Today I’d like to write about two essential rules hacks I incorporated into Runner’s FATE and that will transfer back to Eclipse FATE as well.
The first and simpler one of the two is removing Stress Tracks from the game altogether After reviewing all mechanisms I’d intended to use, I found absolutely nothing that would gain anything from using Stress. Fred Hicks presented a way on how to use a Consequence as an additional bonus to your roll on the FATE blog some time ago, and that’s exactly how I use them now.
Since there is no Stress in Runner’s FATE, any attack that overcomes your defensive roll will automatically take you out. Therefore, you’ll use Consequences to boost your defense roll. Chances are very high that you have to do so, so almost any attack will have some effect, in fiction as well as on your character sheet.
Conflicts are short and brutal that way, indeed a little bit too gritty. So characters will gain additional consequences due to high levels in certain skills. Instead of adding Stress boxes, skills like Body, Charisma, Willpower, and Lifestyle allow you take additional consequences in a specific area of influence (Physical, Social, Mental, and Financial, respectively). A +1 or +2 skill allows you to take an additional mild consequences, a +3 or +4 gives you an additional moderate consequence and a +5 would give you both.
Still, the high amount of consequences are able to take out an character completely with a fairly low number of conflicts. Therefore, you could try to heal mild and moderate consequences to regain them much faster than by the usual FATE regeneration rules.
While this rule takes away one element of FATE mechanics, the other change will add one. As I already said in several other postings before, Runner’s FATE and Eclipse FATE are games where equipment takes a much larger role than in your usual game of FATE. In my adaptions, gear comes in different varieties and basically grants it’s wearer additional, but very specific stunts. Gear isn’t paid with refresh, but acquired using your skills. This also means you may lose some of your equipment during the game, and that’s what the new mechanic is all about:
At any time, you may burn one or more pieces of equipment. Doing so will provide you with an additional +2 bonus per piece of gear, but afterwards it’s gone. Maybe it really was your last grenade, or you broke your targeting scope, or you crashed your car into wall. To get it back, you need to repair it or buy it again.
Alternately, gear that provides special benefits when spending a FATE point may be burned for the same effect. This saves you a FATE point for the sake of destroying the piece of gear.
In addition to the usual conglomerate of stunts, gear may also get a burn stunt. This stunt allows you to burn this specific piece of equipment for a higher bonus.
Hopefully the following examples make this mechanic a little more tangible:
Light armor vest: Usually provides +1 damage reduction. Burn the vest to gain a single +2 bonus against a physical attack.
Heavy armor: Provides +2 damage reduction. Burn stunt: Burn the armor to gain a single +4 bonus against a physical attack.
Offensive grenade: Spend a FATE point to attack any target in a zone. Alternately, burn the grenades for the same effect.
Medkit: +1 bonus to first aid. Burn stunt: Burn the kit for +4 bonus to heal a physical consequence.