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Rituals and Convergences

I've talked about running Ritual Magic as a Challenge in a previous post. Here's an idea for extending that concept to create moments of mystic power. It was inspired in a way by this post on +Ryan Macklin's blog.

The Bronze Rule says that you can extend character traits to non-character game elements like objects and locations. It's not a leap to giving those traits to units of time as well. The most useful block of time in a session of Fate is the scene. What if a scene could have aspects and stunts independent of the location or any characters or objects within it? Situation aspects hint at this, but the rules assume they are connected to something tangible.

With magic, however, a ritualist can create a Convergence of mystic energy that infuses a moment in time without being bound in an object or being. A Convergence is difficult for mundane characters to overcome, as it takes more magic to unweave the original ritual.

A Convergence is created through a ritual magic challenge. The challenge is set up as described in my original post, but the results function like an extended create an advantage action. A successful ritual creates a number of situation aspects and possibly stunts that are available for a single scene. For each roll in the challenge, use the following outcomes instead of the normal ones for an overcome action.
  • Failure: You create an aspect on the Convergence, but someone else gets a free invoke to use against you. You should word the aspect to show that the other character benefits instead—work it out with the recipient in whichever way makes the most sense. (You can't simply fail at any step of the ritual challenge.)
  • Tie or Success: You create an aspect on the Convergence and gain a free invocation for it.
  • Success with style: You create a stunt on the Convergence and set who can benefit from it. Alternately, you can choose to treat this as a Success.
There will always be an effect when you attempt to create a Convergence. If you fail a number of rolls, the magic goes at least partly out of your control. Whatever happens, the Convergence takes effect in the next scene. You can't "wait out" magic that doesn't go your way.

As with any aspect, a character can invoke or compel those one a Convergence, and they can use the create an advantage action to reveal or leverage them. However, the ritualist define who can benefit from stunts on a Convergence. The criteria can be anything from "those of us in this room now" to "anyone who knows the magic word." Convergence stunts should be fairly limited. They might be usable once per scene (per character or even first-come-first-serve) or have more restrictive triggers than normal stunts.

This is a way to use ritual magic to "gear up" for a big scene. It doesn't matter where that scene takes place or which characters are present. Your magic will follow the story.

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