Mechanical Hooks in Fate

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about mechanical hooks in RPGs. These hooks are rules and systems that reference each other, creating a web of interactions that rewards player choice but can also increase system complexity dramatically.

I used Fate as an example of a system that solves the complexity problem by limiting the traits that reference other hooks to one. In nearly every Fate game, stunts are the only mechanic that reference or trigger off other mechanics. But they can hook off just about anything in the game, at least in theory.

I started thinking about just how many hooks Fate has, and I realized it's almost staggeringly large. Here's a list of many mechanics and traits that stunts can hook onto, either to trigger or affect. While this list is long, it may not be exhaustive. I may expand this post in the future. If you have a mechanical hook in Fate that you think I've missed, please comment.


  • Character aspect (presence or absence)
  • Situation aspect (presence or absence)
  • Invoking an aspect
    • Invoking to benefit yourself
    • Invoking to benefit another
    • Spending a free invoke
    • Spending a boost
    • Spending a fate point
  • Compelling an aspect or having an aspect compelled
    • Compelling another PC
    • Compelling an NPC
    • Compelling yourself


  • Rolling a specific skill for one of the four actions in a specific situation
  • Using the teamwork rules with a specific skill
  • Applying active opposition with a specific skill


  • Taking stress
    • What type
    • Value of the stress box
  • Inflicting stress
    • What type
    • Value of the stress box
  • Clearing stress
    • What type
    • How many boxes clear
    • Value of each stress box


Since consequences are aspects, they count for the aspect hooks above.
  • Taking a consequence
    • How severe
  • Recovering a consequence
    • How severe
  • Inflicting a consequence
    • How severe


  • Reaching a milestone
    • Degree of the milestone
  • Taking a milestone benefit

Narrative Units

  • Per Scene
  • Per Session


  • Passive opposition
    • By a character
    • By a non-character feature
  • Active opposition
    • By a character
    • By a non-character feature


Each of the actions can be further broken down by outcome: failure, tie, success, or success with style.
  • Overcome
    • Pass an obstacle
    • Remove an advantage
  • Create an advantage
    • Create a new aspect
    • Leverage an existing aspect
  • Attack
    • Type of stress to be inflicted
    • Range in zones
    • Number of targets
  • Defend
    • Defending yourself
    • Defending another character


  • Relationship to other zones
    • Adjacent
    • Contained
    • Distance
  • Barriers
    • Preventing movement between zones
    • Preventing action between zones
    • Preventing perception between zones


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