Aspects cover a wide range of elements and define what makes your character unique (basically, they describe the core of your character’s identity. (By contrast, skills and supernatural abilities could be said to paint a similar picture of what your character can do, rather than who he is.)
Aspects can be:
• Relationships (Mama’s Boy, Apprentice to Ancient Mai)
• Beliefs (The Lord Is My Shepherd, Nothing Is Forever)
• Catchphrases (Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut, “It’s Not My Fault!”)
• Descriptors (Wiseass Wizard, Rugged as the Road)
• Items (Sword of the Cross, My Mother’s Pentacle)
• Pretty much anything else that paints a vivid picture of the character (Big Man On Campus, Anger Is My Constant Companion)
In terms of game rules, aspects are the main avenue by which you gain or spend Drama Points for your character. Drama points are a kind of currency that can be spent for bonuses, and they are earned when aspects cause problems and complications for the character.
Here’s a summary of some of the ways that aspects and Drama Points are used in the game:
• Compel: Either receive a Drama Point when one of your character’s aspects works to his disadvantage, or spend a Drama point to avoid that disadvantage. Additionally, if you know someone has a certain Aspect, you can spend a Drama Point in order to try and compel that Aspect.
• Back from the Dead: A character who dies may, by spending Drama Points, make a triumphant return. No return from the grave is without complications though, and not even Drama Points can erase the problems that result from cheating the Grim Reaper. The sooner the character is back from the dead, the more Drama Points it costs. Coming back next Season costs one Drama Point (that means the player is going to need a new Cast Member until then). Returning on the next Episode costs five Drama Points. Cheating the Grim Reaper in the same Episode as one’s demise costs 10 Drama Points. If the Cast Member did not have enough Drama Points to spend, he can pay the Director in installments – all Drama Points he has now, and any Drama Points the character gets in later Episodes, until the debt is paid. Spending the points is not enough; you and the player need to work out the details behind the resurrection.
• Heroic Feat: By spending 2 Drama Points, the character gets a +10 bonus on any one roll. This can be an attack or defense action, or any use of a skill, or even a Fear or Survival Test. Any subsequent uses of that roll result also enjoy the 10-point kicker. Heroic Feat can also be used to increase damage. In that case, the +10 bonus is added after Hits, armor, and damage type multipliers are factored. Heroic Feat may only be used once per Turn.
• I Think I’m Okay: For a mere Drama Point, the character immediately heals 5 boxes of Stun or Physical damage. The character is still bloody and battered, but can act normally. Any crippled limbs are repaired sufficiently to continue the fight (or the running away). I Think I’m Okay can be used once per Turn. If the character has suffered enough damage to be incapacitated or unconscious though, healing does not necessarily awaken him.
• Invocation for effect: Spend a Drama point and describe how one of your character’s aspects allows you to make a declaration of fact or circumstance about something in the game.
• Invocation: Spend a Drama point, describe how one of your character’s aspects is beneficial to him, and get either a +2 bonus or a reroll to a skill roll. You can spend as many DP as you want for a single roll, as long as each point applies to a different applicable aspect.
• Plot Twist: Heroes often find help and information from the most unlikely places or at precisely the right time. Once per game session, a character can spend a Drama Point and get a “break”.
• Righteous Fury: By spending two Drama Points, the character gets a +5 bonus to all attack actions, including magical attacks, for the duration of the fight. These benefits are cumulative with Heroic Feats and Invocations. Problem is, there must an appropriate provocation to invoke the Righteous Fury rule. A player can’t decide his character is pissed about the existence of vampires, or global warming, or even the bad audition he had that morning. He needs to be truly provoked – a brutal attack on a loved one, an unexpected betrayal of trust, or the raising of a monstrous former lover killed years ago.
• You Can Do It!: When a hero seems down for the count, the other characters begin to cheer him or her on. This has two possibilities. If only one person cheers the hero/heroine on, it allows them to each spend 1 Drama Point to let the hero (i.e., the one being cheered for) engage in “Fighter’s Drive” (which is mechanically the same as Righteous Fury, but not as angry or “Right”). If a group does it, it grants the Hero/Heroine 1 use of Heroic Feat per person based on the number of Drama Point carrying characters cheering him or her on, each of them spending a Drama Point. If the fight concludes before the Heroic Feats are all used, they are lost.
By default, characters should have a Concept Aspect, plus three others selected at character creation. In addition, several Qualities and Drawbacks provide accompanying Aspects.