Dungeon Fate 1: Stress & Consequences

Why Would You Do This?
An exercise in insanity?  Because I love to hack game systems to little bloody bits and pieces?

Anyhow, this is a Fate hack that I’m releasing in little bits and pieces.  I haven’t playtested it yet, if you decide to give any part of it a try, then, I would love to hear about it.  I would also love to hear if anything just plain doesn’t make sense, and what unanswered questions there might be about what is included here. I do plan to playtest it and fix it as needed later, so consider this to be a very rough draft.

What is this good for?

Dungeon Fate is good for those who like game systems that capture that easy hackability, that fast paced gameplay that Fate has (and like other elements of the game), but want to try something with a more brutal, gritty edge. Hopefully this will prove good for games where the stakes are higher, and also for games more about the challenges of survival. 

Stress and Consequences

Stress and consequences are handled differently in Dungeon Fate. For one, characters have stress points, instead of stress boxes (but still have stress tracks).  These points are whittled away at, being lost (at least until the character has a chance to recover) rather than “filled” as they are in Fate Core.  

Starting Typed Stress

All characters begin with a certain amount of Typed stress. Thus, just as with Fate Core, Dungeon Fate characters all get Mental Stress and Physical stress, and if your game uses other types of stress too, then there’s no problem with adding in those too. Characters begin play with 2 points of typed stress, and gain more if the appropriate skill is high enough.  For instance, Physique is tied to physical stress, and Will is tied to Mental stress.

Bonus typed stress is gained from having the appropriate skill at the following levels:

+1 to +2 (average to fair): +1

+3 to +4 (good to great): +2

+5 (Superb): +3

How damage is dealt, and Stress is lost

When damaged, a number of stress is lost equal to however many “shifts”  of damage has been inflicted upon the character.

So, if a guy hits for 7 shifts of damage, who defends with a 5, then the defender suffers a hit point loss of 2.  Shifts of damage from attack minus the opponent’s Defense = amount of stress lost. It’s that simple.

Consequences & Stress Overflow

Consequences are not specific to each stress track; characters have just one set for all stress.  Each consequence is worth a particular amount of stress, and any stress that overflows out of a stress track into it stacks with any other stress that has previously done so.

Below are the consequences all characters start with, and how much stress each consequence has associated with it

Mild: 2

Moderate: 4

Severe: 6

Extreme: 8

An example of how stress and consequences work

A character is psychically attacked by a telepath, who forces the character relive their most traumatic memory.  This inflicts 3 stress on the character, but, unfortunately, they only have 2 typed stress, so the stress overflows into their mild consequence slot, which now has one stress left in it.

They then suffer 4 physical stress, when a beast controlled by the telepath bites them. They only have 2 physical stress too, so the stress overflows into their consequences, causing them to lose all their Mental stress, and suffer 2 more stress amongst their consequences. This causes them to completely lose the final point of stress associated with their mild consequence, and just enough to suffer a moderate consequence.  

Another example of how stress and consequences work

A dragon swoops down, breathing fire upon the character.  They suffer 7 points of physical stress.  The character has 3 physical stress, so it eats through all of those, then both points of their mild consequence, and finally 2 of the 4 points of their moderate consequence.  This means the character suffers both a mild and moderate consequence, and if they take too much more physical stress, will be suffering a severe as well.

Typed Consequences

There’s one exception to that consequences are not typed, that is for characters with a +5 (Superb) or better in the appropriate skill. The character gets one consequence that is specific to a given stress track, which is worth 2 stress. If a character has this sort of consequence, then Typed Stress suffered will flow into it first, before overflowing into the generic consequences.

Healing Stress

Stress cannot be healed until the character has downtime, this means they must spend at least a scene more or less resting.  Trauma occurring during downtime will keep a character from recovering.

If you use additional forms of stress (like perhaps resources, or reputation) then you may consider handling them the same way as mental and physical stress, or instead, choose to handle recovering it in the same way that form of stress would ordinarily clear.  For example, if you use Wealth stress, and ordinarily it only is cleared when the next session starts, then having it only recover at the start of the next session is fine.

Healing Consequences

Consequences don’t just go away on their own, not only must the character have the appropriate downtime to heal their wounds, or psychological trauma, but they must do something about it (see a doctor about that wound, seek comfort from a friend, etc… ).

When a consequence is healed, the stress associated with it are also healed.  This can result in gaps where a consequence above on which is missing has its stress recovered, even though the lesser one has recovered. That’s fine, stress will overflow into whatever consequences are available.


A character has suffered a mild consequence, and lost all three of their physical stress, they rest enough to recover the physical stress, but that mild consequence remains, along with its stress loss.  They suffer 4 points of physical stress later.  Well, they only have 3 physical stress…. so they lose their 3 physical stress, and then the additional point remaining point overflows, stacking with the stress they lost which resulted in their mild consequence.

Misc Considerations

Stress and milestones?
I’m tempted to have a point of stress gained at each milestone, and character advancement is something I really want to create an alternative version of for this. We’ll see how that turns out.

Conceding the conflict

Characters can still choose to do this, and the effect is no different than in Fate Core.

Extreme consequences
Once a character has taken all of the stress associated with their extreme consequence they are taken out.  This means the same thing as in Fate Core.

Consequences are also Aspects

In this respect they behave the same way as in Fate Core.  They can be invoked and compelled, and whoever inflicted the consequence gets a free invoke.

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