I have ever used Fate Points in a game before. I have mooted them to the players and generally the reception was not particularly possitive. As a consequence I had never really sat down and read the rules around them. They are not part of the core RM2 or RMC rules but I was familiar enough with the concept and the role they fulfilled.
Last night I read the High Adventure Roleplaying (HARP) rules on Fate Points and I do think they are a good thing. It appears they are designed to help shove the story along where it would otherwise have stalled. Take for example the idea the the party have to resuce the princess from some deep underground orc fortress. The party come to a fissure in the tunnel floor and decide to jump it but the princess has swooned into the fighters arms some time ago and has not yet revived. The fighter takes a firm grip on her and leaps the fissure, and fumbles his roll. Dp you let the character and the princess fall to their doom?
In my game, yes I would. I would let him make a couple of other rolls to try and catchhol of some outcrop of rock and if he failed all of them I would have the pair of them crash into some ledge and take the appropriate damage. With Fate Points the player could choose to burn a couple of points and boost that leaping roll until he makes it. The player only starts with 3 points so you will not have the players skewing rolls all over the place but the onus is then on them to save their characters and not on me or you as GM to get them out of their predicament.
If they are on the ledge 100′ below the passageway with their escape just discovered by the orcs the party had better come up with a decent rescue plan pretty quickly. If they don’t then as a GM you could find yourself having to invent a new passageway along which they fighter and princess can escape. It could all unravel fairly fast if they are just having one of those bad dice rolling days. With Fate Points, the jump was made and the party escape, the princess was rescued and disaster averted and the universe did not have to be bent to save anyone.
I like the idea that the players have a distinctly limited supply and that although when they level up they can replenish them they can never have more than 5 in total.
I think in my face to face game this is pretty much happening already. There seems to me to be a fair amount of rolling the dice and then deciding which one is tens after the event. A practice highlighted a couple of years ago when one of the players accidentally picked up a D8 and a D10. He designated the D8 as the ‘tens’ and then managed to roll several open ended rolls during the session. Fate was truly on his side that day.
I generally do not live in fear of killing characters. I do not go out of the way to do it but I do normally give the players some sort of access to Life Keeping and Life Giving magic through either single use items, access to an NPC or herbs. There is a double punishment in there with the dead characters player now being on Tea Duty and there being some loss of assets to the party.
I was going to ask how people felt about Fate Points but I guess that those that like them will be using them and those that like me didn’t like the idea don’t use them and very few will have wavered between to two camps. I am defintely going to try them in the next game I run that is for sure.