Metacurrency is a type of player resource that is spent and exchanged at the player level without any kind of resource exchange manifesting in the game world. It is distinct both from in-game resources (such as ammunition or gold coins) and from mechanical abstractions of fictional events (such as hit points as an abstraction of character health, or strings as an abstraction of social leverage). Because metacurrency is exchanged at a player level only, it is usually used to regulate out-of-fiction concerns, such as rotating spotlight, maintaining balance, and rewarding genre emulation and other desired forms of roleplay.
They are many different names for types of metacurrency, often chosen to reinforce the themes of the particular game they appear in. Example names for metacurrencies include fate points, plot points, hero points, story points, bennies, momentum, glory, and inspiration. Some games use multiple types of metacurrency for different effects - a common example is for the players and the GM to use distinct forms of metacurrency that are earned and spent in different ways.
Common ways for metacurrency to be earned include roleplaying character flaws, accepting dramatic interference by another player, choosing to fail, and accomplishing personal or party objectives. Common ways for metacurrency to be spent include favorable difficulty modifiers, activation of special abilities, and extension of authorial privilege.
It is rare for players to be forced to lose metacurrency in the middle of a session, but losses are sometimes enforced as a penalty for actions that contrast sharply with the expected actions of player characters in that setting. More commonly, players may lose any metacurrency that remains unspent at the end of a session.