(This is my third basic FATE Tutorial, you can find the second here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100212613856984996154/posts/6ha7K19Fw9N

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FATE TUTORIAL 3: Aspects and FATE Points Part 1

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(NOTE: Things are bound to get a little different as far as the specific games of FATE, though most of the general assumptions will be the same throughout all FATE products. When something is different, I’ll be defaulting to the way it is presented in the Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, the FATE title I am most familiar with. I’d love to hear how other titles do things, if you want to share in the comments!)

(NOTE 2: Part 2 of this tutorial will be the first interactive FATE tutorial! The comments of Part 2 will influence the next Tutorial’s fiction.)

Last time we spoke, it was about the Ladder and how troublesome it can be to reach its lofty heights when our maximum ability tops off at Superb (+5), and it goes to Legendary (+8) and beyond. With tasks that sometimes require a difficulty two and three Shifts higher up the aforementioned Ladder than than +5 has a reasonable hope of reaching, how do we perform Legendary (+8) feats of daring-do? 

Easy! Aspects.

Aspects at their most basic are a short phrase or description that covers a huge berth of what our characters are. 

It can be a core concept (Daughter of A Ruthless Hitman) or important quirk (Never Leaves a Door Open), even an item (Mom’s Service Revolver) or event (Saw My Best Friend Get Eaten). While most FATE games will have some requirements/restrictions on what you can list as an Aspect (generally by genre, or some quirk of character creation), they’re still incredibly open. There’s really no end to the variety of Aspects, and we’ll have a bunch of them in any given game. For example, In the Dresden Files Roleplaying Game we have 7 Aspects at any point in our character’s lives.

But Aspects aren’t just for characters. Scenes have Aspects. Places have Aspects. Aspects can appear, disappear, change and re-appear. Did we light a room on fire? It probably has the Aspect OMG FIRE EVERYWHERE. Did we take a blow to the face? We might have the Aspect Dazed and Dizzy. Walking into an old warehouse? It’s Falling Down Around Us!.

We can even make Aspects for other people, things and places ourselves. We can inflict them on our foes. We can use other people’s Aspects against them, and lend the Aspects we make to our allies! There are four typical ways to reveal and create Aspects on the fly: Maneuvers, Assessments, Declarations and Consequences

A Maneuver is an action that creates a temporary Aspect related to what we’re doing at the time. If we take our turn to duck behind the safety of a crate, we might gain the Aspect Really Poor Cover. If we take a moment looking for a potential date, we might get the stalkery Aspect On the Prowl.

Making an Assessment is an action that lets us discover an Aspect that already exists on a person, a thing, or the scene itself. We can spend a turn watching our opponent or surveying a situation to learn about an Aspect we might not otherwise know. It’s generally a pretty simple roll! But if we want to, we can even guess outright and if correct there’s no roll! If we’re in a refrigerated meat locker, we might guess is has the Aspect Chill You To Your Bones. We don’t need to be exact, just aim close enough to the spirit of the Aspect that the Game Master is okay fudging it a little.

Number three is a little trickier. Making a Declaration lets us make up an Aspect. This can include details that the GM wasn’t even considering. We can declare, for example, that the room our enemy is fleeing has floors that are Slippery When Wet making it easier for us to catch her. We can declare the bat we’re using to defend ourselves from a vampire is Made from Anointed Oak. Or the drink we bought a prospective mate just happens to be His Favorite Vodka. Declarations are a lot like Manuevers in that the Aspects only last a moment, but they let the player directly add details to the game, letting them borrow the role of GM for a short moment.

Lastly, there are Consequences. We won’t go into the details here, but Consequences represent the harm resulting from the kinds of conflict you can get into in FATE. Whenever we take or deal a Consequence it creates a negative Aspect. If we get beaten up pretty thoroughly we might end up with Ribs Poking Through. If we’re humiliated by our failed attempt to seduce a handsome figure, we might have Can’t Stop Blushing. On the other hand, if our psychic attack is incredibly effective our foe might have the Aspect Unable to Concentrate

But how do these phrases, quirks, environmental hazards, and seemingly infinite possible descriptions help us improve our chances of performing those Legendary (+8) acts? 

Find out tomorrow, with FATE TUTORIAL 3: Aspects and FATE Points Part 2!
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