Destiny

Any person can change the world through great talent and hard work—but most people don’t. Many fail when they try. Some force of fate clings to people with this background, however, to enmesh them in events that affect the lives of others. Yet this force is blind to good and evil. The tyrant who claws his way to power and turns a nation into one vast scream carries a destiny as mighty as the hero who leads the uprising against him. The force of destiny might work to keep a fated individual alive until she can fulfill her role, but it seldom grants happiness or contentment. If anything, powerful destinies tend to ruin lives as they drive their bearers to their fated ends.

Taking this Background indicates that a character has a specific fate in store, which the player and Storyteller should work together to create. (A brave player can leave the matter entirely in the Storyteller’s hands, though, learning the character’s destiny along with the character.) Astrologers can tell that a character has a destiny and give some idea of its strength, but a common horoscope won’t say what the destiny is.

Players can roll the character’s Destiny to create lucky breaks or coincidences. “Lucky” is a relative term, though. For instance, a person with destiny whose ship sank could be rescued before he dies of exposure… or he could be “rescued” by pirates who then sell him into slavery. But even this rough treatment could send the character where he needs to go. The more successes a player rolls, the luckier (and more improbable) the coincidence will be.

A player can also add a number of dice equal to his Destiny to the pool for a critical task, such as figuring out how to operate a First Age device before the loathsome wrigglies attack or throwing a knife to kill the courtier who knows the character’s treacherous schemes. The Background can even be added to the dice pool used to calculate a DV. Since a player can invoke Destiny only once per scene—and then only when the Storyteller agrees the task is critical to the character’s survival or advancing to her fate—this Background is usually not much good in open combat. In most cases, a player would be better off rolling for some lucky break to change the circumstances of a fight than to apply Destiny as a bonus to attack or defense for a singe action.

Only mortals, God-Bloods and Terrestrial Exalted can take this Background. The higher sorts of Chosen make their own fates, and other people have destinies to interact with them. For most people, their destiny is set at birth. A few unusual circumstances, however, can grant characters a destiny in the course of play instead of during character creation.

Heroic mortal martial artists may possess destinies. In learning supernatural martial arts, they declare their intent—their need—to step beyond ordinary life and ordinary fates. Such a destiny can lead a martial artist to repeated encounters with the Exalted as opponents, allies or other important roles in their lives.

Trait Description
You’ll live a life slightly greater than usual, perhaps as a local hero or villain or the sidekick to a more powerful figure. At some point, your actions will affect at least a town’s worth of people. Small coincidences happen in your life, such as meeting a person who gives you useful information.
•• Your life can affect a province or small nation, and your deeds will be regional gossip for years to come. You know you’re luckier than most people, even if that luck is all bad.
••• Your deeds influence a kingdom, for better or worse, and you’ll definitely win a place in chronicles or local legends. Unlikely coincidences often help or hinder you. People quickly see you don’t live an ordinary life. Some people stay close to you for that reason. Others stay away.
•••• Your choices affect a significant part of Creation for decades to come. You might found a kingdom or destroy one. It seems nothing can kill you or avert your destiny, even if you wish it would. Bad things often happen to people you love—usually when their deaths become more useful to your destiny than their lives. Your life is often entangled with other people who have prominent destinies.
••••• One way or another, the fate of the world is in your hands. Your life is full of astounding luck and heartbreaking tragedy as your destiny relentlessly drives you toward your place in history. The Empress certainly had Destiny 5 (and it might not be over yet).
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