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RTGoodman
2008-03-20, 06:42 PM
Destiny & Dragons


In heroic fantasy, many major characters have a destiny they must fulfill. Aragorn is destined to become king, Dorothy is destined to rid Oz of the Wicked Witch, Raistlin Majere is destined to become the most powerful wizard in Krynn, Harry Potter is destined to spawn a series of mediocre but popular childrenís novels.

So why isn't there a system on the theme of Destiny in Dungeons & Dragons?

The Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG (and maybe older version of the Star Wars RPG, though Iím not familiar with them) added a Destiny mechanic that included bonuses and penalties for characters who seek to fulfill or try to avoid what is fated for them, and provides several sample destinies ranging from Corruption to Discovery to Destruction.

I like the system and think it could be easily adapted to D&D, and have attempted to change the benefits of the system and the sample destinies to fit with a traditional (semi-epic) fantasy setting like we have in D&D.


Choosing a Destiny

A character may choose a Destiny at 1st level or any time afterward. At any one time, a character may have only one Destiny; however, upon accomplishing one Destiny, he may choose another Destiny. A characterís Destiny need not be accomplished within a certain amount of time; indeed, in some instances, the game may progress in such a way that the Destiny has to be put to the side for a length of time. As long the character never actually attempts to fight his Destiny, he incurs no penalties. Furthermore, a player need not choose a Destiny at 1st level, and indeed never needs to choose one if he doesn't want to - the Destiny system is completely optional.

In some games, a DM may choose a secret Destiny. In this case, a player (and character) must work out his Destiny through clues, giving bonuses when the character is working towards his Destiny and penalties when he is working against it.

Benefits of Destiny

At 1st level and each level afterward, a character with a Destiny gains one Destiny Point. Additional Destiny Points can be gained by performing significant actions that support the characters destiny; conversely, a character can (by DMís discretion) lose Destiny Points for undertaking actions converse to the characterís destiny. A character can ďstockpileĒ Destiny Points, but can only store a number of Destiny Points up to his Character Level.

Destiny Points can be spent as a free action, but only once per round. By spending a Destiny Point, a player may gain one of the following benefits:

Automatically score a critical hit. No attack roll is required.
Have a target automatically fail one saving throw.
Automatically succeed at all saving throws for one round.
Automatically succeed at one skill check.
Have one attack against the character miss, even after the attack roll has been made.
Take damage from any one attack that would harm another character within your reach.
Suppress a targetís Spell Resistance for one round.


Upon completing a Destiny, a character may choose either to keep his remaining Destiny Points (assuming he selects a new Destiny) or to donate his Destiny Points to his allies (though each can gain no more than one Destiny Point through the characterís fulfillment of his Destiny).

Destiny Bonuses

Aside from having specific Destiny Points to spend on the above actions, a character may also gain other benefits from following his Destiny. When he accomplishes a major goal (as decided by the DM), he gains the benefits of a Destiny bonus; if instead he chooses against his Destiny, he takes the corresponding penalty.


Sample Destinies
The following Destinies can apply to most any D&D campaign that utilizes the Destiny system presented here. These are, of course, only a small selection of possible Destinies. Should they choose not to use one of these, players and DMs may work together to come up with new Destinies that fit specific characters. However, those that do should take care to not create a Destiny that is too easy to achieve or allows a character to gain Destiny Points and Bonuses too easily. For instance, the Destiny "Kill Lots of Monsters" is much too broad and would allow characters to basically never run out of Destiny Points or Bonuses. (After all, how many adventurers go a week or more without killing other creatures and taking their stuff?)
Destiny Bonus: Whenever you perform some goal that puts you that much closer to fulfilling your Destiny, you gain the listed bonus.
Destiny Penalty: If you purposefully avoid your Destiny, you suffer this penalty.
Destiny Fulfilled: When you fulfill your Destiny, you gain the listed bonus or bonuses.


Bring the Light
You are determined and destined to rid the world of major Evil threats. You work toward this goal by destroying powerful evil Outsiders, thwarting major cults, and by destroying or redeeming powerful evil artifacts. You achieve your Destiny by finally ridding an area of evil, for a time at least.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you gain a +2 destiny bonus on attack rolls for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: You take a -2 on attack rolls and Will saves for 24 hours.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain an increase of +1 to any two ability scores of your choice. Additionally, you may treat any weapon you wield as if it had the holy property.

Discovery
You are destined to make an important discovery of some sort. Perhaps you seek a long-dead wizardís library full of spellbooks or the lost ruins (and treasure!) of an ancient civilization, or maybe youíve set yourself on a quest to find a new species of dragon or to create a new spell. You accomplish minor goals by finding clues to your ultimate discovery, and eventually fulfill your destiny by exposing the discovery to the world (or, perhaps, unleashing it upon the world).
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you may re-roll a single saving throw made within 24 hours and take the best result.
Destiny Penalty: You take a -1 penalty on all saving throws for 24 hours.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain a +1 destiny bonus to all of your saving throws. Additionally, you may re-roll a saving throw once per day, before you know the final result, and take the better roll.

Monster Slayer
You are fated to destroy a single powerful creature single-handedly, whether it be a dragon, demon, or something else entirely. This may be achieved for fame, gold, or more selfless reasons, but the result is the same. Your opponent must be a creature that is considered dangerous and well-known and has a CR of at least 2 higher than your character level. You may receive aid, but in general you are the one who must go down in history as the destroyer of the creature.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you gain a +2 destiny bonus on damage rolls for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: You take a -2 penalty to damage rolls and Will saves for 24 hours.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain a +2 increase to any one ability score of your choice. Additionally, you gain one bonus feat of your choice from the Fighter bonus feat list. You must meet any prerequisites for this feat.

Peace
Your destiny is to bring peace to some land or people. Perhaps you are fated to stop the violence between raiding barbarian tribes, or maybe to end a global war between major nations. Perhaps you're meant to do this through diplomacy, or maybe through deception or even armed conflict. Bringing peace to a region, whether for benevolent reasons or in your own self-interest, brings you fame and renown.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you take two points less damage from each attack against you for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: You take a -4 penalty on Charisma-related skill checks and ability checks for 24 hours.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain a permanent +1 bonus to AC. Also, you gain a +2 destiny bonus on Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks.

Position of Power
You are destined to become king, gain a title of nobility, be accepted to the hierarchy of your religious organization, take leadership of your thievesí guild, or be given position of high mage in your wizardís college. When you impress the higher-ups in your organization, perform actions that the bards and townsfolk speak of with awe, or increase your fame in some other manner, you recognize your increasing status. You finally fulfill your Destiny when you are granted some sort of powerful position, whether official or not.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you gain a +2 destiny bonus on Charisma-related skill checks and ability checks for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: For 24 hours, NPCs you meet have a starting attitude toward you of one category worse. See the Diplomacy skill description for more information on NPC attitudes.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain a +2 increase to one ability score of your choice. Additionally, you gain a +4 destiny bonus to your Leadership score.

Revenge
Someone, at some point, has done something to wrong you greatly. An evil wizard killed your tutor, a barbarian king ordered you hometown looted and its people decimate, or any number of other atrocities. Your goal is to find out who wronged you, how to find them, and then strike them down with great vengeance.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you gain a +2 destiny bonus on damage rolls for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: For 24 hours, you suffer a -1 penalty to AC and a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain an increase of +1 to any two abilities scores of your choice. Additionally, you gain Track as a bonus feat. If you already have this feat, you may instead gain as a bonus feat any Fighter bonus feat for which you meet all prerequisites.

brian c
2008-03-20, 08:01 PM
Excellent stuff. I love Revenge, how else can you get a +2 damage every time you say "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Peregrine
2008-03-20, 09:40 PM
I like. :smallsmile: I have to ask, though, is the bonus to ability scores just an untyped bonus, or is it an actual increase in ability score? (If it's the former, it might not apply to things like bonus skill points from Intelligence -- unless it acts like an inherent bonus, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...)

RTGoodman
2008-03-20, 09:55 PM
I have to ask, though, is the bonus to ability scores just an untyped bonus, or is it an actual increase in ability score? (If it's the former, it might not apply to things like bonus skill points from Intelligence -- unless it acts like an inherent bonus, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...)

Oops - it's supposed to be just an increase. I had them as inherent bonuses, but I changed it so it wouldn't be replaced as soon as you got wish or some Tomes and grabbed better inherent bonuses.

EDIT: Fixed now.

mroozee
2008-03-21, 12:39 AM
Monster SlayerYou are fated to destroy a single powerful creature single-handedly, whether it be a dragon, demon, or something else entirely. This may be achieved for fame, gold, or more selfless reasons, but the result is the same. Your opponent must be a creature that is considered dangerous and well-known and has a CR of at least 2 higher than your character level. You may receive aid, but in general you are the one who must go down in history as the destroyer of the creature.
Destiny Bonus: You and all allies within 60 feet of you gain a +2 destiny bonus on damage rolls for 24 hours.
Destiny Penalty: You take a -2 penalty to damage rolls and Will saves for 24 hours.
Destiny Fulfilled: You gain a +2 increase to any one ability score of your choice. Additionally, you gain one bonus feat of your choice from the Fighter bonus feat list. You must meet any prerequisites for this feat.

I guess it depends upon what is considered "powerful", "dangerous" and "well-known". A CR3 Ogre might fit that description for a small Hamlet, though a first level Wizard could then fulfill his destiny using Sleep. The Feat won't matter much but gaining a +2 to Int almost immediately will. Maybe put a minimum CR of 10 or so on the Monster.

RTGoodman
2008-03-21, 11:54 AM
I guess it depends upon what is considered "powerful", "dangerous" and "well-known". A CR3 Ogre might fit that description for a small Hamlet, though a first level Wizard could then fulfill his destiny using Sleep. The Feat won't matter much but gaining a +2 to Int almost immediately will. Maybe put a minimum CR of 10 or so on the Monster.

Well, like the rest of the system (as laid out here and in the original SWSE stuff), it's all up to DM purview. Yeah, the village might think a CR 3 Ogre is a pretty big deal, but the DM can decide whether or not that's a good enough challenge to fulfill someone's destiny. I was going to use examples for each destiny, but couldn't think of specific ones for some; this one, though, was going to be Beowulf.

A CR minimum seems good, but I know a lot of people prefer lower-level games (like the E6 variant), and I think that low-level characters should be able to fulfill a destiny (but they should be harder than you could achieve at first level).

TheLogman
2008-03-21, 03:11 PM
Both Bring the Light and Revenge give +1 bonuses to 2 abilities scores. Usually, odd numbered bonuses to ability scores are discouraged. The reason for this being is that bonuses for abilities are increased at every even number, so increasing by an odd amount would give an increase to characters with odd numbered scores, but not give any benefit to characters with even numbered scores. To rectify this, if you choose to, you should change it to +2 to one ability score.

RTGoodman
2008-03-21, 09:42 PM
It is sort of bad for those with mostly even scores, but usually characters will have one odd score (well, unless you just have weird rolls or use point buy to pick evens only). And if you have two odd scores, this is automatically two modifier increases.

It was the same way for some of the Destinies in the SWSE version and I just carried it over; it seems weird, but I don't really think it's that bad. I mean, at higher levels you can use wish or get a Tome with only a +1 inherent bonus. It's not the most optimized thing, but its a free bonus, so it can't be that bad.

Stycotl
2008-03-22, 12:51 PM
this is good stuff. i would like to see further destinies fleshed out if at all possible. fellow playgrounders could come with some to help you out. i think i have a couple that might be taking shape in my head.