THE FOUR ACTIONS
hen you make a skill roll, you’re taking one of four actions: overcome, create an advantage, attack, or defend.
There are four types of actions you can take in a game of Fate. When you make a skill roll, you have to decide which of these you’re going to try. The skill descriptions tell you which actions are appropriate for that skill and under which circumstances. Usually, the action you need to take will be pretty obvious from the skill description, your intent, and the situation in play, but sometimes you might have to talk it over with the group to find out which is the most appropriate.
The four actions are: overcome, create advantage, attack, and defend.
Use the overcome action to achieve assorted goals appropriate to your skill.
Every skill has a certain niche of miscellaneous endeavors that fall under its purview, certain situations where it’s an ideal choice. A character with Burglary tries to jimmy a window, a character with Empathy tries to calm the crowd, and a character with Crafts tries to fix the broken axle on his wagon after a desperate chase. When your character’s in one of these situations and there’s something between her and her goals, you use the overcome action to deal with it. Look at it as the “catch-all” action for every skill—if it doesn’t fall into any other category, it’s probably an overcome action. The opposition you have to beat might be active or passive, depending on the situation.
- When you fail an overcome action, you have two options. You can simply fail, which means you don’t attain your goal or get what you were after, or you can succeed at a serious cost.
- When you tie an overcome action, you attain your goal or get what you were after, but at a minor cost.
- When you succeed at an overcome action, you attain your goal without any cost.
- When you succeed with style at an overcome action, you get a boost in addition to attaining your goal.
CREATE AN ADVANTAGE
Use the create an advantage action to make a situation aspect that gives you a benefit, or to claim a benefit from any aspect you have access to.
The create an advantage action covers a broad range of endeavors, unified around the theme of using your skills to take advantage (hence the name) of the environment or situation you’re in. Sometimes, that means you’re doing something to actively change your circumstances (like throwing sand in an opponent’s eyes or setting something on fire), but it could also mean that you’re discovering new information that helps you (like learning the weakness of a monster through research), or taking advantage of something you’ve previously observed (like your opponent’s predisposition to a bad temper). When you roll to create an advantage, you must specify whether you’re creating a new situation aspect or taking advantage of an aspect that’s already in place. If the former, are you attaching that situation aspect to a character or to the environment? Opposition might be active or passive, depending on the circumstances. If your target is another character, their roll always counts as a defend action.
If you’re using create an advantage to make a new aspect…
- When you fail, you either don’t create the aspect, or you create it but someone else gets the free invoke—whatever you end up doing works to someone else’s advantage instead. That could be your opponent in a conflict, or any character who could tangibly benefit to your detriment. You may have to reword the aspect to show that the other character benefits instead—work it out with the recipient in whichever way makes the most sense.
- When you tie, you get a boost instead of the situation aspect you were going for. This might mean you have to rename the aspect a bit to reflect its temporary nature (Rough Terrain becomes Rocks on the Path).
- When you succeed, you create a situation aspect with a free invocation.
- When you succeed with style, you get a situation aspect with two free invocations instead of one.
If you’re using create an advantage on an existing aspect…
- When you fail, you give a free invoke on that aspect to someone else instead. That could be your opponent in a conflict, or any character who could tangibly benefit to your detriment.
- When you tie or succeed, you place a free invocation on the aspect.
- When you succeed with style, you place two free invocations on the aspect.
Use the attack action to harm someone in a conflict or take them out of a scene.
The attack action is the most straightforward of the four actions—when you want to hurt someone in a conflict, it’s an attack. An attack isn’t always physical in nature; some skills allow you to hurt someone mentally as well. Most of the time, your target will actively oppose your attack. Passive opposition on an attack means you’ve caught your target unaware or otherwise unable to make a full effort to resist you, or the NPC isn’t important enough to bother with dice. In addition, passive or not, the opposition always counts as a defend action so you can look at these two actions as being inexorably intertwined.
- When you fail at an attack, you don’t cause any harm to your target. (It also means that your target succeeded on the defend action, which could get you saddled with other effects.)
- When you tie an attack, you don’t cause any harm, but you gain a boost.
- When you succeed on an attack, you inflict a hit on your target equal to the number of shifts you got. That forces the target to try and “buy off” the value of your hit by taking stress or consequences; if that’s not possible, your target gets taken out of the conflict.
- When you succeed with style on an attack, it works like a normal success, but you also have the option to reduce the value of your hit by one to gain a boost as well.
Use the Defend action to avoid an attack or prevent someone from creating an advantage against you.
Whenever someone attacks you in a conflict or tries to create an advantage on you, you always get a chance to defend. As with attacks, this isn’t always about avoiding physical sources of danger—some of the skills allow you to defend against attempts to harm your mind or damage your resolve. Because you roll to defend as a reaction, your opposition is almost always active. If you’re rolling a defend action against passive opposition, it’s because the environment is hostile to you somehow (like a blazing fire), or the attacking NPC isn’t important enough for the GM to bother with dice.
- When you fail at a defense, you suffer the consequences of whatever you were trying to prevent. You might take a hit or have an advantage created on you.
- When you tie a defense, you grant your opponent a boost.
- When you succeed at a defense, you successfully avoid the attack or the attempt to gain an advantage on you.
- When you succeed with style at a defense, it works like a normal success, but you also gain a boost as you turn the tables momentarily.