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Thread: Destiny Mechanic for D&D
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
Destiny Mechanic for D&DDestiny
For most who exist within the world, fate is a simple, if inescapable, abstraction. They possess little or no awareness of their fates and couldnít change them (or be bothered to try) even if they possessed such an awareness. Those with enough skill, power, or luck to become adventurers, however, are somewhat set apart from the common folk. As their fates are often more grand than that of a common peasant, some of them can learn to sense their coming destinies.
Gaining and Losing Destinies: Against common perceptions, fate is something that almost every living creature is born with (apart from soothsayers, see below) and that is lost with their deaths. The first time that a creature dies, it loses the benefits of any destiny it possessed and may not acquire a new one even if brought back to life. Furthermore, while fate can certainly help someone accomplish a given task or make it difficult not to, fate is not all-powerful as some people believe it to be (much for the very same reason that augury and divination canít predict the future with perfect accuracy). Even though a character can escape their fate or become aware if it, they never truly shape their fate, can only have their fate altered through a twist of fate (see below), and my only lose their fate through death or through completion of their destiny.
Only PCs that possess at least 2 levels in PC classes can detect their destiny, having sufficiently started their path towards their great destiny. To gain a destiny, any PC who hasnít yet been slain may select a single destiny as outlined below as a free action, in effect becoming dimly aware of their destiny. The effects of the chosen destiny, however, only become active 24 hours later.
If a character survives to acquire at least 12 levels in PC classes, it becomes clear that destiny has chosen them for far more than most people could ever imagine. If the PC has yet to die by this point, they may select a second destiny much as they could select their first. For every additional 10 levels gained in PC classes afterwards (22nd, 32nd, etc.), the character may select another destiny. At epic levels, the bonuses provided by destinies are doubled, representing the greater push that fate gives them towards greatness.
Twists of Fate: Every now and then, fate is defeated so thoroughly that the tapestry of fate is forced to reweave itself in order to compensate. Whenever a being aware of their destiny dies, all other such beings aware of this death may immediately discover that their destinies have been changed (allowing the player to select a new destiny, perhaps selecting that of the fallen party member). Similarly, if actions should come about that would render a destiny impossible (such as the assassination of a king that a PC was destined to kill), the being with this destiny may discover that its destiny has been changed (even if further actions, such as a raise dead spell, may result in the destiny becoming possible again in the future).
If a destiny is changed through a twist of fate, the being with the new destiny receives no benefit from this destiny for 24 hours. While twists of fate allow DMs to approve of destinies that might conflict with some of their plans (and thus avoiding suspicion), it does not permit the acceptance of destinies that are impossible in the first place.
Benefits of Destiny: First of all, though fate can be evaded, it is reluctant to truly let go of those with tremendous destinies. Characters aware of their destinies gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against death effects and against Compulsion effects that would prevent the character from accomplishing their destiny. Furthermore, such characters possess a 20% chance of stabilizing on their own each round and are immune to leser geas, geas/quest, mark of justice, and similar effects when used to prevent the character from completing their destiny. These benefits last from the moment that a destiny is declared to the moment that it is lost through death or completion. It is possible to select a destiny while unconscious and dying, reflecting a sudden revelation brought forth by the experience.
Far more importantly, a character aware of their destiny may select a single specific task as their destiny. The character may either select a task that does not directly involve combat or select a specific individual or organization that they are destined to fight. If a character selects a task, they gain a +2 bonus to all skill checks made to accomplish that task, +1 per 3 character levels. If a character is destined to fight, they instead add this bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and AC against your selected target, halving the bonus if you have selected an organization.
If a destiny is selected that can only be performed by a single person (such as marrying Prince Connar of Golli), others attempting to perform the same task take a penalty of equal size to the same rolls and only one creature can possess said destiny at a given time. If a destiny can only be performed by a single group of people (such as slaying the dark lord Sailon), others attempting to perform the same task take a penalty of equal size to the same rolls except for allies of the character within a 1-mile-radius and up to two creatures can possess that destiny at the same time, though they only benefit from it while working together towards that destiny.
When selecting a fate, a DM has the final word on what does and what does not qualify as a proper selection.
Sensing Fate: Apart from a few heroes that may gain a limited sense of their own destiny (an incredibly rare gift beyond the PCs), detecting fate is very rare. Among the most famous of examples are the Marut inevitables, who have learned to sense a lack of fate to help them track down those who have died in the past. In addition, there are a rare few people who possess the ability to see the fates of others. These soothsayers, possessing the soothsayer feat below, are rare enough to be considered myths in many regions and often possess a sense of destiny around them.
You can reveal the fates of those around you.
Prerequisites: 1st level
Benefits: With 10 minute of work, you may learn the fate of a living creature within 10 feet of yourself, making it aware of this fate as well (though this awareness is dim for creatures without sentience). If the creature possesses no fate (such as if they are another soothsayer or have died in the past), this ability has no effect. Most minor NPCs and creatures with 6 or fewer HD have only modest destinies in store for them and the DM has the final word as to their destinies, as always.
You gain all benefits as if you possessed a destiny of your own (except for the actual destiny), though you do not lose these benefits if you are slain and are later revived. In effect, revealing the destinies of others is your destiny.
Special: This feat can only be taken at 1st level and requires the permission of the DM to be taken.
Destiny in One-shots and Modules
SpoilerIn one-shot campaigns, it is often unlikely that there will be enough goals for everyone to feel that using destiny is worthwhile. If players can learn what they are getting into or can stop and rest while on their adventure, it is possible that destinies could be used to address most major obstacles used in the campaign. On the other hand, if a party canít rest, destinies never have a reason to come up as they only ever take effect 24 hours later. The same problem seems to exist within most modules, although some larger ones may have enough possible goals and enemies to allow for use of destinies.
Destiny and Backgrounds/Goals
SpoilerOne of the reasons that destiny canít be selected at 1st level is so that it canít be selected during character creation for most campaigns. Instead, it forces the characters to actually explore the world for a level and see what possible goals may be worthy of using their destiny upon. As it is frequently hard to assume what tasks will be required of you or what great evils will need to be vanquished with limited knowledge about the campaign, choosing destinies right off of the bat may result in the destiny feeling ďwastedĒ in the long run. This is also the reason why destiny can be chosen pretty much on the fly rather than as you gain a level.
That said, a characterís destiny may well turn out to be related to their background or their goals and a high level group might be able to choose destinies as part of character creation, though a DM is urged to warn players if they are selecting a destiny that the plot of the campaign will never slow down enough for them to complete (or at least explore) as giving a character a destiny as never being able to use it is rather frustrating even if they still gain a couple benefits just for having selected a destiny in the first place.
As for you players out there, donít forget that you only ever get 2 of these destinies by the time you reach 20th level.
Assigning FateSpoilerRather than allowing parties to select their own fates, it might be tempting to select their fates for them as the DM so that they are not accidentally wasted (such as if you give the party a red herring) or ruin your plans for the future. In addition, this type of fate may actually work better for 1-shots and modules as it ensures that nobody will waste their fates on an irrelevant foe or task.
As a consequence of using this style, you might choose to have players start with knowledge of their fate (even at 1st level if so desired) or, conversely, prevent PCs from learning their fate whenever they choose and grant them this knowledge at dramatically appropriate times or even as a reward for helping a soothsayer. In addition, twists of fate, should they occur at all, would likely remain in your hands.
Keep in mind, however, that there are certain downsides to this technique.
1. As you choose the pacing at which a player's destiny becomes relevant and how important they seem in the grant scheme of things, trouble might emerge unless the players are quite mature and/or you know them quite well.
For example, consider the possibility that everyone else gets to use their destiny earlier on to accomplish great tasks at levels 4-6 while one player uses their destiny to slay a BBEG (or at least an early BBEG of an ongoing game) at level 9.
In such a situation, it is quite possible that the single character might be annoyed at earlier levels when they aren't getting the chance to perform any great tasks while the other characters might be annoyed later on if they think their destinies didn't seem nearly as grand in scope. While this isn't guaranteed to occur by any stretch, it is still good to be careful.
2. Be very, very careful before you give someone a destiny that might amount to nothing. If you give players conflicting destinies but they still want to work together, it is quite possible that one person will abandon their destiny and rather than being filled grief over what might have been, some players will be annoyed that others got a destiny and they effectively didn't. Similarly, if you give someone a destiny to find a weapon that turns out to be a myth, some players might laugh it off but others will be annoyed that something as important as their destiny was a wild goose chase.
3. If a character dies, they lose their destiny. As such, death (or at least the first death) has an actual cost, players are more cautious, and it is harder to plan out encounters or tasks relying on a character's destiny. If assigning fates to players, it may be a wise idea to do away with this limitation.
Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-04-22 at 01:42 PM.I'm try not to be too vain but this was too perfect not to sig.
- Join Date
- Jul 2007
Re: Destiny Mechanic for D&D
I like it. Maybe I`ll even use it sometime, but I think I would rather choose the destinies for the players, to create conflict and make vague hints as to how the campaign will proceed.
Last edited by akma; 2011-04-19 at 02:49 PM.