Yes, No, or Fate Point
For a second, pretend Fate Points don't exist. Ask yourself "is this state of affairs going to present a dramatic obstacle?" If your first impulse is "yes, absolutely" then yes. If your first impulse is "absolutely not" then no. If your first impulse is anywhere in between, Fate Point. Is knee-high snow going to present an obstacle to:
- hard-nosed vigilante, Jack Tarot? Yes.
- everyone's favorite metal boy, Atomic Robo? No. (Unless MAD SCIENCE is at work, anyway.)
- hard-nosed vigilante Jack Tarot's beat-up old Studebaker? Well, it depends how well-packed it is and how fast he's- Fate Point.
Of course, you have to bring table consensus to that point - clear yes, clear no, or somewhere-in-between Fate Point.
Bringing Table Consensus To That Point
So, first, if you are the GM setting up or anyone else creating elements of the scene with the intent that they will provide an obstacle, actually say that's why you're doing it. This will both get any dissent out of the way up front and get you closer to a neutral read from everybody else at the table -- revealing it later has a certain air of "surprise, you fools, I am invincible" about it, which never goes over well.
Second, if you're clear yes or clear no, say why you're not conflicted:
- Jack Tarot is only a man, and knee-high snow is tough going.
- Atomic Robo has Atomic Strength and laughs in the face of Nature.
Or, if you're conflicted and trying to get people off clear yes or clear no, say what would push you to clear yes/clear no, but is not currently true.
- Yeah, if Jack Tarot's car was actually having trouble running it would always need to make this check, but it's "beat up" in the sense that he keeps it in good repair but doesn't care about cosmetics.
- Yeah, if Jack Tarot spent some time kitting his car out for winter driving, with a plow or tire chains or something, snow wouldn't pose an obstacle, but -- wait, it's the dead of winter in New York, of course he would, objection withdrawn.
Sometimes you'll find yourself getting argued out of it! That's fine too.
Adjudicating: Making an Aspect vs. Creating an Obstacle
So if a player intends to do something to create or discover an aspect that is a barrier, just by existing, as opposed to an aspect that's basically just holding an invoke or two to be used later, how do you respond to that, as a GM? Well, a couple ways.
If the aspect is being created proactively; that is, it's meant to block something nobody is currently trying to do, kick the difficulty of the passive opposition to the check up by +2, over what it would have been as just an aspect with some invokes.
If the aspect is being created reactively; that is, there are people right now interested in doing the thing it's blocking, then make it an opposed roll against them, even if the aspect isn't going to attach to them necessarily. This is usually going to end up harder than just creating an aspect against passive opposition but you're also asking more of it.
Of course, even that might not get you all the way there. Just remember: the bridge between "yes" and "no" is "Fate Point".
Starhound: Don't worry, Athens, I'm very distracting! SUPPRESSIVE FIRE!
GM: This is more Create an Advantage than an attack for stress, right?
Starhound: Yeah, I'm rolling Shoot to put Suppressive Fire on the guards.
GM: Cool, I'll roll their defend and-- *TIME PASSES* -- and Suppressive Fire is on the guards with one free invoke. The guards know better than to pop up and shoot - you hear a subcomm hum to life and one of them says "Boss! This is the West Gate, we're pinned down!"
Athens: Way to announce we're here, Starhound.
Starhound: Wait, aren't they too busy cowering to do anything else? That's what I was going for.
GM: Oh. Yeah, that'd actually be more Provoke than Shoot, because you want to fill them with fear and not blaster fire. Tell you what, spend a Fate Point and they'll be rolling Will against your raw Shoot to get the message out.
Starhound: This isn't active opposition? I'm still kinda throwing shots at them, right?
GM: Well, it could be. Do you want to be standing out in the open cowing them?
Starhound: Point. Passive it is.
GM: You'll still get to burn the invoke and bank a Fate Point off Suppressive Fire if they crit this or whatever. Now let's see...
This seems a little iffy...
Can you "cleverly cheat" this system by inventing doubts about anything the GM says and oh-so-earnestly saying your character's just invincible?
Please don't try to cheat your friends. You are never as clever as you think.