Concerning Fate Points – 6/17/02
Player Characters in nearly every role-playing game ever made tend to do the silliest things. They jump off cliffs, annoy crime lords, laugh at kings, and otherwise try their damndest to put themselves in harm’s way. Most of these things would get any ordinary Joe killed. So what makes these foolhardy sods any better than an ordinary Joe? What – besides of course DMs with a pleasant demeanor – keeps these people from just getting killed outright when they go against the grain?
What makes them heroes?
The world of Khevoran is in the midst of a constant struggle between Aluviel and Kishara, and these deities oft-times select champions to fight for them – to carry their cause into the mortal realm. This is where Fate Points come in. Fate Points are an indicator of how important you are to the powers that be – they are a measure of their grace and patience. Fate Points help those under the deities’ watchful eye to avoid the untimely death they so desperately deserve, and are an indicator of just how important in the grand scheme of things a player is. They come and go depending upon a player’s actions. If a player does something remarkable to help advance Aluviel’s cause, the player may earn a fate point, representative of the added trust of the deity. Alternately, if the player does something alarmingly stupid or destructive to Aluviel’s cause such as saving Vernon Bubblesneezer’s life or, even worse, getting stabbed in the gut by the evil-crazed Gnome, the player may lose a fate point. He’ll certainly survive the encounter, but he just won’t be as important as he once was on account of his being a doofus.
For example, it is abundantly clear that Kironius Mengst is a terribly important person in Aluviel’s eyes. Let’s trace Mengst’s life and his accumulation of fate:
1. Mengst starts his life touched by Aluviel. He’s a human, and destined to be terribly important, so we’ll start him out with 3 FP (the starting maximum for a Human).
2. Mengst does nothing exciting whatsoever for most of his life. Marrying, squeezing out a few kids and generally not being terribly heroic. (Most PCs would never have a chance to be this boring.) -1 FP
3. Tal’Mearis’ army arrives and sacks Harrowburg. Mengst fights valiantly and through sheer luck manages to get trampled by a dozen cavalry and come out of it unharmed. Obviously, the dozen cavalry would’ve killed ol’ Kironius dead – but Aluviel was looking out for him. -1 FP
4. With 1FP remaining, Mengst is still a hero, but hardly important enough in the grand scheme of things to be Aluviel’s Chosen One. He’s conscripted into the army and falls into obscurity for a few years.
5. Mengst, using what few resources and clout he has at his disposal, starts building a cadre of Aluviel worshippers within the ranks of Tahl’Mearis’ army. This is so utterly unheard of, that we’ll give him a fate point for being a sneaky bastard and putting Aluviel’s people in the heart of Kishara’s army. +1 FP
6. Mengst singlehandedly brings about the downfall of Tahl’Mearis’ army, saves Westergarde, and personally gives Kishara’s boyfriend a dirtnap. He loses one FP because at some point in that fight Tahl’Mearis should’ve killed the man, but gains a whopping 3. +2 FP
7. Over the course of five years, Mengst completely frees the Northlands fro Kishara’s rule. Let’s say he racks up another 3. +3FP.
Now, with an unprecedented 7 Fate Points, Mengst is a terribly important piece in Aluviel and Kishara’s game of Chess. Thousands rally to his banner, and the eyes of the world are upon him – which isn’t necessarily a good thing – but he’s undoubtedly a hero of epic scale.
The only other point of note to remember about Fate Points is that PCs and important good guys aren’t the only ones with Fate Points. There are people who’re important to Kishara’s plan too€¦
Every hero begins the game with a certain amount of Fate Points. These points will be tracked by the DM. They will be awarded when it seems appropriate, and can be used by the player whenever they die or just really, really need to do something incredible. Initial Fate Point allocation is as follows:
· Humans are the current inheritors of the world, there are a whole lot of them, and they tend to be pretty resourceful blokes in a pinch. Humans begin with 1D4-1 FP.
· Halflings are Aluviel’s chosen people – their star is on the rise (or at least was on the rise until The Extermination). Her grace shines on the little buggers in unprecedented levels – and heaven knows they need it right now. Halflings start with 1D4+1 FP.
· Dwarves and Gnomes are both in about the same boat as far as Aluviel is concerned. They’re older races, starting their decline into obscurity – the Dwarves simply because it’s their time, and the Gnomes because most of them have thrown their lot in with Kishara. Dwarves and Gnomes start with 1D3-1 FP.
· The Elves are a dying people. Their importance to the grand plan is long past. Elves start with 1 FP.