On FATE and Evil Hat writing

So I recently submitted to “So you wanna be a writer for Evil Hat” cause, you know, it’s what you do.

I was impressed with their writing task, and wanted to share what I ended up with (The Challenges are in Italics). I removed the mark ups and formatted as best I could:

The Challenges

Rules: Limit the word-count for each challenge to 250 words.

1: Relationships - You've been contracted to design a Fate Core based relationship system for a romance-themed RPG. Your design directive is to make the relationship system more detailed than simply "relationships are aspects," making use of the Fate Fractal to give them more depth, more teeth. Summarize the system you would design, in 250 words or less. (In other words: Rather than fully implement the system in detail, show us what the one-page hand-out of the system would look like.)

My Entry

In XXX, relationships are more than abstract concepts, they are as real as people with stories and drama woven among all participants. As participants talk over the ins and outs of the relationship, start thinking about the following building blocks.

Building a Relationship

All participants must tie themselves to the relationship in a meaningful way with aspects and refresh, as well as track it’s status. For more details see page XX

  • Select at least one Relationship aspect reflecting your connection. It is tracked by all participants, but it is yours.
  • Give up at least 1 personal refresh. Refresh used this way becomes the <term>Relationship Refresh Pool</term>. All members who pitch in have access refresh pool.
  • Participants have a Relationship Stress Track equal to 1 plus refresh investment.

Customizing a Relationship

When building a Relationship, you can leave it be with the participant aspects and refresh pool or you may deepen the relationship in the following ways.

Shared aspects that can be accessed by all members of the relationship.

  • 1 refresh per aspect, agreed upon by a majority.
  • If one is tagged, the fate point is put in the relationship’s Refresh Pool.

Shared stunts that represent pooled resources.

  • 1 refresh per stunt.

These to reflect odd circumstances and problematic conditions.

  • Counts as permanent personal Consequence: Mild (-2), moderate (-4) and Severe (-6).
  • Adds +1, +2, or +3 to relationship refresh.


  • 1 refresh increase all participants Relationship Stress Tracks by 1.

For more details see page XX

2: Combat Options - You've been asked to add a few combat options to a Fate Core based game featuring superpowered PCs infected by alien nanites. One vector for doing this is by adding a few new side-effects that the player can choose from (besides getting a boost) when succeeding with style on an attack or defense. List up to five such side-effects as you would design them.

My Entry

Flash in the Pan: Your nanites are cooking up a storm all around you. Maybe they are on a purge cycle or they are acting to unconsciously defend you. Because of it everything in the zone takes 1 point of stress.

Pushing the Limits: Your nanite activity is off the chart, power flows through your veins, and you feel the rush of possibility. Perhaps you are unlocking a new ability or finding some muscle memory native to the nanties. For the next use of your power, add an additional +1df. If you take this side effect and succeed with style again, you may take +2df. You may do so up to an additional +4dF

One Step Closer…: Your have unlocked something new. Perhaps the nanites are adapting to the environment or maybe they are just making you better. You may replace one of your existing powers with another as if it was between adventures. You may do this once per power, per adventure.

Reallocation of Resources: In life or death moments, your nanites reassess your priorities. Maybe they shut down some internal organs for a bit or cut off some of the higher functions of your brain to give you a boost. You take 1 point of a stress of your choice, but regain one FP.

Wrecked the Place: Your surroundings are no longer structurally sound. Maybe you cracked a support beam with that last blow or the floor was not meant to absorb this much damage. The scene now has the aspect Wrecked.

3: Humanity in VillainyIn a fantasy setting you're working on, the Big Bad Villainess has some very human reasons for doing the awful things she does. In 250 words or less, write up a bio for this character that sheds light on these reasons and offers at least two strong hooks for interaction and play opportunities for the PCs that cross her path.

My Entry

History shall record me a villain, and I shall play my role. But before you judge me, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you would have had the courage to act differently than I…
-Caroline, Regent of the Last Light

Caroline, Regent of the Last Light is a strong, brilliant, but ruthless figure. Displaying incredible talents at a young age, she joined the Order of the Last Light and soon became their head. Wholeheartedly knowing their prophecies to be true, she saw the forthcoming apocalypse that awaited humanity if it did not purge the taint of magic.

With the power of the Flames of Purification, the sacred flames which burn magical ability, she took the order to war. Once a bookish group of scholars, she honed it into an army dedicated to the total eradication of magic. Financed by a benefactor known only to Caroline, she began the systematic purge of magic from every man, woman, and child.

The Child: The Flames burn the victim proportional with their magical ability, and some can even survive. Caroline’s only nephew had the magic curse, and survived with crippling burns. She cares greatly for him, both as a symbol and as family. If he was somehow healed, who knows how that would effect the cause or the Regent.

The Prophecy: Rumor has it an ancient translation of the Prophecy of Last Light exists. What might it say? What might that change about Caroline’s quest to save the world?

4: Tell Us About Yourself Tell us what published work you’ve done in the game industry. Tell us about your experience with games produced by Evil Hat. Pick some favorites. Make it entertaining.

My Entry

John Donoghue

John is a long time fan of Evil Hat Games. He has a special place in his heart for Spirit of the Century but his not so secret love is for FAE. He feels its simple, fast, on the fly distillation of the FATE mechanic is perfect and takes every opportunity to foist it upon people.  He cut his teeth designing card games for Choose Your Own Adventure, bleeding for The Dresden Files and even had a gig writing for the Marvel Heroic RPG game for a hot second. Remember the Galactus entry? Probably not, as they pulled the plug on the Marvel line days after it went life… but by god it existed!

John can be found by day writing about technology for a small tech firm but by night (and weekends) he is the arbiter of justice on Rhea, the wind between the trees in the Wyrd West, and the mysterious stranger who haunts Corvus Academy.

High Concept: Good guys finish first
Trouble: Sure, I’ll help with that
Other Aspects: Omnicompetence; New England sensibilities; Not quite what you expected; Heart of the matter


Careful: Fair (+2)
Clever: Fair (+2)
Flashy: Good (+3)
Forceful: Average (+1)
Quick: Average (+1)
Sneaky: Mediocre (+0)


Fount of Endless Creativity: Because I never seem to run out of ideas, once per game session I can pluck a helpful clue seemingly out of nowhere.



Mild (2):
Moderate (4):
Severe (6):



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