Astrological Divination

Recent musings about astrology prompted an idea for a second kick at a divination system for astrology. (The first was overpowered.)

Astrological Divination

A willing subject consults an astrologer about an upcoming or situation. The subject must describe the situation briefly (no more than a phrase), but should include a sphere of activity.

[li]When I have luck when I face Mordock in combat?
[/li][li]Will I have good fortune in business if I go west?
[/li][li]Am I destined to defeat Smaug?
[/li][li]Will my father’s shield stay true and protect me from harm?

Degree of Prophecy

Prophecy allows the astrologer and subject to see the results of an upcoming die roll before it is made. This doesn’t always bode well, but forewarned is fore armed, no?

The future is woven from many strands. It takes a matter of minutes for an astrologer to divine one of them and see whether it bodes well or ill, but to assess a situation fully is time consuming and much more difficult. The more dice being determined, the less likely the astrologer will see correctly.

Luck - 1D, Ob 1, a minute
Fortune - 2D, Ob 2, an hour
Providence - 3D, Ob 3, a day
Fate - 4D, Ob 4, a week
Destiny - 5D, Ob 5, a month
Will of the Gods - 6D, Ob 6, a season

Unwilling/non-present subjects +1 Ob
Groups (e.g. an adventuring group, an expedition, a small village) +1 Ob
Large Groups (e.g. a town, an army) +2 Ob

Successful Astrology Roll
If the astrology roll is successful, the astrologer rolls the prophecy dice. These must be used for the first test where the prophecy applies, for better or worse.

(In the case of extended conflicts, use them for the first action that takes it to the enemy - it’s no fun blowing a 4-success prophecy on the engagement roll, save it for a Strike).

The astrologer does not make good fortunes - he or she only divines what the future may have in store. It’s entirely possible for the astrologer to predict complete disaster. This is useful! Armed with this information, the subject can approach the obstacle with a different skill, in some other sphere of conflict, or avoid the obstacle entirely.

Failed Astrology Roll

The GM has several options:

The Future is Uncertain: the astrologer cannot tell anything helpful about the future (though he may feel the need to make up something to justify his fee!)

You Ask Too Much: Roll and apply the prophecy dice as described, but if there are more successes than failures, invert them.

The Unclear Glass: Roll the prophecy dice, but the GM may apply them as he or she sees fit after broadening the situation. The subject asked about his duel with Mordock, but the astrologer inadvertently saw something else instead…

The Limits of Vision
An astrologer may not attempt to divine the future to a greater degree than his or her astrology exponent (plus any dice from Persona or Deeds artha).

When the prophecied test is made, you must have enough non-artha dice available to use all of the prophetic dice to claim your destiny. Base exponent, FoRKs, advantange and help dice all get replaced by the prophecy dice.

If you do not (e.g. as a result of injury, you didn’t advance as much as you thought, or because you wound up having to test a weaker skill for some reason), you must claim all of the failed prophetic dice before you claim the successes. Great destinies are for the great!

You Know It To Be True
Divinations have no effect unless they are accepted by the subject. (They are like helping dice in this regard.) Consulting an astrologer to have your fortune told implies acceptance of the divination.

In the case of an absent or unwilling subject, however, the divination has no effect unless and until they accept the result, either out of religious belief or superstition, or being convinced via Duel of Wits or other social test. Getting the villagers to believe your dire predictions is an excellent subject for a belief!

This is an experiment; I have mixed feelings about it.

In a previous game, my GM allowed me to use Astrology in a similar fashion to Dwarven Rune Casting - make predictions and the target can choose to believe them or not.

Here’s an optional way that might also be fun:

  1. Prophecy Dice- there’s always 6 of them being rolled. The Ob determines how many of them the Astrologer sees, vs. being kept in reserve by the GM.

  2. When the time of the event comes, the player must roll between 1-3 dice less than normal - which are replaced by Prophecy dice, which ones, according to the GM’s whim. (The GM picks which ones before the player rolls, not after).

“Ob 4 Astrology, and the Prophecy dice say… you’ve got a 3 successes, 1 failure, and 2 unknown. It’s favorable but not guaranteed!”

You might also find it more fun to reverse the obstacles based on effect- make it easier to predict large things - villages, crops this season, family fortunes, than individual fortunes. It would add further to the sort of vague-but-it-really-works nature of Astrology.