I'm studying FATE Core System, while reading the FATE Freeport Companion I found the refresh value for some NPC.

Now I'm not sure about how to use this value because the GM available fate point is supposed to be bound to the number of PC in a scene.


The NPCs under your control are not so lucky.

They have a limited pool of fate points you get to use on their behalf. Whenever a scene starts, you get one fate point for every PC in that scene. 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.



So I would like to know if named NPC are supposed to have a personal Fate Points pool like the PC.


2 Answers 2


The Fate Freeport Companion is a modern mechanical update for a setting from 2003; the Fate SRD is the newest version of the Fate engine, released in 2013. You will find discrepancies in the implementation of each system's ethos. Additionally: until last year's release of the Fate Core System book (the Fate SRD is this book in SRD form), there was no universal Fate engine. Every version of Fate was a setting-specific version of the Fate concept, with unique variants adapted for that setting. The Companion, while using Fate Core mechanics, feels free to make setting-specific choices about how to implement those mechanics for a Freeport experience

In this case, the Fate SRD breaks from most earlier iterations of the Fate engine in its default handling of NPC Fate points: even relatively recent systems like the Dresden Files RPG (which was considered the most up-to-date example of the Fate engine until the Fate Core System book) used the character creation rules to give Fate points to individual NPCs, just like Freeport does. As you've seen, the Fate Core System book on which the Fate SRD is based now defaults to a single Fate point pool shared among all NPCs. The Freeport Companion keeps the older tradition.


[...] while Companion is intended to give you all the nuts and bolts you need to explore the mean streets of Freeport, you shouldn’t feel obligated to use all the information provided in this sourcebook. [...] The rules included here are designed to be modular, meaning you can take what you like and leave the rest. (FFC6)

Because Fate is composed of dials you can adjust to meet the needs of your group, feel free to give named NPCs their own Fate point pools if you think that's a better fit for your own game experience. DFRPG included the "shared NPC pool" option as a variant, and likewise you should feel that the "separate NPC pools" is an available variant for your game. (And since it is a dial, there is an intermediate option: Single pools for each major threat in the story! One pool for every threat related to the Autocratic Empire Spanning Galaxies, one for every threat related to the Rapidly Growing Vampire Population, and one pool for threats related to Cthulhu is Coming --if those are the Threats in your game.)

The major difference lies in whether the story treats all opposition to the players as a single continuous multifaceted entity (Fate points granted to one NPC can be spent by another) or if the story considers each challenge the NPCs face to be its own unique entity (NPCs can only use Fate points they earned themselves). I prefer the communal NPC pool because it's simpler for me to keep track of and because Fate points spent on characters who turn out to be non-recurring don't just vanish from the Fate economy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you: this is an extremely clear answer to something that is definitely confusing across various Fate-based sources. \$\endgroup\$
    – CAgrippa
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 18:03

The example from the SRD that follows the passage you quoted would seem to indicate that named NPCs draw from the GM fate point pool and do not get a personal fate point pool.

Amanda is running a climactic conflict, where the PCs are battling a nemesis they’ve been trying to subdue for several scenarios now. Here are the characters in the scene:

Barathar, Smuggler Queen of the Sindral Reach, a main NPC

Og the Strong, one of her chief enforcers, a supporting NPC

Teran the Swift, an old nemesis of the PCs hired to do Barathar’s bidding, a supporting NPC

Two nameless NPC sergeants



Zird the Arcane

Her total fate point pool for this scene is 3 fate points—one each for Landon, Cynere, and Zird. If Zird had been elsewhere (say, doing some arcane research), Amanda would’ve gotten two fate points, one for Landon and one for Cynere.

The refresh rates given in the Freeport Guide may be the result of using the PC character creation rules or some other system artifact. I'd ignore them.


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