First Rough Draft
- 1 Aspects and Fate Points
- 2 Attributes & Traits
Aspects and Fate Points
A Look at the OOB
First and foremost, decide on a High Concept. This is a phrase or sentence that encapsulates, in microcosm, the essence of your Concept; what it is, what it does. You want to give thought to how this could both help and hinder you. Like most aspects, a good High Concept does both.
What is the principle difficulty facing your Concept? It could be an ailing dynasty, internal turmoil, a crushing debt, a rival or even a more powerful nation.
What is the goal or overriding ambition does the Concept aim to achieve? This could mean anything from , to gaining a total monopoly.
An Aspect is a short phrase describing a detail of whatever subject it is attached to; anything from a situation, a zone, an army, or even a character. They are the primary means to both gain and spend Fate points, to influence the narrative by introducing new complications to a scenario, passive opposition that has to be overcome, and bonuses to various rolls. They are detrimental or beneficial, but a good aspect should be either depending on the situation. More importantly, they tell you what is important about a scenario and when to utilize mechanics.
You can Invoke an Aspect for your benefit by cashing in a Fate Point. This is called an Invocation. On the inverse, when your aspects complicate your plans in some way in exchange for a Fate Point, this is called accepting a compel.
There are five different kinds of Aspect differentiated by their subject and permanence: Concept, Situation, "Character", Consequences, and Boosts. In brief,
Conceptual Aspects have a variable scope but are nominally permanent, attached to a PC or NPC concept. They cover any of the near-infinite spectrum of details that set concepts apart. Whether describing institutions of government, a cultural legacy,
Situational Aspects are intended from the start to be temporary, lasting only for a short period until they are no longer appropriate. Various sudden crises, natural disasters, short-lived treaties or agreements, etc would fall under this umbrella. Using Situational aspects is often a very context sensitive affair.
Consequences have a variable permanence. They are a special aspect that is basically taken as damage to avoid Collapse, a lasting difficulty that a Concept takes as a result of some effort. How long they last is usually determined by their grade of severity. The largely negative phrasing of these aspects means they are often a source of additional compels for a player, and anyone who can justifiably advantage from it can invoke them.
These are the most transient and ephemeral of aspects, lasting only a couple turns at most. Boosts are created either when a Create Advantage roll is underwhelming or as a bonus from a spectacular success. Their invocation is free, but the moment it is used the aspect promptly disappears. One can allow another Player to use a Boost if it is relevant and their explanation satisfactory. Very much use it or lose it.
“Yes, but is he lucky?”
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Players have a pool of points called “Fate Points” that are the narrative currency and a Refresh rating. At the start of every narrative milestone. A well run game features an active narrative economy where Players freely manipulate circumstances to bring about victory - or even their own defeats.
Fate Points usually change hands in three ways: Invokes, Compels, and Declarations.
Stem Points are the primary means of growth for nations.
Powers, Movements, and Legends are not static things. On the contrary, even the most frozen of polities is always evolving, if opaquely, to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Even National identities can be altered by simple circumstance. Collectively, these opportunities are referred to as milestones.
There are three kinds of milestones: Minor, Significant, and Major.
Zones are how regions of interest are represented mechanically.
Zones usually have a few aspects attached that describe their most important features.
Attributes & Traits
By default, you are not obligated in any way, shape, or form to write even a single longform roleplay posts in a FATE NOOSPHERE game, though there are certainly incentives. You are merely required at bare minimum to present individual actions in an IC format, referred to as Dispatches. Some examples include: a newspaper headline with a one to two sentence subtitle, an internal memo, the abstract of a White Paper or Journal Article, a media soundbite, or even a "selection" from a history book or article.
- "TIGHTEN THIS BELT AND YOU TIGHTEN A NOOSE AROUND OUR NECK!
- Imperial General Staff protests new budget that will slash military by 10,000 for new economic subsidies.
- (OOC: Roll to Reform, trade one point of Military for Stability.)
At the end of every turn all Dispatches are collated together into a Summary. While some kind of framing device for these Dispatches is certainly preferable, it is not necessary. This is the bare minimum effort to continue play, which is unfortunately sometimes all a player has time or the creative energy to commit. Dispatches may be as short or as long as a player pleases and a particularly well written and entertaining Dispatch or Summary is just as worthy of reward from the GM as a more traditional roleplay post.
Actions and Outcomes
The standard Story Debate conflict actually tends to be resolved through what this system would classify as Concessions
Challenges, Contests, & Conflicts
War footing represents the fact that armies and navies are tremendously expensive not just in material resources, but in more nebulous social currency, and that these costs will dissuade even some of the most militarist societies from standing up their theoretical maximum force without an actual war to fight. Normal function of the economy ceases even as it is turned to overdrive, often by heavy handed centralized control, to sustain the ravenous demands for materiel of every variety. Demographics are plundered for those of fighting age by levies or drafts. Intellectual energy is channeled away from culture or theory and monopolized by the frenzied production of propaganda, to the devising and implementation of new weapons, techniques, and ideas that will shave the margins of victory.
Declaring War Footing is not a trivial task, particularly for powers with low stability and economy. Creative use of various Aspects or characters will often be the key here. e.g. "Remember the Maine!"
War footing has no benefit in the turn it is successfully declared, the start of the next quarter gives the player half the benefit of war footing, and the start of the quarter after that gives the full benefit. As in Real Life, it's best to put yourself on war footing before the shooting actually starts, even if it forewarns your enemies.
War footing may also be used to represent some kind of stupendous national effort - such as erecting the Pyramids or the Great Wall - which requires such absolute measures as warfare.
Stress represents various minor and superficial crises and negative forces such as a mild economic recession, war exhaustion which can be quickly recovered from. If your concept takes some kind of damage, the method of choice for mitigating it is absorbing it as stress.
All Concepts have stress tracks, a row of three or more boxes. When some kind of damage is taken, check a stress box. The box will absorb a number of shifts equal to its number: one shift for Box 1, two for Box 2, and three for Box 3. You can only check one stress box for any single hit, but you can check a stress box and take as many consequences as necessary at the same time. The moment you are no longer facing any significant crises, you may clear any stress you have taken at the start of a new turn.
When you have no Stress Tracks or Consequences free to soak shifts from a hit, this triggers a collapse. Your government can no longer function. This is much more severe than a crises of confidence, a loss of territory, an economic depression, or even a coup. Such momentary difficulties pass. A collapse is the moment when the entire edifice violently self-destructs, broken up into its constituent pieces amidst the ruins of its gasping and dieing institutions, or worse, has been totally conquered. Movements face the risk of total physical and social bankruptcy. And even Legends can die.
If your Collapse was brought about directly by your enemies, this is particularly bad. Like in a lesser defeat, your enemy (or enemies) will get to dictate some of the circumstances and the aftermath of these events - and you don't get a veto.
However, even in this dark hour there is always hope. From toppled Empires spring successor states who may one day reclaim glory. Loyalists and patriots can go underground where they continue the fight. Canny operators may recoup some assets from a dying operation. People who are slain may have successors.
When a Player’s Power, Movement, or Legend collapses, they are given the option of either rolling a new concept or splintering. Splintering is mechanically much like rolling a new concept of a lesser scale or Level of Play, however, you can negotiate with the GM to inherit certain zones, stem points, superprojects, traits, and characters from the Collapsed concept...As well as the burdens, responsibilities, and issues that come with bearing the mantle of a successor, likely forming their new Trouble and Ambition. Splinters will often start in difficult positions, but have the potential to become vastly more powerful than their original concept with a strong hand at the rudder.