Destiny is my own little RPG, focusing on multi-genre action-movie heroics. Fantasy, science fiction, horror — all these genres can be played in Destiny, but the system will always lend them a high-action cast.
(Though house rules can change this. It’s pretty easy to tone down the cinematic mechanics, and present a more gritty setting.)
The core design philosophy of Destiny is “simple mechanics that offer complex options”. It’s the goal of the system to allow for wild, wooly, “are you out of your mind?” plans, while expressing them in very simple ways.
Destiny is a skill-based role-playing game (RPG) system. Player Characters have six Attributes — Dexterity, Strength, Endurance, Intellect, Influence, Spirit — which represent different innate capabilities and the capacity to learn associated skills.
Attributes are rated numerically, with higher values representing more potent Attributes. Attribute Ratings range from 4 (Deficient) to 12 (Legendary). Human average is 8.
Each Attribute has inherent mechanical uses (Strength measuring how much a character can lift) and provides a Base Rating to associated skills:
Attribute – Base Rating
4-5 – 1
6-10 – 2
11-12 – 3
Each Attribute has a number of associated skills. Dexterity skills include acrobatics and dodge; Strength, lifting and melee weapons; Influence covers charm and persuade.
Skills represent specific areas of expertise, such as firearms, lifting, or charm. The firearms skill represents the character’s ability to shoot (e.g.) pistols and shotguns, lifting their ability to heft heavy objects, charm their ability to flatter others. Nearly every action one wishes to attempt will have an associated skill.
A character’s training in a skill is measured in “plusses”, as in “I have a plus 5 in this skill”. On the character sheet, and in game material, plusses are represented by the + symbol, as in +5. The associated Attribute’s Base Rating is added to the skill plus to get a Skill Rating.
Example: An Attribute of 8 (human average) gives a Base Rating of 2. A neophyte has +1 skill, which gives a Skill Rating (or “skill”) of 3 (2 +1).
Skills start out at 2 (Attribute base of 1 +1 skill) and go up from there. There is no built-in maximum. A total skill of 3 or less is Neophyte, 10 or so Professional, 20 or so World Class (one of the best in the world), 25 or so Legendary (one of the best of all time, like Robin Hood and archery).
Challenges are tests of skills or attributes, they represent characters attempting to do something. “I want to search for the Cardinal’s letter.” “I want to repair the car’s engine.” “I want to shoot at the griffin with my bow.”
Each challenge has a DR, or Difficulty Rating, representing how difficult it is. Difficulty Ratings start at Routine (DR 0), and vary upwards to Moderate (DR 8), Difficult (DR 10), Grueling (DR 18), and even Nearly Impossible (DR 28).
The dice method (explained in more detail later) uses 2d10 to generate a Bonus Number from +9 to 0 to -9. This is added to the skill or Attribute to get the Challenge total. A skill of 8 (Average) can thus produce results from -1 (Bonus Number of -9) to 17 (Bonus Number of +9).
(The colors relate to the die method, which uses a Hot die and a Cold die. I’ll explain more in a later post.)
The GM subtracts the DR from the Challenge total to get the Result Rating, which determines success or failure. A Result Rating of 1 or higher is a success. So, a Challenge total of 9 will fail against a Difficult challenge (DR 10), but succeed at Moderate challenge (DR 8), with a Result Rating of 2.
Note: In order to succeed at a Challenge, you must beat the Challenge. This means at least 1 Result Result Rating. A Result Rating of 0 doesn’t succeed, but it doesn’t fail either. Instead, it causes a Complication.
The character can still succeed at the Challenge, and can attempt it again using the same skill, but at a -3. Or they can try and approach the problem from a new angle, using a different skill to attempt the Challenge.
The GM has final say on which is appropriate, or what other skills can be used. Different skills might have higher or lower Difficulty Rating, depending on the skill.
That’s the core of the system. It’s straightforward and easy to learn. I’ll be expanding on different subsystems, explaining the rules in more depth, in the future.