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Does Fate Points encourage risk…or stupidity?

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#1 Hordeoverseer



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

I personally like the fate point system, as it does allow me to be hard on players and allows them to take proper risks without worrying going through the reroll system…but this does encourage some idiocy I've realized too. In the back of the book mission, some players were thinking that blowing up the promethium plant as a sound idea, as it would kill everyone and one player would only need to burn a fate point…which I find headdesking in itself.

Anyone else run into the same concern?

#2 Bassemandrh



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:37 PM

Back in WFRP 2nd ed, and probably 1st ed, Fate points  was needed for Character survival because luck wasn't secure enough. I dont personally think it has changed too much in DH or OW, but i can see how some players might want to go hero mode because they wont die for real.

#3 Musclewizard



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:42 PM

I have a simple houserule for Fate Points. If you burn a Fate Points you have two options.

  • You are returned to 0 Wounds and are ready to fight, the attack that would have killed you did not happend this way (the knife got stuck in your primer, the lascannon missed by a miniscule amount and only burnt a hole in your jacket, whatever). You are still perfectly combat ready and whatever has caused you to burn a fate point might just force you to burn one more by stabbing you one more time.

  • You are out of the "encounter" and will survive the current "scene" (exceptions may apply). The enemy will consider you dead and not finish you off properly, this might include such things as falling out of a building to your appearent death only to survive through sheer luck or the enemy not checking properly and taking your broken body for a corpse. In any case you take the critical injuries of the worst attack that is possibly survivable or (depending on the situation) some other form of critical injury that might be permanent. (For example a SoB in one of my DH games burnt a fate point to survive against a Demonette but she lost her arm in the process.)

#4 ConstantineRoth



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:32 PM

I tend to take the stance of the second option presented by Musclewizard, they'd survive but they would be in a bad, bad way. The most possible damage without death, if the damage caused would cause blood loss then I cancel that as well (I find it upfair to burn a fate point and then die of blood loss). If you're saying that only one Guardsman would go in to blow it up therefore the rest of them will be fine and dandy and just go into drag his corpse out there's a few things you could do.

I'd be tempted to have the demolition work require more than one man for various reasons (safety measures requiring deactivating, rigging support struts to blow up at the right time, isolating chambers, calibrations etc), or have the structure collapse onto the man doing it - he's still alive under there but they'd have to dig him out taking time, putting them in danger of a potential attack (explosions are not subtle afterall it'd draw enemies of some kind to that position maybe) etc.

If the whole squad was going to blow it and all of them burn a fate point to survive then they can do that, they'd all be at the edge of death and likely pretty crippled and not fuctional as an effective fighting force, I'd be tempted to make them play out an escape as they are with no chance to really heal until they get back until base. Ultimately in Only War PCs don't get as many fate points as they do in the other 40k games, if they want to waste them on things like that then it's just going to get harder for them further down the road.Just my views, I think the 40k fate points can be terribly forgiving compared to some other systems so people shouldn't abuse it or GMs are likely to get mean. 

#5 Lynata



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:56 PM

I really think it comes down to the individual player. Personally, I tend to hog FP because they are a resource not easily replenishable - just like I absolutely hate consumables in various videogames, for I never feel comfortable using them. :P

That being said, I also noticed a trend where FP expenditure is basically planned depending on how long people expect the session to last, which is obviously a meta thing.

OW does not offer many Fate Points to its player characters, so the effects are kept fairly low. Of course you will always have people keep the option to burn FP in order to survive in mind, but regardless of how much you'd want to punish the character for survival, I will say that losing is losing, and I would think that players will still feel a sting even if their characters should make it out of it unscathed. The humiliation of a plan going horribly wrong is a sort of punishment (hopefully) causing players to think twice next time as well.

#6 Frankie



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:16 AM

Well, each person would have to burn the fate. Once that fate is gone, it's gone.

There's a huge difference between having 1-2 fate and 3-4 fate in terms of spending.

#7 Kasatka



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:45 AM

Only War has massively reduced levels of fate points compared to previous systems, and considering that an ample number of any squad will only have 1 point, id imagine debates over such tactics as all burning a fate point to meta-complete a scenario without any real tactics or planning would crop up all the time.

As a player i consider it really lame to go into a situation planning to burn fate - they are get out of jail free cards, and should be used when an unexpected threat blindsides you and could take out your character. You then spend fate to either increase your chance of surviving or burn it if you botch something.

I'd seriously penalize any player group that decided that nuking a target and all burning fate to survive was a legitimate tactic. I'd likely not hand out anymore fate for a damned long time, and they'd certainly lose some Logistics for being so gung ho and throwing away valuable resources (the demolitions, the refinery, their gear (as it wouldnt survive!) etc.

Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.

#8 Face Eater

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:22 AM

Thats not something I've ever seen before, I can get behind a heroic sacrifice but hiding behind a mechanic is not right. If a player was going to go down that kind of route I'd tell them that they don't get to survive with fate points, if it's heroic they might get a bonus for their next characters. At least I'd ask them if they were sure they'ed survive being in the collapsing, burning refinery wreckage after they spent a fate point to survive by the skin of their teeth.

#9 Kiton



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

Fate is a resource. If you have a lot of it, like in Black Crusade at higher Infamy+Corruption levels, its an equalizing or high performance tool that you expend to improve your character's capabilities; much like Edge in Shadowrun, saving a few for bad bad times. At that level, Fate/Infamy points are what heroes or archvillains use to nudge themselves into legend.

If you don't have much to begin with, then its a limited defensive measure: something you use to avoid blowing your own arm off because Overheat don't care how reliable your gun is, or to avoid Daemonic Headsplosion chances when rolling on the phenomena table. You keep a tight grip on your one or two little points, as they're your only way out when the dice decide to kick you in the progenoids.


Burning it, well, that depends. I think if a person needs to because of Stupid, that's fine: they've been punished by losing one of the most valuable and limited resources available to a character in this system; whether they had many or few is just a matter of how epic the scale has gotten, really. Stupidity will still send you packing back to The Emperor like you woz painted red anyhow.

For those careful with them normally, even if they have plenty, its a survival tool that will let them survive their character's "worst day ever, again", or give them the edge to survive through the occasional reckless act.


Obviously though, you should be at death's door as a result: Burning fate gets you out of the frying pan, but barely; and if the entire squad went down that way in hostile territory, that might be too much even for fate points. The Black Crusade 10+1d10infamy version does guarantee survival for the session, so that's a good time for captures or "you're okay with <bionics> here right?"… Or the whims of the Dark Gods.

It should never force a downward survival spiral on them though [stuff like "okay so you're back to 0 and they captured you, so you're naked but you get a chance to survive because they throw you into this arena and there's a Krootox on the other side", that's cheating them out of their resource.


A TPK is a TPK, and if from fair and proper dealings, the GM deserves his kill marks.

#10 Kasatka



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:26 AM

Kiton said:

A TPK is a TPK, and if from fair and proper dealings, the GM deserves his kill marks.

That was entirely my point - if the GM has seen the players back themselves into a corner and they act suicidally or can't be bothered to roleplay to get themselves out of a mess, then some character deaths or even a TPK is entirely deserving. Burning fate points should never be a way for the players to bypass a plot element and give a big FU to the GM and the campaign in general.

Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.

#11 borithan



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:56 AM

I think it explicitly states somewhere that a GM can rule something unsurvivable, even with a Fate Point (which the Supa-Cleric in Ascension then can survive…). Being inside an exploding promethium refinery would certainly qualify that for me, unless you are playing a slapstic campaign and you have your characters fly through the air and land a little bit singed, like some Loony Toons cartoon.


I have heard of a troll player coming across a special riddle a GM came up with. There were 8 statues in a room, and the players had to use clues to work out which was the right one to pick up or they would be trapped in the room forever. One player just went "Ok, I take the one 2nd from the left. Is the campaign over then?"

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