Becoming Fate’s Fire: A Method of Prophecy for a Grim Fantasy Setting

In order to cast prophecies, and interpret them, a person must commit themselves body mind and soul. The process is referred to as “Becoming Fate’s Fire” (always capitalised).

The Becoming

The following steps must be taken, in order to fully commit oneself to Fate, and to make the mind receptive to the movements of Fate’s hand.

  1. They must perform a pilgrimage to a site of geographic importance. i.e. a volcano, dead centre of a landmass, etc. This must be done with no possessions. They must give themselves over to fate.
  2. Their worldly senses must be blunted. One of their eyes must put out, and one ear sewn shut.
  3. They must meditate for a long period of time (usually > 1 month) with no human contact.
  4. They must be put upon a pyre, such that their skin is scorched.
  5. They must be buried for 2 days.
  6. The person will then be dug up (by this stage they have usually amassed a small following of pilgrims). If they have survived, they may have successfully Become Fate’s Fire.

The Prophecy

The Fate’s Fire will have a fire set against a wall, or cliff, or rock face. The wall will be black with soot from the fire that is lit every night. The Fate’s Fire will cast a prophecy thus:

  1. The person seeking the prophecy (“seeker”) must scrub the soot off of the wall.
  2. The seeker must offer a sacrifice. The more potent the sacrifice, the clearer the prophecy. Some livestock will result in something vague. A large number of human beings will result in something much clearer.
  3. As night falls, the sacrifice is place onto the pyre, and burnt. (mirroring the Fate’s Fire’s own burning)
  4. As the sacrifice burns, the seeker, Fate’s Fire, and disciples, will imbibe a hallucinogenic mixture, and meditate on the flames.

The prophecy itself, is not in the flames, but in the smoke patterns left on the rockface.
It is impossible to direct the prophecy or ask a question in any way (the sacrifice increases clarity, not relevance, or importance).

Prophecy table (Random d6, or DM’s choice)

  1. A specific wound.

    The smoke shapes seem to reveal a specific would. i.e. cut to the forearm, impalement, etc. This could end up being on the prophecy speaker, or someone else. It’s fatality is up to the DM.

  2. An object.

    The smoke shapes take the form of a specific object. Maybe a crown, maybe a weapon. It could be something known to the seeker, or something they will find.

  3. A place.

    The smoke shapes describe a geographic location. Maybe they perfectly form a specific lake, or a mountain range. Whether this place has any importance or not is up to the DM, but the seeker should end up there for some reason.

  4. An event.

    The smoke may form the layout of a festival, or be in the shape of the crest of a king who will be crowned tomorrow, or similar. Fighting to prevent the event should be near-impossible, and success would have incredibly bad consequences for the Fate’s Fire, and the seeker.

  5. An Outcome.

    The smoke forms esoteric shapes, which the Fate’s Fire interprets for the seeker as an outcome of something uncertain. The DM should avoid “This side wins the battle” and instead opt for something that happens at the battle. For example “during the battle, something of importance is lost” or “a price will be required, that is too high” or something like that.

  6. Something that could easily have otherwise been predicted, or is mundane.

    The smoke forms the shapes of a conjunction of the stars, which any astrologer could have told you was next week. Or it forms the shape of the sun (it will be sunny tomorrow). A shape of a pile of coins may indicate that the seeker will find some coins in their pocket they had forgotten about.

Fate’s Fire in the world

A Fate’s Fire is very rare, due to the nature of the process of Becoming. They may live out in the wilderness, supported by only their disciples. It may suit your setting better to have them in the main capital, kept by the regions ruler.

A Fate’s Fire may themselves be the seeker. Casting fires every night, burning anything that comes through their path. They may have disciple’s fanatic enough to sacrifice themselves for the Fate’s Fire.

Alternatively, the Fate’s Fire may discourage anyone from going through with a prophecy.

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