Fate System Toolkit
Consequences are a great way to handle injuries, emotional scarring, and other persistent conditions within the fiction of your game. They’re not for everyone, though. Some people have trouble coming up with good consequences on the fly, while others want something more defined and concrete. Still others just want something different.
Conditions are like consequences, except that they’re pre-defined, like this:
- 1 1 Angry
- 1 1 Frightened
- 2 1 Exhausted
- 2 1 Hungry
- 4 1 1 Broken
- 4 1 1 Wounded
There are three kinds of conditions: fleeting, sticky, and lasting. A fleeting condition goes away when you get a chance to catch your breath and calm down. In the example above, Angry and Frightened are fleeting conditions. A sticky condition stays checked off until a specific event happens. If you’re Exhausted, you’re Exhausted until you get some sleep. If you’re Hungry, you’re Hungry until you get a good meal. Wounded and Broken are both lasting conditions. These stick around for at least one whole session, and require someone to overcome an obstacle with a passive opposition of at least Great (+4) before you can start to recover from them. Lasting conditions have two check boxes next to them, and you check them both off when you take the condition. When recovery begins, erase one check box. Erase the second one (and recover from it fully) after one more full session. You can take a lasting condition only if both of its check boxes are empty.
You suffer from a condition when the GM says you suffer from a condition—usually as a result of your narrative situation—but you can also use them to soak stress. When you take stress, you can reduce that stress by 1 if you check off a fleeting condition, by 2 stress if you check off a sticky condition, or by 4 stress if you check off a lasting condition. You can check off as many conditions as you’d like for a single hit.
Once you’re suffering from a condition, that condition is an aspect on your character sheet like any other. In this way, conditions are a lot like consequences—you can invoke them, and they can be invoked or compelled against you. As with a consequence, when you take a condition, someone else can invoke it against you for free once.
If you’re going to use conditions in your game, one thing you can do to reinforce the theme or style of your game is to come up with your own conditions. You don’t have to stick to the same spread of two fleeting/two sticky/two lasting as presented here, but you should stick to the same total number of shifts of stress-soaking: 14. Also make sure to follow the guidelines for the different types of conditions—fleeting conditions go away quickly, sticky conditions require a narrative trigger, and lasting conditions require treatment. The conditions above are non-specific enough to be used in a wide variety of settings, but tailoring conditions to your setting can be an effective way to make the characters feel more like a part of that setting.
As an example, here are alternate conditions from Jason Morningstar’s Fight Fire (found in Fate Worlds: Worlds on Fire):
- 1 1 Winded
- 1 1 Bruised
- 1 1 Panicked
- 1 1 Disoriented
- 2 1 Dehydrated
- 4 1 1 Injured
- 4 1 1 Broken
Clarification—Why Do Conditions Absorb 14 Stress When Core only Absorbs 12?
From Brian Engard's comment on this thread, "I mainly put them in [the extra 2 stress boxes] to make up for the fact that a high skill doesn't give you any additional conditions the way a high Physique or Will would give you extra consequences."