Greetings and welcome to my latest Combat Mater Report. This report, like the last, is going to focus primarily on character sheets, and specifically on Aspects. Before we get to that, though, a little bit on progress on other areas of the Character Sheet Project. Since this is going to be a long report, I wanted to mention something some of you might find interesting: This report contains a competition for 2nd level crescents for creating an Aspect. If you're interested, read on.
Skills and Force Powers Thanks to the amazing work of Wally and Atra, the descriptions for skills are nearly complete. There are a few that remain, but they will be taken care of shortly. We are also currently working out the last remaining details on Force Powers, which the new members of the team will help to describe, along with the current group of CS System folks.
New Members of the team I received some great applications for the character sheet team, and I will be in contact with all of the applicants this weekend to let them know who I will be bringing on to work on the character sheets. If you missed my call for applications, see my previous report, and you've a day to let me know you're interested before I make my final choices.
Aspects Now, for the meat of today's report, and the first in-depth look at a new feature coming to the Dark Brotherhood character sheets: Aspects!
What exactly are aspects? As described in the Deputy Grand Master's last report, (here), Aspects can be a combination of character traits, personality, history, and behavior. Aspects and Skills will effectively replace attributes in the current system. An Aspect is a single phrase that is meant to carry a great deal of meaning behind the character, but that phrase should be simple and understandable (sometimes even a single word). That phrase is further explained with a small paragraph. Aspects allow for a quick description of important features of a character - from unique General features (which could include background from before the Brotherhood, or some physical trait), to Personality features, to Combat preferences - that guide or describe the behavior of that character. Aspects can be titles, important connections, goals, or motivations. Aspects tell the reader of a character sheet what a member thinks is most important about his or her Brotherhood character. This should greatly assist in all fictional aspects of the club that involve writing about any character other than one's own. In the Fate RPG system, Aspects are used by players (and the GM) as a way to call out and gain bonuses to specific attributes and situations unique to their character. For our purposes, these three Aspect areas allow for an easier understanding of the general behavior of Dark Brotherhood characters, without the lengthy reading of an entire character history on a wiki page. Aspects of all characters involved in a given fiction - particularly in the ACC - will be considered during any grading on realism,Â as Aspects are meant to be the inviolable features of a character.
Aspects will be carefully balanced such that custom Aspects do not provide a character with an unfair advantage, while still allowing for a good deal of customization. To that end, Custom Aspects will be approved by the Voice Staff along with character sheets. The best Aspects are 'double-edged' in that they should not be universally positive, and may reveal something unflattering or less than ideal about a character, but not all Aspects need to be this way. Furthermore, Aspects should NOT be something a character regularly gains or losses, and should be chosen with the intent to keep them, though some amount of change and updating is expected as characters grow in the Brotherhood.
General Aspects This is intentionally an extremely broad category designed to give freedom to members to try to customize their character in some respects. An Aspect here might overlap heavily with a Personality Aspect, a Combat Aspect, or the character's physical description, and that's okay as these categories are meant to be broader. It is here that a member might describe some element of his or her species that might not be granted by a Feat (which I'll go over in a future report )
Personality Aspects These Aspects help to define the most important information about the personality of a character. They can include upbringing that influences personality, general attitude, or anything that would help to define a character's responses to certain situations such as a phobia.
_ Combat Aspects _ These essential aspects describe how the character approaches combat, and as such, they should focus on specific tactics preferred or specialties in weapon use or preference not covered already under Preferred Weapons. This section should not contract Skills or Force Powers, of course, and should not try to define how well the character uses some sort of weapon or skill, but it can allude to when it is used. It may also refer to specific enhancements the character has had done in its backstory, such as cybernetic or genetic modifications that might be useful to mention as a writer during combat. It should deal primarily with preferences in combat, though there can be mention of deficiencies and the like. Remember that there is a separate section for Skills and Force Powers, so Combat Aspects do not need to tell a reader how good a character is with a Skill or Force Power.
Aspect Examples (General or Personality) _ Corellian tongue, roguish good looks. _Born and raised on the city world of Corellia, CHARACTER has a distinct accent which HE/SHE uses to the utmost advantage with charming and sometimes witty conversation. HIS/HER's roguish good looks are a perfect complement to HIS/HER sly tongue, though that same attitude can sometimes get HIM/HER into trouble.
(General) _On the Run from the Black Sun. _CHARACTER NAME is on the run from the Black Sun, having double-crossed the criminal organization one too many times. HE/SHE is constantly looking over HIS/HER shoulder for potential pursuit, making HIM/HER untrusting of new faces and places. On the other hand, this fear for HIS/HER life seems to drive CHARACTER NAME to push HIMSELF/HERSELF to be always prepared and ready for any situation.
(Combat) _Sneaky bastard. _ CHARACTER NAME prefers to decide when and how a fight is to begin, using the Force to cloak himself whenever possible before initiating combat. HE/SHE also prefers to amplify HIS/HER physical abilities or use various Force-based trickery, rather than relying on direct attacks with the Force. When surprised or cornered, CHARACTER NAME may attempt to break combat quickly and gain the upper hand by re-initiating at a time more favorable, or be forced into an overly-defensive posture for the beginning of a fight.
(Combat) _Stay Out of My Face! _CHARACTER vastly prefers ranged combat, taking every opportunity to use skills and Force Powers to disengage from melee and instead fight at range, so much so that HE/SHE has become competent at staying out of melee in the first place. Should HE/SHE get trapped in melee, though, HE/SHE could become unsettled and panic.
Competition: Create-An-Aspect! Today begins a competition that will run until June 28th, in which members are invited to submit Aspects to me via email. Aspects may belong to any one of the three categories (General, Personality, or Combat), and should be of general use to a variety of Brotherhood members. Aspects should AVOID being specifically about something like an Order or a Discipline (more on how these impact the character sheets in the future), but can include reference to Orders, Clouses, or other units. A good Aspect is understandable from the title alone and is double-edged.
Aspects will be judged on usefulness to a wide audience, realism, and originality. Members may enter multiple aspects, but only the best Aspect that member submits will be eligible for Crescent rewards! Any Aspect submitted may be included in the system as an Aspect Brotherhood members can choose! At the end of the two week period, I will award 2nd level Crescents to the three best submissions.
If you're interested in additional background on writing good aspects, check out the source materials for the Fate RPG system at http://www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html and http://www.evilhat.com/home/fate-core-downloads/.
See http://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/dbjedi/competition.php?id=6888 for details on the competition on the website, though everything you need to know is here.
Submissions should be emailed to me at [Log in to view e-mail addresses]. Please include your ID line and pin number in all emails with Aspects.
TL;DR -Work on Skills and Force Powers continues. -New staff members should be contacted this weekend; if you're still interested, see my previous report to apply. -Aspects are a new way for Brotherhood members to customize their characters, which should greatly aid in the writing and grading of Brotherhood fiction! -I'm running a competition on creating an Aspect for use in the new character sheet system from now until June 28th! 2nd level Crescents are up for grabs!
Comments? Questions? Post them in the comments section here, or email me any time!
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