Rjurik Highlands » Doom (fate)


Doom is an irresistible fate that binds some Rjurik to an inevitable end. It might also be described as a curse.
Dooms vary from simple quirks to or minor character features to to more potent dooms that provide both advantages and disadvantages. Characters do not have to select a doom. They are optional.
Possession of a doom is a sign of being marked by fate. Sera as the goddess of fate is regarded by the Rjurik as the author of all dooms, although the Brecht normally believe that people make their own luck. Most dooms are simple taboos or obligations. Violations of one's doom generally leads to a catastrophe. Sometimes there is no way forward but to violate a doom. Certain tales of the skalds turn on this dilemma.

[top]Determining a Doom

A doom is chosen by the player with DM approval.
Minor dooms can involve simple taboos such as the character may not eat a certain animal, often a totem animal of his tribe or that of his fylgia, or spirit guide. Others include being forbidden to eat food prepared a certain way, cooked, uncooked, with metal utensils, in a copper pot, and so on. Others may involve peculiar habits, such as refusing to acknowledge strangers, eating with a door open, refusing to cover one's head, insisting on a red blanket to sleep with, only bathing under a full moon, and so on.
Medium dooms involve similar taboos that have a greater impact on the character. No longer curious habits or easy to avoid taboos, a medium doom requires more serious prohibitions. These might include wearing armor for a warrior, any kind of travel during daylight, attacking all strangers, consuming any liquid while alone, and so on. These might provide a benefit along the lines of a normal feat. Good examples might include Weapon Focus which allows a bonus with a specific weapon, or a Favored Enemy that grants a bonus against a particular foe.
Another kind of medium doom might involve some special fate that awaits the character. This might include never being able to have children, being destined to kill one's own parents, being fated to bring ruin on one's tribe, lead one's tribe to a great but costly victory, become king during a time of crisis, or some other circumstance that is at best a mixed blessing, and might be regarded as a curse. Special fates regarding the death of a character fall into this category as well. A character may be fated to die at sundown, after crossing water, by his own sword, in his own house, by a man with a red cap, or any other particular circumstance.
Severe dooms involve much more serious fate and have more significant powers as well. Rather than selecting a particular restriction, this kind of doom should focus more on a significant and unavoidable fate. One might select the same kind of fate described as a medium doom, but with additional circumstances that make it more severe. For example, being unable to have children is less of an issue of you have siblings with children, or own little property. However if you are a king, and your brothers will fight over your realm after your death, or you have no siblings, and the throne will stand vacant, this is a much more serious doom. Likewise, one may be destined to kill one's own father, but it never actually happens in the game. The campaign ends with one's father as an old man, and the presumption is that this fate will occur some time later, tragic though it is. However as a severe doom, it is central to the character's experience. More like Oedipus, he started his adventuring career by killing his father at a crossroads, this character would kill his father during the campaign and it would have a central influence on what happens to the character. Through the development of the campaign a character's own actions, often stemming from what are normally virtues, leads to his tragic suffering.
Severe dooms should being meaningful suffering to a character, without making the character unplayable. A campaign designed to last a given amount of time, say summer break, might involve the tragic death of the character, or his ultimate ruin, but open ended campaigns should involve less extreme forms of suffering. Such catastrophes might be the middle act in which the character loses a great deal and is required to recover his losses in the third act. For example, a character might be doomed to be betrayed and ruined by a friend. At some point, a great captain event results in the usurpation of his entire domain, or nearly so, and he character must then struggle to gain it back. William Moergan or his father Gerold Moergen might have had such a doom.
Severe dooms often are accompanied by more profound abilities that help mark the character's particular fate, and sometimes play a role in their tragedy as well.

[top]Violating a Doom

When a doom has been violated, the character must atone for the error in some way. This might include a quest, a ritual, or righting a wrong caused by violating the doom. Atonement for a doom should be more inconvenient than the doom itself, since characters should not feel its easier to just violate the doom and pay the consequences.

[top]Particular Dooms

Some dooms are common in the sagas of the skalds. While a player might compose any doom that meets the approval of the the DM, certain dooms are considered archetypal.


Some characters are doomed to have an unrelenting enemy that can never be truly defeated or pacified. This might be a rival house with an irreconcilable grievance that feuds with your own house. This might be a minor inconvenience which sometimes creates obstacles for the character, a medium doom, or if it is central to the campaign and imposes a serious hardship, might be understood as a major doom.
A classic example is the Tuor-Isilviere feud, dating back to the battle at Deismaar. The Isilviere family is doomed to be opposed by the Tuor family as the Tuor's are able.

[top]Special Vengeance

This is the flip side of the enemy doom described above. In that case, someone else has a special vengeance against the PC or his tribe or house. If the PC has a special vengeance doom, some great wrong has been committed that must be righted. The tribe or house depends on the PC, among others, to pursue this vengeance. Failure to do so is to abandon one's tribe or house, bringing shame and dishonor, and very possibly shunning or exile from the group.
As mentioned above, the Tuor-Isilviere feud is a classic example. The Tuor family bears a special vengeance against the Isilviere family for events that started at Deismaar and have been happened since.

[top]Second Sight

Second sight reflects the character's limited prognostication. The character receives visions, dreams, glimpses of things to come, or might be able to interpret omens. This doom might be handled one of several ways. First, the DM might occasionally use this doom as a means of providing the character with portents of things to come, often in a confusing, incomplete, perhaps incomprehensible manner. Another is to make use of feats or classes which reflect this kind of ability. Such a character might become a Seer or a Seidhr.
Second sight is regarded by the Rjurik as a curse, not an ability. Descriptions of such powers will frighten most people and characters who are known to have second sight should be treated as if perhaps they might be causing bad luck and the things they see, not just seeing them. The response of most people to Njorna the Seer should be regarded as typical.

[top]Extreme Luck

The best way to handle luck is to use the Luck Feats in the Complete Scoundrel.

[top]Animal Guide

An animal guide is generally a fylgia, the spirit animals that act as guides and protectors of the intelligent races. Normally only Seidhr have fylgia. A normal character with a fylgia cannot communicate with their animal guide, nor so such spirits act as friends or companions to the affected character. Instead, the fylgia may direct other natural animals to act in a certain way, such as leading a character to safety or identifying hidden enemies. Or the fylgia may manifest in the material world visible to normal characters, but still ethereal. Such a spirit animal might encourage the right path, discourage the wrong path, or serve as a marker of important decisions.

[top]Battle Rage

While the Barbarian class may be common enough among the Rjurik and the Vos, the battle rage curse differs from the standard rage ability in several important ways. Any character may be afflicted with the curse of rage regardless of class. Also, this fate is involuntary. Unlike barbarians who can choose to activate their rage ability, these characters find the rage comes unbidden upon cursed Rjurik, often at the worst possible times. Battle rage must be triggered by a certain event or condition. Rage may be set off by the death of a party member, the sight of a stranger, being wounded, encountering a particular kind of creature (troll, giant, orog, dwarf, and so on), the presence of a rival tribe or enemy, a threatened loved one, or other possible triggers.
Characters may attempt to resist the rage, by making a Will save, at the beginning as the rage comes on, and after enemies are slain to end the rage. When raging, characters attack the nearest enemy or, if no real enemies are present anyone might be attacked by a raging character, including friends. The rage continues until the character is dead, unconscious, or until a successful Will save is made.


A character cursed as a shapechanger uses the rules for Wildshape with the following changes. Any character may be a shapechanger regardless of class. Shapechanging lacks the control which a druid is able to acomplish. The DM selects a specific animal that the character transforms into every time. Shapechanging carried an inherent danger that the character will get lost in their animal form, unable to transform back.

[top]True Fate

To be completed

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