Creating Your Game

TinyFate doesn’t have a fixed setting or subject matter. Each time you sit down to play it’s a different game. As such, it’s important that everyone is on the same page about what your game is about, to minimize confusion. Are you playing a game of cowpunchers in an demon-haunted American West that never was? Doughty adventurers seeking treasure with sword and spell? Secret agents with minor super powers at the height of the cold war? It’s up to you! This idea, the thing that makes it your game, is called the premise, and it includes things like setting, genre and tone.

Before anything else, everyone at the table should agree on the premise. Often, the premise has already been agreed on before people even come to the table, such as when the GM proposes that she is running a game based off a TV show everyone likes. Sometimes the table comes up with the premise together, brainstorming ideas and tweaking them until they find something that everyone is happy with. However you come to the premise, hopefully everyone is excited about it.

Creating Characters

Every player should grab an index card. On one side, write down your character’s name and four aspects that describe your character (more on those in a minute). Then, flip the card over, and either write a description or draw a picture (or both!) of your character. In your description or drawing, try to include an element that reflects each aspect.

If you get to the end of the process, and you’re just not happy with the character you came up with, there’s no shame in ripping it up and trying again.

Sometimes this process may be streamlined by the GM coming to the table with pre-created characters, especially if players are new to Fate or time is constrained. What is an Aspect? An aspect is a short, descriptive word or phrase. Examples might be Strong, Disciple of the Ephemeral Blade, or I Never Leave a Friend Behind. You can see many examples at if you like. An aspect is more than just a description - an aspect must be true and interesting.

How is an Aspect True?

An aspect must be true. If an aspect is not true, then there is no point in mentioning it. But this is also a reminder to think about what the aspect is saying. A very poetic aspect like The Wind Through the Leaves may sound great, but its meaning is unclear, so it is hard to say whether it is true or not.

Not everything that is true is appropriate. In a game of hard boiled spies, Master Wizard is a mismatch, just as Hardened Veteran is not well suited to a game of companionship and magical equines. Sometimes an aspect suggests something about the setting that may need discussion - Daughter of the Devil might be a great aspect, but if the discussion of the game has not yet mentioned anything devilish, then this is a call to get everyone back on the same page.

If an aspect is unclear or troublesome, it is the responsibility of everyone at the table to talk about it until the issue is resolved.

How is an Aspect Interesting?

Interesting is the biggest gateway to making an aspect. Many things may be true about a character (e.g., left handed, blonde, speaks a smattering of high school French) but to be aspects they must say something interesting about the character as well. Interesting may seem more challenging, because you may worry an aspect is not interesting enough. That is not what it means. In this case, interesting means interesting to the person writing it down, and they are free to decide how they find it interesting. Maybe they like the idea. Maybe it’s something you just want to do a lot. Seemingly simple aspects like Strong, Thief, or Shy are interesting, if they are interesting to the player. Remember, They’re Your Aspects While everyone is responsible for talking about and understanding the truth of an aspect, interesting is no one else’s business but yours. If someone else thinks your aspect would be more interesting in some other way, then they are welcome to use their version of the aspect on their character. Aspects are a very important part of play - not only are they an essential part of the characters, they are also an important part of the world. More on that in a bit.

Picking Your Aspects

If you’re looking for ideas for your four aspects, then consider these: 1. Pick an aspect that sums up your character (e.g. Dashing Musketeer, Sophisticated Superspy, or Master of the Arcane Arts) 2. Pick an aspect that reflects some trouble the character has (e.g. Sucker for a Pretty Face, Hunted by KABAL, or Demonic Bargain) 3. Pick an aspect that reflects the character’s role or relationships within the group (e.g. Diplomat, Fast Talker, or Wants the Paladin’s Respect) 4. Go nuts for the last one.

While it’s guidance for a 5 aspect game, I also recommend this article.

Before You Begin

“The Bowl” is the name for the collection of fate point tokens available in the game. It need not be a literal bowl, just something to keep the tokens easily at hand without getting mixed up with individual reserves. This supply of fate points is theoretically bottomless, but practically speaking, 50 should be more than enough. At the start of play, each player takes three tokens from the bowl. The GM takes the same total number of tokens (e.g. with three players and a GM, the GM takes nine tokens). After this, the person who is hosting the game (if any) takes a bonus token. These are fate points, and they will change hands throughout the game. Also, put a blank index card next to your character. This is your character’s status card, and we will discuss it further in a moment.

Sample Character