Licensing Fate (CC-BY)


byThe Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) is one of the licensing options available for Fate. These are the System Reference Documents (SRDs) available under this licensing scheme.

System Reference Documents (SRDs)

A Guide To Using the Fate SRDs with Creative Commons

This is aimed at designers, writers, and publishers who’d like to build on the Creative Commons release of the Fate Core System and Fate Accelerated Edition System Reference Documents. From here on in, we’ll just call them “the SRDs”.

The most important thing to understand if you’re new to Creative Commons licenses is that we’ve chosen the most liberal one possible. In particular, the license we chose isn’t viral, which means you don’t have to license those works under a Creative Commons license if you don’t want to! We think this is important because there are good reasons not to use an open license; our experience working with the Dresden Files and other licensed properties tells us that.


The first right you have under the Creative Commons Attribution license is a straight-up copy of the SRDs. If you do this, just remember to include the original copyright notice found in those documents, and don’t add any kind of copy protection.

Translations and Non-US Works

A translation counts as a new work, so the next section will tell you everything you need to know about that. It might be useful for you to know that the Creative Commons Attribution Unported license was written using the terminology of the Berne Convention and various WIPO Copyright treaties, so you shouldn’t run into any problems if you’re publishing in a jurisdiction other than the United States.

Creating New Works

You have the right to create new works of any kind derived from the SRDs.

What License Should I Use?

We hope you use a Creative Commons license where it makes sense, because we think that will benefit the Fate community, but it’s completely up to you.

If you do decide to use a Creative Commons license, you can use any of them. If you want to use a viral Creative Commons license, so that people who build on your work must also release their work under the same license, you can do that. (That’s not our preference nor our recommendation, but it’s up to you.)

On the other hand, if you’re working with someone else’s intellectual property and they’re not comfortable about releasing it under any sort of open license, that’s cool too.


The biggest requirement for anything you do based on our work is attribution; you must give us credit for our work. The next section goes into detail on how you should do that.

Second, you can’t imply or state that Evil Hat is endorsing or sponsoring you unless we’ve made a special arrangement with you. Don’t use our logo or the Fate logo without talking to us first. There is a Powered by Fate logo you can use very easily, though; see our main licensing page.

Finally, you can’t use the SRDs to make something which would be prejudicial to Evil Hat’s honor or reputation. (That’s exactly how the legal license puts it!) We’re not sure how you’d do that, but don’t.

That’s all the legal stuff. As always, if you’re unsure about exactly what to do or if you’re investing a lot of money in publishing something based on our work, think about talking to a lawyer.

This isn’t a legal requirement, but we’d love it if you let us know what you were doing with Fate and maybe passed along a few copies — digital ones would be fine. Drop us an email!


So, how do you give us credit for our work?

This is really simple. Wherever you put your own copyright, add the following text:

This work is based on Fate Core System and Fate Accelerated Edition (found at, products of Evil Hat Productions, LLC, developed, authored, and edited by Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks, and Rob Donoghue, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (

All the text has to be the same size as the rest of your copyright section — that’s one of the license requirements. (This text is different if you’re also using the Fate System Toolkit material — you’ll find the text you need to include for that in its system reference document, above.)

If you’re publishing electronically, you can make “Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license” a link to and “Fate Core System” a link to, instead of printing the URLs separately.

Using the CC-Licensed Fate Core SRD with the OGL

The first thing to remember here is that you don’t need to do it. We released the Fate Core SRD under both licenses, so if you want to release your work under the OGL, you can derive it from the OGL version. The two versions are identical except for the license.

But if you wanted to do it, you could. For the purposes of creating a work that is licensed under the Open Game License and which derives from the Creative Commons Fate SRD, we grant permission to attribute our work by adding the following text to Section 15 of your work’s copy of the Open Game License:

Fate Core System and Fate Accelerated Edition © 2013 by Evil Hat Productions LLC. Developed, authored, and edited by Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson, Clark Valentine, Amanda Valentine, Fred Hicks, and Rob Donoghue.

This works for us because we’re giving you explicit permission to handle attribution that way. Don’t assume that any other Creative Commons material can be used the same way.

 Posted by at 11:27 am

  10 Responses to “Licensing Fate (CC-BY)”

  1. Hi. I’m using bits from Core, FAE and the Toolkit. Do I need to include both pieces of Attribution text? Or can I blend them by combining the named people?

  2. Both pieces need to be attributed as given or it’s not considered proper credit, I believe. We’re not likely to police you over combining it, but I think that that’s technically non-kosher.

  3. I had made up my mind to ask about licensing to use FAE in this game idea I have been kicking around for a few years (sad I know, just got introduced to FAE two months ago). I want to thank you for doing this and if I have any questions I will send them your way. I plan to go this route with cc-by and ‘Powered by Fate’ when I get to that point, Thank you again.

  4. Questions about Fate cards and dice for licensed games. I like using to make games and game components. After running some great Fate Games, I want to make my own Fate dice using TheGameCrafter’s custom dice features and maybe a Fate Deck and Fate Tokens.

    1. Can we use POD services to make Fate components under the license as stand alone products to offer the masses?

    2. Can we make such items as part of a tweaked Fate game that we made; like as a boxed set of a game including all the things you need to play?

    3. How bad would you cringe at a GM’s screen that would serve not to hide info, but to give a sturdy Rules-at-a-Glance look at the game rules?

    Looking forward to stopping by the Gen Con booth and thanking you all in person for making such a great game. Thanks (in advance) for answering the questions.

  5. You can’t brand them with the Fate logo as that’s Evil Hat’s intellectual property, but folks are always free to make components for games that don’t violate IP. If you have any doubts they’re best resolved by a conversation with an attorney who “speaks the language”. 🙂

    EHP won’t have its own GenCon booth — we’re represented by Indie Press Revolution at the show — but we’ll be at the show. Drop by to get a handle on our schedule.

  6. I’m in the process of building a superhero MU* using FATE Core and the Venture City system (doubtless with some tweaks, of course). It would be convenient to provide some of the material directly on the MU*, most especially the power-building system (both for reference and to be able to pick powers “off the rack” if people want to build a character quickly).

    This sound kosher under so liberal a licence, but I thought I’d check, particularly with regard to two points:

    1) Where might it be reasonable to put the attribution? By nature of MU*s the text will have to be split up among many “help” pages. I’m not sure where the best compromise lies between making sure people can find it and not making it too intrusive.

    2) The text is likely to end up quite intermixed with additions as well as having a few alterations. Is there any need to distinguish what parts are original, or is the simple statement that there are changes sufficient (which is my impression)?

    Many thanks!

  7. In reverse order, no, there’s no need to flag that which is original material when you’re creating a derivative work. Derive away!

    And, I’d probably suggest you put the CC-BY attribution on the login page to the MU*. That way it’s got prominent visibility and you don’t have to thread it through your help documentation.

  8. Ok, that’s what I was thinking – thanks!

  9. Hi Fred,
    I will like to make something for Dresden files RPG, a fast adventure, and make some money with a Patreon.
    But after a look I not sure that I can do that. I find out that I can make a new rpg or world but no info about that. Maybe I have to look in the Evil Hat web, but I didnt find nothing.
    Any advice?

    Thank for your response!!!

  10. Explicitly something you can’t do. The Dresden Files IP is not open.

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