Monday, May 9, 2011

Escalating Aspects

So my friend John Armstrong, down San Diego way, has plans to hack Strange FATE (the brand of FATE used in The Kerberos Club: FATE Edition) to run Scion. The premise of Scion has always interested me, but I haven't actually played it. I just don't have a lot of experience with the Storyteller system, and I've always heard that mechanically it's a little... problematic. Thus, never played it, but the idea of taking the premise and transplanting it into another system is attractive.

Anyway, in the course of trying to figure out how to model Legend, we talked about having a character aspect dedicated to how you're perceived by mortals. One idea was that when you use a power related to that Legend and your roll obtains spin, that aspect can change if you weren't acting in accordance with it. I.e., if your actions don't reflect your Legend, your Legend may change to match your actions.

Something else spun out of that, though, that got me thinking. What if accepting an aspect compel made it harder to refuse future compels? The more you establish a pattern of behavior for yourself, the more difficult it is to break that pattern.

So, resolved. But before we get into how it works, a tweak: You can't just spend a Fate Point for an aspect-free +1 bonus (I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that anyway), and invoking an aspect only yields a +1 bonus by default, Diaspora-style. This isn't necessary, per se, but it does make it feel "cleaner" to me. Oh, and there are no more escalating compels, at least not for the aspect in question. All right.

First, the aspect has a row of three boxes. Every time you accept a compel on the aspect, check a box. I guess we could call it a stress track if we wanted to, and say that accepting a compel means taking a point of "aspect stress" or something, but I don't know if that really does anything apart from making this a bit more jargon-intensive.

Second, there's the stick. When the first box is checked, nothing happens. When the second box is checked, the GM has to offer two Fate Points to compel the aspect, and two Fate Points are required to refuse the compel. When the third box is checked, it's three Fate Points instead of two.

Third, the carrot. Every box that's checked on the aspect increases the invocation bonus by +1 -- invoking it yields +2 for one checked box, +3 for two, and +4 for all three.

Fourth, back to ones. When all three of the aspect's boxes are checked and you refuse a compel on it, clear the boxes.

Now, look. I know I haven't thought this all the way through yet. I know that always getting three Fate Point for a compel on that aspect is going to mean building up quite a store of Fate Points, especially since most players tend to accept compels about 90% of the time (in my experience), and that getting a consistent +4 bonus from a single aspect might be a big deal. One word: details. Maybe the payout from a compel stays as-written; the increasing bonus is probably incentive enough. Whatever. We can work it out. Regardless, it's a neat idea worth exploring.
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