I’ve been thinking about fate, omens, prophesy, and divination the last several days, just going over some of the concepts in my mind and trying to figure out how to write them in as game mechanics. Prophesy is a big deal in Greek mythology — people were destined to die, fall in love, kill their father and marry their mother — all kinds of things. I think I figured out how to express fate in game terms.

First, some problems with divination and the future in gaming: Dungeons & Dragons has long had divination magic a part of its rules. Divination magic was basically “ask the game master what’s going to happen next,” with a percentile roll to see just how truthfully the game master had to answer — plus how many questions the players were allowed to ask with the spell or ritual.

The problem with just asking the game master what’s going to happen next is the game is ultimately driven by the players. If they deviate from the adventure path, their divination they prepared for becomes useless The later you get in game editions, the greater the restrictions on the questions you can ask, and the more ambiguous the answers can be. And “the future” can only be a few hours or days away.

Norvendae has the future and divination taken into account at the most basic level. The deck you play with is your Destiny. One of you card-drawing methods is Divination. The potential for terrible puns is immediate and obvious. So a prophesy is what, then? How can you “see into the future” when your deck represents the future?