We had an interesting combat last night; the PC was a very tough Changeling in the back of a limo glamoured not to be visible, and he was attempting to protect another passenger in the back of the limo from his driver/bodyguard, who'd be ordered to kill his charge.

The driver forced the PC to jump through the partition between compartments in order to spoil his aim, making it obvious where he was, and then spit on him. The PC found out the hard way that he was in combat against a Red Court Infected! The saliva was effective in placing an aspect on the PC, Susceptible to Suggestion. The driver then performed an Invoke for Effect (YW106), as he said "Show Yourself," making the PC drop his glamour.

My question is, would that have been better (and more fairly) done as a compel against the aspect?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you did it right. The NPC placed an aspect on the PC and got to invoke it once for free. Only thing I see missing is that the player probably should have gotten a role to resist. \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Sep 14, 2011 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dforck42 The player received a roll to resist at the time the aspect was actually placed, i.e. YW162 - "You may use your narcotic saliva in a number of ways. The most common way in a fight is to spit it at your target or get close enough to lick him. This is handled with the Fists skill in either case and may only be done to someone in the same zone as you—preferably in very close physical proximity— and it is rolled as a maneuver (page 207). If successful, you place a temporary aspect on the target representing the momentary effects of your venom." \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 14, 2011 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ This may be an unusual way of goinf about this, but I have a question (for clarity) brought about by reading various answers, not any specific one, so I've placed it here. In general, am I right in saying that an "invoke/tag for effect" changes a roll, while "compel" forces an action/inaction? (New-ish to Fate, trying to get my head around some of the concepts) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ryno
    Jul 5, 2013 at 23:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ryno: Probably better to ask in chat than in comments. But yes, that's correct; invoke/tag adds the usual +2 or reroll to a roll; compels force actions/inactions that suit the aspects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tynam
    Jul 6, 2013 at 8:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tynam - actually would probably be good for a question, and not in all cases in DFRPG does invoke merely add the +2 to the roll (See YW98) which is why they probably changed it in Fate Core to make it more of a black/white thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Jul 6, 2013 at 10:02

4 Answers 4


When I run the game, I generally see the difference between Invocation for Effect and Compel as the difference between The World At Large and The PCs.

Invocation for Effect generally makes something happen. I use Invocation for Effect on NPCs, as seen here, and on the environment.

Compels generally make a PC act or fail to act. I've used Compels both ways, depending on the situation. I find that they work just as well in a positive sense, "You have to chase the car with your girlfriend in it," is a fine Compel.

You'll note that in both cases, whatever it is takes place without a roll. They both create events, not just modifiers for events.

In your situation, I would call what happened a Compel, just because it applied to a PC. The NPC was due a free Tag, which deprived the PC of his FATE point, so I think you did the right thing...up to a point.

Since it was a Compel (in my book, because it was applied to a PC), the player should have had a chance to pay a FATE point to avoid it. No roll to resist, the PC already failed that roll when the Aspect was applied. But I find that player agency is too important to just steamroll - if the player had been willing to pay up, he could have fought that first suggestion. If the vamp wanted to try again, to push harder, as it were and to pay the FATE required, that would have been acceptable, too. And the player then has the choice to give in (and take the FATE point) or pay again to keep resisting.

The "Compel Auction" from SotC no longer exists in DFRPG, and I find that I don't miss it - you can use multiple rounds of pushing (as above) to get the same effect without the added bidding.


Note: I don't have DF - I'm answering based upon general knowledge of FATE - SOTC, LOA, Diaspora, SBA

Compels, generally, are for forcing a non-action: don't attack, don't act now, don't go there, don't pick that target.

Invoke for effect is more broad, and not exactly standard FATE, but is a better fit, and is itself a variation on a compel, anyway, when done to a PC.

Invoking for a penalty or bonus is more common, and standard FATE. But it requires a roll which is to be modified. Such as: A Leadership or Charm skill roll (or their DF equivalent) being given the +2 invocation bonus.

You didn't mishandle it; you did take a different option than I'd usually have taken, but so long as the player accepted the fate point for the invoke for effect, it's a done deal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ in the Invoke for Effect (especially as the result of a maneuver), I didn't offer a fate point for the invoke, but instead used a free tag from the maneuver. In the case of invoke for effect, you still get the free tag, is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 14, 2011 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ You should, yes. In any, in fact. But they can still pay the fate to avoid the effects of the free invoke/compel/tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Sep 16, 2011 at 18:20

According to Your Story p. 106, when you invoke somebody else's aspect to make a declaration, you follow the same guidelines as invoking your own aspects for effect (p. 99).

You can also invoke an aspect for effect, using it to declare a fact or circumstance that would be of benefit to your character.

I would not rule that forcing another character to act is a “fact or circumstance” – dictating an action is a limitation, a kind of compel (p. 101). In Fate Core, it would be a decision-based compel.

Also, from the Fate Core Veterans’ Guide (p. 294):

You might have seen player-driven compels referred to as “invoking for effect.” We thought it was clearer to just call it a compel, no matter who initiates it.

Some more details.

Based on the nature of the aspect, “Susceptible to Suggestion,” and the forceful suggestion to “Show Yourself,” I interpret this as limiting a character's choices (YS101, a decision-based compel in Fate Core):

If your character would normally have a number of choices in a particular situation and acting in accordance with his aspect is going to make more trouble for the character and limit those choices, that's grounds to compel the aspect.

If the aspect were instead related to counterspelling, or something else that could contrive a circumstance making the player visible, I'd still call that a complication rather than invoking for effect (YS101, an event-based compel in Fate Core):

If everything would be going along normally and the aspect makes things more difficult or introduces an unexpected twist, that's grounds for a compel.

I would only rule it as invoking for effect if the declaration is simply adding to the story without significantly complicating things for another player. I interpret invoking for effect as roughly equivalent to declaring a story detail in Fate Core (FC13):

For example, you might use this to narrate a convenient coincidence, like . . . showing up at a dramatically appropriate moment. . . . To do this, you'll spend a fate point. You should try to justify your story details by relating them to your aspects.

This is substantially similar to the example given on YS99 of arriving “at exactly the right moment, invoking your character's Perfect Timing or Grand Entrance aspect.”

  • \$\begingroup\$ Though the way that I stated it might mean that it might look to be a compel, the fact "he's visible" does become a fact or circumstance. A specific example to support this is on YW152, when redirected force places the aspect Thrown to the Ground on the target. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Jul 6, 2013 at 9:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I expanded my answer to explain why I interpreted this as a limitation (decision-based) compel – but I think it would still be a complication (event-based) compel even if it were just about circumstance and not agency. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 6, 2013 at 18:55

I'd say the major difference here would be that a compel is offered to a player to accept or reject and an tag is just used to affect a roll after the fact. In your scene, both could have been used:

RCI tells the Changeling to show himself. This is a maneuver, with a resisted roll to place the aspect Suddenly visible on the Changeling. (Or to remove the aspect Hidden from prying eyes from him)

Before anybody rolls, RCI's player offers a fate point to the Changeling's player, compelling the Susceptible to Suggestion aspect, not to resist the suggestion. The Changeling's player has two options now: Accept the fate point and take the new aspect, or refuse to bend and give a fate point.

If the Changeling refuses (and gives a FP), then the dice are rolled. If RCI beats the Changeling, then the maneuver is successful and the Changeling gets the aspect. If the RCI misses the roll, then he can tag (for free, this is the first time) the Susceptible to Suggestion aspect to boost his roll by +2 or re-roll.

Edit: Fixed the terminology. You "invoke" your own aspects, and "tag" other aspects

  • \$\begingroup\$ See the comment above, on the main question. Not that you can't play the glamour as placing an aspect, but going beyond that, your suggestion seems like double jeopardy. You roll to place the aspect, then you roll for the effect. It would seem like a simple choice of compel (and buy off/bid more) or invoke for effect (to make him drop the glamour). \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 15, 2011 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now hen the RCI was trying to place Susceptible to Suggestion on the changeling, it was Fists vs. Dodge. But it probably doesn't help when the RCI is trying to hit the Changeling, and the Invisible on him is making it even harder, so it would make sense for the RCI to use the first aspect towards another maneuver that would improve his chances on landing a solid hit. This time it is probably Presence vs. Resolve though, so of course everybody rolls again. \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Sep 15, 2011 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ But that means in order to use this particular skill, you have to roll twice, and that doesn't seem to be the intent of the power - ref the blurb above. And turning it around with PC vs NPC, it doesn't seem kosher to put someone in double-jeopardy with using their power, as (a) no other power requires a hit and a control roll, and (b) the rules themselves in the case of mental damage says to use a standard combat roll but inflict mental stress. If a RCI can spit on someone and based on their dodge inflict mental stress (and consequences), why should this be different? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 15, 2011 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Think FATE. If it is a maneuver, then you end up with an aspect on your target, which you can compel or tag for an advantage on any subsequent roll. If it is an attack, then it grinds away at one of the stress tracks (probably composure here) and you have to force consequences or take your target out for any effect to have actually occurred. Invoking for effect (YS 99) is used for declaring facts about the world, not affecting actions or aspects of another character. \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Sep 15, 2011 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, that's wrong. See the following from YS99 "As with regular invocations, you can also spend fate points to invoke aspects on the scene or on other characters for effect. See page 105 for more details on that." And from YS106, "Invocations on other aspects can also be done for effect, allowing you to use someone else’s aspect or a scene aspect to make a declaration. All the guidelines for invoking for effect (page 99) apply here." \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 15, 2011 at 22:07

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