I seriously love Fate. Something I’m amazed about is how well they’ve been able to boil just about anything you’d like to do into 4 different actions. But some of you may know that I’m not completely happy with the options given to me, especially defensively. If you haven’t already read it, check out my article on replacing Defend with Counter-actions.
Intercepting an Attack
I’ve discovered another small weakness in the defensive end of Fate’s actions: the inability to reactively put yourself into harm’s way for an ally. So, I decided to create a new action to cover it. As always, if you don’t want everyone to have this action automatically available to them, it can be taken as a stunt instead. Here’s the action:
Use the intercept action to attempt to defend for an ally, taking the hit for them if you must.
Generally, intercepting is a defense against the attack action, but it can be used against create advantage as well if you can describe how it can be done, and what the alternative consequences are for you, if any.
The action’s explanation will use the word attacker, to describe the character being defended against, even if it’s a create advantage action.
- When you fail an intercept action, you do not intercept and your ally must roll to defend himself from the attacker’s action (the attacker does not need to roll again).
- When you tie an intercept action, the attacker takes out their action on you as if they beat your roll by 3 shifts (triggering a success with style for them)
- When you succeed at an intercept action, the attacker takes out their action on you as if they beat your roll by 1 shift
- When you succeed with style at an overcome action, the attacker’s action fails
Often, the skill involved with the intercept action will be Athletics, since it’s usually done by you moving yourself to get in the way quickly enough. Obviously, other skills can be chosen if it makes more sense in the way that you’re doing it.
To physically interject yourself, you have to be in the same zone at the attacker and your ally (unless you’re really speedy, possibly). You may even want to limit how often this action can be taken to once per round. Personally, I think limiting it isn’t extremely helpful, since the consequences are harsher on intercept than defend (even more so with the counter-actions), except they’re being redirected.
The point of the action is to redirect the attacker’s action to yourself, not so much to reduce the attack done to you, so even a success means that you’re going to to have to deal with the attacker’s action. Because of that, I had to manufacture how successful the attacker was, since going off how well he did against you would mean that he accomplished nothing, so a tie just barely gives them a success with style and succeeding just gives them a success. Your extra bonus for succeeding with style is that the attacker doesn’t even beat you.
This is a great action for a tank-like character to have in Fate, since it allows him to protect his allies more easily and soak up the damage and effects instead of them. A character with this action, high Toughness, and high Athletics could make for a relatively effective tank.
Since getting hurt while using the intercept action is fairly likely, you may want to always have the ally roll their defensive action, and ignore your roll if they succeed. It’s definitely up to the GM on how they want to rule this.
Tell me what you think of this action. Would you allow your characters to all have it, or should it be restricted to only be available via stunts? What do you think about letting the ally always get to try to defend?