The Nature Of Aspects

Categories of aspects

Partially excerpted from Lenny's FATE/PDQ doc:

An aspect usually falls into one or more of the following categories:

  • Description – Defines something unique about the character, be they personal qualities, beliefs, experiences, flaws, or whatever. (“Strong as an Ox”, “Follows the Pirate’s Code”, “Seen Too Many Wars”)
  • Connection – Defines something external in the game world the character is connected to, be it a person, group, favored possession, or even an idea or concept that other people also connect to. This connection can be positive or negative. (“The Order of the Blue Bonnet”, “Lucas, My Brother and Archenemy”, “My Father’s Old Knife”)
  • Story – Suggests the origin for stories involving the character, describing elements from the game world and the character’s life that may create drama. Usually synonymous with connection aspects, but not always. (“The Richenkopf Incident”, “Hunted by the Mob”, “Missing Sister”)
  • Situation – Suggests the kinds of things that tend to happen to the character, situations that the character commonly gets involved in or that routinely come up. Usually synonymous with description aspects, but not always. (“Always in the Nick of Time”, “Brunt of a Joke”, “Unlucky in Love”)

SRD References: Description (phrase)/Connection (person/prop) Story/Situation

In practice, these categories are not hard and fast ones - it's more than likely that an aspect will suggest more than one. "Missing Sister", for example, is both a connection and a story aspect, really. The categories are presented in the above format mainly for use in helping to break mental blocks.

Fate Point Lenses

(From Rob's post about 'upcoming FATE changes'

Part of the idea was to combine the things we thought were cool about Fate points with what we knew was cool about Aspects, and I end up thinking of the end result as having aspects which work like fate point lenses. Fate points can still do all the things they used to be able to do, but if a fate point is used in conjunction with an aspect, it's more potent. In pure mechanical terms, we're looking at the practical difference between a +1 and a +2, but the same thinking applies to the more ephemeral uses.

Notably, the Fate Point ability to be spent to create coincidences can now be used with an aspect. Previously, when you got to a new town, you could spend a fate point and say to the GM "I know a guy
here" and have it be true, though the nature of the relationship was subject to GM whim, and the importance of the relationship was likely fairly low. Now, if you walk into a town and spend a fate point and
invoke your "Shady Contacts" aspect and say "I know a guy here" then that fact has more narrative "weight" - the nature of the relationship is implied in the aspect, and it's likely a more signifigant or useful relationship. You can still spend a fate point the old way (if, for example, you want to know someone who's not shady) but it won't have quite as much punch.

So, bottom line is that Fate points are as good as they've always been, but a fate point + an aspect is _better_, so there is incentive to go with an aspect whenever you can, and fall back to a raw fate point when you can't. Since that encourages _more_ aspect use, we kind of see it as a desirable outcome.

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