The Copper Coast
The Four Actions
There are four types of actions you can take in a game of Fate. When you make a skill roll, you have to decide which of these you’re going to try. The skill descriptions tell you which actions are appropriate for that skill and under which circumstances. Usually, the action you need to take will be pretty obvious from the skill description, your intent, and the situation in play, but sometimes you might have to talk it over with the group to find out which is the most appropriate.
- The four actions are: overcome, create advantage, attack, and defend.
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 Athletics tries to leap to safety from the roof of a runaway train.
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—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: 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: you attain your goal or get what you were after, but at a minor cost.
» When You Succeed!: you attain your goal without any cost.
» When You Succeed With Style!: you get a boost in addition to attaining your goal.
Create An Advantage
This 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 situation aspect or trying to take advantage of an aspect that’s already available—that could mean another situation 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.
Use the create an advantage action to make a situation aspect that gives you a benefit, or to claim a benefit from any aspect to which you have access.
If You’re Creating An Advantage To Make A New Aspect…
» When You Fail: you either don’t create the aspect, or you create it but your opponent gets a free invocation on it.
For example, if you create an aspect called Toppled Crates and it’s your opponent who has the free invocation, it might mean the crates are a bigger problem for you than for the other guy. 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 instead— 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 situation aspect with a free invocation.
» When You Succeed With Style!: it works like a normal success, except you get two free invocations instead of one.
If You’re Creating An Advantage On An Existing Aspect…
» When You Fail: you don’t get any benefit from the aspect. You can still invoke it if you’d like, at the cost of a fate point. If you’re doing this on a target whose aspects are hidden from you, the GM can opt to keep the aspect a secret instead.
» When You Tie Or Succeed: you place a free invocation on the aspect.
» When You Succeed With Style!: you place two free invocations on the aspect.
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 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, passive or not, so you can look at these two actions as
being inexorably intertwined.
» When You Fail: 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: you don’t cause harm, but you gain a boost. (Note: If your attack has a Weapon rating, you deal shifts of harm equal to that Weapon rating. If none of that harm gets through the target’s Armor, you get a boost instead.)
» When You Succeed!: 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!: it works like a normal success, but you also have the option to spend one shift for a boost.
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: you suffer the effects of whatever you were trying to prevent. You might take a hit, or someone else might have an advantage over you.
» When You Tie: you prevent the attack, but grant your opponent a boost. (Note: If your opponent’s attack has a Weapon rating, they deal shifts of harm to you equal to that Weapon rating. If none of that harm gets through, because you have an Armor rating that absorbs it all, they get a boost instead.)
» When You Succeed!: you successfully avoid the attack or the attempt to gain an advantage on you.
» When You Succeed With Style!: it works like a normal success, but you also get a boost.
Can I Defend Against Overcome Actions?
Technically, no. The defend action is there to stop you from taking stress, consequences, or situation aspects—to protect you against all the bad stuff. But! You can roll active opposition if you’re in the way of any action.
If someone could fail an overcome action because you’re in the way, you should say, “Hey, I’m in the way!” and roll to oppose it. You don’t get the extra benefits the defend action gives you, but you also don’t have to worry about the bad stuff if you lose.