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I was reading Leverage, and listening to a podcast on it, and came up with the idea of modeling this in FATE, or perhaps even in the non-critical parts (non-magical and non-combat) of my Dresden Files game to help with the fluidity of the story.

"Competence Porn" is a term coined to describe the genre of Leverage and things like it, when highly (supremely?) competent people come together for a common goal. They rarely if ever fail if they are operating in their wheelhouse- failures instead become obstacles that they must apply their expertise to in order to justify their success or that complicate their success, i.e. the thief cracks the safe handily, but the mark is coming in the singular door to the vault room as the final tumbler moves into place.

I have a few ideas on how to model this, but wanted to know if there were any FATE implementations of such an idea that already existed, and/or if anyone had done such a thing and had other suggestions.

Spoiler tagging my ideas so far in case others were interested as I'm very interested in if possible getting implementations with no pre-conceived notions of what could be done:

Each player has an aspect that applies to/describes one skill that is their specialty. Any failure when using that specialty places an aspect on the scene that either compels the player, or can be tagged with subsequent attempts to get out of the obstacle. I was even thinking of treating this as an assessment to represent the character's quick wit that the player might not possess in such a situation.

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+1 for spoiler solution. –  Sardathrion Mar 1 '12 at 16:55
    
I think the easiest way to model this in DFRPG is to open up the flow of FATE points more. But I find that my players most enjoy (well...afterwards, at least) and most fondly remember sessions where they succeed, but bleed. –  gomad Mar 1 '12 at 18:23
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They bleed, it's just that the succeeding part is what I've been having a problem with. The combat monster that does nothing else always has fate points when the actual final combat comes around- it's just that the other people don't, because they've spent theirs getting there in just being competent, so they become almost irrelevant in combat. So I was trying to reduce the fate point bleed for these characters so they'd have some to use against the big bad. –  wraith808 Mar 1 '12 at 19:49

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The key thing about skills in dresden files is the time increments- if you're not in the middle of combat (social/mental included) and you fail a roll (I'll use picking a lock using burglary here) then the book encourages you to increase the time it takes to do this. Instead of picking the lock in a minute or two, it takes you half an hour. Sometimes though, extra time isn't really a problem- if your burglar has a truly impressive stealth roll, then they probably have all the time in the world. Maybe that's fine, but if not I suggest the following- for every shift they missed the mark by, throw in a but. Missed by one? You pick the lock, but you've made enough noise that anyone inside probably knows you're coming. Fail by three? You pick the lock, but as you open the door there are two thugs arguing with the shopkeeper. The "yes, but" method is very at this- I don't think I've ever seen a roll so bad I had to say that the action outright fails. The complications you can think up are usually more fun anyway.

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Very nice answer! –  wraith808 May 10 '12 at 17:16

I think this may not mesh well with the Dresden Files' state of mind.

While the protagonists do have an area of expertise which they exploit to their best ability, the noir vibe of the universe makes it impossible for anything to go so smoothly as what you describe here (even taking into account the slight inconvenience you mention). An occurence such as an easily-gained success is at best source of doubt for the character who will wonder what is going to go wrong next.

Further enforcing this state of things is the fact that DF characters are Flawed to hell and back. Wizards have limited stamina, Vampires and Fey have inherent weaknesses, even a saintly Knight of the Cross is not immune to the universe screwing him by proxy.


Putting that aside, I believe modelling that kind of game is easily done in FATE itself through liberal and creative use of Assessments and Declarations. Remembering that litterally everything has Aspects can give us things such as the Thief examines the door to the vault and states that it's a Kellertor model 99, which was discontinued after it was discovered their locks could be easily sprung when drilled at a particular place. Now the door has an Obvious weakness aspect, which can be freely tagged for the first time, so the thief only has to spend a single FATE point to tag his Master Safecracker aspect and get a nifty +4 to his roll, which should make it a piece of cake.

So I guess making Assessments, Maneuvers and Declarations slightly easier could go a long way in facilitating this kind of gameplay.

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One reason I would disagree is that The Dresden Files isn't really about the nuances - how many times do you see Harry actually fail at something that is outside of combat or the direct magical realm? This glosses over those everyday things and gets to solving the story. The reasons that I don't think that aspects model this by themselves is given in your example- the assessment can fail. And in the Dresden Files, fate points are at a premium, so that after spending them on these non-essential activities, when combat happens, you can be on the deficit side of that economy. –  wraith808 Mar 1 '12 at 17:33
    
Well, I'm not saying you're playing it the wrong way, but if I read the comments on the OP correctly, it sounds like there's not enough Compels pulled on your players. Even with a low Refresh, a FATE point shortage is supposed to be a rare occurence. But it may also be the way it's supposed to be. By the end of a story, most characters ARE spent, fatigued and out of breath. Also, they HAVE in fact accomplished their purpose for the story and it is time for them to share the spotlight with the "Combat monster" who has not yet been the focus of the story. –  Nigralbus Mar 2 '12 at 9:25
    
Having said that, the end of a story is also the time when sometimes, a desperate, outgunned and out of resources character must make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the team and what matters at this point is making sure this last hurrah is a memorable one. FATE is all about crafting an awesome story after all. –  Nigralbus Mar 2 '12 at 9:36
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It's also possible that your players are always spending fate points instead of making assessments. "navel fazing maneuvers & assessments to prep can be even more powerful than going in blind & using a fate point dump at zero hour after the roll –  Tetra Mar 4 '12 at 6:58

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