FIVEY: Character Aspects

After play-testing, I want to combine titles and skills into one category called aspects. The difference between titles and skills was kind of confusing, especially when skills seemed to naturally derive from one's title (at least, their background or origin). Combining the two simplifies the character structure and also opens the door to greater player interpretation. There is already a basis for this in Whitehack, but since skills don't have as much as an impact on the die roll, I'm happy to not attach skills/aspects to specific abilities which feels both arbitrary and punishing.

What got me thinking about this even more was two posts: one by If Our Lives Be Short about character backgrounds coding weapon proficiencies, and another by Lich Van Winkle about character backgrounds coding linguistic fluency. Both of these things should be obvious from real life, but we tend to treat them and other things as arbitrarily granted by characters' attributes like their ability scores or class. Not only is that full of BS in itself, but it's also less interesting than thinking about and fleshing out the characters in relation to their lived experience.

It also gives players a potential stake in world-building, allowing one to establish facts about the world by evoking their character's aspect. This can be to establish a character's proficiency at a task, to establish their ability to communicate with another character, or to establish another character or institution's disposition. If two or more participants disagree, they can talk it out or relegate it to chance. I'm not big on the referee having the final say, but maybe they can hold someone in contempt if that participant goes too far too many times lol. I've never had a problem on either end. Fun is fun!

Quick Edit: Amanda P. reminded me that aspects are a whole thing in FATE. Completely forgot!


  1. Barbarians of Lemuria has character backgrounds serve a somewhat similar purpose. It may be worth looking at that - it is broad, flexible, and works well.

  2. In addition to Fate's aspects, this sounds sort of like the Backgrounds in 13th Age, where you describe something you were and then get the background's bonus to rolls that relate to something you would know based on it.


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