Stress measures how much mental and physical damage you can take before suffering significant consequences. When you’re hit by an attack, the severity of the hit is the difference between the attack roll and your defense roll; we measure that in shifts. For instance, if your opponent gets +5 on their attack and you get a +3 on your defense, the attack deals a two shift hit (5 – 3 = 2).
Then, one of two things happens:
- You suffer stress and/or consequences, but you stay in the fight.
- You get taken out, which means you’re out of the action for a while.
Stress represents you getting tired or annoyed, taking a superficial wound, or some other condition that goes away quickly. Consequences represent injuries or other lasting trauma that happen when you get hit by attacks. They go away much more slowly than Stress. Consequences usually offset Stress in 2-point increments, but it is possible to have a consequence pool. Consequences linger.
Characters in this game have stress and consequence in slots or in pools.
- Physical and Mental Stress Slots
- Slots can soak 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 points.
- 1 Refresh per Slot. Small slots must be purchased first.
- Humans start with 3 slots of Mental Stress and 3 slots of Physical Stress. Other sophants have stress noted in their species description.
- Consequence Slots
- Slots can soak 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 points, with a damaging aspect applied to the character for some time.
- 1 Refresh per Slot. Small slots must be purchased first.
- Humans start with 3 Consequence slots (2, 4, 6). Other sophants have slots noted in their species description.
- Stress and Consequence Pools
- Instead of slots, you can use 1 Refresh to purchase 2 points of Stress Pool or Consequence Pool. A pool can absorb any number of damage shifts up to the size of the pool, until the pool is exhaused. This lets a character take a massive blow or many little blows, compared to slots.
Stress and Consequences
|Each character starts with three stress boxes. In the Discovered Universe characters may end up with up to five boxes.|
|Severity of hit (in shifts) = Attack Roll – Defense Roll|
|When you take a hit, you need to account for how that hit damages you. One way to absorb the damage is to take stress; you can check one stress box to handle some or all of a single hit. You can absorb a number of shifts equal to the number of the box you check: one for Box 1, two for Box 2, three for Box 3.
|You may also take one or more consequences to deal with the hit, by marking off one or more consequence slots and writing a new aspect for each one. Mild consequence = 2 shifts; moderate = 4 shifts; severe = 6 shifts. In the Discovered Universe characters may end up with up to five slots (additional 8 point and 10 point slots).|
|If you can’t (or decide not to) handle the entire hit, you’re taken out. Your opponent decides what happens to you.|
|Giving in before your opponent’s roll allows you to control how you exit the scene. You also get one or more fate points for doing this!|
|Stress and mild consequences vanish at the end of the scene, provided you get a chance to rest. Other consequences take longer.|
If you get hit and don’t want to be taken out, you can choose to take stress or consequences.
What Is Stress?
Stress represents you getting tired or annoyed, taking a superficial wound, or some other condition that goes away quickly.
Your character sheet has a stress track, a row of three boxes. When you take a hit and check a stress box, the box absorbs a number of shifts equal to its number: one shift for Box 1, two for Box 2, or three for Box 3.
Your character sheet has slots that go up to 5. The actual number of slots or pool size you get as a starting character depends on what kind of sophant you play.
You can only check one stress box for any single hit, but you can check a stress box and take one or more consequences at the same time. You can’t check a stress box that already has a check mark in it!
What Are Consequences?
Consequences are new aspects that you take to reflect being seriously hurt in some way.
Your character sheet has three slots where you can write consequences. Each one is labeled with a number: 2 (mild consequence), 4 (moderate consequence), or 6 (severe consequence). This represents the number of shifts of the hit the consequence absorbs. You can mark off as many of these as you like to handle a single hit, but only if that slot was blank to start with. If you already have a moderate consequence written down, you can’t take another one until you do something to make the first one go away!
Your character sheet has slots that go up to 10. Humans start with 3 slots, but different sophants have different starting slots and pool sizes.
A major downside of consequences is that each consequence is a new aspect that your opponents can invoke against you. The more you take, the more vulnerable you are. And just like situation aspects, the character that creates it (in this case, the character that hit you) gets one free invocation on that consequence. They can choose to let one of their allies use the free invocation.
Let’s say that you get hit really hard and take a 4-shift hit. You check Box 2 on your stress track, which leaves you with 2 shifts to deal with. If you can’t, you’re taken out, so it’s time for a consequence. You can choose to write a new aspect in the consequence slot labeled 2—say, Sprained Ankle. Those final 2 shifts are taken care of and you can keep fighting!
If you’re unable to absorb all of a hit’s shifts—by checking a stress box, taking consequences, or both—you’re taken out.
What Happens When I Get Taken Out?
If you get taken out, you can no longer act in the scene. Whoever takes you out narrates what happens to you. It should make sense based on how you got taken out—maybe you run from the room in shame, or maybe you get knocked unconscious.
If things look grim for you, you can give in (or concede the fight)—but you have to say that’s what you’re going to do beforeyour opponent rolls their dice.
This is different than being taken out, because you get a say in what happens to you. Your opponent gets some major concession from you—talk about what makes sense in your situation—but it beats getting taken out and having no say at all.
Additionally, you get one fate point for conceding, and one fate point for each consequence you took in this conflict. This is your chance to say, “You win this round, but I’ll get you next time!” and get a tall stack of fate points to back it up.
Getting Better—Recovering from Stress and Consequences
At the end of each scene, clear all of your stress boxes. Recovery from a consequence is a bit more complicated; you need to explain how you recover from it—whether that’s an ER visit, taking a walk to calm down, or whatever makes sense with the consequence. You also need to wait an appropriate length of time. In Discovered, medical treatment and healing factors may reduce or eliminate some consequences quite quickly.
- 2 pt / Mild consequence: Clear it before the start of the next scene, provided you get a chance to rest.
- 4 pt / Moderate consequence: Clear it after completing a minor milestone, provided it makes sense within the story. If it is not cleared and the next smallest slot is free, move it to that slot. Rename it if appropriate.
- 6 pt / Severe consequence: Clear it after completing a significant milestone, provided it makes sense within the story. If it is not cleared and the next smallest slot is free, move it to that slot. Rename it if appropriate.
- 8 pt / Critical consequence: Clear it after completing a major milestone, provided it makes sense within the story. If it is not cleared and the next smallest slot is free, move it to that slot. Rename it if appropriate.
- 10 pt / Devastating consequence: Clear it after completing two major milestones, provided it makes sense within the story. If it is not cleared and the next smallest slot is free, move it to that slot. Rename it if appropriate.
Moderate and severe consequences stick around for a while. Therefore, at some point you may want to change the name of the aspect to better fit what’s going on in the story. For instance, after you get some medical help, Painful Broken Leg might make more sense if you change it to Hobbling on Crutches.