It’s not that astrology doesn’t work, it’s that the stars don’t cooperate. In the Lost City of Forgotten Gods, a good astrologer really can tell you when you’re going to die (approximately), how your fortunes are trending (with some caveats), and suggest a course of action likely to bring success (for certain values of success).
The problem is, the stars themselves are capricious. Some, like the Grendel star guiding pestilence, change direction suddenly and without warning. Others, like the constellation of Hullmbari, fall under the jurisdiction of certain gods who have proven willing to modify fates in the past. And a few, like the Doomstar of Oron, seem to show a certain sentience themselves.
As a result, the history of astrology is scattered with devastating failures, mis-cues, and turnabouts. Astrologers have responded to this in two ways. First, the dissemination of astrological knowledge is strictly controlled. The birth dates of monarchs and their astrological chart are protected by law with penalties up to and including death. Astrologers are very circumspect about what they tell their clients and the fees they collect for them (always in advance). Certain events, including famine, plague, and bankruptcy are neither charted nor revealed as such predictions have an uncanny way of turning out terribly for all concerned. Prospects for romance, however, are widely offered and serve as the bread and butter of the astrologers trade.
The second way astrologers deal with this problem is through the creation of better and more elaborate astrological implements. The Orrery is the natural extension of this endeavor. In order to deal with tiny gradations of measurement, it must be very large. Since it must change direction quickly, it’s engine is huge and powerful and buried in the earth. Since it is complex, a cunning demon is chained at its heart. And since it’s secret, its working are guided by a hermitic order swaddled in ever greater layers of secrecy, lore, and obfuscation.
Moves and Situations:
An ancient scroll describing the birth date and situation of a certain god, suitable for charting that gods destiny.
The Orrery has been acting strange lately—spinning ever more rapidly with sudden lurches and changes in direction. The ground rumbles with the whirr of the great engine. The supports groan under the strain. The astrologers are visibly agitated, even terrified. But no ones saying why… yet.
A certain star halts in the sky, foretelling a terrible fate for the city itself. A syndicate of wizards and astrologers if formed to send an expedition by magical means to determine the cause for the halt and get it moving again by any means. Some factions may be willing to throw in a hefty bonus if the direction of the movement can be chosen.
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