(Redirected from Initiative)
The Fate system isn’t built with the incredible power of modern weapons, armour, and other augmentations in mind. In a world experiencing the hockey-stick curve of exponential growth, combat is titanic in its destructive power. The Discovered combat system adds several rules to account for this: initiative, actions and reactions, and several new types of damage and recovery rules.
- 1 Combat Overview
- 2 Types of Attacks and the Damage They Do
- 3 Recovering from Damage
- 4 Combat Example
In Fate:Core damage is measured in stress and consequences. In Fate:Discovered, attacks can do three kinds of damage: cause stress, drain approaches, or deny abilities. Attacks are made during 15s turns, in order from highest to lowest initiative. During your turn you get one action and a number of reactions equal to your init. Actions are based on the standard Fate:Core actions – attacks, overcomes, and creating aspects. Reactions cover activities you can take during someone else’s action, such as defending yourself or assisting an ally.
Each turn starts with determining initiative. Actions are taken in order from highest to lowest init. Reactions can be taken at any time you’re not taking your one action.
Choose an approach to use as your initiative score. A character with Quick+2 and Forceful+3 might choose Forceful to have more reactions, or Quick to have more flexibility. For approaches other than Quick, your actions and reactions for the turn should all use that approach. If Quick is your init approach you can use any approach for your actions and reactions that turn. You may use a reaction to switch your initiative approach during a turn. The character with the highest initiative approach acts first, before any reactions can be taken. If there is a tie the GR can decide who acts first based on the narrative, or a straight fate roll off can determine who acts first.
Each character gets one action per turn. You may:
- attack a target,
- create an aspect to advantage allies or disadvantage enemies,
- enter a contest to overcome something or someone,
- use an ability (stunt", team, augment , magic, or stuff),
- recover approach or ability damage for yourself or an ally.
Modifying your own roll during your action does not use up an action or reaction. This includes using boosts and aspects to gain bonuses.
Actions usually provoke a reaction from enemies - especially the target. Allies may use their reactions to aid each other by improving their rolls.
During your action other characters can use reactions to help you, hinder you, or just carry on with their own agenda.
Each turn, each character gets a number of reactions equal to their initiative. Reactions are taken during someone else’s action, and are often a response to that action. You do not need to wait for your initiative to use reactions. For example, you can defend yourself from the enemy with the highest initiative even if you have the lowest initiative.
- Defend yourself against an attack.
- Oppose an attempt to harm you via a disadvantage or overcome roll.
- Oppose an ability that targets you.
- Assist an ally by:
- using an aspect and spending a fate point to add +2 to their roll,
- using an aspect and spending a fate point to put -2 on their enemy’s roll,
- being a helper to give a +1 to the ally.
- Direct the action: When a character issues a short command or chooses what a team they control will do they are directing the action.
- Use a 'once per session' stunt.
- Move around the combat zone.
- Change the Approach you're using for initiative (takes effect next turn).
- Adjust an attack, e.g., reload, holster, draw, drop-and-swap, configure AoE.
- Use an ability that is explicitly usable only during a reaction like holding down the trigger when using a machine gun.
- Continue or complete an extended action.
Other kinds of reactions are possible. Discuss with your GR on a case by case basis. Some spells use up one or more reactions.
If you change your initiative approach the effects are felt on the following turn. If Alex started the turn with Quick+3 and used 2 reactions (defend, aid an ally) before his turn, he might figure that he's only going to use Clever approaches, given the way the combat is shaping up. He uses his third reaction to switch to Clever+5. He has used all 3 reactions this turn. Next turn his initiative will be 5.
Some actions take significant time, concentration, or focus. This can be accounted for several ways.
- A number of turns must pass before the action completes, e.g., the flash flood will arrive in 3 turns and last for 8 turns.
- A character must use a number of actions to complete the task, e.g., picking the lock takes two actions and no reactions. (2A/0R)
- A character must use a number of actions and reactions to complete the task, e.g., reloading a gun by replacing the magazine takes one action and two reactions. (1A/2R)
- A character must use a number of reactions to complete the task, e.g., mustering up the energy to cast a spell might take three reactions, but no actions. (0A/3R)
The higher the character’s initiative the faster they can complete most tasks. You can only ever have one action per turn though, so if a task takes 2A you’re going to spend 30s on it – at least.
If an extended action takes more reactions than a character has in the turn it can be abandoned, or extended into the next turn. "Extend an action" is an action in itself, so you don't get e.g., an attack on the second turn. A character with Quick 2 would be able to change a gun barrel (1A/2R) in one turn as long as they had nothing else to do. If they were forced to defend in the first turn, they’d have to use their action in turn 2 to continue changing the barrel, and then use one of their 2 reactions to finish the task.
Types of Attacks and the Damage They Do
In Fate:Core, attacks do mental or physical stress. You can soak any hit into your stress slots. If the hit is big, you can split it between one stress slot and one consequence slot.
In Fate:Discovered, attacks can damage your abilities (“That +3 hit against your stuff means your gun has been destroyed!”) and your drain your approaches (“The +3 hit means the gas is making you loopy, lowing your Clever by 3.”).
Attacks Against Resilience
Stress slots define how much temporary damage a character can take in some domain. Physical Stress (PS) and Mental Stress (MS) are common to almost all characters. Characters that buy wealth also have Financial Stress slots (FS). Other kinds of stress may be defined to add resilience to a character's approaches or abilities. Stress is relatively trivial to heal or remove during a break in the action. This includes traditional physical combat as well as attacks against the mind IRL, IAR, or IVR. In all cases an attacker chooses an approach or ability to attack with and makes an attack roll to attempt to do stress to a target. The defender usually attempts to avoid this damage by defending against the attack with a defence roll. Once attack modifiers, defence modifiers and other abilities are applied (e.g., armour or damage resistance), the target has to deal with any remaining stress. Ideally, they can soak up that damage in stress slots or a stress pool. If a single hit is too much for any stress slot or pool, the damage can be divided into stress and a consequence. A +4PS punch could be taken as a 4|Cons or a 2|PS 2|Cons. It could not be taken as a 1|3|PS.
If a character can not soak the damage into stress and consequences their role in combat severely restricted or they are taken out of the scene entirely.
Resilience is restored when the target has a chance to rest and recover or make repairs (e.g., to armour). This usually happens between sessions, but a healing factor or medipack can make it happen much faster.
Attacks Against Approaches
Some attacks damage a target's competence and capacity to act. For example, going on an alcohol fuelled bender might mean Clever-2, Quick-2, and Forceful+1 for the duration. A TASER could do Quick-4, and Clever-4 to a character it hits, almost guaranteeing that they will be taken out of combat.
If any approach drops below -2 at any time the character is too impaired to function. Approach damage can be resisted with a defense reaction roll. Approach damage can always be split across the approach and a consequence to keep the ability functioning.
If an attack says it does damage to initiative it actually drains Quick.
Attacks that damage abilities – stunts, teams, augments, magic, or stuff – are meant to take away that ability, at least for a while. For example, an attack that disarms your character will remove their weapon (a kind of stuff) from the action. Until the weapon is recovered or replaced, your character has lost access to that weapon.
Ability damage does not take effect – removing the ability – unless the attack drains the refresh cost of the ability. For example, a neural lace with a 3R cost can take 2 shifts of damage before it stops working properly.
Ability attacks are often targeted at a narrow category, such as using a whip to disarm a hand-to-hand melee enemy. These attacks can be large too, such as an EMP that disrupts communications, fries computers, kills pacemakers, and so on.
Ability damage can always be split across the ability and a consequence to keep the ability functioning.
Attacks that do Several Damage Types
Many specialty weapons do some combination of damage types. Any bonus damage shifts from good rolls are divided among all damage types as evenly as possible. Always assign this damage in the order the damage types are listed. Splitting the damage makes it easier for the target to soak some damage, but it can also be easier to get taken out of combat.
For example, a MARG404 firing CT-R rounds does Quick-3, +2MS and +2PS sonic damage to the interior cavity of a vehicle, armour, or room. After all attack and defense bonuses are accounted for, Dale made a superb (+5) hit against a room full of CDWs. All of them have to deal with:
- Quick-5 (-3 from the weapon, -2 from the roll),
- +4MS (+2 from the weapon, +2 from the roll), and
- +3PS (+3 from the weapon, +1 from the roll).
The CDWs have limited options. With 1|2|3|4|5|PS the +3PS is no problem. CDWs have no MS slots though, so the only way for them to handle the +4MS is to take a 4|Con:"Deaf, disoriented, and stuned." This leaves them with a penalty of Quick-5 that they can't avoid because they can only take one consequence per attack. Since they have Quick+4, their Quick is reduced to -1, and they are taken out of combat for now. The creatures collapse like their strings were cut. Dale follows up with a CH-I burst that fills the room with +3PS persistent fire damage. Before the foul creatures can recover their Initiative they are burned up.
Recovering from Damage
Stress and consequences are recovered just like in Fate:Core, with the additional possibility of special healing through battlefield medicine, drugs, and so on. These usually remove a number of points of stress, but can rarely address a consequence while in combat.
To remove PS or MS, choose an approach to use to remove the stress slot, and add any bonuses from tools, spells, and so on. The difficulty of erasing a stress slot in combat is double the size of the slot: a 4PS slot takes a +8 roll. Doing this takes 1 Action from the healer and 1 Reaction from healer and victim for each point in the slot. The reactions don't have to be used at the same time, or all in a row. A fast healer (Init7) could drop an action and 4 reactions on someone to heal them in one turn, but the civilian, with Quick 2, would still need 2 undistracted turns to heal.
Approach drain is removed when actions are taken to counter the cause of the drain. The specifics depend on the narrative of the damage. Poison has do be dealt with differently than ropes even if they both caused Quick-3. Characters usually recover one point of approach by using one action and three reactions (1A/3R). If it makes narrative sense for an ally to be able to use actions and reactions on the drained character, the 1A/3R cost can be paid by someone other than the character effected. This means an ally can bring a drained character back into the scene by spending time treating the cause of the drain.
Losing Your Initiative Approach
If approach damage drops the approach you use for initiative to 0, -1, or -2 your options are limited. While your initiative is 0 or lower you get one reaction that can be used in two ways:
- switch to a different approach for initiative for the following turn, or
- start to recover your Quick (or other initiative approach).
Recovering an approach requires one action and three reactions. If your initiative is 0, -1, or -2 you do not have any actions to use. You will have to switch to a different approach for initiative, or get help from an ally on their turn.
Narratively, init penalties can be recovered faster or slower, depending on the situation. As always, the narrative is more important than the game mechanic.
Ability denial is removed when actions are taken to counter the cause for the denial. The specifics depend on the narrative of the damage. A gun that has been melted by an enemy attack can't be repaired in combat - and maybe not repaired at all - while dirt thrown in your face (-2 to every roll involving vision) might be cleared with two reactions. Damaged stuff can be particularly hard to recover quickly. A major advantage to stuff is that it can dramatically increase the effective refresh of a character. This advantage is offset by the reality that stuff can be broken and not be replaced or repaired quickly. If your RGA armour's cameras are damaged, you're not going to get that penalty removed without dropping out of combat for repairs.
To remove a Consequence requires heroic intervention. Choose an approach to use to remove the slot, and add any bonuses from tools, spells, and so on. Removing a consequence is not a free pass, no matter how hard it seems in the moment. When the original consequence is removed an entirely new consequence - perhaps related to the treatment - is applied to the next lowest Con slot. You must have the next lowest slot available for treatment to be effective, so if you have both Cons, you can't heal the Con until the Con is reduced to Con. Once you're at Con you can work on the moving down to [4[Con.
The difficulty of erasing a Consequence slot during a session is triple the size of the slot: a PS slot takes a +12 roll. Doing this is always time consuming - minutes to hours - or the difficulty is even greater, at the GR's discretion.
The difficulty of erasing a Consequence slot during combat is quintuple the size of the slot: a Con slot takes a +20 roll. Doing this is always time consuming, taking several Actions and Reactions from the healer and victim. A minimum of one action for every point in the slot must be spent by the healer and the victim. A total of 5x Reactions must be spent as well. A Con would take a +20 roll, 4 actions from healed and 4 actions from the healer, as well as 20 more reactions spread between them.
In some cases the GR may rule that the DC of the healing can be rolled cumulatively. Instead of piling on all the bonuses to reach +20, the healer could spend actions accumultating healing shifts. After the required number is reached the noted Actions and Reactions can be used.
This is a detailed look at every step of a full combat sequence between two groups.
- Kevin (Quick+5, Forceful+7): Full TALOS armour with a shield (123.4567.8888888PS, 245Con, +3DR vs Environmental Hazards). Uses +2 stunt with +5PS anime sword. Also has fragmentation grenades (AoE +4PS at center, +3 at 15m, +2 at 20m, +1 at 25m). Supported by several other party members, but they are staying back from the action as much as possible.
- 8 Clone Drone Warriors (Quick+4): Consume stunt (+6 Quick, +4 Persistent, +1 WF) and the Traumatic Insemination stunt (+6 Forceful to remove DR against biohazards and vacuum).
Kevin is using +5 Quick for initiative, so he acts first.
Initiative 5 - Kevin's Action
- Kevin: Attack +14PS. He runs CDW1 through with his sword.
- CDW1: Defends +4. It attempts to forcefully block the blade.
- Kevin: Reduces the damage from (+14-4=+10PS) to +9PS to take a boost against CDW1.
- CDW1: 1234xPS, 2x6Con "Run Through", 1Action, 3/4Reactions. It takes 9PS as a 5PS slot and a 4Con slot.
- Kevin: Gains 1 free invocation of "Run Through" against CDW1.
Kevin was used to fighting armoured enemies, so his instant reaction was to use his massive sword to run through the first misshapen creature as it rushed him. It tried to push the blade out of the way, but couldn't compete with the strength of the soldier and his suit. That didn't stop it though: it ran forward along the blade, impaling itself without hesitation. The melted, waxy skin writhed around the giant wound, but there was little blood. Kevin could see the shuddering throb of the thing's heart inside its mangled chest. It was cut in half but somehow still beating. Not good, he thought. The thing wasn't slowing down at all despite an obviously fatal wound. Worse, that gave the other seven time to swarm over him, gnawing and clawing at the gaps between the armour plates of his TALOS suit.
Initiative 4 - CDW Actions
CDW1 to 8 attack Kevin with Traumatic Insemination (+6 damage to HazMat DR). He is big enough for the relatively small creatures to swarm over. All their attacks are Traumatic Insemination, designed to remove his environmental protections. This round the GR opts to roll their attacks instead of just using the straight +6 shifts. Kevin uses all 5 of his reactions to defend against the first 5 attacks.
- CDW1: Attack +9 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +8. 1 shift of damage to SCHEP (x23456DR+3 Hazmat)
- CDW2: Attack +6 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +11 (x23456DR+3 Hazmat)
- CDW3: Attack +7 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +9 (x23456DR+3 Hazmat)
- CDW4: Attack +5 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +10 (x23456DR+3 Hazmat)
- CDW5: Attack +7 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +10 (x23456DR+3 Hazmat)
- CDW6: Attack +7 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +2 boost (x234x6DR+2 Hazmat)
- CDW7: Attack +5 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +0 (x234xxDR+2 Hazmat)
- CDW8: Attack +4 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +0 (x23xxxDR+1 Hazmat)
"Fucking space goblins!" Kevin yelled, using his shield to bash four of the creatures aside. He was a little startled by how tough they were, but they didn't have any weapons that could hurt him in his TALOS. He'd cut them down soon enough.
Then the thing clawing at his hand damaged the environmental protections around his wrist. It was only a nick and the SCHEP layer sealed it up immediately, but... Three of the things got past his defences, crawling over him, biting and tearing at the hazmat protections under the armour plates. He was lucky. The suit was just able to patch the damage quickly enough to prevent any leaks. There was no way it would be able to repair itself against another attack like that.
Kevin realized he needed to change tactics. With his sword encumbered by an apparantly undying space goblin, he switched weapons.
Initiative 5 - Kevin's Action
In an attempt to make some space, he quickly dropped a fragmentation grenade, knowing his armour would keep him safe.
- Kevin: Attack +9PS. +2 using Tender Bits for 1FP. (+11PS total)
- CDW1: Defend 15-4=11 (12x4xPS, xxxCon "Swiss Cheese Flesh" "Run Through" "Legs? I had legs, right?")
- CDW2: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW3: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW4: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW5: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW6: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW7: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW8: Defend 15-4=11 (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- Kevin: Defend 9-(5-1+3)=2PS. The bonuses from his allies do not apply to the damage he is taking. His defence roll was -1 and his armour has +3DR vs this type of attack, leaving only 2PS to soak. He lets the armour soak the blast into an 8PS slot even though he could use a 2PS slot to have his body battered around a bit. (123.4567.x888888PS, 245Con)
Now that he's had a chance to engage the Drones, Kevin was getting a sense of how to deal with them. They could take a lot of damage and keep coming - but they wouldn't be very effective it they didn't have limbs to work with. He swept the three crawling over him off, pulled a grenade off his bandolier, and dropped it at his feet. He knew his armour would be able to handle the blast. Having had his arms blown off once already did leave a bit of an impression though. He stepped back quickly.
Brad saw what Kevin was doing. He'd seen a lot of close-quarter fighting in his time, so he reacted instantly. He reached out into AR space, creating a copy of Kevin that stood above the grenade. Dr. Fong caught on and added his own touch: an overlay that make the Drones think the Royal Guard were coming at them from down the hall. Between the distractions, the creatures flailed about, some attempting to climb one illusion while the others turned to defend against another.
The grenade went off.
The Drone that had impaled itself on his sword was gone, ground up by the shrapnel from the grenade. The other seven weren't dead, but they were badly damaged. None of them had all their limbs left. That didn't slow them down much. For the first time, Kevin started to worry. He'd only taken out one enemy, despite blowing himself up a little - and they were already swarming over him again.
Initiative 4 - CDW Actions
Blood and guts everywhere, the partially dismembered Drones dig in again.
- CDW2: Attack +8 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +4. Use "Missing Limb". (xx3xxxDR+1 Hazmat)
- CDW3: Attack +4 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +8 (xx3xxxDR+1 Hazmat)
- CDW4: Attack +6 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +6 (xx3xxxDR+1 Hazmat)
- CDW5: Attack +5 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +9 (xx3xxxDR+1 Hazmat)
- CDW6: Attack +9 vs Hazmat DR
- Kevin: Defend +0 (DR0 Hazmat)
- CDW7: Attack +4 Consume (+4PS Persistent +1WF)
- Kevin: Defend +4 "Missing Limb" and invoking "Grizzly Past" (1FP) (123.4567.x888888PS, 246Con)
- CDW8: Attack +5 Consume (+4Pers, +1WF)
- Kevin: Defend +4. Everyone is out of Fate Points. (123.4567.x888888PS, 246Con)
"Holy shit," Brad said. The partially dismembered creatures swarmed at the big armoured man again, unfazed by the raw meat their bodies had become. He'd seen what frag grenades did to a body up close and personal. This was unreal. "They just don't stop!"
"Thank you, Dr. Bradsson," Dr. Fong said.
Brad found his horrified gaze dragged away from the seething mass of carnage around the corner. He stared at the slender man, mouth agape.
Fong took this as an invitation to continue. "Their blood is a slurry of perflourocarbons jammed with oxygen and--""
"I don't care!" Kevin was not hurt, but the things were trying to do something bad. "What are they doing?"
"If they breech his environmental protection the enzymes in their saliva will start an apoptosis chain reaction in his flesh." He was positively beaming with pride over his creations.
"If they bite him he'll digest himself." Fong's satisfaction slipped slightly when he realized what he'd just said.
Kevin was too busy to notice their exchange. He'd been able to take advantage of their damaged state to knock them back, dodge, and deflect, but he was on his heels. °°HazMat Containment Failed!°° his suit said. One of the fuckers had played dead for long enough that he lost track of it in the gore and mangled limbs. It had climbed up his leg and torn out a chunk of his SCHEP. He grabbed it before it could dig in, using it to knock another one of the things off his arm. The suit was reporting complete SCHEP failure when he stepped on something big and slippery and went down.
"Help me!" Brad said. He handed Fong a virtual object that looked like a leg. "Hit it with that!" Fong threw the thing at the drone climbing up Kevin's chest. It fused with the thing's body, creating a virtual leg. Brad animated the limb, focussing on having its fake sensory inputs mesh with the Drone's lace.
It was enough. The thing attempted to step on a phantom limb and took a tumble. The glob of thick mucus it spat out sailed far wide of Kevin, sticking to the wall behind him with a meaty splat.
The big man rolled to his feet and got his back against the other wall. If they swarmed him again he wasn't going to be well at all.
Well, hobbled, hopped, and dragged. So a charge in principle, but a hideous rambling of broken flesh in practice.
"Fuck it," Kevin said. He dropped his shield. If he couldn't take some of them out right fucking now he wasn't going to have any use for it. He took the hilt of his enorous sword in both hands and braced himself against the insane torque and momentum of 50kg of metal in a 2.5m blade. With all his strength, he levelled a massive cut through the lot of them.
Initiative 5 - Kevin's Action
Kevin uses his sword’s chained targets attack modifier to cut through them at with one broad sweep.
- Kevin: Attack +13PS (Strong Like Ox, +2 roll)
- CDW2: Defend 13-4=9 (12x4xPS, xxxCon "Lotsa Holes (1)" "Mostly severed torso (1)" "Missing Limb")
- CDW3: Defend 15-4=11. "Missing Limb" used. (DEAD)
- CDW4: Defend 15-4=11. "Missing Limb" used. (DEAD)
- CDW5: Defend 15-4=11. "Missing Limb" used. (DEAD)
- CDW6: Defend 15-4=11. "Missing Limb" used. (DEAD)
- CDW7: Not attacked (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
- CDW8: Not attacked (1234xPS, 24xCon "Missing Limb")
The blow was devastating, cutting four of them apart so hard they splashed. The blade finally came to rest deep inside the torso of one of the things. Kevin kicked it off his blade.
Initiative 4 - CDW Actions
They hissed and spat and tried to get at him, but they had no chance. With only three of the creatures remaining, Kevin was easily able to hold them at bay.
With a few more sweeping blows, he finished them off.
Panting, he turned to look back up the hall. "Thanks for the help," he said. He meant in sincerely. They were the noncombatants he was protecting, not soldiers. He was unaware of the maniacal grin on his face, or that it made the others seriously question exactly what he meant.
The rules for recovering ability damage can be applied now, while the party take a moment to recover from combat.
- From a design perspective damage is a temporary loss of Refresh. In Fate:Discovered, where you allocate a pool of refresh to approaches, abilities, and resilience, anything that takes refresh to power can be damaged. When this happens the character is denied access to that characteristic. Attacks that do ability or approach damage are more expensive than attacks that cause stress.
- Stunts usually give +2 to rolls to attack, overcome, or create an aspect.
- Using your action to direct a team is the same as using the Leadership stunt that comes with having a team.
- Augments usually give a bonus to rolls to attack, overcome, or create an advantage.
- This wasn't stupid - it was ignorant. Stabbing is more effective against damage resistant targets, and he's used to everything he fights having DR.
- The GR decided not to roll for this defence, instead using the base approach score for faster play.