Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.
Refresh is a nice mechanic introduced in the DFRPG to manage FATE pools and allow players to make a conscious trade-off between being FATE-point heavy and Stunt heavy. FATE points allow a player to make some in-game choices to affect positive outcomes for their character: spend a FATE point and get a skill roll shift; spend a FATE point and frame a scene; spend a FATE point and invoke an Aspect to “do something cool.” FATE points give PCs command over their own narrative during the game time and the Refresh limit dictates the tradeoff between just-in-time FATE spends and always-on Stunts.
Stunts modify skills. For example, a high Endurance character might have SUPER TOUGHNESS or FAST HEAL. The player pays for this stunt out of their character’s refresh pool. In return for having, in essence, an always-on FATE point spend, the player spend a permanent point from their Refresh pool. If SUPER TOUGHNESS costs -1, the player has the Stunt and now a Refresh of CAP-1.
Magic is a Stunt. It modifies the Lore skill. How it modifies the Lore skill depends on the Magic and the Stunt. As all Stunts have a cost, Magic has a Refresh cost associated with it. Thus, for example, if White Stone Alchemy has a cost of -3, the player can use White Stone Alchemy, and all that entails, as a Stunt and has a Refresh of CAP-3.
Nephilim FATE uses the Submerged Template from DFRPG — 35 skill points, 10 Refresh. Magic-based stunts have a Refresh cost. The Alchemist above has a 7 Refresh pool and Alchemy. When the session ends or the GM decides the current story arc has wrapped, the player then fills the character’s Refresh pool up to a maximum of 7.
No Nephilim can go below 1 Refresh. Less than 1 Refresh represents a state of permanent Khaiba. The Nephililm pushed the boundaries of the forces with magic to a breaking point and no longer has any control of their self. The Strength Arcanum* hunts down and destroys these Nephilim as they pose a threat to the Nephilim community at large.
Nephilim do have a number of Stunts they can spend their Refresh on: circles of Magic, spells inscribed on their souls, and special Arcanum tricks. First, and foremost, though, is a conversation about the Refresh costs for magic and what buying those will get a character. The next series of posts will talk exclusively about purchasing magic and casting spells.
* A Nephilim Arcanum dedicated to an Anti-Khaiba stance.