• Mac Boyle

Scribal Errors in the Book of Fate

As is Known, in any fantasy setting there are people with a Destiny. Who assigns this destiny may vary quite a lot, but regardless, It Is So.


It is also a classic trope that these destinies are recorded somewhere. Thus It Is Written and all that. So who writes the things that are Written, and just how closely do they pay attention to what they're doing? As any medievalist knows, manuscripts are often rife with scribal errors for one reason or another.


The following is inspired by the convergence of two things -- an episode of "What the Folklore" where the hosts discussed the idea of a Book of Fate that might be damaged or fallible, and my recent experience with the all-virtual ICMS 2021, aka "Kalamazoom". During that conference, I got in the habit of taking note of the more entertaining screw-ups that came from Zoom's auto-captioning -- and since the conference was several hours a day for most of a week, I ended up with a sizable list of these screw-ups and nothing really to do with them. So I decided to take that list and create 100 "Scribal Errors in the Book of Fate", the result of bored, distracted, tired, or apathetic scribes being not quite on the ball when engaged in their work. (Or maybe Titivillus was involved)


(The origin of these is why some of them are so odd & why I use particular mis-hearings -- such as abbot/rabbit -- more than once; this was one of those "inspire creativity through restrictions" exercises. I only used the errors in my list of Zoom auto-captioning snafus. I would encourage others to add to the list -- maybe we can get up to a d1000 or something.)


How to Use This List

I mean, of course that's up to you.


My original concept was that once something is written in the Book of Fate, it becomes true. So the scribal errors actually change someone's destiny, often to something slightly surreal.


However, you could take it in the opposite direction and say that the Book of Fate is just a record, and has no inherent power over reality, so the original intent still holds. Thus someone might attempt to learn their destiny from the Book of Fate, and get the scribal-error version, then go about their lives with the wrong idea about what they should be expecting. (This version is why I've included the originally-intended words in brackets, so you know what was supposed to be written there.)


Or you could do something completely different with it. Idk, I'm not your mom.


Based on images from Additional MS 11639 (f.118v), a miscellany of Hebrew texts, held & digitized by the British Museum.

You will...

  1. ... always be able to trust acts of Patrick's [apotropaic] magic

  2. ... always find that wealth flows easily into your pants [hands]

  3. ... ascend into toxicity [the aristocracy]

  4. ... attain the ground [grail]

  5. ... be captured by thing-chanters [enchanters]

  6. ... be crushed beneath Deborah [the bedrock]

  7. ... be cursed by a profit analysis [prophetess]

  8. ... be cursed with research [seizures]

  9. ... be in excellent bottling [bodily] health all your days

  10. ... be invincible so long as you remain virtually [virginally] pure

  11. ... be invincible upon a hearth [horse]

  12. ... be remembered in a sorry [saga] that echoes through the ages

  13. ... be rescued by a loathly [lovely] lady

  14. ... be rescued by a lovely [loathly] lady

  15. ... be slain by a cave mirror [chimera]

  16. ... be slain by a cretin [kraken]

  17. ... be slain by a falling analogy [apple tree]

  18. ... be slain by a hump oculus [homunculus]

  19. ... be slain by a mattress [monstrous] spirit

  20. ... be slain by a what [wolf]

  21. ... be slain by an ascetic [acidic] assault

  22. ... be slain by an ekphrasis [actress] when least expecting it

  23. ... be slain by Bs [bees]

  24. ... be slain by Johnny [giants]

  25. ... be slain by keratin [Kjartan] in a duel

  26. ... be slain by one with the sign of a mouth [mouse] on their heraldry

  27. ... be slain by one with the sign of sex afraid [saxifrage] on their heraldry

  28. ... be slain by scholarly [scaly] beasts

  29. ... be slain by the fearsome dachshund [Duke Horant]

  30. ... be slain by unspeakable hers [horrors]

  31. ... be slain by y'all [Njal]

  32. ... be successful so long as you follow the rules of shitload [chivalry]

  33. ... be tonsured [tortured] for your crimes

  34. ... be tortured [tonsured] for your faith

  35. ... become a gloss [ghost]

  36. ... become a were-abbot [were-rabbit]

  37. ... beware royal Glenn [blood]

  38. ... derive great power from the wound [moon]

  39. ... die at a crust [cross] road

  40. ... die due to an elegy [allergy]

  41. ... die from an excess of library reasons [wine & raisins]

  42. ... die from an excess of thinking [drinking]

  43. ... die in an embarassing anthology[antelope]-related accident

  44. ... die in the spinal [final] showdown

  45. ... die in your cradle [bridal] bed

  46. ... die of a horrific confection [infection]

  47. ... die of complications related to a broken cloud-vehicle [clavicle]

  48. ... die on bacterial [imperial] crusade

  49. ... die on Trisha [crusade]

  50. ... die while robbing Greg [graves]

  51. ... discover an ancient queen's own roach [oval brooch] and profit from its power

  52. ... discover long-lost magical popped eyes [papyri]

  53. ... earn a place among the preface [prophets]

  54. ... earn the enmity of a dangerous corvid [coven]

  55. ... escape your moment of deepest peril by following a mouth [mouse]

  56. ... fight against mnemonic [demonic] influence all your life

  57. ... find great wisdom in these theories [bestiaries]

  58. ... find joy in an acidic [ascetic] life

  59. ... find peace in a cruel [rural] community

  60. ... find the peaceful life forever apian [alien] to you

  61. ... find your destiny in liberal [liminal] spaces

  62. ... find your greatest joy around the horse [hearth]

  63. ... find your home in a roiling [royal] court

  64. ... have incredible patristic [artistic] talent

  65. ... increase your fortune every time you bring a damnation [donation] to a virtuous church

  66. ... inspire a psycho [saga]

  67. ... learn great wisdom from one called Ethical Bert [Æðelburh]

  68. ... learn incredible secrets from deep seizures [research]

  69. ... learn the secrets of power from ancient soil [oral] tradition

  70. ... learn the truth of your life from a rabbit [abbot]

  71. ... live a life frogged [fraught] with peril

  72. ... live a life of quarterly [courtly] love

  73. ... live a life of whoa [woe]

  74. ... make your fortune from the royal corpse [courts]

  75. ... marry an oil [a royal] heir

  76. ... marry an older guy [a noble girl]

  77. ... meet a fair noble trapped in monster swarms [monstrous form]

  78. ... meet Jeff [death] with a smile on your face

  79. ... meet your doom as the result of an unwise Stephen [statement]

  80. ... meet your doom at the hands of an elephant [a maleficent] witch

  81. ... meet your doom at the hands of bonobos [Boniface]

  82. ... meet your doom at the hands of he-gorilla [Ygerne]

  83. ... meet your doom from a cursed merit [mirror]

  84. ... meet your doom from a king's courts [corpse]

  85. ... meet your doom from the Mouse [Mouth] of Hell

  86. ... meet your doom in whatever [a tavern]

  87. ... meet your doom when you anger a sphere [seer]

  88. ... obtain great wealth from a dragon sparrow [dragon's barrow]

  89. ... receive a fatal moon [wound] in battle

  90. ... receive a priceless gift from the coolest [foolish] one.

  91. ... receive quarterly [courtly] honors

  92. ... rescue an older guy [a noble girl] and receive great reward

  93. ... rise to great prominence serving Kinky Tina [King Etene]

  94. ... rise to prominence by virtue of your mirror [merit]

  95. ... serve a ruler who is liminal [liberal] with gifts

  96. ... suffer inexorable sentence badness [descent into madness]

  97. ... wed someone of oil [royal] blood

  98. ... wed the fair Loud Gina [Laudine]

  99. ... wield a sore [sword] of great power

  100. ... win any battle on evil [equal] terms

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