Over the weekend I sat down with two of my players to set up a new playtest of Strands of Fate. Neither have ever played a FATE game.
I went into the whole thing blind. No idea what kind of characters they wanted to play, or even what genre they were interested in.
One of the stated goals of Strands was to make any kind of campaign quick and easy to get started. Prior to Strands, if the group wanted to use FATE for something one of the current FATE books (Spirit of the Century, Starblazer or Diaspora) didn't support, the GM would need some time to hammer the system into something that worked with his campaign concept. With Strands, no matter what the campaign concept is, we want you to be able to create characters and start playing the same night the campaign concept is formed.
In my case, the players wanted to contrast Strands against something they were familiar with, so we started a "Strands of Eberron" game. Both players were mostly just familiar with D&D, and they wanted to play around a bit in the Eberron setting.
As I had hoped, we were able to jump right in to character creation. We spent a few hours talking about Strands, and FATE in general. Then they started hammering out characters. We didn't actually get to play because we spent so much time talking about game theory and the like, but it went rather well. With no additional tinkering needed, I was able to use the current playtest document of Strands to create two Eberron characters.
And something pretty cool happened during character creation.
One of the players declared that he was going to make the most generic "fighter" he could make. The reasoning being that if Strands could make that fun to play, it was a success.
But there was a problem. You can't make a "generic fighter".
As you start coming up with Aspects, you start defining your character in ways that make him interesting. You can't make a generic fighter because, well, there is no such thing as a generic person. And Aspects go a long way toward turning your character into a person.
So, in the end his "generic fighter" turned out to be an outcast member of House Deneith who was shamed when he broke his mercenary contract and returned home to Cyre after the Day of Mourning. After discovering his family dead in the Mournlands, he went to Sharn to reclaim his honor and re-join the House. He's broke, alone, and doing crappy contracts to earn his way back into their good graces. And he bears the Mark of the Sentinel.
Rest in peace Generic Fighter. We hardly knew you.