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Aspects and Adversaries

October 30, 2011

One thing I’ve been struggling with is using aspects and fate points for creatures and monsters in a d20 game. Aspects work great for monsters as they provide a way for the GM to give them personality, add color, and make them memorable. But how does a GM invoke and allow players to compel? After hashing out the rules with Bruce and reading an article (provided by Bruce) on how “Strands of Fate” handles this, here’s what I have:

The GM’s pool of Fate Points is determined by the average level of the PCs, +1 for each PC.

So if the average level of the PCs is 5 and you have four players, the GM gets 9 Fate Points. If an ‘Adversary’ appears in a scene, the GM may get 2 more, but any and all creatures and NPCs draw from the same pool.

 To help a GM avoid stockpiling Fate Points, the GM can generally only spend 1-2 Fate Points per monster/NPC per encounter. If the encounter involves an ‘Adversary’, the GM can spend the Fate Points the Adversary brings to the table + 1. This helps spread out Fate Point usage.

Characters can compel a monster’s or NPC’s aspects, but only if he knows the aspects. The GM should determine what sort  of roll and associated difficulty is needed for a character to either know an aspect or determine an aspect. As a general rule, this should be a DC20 but can be modified where appropriate. So a Ranger might need to make a Perception roll with a  DC 20 in order to see and compel a dragon’s “Weak Spot” aspect. On the other hand, a thief might need to make a Streetwise roll with a DC 25 to find out the assassin Vedigar Wurt had accidentally killed his father years earlier. This aspect (“Accidentally killed father”) will distract Vedigar and make him less effective for a round of combat if compelled.

Definitely want to playtest this and see how it works.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2011 8:16 am

    Couple of thoughts/questions…

    Does the roll to determine the monster aspect and/or the compel take an action? If they do, I think they are not likely to be used if the effect is something like a “round of combat.”

    FATE uses… um… I think the term is Assessments where you can guess the aspect without any kind of skill roll. Is that still in play?

  2. October 31, 2011 12:49 pm

    Bruce wrote:

    >Does the roll to determine the monster aspect and/or the compel take an action?

    No, a simple skill roll to determine if you know (or notice) the aspect or not. This is a free action.

    The compel should take no time either.

    I think I saw something on Assessments, but i would probably keep it as a skill roll of some sort. I really like the idea of this being a knowledge skill roll as it makes the Intelligence requisite more important, a requisite that doesn’t get used near enough, imho.

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