This is a purely theoretical post for me as I am not a fate point user.
So the basic idea of fate points is that each character starts with a few fate points. You can spend a fate point to try and avoid a fatal wound by re-rolling a critical. You can earn fate points by extremely good role playing or by forcing the end of level boss to spend a fate point to save himself from you.
So spending a fate point is a big issue and gaining a fate point is a big issue.
If you think of a whole fate point as being a Silver Dollar I want to talk about dimes and cents.
This is not my idea, I have stolen it from a variety of other games that use similar mechanisms.
So imagine you ask a character to make a skill roll and you, as GM, really want them to make the roll. The success would be fun, would help advance the story or generally be a ‘good thing’. They roll the dice and fail. So you either suck it up or scrub the roll and let the player try again. I suppose it depends mostly on your style of GMing.
Fate cents are a mechanism to let you let a player make a second chance roll but maintain game balance.
What you do is every time you give the players a re-roll, or even if you fudge a dice roll yourself, you keep a tally of these minor adjustments and then ‘spend’ them at a later point to balance books.
Ways of spending them could adding an additional opponent to a minor skirmish latter, letting a villain make a re-roll if they fail a roll. nudging up a skill by a rank for a named NPC. If the player fumbles an attack then add +5 to the fumble roll for each cent outstanding.
Ideally, at the end of each game session the net balance will be zero or at most at the end of each adventure. You would not let the players ignore every inconvenient roll and never pay the consequences. I could easily have called this post ‘Rolemaster Karma’ because it is that sort of thing. If you are having to bend the rules to help the players then it will come back to bite them and sooner rather than later.
I do not use fate points as I don’t need them. I can see the attraction, RM is extremely dangerous and character creation is extremely complicated. Keeping the characters alive and the story advancing is of value to both GM and players. Limiting fate points maintains the danger of the system and consequently the sense of danger going into every fight.
Fate cents are meant to be much less significant and more about increasing the fun element for both GM and players. It makes players more capable because they have the option of taking a second bite of the cherry when a roll is failed and for the GM it means there is a balanced option for making the players character pay for every time you have to help them out.
What do you think?