Scale (as described on page 67 of the System Toolkit and page 52 of Condensed) is a rather useful tool for modelling certain kinds of discrepancies of power between entities in a campaign. It seems especially convenient for modelling suddenly-encountered situational differences, like 'the tank you just hijacked is bigger than other vehicles; gain 2 Scale for while using it against enemy soldiers and small vehicles'.

However, there are cases where Scale seems appropriate as a more long-term thing, and one that is not the same either between PCs (e.g. some PCs are fair folk or supers, others are plucky mere mortals) or their assets that are built using the Fractal (e.g. all PCs are starship pilots, and each player designs both a character and a ship).

I'm aware of some game lines that have implementations of taking different Scale for different characters/ships/etc., but they seem to be very ad hoc and often messy (e.g. Mindjammer), and their implementations of effects of scale are not even necessarily in line with the System Toolkit/Condensed mechanical elegance. They also seem rather opaque in terms of what are those modifications of picking Scale during character/vehicle creation are based on.

Well, I'd like to know more about said basis. That is, I want to figure out the general case that can then be modified rather than chase individual narrow examples that have already been modified. And a major part of the general, at least to me, seems to be the (at least approximate) value that should be assigned to Scale in character (or vehicle/asset/etc.) creation.

E.g. I've seen a campaign where Scale (explained as a ladder of degrees of godhood) was worth one Refresh per level. But is that an accurate/fair assessment in terms of actual usefulness of Scale? If not, what is a fairer one? Is there either a RAW precedent for establishing such a number, of a community consensus based on actual play experience across multiple gaming groups and different campaigns?


1 Answer 1


The only mechanical guidance is "there is no mechanical guidance".

[Abandon] any intent to achieve balance between mantles.

-- Dresden Files Accelerated, "Creating Mantles", p.200

But that's talking about mantles, which affect the scale of a large portion of things you're going to do in a game at least partly about how mortals can deal with those kinds of obstacles. Attaching any payable cost to something like that is always going to be a bit hopeless, since 2 levels of scale mean you get a +2 to almost everything, and you can power attack with it. What kind of refresh cost is fair for that?

DFA uses mantles to reflect the realities of its various supernatural forces, but doesn't expect them to be balanced against each other from a mechanical perspective.

But for more focused use, consider the Fate of Agaptus approach.

If it's acceptable to run a game where everyone is at the same base scale but some people can operate higher every now and again, you might consider the approach Fate of Agaptus uses: conditional access to higher scale via stunts.

Agaptus has a statistic called "weight", but its mechanical effects aren't much different from scale. Characters can take stunts to count themselves as higher weights under certain circumstances - basically, any stunt which could get you a +2 could instead, with aspect permission, bump you up one point of scale. You can also stack up multiple stunts in a given slot as long as you have multiple permissive aspects:

Because I am a Giant Creature of Destruction that wields a [Tremendous] Axe, in physical conflicts my [scale counts as 2] when I Forcefully attack.

-- Fate of Agaptus, "Stunts and Weight", p.205

If you want to consider a +2 and a scale bump equivalent in other ways, you can also use that as guidance for setting difficulties to obtain temporary scale, such as that main battle tank - it's at least +4 harder to hotwire than, say, a motorbike of no particular provenance.


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