I was thinking of running the Dresden Files RPG, and I wanted to try it out and get my feet wet before I did a real long-term campaign. So I tried to run the "neutral grounds" case file (A free downloadable scenario.)

The pre-gen characters for this adventure are only partially complete. I understand that the players are supposed to just pick the lower-ranked skills as they come up, but I wasn't able to figure out how they were supposed to come up with the four other aspects. There was a series of "leading questions", which seemed tied to the aspects, but also related to how to decide some variable of the scenario, like which NPC is the villain, and who is the patsy.

I know the full game has a serious character and city creation mechanic, but that's clearly not what's missing here. There's some other mechanism for finishing these characters, but I don't know what it is.

How are you supposed to finish the characters for the case file scenarios?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there no procedure for this? The Full City/Character creation is very procedural -- do this, pick an aspect, do that, pick another aspect. This seems like "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks". \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Oct 14 '11 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the questions match up to the larger character creation process to generate the aspects. Since it's an intro the questions help to focus what you might get from an aspect. As DForck pointed out aspects don't have a lot of rules to how to create them so the questions try to help out with that to speed the creation process along. \$\endgroup\$ – mirv120 Oct 14 '11 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't seem to be communicating my question well... I was looking to see if there was a process for this. It looks like the answer is really "There's no process, just make stuff up." The questions get you thinking in the right direction, but there's no process. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Oct 14 '11 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't done a super thorough read through of the FATE rules (I've played not run it) but I think that's fairly correct. There are guidelines (the questions do these in the scenario) but beyond that it is pretty opened ended. \$\endgroup\$ – mirv120 Oct 14 '11 at 18:52

To try and simplify mirv's answer:

The way it works is you go through all of the questions, getting unique answers from your players (they should be writing these down!). Once all the questions are done they need to take whatever questions were related to them and turn them into aspects.

There aren't a whole lot of rules when it comes to deciding aspects, other than it should be as precise as possible and should describe the character somehow.

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The questions are just creative prompts, and the adventure expects that the group is already familiar with Fate, aspects, and the usual advice for choosing aspects, or at least that the GM can help the players out.

However, since you're all new to Fate, (re-)reading the section of the Fate 3.0 System Reference Document on how to choose aspects will help. Even if you've read it before it's worth giving it another close read now: It's always easier to understand the bits of the system when you have an actual application to figure out.

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Assuming this works similar to how "Night Fears" works the leading questions will help you add additional aspects to each character. The one shots are designed on the assumption that players are new to FATE so the questions help to create aspects that will come up in the course of play. These aspects help to define the characters relationships with each other and about their characters. Aspects are a huge part of FATE (the system that Dresden Files uses) and since this is sort of a demo scenario the idea is to make sure everyone has aspects that can be leveraged in that scenario. (Since aspects can cover a broad range of things it'd be fully possible that a new player might create aspects that aren't really applicable and thus not get the full experience of the game.)

After answering the questions you are ready to go. (Again with the caveat that I am assuming it works similar to "Night Fears" which is another of one shot scenarios but at a lower power level.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But how do you use the questions to add the aspects? It totally wasn't clear to me how to do this. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Oct 12 '11 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Say the question says something like: "One of the group has betrayed another member of the group." The group now elaborates on who was the betrayer and the betrayed. By determining what happened you can figure out an aspect (which is really just a description/trait of a character) that applies to a given character. So the betrayer might get an aspect like "I'm always out for me" or "There's no line I won't cross." The betrayed may take an aspect of "Just another gullible guy." or "Don't trust other people." Aspects help to hint at how a character might act in certain situations. \$\endgroup\$ – mirv120 Oct 12 '11 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but what's the process for using the questions? Answer them all and take whatever aspects seem interesting? answer them until everyone has seven aspects? something else? The process is missing, and as we're all first-time fate players, I'm really not sure where to go with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean McMillan Oct 12 '11 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ They're just creativity prompts. Answer the questions, and what you say cam be summarised in a sentence, or you can riff off the answers to make a related one-sentence statement. This sentence becomes an aspect. It's just the usual, same-ol', same-ol' of FATE aspects, nothing special that you're missing. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 12 '11 at 18:55

I ran "Neutral Grounds" this past weekend. I was teaching that game as we went (this group is not likely to pre prep.) so we got off to a late start. Even though they had a blast answering the opening questions there were not obvious ways to fill in ALL of their character sheets.

I had a d20 prepared just in case: I asked them to take turns rolling it and I would list off the corresponding skill in the skill list/table; if they already had that skill I'd ask for a reroll. Once they got board 'drawing' skills we just started the scenario regardless of some empty spaces in sheets.

I'd recommend having a d20 or some other way to resolve decisions quickly.

My group wasn't going to cry foul because of empty skill and aspect slots; they are more likely to get bored then distracted so I have to keep the pace pretty brisk. Some groups might cry foul if you ask them to play with empty char. sheet slots so having a way to make decisions quickly is prob. helpful.

ALSO: part of the fun of FATE is that characters can declare aspects during play so if you have extra room for that on character sheets it might turn out to be an advantage. This was the case for my session this past week.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for that last paragraph. Fill in a couple of aspects each, then leave the others blank and let them emerge during play. \$\endgroup\$ – Tynam Apr 8 '13 at 14:42

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