Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fate, Fortune, and the Adventurer

Both Doomed Slayers and the classic "shearing" rationale of Karameikos for adventurers kicked this idea off for me, but then it mingled with the concepts of Fate & Fortune and the moirae who represent them in mythology.

Fate may seem interchangeable with Fortune in the modern idiom, but I choose approach them in this way:
  • Fate represents the path in life that was fixed for every living and unliving thing in the world. It was the order that was proclaimed when the universe was ripped and formed from the fabric of what would eventually become chaos. It was a delicate dance of matter, energy, time, and thought -- that was corrupted by enemies from without and from within. Now it is a weight, a terrible gravity that pulls all things down to a fixed state and an eventual finite end.
  • Fortune resists Fate. It rages against the confines of fixed destinies and pre-ordained endings. It is the blur in the sight of seers, the gap between the readings of soothsayers, the spark in the eyes and hearts of heroes and villains across the world who struggle to change the world and themselves. Agents of Fortune -- Adventurers, Doomed Slayers, Delvers -- challenge their fates, risking a safe, predictable, and often boring end to their lives in the hopes of making things better for themselves and, perhaps, for society and the world at large.
In my Mystara, some who are Sheared gain employment in more regular jobs. Not all heed the call to Fortune and remain bound to Fate. Some choose to remain Sheared permanently and become known as the Severed and walk a path outside of Fate.

Luck -- good and ill -- dominates the most crucial moments of their lives. But this was something that they accepted or got used to early in their careers: when party members died right and left in an unforeseen encounter, when defeat befell their greatest leaders in the face of almost-certain victory, when inexplicable fumbles plagued even the surest of strikes. And they accept it, because when up against implacable foes, the same rules bedevil them as well.

With this slightly different take on Doomed Slayers, most of the recommended rules and culture can certainly be incorporated into the setting. But some of that separation of cultures can also be attributed to the tension between the two faces of the tripartite goddesses.

Of course, there should theoretically be a third face. Some whisper that it is Destiny, but how does that differ from Fate or Fortune?

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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