This is the discount version of FATE that was published with FATE Core. It's available for free online along with the FATE Standard Reference Document (SRD). It's really FATE with less paperwork and less space for setting-relevant nuances. Has been subtly marketed and utilized as a good 'gateway drug' to the hobby for the kiddies.
Character generation is three to five Aspects, ranking six predefined Approaches, and one Stunt.
The Aspects are discrete facts about your character. In FAE these facts will be: character high concept, trouble the character often gets into, and one more discrete fact. You can add up to two more if you feel like it. Aspects, like in FATE, are used by spending or gaining fate points. By spending a fate point and calling on a relevant aspect for a +2 on a roll. You start with three fate points, and the only way to get more is by calling on your own aspects to get you into trouble. The best aspects are ones that can be both good news and bad news. NPCs have aspects you can use against them by spending fate points, but you can only use them if you discover what they are. Locations can also have aspects you can use, and tend to be obvious (ie. "Slippery floor", "Full of Panicking Civilians", "On Fire")
The Approaches are how the character is likely to solve problems and act like skills in other systems: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, and Sneaky. You get one at +3, two at +2, two at +1, and one at 0.
Stunts, similar to FATE Core, are either attached to one of the Approaches or can be used once per session for discrete narrative control. The first kind of stunt gives +2 to a roll to the attached Approach in a limited circumstance. The approach-type of stunt is always phrased like so:
- "Because I [am/have something awesome], I get a +2 when I [pick one Approach-ly][pick one: attack, defend, create advantages, overcome] when [describe a circumstance]."
The narrative Stunt is always phrased like so:
- "Because I [am/have something awesome], once per game session I can [describe one thing/event you can change about the story].
It's hard to define stunts without copy-pasting the entire book so here are some examples of Stunts:
- Because I am a devout Tzeenchian, I get a +2 when I Sneakily create advantages when I’m in conversation with someone.
- Because I have a Wikipedia implant, I get a +2 when I Cleverly research an unfamiliar topic.
- Because I am a berserker, I get +2 when I Forcefully charge to assault a single target.
- Because I am a famous artist, I get a +2 when I Flashily demand a crowd's attention on me instead of something else.
- Because I am a tactical genius, once per game session I can find a helpful ally in just the right place.
- Because I am a doppelganger, once per game session I can change my physical appearance to look like someone else.
- Because I have a chronometric accelerator, once per game session, I can take an extra action.
- Because I am So Damned Annoying, once per game session, I can appear in any scene where I'm not wanted by at least half the people present.
Dice rolling is when you're using Approaches to change the scene. You can either add or discover Aspects on the scene or target, try to get a free (no Fate point needed) tag on a known Aspect, pass ,a barrier, cause stress to a target, or prevent incoming stress. In the rules, these are called Actions, and named "Create an Advantage," "Create An Advantge"(again), "Overcome", "Attack" and "Defend." Pick an action, describe how you're going to use an Approach to do it, GM gives you a target number, you roll dice w/ approach's bonus, and then tag Aspects or use Stunts if you need to bump up the result (+2 for each).
The hit points are called Stress, and every player character and significant NPC has three. When you get hit with stress and you have no points left, you're at someone's mercy and they can dictate how you fail (and you probably won't like it). You can avoid taking Stress by accepting Consequences, which are like negative-only Aspects. A 2-point consequence clears at the end of conflict with rest, a 4-point consequence clears at the end of the next session with role-playing, a 6-point consequence clears at the end of the adventure and needs an epilogue. A character can only carry one of each level of consequence. A player can also "concede" in a conflict, which gets them a Fate point and the player gets to describe how they lose.
Significant NPCs are generated like player characters. They will have Aspects, but players won't automatically know what they are.
Mooks will be one Aspect, one Approach at +2, one Approach at -2, and 0-2 stress points without the ability to offset stress with consequences. Mobs of mooks are just one Mook mechanically; the GM will describe the mob dwindling as it takes stress.
Differences from FATE
In FATE, you use skills to solve problems ("I use Hacking to disable the security system"), in FAE you have approaches ("I sneakily disable the security system"). It's vaguer, but this is supposed to be a stripped-down system. Since everybody has approaches, there's less mechanical differentiation between characters: two heroes each are hackers, one is more likely to be sneaky and the other is clever, but there's no rating of which is better at hacking.
In FATE, stunts can boost skills, can grant resources, or briefly give narrative control, among other things. In FAE, stunts are bonuses for character attributes in specific scenarios and once-per-session single narrative changes.
FATE characters have multiple stress tracks, and consequences last a little longer. FAE characters have just the one stress track, which can't be enhanced by stunts.