Aspects-like mechanics, sans ‘economy’

loconius

Registered User
Validated User
#11
I know there are some, but I am having difficulty remembering many at all.

What I mean by the title is, RPG mechanics that point to ‘aspects’, but without any spending or gaining of points in the process. So, they could be ‘invoked’ whenever they might reasonably apply, to modify rolls or stats, for better or worse. And perhaps stack, though of course this might need to be limited.

What games feature something like this?
The new Star Trek Adventures features Traits that increase or decrease the difficulty of tasks they apply to, in the same way aspects increase the players total (or the oppositions).

Oh and their use does not hinge on point expenditure in any way. It’s exactly what your requesting
 
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roryb

Lolcat Keeper
Validated User
#12
Ben Dutter's Cornerstone RPG works exactly like this. There are difficulty modifiers, advantage/disadvantage, plus aspect-like "traits" can be invoked when appropriate by GM or player.
 

manwhat

Formerly 'buggritall'
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#13
To me the important thing you get with an 'economy', or Fate 2.0's limits per session, is that it allows you to be more freeform with your aspects.

At first glance Fantastic At Everything looks like an overpowered aspect. And it is kind of a boring one. But in play it's not a big deal because sure, you can invoke being Fantastic At Everything five times or whatever in a row but then you're out of fate points and have to earn them back the normal way.
Or in F2.0, ok, sure, you got to be Fantastic At Everything once, now time to look at all your other aspects.

Without limitations, the nature of aspects/traits has to be much more closely regulated or negotiated.
 

TheRoleplayer

Nowhere Man
Validated User
#14
It's been a minute, but Cold City/ Hot War: characters have only 3 stats (Action, Insight, Influence) and freeform Traits (pretty much Aspects, but you usually start with 3 positive and 2 negative ones).

Your 3 Stats are dice pools, and you get an extra dice for each Trait relevant to the conflict, be it positive or negative.

The highest individual dice defines the winner, and if it so happens to be a dice from a negative trait, a complication comes along.

Each of your dice that are higher than the opposition's highest is a success, which you then spend on several benefits (reducing a Stat, turning a positive trait into negative, giving a new negative trait, etc). Stats and Traits can be targeted, so among the benefits of successes you might want to "lock" them, and this way protecting them from change.
 

Sangrolu

Social Justice Ninja
Validated User
#15
City of Mist has traits which are basically aspects but without any sort of economy. Both in terms of giving you permissions to perform unusual tasks and giving you bonuses. To determine what your effective rating is for whatever you're trying, you just add up the tags and use that as your bonus.
That was going to be my contribution

Without limitations, the nature of aspects/traits has to be much more closely regulated or negotiated.
And that's my take on CoM's weaknesses. I tell players to just be casual and I don't really super scrutinize things until they have more than 3 tags. But it seems like at the point, you are spending a lot of time and mental energy imagining why a given tag would apply.
 

avram

Registered User
Validated User
#17
It occurs to me - please do correct me if I’m wrong here though, as it’s not a game I’ve ever played - that one could use Advantage and Disadvantage in D&D 5e for this purpose. Perhaps giving character a set number of positive aspects, and the same number of negative, and of double-edged or ambiguous. Or whatever numbers, frankly, or even only double-edged / ambiguous, as preferred. And whenever an aspect applies positively.. Advantage. And so on.
There are a couple of OSR games that do something like this. Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells has three very broad character classes (basically Fighter, Thief, and Mage), and has PCs take a vocation to make themselves more specific. One Fighter could take Soldier as a vocation, while another takes Barbarian, or Musketeer, or Pirate. You roll with advantage on things your vocation makes you good at. The rules don't say anything about disadvantage on things your vocation should be bad at, though.

The game also has a complications mechanic that works sort of like a Fate compel, where your Luck die gets boosted when your complication shows up, but it's only once per character per session, and it's not a spendable token. It's also not an advantage/disadvantage mechanic, but a different thing. (A Black Hack-style resource die, if you're familiar with that.)
 
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Haystack

Stacker of Hay
Validated User
#18
Heroquest 2e's character abilities are pretty much just that: Fate-like descriptions of facts about a PC that get invoked whenever there's an obstacle to overcome.

The other example I can think of that hasn't been discussed is Spellbound Kindom's backgrounds. If a background (which are pretty freeform broad facts about a character's history) applies to a roll, that die gets added to that roll's dice pool.
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
#19
At first glance Fantastic At Everything looks like an overpowered aspect. And it is kind of a boring one. But in play it's not a big deal because sure, you can invoke being Fantastic At Everything five times or whatever in a row but then you're out of fate points and have to earn them back the normal way.
Or in F2.0, ok, sure, you got to be Fantastic At Everything once, now time to look at all your other aspects.

Without limitations, the nature of aspects/traits has to be much more closely regulated or negotiated.
Yeah, aspects without points is sort of like letting players set their character's skills to anything they want; removing formal definitions of game balance and leaving it up to player expression and choice. If your game can handle it, like if you have other ways to insure equivalent player spotlight time, then there's no problem. It's just that having players assign points for skills, or fate economy type mechanisms save you a certain amount of bother.

Just come up with some different non-numerical structured system for character generation, and you can directly deal with problems of overshadowing or whatever by just having players carve out their own niches, and other players define their traits so that they do not overlap those, etc.
 
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Thanaeon

Mostly simulationist
Validated User
#20
The The Riddle of Steel family of games have something like the Spiritual Attributes of the father; they're statements about the character's destiny or most deeply held beliefs and values. A character might have Faith: Saviour Jesus Christ or Drive: Eliminate Slavery Everywhere and they'd get the value of those attributes when taking risks in pursuit of goals that align with those values. In addition, after a scene in which they did so, they'd also raise the level of that attribute (to a maximum), and they also function as experience points to be spent for raising skills and whatnot.

Brilliant system for driving active play and to give the characters an edge in otherwise gritty systems.
 
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