Wednesday 2 December 2015

Fates #1

More extracts. This time, the first of the Fates. A couple more later in the week.

Your Culture defines from whence you came; your Social Station defines where you are. Your Fate is the signifier of your destiny. It is the mystical sign of your place in the universe. It is the way you will die.

As The Age of Virgo comes to an end and the Age of Leo begins, twenty individuals find themselves with the role of witnesses to the Catastrophe; they will die in the conflagration, one by one, each in their own way, and when they have gone, the new cycle will begin, as it did long ago. Kings, warriors, commoners, lovers, fools. They are the Arcana of the Old Age. The Fated Witnesses.
You are one of them.

In game terms:
While your character's Culture and Social Station give you a rough grounding by way of a few Attributes, it's your Fate that has most effect on the way you play the game.

Your Fate is associated with two Major Arcana cards: these are your Trump Cards. I'll go into it in more detail later, but in short, if one of Trump Cards comes up in play, you basically win, simple as that.

Your Fate supplies you with one way in which no one will ever better you. The Invincible Charioteer never loses a fight; no obstacle obstructs the Lonely Wayfinder. The Diviner of the Final Truth divines all truths, all lies; the Sacrificial Giver heals the wounds of the injured and feeds the hungry.

The exception to this rule is that it doesn't work against the other Fated Witnesses. If you always win, you have to initiate a Conflict just like you would with any other issue, and if you never lose, the same. So for example magic never works against the Fool, and the Adept's magic never fails? If the Adept wants to cast magic against the Fool, the two of them just initiate a conflict normally (see the section on Conflicts).

But the consequences of these things cannot be escaped, and they may not help you as much as you might think.

You can't die yet. As one of the Twenty Fated Witnesses, you might experience terrible dangers, might endure terrible injuries, endure madness and horror, but you will only die on the day that the Catastrophe falls. The game's conflict is centred around how you will affect the lives of others.

Fool0. The Fool, 18. The Moon: The Fool at the Edge of the Precipice
The universal recusant, the dissenter, the quixotic traveller.

You are the drop of water that refuses the ocean. You are the mote of dust that refuses the wind. When someone counsels caution, you run in headlong. When your friends propose an open assault, you're the coward's voice.

The thing that you often forget about the drop of water that refuses the ocean is that it's still in the ocean. You might argue, you might gripe, you might strenuously refuse to follow, but in the end, destiny will take you. You are not the one who breaks the will of destiny. You rail against the destiny that you nonetheless will not escape.

What you're like: You're the quintessential unlikely hero; while your companions might be reaching for godlike, legendary stature, you are the ordinary person who never wanted to be the hero. You might be comical, or grotesque; you might be petty or a dullard: you, alone of the Fated, might never understand what you are and what it means. If you did, you wouldn't be a fool.

But even so, you have a great deal of wisdom. You puncture the self-righteousness and pretentiousness of your comrades. Poke fun at the mighty, point out the holes in the plans of the would-be kings and generals of the world. You have no time for grand dooms and mighty destinies. You just want to get by.

How you die: You don't. This is the cosmic joke. A time's going to come when there's no ground in front of you and all you have left to do is jump... and you never land.

Attributes: Add 1 point to all attributes.

Your Boon is this: No harm can come to you, no magic touches you.
The palace crashes down with you inside it, but you're the one who crawls out of the wreckage with no more than a few scratches and a torn coat. The sky chariot explodes into a million fragments and you're thrown into the air, hundreds of feet above anything, but miraculously you're caught in the branches of a tree, where you hang, comically, bruised and undignified, but otherwise uninjured. The magic of priests, adepts and mystics fails utterly at its attempts to control or harm you.