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ThenDoctor

Getting Players to Spend Fate Points

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With the new edition giving players plenty of interesting reasons to spend Fate Points from role abilities to divination abilities (bit of plugging I made an expanded divination table with some effects that involve fate points as well) I ask how do you guys get your players to 1 remember what they can do with fate points and 2 get them to actually spend them.

 

It seems that each that I run or play DH1 that my fellow players never seem to remember just what fate points can do, and if they do they aren't willing to spend them due to fear of needing them later in the session.

 

Personally I've made a note card with what the effects of spending a fate point can be, but that doesn't get them to actually spend them. Normally I have to remind them constantly in given situations where applicable. They only ever remember when they are dying and burn them, but that isn't really the point of fate points is it.

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Everyone I've ever played with has only ever spent them on rerolls. I don't think the utility of any of the other uses (with the possible exception of +1 DoS in a pinch) outweighs being able to reroll a roll.

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It seems that each that I run or play DH1 that my fellow players never seem to remember just what fate points can do, and if they do they aren't willing to spend them due to fear of needing them later in the session.

Correct me if I am wrong but it would seem that the stakes are not high enough or they simply do not know what amazing feats Fate Points can let a player do.

 

e.g. an Assassin skulking around, trying to gather intel for the group - fails his/her Stealth check and is almost discovered by an enemy patrol/Murder Servitor/Mutant Horde/Feral Gang.

 

If he/she doesn't spend that Fate Point, it's him/her, vs the lot of them.

 

 

My players spend fate points all the time, yet I've noticed that they try to balance it so that they have one in reserve for super critical moments, or for getting wounds back when they are about to die.

 

As for remembering what they can do, I give them nifty handouts which details the use of FPs (and lists all available combat actions).

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Indeed. Seeing examples of them in use is one of the best ways to 'lead' them into using them; in black crusade a rival group consisted of an aligned chaos marine follower of each power attacking the group - largely so they could see what they were missing.

 

The Nurgle marine, as I recall, was truly ridiculous as he tanked bolt round after bolt round and then healed the damage straight back with an infamy point....

 

But I have noticed as well that people rarely think of using them for anything except rerolls (with the sole exception of our Adepta Sororitas who retain a stockpile for triggering "plus plus hurty fire" as it's been unofficially redesignated). I'm hoping that with a new, start-from-scratch system, players will think about their role bonuses and actually use them occasionally.

 

I'd imagine more than anything that the autopass awareness tests will go down well. Nothing engages a player's paranoia like being spontaneously asked to make awareness tests.

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Everyone I've ever played with has only ever spent them on rerolls. I don't think the utility of any of the other uses (with the possible exception of +1 DoS in a pinch) outweighs being able to reroll a roll.

 

Everyone I've ever played with has only ever spent them on the +D5 Wounds. I don't think the utility of any of the other uses (with the possible exception of re-rolling a crucial Dodge or Parry) outweighs being able to get life saving +D5 Wounds.

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Everyone I've ever played with has only ever spent them on rerolls. I don't think the utility of any of the other uses (with the possible exception of +1 DoS in a pinch) outweighs being able to reroll a roll.

 

Everyone I've ever played with has only ever spent them on the +D5 Wounds. I don't think the utility of any of the other uses (with the possible exception of re-rolling a crucial Dodge or Parry) outweighs being able to get life saving +D5 Wounds.

 

 

That's true. My players always keep one in reserve for +d5 wounds in case they need it. They're usually lucky/prepared enough that they don't get that wounded, so this is less prominent in my games.

 

So really just those two things.

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Alright, then I guess I should modify the scope of my question to, what do you think are some good ways to get your players to spend more fate points rather then how do they normally spend them. Also do you think the new uses for fate points in 2nd edition will help this idea along of actively spending them?

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In my experience it tends to be used for re-rolls, and then usually only on life threatening things (failed dodges and parries, Medicae rolls, Demolition rolls etc). Usage for wounds was only really to bring people out of the Critical Damaged status, so they could be more thoroughly healed... However, that was only until they introduced the hard to track "You are healed D5 damage... but not critical damage" rule. It was pretty much always better to avoid damage in the first place, than randomly receive some small number of wounds.

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Alright, then I guess I should modify the scope of my question to, what do you think are some good ways to get your players to spend more fate points rather then how do they normally spend them. Also do you think the new uses for fate points in 2nd edition will help this idea along of actively spending them?

 

Edge of Empire does this well. It's a little different in that the destiny points are a group resource rather than a player resource, but essentially they're divided into two pools, one for the players and one for the GM. The players can spend player points to make things easier for themselves and the GM can spend theirs to make it harder for the players. When one party spends a point it flips to the other side, so there's this constant back and forth of destiny points and very little incentive to hoard them.

 

So if DH2 had some way for the GM to give players fate points to spend they'd feel more inclined to spend them.

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Why would a GM ever need fate points ?

 

If you want to make it harder, just do it, if the situation calls for it.

 

It's worked into the dice system. Normal tests have no chance of catastrophically bad things happening (the Despair symbol). For a destiny point, the GM can upgrade one of the die to include this symbol, making the test harder for the players. The GM can upgrade any roll this way, making difficult tests even harder. It's a nice way to raise the stakes and give the players more points to play with.

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@Gaunt

For the same reason a GM would want stats on how much health a monster has or how much damage it does, I assume.

Also, I'm pretty sure the Fate points being spent for a reroll is also the mathematically best option to take. The bonus you can get is what, +10 or +20? Assuming you're not being heavily penalized, rerolling will add an additional 25+ chance of succeeding. Even if you're starting out with a really good chance of success and want to make it better, it's not a smart move. Given how rarely DH makes use of degrees of success, people are going to care a lot more about just succeeding than how well they do it. You also want to keep that fate point or the rare instance of failing that really good chance of success.

So yeah, rerolling is much better, to the point that I feel players can just intuitively realize this without even doing the math.

Also, ThenDoctor, you could start a system of rewarding players with single session fate points so that they'd be more likely to spend them.

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For what it's worth: It is within the system to award fate points in the same way as any other award (Experience, influence etc.) Gm's are cautioned to not do this often and then only in one point increments. Examples I have used in my game include Selfless heroism in the protection of humanity: Specifically, A Rogue trader crew boarded a crippled Xenos vessel in order to free slaves held onboard rather than just destroying it! I only gave one point but I felt that such an action (At least the first time) would gain the favor the Emperor thus, Fate point. My players have never seemed to be at a shortage for spending them though!

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Also, ThenDoctor, you could start a system of rewarding players with single session fate points so that they'd be more likely to spend them.

I never liked the idea of awarding fate points anyways, it takes away from the inherent lethality in the system, which is hard to show now given other parts of the systems making it difficult to fairly kill players.

 

I did award a temporary fate point when one of my players rolled a double righteous fury, he then proceeded to not succeed a single test even with all the rerolls the rest of the night.

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It's generally bad practice to reward fate points for rolling well. It would probably be better to give them a fate point for having a great plan and then seeing it fail horribly by bad luck.

Ariakor and Kaic like this

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Huh, odd. Games I've played in (Rogue Trader and Black Crusade, mainly), the Fate Points/Infamy Points have been hotly sought after, often used for healing and adding +10 to rolls.

Note that part of this is because most of them can't actually spend it on rerolls in the Black Crusade game, though. I really like the scaling capabilities for Infamy Points in Black Crusade.

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I hope that the changes to Fate points increase the ways that the players use Fate Points.  As of right now I'm in the same boat as everyone else, they only use them for life or death rerolls or healing.

 

I think the best way to get players to use fate points, if they are not, is to raise the stakes of failure.  If the results of failure are bad enough, then fate points will be used more often.  You could set up various situations to try and get players to use them for different reasons.

 

I never liked the idea of awarding fate points anyways, it takes away from the inherent lethality in the system   

 

This is how I feel about it too, I'm nervous about giving out fate point rewards.  I typically try and stick with temporary fate points instead of permanent ones.  The lethality of this system is one of my favorite aspects about it.

Edited by Kaic

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It's generally bad practice to reward fate points for rolling well. It would probably be better to give them a fate point for having a great plan and then seeing it fail horribly by bad luck.

I didn't really ask your opinion on whether it was a good idea to do it, but they didn't have a good plan either. Bad luck happens that's why I don't like Fate in general, especially when players use a fate point and then proceed to fail again.

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It's generally bad practice to reward fate points for rolling well. It would probably be better to give them a fate point for having a great plan and then seeing it fail horribly by bad luck.

I didn't really ask your opinion on whether it was a good idea to do it, but they didn't have a good plan either. Bad luck happens that's why I don't like Fate in general, especially when players use a fate point and then proceed to fail again.

 

 

Ooh, someone's saucy. Just offering some advice. Rolling really well is reward enough. Having terrible luck but then getting a temporary fate point afterward (I should clarify that the fate point would not be usable on the failed roll) is a way of rewarding players for bad that actually encourages them to take risky plans and so on mechanically.

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To each their own, I see fate points as being rewards for surviving something that one should which should be very rare indeed. I might be more giving if my players actually used them more often, but they don't so I have no reason to increase a pool of points they rarely take from anyways.

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I think it's just a question of player type.

 

Personally, I have a huge problem with "consumables" in any type of game I play, and you could say FP are a type of consumable. I'm only ever using stuff like medikits when they are absolutely necessary, but I am very, very tight-fisted when it comes to buffs - simply because there is something in my brain telling me I should save them for when I really need them. Which usually ends up with me not using them at all, and in computer games ultimately simply out-leveling and then selling or throwing them away.

 

In essence, my "waste not" personality is keeping me to get the maximum efficiency out of consumables, including Fate. And I have seen a lot of players having similar problems. I'm not sure you could really "train" a player to drop this behaviour when it extends beyond the one game you are playing.

 

It is for this reason I came up with the "once per encounter" stuff in my alternate rules for Acts of Faith.

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Numenera has a cool rule for "GM Intrusions" which could be adapted to DH. To perform a GM Intrusion, the GM awards a player 2 XP -- one to keep for themself and one to give to another player of their choice. XP are used to level up (~4 to purchase a new ability, ~16 total to increase rank) but can also be used to re-roll any attack/defense roll or skill check. In return, the GM gets to put the player in a dangerous situation or amplify their failures. For example, a climbing player might lose their handhold and fall near their enemies, or a player's missed attack will hit their friend instead of their intended target. The players usually have the opportunity for some counterplay -- quick thinking and a hasty escape can save the fallen climber, for example

In DH, a GM could use a similar system to award temporary Fate points to kick the difficulty of an encounter up a notch. A player might have a gun jam, lose their footing in melee, or suffer any unfortunate circumstance the GM can conceive. This has to be handled well to keep the players from crying BS, but it has the potential to make fights more dynamic and encourage Fate spending.

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To each their own, I see fate points as being rewards for surviving something that one should which should be very rare indeed. I might be more giving if my players actually used them more often, but they don't so I have no reason to increase a pool of points they rarely take from anyways.

Not awarding a lot of fate points due to players not using them is fine. One of the other nice things you can do with them is when a player asks for a "favor" from the GM like "well we remembered to being our rebreathers with us" or "is there a fire escape on the building" you can tell them that for the cost of a fate point there is.

Also, I generally just advise against rewarding lucky rolls because that isn't rewarding player behavior. A player should never be treated as responsible for how his dice roll, and fate points are meant to reward a player, not a character. Something else you could do is when a player comes up with an outlandish plan that sounds awesome, just give him the fate point right away, regardless of if he fails or succeeds at it. This encourages him to come up with interesting plans.

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