Biggest Rules Mistakes for New Players


In my group we were very conservative with Stress, to the point of very rarely using Assists, Flashbacks and Pushing Ourselves. There would often be times where we wouldn’t even Resist due to the probability of Trauma.

Oddly, this didn’t stop us from taking Desperate Actions or make use adverse to Harm.

(Matt Petruzzelli) #22

Frankly it sounds like your consequences are not severe enough.


The Consequences were typically quite severe - level 3 harm, serious complication, and desperate position.

But the team would find means of increasing dice pools from Devil’s Bargains, Leading Group Actions, Daredevil, Cloak and Dagger, etc. And reducing the Consequence with Special Armor and often Tough as Nails.

(sythmaster) #24

Doesn’t matter how severe the consequences are when the players roll that 6 :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:

(John Harper) #25

“You go into combat with the Red Sashes’ elite swordmaster? Okay, first they slash through the tendons of your wrist and disarm you, then run you through the heart. Want to resist either of those before you take your action?”

(sythmaster) #26

okay… fine. Maybe it does matter a litle bit. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Judd Karlman) #27

I’ve been thinking about this a bunch, thinking that I need to make dangerous entities more dangerous and more proactive in my FitD games.

(Mr Hollins) #28

For my players, I think the most consistent rules mistakes are overestimating the scope of Resistance Rolls. Because the game leans heavily on narrative, my players typically provide an explanation for how they resisted the harm or consequence but often their explanations go too far and stray into hybrid Resistance/Action rolls. It seems to get even worse when another player decides to do a Resistance roll on someone else’s behalf. I’ve run 4 separate Blades campaigns and in every single one of them a Hound has attempted to “resist” a consequence for someone else by shooting them dead. We eventually arrive at a compromise, but reminding players that a Resistance roll shouldn’t leave you better off than you started has been a theme since I started playing this game.

Also I forget to account for harm all the dang time! I even have a post-it note to remind me and I still manage to forget!

(John Harper) #29

Yeah, I sometimes forget about harm, too.

I’ve considered adding it as an XP trigger, just so players will remember it. “You struggled because of harm,”

Resistance Rolls and Harm
(Mr Hollins) #30

I like that! You could add it to the Vice/Trauma XP trigger and it would feel very much at home. It would also allow more cautious, trauma-averse players to access that XP trigger more often.

(John) #31

It would also give a bit of extra xp at the start of a game when typically characters don’t have any trauma to struggle with. I think I’m going to use that in my next game.

(Daniel) #32

My own classic mistake has always been remembering (and reminding players) that consequences can be resisted on social rolls, not just combat and sneakery.

Maybe not so much a mistake as a stumbling block to watch out for and find a personal preference for is stress and harm balancing. The rules make it optional as to whether resisting harm avoids all of it or just bumps it down a category. It can seem too soft a touch to say that you can always just choose not to take any damage, but the harm and healing rules are pretty harsh. It can be tempting to see the resistance roll as akin to an action, in that a poor one might let more harm through, but that is a mistake as the greater stress taken is already the result of that bad roll, and worse harm as well is double punishment. Accounting for quality, tier and scale, and being transparent about what can and can’t happen as a result of a roll, take some time to get the hang of, but are important things to learn to keep a game consistent and fair.


I’ve been thinking about this since I saw it… Maybe I don’t understand the mechanic as well as I should, but this seems a little like jumping a lethal action in on your players a little unfairly. Sure, it provides a lethal atmosphere and an intimidating antagonist, and it gives them the chance to resist (with an either/or…?)… Is this a side of “telegraph trouble before it strikes”?

Can someone please go into more detail on when and why the players might be presented a scenario like this?

I like it. I just don’t understand it.

(Matt Petruzzelli) #34

In the book it lists this as one of the ways to demonstrate an opponent of vastly superior scale than a PC. It’s described under NPC Threat Levels on page 167.

Since NPCs don’t have stats and action ratings, it’s by the severity of their consequences and the position and effect of the PC’s action roll that their capabilities are manifest in the game.

If the NPC is a master, tell the players what the NPC has already done, then ask if they want to resist it.

“She’s just way too fast for you to deal with. Before you realize what’s happening, the manacles are on your wrists. Yeah? Or do you want to resist that?”


It’s just a way for GMs to represent how some NPCs are more dangerous. I’ve also used it for dangerous situations in general, such as trying to climb a wall during a tempestuous storm. The consequence presented doesn’t have to be harm - I’ve also used a clock to represent being off balance and requiring that clock be filled before actually effecting an NPC. I haven’t used it often, and I take pains to alert players about such opponents or situations so it doesn’t feel like it comes out of nowhere.

As an example, one scenario where this feels appropriate to me would be if the PCs were fighting a dragon. At the beginning of the fight (and perhaps occasionally during the fight), I might simply say the dragon breathes fire and does, say, 2 harm to those caught in the flame. Players could choose to resist the harm.

Another example could be the PCs trying to infiltrate somewhere while avoiding the attention of an especially vigilant and perceptive observer. There might be a detection clock that automatically ticks each time a PC attempts some course of action.


These are great! And with page references, too! Thanks to you both, @Werlynn and @andurion!

As a GM, I have been and historically gentle with the players, and have also done a lot of prep on long story arcs in my day, so, during my turn on GM, — and playing a system of the players’ choosing, — I decided that I want this game to be an exercise in doing as little prep as possible and not pulling any punches. :grin:

(Stefan Struck) #37

For me, I’m half way there: Litte prep, check. Not pulling punches, needs more practice … a lot more practive :slight_smile:

(Daniel Hiatt) #38

Don’t you only take stress from not indulging if you already have a trauma?

(christopher) #39

If you dont indulge you take stress equal to your trauma. So with zero trauma, you don’t take any stress.

(The Void) #40

All the above are GREAT pieces of advice! For me beyond reiterating the above advice I would encourage players that they shouldn’t shy away from entanglements, harm, and consequences in general. Yes, they can cause the situation to become more difficult in an aspect or two but they greatly enhance RP and XP triggers.

A lot of this comes from learning how to manage stress, harms, and armor but seeing where consequences goes allow for the fiction to grow and flow in ways that are natural. An example of this is Minerva my Samaat blood priestess. She indulges in her vice of blood bathing to commune with her deity. Also this character seems to be fond of overindulging her vice which leads to more entanglements (my choice of consequence, GM’s choice of what that looks like) because the fiction is her body lights up like the sun in the ghost field attracting supernatural.

This in turn complicates scores, DT, or crew interactions. Minerva rarely earns stress but she is a beacon for harm resists rolls or pushing to look beyond the horrors attracted to her to do something. This crew specifically is the first one not to shy away from additional complications and it has taken the fiction and characters beyond where any of us saw it going.

My two cents worth of advice :wink: