Setting Boundaries

In my ongoing quest to keep my WW2 game Fate based, but still trad as funk, I’m really tightening up the way FP are spent and accumulated. I see so much (justified) confusion and calls for clarity online about Fate stuff that would be so trivially accomplished in many trad games. I’m talking about the classic On Fire aspects, the stealth/perception issue, the group compel etc etc. At its heart Fate really is very simple, but the multiple ways it handles tests and conflicts do sometimes seem to throw a spanner into otherwise straightforward situations.

I believe a lot of this comes from sideways usage of FP. The simple invoke is no problem. The simple compel is ok. It’s when players start either of those on other players, or NPCs, or on the scenario, that things start getting weird. When the GM does any of these things, it’s not a worry. This is because while players have a very finite pool of FP to play with, the GM has an infinite resource. The answer is to keep the boundaries rigid. Players play. GMs GM.

For example, a player wants to compel another player. In true Fate, that player has to pony up a FP of their own. In my game, player suggests compel, FP comes from GMs infinite pool. It’s as if the GM suggested it themselves. Problem solved.

This works in a few other ways, which I’ll spell out in detail in the game. Given the genre I’m working with, infiltration, cover and area attacks are going to be commonplace. I need to make the FP economy work for everyone. Keeping the player/GM mechanical roles separate can only help.

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One response to “Setting Boundaries

  1. Shadow

    I have Fate Core, FCE and the Toolkit. When I first bought the system, I thought it was amazing and simple. But as I am going my first campaign with it, I’m finding my group with aspect overload, and a terrible need for more clarity of items. The group is also ignoring compels art the moment because I think they are overwhelmed with their own aspects. Bottom line: Unless you want to do a decent amount of pre- game work, and you have players okay with a bit of GMing, skip Fate.

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