SotC Rules Basics

Okay, here I’m going to try and lay out the basics of the SotC rules — mainly for Jon, but if anyone needs a refresher (including me), here they are.

Fudge Dice:
The system is not based around d20 like D&D or d20 Modern, instead it works on Fudge Dice (named after the free Fudge roleplaying system, which SotC/Fate is based on). When rolling Fudge Dice, you roll 4 d6s. On a d6, 1 or 2 is a , 3 or 4 is a 0, 5 or 6 is a +. So, it can be from -— to ++++, and s and s cancel each other out.
You apply the +s and -s to your skill base, and then compare it to either the difficulty or the opponent’s roll, for skills, combat, whatever.
The difficulty and skill “levels” or “shifts” are also named, so that each one goes NAME (number), from Terrible (-2) to Legendary (
8) (though it can go further in either direction, theoretically).
A basic success is when the skill level meets the difficulty level = Fair (2) vs. Fair (2). However, for an opposed roll, it has to beat it by one = Good (3) vs. Fair (2). For each “shift” between the winning roll and the losing one, there is a measure of success -
from how well you defused the bomb to measuring shifts of “Stress,” which are like hit points but a little different (that’ll come later).

So that’s the system around which everything else is built. Combat runs exactly the same way, with no extra rolls just for damage or anything like that. However, damage has a little more, but first,


The Fate/SotC system is all based around “Aspects,” which are capsule descriptions of a person, place, event, whatever — and you use Fate Points to use them to your advantage. They can be used in two ways: Invoking and Compelling. They’re really the same thing, just depending on your point-of-view, but they have two different names for clarity’s sake. When a player Invokes a character’s Aspect, he gets a bonus (+2 or a reroll on a check), so long as he can justify how that Aspect relates to the situation. In that case, he spends one Fate Point. For example, Riley’s pulp character THE WRAITH has the Aspect “Cult of Dahaka” — that is to say, he has a long, bad history with said Cult. Were he to attack a member of that cult, he could Invoke “Cult of Dahaka” to give himself a bonus. On the other hand, there is the Compel. The GM Compels an Aspect to force a character to do something that may not be wise, but is dramatic and in-character — or (occasionally) to make the character’s life more difficult in a way relevant to the Aspect but not in the character’s control. In this case, the GM grants the player one Fate Point — or, if the player wants to avoid doing something foolish, they have to spend one Fate Point. For example, were THE WRAITh trying to rationally reason with a cultist, I (the GM) could Compel the Aspect “Cult of Dahaka” to make him punch the guy in the nose — and if he did it, Riley would get one Fate Point. For the exterior circumstance, the GM could Compel “Cult of Dahaka” to say there is a cultist working in Paris when THE WRAITH is trying to investigate a crime there.

The other use for Aspects is to make a “Declaration.” This allows the player to change the circumstances of the game world and/or retcon something — in SMALL ways — relevant to the Aspect. For example, Todd’s pulp character Dermot has the Aspect “Odds and Ends” — that is, he always has junk in his pocket. So if I stuck him in a sinking ocean liner handcuffed to a pipe, he could Invoke “Odds and Ends” to declare that he had a paperclip in his pocket so he can pick the lock. Any use of Declarations is subject to GM veto, of course, but as long as it’s dramatic and doesn’t derail the story (or throw it onto a new, exciting set of rails), then it’s all good.

The last way to use Aspects is a kind of Compel, and is known as “tagging.” What it is, is using another character’s Aspects against them, or utilizing the Aspects inherent in the landscape. This is dependent on the player KNOWING what Aspects another character/area may have, but for a lot it’s pretty obvious. Say Dermot is trying to get past a hick chicken farmer to go see a crashed alien space-ship. When talking to the man, he tags the Aspect “Redneck” to insult the man’s mother and give himself a +2/reroll to his Intimidation roll. When he does this, Dermot spends a Fate Point, and the farmer gains one. A lot of Aspects used for tagging are temporary ones, related to the situation, like Consequences (see below) — but this makes them none less potent.

The basic offensive skills are Fists, Weapons, and Guns. The basic defensive skills are Fists, Weapons, and Athletics. The attacker chooses his method of attack, the defender uses whichever skill is appropriate (usually what he’s best at). The particular weapons being used DO NOT MATTER, except if there’s something particularly high-quality about a weapon (you picked up a flamethrower or something), or if it’s an Aspect or Stunt (see below). Match the winner to the loser, and if the attacker succeeds, the number of shifts between the attack and defense equals the number of shifts of damage done.So, a Great (4) attack vs. a Fair (2) defense inflicts a 2-shift hit on a Stress track.
There are two Stress tracks, Physical and Social, depending on whether you’re getting beaten up or insulted at a party. The ordinary person’s stress track is 4 shifts long and looks like this: 1 2 3 4. A 2-shift hit, as above, takes out the 2 slot, so it now looks like this: 1 X 3 4. If the defender then takes a 1-shift hit, it looks like this: X X 3 4. If he takes a 3-shift hit instead, it looks like this: 1 X X 4. If he takes a 2-shift hit instead, it “rolls up” because the 2 slot is already gone, so it looks like this: 1 X X 4. If the last slot goes, the character is Taken Out (dead, unconscious, shamed into leaving the party, whatever). So the guy with 1 X X 4 can take a 1-shift hit with no big problem, but if he gets a 4-shift hit (or a 2 or 3, because of roll-up), he’s toast.
This brings me to Consequences. Consequences are specific types of Aspects that you can choose to take to avoid Stress. A Minor Consequence (Staggered, Bruised Nose, Bruised Ego) takes -2 Stress. a Moderate Consequence (Bleeding Profusely, Broken Arm, Stuttering) takes -4 Stress, and a Severe Consequence (Bleeding To Death, Shattered Legs, Shell-Shocked) takes -6 Stress. These are BAD THINGS, ready to be tagged by the enemy at any moment.

So that’s everything you need to know about the system. More will come on character creation after I’ve gotten some sleep.

SotC Rules Basics

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