Sorte is a Bargain sorcery, inherited by the descendants of a Senator whose name has been lost to time, for it was not him but his wife and daughters who benefited from his gift. Only women can use Sorte. The women who possess Sorte are known as Sorte Strega(Fate Witches). Sorte has the following Knacks:
The strands come in five varieties, as described in the Player's Guide p.219. If a strega successfully finds a strand, she can determine its strength (strong, moderate, or weak). She can see who is on the other end of the strand, if that person is visible. Otherwise, she only sees the general direction that the strand extends toward. She can tell if the strand is growing or weakening in strength. Certain strands are considered Court Strands, and may not be affected with Sorte.
A strega may use her Studiare Knack to analyze the Fate Strands attached to a given target. She must be able to physically see her target. Just by looking (without spending an Action), the strega can see the "most important" (in the GM's judgement) strands attached to her target. The number of strands that she sees is equal to her Studiare/2, rounding up. She may spend Wits Actions to observe further details. Each type of detail has a particular difficulty to observe. If the strega's Studiare is greater than the detail's difficulty, she observes the detail whether or not she is looking specifically for it. If the difficulty is between the strega's Studiare and Studiare+2, she can find the detail only if she is specifically looking for it.
Various uses of Sorte will cause the strega to acquire Lash Points. Every time the strega acquires Lash Points, she rolls against her new Lash Point total. The strega rolls a single 10-sided die. If the result is equal to or less than her current Lash Point total, the strega takes a Fate Lash.
If the strega fails her Lash Roll, whatever Sorte effect she was attempting fails. In addition, she takes a Social Dramatic Wound and a Physical Dramatic Wound for the Lash. Then she reduces her Lash Point total by 1 and rolls again. Each successive failure inflicts another Social and Physical Dramatic Wound, and reduces the Lash Point total by 1. Once she succeeds at a Lash Roll, she keeps only the new, reduced Lash Point total.
If the strega did not take a Lash, the attempt succeeds and her Lash Point total stays where it is.
Lash Points, once acquired, take time to dissipate. The strega loses acquired Lash Points at a rate of 1 per day. If the strega completely abstains from any Lash-inducing use of Sorte for the entire day, she loses an additional Lash Point.
When a strega blesses her target, she is manipulating Fate to aid the target's chances at some field of endeavor. The strega can perform a short-term tug on a strand to give an immediate and short-lived assistance (on the scale of Rounds) without any preparation. This grants a bonus to one or more Knacks which are appropriate to the Suit of the strand that she is pulling.
When the total difficulty is calculated, the strega compares the difficulty against her VolontÓ Rank, to see how many Lash Points she acquires. She then makes a Lash Roll. If she does not receive a Lash, the blessing takes effect.
Curses operate similarly to blessings, except that they inflict penalties to the target's Knack rolls in a particular field of endeavor. Calculate the difficulty as if it were a blessing, but increase the final difficulty by 2. Curses are more hazardous to play with than blessings.
Weaving covers the more complex manipulative aspects of Sorte, in contrast to the easily-applied blessings and curses. Some of them require a Sorte Deck to perform. It is possible for Fate Witches to weave threads into Sorte Decks to give them extra potency. This is represented by the Threaded Sorte Deck Advantage. A strega with a Threaded Sorte Deck increases her effective VolontÓ Rank and Tessere Rank by 1 when performing a spread which the deck has been Threaded for.
Kiss of Death: A strega can invoke this ritual by staring into her target's eyes, saying the target's name three times, then kissing him. This requires a Wits Action and a Finesse Action to perform, and requires at least two full Phases to perform, even if both the Actions are spent at once. If anyone interrupts the ritual during those two Phases, the ritual is cancelled and the Actions are lost. The target suffers a penalty of -2xTessere to all Actions for a duration determined by the number of Fate Lashes that the Strega willingly accepts for the ritual. If the strega takes 2 Lashes, the effects last for 1 week. For 4 Lashes, the duration is 1 month. For 6 Lashes, the duration is 1 year. If not interrupted, the ritual always succeeds. The strega immediately suffers all the Fate Lashes that she decided upon when invoking the ritual. Until all of these Lashes heal, the strega also suffera a penalty of -2xTessere to all her Actions as well.
Tightened Strand: A strega can increase the strength of a strand that she has detected between two people. This can only strengthen a weak strand to a moderate one, or a moderate one to a strong one. The difficulty is 2 for a duration of 1xTessere hours, 4 for 1xTessere days, 6 for 1xTessere weeks, and 8 for 1xTessere months.
Loosened Strand: A strega can weaken the strength of a strand that she has detected between two people. This can only weaken a strong strand to a moderate one, or a moderate one to a weak one. The difficulty is 2 for a duration of 1xTessere hours, 4 for 1xTessere days, 6 for 1xTessere weeks, and 8 for 1xTessere months.
Cut Strand: A strega can cut a strand. This requires a Tessere Rank of 4 for a weak strand, 5 for a moderate strand, or 6 for a strong strand. This is based on the "real" strength of the strand, not on any tightening or loosening done through Sorte. The difficulty is 6 for a weak strand, 7 for a moderate strand, and 8 for a strong strand. A Fate Lash when cutting a strand is particularly dangerous, since it may (at the GM's opinion) catch the Fate Witch up in the fallout, in addition to the other effects of the Lash.
Spin Strand: A strega may create a strand where none existed before. This requires a Tessere Rank of 5 for a weak strand, 6 for a moderate strand, and 7 for a strong strand. The difficulty is the same as the required Tessere Rank. A Fate Lash when spinning a strand may, at the GM's option, cause the strand to fail, cause it to be of a different strength (either greater or lesser), or cause it to have extreme unintended consequences. This can be even more dangerous than a Cut Strand.
Swords Spread: A strega may twist a weapon to grant it Destiny Dice (or give it more Destiny Dice), as per the Twisted Weapon Advantage. This requires a Sorte Deck. Each Destiny Die costs 2 CP (6 XP), which may be paid either by the strega or by the weapon's intended owner. The difficulty is 3. The strega must roll for Fate Lash for each Destiny Die that she adds. The maximum number of Destiny Dice that the weapon may possess is limited by the strega's Tessere Rank. A strega may only have as many active Destiny Dice as her Tessere Rank x 2, although this may be divided across any number of weapons. A strega may, at will, cancel any Destiny Dice she has granted to any weapons, regardless if the weapon is present or not.
Cups Spread: A strega may create a love potion targeted for a particular individual. This requires a Sorte deck, and some sympathetic token from both the target and the beneficiary of the potion. This may take the form of hair, blood, fingernails, et cetera. If the target consumes any of the potion (even a single drop is enough), the beneficiary gets a number of Free Raises for all Charm-related Rolls against the target. The difficulty is 2 for a duration of 1xTessere hours, 4 for 1xTessere days, 6 for 1xTessere weeks, and 8 for 1xTessere months. The base number of Free Raises is 1. Each additional Free Raise increases the difficulty by +2.
Coins Spread: A strega may enchant a coin to improve the target's fortune in monetary matters (including gambling). This requires a Sorte deck. The holder of the coin gets a number of Free Raises to finance-related Rolls (including Haggling and Gambling). The coin only functions while its owner has the coin in his hand (requiring Conceal rolls to hide). The difficulty is 2 for a duration of 1xTessere hours, 4 for 1xTessere days, 6 for 1xTessere weeks, and 8 for 1xTessere months. The base number of Free Raises is 1. Each additional Free Raise increases the difficulty by +2.
Staves Spread: A strega may enchant a twig to increase the target's authority over another person. This requires a Sorte deck, and some sympathetic token from both the target and the beneficiary (as the Cups Spread). The twig only functions while its owner has the twig in his hand (requiring Conceal rolls to hide). The beneficiary gets a number of Free Raises for all Social Knacks when used to enforce authority over the target. The difficulty is 2 for a duration of 1xTessere hours, 4 for 1xTessere days, 6 for 1xTessere weeks, and 8 for 1xTessere months. The base number of Free Raises is 1. Each additional Free Raise increases the difficulty by +2.
Black Spread: A strega may keep herself looking young despite her years by using this Spread. This requires a Sorte deck, and also costs 1 CP (3 XP) to perform. The difficulty is 2 per year that the strega wishes to avoid the effects of aging (wise stregas will choose the difficulty to minimise the resulting Lash Points). If a Fate Lash occurs, the effects of all previous Black Spreads are lost, as well as the normal effects of the Lash.
Sorte Deck: A strega may enchant a Sorte Deck to improve its power when performing Spreads. This costs 2 CP (6 XP) for each Spread that the deck is Threaded for. The strega must roll for Fate Lash for each Thread. The difficulty is 4 for all Spreads except for the Black Spread, which has a difficulty of 8. A strega may only have one Sorte Deck at any time.