A Prophetic Fallacy is when a prophecy, usually one in a visual form, is misinterpreted due to it either lacking some crucial piece of information or being mixed with blatantly false information.
For example, a man might see himself being knocked down by a car and note that the time on a digital display is 10:51, then spend the entire episode trying to avoid going near a road, despite various events conspiring to put him in danger. He eventually makes it to 10:52 and thinks he is safe, but is knocked down an hour later and discovers that he saw the digital clock in a mirror and his actual time of death is 12:01.
Alternatively, characters might have a vision of a terrible future and give up hope, but discover that the vision was of something fairly innocuous that looked unusually dangerous because of the limits that the vision imposed.
Game and Story Use
- You may find it easier to arrange for a prophecy to come true if it is limited to a "snapshot". Especially if the pcs won't be at the place the vision is from by the time it happens.
- This is a good way to allow pcs to subvert a bad prophecy without actually breaking it, though you may have to heavy-handedly foil any attempts to actually break it before they will adapt to this approach.
- If visions come during dreams or through mind-altering substances, it may be impossible to fully distinguish the predictive parts from the parts added by the seers imagination.