For the most part, the use of aspects revolves around fate points. You indicate your supply of fate points by using tokens, such as poker chips, glass beads, or other markers.
Ideally, you want a consistent ebb and flow of fate points going on throughout your sessions. Players spend them in order to be awesome in a crucial moment, and they get them back when their lives get dramatic and complicated. So if your fate points are flowing the way they’re supposed to, you’ll end up with these cycles of triumphs and setbacks that make for a fun and interesting story.
Here’s how that works.
Each player gets a number of fate points to start each session (on Inheritance Gambit, each ‘session’ is one week long) off with. That total is called the refresh rate. On Inheritance Gambit, the refresh for a starting character is ten fate points but you can opt to spend up to nine of your refresh to buy stunts and extras.
You get additional refresh as your character achieves a major milestone (which we discuss in The Long Game), which you can spend on getting more stunts or keep in order to increase your starting fate point total. You can never have less than one refresh at any time.
You might end a session of play with more fate points than your actual refresh. If that happens, you don’t lose the additional points when you start the next session, but you don’t gain any either. At the start of a new scenario, you reset your fate points to your refresh rate no matter what.
Spending Fate Points
You spend fate points in any of the following ways:
- Invoke an Aspect: Invoking an aspect costs you one fate point, unless the invocation is free.
- Power a Stunt: Some stunts are very potent, and as such, cost a fate point in order to activate.
- Refuse a Compel: Once a compel is proposed, you can pay a fate point to avoid the complication associated with it.
- Declare a Story Detail: To add something to the narrative based on one of your aspects, spend a fate point.
Earning Fate Points
You earn fate points in any of the following ways:
- Accept a Compel: You get a fate point when you agree to the complication associated with a compel. As we said above, this may sometimes happen retroactively if the circumstances warrant.
- Have Your Aspects Invoked Against You: If someone pays a fate point to invoke an aspect attached to your character, you gain their fate point at the end of the scene. This includes advantages created on your character, as well as consequences.
- Concede in a Conflict: You receive one fate point for conceding in a conflict, as well as an additional fate point for each consequence that you’ve received in that conflict. (This isn’t the same as being taken out in a conflict, by the way, but we’ll get into that later.)
The GM and Fate Points
GMs, you also get to use fate points, but the rules are a little bit different than the rules for players.
When you award players fate points for compels or concession, they come out of an unlimited pool you have for doing so—you don’t have to worry about running out of fate points to award, and you always get to compel for free.
The NPCs under your control are not so lucky. They have a limited pool of fate points you get to use on their behalf. Whenever a scene starts, you get one fate point for every PC in that scene. You can use these points on behalf of any NPC you want, but you can get more in that scene if they take a compel, like PCs do.
You reset to your default total, one per PC, at the beginning of every scene.
There are two exceptions:
- You accepted a compel that effectively ended the last scene or starts the next one. If that happens, take an extra fate point in the next scene.
- You conceded a conflict to the PCs in the previous scene. If that happens, take the fate points you’d normally get for the concession into the next scene and add them to the default total.
If the immediate next scene doesn’t present a significant interaction with NPCs, you can save these extra points until the next scene that does.