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Author Topic: Fate - What are negative aspects good for?  (Read 4211 times)
iago
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« on: February 17, 2004, 09:17:22 AM »

Over on the Fate RPG thread, artofmagic brought up a new question about the game.  I'm going to respond to him here, since that thread was over a year dead at the time he responded, and I don't want to encourage "thread necromancy" on the Forge unless I'm clear it's okay to do so.

Quote from: artofmagic
Quote from: iago
At any rate, the basic idea here suggested that, since a character's flaws are often just as interesting if not more interesting than his capabilities, why not make it something the player has to buy, just like any "advantage"?

Interestingly, this perspective allows for a game world where a bumbling sidekick who is Clumsy, Slow-Witted, and a Trouble Magnet is "balanced" (dangerous word, I know!) with a hero who is Strong, Tough, and Brave -- in that they both have equivalent "story shares" to invest in each session.

Hope this came across as even vaguely coherent. :)


This... I ... cannot understand.

somebody mentioned about getting fudge points on aspects.

Nobilis I understand. You can get as many challenges as you like, and when ever they limit you somehow, you get Miracle points. (I guess fudge points work quite the same.)

But if you had to PAY for those challenges, I would wonder a lot.

I do not understand how to USE aspects.

You have an aspect "Weak Willed" and you get 4p of skills for a weak willed person. What ever those could be.


Off the top of my head -- Gambling (weak willed people may fail to resist opportunities to gamble, so there's your story explanation for that), Carousing (ditto with drinking), Begging/Wheedling (you gotta whine your way out of the situations you get into), Brownnosing (weak willed folks often end up in subservient positions), ... and I could probably list another eight or twelve given another ten minutes.

Quote
Then you can use aspect points to reroll fudge dice when ever "Weak Willed" could help you. When ever that could be?


Let's review -- aspects have both a voluntary (player-controlled) and involuntary (GM-controlled) invocation.  

Voluntary means you check off a box, and get a reroll of the dice.

Involuntary means the GM inflicts some circumstance upon you based on your aspect, and gives you a payout of Fate Points equivalent to your level in the aspect.

First off, truly, the Aspects that are most effective to take are the ones that clearly offer a two-edged sword -- things that easily present to you their invocation to reroll dice, and things that also easily present circumstances for the involuntary invocation for the Fate Points.

Some aspects are very strongly Involuntarily weighted -- you aren't going to get that many chances to check off boxes, but you do get scads of FPs as they come up over and over again.  I think Weak Willed is one such aspect.  And some aspects are very strongly Voluntarily weighted.  Consider "combat optimized" aspects like Swordsman.

When choosing your aspects, these are nuances that you should keep in mind.  Even with the weighting, though, there's often a flipside that could be used once in a while.  A Weak Willed person might use the aspect boxes to reroll on a Look Innocuous skill roll when someone has shown up angry and looking for the person in charge.  A Swordsman might get an involuntary invocation when someone shows up looking for a duel with the "best swordslinger in town".

Quote
What about Magical affinity? what if I wanted a game with different powers with greatly different power levels. I need affinities for them also? Could Pattern have minimum Aspect level of 5 and Sorcery minimum aspect of one?


You're talking specifically about an Amber implementation here.  In my game of Fate Amber, I had Pattern and Sorcery have the same number of aspect levels ... you don't always have to look at "superpower aspects" as indicative of the actual potency of the ability, but hey, I liked having Sorcery be able to work on par with Pattern -- when the circumstances were right.

Quote
By the way, from MURPG I learned this idea that perhaps limited amount of aspects is a good idea, 6 - 9. Thisway we can make a character sheet with room for all aspects, and avoid characters who have 10 aspects, each at minimum level -> lacking focus.
Jack of all trades could have aspect 'Jack of All trades' for Jack fans.


No real argument.  I think Fate's sweetspot sits between 5 and 10 character phases (which translates to 5 to 10 aspect levels, usually).

Quote from: artofmagic
My idea of aspects is that you can have positive or negative aspects.

Positive aspect:
Strong, fair strength

Negative aspect:
Clumsy, fair clumsyness or mediocre agility, depending on taste.

On positive aspect
- 4p on skills that need strength

On negative aspect
- (-4p) on skills that hinder on clumsyness.
depending on taste if they are average 'doctors handwriting' or Poor writing.

And when you take a negative aspect, you get a free positive aspect.

Creators handle this very differently, but no examples given (that I find playable).


I think that this leaves you with a very traditional "points" character construction method, and it's not my bag, baby.  When you say "no examples given", though, I really have to wonder -- did you pick up our rules from our website (http://www.faterpg.com/)?  It's chock full of examples -- wall to wall.

Quote
If I remember correctly, first FATE version was Diceless Amber and there was the negative aspect idea used.


Not true.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2004, 09:33:26 AM »

Hello,

The ancestor thread is that cited above, but the recent questions may now be found on Fate RPG II (split and closed).

Best,
Ron
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artofmagic
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2004, 12:06:47 AM »

Quote from: iago

But then we start to have this problem of partial powers. What if players feel that slow sorcery just does not level up with Pattern. As in Amber Pattern was designed to be the superior power. Do I take aspect of Sorcery and have it from fair to superb? If I use Amber powers directly from amber, I do not want to add fudge rules for it. They just work.

Quote

I think that this leaves you with a very traditional "points" character construction method, and it's not my bag, baby.  When you say "no examples given", though, I really have to wonder -- did you pick up our rules from our website (http://www.faterpg.com/)?  It's chock full of examples -- wall to wall.


Whow, this looks totally different from the version I read. I have to read it again, the one I have is quite old. I hope this answers my questions.

The fudge points system changes scales a lot. The last time I read FATE it did not talk about fudge points alot. What I understood that 4 ranks on Witchcraft gives you 4 aspect points to use to reroll witchrolls. I did not find any reference to challenges. Perhaps they were there. This volontary and involontary aspect thing is totally new to me.

Happy reading art.
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artofmagic
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2004, 12:16:08 AM »

Quote from: iago


Quote
If I remember correctly, first FATE version was Diceless Amber and there was the negative aspect idea used.


Not true.


Depending on the way you see it. I am quite sure on reading on how the IDEA to fate was born while playing amber, and I read the Amber rules created with aspects and it did not work quite well. Perhaps first FATE version fixed those Amber features that I did not like, so in that way, first FATE version was not Amber. If someone could tell me how it REALLY happened, I would stand corrected.
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artofmagic
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2004, 05:36:56 AM »

http://www.iago.net/amber/kings/rpg.shtml

"Born to be Kings: The RPG
I started out intending that Born to be Kings feature a similar, though altered, version of the FUDGE Amber rules I used for Crown of Amber. I've changed my mind since then, but you can read those altered rules here.

What I actually ended up with, however, was something entirely different, and has proven to be pretty damned close to what I want any system to be. We call it FATE, and you can read about it at the Evil Hat."

That's what I meant.

hmm... Not true, not true!
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iago
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2004, 06:10:37 AM »

Quote from: artofmagic
http://www.iago.net/amber/kings/rpg.shtml

"Born to be Kings: The RPG
I started out intending that Born to be Kings feature a similar, though altered, version of the FUDGE Amber rules I used for Crown of Amber. I've changed my mind since then, but you can read those altered rules here.

What I actually ended up with, however, was something entirely different, and has proven to be pretty damned close to what I want any system to be. We call it FATE, and you can read about it at the Evil Hat."

That's what I meant.

hmm... Not true, not true!


However, what you said was "... and there" (meaning the campaign) "was where the negative aspect idea was used."  The negative aspect idea wasn't used there -- the idea of Aspects (in the discarded ruleset you're referencing) wasn't used at all.  It was a much more traditional RPG thing, and was barely looked at when we were putting together Fate.
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iago
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2004, 06:17:28 AM »

Quote from: artofmagic
I am quite sure on reading on how the IDEA to fate was born while playing amber,


So am I, as I was the GM. :)

Quote
and I read the Amber rules created with aspects and it did not work quite well.


I think the Amber rules you read were not rules created with Aspects, so I'm confused as to how you got that impression. (Read on)

Quote
Perhaps first FATE version fixed those Amber features that I did not like, so in that way, first FATE version was not Amber. If someone could tell me how it REALLY happened, I would stand corrected.


How it really happened is pretty straightforward:

* Years back I ran Crown of Amber, which was a Fudge Amber game.  No aspects (the concept didn't exist yet), but no attributes -- that's where the very first glimmer of anything started.

* Then I sat down to design Born to be Kings.  The first thing I did was write up a new set of Fudge rules for running the campaign, and put them online.  Those didn't end up sitting right, so I dithered, and then set those rules entirely aside.  Those rules could not be called Fate at all.

* Then I had a conversation with Rob, and we started working on the design that became Fate.  This design never made it online!  So there's nothing of that "first version of Fate" for you to reference.

* I have contemplated running a third amber game, which would be based on a more recent version of Fate, but haven't found the true inspiration to get it started yet.  If you reference http://www.iago.net/amber/blood/ you will see the Fate-specific configs that I last wrote down (over a year ago at this point).
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Rob Donoghue
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2004, 06:03:39 PM »

Quote from: iago
* Then I had a conversation with Rob, and we started working on the design that became Fate.  This design never made it online!  So there's nothing of that "first version of Fate" for you to reference.


That may not be entirely true.  I remember that one of the first things I did with Framemaker was write up a copy of the existing rules and PDF it.  I don't _think_ that ever went into circulation, but it's far enough in the past that I may have simply lost track.

There's also one other potential axis for confusion: There have actually been two versionsof FATE released, 1.0 and 2.0.  They've got the same core, but 2.0, which is the one that is avaiablb at faterpg.com has a lot of the stuff being referenced, like challenges and a clearer explanation of the fluidity of the positive or negative-ness of certain aspects.  It also changes the emphasis in chargen to having both the aspect and the skills reflect the phase, rather than have the aspect reflect the phase and the skills reflect the aspect.  2.0's a lot better, in all honesty. :)

For those who were curious, the biggest difference between the original Amber version and Fate was that characters had the option of taking skills OR and aspect, so aspects were rarer and more powerful.  Powers were hung of aspects in that model based on that assumption, and it had to get retooled for Fate.  Of course, that was no impediment, as we ended up with something like 9 sample magic systems, a few of which should be recognizable as from more mainstream games witht he serial numbers filed off.

Anyway, I hope reading the current version clears up any confusion.

-Rob D.
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Rob Donoghue
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