Ouch! Damage, Stress, and Consequences
When you’re hit by an attack, the severity of the hit is the difference between the attack roll and your defense roll; we measure that in shifts. For instance, if your opponent gets +5 on their attack and you get a +3 on your defense, the attack deals a two shift hit (5 – 3 = 2).
Then, one of two things happens:
- You suffer stress and/or consequences, but you stay in the fight.
- You get taken out, which means you’re out of the action for a while.
Stress & Consequences: The 30-Second Version
- Each character starts with three stress boxes.
- Severity of hit (in shifts) = Attack Roll – Defense Roll
- When you take a hit, you need to account for how that hit damages you. One way to absorb the damage is to take stress; you can check one stress box to handle some or all of a single hit. You can absorb a number of shifts equal to the number of the box you check: one for Box 1, two for Box 2, three for Box 3.
- You may also take one or more consequences to deal with the hit, by marking off one or more consequence slots and writing a new aspect for each one. Mild consequence = 2 shifts; moderate = 4 shifts; severe = 6 shifts.
- If you can’t (or decide not to) handle the entire hit, you’re taken out. Your opponent decides what happens to you.
- Giving in before your opponent’s roll allows you to control how you exit the scene. You also get one or more fate points for doing this!
- Stress and mild consequences vanish at the end of the scene, provided you get a chance to rest. Other consequences take longer.
What Is Stress?
If you get hit and don’t want to be taken out, you can choose to take stress.
Stress represents you getting tired or annoyed, taking a superficial wound, or some other condition that goes away quickly.
Your character sheet has a stress track, a row of three boxes. When you take a hit and check a stress box, the box absorbs a number of shifts equal to its number: one shift for Box 1, two for Box 2, or three for Box 3.
You can only check one stress box for any single hit, but you can check a stress box and take one or more consequences at the same time. You can’t check a stress box that already has a check mark in it!
What Are Consequences?
Consequences are new aspects that you take to reflect being seriously hurt in some way. Your character sheet has three slots where you can write consequences. Each one is labeled with a number: 2 (mild consequence), 4 (moderate consequence), or 6 (severe consequence). This represents the number of shifts of the hit the consequence absorbs. You can mark off as many of these as you like to handle a single hit, but only if that slot was blank to start with. If you already have a moderate consequence written down, you can’t take another one until you do something to make the first one go away!
A major downside of consequences is that each consequence is a new aspect that your opponents can invoke against you. The more you take, the more vulnerable you are. And just like situation aspects, the character that creates it (in this case, the character that hit you) gets one free invocation on that consequence. They can choose to let one of their allies use the free invocation.
Let’s say that you get hit really hard and take a 4-shift hit. You check Box 2 on your stress track, which leaves you with 2 shifts to deal with. If you can’t, you’re taken out, so it’s time for a consequence. You can choose to write a new aspect in the consequence slot labeled 2—say, Sprained Ankle. Those final 2 shifts are taken care of and you can keep fighting!
If you’re unable to absorb all of a hit’s shifts—by checking a stress box, taking consequences, or both—you’re taken out.
What Happens When I Get Taken Out?
If you get taken out, you can no longer act in the scene. Whoever takes you out narrates what happens to you. It should make sense based on how you got taken out—maybe you run from the room in shame, or maybe you get knocked unconscious.
If things look grim for you, you can give in (or concede the fight)—but you have to say that’s what you’re going to do beforeyour opponent rolls their dice.
This is different than being taken out, because you get a say in what happens to you. Your opponent gets some major concession from you—talk about what makes sense in your situation—but it beats getting taken out and having no say at all.
Additionally, you get one fate point for conceding, and one fate point for each consequence you took in this conflict. This is your chance to say, “You win this round, but I’ll get you next time!” and get a tall stack of fate points to back it up.
Getting Better—Recovering from Stress and Consequences
At the end of each scene, clear all of your stress boxes. Recovery from a consequence is a bit more complicated; you need to explain how you recover from it—whether that’s an ER visit, taking a walk to calm down, or whatever makes sense with the consequence. You also need to wait an appropriate length of time.
- Mild consequence: Clear it at the end of the scene, provided you get a chance to rest.
- Moderate consequence: Clear it at the end of the next session, provided it makes sense within the story.
- Severe consequence: Clear it at the end of the scenario, provided it makes sense within the story.
Renaming Moderate and Severe Consequences
Moderate and severe consequences stick around for a while. Therefore, at some point you may want to change the name of the aspect to better fit what’s going on in the story. For instance, after you get some medical help, Painful Broken Leg might make more sense if you change it to Hobbling on Crutches.