Elements of a Twist of Fate


I know they are two different games, but I also see similarities between a miss in PbtA games and twists of fate in torchbearer. Twists of Fate, for me, are some of the hardest things to figure out in Torchbearer. I think this is why the modules can be so popular as well. You get to use Thor’s great twists like ‘cave ins’ and ‘cursed text that jumps onto your body’.

Anyways, this article comes up with interesting vectors when thinking about GM moves. Surprise, target, and dramatic, can all apply to TB, and I found it helpful to think about. Was wondering what anyone else’s thoughts were on the matter and if they had an example of a twist of fate that opened their game to a new direction. Like curse text that turns out to be ascension rights.

As a twist for a Failed scout test to find hidden loot I had a dwarf reach into a holed concealed I the wall of a dungeon cell. He grabbed a piece of mysteriously dark, blacker than a starless night, cloth. After realizing it wasn’t covering any loot he tossed it aside only to find that his hands were now stained with the same black color, or rather lack of. This continued to spread through the the course of the dungeon, especially if the dwarf did something devious or cruel. I think by the end of the dungeon his whole arm was black. My plan was to slowly change his dwarf to a dark elf, which the group concluded from other clues in the dungeon. It had all the makings of a great adventure to figure out how to stop the curse, but we never got that far.

In my current game we recently played Skogenby but I changed the villain for a vampire. En route to the tomb a warrior in the group fought a lesser vampire 1v1 to save his friends. The Kill conflict ended as a tie, which would mean both the PC and vampire die. However, I bent the rules a bit and gave the PC Injured and infection with vampirism for vanquishing the vamp. Later the party went to Town. I described how the infection was devouring him slowly as the party went through Town Phase. When things got dire the party decided to look for help for him, but they failed the Circles test to find a healer capable of curing vampirism in Skogenby (very high Ob). After a lengthy discussion the party gave the warrior the chance to decide his own fate. Either they kill him while he was still human or wait for him to turn and slay him. The warrior opted for neither, grabbed the ranger’s sword and threw himself on it, running the blade through his heart.

It was the only time I have felt genuine sadness for the death of a character.

My advice, use the dungeon and its ecology and history to come up with creative twists.

iPad autocorrect sucks sorry.

Don’t forget the Wandering Monsters chapter (pages 129-131). Lots of examples of twists there.