All characters have aspects. They represent the things you see as important aspects about them, and the things you want to come up in play. An aspect can be a short phrase, or just a single adjective, but should always be colourful; think of them as painting a picture of your character.
A beginning character has eight aspects, two associated with each of the four phases of your character story. Not every person or event in the back-story needs to become an aspect; this is where you pick and choose which ones are going to be important to you.
At least one of your templates needs to associated with an aspect as well; choose whichever one is the most important for your character concept, although there’s nothing to stop you from associating aspects with more than one.
An aspect can be anything you like, but these sorts of things are common kinds of aspects:
- Your position in society, which gives social standing but also requires duties and responsibilities.
- Your beliefs, goals or motivations.
- A strong personality trait or physical characteristic.
- Your relationship with a person, be it ally, dependent, patron or enemy.
- A key event in your back-story.
- The sort of situation you keep finding yourself in.
Some players or groups feel more comfortable with aspects that represent something concrete about the character and their place within the setting, while others players are prefer to extend aspects to cover things that are far more abstract and conceptual.
Aspects aren’t purely descriptive; they’re also an important game mechanic too. You can invoke an aspect for a bonus whenever you attempt to do something for which that aspect might be a benefit; for example, an aspect that implies physical power might help in an attempt to intimidate a foe. Such use of an Aspect requires the expenditure of a FATE point.
The GM can also compel your Aspects, either by using it against you to give an opponent a bonus, or simply to add a complication to the story. Whenever this happens, you gain a FATE point which you can later spend.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, your list of aspects should include as at least as many seemingly negative aspects as purely positive ones, because Aspects generate FATE points whenever they get compelled. The best Aspects are often double-edged ones; you can both invoke them for bonuses and earn FATE points from them. And perhaps most importantly of all, they’re powerful signals to the GM as to what you want the story to be about.
Resist the temptation to take boring ones like “strong” or “intelligent”. Not only can’t you earn FATE points from them, but they also lack flavour. Think of something like “Built like an ulsoghir” or “Ivory-towered academic” instead.
These following are intended as examples to demonstrate the sort of things that make good Aspects, and how they might be used in play.
Human Apprentice of the Academy of the Mind
If you’re taken this aspect, you’re probably got some psionic powers, and you can obviously invoke the aspect when using them. But this one is going to get a lot of of compels – An apprentice tend to get ordered around a lot, and a human one will certainly make a few enemies amongst the more prejudiced kandar.
Sworn Enemy of The Right Hand of Vandrak
Somewhere, you’ve got on the wrong side of a shadowy group calling themselves The Right Hand of Vandrak. Exactly how this happened, or indeed who this group are or what they want should be part of your character story, and taking this as an Aspect establishes the group as something that’s going to be an important part of the game. You can invoke this Aspect whenever you’re engaged in a conflict with the group or one of their members. But the GM can compel the aspect whenever Right Hand turn up and cause trouble for you.
Veteran of the Battle of Rowsta Canyon
Taking this aspect establishes the battle as part of the recent history of Kalyr. Again, whatever happened ought to be an important part of your character’s story. You might invoke in encounters with former comrades, or simply to use a skill you might have learned in that campaign. The GM will of course be expected to compel it as well; perhaps one of those comrades comes to you for aid, or you wake up in the night screaming with flashbacks…
In Love with Usala d’n Talne
Pretty self-explanatory what this means, apart from establishing Usala as a significant character in the game – You can invoke this when you do just about anything with the intention of winning her love. But any GM worth his or her salt ought to have no difficulty thinking of situations for compels.
Collateral Damage Woman
Innocents who get between you and your enemies need to watch their backs. You could invoke this whenever you really don’t care what happens to bystanders in combat. But this is the sort of thing which can easily come back to bite you, which is when the GM is going to compel.