Out of Arduin
A Fate Card is a house-rule card given to players to aid their characters in extraordinary circumstances. There are two types of Fate Cards: Annual Fate Cards (also known as just Fate Cards) and Birthday Fate Cards.
Annual Fate Cards give the option of one of three benefits. These benefits could include free character points, a life-saving effect, a randomly generated positive mutation, etc. The effect must be chosen and used immediately upon relinquishing the card to the DM, but may be kept for any length of time. The effects, while they may be tailored to the party, are fairly generic.
Birthday Fate Cards are tailored more specifically to the player and character that they are given to. These always include a minor (usually around 5 Character Points) benefit which will usually stay in effect for the life of the character and takes place upon the player receiving the card. The Birthday Fate Card also includes a major, single-use effect such as death or damage avoidance or automatic critical.
During this game’s stint as Spellfilchers: TNG (Various versions of D&D), Fate Cards were generally given out when the DM laughed or a great deed was accomplished. Due to players hoarding Fate Cards, this practice was changed upon switching to GURPS 4th Ed. This version of the Fate Card was a bit simpler, and versions of these fate cards tend to turn up in the effects of the current Fate Cards. Examples Include:
Be Kind, Please Rewind
Take back a terrible action you committed in the last five minutes
Three Hams Will Kill Him
Gain 3 Hams. These heal HP individually, but if all fed to an opponent, their instant death is assured
Gain +5, +7, +5 to three rolls, in that order. To use this card, you must make up a haiku about what you are doing while gaining the benefit