Stress and Consequences
Really, this is the best feature of FATE (in my mind) and is missing from ICONS (mentioned passingly as “Lasting Injuries”). This is how we add it back, we are borrowing heavily from the award-winning The Dresden Files RPG for this house rule.
The ICONS stamina value represents both the HEALTH and COMPOSURE Stress Tracks combined (or if you’re coming from a Dresden Files RPG background, the Physical, Social, and Mental combined). When you’re at ZERO, you’re TAKEN OUT (ICONS calls this Unconscious, we’re returning the use of the FATE term).
In ICONS, once per any given conflict, a hero may spend a point of Determination to Recover some number of Stamina points. In our game, a Recover Action may only be performed after taking at least a Mild or Moderate Consequence.
After all, heroes never come back into the fight until after they bleed a little (maybe spit out a little blood)…
Any time you take damage, you may opt to take a Consequence instead in order to mitigate some of those points of damage suffered.
A Character may only have a maximum of ONE of EACH of the three Consequence Severity levels regardless of if they were suffered due to Health or Composure related attacks.
Once a Character is at ZERO Stamina and can no longer take additional Consequences (or chooses not to) the character is Taken Out (the opponent may dictate the terms of the scene).
A Mild Consequence
- reduces damage taken by a maximum of 2 points.
- goes away at the end of the page (scene).
- Physical (Breathing Heavy/Winded, Shakes, Sharp pain in a body part, Bloody nose or lip, etc.)
- Composure (Flushed with embarrassment, Nausea, Flustered, Distracted, Headache, etc.)
A Moderate Consequence
- reduces damage taken by a maximum of 4 points.
- goes away after some variable number of pages (scenes) roughly equal to a good night’s rest
- Physical (Nasty Bruises and/or Abrasions, Sprain/Strain, First Degree Burns, etc.)
- Composure (Exhaustion, Goes to Get Drunk, Pity Party Of One, Minor “Mental Issues” Go Active, etc.)
A Severe Consequence
- reduces damage taken by a maximum of 6 points.
- goes away by the next issue (game session), but is unlikely to during this one.
- Physical (Deep cut/impaled wounds, Greenstick or Simple Broken Bones, Severe Sprain/Strain, 2nd Degree Burns, etc.)
- Composure (Crippling shame/loss of social standing, take a most-likely Trauma induced “Mental Issue” immediately, etc.)
There is also a special action called a Concession. Any time a character has taken a Consequence, he or she may opt to Concede. This is a special form of “surrender” in which you the player controls how your character exits the fight/scene/panel/page/etc. If you’re “taken out” then the opponent gets to decide (usually the Watcher/GM that controls the NPC).
- Physical (Blown off the bridge into the water and vanishes only to wash ashore miles downstream near a small farm, knocked out but taken alive to their leader, etc.)
- Composure (Glares at the foe and storms out of the quiet room after uttering the words “This isn’t over. You haven’t seen the last of me!”, Sanity shatters for a time but eventually recovers with the care and affection of a loving redheaded nurse, etc.)
Particularly nasty bad guys may Tag a consequence to get an advantage of the hero. After all, if you take a Mild Consequence “Bruised Ribs” … surely you’d expect the bad guy to try and punch you in those ribs… right?