(This is my sixth basic FATE Tutorial, you can find the fifth here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100212613856984996154/posts/KuA1Dse3W71

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FATE Tutorial 6: Examples


One of the more complex parts of FATE is the difference between Assessments, Maneuvers and Declarations, and when to use which. While there isn’t a definite time and place where only one of the above should be used, there are times when one can be more appropriate than another. Below are a list of examples for each!


Remember, Assessments exist to allow us to discover Aspects that already exist on a person, place or thing. Whether we’re rolling our Alertness, Empathy or even Guns is really dependent on what we’re looking for. We can also guess an Aspect during an Assessment to forego the rolling entirely - but we risk being totally off base or catching the GM on a bad day, and wasting our turn. However we find out, once it's discovered we get a free Tag of the Aspect, as per FATE Tutorial 4. Assume all the Assessment rolls below are at the behest of the GM, though it isn’t unusual for a player to ask “Can I roll [ability] to Assess an *Aspect?*” if they have an idea what they’re looking for but aren't willing to guess.

- Sarah’s player rolls Investigation to Assess the scene Aspect [Trail of Blood] leading from the point of her prisoner’s escape to wherever he is now. She Tags it for a +2 to her next Investigation roll to track the escapee.

- Feeling vengeful, Nameless Thug’s player (the GM) rolls Empathy to gauge Charles for nervous ticks he can exploit when next they meet. He Assess Charles’ Aspect [One Step Away From Losing It] that he can Tag for a +2 to provoke Charles when they meet again.

- From her rooftop vantage, Cassidy (Charles’ partner in crime) has her player roll Guns to Assess Sarah’s Aspect [Never Kills With The First Shot], for the inevitable conflict to come. She’ll Tag that Aspect to get a +2 to her Athletics if she needs to leap out of the way of Sarah’s pistol.


If we recall from Tutorial 4, Maneuvers let us use our own abilities to create Aspects on the fly. Once created, we get a free Tag for a +2 on an appropriate roll. After we use that Tag the Aspect goes away until we recreate it (or one like it) with another turn and another roll. This is called a fragile Aspect. We can spend extra Shifts on our roll to make the Aspect last longer (a sticky Aspect), but additional Tags of the Aspect aren’t free. They cost a FATE Point.

- Sarah makes a call to her underlings, and has them buy her a really fast sportscar at the nearest dealership. If Charles wants a chase, she’ll give him a chase! She rolls Resources to create the Aspect [The Red Ones Go Faster] that she can Tag for a +2 to her Driving during the inevitable chase scene to come.

- Nameless Thug rolls his Endurance after getting off the floor Charles put him on. He creates the Aspect [It Takes More Than That...] for +2 to one of the appropriate rolls in the physical conflict he intends to repay Charles with.

- Cassidy takes a deep breath and rests the barrel of her rifle on the low parapet of the roof and rolls Discipline to create the Aspect [Practical Sniper Training] which she can Tag for a +2 to Guns when she engages the oblivious Sarah.


Also discussed in Tutorial 4, Declarations are the mid-point between Assessment and Maneuver. They let us look at a scene from a player perspective and determine what it needs to be cooler for our characters. We have a smidgen of GM power here, and the encouragement to use it. We roll like we would a Maneuver, but it isn’t our characters doing anything. It’s us, the player, creating. We’re deciding a scene needs a dash of flavor that’s both helpful to our heroes, and appropriate to the genre we’re enjoying.

- Charles’ player rolls Driving to Declare there’s a concentration of black cars in the city’s dense traffic. He creates the Aspect [Must Be A MIB Convention In Town] that he can tag for a +2 on his next Stealth roll.

- Sarah rolls Contacts to Declare she’s called a GPS technician on her payroll, who’s all too eager to give her the SUV’s tracking info to repay a favor he owes. She creates the Aspect [Eye In The Sky] she can Tag for a +2 to Investigation to find her missing captive.

- Cassidy rolls Burglary to Declare there’s a single window open in the apartment complex next door to her perch. She creates the Aspect [Confusing Trajectory] that she can Tag for a +2 to hiding her location.

Bonus: We don’t always have to use an Aspect for a +2. We might use an Investigation Declaration to reveal the door into a basement the GM didn’t consider, or Alertness to create a garden window we can spy through. We might use Empathy to Assess a dark secret from an NPC and use it in conversation instead of taking a bonus. We could even use a Resources Maneuver to create an Aspect lets use get enough money together to afford a nice suit for a dinner with the Don.
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