I have trouble understanding how to deal with Aspects implying a resistance or immunity to a given category of attacks.

Let's say for example a dragon has the Aspect Can Withstand the Hottest Flames or something similar that implies he is resistant to fire. Should he invoke that Aspect every time he is attacked by a fire attack? In that case, what happens when he runs out of Fate Points, is he not resistant to Fire anymore?

Similarly, what about a character immune to fire? Is he immune only as long as he has Fate Points? Or are all fire attacks simply unable to cause damage?

And finally, is it even pertinent to use Aspects for this kind of Resistance/Immunity, or would it be better handled through Stunts?


2 Answers 2


For resistance to fire:

It's pretty straightforward to use stunts and extras.

Because I am a dragon, I have armor:2 against heat-based attacks.


Because I am a dragon, I have +2 to defence rolls against fire.

If you go this route, then stress and consequences you do take will probably represent an attack finally penetrating your resistance. This is no different than using a Kevlar vest with armor:2 to reduce stress from a bullet, or a bonus to Physique defence representing your ability to get punched and keep on coming.

But what about immunity to fire, you ask?

Here's the deal: Aspects can make you immune to fire, but they probably shouldn't make you immune to stress from fire attacks. It's a matter of exploiting the fact that stress is not damage, and consequences aren't damage either (though they can be). (For an experimental way to represent immunity through stunts/extras, see this answer.)

Stress is "the ephemeral toll of participating in a conflict," while consequences are "injury and trauma you just can't shake off after the dust settles" (emphasis mine).

Thus if you're immune to fire, taking stress from a fire attack represents your ability to keep the fire in the scene from impacting the narrative in ways you don't like. Once you start taking consequences, that means you didn't prevent the fire attacks from doing bad things which cause you lasting trauma or drama: Accused of arson is just as valid a lasting consequence as Covered in burns, and probably more leads to more interesting story.

If this seems esoteric or weird--it kinda is!

Stress and consequences have spawned several questions about their relationship to hit points (or lack thereof). To try and wrap our head around it in this context, let's look at an extreme example of immunity to damage: Superman.

We shouldn't just give him a high rank in Physique and call it a day, because Superman isn't just good at avoiding damage: most of the time he actually can't get hurt even if he wanted to, and skill rolls are set up to fail regularly. We could give him a stunt or an extra to make him immune to physical stress, but that seems dishonest to the character concept: Supes gets thrown around, punched through buildings, and thrown into space. He's vulnerable to physical stress, he just doesn't bruise or bleed because of it.

But with an aspect like The last Kryptonian, Superman is narratively immune to nearly all physical damage.

So Supes takes physical stress, sure. But stress is not damage! It's his ability to stay in the fight without lasting consequences: he absorbs or redirects the attack safely. When he can't use a stress track to absorb the shifts, he takes lasting consequences if he wants to stay in the fight, but consequences don't have to be damage either. When Superman is unable to handle a physical attack, it's almost always shown as being redirected into the environment: he's unable to control the force being leveraged at him.

This tells us that when Superman takes a consequence from physical stress, it probably represents collateral damage (Injured child or Jimmy's been shot!). If instead he chooses to be taken out by physical stress--or to concede in a physical conflict--it means he let the villain succeed rather than have innocent bystanders get hurt (Luthor gets away while Superman holds the falling build up long enough for Lois to crawl to safety).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I read the Superman example a long time ago, but totally forgot about it. One additional question if I may: how would you do for effects that do more than stress/consequence? For example, Character A is a psyker and is tring to read Character B's mind. Character B has an Aspect mentioning his immunity (or resistance) to mind reading. Does it simply not work, or should Character B use a Fate Point? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2014 at 2:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cristol.GdM That seems like a separate enough question I'm not sure how to edit an answer into my existing post, and a comment isn't really suited for back-and-forth. How about we discuss it in the Fate chat room some time? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Sep 6, 2014 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point; I guess I shouldn't have insisted so much on stress. Follow-up question it is, then! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2014 at 13:38

One of the elements of Fate Core that comes into play here is that Aspects remain true whether they are invoked or not. (FC76) If your dragon has "Can Withstand the Hottest Flames," then that's just a fact about the dragon. Immune to fire, dead sure.

Invoking that Aspect means that being able to Withstand the Hottest Flames is something dramatically relevant to the action you're about to under take. ("I'm going to charge into the burning building to rescue that girl!") Spend the Fate Point, get your bonus or reroll or declare your fact or what have you. But if that's an Aspect of your character, it's not something that requires Fate Points to exist; it's just so.

I think that's not a great Aspect, by the way; I can't think of many good ways to Compel that. I might make it part of a larger Aspect, like "Great Wyrm beneath the Mountain" or "Fireproof Mutant" or something that encompasses more parts of the character.

Oh! You also asked about Stunts. Stunts interact with the Skill system, so it's not especially appropriate here — you're not immune to fire if you do something in particular; you just are. I wouldn't use a Stunt in this case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a sidenote regarding the Aspect naming: when asking questions here, I try to use Aspects that convey my point veeery explicitly, in order to avoid answers focusing on the wrong thing ;) the actual Aspects we use in game might not be explicit enough \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2014 at 2:22

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