I'm a novice Fate GM, with 4 more novice Fate players. We all have experience with RPGs, both pen and paper, electronic, and LARP. We all wanted to try Fate Core because it's much less mechanical and crunch-heavy than other systems (like D&D) and so far we really like it.

The problem

There are really few exchanges of fate points during the game. My players have their starting points, I give them a couple each during the session (not because I've decided that they have to receive just a couple, but because I don't really see many opportunities to award them), and they gleefully spend them (most of the time they end the session without points, and this is a good thing)

They usually spend them for +2 bonus or a reroll bonus, and they haven't yet spent them for declarations. I've read this question for suggestions, and I will try something this evening in our session, but the problem is more on my part rather than my players: I can't find good ways to compel them or any other way to award them MORE fate points.

The question

How can I award more fate points to my player, without relying too much on their aspects to compel them?

I've already asked for their help, but none of us is experienced enough to guide the rest of the party towards an healty, dynamic Fate points economy.

Campaign Specifics

I don't know if it's relevant, but we're playing a campaign loosely based on XCOM: Enemy Unknown. My players are a special team of soldiers against the enemy aliens, which have made planetfall and occupied a quarter of southeast Asia.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Got to ask but what's wrong with compelling their aspects? That's what they're there for after all. Don't feel like you are bullying the players by always compelling character aspects since no one is forced to accept a compel provided they can pay the fate point to get out of it. Which is a common way to get a dynamic FP economy. Players making up compels on their own so that they have the FPs to get out of compels when they don't want one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chryckan
    Oct 1, 2014 at 14:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chryckan sometimes their aspects aren't applicable, or simply, after the 10th time i compel the one applicable aspect, the storytelling becomes stale. The stagnation didn't appen all at once, but after some sessions, when i've "exausted" their aspects... \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 1, 2014 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dunno, sounds like their aspects isn't awesome enough. Usually you'd want to have your aspects, (especially your high and trouble), invoked and compelled as much as possible since they are the things that define your character and lets it shine. If an aspect feels exhausted after some time you should seriously consider changing it and try to improve it since it clearly isn't clicking and being awesome within the game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chryckan
    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chryckan Thank you, I will discuss this with my players, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:25

3 Answers 3


Compel Situation Aspects

Fate and the Fate point economy is all about Aspects. Short of houseruling something, you're stuck with that, sorry. The character's aspects are not the only ones in existence, though.

The SRD states

Just like with every other kind of aspect use, you can use situation aspects (and by extension, game aspects) for compels. Because situation aspects are usually external to characters, you’re almost always looking at event-based compels rather than decision-based ones. The character or characters affected get a fate point for the compel.

So try and use that. Don't hesitate to multiply aspects (though you should find a way to keep score) for you and the players to invoke or compel (players can also compel against themselves, always good to remember). Especially in XCom style situations of tactical play where parameters are myriad.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I haven't thought about situation aspects. This would also give me more tactical options during combat, to prevent boring "I shoot, you shoot" fights. \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 1, 2014 at 11:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If your fights are a series of attacks, you're making them too easy. Some fights should be so stacked against the players that they engage is a series of maneuvers to build up enough advantages to be able to touch the enemy. Are your bad guys using Fate points? \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Oct 1, 2014 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess this is true too. I often send them against hordes of minions rather than main NPCs, because I'm not comfortable with proper ranged weapons damage and defence and i haven't yet find a balanced way to represent them. I'll have to develop some main opponents to make them fight properly. To answer your question, they rarely use fate points. \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:40

Based on this meta question, I'm writing a new answer based on my improved understanding of the question.

It seems like the PCs are spending their points, which is good. You're having trouble awarding points, so let's take a look at the specifics there. According to the book, there are only three ways PCs can earn Fate points (p.89):

• Accept a Compel: You get a fate point when you agree to the complication associated with a compel. As we said above, this may sometimes happen retroactively if the circumstances warrant.

• 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.

• Concede in a Conflict: You receive one fate point for conceding in a conflict, as well as an additional fate point for each consequence that you’ve received in that conflict. (This isn’t the same as being taken out in a conflict, by the way, but we’ll get into that later.)

It sounds like you are looking for ways to compel them, so you have that covered. Don't forget to encourage them to look for self-compel opportunities, which, if they are running out of points by game-end, they should be motivated to do.

Similarly, conceding a conflict will probably be a rare event when fighting aliens - its one thing to concede an argument with your boss when arguing for expensive equipment, quite another to concede to something that wants to eat your spine.

Be aware, though, that occasionally stuff like this makes great story! Have a scene early on where they deal with their position in a bureaucracy, and remind them about concession. If they win the contest, they get some fancy gear, or better intel, which are Aspects they can invoke later. If they concede, then they have this great story about how the brass never listens to them and a Fate point to spend later!

That leaves really one thing to look at, and I wonder if you are using Have Your Aspects Invoked Against You properly.

Are your bad guys playing smart, creating advantages? If so, then have them pay to use those advantages after the first, free time!

Are you hitting the PCs hard? In a game of combat against alien monsters, they should be accruing consequences! Are the aliens leveraging those consequences?

Playing hard, pushing the PCs to their limits, making them suffer to succeed, these are all dramatic and exciting. They make the players' choices matter. Plus, they push more Fate points into the players' hands as you spend your scene budget to exploit advantages and injuries you created.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note on conceding : the wonderful thing with Fate is that whatever the enemy wants to do to you, from the moment you concede, YOU decide what happens to your character (even if the enemy's objective is to kill you dead, in which case you're most certainly out for the count, but will probably wake up in an ICU a few weeks later). Check this question for further inquiry into the question : rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/44741/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Nigralbus
    Oct 3, 2014 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you again for your answer. I found that I'm not using "free invocations" on their consequences. I'd better start using them, more than once, to award more fate points. I guess that I also have a problem with balancing weapon damage, but I guess this is another question to ask. \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 3, 2014 at 12:09

After a couple of comments, I realized I had one genuinely important thing to say on this topic: the way you stimulate the Fate point economy is to cost them Fate points!

A tight economy is one they can engage with - one that demands to be engaged with! Your practice of awarding points outside of the specified refresh period is actually working against you.

If you stop giving them free points, they'll have fewer available. If you start using Aspects in the scene, creating advantages for your bad guys, thus generating free tags, push them hard, make them take consequences (which can also be tagged), etc., you'll take away the luxury of "enough points".

This will force them to look for opportunities to earn points, engaging with the Fate point economy and thus, the crux of the game!

To sum up:

  • stop giving points away at the start - except for specified times when they get refresh
  • use points on your own behalf, forcing the players to spend points in order to keep,up
  • boost difficulties, so that PCs have to do more than attack - creating advantages they'll have to pay to use after the first time
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don’t see where the GM is awarding points outside of refresh and compels. The question states that he can only manage to award a couple of points for compels because they have become stale. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 1, 2014 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer. As @BraddSzonye said, I have difficulties at awarding my players new fate points in an interesting manner, rather than have them making difficult choices in points management. \$\endgroup\$
    – STT LCU
    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @BraddSzonye - This is what comes from reading (and answering) late at night! I misread the question as "...I've decided that they have to receive just a couple, but because I don't really see many opportunities to award them..." I will revise my answer in light of what the question actually asks! \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .