Elements in the Hippogryph System are virtually identical to Fate aspects. I’m not trying to obfuscate anything, or hide the game’s influences. The system is being marketed as “the collision of D20 and Fate” and uses the System Reference Documents for both D20 and Fate Condensed. So why not just say “aspect” instead of using different vocabulary?
There are two reasons, both of which came up in playtesting.
First, while the influence of Fate is there, Hippogryph is not Fate. It doesn’t use Fate dice; it uses the D20 mechanic. While it uses a ladder-like resolution, it’s not the ladder familiar to hardcore Fate fans. I don’t want anyone to feel as if they’ve been mislead. Changing the terms used is meant to signal that things are not the same.
Next, as I alluded above, things don’t work exactly as they do in Fate. In early playtesting there was a player who got mad at me. He would cite how aspects worked in various books he owned. I would point out that we were playing Hippogryph, and show him the rules-as-written. He knew that the system wasn’t Fate, but he assumed the same term meant the same thing.
Oddly, I’ve had less problems the other way around. People have been more accepting of D20 terms working differently. I think this has to do with the ubiquity of alternate d20-based systems. There are dozens of variations on “roll a d20, add modifiers, compare to a target number” other there. I have changed some terms for the same reason as the element/aspect confusion, but I’ll cover those in future updates.
Why Not Just Say “Aspect”?
Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.