The Fellowship and Long Term Planning

Figured it might be a good to have a place to discuss plans in game.

Got very excited about the prospect of leveling up last game, but on retrospect, I have no idea what I would take if I did. So let’s look at some of the options for the Harbinger.

Increase a stat

Good, but not exciting.

Take another Harbinger custom.

Lots of fun options here. I know I want Angel’s Touch, but since no one has taken any damage yet I don’t know how useful it would be. Same with The Evil Eye Above and You Shall Not Pass, though they also look cool. I’m not a big fan of Mysterious Fires as Rowan already has an incredibly dangerous axe and Do Not Triffle with Wizards. I’m tempted to take Cultural Appreciation and take Earth Friend from the Dwarf and complete the set of “Rowan can talk to weird stuff.”

Take one more Harbinger Gear option.

Get another blade which is less dangerous? Ride a witch’s broom? Get some magical tattoos? Not bad options in the least.

Ask another player to share a move with you.

I don’t know enough of everyone else’s moves to consider this, and I also think it is a little early to break down the niches’ we’re still forming in the group.

Take an End of Days, Oracle, or Witch move.

Highly tempting. The moves for End of Days is a bit so-so (because it seems to turn you into Overlord Jr.). I don’t think the Oracle really fits Rowan too much in fiction, but Bend Fate and Mind Reader are some cool mechanical moves. The Witch’s Familiar move fills me with a bit of glee. “I can have two little weird pets like Beastmaster? Hell yeah.”

Everything else is behind the “Must be level 5 or above” wall.


Angel’s Touch: Wynn is pretty tanky, and Virens can absorb six hits at full strength before even one of his stats is damaged. I don’t know what other people’s healing options look like from memory, but it doesn’t feel (yet) like this is super urgent.

The Evil Eye Above: straightforward and useful if we’re dealing with an enemy with command over illusions or stealth.

You Shall Not Pass: this feels pretty dramatic and doomy, but getting that 10+ semi-reliably might be tough in your low-Bond state. If you have something with the Vigor tag, or someone else has a move to grant Vigor (I recall seeing one or two), this looks much better.

Mysterious Fires: yeah, a lot of arson doesn’t seem like our thing right now.

Cultural Appreciation/Earth Friend: I like this, and I’d love it if we steer the game in the direction of “non-humanoid stuff that wants to chat with us”. Is there a corresponding Dwarven agenda you’d take?

Witch’s Familiar: this plugs in well to your “talk to everything” deal, and while it doesn’t seem like non-player Bonds give you Hope, you can still get advantage for Finish Them with a familiar’s help.

Turn You Into a Newt seems filled with possibilities. I’m thinking about stuff like Men in Black or Harry Potter, where the junior protagonist has to undergo some uncomfortable or weird transformation to tackle a challenge, with Rowan facilitating that for the rest of us. Edit: also the entirety of Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone”, with Merlin cursing Wart to teach him life lessons.

Prophetic Bonds also seems neat, letting you bring visions and portents into play with mechanical weight behind them. Looks dependent on the Oracle’s core moves, never mind.

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It sounds neat, but every time I try to wrap my head around “how would I use this in game” I draw a blank. If anyone can think of suggestions or possible examples to help me wrap my head around it, I would appreciate it because “see the future, stop bad stuff from happening” makes the part of me that loves Alex Verus novels excited.

I’ve thought enough about playing Exalted’s Sidereals that this all makes sense to me. So here’s the relevant Oracle moves:

Sights Unseen: when you have time and safety, you can Command Lore about the future. Your visions will always come to pass, eventually.

This is permission to make a basic move about something else. “The future” is now added to “my people” etc. about what you the player can say with authority.

When you Command Lore about the future, your visions will tell you what happened, but not why or how. They will tell you either where it took place or when it will take place, but not both. In addition, you can only name one single person you saw in your vision, never more.

:warning:This move feels like a prerequisite to Prophetic Bonds, so now that I look more closely, it may not work out well as a standalone advance. But I’ll talk about it anyway.:warning:

Prophetic Bonds: you can write Bonds about your visions, telling the future of the person named in the Bond. These Bonds are unbreakable until they come to pass.
When you are watching the target of your visions and they are in the right place and time, you can erase a Bond with them to have it come to pass right before your eyes. You cannot take action while watching a vision unfold.

It sounds like the default assumption about visions is that you declare “X is going to happen in such-and-such circumstances”, but the ultimate trigger for that is the Overlord, unless you nail down a date. Prophetic Bonds both gives you a Bond to play with, and puts the trigger for the event in your hands, assuming you were vague about timing the prophecy.

So overall, the answer to “how to use it” is to decide on some fictional outcome you’d like to facilitate as a player, then engage in a creative writing challenge, to tell a story both vague and specific enough to yield that outcome.

Here’s some contrived examples.

The Elven Woods

We’re going into the dream-haunted elven woodlands, and we see a Great Tree in the distance. We don’t have friends in the region, and Rowan would like to arrange one. So he foretells the future: “at the base of the Great Tree, in a clearing strewn with bodies, a wounded elf reveals themselves and says, ‘thank you for my life, I will aid you’.” You’ve stated a condition that’s going to come to pass, and you’ve now got a Bond with this mysterious elf.

The vision is going to happen - but we don’t get to dictate how. Maybe we have to fight off the attackers. Maybe they’re dead by the time we get there. Maybe they died of some awful thing we now have to go deal with, like a disease or curse. Maybe we aren’t even present, and it just happens to someone else. But with Prophetic Bonds, if we hoof it to the Great Tree, and there’s bodies there, we now have an elf guide.

The Shade

We need to get information from some occult source, or about some occult matter. Don’t have a Summon Ghost spell handy? No problem, foretell that in some misty ruins, we see Wynn chanting in a harsh and forgotten language, which you recognize as an invocation to call up a shade for questioning.

You’ve now got a Bond with Wynn - useful until we get there - and once we get to some ruins, you can say “and now it happens”. Maybe we find the invocation in the ruins itself, or maybe Wynn just knows it as part of who they are. Maybe the invocation does nothing, or calls up something bad. But if it works, et voila.

Does that help?


That makes some sense and gives some ideas. Thanks Bill!

Virens has got a pretty clear path forward, but there’s some interesting advances.

  1. Starting level
  2. Picked up “Good For What Ales You” as well as a Dwarven agenda
  3. Improve either Courage or Blood
  4. Improve either Courage or Blood
  5. Warlord!

The side-paths are “choose a single option from up to two other players’ Gear lists”, for more weapon options (e.g. Burning or Necrotic) or healing items, and the Shaman custom, which has a few really neat spell effects that recharge on Fill Your Belly. Edit: what makes these side-paths? I don’t know for sure that the fiction will indicate the advance in question. I’d find them interesting as a player, though.

As a Warlord, the Heir’s core moves aren’t interesting (Virens is a fighter, not a ruler), but Parry! Counter! Thrust! or Strike Through are interesting Heir customs, and there’s three kickass Warlord customs: Invincible General, Off With Their Head, and You Will Not Die This Day.

If for some reason Warlord isn’t an option, he can qualify for Knight or Leader, but neither of those feel quite right.

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As I think I mentioned earlier, my intent for Carabas this advance (already scribbled in) is to simply take a point of Grace (maxxing me to 3, and also tying into my having used it this past session).

There are some other Moves I have my eye on (mostly of the tricksy, dodgy, stinging variety), but I want to play with what I have presently to better identify where the gaps are in meeting party need and character vision.

As with any game, I’m still getting my head around what the resource management / rate of attrition is going to look like. Getting it wrong is probably a combination of two things, playing it safe at the beginning and just generally pacing things differently than the game designer expected.

Per text advice in the book, I’m going to try to hit pretty hard for a bit, just to give us all a sense of what can be borne. (mostly me)

Before that, I wouldn’t stock up on more healing.