All about Aspects: Troubles

angry-man-29453_960_720This is the first post of this series dealing with the Trouble aspect in the Fate RPG. The Fate System Reference Document website defines Trouble as:

In addition to a high concept, every character has some sort of trouble aspect that’s a part of his life and story. If your high concept is what or who your character is, your trouble is the answer to a simple question: what complicates your character’s existence?

Most aspects in Fate generally work best if they are a double-edged sword, they have a positive side that you use to justify invokes and a negative side that is used to add complications to a PCs life in the form of compels, although an enterprising player can find ways to invoke their Trouble this aspect should largely be focussed on bringing complications and mischief into the character’s life.

According to the Fate rulebooks this type of aspect is generally split into two broad categories:

  • Personal Struggles. Darker sides or impulses that a PC struggles to control.
  • Problematic Relationships. Dealings with people or organisations that introduce complication into the character’s life.

Broadly speaking we can lump these into internal and external types:

  • Internal: things that originate from within the character.
  • External: problems that occur from outside the character.

The Trouble Aspect has a bit more of an existing framework that other aspects making it a bit easier in my opinion for newcomers to the game to create them, however, in-case you are struggling or would like a bit more structure there are a number of madlib style statements produced below that you can choose or roll on to create a trouble.

Please note: Where you see text in brackets like {this} you need to substitute a specific organisation, person, etc relevant to your character background and campaign world.

Internal Troubles

No.Description When to invoke When to compel
1I can't resist a pretty face. When attempting to socialise or ingratiate yourself with people. Compel to have the character become enamoured of a beautiful person and unable to resist approaching/attempting to seduce them.
2I have anger issues. When in combat or venting your anger, or intimidating someone using physical threats. Compel to have the character lash out or lose it at an inconvenient moment, or when provoked.
3Kleptomaniac. Invoke when attempting to steal something without being noticed. Compel to have the character steal something that will cause complications in the future.
4Compulsive-liar. Invoke when attempting to deceive someone. Compel to have the character lie for no other reason that because they can and to see what chaos results.
5I never met a drink  I didn't like. Invoke when attempting to find a bar or watering hole, or when trying to hit the streets for information. Compel to have the character be inebriated or start drinking at an inopportune moment.
6A little rough around the edges. Invoke to have your lack of manners draw attention to yourself or provide a distraction. Compel to have your characters lack of etiquette cause problems in a social situation.

External Troubles

No.Description When to invoke When to compel
1I was once a member of {group} and now they are hunting me. To use the skills or abilities associated with your group. To have agents of the group appear and attempt to bring you in, to have you recognised by bounty hunters or similar independent agents or enemies of the organisation.
2I have sworn to protect {group} with my life. When making rolls to protect the group. Compel to have the group placed in danger or to have them require your assistance at inconvenient times.
3I'm on the run from the law for crimes I didn't commit. When making rolls involving criminal activity, attempts to remain hidden or knowledge of police procedure. Compel to have the character recognised and reported to the police or to have the police show up and attempt to arrest them.
4{Individual} wants to see me dead. When making rolls to interact with the individuals other enemies or to stay off the radar. Compel to have some goons sent by the individual to kill you or to have one of his agents spot you.
5My friend {individual} is always getting themselves in trouble but I can't abandon them. Invoke when asking your friend for a favour or using their resources/abilities. Compel to have the friend get in trouble and require bailing out at an inconvenient time, or to have them ask a favour of the character.
6I owe {individual} my life. Invoke when attempting to repay your debt. Compel to have the individual ask for a favour or call in their debt.

Coming next for All About Aspects: Sci-Fi High Concepts

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Annoyed man image taken from free images on Pixabay.

2 thoughts on “All about Aspects: Troubles

  1. One of the things I’ve also found works for Trouble are positive traits. A character that is Charitable, or Believes there is good in everyone, or Has Adoring Fans has as much difficulties as negative traits do. Don’t limit yourself to the Negative!

    1. Yes positive traits can work well as troubles as long as they add additional complication to the game and make a characters life more interesting. I do intend to do future articles dealing with this sort of thing more.

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