Fate Core adjustments
SKAVENGER’s Fate Core modifications
This campaign uses some mild alterations to combat and modifies skills. The most noticeable difference is the completely remade skill list. It should be noted many listed skills are very close analogues to one or more of the Fate Core defaults. Skills are additionally categorized by “Profession”, but this is more or less descriptive of where skills “belong” in an archetype, and not currently applied in a way like Skill Modes/Reinforced Skills are. Perhaps that will change in the future, as this “skill-tree” distribution was a feature present in the homebrewed SKAVENGER System.
The modifications to skill names and their encompassing uses are the foremost changes to Fate Core while playing SKAVENGER. Professions follow either the Combat or Utility template.
Combat Professions are the boxes containing the methods to violently (or emotionally) engage other humans or similarly sentient things. If you seek to cause direct damage (or maybe just increase your odds surviving a battle), these are your options without considering stunts. To make things a little more interesting and introduce a new layer to gameplay, the Combat Skill from each Profession divides into three Disciplines. The Disciplines for each Combat Skill follow a template; within each one, there is a Strength, Speed, and Subtlety Discipline. For example, if a player seeks to put Brawler’s Combat Skill—Brawling—on their Skill list, they will have to select a Discipline that showcases their trained focus. This means, for the player, Combat Skills do not exist “unflavored”. Further down this article, the usage of Disciplines is addressed.
Combat Professions follow this two-skill template:
Brawler encapsulates all things proximally kinetic and kinetically proximal. Fight with your own body doing the work (or perhaps enhanced through one of those nice exo-frameworks).
Brawling – This is the skill used in attack and defense, and a direct analogue to Fate Core’s Fight. Choose one of the Disciplines below.
- Power – The Power Brawler tries to make each strike worth the effort.
- Assault – Maximizing the number of strikes is the Assault Brawler’s philosophy.
- Finesse – Finesse Brawlers strike when the enemy is most vulnerable.
Mastery – This skill is used to detect and conceal Disciplines, also instrumental in recognizing potentially brutal hardware (especially from something unassuming) and doing sneaky behavior of the manually dextrous nature, i.e. pickpocketing.
Communicator is the way of the social manipulator and the art of conversation. If Brawling is the path to a man’s eviscerated heart, Communication is the path to your opponent’s mental stress track.
Communication – Used in conversational attack and defense, but also applicable to almost any situation using social influence. It is most similar to Provoke, yet integrates Deceive, Empathy, and Rapport elements. Choose one of the Disciplines below.
- Prestige – Prestige Communicators speak and express themselves with authoritative presence.
- Assailant – Assailant Communicators take control through expedience of their statements.
- Guile – Guile Communicators re-steer conversations and use other disarming methods.
Insight – This skill is used to detect and conceal Disciplines, but also works as a loose cognate for Contacts and, like Empathy, uses physiological cues to pick up on deceit or other subtle emotions.
Gunplay and all its related activities are in here, through the Gunner Profession.
Gunnery – The skill that is virtually identical to Shoot, Gunnery supports all actions involving firearms to do harm unto foes. Choose one of the Disciplines below.
- Precision – Precision Gunners count their bullets and happily use larger calibers when possible.
- Auto – These Gunners play the numbers game and favor rapid-fire weapons.
- Slick – Slick Gunners prefer being outside the enemy’s awareness before they shoot.
Tactics – This skill is used to detect and conceal Disciplines, as well as represent military protocol and armament knowledge (useful when digging for narrativized “what rank is that Immolator Trooper’s Gunnery”).
Utility Professions incorporate all of the talents needed to operate on both things and ideas. They are organized in a way that really just makes them symmetrical clumps of skills, without any hierarchy or extra dynamic. Though less outwardly glamorous, these Professions constitute 2/3rds of all skills.
A [probably grossly unnecessary] visual template:
Made up of ideas, rather than things. Exceptional at theory and novel instances, but not mundane uses of application. These skills do a good job making advantages.
- Abstraction – Analysts are great examiners, and those trained in Abstraction utilize reason to detect inconsistencies and solve problems that don’t take place in the physical world. Abstraction inherits qualities from Investigate.
- Bionomics – A funny portmanteau that represents knowledge of Earth and biological sciences, although not particularly including humans and healthcare proficiency. (That comes a little later.)
- Physics – AKA, “SCIENCE”. The truest and most legitimate of sciences, because it represents knowledge of reality’s mechanics. Unfortunately, this phenomenal cosmic power does not do a sufficient job to replace all other skills.
- Socioculture – Another portmanteau. Socioculture looks at human art, history, economics, and mannerisms from an academic viewpoint, unlike the Communicator. This skill is a watermark of a character’s worldliness and grants the ability to repair mental consequences (as a psychologist).
The foil to Analyst, Fabricator houses the means of production and hands-on application. These skills fix, build, and provide.
- Healthcare – Healthcare, and its immediate application, is a huge factor in surviving the violent world of SKAVENGER. This skill is most suitable for removing physical consequences and working with augmentations in-body.
- Manufacture – When things get broken, this skill has them covered. Manufacture builds, fixes, and makes one aware of hardware and its many forms. Integrated from Fate Core into Manufacture is Crafts. However, Manufacture includes Drive and parts of Burglary, if the “burgled” device is mechanical.
- Supply – A cognate to Resources, Supply represents all assets, financial or physical. Supply “experts” can be seen as more thrifty or more wealthy, depending on narrative sense. Either way, you’ll wish you had one of these stash-druids around when civilization is thin and you don’t feel like experimenting with native mushroom species.
- Systems – In this semi-post-modern setting, Systems is the true inheritor of Burglary, but also shares space with Manufacture, for all those instances where one is messing with software instead of hardware. Computer wizards, apply here.
The Survivalist is a paradigm of self-interest and preservation. These skills emphasize fight or flight.
- Athletics – This skill is almost invariably no different from Fate Core’s own. Athletics will help you in situations requiring physical adroitness. You can’t use this to dodge bullets unless you have a stunt to do so, notably.
- Scouting – A combination of both what Fate Core calls Notice and Stealth. Scouting is all things detection-related. Think of it as “peripheral” sense, compared to Abstraction’s focused beam of detail detection. This sense aids in successful stealth through simply being in the right place at the right time.
- Temper – Temper is not very different from Will. It controls mental stress boxes in a like manner, and determines how resilient your character is under psychological duress. Will does not defend against communication attacks or advantage creation, but many events in the setting are so foul they can potentially damage a psyche by simply being observed.
- Tenacity – Like Temper, Tenacity governs stress boxes and resilience in the same way Physique does. Tenacity is a good relative measure of your size and sheer force delivery through bodily strength. This doesn’t really apply to combat outside of the stress box benefits, but could be utilized with some creative stunts.
Three-fold Combat and Combat Professions
Three-fold Combat is a game of Rocks-Paper-Scissors. This is where the Disciplines are applied. Strength smashes Speed, Speed overwhelms Subtlety, and Subtlety averts Strength. If a character learns he has a “superior” Discipline to another character, then he gains a permanent +1 bonus to any actions regarding his target. This is the only benefit, but should be determined as early as possible when facing bigger threats.
In game, the Discipline is a tag that is ordinarily concealed from other combatants until it is discovered, like a miniature Aspect. Discovery is a free Overcome action that a combatant may perform on one other target per round. This action makes use of the relevant Lore Skill, depending on which Discipline is being discovered (e.g. Gunnery would be discovered via Tactics). In many cases, rudimentary NPCs won’t even attempt Discipline discovery. They will often lack Lore Skills, and certainly won’t have all three. This means the players can probe for their weaker “partners” without needing to fear the NPCs which utilize superior Disciplines. NPCs that follow a leader archetype, however, will make use of their free discovery action as much as possible, as to “call out” and direct their underlings.
Following the outcomes of a conventional overcome, if a Discipline discoverer…
- Fails, it means they fail to detect the Discipline… unless they accept a serious cost (perhaps something in the neighborhood of losing their next turn in the exchange)
- Ties, the Discipline is discovered but at a minor cost.
- Succeeds, the Discipline is now known by the discoverer.
- Succeeds with style, the opposition’s Discipline is known and the discoverer gains a free Boost.