You Can't Fight Fate
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JOCASTA: An oracle came to Laius one fine day…
and it said
that doom would strike him down at the hands of a son,
our son, to be from of our own flesh and blood. But Laius,
so the report goes at least, was killed by strangers…
There, you see?
Apollo brought neither thing to pass. My baby
no more murdered his father than Laius suffered
…death at his own son's hands.

OEDIPUS: Oh, crap.

—- Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Basic Information

This Trope happens when a prophecy cannot be averted, or when an event in the past can't be changed by a Time Traveler, despite their best efforts. It's the opposite of the trope Screw Destiny.

In regards to time travel, this is sometimes called the Predestination Paradox.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • Common part of speculative fiction, but can be tricky to work into an RPG.
    • Some players just hate the idea that destiny is unavoidable, and will take actions to subvert it.
      • This is very different from a character that wants to fight fate. If the player is understanding/cooperative, but their character resists, you have the makings of a great game.
      • If the player hates the notion of destiny, but the GM loves it, you're going to have a hard time striking a balance both will enjoy. The player will feel like he's being railroaded.
    • One way to make it work is to make the destiny vague enough that it can be fulfilled by a number of different scenarios.
      • It's still tricky to pull off, and unless you do it just right, can come off seeming extremely lame.
    • Or, as in Oedipus' case, keep some information secret from the player so that he won't know that his actions are actually fulfilling the prophecy.
      • And since this information is secret, you can change it without the player knowing if he doesn't do what you expect, in order to make the destiny work out.
      • Just try not to let the player catch you at it.
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