Aspirations v. Goals
Aspirations vs Goals
Here on Eternal Noire we fully embrace the aspirations mechanic, outlined in the Chronicles of Darkness core book as well as each splat’s core books as well. We also have a custom mechanic called goals, which are similar to, but distinct from Aspirations. Both can give you beats, and both are things you’re looking to have happen IC. So, what, then, is this distinction?
Short-term aspirations should be something achievable in a scene. This doesn’t mean they have to be fulfilled in the very next scene you play in, but for short-term aspirations you should be thinking of things you’ll be able to accomplish, or you feel is likely to happen, in a relatively short amount of time (between 1 scene and 1 week). Remember, the point of a short-term aspiration is to give you a quick beat.
Some examples of short-term aspirations include: meeting a new mage, going on my first hunt, getting into combat, joining a pack, finding a new location in the Hedge, craft a specific item, meeting a specific NPC, getting shot, meeting a spirit, sparring with my new bff.
Long-term aspirations should still be achievable in a decent amount of time (1-3 month is a good rule of thumb). The biggest difference between these and short-term aspirations are that long-term take several scenes to fulfill. One of the major benefits of long-term aspirations is that making progress towards one also gives you beats! Long-term aspirations should be worded with a bit more longevity in mind, but they don’t need to be (and usually shouldn’t be) endgame desires.
Some examples of long-term aspirations are: map the local spirit political scene, discover a new Hedge town, master kung-fu, join a legacy, gain an NPC as a mentor, hunt down a bad guy from my background, gain a position in the Consilium, unravel a complicates mystery, craft something complicated, start a business, graduate school, gain a promotion at work.
Goals, contrasting to aspirations, take even more time to fulfill than long-term aspirations. These are the things you want for your character at an endgame level. Unlike aspirations, goals don’t generally change, and as they are housed on your character sheet, you cannot swap them out. Another difference goals have to aspirations is that you only gain beats when making significant progress toward a goal, whereas long-term aspirations grant a beat when you make any progress. Goals should take months, if not years to fulfill, if they are ever achieved at all. Goals are also the place you can go a little ridiculous, it doesn’t have to be a realistic goal so long as it fits your character.
Some examples of goals are: Become an archmage, be elected mayor of Huntington Beach, gain enough renown to be considered a Rank 5 spirit, start a new Conspiracy, find a cure for vampirism, become the biggest name in LA’s fashion scene, discover what happened to my birth parents, eradicate the last azlu, rid LA of all monsters, seal of a Keeper’s realm.
One of the easiest ways to determine if something is an aspiration or goal is: aspirations are things you think will happen IC or want to happen IC; whereas goals are telling the STs things you are interested in exploring with your character. The best way to double-check is, if it’s something you can accomplish in one to several scenes, it’s likely an aspiration; if it’s something that will take a large amount of time to accomplish, possibly outside the scope of the game’s timeline, then it’s likely a goal.