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Both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated Edition have rules by which one player makes a roll and the others assist him without passing him free invocations or spending Fate points.

In FAE this is called "Getting Help," and it's clear that you give up your action in order to grant the bonus to another character.

When an ally helps you, they give up their action for the exchange and describe how they’re providing the help; you get a +1 to your roll for each ally that helps this way. Usually only one or two people can help this way before they start getting in each other’s way; the GM decides how many people can help at once.
- FAE 17

In Core it's called "Teamwork," and it doesn't mention giving up your action--though it does have a slightly more rigorous requirement to be able to grant the bonus.

When you combine skills, figure out who has the highest skill level among the participants. Each other participant who has at least an Average (+1) in the same skill adds a +1 to the highest person’s skill level, and then only the lead character rolls. [...]
If you fail a roll to combine skills, all of the participants share in the potential costs--whatever complication affects one character affects all of them, or everyone has to take consequences. Alternatively, you can impose a cost that affects all the characters the same.
- FC 174

Fate Core also mentions that the players can just stack free invocations with Create Advantage and pass all the tags to the character making the roll.

So, here's my question:

Does giving someone a bonus using the Teamwork rule require that you give up your action, the way Getting Help does? Why or why not?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's not intended for use where actions matter.

In the exact same section, the "pass someone your free invocations" rule is mentioned. This is more interesting and relies on an existing mechanic instead of creating a new one--in a proper conflict, "Teamwork" would be a fifth action option. Fate Core doesn't like needlessly creating new mechanics when the existing ones work.

So the lack of mention of giving up your action in the Teamwork mechanic seems to indicate that it's not something which is expected to happen during exchanges.

Teamwork is for resolving single actions outside of conflicts, when actions and exchanges are played fast and loose and taking the time to Create Advantages wouldn't be interesting (if there's no pressure, just having everyone sit around rolling for tags until they can guarantee a successful skill check is boring). By forcing the participants to share the consequences, failure becomes more interesting without "zooming in" on the action unnecessarily.

During a conflict, the Create Advantage action fills the same narrative function as Teamwork and is interesting because it forces action-economy choices. If you were to use Teamwork in a conflict, I think it would cost an action--but given that "Unopposed efforts to create advantages in a conflict should never be harder than Average (+1) or Fair (+2), and neither should attempts to put an aspect on an object or location" (FC 191), I suspect that the chance of failing a Create Advantage roll is minimal enough to risk for the +2, a new aspect on the scene, and a chance of style. The Teamwork option is "safer" but more boring and less rewarding here.

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Having never actually played Fate-Core or Fate-Accelerated I can only answer based on my experience with other games, and the excerpts you have provided.

It seems to me that Teamwork requires the character give up their action. I base that conclusion on the use of the word "participants" which infers that all the characters are performing the action together. Also, the way it is worded "only the lead character rolls" seems to mean that "although they are all participating, only the lead character rolls"

This is similar to the new World of Darkness by White Wolf, where multiple characters can assist one character in certain actions by rolling a number of dice, and adding the number of successful rolls to the dice pool of the main performer.

My opinion is that in FAE they simplified this mechanic to simply state that for every person assisting you, you will get a +1 and they will lose their action. While in FC the wording is more archaic.

Both seem to require the GM's "permission" to see if the skill can be performed with assistance, how many people can assist, and what the results are to everyone if there is a failure.

So, again - Yes, I believe using teamwork should require giving up your action.

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