I just ran my first game of Fate Core and I ran into a question I can't seem to find an exact answer to.

Basically at one point I used a situation aspect "Wanted by the city guard" to compel all players so the guards would show up at a bad time for them. Now 5 of them wanted to pay the fate point to avoid it and 1 of them wanted to accept it. In this situation do they all have to agree to accept or deny the compel or can it be split?

The only thing I can find about it in the rulebook is page 207 under Compels and Multiple Targets.

Just a quick note: players who want to compel their way out of a conflict don’t get a free lunch on affecting multiple targets, whether it’s one aspect or several that justify the compel. A player must spend one fate point for each target they wish to compel. One fate point compels one individual, period.

Going by that it makes sense that each individual gets their own individual compel. So in the situation my players were in would it make so the guards showed up but maybe they only saw the player who accepted the fate point? It just seems odd that some players could refuse the compel but it would still kind of happen, since the guards being there at all would be bad even if they didn't notice them at first.


1 Answer 1


Yes, each player has the right to refuse a compel.

But you already knew that, really. It's not a "group compel" at all, there's no such thing. Since every player in the group has the aspect, you're making multiple individual event compels. The issue is wrapping our heads around what that means for the narrative, which turns out to be kinda cool.

Refusing an event compel usually means the related event doesn't happen--but it doesn't have to! Compels are about dramatic complication. When one player buys off the compel, all this means is that he's paid a Fate point for the event to not make his character's life more complicated or dramatic.

Let's look at your example. The city guard shows up, because at least one player accepted the compel. Each player who took the Fate point has their life directly complicated by this. Each player who bought off the compel isn't personally affected by the city guard. Maybe that character goes unnoticed, or he went to high school with the captain of the guard and gets special treatment.

Obviously what complicates one character directly will probably complicate the entire group indirectly, but that's true of any compel.

We usually think of buying off a compel as making the event not happen, because that's the easiest and most obvious way to deal with it. Figuring out how an event with the potential for complication can occur without actually complicating things requires a whole new level of inventiveness and creativity, but one nice thing about Fate is that the work isn't all on the GM: go ahead and ask your players how they imagine it playing out.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to implement a compel this way... consider a different compel. "Noticed by the City Guard" is pretty similar, but has the benefit of being much more individualized.


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