House Rule: Zero Dot Stress Boost

So, I’ve run intro sessions for two different groups and a common thing I am seeing is players balking when they have zero dots in an action.

Unless it’s really dire, they don’t want to spend the extra Stress to get to 1 die and then we have to take a few minutes to either reframe the way they want to do the action or they just skip it.

I realize the game is about hard choices so a certain amount of that friction is intentional.

At any rate, I’m considering a house rule:

If you have zero dots in an action, you can pay 1 Stress (instead of the usual 2) to boost yourself to 1 die.

I know this will often mitigate disadvantage, I also feel like it’s a decent compromise to keep the flow of the game going and to keep the player engaged when they’ve come up with a cool idea that their specific PC doesn’t quite have the skills for at the moment.

Thoughts? Any other unintended consequences I might be missing here?

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I would probably want some language about how it doesn’t qualify as a “push”. There’s so many powers that say “when you push yourself you get X” that a rule like this could be abused by certain power combos.

This isn’t a problem that’s come up in my games because typically when a player has zero dots in a skill, they will try to accomplish the action by using a different skill with less effect, more risk, etc. “Ugh, I can’t Sway at all… what if I used Consort to be really pushy, leaning on our friendship, guilting them, etc.?” “Okay, but limited effect.”



Changing the position and effect is also a good alternative I haven’t offered enough. Good point.

Agree with Udachnik on avoiding the exploit.

Other than that, it seems like a fine rule if you want to encourage using 0d actions with a push. It shouldn’t be enough to disincentive upgrading from 0d to 1d, since that already rewards you with a valuable resist die.

So, amended house rule: If you have zero dots in an action, you can pay 1 Stress (instead of the usual 2) to temporarily boost yourself to 1 die. This does not count as a push for purposes of triggering other abilities.

And to clarify one other thing: Just quick searched through the rules and unless I’m reading something wrong, the only time you get +1d to resist when pushing is if you’re a Soldier and you have the Eat Iron, Shit Nails ability. Which, hey it has the coolest name so I don’t know why you wouldn’t take that all the time, but still.

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On top of the house rule (which I like and my experienced fitd groups could probably benefit from; everyone would rather Be A Weasel than choose the right action), I’d also very actively point out the assist rules when players are considering zero dot rolls. I’ve found people are often like “rolling 1 die? Dumb and not worth 2 stress,” but “rolling 2 dice? A++ would roll again, 2 stress is easy,” since they aren’t personally responsible for the assist stress. People also really love paying stress to assist each other (in my experience).


Yeah they spend Stress to assist each other all the time, that’s a really great incentive in the mechanics to keep everyone involved.

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