I am new to Fate, and TRPG in general. Today when reading the Fate Core book, I was confused by how conceding worked. IMHO by conceding, a player would avoid the more severe outcome that is being taken out. So it seems natural to me that he/she should "buy" such a chance with fate points, not the other way around. Why does conceding work like this?

One possible explanation would be "to encourage conceding". But what if I am to discourage it? I am thinking about stunts for rule exceptions, but the Fate Core book specially warns against messing with the fate point economy. So what should I do?


2 Answers 2


Consider it a self-compel

Although concession does give you greater control over your fate, you're still losing--and you're choosing to lose when you still have a chance of winning.

you can interrupt any action at any time before the roll is made to declare that you concede the conflict. (Fate Core 167)

That means if the dice are rolled and you're taken out, you can't call backsies. If you're not taken out yet, it's possible to still win.

By conceding, you're forfeiting the chance to win, and that's pretty much a self-compel. And you get extra points for the consequences you got in the conflict as if each one had been compelled, because "[y]ou can think of this as a compel of each aspect taken in the conflict[....] [T]he assumption is that those consequences directly contributed to the character’s defeat." (DFRPG Your Story 206)

Consider it a drama bribe

The idea driving Fate storytelling is that every time something happens to complicate your life, you get game currency which you can spend to make your life easier later. Fate Core is very up-front about the fact that the Fate point economy drives this cycle of crisis and victory.

Conceding is still losing, and you should always negotiate a concession until it has a dramatic bite to it, like any other compel. Concession Fate points are a way of encouraging crisis while simultaneously providing the tools for future victory--again, just like any other compel or invocation. It's the way the engine powers the story.

It means your villain can usually escape to plot another day

NPCs can concede too! And should, often, if they're smart and have a sense of self-preservation. It gives the players a sense of accomplishment (because they achieved whatever goal they had when they entered the conflict) but sets up the villain as canny and positioned to wreak more havoc because of his fistful of Fate points.

Consider it an opportunity for the GM to do less work

Hey, my player's gonna tell me how he gets shafted instead of my having to come up with it. Awesome. I'll throw him a couple FP in appreciation.

Why do you want to discourage concession?

Concession is a pretty shiny mechanic, and although Fate is very flexible about many things, discouraging players from being able to cash in their cards when they walked into too much trouble is going to make them more cautious than the "proactive, dramatic, competent" characters Fate wants to tell stories about.

Allowing concessions is a frontline weapon in the war against ten-foot pole paranoia and the boring, time-wasting practices that come with such paranoia.

Come on into chat when you have the rep and we'll talk about what your underlying goals and motives are for discouraging concession. Probably we can work out some other way to satisfy your motives.


Because fiction.

Realistically, it doesn't make sense that losing makes you more likely to win in the future. It doesn't make sense.

But Fate couldn't care less about realism. It doesn't work on the rules of the real world. It works on the rules of fiction. And, in books, movies, and TV shows, there's a rhythm of highs and lows. You have a successful scene, and then things go against you (the book Save the Cat, which talks about film structure, really gets into this). You alternate highs and lows.

So, you concede out of a conflict. That means you've lost - you lose the stakes of the conflict, the other guys get what they want. It's a setback. To give you a boost, and to help maintain this up/down rhythm, you then get Fate Points, to make succeeding in the next Conflict or scene more likely.

And that's the kind of stuff that Fate sets out to model. The rhythms of stories, the rules of writing. And that's why you get Fate Points for conceding.


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