(This is part 3 of my eighth basic FATE Tutorial, you can find the second part here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100212613856984996154/posts/YSmsS7Z4mmK

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FATE Tutorial 8: Combat, Part 3 (with much asked-for Grappling rules!)


Blocks are an element of FATE it isn’t hard to imagine getting left out of the average game. At least glossed over in some way. It’s a little complicated when first read, but in practice it’s very simple. We Block when we want to prevent someone from doing something. Do we want to put ourselves between a gunman and his victim? That’s a Block. Keep a door shut so the rampaging werewolf can’t get through? Block! Break a staircase to prevent a horde of the hungry dead from swarming the upstairs? Block!

To perform a Block we have to decide what we’re trying to prevent. If it’s one person, we can Block everything. If it’s a group, we can Block one kind of action (attack, maneuver, movement, etc...). 1 person, all actions. All persons, 1 action. The only exception is defense. We can never Block a defense roll.

After we’ve decided who we’re Blocking and what action/actions we’re preventing, we just roll the appropriate ability + 4dF. That result is our Block Strength. If we Block all the actions of one person that person has to roll more Shifts than our Block Strength before those Shifts count toward their goal. If we Block all people from one action anyone who wants to perform that action has to roll to exceed our Block Strength before their Shifts count toward that action. 

That’s Blocking in a nutshell!

Sarah wakes in a small, poorly lit room with a splitting headache. It takes her a moment to realize that her hands are bound to the back of a sturdy chair, but the idiots who caught her must’ve been in a hurry since they never bound her feet. She waddles the chair to the only entrance, and presses an ear to the door. Footsteps! Shit. She throws the back of the chair to the door and leans toward it, bracing herself between the entrance and nearby wall with two well-placed boots and the (hopefully) strong legs of the seat. That should give her some time to think.

A second later the door rattles, and Charles’ familiar voice calls out, “Thackery! I think... I think she locked me out!”

Sarah’s player decides she wants to perform a Block. She decides this block will be versus everyone who tries to enter the room. She rolls her athletics of Fair (+2) with +1 from 4dF for a total of Good (+3). Now, it’ll take a Might roll of at least Great (+4) to move into the room. Since this block is against everyone, Sarah can technically still be attacked. If Charles had a firearm (which can fire between zones), he could potentially harm Sarah. Since he doesn’t, there isn’t too much Charles can do except try to get through Sarah’s Block. As long as Sarah maintains the Block (rerolling each turn), he’s going to have a rough time getting through the door.

Charles gives the door another shove, but it isn’t budging. He’s been effectively locked out of his own interrogation room. By the time Thackery shows up, Charles hoarse from shouting and sore from slamming his arm into the door. Thackery prepares to give the door all his might, but finds no resistance when he tries the handle. It opens, and Sarah is gone. He whirls on Charles, one fist raised in what passes for an accusatory expression with the giant. Charles looks just as surprised, but not as surprised as when Sarah drops on Thackery from above, and wraps her arms around his bull-like neck.

Grappling is a Block with slightly different rules. First, we need an appropriate Aspect to Tag or Invoke, then we’ve got to roll our Might ability + 4dF. We still get the +2 from the Aspect, even though it was required just to make the Grapple. When you have someone grappled, you can do one of a few things:

-Deal a single automatic Shift of Stress.

-Move one zone (if there’s no Border), if appropriate to the added difficulty of being latched-on to another person.

-Take a supplemental action to automatically inflict a Maneuver worth 1 Shift.

-Release the Grapple to perform a more complex action.

The Grappled target can still attempt actions, but if they don’t exceed the Grapple Strength they fail. If they do exceed the strength, they resolve normally. If the action is something that could reasonably break the grappler’s grip, the Grapple is over.

Bonus: The semantics of Grapple can be played with to represent other situations, like keeping someone on the defensive in a sword fight (whereas you’d replace the Might rolls with Weaponry rolls), or a particularly intense staredown (using Intimidate). 

Sarah Tags the Aspect [Out of Sight] to get the jump on Thackery and initiate the Grapple. She rolls Might of Fair (+2) + 1 from 4dF for a result of Superb (+5) since she gets both the bonus from Tagging the Aspect as well as meets the requirement for starting a Grapple because she did. 

Thackery rolls his own Might of Good (+3) + 1 from 4dF for a result of Great (+4). Since Sarah exceeds his roll, she succeeds in the Grapple and uses her special Grapple action to move from the Locked Room zone to the Hallway zone, dragging Thackery with her.

Stay tuned for part 4, where we finally get around to talking about social and mental combat!
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