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I really like the idea in Fate Core of phases in character creation: characters telling three adventures they had together, and getting aspects from these adventures.

However, I now have to introduce a new character in an already existing group, and have no idea how to deal with the phases anymore. Do I have him make phases with the other characters, and he is the only one having aspects? What if they don't know each other yet, and I want to run their first meeting? Do I just let him choose his Aspects?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I don't recommend skipping the previous-adventure backstory; it's a critical element of fate characters design, and the resulting aspects are the least important outcome. The most important effect is of tying the character's backstory in to the rest of the group. They have characters-they-know in common, and past history to draw plot from. This group generation of backplot is part of what makes FATE groups into a GMably cohesive story, not just a collection of interesting individuals.

I recommend running either two or the full three "adventures we had together" sessions. As you suggest, let the new character take aspects from these, but not the existing players. (Unless they want to swap out an existing aspect; it's a great time to allow that if new revelations about their backplot occur.)

For one of these sessions, I recommend re-discussing an existing past adventure that the rest of the group used for character creation, and revealing how the new PC was involved in ways that none of them knew at the time.

If they don't know each other yet and you want to run their first meeting - great, but it doesn't affect the character creation; run the backstory phases anyway. Just add an additional fact: they didn't meet, and don't recognise each other. That doesn't mean they haven't affected each other's pasts, it just means they don't know that.

("I was desperate; I threw the grenade out the window. I didn't learn who it hit until years later...")

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This is a neat idea to run during a lull in a longer scale campaign (run a couple of "flashback" adventures which are essentially one-offs), but if you're in the midst of a story arc I know that I as a player would kind of object to this. That being said, this is most certainly one tactic which could be employed in the right situation. – NotVonKaiser Oct 10 '13 at 23:02
@JohnCraven: Thanks; you've made me realise that I made this sound longer and more involved than it should be. If you're doing it right, it need only take ten or fifteen minutes while you weave the new character's story in. I'll consider how to edit. – Tynam Oct 10 '13 at 23:04

There are a couple of different ways out there to generate the three aspects. The first edition, for instance, had a slightly different system for generating Aspects. Actually, you'll notice that the last 60% is exactly what they use now (the new version only utilizes 5 Aspects instead of 7 because they found that if you give a character too many of them, several tend to lie unused), but that doesn't mean you can't use the first 60%. To paraphrase the website, these are:

  1. Where did you come from?
  2. What shaped you? (i.e. what was the conflict which made you the person you are today)
  3. What was your first adventure?

Alternatively, if the player is a bit stuck, you can have them fill in what they "know" about this guy and allow him to enter in later details as they come to him / make sense in the narrative. You probably wouldn't want to compel a blank Aspect (which would mean filling it in for the character) but if anything that ought to provide him with reason to fill those slots up on his own (because if he has nothing to compel, he ain't getting extra FATE points between refreshes).

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