(This is my fourth basic FATE Tutorial, you can find the third here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100212613856984996154/posts/XYA8ev5yQ6U

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FATE TUTORIAL 4: Tagging, or Discount Aspects


In our last (DOUBLE LARGE SPECIAL EDITION TWO PART) FATE Tutorial, we talked about Aspects and FATE Points. And how sparse a resource FATE Points are! Today, we’re going to talk about using Aspects without FATE Points.

In the first part of FATE Tutorial 3, we talked about four different methods of creating/discovering Aspects on the fly. Maneuver, Assessment, Declaration and Consequence. What we didn’t mention at the time, is that the act of creating those Aspects gives us something awesome.

A free Tag.

A Tag is just like an Invoke with a few exceptions. 1) It doesn’t cost a thing. Not a single FATE Point. And 2) the Tag can be loaned to another player, but only if we want to. No one can take our Tags from us. 3) A Tag is for Aspects we don't have on our character sheet, whereas our own Aspects have to be Invoked, and aren't traditionally free. 4) Tags don't offer the reroll portion of an Invoke.

So, why would we ever spent a FATE Point to Invoke one of our own Aspects, rather than just create one for free?

Well, the Tag is free. Creating the Aspect is not. It does not cost a FATE Point, but it costs something.

In most cases, it costs a turn and a roll. If we want to perform a Maneuver and create the Aspect [ Best Smile In The Room ] to give us the edge we need to talk our way into the VIP area of a club, we’d roll our Presence ability (we’re making sure everyone sees our award-winning smirk) with a difficulty determined by the GM. If we succeed, the Aspect is created. When it’s created we get that Tag of the Aspect we mentioned. And, like we said, Tags are a free.

Free once. After we take that Tag the Aspect goes away (this is called a fragile Aspect, but that term is not really important). It’s gone until we create it again! Unless...

Remember Effect from Tutorial 2? That’s when the Effort [Ability + 4dF] exceeds our difficulty. If we have some leftover Shifts of Effect we can spend them to make our Aspect last longer (making it a sticky Aspect - and again, the name isn’t super important to remember)! Regardless of how long an Aspect lasts, we still only get one Tag of it. So why would we want to keep it around, then?

Because we can now spend FATE Points on it, as if it were our own!

Assessments work a little differently. When we Assess we’re looking for Aspects that are already part of the scene or character. This still requires a turn, but we’re not making anything up ourselves. We’re discovering existing Aspects. There are two ways to do this! We can roll, or we can guess. Rolling might include using our Alertness to tell a building is [ Very Flammable ], or rolling our Guns to conclude an opponent’s pistol is an [ Unreliable Firearm ]. We can also guess an Aspect if we’re brave. This foregoes the roll entirely, but if we’re far off the mark we might be wasting our turn! Fortunately, the system advises a GM not to mean about it. If we’re close enough, we still get it. If we totally miss, we might even get to roll, if our GM is kind. And we bribe them.

Anyway! Once discovered, we get the same free Tag as a Maneuver! And since these are existing Aspects they remain after we Tag them! But, just like Maneuvers, further uses require a FATE Point.

Declarations are like a combination of Assessment and Maneuver. They function like Assessments in that we’re discovering an Aspect but we get to create that Aspect like a Maneuver. We decide, as players, what we discover. This is where a lot of player control over the setting comes in. We look our GM in the eye, and say something to effect of “These vampires are [_Weak to sun-warmed metal_]!” and, if our GM isn’t totally offended by the silliness of our request has us roll something appropriate. In this case, it would likely be lore. If we succeed, bam! Vampires are weak to metal still hot from laying in the daylight. It’s an Aspect we can Tag!

Finally, there are Consequences. These come from combat or sources of damage (physical/social/mental conflict, it doesn’t matter which). If we get in a fight, the lasting harm we inflict is measured in Consequences. If we deal the harm, the opponent decides what the Consequence is. If we are dealt the harm, we choose. The person who deals the Consequence gets a tag of it. Anyone else can spend FATE Points to use it (or, like any created/discovered Aspect, the Tag can be given to someone else!)

Charles surprises the thug by exploiting the weakness of his grapple. A [Black Belt In Aikido] makes it possible, and being [Slippery When Wet] with his blood all over the floor makes possible easy.

Arms free, thug dazed and on his back, and a throbbing gut wound, Charles needs a way out , and quickly. Much to his relief, Sarah is being loud enough to wake dead, and has yet to notice her fallen minion. That won’t last long.

Participation: Charles needs to make a Stealth roll to escape the building without Sarah noticing. Sarah will be rolling her Alertness and Tagging the Consequence she inflicted on Charles for free. Charles has two turns before the call ends, and zero FATE Points. What free Tags can Charles get to better his chances? [ Tied Up With The Boss ] is a good start!

Sarah: Alertness Fair (+2) with an Average roll (+1) and a single Tag (+2) = Superb (+5)

Charles: Stealth Fair (+2) with an Average roll (+1) = (+3)
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