Dice: Fate uses 4D6's with the results of each D6 giving the following modifiers: 1-2 = “-1”, 3-4 = “0”, 5-6 = “+1”. There are also dice available that are specifically marked with +, -, and blank sides, called Fudge dice.
Skills: Ranked from Terrible to Legendary. If you don't see a skill on your sheet, you can try it at Mediocre.
Rolling, Shifts, and Effort: Roll 4 dice and add the result to your skill level. Your total is compared against another number (a difficulty or the total rolled by an opponent) to determine success and is referred to as your effort. If your effort is higher than the number required, you get shifts equal to the margin between your roll and the number, which can be spent on special effects that enhance the quality of your action.
Aspects: Your aspects are used either in a positive (called an invocation) or a negative (called a compel) way. You can also use the aspects of others or those placed on objects or scenes; this is called a tag.
Invocation: Add +2 to your effort, or reroll a result.
After a skill roll is made, if the player can convince the GM a particular aspect is appropriate to the situation, the GM may allow the player to spend a fate point and either add 2 to the current effort or reroll the dice. Multiple aspects can be invoked on one roll, but no single aspect can be invoked more than once.
Compel: Gain fate points.
If the GM decides that an aspect limits a character’s available choices in a situation (or the player can convince the GM of the same), the character must react in a way appropriate to the aspect. This gains the player a fate point. The player may also decide to not accept the limitation on his actions, but must spend a fate point to do this.
Tag: As per invocation.
If someone knows an aspect that belongs to another character, object, or scene, they can invoke that aspect as though it were their own by paying a fate point and describing how the aspect is appropriate. They would then get a bonus or reroll as if they had invoked one of their own aspects.
Fate Points: Normally, a character starts every session with as many fate points as they have aspects, this is called the refresh total. If they have less, they regain as many fate points as it would take to equal their refresh. If they have more, they keep their current total. Fate points are primarily used to power invocations as per the above, but they also have a few other functions:
- You can spend one fate point maximum, outside of invocation, for a +1 effort bonus on any roll.
- Sometimes, fate points are used to power stunts if they are particularly potent. Stunts are special traits a character has that break the normal rules, and each one is unique, governed by its own rules.
- You can spend a fate point to make a minor narrative declaration in the game outside of rolling dice. The GM has veto power over this, but should strongly consider any declarations that can be justified by your aspects.
Any time two or more characters are opposed in a way that can’t be quickly or cleanly resolved, use this system to determine what happens.
Frame the Scene: The GM will tell you what aspects are present in the scene and where everyone is located in an abstract measurement called zones. Zones are used to determine how movement is handled in the scene – you can spend a shift from any roll to move one zone and perform your action. If you need to move more than one zone, that is your action for the round and is handled with a skill roll.
Establish Initiative: Sometimes, the GM will use a skill-based system to determine the turn order for the round. Sometimes, a different person will take the first action in every successive round, going clockwise or counter-clockwise from the GM, according to your group’s preference.
When it’s your turn, you:
Take Action: Describe what your character is doing and, if necessary, roll an appropriate skill. This will either be resolved as a simple action (no opposition) or a contest. If it’s a contest, whoever has to defend against your action rolls an appropriate skill.
If you win the contest, or if you succeed at the simple action, you can spend the shifts you generate to resolve your action. If you lose the contest, your action fails. If you lose the contest by three or more, the defender gets spin, which he can then use to add or subtract 1 from the effort of the next immediate action, provided he can find a way to reasonably narrate his character’s influence.
If you choose not to take an action on your turn, you make all your defense rolls at +2. You may also supplement an action with a simple action (like moving and attacking, or drawing a weapon and attacking) by taking a -1 penalty to your roll, effectively spending a shift in advance. In general, a supplementary action shouldn’t be anything that would normally require a separate roll.
Resolve Action: You can spend shifts to resolve your action in a number of ways.
If it’s a direct attack, you can inflict stress on your target at a value equivalent to the number of shifts you gained. The target makes the appropriate box on his stress track (or the next empty box up if that box is checked off already) and then checks to see if he’s been taken out (if the stress value is higher than the last open box on his track). If he has, he can choose to take a consequence, which is an aspect that represents lasting effects from the fight and can be tagged, instead of receiving stress.
If it’s not a direct attack, you resolve your action as a maneuver, or an attempt to affect or change the environment in some way.
- If you’re trying to prevent something from happening, that’s called a block. Your shifts become the difficulty for anyone to try doing whatever you’re trying to block. Blocks have to be fairly specific in context.
- If you’re trying to inflict some kind of condition on your opponent or the scene that isn’t directly damaging, like blinding or confusing them, you spend all your shifts to put a temporary aspect on your target which you can then tag. The first tag on a temporary aspect you inflict is free.
- If you’re moving, each shift you spend allows you to move one zone. If you’re performing any other miscellaneous action, resolve it the same as you would outside of combat.
Begin a New Round: After everyone has taken and resolved an action, begin the process again, continuing until all opposing parties are taken out or have conceded (chosen to lose by their own terms). Every effort should be made to accept concessions, but the victor can choose to give their opponent a fate point and continue the conflict.