Fate is the most important Actor in every storyworld. In fact, Fate is so important that you can't delete her—she's a permanent fixture.
You know how, in so many movies, the bad guy gets the better of the good guy, who's now hanging by his fingernails at the edge of the cliff, and the bad guy laughs demonically and lifts his foot to start mashing the good guy's fingers, when suddenly a bolt of lightning hits the bad guy and he falls over the cliff and disappears screaming? Have you ever wondered, who killed the bad guy? The answer, of course, is Fate. Fate is the one who makes things happen in every story. In Storytronics, nothing ever "just happens"—Fate makes it happen. No Event can exist without a Subject, and Fate is always the Subject of those Events that aren't executed by any other Actor. Fate is a very powerful and useful Actor.
More precisely, Fate is you. You're the author after all. You're the one who makes things happen. You are the god who controls the universe of the storyworld. Fate is your avatar—your deus ex machina. Flex your muscles.
Here are some of Fate's unique abilities. Unlike other Actors:
Fate is everywhere in the storyworld* at once.
Fate knows everything that happens.
These special characteristics allow you to put Fate to work in some very useful ways. You can take note of the storyworld's state, or monitor its progress, based on a set of specifications. Based on those specifications, you can have Fate trigger an Event during storyplay, such as an ending, an "act of God," or a major new Verb cluster. The sections below give you some examples.
Ending a Storyworld with Timeout
Since ending a storyworld is part of Fate's purview, let's digress and talk more generally about how a storyworld ends. As you discovered when you created the walkthrough storyworld, it is not strictly necessary to take any action for your storyworld to end, as it will timeout automatically when nothing happens for a set period of time.
The default setting for the inactivity timeout is ten moments**. That is, if no one does anything for ten moments, Fate automatically triggers the penultimate Verb, which leads directly to the ending Verb, happily ever (penultimate Verb and happily ever after are System Verbs).
To view and change the timeout setting, click on the Playing menu and choose Termination. You will see a popup like this:
Use the up and down arrows to change the timeout setting, between 1 and 100 moments. Fate will— trigger the ending automatically.
Having Fate Intervene with ClockAlarm
But suppose you don't want your storyworld to end solely based on a timeout? Suppose you want to trigger the ending—or even different endings, or a new set of Verb clusters—based on a set of conditions that the player or other Actors have met? Fate can help you do this. Here is how you do it with a ClockAlarm, as an outcome of an Event.
Suppose you are working on a mystery storyworld, and you want to trigger the murder trial to happen shortly after the Protagonist finds the murder weapon hidden at the scene of the crime.
First, in the Prop Editor, create the prop bloody knife. Now return to the Verb Editor and create two Verbs. The first Verb is discover clue. Under Properties, give discover clue a 3Prop WordSocket for the clues to be found. Next create another Verb called murder weapon found. Under Properties, make this Verb's Audience Requirement "Under the Hood." This will hide it from the player's view in the HistoryBook. (More about Audience Types.) Then return to discover clue.
If this were part of a larger web of Verbs, you would have a Role for the Protagonist under discover clue, so go ahead and create one, for form's sake. Now add a second Role and name it Fate. The AssumeRoleIf script for discover clue: Fate should look like this.
Now go to the Verb murder weapon found. Go to the Consequences menu and choose CreateClockAlarm. Its script will look like this:
murder weapon found: ClockAlarm
The Who? in this case would be the judge, who might notify witnesses of the impending trial, or you might just go straight to the court setting and hold the trial. HowFarAhead? is how many storymoments you want to pass before the judge acts. This quantity would depend on how much time you want to give the Protagonist to do other things before the court appearance.
You can see from this example how to use Fate and a ClockAlarm to trigger new sets of Verbs, timed to occur when you choose (note, take care to not make the ClockAlarm time too long, or your storyworld might timeout before the cool new set of Verbs are ever triggered).
* More precisely, Fate's location is permanently set as "Nowhere" — out in the digital ether, floating above the heads of all your other Actors. In Storytronics, an Event always occurs where the Subject is. This is why, when you look in Log Lizard, you'll see that any action carried out by Fate occurs "Nowhere."
**A storyworld's time is measured in "moments." How long is a moment? As long or short as you want it to be, pretty much. Storytronic time is flexible. In most storyworlds, it might be anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on what is needed for pacing purposes. In Chris's Balance of Power 21st Century, a "moment" is probably closer to a month.
You can set the number of moments that a Verb takes to execute in the Verb's Properties box, as mentioned in Properties Box.
Because Storytronics is linguistic and turn-based, you have some flexibility regarding how much time you want each moment to "last." You can set the duration of an Event in Properties, but also, just as in traditional storytelling, you may find that your storyworld will not require a strict clock that accounts for the passage of time in minutes, so you can play around with how much happens in one moment versus another. Experiment and see what kinds of effects you can achieve here.
A caveat: if you have a storyworld in which the duration of Events matters—for instance, a ticking-bomb storyworld or an Actor whose condition is worsening quickly and the Protagonist must secure the assistance of a specialist in time; or a spy story in which multiple threads of action occur in different stages, and those threads merge at some point—in these cases, you will need to be careful about how you manage the passage of time in your storyworld. Precision in the duration of Verbs will be much more important.