If you haven’t read Technoir, some of this might make more sense after this week’s review.
While I’m a big fan of Fate in general, sometimes I want a dice system that doesn’t owe so much to FUDGE. Particularly for the Dresden Files, I’d potentially like something without as much swing on the low granularity traits (i.e., having a 1 higher skill is meant to indicate a huge difference in competence). Further, perhaps something that makes spending Fate good but not as overwhelming as it is normally, something that’s not so much work on the GM to remember to compel, and something that makes more use out of situational tags. Fortunately, the Technoir dice system suggests the following mods that should affect all of these nitpicks. This is completely untested, and might result in some wonkiness at low and high skills.
For this system, you will need a lot of d6s. These are preferably in three distinguishable colors (and will be passing around the table a lot).
At the beginning of each story/scenario, each player has Fate dice equal to his or her character’s adjusted Refresh (even if the total was higher at the end of the last scenario). The GM does not get any Fate dice to start with: the total Refresh of all the PCs is the total available Fate dice. All Fate dice begin “charged.”
Players can “discharge” Fate dice to use them in rolls.
- Do this at any point in the roll: they can be rolled one at a time after seeing the total.
- They can be used for active or reactive/defensive rolls.
- See the system below for how they are interpreted.
- Discharged dice return in two ways:
- All available dice recharge at the beginning of a session.
- One Fate die recharges for every Consequence die a player voluntarily adds to a roll as a self-compel (e.g., “Because I’m a Drunk, I think this roll would be harder for me, I’m adding 1 Consequence die”). As usual with self-compels, the GM can deny the addition/refresh (typically because the roll isn’t particularly important).
Players can “spend” Fate dice (giving them to the GM) to make Consequences, Maneuvers, or other generated tags sticky.
- Fate dice can only be spent in this way if the player used them in the roll that generated the Consequence (e.g., you can’t succeed with no Fate dice used and then spend a Fate die when that resulted in a Consequence).
- The stickiness increases by the following factors (these replace the normal Consequence recovery rules):
- A normal Maneuvered aspect lasts for the number of shifts on the roll to apply it, or until the target makes a roll to remove it. A sticky Maneuver lasts until the end of the scene.
- A normal Minor Consequence lasts until the end of the scene. A sticky Minor Consequence lasts until the end of the session.
- A normal Moderate Consequence lasts until the end of the session. A sticky Moderate Consequence lasts until the end of the current scenario.
- A normal Severe Consequence lasts until the end of the current scenario. A sticky Severe Consequence is permanent (like a normal Extreme Consequence).
- A normal Extreme Consequence is permanent as per the basic rules. A sticky Extreme Consequence allows the target to be immediately taken out in the manner defined by the attacker (and remains permanent if this is non-fatal).
- Any result of “Taken Out” for a named character (PC or NPC) must generally be backed by a spent Fate die to make it stick.
- If an NPC is taken out but the active PC does not elect to spend Fate, the result is narrated in a way that removes the target from the scene but allows a return shortly thereafter (with any Consequences persisting but Stress emptied).
- At the GM’s option (but it should be used sparingly), a NPC that has not taken all possible Consequences may choose to turn a player’s decision to make Taken Out sticky into sticky Consequences that remove the incoming Stress and a Concession (i.e., the NPC leaves the scene but with sticky Consequences instead of a fatal wound).
- Players gain back Fate dice at the beginning of a scenario (up to Refresh), when the GM spends dice to make a Consequence sticky on a player (the die goes to the player with the Consequence), or when the GM suggests a non-roll-related Compel (giving the player the die if the Compel is accepted).
When performing an action:
- The active character’s player rolls 1 skill die.
- The player must roll 1 to 4 Consequence dice (take the worst Consequence currently suffered: 1 die for Minor, 2 for Moderate, 3 for Severe, and 4 for Extreme) to the roll.
- The player may discharge and roll up to 1 Fate die for every applicable Aspect (advantages possessed by the character, disadvantages and maneuvers on the target, and applicable aspects on the scene).
- The result (explained below) is compared to the target’s defensive skill (or the difficulty, if there is no target).
- The target does not roll a skill die, but must roll all Consequence dice.
- The target may discharge and roll Fate dice for defense-applicable aspects (personal, attacker, or scene).
- The final result of the active character’s roll is compared to the target’s final roll (or static difficulty) to generate Shifts. As usual with Fate, a tie is a 0-Shift success for the active character.
To interpret a roll:
- Find the base skill total.
- Read the skill die first. Treat it as a modifying skill (i.e., if it is higher than the base skill, add 1, and if it is lower, subtract 1). This is the new skill total.
- Arrange the Consequence dice from highest to lowest.
- For each Consequence die that is higher than the skill total, reduce the total by 1. Recalculate the skill total before each subsequent die (i.e., Consequence dice can penalize a roll even if they weren’t higher than the original total).
- Arrange the Fate dice from lowest to highest (and rearrange them as additional Fate dice are added).
- For each Fate die that is higher than the Consequence-adjusted skill total, increase the total by +1.
Thus, without additional flat bonuses and penalties, the highest possible roll is 6, and the lowest possible roll is -4. If you’d like higher possible totals, allow Fate dice that roll 6 to count as infinitely high (i.e., every 6 adds +1, even if the total is already 6).
An example roll: The base skill is Fair (+2), the skill die is 5 (new total +3), the Consequence dice are 4, 3 (reducing by -2 to +1), and the Fate dice are 2, 4, 6 (increasing to +4). If the 4 on the consequence dice had been lower, neither die would have been higher than the total, and the final result would have been a +5.
GMs use this system much like the players:
- The GM does not have any Fate dice at the start of an adventure. He or she only gets them when players make enemy Consequences sticky.
- Fate dice the GM acquires begin discharged.
- The GM’s Fate dice recharge at the beginning of each scene.
- The GM spends Fate dice used in an antagonist’s roll to make the player’s Consequences sticky.
- The GM may spend Fate out of conflict to Compel a PC’s Aspect.