I GM a lot of FATE 2.0, especially one-shots. A recurring problem for me is when a player takes two (or more) skills in the same area of differing specificity. The most recent example is a character who took Flying Jump Kick as a skill, as well as Offensive Martial Arts. This is less of a problem when the general skill is taken at the same or a lower rating than the specific skill (though it's still a problem), but in this case, as happens occasionally, the specific skill was higher than the general one.

I usually give players a bonus to skills' ratings if they are more specific than whatever default skill specificity is in a given campaign, the value of which is logarithmically proportionate to their specificity. The highest such bonus has ever been is +3, which was for the skill "Stabbing dinosaurs with a spear while hanging one-handed off of a cliff" (the rules on what skills are considered acceptable have since been redefined, but the general guidelines for specificity-to-bonus conversion have not). The one-shots I GM almost exclusively use 20 skill point PCs.

Currently, I add an effective +1-+2 bonus to general skills when they are used in an area the character also has a more specific skill in. I also add +1-+2 to any skill of rating 2 or better when it is used with another skill of rating 3 or better, favoring the larger bonus when both skills are of higher rating and when both skills are close in rating.

My issue with doing the same for specific skills is that the +1-+2 would be applied in literally all circumstances, since the specific skill is included in the general skill.

What is a good way of allowing general skills to help higher-rated specific ones?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Does Fate 2.0 not have stunts like Fate Core does? If it does, why should the same character have both Offensive Martial Arts and Flying Jump Kick? Sounds like they should have Offensive Martial Arts +X (Stunt: Flying Jump Kick +2) or something. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Dec 8 '14 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 Yes, FATE 2.0 does not have stunts. It has skills, aspects, intrinsics, fate points, and expensive equipment. All of these work at least a little bit differently than in later editions, especially aspects. Fate points are the least effected. The system is, IMO, very different than FATE 3.0+, hence why we still play it rather than 'upgrading'. Stunts modded to be FATE 2.0 compatible might be a good answer, but beware that numbers mean more in our FATE games currently, so +2 in a limited circumstance is a huge deal and should probably have some significant cost. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Dec 8 '14 at 19:59

So, I've had a look at that dusty old FATE 2.0 Fudge Edition book, and I think your solution may be a Personal Extra as per the rules on page 25, in the Extras chapter.

Personal Extras

Personal and shared extras are mechanically similar - one skill rank translates into one aspect in the target. The main distinction is simple. If something is within the character's domain (and thus, personal), the aspects the PC gives that thing are the only aspect it has. Things outside of the character's domain (shared) may have any number of aspects; the player is merely establishing what some of them are....

While the chapter goes on to describe that the most Personal Extras are equipment and servants, it's carefully worded to imply that those are not the only potential uses for Personal Extras. So what I recommend is something like this:

Skill Specializations

Skill Specializations are a kind of Personal Extra. In order to take a Skill Specialization, you spend skill ranks to create and upgrade an Aspect attached to that skill. For example, a character with the skill Martial Arts could choose to spend a skill rank on a Skill Specialization like Flying Jump Kick []. Then, during play, if they use Martial Arts on someone and realize that they could easily take a Flying Jump Kick, they can invoke the aspect.

It's also possible to spend a skill rank to turn a skill into a Skill Specialization and gain a broader skill in the process, so if the character had Fair Flying Jump Kick as a skill first, they could spend a skill rank to turn it into Fair Martial Arts (Flying Jump Kick [])

At the GM's discretion, Skill Specialization aspects can refresh more frequently than other aspects, especially when they are particularly specific.

This way we can still get bonuses for specializing in a skill, we still use skill ranks to acquire them, but they don't require potentially disastrous changes to the fundamental engine of FATE. As a bonus side effect, the aspects can provide challenges for our players in that they can be invoked against them, as well as influencing the narrative so that a character's famous Flying Jump Kick leads the bandits to run sooner than fight. One might worry that an Aspect is too powerful for this sort of thing, but because aspects add context to the narrative, are double-edged and have to be refreshed (and the book supports a 1:1 cost), I would say they're actually a little less powerful than a conditional +1 or +2.

Another solution would be to go with Intrinsic Extras instead, and allow the skill to function at maximum under a very specific circumstance, as the example Aquatic (p.25) does, but similar issues of balance may crop up.

I hope this is helpful, even though it doesn't technically provide a framework for skill synergies, and just supplants them with a specific/general replacement system.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.