Fate: Fallout Phase Trio

Here’s a variant of the Phase Trio that I’ve been toying with for a Fate build. It takes the idea that the characters’ lives are interwoven, but instead of focusing on action and helping, it focuses on complicated events and after-effects. It’s best in a city or other relatively closed-in space, where lives get messy quick as people work toward their own individual agendas. I call this the “Fallout Phase Trio,” because the phases are about fallout of events rather than cooperative action.

This keeps the overall intent of the Phase Trio to bind characters together, without the assumption that the characters have been “adventuring” together a number of times before and getting directly involved with each others’ heroics.

For phase one, instead of detailing an adventure, describe an uneasy event: something that happened in the city involving your character and at least one of the city elements you added an aspect to in city creation. Write down a few notes about how your character’s life became more complicated or difficult due to an event, much as you would write about your character’s adventure. Look to the questions on page 40 of Fate Core for guidance.

The other characters aren’t necessarily involved in your uneasy event, as they are normally in Fate, so you don’t have to worry about the timing as precisely.

For phases two and three, describe how you’re impacted by another’s uneasy event. This is dramatically different than being a supporting role in an adventure, but the way the phase works is essentially the same: you describe something and then make an aspect from it.

Each impact requires you to choose two things: whether it’s direct or indirect, and whether it’s an overall positive or negative impact. A direct impact means that you’re inseparably involved in the other person’s affairs or situation. Maybe you helped that person with a dangerous job for the Cartel, and are now the Cartel sees you in higher regard. Or you’re a known associate of the other person, and the Cartel hunted you down to find out where they were. This could even be an uneasy event that was done on your behalf, for love or money.

An indirect impact means that you’ve been affected in a way where you might not even know about the other person’s involvement at the time. You’re collateral damage or unexpected windfall. The other person could have instigated some drunk madman in a bar who then opened fire, accidentally killing your son who was just trying to earn a living there. Or said drunk shot someone a rival, which gave you a bit of breathing room. Whatever you choose, by the time play begins, you’ve learned that the other person was involved or even responsible for this impact.

Positive and negative impacts are fairly straightforward: did it make your character’s life better or worse? Don’t look into the immediate moment, but to do how your character feels about the impact when play begins. After all, something that seems beneficial in the moment to turn into something you resent, and something detrimental could end up opening interesting doors for you.

Don’t choose the same pair for both. If you take direct/positive for one, choose indirect/positive, direct/negative, or indirect/negative for the other.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for more about character aspects, check out my Fateful Concepts: Character Aspects on DriveThruRPG.

– Ryan