Combined rolls & Teamwork [in FAE]

We’ve just started trying out FAE as a system for our game and we’ve encountered some confusion with combined rolls for the party.
Even with Fate Core we saw some potential conflict with the way it’s done, but when we throw away skills and replace them with approaches in Accelerated, it feels so wrong to use the same system and there is nothing else written about how to handle that in FAE specifically.
The reason(s) it feels so wrong is because a character has 5 out of 6 approaches at +1 or higher from the very start, so it’s super rare that a combined roll wouldn’t get a good result (e.g. a party that are all mediocre at Sneaky). So you’re somewhat bound to get a flat bonus from others being at least Average or higher in said approach, not to mention that the likeliness of someone being Good or better at an approach is much higher with just 6 approaches to pick from, in comparison with over a dozen skills.
Are you not supposed to translate what’s written under Teamwork to FAE with approaches? If so, then how are you supposed to do anything similar to a combined roll in FAE?

Interesting. I don’t play FAE, only Core/Condensed, but just to clarify:

  • Do you cap the benefit of teamwork at the skill (Approach) level of the lead character?
  • Do you limit assistance to PCs and named NPCs?
  • Do you enforce that the other character must give up their turn to provide the assist?
  • Do you ensure that the teamwork makes sense within the narrative?

There are challenges where it makes sense for four people to help - but in many cases, an action might not benefit from extra assistance. Example: picking a lock is tough with more than one person. Bashing a door in forcefully could be done with 2 or more people depending if you kick it or use a battering ram. Using explosives? That could be flashy or crafty depending on how it is done, but again, I would want the 2nd player to narrate how they are helping in the attempt.

In the Fate Core SRD rules, Randy provides a good link to Ryan Macklin’s blurb on revising teamwork rules: https://web.archive.org/web/20191002001443/http://ryanmacklin.com/2015/08/revising-teamwork-in-fate/

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Definitely limit the number of characters who can help with the action.

If the players really want to help but are justifying it with other skills then you may want to switch to a Challenge.

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Here is a Teamwork house rule I’ve been toying with (but haven’t actually tried yet):

Each player that is assisting (with at least an “Average” in the skill you are using) allows you to re-roll one Fate die. The idea is increasing the likelihood of success, without creating a wildly high “quality” of success. Having several people work on crafting an explosive together may not create a “better” explosive, but it reduces the chance of making mistakes along the way. Having multiple people on watch will make it more likely to catch something unusual, but won’t necessarily allow you to spot the invisible rouge sneaking past. As a bonus, occasionally accepting help might make things worse. (You re-roll a blank and it turns out to be a minus.) But never will you be able to achieve higher than 4+your original skill, without the use of Fate Points/Invokes.

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I did not initially have these rules at hand, but the case was not really affected by any of the four mentioned limitations.
The scene is currently the party of 4 climbing a mountain, which involved careful rolls for properly tracing the tracks they’re following, as well as forceful rolls for powering through the journey up a high slope in a densely forested area.
Now, while you can’t really help with a forceful roll for climbing in this case, what is the alternative? Making 4 individual rolls?

That sounds like something worth trying out! I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks :slight_smile:

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I really enjoy this twist. Very nice!

How I would approach this would depend on how significant the mountain climbing scene is overall, and what are the associated risks requiring a roll. Is the concern:

  • A potential injury if they fail (falling, twisting something or falling rocks)
  • Exertion from the climb
  • Delays
  • Failing to climb
  • Taking the wrong route (unintended detour / wrong pass)

This can range from no rolls, a single roll (by the group or each character), or an extended contest against the mountain and the elements. You could divide the mountain journey in segments, each with a different obstacle, and let the players describe how their PCs overcome it. The situation would dictate whether one character makes the attempts assisted by others, or whether each character must do their own rolls.

Based on what you describe, I would propose a progress track to capture progress, stand stillm and delays, and assign roles. For each exchange:

  • One member could be the Navigator / Tracker: they indicate which way to go. It is likely one PC could assist with this by being careful or clever (comparing the direction of the tracks to a map, or spotting a footprint the lead tracker missed, etc.)
  • One member could be the trail blazer: forcefully hacking the bush to make the path easier for others or carefully tying ropes for climbing to make it easier for others to overcome a treacherous segment. This is again something someone else could assist with.
  • One member could be on the lookout for pursuit or people laying in ambush.
  • One member could be working at obscuring the trail behind them.

There could be only 1-2 checks per segment (direction / progress) to overcome these obstacles, or the work above could be creating advantages for individual PC checks.

Either way, with each player narrating what their PC does to assist with moving forward, it should help them all feel involved and determine how fast they progress and the types of risk they are taking.

Pascal

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Make them describe in detail how they help, and make sure it passes the “that sounds reasonable”/“i don’t think so” test… which varies wildly from table to table.

Having players spend the whole session describing how they’re actually cooperating to accomplish tasks sounds like bliss to me. Just keep throwing mountains at them. If it gets boring, give them several simultaneous problems to solve, so they have to split their resources.

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