Fateful Fairy Stories

By James Walker


Dreaming up Fates & Destinies as fast as PCs can gain the essence to feed Divine Destiny/Fated Future gain be difficult. My solution to providing Fates is to use the 'Life Scripts' of Transactional Analysis - Life Scripts are the blueprints which children follow through their lives in an attempt to win the approval of their parents, and tend to be very self-destructive. Although some are 'good' (and so are not terribly useful as Fates) they all restrict the individuals' freedom and ability to react to the world appropriately.

So what, you say? Well, the most common Life Scripts are also Fairy Tales. This is partly because the stories are available to children, and partly because the tales describe archetypal human behaviours. So next time you cannot think of a Fate for a NPC, try a fairy tale. Some of them are fairly obvious; if the NPC reminds you of The Little Mermaid, then her Fate should be to try to persuade an obnoxious 'True Love' to marry her by sleeping with him, and then when she is dumped, pregnant, to commit suicide. The opposing story is Sleeping Beauty, putting her sexuality to sleep until safely married.

Another advantage of fairy tales for Fates is that they've been watered down in stages, allowing you to temper the Fate to your campaigns' lightness/darkness. (it's worth remembering that the 'original' Grimms' Fairy Tales were watered down by the Grimm brothers - for starters, they changed every references of an evil mother to an evil step-mother).

Cinderella is a nice example of a tale that can suit any campaign level. In the Disney version, Cinderella's Fate is to sit around until someone else fixes her life, ie refuse to take responsibility for fixing her life. In the Brothers Grimm, her Fate would be to use unearned power to gain revenge on her siblings, while in the original tale, her Fate would be to persuade (or even blackmail) her father's mistress into helping her gain power (and revenge).

Hope you find this useful! If you want to dig deeper into Life Scripts, try Games People Play & (better yet) What Do You Say After You've Said Hello? by Eric Berne. However, a collection of fairy stories and a dose of cynicism should be all you need.


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