We started our new SotC series last night.
This is an experiment, in some ways. We're continuing a game series that has cropped up over the years, using different systems around a core of repeating characters. It began with Pulp Heroes d20, then shifted into TSoY, and finally Dictionary of Mu before landing in the ultimate pulp system, Spirit of the Century.
So we have a lot of shared history and background to draw on. And this series is pretty much set up to explore that stuff and play around in the sandbox we've made over the years. Chargen was a blast, since the "pulp novel" phases were essentially us cataloging our old games and using them as material for aspects.
So then we're about to start, and I'm looking at my sheet, and I have this moment of regret. I miss my Keys from the TSoY version. I'm looking and I'm like, "This is cool, but my keys gave me such a great roadmap for what to do in a scene. I miss that." But I just shrugged and figured SotC was awesome and it would work itself out.
And it did. Big time.
Aspects are so incredible! I knew this already, but it just got hammered home in play in such a great way. There were compels left and right (GM to player and the other way around) and in a flash the same feeling of structure that Keys gave us re-appeared as if by magic. It's not the exact same thing, of course, but aspects are definitely scratching that itch -- and I guess I didn't expect that.
Here's an example:
My character, Nick Timber, has the aspect "Lovable Fool." When it comes to dames, he just doesn't always think straight, but gosh darn it, you just have to smile at the big galoot. So of course, when we're all at the gala opening of the exhibit of rare Atlantean artifacts -- and waiting for the henchmen to come bursting down out of the skylights -- Nick is approached by an old potential love-interest who invites him to shuffle off to a dark corner for a heart to heart.
Brandon, the GM, holds out the Fate point just as I'm stretching out my hand to ask for it. "Yep, I'm a Lovable Fool. Of course I go with her." Ding. I take the Fate, and it feels like hitting a Key and I realize I know how to play this game after all.