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Fate Outcomes

In the Fate Core RPG one of the obstacles to learning it was always the sixteen outcomes. 4 action ×4 outcomes.

But reading Fate Condensed I see that it’s more like, uh… 32 outcomes since some of them have different choices (like, you can fail or succeed at a major cost) and there are also different versions of Create an Advantage depending on if you are changing the situation to create a new aspect, trying to learn about an existing but unknown aspect, or leveraging an existing aspect.

(Why five rows instead of four? When there is an active defender, they can Succeed with Style.)

I whipped together a quick overview PDF with the grid arranged kind of differently than the traditional [overcome, create, attack, defend]×[fail, tie, success, success with style].

Maybe this division only makes sense to me but the next time I run Fate I want to have this in front of me. I feel like it’s also going to be easier to learn the outcomes by heart this way.


The Seeming Logic Behind All This

Hopefully the following will make it easier to remember all this without having to look at a chart.

Two Outcomes… Plus Boosts

You can Fail or Succeed—and a Tie is like a “Failure Plus” (you get a boost) while a Success with Style is like a “Success Plus” (you get a boost).

Boost X? We were talking about Aspect Y?

Boosts are single-use aspects: basically they are aspects with a free invoke but the aspect goes away when used.

When you are dealing with creating, discovering or enhancing an aspect, instead of the boost you get an additional free invoke on that aspect. That kinda makes sense, to not flood the table with aspects, and explains the extra invoke on success with style. And also why a tie when enhancing a known aspect gives you an invoke on that aspect instead of a new, fleeting Boost aspect.

(Logically the Defender should get two free invokes instead of a free invoke and a boost when Succeeding with Style against Create an Advantage. But that’s not in the rules as currently written.)

We Have All These Choices

What about all the extra modal options in some of the outcomes? They don’t really make sense to me but here is how to remember them:

Fail but not really but with cost

If you fail on Overcome, you can sometimes instead succeed at a major cost (which there is no codified rule for, but often there will be something that makes sense for this in the game) on a fail, or at a minor cost (which means put in a tough spot, defender gets a boost, or you take a hit. Not sure how many shifts on that hit).

This is a bit of an artifact from the game design era where hard stops and failures was a no-no since the story always moves forward. For us used to more sandboxy play [where if they can’t get into a particular room they can always go to another room], and movies and novels where there sometimes are dead ends, this can be hard to grok but that was the style for a while. “Fail forward” etc.

Defender Gets The Aspect

In a design decision seemlingly inspired by 1 Kings 3:16–28, when you fail in creating an aspect you might want the aspect to live so much that you’d rather give it to the enemy than have it not exist. This rule, I like♥

git clone