7 – Stunts and Fate Point Refresh11 min read

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Your Refresh, the number of Stunts you receive, and the Extras your character use are all intertwined into one tangly mess. I hope to provide some clarity here. =) Lets start by defining these 3 terms:

RefreshThe number of Fate Points you receive for free each time Fate Points are renewed in the campaign, which is typically at the beginning of a Session. The default Refresh value is 3, but can be lowered by taking more stunts or by taking on Extras.
StuntsThe unique abilities you can do that sets you apart from the other characters, even with similiar skill sets. Most of the time, Stunts add bonuses to skill or may possibly add other neat abilities. The default number of stunts you receive are 3.
ExtrasThe truly extraordinary abilities or traits your character may have like magic, cybernetics, or a special magical sword. Typically, taking an Extra costs a point of Refresh. The lowering of your Refresh to pay for an Extra does not lower the number of stunts you receive. See the individual Extra to find out for sure the costs of taking it.
Stunts, Refresh, and Extras
Stunts, Refresh, and Extras

Number of Stunts and Fate Point Refresh

You receive 3 stunts for FREE which also gets you a default Refresh of 3.

First, you will want to determine how many stunts you will want. To get you started, you receive 3 stunts for FREE which also gets you a default Refresh of 3. If you want more than the 3 free Stunts then you will have to lower Refresh value by 1 for each extra Stunt you take, which means you will hav fewer free Fate Points to play with, however you may never have a refresh lower than 1. The gist is this: the more cool tricks you can do, the more you’ll need to accept compels to get fate points.

Three StuntsRefresh of 3 Fate Points
Four StuntsRefresh of 2 Fate Points
Five StuntsRefresh of 1 Fate Points

Extras: Many extras also cost a point of Refresh too, which can further reduce your base pool of Fate Points. 

Compels: Keep in mind that during the game you can receive more Fate Points by accepting compels from the GM, yourself, or other players.


If you know which extras your character is using you may want to take a quick look at the cost to see if it requires a Refresh cost so you can modify it now and so you do not forget about it. This may affect your choice for Refresh, number of Stunts, and choice in Extras.

Create Stunts

Now that you know how many stunts you have, you can start to create them. You may also feel free to keep some stunt slots open and fill them out during the game when the inspiration hits you or when you find it useful.

If you need some inspiration then there is a list of stunts on Wikidot and a Stunt Maker page too (see links below).

Hint: You may also want to check out the appendix titled ‘Aspects Made Clear?’ (see link below) for more information on the relationship between aspects, skills, and stunts.There is also the appendix titled ‘About Stunts’.

Also see the following parts (see links below) for more information on building stunts:

  • Stunts (pg 90, Fate Core Book)
  • Stunts (pg 33, Fate Systems Toolkit)

Below, I will give you some simple fill in the blank methods of creating a simple and balanced stunt of the various types:

Simple Fill in the Blank Stunt Creation Techniques

Add a +2 Bonus to a Check

+2 to (skill) rolls made with a (action) action to (part of skill’s action portfolio) when (restriction).

If you pick at least 3 of the 4 parts and you should be well on your way to creating a simple and balanced stunt.

  • Skill –  Pick a skill to work with.
  • Action  – Pick one of the actions in Fate (4 base actions plus the extra 2).
    • Base Actions
      • Overcome
      • Create Advantage
      • Attack
      • Defend
    • Other Actions
      • Full Defense
      • Teamwork
  • Part of the Skill Action Portfolio
    • Pick a specific facet of use that is covered by the skill, which will limit its use, so it will not be so powerful. A very general use feat will be more powerful. Really powerful stunts may be worth 2 stunt slots or could have a stunt requirement for them, so 
  • Restriction
    • Create a further situational limitation on the stunt so as to limit its power. Perhaps a mroe specific qualifier for the Part of the Skill Action Portfolio. You want the 
Stunt Creation Example
  • Ilusari Master: +2 to (coordination) rolls made with a (full defense) action when (you are using a one-handed bladed weapon vs multiple opponents)
  • Masterful Coverstory: +2 to (deceive) rolls made with a (create an advantage) action to  (create a coverstory to gain entrance to a hidden or secret location)
  • Parkour Maneuvers: +2 to (athletics) rolls made with an (overcome) action when (to over come obstacles when you are traversing a zone with plenty of crates, pipes, railings, etc.. for you to use to your advantage)
  • Weaponsmith Journeyman: +2 to (crafts) rolls made with an (overcome)  action to (repair or maintain a weapon

New Action (or Skill Substitution)

You may use (substitute skill) instead of (normal skill) during a (action) when (restriction).

If you pick at least 3 of the 4 parts and you should be well on your way to creating a simple and balanced stunt.

Stunt Creation Example
  • Guerrilla Attack – You may use (stealth) during an (attack) action when (your target is unaware that you are a danger to them or if you are hidden from the target).
  • Blade Dance – You may use (coordination) instead of (fight) during an (attack) action when (you are attacking with a one-handed weapon and the enemy has a longer weapon).
  • Just Apply Physics – You may use (crafts) instead of (physique) during an (overcome) action when (trying to open something).
  • Ilusari Defense: You may use (coordination) instead of (fight) during a (full defense) action when (you are using a one-handed bladed weapon vs multiple opponents)

Create a Rules Exception

Sorry, there is no simple way to do this through a structured fill in the blank sentence. =) You will need to do some research and talk to your GM about these possibilities. 

Quick Sample Stunt Chain

You can create stunt chains which build off each other and have a base stunt as a requirement for another stunt. 

Stunt Creation Example
  • Ilusari Disciple – +2 to (coordination) rolls made with (create advantage) when (you are in a melee combat vs multiple opponents
    • Ilusari Defense: {requires Ilusari Disciple}
      You may use (coordination) instead of (fight) during a (full defense) action when (you are in melee combat vs multiple opponents)
      • Ilusari Master: [requires – Ilusari Defense] 
        When you use (coordination) when you perform a (full defense) action while (you are in melee combat vs multiple opponents) and your check is successful, until your next action opponents must roll their attacks against you vs a passive rating equal to +4 or your roll, whichever is greater. If they fail to hit you then you may choose to inflict a situation aspect called ‘Ilusari Mystical Confusion’ with 1 free invocation each. [1/session]

Related Links

Fatesville Gaming Group


Dan, wanting to keep things simple’ish by not having used any extras, was happy with the standard Refresh of 3. SarahJeff, and George, on the other hand, all have Extras associated with their characters which were purchased through their aspect choices:

Tyla (Sarah)Mask of the Faceless One6 Viziers – Shadow
Lysteria (Jeff)Stormcaller – InfernoStormcaller – Inferno
Dinbi (George)Silver Knight’s BladeGadgets

All three of them have the Refresh reduced by 1, down to 2, but still have their 3 free Stunts.


To save time they all agreed to finish 1 stunt each using the Simple Stunt Creation Fill-in-the-Blank Method and then they will leave the rest for discovery during play. Here are the stunts they came up with:

TrangathAmbush Training+2 to your Stealth skill with the create an advantage action to hide or take cover when cover is available
TylaCourtier’s Favor+2 to social exchanges when trying to get an audience with someone within a bureaucracy or within a noble family within the Vale
LysteriaFreedom Fighter+2 with the attack action vs members of the Kyraxius Prefecture; if character succeeds with style the target gains the 1 pt Rattled condition
DinbiGifted Seducer+2 to Rapport or Deceive when seducing or gaining confidence

It was difficult to get George to finish the process, his face was mostly glued to his phone as he was tapping away. They all knew what that meant. Sarah and Dan mostly took care of his stunt for him, since they knew what he wanted – a womanizer and philanderer of sorts. By the time he looked down at his character sheet again, Sarah had already writted his new stunt down for him. He chuckled and then smiled as he looked at her. “Thanks!

She just shrugged. “No biggie.

A bit disappointed George informed them “Sorry guys, I gotta go. John needs my help. I may not be able to make to the next session either. I have a… a thing.

Everyone said their goodbyes to George and thanked him for the pizza as he packed up his character sheet into his ragged blue folder that he has used for as long he has been gaming with them. It has definitely seen better days and so has George. With as scattered and busy as George always seemed, his folder, like a loyal dog, has never abandoned him. He has never been to a game without it and it has unfailingly had his characters in it. Maybe that ragged blue folder was the only constant thing in his life, the only thing that was always there for him. The group often wondered.

George never really talked about his life or who or what he was helping when he comes late or leaves early. Much of his life and George himself was a mystery to them. Trevor, who was a player of theirs that eventually moved away a few years ago, introduced him to the group as a friend of a friend for a Dark Heresy one shot. He joined them for just that one game and then kept coming.

Seeing this as an opportune moment to bring this up, Dan piped in “I may not be able to make it for the next session either. Candy has a celebration thing. She says I have to go.” His bottom lip started to quiver with sadness.

Tess enjoyed giving everyone some grief so she did. “It’ll just be the first time you will have a chance to play in a really, really, really long time and the campaign’s introduction. Nothing big.“. A smile spread wide across her face.

Fully expecting Tess to chime in, Dan playfully rolled his eyes at her. “Yea. I know! We shall see what happens.