Fate Point Economy Metrics

Hi all, I’ve enjoyed the lively discussion here with people more knowledgeable in the system than I. I’m wondering with all the attention these days to measuring the health of the economy–how do you measure the health of the “Fate Point Economy” at your game table?
Granted–so long as everyone is having fun, that is the ultimate measure, but:
How often do you compel characters at your table? Do some players get compelled more than others, and does that matter? How often to they “accept” vs. “reject” compels? At the end of the night, do players have a stockpile of Fate Points, or do they spend them immediately, always desperate for more? Do you every need to artificially adjust the rate of refresh, or provide a stimulus package of some sort to get the economy moving again?

1 Like

Fate points should be flowing throughout the session between players and the GM. As long as Fate points are moving, I consider the “economy” of the session to be working.

Fate points should be like hot potatoes, quickly moving during the session.

When players get down to 0 or 1 Fate points, I usually start looking for ways to compel them so they get more points. I also remind that player that they can come up with compels too.

From time to time, I have a kind of player who stockpiles Fate Points. Gets the total up to 5, 6, 7. I usually stop compelling (or permitting self-compels) around points 5 or 6. This kind of player wants to guarantee success at the right time. This is a valid way to play, so I let them. (Remember, to hold that many points means that they are either being compelled a fair bit or failing rolls a lot because they aren’t spending points to succeed at other things.)

2 Likes

These are great questions. Thanks for posting them.

I compel characters as often as I can think of a way in which it would make an interesting story difference. This is usually two or three times an evening.

Do some players get compelled more than others, and does that matter?

Inevitably, some aspects are more compellable than others, so yes, but I do try to spread it around, especially if I notice that a player ran out of fate points early.

How often to they “accept” vs. “reject” compels?

I’ve only seen players reject compels a couple of times. The vast majority of the time they’re interested in both the complication, and the power of a fate point.

At the end of the night, do players have a stockpile of Fate Points, or do they spend them immediately, always desperate for more?

In a few years of running a fate campaign, this has only happened a couple of times, so they generally finish a session with no or one fate point each.

Do you every need to artificially adjust the rate of refresh, or provide a stimulus package of some sort to get the economy moving again?

I might have a large game session starting up next week, and I plan to artificially keep the number of fate points low. If there will be 8 or more of us, I might just go with 2 refresh and one stunt each. Otherwise, the standard rules are pretty good.

Occasionally, I will start the session with an extra fate point for one character or even the whole party. I’ll give a player an extra fate point when the “seed” for the session is something that works against a character, like if they should have realized something early but I offer them a fate point not to because they’re distracted by one of their aspects. I’ll give everyone a fate point if the session starts with them in a bad situation, such as disarmed, or arrested, or stranded somewhere. These make those GM fiats seem more fair.

2 Likes

Thanks both @amazingrando and @nazim! Great insights!
In our games one of the most common problems is people not spending Fate Points aggressively enough. They horde them saving them for some grand finale, that they are then overly prepared for, and then blow through a little too easily–or are still left with FP at the end of the night. I’ve opted to have FP “refresh” every session rather than every scenario, in hopes of stimulating them using them. Perhaps I just need increase the difficulty of roles across the board… or maybe make the consequences of failed rolls more poignant, to help raise the stakes a bit.

I actually find that if people are not interested in spending fate points, that signals to me that the scene might be worth fast forwarding a bit. I don’t mean that strictly, just as feedback from the scene.

I’ve opted to have FP “refresh” every session rather than every scenario, in hopes of stimulating them using them.

Wait: I just give the refresh at the beginning of the session, not every scene. And I think that that’s the norm. Or… am I misunderstanding what you’re doing?

1 Like

Raise difficulties across the board and make the cost of failure hurt. Hoarding Fate points should be a difficult choice for the player.

I am of the opinion that players should go skidding into the end of the session with almost no Fate points.

2 Likes

Great insights!
In the past we have “refreshed” fate points each scenario, which tends to last 2 or 3 sessions (A session meaning a single evening’s worth of play). I’ve opted to reset every session–in hopes of stimulated Fate Point use. It sounds like that is pretty similar to what you are doing…

1 Like