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How do you deal in Fate Accelerated with actions that would be based on either material (resources) or relational (rapport, contacts) skills from Fate Core?

I had a couple of occasions at my table where both me and my friends could not come up with a satisfactory explanation for which an approach should have been used to buy a potion off a merchant within the context of a create advantage action. This can be said for weapons, rides etc Other examples have been, finding someone in a city by asking around (both the player and the target character were from the same organisation).

  • I have solved it at times by linking it to an approach that was related to the aim of the potion or the type of organisation (like sneaky for poisons and for thieves guilds for instance), other times to the aim of the action (careful if long sited for instance) or the way it was carried out (like forceful if player was going around intimidating people and flashy for a character that was trying to be friendly while searching for info in the city)
  • Another way was just to assume that if a relevant aspect was in game (like being part of the guild) players could have “rolled” the aspect instead of an approache at +2 bonus.
  • Other times I asked to spend a Fate point to declare that they found the info or the potion without rolling but this meant, no free invocation on the aspect or element of chance and suspance.

I’d appreciate some suggestions.

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The Final and First Question

is to ask "what purpose does this serve in the story"?

Using Approaches

When you think about approaches, think about the following upside/downside questions. If both of them make sense to answer in the scenario, even in a metaphorical sense, then the upside and downside are clear enough and that approach can probably come into play.

Approaches have more overlap with each other than skills do in Fate Core. It's entirely possible for one situation to lend itself to multiple avenues of approach, but probably not all of them.

  • Careful: Why do you have to take your time? Why can't you take too long?
  • Clever: What are you focusing on? What else can't you afford to ignore?
  • Flashy: Who are you showing off for? What don't you want them to see?
  • Forceful: What are you trying to push? What aren't you trying to break?
  • Quick: What are you racing against? What can't you do to win?
  • Sneaky: What has to stay hidden? What will they find first?

Framing Scenarios

This of course assumes that what you're trying to do is appropriately scoped for the results of creating an advantage - getting a temporary aspect into play with maybe a couple of invokes on it. Like if you're prepping for a tower heist in the evening, and you go walkabout in the Infinity Fair looking for something that'll give you a little edge.

If what you're trying to find is more important than that, if the last extant crystal key to Dark Stobolous's planet-cracker has somehow wound up sold to some shop in the Infinity Fair and you have to find it before the goon squads do, that's more of a contest, or even a conflict, depending on how you want to run it.

Rolling Your Own

And then there's bolting on other things, such as player membership in guilds to provide them with those kinds of resources. You might consider giving the guild some notional stats - the least you can get away with is its overall quality as a guild for that character, and any special aptitudes (+2) or ineptitudes (-2) at getting stuff. Then ask yourself, what happens if the roll fails? What cost is there for the guild to impose on the player?

Or even make guild membership into a stunt, that like, once per session, you can hit up the guild's requisitions department and they'll have got you any two pieces of specialized gear you want, as represented by aspects with one free invoke on each.

The Final and First Question

is to ask "what purpose does this serve in the story"? If it's just the transient focus of a scene, like anything could be, making a roll with an approach is the best way to address it. If it's to secure something vital to the plot, that you can't proceed without, consider zooming in into a contest or a conflict, and keep in mind that anything in the world, like bureaucracy or the mean streets, can itself be a character. If it's something you find yourself doing so regularly you wish there were special rules for it, well, make some.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That’s a great answer, thank you! Clarifying the intent and scope of the action/goal within the overarching story was key to narrow down to examples which I struggle with. All of them are clearly better handled with a single roll, and are generally based on situational or supporting characters’ aspects. What roll would you ask players for: \$\endgroup\$ – Mirko FATE Dec 29 '17 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) stacking up some free invocations on an aspect representing a scout/healer/fighter for instance, and then what roll should I ask to find directions/heal a wound/assistance in battle \$\endgroup\$ – Mirko FATE Dec 29 '17 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ 2) Before a long desert exploration a character with no special training or aspect exploration related wants to equip himself to enhance his chances of surviving (tents, camel, water and such). He received a bag of coins for a previous endeavour (no free invocations on it) and at the moment he is in a town edged by the desert with a well stocked bazar. \$\endgroup\$ – Mirko FATE Dec 29 '17 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ In both examples I have aspects like (healer/fighter) that are “extra” characters but without a full fledged role in the story, or aspects that reasonably allow players to make the action but I don’t know what approach suits it best (bag of coin - well-stocked bazaar). This is when i get stuck. Do i trade the bag of coin for the “camel and tools for travel” aspect? Do i roll with coins +2 to buy a free invocation onto the healer aspect? \$\endgroup\$ – Mirko FATE Dec 29 '17 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Laying in supplies for a journey with a bag of coin, even if it's not an aspect or anything, is no problem. The story still exists and if you don't really care about the bag of coin it doesn't needs aspects to be a prop in a story. It could give you a "supplies" stress track as many boxes long as the roll you hit to buy it, and take stress instead of you while you crossed the desert. \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius Dec 30 '17 at 4:12
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I want to offer an alternative way to look at your question.

Specifically the example of buying something. Fate is all about drama so if you're not going to just let them have it, the question becomes "why shouldn't they be able to buy it?"

It sounds like in this case, your answer to that was they might not have enough resources (the nature of the potion is to be prohibitively expensive almost as if it had an aspect named very expensive).

Either you add crunch (a resources approach/stress track like Dresden Accelerated does for some things), or you simply tell them they need to find a way to get around the lack of resources.

In Fate, I hate the idea of buying, so I'd be more inclined to send them on a sidequest.

But either way answering the question "why shouldn't they be able to" will usually give you a better handle on how to approach the situation.

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