An interesting effect of playing around with the FATE system is that the systematics are designed to keep things fairly competitive. A difference of four steps on the FATE die is pretty much an insurmountable challenge – If you’re even challenging something where you need to roll a +2 or better you’re already needing to buck odds in the neighborhood of 82% against. So this is a systematic argument to challenge strong NPCs against strong PCs, and for PCs to find a way to pit their strength against an NPC’s weakness, because the more lenience you can get yourself on the Fate Dice, the better off you are.
This leads me to my current subject of interest: Trying to balance a system that is as narrativist as FATE in a way that makes multiple scales feel functionally different while not adding critically large amounts of complexity to that system. My first attempt to balance multiple scales in FATE was fairly fine-grained, but led to a situation where it’s literally impossible for a ship on a smaller scale to prevail against a ship on a larger scale – a difference of one shift leads to an 82% reduction in the smaller ship’s ability to affect the larger one, and of two shifts a 98% reduction (the supplement I borrowed this idea from, The Aether Sea, has the same problem).
What I’m working on to replace it is a five-step system – it’s going to take some work to balance so playtesting is going to be needed.
Capital Ships (battleships and heavy cruisers): +3
Independent Warships (light cruisers and destroyers), Very Large Civilian Ships (superfreighters): +2
Patrol Warships (frigates and avisos), Large Civilian Ships (bulk freighters, starliners, superyachts), : +1
Small Ships (fighters and corvettes), Medium Civilian Ships (light freighters, intrasystem liners, yachts): +0
Light Civilian Ships (planetary liners, racers): -1
(I’m a little worried about that -1 category. It will probably disappear before this appears in print)