Sunday, March 6, 2011

GodWar System Part 2: Destiny and Fate

All characters in GodWar have a Destiny rating that is a measure of both the character’s importance in the world and their importance in the story.  Unnamed pack animals, unremarkable peasants, craftsmen who just do their jobs, etc have low destinies while leaders of men, great heroes, and notable villains all have high Destinies.  Most people have a Destiny of 1, but player characters are assumed to start with a Destiny of 5 (a lower starting Destiny can be used for a grittier game while a higher starting destiny makes the game more over the top).  A person’s Destiny is not set and can change through time.  Sidekicks may become heroes in their own right, once powerful kings may become deposed mad beggars, and wild horses may become loyal trained destriers. 

Destiny is not a measure of a persons worth, but how much they can accomplish at the moment.  Characters that pursue greatness tend to have higher destinies than those who do not.  An ambitious peasant who studies and works at becoming a warrior will likely have a higher destiny than a noble who does nothing but mope around his house.

As a character increases in Destiny they gain more effort, allowing them to do more in a given conflict, and some other special abilities besides.  A character only has the effort appropriate to his current Destiny, but has the special abilities from all lower Destiny levels.  So a Legendary character is immune to area damage not specifically aimed at him, just like Paragon characters. 

Destiny Ratings and their Effects
0: Animal
Unnamed animals, such as herd animals and random wildlife, that pose no threat nor have any notable interactions with the players.  These NPCs are rarely more than window dressing and rarely get involved in the story.
  • Animals are rendered unconscious or dead (at attacker discretion) if they suffer a single point of damage of any type.   
  • Animals do draw cards and may only carry out one action per round, for which they are considered to have a result of 5. 
  • Examples: Cows, deer, rats, rabbits. 

1: Mook
Mooks are average people who have no specific name and are not direct opponents have a Destiny of 1, as do named animals with no narrative importance.  These NPCs can provide particularly weak opponents for the players and operate many of the establishments the players may frequent, such as bars or farms.  Most people in GodWar have a Destiny of 1.
  • Mooks are rendered unconscious or dead (at attacker discretion) if they suffer a single point of damage of any type but can benefit from armor. 
  • Mooks do not roll draw cards and instead may only attempt a single action each around with a result of 5. 
  • Examples: Named pack animals, random NPCs in bars, most peasants, green soldiers.  

2: Minion
Minions are average people who have a first and last name, are of limited narrative importance, or are nameless minions in direct opposition to the players. The most common threat players will face en masse are minions. 
  • Minions are rendered unconscious or dead if they suffer a five points of damage of any type but can benefit from armor.
  • Minions do not draw cards and instead may only attempt two actions each round with a result of 5 for each.    
  • Examples: Bandits, thugs, average soldiers, hungry wolves, pick pockets,

3: Henchman
Henchmen are average characters who have some experience and who are of some narrative importance have a Destiny of 3.  Henchmen often lead groups of minions and can provide some threat to players, particularly in groups.  Most named characters have a Destiny of 3.
  • Henchmen have 22 point to divide between their Health and Stability.   
  • Henchment do not draw cards and instead may only attempt two actions each around with a result of 10 for one and 5 for the other.  Generally they should only be able to use the 10 result in two skills. 
  • Examples: Sergeants, conquistadors, veteran soldiers, assassins, bandit leaders, wizard apprentices, angry bears, highly skilled craftsmen, trusted mounts, squires, court advisors, smugglers, Templar initiates.

4: Expert
Experienced characters have a few years of experience in the world and are skilled at their chosen profession.  They are always of some narrative importance and always have a first and last name, and some may have titles as well.  Experts often serve as the right hand men to Veteran characters and commonly have several henchmen that report to them.
  • Experts have four effort. 
  • Experts have one skill at 4, two skills at 3, two skills at 1, and all other skills at 2. 
  • Experts calculate their Health and Stability normally.    
  • Examples: Bandit chiefs, master craftsmen, knights of renown, hedge wizards, elite soldiers, captains, low ranking nobles, crime bosses, bounty hunters, Templars, Warriors of Axum, Swiss Guard.

5: Veteran
Veteran characters have many years of experience under their belt in addition to some manner of renown, wealth, power, or magical skills.  They are the leaders of men, the doers of great deeds, and the masters of the political scene.  Many have influence over several dozen followers, a territory comparable to a barony, a business or ship, or some other manner of temporal power beyond their own skills. Veteran characters are always narratively important, such as being the prime opponent (or at least a major lieutenant to the main villain) in a given story. Most player characters and important NPC villains are Veterans. 
  • Veteran is the default starting level for player characters. 
  • Veterans have five effort.    
  • Veterans calculate their Health and Stability normally.    
  • Veterans begin with one skill at 5, two skills at 4, three skills at 3, one skill at 1, and all other skills at 2.  These may be determined by the player or determined randomly via card draws. 
  • Any Destiny 0 character that contests against or attacks a Veteran character automatically fails. 
  • Examples: Bandit kings, master assassins, skilled knights, wizards, commanders, barons, crime lords, master thieves, Templar captains, Stigmatics, Michaelangelo, Ponce de Leon

6: Notable
Notable characters have major influence on any story they are a part of and have worldly influence over a large area, such as a county or large swath of nomadic territory.  Notable characters are always extremely proficient in their chosen path but usually have a few other talents as well. They are always of great narrative importance, becoming one of the major characters in any story they are involved in.
  • Notable have six effort.
  • Notables calculate their Health and Stability normally. 
  • Notables generally have one skill at 6, two at 5, three at 4, four at 3, and everything else at 2. 
  • Notable no longer have any chance of dying due to blood loss or normal illnesses. 
  • Examples: Generals, master swordsmen, dukes, skilled wizards, heroes, master inventors, Machiavelli,

7: Hero (or Villain)
Heroes (or villains for less well inclined characters) are the highest a character can advance before they stop being completely mortal and become somewhat an agent of something larger.  Heroes can alter the fate of nations on a daily basis and are beginning to breach the limits of normal mortal accomplishment. 
  • Heroes have seven effort.   
  • Heroes calculate their Health and Stability normally. 
  • Heroes generally have one skill at 7, two at 6, three at 5, four at 4, and everything else at 3. 
  • Heroes are no longer affected by area attacks that do not specifically target them, such as grenades thrown at someone standing next to the Hero. 
  • Examples: Archmages, kings, great heroes, Christopher Columbus, Queen Elizabeth

8: Paragon
Paragon characters have passed beyond the constraints of mortality and into some greater level of existence.  They are now intrinsically written into the story of existence, and are extremely hard to remove from it (for good or ill).  Paragon characters can take on entire armies or change the fate of entire regions. 
  • Paragons have eight effort
  • Paragons calculate their Health and Stability normally. 
  • Paragons generally have one skill at 8, two at 7, three at 6, four at 5, and everything else at 4. 
  • Any attacker with a Destiny of 0 or 1 that attacks or contest against a Paragon automatically fails. 
  • Examples: Master wizards, Lenardo da Vinci

9: Legend
Legend characters are the sorts that storm Heaven, fear no mortal man, and bend many nations to their will.  Their deeds will long survive their life time, be they for good or ill. 
  • Legends have nine effort.
  • Legends calculate their Health and Stability normally.
  • Legends generally have one skill at 9, two at 8, three at 7, four at 6, and everything else at 5. 
  • Legend characters have sixteen base physical and mental health levels. 
  • Examples: Serafis

10: Incarnate
The most powerful creatures in existence, only a handful of Incarnates exist at any given time.  They are the greatest heroes, leaders, inventors, and villains of their day, able to save or threaten entire worlds or levels of existence with their actions.  Such individuals are encountered only very very rarely and usually serve as the long term protagonists or antagonists for long term stories.  Incarnates usually exit the story shortly after reaching this state, having few suitable obstacles to face. 
  • Incarnate characters have ten effort.    
  • Incarnate characters calculate their health and mental stability normally.
  • Any attacker with a Destiny of 0, 1 or 2 that attacks or contest against a Paragon automatically fails. 
  • Examples: Your players in the later stages of the game.  There are no Incarnates in the default setting of GodWar. 

Player characters automatically go up in Destiny as they progress through the campaign by earning Fate points.  Fate points are earned parallel to experience points and are earned for great deeds, successful or unsuccessful, that the character is involved in.  Winning or losing great battles, committing great crimes, giving amazing speeches to rouse the common people to revolt can all result in gaining Fate points.  Also the character earning recognition in the world, such as gaining noble title or a reputation in the world, can garner him Fate points. 

At character creation each character has 25 Fate points to build their history this far in the world.  These points are spent according to the following guidelines to determine what the major events in the character’s life have been so far, and the mechanical and material effects of them.  Instead of allocating these points players can choose to randomly determining this history using card draws if desired. 

To spend Fate points the player should come up with a list of titles, special skills, achievements, important items, and other facets of the character not covered in abilities or powers.  These can really be just about anything, from having a noble title to being the best gambler in France.  The player should make a list of at least five such things describing their character. 

Example Fate Items

Baron of (insert name of lands here)
Carrier of the Blade Caliburn
Slayer of the Demon Caarrizod
Steadfast as a Mountain
Captain of the Drunken Mermaid

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The player then allocates the twenty five Fate points they begin with amongst this list with no single item allowed more points than the Destiny of the character.  These descriptors of a character’s past are called facets.  Any time the facet could reasonably affect a given situation, such as a reputation helping you talk someone into doing what you want or a noble using his legal authority to order someone around, you get a bonus to your result on any related tests equal to the value of the facet.  Multiple facets may be applied to the same result.  Each time a facet is used during a session the rating of the facet decreases by one (if a character goes throwing his reputation around too much it wears thin, a noble who hides behind his title does not inspire much loyalty, etc).  These lost points return at the beginning of each session unless there is some story reason for them not to (such as a noble losing his title). 

Points spent on facets that involve physical objects, like property or ships, gain the character a number of construction points to build that item equal to the value of the facet

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