Aspects

An aspect is a word or phrase that describes something special about a person, place, thing, situation, or group. Almost anything you can think of can have aspects. A person might be the Greatest Swordswoman on the Cloud Sea. A room might be On Fire after you knock over an oil lamp. After a time-travel encounter with a dinosaur, you might be Terrified.

Aspects establish facts in the game. You don’t have to spend any fate points, roll dice, or anything to make this happen—just by virtue of having the aspect Starship Captain of the Poindexter's Pride, you’ve established that starship captaining is a legitimate profession in the world and that your character is a starship captain in command of the Poindexter's Pride. Having the aspect Mortal Enemy: The Red Sashes establishes that the setting has an organization called the Red Sashes and that they’re after you for some reason.

When you establish facts of the setting this way, make sure you do it in cooperation with other players. If most people want to play in a setting without space travel, you shouldn’t unilaterally bring it into the game through an aspect. Make sure that the facts you establish through your aspects make the game fun for everyone.

What Kinds of Aspects Are There?

There’s an endless variety of aspects, but no matter what they’re called they all work pretty much the same way. The main difference is how long they stick around before going away.

Character Aspects

These aspects are on your character sheet, such as your high concept and trouble. They describe personality traits, important details about your past, relationships you have with others, important items or titles you possess, problems you’re dealing with or goals you’re working toward, or reputations and obligations you carry. These aspects only change under very unusual circumstances; most never will.

  • Examples: Captain of the Skyship Nimbus; On the Run From the Knights of the Circle; Attention to Detail; I Must Protect My Brother

Situation Aspects

These aspects describe the surroundings that the action is taking place in. This includes aspects you create or discover using the create an advantage action. A situation aspect usually vanishes at the end of the scene it was part of, or when someone takes some action that would change or get rid of it. Essentially, they last only as long as the situational element they represent lasts.

  • Examples: On Fire; Bright Sunlight; Crowd of Angry People; Knocked to the Ground

To get rid of a situation aspect, you can attempt an overcome action to eliminate it, provided you can think of a way your character could accomplish it—dump a bucket of water on the Raging Fire, use evasive maneuvers to escape the enemy fighter that’s On Your Tail. An opponent may use a Defend action to try to preserve the aspect, if they can describe how they do it.

Consequences

These aspects represent injuries or other lasting trauma that happen when you get hit by attacks. They go away slowly, as described in Damage and Recovery.

  • Examples: Sprained Ankle; Fear of Spiders; Concussion; Debilitating Self-Doubt

Boosts

A boost is a temporary aspect that you get to use once, then it vanishes. Unused boosts vanish when the scene they were created in is over or when the advantage they represent no longer exists. These represent very brief and fleeting advantages you get in conflicts with others.

  • Examples: In My Sights; Distracted; Unstable Footing; Rock in His Boot

PVP

The only time that fate point might not go to the Narrator is when you’re in conflict with another player. If you are, and you invoke one of that player’s character aspects to help you out against them, they will get the fate point instead of the Narrator once the scene is over.

Composing Good Aspects

When you need to think of a good aspect (we’re mainly talking about character and situation aspects here), think about two things:

How the aspect might help you—when you’d invoke it.

How it might hurt you—when it would be compelled against you.

For example:

I’ll Get You, von Stendahl!

Invoke this when acting against von Stendahl to improve your chances.

Get a fate point when your dislike for von Stendahl makes you do something foolish to try to get him.

Hair Trigger Nerves

Invoke this when being extra vigilant and careful would help you.

Get a fate point when this causes you to be jumpy and be distracted by threats that aren’t really there.

Obviously, your trouble aspect is supposed to cause problems—and thereby make your character’s life more interesting and get you fate points—so it’s okay if that one’s a little more one-dimensional, but other character and situation aspects should be double-edged.