Thursday 5 December 2013

Ties of Destiny / Destiny Tokens

In one of my recent adventures as a player, there was a situation, quite dire, where our group was pressed for time and had to find a specific location in a cave. Caves being caves, we encountered some enemies and other challenges and each was draining on our resources (including time left).

Finally, we met with a Carrion Crawler and with our little group being only level 2, it soon became a life and death situation. The terrain was tricky and my PC (I was myself quite entertained) was quite pissed at all the delays, more so because HE suggested going through the caves.

Finally, he leaped onto the ledge near the Carrion Crawler and brought down his sword. Now, at that point, it was just a matter of two normal rolls (jumping onto the ledge and attacking). However, I REALLY wanted for that action to matter because he just wanted to finish this.

Luckily for me, I rolled near perfect on the leap then proceeded to critical hit the carrion crawler then do max damage, killing it. I love when rolls match the intent.

Thinking about it afterwards, I wanted to see if there would be a way to remove the random element from certain actions that NEEDED to be heroics, game changers. Things almost impossible to do, but circumstances make them possible. Very movie/book like.

That's what I came up with and will try to use in my current campaign as a GM.

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." (W. J. Bryan)
  • Ties of Destiny tokens are shared among the party in a common pool and awarded by the DM. 
  • Any PC can use a token at any time to have any result turn to his favor. A failure or success can be turned into a critical success. Likewise, an enemy success (critical or not) can be turned into a failure. 
  • Tokens must be used immediately as the action is resolved. 
  • Only one token can be used by action. 
  • The Token is consumed when used. 
Since I wanted to totally remove the random element, this is near perfect to me. If the party feels that this very rare resource NEEDs to be spent at this specific moment because it could be game defining, story defining, then they can. I really wanted this to be a party based system, so that it doesn't become a tactical option but it kept as a "We need this or all is lost" option.

The GM should only award such token when the party really changed the world around them, marked the minds of people close to them and the like. Milestones during adventures might be a good place to reward the party with one token and then, only if they really handled it in a way that matters.

The party in When the Earth Growls earned one token after finally finding the caravan and rescuing people in time (yes, there was a timeline there). I'll see how they handle it...

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