If you concede, can you choose to die?

I ask because my GM has mentioned this is possible. I think he's just trying to keep us from throwing Massively Overpowered Fireballs in every direction, but the trouble is that this can make it really easy to force a wizard to violate the First Law.


3 Answers 3


Yes, you can offer a concession that kills you. From the glossary:

Concession (Playing the Game, page 206): An alternative to being taken out in a conflict, wherein a player accepts defeat for his character (or the GM, for an NPC) in exchange for being able to dictate the terms of that defeat.

Going further and checking out page 206:

A concession has to pass muster with the group before it is accepted—the conditions of the loss still have to represent a clear and decisive disadvantage for your character.

On that same page:

If your group does permit calling for character death in certain physical conflicts, expect players to use concessions a lot to avoid that final fate. This is, in fact, exactly what you want—it ensures that when a player does decide to fight to the end, it will be over a conflict that has a lot of meaning for the character, and if he dies, the death will resonate in the emerging story.

The key point to a concession is the control of the narrative. The narrative might still lead to death or some other fate worse than the the attacker intended, as long as its appropriate to what was done. I do think, however, that any violation of the First Law (or any Law) should be narrative driven, and not merely dice or GM driven- that's one of the things about a storytelling game. It's not about punitive results of player actions- that's standard GM thinking taking over there. Any violations should be discussed and planned out, and the player a full agent in this happening.

A couple of anecdotal examples:

In the first example, the player knew that he had to leave the game, but he wanted control of the narrative. It wasn't for bad reasons that he had to leave- just other responsibilities, and he did enjoy the character and wanted to play until he had to end. We talked, and he had this on the table. I prepared for the eventuality, but didn't write his story. At a dramatically appropriate time, he took a hit for the group that would have resulted in all of them taking damage. He conceded to take himself out, and then cast his Death Curse to create a backlash of the energy of the Warlock that they were facing. He decided the timing, the narrative, and the results of his character's demise.

In the second example, a player had started out as a teenager dabbling in necromancy that was seeking redemption. An earlier encounter had been played with the others having doubts about his staying on the straight and narrow, with them hearing an offer of power for him taking out the necromancer they were after. During the combat, I compelled his trouble as I offered a concession of the necromancer's accidental death from impaling from the force of his spell. This was crafted in this way because we thought it cool for the narrative, and it we negotiated that it explicitly did not have him break the First Law (nor have to take the power), it just looked like it did for the cool effect on the story.

The key to both of those cases was the was the control of the narrative (and communication), and I think that's the key to any concession- who gets control of that.

A note brought on by a comment:

From YW206

If the group (note that your opponent is part of the group for this!) feels like your character is getting off easy, you’ll need to rework the concession until it’s acceptable.

A concession is an offer, but it isn't just one that is merely refused. Note the phrasing - "pass muster with the group". If the other parts of the group say it seems like that 20 shift fireball would kill him, you don't get to just say no. The whole group looks at it and decides collectively. Also, if the answer is no, then you work it out, unless the controller of the one offering the concession withdraws the offer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Much better post - that says everything a lot clearer than mine did. \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon Gill
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alas, my GM is taking a very D&D-oriented approach to the game. (Worse, really; even the difficulty ratings of skill checks are hidden.) I agree that breaking the First Law should be voluntary, but my GM explicitly mentioned that it was possible for random NPC mooks to concede with death; hence the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't a concession an offer? (Rather than a done deal). Point being that the player throws the "Massively Overpowered Fireball" and the NPC chooses to offer a concession by dying (per the OP's concern). Doesn't the player have the option of refusing the concession (and thus the death) and retaining narrative control when they Take Out the NPC? (Where they can choose instead to have the NPC scorched, blown backwards, and unconscious rather than dead). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MortimerGraves - added the answer to your comment into the answer above. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 21:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @edgerunner - I was just saying the fact that you agreed with the interpretation by mortimer, but it included the caveat of being able to decline the concession, which you can't just say I won't take one. Also, in your case, even though you get to narrate, it has to be appropriate to the situation. This form of taking out that you are saying is dictating further action- not dictating the terms of you being taken out. I don't think that this would past muster. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:54

The concession mechanic for all FATE games is quite similar to the endgame mechanic for a game of Go. With a concession, the conflict ends when everybody agrees that it ends. You may definitely offer a concession involving a character death, but it has to be accepted by whoever your opponent is. If it is not accepted, either discuss a bit to make it acceptable, or just continue the conflict instead. If your opponent does not like the way you offered your concession, he can dictate his own way once (if) he takes your character out.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Everybody doesn't just include your opponent. It includes everyone at the table. Again referencing YS206. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did I say something like that? \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ "it has to be accepted by whoever your opponent is." \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 all this cherry picking and scripture referencing is making it quite hard to reason with you. Have it your way, plus a nice day. I'm out. \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry if I offended- I was just saying that it includes everyone at the table. I do reference the rules on things like this (not 'scripture') as it makes for a stable point of reference rather than he said/she said opinions on such. The point of the matter is that it's not just your opponent at that time, and I just wanted clarity on that point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 23:41

Sadly my book is currently being lent to a friend, so I can not give a complete answer, however from a fluff perspective this seems appropriate. Harry Dresden notes on multiple occasions that one of the dangers of using fire is that it is very easy to kill people, particularly non-magical beings.

Edit: This question may be relevant Dresden RPG - How easy is it to avoid First Law violations?


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