Aspects and fate points

Characters also have a set of attributes called aspects. Aspects cover a wide range of elements and should collectively paint a picture of who the character is, what he’s connected to, and what’s important to him (in contrast to the “what can he do” of skills). Aspects are generated from your Background. Aspects can be relationships, beliefs, catchphrases, descriptors, items or pretty much anything else that paints a picture of the character. Some possible aspects are shown here.

An aspect can be used to give you a bonus when it applies to a situation. Doing this requires spending a fate point (see below). In this capacity, called invoking an aspect, it makes the character better at whatever it is he’s doing, because the aspect in some way applies to the situation (such as “Dapper” when trying to charm a lady).

An aspect can also allow you to gain more fate points, by bringing complications and troubling circumstances into the character’s life. Whenever you end up in a situation where your aspect could cause you trouble (such as “Stubborn” when trying to be diplomatic), you can mention it to the GM in the same way you mention an aspect that might help you. Alternately, the GM may initiate this event if one of your aspects seems particularly apt. In either of these two cases, this is called compelling an aspect, and its effect is that your character’s choices are limited in some way. If the GM initiates or agrees to compel the aspect, you may get one or more fate points, depending on how it plays out.

Fate Points

Every player begins the first session of the game with a number of fate points (FP) equal to how many aspects he has, usually ten. Fate points give players the ability to take a little bit of control over the game, either by giving their character bonuses when they feel they need them, or by taking over a small part of the story. Fate points are best represented by some
non-edible token, such as glass beads or poker chips. (Previous experiments with small edible candies have left players strapped for points!) Characters may, at any point, spend a fate point to gain a bonus, invoke an aspect, tag an aspect, make a declaration, or fuel a stunt.
Gain a Bonus – A fate point can be spent to add 1 to any roll of the dice, or improve any effort (such as an attack or defense) by 1. In practice, this is the least potent way to use a fate point – you’re usually much better off using one of the other applications, below. (Most games get rid of this rule once their players get comfortable using aspects; you can, too.)

Invoke an Aspect – Aspects (see above, page 9) are those things that really describe a character and his place in the story. When you have an aspect that’s applicable to a situation, it can be invoked to grant a bonus. After you have rolled the dice, you may pick one of your aspects and describe how it applies to this situation. If the GM agrees that it’s appropriate, you may spend a fate point and do one of the following:

1. Reroll, using the new result, or
2. Add two to the final die roll (after any rerolls have been done)

You may do this multiple times for a single situation as long as you have multiple aspects that are applicable. You cannot use the same aspect more than once on the same skill use, though you may use the same aspect on several different rolls throughout a scene, at the cost of one fate point per use.

Tag an Aspect – Scenes, other characters, locations, and other things of dramatic importance can have aspects. Sometimes they’re obvious, and sometimes they’re less so. Players can spend a fate point to invoke an aspect which is not on their own character sheet, if they know what the aspect is. This is referred to as tagging an aspect, and is covered in greater detail in the Aspects chapter.
As a rule of thumb, tagging someone or something else’s aspects requires a little more justification than invoking one of your own aspects. For scene aspects, it should be some way to really bring in the visual or theme that the aspect suggests. For aspects on opponents, the player needs to know about the aspect in the first place, and then play to it.

Power a Stunt – this is simply doing something you already can do better. using a FP in this way IS part of being a Hero. but be careful failing Stunts are also awesome failures.

Make a Declaration – You may simply lay down a fate point and declare something. If the GM accepts it, it will be true. This gives the player the ability to do small things in a story that would usually be something only the GM could do. Usually, these things can’t be used to drastically change the plot or win a scene. Declaring “Doctor Keiser drops dead of a heart attack” is not only likely to be rejected by the GM, it wouldn’t even be that much fun to begin
with. What this can be very useful for is convenient coincidences. Does your character need a lighter (but doesn’t smoke)? Spend a fate point and you’ve got one! Is there an interesting scene happening over there that your character might miss? Spend a fate point to declare you arrive at a dramatically appropriate moment!

Your GM has veto power over this use, but it has one dirty little secret. If you use it to do something to make the game cooler for everyone, the GM will usually grant far more leeway than she will for something boring or, worse, selfish. As a general rule, you’ll get a lot more leniency from the GM if you make a declaration that is in keeping with one or more of your aspects. For example, the GM will usually balk at letting a character spend a fate point to have a weapon after he’s been searched. However, if you can point to your “Always Armed” aspect, or describe how your “Distracting Beauty” aspect kept the guard’s attention on inappropriate areas, the GM is likely to give you more leeway. In a way, this is much like invoking an aspect, but without a die roll.

Aspects and fate points

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