Fate Condensed: two point stress box jump?

I’m guessing this was a pretty pondered decision, but does anyone know why there’s a two stress-box increase from Physique/Will 2 to 3 in Fate Condensed? Since Physique/Will 4 gives you an extra Mild consequence, it would make sense to spread the three additional boxes across Physique/Will 1 through 3, but, instead, you get one extra box at Physique/Will 1, no additional boxes at Physique/Will 2, and then two extra boxes at Physique/Will 3. Anyone have the background on why this decision was made?

EDIT: the extra mild consequence is available at Physique/Will 5, not 4. However, this doesn’t really change the point that it would be easy to distribute one of the two stress box gains that are currently at 3 to either Physique/Will 2 or 4, which would make the increase in stress boxes more “smooth” and intuitive.

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I can’t answer “why”. Let’s compare it to Fate Core and see if we can uncover something.

Fate Core gives a character the ability to absorb 15 stress by default.
Fate Condensed also gives the character the ability to absorb 15 stress by default.

At a Physique of +1 or +2, the Fate Core character can absorb 18 stress and the Fate Condensed character only 16.

At a Physique of +3 or +4, the Fate Core character can absorb 22 stress and the Fate Condensed character can absorb 18 stress.

At a Physique of +5 or higher, the Fate Core character can absorb 24 stress and the Fate Condensed character can absorb 20 stress.

Just looking at Stress doesn’t tell the whole story. The “how” of absorbing stress is important. The Fate Condensed character has greater flexibility in absorbing stress. By being able to check as many (or few) 1 point boxes as they need, the Fate Condensed character can make greater use of all their ways of absorbing stress. The Fate Core character will get stuck with 3- and 5-point hits that will force them to use higher Consequences than they might want to.

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Strong agree. But I’m not sure how this addresses the issue of the sharper bump at a skill level of 3, when there’s a clear opportunity to “smooth” the rise.

Also, I am correcting the mistake I made above when I said that the extra mild consequence is gained at 4, when it’s actually gained at 5.

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Had an email exchange with Fred Hicks about a different issue, but talked about this one a smidge. Here’s the exchange:

PS: in Fate Condensed, why do you gain one additional stress box with Physique and Will 1 or 2, and then gain TWO additional stress boxes with Physique and Will 3? Wouldn’t it have been smoother to gain another box at 2, and another one at 3? Why the sudden jump in stress boxes at skill rank 3?

Fate Condensed’s stress box progression mimics (isn’t identical to, but mimics ) the increase in total stress capacity when someone adds one box of the older 1-2-3-4 style escalating stress boxes from Core. If someone’s making a big investment in a track-affecting skill, it’s worth paying out a greater benefit.

Agree, but that actually argues in favor of moving one of the box gains over to the second rank, and probably even another for the 4th rank. The total physical stress capacity, including consequences, of a Fate Core character with Physique 2 is 18, while the same character in Fate Condensed is 16. Giving them an extra box would make it closer. At Physique 4, the Fate Core character has a total physical stress capacity of 22, while the Fate Condensed character only has 18. Bumping that to 19 would, again mimic the Core character better, since that’s closer to 22. Right now, you’re just rewarding that third rank hard, but the spike doesn’t really make it closer to Fate Core. Here’s a post in a thread where we were discussing the matter that has more detail.

One of the goals of the change was to make things simpler. Adding one box per rank of the skill (up to +4) would be simpler as well: you just add the skill rank to the number of initial stress boxes.

You can always houserule it that way; won’t break a thing. We’re doing it the way we’re doing it, tho. :slight_smile: