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Fate System Toolkit

Aspect Events

This is a trick you can use to create the framework of an adventure—you can even combine this technique with the previous technique to inject events based on player input.

An aspect event has two components: the event list and the crescendo aspect. The event list is a series of things that will happen, leading up to the crescendo aspect. Think of the crescendo aspect as what will happen if the players don’t intercede. A good event has three to six aspects plus the crescendo aspect.

When the adventure starts, check off the first aspect and bring it into the story. This is the inciting incident, the thing that gets the PCs involved. It’s an aspect like any other—you and the players can compel it or invoke it as appropriate. It stays in play until it’s no longer relevant, at which point you simply cross it off.

Whenever the story suggests that things should move on, or whenever there’s a lull in the action, check off the next aspect and bring it into the story. It’s now an aspect that can be invoked or compelled, and it’s a new element to the story. Keep doing this for as long as you need to. Accelerate the rate at which you bring in aspects, if the players are getting distracted or not getting involved, or slow it down if they’re being really proactive.

If the crescendo aspect gets checked off, things have gotten really, really bad. This usually indicates that the bad guys are on the verge of winning, and that the players need to step up their game!

If you don’t check off all the aspects by the time the PCs wrap things up, that’s fine! It just means the PCs were on their game, and that they got to be awesome and win big. If you check off all the aspects and things go badly for the PCs, that’s also fine! You can snowball what happened in this story into the next one, and up the ante a bit.

Here’s an example:

  • Explosions and Fire!
  • A Rash of Murders
  • Citywide Panic
  • Under Terrorist Threat
  • Three Hours to Detonation
  • Smoking Crater