Over the last years or so, I’ve been playing Smallville & Technoir, which have interesting coin economies. Smallville’s Plot Points are infinite from the perspective of the GM, but when people get them, they aren’t immediately available–which is key to making the PvP elements sing. Technoir’s Push Dice is a table-wide closed system, where spending it means it goes to the person affected–player or GM–for them to use in the future. And that makes me think about one way to tweak Fate Points.
Fate Points as Closed Economy
Imagine if, when a game starts, the PCs have their refresh in Fate Points, and the GM has none to use. At the players spend Fate, the GM keeps them (unless you’re talking PvP, in which case the affected player keeps them instead). Later, the GM can use those Fate Points to compel the PCs or invoke aspects for her NPCs. This tackles one common question about Fate: does the GM have any?
Because the GM has none to start, she cannot right away compels. If that’s not desired, either the GM should start with a couple, or some compels (perhaps all) should come from the ether rather than from her pool. This means it’s no longer a closed economy, but semi-closed.
Similarly, the refresh mechanic at the start of a session or crucial point makes the economy semi-closed, since if you have more than your refresh in Fate Points, you keep all you have. Not sure how I’d want to tackle that inflation, but it’s something to consider.
Fate Points Delayed
Fate Points that you gain are not immediately available, but become available after the current conflict or scene. This is a necessary component for a closed system to work; otherwise, you can keep something going by throwing Fate Points freely back and forth.
Now, this isn’t something for every Fate game. My gut says (as I just thought of this and haven’t tried it) that this will be a somewhat grittier game.
What do you think?