Savage Worlds Rules for The Veil and The Fey Accords
The Fey Accords represent the rules to sustain The Veil. The Veil wants to be in place, it wants magic and the supernatural to remain hidden, so the Accords are fairly dynamic and resilient.
There are five Fey Accords to represent in Savage Worlds:
- Secrecy: We are legends. Dreams and nightmares. Remain hidden.
- Honor: Obey the laws of each faction. All are accountable. Our word is our bond.
- Culling: Humanity is a Resource. Do not waste. Mark what is yours. Do not cull what is not.
- Kinship: Outsiders are foul. Associate with those beyond the pale at your own risk.
- No Mercy: Those who violate the Accords are dealt with swiftly and harshly, lest the Sluagh hunt them.
Lets look at rules for each of them. Sustaining the Accords means remaining within The Veil, safe from the horrors of The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt is released upon those who pierce The Veil, usually ending in their horrible death or permanent insanity.
A guiding principle is that The Veil wants to cover magic. It was created, cast, and designed to conceal the supernatural and magic from the mundane world. If a witch casts a curse that causes a series of impossible events, The Veil is what makes those events seem disconnected and only improbable. If a mage casts a death bolt at an enemy causing a heart attack, The Veil is what makes bystanders only notice that someone fell down clutching their chest. The Veil is what makes a werewolf look like a wolf or a large dog even in its hybrid form. The Veil conceals the characteristics of death on the walking dead, making them appear as if drunk or stoned, homeless, stumbling and unfocused. It is what allows vampires to hide their visage from victims until the last moment. The Veil wants magic and the supernatural to remain hidden from those without The Sight to piece through it.
The narrator should interpret events favorably for staying within The Veil. However, when magic is so blatant that The Veil cannot conceal it, or a specific practitioner consistently and frequently pushes against The Veil, they risk thinning or piecing The Veil around them Witches who frequently casts spells without consideration for those around them. A were-creature that uses her claws, red eyes, and supernatural strength in broad daylight without any attempt to conceal their powers. A vampire who uses his charm on a large crowd in public or a walking dead that shrugs off impossible wounds in front of others. Such events thin The Veil around the violator, as it strains to try and conceal their impact on the mundane world.
When The Veil thins, there are warnings for the practitioner. Shadows drift in the corners of their vision and dart across open spaces. In the far distance there is the sound of horns so faint they are hard to discern amidst other noise, but definitely there. Flocks of dark birds, ravens, crows, grackles, even black vultures can be seen flying towards the character out of the west, or circling over some space off to the west, as if something were happening there. As The Veil grows thinner, such manifestations grow more prominent, warning the character that they have pressed their luck too far. When The Veil splits open, the manifestations overtake the violator, and they flee terror; The Hunt is On!
In game terms, the narrator uses a Risk Die when a character’s actions push against The Veil. The narrator should always announce the application of a Risk Die, and should give the player the opportunity to try and avoid it by changing their chosen action.
The Risk Die
Actions that potentially violate The Fey Accords and pierce The Veil are assigned a risk die. A risk die is a way of rating how hard it is for The Veil to conceal an action. Assigning a risk die is the narrator’s way of warning a player they might pierce The Veil, and provides a Savage Worlds mechanic to evaluate if The Veil is torn.
The Risk Die is d4 (low risk), d6 (moderate risk), d8 (high risk), d10 (very high risk) or d12 (damn dangerous).
When the narrator announces a Risk Die, the player has several options:
- Reduce the risk, modify the action, re-assess. Maybe there is another way to take the action that does not press upon The Veil.
- Take the risk. Roll a risk-check. Hope for the best.
- Propose narration. Spend a benny, propose a way that a Facet mitigates the risk. If the narrator accepts the player’s proposal, no risk check needed.
Making a Risk-Check
A Risk-Check is a random check. The narrator rolls d6. The player rolls their Risk Die. If the player’s Risk Die is higher than the narrator’s die, The Veil is torn and the character is at risk for a Wild Hunt. A Wild Hunt is not always called when The Veil tears. The violator (our Player) instantly loses 1d4 (this die can Ace!) Sanity (Players can spend a benny to re-roll this loss, and take the lower of the 2 losses). The Player also notes “Torn Veil” next to their Sanity score. If they still have a positive Sanity score, they hear the signs of The Veil growing thin, distant horns, the cries of the hounds, the cawing of carrion birds, the anxiety of prey building in their chest, but The Hunt is not released and eventually the signs quiet some. So long as their Sanity remains below normal, the signs of The Veil being thin remain at the edges of their world. As Sanity returns, the signs of the Hunt ease. Should Sanity drop below 1 for any reason while The Veil is torn, the Hunt is on and the player finds themselves in a far-off forest, hearing the cry of hunting horns.
When Hunted, in the mundane world, the character rants and raves, seems maddened, and eventually falls into a sickened stupor, losing the ability to communicate, and will die from some previously unknown natural illness before they awake should the Hunt catch them in the spirit world. There are rumors of healing rituals that, if performed during this time, can call the soul back from the Deep Fey before death and end the Hunt. Occasionally the Hunt comes to the material world (or at least, the invisible spirit realm connected to the material world), especially if a violation is particularly harsh, or if The Fey Courts make a special request. When the Wild Hunt emerges into the spirit world to chase a character, it can be seen by those with The Sight. Witnessing the Wild Hunt and The Sluagh, the dark souls who seek redemption as part of the Hunt, causes an immediate Fear Check at -4 with a resulting 1d4 Sanity Loss if the witness fails their Fear Check.
A character can restore their Veil by recovering the Sanity lost when it was torn. Sanity can be recovered as per indicated in the Horror Companion on Page 22. In the case of Sanity lost tearing The Veil, if a character can come up with an action that specifically denies the presence of magic or the supernatural, they can make a check to restore Sanity as if they “Conquered Evil” for the purposes of regaining Sanity lost to The Veil. For example, a witch who was caught on camera doing something impossible, but then “debunks” her own magic trick in a following blog article could make a check to restore Sanity. Such actions must specifically restore mundane humanity’s faith in the character as “normal” somehow. Engaging in mundane activities for 30 days will allow a check to regain Sanity as per a month of rest. The Healing Spell or Greater Healing Spell must be done specifically with the intention of restoring a character’s relationship to The Veil to help restore Sanity lost to tearing The Veil. The narrator may require special ritual components or circumstances for healing to help restore a violator’s relationship to The Veil around them.
Lets look at each of the Accords and how to violate them…
This Accord says that supernaturals are “legend” and “dreams and nightmares.” To violate this Accord, a supernatural being would need to reveal their magic in a way that is irrefutable, too obvious to be explained as something else, and they would have to do it in a way that threatens the mystery and secrecy of the magical world. This is perhaps the most nebulous of the Accords. Any act that confirms legend or myths about the supernatural risks violating Secrecy. Any act that perpetuates myth and legend about the supernatural actually sustains The Veil and improves upon Secrecy. What is myth or legend can be glimpsed, it can be hinted at, but any “sane” person won’t believe it is real, thus perpetuating myth and legend makes it harder for the supernatural to be real, and harder to break secrecy.
If a mundane witnesses magic, but can explain it away as something else, The Veil remains unbroken. Firing balls of fire from your fingers while in the back of a convertible on the freeway cannot be easily explained, whereas throwing what looks like Molotov cocktails, while ridiculously illegal and dangerous, does not violate the laws of physics. When a witch casts a spell upon someone and others see suspicious behavior, suspicious illness, or death, it creates doubt in their mind and sustains legend; when a witch throws a ball of black fire at someone, or a bolt of ice, that is undeniable and risks Secrecy.
Transforming into a half-wolf, half-man beast in front of a drunk in the alley of a bar actually supports and sustains this rule; it adds to the legend that is the nightmare of the werewolf. Nobody is going to believe that a drunk saw such a thing in the dark of an alley late at night. Transforming into a half-wolf, half-man beast in a corporate meeting surrounded by sober, sane and confident board members will permanently change the way they see the world, and give them evidence that violates Secrecy. One perpetuates myth and legend while the other confirms it; one sustains The Veil and one tears it.
Even bringing a single disbeliever into a private room and proving the existence of magic to them risks tearing The Veil. However, once their disbelief is broken, they are initiated into the circle of Secrecy; any of their further encounters with the supernatural do not risk tearing The Veil, although such encounters might damage their Sanity. This is the reason that there are so few mundanes engaged with supernaturals; every one initiated anew risks tearing The Veil.
Any time that a character violates Secrecy, confirms the presence of magic to an audience without alternative explanations, they risk the Wild Hunt; assign a Risk Die and make a Risk Check.
This Accord says that the factions must obey their own rules. Violating the directive of a faction leader, or breaking the rules of a Great Faction carries a risk factor. For example, the Council of the Wise (or “The Council”) has a rule that covens cannot assassinate one-another unless a proper grievance has been filed with the local council and approved for a witch-war. Open attacks upon another coven without provocation or approval would cause a Risk Check. Filing a grievance against another coven and then obliterating them once the grievance is approved would not. The Tribes of the Moon have rules about not creating new were-creatures without permission from the tribal elders. Turning your brother into a were-ferret without permission would cause a Risk Check, while talking to the elder about how initiating him into the tribe will save him from foster care first and getting permission will not. The Sanguine do not allow killing outside of secrecy and require good-standing among their families. Drinking the coat check girl dry at a dance club and leaving her body with the coats would cause a Risk Check. Taking her home when her shift ends and feasting on her blood all weekend then using the family-approved cleaning service would not. Violating any of these faction-specific rules dishonors the faction and causes a Risk Check.
Counter-intuitively, the most common violation of this Accord happens when someone prevents culling without proper claim to a human. This Accord means that supernaturals cannot prevent one-another from using humanity as a personal resource, to serve, to hunt, or to eat. Supernaturals can mark humans as their “property” within the Accords. Members of the Accords cannot set human property of another supernatural free, or otherwise prey upon a marked human without violating this Accord. Killing a valuable human servant without permission carries a high risk of piercing The Veil. Culling too many humans (marking more than you need) causes a risk check, as does culling the humans of another supernatural. This is one of the darker aspects of FeyTale; humanity is a resource, it tears The Veil to violate the rights of a supernatural to use humanity as a resource.
Outsiders are those who come from beyond known reality. They come from the far realms, places well outside faerie, beyond mortal imagination, where the rules of existence are broken and gods fear to tread. Outsiders are the horrors from before the dawn of time, the beings beyond space, with dark purposes that want only the violation and destruction of what is known to the members of the Accords.
Associating with Outsiders, learning from them, trading with them, giving them access to reality in any way, failing to take action against their servants, all would cause a risk check. For example, if you uncover a cabal of cultists to the great squid lord Bubblegeck, and you just let them go on their merry way to serve their dark lord, that is a Risk Check.
Five: No Mercy
Failing to enforce the Accords can cause its own Risk Check. If your pal keeps violating the Accords whimsically, then you will eventually have to make a Risk Check when you stand by and watch. No, it ain’t fair, but it means everyone is motivated to keep everyone else in line. Any time a supernatural witnesses a Risk Check by another supernatural without trying to prevent it, that may cause its own Risk Check.