Fate Core


Deceive is the skill about lying to and misdirecting people.

OOvercome: Use Deceive to bluff your way past someone, or to get someone to believe a lie, or to get something out of someone because they believe in one of your lies. For nameless NPCs, this is just an overcome roll, but for PCs or named NPCs, it requires a contest, and the target opposes with Empathy. Winning this contest could justify placing a situation aspect on your target, if buying into your lie could help you in a future scene.

Deceive is the skill you use for determining if a disguise works, whether on yourself or others. You’ll need to have the time and supplies to create the desired effect. (Note: This is mainly a Hearts of Steelthing; in some games, this may not be appropriate for Deceive by default and should require a stunt.)

You can also use Deceive to do small tricks of sleight-of-hand and misdirection.

CCreate an Advantage: Use Deceive to create momentary distractions, cover stories, or false impressions. You could feint in a swordfight, putting an opponent Off-Balance and setting you up for an attack. You could do the whole, “What’s that over there!” trick to give you a Head Start when you run away. You could establish a Wealthy Noble Cover Story for when you attend a royal ball. You could trick someone into revealing one of their aspects or other information.

AAttack: Deceive is an indirect skill that creates a lot of opportunities you can capitalize on, but it doesn’t do direct harm to an individual.

DDefend: You can use Deceive to throw off Investigation attempts with false information and to defend against efforts made to discern your true motives with the Empathy skill.

Deceive Stunts

  • Lies upon Lies. +2 to create a Deceive advantage against someone who has believed one of your lies already during this session.
  • Mind Games. You can use Deceive in place of Provoke to make mental attacks, as long as you can make up a clever lie as part of the attack.
  • One Person, Many Faces. Whenever you meet someone new, you can spend a fate point to declare that you’ve met that person before, but under a different name and identity. Create a situation aspect to represent your cover story, and you can use Deceive in place of Rapport whenever interacting with that person.

Social Skills and Other Characters

Many of the social skills have actions that let you change the emotional state of another character or make them accept some fact in the story (like believing one of your lies).

A successful use of a social skill does not confer the authority to force another character to act contrary to their nature or how the person controlling the character sees them. If another PC gets affected by one of your skills, the player gets input on how their character responds. They can’t negate your victory, but they can choose what it looks like.

So, you may successfully Provoke by getting in their face and screaming at them, intending to scare them into hesitation and create an advantage. But if the other player doesn’t imagine his character reacting that way, you should work out an alternative—maybe you make him so angry that he’s unbalanced by his rage, or you embarrass him by making a spectacle around him in public.

As long as you get your advantage, you’re fine. Use it as an opportunity to create story with other people, instead of shutting them down.