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Mixed Blessings and Oath Bonds

Page history last edited by meir 8 years, 6 months ago



(picture by cemac, deviant art)


4/9/12- This mechanic was canceled due to not contributing to the game and adding complications.


"To thy self be true..."

"Fortune favors the brave..."

"My middle name is Luck. my first name is Bad..."


Mixed Blessings

 the Mixed Blessings are the Islanders' name for their exceptional luck, fortune, twist of fate and doing the impossible. it is also their name for misfortune, bad things happening, the turning of the wheel and curses. in their essence the mixed blessings could be said to be influences of someone's own personality and essence on reality. the Empire considers these as superstitions, foibles and taints of the mind.


In game terms the Mixed blessings are a mechanic burrowed from the Fate games, mainly Spirit of the Century (can be found here- http://www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html ) it has certain elements of action points from Eberron and even some of shadow run.


so how does it work?

  • upon 1st level the character chooses 3 Aspects. aspects are never lost, removed or whatever. they are part of the character's personality. only Islanders have Mixed Blessings and aspects. Empire and Far traders do not.
  • at 4th level and every 3 levels after (7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th) the character gains another aspect.
  • Aspects might be changed in game, reflecting a growth of the character. this should not be a common occasion.
  • upon character creation the character starts with 1 Mixed Blessing regardless of level.
  • Aspects cover a wide range of elements and should collectively paint a picture of who the character is, what he’s connected to, and what’s important to him (in contrast to the “what can he do”). Aspects can be relationships, beliefs, catchphrases, descriptors, items or pretty much anything else that paints a picture of the character. Some possible aspects are shown below.
  • aspects are used to gain +5 to rolls (called "invoking an aspect") for related aspects or adding some details to the world (called "making a declaration"). these use Mixed Blessings. However, the most common way to gain more mixed blessings is to use the aspect to the disadvantage of the character. (called "compelling an aspect") this can be done by the DM as well. aspects might be gained for making great achievements, but this is rare.
  • "Invoking an aspect": An aspect can be used to give you a +5 bonus when it applies to the aspect. Doing this requires spending a Mixed Blessing (see below). This must be declared BEFORE the dice is rolled.  it makes the character better at whatever it is he’s doing, because the aspect in some way applies to the situation.
  • examples:
  • "Stubborn as a mule" might be used to modify a will save against suggestion, help some skill roll at trying to achieve a goal (an argument, a chase) and the like. 
  • "You'll never take me alive!" might be used for any kind of survival in combat,
  • "Big man in Arkruz" might give you all kind of situational modifier in the big city or around the isles due to your reputation.
  • "You don't want to see me angry" might be used on intimidation, skill checks and attack roll in rage and the like.
  • "secret lore of the shadow casters" might be used for all kind of knowledge or magic tests.
  • "Veteran of the second wave" might be used for lore from that period or when dealing with major sites or fighting techniques of that time
  • "treacherous lying bastard" might be use for deceitful acts.
  • "born at sea, die at sea" can be used for various ship board rolls.
  • "making a declaration": you can choose a certain fact about the world that might help you. this fact may be situational or more long lasting, and it should be influential but not encounter/ game wrecking. feel free to be creative. This use of an aspect cost a Mixed Blessing as well. this may grant some circumvention of the rules at times, judged case by case. this may call for DM's improvisation. This DOES NOT need to be connected to the aspect.
  • Examples:
  • A mist descends between us and the following ship, obscuring sight somewhat.
  • some of the stones on the side of the palace are looser. seems someone made a climbing route.
  • "Why Charley! long time since we met! so you live on this island here?"
  • "hey! look what i found! a key!"
  • The Seventh fleet of the Empire makes much use of hobgoblins, and treats the mbetter than most of the Empire does.
  • "we're looking for someone to cast Restoration? i heard there was this starfallen on an isle not far away..."
  • "Hey guys! did you know this ship had hidden compartments?"
  • Compelling an aspect: you can use aspect to gain Mixed Blessings by bringing complications and troubling circumstances into the character’s life. Whenever you end up in a situation where your aspect could cause you trouble, you can mention it to the GM in the same way you mention an aspect that might help you. Alternately, the GM may initiate this event if one of your aspects seems particularly apt. this can take one of 2 forms: either gaining a -5 to the roll, or making some sort of handicap/ unfavorable situation to your character (the opposite of a beneficial declaration)
  • however, the effect on the character when compelling an aspect must be meaningful: the complication must be one that isn't trivial to get out of, and it must complicate things in a significant matter for the character. the idea is not to "gain fee mixed blessings". as such, this will be of DM's discretion.
  • a note: there is no intention by the DM to compel your aspects left and right, just at very fitting and appropriate situations.
  • Examples:
  • "Stubborn as a mule" might be used to modify an influence roll, not willing to negotiate, or give penalites to the character if you change your mind too quickly. 
  • "You'll never take me alive!" might be compelled to try difficult obviously very dangerous routes of actions against milder safer ones where it might be captured
  • "Big man in Arkruz" might be compelled by responsebilities of the family, and your reputation can hinder you (getting a penalty to influence for example) as much as help you at times.
  • "You don't want to see me angry" you may have difficulty concentrating or avoiding angrying situations
  • "secret lore of the shadow casters" The lore might be recognized by other witches, or even Empire officials, lowering their familiarity status or even provoking action.
  • "Veteran of the second wave" as you might meet friends, you might meet enemies. also, your focus on bygone times might make you resistant to change
  • "treacherous lying bastard" might be compelled by drawing suspicion to you, or giving you penalty when talking truthfully.
  • "born at sea, die at sea" you're good on waters, but suck on land
  • Gaining Mixed Blessing: you can gain the blessings in two ways. the first and most common one is by compelling aspects.  (usually 2 blessings per compelled aspect) The DM might also award Mixed Blessings when ever the party or a character makes significant achievements, or surprisingly entertaining ones. the rate of this is not determined, but expect this to be rare. rarer than 1 blessing/ level. compel your aspects.


Advice on choosing aspects

  • Aspects can be both useful and dangerous, but they should never be boring. Whenever you choose an aspect, stop a minute to think about what kinds of situations you can imagine using it for, and what kind of trouble it might get you into. The very best aspects suggest answers to both those questions, and an aspect that can answer neither is likely to be very dull indeed.
  • When you’re picking aspects, one of the best ways to determine that you and the DM are on the same page is to discuss three situations where you feel the aspect would be a help or a hindrance.
  • At first glance, the most powerful aspects would seem to be things that are broadly useful with no real downside, things like “Quick”, “Lucky” or “Strong”, and a lot of players are tempted to go with those out the gate. Resist that temptation! See, there are three very large problems with aspects like this: they’re boring, they don’t generate Mixed Blessing points, and they surrender your ability to help shape the story.
  • Boring is a pretty obvious problem. Consider a character who is “Lucky” and one who has “Strange Luck”. The latter aspect can be used for just as many good things as the former, but it also allows for a much wider range of possibilities.
  • You’ll also want to have some room for negative results of aspects. This may seem counter intuitive at first, but remember that every time an aspect makes trouble for you, you’ll receive a Mixed Blessing point, which is a pretty powerful incentive. To come back to “Strange Luck”, it means that the DM can throw bizarre, even unfortunate, coincidences at the character, but you get paid for it. If this doesn’t seem tempting enough yet, remember that the DM is probably going to do something bizarre to you anyway – shouldn’t you benefit from it, and have some say in how it happens? 
  • And that leads to the last point. When the GM sits down to plan an adventure, she’s going to look over the aspects of the players involved. If one character has the aspect “Quick” and another has the aspect “Sworn Enemy of the Empire”, which one do you think suggests more ideas for the GM?
  • So in the end, the most powerful aspects are easy to spot, because they’re the most interesting ones. If you consider that you want an aspect you can use to your advantage but which can also be used to generate Mixed Blessings points, then it’s clear you will get the most mechanical potency out of an aspect that can do both. What’s more, aspects that tie into the world somehow (such as to a group, or a person) help you fill in the cast and characters of the world in a way that is most appealing to you.
  • Bottom line: if you want to maximize the power of your aspects, maximize their interest.
  • Additional advice:  
  • the best aspects say several things about the character, his personality, and his goals. Take "Honorable" as an example. It says several things about the character by itself. Make it "My Family's Honor" and you add a sense of history, possibly even dynasty. Now adjust it to either "My Family's Honor Betrayed" to suggest some dishonorable act in the family history or to "Restore My Family's Honor" to give the character a goal. Either way, you've taken "Honorable" and made it both personal and interesting.


Sample Aspects

  • I Hate orcs with a passion
  • Use more fire!
  • Femme Fatal of Bazareene.
  • Devil in disguise
  • the Ladies' man
  • a girl in every port
  • "It works on paper!"
  • My sister's keeper.
  • Sworn enemy of the Empire
  • Raised by Whisperers
  • "This is Bigger than i thought"
  • By (weapon's name) blade!
  • haunted by the spirits (which spirits?)
  • Slippery as a fish
  • the water- they like me!
  • "Wanted, dead or alive"
  • for a fistful of coins
  • a good day to die!
  • sucker for a pretty face
  • "It wasn't my fault!"
  • The ugly truth
  • The (rich family's name) favorite son
  • super duper sized backpack!
  • knows too much
  • Man of two worlds
  • Never good enough
  • student of the Virtues
  • "I'm working on it!"
  • "i got something for it right here..." 
  • mottled skin curse (sample curse, such as Hexblades may carry)
  • "assist the needy"/ "seek all knowledge"/ "might is right" (these kind of codes often reflect Soulsworn )
  • money, money money! / lazy mind/ you shall feel my wrath! (these kind of Vices often reflect Draco)
  • A servant of authority/  trinkets for the fey/ blood for the other world (these kind of Prices often reflect Hagglers) 


Oath Bonds

an oath bound is not to be taken likely. this is a sort of a pact with the world, the cosmos or whatever you might (or might not) believe in. this is a promise to pursue some sort of course of action, against your better wishes. in return the spirits that be tend create a new temporary aspect reflecting the oath that you can use to gain more Mixed Blessings (as it makes you do things against your will) and gain benefits in pursuing your goal. however, if you dally, tarry or ignore your promise... consequences happen.


since this is a very binding act, very few give it freely. on very rare occasions it is used as a reassurance between sides, or even as a form of payment when someone has nothing to offer. (often in the form of service or the like).


How does it work

  • on the whole this is similar to a self inflicted mark of justice/ geas/ quest and the like. this is supposed to be voluntary (though it can me coerced).
  • the character makes it's oath. it needs to specify what he should do or avoid doing and for how long (or a length of time in which it must accomplish the task in)
  • the oath maker might describe possible punishments he will undertake if he fails in his oath. if not, then suitable punishments will be described by the DM. the DM may alter these as he sees fit, but they should fit the theme. (i won't screw you over... too much).
  • once the deals of the oath are made (rule lawyering will be heavily frowned upon, be warned) the character receives a new aspect reflecting the oath that can be used normally (for benefits or gaining mixed blessings)
  • however, if the oath maker does not follow the oath, he incurs the effect of a curse (similar to bestow curse in strength, though it can be more or less depending on the specific oath. 
  • particularly demanding oath may gain immediate temporary Mixed Blessing or generate some when objectives towards accomplishing the oath are met.
  • Oath bonds cannot be removed by remove curse or dispel magic. a Break Enchantment or stronger spell may remove the Oath Bond. for purpose of play Oath Bonds are considered CL 11. if someone fails to break the Oath, another try might be attempted only at a higher level.


good luck to ya!



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