Glossary


GLOSSARY



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ASPECTS

An aspect is a phrase that describes something unique or noteworthy about whatever it’s attached to. They’re the primary way you spend and gain fate points, and they influence the story by providing an opportunity for a character to get a bonus, complicating a character’s life, or adding to another character’s roll or passive opposition. They describe a near-infinite number of things that set the character apart, such as:
* Significant personality traits or beliefs (Sucker for a Pretty Face, Never Leave a Man Behind, The Only Good Tsyntavian Is a Dead Tsyntavian).
* The character’s background or profession (Educated at the Academy of Blades, Born a Spacer, Cybernetic Street Thief).
* An important possession or noticeable feature (My Father’s Bloodstained Sword, Dressed to the Nines, Sharp Eyed Veteran).
* Relationships to people and organizations (In League with the Twisting Hand, The King’s Favor, Proud Member of the Company of Lords).
* Problems, goals, or issues the character is dealing with (A Price on My Head, The King Must Die, Fear of Heights).
* Titles, reputations, or obligations the character may have (Self-Important Merchant Guildmaster, Silver-Tongued Scoundrel, Honor-Bound to Avenge My Brother).

You can invoke or call for a compel on any of your character aspects whenever they’re relevant. GMs, you can always propose compels to any PC. Players, you can suggest compels for other people’s characters, but the GM is always going to get the final say on whether or not it’s a valid suggestion.


SITUATION ASPECTS

A situation aspect is temporary, intended to last only for a single scene or until it no longer makes sense (but no longer than a session, at most). Situation aspects can be attached to the environment the scene takes place in—which affects everybody in the scene—but you can also attach them to specific characters by targeting them when you create an advantage. Who can use a situation aspect depends a lot on narrative context—sometimes it’ll be very clear, and sometimes you’ll need to justify how you’re using the aspect to make sense based on what’s happening in the scene. GMs, you’re the final arbiter on what claims on an aspect are valid. Sometimes situation aspects become obstacles that characters need to overcome. Other times they give you justification to provide active opposition against someone else’s action.


FATE POINTS

You use tokens to represent how many fate points you have at any given time during play. Fate points are one of your most important resources in Fate—they’re a measure of how much influence you have to make the story go in your character’s favor. You can spend fate points to invoke an aspect, to declare a story detail, or to activate certain powerful stunts. You earn fate points by accepting a compel on one of your aspects.


REFRESH

Refresh is the number of fate points you get at the start of every game session to spend for your character. Your total resets to this number unless you had more fate points at the end of the last session. A player character in Fate starts with a refresh of 3. That means he’ll start each session off with at least 3 fate points. If you pick four stunts, your refresh is 2. If you pick five stunts, your refresh is 1.


SKILLS

A skill is a word that describes a broad family of competency at something—such as Athletics, Fight, or Deceive—which your character might have gained through innate talent, training, or years of trial and error. Skills are the basis for everything your character actually does in the game that involves challenge and chance (and dice). Skills are rated on the adjective ladder. The higher the rating, the better your character is at the skill. Taken together, your list of skills gives you a picture of that character’s potential for action at a glance—what you’re best at, what you’re okay at, and what you’re not so good at.


VITALS

Vitals, or more commonly referred to as Stress, indicates how much physical and metal stress you can endure in conflicts before you are “taken out” of a scene. Every Player Character has two different stress tracks. The physical stress track deals with physical harm, and the mental stress track mitigates mental harm. The more boxes in a stress track, the more resilient the character is in that regard. By default, a character has two boxes in each stress track. Certain skills and some stunts can add to these defaults. See the Skills and Stunts section for more on that. For the sake of quick reference, these are the skills in Hearts of Steel that alter stress and consequences: Physique helps with physical stress, and Will helps with mental stress. Either skill grants one more stress box of the respective type (physical or mental) if rated at Average +1 or Fair +2, or two more stress boxes if rated at Good +3 or higher. At Superb +5 or higher, they also grant an additional mild consequence slot. Unlike the standard three, this consequence slot is specifically restricted to either physical harm (Physique) or mental harm (Will).


CONFLICTS

In a conflict, characters are actively trying to harm one another. It could be a fist fight, a shootout, or a sword duel. It could also be a tough interrogation, a psychic assault, or a shouting match with a loved one. As long as the characters involved have both the intent and the ability to harm one another, then you’re in a conflict scene. Conflicts are either physical or mental in nature, based on the kind of harm you’re at risk of suffering. In physical conflicts, you suffer bruises, scrapes, cuts, and other injuries. In mental conflicts, you suffer loss of confidence and self-esteem, loss of composure, and other psychological trauma.


SHIFTS

When you’re hit by an attack, the severity of the hit is the difference between the attack roll and your defense roll; we measure that in shifts. For instance, if your opponent gets +5 on their attack and you get a +3 on your defense, the attack deals a two shift hit (5 – 3 = 2). Then, one of two things happens: you suffer stress and/or consequences, but you stay in the fight, or you get taken out, which means you’re out of the action for a while. If you roll higher than your opposition by 3 or more shifts, you succeed with style.This means that you get what you want, but you also get an added benefit on top of that.


BOOSTS

Boosts are a super-transient kind of aspect. You get a boost when you’re trying to create an advantage but don’t succeed well enough, or as an added benefit to succeeding especially well at an action. You get to invoke them for free, but as soon as you do, the aspect goes away. If you want, you can also allow another character to invoke your boost, if it’s relevant and could help them out.


CONSEQUENCES

Every Player Character also has three consequence slots. One is mild, one is moderate, and the last one is severe. Unlike stress, these aren’t classified as either physical or mental—any of them can apply to any type of harm. Consequences are the injuries and traumas you can’t just shake off after the dust settles. A consequence is more permanent than a situation aspect, but not quite as permanent as a character aspect. They’re a special kind of aspect you take in order to avoid getting taken out in a conflict, and they describe lasting injuries or problems that you take away from a conflict (Dislocated Shoulder, Bloody Nose, Social Pariah). Consequences stick around for a variable length of time, from a few scenes to a scenario or two, depending on how severe they are. Because of their negative phrasing, you’re likely to get compelled a lot when you have them, and anyone who can justifiably benefit from the consequence can invoke it or create an advantage on it.


STUNTS

A stunt is a special trait your character has that changes the way a skill works for you. Stunts indicate some special, privileged way a character uses a skill that is unique to whoever has that stunt, which is a pretty common trope in a lot of settings—special or elite training, exceptional talents, the mark of destiny, genetic alteration, innate coolness, and a myriad of other reasons all explain why some people get more out of their skills than others do. Unlike skills, which are about the sort of things anyone can do in your campaign, stunts are about individual characters. For that reason, the next several pages are about how to make your own stunts, but we’ll also have example stunts listed under each skill in the Default Skill List. Having stunts in your game allows you to differentiate characters that have the same skills as one another.


EXTRAS

An extra in Fate is a pretty broad term. It is used to describe anything that’s technically part of a character or controlled by a character, but gets special treatment in the rules. If your Fate game were a movie, this is where the special effects budget would go. Some examples of extras include:
* Magic and supernatural powers
* Specialized gear or equipment, like enchanted arms and armor in a fantasy game or hyper-tech in a sci-fi game
* Vehicles owned by the characters
* Organizations or locations that the characters rule or have a lot of influence over
The tools in here will let you tailor extras to fit your game or provide material to steal right off the page. It’s okay, steal away. Extras are considered to be an extension of the character sheet, so whoever controls the character to whom the extra belongs also controls that extra. Most of the time, that’ll be the players, but NPCs may also have extras controlled by the GM. Extras require a permission or cost to own.



VENTURE CITY TERMINOLOGY




POWER PROFILE

When you make your character, do so exactly as in Fate Core, but with one addition: you get powers. Powers are a lot like stunts, except bigger, flashier, more powerful, and more complex. Each power you build costs a certain number of stunts, but don’t worry about not having enough! We’re giving you three bonus stunts on top of what you normally get from Fate Core to use exclusively for building powers. To add to your powers or build new ones, you can also spend refresh and use your normal allotment of free stunts as you would when building normal stunts. The three free stunts you’re getting in this adventure have to be used for powers, though.

Most characters have a single power. Some might have two, but that’s where it tops off. Powers are big and complex enough that more than two would be a bit unwieldy. What you can do, however, is build multiple effects into a single power, creating a power suite that does a bunch of related things. To build powers, you can use the list of powers to create a working power suite in just a few minutes. As a player, if you know the basic sort of super you want to play, you can jump straight into the action. As a GM, this can help you come up with powers quickly when players encounter new super-powered NPCs.


BASIC POWER

To start, think about what you want your power to do. What is your character’s shtick? What’s the big flashy thing you do that other people can’t do? Maybe you’re inhumanly fast, or super strong, or you can fly, or you shoot energy blasts from your hands.

Then, find a power that matches your concept and buy its basic form. This is the stunt-like ability that covers the absolute minimum of what the power can do, and purchasing it costs one stunt. This is just the most stripped-down form of your power, so don’t worry if sounds a little generic; you’ll make it more exciting in a moment.


ENHANCEMENTS

An enhancement is an extra effect that you stack onto your basic power. Every enhancement costs one stunt. You can purchase as many enhancements as you can afford, and some enhancements can be purchased multiple times. For instance, most powers have an enhancement titled Master [Power Name], which just improves the basic power, usually by adding a +2 bonus to the appropriate rolls. You can buy that enhancement as many times as you want, knocking the bonus up to +4, +6, or beyond.


POWER SYNERGY

A power synergy is another basic power added to your foundational power. You’re not making a new power from scratch: your power suite will still only have one drawback and one collateral damage effect. The synergy just adds a new facet to the power suite you’re creating. Purchasing a power synergy costs one stunt. Each power has a short list of common synergies: powers that often work well with the foundational power. Your synergy might be a set of complementary powers—like being super strong and super tough—or perhaps your synergy lets you use a power in a specific, new way—like combining your abilities to summon fire and to shoot energy blasts in order to throw fireballs at your enemy.

You are not limited to the suggested synergies, though. You can take any other power you want, as long as you can justify how they’re part of the same power suite. For instance, Wall-Crawling and Energy Blast don’t necessarily go together, but if you explain that the energy blast is really a concentrated ball of the same sticky stuff you use to climb walls, then you have a power synergy. When you purchase a power synergy, you can also purchase any enhancements that apply to your new power. In addition, when it comes time to pick special effects, drawbacks, and collateral damage effects, you can pull from your foundational power or any of the power synergies you’ve added to it.


POWER THEMES

Power themes are like enhancements and power synergies, but they don’t add new abilities to your power suite. Instead, they color how your power presents itself. You might add an elemental effect to your power, or make it based on technology rather than on the superpower gene.

Because the actual effects of power themes are limited, you may purchase one for free. Each theme beyond the first added to a power costs one stunt. Like power synergies, each theme has a short list of enhancements, drawbacks, and collateral damage effects, which become available to purchase or select when you purchase the theme.


SPECIAL EFFECTS

A special effect is an extra-special thing you can pull off when you succeed with style. Whenever you succeed with style on a roll that utilizes one of your powers, you can forgo the normal benefits of succeeding with style to add one of your special effects instead. You can also spend a fate point to add a special effect to any successful roll, even if you’ve already got a special effect attached to that action. Special effects always happen in addition to the normal effects of success. Your power starts with two special effects. If you want more, you can buy them with a stunt or refresh; each stunt or refresh you spend gets you two more special effects. If you need special effects, use the following list. If our suggestions don’t suffice, you can create your own special effects using this list as a guideline.

* Forced Movement: You move your target up to two zones.
* Area Attack: Attack everyone in a zone.
* Inflict Condition: You add an aspect to the target, which you can invoke once for free.
* Extra Movement: You can move up to two zones for free.
* Physical Recovery: You recover from all physical stress.
* Mental Recovery: You recover from all mental stress.
* Extra Action: You can split your shifts between two different yet related actions, adding a +1 to each action.

In addition, some powers have an improved special effect. An improved special effect works just like a special effect: you can use the effect when you succeed with style or spend a fate point while using your power. However, improved special effects are unique to their power and do bigger stuff than regular ones. The trade-off is that they’re more expensive: one stunt buys one improved special effect.


DRAWBACKS

Every power has a short list of possible drawbacks. These highlight problems that the power may bring you—a limitation on the power or a nasty side effect. Drawbacks are aspects, like a power’s trouble, but do not replace your character’s trouble. Choose one drawback or create one of your own.


COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Super-beings throw a lot of power around, power that often has unintended consequences. Sometimes city blocks get leveled; sometimes innocent bystanders get hurt. Your collateral damage effect is an extra benefit—something super-potent you can do with your power, often to great narrative effect.

Each power lists a number of collateral damage effects. Choose one from a power you’ve chosen, or make one of your own.

You can choose to use this effect at any time, but using it comes at a cost: you inflict a situation aspect on the area around you that represents the collateral damage you’ve caused. The GM gets to determine the exact nature of that aspect each time you use it.





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