The common things that can be done with an aspect are:

  • Invoke it spending a fate point (or by free invocations sometimes) for a +2 or reroll.
  • Hostile Invocation.
  • Compel.
  • Permission. Sometimes, an extra requires just a narrative justification that is allowed by an Aspect. For example, if you want to learn the Spellcasting skill in a low-magic game, you need an Aspect that simply justifies why you have access to magic. The aspect doesn't pay for the magic (you are paying with a skill slot), it just justifies narratively. This aspect can still be invoked or compelled as normal.
  • Always True. It is easy to understand in situational aspects, such as Grapple which means that the creature can't move even if not Invoked. This is a bit complex because depending on how you word an Aspect when Creating an Advantage, it might have weaker or more powerful "passive" effects, which the GM must evaluate. It becomes more complex with Character Aspects because it could give a mechanical advantage to someone that cleverly worded it. An Aspect can give you permission to do something without a roll while another person would normally make a roll, or to do something with a roll while another person would normally be unable to attempt it.


However, there is something that is perturbing me. It is what motivated me to make this question.

I was reading Making Magic with Stress and it suggests using a stress track for mana. You obviously require an Aspect as permission. However, when determining the length of the track, there is one option: "Aspect-based" which seems to allow an aspect to do something more than what I previously mentioned. This allows you to have one or more Aspects that each increase the stress track length by one stress box. It is based on the Wealth Stress Track. This is quite weird because these Aspects would be more powerful than any other aspect as they also increase one of your stress tracks (If I understand correctly, these aspects can still be invoked and compelled as normal, in addition to the stress benefit).

In the Lock and Load Using Ammo Fate, it suggests that if you use an Ammo Track and use an Overcome action with Resources and succeed with style, you get the Extra Ammo aspect (same with Create Advantage) that can be Invoked, destroying it at no Fate Point cost to clear out the Ammo Track on one gun (the Ammo Aspects rules also mention Aspects that are destroyed when invoked, which can be used in addition of the normal +2 or reroll, or to make an AoE attack).

The Special Gear extra mentions Gear that can have Aspects that can be invoked or compelled as normal, but also that you can give them special flavour invocations, one-time, stunt-like bonus.


  • Beyond the basic Invoke, Hostil Invoke, Compel and Always True, what more things can do an Aspect?
  • Why in the Mana or Wealth examples an Aspect is allowed to increase a stress track? Is there any "cost" for those special Aspects that I'm missing? For example, in the Mana stress track, not all players necessary must be spellcasters. That means that if I want both players (spellcaster and non-spellcaster) to be balanced, the spellcaster must pay each of their magical benefits with a cost (for example, Magic Skill spends a Skill slot), so if there are Aspects that increase your Mana stress track, what are they using to pay the cost? (I don't think that an "Aspect slot" could be an answer if that Aspect is still allowed to be Invoked and Compelled as normal).

An answer such as "Do what the GM wants" or "If the party feels appropriate allow it" is not helpful.


1 Answer 1


Extras can do anything.

(The price of doing anything is that you have to tell people about it in advance.)

Everything you pulled from the back issues of the Fate Codex is best understood as an optional Extra. It isn't something you're suddenly deciding certain Aspects can do, something you'd suddenly drop into your campaign after everyone's already made and played their characters; it's something you'd bring in at session 0 so people knew you were thinking about it when they did character creation.

Extras are, basically, house rules. Is there any limit to what an Extra can do to an Aspect? Can it get a stress track, consequences, its own high concept and trouble? Can it provide passive bonuses? If the Extra says so, sure. Maybe the only limitation on what can happen is the essential nature of Aspects - that they represent true things about the world fiction.

(Yes, even if the Aspect is a lie. Yes, even if it's "Viscount Poncingjay was abducted by bears!", quotes included. The true thing the Aspect represents is that someone believes that lie.)

But "when you're writing house rules you can write whatever you want and the universe won't explode" isn't a very helpful answer, so I'll do my best to be more specifically helpful, talking about some of the principles behind the Extras you found.

"Succeed without rolling" - the simplest Extra

There are two circumstances where an Aspect can let you succeed without rolling, and they're a little different in terms of how much Extra needs to be done with them.

One is no extra at all, what's defined in the rules as Declaring a Story Detail - in the most general form this is spending a fate point to convince the GM to bend the story in your favor, but because it often involves an Aspect you have, you can think of it as being the opposite of a compel -- spending a Fate Point on one of your own Aspects to get you into dramatic uncertainty from a hopeless position, or through dramatic uncertainty to a favorable resolution.

The other is something you've described under "Always True" - writing one of your Aspects in a way to exempt you from certain dramatic rolls without spending Fate Points. Say, if you're playing a sendup of 90s kids' tv about a bunch of kids on bikes, and one person wants to play Artie, the Strongest Man in the World, because kids on bikes can get up to a lot more mischief when the Strongest Man in the World helps out now and again. As an Extra, everyone comes to an agreement that because of this Aspect, Artie doesn't have to roll to do anything that would be a dramatic feat of Physique and Athletics for a kid on a bike, but can roll to perform dramatic feats of Physique and Athletics no kid on a bike could dream of.

Taking the time to establish an Extra and come to an agreement about who gets to skip out of rolls and how is far better than just, what, expecting the GM will agree with you that you can just get out of a scene they intended to put you in? There may still be some story detail-level spackling that you need to do around the edges, but if you want the broader world to treat you differently, it's Extra time.

Aspects informing Stress tracks

So, something that happens every now and again is that somebody decides to make an Aspect-only version of Fate, where everybody has about ten Aspects split between various categories, and instead of having any skills at all, when you have to make a dramatic roll you add the number of your aspects that apply to it. "The total number of Aspects that apply" can be an interesting concept, but why apply it to a stress track?

Well, the game's existing stress tracks depend on some skills that don't see a lot of play in their respective arenas, where there are several other skills that generally rack stress on opponents. If you're introducing an entirely new stress bar, unless there's an entirely new set of relevant skills you can pick a "stress skill" from, going to some other determiner makes sense. Some kind of world-fiction based determiner, like your total count of relevant Aspects.

Now, in both those cases, because you're looking at the world fiction, Aspects as dual-sided elements of your character represent the tension in the fiction that answers the question "why doesn't everybody just have all the money/magic?"

In the space scum & villainy case, using Aspects about the pricey things you own to determine your Wealth stress track reflects a common tension among scoundrels: is enjoying the comforts of wealth worth the responsibility of wealth maintenance? Sure, you've got Glitterstar, My Shining Piece of Bigshot Station but you've actually got to deal with the ins and outs of running a casino, and all the up-and-coming rogues out to get your piece away from you, and maybe you can trust somebody to run the place but can you really trust them? It gets in the way of chasing down leads to big scores, free as a starbird.

In the mage case, the tension is: you can master magic, but at the cost of cutting yourself off from the mundane world. Having a lot of magic-relevant Aspects means you won't have many relevant to social interaction or physical confrontation, and one use of a compel is to pull you into a situation where you're not very strong.

Consumable "Ammo" Aspects

Can an Aspect have a stress track, and when the track fills the Aspect goes away? Can an Aspect be consumed? Lots of Aspects, usually Create an Advantage stuff, go away when they don't make sense in the world fiction anymore. And if an Aspect represents something consumable, like Extra Ammo, then when it's consumed in the world fiction (at an appropriate level of abstraction, like "clear out a gun stress") it goes away.

Gear Aspects

These are the only type of Extra you might introduce in the middle of a campaign, and as a result they should have a less comprehensive scope than the game-wide Extras you introduce in the beginning. This is the case for both special Gear Aspects in the Fate Core extras chapter.

There's actually nothing extra at all about Brace Jovanovich's Dueling Pistol, from a certain perspective. You spend a refresh to get what is by all appearances a standard conditional +2 stunt. There's a little documentation on how you might get compelled by it, but nothing unusual.

Demonbane, The Enchanted Sword is basically putting itself halfway between story detail and actual Extra, detailing a few specific dramatic things it will automatically succeed at... if you spend a Fate Point on its aspect.


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