How do I introduce an inexperienced player to the FATE combat system?

One of the things that I love about the FATE system is how flexible it is; even given the less than crunchy nature of the system, you have options galore. That’s given one of my players analysis paralysis: in combat, she can’t really function all that effectively and it’s not satisfying to her coming from a very limited gaming background and all of that being DnD 4e where her options are laid out before her.

I’m looking for ways to give a player more structured options during play; sort of a cheat-sheet or combat strategy-guide for the narrative paradigm FATE inhabits. Narrative ideas for storytelling combat are good, but some sort of cheat sheet of structured fight options would go very far in helping her to get her mind around the combat concepts and options.

Any ideas on how I might be able to help her rectify this? She’s playing a Red Court Infected in my Dresden Files game.


I took Mxyzplk’s suggestion below, and created the Action Cards for the combat options that she had, and it worked perfectly!

If anyone else wants to do this for their FATE game, I’ve made the Word Templates available, with instructions included.

How do I introduce my co-workers to RPGs via a Virtual Table Top (VTT)?

I am fortunate enough to work at a company that twice a year budgets time and expense so we may have a "team-building" activity. I am on a team of ten people total. There is a stipend to pay for expenses. We’ve gone go-karting one afternoon then out for dinner on the company coin, that kind of thing. Another time we have had lunch at the office followed by an afternoon of table top games like Citadels and there was enthusiasm for that. Currently everyone is working from home in the same timezone, meeting over Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.

Since (a) I am a big fan of tabletop RPGs where the players work together as a team to take down BBEG, and (b) there’s enthusiasm for trying new things, and (c) team building always helps morale, I want to float our next "team building" activity as "I run an afternoon RPG adventure on" as a one-off session; something four hours max.

I have played D&D since 1983. I am quite comfortable as Gamemaster/ DM for six players. I believe I can stretch to nine players for an afternoon. One of my co-workers has also been gaming since the Eighties, knows the concepts very well, and has expressed enthusiasm for the idea. I have not sounded out the rest of my team for their enthusiasm and experience with RPGs; I suspect it is all over the map with at least three novices.

I am looking for specific examples from people who have tried this, such as, "I tried Game Foo and it did not work for reason X," or "I introduced my friends to VTT with Game Bar and the following things worked really well:…"

I’ve used four times with my gaming group. I have the hang of it. I’m not wedded to it, but it seems like it would be a solid fit with some preparation on my part which I’m willing to do. has some good introductory videos.

There’s no negative stigma about Role Playing Games at my employer. I am comfortable enough there that I can float the idea and if my co-workers say "Nope, not at this time," that’d be fine.

I’m flexible as to which game we play. My criteria are:

  1. It’s easy for a novice to pick up the basics
  2. My co-workers work together (no stabbing each other in the back)
  3. My co-workers have fun for the afternoon

My favourite game is Pathfinder 1e; I fear that is WAY too deep for novices, unless I strip it down as suggested here. I don’t want to overwhelm/scare off my co-workers with the PFSRD.

I am familiar with DnD 5e. I don’t have a DnDBeyond account. Since I imagine everyone would need a account to start, I’d rather not require everyone to create two accounts.

I have an idea of how I’d make this work in person: I’d provide nine copies of the Universal Table from TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes, I’d draw a large rough map of the downtown core of our city on the whiteboard, and my co-workers would each pick an Avenger from a set I’ve prepared in advance. Those MSH rules are pretty basic (one table! One!) and I’m sure even those co-workers who have never heard of RPGs have heard of the Marvel movies. Each Avenger would have a token the player could stick to the whiteboard. However, I suspect that super heroes don’t scale into; put another way, my first thought was that it’d be easier on the novice players if they were constrained to the walls of a castle and could not fly.

While I would like to offer my team the choice of game genre, I suspect that with nine people I’d get nine different responses.

I have read this question about introducing kids and this question about introducing novices to Pathfinder 1e in a short session. I believe my question is distinct enough from those two and is not a duplicate.

Does having to introduce alternative behavior always indicate poor UX design?

Take the classical top-left go-back button on mobile apps.

The main two issues with it are:

  • Having to press a lot of times when you want to go far back
  • Not being able to go forward in case you missed the screen you wanted to go back to

With this in mind, I’m tempted to introduce a long-press history popup on the go-back button, so the user can skip to exactly where they want.

Of course, we all know that long-press is not really intuitive.

The question: does having a tool-tip automatically introduce this feature to the user make my UX design bad?

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How to introduce a new PC into the party after character death?

In the D&D 4e campaign that I am running, there has recently been lots of character death. The death itself is not the problem, because the players seem perfectly fine generating new characters (I give new PCs the same level and same amount of XP as the existing party). The problem that I encounter comes from introducing those new PCs naturally into the story. It often feels hamfisted (“And you happen to encounter this fantastic elf on the way through the dungeon, and yes, she will join you on your quest!”). I could wait until a natural time, but that would force the player with the dead character to sit around longer than necessary.

How can I introduce a new PC after character death in a way that makes the death meaningful, rather than just, “you died but you magically and immediately reappear as a different character”?

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How do I introduce magic to my PCs part way through an adventure

I am playing through a slightly modified version of the Pathfinder adventure Rise of the Runelords with a group who are all brand new to any form of RPG.

After around ten sessions, I still haven’t covered magic with them – my fault as a GM but the adventure path hasn’t really called for it yet…

There are a Druid and a Bard in the party, so obviously it will benefit us all greatly, but I’m trying to think of a way of working in teaching about magic after ten sessions and not just say “OK, by the way, you can cast spells, I’ll take you through it”.
I’m thinking maybe an NPC can teach them?

Code design: introduce new method vs add optional parameter to existing method

In JavaScript (ES6), I can have optional function parameter with default value. So to add a new behavior to the existing code base, I could either introduce new method(s) or extend the existing method with an optional parameter.

Consider the following example:

Existing method:

doSomething(param) {     // code to do something trivial } 

Desired new behavior: the ability to do something special after doing something trivial

Option 1: extend the existing method

    doSomething(param, isSpecial = false) {         // code to do something trivial         if (isSpecial) {             // code to do some more thing special         }     } 


    doSomething(param); // do something trivial     doSomething(param, true); // do something special 

Option 2: add a new method

    doSomethingSpecial(param) {         doSomething(param); // just call the existing method to do something trivial         // code to do some more thing special 


    doSomething(param); // do something trivial     doSomethingSpecial(param); // do something special 

Option 3: extend the existing method and add two new methods

    doSomething(param, isSpecial) {         // code to do something trivial         if (isSpecial) {             // code to do some more thing special         }     }      doSomethingTrivial(param) {         doSomething(param, false);     }      doSomethingSpecial(param) {         doSomething(param, true);     } 


    doSomethingTrivial(param); // do something trivial     doSomethingSpecial(param); // do something special 

Currently I’m mostly using the first option, because it’s less code to write. But thinking of the open closed principle, it doesn’t sound right for me.

So which option should I choose? (in general, not special in JavaScript)

Is single fopen introduce TOCTOU vulnerability?

I’m actually fixing driver under Linux. Klokwork said that code like:

file=fopen( fileName,w+); // w+,r,a and any mix of those is used here if (file != null) { do things} else {throw error} fclose(file);

Can end as Time-of-check to time-of-use vulnerability. However as far as I read it need do something like if(access()) before fopen to make it happen.

And there is question:

Is that code example I show have any weak points, or I don’t need to care?