The party hires a specialist to help with a mission or quest. The ranger adopts a woodland pet. The mechanic builds a robot friend. A small army is conscripted to overthrow a tyrant. For all these reasons and more, players may find themselves wanted an ally, hireling, pet, or other character to accompany them on their quests. In Fate, that’s pretty easily done and in many different ways.

Aspects

The most straightforward way to do it is to take an aspect signifying their ally. The ranger is Accompanied By a Wolf while the diplomat is at the Head of an Army. Even situation aspects can be given to represent a specialist who is accompanying them on one mission.

The most obvious way this helps is that you can invoke the aspect on rolls that would logically follow from it. Invoke Head of an Army on a Provoke check to get someone to back down, or your wolf friend can help you maul an undead skeleton! Even interacting with your ally can be a create an advantage action, helping you build up free invokes for the final roll.

Since aspects are true, having an aspect say you have a companion means that you do. It gives you permission to do things you normally couldn’t do: for example, a wolf companion can use its keen senses to notice things that a human would miss. Or a hired mystic could allow someone to decipher runes they otherwise wouldn’t be able to decipher.

With an appropriate aspect, you can extrapolate other character traits that belong to the hireling. If your pet wolf is injured you could take a mild consequence Worried about My Wolf. Or use your Fight skill to attack even when you’re Tied Up, since your wolf pal isn’t!

Stunts

For some, having an aspect isn’t enough to represent their ally, and that’s understandable. A ranger’s pet is more than just an aspect, it’s their best friend and their constant companion! They need more “sheet time” than just one line. For those types of companions, we turn to stunts.

Pages 94-95 of Fate Core System talks about stunt families, which are “…a group of stunts that are related to and chain off of each other somehow.” Since allies can come in many types, there are going to be multiple stunts to help build the most appropriate ally.

Before we get into the stunts, however, there are a few special rules that come with having an ally.

Companion Special Rules

The main way companions help a player character is by adding a +1 teamwork bonus for each skill they have at Average (+1) or higher (see Teamwork on page 174 of Fate Core System). They don’t normally roll their own skill, unless it’s higher than your character’s skill, in case your character provides the +1 teamwork bonus to your companion if you have the same skill at Average (+1) or higher. This means that you still only get one roll of the dice on your turn, you just get to choose which character’s skill to roll.

Companions can move one zone for free just like any other character. If a roll is required to move to another zone, you may bring your companion with you on a successful roll. Note, though, that you and your companion don’t need to stay in the same zone! If you want to stay in your zone and have your companion move to another zone that’s perfectly fine, it allows you to potentially act in two zones instead of one.

Companions are not autonomous, meaning that any scene they are in they must be “attached” to another character, and usually that’s your character. You can, of course, tell your companion to accompany another character, in which case you loan all your companion stunts to them for the duration. If you take the Independent stunt, you may play the companion as a independent character in another scene instead of loaning them to another character.

Fate Core Stunts

  • Companion. You have a companion, built as a Fair (+1) nameless NPC, as discussed on page 215 of Fate Core System.
  • Abundant (requires Companion). You have two companions instead of one. You may take this stunt multiple times, each time doubling the number of companions.
  • Call Ally (requires Companion). When your companion isn’t in a scene with you, you may spend 1 fate point to have them show up[1]
  • Fair Ally (requires Companion). Your companion is upgraded to a Fair (+2) companion.
  • Good Ally (requires Fair Companion). Your companion is a Good (+3) companion.
  • Independent (requires Companion). You may play your companion as a character in scenes in which you aren’t a part of instead of loaning them to another character.
  • Robust (requires Companion). Your companion has a mild consequence.

Fate Accelerated Stunts

  • Companion. You have a companion, built as mook that is good at two things, and bad at two things, with zero stress boxes as discussed on page 38 of Fate Accelerated Edition.
  • Abundant (requires Companion). You have two companions instead of one. You may take this stunt multiple times, each time doubling the number of companions.[2]
  • Better Companion (requires Companion). Your companion now has one stress box, and is good at three things.[3]
  • Best Companion (requires Better Companion). Your companion now has two stress boxes, and is only bad at one thing.[4]
  • Call Companion (requires Companion). When your companion isn’t in a scene with you, you may spend 1 fate point to have them show up.[5]</p>
  • Independent (requires Companion). You may play your companion as a character in scenes in which you aren’t a part of instead of loaning them to another character. If you have Abundant companions, they give themselves a +1 teamwork bonus as long as there are two or more companions.
  • Robust (requires Companion). Your companion has a mild consequence.

Other Stunts

This list of stunts is far from exhaustive. It’s just the building blocks of how to use companions in both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated. When coming up with other stunts, be sure to think of how the companion fits into it. The easiest way to do this is is to use “when I have my companion(s)” as the limiting circumstance.

  • Me and My Posse (requires Companion). Gain a +2 bonus to overcome with Provoke when telling someone to back down when I have my companions with me, backing me up.
  • Ninja Vanish (requires Companion). Because I have a ninja clan at my back once per session I can leave a scene without conceding as I use my ninja to confuse the enemy.

  1. The way your companion is called depends on the game and your character. A fantasy wizard may magically summon their companion, while a futuristic mercenary may have their troops arrive via dropship.  ↩

  2. If you have Abundant companions, it is possible to have more than two stress boxes given by Best Companion. If this is the case, use whichever gives more stress boxes. ↩
  3. If you have Abundant companions, it is possible to have more than two stress boxes given by Best Companion. If this is the case, use whichever gives more stress boxes. ↩
  4. If you have Abundant companions, it is possible to have more than two stress boxes given by Best Companion. If this is the case, use whichever gives more stress boxes. ↩
  5. The way your companion is called depends on the game and your character. A fantasy wizard may magically summon their companion, while a futuristic mercenary may have their troops arrive via dropship. ↩