Fate Core House Rules

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Fate Core's simplicity is greatest strength and weakness alike. Sometimes a situation comes up that requires the GM to ponder exactly what rules to apply and how. Here are some rulings and minor fixes that I highly recommend, as they elevate a solid system to a truly versatile one.

Attacking Multiple Opponents

When attacking multiple opponents (see pp. 206-207), you must declare who you're attacking before rolling. After you calculate your total successes (skill + dice result), you must divide them among the targets, assigning at least +1 to each foe if possible. (If not, spread them as evenly as possible.) Each target then defends.

Example: Ada is facing three named foes (not a mob) and decides to spray her Uzi at all three. She has Shooting +4 and rolls a -1; she spends a FP to invoke her Lone Gunwoman aspect for +2. Her total successes are thus +5. She was hoping to have rolled better, so now she plays it conservative and assigns +1 to the first foe, +1 to the second, and +3 to the third (+5 total). As each has Athletics at +2, the first two defend, but the third is hurt.

(This is more of a clarification and explanation than an actual house rule.)

Contacts Stunts

Unless otherwise stated, any game featuring the Contacts skill also allows these stunts. Neither Followers nor Sidekicks have their own fate points, but you may spend your FP on them freely. Both types advance gradually along with you; each gains one advance for every two similar advances you gain (e.g., for every two skill points you gain, they gain one skill point).

  • Followers: Each purchase of this stunt gives you either four Average NPCs, three Fair ones, or two Good ones who follow your orders. See p. 215 for details. All followers bought as part of the same stunt must have the same character sheet (exception: their aspects may differ). Lost or killed followers can be replaced, but it should take a significant amount of time and effort in-story (and at least a session or two out-of-story).
  • Recruiter: (Requires Followers.) If you've lost one or more followers for whatever reason, you may pay fate points to locate suitable replacements before the end of the current scene!. This costs one fate point for up to two Average followers, or one fate point for each Fair or Good one. Add one extra fate point (once, not per person) to recruit reinforcements in the middle of a conflict!
  • Sidekick: You have a supporting NPC (p. 218) who is completely loyal to you. It requires GM permission to have more than one sidekick. More so than followers, a sidekick should be played as a unique person, one who has personal motivation and desires. The sidekick has the statistics below.
    • Aspects: High concept, Trouble, and one or two more.
    • Skills*: One Great (+4), one Good (+3), one Fair (+2), and two Average (+1).
    • Stunts: One stunt.
    • Stress: Two physical and two mental stress boxes (modified by skills), plus one mild consequence box.
* This assumes a 20-skill-point game. In others, the GM may adjust these totals.

Fate Points

Each session, you start with FP equal to the better of your Refresh or however many FP you ended the last session with -- to a maximum of twice your Refresh. This rule helps motivate players to spend their FP rather than hoard them.

Grappling

Grappling uses Physique to Create an Advantage. Your opponent defends with Physique, though there may be cases where the GM allows him to use Athletics or Fight instead (generally when it seems like your biggest difficulty will be getting hold of the subject). If you succeed, your target now has the aspect Grappled, which lasts until you let go or he succeeds at an Overcome action (Physique vs. Physique) to get out of it.

While he's grappled, you may justify providing active opposition for almost any action he takes. (This does not require using any invocations.) If his action is trying to attack someone else, you and the target both technically oppose it, so defend with the better of your two skills, at +1 for teamwork. You may also make follow-up grappling Attacks against him on subsequent turns, to inflict stress.

In any game featuring grappling, a particular Fight stunt exists:

  • Grappling Finesse: You may use Fight instead of Physique to grapple someone, and may always use the best of Athletics, Fight, and Physique to defend against or Overcome a grapple.

Grappling Something Specific

The above rules assume a "general" grapple, where you're trying to hinder your foe in general. But when you absolutely must stop someone from calling for help, triggering a handheld remote, shooting his gun, etc., you can instead grab just the appropriate body part or item to prevent it. This uses the rules above, but instead gives the target a more specific aspect, like Hands Over My Mouth. Because aspects are true, this makes it impossible (not just opposed) for him to use the named body part or piece of gear until he overcomes it. However, you don't get to oppose his other actions, since all of your effort is going into stopping this one thing.

"Out of Your Depth"

This term describes the rare situation when a character is trying to use a skill in a fundamental way that they have zero experience in. Note the term "fundamental" -- this isn't "using Deceive on someone from an unknown culture," it's "using Deceive to convince a demon with Soul Sight that you're not a human, but actually a god trapped in human form." Basically, this is the middle ground between "difficult" and "literally impossible."

In such a situation, use the skill normally, but shift all results down one step: Success with style becomes normal success; success by 1-2 requires a minor cost; success by 0 requires a major cost; and actual failure is unrecoverable and often bad.

Note that once the character has a bit of experience with this (which should usually be reflected via at least a minor tweak to an aspect), they are no longer out of their depth.

Sneak Attacks

If one group is sneaking up on another, have the ambushers roll Stealth, using the average of their best and worst skills (round up), against the average Notice of the targets (apply Teamwork if they have sentries or are otherwise actively looking for trouble).

  • If they fail, there's no benefit. Treat this as a normal fight.
  • If they succeed by 0, the ambushers automatically win initiative, and the targets defend with the lower of their normal defense or Notice.
  • If they succeed by 1-2, as above, plus every ambusher gets +1 to hit on the first round.
  • If they succeed by 3+, make it +2.

Don't use this rule for things like sniper shots or similarly one-sided ambushes. For those, if a PC is the attacker, treat this as an overcome; if a PC is the target, treat it as a compel.

Teamwork

The size of the teamwork bonus one can bring to bear in a particular situation varies. The question one must ask is, "Is this a task that could be significantly eased by simply throwing more workers at it?" Unless the GM says otherwise, assume the smallest bonus. Below, "assistant" refers to helpers who have the skill at +1 or higher.

1. Assistant: If a task requires care and skill, as opposed to lots of manpower, the main character can get at most a +1 bonus from one or more assistants. For example, Ada has Lore +3, Bob has Lore +2, and Cade has Lore +2; working together, they roll against Lore +4 (Ada's Lore, +1 for teamwork).

Exception: An assistant with the same skill level is so helpful that she doesn't count against this limit, but the total assistant bonus can at most double the main character's skill. For example, Ada has Lore +3, Bob has Lore +3, and Cade has Lore +2; Ada gets a "free" +1 from Bob because he's so skilled, and another +1 from Cade, for a total of Lore +5.

2. Squad: If the difficulty of the task is set mainly by how much work it involves (from physical ditch-digging to intellectual number-crunching), the main character gets a +1 bonus from each assistant, to a maximum of double her normal skill. For example, if Dan has Contacts +3 and five friends each with Contacts +1 are helping him comb the streets to find a friend, he gets a +1 bonus from each, capped at twice his skill, so he rolls against Contacts +6.

3. Mob: For the purpose of fights against mobs of weak NPCs, there is no cap on the bonus. In addition, even mooks without the skill add a bonus through sheer manpower: +1 for 2-3 of them, +2 for 4-7, +3 for 8-15, +4 for 16-31, and so on. At the GM's discretion, other situations may use these rules as well, generally when sheer numbers trump skill.

Clarifications

In most circumstances, another character can provide a teamwork bonus or create an advantage to help; it's "double-dipping" to do both.

Some versions of Fate, like Mindjammer, explicitly include extras that manipulate the teamwork rules to provide a flat bonus or similar effect. Those bonuses are not limited by the rules above; apply them separately from any bonus from actual teamwork.


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