Warning: this page is just a copy of the notes that I wrote form myself after reading the Dresden Files RPG a while back, so they may not make much sense to anyone else.
For a better overview try: http://www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html or for a slimer version or the system: http://www.ukroleplayers.com/downloads/free-fate/
(Ideally, aspects should be strongly flavourful, and certainly be able to be compelled easily; if a trait is just generally a good thing then it would be better represented as a stunt)
Fate points can be spent to:
Gain a +1 bonus (most ineffective way to spend a point)
Invoke an aspect for a re-roll or a +2
Make a declaration (this can also be done with just a skill-roll; do it with an aspect to make it more potent – called Invocation for Effect)
Fate points are earned via:
Compels: when a aspect causes a character problems or limits their options, or complicates their life
Cashing out of a conflict: 1FP for every consequence taken (when you concede or loose)
Vexing misfortune (GM being nice to sugar a nasty pill)
Role-play Reward (fairly rarely, when there has been great RP)
Feet in the Water: 6 refresh, 20 skill points, skill cap at Great
Up to Your Waist: 7 refresh, 25 skill points, skill cap at Great
Chest-Deep: 8 refresh, 30 skill points, skill cap at Superb
Submerged: 10 refresh, 35 skill points, skill cap at Superb (SotC level)
Minor Milestone: switch 2 adjacent skills, or change/purchase a stunt, or change an aspect
Significant Milestone: as minor, plus +1 skill point, can reconfigure magic item slots
Major Milestone: as significant, plus +1 refresh, can clear an extreme consequence slot
Minor = about once per session (along with refresh)
Significant = every 2/3 sessions, conclusion of a plot-line
Major = when something major happens, conclusion of a large plot-arc
Aspects on scenes or on NPCs can be discovered via assessment (or just guessed), created with a declaration, established with a manoeuvre, or inflicted as a consequence.
If a character invokes an aspect to gain advantage over a character (to that character’s detriment), then the victimised character receives the fate point (true whether the characters involved are PCs or NPCs).
Tagging: The first time you invoke an aspect on a scene or on another character (following an assessment, declaration, manoeuvre, etc), you may invoke if for free. This usually has to be done immediately (or at least very soon) after the aspect has been bought into play.
[Note that since no fate point is spent on a tag, the victim does not earn the fate point]
If the circumstances are plausible, the tag can be passed onto another character; e.g. one character feigning in a fight (using a manoeuvre) to put their enemy at a disadvantage (e.g. establishing the aspect “off balance”), then passing the free tag onto their ally who uses the advantage on his attack.
When you receive a fate point, you often get it at the end of the scene, rather than instantly (otherwise you could keep battering your adversary in a conflict, invoking his aspects again and again, only to keep giving him a steady stream of fate points with which he could stay in the fight).
Manoeuvres generate temporary aspects; if the manoeuvre roll generates no shifts, then the aspect created by it only lasts for a moment (long enough for a single tag, then it goes away); with shifts, the aspect established will hang around for the rest of the scene, unless someone does something to remove it.
If no opposition is actively trying to maintain the aspect then you can remove it with your own manoeuvre, rolling against a difficulty of +0 mediocre; if someone is opposing you, then they can make an opposed roll against you to maintain the aspect.
You can move one zone as a supplemental action, taking a -1 on your main action.
A sprint is where you spend your entire action moving, and in that case you roll athletics vs +0 mediocre, and can cross a number of zones and borders =< the shifts you get on your roll (even if you totally fluff the roll, you can at a minimum still move as though you had just taken a supplemental action).
Stress Track Skills:
Conviction = Mental
Endurance = Physical
Presence = Social
Discipline = Hunger (for vamps etc)
+0 Mediocre 2
+1 Average, +2 Fair 3
+3 Good, +4 Great 3
+5 Superb 4
Plus one additional mild consequence for each two full levels above Good, so +5 Superb = 4 & 1 extra mild consequence, +7 Epic = 4 & 2 extra mild consequences, +9 = 4 & 3 extra mild consequences, etc.
Discipline = mental defence
Empathy = social defence (especially against Deceit)
Rapport = social defence
Athletics = dodge
Fists/Weapons also frequently act as defences in physical fights
Write up skills & trappings in detail
At the most abstracted level, stunts either add a new trapping to a skill (letting you do something that you couldn’t before) or extends a trapping by adding about 2-shifts of effect, in particular circumstances.
The “extending and existing trapping” manifests as:
+ 2 to a specific non-attack trapping (+ 1 if broad, +3 is very specific)
+ 1 to an attack in a specific circumstance (e.g. when outnumbered)
+ 2 shifts to the result of an attack, in particular conditions
gain 2 expendable 2-shift effects in certain circumstances (e.g. 2 extra minor consequence boxes against a specific category of attack), or +1 to a broad category (e.g. an extra minor consequence for all physical stuff)
reduce the amount of time taken to do something by 2 steps
reduce the difficulties imposed by certain circumstances by 2
combine any 2 effects from above at half value (e.g. 1 shift faster and a +1)
gain a more potent effect (such as a +3 on an attack), but requires expenditure of a fate point
Powers are the same a stunts, except that they cost multiple point of refresh. They tend to give you benefits of about 2 shifts per point cost, with maybe a little more on top. They often require an appropriate high concept, and taking them means that you loose the pure-mortal +2 refresh bonus.
Inhuman Speed/Strength/Recovery/Toughness -2
Supernatural Speed/Strength/Recovery/Toughness -4
Mythic Speed/Strength/Recovery/Toughness -6
Seelie/Unseelie Magic -4
Shifts can be spent to: increase the quality of an action, increase the subtlety of an action, or decrease the time required.
Simple action: roll vs difficulty
Contest: opposed roll
Extended Contest: a contest over time, such as a chase. There are 2 ways of running an extended contest: the race, and cat & mouse.
The Race: good for situations involving multiple competitors. You set a difficulty for everyone to roll against (e.g. +2 fair), and set a target number of shifts as the finish line. Each turn the participants roll and accumulate shifts, and once someone has achieved the target number (finish line) then the contest is over.
Cat & Mouse: good for a contest between 2 participants. You set a fixed number of rolls and compare shifts at the end. The way that the book does it is to deduct the shifts for participant B (the cat/follower) from A (the mouse/leader); if the result is positive, the mouse won, if negative the cat won.
Assessments are are either opposed by the skill of the target (if against a character), or are made against a difficulty set by the GM (defaulting a +1/Average).
1) frame the scene (establish aspects & zones)
2) initiative (straight order of Alertness)
Combat actions: colour
Attack- attempt to inflict stress/consequences
Manoeuvre- try to place an aspect
Block- roll to set up a pre-emptive defence against an specific action
Sprint- roll to try and move multiple zones
Full defence- do nothing else, in exchange for a +2 on all defences
weapons boost the stress inflicted on a successful hit, armour reduced it
Mild: 2 stress, lasts for 1 scene after start of recovery
Moderate: 4 stress, lasts until the end of the session after start of recovery
Severe: 6 stress, lasts until the next scenario after start of recovery
Aspects & Manoeuvres replace the need for the situational modifiers and status conditions found in
Manoeuvrers are also the mechanism used to handle teamwork and assistance: see p208
Blocks are about preventing actions. To block, declare who the block effects and what it is intended
to stop, and roll the appropriate skill. The result of this roll is called the block strength, and the target
of the block must beat this block strength in order to perform the blocked action.
Blocking takes up your main action, and must be renewed each round to be maintained.
If a block targets just one person then it can be quite general and broad about what it blocks; if
multiple characters are targeted, the the blocked action must be specific.
A grapple is a special type of block: in order to achieve a grapple, you must first tag/invoke and
appropriate aspect on the target to justify the grapple. You then roll your Might skill to establish
the block strength of the grapple; this blocks the target from taking any physical actions (including
movement). As with a normal block, you must roll Might again each round in order to maintain the
In each round after the first, you also get some additional options; in exchange for taking a -1 on your
grapple roll you can automatically make an un-opposed attack, manoeuvre, or movement with a value
of 1 shift (see p211 for details).
If the victim of the grapple manages to beat the block strength with an action that could reasonably
break the grapple, then they are released automatically.
Sprint: unimpeded movement rolls are made at a standard difficulty of 0 (mediocre). Every shift on
the athletics roll lets you move one zone.
Rough terrain and fences etc are called barriers – they increase the difficulty of the sprint roll (e.g. +1
for rubble or bog, +2 for most fences, +3 for high walls etc).
If there is no border strength, then you can always move 1 zone as a supplemental action.
Supplemental actions are minor things that you can do in addition to your main action, at the cost of a
-1 penalty to your main action. Supplemental actions are simple and minor things that don’t normally
require a roll.
Optional Rule: Spin
If a defence roll gets 3 shifts, then (rather than a great roll going to waste) the defender
generates ‘spin’ – a plus one on their next action (or a -1 on the next action of the attacker).
Concessions are great – they give you a great deal of leeway in getting out of a conflict; you are
Taken Out, but very much on your own terms.
Also, remember that when you lose a conflict (whether by conceding or being taken out) you earn a
fate point for every consequence that you took in the conflict.
a few moments
half a minute
a few minutes
half an hour
a few hours
a few days
a few weeks
a few months
half a year
a few years
a mortal lifetime
several mortal lifetimes
and so on
Difficulty & shifts per step on the time increment chart:
If something would normally taken an afternoon, then you can spend shifts from the roll to do it faster (1 shift does it in a few hours, 2 shifts in an hour, etc) [note that these shifts don’t then add to the quality].
Similarly, difficulties can be set on the same basis- taking the example of a task that would normally take and afternoon, by increasing the difficulty by 1 step you can get it done one time increment faster.
By the same token, players can take extra time to do something to mitigate the difficulty on a failed roll (at the GMs discretion); each extra step of the time table gives that a retroactive +1 on their roll. However, this happens at the cost of some kind of story complication (much like Failure as “Success, but…”).
A similar trick takes the place of ‘taking 20’; for example, if picking a Fair( + 2) lock would normally take a few minutes, then the PC can spend half an hour on it to get +2 on their roll and thus pass without needing to roll.
Approximate real-time consequent recovery:
mild = about an hour
moderate = a few days
severe = about a month
basic advice: compel more when players are short of fate points.
When the players have lots of fate points hit them with big challenges and conflicts; when they are short on fate points, create complications, twists and turns in the story.
Keep the difficulties quite low, but remember that just meeting the difficulty (and failing to generate shifts) represents just barely scraping a success at the task.
Generally speaking, you can reliably do something 2 steps below your skill level with minimal effort (and this assumption is build into the game – e.g. you can afford items that are rated as 2 steps below your resources without needing to roll).
Take a look at the quality chart – it is used to determine that time taken to build or fix things etc
The challenge system is used to model situations where the PCs are trying to accomplish a complicated of involved goal, and you want to zoom in a bit more than just making a single roll (basically like an extended action from WoD; they also bear some resemblance to skill challenges from 4e).
Determine a base difficulty to roll against, the amount of time each roll takes, and how may shifts the PC needs to accumulate in order to achieve his/her goal (much like a Race). However, to provide extra drama, any failure deducts successes, or even causes the loss of all shifts accumulated up until that point. In a way, the challenge is treated somewhat like a stress track. Don’t forget that a character could also do manoeuvres against the challenge in order to speed their progress.
NB: these are basically a simplification of the thaumaturgy rules.
AoE attacks hit everyone in a given zone (the same attack roll is made against everyone).
Spray attacks (machine guns, shotguns, flamethrowers etc) all an attack to be split amongst multiple targets. The player rolls the attack as usual, but then divides the attack amongst the targets before they make their defence rolls (each attack must be a minimum of average). Therefore, a great(+ 4) attack roll can be used to hit up to 4 different targets with an average(+ 1) attack; or two targets at Average(+ 1) and one at Fair(+ 2), or two targets both at Fair(+ 2); or any similar combination.
Getting hit by a car should be treated as a weapon:4 or weapon:5 attack.
Special-Effect attacks such as tasers are made with the normal attack roll, but on a successful hit their weapon rating is used as a manoeuvre strength rather than as a stress-boost.
+6 Fantastic the Supreme Palpatine
+5 Superb the Badass Vader
+4 Great Asskickers Boba Fett
+3 Good Elite Warriors Imperial Guard
+2 Fair Warriors Shock-troops
+1 Average Soldiers Stormtroopers
+0 Mediocre Civilians
-1 Poor Incompetents
To compare to WoD difficulty, just invert; so difficulties will normally range from poor (+ 1 in WoD) to Good (- 3 in WoD)
Minor NPCs will probably have (at most) a couple of skills and possibly an aspect.
Note that in conflicts, nameless NPCs don’t take consequences; once their stress tracks are full, they are taken out (and they’ve only go 2 or three stress boxes).
Nameless NPCs rarely have skills at Good(+ 3), and never at Great(+ 4)
Next up we have supporting NPCs, i.e. reoccurring characters (named but not major). Lieutenants and similar will fall into this category.
These characters can potentially have skills at Great (and occasionally even at Superb) and a few aspects, and possibly a couple of stunts or powers, and the full number of stress boxes.
These characters may take a minor or perhaps moderate consequence before conceding to the PCs.
Main NPCs are important, significant characters. They can potentially have all the same depth and breadth of options as the PCs (skills, aspects, stunts/powers… the works).
Treat them as fully fleshed-out characters.
There are a few methods for making these characters:
1) the PC method – make them just as you would make a PC, running through character creation as normal
2) the ascended extra method – start with a supporting NPC and beef them up to be main characters
3) the mirror method – hold up a mirror to one of the PCs (or even another main NPC) and create a twisted or opposite version
The book has a great deal of advice on scaling the opposition to the PCs, but that is beyond the scope of a short summary. One good tip is to throw in a few more nameless NPCs (i.e. ninjas) into the mix to increase the difficulty (thought this may potentially slow things down an bit?)
The players should learn the value of conceding – it is a great device of the system. Therefore, bringing serious threats to bear against the PCs (taxing them to the point where they are likely going to be defeated) is not something to shy away from. Close fights and situations where that PCs concede the battle provide drama, and also plot hooks.
with regards to NPCs and fate points: major NPCs work pretty much like PCs; supporting NPCs get about 1 fate point per scene that they are involved in, and minor NPCs don’t really have any
NPCs participle in the Fate point economy just like players do, earning points when they are compelled and by cashing out when they concede/loose conflicts
There is also a lazy way to handle NPC plot-points, which is to just maintain a GM pool (like the doom-pool from MHRP), just give yourself a FP for every player and then just earn extra FP via compels and PC invocations that disadvantage your NPCs (and keep your pool limited by the fate points that the PCs have – your pool should never exceed that of the players)