I've never played Dresden Files RPG before, and I'm trying to figure out a character which will work for it..

My character concept is "action survivor in over his head who grows into a weak but skilled support combatant through ingenuity and experience." My character will start a vanilla mortal with no combat powers at all. He may even start out at lower refresh and have to 'catch up' in the first book.

I intend for him to grow more useful in combat over the course of the game, while still focusing more on out-of-combat skills. One of his other aspects will be something like "doing good through optimized utilitarianism", meaning that he likes to support others (efficiently). Therefore he would naturally develop into a support character. His 'final' fighting style should simultaneously show him still obviously outclassed physically by his opponents, having much lower 'fighting' related skills. He'll decide the 'optimal' way to utilize his limited fighting skill is to do everything he can to come up with creative ways to help the stronger fighters win.

Building a support-type character who emphasizes generating aspects is likely pretty easy mechanically, but I'm a little troubled about how it would work in story. I can imagine a scene fighting Red Court vampires where my character rolls Perception to notice some covered up windows so someone else can tag a 'blinded by the burning light' aspect later. However, in story it feels like he didn't really do much to support his team. Everyone is fighting for their life, while my character stands in the background for awhile and then finally says "hey everyone, look there are some giant windows over there you somehow never noticed before I declared the blindingly (I'm punny!) obvious to you, that insight was totally as useful as the guy with the sniper rifle who went the turn before me."

I'm worried rolling skills to make things magically appear in the scene all the time will feel odd, especially when ultimately others are going to tag the aspects and do all the 'cool things' the aspect allows. It doesn't seem like my character would be really showing off, or getting credit for, his creativity in-story. It seems even harder to show him 'supporting' others: It's easy to apply a debuff on enemies but much harder to come up with a justification for a 'buff' on an ally. I'm trying to figure out how to make the story play out to demonstrate my character's fighting style and concept such that characters in-story would see how he helped them.

What can I do while building my character (particularly when I add Refresh to him in later books) that will make it easier to show off my character in-story? I think stunts focused on supporting others in combat would be a good approach, but I'm finding it hard to find mortal level ones that have believable in-story flavor without making him feel like a trained combat veteran. I know I can have an aspect of my character for "cunning action survivor", but again how does one tag a personal aspect in a way that it supports others rather then your own attack roles?


1 Answer 1


Create advantages representing coordination, planning, and inspiration.

A couple weeks ago I ran a Fate Accelerated game with several leader-type characters. An airline stewardess began combat by barking out a plan (Create Advantage, placing the aspect I know what to do! on herself). She succeeded with style, and handed out the free invokes to anyone who followed her plan and needed a bump on their roll to do so.

In the same fight, a military commander used his ability to lead in battle to place Spring into action! on the whole group. He gave the free invokes to PCs who needed a little extra oomph to act quickly enough for the stewardess's plan to work.

Always remember you can manipulate your environment! Shoot crossbow bolts into the wall so your friend can climb them, turn on the board room's projector unit to blind your enemies, break the water cooler to make the floor slippery. Modifying and exploiting terrain to your team's advantage is a crucial part of tactical ability.

Use stunts representing leadership, experience, and training.

The airline stewardess was trained in crowd coordination and keeping people controlled and focused during a panic. This showed up as a stunt which gave her +2 to Flashily create aspects to coordinate plans. In the scene I describe above, she used it to adapt her plans on the fly.

The military commander had decades of service and knew almost every kind of military challenge it was possible to encounter. He had a stunt which let him, once per session, create a boost representing his prior experience with a particular threat. This let his create weaknesses in the enemy to be exploited, like Go for the eyes or They don't trust their leader or I read your book! It's easy for any PC to exploit that kind of weakness once they know about it, so passing the free invoke from the boost is easily justified.

Your character aspects can represent your ability to help others.

If I'm The pride of West Point, that means I have great command skills and strategic education. I can invoke the aspect whenever I'm using my West Point training. Or maybe I'm just a Risk State Championship Finalist.

And remember, you can invoke for others if it's narratively justified.

If I have A good eye for trouble brewing, I can spend a Fate point to give someone else a bonus on her roll to find a clue or dodge an attack. Narratively that means I pointed out something she would have missed.

I ran a game for a PC with the Trouble aspect I just want to help! It was easily invokable for bonuses to others' roles as he aided them--and easily compellable for the help to create unforeseen side effects without actually endangering the success of the roll he was helping on.

Creating "unseen" scene elements is tricky.

You're right, it can be kinda awkward to add "unnoticed" elements to a well-described scene. In part this becomes a challenge to your creativity to figure out what elements can be added without suspending disbelief, but your group can help you a lot with this by keeping scene descriptions minimal.

This is a style change not all groups like, but Fate responds really well to minimalistic scene-setting: instead of a paragraph of description, a few well-chosen phrases can set the mood of the scene just as well but leave space for players to flesh out the scene as it goes.

Thus if you're fighting vampires in a swanky board room, it's got Plush chairs, a Big heavy meeting table, and maybe a Well-stocked sideboard. Because we didn't describe the walls, placing Covered picture windows on this room is less "Gee, you guys are blind!" and more "Hey, this could be useful!" Your character is the person who recognises the utility of the feature and so brought it into mechanical existence (in Fate, only important things have mechanics attached to them).

Encourage your teammates to work with you.

The Atomic Robo RPG has two example NPCs who are good friends and work together well. Each of them has a stunt which gives them an extra +1 when invoking an aspect the other created.

This is a great model for teamwork abilities, but if they aren't going to use their stunt slots for it, you can use yours! Above I've already given the example of creating an aspect representing your plan, so people can use its invokes when acting according to the plan. A PC in my Dresden Files Accelerated playtest had a stunt let him grant an additional +1 whenever he used the teamwork feature to grant a bonus to someone else's roll.

This kind of mechanical incentive works well, but all the above advice will work much better if you're able to talk with your group about your concerns outside game time and get their buy-in for helping you be awesome. Most Fate groups are very willing to do this, and your character is especially well-positioned for it because his being awesome is all about making them more awesome. Ask your fellow players to make sure their characters recognise and acknowledge your PC's contributions; that'll probably be at least as helpful as acting on any advice I've given.


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