Justifying the Astrology FoRK

Alright so justifying FoRKs is something that my gaming group has been pretty lenient on, but now that we’ve been playing for a while I think it’s time to start coming up with some solid justification. Astrology especially alludes me. I can think of a justification if the task is going to take up some time, because the player could take time to reference start charts etc., but even that seems like it might be more of a linked test. I would love some guidance here. In particular how can astrology be justified, when casting a spell?

Are they working a complex ritual where they have to determine which astrological houses are ascendant in order to appease the proper guardians and open the gates between the astral and ethereal planes, or are they just casting Shards at some dude?

I guess I’m thinking specifically in terms of casting specific spells from the book. The book does give astrology as a specific example as a skill that can FoRK with sorcery, and since the primary purpose of the sorcery skill is to cast the spells presented in the book (assuming I’m not using art magic or abstraction rules from the MaBu), I’m wondering what are some examples of how it could be used as a FoRK for casting a spell.

Well, I’d say it depends on the spell. If they’re casting Shards, Astrology seems a stretch. But I could see a player working astrology into casting something like Wisdom of the Ancients or Magesense.

Cool. Thanks for the specific examples.

I could see it working for pretty much any roll, so long as you could reference an astrology book, chart, or whatnot, to justify it. That includes invoking the star (that must be then be named) and getting a flash of inspiration for whatever they’re doing.

Just remember, if it looks like a stretch there is nothing stopping you from taking that piece of bullcrap and making it make sense in way that’s not helpful to the player. Let the players do it, just make it come back to bite’em in the ass.

Yeah, they need to consult astrological charts when casting a Shards spell? I’m fine with that. That couldn’t be a problem ever, right?

If the justification makes sense with the idiom of astrology in your game, it’s fine. Just make sure the idiom actually works for you.

I’ve generally had astrology require taking an astrological reading in advance to decide the best way to perform an action (the idea’s similar to a linked test, but I just Said Yes to the astrology for a FoRK die later). A swordsman could consult the stars and then during a Fight later choose to FoRK in astrology for a single action (the signs said I should strike now!). The other option was incorporating astrology directly into the action, which usually only works if time isn’t much of an issue and you can work carefully/patiently. The fiction in the game usually makes that clear. And sometimes it just doesn’t make sense; you can take your time to Persuade someone, but you’re going to get some very weird looks if you break out the star charts and crystal balls in the middle.

Astrology may be FoRKed with any skill except those of martial or physical type.
BWG, p.257.

Well, there you go. I guess it does have to be a linked test, then, if you want to go with omens shenanigans (and if the GM is amenable).

OTOH you could do a linked test to see if it was an auspicious day to have a swordfight. Don’t want to mess that one up or you’d have a penalty to your skill in a fight for the day.

For non-spellcasting purposes, I’ve forked Astrology to falsehood, logistics, and a few other “getting things done” skills. Generally speaking for non-magical forks, you just have to handle it the same way as any other skill - do a thing, see if it makes sense, and then add the extra die.

I’ve never denied an Astrology fork simply because of the possibility for the forked die to work against the roll on a one. I’ve always read it as a person with Astrology is subconsciously scanning the world for omens and the decision to Fork in the skill means the character notes one at the time of the action, for good or for ill.