SotC 3 Aspects

Spirit of the Century
1. The Basics
2. Character Creation
3. Aspects
4. How to Do Things
5. Skills
6. Stunts
7. Gadgets and Gizmos
8. Running the Game
9. Tips and Tricks
10. Quick Pick Stunt Packages
11. Character Worksheet
12. Character Sheet

3 Aspects
Characters have a set of attributes called aspects. Aspects cover a wide range of elements and should collectively paint a decent picture of who the character is, what he’s connected to, and what’s important to him. (By contrast, skills could be said to paint a similar picture of what the character can do.) Aspects can be relationships, beliefs, catchphrases, descriptors, items or pretty much anything else that paints a picture of the character.

Scenes also have aspects. Aspects in this context serve as a compact way to describe the relevant details of an environment, and can be used by the characters present in the scene. See Encountering Other Aspects, page XX, for more.

In terms of game rules, aspects are the main avenue by which a player gains or spends fate points, a kind of currency that can be spent for bonuses or earned when aspects cause problems for the player. Some possible aspects for characters include:

Quick Witted First on the Scene
Sucker Girl in Every Port
Rugged Silver Spoon
Irish Big Man on Campus
“You’ll never take me alive!” Ivory Tower
Stubborn Honest

For many, many more examples, see the Sample Aspects section (page XX).

3.1 Picking Character Aspects
More than anything else, aspects are a player’s most explicit way of telling the GM, “This is the stuff I want to see in the game”. If the player picks an aspect like “Death Defying”, then he should be able to fully expect that the GM will put him in death-defying situations. GMs should want players to use their aspects; players should pick the ones they want to use, and GMs should encourage them to choose aspects that will be both interesting and useful.

Once a player decides on an idea for an aspect, he needs to figure out what aspect name best describes what he intends; there are usually many possible names for a desired aspect, which can make this choice somewhat difficult. However, most of the time, an aspect is going to be a phrase, a person or a prop.

A phrase can be anything from a descriptive phrase (“Strong As An Ox”) to a simple descriptor (“Strong”), or even a literal quote (“No One Is Stronger Than Sledge!”). Phrase aspects come into play based on how well the situation matches them; a colorful phrase adds a lot of flavor and innately suggests several different ways to use it. This potentially makes phrase aspects some of the most flexible aspects in the game.

A person can be anyone important to the character. A friend, an enemy, a family member, a sidekick, a mentor – as long as someone matters to the character, he makes an appropriate aspect. A person aspect is most easily used when that person is in the scene with the character, but the aspect can come up in other ways, depending upon the person’s history and relationship with the character. For example, if a character has his mentor as an aspect, that aspect might be useful for things his mentor would have instructed him on.

Props are things, places or even ideas – anything external to the character that isn’t a person. A prop can be useful if it’s something the character has with him, or if it’s the crux of a conflict, but it may also imply things about the character, or even be useful in its absence (if only I had my “Trusty Toolbox”!).

These three categories of aspects aren’t hard and fast. An aspect like “Maggie needs us now!" has elements of both a phrase and a person, and that’s just fine. We’ve just provided these categories to help provide a way to think about how to frame aspects.

3.1.1 Why Would I Want a Bad Aspect?
You may have noticed that a number of the aspects throughout this book are “bad” aspects – they indicate a downside for a character, either in their directly negative connotations, or in their two-edged nature. Aspects like Drunkard, Sucker, Stubborn, and Honest all suggest situations where the character will have to behave a certain way – making an ass of himself at an important social function, falling for a line of bull, failing to back down when it’s important to do so, or speaking truth when truth is the path to greatest harm.

So why put such aspects on your sheet if they’re only going to make trouble for you? Simple: you want that kind of trouble.

On a basic, game-rules footing, “bad” aspects are a direct line to getting you more fate points – and fate points are the electricity that powers some of the more potent positive uses of your aspects. We’ll get more into how aspects can generate and use fate points later on in this chapter.

Outside of just the rules, a “bad” aspect adds interest and story to a character in a way that purely positive aspects cannot. This sort of interest means time in the limelight. If someone’s trying to take advantage of the fact your character’s a Sucker, that’s an important point in the story, and the camera’s going to focus on it. “Bad” aspects also immediately suggest story to your GM; they tell her how to hook your character in. From the perspective of playing the game to get involved and have fun, there’s nothing but good in this sort of “bad”.

Clever players will also find positive ways to use “bad” aspects. The Drunkard might get looked over more easily by prying eyes as “just a drunk”; someone who’s Stubborn will be more determined to achieve his goals. This brings us the “secret” truth about aspects: the ones that are most useful are the ones that are the most interesting. And interesting comes most strongly from aspects that are neither purely good nor purely bad.

As a rule of thumb, when picking an aspect, think of three situations where you can see the aspect coming into play. If you’ve got one reasonably positive situation and one reasonably negative situation out of that set, you’re golden! If they’re all of one type, you may want to reconsider how you’ve worded your aspect – try to put a little of what’s missing in there. Ultimately, though, one aspect that’s “all good” or “all bad” isn’t that much of a problem, so long as you have a good mix throughout your whole set.

3.1.2 Jazzing It Up
Aspects are one of the major sources of flavor for your character; they’re the first thing a GM will look at on your sheet when trying to work out what sort of stories to throw you into. This is powerful juju, and the best part is, you are in total control of it with the words you choose for your aspect.

Whenever you’re writing down the name of an aspect, ask yourself, “how much flavor does this aspect suggest?” If it seems fairly colorless, then you might well be off the mark, and it’s time to kick it up a notch. Certainly, don’t feel like you have to do this with every aspect you take, but if your character is served up as a bland dish, you may discover that your GM is at loose ends for keeping him involved in the story.

A few “good – better – best” examples are pictured here.

Bland Tasty Bam!
Strong Strong as an Ox Man of Iron
Dark Past Former Cultist Eye of Anubis
Swordsman Trained Fencer Trained by Montcharles

In each of these cases, the “bland” option certainly suggests its uses, but doesn’t really jump off the page as something that suggests story. The “tasty” option is certainly better by dint of being more specific; both GM and player can see some potential story hooks in these, and they serve to differentiate themselves interestingly from their blander predecessors. But the “bam!” options are where it’s at.

“Man of Iron” could easily be the phrase others use to identify the character, and suggests more applications than simple strength. “Eye of Anubis” names the cult the character was once a part of, sends the GM looking to ancient Egypt for some story ideas, and starts to put some NPCs onto the map. “Trained by Montcharles” gives the player plenty of opportunity for flashbacks to his time with Pierre Montcharles, which may include lessons and history that don’t just have to do with fencing, and also hints at the possibility of Pierre himself showing up in a story down the line. So when you pick an aspect, ask yourself: is this bland, is this tasty, or is this “bam!”?

3.1.3 Story vs. Situation
Here’s a point to follow on the previous ones: more often than not, aspects tend to divide into another set of two camps – story and situation – and it’s a good idea to make sure you have aspects of each type.

Story aspects suggest one or more sources for stories involving the character, by bringing in an external element from the world at large. People and prop aspects are almost exclusively story aspects. Phrase aspects might be story aspects, but if they are, it’s usually because they mix in some elements of the other two Ps. You can most easily identify a story aspect by asking yourself if the aspect, independent of the character, is something other characters might interact with, affect, and change. Strange cults, lost artifacts, enemies, hidden lairs, foreign lands, spouses, and more, all fit into this category.

Situation aspects suggest the kind of situations a character might be in much more than they suggest the origin of those situations. Phrase aspects fall strongly into this camp, and they operate as a statement to the GM of the style of stories the player wants his character to be in. Phrase aspects like “Nick of Time”, “Stubborn as a Mule”, and “Last Man Standing” all suggest vivid situations – ones which should rightly repeat themselves over the course of playing the character – but don’t really suggest the context of those situations.

We’re taking a few moments to focus on the split between story and situation aspects, because it’s an easy one to miss if you’re not looking for it. You can very easily fall into the trap of creating a character who only has situation aspects. On the surface, situation aspects may be more attractive, since they usually apply in a multitude of circumstances; certainly, you’ll want to have at least a few situation aspects in your repertoire.

But if situation aspects are all that your character offers to the game, you run a real risk of being difficult to hook into the bigger storyline. This is why you should be certain to include a few story aspects on your character. Fundamentally, story aspects offer easy hooks to your GM to pull you into her story. You want this, since you came to the party to play the game. But it’s more than just that. By providing story aspects, you’ve provided some things which exist separately from your character. At the core of it, this means you’ve helped to build the game world. You’ve got ownership and stakes in the bigger picture. The GM will be grateful to you for it, and that kind of gratitude pays out in the form of a more satisfying game.

3.1.4 Getting On the Same Page
You may have noticed that, so far, we’re using a lot of ink to talk about how your aspects communicate things about your character to the GM. We mean it. Out of all the things in the game, aspects are probably the clearest message you can send to the GM about what you want from the game, short of walking right up to the GM and saying so. Also, in all likelihood, the GM is going to have copies of your character sheets when you’re not around, so the aspects you’ve picked are going to represent you in absentia. Once you’ve picked all the aspects for your character, take a step back and look at them as a whole, and ask yourself if they make the kind of representation you’d want them to. If they don’t, change them!

By themselves, aspects can’t say it all, of course, and it’s important to remember that. Short of making each aspect a paragraph or essay, you’re dealing with a few short, catchy phrases and names here. You want them reasonably short, because you want to be able to talk about them casually without running out of breath.

But the brevity of an aspect’s name means some things are left unspoken. Take the time with the GM to speak these unspoken things when you can. Both the player and the GM should look at an aspect not as the end of an idea, but the start of one. You’re both going to bring your own ideas of what the aspect means to the table and, at least to some extent, you’re both right. Usually this works out fine – the combined perspectives make the whole greater than the sum – but sometimes the GM and the player will have a radically different idea of what the aspect entails. Be clear with one another, and figure out how to iron out any differences – ideally, before the fate points start flying.

That said, after you’ve gotten one or more sessions of play under your belt, you might feel like you’ve picked one or more aspects that don’t “feel right”. We’re sympathetic to that, and your GM should be, too. If an aspect doesn’t seem to be working out well for you, you should feel free to ask your GM if you can change it.

3.2 Using Aspects
The process of using an aspect begins by declaring that one is relevant. Either the player or the GM may make this declaration. Then, determine if the aspect’s relevance is working for or against the character who has the aspect. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s for, the owner spends a fate point. If it’s against, the owner gains a fate point unless he pays to avoid it.

This is the guiding principle that all specific uses of aspects – invoking, tagging, compelling – start from. Each type of aspect use has specific rules governing how it functions, but if you ever find yourself confused about from there.

3.3 Invoking Aspects
An aspect can be used to give you a bonus, when that aspect applies to the situation you are in. Doing this requires spending a fate point (see below), and is called invoking the aspect. In this context, the aspect makes the character better at whatever it is he’s doing, because the aspect in some way applies to the situation. Invoking an aspect can be used to either:

Pick up all the dice you rolled and re-roll them, or
Leave the dice alone and add 2 to the result.
It is possible to use more than one aspect on a single roll, but you cannot use the same aspect more than once on the same roll or action; even if you’ve re-rolled the dice, that’s still the “same roll”. Re-rolls are riskier than just taking the +2 bonus – you can always end up worsening things or not making much improvement – but when a lot of ⊟ dice hit the table, a reroll can be a much cheaper way to recover.

The GM is the final arbiter of when an aspect is or is not appropriate (see “Getting On the Same Page”, page XX). Usually this means the player must invoke an aspect that is appropriate to the situation at hand. If the player wants to invoke an inappropriate-seeming aspect, he should be given a chance to describe how the action is appropriate to the aspect. The GM’s priority here is not to strictly limit the use of aspects but rather, to encourage their appropriate use by encouraging players to make decisions that keep their aspects interesting.

<Example>

3.3.1 Invoking for Effect
A player can also invoke an aspect for effect, using it for a related benefit that is not related to a die roll or skill use at all. This costs a fate point like any other invocation does. For example, a player could invoke a Secret Organization aspect to declare that the group has a chapter in town.

This is subject to the same sort of restrictions as spending fate points for minor declarations (see page XX) but is more potent due to the focus of the aspect. To be explicit, when an aspect is part of a declaration, it can make the less plausible more plausible, thus allowing the player to “get away with” more. The scope of the minor declaration can be … well, less minor, and the GM is encouraged to keep this in mind.

For example, if the GM is inclined to hem and haw over whether or not the character can spend a fate point to declare that he arrives at the exactly right moment, invoking the character’s Perfect Timing or Grand Entrance aspect for that same effect should remove any of the GM’s doubts. That said, this is not a method for the players to get away with anything; as always, aspect invocation is only allowed when the GM approves.

3.3.2 Encountering Other Aspects
The aspects on your character are not the only aspects that you can potentially use. Your fellow players’s characters have aspects, of course, as do some NPCs; sometimes even the scene itself may have aspects, like Dark or Cluttered.

To invoke an aspect other than your own, your character needs to directly interact with the object, location, or person that has the aspect you want to invoke, in a way appropriate to the action in progress. This means that if a scene has an aspect of Rigging (since it’s on a pirate ship), not only does that mean characters can be described as swinging from the ropes, but characters can invoke the Rigging aspect when they do so. And that leads us to…

Tagging
Tagging refers to the act of invoking an aspect that isn’t your own; this includes scene aspects and aspects on other characters. In most respects this functions the same way as with an aspect on your own character’s sheet – spend the fate point, and get either a +2 bonus or a re-roll.

<Example>

Taggable aspects are sometimes introduced into play as the result of your character’s action. This can happen due to a maneuver in a conflict (see page XX), a declaration of a previously nonexistent aspect (see page XX), or the assessment of a target and revelation of one of the target’s previously hidden aspects (see page XX).

Whenever an aspect is introduced into play like this, it’s because the character has made some sort of effort to bring it to the fore – he’s rolled well on whatever skill check brought the aspect onto the map. Because this is the case, he’s earned the right to tag the aspect in question once, without spending a fate point. In this way he’s able to turn his previous success into a momentary advantage without it hitting his fate point budget.

A free tag is subject to one key limitation: it must occur immediately after the aspect’s been brought into play. Some minor delay isn’t encouraged, but is acceptable. This usually means that the free tag must be taken within the same scene that the aspect was introduced.

The player who introduced the aspect has the option to pass his free tag to another character if he so wishes. This can allow for some great setup maneuvers in a fight; one person maneuvers to place an aspect on a target, then passes the free tag to an ally, who attacks, using the advantage. This can only be done, however, if it is reasonable that the advantage could be “passed off ”. A sniper who uses a maneuver to aim his rifle at a target, putting an “In My Sights” aspect on it, can’t pass the advantage to someone else – the aspect placed is specific to him. But if one pugilist used a maneuver to put an “Off Balance” aspect on a foe, he could reasonably pass the advantage to his buddy who moves in for the knockout blow.

When the character does spend a fate point to tag another character’s aspect, it might mean that the character getting tagged is due a reward. If the character tagging is getting a benefit out of it that is to the tagged character’s detriment, then the fate point spent on the tag goes to the tagged character at the end of the exchange (i.e., he can’t use it until the next one).

Tagging often involves temporary aspects that result from maneuvers. Make sure you have a grasp on how temporary aspects behave; see the “How to Do Things” chapter, page XX, for more. Many temporary aspects are fragile, and may disappear after their first tag (what does that mean exactly? – read that chapter!).

To Catch a King (Tagging for Effect)
It’s important to remember that the aspects which have been placed on a character can be invoked for effect just as easily as they can be invoked for a bonus. A classic example of this is from the play Hamlet, where Hamlet arranges a very specific play to test the king’s guilt. There, the performance by the actors was less about putting an aspect on the scene (see page XX), so much as putting a specific aspect on the king himself (such as “A Revelation of Murder”).

If a character is aware of such an aspect on another, he may tag for effect, spending a fate point to trigger (potentially) the circumstances of a compel (see “Compelling Aspects”, page XX) depending on what the player declares and the GM accepts.

If it does turn out to be a compel-worthy circumstance, then the GM may proceed with it. This is a chain reaction; the tag for effect occurs, and concludes with the GM indicating whether or not it struck home.

If it struck home, then it’s now the GM’s job to run the compel with the target – and since it’s a compel, it includes the option for the target to spend a fate point instead of receiving one, to buy out of it. Note that because this is a compel that is now in the GM’s hands, if the target buys out of the compel, the fate point spent does not go to the tagger!

As far as the tagger’s involvement is concerned, however, this is often happening as part of his “free tag” for placing or revealing the aspect on the target – so his own fate point liability is trivial.

Sadly for Claudius (and ultimately Hamlet!), he accepted the fate point (perhaps as a compel against his “Guilty Conscience”) and betrayed himself.

Guessing Aspects
Tags usually happen when the tagger has a clear idea of what aspect is there to be tagged. But this is not always the case; sometimes, the player’s making a guess. Guesses are allowed, but are subject to some special rules.

If the guess hits reasonably close to the mark conceptually, even if it doesn’t exactly match the aspect’s name, the GM should exercise some flexibility and allow it. For example, someone might guess that a scene has a Darkness aspect on it and ask if they can tag it for their Stealth roll. Even though the scene had the aspect “Shadowed Corners” instead, this is reasonably close to the mark; the GM should reveal that the aspect is Shadowed Corners, and allow the tag.

If the guess just plain misses the mark, and the fact that the mark was missed doesn’t constitute a significant, potentially secret, piece of information, the player should get the chance to reconsider and take back his fate point. Using the same example, if the player was asking if the scene had a Darkness aspect, and the GM instead believes the scene is too well lit for that, she would simply tell the player it’s a no-go. While the fact that the scene is well lit is certainly important, it’s something the player could discover with a simple question and answer about the details of the scene, so it doesn’t really rate as a secret; he shouldn’t be charged a fate point for that.

If the guess misses the mark, but missing the mark tells the player something significant and potentially secret, the fate point is still spent. This sort of circumstance almost never comes up with scene aspects, but can come up when guessing at aspects on another character. For example, if a character is looking to tag someone’s “Guilty Conscience” to help him intimidate that target, and it turns out that the target doesn’t have that aspect for him to tag, the fate point stays spent, because it is significant and secret that the target does not have an aspect that’s even in the ballpark of “Guilty Conscience”.

In the worst case scenario, a character’s guess misses the mark because he’s been duped. This will most often happen as the result of a Deceit action (see page XX), although it might arise from other circumstances. In such a case, the deceiver has the option to return the fate point to the tagger, or to leave it spent. If he leaves it spent, the tagger just learned he was duped. The deceiver does not get this spent fate point for himself – it’s simply gone. If he returns it to the tagger, things may actually be a bit worse for the tagger: the deceiver gets to place a temporary aspect on him (and the first tag’s for free, as above), representing how the deceiver managed to snooker the target.

Regardless, guesses can’t, and shouldn’t, be made willy-nilly – there must always be a justification for making the guess. If the guess seems unjustified – if the player is “shotgunning” guesses to randomly try to figure out another character’s aspects – the GM is completely justified in shutting that player down cold.

3.4 Compelling Aspects
An aspect can also allow a player to gain more fate points, by bringing complications and troubling circumstances into his character’s life. When this occurs, it’s referred to as compelling the aspect. The GM performs compels; when she compels someone’s aspect, she’s indicating that the character is in a position where the aspect could create a problem. However, players can cause the GM to compel another character’s aspects, via tagging, with a similar rationale and results (see “Tagging for Effect”, above). The target whose aspect is compelled usually has the choice of spending a fate point and ignoring the aspect, or taking the consequences and limitations on his choices and receiving a fate point. When the target accepts the fate point, the aspect is officially compelled.

There are a couple of ways an aspect can complicate a character’s life.

An aspect may limit actions and choice. If a character is given a situation where he would normally have a number of choices, and limiting those choices to act in accordance with his aspect is going to make more trouble for the character, that’s grounds to compel the aspect. It’s important to note that an aspect may dictate the type of action, but it usually shouldn’t dictate the precise action, which is always the player’s decision. In this way, the compel highlights the difficulty of the choices at hand by placing limits on those choices.

<Example>

An aspect may also complicate a situation, rather than directly limiting a character’s choices. If everything would be going along normally, and the aspect makes things more difficult or introduces an unexpected twist, that’s also grounds for a compel. In come cases, complications may suggest that certain consequences are mandated, such as failing at a particular action – perhaps the character would succeed at a defense roll against a Deceit action, but his Gullible aspect is compelled, forcing a failure if accepted.

<Example>

Sometimes the aspect may add a complication “offscreen”, such as when the GM decides to use a character’s personal nemesis as the villain for a session. In such a case the GM should remember to give the character a fate point. This is technically a compel – it does complicate things – but more practically it’s more of a “thank you” to the player for giving the GM a hook to build the adventure around, and is done without offering the player the option to buy out of it.

3.4.1 Negotiating a Compel
In play, both the GM and players can initiate compels. When the GM initiates a compel, the process is very simple. The GM remarks that the aspect might be appropriate here, and offers the player a fate point and the player either accepts it and takes appropriate action or accepts appropriate consequence, or he pays one of his fate points to the GM and chooses not to accept the consequences of the compel.

In a perfect world, the GM is always aware of all aspects and always knows when they should be compelled and rewarded. In practice, the GM is keeping track of a lot of stuff, and may not realize that a player has an aspect that is appropriate to the situation. When that happens, the player should feel free to capture the GM’s attention and point to the appropriate aspect, and hold up a fate point, indicating that he thinks it’s time for a compel.

The GM will then do one of two things.

She may hold up a fate point of her own, as if she were compelling the aspect, offering the player a choice to pay or be paid.
She may defer, offering a brief explanation. The GM may defer for any reason – but doing so too often is potential grounds for gathering up a posse and driving the GM out of town covered in tar and feathers.
When a player calls attention to one of his character’s aspects, it may be as formal as “I think my Greedy aspect applies here” or it may be more conversational, like “Boy, this is tough. I mean, I am pretty * Greedy * ” (brandishes a fate point). There’s no one way to do it, and groups are encouraged to fall into whatever pattern is most comfortable for them.

<Example>

3.4.2 “Accidental” Compels
Sometimes characters simply play to their aspects without thinking to compel them. When that happens, the GM should make a note of it (sometimes with the player reminding her) and, if possible, award the player with a fate point retroactively. If it’s too late for that, the GM should make a note to give that player one extra fate point next session.

It’s important that the GM keep in mind what sorts of things would normally constitute a compel. Compels happen in order to make certain choices or situations more difficult or more dramatic for the compelled character. Certainly, staying in character and playing in a way that’s appropriate to a character’s aspects should be praised; but it should be rewarded only when the player’s aspect-consistent play has actively made his character’s choices more difficult.

3.4.3 Conflicting or Contradictory Aspects
Occasionally a character’s aspects will be in head to head conflict with one another. This should not be seen as a problem — rather, it’s an opportunity for high drama! When two aspects are in conflict with one another, they are both subject to a compel. If the player can’t see a way to act in accordance with both aspects, he must buy off at least one of them. In a number of cases, this can lead to a “zero sum”, where one compel is accepted, gaining a fate point, and the other is refused, spending that fate point. If the player can see clear to acting in accordance with both – fantastic! He’s just gotten himself two fate points (and a world of trouble).

The GM needn’t always press the issue in this fashion. Nothing says she has to compel both aspects. But occasionally it’s more interesting if she does.

Escalation
Rarely, in moments of high tension or drama, the GM can choose to escalate a compel. This is an optional rule, and really should only be used when the character getting compelled is having a defining moment in his or her story.

Escalation can occur only when a player has bought out of a compel. To escalate, the GM slides forward a second fate point, and prompts the player with something like, “Are you sure…?” If the player accepts, he’ll get two fate points instead of one; if he refuses, it’s going to cost him two fate points instead of one. In the rarest of cases, facing a second refusal, the GM may escalate a final time, making the reward and cost to buy out three fate points. If the player is willing to spend three to refuse this truly monstrous compulsion, the book is closed.

If a player’s willing to step it up, he can prompt the GM to start an escalation as well. When sliding forward his first fate point to buy off a compel, the player should say something like, “I won’t go along for one fate point…” Most GMs will look at the situation at that point and decide whether or not it’s a moment of high drama; if it isn’t, they’ll take the proffered point, but if it is, the escalation’s on!

Whatever the case, escalation should be done sparingly; it’s best as a spice, and can be overwhelming as a main dish.

3.4.4 Sample Aspects
To get a sense of how aspects might be used in play, consider the examples below. These are not “bam!” aspects in most cases (see page XX), and that’s intentional; “bam!” only really works when an aspect is personalized.

Anger
The character’s rage simmers just below the surface, awaiting opportunity to burst. Sometimes his rage gives him the drive to see things through, but more often it leads him to rash action rather than forethought.

A player might invoke this to: Vent his frustration, usually through explosive action towards whatever he’s mad at.

The GM might compel this to: Cause the character to lose his temper at an inappropriate moment. Interfere with any action that requires calm.

Bookworm
The character is an academic, well versed in all manner of obscure lore. His knowledge, unfortunately, is almost entirely from books, and theory is not always the same as practice.

A player might invoke this to: Dig up an obscure fact or other bit of knowledge at the right time. Research like a fiend.

The GM might compel this to: Cause problems when the character is faced with the need to apply his knowledge under the stress of “real world” conditions.

Cowardly
The character is a firm believer in the better part of valor, either out of meekness, deep self interest, or some other motivator.

A player might invoke this to: Run, hide, or otherwise get away from something dangerous.

The GM might compel this to: Inspire the character to flee when he really needs to stand his ground.

Duty
The character owes a duty to some one or thing which should come out of creation. Alternately, the character may simply take all of his responsibilities very seriously.

A player might invoke this to: Perform an action which directly upholds the duty.

The GM might compel this to: Present a player a choice between upholding his duty or doing something more practical. Raise an issue of responsibility at an inconvenient moment.

Intelligent
The character is smart, simple as that.

A player might invoke this to: Know useful things, or find them out if they aren’t known.

The GM might compel this to: Unless there are monsters that specifically like eating big brains, there’s not much the GM can do with this. Consider “Bookworm” instead!

Meticulous
The character is very thorough in his approach to almost everything.

A player might invoke this to: Get a bonus to any task where he has the time and resources to do a thorough job, “discover” that he packed just the right tool.

The GM might compel this to: Interfere with the character being spontaneous.

Priest
The character is a member of the priesthood, and is expected to support the appropriate dogma, as well as accept whatever duties, responsibilities and powers come with the position.

A player might invoke this to: Give a stirring sermon. Resist the powers antithetical to his faith. Attempt to use the resources of his church.

The GM might compel this to: Deliver inconvenient orders from a superior. Present temptations that contradict the Priest’s Dogma. Raise the ire of opposed religions.

Self-Destructive
For whatever reason, the character seeks his own destruction, although he is unwilling to take direct action to do something about it. Instead, he throws himself wholeheartedly into dangerous situations in the hopes that this time will be his last.

A player might invoke this to: Help the character do something stupid and dangerous.

The GM might compel this to: Make the character do something stupid and dangerous.

Family Estate
This should be given the specific name of the character’s family estate, it is a place of rest and refuge from the troubles of the world.

A player might invoke this to: Draw upon the resources of the house.

The GM might compel this to: Threaten the house, use the house as the scene of a murder (thus pulling the character in).

Treacherous
The character has a knack for betrayal. He’s the type of character who, when he shows up on the movie screen, everyone watching knows that he’s the one who’s going to whisper lies in the king’s ear and try to seduce the naive princess. Betrayal comes easily to the character, and while he may be steadfast and true in the end, it would be so easy not to be.

A player might invoke this to: Lie, spy or generally connive.

The GM might compel this to: Incite suspicious reactions from NPCs, especially when the character is telling the truth. Offer opportunities to stab comrades in the back.

Veteran
The character is the survivor of many battles, and the experience has shaped him. He probably was in the Great War, but may possibly have been elsewhere. This is appropriate for a seasoned campaigner who has seen many battles (in contrast to Gallipoli, below).

A player might invoke this to: Keep his wits about him in a fight. Assess a tactical situation. Pitch camp in unfriendly country.

The GM might compel this to: Invoke flashbacks. Introduce old rivals from the other side of the battlefield.

Gallipoli
The battles over the Dardanelles, the straits separating the Ottoman Empire from Europe, were supposed to be easy, a swift strike at the soft underbelly of Europe against the virtually helpless Turks. The result was a long, brutal battle causing hundreds of thousands of deaths from fighting and disease on both sides, and striking a devastating blow to ANZAC, Great Britain’s Australian and New Zealand Corps.

A player might invoke this to: As with Veteran, but also to know a bit about the Turks.

The GM might compel this to: As with Veteran, but also for many other consequences. For ANZAC members, this battle is the root of vast swaths of anti-British sentiment and inspiration for independence.

3.4.5 Even More Examples
In case you end up hard up for an idea, consider this list:

“Gimme a Minute” Eureka! One Step behind
Fearless “It Works on Paper!” Over My Head
Femme Fatality “Maggie’s in Trouble!” Player or Pawn?
First on the Scene “Just Use More” Putting in Long Hours
Fly By Night “Amazing Jetcar" Raised by Wolves
Respectable Friends in Low places “Return to Normalcy”
Respected Authority Girl in Every Port “Manfred, Save Me!”
S.O.S. (Save Our Souls) Glory is Forever Scrappy
“Something’s Not Right" Grease Monkey Great Expectations
“This is Bigger than I Thought" Gumshoe Sharpshooter
Shattered Hard Boiled (Sword’s Name)
Haunted Short Fuse
A Few Dollars More Heart of Gold Silver Spoon
A Fistful of Truth Hidden Crush Social Chameleon
A Good Day to Die I Know a Guy Soft Hearted
Alone in a Crowd Import/Export Something to Prove
Amazing Jet Pack! Business Strength of the Earth
Architect of Destruction Interesting Times Sucker for a Pretty Face
Barbarians Intrepid Investigator Sultan’s Wrath
Been There It Wasn’t My Fault The Awful Truth
Black Sheep It’d Take a Miracle! The Granite Family
Bookworm I’ve Got an Angle The Names of Evil
Champion Johnny on the Spot The Price of Glory
Chosen of the Dark Knows Too Much Tongo, Witch Doctor
Continent Kung Lao Troublemaker
Codebreaker Man of Two Worlds Twitchy
Collector Marked by Destiny Two Fisted
Cutting it Close Monkeywrench Uncivilized
Death Defying Motorhead Unspoken Love
Deathbed Legacy Muckraking War Buddies
Dogged Mysteries of the East Well Traveled
Dreamer Naïve Work in Progress
Easy Mark Never Good Enough
Eavesdropper Nosy
Enemy: Woodrow Wilson On the Run

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