Instead of rolling on a skill like Awareness or Empathy and then hacking and slashing each other in the same fixed order every round like in Fate Core, both sides have to continually struggle to gain the initiative. Every character that takes part in the conflict gets their turn every round, but the order in which they take it changes permanently.

Who Goes First

After establishing the sides in a conflict, decide who has the initiative first. Where possible, follow the narrative that lead into the conflict and pick the side or character that would naturally deal the first blow. There are several common scenarios about how a conflict could start:


In any form of ambush, sniper aor surprise attack, the side or character who does the surprising has the initiative.

Sudden Turn to Aggression

A non-conflict scene can suddenly turn violent when any character is fed up with talking and decides to initiate brute force instead. In that case the character initiating the conflict has the initiative.

Compelled Conflict

A conflict can arise from a compel on a situational, game or player Aspect. The GM sets up a new scene following a sudden and unforseen turn of events based on what makes sense to happen, given a certain Aspect. In such a case the GM takes the initiative but in return the players get a Fate Point each. There is always the option to steal the initiative, see below.

Fighting for Control

After a character makes their action, their player hands the initiative over to whichever next character they choose, who has not yet had their turn this round. At the end of the round, the last player to take their turn can choose the first to go in the next round, but they cannot pick themselves.

Full Defense

When you choose to go into full defense, you don’t get your turn in the given round but are granted a +2 bonus on all Defend actions. You can choose to go into full defense at the beginning of any round.

For other Tactics, see: Martial Arts

Stealing Initiative

During the course of the normal handing on the turn order, the GM as well as the players have the chance to interrupt and steal the initiative for their own character, provided they have not had their turn already. To do so, you need to do a special compel on any suitable Aspect, pay a Fate Point to the character whose turn it would have been, and do your thing.

The aspect you use needs to somehow make plausible that you could jump the character whose turn it would have been and go first. They can reject your Fate Point and the interruption but have to pay a Fate Point themselves to do so. They don’t pay it to the stealing character so fake stealing doesn’t pay off.

Other than hostile invokes, Fate Points gained through getting the initiative stolen from you can be used on your next turn. This makes stealing the initiative more costly and makes getting it stolen from you less annoying, encouraging a more strategic use rather than simply grandstanding.


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