What is an Aspect

Before I go any farther on my DFPRG game I am running, two people sent me emails asking what Aspects are.  So, I wrote up a post about them. 

The main character attributes in DFRPG are called aspects. This is something that the Fate games do to create characters, such as Spirit of the Century.   Instead of having a strength, dexterity, or any other type of typical game attribute, you will have aspects.  Aspects basically help the player define everything that is important to your character and what makes them unique to each player.  Aspects can be anything from catchphrases, beliefs, items, descriptions, relationships, or anything else you can think of that helps describe the type of character you want to play.   

Examples.  I tried to use some from my game or previous SOTC games.

  • Beliefs: Good shall overcome, United we stand
  • Phrases: “I see magic”, “We can build it we have the technology”
  • Descriptors: Thirst for knowledge, Eerily beautiful, Stubborn to a fault, Sometimes a little drunk
  • Items: Sword of the Cross, my favorite gun Vera, Yoke of the tyrant
  • Relationships:  Necromancer’s apprentice, Tyranthraxus' bitch, Unrequited love
  • Others: Calling in a favor, Alone in the World, Strange world, Incompetent ally, Nick of time, Wrong place right time, Shoot first ask questions later, In over my head,
  • Scene aspects. Crowded, Shadows abound, Compact, On fire
How this works in the games is that you use Aspects to gain or spend fate points for your character.  Fate points are used to give your character a bonus, and you earn them when the aspects make your life a living hell and cause complications for your character.  Here is how they are used:

Invocation. You can spend a fate point and then describe how one of your aspects is relevant to this situation, and either get to re-roll the dice, or get a +2 bones.  Example.  Your character was attacked by a Red Court Vampire and you are fighting for your life.  You make a defense roll, which you fail miserably.  You could then invoke your “In over my head” aspect and re-roll the dice.  It is relevant since you are fighting a freaking vampire.  

Invoking for effect.  You can spend a fate point to describe how one of your character’s aspects allow you to make a declaration.  Example.  Your character is in his office, and he can hear something monstrous breaking through the front door.  Alas, you are not armed.  You could spend a fate point and use the aspect “My favorite fun Vera”, to say that you always hid the gun in the closet in that room.  Since you spent the point, this is now true.  Now you at least have a gun and you turn to fight whatever is coming through the door.

Compel.  This is my favorite.  The Gm’s job is…well to make your characters life miserable, right?  The GM can (and should) use your aspects to put you at a disadvantage.  Well, when this happens in DFRPG, you can either receive a fate point (for accepting the complication), or you have to spend a fate point (to avoid the complication). Example.  Your group is searching Central Park for signs of a raging Lycanthrope that was spotted attacking mortals.  The GM then offers your character a compel on “Alone in the world” aspect, saying that you found the Lycanthrope, but you are all by yourself.  Oh and it is attacking you.  You accept the complication and you gain a fate point.  Or you could have said no, stating that you did not want to leave the group.  But if you do that, YOU lose one of your fate points.  

Another thing that is great about compels?  It allows the character to compel themselves.  I know this sounds funny at first, but let me tell you something…when players learn how to do this, it is golden.  It allows the characters to take the game in a direction they want it to go.  Example.  Your character just got back home after fighting an ogre.  You decide it is time for you to move the story to something you want.  You compel your “Slow-burn of vengeance” aspect and state that when you got home, there was an envelope taped to your door.  Inside the envelope was a picture of your sister and a tape piece of her hair.  Now, you have to rescue your sister and man does this complicate your life.  You get a fate point (in my own game, I may even give you two for something like this).  

Tag.  On any aspect you create or discover in a scene, you (or another player) get the first invocation for free (without spending any fate points). After that, it costs one fate point for every time you tag that particular aspect.  Example.  Your character is trying to break into a warehouse because your contacts told you there is a shipment of Third Eye located there.  You decide to make an assessment roll to see if you can find a weakness in the warehouse you can exploit.  You make the roll (using your burglary skill), and you find out there are “lazy security guards” on the premises.  This immediately becomes a scene aspect.  Then as your character attempts to break into the warehouse, you can tag the “lazy security guards” aspect once for free.  But every time after that, you have to pay the normal price of one fate point per tag.  As I said, the nice thing about this is anyone in the party can tag that aspect the first time for free.  This really gets helpful in combat.  

In DFPRG the two most important aspects are High Concept and Trouble.  High Concept is basically what your character is.  Example.  Taoist wizard of the Sun Family, Werewolf Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, and Dedicated Zengo  

Trouble is what will always be standing in your characters way.  It is always there and it will always bring your character conflict. Example.  Slow-burn of vengeance, Troubled vision, or Chosen Child.  

At the start of the game, each character has five aspects.  It is best to try to get as many different types of aspect as you can, especially those that you can both invoke and compel.

No comments:

Post a Comment