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Oracle

Beginning

Oracle:
Find the Mortality and Discord cards. Place them face up on the table.
Sort cards into decks: Journeys, Artefacts, Class & Soul, Perils, Promises, Wounds, Talents.
Shuffle all the decks.

Say:
Travellers, you enter my tent, filled with smoke and feathers.

Lay out all class and soul cards. Instruct the travellers to each choose one of each.

Say:
I sit here before you, surrounded by my elements.
Your party seeks its future. A quest that bids them to distant lands is shrouded in mystery.

Search the deck of Journeys for a locale and an encounter. These two cards show the locale where the travellers begin their journey and the encounter where they will find what they seek. Lay the locale at the beginning of a timeline and the encounter at the end. Describe these briefly to the travellers. Ask them to explain how they came to this locale to find the Oracle and what they seek from the encounter at the end of their journey.

Nod and Say:
I see now the importance of your quest.

Lay out six random talent cards and five random artefact cards.

Say:
What is it you bring with you on this journey?

Ask the travellers to each choose one talent card for yourself and describe it. Then ask them to each choose one artefact card for themself and describe it. Instruct the travellers to each put their cards together with their class and soul cards to form a character deck. Ask them if they would like to use names, and if so, what are they?

When the travellers have explained themselves to your satisfaction ask them if they would like you to begin the reading proper. If they say agree, begin.

How The Tale Is Told

The oracle turns over cards from the deck of Journeys, laying them out and telling the tale of what is to come. The oracle, though, cannot read the souls of the travellers and thus must ask often “what will you do?”.

The travellers answer with their intention and the Oracle continues the tale, telling of the outcomes of such actions.

If the outcomes are trivial or obvious, the Oracle's words are enough, but outcomes that matter are not so clear and must be decided by a Hand:


If a card in play is marked +Peril and the situation matches the trigger, an extra Peril card must be added to the hand from the Peril deck, which is it reshuffled back into after the hand.

If a card in play is marked +Promise and the situation matches the trigger, an extra Promise card must be added to the hand from the Promise deck, which is it reshuffled back into after the hand.

When a locale is revealed, it's peril or promise conditions remain in play until another locale replaces it as the travellers move on.

If a character is injured in their future foretold, they must draw a wound card and add it to their character deck. If they already have two wounds, they must instead take the Mortality wound card from the table or whichever traveller possesses it. If it is taken from another traveller, that traveller draws a new wound.

If a character gains some kind of important benefit they will continue to possess, such as equipment, an ability, or a companion, they draw a promise card which will stand in for that boon. Similarly if they gain some ongoing penalty for which a wound is not appropriate, they draw a peril card which will stand in for that issue and must always be offered and explained for hands, as if it were a wound.

The play of fortune telling, challenges, and hands continues until the situation indicated by the Journey card is resolved.

Each time the Oracle turns over a new encounter, they also draw a Peril card for themself.

Play continues in this way until the ultimate fate of the travellers is revealed. They must then choose as to whether or not they shall embark on their quest at all.

When the Oracle goes to draw a from the deck of Journeys, if there is less than an hour left to play, they should instead draw the encounter where the travellers will find what they seek.

As you play, bring the fiction into focus. Ask questions to establish the specifics of your world and then continue to abide by the answers.
Who is the god you pray to and what is their domain? Does your amour make you look fancy or intimidating? What do you have to do to cast spells? Do these people care for merchants?

When choosing cards, travellers should be ambitious but respectful of the decisions of the Oracle who should be ruthless, only allowing cards that make sense in the fiction.

Cards

Classes

Sword

Character - Class
The Strategist
Ability: Exploit an opening unseen by others.

Coin

Character - Class
The Broker
Ability: Provide supplies needed in hand.

Wand

Character - Class
The Savant
Ability: Seize the initiative by unexpected means.

Cup

Character - Class
The Priest
Ability: Hear or be heard by spirits, gods, or mortal folk.

Soul

Character - Soul
The will and desires of creative spirit tortured by the bounds and limitations of flesh.

Soul

Character - Soul
That which resists an existence of suffering with naive hope and bullish defiance.

Soul

Character - Soul
The chimera of the noble and the beastly, ruled by fear and love.

Soul

Character - Soul
An intricate dance of thoughts and emotions, swaying to some cosmic song like the sea lapping at the shore.

Talents

Companion

Talent
A friend or servant:

  • Animal
  • Human
  • Other

Skilled in:

  • Hunting
  • Hauling
  • Healing

(choose one of each)

I Studied The Blade

Talent
Contend with foes of any size or number with weapon in hand

Sharp Eye

Talent
Strike distant foes as though they were near

Lycanthropic

Talent
Transform into a beast of the wilds

Berserking

Talent
Unleash your primal rage upon obstacles and foes

Evocation

Talent
Shape energies, twist forms, summon creatures, conjure tools

Mentalism

Talent
Sway minds, fool senses, wake what sleeps, sense beyond sight

Crime

Talent
Pick marks, locks, and pockets

Silver Tongued

Talent
Manipulate folks with words and feelings

Bare Hands

Talent
Wield your body like a peerless weapon

Performance

Talent
Enrapture an audience with your art.

  • music
  • dance
  • poetry
  • painting
  • other

(choose one)

Survival

Talent
Find paths, sustain bodies, predict weather, move freely

Strange Tongue

Talent
Speak intelligibly with:

  • animals
  • plants
  • foreigners

(choose one)

Artefacts

The Sturdy Blade

Artefact
The strength of steel and the bite of skill.

+Promise when you engage foes in combat face to face.

The Ancient Tome

Artefact
A repository of knowledge, sacred, forbidden, or lost.

+Promise when you spout secrets.

The Bow

Artefact
Strike true before a distant foe can retaliate or escape.

+Promise when your enemies cannot reach you.

The Amulet

Artefact
A symbol of power, recognised by all.

+Promise when you invoke your authority.

The Deft Blade

Artefact
A piercing blade made for accuracy and finesse.

+Promise when you strike unprepared foes.

The Bottle

Artefact
A simple vessel filled with a valuable fluid.

+Promise when you drink deeply.

Journeys

A Pack Of Beasts

Journey - Encounter
One would be enough but even a few may prove too many.

You notice one and then many, making to circle you.

+Peril when you’re surrounded.

A Swarm

Journey - Encounter
Too many to count, all moving as one.

The swarm rears up and then snakes towards you.

+Peril when you are engulfed.

The Monstrous Beast

Journey - Encounter
A strange creature, its shape and dangers unfamiliar.

It raises its hackles and growls toward you.

+Peril when you face it one on one.

Spirit Without Flesh

Journey - Encounter
A soul stripped of body: small thoughts, old habits, and petty resentment.

The spectre flies at you in a rage for sins real or imagined.

+Peril when you try to touch it.

Flesh Without Spirit

Journey - Encounter
With no soul to guide the body, instincts and hungers rule flesh.

The splintered bones and whatever binds them shambles in the dark.

+Peril when you try to make it think.

Forces Of Justice

Journey - Encounter
Mere men but armed with steel and law.

You are being detained.

+Peril when you have commited a crime.

Dark Sorcery

Journey - Encounter
Students of magic lured by the promise of power.

A mage makes their demands clear.

+Peril when you have no magical protection.

The Raging Elements

Journey - Encounter
The elements themselves have desires of their own and venture forth to fulfill them.

The elements tear scenery asunder in undirected fury.

+Peril when surrounded by the element at hand.

Goblin Mischief

Journey - Encounter
Chaos made flesh, with opposable thumbs and teeth.

Green skins, wild eyes, and war cries spring forth from the shadows.

+Peril when you try to deal with one.

Surprise And Treachery

Journey - Encounter
Ambush creates a weapon of preparation. Harmless if forewarned, lethal in ignorance.

You notice hidden movement in the scenery around you.

+Peril when you’re not expecting trouble.

Theft And Banditry

Journey - Encounter
Those outside the law are neither bound by it nor protected by it.

Bandits offer you a choice: your money or your life.

+Peril when you invoke authority.

The Tavern

Journey - Encounter
A place of drink and company and rest.

Regulars and strangers look up with suspicion as you enter the bar.

+Peril when you eat or drink without caution.

Rocks Fall

Journey - Encounter
Death from above, without mind or malice.

With little warning, precarious stones fall toward you.

+Peril when you are not watching for trouble.

Nobility

Journey - Encounter
A position of privilege bought long ago with blood and coin.

A noble from horseback issues unreasonable demands.

+Peril when you are common, or look it.

The Woods

Journey - Locale
Shadows of boughs and canopy turn day into dusk and night into blindness.

Through the trees a silhouette moves out of sight.

+Promise when you reap nature's bounty.

Underground

Journey - Locale
Shadows concealing crevasses, tunnels, and whatever lurks within.

A torch gutters out and plunges you into darkness.

+Peril when you struggle in darkness.

Town

Journey - Locale
Outsiders are welcome, but not necessarily embraced.

Two farmers block the way as you enter town.

+Promise when your reputation precedes you.

City

Journey - Locale
Busy streets and bustling crowds provide cover for quick fingers and quicker blades.

In the press of bodies you feel a move at knife at your belt.

+Peril when you act outside the law.

Mountains

Journey - Locale
Sheer drops wait for all but the most surefooted.

As you step forward, the stone beneath you crumbles and falls.

+Peril when you risk falling.

At Sea

Journey - Locale
Weather, waves, and what's beneath conspire against a worthy vessel.

A dark swell tips the vessel and you are thrown overboard.

+Peril when you fall beneath the waves.

Open Plains

Journey - Locale
Wide rolling vistas and gentle breezes carry sights and sounds over great distance.

You spot a group of other figures in the distance, off the beaten path.

+Promise when you keep watch for danger.

Desert

Journey - Locale
Sun on sand fools the eyes, luring fools and hiding peril.

You spot an oasis offering respite in the distance.

+Peril when you are oppressed by heat.

Tundra

Journey - Locale
Swirling snow and open ground sap life from warm bodies.

A gale attempts to toss you from your feet.

+Peril when you are numbed by cold.

Swamp

Journey - Locale
Murky waters ripple as vines choke your way.

Something in the muck grabs a hold of you.

+Peril when waterlogged.

Port

Journey - Locale
Salty men move questionable cargo.

A swarthy smuggler eyes you suspiciously.

+Peril when you snitch.

Jungle

Journey - Locale
Life and death flourish in the undergrowth, poison and cure side by side.

Bushes nearby rustle threateningly.

+Peril when exploring without guidance.

Ruins

Journey - Locale
Broken buildings tower overhead, the corpse of some past empire.

Masonry above you cumbles and topples toward you.

+Promise when digging up the bones of the past.

Peril Cards

Discord

Peril
One weak link causes the chain to break.

Failure and Dispossession

Peril
Something important is lost in the mess.

Failure and Injury

Peril
Bodies are hurt in the fracas.

Failure and Separation

Peril
The party is split by the drama.

Failure and Warning

Peril
You notice bad signs while assaulted by the trouble in front of you.

Failure and Escalation

Peril
The situation only gets worse.

Failure and Disablement

Peril
Bodies are forever changed by conflict.

Great Failure

Peril
The cost of failure is far more than you imagined.

Great Compromise

Peril
You achieve part of your intent, but at great cost.

Success with Dispossession

Peril
Something is lost, destroyed, or used up in achieving your goal.

Success with Injury

Peril
You manage the task but you pay in blood.

Success with Separation

Peril
You are drawn apart in the process of things.

Success with Warning

Peril
Signs of more trouble after a moment of victory.

Success with Escalation

Peril
You get what you wanted but things only get worse.

Success with Disablement

Peril
You achieve your goal but your body will never be the same.

Partial Success

Peril
It’s not everything you hoped for, but it’s something.

Near Miss

Peril
You get close, but no cigar.

Promise Cards

Success

Promise
The gods smile on your intentions and grant you your desires.

Success

Promise
Luck is fickle but it shines for you today.

Success

Promise
Your hard work and skill pay dividends well.

Success

Promise
Circumstances are in your favour because you made them that way.

Great Success

Promise
You strike a vein of victory.

Great Success

Promise
Your obstacles are little before your inner fire.

Bountiful Success

Promise
You gain greatly from your moment of glory.

Bountiful Success

Promise
Your efforts pay out in abundance.

Wounds

A Scar

Wound
Skin torn and reformed into twisted knots and curls.

A Flesh Wound

Wound
Blood and flesh and sinew, cut and pierced and torn.

A Destroyed Arm

Wound
Your good arm is whichever is left.

A Destroyed Leg

Wound
A problem for locomotion without a prosthetic.

An Organ, Pierced

Wound
A spanner in the mechanisms of life.

Concussion

Wound
A rattled cage and a shaken bird.

A Loss Of Blood

Wound
The water of life, drained from it’s vessel.

A Missing Eye

Wound
With one good eye it’s hard to grasp the depth of the problem.

A Shattered Bone

Wound
Scaffolding turned to splinters, all stabbing at what they once supported.

A Broken Rib

Wound
A spear in the chest, hidden there by the gods and now turned against you.

Cut And Flayed

Wound
Skin opened to expose flesh to the sting of the air.

Internal Bleeding

Wound
A body filled with blood in entirely the wrong way.

Teeth Lost

Wound
A visage marred but only when it shows itself.

Mortality

Wound
Last breath leaves living lips.

Hide

The Big Sword

Artefact
A mighty blade that takes great strength to wield.

+Promise when you fight a gargantuan foe.

The Little Sword

Artefact
A nimble blade to turn away the press of blades.

+Promise when you parry away strikes.

The Scythe

Artefact
A tool of harvest, dangerous in skillful hands.

+Promise when you reap many small bodies.

The Staff

Artefact
A humble stick, an extension of it’s wielder’s arm.

+Promise when you defend yourself with focus.

The Mace

Artefact
An edge is not needed to bruise flesh and break bones.

+Promise when you smash into pieces.

The Knives

Artefact
Smaller blades for the most intimate work.

+Promise when you pierce the unguarded.

The Axe

Artefact
A tool that knows that nothing is built without destruction.

+Promise when you cleave wood or flesh in twain.

The Hammer

Artefact
Blunt force precisely applied.

+Promise when you strike the head.

The Spear

Artefact
A polearm with a simple pointed end.

+Promise when you hold foes at reach.

The Whip

Artefact
Split tender flesh and seize with finesse.

+Promise when entangling things.

Heavy Armour

Artefact
Plates, scales, and chain that deflect the sting of steel.

+Promise when you endure many blows.