A Blood Oath is an Oath that is taken via a ritualistic tag line and sealed with the blood of the Oathtaker.
To make a Blood Oath, you must loudly proclaim "Upon my Blood, I Vow to ___ ! This do I Swear, by my Honor and Title." You must then roleplay cutting your hand with your weapon (no wound effect), and pantomime squeezing three droplets of your blood onto the ground. This must be done in front of at least three witnesses, and should be portrayed as a very solemn ceremony.
If you subsequently break a Blood Oath, even unintentionally, you will be physically marked by a visible symbol which appears mystically on your face or forehead. This symbol, which resembles a 'z' with a dash to either side, a picture of which may be found in the Fayren racial packet, is universally recognized as the Sign of the Oathbreaker. Anyone who acquires this symbol in play immediately gains the Disgraced Disadvantage with no points benefit, and should expect to be openly shunned and distrusted by all, especially by other Fayren. If you break a Blood Oath, you take an immediate Pain effect and must fall to the ground clutching your face. You should continue to hold or hide your face until you are able to draw the Oathbreaker symbol. This represents the pain of the symbol burning itself into your flesh. For this reason, the wording of a Blood Oath must be VERY specific and very carefully phrased.
All Blood Oaths must be recorded word for word by a Plot member for future reference, and will be documented on your Character Sheet. There is no limit to how many Blood Oaths one may take, but a wise Fayren will only Swear a Blood Oath in matters of gravest importance. In a questionable situation, unless Plot makes a specific ruling, it is at the player's discretion as to whether or not a given situation constitutes breaking a Blood Oath.
Mikael has taken an Oath to protect Kaori with his life. Kaoru is killed by a bear while Mikael is in the tavern getting her a drink. Mikael technically broke his Oath by failing to protect Kaori from harm, however it is easily argued that, due to the circumstances, it was beyond Mikael's ability to predict when the bear would attack, and thus beyond his control to prevent harm from befalling Kaori. In such a case, it would be up to Mikael whether the guilt would eat him up and cause the mark to appear, or whether he would simply beg Kaori's spirit for forgiveness and promise to be more vigilant in the future if she is successfully resuscitated.
If the Oath is broken blatantly, clearly, and consciously, the mark will always appear, so one should always be careful not to take a new Oath that directly conflicts with an existing Oath. If one does break a Blood Oath, one's honor may be redeemed if one petitions the Council of Elders. The Council will weigh the circumstances under which the Oath was broken, and will conduct a full Tribunal and Trial. Once they determine if the Oathbreaker was truly guilty, or if he consciously chose to break his Oath, the Oathbreaker will be sentenced to a Redemption Quest, at the Council's discretion. The quest may be anything that the Council deems an appropriate punishment or penitence, and often involves compensation or indebtedness if a victim is involved.
Once the Quest is completed to the satisfaction of the Council, or if the Oathbreaker is found not guilty, the Council will perform the Ritual of Restoration to remove the Oathbreaker mark and to publicly repair the person's Honor and Title. Oaths may also used by the Council as a method of sentencing for heinous crimes. Under those circumstances, punishment for breaking the Blood Oath is immediate death. Generally, when used as a punishment, the Oathtaker is forced to publicly swear that he will make amends to his victim(s) and that he will never repeat such a crime.