Fate Star Wars
In the rulebook, character creation starts on p29 and runs to p53. The basic process looks like this:
- Create your high concept aspect
- Create your trouble aspect
- Go through the phase trio
- Pick skills
- Pick stunts
- Decide if you want any Extras
- Calculate your refresh, stress, and consequences
I’m going to talk about each of these steps below, but one thing you’ll notice is that the word aspect keeps coming up. Aspects are an important part of Fate Core. You can read more about them starting on p56 of the rulebook.
Create Your High Concept Aspect
Your high concept tells people who and what you are. It’s also your go‐to aspect in play. You want it sum up your character in an interesting – though concise – way. It’s the place where your character concept meets the mechanics of the game. So, Han Solo might have the high concept aspect of Smuggler With a Conscience, or Scoundrel With a Heart of Gold, or something similar. Darth Vader’s is pretty definitely Dark Lord of the Sith. If you’re stuck on an aspect take a look here for some examples to get you on the right track.
Create Your Trouble Aspect
The trouble aspect is how you most often get in trouble. This is important because, when it comes up and messes with your life, you get a Fate point, which is the power source for all your other aspects. Han Solo probably has a trouble aspect like Price on my Head, while Darth Vader may have What is Thy Bidding, My Master? or possibly Still a Spark of Goodness, depending on how you want to play it. Luke probably started with Naïve Farm Boy, but changed to My Father’s Son? after Empire.
Go Through the Phase Trio
The next bit is one of the most brilliant pieces of character creation rules I’ve ever seen. It helps flesh out your character, but also ties him or her into the group. You start by writing a short, two or three sentence story of something your character did in the past, and picking an aspect that came out of that story.
Then – and this is the genius part – you hand that story to another player, who adds a sentence about how their character helped (or hindered) yours, and picks an aspect for his character based on that. You’re doing the same thing to someone else’s character, and creating a new aspect for your character based on how you helped. And then you do it again. At the end of this, you will have a total of five aspects (high concept, trouble, and three phase aspects) and links to two other characters in the group, as well as participation in three background stories.
By default, you get a pyramid of skills, peaking at Great (+ 4). That means one skill at Great (+ 4), two at Good (+ 3), three at Fair (+ 2), and four at Average (+ 1). All the rest of the skills are rated at Mediocre (+ 0). You get to choose which skill goes where. The skill list for this game is modified a little bit from the basic skill list, and can be found here.
Stunts are tricks that your character has that change the way a certain skill works. You can create your own stunts, or choose from the stunt list, (or mix and match). Stunts typically cost 1 Refresh each, but in this setting you get four stunts for free. There are examples of stunts scattered all through the Skills and Stunts chapter, starting on p85 of the rulebook.
You can create more stunts for yourself, but each extra one costs one point of refresh. You start with a refresh of four, and MUST have a minimum refresh of one once you’re done, so you can, if you choose, buy up to three more stunts.
Keep in mind that your Refresh helps define how many Fate Points you begin with at the start of a session.
Decide if you want any 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 (like The Force)
- Specialized gear or equipment, like a Lightsaber or Mandalorian Armor
- Vehicles owned by the characters
- Organizations or locations that the characters rule or have a lot of influence over
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 and groups can share the cost of some ‘party’ extras (like a starship).
Extras require a permission or cost to own.
Calculate your Refresh, Stress, and Consequences
A player character in FATE Star Wars starts with a Refresh of 4. That means he’ll start each session off with at least 4 fate points. You also get up to 4 stunts for free. Once you pay the cost of all your stunts and extras, you must have at least 1 Refresh left.
Every PC 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. Force users typically also have a Dark Side stress track. See The Dark Side for more details.
Every PC 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. As mentioned above, consequences are the injuries and traumas you can’t just shake off after the dust settles.