Pathfinder: the Roleplaying GameDestiny is important in Nahast; it is part of the Ollin, pointing at the direction of its eternal turning. Most people are caught in the coming and going of fate, content to lead their lives from birth to death and back into the Wheel; this predictability allows augurs and astrologers to chart and forecast an individual’s life with a varying degree of accuracy. However, destiny is forged by the dictates of the rulers of the Age, unwitting as this may be. Some exceptional individuals realize this deep inside, and with their actions they change the direction of fate, and write their own paths in the Wheel. These extraordinary individuals are celebrated in legend as heroes.

Heroes in Nahast are the owners of their own fate; the stars might hint at their future and reveal their past, but in the end it is them who have the final word on their own path in life. This, in game terms, is reflected in the twin mechanics of Destiny Traits and Fate points.

Destiny Traits

When ballads sing of a hero’s prowess, they always start with an outstanding trait that defines the hero either by nature or skill; this is a Destiny Trait.

Destiny Traits are a peculiar characteristic, ability or feature that distinguishes the hero from the norm of his profession, and is exclusive to him. He might be lauded as the fastest runner in his kingdom, a sentinel with supernaturally sharp eyes, a swordsman the likes of whom history has not seen in centuries, etc.

When creating a hero for Nahast with The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, choose a Destiny Trait. Destiny Traits are unique, that is, no other person in the world has the same trait as the hero (especially other PCs); at the most, a Destiny Trait might be the same as the one of a hero of old, which might imply the character is somehow tied to that ancient hero. Also, only the PCs and some particularly heroic NPCs have Destiny Traits. The rest of the people have not been marked as heroes by the stars or forged their place in legends with their own hands.

While most sagas will describe a hero having his Destiny Trait from birth, this is actually not so common; many heroes develop their Destiny Trait only when they take their first step in the heroic journey that is their future lives, and it also often marks a momentous event in the character’s life that defines his outlook.

For example: Red Storm Behari is one of the most feared swordswomen in the Northern hemisphere, but she was not as intimidating while she grew up; it was only after a brush with death that sent her spirit roaming into the Region of the Dead that Behari gained her Destiny Trait: Death-Touched, which belongs to the Skill Excellence category (see below) and gives her the ability to use Intimidate to demoralize opponents as a swift action, 2 times  per day, with a +2 bonus to the check.

Destiny Trait Effects

Because Destiny Traits are unique and defining, there is no exhaustive list of specific traits; instead, the Destiny Traits are grouped in the following categories to help players come up with their character’s own Destiny Trait. Choose one of the effects below and tailor it by following each category’s guidelines, then give it a name and come up with the reason why the hero enjoys such a trait.

All final Destiny Trait effects and story origin are subject to GM approval. Unless otherwise specified or customized, a hero can call upon his Destiny Trait only once per day. Heroes can call upon their Destiny Trait an additional time per day when reaching levels 6th (2/day), and 16th (3/day).

An adventuring scholar gambles with fate.

An adventuring scholar gambles with fate.

Skill Excellence

Through great effort, innate skill or a natural knack, you excel in a particular skill and go down in legend as its most accomplished practitioner. Choose a specific task or aspect related to a skill, such as swords for Craft (weapons), spotting by sight for Perception, wands for Use Magic Device, etc. When you call upon your Destiny Trait, you gain a +5 bonus to a single skill check for that specific task, regardless of how much the action lasts.

Customization: You can customize the effects of your Destiny Trait by reducing the bonus to the skill check; unless noted, you can only apply the same customization once:

  • Reduce the bonus by -1 to halve the time required to perform the task if it normally takes 1 minute or more.
  • Reduce the bonus by -1 to reduce the action required for the check (full-round to standard, standard to move, move to swift, swift to free, free to immediate). You can apply this customization more than once.
  • For Peception only, reduce the bonus by -2 to gain low-light vision (if having normal vision), darkvision (if having low-light vision), or blindsense (if having darkvision) when calling upon the Destiny Trait for a maximum of 5 rounds.
  • Reduce the bonus by -2 to call upon your Destiny Trait an additional time per day.
  • Reduce the bonus by -2 and choose a second task either from the same skill or a different skill that bears some relation to the primary task (such Spellcraft and Use Magic Device). Calling upon the Destiny Trait grants the bonus to either task, but you can only perform only one task at the same time, not both.
  • Reduce the bonus by -2 to perform a primary task and a secondary task (as chosen by the above customization) with the same action; the GM may rule this impossible.
  • For Perception only, reduce the bonus by -3 to gain the scent extraordinary ability when calling upon the Destiny Trait for a maximum of 5 rounds.
  • Reduce the bonus by -3 to reroll a skill check for the Destiny Trait task, applying the bonus to the second roll; you must keep the lowest roll nevertheless.
  • Reduce the bonus by -4 to roll twice for the same Destiny Trait task applying the bonus to both rolls and keeping the highest result.

Note that the bonus and customized effects only apply when you call upon your Destiny Trait; they are not permanent benefits.

Innate Talent

You understand the underpinnings of your training with such perfection that you are able to build upon them when the situation demands it. When you call upon your Destiny Trait, you gain the use of a feat that includes a feat you already possess as a prerequisite, even if you do not meet other prerequisites. You cannot gain a feat that is twice removed from the feat you have in the feat tree. For example, if you have Improved Disarm and call upon this Destiny Trait, you can gain the use of Greater Disarm even if your base attack bonus is lower than +6. However, if you only have Combat Expertise, you can only gain Improved Disarm, not Greater Disarm, as it is twice removed from Combat Expertise in the feat tree. You can use the gained feat for 5 rounds as if you had it, and you specify the feat you gain each time you call upon your Destiny Trait.

Customization: You can customize the effects of your Destiny Trait by reducing the amount of rounds for which you enjoy the feat; unless noted, you can only apply the same customization once:

  • Reduce the duration by 2 rounds to call upon your Destiny Trait an additional time per day.
  • Reduce the duration by 2 rounds to gain a feat that is twice removed from your original feat in its feat tree.
  • Reduce the duration by 2 rounds to gain the ability to call upon your Destiny Trait as many times per day as you wish; instead you are limited to use it a maximum number of rounds per day equal to the normal duration multiplied by the number of times per day that you would be able to call upon your Destiny Trait (a 6th level character with this customization can enjoy this Destiny Trait for 6 total rounds per day).
  • Increase the duration by 2 rounds, and you become fatigued after calling upon your Destiny Trait.

Attunement

Your soul is tied to something else in a subtle way, quiet possibly taking a peek into the Dreamlands or even the Region of the Dead. Your Destiny Trait allows you to make Perception or Sense Motive checks to detect certain presences. Choose a particular phenomenon, creature type or situation, for example, spellcasting, curses, possessing spirits, undead, martial artists, hostility, evil, good, shapeshifters, etc. The GM has final say whether he allows the item or creature your Destiny Trait can detect. The DC for the skill check is 15 + the target’s HD/character level/twice the spell level or equivalent modifier as determined by the GM. Your attunement has a range of 30 ft. and is not blocked by cover or concealment. This range increases to 60 feet at 16th level.

Customization: You can customize the effects of your Destiny Trait by reducing the range of your attunement; unless noted, you can only apply the same customization once:

  • Reduce the range by 5 feet to gain a +2 bonus to your Perception or Sense Motive check.

Survivor

As one whose fate is tied to the greater turning of the Wheel of Ages, you have an uncanny resourcefulness that let’s you excel when you are at risk. Choose one type of combat roll: attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, weapon damage rolls, spell damage rolls, Fortitude saves, Will saves, or Reflex saves. When you call upon your Destiny Trait, you can re-roll the chosen roll and keep the highest result. You cannot customize this Destiny Trait any further.

Past Life

Every soul travels back and forth in the Wheel of Ages, and yours remembers tricks it picked up in previous turnings. Choose a class feature from a class other than yours; this includes weapon and armor proficiencies. When you call upon your Destiny Trait, you are considered a member of that class for 5 rounds with respect of the chosen class feature. This Destiny Trait is not customizable, but the following guidelines apply:

  • The chosen class feature must be of a lower class level than your character level.
  • Features that measure their effects in daily rounds, such as a barbarian’s rage or bardic music can only be used the number of times per day for using a Destiny Trait and for the maximum number of 5 rounds per use.
  • For spellcasting, you must choose a particular spell of a level that you could cast if you were a member of the class. You can only use the spell once per use of Destiny Trait, and it has a maximum duration of 5 rounds. Its save DC is calculated normally.
  • If you gain a level of the class where the Destiny Trait comes from, you must choose a different class feature from a different class following the above guidelines.
  • At 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level, you can replace the feature in the Destiny Trait with a different one, but it must be from the same class.

Greatness

Whatever it is that you do, you have an innate mastery that shines through in moments of need. Choose one of your class features (it may be one you do not have yet but is part of your class), or an ability granted by race or feats whose effects depend on your character level. When you call upon your Destiny Trait, your class level (for a chosen class feature) or character level (for a chosen level-dependent ability) is considered to be 2 levels higher for 5 rounds, which may include actually gaining access to it if it is an ability you do not have yet but you will gain in two more levels. When applied to spellcasting, this increase affects individual spells and does not grant additional spell slots or known spells, but it stacks with the Heighten Spell metamagic feat.

Customization: You can customize the effects of your Destiny Trait by reducing the amount of rounds for which you enjoy the feat; unless noted, you can only apply the same customization once:

  • Reduce the duration by 1 round to be considered an additional level higher regarding your Destiny Trait.
  • Reduce the duration by 2 rounds to call upon your Destiny Trait an additional time per day.

Fate Points

Every Age has a race that rules it, and its very dreams are able to influence it. In the First Age, spirits had the power but not the inclination. During the Second Age, dragons mastered the art of working fate. In the Third Age, the reptilians bent the world to their whims. In the Fourth Age, the beastfolk were owners of their own destiny.

The Fith Age is no different, and the elemental races have inherited the power to shape their world and their future.

Gaining Fate Points

This blessing from The Powers is represented by fate points. All characters in Nahast begin play with fate points, although those from races whose Age came and went start with fewer, as their spirits are no longer attuned to the world’s destiny.

Humans, dwarves, elves and halflings, as well as half-elves and half-orcs, begin play with 3 fate points, while beastfolk and reptilians start with only 1.

All characters gain 1 fate point when they gain a level, or when they perform an extraordinary action that is sure to change the future of anyone involved. The GM doles out such fate point awards at her own discretion, and usually for actions the characters take that risk their lives or are sure to be sung in ballads for years to come. Suffice to say, earning a fate point is an extraordinary act in and of itself.

Using Fate Points

Characters use fate points to influence the world around them. They are never actively aware that they are doing this; it is the players who choose to spend their character’s reservoir of fate points to create interesting situations or get out of unfortunate ones. A player can spend fate points to:

  • Fateful Vitality: Upon attaining a new level in any class, the player may spend the fate point the character just gained to automatically gain the maximum number of hit points he would gain for that class, without rolling the Hit Die.
  • Preordained Success: A player can spend a fate point to have the character achieve the best success possible in a single action without rolling the dice. In case of an attack, this awards an automatic critical hit. This use of fate cannot be used to complement Craft checks.
  • Fortune’s Inspiration: In a moment of crisis, the character can suddenly use abilities beyond his ken. By spending a fate point, a player can have the character use a feat he qualifies for, but has not yet gained. This use lasts for as long as necessary to complete a task (a combat encounter, the crafting of an item, a tense negotiation, etc.)
  • Not the Time to Die: By spending a fate point, a player can keep the character from certain death, negating a single failed roll or a roll by the GM that would result in the character’s death.
  • Serendipity: The player can spend a fate point to put the character in the right place, at the right time. The character must be able to get to the destination in a plausible manner; this use of fate simply has him arriving at the most opportune moment. A character can suddenly decide to check on an old friend just in time to overhear him betraying the group, but he cannot suddenly arrive at the emperor’s court if he’s only a lowly peasant.
  • Soulmate: Two players, or a player and the GM can spend one fate point each to forge a strong bond between their characters (or a PC with an NPC). From that point onward, the characters become soulmates. The relationship is deep, but need not be romantic; in fact, it could be between two mortal enemies. The effect of this bond is that one’s fate is intimately tied to the other’s. A character can spend fate points to create effects for his soulmate (yes, sometimes a villain wants the hero to arrive just in time to see his beloved’s execution…). When something momentous happens to one of the soulmates, the other can make a level check (d20 + character level, DC 15) to sense it, even if he can only know the general nature of the event, such as dangerous, joyful, surprising, sad, etc.
  • Destiny: Fate points have the power to make things “just happen”. A player can spend a varying number of fate points to add, subtract or alter aspects of the story in interesting ways, and always under the GM’s approval. One point may cause a character to suddenly remember he knew somebody in the port the group is heading to that might help him; two points can determine that there was, indeed, a ledge between the character and a very nasty fall; three points can suddenly reveal that the character and the main villain suddenly remember they were lovers in a past life.

Fate and Astrology

Certain scholars have taken to study astrology, the science of reading fate in the stars. This practice takes them closer to understanding the workings of fate, and may sometimes alter it. A future article will detail the ways in which fate interacts with magic.

Leave a Reply