Thursday, 16 May 2013

Good Aspect, Bad Aspect

Writing a good aspect for Fate takes practice. They flow easily from the short paragraphs and back story that arise during character creation, but that's not enough. As a GM for Fate games, I see aspects that don't get used. They're on the sheet. The player put them there, but never uses them.

My weakness as a GM is not yet seeing the potential use for them in a story. I remember a couple of convention games where people set down a list of aspects that were like a castle. They were crafted so carefully as to make them invulnerable. Clever. Nimble. Ambidextrous. They may as well have written Awesome.

Some of my current frustration comes from my current game of Diaspora. At the start of every session, everyone refreshes fate points. If they're frugal enough in the previous session they never have to be compelled to earn any more. If they're lucky with the rolls, it's even less likely that they need a compel.

To make the best of it I see a couple of options.

1. Make all challenges absurdly difficult, forcing the players to spend all their points and need more before the end of each session. This seems poor and vindictive. How did everything suddenly become harder? Did all the antagonists suddenly level up?

2. Lower the refresh to three instead of five. Maybe this is a balanced approach, more suited to the three hours sessions we play.

3. Abandon the refresh altogether. Harsh, man. Harsh.

I've some thinking to do about this. I'll do one of them and let you know how hard my players squeal.

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