I’ve got a relatively short one for you guys today.
I was doing some research for my next article about how to do a specific type of big, bad monsters in Fate. While I was looking it over, I noticed something. There are some instances where a “power” that a monster (and possibly PC) uses most likely shouldn’t be able to be dealt with by the Counter-Actions I came up with a little while back. (By the way, this article is going to be written as if your group has gotten rid of Defend to put in the Counter-Actions) Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like it should really be countered. This is still quite rare, I have to say, since one could still technically turn a fireball flying at them into some sort of advantage, if they were creative.
But if the case is something along the lines of an explosion emanating from the creature to go against multiple targets, I would prefer that they don’t all get a chance to immediately retaliate. That sounds like a good excuse to bring the Defend action back, doesn’t it? Well, I have an alternative: Overcome.
Take a good, hard look at Overcome and compare it to Defend. Tell me, what’s the big difference? The only one I can see is that Overcome has the Succeed at a Cost option. Everything else can morphed into what Defend does. In fact, you could say that Overcome is just a more open-to-the-narrative version of Defend.
What does this mean for playing Fate, then? I don’t suggest saying that a player can use Overcome in any instance that could also warrant one of the Counter-Actions. What I’m trying to say is that monsters (and probably PCs) should be able to (probably very rarely) create a stunt or power that declares that it is defended against by Overcome. Such circumstances should be well thought out, making sure that it’s necessary and makes sense. Also, it should be considered that causing the opponent to use Overcome instead is the “+2 bonus”, since it prevents them from being able to do anything worse to you than creating a boost.
If you’re considering doing so, remember one more thing: those rolling Overcome can always choose to succeed at a cost. This means that you should be okay with the idea of you being foibled, even with a good roll on your part.
So, to sum it all up: If a monster of PC has a stunt ability that can be “defended” against, but which shouldn’t be done via the Counter-Actions, declare that it’s defended with Overcome. This declaration costs the “+2 bonus”, meaning you’re likely going to need to spend a few refresh points in order to create the stunt you really want. Be certain that the costs of using Overcome instead of the Counter-Actions are worthwhile before deciding to do this.