Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-28-2017, 09:27 PM   #1
Otaku
 
Otaku's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota, USA
Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Last Week: Danger Sense, Precognition, Psychometry
Next Week: Detect

One of the difficulties I have been experiencing with this series is the order of topics for review. Following the alphabetical order from the Advantages Trait list found on p. B297-298 seems obvious, but I haven’t been doing that because some traits are so closely related, I am hard pressed to justify not reviewing them together. We also have a long way to go before we get through this list, so I am inclined to group up when I can. Sometimes two closely related traits, traits even traits that are listed together in the Advantages section of Basic Set: Characters can be very far apart alphabetically, and thus in the index. This can be problematic is the most iconic one is not the one under which the CotD will be filed.

All of this is to help explain why even though Daredevil, Dark Vision, and even Deep Sleeper are in front of it in the index, we’ll be covering Destiny today. Daredevil will most likely be reviewed alongside “Luck”, as I don’t think it is too confusing to hide it there. Dark Vision is one of several vision-related Advantages we have yet to cover, many of which are subsets of another. I am thinking of saving those all for a Week using the heading “Vision-Based Advantages” because that seems like something people might search out (and there is not enough room to list all in the thread’s title or tags). If anyone would like to discuss this further with me, feel free to PM me. If it turns out several would like to weigh in, I can start a thread over it.

Basic


Destiny can be either a Supernatural Mental Advantage (p. B48) or Disadvantage (p.B131-132), though it has aspects that are Social or “Other”, as well. Destiny can also be divided between Minor, Major, and Great, worth +/- 5, 10, or 15 points depending on whether it is taken as an Advantage or a Disadvantage. Destiny preordains a particular fate for the character in question, and is basically you agreeing to the GM putting your adventure somewhat “on the rails”. Trying to circumvent your Destiny, even a positive one, invites the GM to arrange a punishment as a matter of RAW (p.B48).

Once you fulfill an advantageous Destiny, the GM ought to allow you to transfer the points to positive Reputation based upon it. If you fulfill a disadvantageous Destiny, and it fails to strip you of appropriate Advantages (like Allies, a good Reputation, Wealth, etc.) worth the inverse of its value, then the GM is to require you pay off the difference. If you don’t, then the GM is free to assign your character Unluckiness or Divine Curse, even if they are worth less (negative numbers here) than your Destiny was. Not sure if the end compensation was intended as the only options or just guidelines.

The GM is allowed to change your Destiny, so long as it is still point value appropriate, and you don’t get to decide the specifics anyway, so one should be careful not to make assumptions. An advantageous Destiny may help keep you alive through a situation where you ought to have died, so you may live to fulfill it, but the text in [Basic] makes it clear that the GM may also find a way to make your death fit your destiny, even Major Destiny [15]. Likewise, if you have the points to pay off your negative Destiny (whatever level it is), you may escape with your honor, or perhaps with your life.

As an Advantage, a Great Destiny means that by the time it is fulfilled, everyone will know your name and sing your praises. As a Disadvantage, it means you’re in for a bad time, either death or ruin, and in a way that it affects those around you as well (possibly the entire campaign setting). A Major Destiny is a slightly less impressive version of a Great Destiny. This level is suggested for someone who is fated to die a heroic death in a certain way and can protect your character from dying in any other way. As a Disadvantage, a Major Destiny means playing a key role in a poor turn of events. An example from the text is being tasked with delivering an important message, and tragedy occurring because you arrive with it too late. A Minor Destiny (as an Advantage) basically guarantees one notable victory, while as a Disadvantage it means one notable failure.

Other Supplements

Focusing on what I own, as usual; feel free to mention things from books I don’t have available, and if all goes well, I’ll Edit it in here. From Powers, I’ve got nothing more than a reference here or there, involving Destiny interacting with other traits like Precognition. Power-Ups 2: Perks includes a Perk level Destiny or two. Power-Ups 3: Talents has Destiny as an appropriate Enabler or Prerequisite (if those rules are being used) for Intuitive Salesmen Talent.

Useful Links

Once again, I have to post this now or run so late we’ll end up skipping a week, so please forgive me for not having any of these researched yet. Do suggest ones for me to add in here, as it saves me a lot of time searching myself.

Discusion Starters


Have you ever taken Destiny? How about been in the group (even the GM) when someone else took it? How did it work out? If you’ve never played with it at all, what do you think of it? Are there any traits I ought to have included besides Destiny in this week’s discussion? I almost included Serendipity, but decided against it.
__________________
My 4e library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Power-Ups 2, Power-Ups 3, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), mostly provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)

Last edited by Otaku; 03-08-2017 at 09:58 PM.
Otaku is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2017, 09:41 PM   #2
Leynok
 
Leynok's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Australia WA
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

I think you forgot that Monster Hunters includes a variation on Destiny, instead creating a pool of points that you or your enemies can use to buy success.

As a GM, I love Destiny. It's one of those plot hook Dis/Advantages that makes it easy to tie a PC into planned events. Unfortunately, I don't think any player of mine has ever taken it in any game that actually got off the ground.

The only time I can currently recall seeing Destiny being used, was on an NPC in a game I was a player in. He was a friend to us PCs and we unfortunately failed to prevent his bad destiny for occurring, being used as the host body for the Resurrection for the first real villain of the game (there was the implication that we could save them, but the game came to an unfortunately early end due to real life reasons). The GM was especially amused at how well the dice and events around the time that said NPC's Destiny happened just seemed to work to allow said Destiny to happen without having to GM fudge anything.
Leynok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2017, 09:46 PM   #3
kirbwarrior
 
kirbwarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Dreamland
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Power-Ups 5: Impulse Points completely changes what Destiny does and instead makes it into a refillable pool of cp that can be spent on effects such as Flesh Wounds (B417). It keeps a similar 'feel' that you are destined for greatness.

As for actual use, I've never taken it as per Basic. I don't know what it does. I'm not sure what the difference between having Destiny and 'being the protagonist' is (or is that what Destiny is supposed to symbolize?). My players have never taken it, and a fellow GM of mine has discussed it with me and others and we aren't sure what it is. I believe this is because it is probably the most ambiguous trait in Gurps. To compare, Unusual Background literally does nothing and I've taken it on roughly 1/4 of my characters.

However, the version in PU5 is incredibly fun and at this point my players are always taking it, and sometimes I just give it to the entire party freely.

Serendipity is a different trait altogether in Basic, but very similar in PU5.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfish View Post
While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
kirbwarrior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 12:53 AM   #4
Leynok
 
Leynok's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Australia WA
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
As for actual use, I've never taken it as per Basic. I don't know what it does. I'm not sure what the difference between having Destiny and 'being the protagonist' is (or is that what Destiny is supposed to symbolize?). My players have never taken it, and a fellow GM of mine has discussed it with me and others and we aren't sure what it is. I believe this is because it is probably the most ambiguous trait in Gurps. To compare, Unusual Background literally does nothing and I've taken it on roughly 1/4 of my characters.

However, the version in PU5 is incredibly fun and at this point my players are always taking it, and sometimes I just give it to the entire party freely.

Serendipity is a different trait altogether in Basic, but very similar in PU5.
The conclusion that I came to (even though I've never been able to test it), is that Destiny would actually work like Serendipity, but only towards fulfilling your Destiny (I imagine it's probably 1 un/lucky coincidice a session per +/- 5 points).
Leynok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 01:28 AM   #5
Lord Azagthoth
 
Lord Azagthoth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Helmouth, The Netherlands
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

None of my players have ever chosen Destiny. I do have it as a prerequisite if they want to buy Talents above level 4 or any of the Force Talents (Force Sensitivity, Alter, Control, Sense, Telekinetic Affinity, etc. above 4).

I would love to see a player taking a destiny and really role-plays it. I think having a Destiny as a PC brings the character to another heroic level.

So I only use it for my NPCs (e.g., Anakin Skywalker has Force Talents above 4 and therefore he has a Destiny "Bring Balance to the Force", Darth Bane is another one being the "Sith'ari").
__________________
May the Force be with us all

Dark Lord Azagthoth

GURPS 4th Star Wars
GURPS 4th Star Wars Forum
Lord Azagthoth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 01:50 AM   #6
TheRedArmy
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: New Iberia, Louisiana
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

I actually really like Destiny, and took it on my favorite GURPS character I ever played, a Dungeon Fantasy cleric; I took the max level of it, Great Destiny (because go big or go home :P ).

I never took any tangible benefit from the advantage itself - no bonuses to rolls, or anything like that. I also used a variant on the blessed advantage (in the form of praying to my deity), to get premonitions to help the GM push me along on the "right" path to reach my destiny, whatever it was.

I seriously didn't expect anything except a truly incredible and meaningful end to my character (I had a feeling my destiny would eventually kill me, whatever it was, so I was prepared for it). But regardless, I was just looking forward to the thing my PC would eventually do, whatever it was. I really think this should mostly be considered a RP advantage, taken because you want to make sure you do something great, or must struggle through a bad rap for a failure on your part.
TheRedArmy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 06:32 AM   #7
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leynok View Post
I think you forgot that Monster Hunters includes a variation on Destiny, instead creating a pool of points that you or your enemies can use to buy success.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
Power-Ups 5: Impulse Points completely changes what Destiny does and instead makes it into a refillable pool of cp that can be spent on effects such as Flesh Wounds (B417). It keeps a similar 'feel' that you are destined for greatness.
The moment I saw the thread title, I feared that the MH/IB rewrite will come up, and totally displace any discussion of GMing Basic Set Destiny. Oh well, seems I shouldn't have worried as much as I did, but still.

I like the concept of Basic Set Destiny, but the thing that prevents me from taking it is that (a) it doesn't offer the opportunity to even vaguely decide what sort of Destiny it will be and (b) because it is so fuzzy that I have no idea how it will play out in an actual campaign (a notable fear is that the campaign will shut down months to years before I get to experience the benefits of this 15-point investment).

When thinking of Destiny, I'm thinking of being able to ask for stuff like "I want to be the next Temujin of this world!" and the GM going "Okay, something like that". Because Genghis Khaan is what I consider to be one of the more iconic examples of persons who would have Destiny if played in a campaign. Other examples would be Gautama, Jesus etc. on the religious front, Gates on the technological front etc. People who had beginnings with low point totals (or points spent not on what they became famous for, like Gautama), but managed to achieve great heights despite that. Or something like that.

I'm not happy about it being 100% GM-chosen because it means that there is a big chance that it'll be something that the player will not find fun to play.

I've had a player take Destiny once. A negative one, though. I made it be about world conquest, but in such a way that he was supposed to be a leader of a faction which he disagreed with philosophically. So on one hand the player was happy because he liked the idea of world domination, on the other it was still a disad because his character's whole philosophy was that one should resist one's destiny if he has one. The player seemed to be happy about the way it went thus far. Alas, the campaign encountered problems and was eventually cancelled.
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
Also, GURPS Discord is a nice place for (faster) Q&A and overall GURPS dicussion.
vicky_molokh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 06:42 AM   #8
Mailanka
 
Mailanka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

The best way I think to handle Destiny in GURPS isn't as a promise that something will happen (because it often doesn't, whether the campaign ends too early or it shifts in a different direction, and then you're left with a stewing player who wanted his cool moment that never came). It's too inflexible.

Rather, I think you're better off treating them as Bonds from Nobilis: statements about your character are always true. For example, instead of having "Destiny: Become the World's Greatest Swordsman," you get "Destiny: Win every sword fight." Then if you get into a swordfight, you have to "win," whatever that means.

Nobilis handles this by giving you a bonus and some level of miraculous power, but Nobilis is a game dictated by fiat, so it handles this very well. In GURPS, I find it harder to execute this sort of thing. Impulse Buy puts it in the hands of the player by saying "Okay, you're destined to win every swordfight? Here's 3 impulse buy points you can spend to win swordfights." That's why I like that approach: it plays well with the die system and it puts the system directly in the hands of the player.

Another, perhaps better, example of how to use this is "You will die of a heart attack on October 21st, 2070," which means you can't actually die any other way. It becomes a little more easy to fiat that sort of thing away, and I think it's the intent behind the "Precognition as Detect Destiny" rules from GURPS Supers, where you see something, and then the people involved gain that Destiny ("I saw a future where... you betrayed us!" becomes Destiny "Betrays the Group"), but that can be awfully difficult to work into a campaign, and disallows for player choice. Like, what happens if the heart attack PC makes a heroic self-sacrifice that isn't all that self-sacrificial since he knows he cannot die, or does things like plays Russian roulette with a fully loaded revolver and just grins as the gun keeps clicking? I think some games and groups can handle that sort of thing (I'd totally allow it), but I can see why a lot of GMs are leery of it. I mean, how do you even price some of these things?
__________________
My Blog: Mailanka's Musing. Currently Playing: Psi-Wars, a step-by-step exploration of building your own Space Opera setting, inspired by Star Wars.
If you want to support me, check out my Patreon!
Mailanka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 07:15 AM   #9
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
The best way I think to handle Destiny in GURPS isn't as a promise that something will happen (because it often doesn't, whether the campaign ends too early or it shifts in a different direction, and then you're left with a stewing player who wanted his cool moment that never came). It's too inflexible.
I think that undermines one of the main reasons why people want Destiny. They want a promise that something will happen, and they want events to take steps towards this event with some regularity. E.g. if playing with a Temujinian Destiny, I'd want my character to get visibly one step closer to ruling my own empire every few sessions.
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
Also, GURPS Discord is a nice place for (faster) Q&A and overall GURPS dicussion.
vicky_molokh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 07:25 AM   #10
Mailanka
 
Mailanka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#34): Destiny

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I think that undermines one of the main reasons why people want Destiny. They want a promise that something will happen, and they want events to take steps towards this event with some regularity. E.g. if playing with a Temujinian Destiny, I'd want my character to get visibly one step closer to ruling my own empire every few sessions.
On the other hand, I think a lot of people avoid Destiny because they're pretty sure that they're not going to eventually get the Destined Thing.

There's a few reasons that happens. First, you can just tell the GM "I'd like to become the Whatever. That's my goal!" Then you can move in that direction when you can, and you should able to trust that the GM is more-or-less on board with it (depending on the game conceits of course, but in my games it usually works that way: if you're playing the game where you want to eventually become king, then I should be giving you the opportunity to become king). Second, what if you change your mind later? What if you get this other cooler idea ("No, not king. I mean, I lost my eye and I'm fighting all these demons! I think this is way better than running a kingdom!")? Destiny locks you in. Finally, what if you don't know what you want and you sort of what to feel things out, and it you become a king or a famed demon hunter or whatever, it's cool with you?

This is the same logic behind why Terminal Illness is a bad idea. Either the campaign ends before it triggers, or the player just makes a new character that solves the problem. If you want to be a king, why not... be a king? If you want to be a king eventually, why not take heir? And what do you do with the Destiny once it triggers? Just get those points back and spend them on your new traits? And if you don't have the points, does Destiny give you those points for free? Or do you have to pay the rest out of your pocket? If the former, how is that not point crock, and if the latter, what's the difference between just building your character as a king in the first place?

This sort of Destiny becomes a "I want to have a bit of a say in where the campaign is going," but in my opinion, the players should always have a bit of a say in where the campaign is going. The only way to make Destiny worthwhile, then, is either to be cut throat ("You have no control over this story unless you pay points for it") or to add some sort of supernatural power gained via your Destiny ("Of course you can become King, but Destiny makes it a sure thing!")

But if Destiny is already going to offer you a sure thing, why offer it to someone as a tantalizing "Maybe, eventually, you can have the cool thing" when you can offer it now? I believe you should, as much as possible, let players pay for what they have now, not for what they might eventually benefit from, eventually. That's one reason I don't like Unaging (it deals largely with a non-problem, because your character isn't in his 80s now). Don't give them the Destiny "Will get the magic sword" when they can have the magic sword. Don't give them the destiny "Can get a cool power" when you can either give them the cool power, or Latent Power [1], which means they can freely buy the power in the future if they want.
__________________
My Blog: Mailanka's Musing. Currently Playing: Psi-Wars, a step-by-step exploration of building your own Space Opera setting, inspired by Star Wars.
If you want to support me, check out my Patreon!
Mailanka is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
advantage, advantage of the week, destiny, week, [basic]

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.