Skip to main content

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

Popular posts from this blog

Dungeon Crate, May 2016

For my birthday last month, my friends got me a subscription to DungeonCrate.  This service is the RPG-focused entry in the current "crate" craze, where you pay a subscription fee and a box of themed stuff is sent to your home monthly, quarterly, or whatever. Well, my first crate arrived today, and I thought I'd go through it here on the blog.

Discworld RPG Review

The Discworld Roleplaying Game is a standalone fantasy RPG written by Phil Masters with rules based on GURPS Fourth Edition by Steve Jackson Games. It is the second edition of Discworld RPG, following the original GURPS Discworld published in 1998 and reprinted under the Discworld RPG name in 2002.

For those who may not be familiar, Discworld is the setting of an extremely popular series of fantasy novels written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The Disc consists of a flat, circular plane resting on the backs of four elephants who in turn stand on the shell of an enormous turtle which swims through space. It began as a fairly traditional — if satirical — fantasy world, but through over 40 novels, Pratchett advanced the setting into a rich canvas on which to poke fun at the peculiarities of modern life.

The first edition of the Discworld RPG was based on GURPS Third Edition, and it included GURPS Lite, a pared down version of the core system. Still, it relied perhaps too much on knowledge of th…

Voting Is Live For The 2016 Ennie Awards

The 2016 Ennie Awards are now open for voting. Go to to vote for the great gaming products in two dozen categories.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider voting for It’s Element-ary! for Best Family Game. I’m up against some very worthy competition, and I’m honored just to be nominated. But who knows what could happen, right?