Friday, June 29, 2012

Discussion: Define An Aspect

So, if you've played around with Fudge, Fate, Houses of the Blooded, or Cortex Plus then you have some familiarity with Aspects and what they are.

If you haven't played around with those systems, than you are definitely missing out.

Aspects, though they come in various names now, are essentially a word, few words, or a phrase that defines some part of your character. For example, Han Solo could have "Roguish Smile" as one of his aspects, and that could help him out in social rolls where his roguish charm would come into play.

To put it bluntly, they are one of the best ways I've seen to mechanically give the player advantages to being who they want to be, allow two PCs with similar builds to be unique characters, and open doors for the GM to challenge the PC and keep the game with a heavy focus on narrative.

So, for today, I thought it'd be fun to get people to list off - or otherwise define - some of their favorite aspects they've seen or played with. To get things started, I'll go first.

Favored Aspects
From a fan made Deadpool for the Marvel system, I really like: "I'm the second best at whatever it is wolverine does." This aspect gives us a couple of things really quickly. One, Deadpool is snarky and humorous with a bit of meta humor to him. Two, Deadpool is a deadly fighter that shouldn't be trifled with. It works well, no?

Another one for the Marvel Heroic System is one of my player's distinctions (aspects for that system) "that's a common misconception..." Again, it gives a strong sense of who the character is and how they act, at least in some situations, while also being useful in a number of situations - i.e. debunking urban myths.

So, how about you? Got a favorite?


  1. The problem I see with your post is that you don't talk at all about how aspects need to have a negative connotation as well.

    A good aspect will both be a bane and a boon.

  2. True I don't go into the negative aspect, though I do mention they can be used to help the GM challenge the PC. This post was more about having people define favored aspects they've shared more than discuss what an aspect is or isn't. There's plenty of RPGs out there, some of which are free, that use Aspects that already define them.

  3. One issue is that in many games there is an incentive to make your aspects broad and try to stuff as much into it as possible. Power gamers will try to game the system. GM's need to try to make sure their characters are in the same ballpark with how useful their aspects are.

    Marvel Heroic is a little different because the game is built around the fact that you use an affiliation, a distinction, a power, and a specialty on almost every roll. A player should try to make sure their distinctions cover all the things a character regularly does. And all distinctions are weighted the same.

  4. True, Marvel also lets players use their distinctions negatively on themselves for plot points, so there is incentive for making it double edged.

    This seems to be a topic folks want to talk about though, so I'll probably write something up for them for next week.