As we discussed previously, much like a warehouse after closing hours might have the aspect “dark” and much like a mall might have the aspect “crowded”, each individual character has aspects too.

Now, in our group, all of our characters were awesome. We had a Knight of the Cross, a physics teacher who was a mage who specialized in kinetic energy, we had an avatar of a Fire Goddess (who worked in a school library), a two-fisted, tough as nails investigator who was half FBI guy and half Kolchak the Night Stalker, and me… a New Age Bookstore manager and part-time “psychic” who tended bar in the ritzy part of town. Now, my character did not believe in the supernatural (he had a degree in Psychology and just thought that he was exceptionally good at cold reads) but was finding out, and quickly, that this stuff was, indeed, real and that he was, indeed, a magical talent.

He had an aspect of “What do you mean this crap is real?”

The physics teacher had aspects of “it’s nice to be needed”.

The Fire Goddess avatar had an aspect of “why is it always me?”

The Knight of the Cross had an aspect of “Duty before… everything.”

Kolchak had an aspect of “No more dead chicks.”

Aspects were created as people came up with the ideas for their characters and (and I think that this part is really cool) as they come up with stories of how they met in the first place. Why is the group hanging out together? Well, the Avatar accidentally set the library on fire one day and the physics teacher figured out that it was accidental magic rather than deliberate arson. (This was the Avatar’s aspect of “You deny my power??? FWOOOSH!!!!”) The knight of the cross killed a person possessed by a demon in front of the New Age Bookstore manager. (This was my aspect of “Don’t put your hand in the crazy.”) And everybody knew everybody and had an in-character reason that the other person had a great impact on their life.

Now, calling the aspects worked two ways. The first way is that we could re-roll a bad roll or add two to a mediocre roll by calling on an aspect. So, like, if the physics teacher was at a point where he had to blow away a vault door to let his party through to the other side and he needed a 7 to cast a sufficient spell to do this, he could start with his skill of 4 and add his roll of 1 and then say “I’d like to spend a refresh to bring me to a 7”. “What aspect are you using?”, the DM would ask. “It’s nice to be needed. Everybody’s…”, he’d gesture to the table, “looking at me.”

“The vault door blows off”, the DM might say.

The other way that refresh worked is that the DM would call on your various aspects. If I found myself in a contest of wills with a Vampire with more than enough power to kill all of us where we stood, he could toss me a refresh token and say that he was calling my “What do you mean this crap is real?” to have me respond as if I were responding to a jerky guy who was trying to tell me and my friends how to live even though we were on public property and it is a Free Country. “Do you know who I am?”, I might ask. “I’m the manager at the New Age Bookstore!”

If we would have a confrontation with a handful of armed guards who starts shooting at us, the DM might say that they’re all shooting at the Fire Goddess avatar as he tossed her a refresh token and said “Why is it always me?”

And the cool thing is that everybody pretty much has five or six aspects! So, in any given scene, it’s possible for the DM to nudge pretty much anybody (and thus the group) in a particular direction and, in doing so, is giving them some tools to overcome the obstacles he’s going to throw at them.

All in all, this was the most fun first night of rolling up a town then rolling up characters I’d ever had. If you have a Saturday Group of your own, get them all to read the first Dresden book… and then discuss whether you’d like to have a game set in that world. Seriously, it’s a blast.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. Oddly enough this is more or less equivalent to the informal system I always used as the DM: “The narrative gets +10 to save”. With bad players, this has a tendency to run the campaign straight into the trash bin, but that’s okay when you have bad players you probably just want it to get over with as soon as possible.

    GOOD players, on the other hand, who actually get into not just the paper manifestation of their character’s goodie list but the actual *character*… they become part of the narrative. They get bonuses.

    I like the idea of formalizing it to a degree. Will muse.

    • One trick I didn’t mention is that players can decline the point being given them by the DM by paying a point… so when the DM says “I’m calling your ‘Quick to Anger!’ aspect”, the player, if he has refresh to spare, can toss back the DM’s token plus one of his own saying “I swallow my pride and take it.”

      Which makes for an additional interesting dynamic…

  2. I did like the concept. It was tough to manager each player’s fate and I found people constantly running out. Still, it made a very nice mechanic to move players in directions the GM wanted.

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