A discussion of handling of mechanics for characters who quickly regenerate their wounds resulted in an idea of implementing regeneration by changing the type and/or number of Consequences a regenerating character has: if it has multiple Mild Consequences and no Severe (or even Moderate) ones, this results in the system naturally producing mechanical effects that closely match what happens in the fiction - character genuinely getting wounded, but being at full or near-full health in a few scenes.

This seems like an elegant ways of making the pacing and mechanics follow the fiction. However, it raises one big question: what is a fair exchange rate between Consequences of different severity levels? Or, alternatively, how much is a Consequence of a given severity worth in terms of other 'currencies' of the game?

Before you try to frame-challenge: The answer may be academic for a party that all consists of immortals/werewolves/T-1000s/trolls, but is of interest for a more varied party where some PCs would have such traits and others wouldn't. It's certainly a concept that comes up from time to time and that I've seen discarded for reasons of lack of confidence about the mechanical utility of such benefits.

Prior research and factors to consider:

It seems that the relative utility of a Mild Consequence hovers around a level of a bit less than 1 Refresh (or 1 Stunt), maybe half of one:

  • In general, a Mild Consequence is about as good as one Invocation for preventing a Take-Out, but it comes with one free Invocation for an enemy. It is unambiguously worse than Armour:2 (which is often priced at a Stunt), since it's only used once per Conflict.
  • In a campaign with about 5+ scenes and about a couple or more appropriate-type Conflicts per Minor Milestone, it's plausible to maybe fill and recover a couple of Mild Consequences per Minor Milestone, but that requires lucky timing. (In my experience that never happened even once so far. On the contrary, Conflicts seem rare in games I've been in, even in action-oriented games.)
  • A Consequence can be of use as a Success at a Cost and some other similar applications, but those seem rare.

However, even taking that in mind, I find it harder to compare the value of Consequence of other severity:

  • they act to absorb more Shifts...
  • ...while still only providing 1 Free Invocation to the enemy;
  • but they are significantly slower to recover from, meaning you can only use them rather rarely.

I've seen opinions going in both directions about whether Moderate and Severe Consequences are more or less powerful than Mild ones (and used to hold the latter opinion, but by now am no longer confident in it after seeing the main drawback pointed out to me).

Could anyone please help me evaluate their relative values, whether backed up by mathematically well-founded theorycraft, or by sufficient actual-play experience and practical comparisons?


1 Answer 1


It depends on what else you got.

Consequences or Conditions or whatever are there to soak up Stress. If people are taking more Stress, on average, then to stay in a fight as long they'll need ways to soak up more of it.

If you're introducing Weapons and Armor, for instance, then you're probably not introducing them as a large elaborate zero-sum game but tilting the balance generally one way or the other, likely toward Weapons? In those circumstances extra consequences should cost less than in core, which will probably translate to buying more consequences with one Refresh than you could in core.

Consequences are... well, you take them if the alternative is dropping out of a fight, or if you've got some tricked-out build that gets stronger when it takes mild consequences maybe? But you probably don't dip into the real long-lasting stuff unless the only alternative is getting Taken Out.

So, here's a compare and contrast.

Core vs. Dresden Files Accelerated (DFA)

You've probably seen this one.

Tough as Nails. Once per session, at the cost of a fate point, you can reduce the severity of a moderate consequence that’s physical in nature to a mild consequence (if your mild consequence slot is free), or erase a mild consequence altogether.

"Physique Stunts", from the Fate SRD

That's Core. A 1-session extra... mild consequence slot? Maybe? It's a little hard to judge, and not only do you dedicate a stunt to it but you need to spend a fate point to make it work. But this is without any special tilt to the combat.

DFA isn't exactly aligned with the Core structure, so the analogy isn't going to be perfect here, but it should illustrate how the heat turns up as conflicts hit harder. It uses conditions, but everybody gets a 4-point and 6-point condition, which are near enough analogues to the moderate/severe consequence for our purposes

It doesn't have Weapons and Armor, but it does have Scale, from 0 (mortal) to 4 (godlike) - before every opposed roll, the side with the Scale advantage picks a +1 bonus, a +2 shift bonus to a win if any, or +1 invoke on an advantage and multiplies that by their Scale advantage. Assuming you're going against a superior opponent and they're going for shifts, every point of Scale is Armor:2, roughly.

DFA uses a Mantle system, where everyone picks essentially a large premade Extra, with its own Scale and possible additional conditions. It's intended to support mixed play so you can't absolutely consider the Mantles as balanced against one another, but there certainly are some that are intended to regularly fight, some of which operate at Scale 2 and some at Scale 1. One of the Scale 1 Mantles, the Valkyrie, has an extra 4-point and 6-point Condition for taking physical damage. So, you might say that Armor:2 is worth an extra moderate and an extra severe consequence.

Another Scale 1 Mantle, the Werecreature, can take a stunt to, once per session, clear their 4-point Condition or start recovering from their 6-point, when they revert to human form with a shapechange (though that itself does require some time and safety). Certainly higher-powered than the Core stunt, especially since it doesn't require a Fate Point.

...vs. original Dresden Files

Again, this is the generation before Fate Core, so it's not exact, but here's a comparison you may be interested in: Supernatural Toughness. Specifically, costwise as regards physical damage: Armor:1 (and some extras) equals recovering from all consequences as though they were one step lower (and some extras). So, milds recover at end of scene, moderates after a scene, severes after a session.

These are opposite branches of the toughness tree, if you will, and they step up to Armor:3 equals recovering from all consequences three steps faster. Faster recovery is certainly something that fits the idea of regeneration and constantly taking consequences, isn't it? I'd keep it at the "one step faster" level to start with, priced the same as Armor:1. (If you've already priced out Armor:1 I'd also advise reconsidering its cost, keeping in mind that armor rating should be rarer than weapon rating.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Beauty, thanks for clearing that up. Even though I don't play this game this answer makes sense. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 22:40

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