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Fate Core

Challenges, Contests, & Conflicts

Zooming In On The Action

Most of the time, a single skill roll should be enough to decide how a particular situation in play resolves. You’re not obligated to describe actions in a particular timeframe or level of detail when you use a skill. Therefore, you could use a single Athletics roll to find out whether you can safely navigate a rock face that will take days to climb, or use that same single skill roll to find out whether you can safely avoid a swiftly falling tree that’s about to crush you.

Sometimes, however, you’ll be in a situation where you’re doing something really dramatic and interesting, like pivotal set pieces in a movie or a book. When that happens, it’s a good idea to zoom in on the action and deal with it using multiple skill rolls, because the wide range of dice results will make things really dynamic and surprising. Most fight scenes fall into this category, but you can zoom in on anything that you consider sufficiently important—car chases, court trials, high-stakes poker games, and so on.

We have three ways for you to zoom in on the action in Fate:

  • Challenges, when one or more characters try to achieve something dynamic or complicated
  • Contests, when two or more characters are competing for a goal
  • Conflicts, when two or more characters are trying to directly harm each other