPG.


The model is very simple. There are 20 cards with archetypes like Barbarian, Swashbuckler or Illusionist on them. They have +1 to three FAE approaches, and a stunt on the back. Each players choose 2, and is dealt a third randomly. The result is a character with three aspects (like Alchemist, Merchant & Sharpshooter), a set of stats and 3 stunts.

The GM then draw from 3 piles: “Where are you” “How did you get here?” and “How’s it about to get worse?” Which might well be “In an arena before a chanting crowd”, “Lost a bet” and “The poison is already in your system”. With that framing, the GM points to a player and says, “Who is to blame?” and the player explains “It’s not my fault, because…” and blames another player. That player repeats the process, and repeats again, until the last player blames the first player. With each successive explanation, the GM is adding an aspect to the table, and the players are getting a sense of their dynamic.

And that’s it. You then start playing.

We ran chargen a few times, just to show the cards, but I also got toe run a session well past my bedtime on Saturday night, and it was just the kind of Lieber-esque madness it was supposed to be. Describing it cannot do it justice, but it should be known that a marriage was not consummated, the bar was burned down, and inthe words of the hanged man, “He’s a dick”.

There were one or two tweaks that still need t0 be made to the decks, but they’re mostly graphical stuff that Fred will fix in no time, plus maybe one or two tweakes , then we’ll probably put these up for sale, and consider future expansions of the line, if only for our own use. It’s not my fault…In Spaaaaace and such.

I also used this as an excuse to try another rule. Rather than giving out fate points, I grabbed 7 othello chips and tossed them onto the table. Any time players would gain a fate point or I would spend one, I flipped a black side to white. Any time the players spent one, I flipped a white to black. If they ever went all black, I would draw another “How’s it about to get worse?” card. If they ever went all white, the player’s once-per-session stunts would reset. It worked very well, though neither end was ever triggered. As expected, the tension was more rewarding than the actual threat. I’ll definitely try that again, though I may fiddle with the “all positive” reward, since it’s hard for the players to get that unless I really push.

22 thoughts on “It’s Not My Fault!

  1. Craig Maloney

    “I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter”

    Seriously, this just threw itself into my head and wanted to play with the other ideas in there. Very cool idea.

  2. Ed Hastings

    That sounds fantastically fun. Looking forward to the opportunity to buy into that.

    And the light / dark jeopardy track sounds very powerful. I think I might try that the next time I run a FAE game.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Jon

      This is how the FFG Star Wars games do it. They have dark side / light side tokens, like the Othello chips, and the group can choose to flip them for bennies, or the GM can flip them to give bad guys bennies or cause problems.

  3. Jon

    1. I will buy this. I will buy this so hard. I will buy it in print, kickstarter, POD/Driverthrucards, or app (see #2) — however you wanna do it!

    2. Consider making it a smartphone app. This could very easily be handled with an app that all players would download and connect through. Since everything is text, maybe with simple images, it would be low server load. And you wouldn’t have to worry about stocking, fulfillment, game store sales, or print costs. And I’d buy the heck out of it. The app would also simplify the “character creation” process and produce a clean stat view, roll the dice, and everything.

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      Odds are good we’ll be selling it through drive thru cards within a few weeks (probably December), since it’s a bit of a lark.

      I have been pondering the App idea, because I agree it could work very well, but I’m inclined to see if there’s interest in this before digging in. If there’s interest, cool, but in the meantime, I’d rather use the mental bandwidth on new decks, so we can eventually do the Multiversal one. 🙂

      1. Ywen

        I’m _really_ in favour of the Android app because it makes the job of making translations and distributing them really easier. Now that Fate Core/Accelerated gets translated in more and more languages, it would be great to empower the community to easily translate tools like these cards.

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  7. Ysharros

    My money. Take it now. Or as soon as is practical to also get me a product. Sounds like a great way to kickstart slow sessions, get out of ruts, or just generally have a hoot.

    Now I just need to figure out how to combine this with Exploding Kittens…

  8. Wayne Humfleet

    Purchased. This idea is to good not to take up and run with. I bought the physical cards, any idea of how to Print and Play with the PDF without wasting one sheet per card?

  9. Tim

    Many months later, and I’m still hoping for the possibility of an app. Don’t get me wrong, the web version is great, but a simple connected multi-user interface would be fantastic.

  10. Ben

    I just ordered a set of these cards, and can’t wait to try them out.

    I’m also intrigued by your idea with the Othello chips. How did you settle on using 7 of them?

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      7 tends to just be a good number. Technically, I suggest 2 per player, plus one for the GM, but I admit I often just default to 7.

      1. Ben


        I’m running a FAE horror one shot for some pals for Halloween this year, and think I’ll try this out.

        Another question, did you have a thought for setting out the tokens on their white or black side when you started? Half of each, more white than black, etc.? Or when you said you “tossed them on the table” did you really just do that, and literally let the chips fall where they may?

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