Beggars on Horseback

Posted on Mon Sep 19 2016 -- inept-sorcerers

Wishes have power. Especially if you are playing Inept Sorcerers. This is an early version of an add-on rule for that game, allowing players to create wishes that must come true, regardless of cost.

Before the game, create a Power Pyramid. This consists of 15 Wyrds, or short descriptions of a fate which can befall a person, their companions, or their setting. The Wyrds are arranged in a pyramidal shape, with five at the lowest level, four above them, then three, then two, then one. Wyrds at the higher levels are more consequential than those at the lower levels.

You can write your own Wyrds, or use the ones provided here:

  • 5th Tier: Death or Great Loss
  • 4th Tier: Betrayal; Friend in Peril
  • 3rd Tier: Cunning Trap; False Accusation; Hard Bargain
  • 2nd Tier: Smoke and Mirrors; An Innocent Suffers; Dark Secret; Mysterious Stranger
  • 1st Tier: Property Loss; Injury; Isolation; Humiliation; Lies and Deceit

When you pronounce a dreadful truth as an oracle or tale-teller, or enact a destiny placed upon you by some great power, create a series of Bothers to represent the difficulties in achieving that destiny or realizing that truth.

You may Draw Power and cast spells that overcome those difficulties, just as though you were wielding regular sorcery.

To Draw Power, choose a Wyrd on the 1st Tier and roll a d4. If that is not enough power, choose a Wyrd of the 2nd Tier, adjacent to the previous one, and roll a d6. Repeat this process with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Tiers, rolling d8, d10, and d12. Once used, flip over a Wyrd to indicate that it cannot be used again. If all Wyrds in a Tier have been used, either flip them back to usability, or write replacement Wyrds.

Option: you can force the player to choose a Wyrd at random, rather than picking one deliberately. Picking a face-down card is an option, if you use cards, or roll (d10/2), (d8/2), (d6/2), or (d4/2) as appropriate.

The Wyrds you choose become true in the story — the MC determines the specifics. Wyrds do not have to be targeted at the character, but they should affect the character — or the player — somehow. For example, "Betrayal" does not mean the PC is betrayed, only that a significant betrayal happens which upsets the PC's status quo. The Wyrds will always — always - work to further the great destiny that the PC is embroiled in. Wyrds can never make a destiny impossible to fulfill, though they can ruin any hope of it being fulfilled in a certain way.

The good news is that there is never Excess Power as a result of using Wyrds. No new Bothers are created, only surprising, difficult, or potentially tragic consequences.