One of the most important resources available to your SIFRP character is Destiny. In effect, Destiny, or rather your Destiny Points, let you to seize control of story aspects to control your fate and modify your fortunes. Your character is a protagonist after all, and it wouldn’t do to lose your hero (or villain) to an errant quarrel flung from a careless crossbow. Read on to learn more about how you can control your destiny in A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
Destiny is the ability to shape the outcomes of your experiences by subtly altering the story in ways to let you overcome adversity and lift yourself above the fickle fortunes of mere luck. As your character grows older and more accomplished, you may invest your destiny into qualities, which manifest as specific advantages, but also ground you, binding you to the fabric of the setting. Each time you acquire a quality, you bring yourself closer to realizing your destiny. Of course, you might resist, you might flee your fate, but then who’s to say your flight wasn’t planned all along?
Your fate lives in Destiny Points. Through them, you take control of the story, create opportunities where none exist, escape near certain death, or use them to advance their own cause. You may use your Destiny Points in one of three ways: Spend, Burn, or Invest. You spend a Destiny Point to change the game in a minor way. You burn a Destiny Point to change the game in a significant way. Or, you invest a Destiny Point to acquire a permanent benefit, a quality. Younger characters have more Destiny Points, while older characters have fewer, because they have invested or burned more of them. Investing Destiny Points is detailed in the A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying rulebook, while spending and burning Destiny Points are described here.
Spending Destiny Points
The easiest and most conservative use of Destiny Points is to spend them. When you spend a Destiny Point, you adjust your circumstances. You might alter the outcome of a test, or assume narrative control over the story in some minor way. Once you spend the Destiny Point, you cannot use it again until you achieve a story goal, the climax of a particular chapter in your character’s life. Since you should be able to achieve a story goal in one or two game sessions, you are rarely without Destiny Points for long.
You can spend a Destiny Point at any time, even when it’s not your turn, though it’s polite to let other players finish their turns first. You may only spend a single Destiny Point at a time for any one of the following effects.
- Gain +1 bonus die on a test. This die can exceed the normal limits on bonus dice.
- Convert one of your bonus dice into a test die.
- Remove a –1 penalty die.
- Bestow a –1 penalty die on an opponent for one test.
- Take an extra Lesser Action.
- Ignore your Armor Penalty for one round.
- Improve or worsen another character’s disposition by one-step (see the Intrigue section).
- Negate another character’s use of a spent Destiny Point.
Add a minor detail to a scene, such as a shoddy lock, a minor clue, or some other useful but small element to can help move the story along.
Burning Destiny Points
When spending a Destiny Point is not enough, you can "burn" a Destiny Point for a much greater effect. Burning a Destiny Point permanently reduces the number of Destiny Points you have. In effect, they function like "extra lives," giving you much more control over the dice when they turn against you. Destiny Points are rare and precious commodities, so burn them wisely.
As with spending Destiny Points, you may only burn one at a time. A burned Destiny Point can achieve any one of the following results.
- Convert all of your bonus dice into test dice for one test.
- Add +5 to one of your test results.
- Automatically succeed on one test as if you had rolled the Difficulty exactly (without any extra degrees of success).
- Remove all damage and injuries (though not wounds).
- When defeated, decide the consequences of your own defeat.
- Transform another character’s successful test into a failed test.
- Automatically compel another character in an intrigue.
- Permanently remove the penalties associated with a negative quality.
- Negate the effects of another character’s burned Destiny Point.
- Add a significant detail to a scene, such as gaining a major clue, finding a way out of a nasty predicament, or some other significant and useful element that shifts the story in your favor.
- Avoid certain death. When you use this option, you character is presumed dead and removed from the story until such time as the Narrator deems it appropriate for the character’s return.
Evan (he/him) got his start in tabletop games in 1995, as a co-founder of Rubicon Games. Among other games, he has worked on Cranium, Cranium Hullabaloo, and the Pokémon trading card game. RPGs he has edited for include Everway, Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Spaceship Zero, Warhammer Fantasy second edition, the d20 System, A Song of Ice and Fire, Mutants & Masterminds, Dragon Age, Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE, Blue Rose, Pathfinder, and Critical Role (5e). He has been managing our web sites since about 2002. He co-designed Walk the Plank, our card game of piratical trick taking, currently available in print-on-demand format via DriveThruCards.com.