Issue Five | Summer 1995
How a character’s horoscope influences his destiny, by Patrick Brady
All Tsolyáni have their astrological charts made at birth and will consult them throughout their lives, before any major decision.
This article provides a system for determining a character’s aptitudes and aversions, based on the position of the planets at the time of his or her birth. In game-terms the effect is to make some skills cheaper and others more expensive.
It’s my birthday
The Tsolyáni year is divided into twelve months of thirty days each, plus five intercalary days. There is approximately a 1% chance of being born during the intercalary period. If not, roll 1d6 twice to find the month of birth:
|1st roll||2nd roll||Month|
|1||Hasanpor||start of rainy season|
|4||Langala||pleasant spring planting|
|1||Firasul||dry, very hot (120º F)|
The day of the month can be determined by rolling 1d3-1 and multiplying by 10 to give a base of 0, 10 or 20. Then add 1d10, to give a final result ranging from 1-30.
In astrological terms there are seven planets (even though one is a sun and two are moons) and two "specials" (see opposite)
There are two other factors to be considered:
The Ascendant: The point where the plane of the ecliptic intersects the horizon in the East. Theologically associated with Ksarul. Treat as a planet for positional purposes. In an alignment it doubles the effect of a planet.
The Heavenly Bodies
|Tuleng (Tékumel’s sun)||associated with Hnalla, Lord of Light|
|Uletl||associated with Sárku, Lord of Decay|
|Riruchel||associated with Karakan, Lord of Glorious War|
|Shichel||associated with Avanthe the Mother Goddess|
|Ziruna||associated with Hru’u, Lord of Darkness|
|Gayel||associated with Dlamelish, Mistress of Pleasure|
|Kashi||associated with Vimuhla the Flame God|
The Mid-Heaven: The point where the plane of the ecliptic intersects the meridian of the birthplace. (In this system the Mid-Heaven will be inaccurate because I have made no allowance for precise birthplace.) Treat as a planet for positional purposes. In an alignment it multiplies planetary effect by x1.5.
Conjunction of the Spheres
The position of the planets at the time of the character’s birth is determined randomly. (Devising a computer program to calculate these data accurately is left as an exercise for the interested reader!)
Referring to the diagram on the natal chart, first roll 1-4 (d6, rerolling 5 or 6) to give a position in the range 1º-90º, 91º-180º, etc. Then roll 1-90 (percentile dice, rerolling 91-00) to give the exact position. Mark the position of the planet on the chart. Repeat for each planet and also for the Ascendant and the Mid-Heaven.
Planets are only influential if they fall in certain alignments. (Remember that the Ascendant and Mid-Heaven count as planets too.) Some texts give huge numbers of possible combinations; the principal ones are explained below. The aptitudes (apt) and aversions (avr) refer to a reduction or increase in the improvement points required to increase a skill that falls under the influence of important planetary alignments.
Conjunction (0º, orb of 5º)
If two planets are close together (within 5º) they are in Conjunction. This gives aptitudes -20%, aversions +10%.
Opposition (180º, orb of 5º)
If two planets are 180º apart (within 5º) they are in Opposition. This gives aptitudes -10%, aversions +20%. (A chart with two Oppositions may form a Grand Square; see below.)
Square (90º, orb of 2º)
If two planets are 90º apart (within 2º) they are in Square. This gives aptitudes -10%, aversions +10%. (Two Squares on a chart constitute a Grand Square; see below.)
The major forms are unusual combinations of positions. They are normally simple geometric shapes and often have theological implications. The major forms also impose their own aptitudes and aversions as if they were planets in themselves. This is because they are the footprints of the gods.
The Grand Square (90º, orb of 2º)
A square with a planet at each corner (within 2º each way). The Grand Square is a sign of the influence of Thúmis, God of Scholars. Its specific effects are: Research apt -20%, Science apt -10%, Brawling avr +20%. It also gives aptitudes -5% and aversions +5% in all other cases.
The Grand Trine (120º, orb of 4º)
Three planets in an equilateral triangle. This is a sign of the influence of Belkhanu, Lord of the Lands of the Dead. Its specific effects are: Navigation apt -20%, Shield apt -15%,
2H Sword avr +20%, Thrown Weapon avr +10%. It also gives aptitudes -5% and aversions +4% in all other cases.
The T Square
A triangle where two of the planets are in Opposition and the third is at 90º to them (within 2º either way). It gives aptitudes -3%, aversions -5%. The T Square is a sign of the influence of the Cohort of the deity whose planet is perpendicular to the Opposition, and it has specific effects according to the Cohort in question:
|Dra (Tuleng)||Singing apt -10% and Running avr +10%|
|Durritlamish (Uletl)||Alertness apt -10% and Bard avr +20%|
|Chegarra (Riruchel)||Axe apt -15%, Strategy apt -5% and Poisons avr +15%|
|Dilinala (Shichel)||Cooking apt -20% and Sex Appeal avr +15%|
|Wuru (Ziruna)||Poisons apt -15% and Axe/Mace avr +20%|
|Hrihayal (Gayel)||Gambling apt -20% and Strategy avr +15%|
|Chiteng (Kashi)||Interrogation apt -15% and Diplomacy avr +15%|
Making the chart
Check the natal chart for alignments. For any that occur, roll twice on the Planetary Qualities table for each planet involved once for aptitude and once for aversion.
Example: A Conjunction of Tuleng and Riruchel gives aptitudes for Tracking and Leadership, aversions for Disguise and Acting. As it is a Conjunction, the aptitudes are -20% and the aversions +10% to the cost of those skills.
The aptitudes and aversions are cumulative. It is quite possible for effects to cancel out.
If the character was born on a festival day this will modify the effects of certain planets in the chart:
|Date||Festival||Effects on Chart|
|22nd Hasanpor||Feast of Murupoi||Any Gayel x1.5|
|14th Shapru||All Souls Day||History apt -10%|
|3rd Didom||Descent of the Flame||Kashi apt -10%|
|25th-27th Pardan||Festival of Lights||Any Tuleng x1.5|
|1st-10th Halir||Harvest Festival||Shichel apt -10% avr +5%|
|15th Halir||Renewed Enclosure||Shichel avr x2|
|29th Halir||Incineration of Remains||Any Kashi x1.5|
|30th Halir||Perpetuation of the Soil||Any Uletl x1.5|
|20th Trantor||Cutting of the Silk||Any Riruchel x1.5|
|29th Lesdrim||Feast of Akana||Tuleng avr +5%|
|Intercalary Days||(Referee’s discretion)|
Chart emphasisTraditionally the circle of the heavens is split into two halves, one associated with the Tlokiriqaluyal (0º to 180º) and one with the Tlomitlanyal (180º to 360º). Count the number of planets in these areas and note it on the natal chart; this is considered a general influence on the personality.
Traditionally, Oppositions are signs of conflict whereas Conjunctions represent synthesis.
For example, a man with Riruchel and Shichel in Opposition would be described as being caught between Karakan and Avanthe, his aggressive and protective instincts being in conflict. This could also be seen as a conflict between the individual and society. On the other hand, a man with Tuleng and Kashi in Conjunction would be a product of Vimuhla and Hnalla, his background and Pedhetl both driving him in the same direction.
The system described above is for preparing natal charts, but the same rules can be used to determine the astrological influences in force on any given day. The aptitude and aversion percentages are then interpreted as modifiers to specific skills on that day.
Planetary Qualities Table
|Shichel||1||Area Knowledge||2H Sword|
|2||Fast Talk||Detect Lies|
|2||2 Handed Sword||Fishing|
An alternative explanation
In a culture that accepts astrology as true, it is. Clans will allocate training and employment on the basis of a person’s horoscope, waiting expectantly for the predicted qualities to emerge.