Rage against the God-Machine
Determine Aspirations as part of the “Final Touches” stage of character creation. Choose three Aspirations for your character. Aspirations are goals for your character. They’re also statements to your Storyteller that show the types of stories you want to play through. Aspirations are simple statements of intent; things that can be accomplished within the scope of the game you’re playing. If you’re playing a single session, be sure to choose realistic and short-term goals or goals that are already very close to fruition. If you’re playing a single story arc that should span a few weeks of game time, choose similar short-term goals, with one expressing longer-term interests.
Even if you’re set to play a game you intend on running a year or more, don’t choose more than one very long-term goal. Ideally you should be able to accomplish at least one of these Aspirations per game session. It’s important to phrase Aspirations as active achievements or accomplishments. Do not phrase them as avoidances. “Do not betray my friends” isn’t really an appropriate Aspiration. Instead, consider “Prove my loyalty to my friends.”
Phrasing as an action as opposed to a lack of action helps to determine when the Aspiration is met and when it should be rewarded. When choosing Aspirations, use them to help to custom-ize your character and give her identity and purpose outside of whatever plots the Storyteller cooks up. Find a balance between being general enough that the statements can be fulfilled realistically, and being specific enough to inform on your character’s identity.
Use the listed examples as a jumping off point. In many World of Darkness games, we explore the strange and horrific. This can often mean visiting those things upon our characters. If you’re interested in seeing certain things happen to your character, note them as Aspirations. Or if you expect something to occur, it would be worth noting it.
If you know tonight’s story will deal with an angry ghost with a penchant for eating human flesh and you never seem to roll well when your character’s using her Medium Merit, it’s worth using as an Aspiration. In that example, you might phrase it, “Fail in communicating with the dead.” That way, while your character might fail in her efforts against the ghost, you’ll be rewarded for achieving the Aspiration. Storytellers, pay close attention to players’ Aspirations. Aspirations are one of the best ways for a player to communicate her expectations for your stories.
If you’re planning a cold and heartless zombie-slaying mission full of action and suspense, but a character has contemplative, brooding, romantic, and cerebral Aspirations, think of how you might cater your intended story to his particular interests. You don’t necessarily have to scrap your plans. Instead, note minor details and add Storyteller characters that can help the players fulfill their characters’ Aspirations.