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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too much?

    My group has recently started playing FATE, and we're still getting used to the system, coming form more of a D&D and Shadowrun background. At the first few sessions Fate flowed like water- many compels, many of them promoted by the players, and many uses of aspects. This has slowed quite a bit lately. When I asked the players why, they answered that "They just screw us up too much, they are not worth the single fate point". Which upon reflection, is somewhat true. The last compels triggered big complications, which messed up the party's time considerably. I just thought they would be more fun, more interesting.

    So I come to ask you veteran players and GMs of FATE- how to you gauge how a compel is worth it? when is it not serious enough? when is it too serious? I'd appreciate examples if possible, they teach me the most, though a good guideline can be worth their weight in gold.

    So any advice is welcome really, thanks! (It was my impression that the fate point economy drives the game.)

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Well for a start, remind the players that if they have an aspect, it's because they want it to come into play, for both good or bad. Someone with the aspect " Not so subtle, still quick to anger" is saying that he wants to reason Fate points by being easily set off.

    Also, compels need to be handled deftly, do that they add interesting elements to a game, but don't completely derail it. The Aspect listed above may lead to a person responding angrily to an insult, but not to an entire session devoted top getting them out of jail.

    Finally, remind the players that the aspect economy really ruins on compels. Refusing compels will probably lead to a lack of Fate points when they're really needed. Again, make compels attractive, rather than a burden.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Sounds like either the DM is making it too hard for the players or the players are being too whiny.
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Compels shouldn't cause big complications, they should be the complications in and of themselves. Also remember you can ante up a compel if you want to, making it worth 2 fate points.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    I understand most of the above, I think... (Oh, and I think it's a case of the DM being too hard, I'm trying to understand the proper scales of compels). So my thought currently is that a compel should be something that can be solved in... the same scene? Is that a good enough measure?

    Examples of 3 previous compels that went too far:
    1) A mutant in a humans town was compelled by "they all fear me", and had to escape a mob, but later decided to mostly hide till they were out of the town (Which took awhile)
    2) A guy with "few friends, many enemies", got a contract by an unknown enemy on his head, with an assassin expert in explosives on his tail.
    3) A woman with an addiction to drugs got drugged, and spilled the secrets of the party, which will led to much trouble later on.

    Yikes, even I cringe at this. They made the game much more fun, but I guess much more frustrating to the party. Definitely not worth a fate point...

    Any ideas how to better refine this would be welcomed!

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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Those first two are definitely cases of the person running the game not understanding what compels are supposed to do. They aren't environment acts with aspect to cause trouble, they are aspect causes you to make a tough choice/limits your choices things. And the third? Thats appropriate, as long as that was how the player played it out.

    Also, important in the second, is that each time part of it comes up is a compel. Meaning each time you had to deal with the assassin should have netted the player a fate point.
    Last edited by jindra34; 2013-09-22 at 02:17 PM.

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Jindra hit the nail on the head. The first compel is very heavy handed and not really appropriate; it might have been okay if something had just happened to make the people suddenly act on the fear (e.g. the mutant did a lot of property damage), but as is it's too strong. The third sounds completely reasonable.

    The second compel (the assassin one), though, isn't so much a compel as it is an entire subplot or campaign arc; I disagree that it should be a fate point every time he shows up, but that's because I don't feel his presence is a compel at all.
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Fiddler View Post
    The second compel (the assassin one), though, isn't so much a compel as it is an entire subplot or campaign arc; I disagree that it should be a fate point every time he shows up, but that's because I don't feel his presence is a compel at all.
    I kinda agree, if the assassin is totally unrelated to the ongoing plot and is only attacking because of the aspect, and would likely be replaced by someone else if disposed of? Thats a compel. If its, because you have so many enemies, your foes were easily able to hire an assassin? A plot element that can be dealt with easily, not a compel. Either way if something is a compel, and it persists in actively causing trouble long enough (past a scene maybe, past and past a few definitely), you probably should be getting more than 1 fate point for it.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Ok, I;m a bit confused. I thought the problem in the examples was in their scale, not in their very structure as compels.

    I thought the two were event compels:

    From the book:
    You have ____ aspect and are in ____ situation, so it makes sense that,
    unfortunately, ____ would happen to you. Damn your luck.
    As in: "You have "they all fear me" aspect and are in a racist mutant fearing town, so it makes sense that, unfortuately, an angry frightened mob would happen to you. Damn your luck."
    I didn't control his decisions, he decided to run, and to hide, and not try to deal with authorities and such. I just presented a situation. Admitedly, it got him into waaaayy to much trouble, which is why I think this was a problem. Why is it not a compel?

    (I'm not trying to be defensive, I really want to know)

    The Assassin one may be more of a problem, since the "situation" part was not immediately known, but it's something like that:
    "You have "few friends, many enemies" aspect, and You're traveling to a place where you have quite a few enemies. So it makes sense that, unfortunatelty, an assassin was sent to kill you. Damn your luck."

    Hmmm... Yeah, I see it doesn't quite work, It might work more for each individual assassinatio attempt, as part of the ongoing game. Ok, you're right here.

    With the last compel, it was initiated by the player, a decision made,
    from the book:
    You have ____ aspect in ____ situation, so it makes sense that you’d
    decide to ____. This goes wrong when ____ happens.
    It was something like:
    "Jenny has a "what a mess I get myself into" (included drugs), and she's in a big social party with free boooze, drugs and such, so it makes sense that she decides to get wiped out." He left it for me to decide the last part, where it goes wrong. I do think however I made it particularily wrong when their big secrets were spilled to one of their bigger enemeis, which will likely change quite a bit in the arc.

    I'm still quite confused as to what makes a good compel. Other than the general structure- when does it become too much, when is it too little? Sorry to bother about this, it is just quite confusing.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2013-09-22 at 11:56 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    I'd say that the ideal scope of a compel is equivalent to a failed roll, except that because it's a compel the GM gets to declare auto-failure in exchange for a fate point. Think about what fate points are used for to benefit you, after all; generally they'll push a roll just over some edge necessary to succeed, so by symmetry compels would reverse that.

    By this measure the first and third situations are both beyond the scope of a compel. In the mutant's case you'd probably have a situation where the rest of the party had to talk the townsfolk down (with some unhelpful aspect like "He's up to no good, I tell you" around to influence things) with possible outcomes like an outright mob, several wary minders, or an entirely peaceful resolution. In the case of the drug fiend, getting wasted is probably sufficient; she'd still be in the capture of some party nemesis (and again would have some detrimental aspect in place such as "Doped up") but wouldn't automatically be spilling whatever secrets they wanted to hear. Sounds like good fodder for a social conflict, really.

    Other folks have already mentioned good stuff on the second situation, so I'll let that one rest.

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    An additional thought: if a compel is gonna bring something bad down, it should also offer opportunity. A compel is a way of making the story turn in a direction unexpected, but it doesn't derail the story away from where it was going. It's an extra wrinkle, not an extra obstacle to be overcome.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    I'm still quite confused as to what makes a good compel. Other than the general structure- when does it become too much, when is it too little? Sorry to bother about this, it is just quite confusing.
    Of course it's confusing. There's no objectively "good" compel, and there's no way for anyone to tell you what a good compel for your group is. The people giving advice don't know your players, don't know the characters, don't know the context of the fiction, don't know the atmosphere at the table, and don't know the feelings invested or the expectations of anyone involved. All of those things are more important to creating a good compel than the compel's actual contents.

    The point of a compel is to create drama that your players will care about and find interesting. Which is why it has to be based on an Aspect. By writing down an Aspect, a player is saying "I want there to be drama about this.", so it's an obvious starting point.

    Beyond that, what is too little or too much, what is acceptable or unacceptable, what is fair and what is frustrating, is a matter of personal taste. It's just something you have to talk to your players about, and learn as a group. No stranger on the internet can provide better feedback than the people you are actually playing with.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Thanks for all the advice! Xefas, I have been talking to the players in my group, it's the first thing we do, but we are all a bit confused, being quite new to the system, and to this game, so I thought to ask others as well.

    That said, and with talking to my group, I think I have a good enough idea of the type of compels that fit us, and we'll try running with those. Thanks a lot everyone, for all of the advice!

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    A Compel is supposed to be a hard choice - do you take the complication and the FP? Or do you pay the FP to avoid it?

    One thing that's probably worth doing is going over the aspects that characters have, and how they should be invoked/compelled. At least get on the same page with everyone.

    As far as being "worth it", a compel is actually a two-point FP swing - accepting it gets you one, refusing it costs you another.

    Ideally, a Compel introduces a wrinkle to the campaign, adds a complication in a certain way. You're going to be adding complications anyway, so why wouldn't the players want to get a FP for them? Part of the key may be communicating this idea, and making sure that complications from compels represent new directions as much as they do pure setbacks.

    It does strike me as weird that someone would take an "I'm feared" aspect and then be surprised that a town would show up in a mob when he turned up. Kind of like the person that wants to play an orc, but gets surprised when the towns don't want him there. But that would also depend on how violence-oriented the mob was, I suppose. "A bunch of people show up, armed, and point at you saying 'we don't like his kind here'" feels a lot different than "a bunch of townsfolk show up and start shooting at you."

    I think that, in general, the compels feel about right for compels, but the scope of the negative thing needs to be watched, maybe? The "what a mess I get myself into" compel definitely feels right, given the situation, but again, it might be the scope of the "bad thing" that needs to be looked at.

    In those situations, was it the basic Compel that they reacted poorly to, or the extremity of the consequence?

    A lot of that is a matter of watching your PCs' FP pools, and how they're reacting to Compels. You can certainly use Compels to help manage their FP pool - offering harder ones when they're flush, and offering up a few weaksauce ones if they're down to scraps.

    I also agree that for the second one, each appearance of the assassin would likely count as a separate compel. Though "few friends, many enemies" to "assassin" is a bit of a potential stretch - I'd be more likely to compel that one by having key NPCs already dislike him.

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    My group has recently started playing FATE, and we're still getting used to the system, coming form more of a D&D and Shadowrun background. At the first few sessions Fate flowed like water- many compels, many of them promoted by the players, and many uses of aspects. This has slowed quite a bit lately. When I asked the players why, they answered that "They just screw us up too much, they are not worth the single fate point". Which upon reflection, is somewhat true. The last compels triggered big complications, which messed up the party's time considerably. I just thought they would be more fun, more interesting.
    To be honest, complications from compels ought to add to the story. They should inherently lead to something interesting--especially interesting things the players might otherwise have missed. Sometimes interesting means dangerous, other times it just means complicated or ethically questionable. For example, a compel on a character's aspects can be more than just an excuse to start a random fight--it can also cause a character to realize that the person they've been working for might have some unpleasant ulterior motives, or offer the character an obvious way to profit from betraying an ally. The compel doesn't even have to be about an action--the compel can just be an excuse to make the player brutally aware of an unpleasant truth they've been missing.

    Often times, the best compels are a double-edged sword. They offer additional details and long-term options; at the same time that they throw up challenges and barriers to progress in the short-term.

    So I come to ask you veteran players and GMs of FATE- how to you gauge how a compel is worth it?
    "Does this compel advance the story, or am I invoking it just because I need filler content for the night or think it would be funny? If the latter, it is not worth it."

    So any advice is welcome really, thanks! (It was my impression that the fate point economy drives the game.)
    This is really by far the hardest part of GMing Fate. Building scenes and providing scenario aspects and such is the easy part--figuring out when and how to compel properly is very hard.

    But yes, the fate point economy really should be a big driver for the game. If your players are walking around with so many fate points they don't need to think about it before refusing a compel (which they have to spend a fate point to refuse, mind you), you probably need to crank up the difficulty. Characters should rarely end a session with more than they start with--and when they do end a session with more than they start with, it ought to be because that session moved their personal story forward a lot.
    Last edited by CombatOwl; 2013-09-25 at 05:22 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    It does strike me as weird that someone would take an "I'm feared" aspect and then be surprised that a town would show up in a mob when he turned up. Kind of like the person that wants to play an orc, but gets surprised when the towns don't want him there. But that would also depend on how violence-oriented the mob was, I suppose. "A bunch of people show up, armed, and point at you saying 'we don't like his kind here'" feels a lot different than "a bunch of townsfolk show up and start shooting at you."
    It was the first option, but I think they firugred it was the second somehow, as the guy grabbed the gal andthe just started running. (Good chase scene though!) I think the problem was not exactly with the mob, but with him thinking he must hide for the rest of the time in town. I tried to nudge them that this could be sovled (till I solvedit for them) but it kinda sucked till it happened.

    I think that, in general, the compels feel about right for compels, but the scope of the negative thing needs to be watched, maybe? The "what a mess I get myself into" compel definitely feels right, given the situation, but again, it might be the scope of the "bad thing" that needs to be looked at.

    In those situations, was it the basic Compel that they reacted poorly to, or the extremity of the consequence?
    That's my problem, the scope of things, but I think the thread helped me there. They just thought the penalty was way too much.

    I also agree that for the second one, each appearance of the assassin would likely count as a separate compel. Though "few friends, many enemies" to "assassin" is a bit of a potential stretch - I'd be more likely to compel that one by having key NPCs already dislike him.
    The idea was that he has some enemy that wants him dead. Part of the stuff was that he didn't know WHO. But yeah, I get what you're meaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by CombatOwl View Post
    Often times, the best compels are a double-edged sword. They offer additional details and long-term options; at the same time that they throw up challenges and barriers to progress in the short-term.
    I try to do this with my compels, succeeding at times, but this is with the compels I think of before the session. I don't always come up with good ones on the spot.

    "Does this compel advance the story, or am I invoking it just because I need filler content for the night or think it would be funny? If the latter, it is not worth it."
    That is what I was aiming at, but apparently I went to far... with the severity of the compels. TYhat is what I sought advice upon mostly.


    Thanks Kyoryu, Combat Owl!

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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    I have a question. Shouldn't these types of threads go into the "other games" subsection? Since this is specifically about FATE and that's what the "other games" is all about, why is it here?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Yes, another poster notified me of this, and I won't post anymore. I don't know how to move these however...
    I apologize for that, I thought this was the right place. I'll be good now.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2013-09-26 at 05:34 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [FATE] Other type of Compels: When do they add to the game, when are they too muc

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Yes, another poster notified me of this, and I won't post anymore. I don't know how to move these however...
    I apologize for that, I thought this was the right place. I'll be good now.
    Don't worry. It's easy to get confused around here. Hopefully there'll be enough FATE-interested people looking at the other systems forum too. I haven't had the opportunity to try it out yet so I can't really add to the discussion at hand!

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