While you can resolved fights with a single opposed roll, most of the time you’ll want to use extended conflicts to resolve fight scenes.
Framing the Scene
The GM begin by framing the scene. He or she must describe the location in which the fight takes place, state the initial positions of the combatants relative to each other, and any aspect of the scene which a combatant might use to their advantage. Try and describe everything in words, and resist the temptation to draw a map.
Players can treat any adjective in that description as an Aspect, and can tag it for bonuses with Fate points.
Weapons and Armour
Weapons and armour can be as important as combat skills in determining who wins a fight. A weapon has a weapon rating on a scale of 0-4 as follows:
+0: Fists, knees, head-butts etc.
+1: Small concealable weapons such as knives and daggers, or kicks with boots.
+2: Duelling blades, clubs, spears, personal beam weapons such as lightning wands.
+3: Military swords, flamelances, stone guns, military beam weapons, long polearms with interesting spiky bits on the end.
+4: Battlefield artillery pieces, explosives and other really nasty stuff.
Armour has ratings in the same way, with the armour value equivalent to the sort of weapon it’s intended to protect against. Outside of the battlefield few people will have anything beyond armour +1. +2 is typical for soldiers, knights or guild security to wear when expecting serious combat. +3 is the sort of heavy battlefield armour only worn by elite troops. Anything beyond that is getting into ancient artefact level.
In a successful attack, add the weapon rating of your weapon to the number of shifts, and subtract your opponent’s armour rating. If your opponent’s armour has a higher rating than your weapon, it can mean you did no damage even though your blow connects.
Movement and Range
Distance between opponents is measured in zones. Zones are abstract, defined descriptively rather than counting squares on a map.
0: You’re right “up close and personal”, typically grappling or engaging in fisticuffs. You’re too close to swing a sword or aim a gun, and can only use small weapons like knives or daggers.
1: You’re standing right next to your opponent. This is the range for a typical swordfight, but it’s awkward to aim a missile weapon.
2: You’re on opposite sides of the room. You can’t reach your opponent with any melee weapon bar a long polearm, but can hit them with a thrown weapon, or any firearm.
3: You’re at opposing ends of a corridor or across a reasonably wide street. You can only use missile weapons at this sort of range.
4: You’re at opposite ends of a street or across a field. It’s more difficult to hit a man-sized target with most common missile weapons, although you’d have better odds with a specialist sniper weapon.
5: You’re at opposite ends of town. Nothing bar artillery pieces have this sort of range.
You can move one zone, either closing in or moving away, as part of an attack or manoeuvre, although you’ll be at a -1 penalty if you do this. If you want to move more than that you must dedicate your entire action for this round to movement. Roll against the most appropriate skill (most likely Athletics), and the number of shifts you get is the number of zones you can move. If you’re under fire, it’s an opposed roll against your opponent’s attack; lose the contest and you get hit, and don’t get to move. If you’re not being attacked or impeded in some way, it’s an unopposed roll against a difficulty of mediocre, unless there’s some obstruction in your way, in which case it might be harder.
Social Skills and Psionics
You can mix up combat, psionic and even social skills in the middle of a fight. Everything uses a combination of the opposed roll mechanic, the imagination and creativity of the players, and a bit of common sense. An action using a social or psionic skill is most likely to be a manoeuvre, but could be an attack or even an all-out defence, it all depends on what the player is trying to achieve, and how they describe their actions.
A single roll still covers your self-defence as well as your action. For straight-up melee combat it’s logical for the same skill to be used for both both attack and defence. But when you’re using a social or psionic skill as your action against an opponent making a physical attack, the GM may decide to restrict this skill by whatever skill would be the most appropriate defence against the attack. Likewise, when making a melee attack against a wizard using his powers against your mind, your combat skill might be restricted by your Willpower.
Psionic Skills are affected by range. There’s no penalty to skill if you’re only one zone away from your opponent (hand-to-hand melee range), but there’s a cumulative -1 penalty for each zone further away from that.
If you’re being attacked by a psionic, and your response simply to resist using Willpower, that actually counts as an attack. If you prove too tough a nut to crack, the psi can end up giving themselves consequences or even taking themselves out if you win the opposed roll.