Sometimes things work out. Other times...
If you make an action roll and you get a partial success (4-5) or a bad outcome (1-3), you suffer a consequence.
Consequences are a tool the GM can use to spice up the story. The GM uses the fiction, style, and tone established by the group to determine the type of consequence.
When a consequence is inflicted on a player's character, the risk of the action roll tells us how bad that consequence is.
So a consequence that comes from a high risk action roll is usually worse than a consequence from a low risk one.
We call this the consequence rating. Some types of consequences use this rating directly to tie the consequence with some of the game's mechanics.
Types of Consequences
Here are a couple of types of consequences that can be used in case of a bad roll:
This consequence represents impaired performance. The PC's action isn't as effective as they'd anticipated.
Reduces the effect rating of the PC's action by one level.
You hit them, but it's only a flesh wound. The security cameras are turned off, but the technicians are aware, and are looking to fix them as soon as possible.
This consequence represents trouble, mounting danger, or a new threat.
Tick one segment per consequence rating on a new or existing danger clock.
They heard you, and they are coming. You took too long, and you are almost out of air.
This represents shifting circumstance. What you tried didn't work, and now there's a new situation that prevents you from trying again. You need to find another approach.
Your latest attempt didn't work. If you want to try again, you need to use a different action.
You were tailing someone, but they saw you and disappeared. You were fighting a robot, but they adapted, and are now able to anticipate your every move.
This consequence represents losing control of the situation. The action carries you into a riskier situation.
Perhaps you make the leap across to the next rooftop, only to end up dangling by your fingertips. You haven't failed, but you haven't succeeded either. You can try again, re-rolling at the new higher risk.
This is a good consequence to choose to show escalating action. A situation might go from controlled, to risky, to desperate as the action plays out and the PC gets deeper and deeper into trouble.
Increases the risk by one level for future rolls related to that action.
You missed your shot, now they know where you are. They initially trusted you, but now they have some doubts and will be watching you more closely.
This consequence represent injuries or trauma inflicted on a character.
When your condition worsens, you take a certain amount of stress that you track on your character's stress clock. You also need to update your **condition ** to represent the new state your character is in.
Your character's new condition will affect their narrative permissions, and how they can interact with the world.
When your stress clock is filled, you can clear all the segments, and your character is taken out for the scene.
Take 1 Stress per consequence rating on your character's condition.
You laid down suppression fire, but got shot in the process. You've been running for hours to get to the place but now, you're sore and tired.
Don't inflict a complication that negates a successful roll.
If a PC tries to corner an enemy and gets a 4-5, don't say that the enemy escapes. The player's roll succeeded, so the enemy is cornered... maybe the PC has to wrestle them on the ground, and during the scuffle the enemy grabs their gun.
I Have an Idea for a Consequence!
If anyone at the table has an idea for a good consequence, hear them out!
It can be daunting as a GM to always know what happens in case of failure. That is true especially if luck isn't on the player's side, and you need to find lots of different consequences in the same session.
As the GM, don't hesitate to ask your players for ideas as well. Someone might have a fascinating suggestion, but they think it's not their place to speak up. Prove to them otherwise.
Just a quick reminder that if you come up with a consequence during a session, and someone at the table isn't comfortable with it, think of something else.
Pause the game, and make sure everyone is OK with what is happening in the fiction. Once everyone is on the same page, unpause and move forward with a different consequence.
Even with safety mechanics in place, accidents happen. That is why you should always be flexible when you inflict a consequence to the group.
If the result of an action roll is between 1-5, the GM inflicts one consequence:
- Reduced Effect : reduce the effect of the action by one level.
- Complication: tick one segment per consequence rating on a new or existing danger clock.
- Worse position: increase the risk of future related action rolls by one level.
- Lost Opportunity : what you tried didn't work, you need to use another action.
- Worse Condition: take 1 stress per consequence rating.