Savage Fey-Tale

Savage Worlds rules for playing Fey-Tale. Most Savage Worlds rules have not been updated since 2016, but we had a good run playing Fey-Tale in these Savage Worlds rules. These posts make use of the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion and the Savage Worlds Horror Companion, you need those to play Fey-Tale in Savage Worlds.

Savage Setting Rules

Savage Fey-Tale makes several adaptations to Savage Worlds rules to represent the Fey-Tale world.

Arcane Backgrounds

No core Arcane Backgrounds allowed in Fey-Tale.  Look at the Arcane Backgrounds in Savage Fey Magic.

Magic Fatigue

Savage Fey-Tale uses Magic Fatigue to represent exertion caused by using magic.  Magic Fatigue is restored through 5 minutes of rest in a place of power, 15 minutes of spiritual practice, or 30 minutes of normal rest.  Magic Fatigue can be prevented through use of Essence, raw magical power.

Essence

“Essence” is a derived stat representing raw magical power; the raw magic of creation.  Every being has a natural, personal Essence equal to (Spirit + 1/2 Vigor).  Draining personal essence is emotionally exhausting and mentally dangerous, but not physically dangerous.  Essence is the stuff of soul, imagination, hope, and horror.

Many Arcane Backgrounds grant a Magic Power stat.  More detail is provided in Savage Fey Magic.

Races

Races from the Fantasy and Horror Companions are allowed, their outward appearance protected by The Veil.

Skills

Channeling is a new Spirit-based skill that can be used to move or manipulate raw magical energy, called Essence.  Essence can be used to off-set Magical Fatigue.  More detail is provided under Channeling & Essence.

Sorcery is a magic skill used to case Hexes, or battle-magic.  Sorcery is Spirit-Based as it uses passion and emotion to focus magical energy into a rough structure.  Hexes can be cast in a single action during combat.  A hex is like grabbing a handful of magical energy, shouting and feeling the word “Fire” and throwing it, hoping it turns into fire.

Ritualism is a magic skill used to cast formal spells and rituals.  It is Smarts-Based and uses formulas and focus to channel magical energy.  Spells take a few moments to cast, generally several combat rounds, and require clear chanting, focus-objects or formal gestures to focus energy.  Rituals take even longer and require things like ritual circles, components, sacrifices or similar elements.

More on Hexes, Spells and Rituals in Sorcery and Ritualism.

 

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Unique Rituals

Unique rituals are story-driven magic that has an impact on the story line and may or may not use powers from the Savage Worlds rules; an item that does damage specifically to target an enemy’s weaknesses, defensive magic designed to counter specific powers, or investigative magic that will uncover aspects of the story line.  Unique rituals always require some story appropriate materials, such as a strand of the enemy monster’s hair, a few drops of blood from a victim, or something important to their target.

Unique rituals can grant temporary edges or powers as the GM decides.  To create a Unique Ritual a character must have access to a magical grimoire, an arcane library or similar resource of occult lore.  Creating a Unique Ritual requires 2d6 (this roll can Ace!) hours of research time and a Knowledge (Arcana) skill roll at the end of that time.  Failure means the character was unable to find a comparable ritual as a foundation.  Critical failure means the character discovered something horrible; perhaps causing a Sanity check?  Or, maybe worse, is convinced that they found what they need, when the GM knows otherwise…

For Savage Worlds, treat Unique Rituals as a dramatic task with a modifier based on how useful the narrator decides the information or ability is in overcoming the challenges of the story.  Since Unique Rituals are always a significantly different use of the Ritualism skill, the modifier starts at -2 (Familiarization, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, Page 93).

Every time that a character fails a roll during a Unique Ritual, they take Magic Fatigue.  The Ritual fails if they are to fatigued to finish it.   If a character wants to use Essence during a ritual the Essence must be Activated (see Channeling) and available at the start of the ritual.  Activated essence does not cause a penalty to Ritualism rolls for a ritual.  Activated essence can be used to negate magic fatigue or to enhance rolls during the ritual. Unique rituals require five successful actions to complete, each action taking about 10-15 (roll 3d6 or choose) minutes of ritual work.  Raises count as an additional success and may help complete the ritual more quickly.  Players may divide actions up among pieces of a Unique Ritual to make for a more interesting narrative play.

For example, say Gypcie is a chaos-magic witch who uses coin-manipulation, chanting and milling (turning/grating in a circle) for her methods.  Gypcie and her friends have been chasing after a child who is demon-possessed to try and free the boy.  He is elusive.  Gypcie has a wrist-watch that the boy’s parents gave him for his last birthday.  Gypcie wants to craft a locator spell that will help her locate the boy.  She turns to her grandmother’s grimoire and researches possibilities for such a spell.  A few hours later, Gypcie is making a pentacle in coins across the floor (Coin Manipulation, 2 Actions), singing an old nursery rhyme (Chanting, 1 Action) and grinding the watch in a mortar and pestle (Milling, 2 Actions) as a Unique Ritual to find the boy.

Gypcie rolls her Ritualism skill.    On her first roll, she gets a raise, succeeding on two of her required actions: 15 minutes has passed and she has already set-up the coin pentacle.  On Gypcie’s second roll, she fails, starting the nursery rhyme, she feels the wind drain out of her into the pentacle and takes a level of magic fatigue: her modifier for her remaining rolls is -3 and 30 minutes have passed.  For her third roll, Gypcie makes a channeling check, consuming some of her Essence and adding +2 to her roll to gain a raise.  The chant takes hold and she even begins to grind the watch (3 total successes): 45 Minutes have passed and Gypcie is down a fatigue level and an essence.  On her final check, Gypcie fails, but uses a Benny on the roll, and re-rolls to score a raise!  The ritual is done.  Gypcie has made a satchel of the broken watch that when she grabs hold of it and concentrates grants her a vision (as per the visions edge in the horror companion) that reveals information about the child.  Because she scored 1 more success than needed (her last raise), the GM decides that the satchel will also pulse when the child is within a quarter of a mile.

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Sorcery and Ritualism

Sorcery and Ritualism are the two magic skills used by Awakened in Savage FeyTale to invoke magical powers.  They are only required for invoked powers.

Sorcery is used to create hexes, raw emotion and will forced into magic.  Sorcery is Spirit-based.  Sorcery is fast and well-suited for combat magic.  Hexes are the most straight-forward and dynamic style of invoking magic.  When hexes backlash, they hit the caster harder.

Ritualism uses focus and a gradual accumulation of energy to weave magic.  Ritualism is used to cast spells or rituals.  Spells take a minute or two to cast.  They are not appropriate for combat magic, but last longer and are less dangerous to cast than hexes.  Rituals take hours to cast and require a dramatic task roll.  While rituals can be very dangerous, they also allow the caster to adapt powers to needs in the story line in ways that are usually impossible.

Hexes (Roll Sorcery)

Casting a hex requires only one casting method and one simple action.  Invoking powers through Sorcery without at least one method applies -2 to the power modifier.  To cast a hex, describe the method of invocation, the element and power framework used.

Channeling skill can be used as a multi-skill with Sorcery (roll 2 skill die, one for channeling, one for sorcery, and one wild-die which can replace either), allowing the Gifted to use essence quickly with a hex.  (See Channeling & Essence for more details)

Hexes represent most of the Savage Worlds powers the way they work from the core books.  They have a Power-Point cost as described, work as described, take a single action to cast and last their normal duration.

The skill modifier for a Hex equals Magic Power – Power Points (MP – PP); if a sorcerer with Magic Power 3 casts a hex costing 5 Power Points, their casting modifier is -2.  If the same sorcerer were to cast a hex costing 2 Power Points, their casting modifier would be +1.  Any time a caster tries to invoke a hex with a negative power modifier, they take a Magic Fatigue level (which can be erased through use of essence), regardless of whether the hex is successful or not.

Casting a hex backlashes any time Sorcery Skill die comes up 1 or is modified below 1.  Casting hexes with a higher power modifier is more dangerous.  When sorcery backlashes, the caster immediately loses 1 Sanity and is shaken.  This can cause a wound.  On a critical failure, the caster loses 1d4 Sanity, is shaken, suffers a level of Magic Fatigue (in addition to any already taken) and loses control of their hex (the game master decides what happens to the hex).  The use of a Benny can prevent the loss of control of the hex, but not the other side-effects.

Spells (Ritualism Skill)

Spells take a few moments to cast, usually a minute or two, and involve the gradual focusing of magic into a structured form.  Casting a spell requires two methods from the Gifted’s Arcane Background.  For example, if a necromancer who knew how to invoke their powers through incantation and sacrifice wanted to cast a spell, they might chant for a minute or two and cut themselves to invoke their magic.  Using Ritualism without methods applies a -2 power modifier for each method unavailable.

To cast a Spell, describe the two methods of invocation, the element and power involved in the spell and start the methods.  After a minute or two, make a Ritualism check, modified by power modifier.  If power modifier (Magic Power – Power Points) is negative, take a Magic Fatigue level (which can be prevented using essence), regardless of whether the spell is successful or not.  Success means the spell is cast.  Failure, it is not.  Spells backlash whenever the skill die comes up a 1 causing the casting to lose 1 Sanity and be shaken (this can cause a wound).  Spells do not also backlash when the modified roll comes up 1 or less, making them a less dangerous way of invoking more difficult powers.  On a critical failure, the caster loses 1d4 Sanity and suffers an immediate level of Magic Fatigue, but does not lose control of the Spell.  This makes spells less dangerous to others than hexes.

Spells last far longer than hexes.  Powers that have a duration in rounds last 10 minutes per round when cast as a spell, powers that normally last minutes are extended to hours, and powers that normally last hours last an entire day.  Spells can be maintained after their duration through concentration (-1 to other actions), or by making another Ritualism check to extend the duration.  Throughout their duration, spells are constantly on, but they can be immediately ended at the will of the caster.

Rituals (Ritualism Skill)

Rituals are dramatic tasks as described in the Horror Companion (Page 26).  Rituals take 10 minutes per Action to complete and require 5 Actions.  Raises can complete a ritual ahead of time.  Failure on any of the tests causes a Magic Fatigue level and extends the ritual time.  If a character wants to use Essence during a ritual it must be Activated (see Channeling) and available at the start of the ritual.  Activated essence does not cause a penalty to Ritualism rolls for a ritual.  Activated essence can be used to negate magic fatigue or to enhance rolls during the ritual.

For more interesting narration, divide the caster’s methods up between the actions creating the ritual.  For example, if a caster uses drawings, chanting and gestures to implement magic, a ritual might require 3 actions rolls on drawing taking most of the time, and 1 action roll on chanting and gestures each.

Rituals backlash when the dice come up as a critical failure on any of the rolls; otherwise they fail like any dramatic task.  Ritual backlash causes the loss of 1d4 points of Sanity, a level of magic fatigue and often an unusual side effect (Narrator’s discretion).  Failing a ritual without Backlash may result in the loss of a point of Sanity and perhaps some side-effects (Narrator’s discretion).  Spending a Benny may prevent any Sanity loss from failing a ritual, but not the other side-effects.

At the game-master’s discretion, rituals may also require rare components, such as expensive herbs, rare stones, or even something more usual (“What do you mean you need a young priest, and an old priest?”).

For the challenge of invoking a power using ritual, the caster can:

  • Increase Magic Power: Triple the caster’s magic power for the purpose the ritual casting.  This is most useful when attempting rare powers with high power-point costs (such as the Greater Healing power).
  • Extend Range: Double the range of a power by invoking it in a ritual.  Through the use of a symbolic link (an unusual component personally tied to the target), the caster can invoke the power at a range of Smarts in miles, ignoring any sight restrictions.
  • Extend Duration: Any power can be extended to last one day or 1d4 days (rolled at time of casting) with the right unusual components and a -2 power modifier.  Powers extended through a ritual are linked to an object; they can be turned on and off through their duration using the object.
  • Increase Effect: Casting a ritual can increase the damage of a power by +2d6 or by +4d6 with the right unusual components.  Rituals can also increase the effect of a power by +2 (or add +2 to any opposing roll).  Effect can be increased by +4 with the right unusual components.
  • Adjust the Power: Rituals can be used to adjust powers to do unusual things that help further the story, such as creating a Bolt spell specifically tied to an enemy’s weakness, or a protective spell that is also attuned to get the caster through specific magical wards.  Rituals used this way always require some unusual components that tie the ritual to the story line.

 

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Channeling and Essence

Anyone with a Magic Power score can learn Channeling.  Channeling involves learning to move and guide essence, the substance of raw magic.  Essence can be found pooling in various places, moments, objects or beings of power.  Channeling allows a magic-user to wield raw magical power.  

Channeling is a spirit-based skill.

Essence is fluid-like, flowing through existence, drawn to areas of creation that have an impact.  Strong emotions attract essence.  Important events.  Places of power, times of transition.  Even important personal moments can draw essence.  Channeling allows a user to pull raw magic power out of such important places, moments or things.

A user can only ever pull their Magic Power out of a given essence source.  Once they draw their full Magic Power, the essence source is attuned and unavailable until it refreshes.  Some sources, such as important moments, are single-source, they never refresh, others, such as places of power, refresh their relationship to users at a particular time, such as sunrise or sunset.  Smaller sources may only allow a user to take half their Magic Power before attunement, whereas larger sources might allow twice Magic Power.

One of the mysteries of creation is that essence pools appear differently to different practitioners, for some they are full and available, for others, not at all.  Every source of essence is eternal in its own way; its relationship to a particular user is not eternal.  Essence has flavor and when a user attunes to an essence source, they can be affected by its flavor; channeling essence from the site of a murder will bring out feelings of violence, whereas a lover’s lane might make the channeler amorous and flirtatious.

Channeling is a simple skill roll.  A success grants a single point of essence.  Each raise grants +1 essence up to Magic Power.  Generally sources of essence have a limited number of connections; each subsequent skill check will take a cumulative -2 penalty to channeling until the source refreshes.  The exception is a personal essence pool, or attuned container.

Every being has their own personal essence.  Essence starts at (Spirit + ½ Vigor) and may be increased through increasing those base abilities or through certain edges.  Channeling personal essence is emotionally draining and can even be dangerous.  When essence is below half, mood is depressed and the narrator may apply a -2 modifier to any ability check that requires emotional clarity or motivation.  When essence is drained to 0, that penalty increases to -4.  If essence is drained below 0, the character is in serious trouble; for every point of negative essence, the character suffers a magic fatigue level that cannot be restored until essence pool refreshes naturally.  Channeling from an external source cannot replenish personal essence once it is negative.

Personal essence gradually refresh at a rate of 1d4 essence per day of normal activity (not stressful, exertion), or 2d4 per day of rest or spiritual activity.  Once personal essence is negative, it is harder to recover; instead of recovering essence, make a Spirit check with the -4 penalty.  Failure means loss of another point of personal essence.  Success means restoration of 1d4 essence.  This continues until essence rises above zero or the character falls into a stupor (their magic fatigue overwhelms them).  Channeling requires an essence score of 0 or higher; a character whose essence drops below 0 cannot save themselves from an external source.

Any magic-user can channel their own essence if they have the channeling skill.  They can channel up to their Magic Power in a single roll and can channel their pool to 0 or below if they so choose.  Magic-users can intentionally kill themselves by pouring out their life force with enough focused will (a high enough roll).  Every being has a powerful sense of dread when their essence approaches 0; they instinctively know that going below that value goes against their survival instinct.  Whereas Magic Power represents the “normal” level of a magic-user’s ability, essence uses personal life energy to boost magic power.

Personal essence cannot be higher than its normal value, but a user can hold essence ready for instant use.  Essence that is present and ready to use is called “Activated Essence.”  Activated essence feels a little like holding water in your hands.  Every round that a user holds activated essence, they must make a channeling roll with a penalty equal to the essence they are holding.  Failure means the essence bleeds away and is gone.  Activated essence can be used when activating a power without having to make any channeling rolls.  Anyone holding activated essence seems a little surreal and larger than life.  This means a user can activate personal essence to have it ready for use in a power without having to roll channeling when they activate the power.

Some beings lose essence (psychic vampires) as part of their natural state.  Such beings must drain essence from outside sources to survive.

Essence can be used to boost any powers during activation.

Each point of essence can:

  • Negate the Magic Fatigue level associated with activating a difficult power
  • Recover an existing level of Magic Fatigue
  • Add +2 to any roll involved in a power
  • Add +1d6 damage caused by a power
  • Increase the range of a power to double its normal range
  • Add +2 to any drain check after using a power
  • Extend the duration of a power (rounds become 1 minute, minutes become 15 minutes, hours cannot be extended through essence)

Channeling skill can be rolled as a multi-skill die with any casting skill without penalty, meaning the user can roll a channeling die, a casting skill die, and one wild die at once without any penalty.

 

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Savage Fey Magic

Magic in FeyTale is powerful, flexible and a cornerstone of the stories about the Fey and the magical world.   It works a little differently than it does in the main Savage Worlds rules.  This post describes some of the design principles and ways that magic differs from the core rules.

There are two basic Arcane Backgrounds in FeyTale (More on each in a separate post):

Arcane Background (Blood-Born)

Blood-born magic is magic born of a natural ability, such as fire magic cast by someone with demonic blood, or illusions cast by someone with faerie blood.  Those who are blood-born have innate magical powers.  They do not have to select casting methods to practice their magic; they use their powers instinctively and roll Spirit to activate their powers.  Each blood-born must choose a single trapping when selecting their Arcane Background and any powers must fit along their particular theme, such as fire, cold, shadow, illusion or healing.  

The innate powers of the blood-born have the same Trappings every time they are used; select the trapping when the power is taken.  Innate powers can be extended or modified with edges (and sometimes with Bennies).  For a blood-born to cast Bolt with two different trappings, they must take the power twice.

Blood-born start with the Second Sight power for free.  Second Sight allows a blood-born to feel the presence of magic, and to peer into the spirit worlds at the true form of the supernatural.

Blood-born have a Magic Power attribute and start with 2 powers of their choosing.

The power modifier for a blood-born power is Magic Power – 1/2 Power Points (yes, more powerful blood-born may have  apositive power modifier).  Innate powers are activated with a Spirit Check, modified by (MP – 1/2 PP).  If they have a negative power modifier, the blood-born will take a Magic Fatigue level after using the power.  Magic Fatigue can be prevented through expending one point of Essence (See Channeling & Essence).

Arcane Background (Gifted)

The Gifted are those who have dynamic magical energy.  Gifted wield invoked powers, which can be re-created each time they are invoked.  They can have different Trappings every use, different manifestations, and can even be activated using different methods.

Invoked powers are activated with a casting skill, Sorcery for quick hexes, Ritualism for spells or rituals.  Hexes take only an instant to cast, and are useful for combat magic, spells take a few minutes and are useful for more longer-lasting manifestations, rituals take hours, require the roll of a dramatic task, and are useful for larger-scale, more powerful use of a power.

Gifted gain the power of Second Sight for free.  Second Sight allows the Gifted to sense the presence and power of magic, or to shift their senses into the spirit worlds to see the true forms of magic and the supernatural.

Gifted start with Elemental Manipulation, Dispel and one other power of their choosing.

Each Gifted must work within a magical tradition.  Magical traditions determine the Trappings available for their invoked powers.  Each tradition starts with three method Trappings and three element Trappings.

For example, a necromancer might choose blood, chanting and sacrifices as their methods for invoking powers, and might choose darkness, cold and death as their energies.  For any known power, the necromancer could invoke darkness, cold or death using blood, chants or sacrifices.

Magical Trappings

In FeyTale, Savage Worlds trappings are divided into three pieces.  

  • Method: The tools or actions required to activate the power.  Such as spoken words, sacrifices, gestures, sygils or materials.  If a magic-wieldger cannot access their known methods each missing method applies -2 to their power modifier.
  • Element: The energy manifested when the power is activated.  Any of the standard Savage Worlds Trappings count as elements.
  • Form: The shape and structure the power takes when activated.  The form of a power is set by the power itself, such as a bolt, a blast, a cloak, an aura, a shield and so forth.

Power Points and Magic Power

For FeyTale, Power Points (PP) rate the power required to activate a power; they are not a resource players manage and spend.  Powers are activated using a variation of the No Power Points rule.  This helps provide a way of ranking the energy required to cast powers.

Those who are magically active (have an Arcane Background) have a Magic Power (MP) stat which represents their personal magic energy.  Magic power starts at “1” at Novice and increases by +1 for every Experience Rank.  Each Arcane Background describes how Magic Power and Power Points are used in activating Powers.

Magic Fatigue and Essence

Some powers are harder to activate than others; any time Power Modifier is negative, activating the power may cause a Magic Fatigue level.  Magic Fatigue is a type of fatigue caused by magical over-exertion.  Magic Fatigue levels can be restored in 5 minutes of rest at a place of power, a location that is magically active, through 15 minutes of spiritual practice, or by 30 minutes of rest or sleep.

Magic Fatigue can also be prevented, or restored, through the consumption of one point of Essence.

“Essence” represents raw magical power; the raw material of creation.  Essence flows through and accumulates in all things.  It can be tapped to enhance magic in a variety of ways.  The Channeling Skill is required to manipulate Essence.  Essence can enhance either Innate or Invoked Powers.  Every being has a natural, personal essence source equal to (Spirit + 1/2 Vigor).  Draining personal essence is emotionally tiring and can even be dangerous.

Next up; The Channeling Skill and Essence

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Savage Veil and Accords

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:

  1. Secrecy: We are legends.  Dreams and nightmares.  Remain hidden.
  2. Honor: Obey the laws of each faction.  All are accountable.  Our word is our bond.
  3. Culling: Humanity is a Resource.  Do not waste.  Mark what is yours.  Do not cull what is not.
  4. Kinship: Outsiders are foul.  Associate with those beyond the pale at your own risk.
  5. 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:

  1. Reduce the risk, modify the action, re-assess.  Maybe there is another way to take the action that does not press upon The Veil.
  2. Take the risk.  Roll a risk-check.  Hope for the best.
  3. 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…

One: Secrecy

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.

Two: Honor

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.

Three: Culling

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.

Four: Kinship

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.

 

 

Posted by Coop in Savage Fey-Tale, 0 comments