Dark Sun: Shadows over Tyr
Aspects are words or phrases that describe something important about your character. They can be personality traits, goals, drives, background … You could think of them as the bullet points in a character sketch.
These will be useful for me in play, because they give me something to key off of, and they will be useful to you because you get to use them for bonuses.
I am lifting this mechanic from Fate, a Fudge variant game. For reference, here is the original: http://evilhat.wikidot.com/fate-csrd:nutshell#aspects
For something to start with, I’m going to say that your primary background and your theme are two starting aspects. You can shoose any number of additional aspects, but to keep things to a manageable number, I’m going to suggest limiting it to between 3 and 5.
Sarlac is an Elven bard, cast out for betraying one of his own tribemen.
* Elven Outcast — Clearwater tribe
* Death Wish
* Mellodious Voice
* Guilty Concience
You’ll start each session with a number of story points, which can be spent for mechanical advantage, or can be spent to affect the narrative of the game. In order to spend a point, however, you have to be able to justify it by tying to a specific Aspect. Some affects may require more than one story point to achieve; this will be arbitrated at the table.
At first cut, I think we’ll start with 5 story points at the beginning of each session. They will not carry over from session to session, and will not be regained through resting. It’s possible to earn additional story points during play, however.
Activating an Aspect
Activing an aspect is simply a matter of declaring that you’re using it, and spending a story point. You may activate any number of aspects at the same time, though each requires a point to activate. Once an aspect has been activated, it is considered tapped, and may not be used again until it has been recharged.
Uses for an Aspect
- A +2 bonus to a single roll
- Reroll a single Attack or Damage roll (2 story points)
- Impose a -2 penatly on a single roll
- (potential?) Do crit damage on a 19
- Alter a scene (variable cost)
- Introduce a friendly NPC
- Add available items or other conveniences
- Tweak an existing NPCs attitude
- Whatever else you can think of
Remember that in order to invoke an aspect, you have to be able to describe and justify the use.
Sarlac is involved in negotiations with a city gate Guard. He decides to invoke his Mellodious Voice aspect to gain a bonus on his diplomacy check, describing how he is speaking in soothing tones and calming the suspicions of the guard.
Engaged in combat against a couple of street ruffians, Sarlac is hit by a heavy club. Sam spends a story point to drop the thugs attack roll by two, invoking his Snarky Aspect. “I’ve been taunting him, and his rage has begun to make him clumsy”
All aspects are considered Recharged:
- at the start of a session
- After an Extended Rest
- After a Milestone is achieved
An individual aspect may become recharged if it has been Compelled
Compelling an Aspect
When invoked by the DM, an Aspect is concidered to be Compelled. Where players may invoke aspects to gain advantage for themselves, the DM may compell Aspects to introduce difficulty. If the DM compells an aspect, the player receives a story point, and if tapped, the aspect becomes un-tapped.
It is possible for the player to bid against the Compelling of an aspect by spending a story point; at that time, it becomes a bidding war between a player and the DM.
Sarlac’s party is looking to make contact with a Veiled Alliance supplier in the caravan district of Urik. The DM decides to add a little something to the social encounter, Compels Sarlac’s Elven Outcast (Clearwater tribe) aspect. He slides a story point token towards Sarlac’s player. Sam decides he doesn’t want to address this side of his character yet, and slides one of his own story points to the center of the table — a bidding war has begun. The DM is determined on this however, and adds another story point to the table. Sam gives in and takes the proffered points. He’s now gained two story points, and a rather uncomfortable situation for Sarlac begins.