Originally serving as oracles and guardians of humanity, the moirae were banished from the Autumn World despite their duty to impart the workings of Dán to humanity. In ancient Greece and Rome, they were known as the Delphic Oracles. In the darkened vaults of temples they foretold human destinies, leaving mortals to accept or fight the workings of Fate as they chose. Often their prophecies helped avert disaster. At other times, the listener's assumptions led tot heir downfall. The moirae also acted as the guardians of humanity, especially children. On the third night after a child's birth, three moirae would come to the newborn's bedside. After eating the sacrificial meal left by the parents, these spirits would bless the child and foretell their future. The few mothers fortunate enough to witness this revelation treasured the memory as a good luck charm forever.
Unfortunately, dwelling on one's idyllic past rarely prepares one to deal with the future. Because the moirae lied about a prophecy of great import, the Fates cursed them and flung them into the Dark Dreaming. Nobody but the moirae and the Fates remember what this prophecy was, and the moirae do not discuss their failings with outsiders. In the Nightmare Realms, the moirae slowly warped and changed. Humanity forgot them, but its fascination with Fate never died. Catastrophes throughout history created a long train of human dreams that cried out for revenge and retribution. From quiet domestic crimes to the mass slaughter of innocents, these dreams called to the moirae. They took on aspects of vengeful justice and retribution like the harpies of old, and swore that humanity's crimes would not go unpunished. When the sidhe came through the Mists from Arcadia, some of the moirae attacked them, confused by the visions they saw around the nobles. They knew that the sidhe were the cause of great suffering, but whether their crimes had already taken place or were yet to come remains obscured by the Mists.
Other human longings also reached them. Increasingly, humans began to wish that they had lived their lives differently. They desired to know what life would have been like had they made different choices. Dreams of mortals' discontent, disillusionment, and their accompanying Banality horrified the moirae. They vowed that, when they returned, they would satisfy humanity's longings and curiosities by showing them their unchosen pathways and desires in dreams.
Moirae are mostly solitary and keep to themselves when fulfilling their functions. Because of their deep-seated need to serve humanity, they find areas of human habitation and minister to their charges' destinies and dreams until their on Dán calls them to move on to another place. If they are aware of a need for justice and retribution, they find the offender and terrorize them. If they discover a person with unfulfilled dreams or longings, they show them why they should not pursue such a future or help them realize their dreams, taking Glamour in return. Moirae rely on their Dreamers, seeing them as exclusive property and fiercely protecting them from any perceived threat, mortal or changeling. Much of their lives are spent in the environs surrounding a given charge's dreams, though they move from person to person over time. Not mere puppets of Fate, individual moirae interpret Fate's patternings in their own way. Some actively try to change Fate's dictates from time to time, though the penalties suffered for such hubris may be severe.
Because of their association with the Norns, moirae also have triune apexes that reflect all three of their purposes and physical manifestations ("maiden," "mother," and crone). At the outset of the game, the player may choose to fit any of these aspects to any of the Ariá they choose. Thus, the "crone" might be a representative of the vengeful Dioniae or the whimsical Aaminae.
Moirae are at their most terrifying in Dioniae form. Relentless, vengeful, and horrifying, this Ariá reflects the Erinyes (Furies) of old. Their visage becomes a hard mask of fangs and burning eyes, and some moirae develop horns in this aspect. A wise person seeing this grotesque horror stays out of their way, gives them what they want, or runs. Showing dogged cruelty, moirae in this Ariá enjoy the hunt, finding plenty of innocents and victims to avenge. Moirae often give their targets nightmares which feature the offender suffering the same consequences as those they have wronged... and worse. From the moirae's perspective, a little Ravaging afterward doesn't hurt either. Justice will be served and vengeance has its rewards.
Weird, nebulous lights surround a moirae in Araminae. They often reflect hidden desires and untraveled roads, whether those desires be dark or light. Tempter, teacher, or warder, they show people what their lives could have been, or could still be, had they made certain decisions, encouraging them to follow their Dán. A moirae following Whimsey also explores unfulfilled dreams in their target's psyche, sometimes drawing them out and fulfilling them, sometimes surpassing and discouraging them. Giving mortals what they want in their dreams can be very inspiring or debilitating, depending on the mortal.
The Apolliae aspect is the oldest and original face of the moire before they were further changed by humankind's dreams. Typically, the moirae appears as a veiled or blindfolded oracle in a white robe, or as an angel of light. Moirae following this Ariá are usually at their most benevolent. They bring luck and hope and, even if paired with an otherwise malignant Legacy, they usually believe themselves to have (ultimately) good intentions. When a moirae senses great Dán for a person, they may visit them in their dreams to give them guidance or to rescue them form the banal rut in which they are living. A moirae in this aspect instills in the on they visits the belief that they won't harm them... this time around.
Birthrights & Frailty
- Affinity: Actor or Fae
- Aural Perception: The moirae retain this ability from the Mythic Age when they served primarily as oracles to both fae and humanity. Moirae can see a person's Dán as ethereal images swirling around their head or body. These images reveal what the individual is fated to do, what they have done, or what larger connection they may have in the tapestry. Some people have more to do with Dán than others, and they aren't always the most visible people in society. An "average person" may have more influence in the world than an important leader. These images do not reveal all; they merely give clues. Dán is not a chain of predestined events and can change. This Birthright is always in effect at a low level and can be somewhat disorienting in a room full of people. To get anything useful, the player must spend a point of Glamour and roll their character's current Glamour (difficulty 7). If successful, they may divine one "snap-shot" image pertaining to the person's past or future actions per success. This Birthright may be used on any given target only once a scene. Because the Norns gave them free will, they also made it difficult for the moirae to predict their own individual fates with this Birthright (-3 penalty to any attempt to do so). Finally, because of their connection to Fate, moirae gain an additional die to their dice pool for casting any Soothsay cantrip.
- Fata: Serving such powerful creatures as the Three Fates has its perks. The moirae enjoy an exemption from the Silver Ban and may walk the Silver Path. Few question Fate's prerogatives; through ancient pacts the Dreaming exacts vengeance against any that interfere with its messengers. The punishment usually takes the form of the Flaw: Cursed and varies in severity and duration depending on how touched by Fate the perpetrator is and the seriousness of the crime. Minor interference such as extreme disrespect exacts only a minor penalty (a 1 point Curse for a full day). Imprisoning, badly wounding, or otherwise hindering a moirae (while they are on a mission) earns a 2 or 3 point Curse until the moirae is released or otherwise escapes. Killing a moirae while they are "off duty" may result in a 4 point Curse for a year or more. Killing one while they are on a mission for the Norns may result in a 5 point Curse and may last forever. Alternate punishments may result in the offender temporarily or permanently gaining the Flaws: Nightmare and/or Chimerical Magnet. This Birthright applies only so long as the moirae remains a neutral messenger, though. The moirae annuls this pact by attacking or otherwise directly damaging someone, either physically or with Arts. Lastly, because of their connections with the Wyrd or Fate, moirae have a -1 difficulty when Calling Upon the Wyrd.
- Superstition: Creatures of Fate, the moirae are more susceptible to some of its whims, including human superstition. They must avoid nearly all things that purportedly bring "bad luck" or suffer Nightmares. This taboo includes minor superstitions such as stepping on cracks in the sidewalk or a black cat crossing their path as well as major transgressions of fortune such as taking a stone from a sacred island. If a locale has a "bad luck" legend attached to it, moirae will be forced to observe it or suffer the consequences. Storytellers are encouraged to be creative. Moirae can absolve themselves of Nightmares or lessen the severity by reversing what they have done or atoning (subject to Storyteller discretion). In addition, any violation of a Geas, Ban, or other oath by a moirae incurs an extra die of intensity to the usual penalty. Note that the most common wielders of Sovereign, the sidhe, have their own traditions against manipulating Fate in such a manner. Moirae forced to perform taboo actions either through mental manipulation or physical coercion have only half as difficult a time reversing it, while those who forced them to do so may be cursed as per the Fata Birthright.
- Acheri: A necessary evil. They are a reflection of what is.
- Aonides: Contemptible hedonists, they steal our Dreamers for their own worthless ends!
- Fir-bholg: Some are worthy and some are not.
- Fuaths: Many see them as mindless animals, but they will play a vital role in the final fate of the Dreaming. Treat them with respect.
- Keremet: Many of these were taken by our hands; they reap what they have sown. They had best not give us cause to elaborate on the lesson.
- Naraka: They, too, know the meaning of vengeance, but there current fallen state places their collective destiny beyond our sight for the time being (though individuals are not hard to read). We must watch them carefully.
- Changelings: Some respect the prerogatives of Dán; other shallowing suffer for their iniquities. The sidhe, in particular, think they are the shuttles in the loom of Fate's tapestry. They do not control us and have much for which to answer.
- Humankind: Our charges have been separated from us for too long! See how they languish without our guidance. We have a duty to help them untangle the mess they have made for themselves.
Much like Aonides, Moiræ feel most complete with a Dreamer to attend. Originally known as Oracles and viewed as dispensaries of knowledge and sources of guidance for mortals, moiræ enjoyed sharing their prophecies and watching as those they advised reacted. In time, Oracles fell out of the collective dreams of mortals, but their obsession with Fate remained as strong as ever. Human desire to know what other paths lay before or behind them called out to the moiræ, along with urges of retribution and revenge. Drawn to particular Dreamers, they latch onto one with aspirations and lofty goals, defending her fiercely from any and all threats and offering advice and guidance on which paths to take and which to avoid.
Along with their Ariá are the aspects, grown from association with the Norns. When creating a moiræ character, the Storyteller should assign one of the physical representations (maid, mother, and crone) to each of their Ariá, similar to the assigning of Legacies.
- Dioniae (Erinyes): Dioniae moiræ represent the furies of old and are beings bent on retribution and vengeance. They appear with burning eyes, sharp fangs, and may even have horns. Intelligent beings will either stay out of this moiræ’s way or simply give her whatever she wants.
- Araminae (Whimsy): Representations of paths unknown or hidden desires, these moiræ are focused on the impulses and dreams of mortals and are surrounded by nebulous, dancing lights. They happily act as guides, steering their charges toward paths they deem interesting.
- Apolliae (Oracle): The original face of the moiræ, Oracles typically appear veiled or blindfolded, in white robes. At their most benevolent in this mindset, these moiræ bring luck and good fortune to those they visit.
Birthrights & Frailty
- Affinity: Actor or Fae
- Aural Perception: Surrounding individuals are glimpses of their Fate; by spending a point of Glamour a moiræ can divine useful bits from these images. She does, however, take a –3 penalty if she attempts to divine her own fate. To enact this, the Storyteller rolls Glamour (difficulty 8), and divines one clue per success (whether she passes that along to the subject is up to her). Moiræ also add an additional die to their pool when using any Soothsay cantrip.
- Fata: Moiræ are protected from harm while traveling the Silver Path. The Dreaming directly punishes any attempts to harry or interfere with these Denizens in their travels. The severity of the punishment is in proportion to the crime; deterring a moiræ who is in service to the Norns may garner a minor curse, while capturing or killing her results in something direr.
- Superstition: Moiræ are especially susceptible to human superstition and must avoid “bad luck” or be cursed with Nightmares. This includes everything from the smallest coincidences (crossing paths with a black cat) to deliberate actions (willfully breaking a mirror); the curse will persist until she has somehow atoned for or reversed the bad luck. Violations of a Geas, Ban, or oath incur an extra die of intensity in their penalty. Moiræ forced to in any way violate any of these stipulations find it only half as difficult to repent, and the one who forced her can be cursed as with the Fata Endowment.
- CTD. Denizens of the Dreaming, pp. 60-62.
- C20. Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 390.