Monday, November 8, 2010

Archetypes of Hulgren, Part 2 - Of Phases

"[All in quotes is from the CoL blog, (actually named Realmcrafting)]In short, phases are a method for laying out a character's past in a clear and mechanically useful fashion. For each phase, a player writes a few sentences about their character's history, covering a particular period in their life. In every Fate game so far, there are five phases as a default. Their names and precise function vary from game to game, but essentially look like this:
Phase 1: Background and Youth
Detail where the character came from, what their childhood was like, what inborn talents and deeply-ingrained beliefs they have.
Phase 2: Becoming an Adult
Detail how the character started "coming into their own," how they began the occupation detailed in their Archetype, what lessons they learned in late adolescence and early adulthood.
Phase 3: The First Adventure
The first truly exciting moment for the character, what thrust them into the adventurous lifestyle they will play during the game proper. The player is encouraged to write the events of this phase in the style of the game: Spirit of the Century as the blurb on the back of a pulp novel, Starblazer Adventures as a comic book synopsis," this game as a journal entry, or text in a biography.

"Phase 4: First Guest Star
The character takes part in another PC's First Adventure phase, establishing a history between the two characters.
Phase 5: Second Guest Star
Same as Phase 4, but in a second PC's First Adventure.
[note that this means that two other PCs will guest star int his character's First Adventure].

The phases serve three purposes:

  1. To lay out a character's history, to make sure every player knows their PC and where they came from.
  2. To establish a shared background between PCs, so that during play they will have both interesting interactions and reason to stay together.
  3. To help establish Aspects...
As you will recall, Aspects are physical or mental characteristics of a character that help define who they are. Logically, anything that defines a person must have arisen at some point in their life -- at birth, if biological; in childhood or adolescence, if a personality trait; in adulthood, if a trauma or deeply-held belief. Thus, phases are a tool for helping a player determine their Aspects.

In Spirit of the Century, Diaspora, Starblazer Adventures, and Legends of Anglerre (the newest Fate-based product, a generic-fantasy game with the same ruleset as Starblazer Adventures), each phase has two associated Aspects, for a total of ten; in The Dresden Files RPG, each phase gives only one Aspect, while two Aspects are unassociated with phases."

Edit: Thanks for pointing out that I hadn't cited this properly. I have a tendency to work on posts over multiple day (and late at night) so it can sometimes be hard to remember that I used a description from there.


  1. C'nor, you've been good about this so far, but in this post, you quote my Realmcrafting blog without citing your source. Please, whenever you quote my work, cite it properly and provide a link to

  2. @Emlyn Freeman: Thanks for letting me know! I've fixed it now.