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Path of Fate

Source: M. A. Lloyd

The Path of Fate is magic that ordains the future, sometimes called luck, but the classical view is more the suspension of chance than its manipulation. Blessings, curses and a wide range of more ambiguous taboos, geasa, quests and tests can be laid with this path. It is common in RPG circles lately to think of magic as probability manipulation, but this is unrealistic - probability is an 18th century idea, certainly it is alien to most magical traditions.

Overview

Rituals
Domestic Bliss: Path of Fate -5
Jobfinder (Employment): Path of Fate -3
Journeyman's Curse: Path of Fate -6
Malediction: Path of Fate -8
Moneymaker: Path of Fate -2
Oath: Path of Fate -4
Retribution: Path of Fate -4
Stroke of Luck: Path of Fate -0
Sword Blessing: Path of Fate -0
Victory: Path of Fate -4
Mysteries
Doom: Mystery of Fate
Enchanted Sleep (Stasis): Mystery of Fate and Protection
Family Curse: Mystery of Fate
True Ownership: Mystery of Fate
True Purpose: Mystery of Fate and Vision

Sample Rituals

Stroke of Luck: Path of Fate -0
Nonstandard onset.

Produces a few incidents of minor good fortune. As VO p77, except the casting time is reset to the standard 1 hour, and the final sentence on Initiation level is dropped.

Sword Blessing: Path of Fate -0

Any useful object can have this blessing placed on it. For every two points of success margin, anyone using the object can re-roll one result involving it. For a sword this includes to hit, damage, or parry rolls, but the ritual will work on any object and allow re-rolls of anything plausibly connected to its use. A result can only be re-rolled once, and you are stuck with the second result, so it is not a good idea to re-roll marginal successes, but it is allowed. The effect lasts until all the rolls are used up, and blessings don't stack, casting it on an already blessed object has no effect.

Moneymaker: Path of Fate -2
Nonstandard onset.

Produces a small financial windfall. As VO p76.

Jobfinder (Employment): Path of Fate -3
Nonstandard onset.

Within 1d days the target of this ritual will be offered a job suited to his skills. If he has a selection of skills and wants a job suited to a particular set of them, roll at -2. He must have the minimum job skills, if he truly is unemployable the ritual can't overcome that, but it may produce a charity job offer if such things exist in the culture.

Oath: Path of Fate -4

Seals a formal oath. The participants must speak the oath aloud, together with the curse to fall on them should they break it. The common phrasing 'may the gods strike me dead if I...' works much like Evil Eye if triggered.

Oaths are neither hostile nor resisted. They must be voluntary and the curses fall without fail if knowing broken. This is voluntary in the free will sense, a gun to the head does not invalidate the oath, you could have chosen to die.

Watch out for the tendency to legalistic thinking and delusions about rights that many gamers have. Historically your word is serious, if you offer it you should not mind swearing on your soul, and no honest man would refuse to take an oath of innocence, so refusing is irrefutable proof of guilt.... Of course, your accusers should be willing to swear along with you. The gods are not sympathetic with legalistic quibbling - conflicting oaths are not subject to negotiated settlements, and if you swear to tell the whole truth so help you God you do not have a right of silence!

Retribution: Path of Fate -4
Nonstandard hostility.

This is a curse inflicted on the violator of a law, custom or taboo. When it works the victim soon begins to hear voices berating him for his sin and imploring him to confess and make restitution. After 2d+2 days he will begin to suffer horrific visions (treat as Night Terrors) or to waste away (treat as starvation). The curse instantly ends if he confesses before his community and that of any victims and makes a sincere attempt at restitution, otherwise it is permanent, at least until he is hopelessly insane or dead.

Retribution is not a hostile ritual. There are three possible ways the curse can be targeted:

--Construction Zone--
Victory: Path of Fate -4

This ritual guarantees the target wins specified contest - a game, a duel, a trial, a full-scale battle. The necessary success margin depends on the odds: already a substantial favorite, 0; even odds, 2; slightly disfavored, 4; long- shot, 8; well mathematically you could win, 10. If there is no real chance Victory will not enable you to win, but a margin of 10 or more may suddenly shift the situation so you don't have too - your opponent loses to somebody else the day before, the prosecutor drops your case to work on something more important, the enemy army is suddenly recalled to deal with another foe.

A backlash gives the other side a margin equal to the failure margin. In that case, or if both sides use this ritual, success margins cancel 1 for 1.

--End Construction--
Domestic Bliss: Path of Fate -5
Nonstandard onset.

Within 2d days, some serious problem in the target's family life will be solved. Note it may not be a solution he finds especially desirable - the aging parent you can't care for finally becomes sick enough for state disability insurance, your problem child is caught with 2 ounces of marijuana and under the new War on Drugs sentencing guidelines is sent up for life without possibility of parole, instead of beating you up the next time he gets drunk your husband goes for a drive and loses a right of way dispute with the 11:45 freight train....

Journeyman's Curse: Path of Fate -6
Nonstandard onset. Hostile. Resisted by Will.

Curses the job performance of the target. As VO p76, except the casting time is reset to the 1 hour standard.

Malediction: Path of Fate -8
Nonstandard onset. Hostile. Resisted by Will.

Causes a string of progressively worse disasters to befall the target. As VO p77, except both the resistance and backlash rolls are made at the standard values, not -2, rolls to lift the curse are made normally, not at -4, and the magician does not get a special option to shift the curse from the target to the client. Killing the magician still works.

Mysteries

Doom: Mystery of Fate
Hostile. Resisted by Will.

The mage fixes the cause and circumstances of the victim's death! Anything the GM agrees to is possible, and will come to pass - eventually. Nothing else will slay the target, though awful things can happen to him in the meantime. Dooms do not always hasten death, but certainly tend that way - the more obscure the doom, the more often bizarre coincidences offer a chance to meet it. A Doom must be announced in the presence of the target to take effect, though he need not understand the pronouncement. On a backlash the GM assigns a doom to the mage - but doesn't tell him what it is.

In many ways, Doom is a death spell with the actual death delayed to a dramatic moment. Players who do not want to play a character the GM will eventually railroad into the Doom may hand over the character as an NPC and reenter the game as if they had died. It can be fun to keep the character for a while if the GM allows the first couple approaches of the Doom to have a way out, but it can never be avoided forever.

This Mystery can also bestow other fates on the target with the approval of the GM. It should be limited to life-changing events - becoming a hero, fated marriages, births, inheritances and so on. These are not easily separable anyway, if you are Doomed to be slain by your wife's brother, the Duke of Corinth you obviously will marry his sister.

Enchanted Sleep (Stasis): Mystery of Fate and Protection
Hostile. Resisted by Will.

A classic fairy tale curse, anyone failing to resist drops into enchanted sleep within 3d minutes. Victims of enchanted sleep will not awaken, but do not age, and can not harmed by the natural environment as long as the enchantment lasts. This Mystery may require a termination condition rather than a standard duration.

Family Curse: Mystery of Fate
Hostile. Resisted by Will.

Places a curse on a family. Each potential victim through the generations gets a resistance roll, and the effective margin falls by 1 per generation, so after a number of generations equal to the original success margin the curse ends. Of course it also ends if the family goes extinct.

A curse that could conceivably be genetic - you will have no male descendents, all members of the family go mad before 30 etc. - is at no penalty. Other curses - all eldest sons will be slain on a Sunday by in-laws of a younger sister, in any generation with two daughters one will kill the other out of jealousy etc. - are at a penalty determined by how bizarre the condition is.

True Ownership: Mystery of Fate

This enchantment makes a specific individual the true owner of an object (or perhaps it is the other way around....) If they are separated events will cooperate to reunite them. People will pick up the object unconsciously and carry it closer, thieves will be amazingly prone to being caught and so on. The greater the separation and the longer it lasts the more impressive the efforts become. Hung on his bedroom wall the object just falls off every couple weeks so he touchs it to hang it back up. Abandoned in the Caverns of Death on another continent it may take a few decades for a Hero to pick it up and know the fate of the world depends on a pointless quest that just happens to take him to the true owner's home nation.... Eventually the item will return, if only to sit on the owner's grave.

True Purpose: Mystery of Fate and Vision

An enchantment which can be applied to any useful object. Thereafter it works properly for those meeting a condition set by the mage. Typical examples include clothing that only fits the true princess (or the chaste, pure at heart etc.), the sword only the future king (or a fated hero, or its true owner) can draw, and the cup the forsworn cannot drink from without spilling it. Exactly how the item fails can be specified, or it can vary from attempt to attempt, as long as it never works right. A fated sword may cut your hand on the draw one time, twist so it always strikes with the flat the next, and score a maximum damage critical hit to the vitals of your faithful squire in a practice bout the third time.

--Construction Zone--

Neccessary Expansions

set quests, bizarre prophecies.

--End Construction--

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