Fate points and critical hits

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makrellen
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:01 am

Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:27 am

So after playing 1st and 2nd ed for many years I recently realized something about Fate points that has bugged me at the back of my brain...

I have always ruled that players could use a Fate point to avoid death. As in - if you get hit by a critical hit then you resolve it and if it means death then you pay a Fate point and don't die. But the result of the critical hit is unavoidable.

So as an example: You loose your hand to a critical hit and roll on the sudden death chart every round. If you die due bleeding - then you spend your Fate point and live but have still lost your hand.

Now the problem with that is that it penalizes players that roll lower than those that roll high! So if you roll very high on the critical hit chart and loose your head - then you pay a Fate point and obviously it didn't happen. But if you loose your leg, survive the bleeding and a surgeon fumbles on this roll while trying to heal the wound - then you pay a Fate point and still miss a limb.

So how are your guys handling this?
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Hyarion
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:50 am

I've seen this handled in two ways.
1) That's just the luck of the dice. You can get a peg leg or an artificial hand/hook, but them's the breaks.
2) The Fate Point doesn't just avoid death, it avoids the cause of death. So in this case, it would mean that you are still reduced to zero wounds and knocked unconcious but don't suffer the critical wound that took the leg, perhaps.
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Chuck
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:58 am

In my games spending a Fate Point voids the roll and PCs are simply knocked out or otherwise taken out of action. Players are required to create some reason why they avoided the death blow -- slipped on a rock, a miraculous bird flew by at just the right moment, the sun reflected off armor at just the right angle, etc etc -- and it's got to be a different one each time.
Graak
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Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:09 pm

I've played wfrp since 2006. I've always seen PCs killed by 9+ critics of more rarely blood loss, but the blood loss critics with no loss of any body part...

I know, it seems impossible :D

I never decided what I was going to do with critics that take apart body parts. Probably today I would go with "PC is down, alive but unconscious, no body parts lost".
Ralph
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:29 am

I've always encouraged my players to use Fate Points as a storytelling device. I rarely provide them with new ones, so I allow spending one to have a massive effect. In combat, it means it does not only cancel out the original action that killed a character somehow, but can be used to create a "great, heroic" moment. Sometimes they will use their points to save another PC who doesn't have one anymore, and they can create a great "rescue" scene. Once a player used one point to send an amazing prayer to the gods to please save a friend from dying. Once a player caught a throwing knife in the air that was on its way to hit another PC in the head. One player used it for some heroic swashbuckling action. Since there aren't that many points to spend, they don't ruin the general mood of dark, grim peril, but provide some of the rare moments of light. Fate Points can have strong narrative potential when unchained from the rules.
makrellen
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:59 am

Graak wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:09 pm
I've played wfrp since 2006. I've always seen PCs killed by 9+ critics of more rarely blood loss, but the blood loss critics with no loss of any body part...

I know, it seems impossible :D

I never decided what I was going to do with critics that take apart body parts. Probably today I would go with "PC is down, alive but unconscious, no body parts lost".
Actually - if you use the original rules from 1st edition that is pretty much the norm. The reason is that the sudden death table is skewed towards death - already at +1 critical you only have a 50 % chance of surviving.

The GM screen that GW produced for 1st ed had a different sudden death table (only 20 % chance of dying at +1 critical) but oddly enough that never made it through to the Hogshead version of 1st ed as far as I can tell.
Graak
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:11 am

makrellen wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:59 am
...
Actually - if you use the original rules from 1st edition that is pretty much the norm.
I realized this was a 1st edition topic :D
I played 2nd...sorry.

Hiwever my approach would be the one I've described: PC down, alive unconscious with all his body parts attached.
makrellen
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:38 am

Chuck wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:58 am
In my games spending a Fate Point voids the roll and PCs are simply knocked out or otherwise taken out of action. Players are required to create some reason why they avoided the death blow -- slipped on a rock, a miraculous bird flew by at just the right moment, the sun reflected off armor at just the right angle, etc etc -- and it's got to be a different one each time.
Yeah - I did that earlier in a 2nd ed game. But returning to 1st ed I want to move more towards the brutal side of things :twisted:
Last edited by makrellen on Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
makrellen
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:41 am

Right now I am leaning towards keeping critical hits persistent but flatten out the critical curve (so that you get more critical hits that maim and cause bleeding but less sudden death) and making sure that characters don´t die from a butched surgery roll.

So essentially: You can´t avoid the effects of a critical hit but a Fate point will allow you to live (and keeping those insta-death criticals as a rare occurrence).
TheHistorian
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:35 pm

Ralph wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:29 am
I've always encouraged my players to use Fate Points as a storytelling device.
Indeed. As a tangent, I'll point out that nothing says fate points can only be used in combat.
CapnZapp
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Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:21 am

When a character spends a Fate point, the player makes a choice:
1) the character isn't killed, maimed (or whatever), but instead struck senseless. He or she will wake up after the combat is over, relatively safe. His friends (that did not spend Fate Points) might all be dead or captured, however. It is theoretically possible the character will still succumb to other wounds, the environment etc, but that has never happened.
2) the character simply avoids the blow. Combat continues as normal, the character can just as easily die from the next attack.

My players often choose #2 despite me advertising #1
Didz
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Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:40 am

I usually let the situation play out in full, and then allow the players to sacrifice Fate points to change the outcome for their character.

I've played systems where there were mechanics like 'Inspiration' that allowed players to spend points to change or influence outcomes in mid-flight, but I've never considered that to be the purpose of Fate Points. The basic approach I take is that a Fate Point can be sacrificed to keep your character in the game (not in the battle). It just means that players can discuss between themselves from a position on full knowledge whether they want to use one.

e.g. Your character is killed and the party is wiped, you have a Fate Point left, the others don't. Do you bother saving your character or let it go.

The problem I had with the 'Avoid the blow' approach is that I found players would behave differently depending how many FP's they had in their pocket, and then burn through them in the first few fights. By using them simply as resurrection tokens it kept the combat risk high, and limited the reliance on fate.
makrellen
Posts: 24
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Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:40 am

Didz wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:40 am
I usually let the situation play out in full, and then allow the players to sacrifice Fate points to change the outcome for their character.

I've played systems where there were mechanics like 'Inspiration' that allowed players to spend points to change or influence outcomes in mid-flight, but I've never considered that to be the purpose of Fate Points. The basic approach I take is that a Fate Point can be sacrificed to keep your character in the game (not in the battle). It just means that players can discuss between themselves from a position on full knowledge whether they want to use one.

e.g. Your character is killed and the party is wiped, you have a Fate Point left, the others don't. Do you bother saving your character or let it go.

The problem I had with the 'Avoid the blow' approach is that I found players would behave differently depending how many FP's they had in their pocket, and then burn through them in the first few fights. By using them simply as resurrection tokens it kept the combat risk high, and limited the reliance on fate.
That is a really good point about the behavior - I definitely want them to think about fate points as chosing between "a rock and a hard place " - ie. using a fate point means you survive but dying (and rolling up a new character) might be more attractive.

Thanks for the input!
Silverleaf
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Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:01 pm

I have always ruled that if a player chooses to use a Fate Point after a critical hit, then the roll is ignored. The character blacks out and I get to determine when/where the character is revived. When revived, characters have 1 Wound point and are considered lightly wounded. Typically, players choose to use an FP either before death or loss of a limb; so, minor critical wounds are often nullified at "recovery".
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