A Hard Day's Night
Now to the part you guys care about. Combat is really nothing more than a dynamic skill challenge (as I said in the Fate Basics section). In combat you simply roll the skill you wish to use, if you want to shoot at your enemy, use the Ranged skill and your opponent will do the same. So if you shoot at him, he may choose to duck behind cover. You roll a Ranged check and he rolls an Physique check. You get a MoS of 1, which leaves your enemy with one of three choices: He can take the hit and concede the conflict, he use stress to absorb the hit, or he can take a consequence.
Stress is divided into two groups: physical stress and mental stress. Each has a separate track on which you can take stress and everyone starts with 2 boxes, a box at 1 and 2. These boxes represent the MoS/MoF of the attack against you. So in the example above, the MoS/MoF was 1 meaning that if he wanted to take the physical stress, he would fill in his box at 1. You can gain more, higher-value boxes by having points in the Physique and Will skills.
This is the point where I want to remind you of how combat works, I can tell you’re thinking it’s broken to have a “life skill,” but remember that you only take damage on failures, so it’s more beneficial to have points in the skills you use so you can avoid damage all together rather than jamming points into physique so you can be a meat shield.
Just like the Challenges section describes, if you get hit on a box that is already filled, you go to a higher box. If none remain at a higher level, you’re Taken Out (which does not inherently mean dead. I can mean dead, but typically doesn’t).
Once the combat is over and you have some time to rest, the stress boxes are unchecked.
The second option you have for mitigating a hit is taking a consequence. A consequence is more severe than stress—it represents some form of lasting injury or setback that you accrue from the conflict, something that’s going to be a problem for your character after the conflict is over.
Consequences come in three levels of severity: mild, moderate, and severe with corresponding minuses of -2, -4, and -6 respectively. When you take a consequence to keep fighting, you reduce the MoS of the attack against you by the minus from the consequence. So on an MoS of 2 against you, you could take a mild consequence to reduce the MoS to 0.
Consequences function like negative aspects on your character, and the person who inflicted the consequence on you can freely invoke it once to his/her benefit. Consequences also have a track, similar to the tracks for physical and mental stress, however there is only one track. So if you take a mild consequence to avoid a mental attack, that spot is filled, so if you want to take a mild consequence to negate a physical attack, you would have to take a moderate consequence instead.
Consequences remain on your sheet until they are taken care of, typically this means medical attention. While they are on your sheet, they will work towards your detriment. You can gain additional slots for consequences, but only by having a Physique or Will skill of Superb (+5), but they would reserved for physical or mental harm depending on which skill was Superb.
Examples of consequences would be: black eye, flustered, winded, or temporarily blinded for mild; deep cut, exhausted, drunk, or terrified for moderate; and compound fracture, trauma-diced phobia, or crippling shame for a severe consequence.
Recovering From Consequences
To recover from a consequence, two things are required: time and successful skill check. The skill check will typically be performed by someone else (a doctor or therapist), but you could potentially try and fix yourself. The skill check required is a static test with the difficulty being equal to the consequences minus (+2 for mild, +4 for moderate, +6 for severe).
You need a distraction free environment for you to be able to recover, and once recovery begins, you change the name of the consequence aspect. For instance: drunk becomes damage control, compound fracture becomes stuck in a cast, and so forth. The consequence aspect remains while recovery takes place.
Recovery takes time, and it takes more time based on how severe the consequence was. Typically it will take a scene to recover from a mild consequence (once recovery has begun), a session for a moderate consequence, and a scenario (a few games) for a severe consequence.
Conceding The Conflict
Conceding a conflict goes against almost everything that you have learned in your years as a gamer, but I promise you, there are benefits to conceding over going all the way to Taken Out. First of all, you gain a fate point for conceding, you can’t use it until after the combat is over though. Also, you get an additional fate point for each consequence you suffered during the fight. Lastly, you get some consideration to avoid the worst of your fate. For instance, if the fight would have ended in you being drug off a dungeon unconscious and without your gear, conceding could result in you being captured, but able to get your GPS working so you could be tracked.
Once you concede, I’m going to ask you what you’re trying to avoid, and I’ll consider that in my judgement. The rest of the group gets to weigh in as well to make sure the punishment is fair for both you and the bad guy.
Most importantly, you can concede any time, but if you concede after the dice are rolled, you must still suffer the consequences of the roll. No seeing you’re about to take a MoS 6 hit and try and concede to avoid taking a consequence.
The last option during combat is to fight until you can’t fight anymore and are Taken Out. When you take a hit and you can’t absorb it through stress or consequences, you are Taken Out. This option leaves you the most vulnerable in terms of story punishment. It does not inherently mean you die, but you definitely have no say in what your opponent gets to do to you. Like I mentioned in the previous section, this is not Pathfinder, and conceding (especially in this system) is preferred to being Taken Out. Having said that, if you feel like a conflict is worth taking all the way to end because it is very important to your character, go for it, fight tip you’re burger.
The other piece to remember about being Taken Out is on the way you accrued a lot of consequences that are going to take time to recover. You’re gonna be in a bad way for a long time most likely.
Actions In Combat
Actions in combat are essentially opposed skill tests. It’s pretty much state the skill you’re gonna use to attack, roll, and see what happens. There are however, big benefits to using tactics and the environment to your advantage (pun intended), specifically gaining combat advantages by using skills for things besides attacking. Check out the Advantages section for gaining advantages, but essentially you can roll skill checks to give the environment or enemies negative aspects that you can invoke a number of times for free to get a +2 on your skill checks. The number of times you can invoke it is based on you much you beat their skill check by, barely beating it gets you one free invocation, beating it handily gets you two.
Here are a couple of examples of using advantages in combat: You could use them to disarm an opponent, get better position, wind an opponent or cause some other minor hurt, take cover, or alter an environment.
As far as movement is concerned, we aren’t going to use maps because they’re pretty unnecessary for this system. Depending on the space you’re in, moving is typically free in addition to the action you’re taking. If movement is obstructed, it will take your action unless you succeed at overcoming the obstructions difficulty. In the case of a big warehouse or a tower with many floors, moving between multiple zones (different floors, far portions of buildings) will take your whole turn.