One Rethinking of the Resources Skill
I’ll let you in on a non-secret: I’m not satisfied with the Resources skill in Fate Core. I get what it’s there for, and I get out to use it, but it’s one of those things that I’m probably going to tinker with until the end of days.
My current tinkering revolves around the adage of “Fast, good, cheap: pick two.” (This post will be rough, as it’s a shell of an idea and I haven’t much time to write blog posts this week.)
When rolling for Resources to get something, the GM sets the target (based on whatever — that rubric is out of scope for the moment). Then, depending on the result:
- Success with style: you get fast, good, and cheap. Nice!
- Success/tie: you get two of those.
- Failure: you get one of those, which means it may be more of a liability than you’d like — effectively it’s success at a cost as default.
- Failure by 3 or more: it’s totally unavailable.
The GM’s job is to suggest which aren’t true, for anything less than success with style, though maybe there’s an interplay involved. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first…
What Fast, Good, and Cheap Mean
Fast means that in terms of story, the time to get something isn’t much of a complication. You’ll get it as fast as fictionally plausible. Not fast means something relating to getting whatever it is becomes an issue, and you won’t have it as fast as you might like. You will get it, but there is some hassle. (“Fast” could also be interpreted as “easy” or “hassle-free.”)
Good means that what you’re getting is of quality. In game terms, it is or has a situational aspect with a free invoke on it. Not good means the other way, where there’s some potential flaw or issue with it, which is incorporated as a situational aspect for the GM to compel or aggro-invoke.
Cheap means that it doesn’t strain your resources. Not cheap means that it does, which can be modeled in various ways — Resource drain is the obvious one right from the Fate Core text.
The Resources roll tells you what’s available, but you can turn the deal down. (It’s possible that turning down a deal after a roll could have fictional consequences, like snubbing someone, but that’s for the story to play with.)
For a slight bit of story-oriented fiddliness: If the GM says that the problem is with fast or good, but you’re able to get it cheap, you can put forward swapping cheap for fast or good. Up to story logic to see if effectively “throwing money at something” is valid in that circumstance, but it’s an option overall. Depending on how the mechanics work, you could double-pay the not-cheap cost to get both fast and good on a failed roll.
That’s a rough rethinking of it. I could see this methodology being used not just for Resources, but possibly also Contacts, or even for skill-exclusive access like something based on Lore (though what “cheap” means in those cases has to be defined).
And yes, it has some Apocalypse World DNA in the idea. As we’ve said before, this iteration of Fate already does, but to me this seems a natural extension of the concept.
 Definitions of “get” varying with setting and circumstance, of course.
 I wish we came up for shorthand for “failure with style.”