(work in progress)
The Stuff on your Character Sheet:
Characters in Fate are made up of Aspects, Skills, and Stunts/Powers.
Aspects are phrases that describe or are evocative of your character, covering things such as descriptions, relationships, beliefs, catchphrases, items, etc. Examples include “Determined Cop”, “Ladies Man”, “Hulk Smash!”, “Trained by Merlin”, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”, and “My Name is Inigo Montoya… You Killed my Father; Prepare to Die!”.
Basically, when an aspect could help you in the game you can spend a fate point to either re-roll or get a +2 bonus; when an aspect hinders you or complicates your life, you can earn a fate point.
Skills are a measure of your capabilities, and are added to the dice when you want to do anything (some of them also determine how much damage/stress you can take in a fight before going down).
The skill list is Alertness, Athletics, Burglary, Contacts, Crafts, Deceit, Driving, Empathy, Endurance, Engineering, Fists, Guns, Intimidation, Investigation, Might, Performance, Presence, Rapport, Resolve, Resources, Scholarship, Stealth, Survival, Thaumatology, Weapons. The skills are explained a bit more on their own page: skills. Like most things in fate, skills are rated on the ladder.
Stunts are special things about your character (similar to feats, merits, edges, talents, specialities etc from other games). They most commonly give you a +2 in a specific area, or an equivalent benefit. Examples include “Biologist” (giving a +2 to scholarship roles involving biology or medicine) or “Haymaker Punch” (giving a +2 to damage rolls when punching someone).
Powers are similar, but cover supernatural things that normal humans can’t do.
To Create a Character:
First, come up with an idea of what sort of character you want to play!
Describe them in a single phrase, such as “Young But Determined Detective” or “Knight Errant of the Council of Albion” or whatever. This phrase is your High Concept Aspect.
Assign your skills as follows:
1 skill at Superb (+ 5)
2 skills at Great (+ 4)
3 skills at Good (+ 3)
4 skills at Fair (+ 2)
5 skills at Average (+ 1)
Everything else is assumed to be mediocre (+ 0)
To give you an idea of what these numbers mean, Average (+ 1) is someone with basic training or some talent; Fair (+ 2) is someone who knows what they are doing and is fairly good at it; Good (+ 3) is professional level skill; Great (+ 4) is an expert in their field; and Superb (+ 5) is world-class skill.
To use other words (pinched from World of Darkness and Mage)
Average (+ 1) = novice/initiate
Fair (+ 2) = practitioner/apprentice
Good (+ 3) = professional/disciple
Great (+ 4) = expert/adept
Superb (+ 5) = master/master
Now think of some specific areas of special expertise or ability that your character has, and whether they have any special powers. Talk them over with me, but basically 1 point to Refresh buys you a Stunt worth +2 in a specific area, or a similar equivalent (such as a +1 in a slightly more general area, a +3 in a very, very specific area etc).
Next you need to fill out the rest of your aspects (by now you have probably thought a few ideas of your character, so hopefully this should be easy). If you need ideas, then is is a good idea to have aspects that relate to your problems/weaknesses (your Trouble Aspect), motivation, background, talents, relationships, etc.
You don’t need to have every detail of your character made when the game starts; as long as you have a framework down and a decent general feel for your character, you can fill the rest in as you go along.
The character creation phases worksheet that we will complete in the first half of the first session will help with fleshing out your character ideas and writing aspects (it will also heklp to link the characters together, giving them relationships in their backstroies and tieing them to the world).
As part of that process everyone will some up with a brief story idea from your character’s past (think of it as their first adventure), fitting the following outline:
When [something happens], [your protagonist] [pursues a goal]. But will [your protagonist] succeed when [antagonist provides opposition]?
Also, these questions may help you to fill in the details:
Who are your family?
Why are you in this job?
Do you have a secret?
What do you do when angry?
What do you fear?
Who/what do you hate?
Who/what do you value?
Even been in love, or had a broken heart?
A memory from your past
What is on your desk/in your bag etc
What have you created? (Why and how?)
What have you understood? (perhaps a personal value or belief)
What have you changed? (or what is something that has changed within you, and why)
What have you destroyed? (and why? Or what do you seek to destroy?)
What do you command? (or what have you been commanded to do?)
Those last 5 were stolen from game designer Rob Donoghue and inspired by the magic system from Ars Magica, where spells fall into 5 categories: Creo (Create), Intelligo (Understand), Muto (Change), Perdo (Destroy) and Rego (Command)