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The Atomic Robo SRD have recently become available, and one of the rules included in there is the Mega-Stunts one. The SRD contains a short discussion on how these special stunts interact with fate points, stating

Mega-Stunts, Stunt Slots, and Refresh

These rules presume that a PC has a certain number of “stunt slots” instead of paying refresh for them. […] In place of refresh, these rules assign a flat number of starting fate points to each PC. The specifics of this are up to your group. Possibilities include:

[…]

  • Make refresh inversely proportional to the number of stunt slots the PC has, from one to five. For example, if the PCs have five stunt slots, their effective refresh is 1. If they have two stunt slots, their effective refresh is 4.

There seems to be no equivalence to this rule in the Atomic Robo rule book.

This looks like the rules are suggesting to use something they call “effective refresh”, which to me looks like the usual way of “paying refresh for stunts”, in place of … refresh, used to pay for stunts.

Do I have a fundamental misconception either about how refresh and stunts interact in Fate Core, or about how this rules dial is suggested to work? Or is the phrasing in the SRD misleading for some reason?

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Unraveling this is made harder by the fact that “refresh” in Fate core is used as

  • a parameter of the game – which I will refer to as “refresh parameter” here,
  • the number of fate points a character starts a session with – which Fate Core also uses the term “refresh rate” for, and
  • the mechanic of sacrificing refresh rate for stunt slots, which shall be “paying refresh rate” here.

These rules presume that a PC has a certain number of “stunt slots” instead of paying refresh [rate] for them.

This means that the number of stunt slots is an upper limit of the number of stunts any character can have, and it cannot increase beyond that. It takes out the “paying refresh” rule.

In place of [a player-variable] refresh [rate,] these rules assign a flat number of starting fate points to each PC.

So, in a game using these ARRPG mechanics, all PCs have the same refresh rate, which is equal to the refresh parameter.

The options then describe how to choose the number of stunt slots and the refresh parameter. The option you referred to,

  • Make [the] refresh [parameter] inversely proportional to the number of stunt slots the PC has, from one to five. For example, if the PCs have five stunt slots, [the game's refresh parameter, and thus each of their refresh rates] is 1. If they have two stunt slots, [the game's refresh parameter, and thus each of their refresh rates] is 4.

suggests that a good game choice is to have the refresh parameter and the maximum number of stunts a PC can have to add up to 5. This is on a completely different level from the paying refresh rule in Fate Core, which says that the refresh rate and the number of stunts beyond three that a PC has should add up to the refresh parameter for every character.

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Atomic Robo is high-powered game, so its dials are set a good deal higher than in Core. It also breaks the connection between refresh and stunts. There is no interaction.

Very simply.

  1. You get as many Fate points at the beginning of a session as you have aspects. That is a maximum of five. It is a fixed number and has nothing to do with stunts.
  2. You have five fixed stunt "slots". You cannot pay for more in any way.
  3. Each stunt you take provides 1 "benefit". Megastunts often provide two or three benefits.
  4. If a character has more than five benefits in total the difference is given to the GM as additional Fate Points.

So a character with four normal stunts and a megastunt with three benefits would provide the GM with three extra Fate Points.

The SRD text generalizes the refresh rule, allowing you to set refresh any way that suits your game.

ARRPG is a lovely book but does not explain very well and does not summarize. It really needs a "if you know Core, these are the differences" section.

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