The Basic Game Actions

An action is made when a a character does something, towards someone or something. There are four basic game actions in FATE.


when making an overcome action, you are attempting to tackle some kind of challenge, engaging task, or hindrance related 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 pick a lock or jimmy a window, a character with Empathy tries to calm the mood in a room, and a character with Crafts tries to fix the broken axle on his wagon after a desperate chase.

When your character is in one of these situations and there’s something between you and your goals, you use the overcome action to deal with it. Look at it as the “catch-all,” default action for every skill—if the action 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 choices. 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.

in addition to attaining your goal.

Create an Advantage

Whether you’re discovering something that already exists about an opponent or creating a situation that helps you succeed, Creating advantages allows you to discover and create aspects, and lets you get free invocations of them.

Use the create an advantage action to make a scene 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 as well, but unified around the theme of (hence the name) using your skills to take advantage 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 sudden 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 scene aspect or trying to take advantage of an aspect that’s already available—that could mean another scene aspect or one you can access on your target. You don’t have to know your target’s aspects to try this, because some of your skills let you reveal a target’s aspects as part of the action. You must also specify whether you’re targeting a character or 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 advantage to make a new aspect…

  • When you fail, you either don’t create the aspect, or you create it but don’t get any benefit from it. You should create it if the aspect you wanted was something that other people could take advantage of later (like Rough Terrain). You can still invoke the aspect if you’d like, but it’ll cost you a fate point.
  • When you tie, you get a boost—name the new aspect and invoke it once for free, but after that, the aspect goes away. 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 scene aspect with a free invocation.
  • When you succeed with style, it works like a normal success, except you get two free invocations instead of just one.


You try to harm someone in a conflict. That harm may be physical, mental, emotional, or social in nature.
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; several of the 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, the opposition always counts as a defend action (see below), passive or not, 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 might mean you get 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.


You try to keep someone from harming you, getting past you, or creating an advantage to use against you.
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 that sticks to 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 you might have someone else’s advantage stuck to 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.
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