Saturday, 3 September 2016

DramaAspects for Fate

The last time I ran Fate I used Hillfolk to create “drama-aspects” for all of the characters. Well, I didn’t create them - the players did.

This is what I did and what happened.

The Crasta Demon

I’ve written a short three hour convention game for Fate Accelerated, which I ran for my regular bunch of players. The game involves members of the city guard investigating a demon.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to me to be invested in my character when I’m playing a one-shot, so I had the players do the following:

  • I asked them to describe their most recent exploit together, and I asked them what impressed them about one of their colleagues - and they could use that as an aspect if they wanted.
  • I let them choose their last stunt (I’d carefully chosen the other two stunts for them - based on what I knew was coming up).
  • And I got all Hillfolk on them.

In terms of Hillfolk, what I did was ask them what they wanted from one of the other characters (love, respect, forgiveness, power, etc), and then asked that player why they couldn’t have it. (I made sure that these relationships were evenly spread - we could have done more but I only wanted a hint of Hillfolk.)

Here’s what they came up with:

  • Captain Wickham: ‘I want Librarian Helsing’s subservience (but he thinks I’m an idiot).’
  • Librarian Helsing: ‘I want power over Private Loxley (but she won’t grant it as I’m outside the chain of command).’
  • Private Loxley: ‘I want Captain Wickham’s love (but he won’t fraternise with his troops).’

These then became one of their aspects.

Two sessions

We played the scenario over two sessions (which means I may need to trim the scenario a bit for when I run it at a con).

I let the players decide how to run with these aspects - I didn’t push them at all, except that the start of the second session I asked the players to remind me what their aspects were.

As it turned out, these aspects lead to some lovely roleplaying at times, particularly in the second session. (It’s possible that in the first one they got lost in amongst the rest of the team-building.)

Although I set them up as aspects, we didn’t invoke or compel them. They influenced play, but we could have been more mischievous; Helsing could have offered a fate token to Wickham to get him into trouble ‘because you want my subservience and you don’t want me to think that you’re an idiot.’ We didn’t do that, but it’s something I shall try and remember for the future.

(Being a short game, we didn’t have to worry about resolving any of these drama-aspects. In a longer game Loxley might have decided to leave the Watch, which would overcome the obstacle to Wickham’s love. That might then result in a new drama-aspect - depending on how events played.)

Player feedback

After the game the players told me that they really enjoyed the drama-aspects, and that they influenced how they played their characters. Certainly there were some lovely moments that only occurred because we’d set up the drama-aspects.

I’ll definitely do it again.

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