The Fate Core System rulebook states on p. 71 (Compelling Aspects):

Finally, and this is very important: if a player wants to compel another character, it costs a fate point to propose the complication. The GM can always compel for free, and any player can propose a compel on his or her own character for free.

If you compel another character with an aspect that isn't attached to that character (like a game or situation aspect), do you still pay this cost? Do you pay the cost when compelling NPCs or only other PCs? My reading is that it's for all aspects and characters, but I'm not sure.

I'm also having some difficulty with this similar rule in Fate Accelerated, p. 27 (Invoking Aspects):

PvP: The only time that fate point might not go to the GM is when you’re in conflict with another player. If you are, and you invoke one of that player’s character aspects to help you out against them, they will get the fate point instead of the GM once the scene is over.

There's a corresponding rule on Fate Core System, p. 81 (Earning Fate Points):

Have Your Aspects Invoked Against You: If someone pays a fate point to invoke an aspect attached to your character, you gain their fate point at the end of the scene. This includes advantages created on your character, as well as consequences.

I have roughly the same questions about this rule: Does it only apply to character aspects and consequences, or to all aspects? Can the GM earn points this way or only the players?

In this case, my reading is that “attached” aspects do not include game or situation aspects, and only players can earn fate points this way, but I'm not sure. If it does apply to GMs, does that mean they carry the point over into the next scene? I'm guessing it doesn't work that way, since it's not one of the two exceptions listed on p. 82.


closed as not a real question by Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 31 '13 at 2:09

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I clarified the question to emphasize the points that I'm confused about, namely: When exactly do players pay for compels? Can GMs earn fate points when you invoke against NPCs? Which rules apply to all aspects, and which apply only to specific kinds of aspects? Apologies if my edit makes the previous answers sound awkward. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm, I'm wondering whether this question is just too muddled. Perhaps I should delete and ask the various parts of it separately? \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 1:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, you've got several very good questions here. Splitting them up could be helpful. Feel free to join us in chat if you want to workshop or discuss. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW May 31 '13 at 1:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW OK. I need to run out for a bit, but I'll work on it later. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Closed at user request. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 31 '13 at 2:09

It applies to other player characters, in a practical sense. If you think about it, applying this to an NPC works the same as not applying it to NPCs: giving the GM a Fate point is the same as returning the point to the pot, since GMs have unlimited Fate points.

Any Aspect can be used to compel a character if you've got a good story to tell about how it forces them to (not) act in a certain. Character Aspects are easiest to come up with stories that work, but any Aspect will do. For example, The corridor is on fire! could easily be used in a compel against a (N)PC trying to move through the corridor.

As for cost, all compels you use against others cost a Fate point. The part where the rules say…

any player can propose a compel on his or her own character for free.

… (emphasis mine) is there because you get a Fate point if the GM accepts the proposed compel against your character – this text is just there to clarify that this "please compel me" use of compels doesn't cost anything. Otherwise, being compelled when you suggested it would net you nothing, which defeats the purpose! It's important enough that the text stresses this, otherwise new players might unwittingly rob themselves of an important source of Fate points. (Unfortunately though, it seems that in stressing it the text has actually caused confusion.)

When using a compel on another (N)PC, the point is paid to their player: a fellow player if a PC, the GM if an NPC. The GM doesn't ever "earn" points, since they have an infinite pool – when you pay a Fate point to them, it sort of disappears into that infinity and you just put the marker/stone/chip back into the common pot of objects you're using to represent Fate points.

Both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated work the same way in this respect. Though they're worded differently, they're both (attempting to) articulate the same fundamental rule procedure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @BraddSzonye - yes, a PC must spend a fate point to compel an NPC. The only reference I can find currently is on FC 82, i.e. "You can use these points on behalf of any NPC you want, but you can get more in that scene if they take a compel, like PCs do." I did ask for a more concrete reference on the G+ group, so I'll post that if/when I get it. \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee May 31 '13 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If a player wants to compel another character, it costs a fate point to propose the complication." FC 71. \$\endgroup\$ – Chuck Dee May 31 '13 at 1:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wraith808 Yes, that's the rule I quoted in my question. :) I just wasn't sure how universal the rule was. I think the similar rule about invoking against characters confused me, leading me to believe that the compel rule might only be for PCs or only for “ättached” aspects. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the additional information about costs. Note, however, that the GM does have limited fate points (for invoking aspects); see Fate Core p.82. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 11:17

1a. It applies to all aspects, not just character ones. "If you're in a situation where having or being around a certain aspect means your character's life is more dramatic or complicated..." (FC71)

1b. You can compel NPCs, but the GM advice stresses that the GM is the arbiter of whether a compel is "valid in the first place." (I mention this to head off the idea of, "well, I'll just propose compel after compel on NPCs and make the GM buy them off with Fate Points until I'm glutted with them.")

2a+b. I don't think that it is the "same" rule; I think the explicit mention of "players" here makes it unique to FAE. It doesn't say it applies to NPCs, and it says "that player's character aspects" explicitly in the sidebar, so I think that the literal interpretation is the way to go.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! This answers most of my question. I'm still uncertain about paying for compels. I edited my question to make that more clear, since both answers so far skipped that part of it. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye May 31 '13 at 1:43

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