Monday, July 2, 2012

Making Declarations

Last week, I started a series on adding FATE mechanics to Everway with the post Aspects and Beads.

One of the most engaging parts of the FATE game system for PLAYERS is the fact that the MECHANICS support the players in taking charge of the narration in small ways. This post provides guidance for players to be able to do that in your Everway game.

Since I don't have access to Fortune Deck images, I will use one of Chad Davidson's RPG Inspiration Cards as an example of a tarot-like card.

If you want to see the image in greater detail, just click on it.

C. 2012 Chad Davidson and Obsidian Serpent Games

I'll also be referring to the Tarot card below:

Making Declarations


Players can take charge of the narration in small ways by making DECLARATIONS. A declaration is a small change in a scene or situation that is declared by a player. Examples inspired by the card above might include:

  • I smell tobacco here - just the kind we're looking for
  • There's music and dancing - the crowd is happy and distracted
  • I know that dancer - and she's a friend
  • It's easy to get lost in this crowd
  • The revelers ask us to join them. 
To name a few.

There are two ways to make a Declaration: 

METHOD ONE: Once per session, a player may declare something to be true in a scene that relates in some way to one of the player character's three inherent qualities that are represented by tarot-like cards. Declarations should add detail and interest to a scene rather than directly contradict or work against it. So, for example, if one of the player character's inherent qualities was the Tarot Major Arcana "The Fool", the player could use a Declaration to insert details into a scene such as:

  • There is a precipice ahead
  • Hey, there's a traveler I know
  • That person is acting recklessly
  • My target is distracted
Declarations usually introduce some element to a scene that can be exploited by the players. While GMs have veto power over all Declarations, GMs should exercise this power with discretion and say "Yes!" to Declarations whenever possible. If the GM accepts the Declaration, then the player pays the GM a BEAD.

METHOD TWOAt any time, a player may make a Declaration by drawing a card from the tarot-like deck that the GM uses to determine the nature, details, or fate of an action, encounter, or scene. Even if the  GM has already drawn a card and interpreted it to draw out the details of a situation or determine the outcome of an action or scene, when a player makes a Declaration in this way, they pull the card from the deck and they interpret its significance for the current situation, action, or scene. The player's card draw and interpretation supersedes the GM's. Again, the GM has veto power but should exercise their veto power sparingly. Again, if the GM accepts the Declaration, then the player pays the GM a BEAD.

More to come!


  1. This is an intriguing series. The Inspiration Cards look very nice, and it looks like a curmudgeon such as myself could adapt them for use in something like Labyrinth Lord, much as we've developed our own version of Whimsy Cards over the years. One question about the Inspiration Cards: Can they be used to replace dice? It appears so, from what we're seeing, but I wasn't going to assume anything. Better to ask a stupid question than jump to a wrong conclusion.

    The more I read of your excellent articles/posts regarding FATE, I am reminded of working on illustrations for the first edition of Ars Magica. There seems to be a distinctly John Tweet thread running through Ars Magica, Whimsy Cards, OtE/WaRP, Everway and on into FATE that I find intriguing. The guy has had some significant influence.

    Have you read Eden Gray's excellent intro to the Tarot? There are several fairly easy to acquire (i.e. cheap) books out there that provide a decent set of correspondences to work off would be fun to have competing players mining divergent sources/alternative symbolism sets at the same time. Talk about potentially explosive conflict!

    Keep up the excellent work! You're doing great stuff.

  2. The cards can indeed be used in place of most dice used in traditional RPGS. The deck was built so that die outcomes "true up" statistically across the cards in a deck. I do not have Eden Gray's introduction to the Tarot; I should pick up a copy. I agree it could be fun to have players using different decks with contending interpretations; that sounds very Hitean.

    I think there is a distinctive feel to all of Tweet's games. I recall he once even ran a set of linked convention scenarios that involved the dragon Alurax (from Everway's Spherewalker Sourcebook by Greg Stolze) AND the island of Al Amahara (the original Isle of the Unknown). One session was set in a mythic age and used Everway. That was followed by a medieval session using Ars Magica. Finally a contemporary scenario of intrigue using OTE. IIRC.


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