I’ve been thinking a lot about things you can do when you change the assumptions of the Fate Point economy, and I hit upon a curious trick, one which is very simple as a rule, but very deep in its implications. The rule is this:
- If the player rolls a -3 or -4, they gain a Fate Point.
Simple, yes? But lets unpack the implications a bit.
First, there is no requirement that the low result stand. If the player wants to spend a fate point for a reroll or a bonus to offset the roll, then they can, and the first such point gets rebated. But the only way that they get to keep the free fate point is to let the roll stand. That is to say, the player is accepting a bad outcome in return for currency. Or, put another way:
The dice are offering a compel, which the player may accept ot not.
Once you think about it like a compel, it all kind of clicks into place – the bad die result is no longer an outcome, rather it’s a trigger for a twist, a complication or something else appropriate to a compel. It’s an invitation for trouble. Which, in turn, means the effective dice curve of results is now -2 to +4, which is satisfying on a few levels.
It is so satisfying, in fact, that I’d actually be inclined to expand this to -2, -3 and -4 results. That would means dice compels come up more frequently, and the remaining dice results are very respectful of character capability.
What’s also interesting is that there is no particular interaction with aspects in this. Originally, this idea struck me as I was pondering replacements for the current fate point economy. In the absence of GM-driven compels, this could be the sole source of Fate Points for players, which might satisfy players who don’t like that kind of GM authorship. Or it could be used in a game that doesn’t use aspects at all to still allow for a bit of organic pacing.
What intrigues me most about this approach is that it could be used as a step to decouple fate points from aspects. As to why someone might want to do that…well, that’s probably its own blog post.