A situation left me in doubt on our last Fate sessions...

A player had succeeded in an action of grabbing a foe, adding a Rear naked choke Aspect on him. As usual, this added a free invocation for that Aspect, which is already a great advantage.

But, since the enemy is being held, can he make an Athletics defence roll to try to escape attacks during this round?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm editing this mention "round" rather than "turn" (since that's trivially no, if it's your turn to do things, they cannot do things). Alternately "when it's their turn to act" might be appropriate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


He can try, and the opponent can either;

  • Compel the aspect, stopping him entirely
  • Invoke the aspect, granting a 2-shift advantage to somebody with it
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think a Compel would apply here. In FATE Core, a Compel from opposition works just like any invocation (granting a +2 bonus or reroll) and the FATE Point goes to the player. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, a Compel isn't like an Inovcation in any way at all. A Compel is: "Because of this Aspect, it makes sense that [this thing] would happen. Damn your luck." Because you're getting choked out, it makes sense that you can't defend. [hand over Fate point]". Maybe you're thinking of "hostile invoke"? That's not a Compel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Beanluc
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @paulodiovani Beanluc is correct, invokes and compels are completely different in just about every conceivable way. Compels never involve a +2 to anything, or a reroll! That's solely the result of invocations. Also, that's not necessarily how Fate points get passed around for invocations. You should certainly review the chapter on invoking & compelling; you seem to misunderstand compels severely enough that you will be missing a fundamental piece of game. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I had never though of a player compeling an npc aspect. But reading again the rules made it clear. Thanks for the answer and comments. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't do a compel because compels add a complicating story element (it's not enough to say you can't defend), the attacker can certainly invoke (or use the free invoke if the player who created it wants) the choke hold to add to their attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – cdm014
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 20:15

"since the enemy is being held, can he make an Athletics defence roll to try to escape next attack?"

It depends on his intentions, and it depends on timing.

If he intends to Defend himself against someone else's Attack, then no, he can't try to escape the grapple in the same Action. He can Defend against the Attack.

If he intends to try to escape, no matter what anyone else is doing, then it wouldn't be a Defense roll, it would be an Overcome.

The Defense action is only used when opposing the adversary's action.

On his own turn in the next exchange, the held person can try to Overcome the "Rear naked choke" Aspect with Athletics. So, no, he can't make an Athletics Defense roll to escape.

(This does not preclude him from Defending if Attacked on the other character's turn. So, yes, he can make an Athletics [or, probably more appropriately, Physique] Defense roll to defend.)

Of course, the holder provides active opposition to the attempt to Overcome the choke-hold and escape, not passive opposition (this means, the holder rolls an appropriate Skill), and similarly to what edgerunner said, the holder probably already has a free invoke on the "Rear naked choke" Aspect, to invoke for their opposition roll. In other words, it's going to be hard for the held person to succeed at escaping, but, they can certainly try to Overcome (not Defend).

Maybe he can Create Advantage first in some way, to help with Overcoming the subsequent escape attempt. Or maybe he can self-compel and earn a Fate point first, and later use the Fate point to help his escape attempt.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Downvoted because the question is about defending against subsequent attacks, not breaking the hold. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 11:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I expanded it to suit whether the actual question is, "escape before the next attack, therefore avoiding it," or "defend against the next attack by escaping", or "use my turn on the next exchange to try to escape." It could be any of those, as currently worded. \$\endgroup\$
    – Beanluc
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Beanluc I think your answer is controversial in paragraph 3 (If he intends to Defend himself against someone else's Attack...) and paragraph 7 (This does not preclude him from Defending if Attacked on the other character's turn...). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Beanluc On that third paragraph, the Fate Core manual describes a scenario in Removing Or Changing An Aspect in which a Grappled person removes their Grappled aspect by, rather than overcoming it directly, doing something that makes it make no sense anymore. I suggest it's valid to make a Defense that does this. For example, in a martial arts scenario, I could narrate Defending myself from an attacker by throwing the guy grappling me at them. (Thus I defend myself and escape the grapple.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @paulodiovani My paragraph 3 and my paragraph 7 both say the same thing: On the attacker's turn, the grappled defender can use the Defend action to roll active opposition against the attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Beanluc
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 18:23

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