Campaign of the Month: February 2017
Please Note: There’s a lot written here and yet it unfortunately leaves questions that John and Anne couldn’t answer before they had to shut down Gotham By Night. I’ve written up a step-by-step guide of how I handle Fatebonds in my game based on email correspondence with John (thanks Sy!). Hopefully it’ll help those of you who are interested in using this particular Fatebond system.
Meanwhile, I’ve left the original text untouched. My guide references some rules and tables provided in this article, so I recommend giving it a read beforehand.
The machinations of Fate are the most weighty, inescapable, and profound in the world of Scion, overshadowing even the gods and titans themselves. Scions who find themselves Fatebound to mortals often experience gradual changes, for better and for worse, as the beliefs of those mortals shape their very supernatural essence.
Whenever a Scion spends a point of Legend where any mortal can see or hear him or her, the Storyteller rolls a number of dice equal to the Scion’s Legend (if the Scion spends multiple points of Legend at once, the Storyteller rolls for each one). His successes determine whether or not the Scion is now Fatebound to a mortal, and how strong that Fatebond is; a roll of 5 successes or more indicates that the Scion is now Fatebound to a mortal, and any additional successes past that 5 or rolled for other Legend expenditures in the scene are added to a pool. At the end of the scene, the total number of successes in the pool determines the strength of the Fatebond. If a mortal who is already Fatebound to the Scion is present when the Scion spends Legend and the roll nets enough successes to raise his rating (i.e., a mortal with rating 5 is present when a 3 or higher is rolled), he increases in rating instead and the Scion does not accrue a new Fatebond.
Fatebonds of rating 3 or lower are not strong enough to force mortals into pre-defined roles in the Scion’s story, but all fatebonds of rating 4 or higher are. Possible roles for Fatebound mortals are as follows:
|Apprentice: The mortal wishes to learn from the Scion and emulate him or her in all things. He begs for knowledge and treats the Scion as a respected teacher.|
|Backup: The mortal wishes to follow the Scion into whatever situation necessary, defending him or her in battle and lending a helping hand whenever needed. She refuses to be left behind and never acts without the Scion’s safety in mind.|
|Balm: The mortal is an oasis of calm and support for the Scion and never fails to make him or her feel better about things. He tries to help the Scion however he is able and always offers a soothing word.|
|Beggar: The mortal needs help from the Scion constantly and turns up all the time wherever he or she is. She asks for help and requires the Scion’s aid to achieve important goals.|
|Boon Companion: The mortal seeks to be the Scion’s companion, confidante and friend in all things. He is always available and sympathetic and supports the Scion and his or her actions unquestioningly.|
|Canary: The mortal is prone to being struck by any incoming calamity and is always the victim of an enemy’s opening sally. He always suffers first from any imminent disaster or danger and tries to warn the Scion.|
|Catastrophe: The mortal brings disaster with her and rains it down on the Scion, either intentionally or quite innocently. Her appearance is always accompanied by some horrible fiasco happening that involves the Scion.|
|Contrary: The mortal appears to be acting out one Fatebound Role, but is in fact secretly another. He might be a Fan masquerading as a Preacher, an Apprentice masquerading as a Mentor, or a Traitor masquerading as a Balm.|
|Fan: The mortal is the Scion’s biggest fan and thinks he or she is the best thing to happen to the world in her lifetime. She is totally starstruck around the Scion and prone to following him or her wherever he or she goes.|
|Foil: The mortal always makes the Scion look bad, no matter what he or she might be doing at the time. He always says or does just the wrong thing so that the Scion’s plans, even if successful, come out with him or her looking exactly the opposite of his or her intention.|
|Herald: The mortal believes that the Scion is an important or divine personage and considers it her duty to inform the world. She constantly tells others about the Scion’s deeds and personality and refuses to let others go uneducated.|
|Jinx: The mortal is incredibly unlucky for the Scion and causes a host of petty annoyances and minor disasters to strike him or her whenever he is around. He does nothing of his own volition, but his mere presence heaps misfortune on the Scion’s head.|
|Lover: The mortal loves the Scion deeply and completely and will go to any lengths to profess her love and gain the Scion’s heart. She does everything in her power to induce the Scion to love her and will hear no ill will against him or her.|
|Martyr: The mortal is destined to die in the Scion’s defense and defends him or her no matter what the cost. He throws himself headlong against any enemy or in the face of any danger in order to save the Scion.|
|Mentor: The mortal wishes to teach the Scion and better him or her through her special brand of knowledge. She never passes up the opportunity to lecture or enlighten the Scion.|
|Nemesis: The mortal is the Scion’s sworn enemy and would love nothing better than to be the cause of his or her downfall. He works tirelessly against the Scion and everything he or she holds dear, and will stop at nothing to see him or her destroyed.|
|Patron: The mortal views the Scion as a pet project and bankrolls him or her as though investing in a business. She provides money, services, and anything else in her power for the Scion on request.|
|Preacher: The mortal believes that the Scion must be converted to a specific belief and bends all his energies into doing so. He exhorts the Scion to listen to him and pursues his goal with fanatic determination.|
|Rival: The mortal sees the Scion as her rival and competes tirelessly with her in all dimensions. She never allows the Scion to take the spotlight completely and pushes herself to her limits attempting to prove her superiority.|
|Shadow: The mortal is a constant reminder of the Scion’s failings and reminds him or her of everything that he or she dislikes most about him- or herself. He constantly does or says things that cause the Scion to think about his or her own failures.|
|Traitor: The mortal acts as a confidante or friend for the moment, but will betray the Scion in an emphatic manner at a critical moment. She may be planning to betray him or her or may do so accidentally or on the spur of the moment, but she cannot avoid doing so.|
|Trickster: The mortal lives to prank the Scion, whether to bring him or her down to a level with the mortals or for the sheer fun of it. He plays constant tricks on the Scion and enjoys his or her discomfiture or embarrassment.|
|Unrequited Lover: The mortal has fallen deeply in love with the Scion but is unable to act on that love, becoming withdrawn and melancholy. She follows the Scion around and may come close to revealing her feelings, but is never able to do so.|
|Victim: The Fated is someone the Scion has to save over and over again. Somehow, by intention or accident, he keeps getting into dangerous situations whence the Scion is in the best position to extricate him.|
|Weak Link: The mortal attempts to help the Scion but is a failure in everything he does. No matter how simple the task he attempts to complete, if it would benefit the Scion in an important way it fails, often at a disastrous moment.|
When a Scion gains a Fatebond of rating 4 or higher, the Storyteller rolls a single die twice to determine the mortal’s Fatebound Role as follows, once for the rarity and once for the exact role:
|Common Roles (1-4)||Uncommon Roles (5-7)||Rare Roles (8-9)||Super-Rare Roles (10)|
The beliefs of a Scion’s Fatebound mortals directly affect his or her powers and very being, shaping him or her to fit their perceptions. When any mortal becomes Fatebound to a Scion at a rating of 4 or higher, the Storyteller chooses a number of things that they expect the Scion to excel at and things they do not believe the Scion is capable of, as follows:
|Fatebond Rating||# of Expectations/Rejections|
The Storyeller chooses the mortal’s expectations and rejections based on what they were able to perceive the Scion doing at the time that they became Fatebound to him or her; such expectations and rejections are subjective and based on the mortal’s interpretation of events (for example, one mortal might believe a Scion to be good at Sun because he saw him use Heavenly Flare, while another in the same scene might believe the same Scion to be good at Darkness because she was blinded). The expectations and rejections always take the following form:
Ability/Purview (roll a dice for odd/even)
The mortal provides or subtracts a number of bonus dice or successes to or from the Scion’s actions based on these expectations and rejections, as long as he or she is within a certain distance of the Scion. A mortal whose Fatebond Rating is 5 or higher also begins siphoning XP from the Scion in order to spend it on those things he or she believes that the Scion should be good at, causing the Scion to essentially slowly change to fit that belief. A Fatebond remains in effect for a variable amount of time, after which point it vanishes and the mortal is a mere human once again. The range of the Fatebond, its duration, the number of bonus dice or successes and the amount of XP siphoned are all dependent on the mortal’s Fatebond Rating:
|Level of Fatebond||Duration of Bond||Range of Bond||Bond’s Effects||XP Siphoned|
|1||1 scene||Immediate surroundings||+/- 1 die||None|
|2||1 day||1 mile||+/- 1 die||None|
|3||1 week||10 miles||+/- 2 dice||None|
|4||1 month||100 miles||+/- 2 dice||None|
|5||1 year||1,000 miles||+/- 3 dice||None|
|6||2 years||5,000 miles||+/- 3 dice||None|
|7||10 years||Worldwide||+/- 4 dice||5%|
|8||100 years||World and Overworld||+/- 2 successes||10%|
|9||1,000 years||All Realms||+/- 3 successes||10%|
|10||Eternity (even if the mortal’s soul is destroyed, the strongest fragments of belief remain)||All Realms and Titanrealms||+/- 4 successes||15%|
Scions are inextricably bound to these mortals by the strands of Fate and may not stand idly by when they are acting out their roles; they must take an active part in their stories or suffer the consequences of Fate’s displeasure. Whenever a friendly Fatebound mortal with a Fatebond Rating of 4 or higher dies and the Scion could have saved him or her but did not put forth their utmost effort to do so, the Scion suffers from the backlash of Fate in the following form:
|Fatebond Rating||Consequences of Mortal’s Death|
|4||The Scion loses 2 points of Willpower and is unable to spend Legend for 1 day|
|5||The Scion loses 3 points of Willpower and is unable to spend Legend for 2 days|
|6||The Scion loses 3 points of Willpower and is unable to spend Legend for 3 days|
|7||The Scion loses 4 points of Willpower which he cannot regain for 1 day, and is unable to spend Legend for 1 week|
|8||The Scion loses 5 points of Willpower which he cannot regain for 1 day, and is unable to spend Legend for 1 week|
|9||The Scion loses 5 points of Willpower which he cannot regain for 2 weeks, and is unable to spend Legend for 2 weeks|
|10||The Scion loses 5 points of Willpower which he cannot regain for 1 month, and is unable to spend Legend for 1 month|
If the Scion does not have enough Willpower to lose the prescribed amount, he immediately takes a number of levels of unsoakable bashing damage equal to the excess.
Conversely, if a Scion causes or allows the death of an unfriendly Fatebound mortal, he or she immediately gains one point of Willpower. If, however, he or she allows his or her Fatebound enemy to escape without making an effort to properly deal with the issue, the Scion is subject to the same Willpower costs in the table above (though not the restrictions on the spending of Legend).
Friendly Fatebound Roles are considered to be Apprentice, Backup, Balm, Beggar, Boon Companion, Canary, Fan, Herald, Lover, Martyr, Mentor, Patron, Preacher, Shadow, Unrequited Lover and Victim.
Unfriendly Fatebound Roles are considered to be Catastrophe, Foil, Jinx, Nemesis, Rival, Traitor, Trickster and Weak Link.
Mortals with the Contrary role are considered friendly or unfriendly based on their hidden role.
Fatebound mortals who are siphoning XP from the Scion do so in order to purchase powers and abilities for him or her according to their beliefs. The siphoned XP is put into a bank; whenever the mortal has enough banked XP to buy the least expensive available level of the first thing on their list of expectations for the Scion, they do so. The XP is spent and the Scion finds that he or she has spontaneously developed a new ability, Boon, or point in an attribute or Epic Attribute (if the latter, the Scion may choose the accompanying Knack). The Fatebound mortal’s bank then rotates to the next thing on his or her list of expectations and begins saving XP toward buying the Scion the next new skill. No ability, attribute or purview may be raised above the Scion’s normal maximums in this way; the Fatebound mortal simply skips a maximized power in his or her buying rotation.
Each Fatebound mortal also believes strongly enough in the Scion’s powers that he or she may cause what he or she considers inappropriate ones to vanish from the Scion’s skillset. Each game session, the mortal also gains one phantom experience point toward an ability, purview or attribute that he or she believes the Scion should not possess; when enough phantom XP has been accrued to equal the amount the Scion spent on the most expensive skill he or she has in that area, the mortal buys it off, causing the Scion to immediately lose access to it completely (if the Scion loses an Epic Attribute, he or she must choose which Knack to lose with it). All phantom XP used to remove the ability, Boon or Knack is then transferred to the Fatebound mortal’s XP bank and applied toward buying what he or she considers more appropriate powers for the Scion to have. No mundane attributes may be reduced past 1 this way, though abilities, purviews and Epic Attributes may all be reduced to 0. The Scion may rebuy powers lost this way, though he or she faces the possibility that those Fatebound to him or her may simply remove them again. If the Scion purchases another dot in a skill that a Fatebound person is in the midst of buying off, that Fatebound person immediately ceases to do so and moves all banked XP over to buying off the next thing on his or her list.
No mortal may ever attempt to buy off a Purview Avatar or Ultimate Attribute.