A Brief Explanatory Note
Heroes of Destiny is a custom role-playing system designed by me, Thayne Bohman, and inspired by a strange combination of Dungeons and Dragons (originally 2nd edition, now 3.5 and 4) and Quest 64. I have played a few campaigns to test the system, although only one start to finish, and I am continuing to revise the system for improved balance and enjoyability. The complete player's handbook for Heroes of Destiny can be accessed through the links above.
This is a game for those who feel that traditional Dungeons and Dragons or other d20 game systems lack the level of customization they want in their characters. With a free-form leveling system, Heroes of Destiny provides far more choices than you might find in a typical class-based pen-and-paper game. Want a spellcaster who knows absolutely nothing about combat? Go ahead. Most games provide this sort of character. On the other hand, if you want a wizard who can also dual-wield a sword and staff, and flies into a blind fury when he enters combat, you can have that too. Or maybe you just want a warrior who can pick locks and cast illusions. Whatever you want, there is almost guaranteed to be some way to do it.
A completely new and far more realistic combat system brings excitement back into the fights. It's no longer a game of "I just hit you, now it's your turn to hit me." Instead, battle is extremely fluid. Those with faster weapons and higher speeds act not just sooner, but more often in battle, while those wielding heavier, slower weapons are often able to deal a great amount of damage with one hit, but then cannot attack again for quite a while.
All in all, Heroes of Destiny is a welcome change from what has come to be the same old D&D formula of hack-and-slash. Not to say that it is entirely new. Many of the basic systems and structures have their roots in Dungeons and Dragons, and some parts are practically identical, making the game that much easier to just pick up and play.
Now, starting with a familiar topic, the core gameplay is given below. If you are familiar with the basic workings of 3.5 edition Dungeons and Dragons, then you should be able to grasp this fairly easily, as much of it is essentially the same information. A note for any female gamers: Throughout the rules, the pronoun "he" is used almost exclusively. This is not intended to exclude anyone. It is only meant to keep things consistent and simple.
The success or failure of any action that is not guaranteed (which is almost everything) is determined by rolling a die or pair of dice. When attacking, you roll a twenty-sided die (d20) to determine if you hit, adding any relevant modifiers. For nearly all other checks, primarily when making discipline and attribute checks, you roll one twelve-sided and one six-sided die and add them (1d12+1d6) along with any relevant modifiers. If this total is greater than or equal to a target number, based on the action's difficulty, then the action has succeeded. Otherwise, it has failed.
Rolling a natural 20 on a 20-sided die or a natural 17 or 18 on the mixed dice results in a critical success of some sort, based on what action was performed. Rolling a natural 1 on the d20 or a natural 2 or 3 on the mixed dice results in a critical failure based on the action.
Standard dice notation is used throughout the site. Expressions such as "2d6+4" indicate certain dice rolls. In this case, you would roll two six-sided dice and add four to the total. The number before the "d" tells you how many dice to roll, and the number after the "d" indicates how many sides the dice have. If there is a plus or minus, then the number after that is added to or subtracted from the total result of the rolled dice.
Standard Dice set
A complete set of dice has at least one of each of the following: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20. It is recommended that you have two 10-sided dice to use for percentiles. Having several 6-sided dice may also prove useful in speeding up the game. DMs may want to have multiple d20s also, to speed up combats with a large number of DM-controlled characters.
Percentile dice, or d100s, are rolled differently from the other dice. Roll two ten-sided dice. Before rolling, you pick one of the dice to represent the tens digit, and the other is the ones digit. Two 0s represent 100, rather than 0.
Modifiers to die rolls arise from dozens of different situations, but they all fall into one of a few different categories. Generally speaking, a positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty. Initiative and speed factors are reversed, because in this case lower is actually better.
In general, you can stack as many modifiers as you want onto a single die roll, as long as all modifiers are of different types or have different sources. Modifiers that do not stack with each other apply only the best bonus and worst penalty (not either/or). Circumstance bonuses stack with other circumstance bonuses unless otherwise specified, as do equipment bonuses of different subtypes. Most other modifiers do not stack with others of their own type.
Alignment Modifier: Alignment modifiers come from extremely strong sources of good, evil, order, chaos, or neutrality. All alignment modifiers are of one of these types, and grant bonuses or penalties to various rolls. Most often, those of the same alignment as the modifier gain it as a bonus, and those of the opposed alignments gain it as a penalty.
Attribute Modifier: This is a bonus or penalty based on an attribute. Your modifier is equal to your attribute, and applies to all die rolls involving that attribute. This mostly applies to disciplines and to combat rolls.
Circumstance Modifier: Circumstance modifiers represent special situations that make your task easier or more difficult. All circumstance modifiers stack, unless they are from essentially the same source, in which case only the largest modifier applies.
Competence Modifier: This is a bonus or penalty that directly affects your performance of a task, as in the case of the Focus skill. It can apply to any checks that typically have a bonus related to your skills or improvements, such as attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, discipline checks, and caster level checks. It does not apply to ability checks, initiative checks, or other rolls that are unrelated to your skills and improvements.
Deflection Bonus: Deflection bonuses are purely magical effects that make attacks veer off or bounce back, granting you a bonus to Defense. Deflection bonuses apply to Primary and Passive Defense.
Enhancement Bonus: This is a generic magical bonus that represents an improvement in the effectiveness of a piece of equipment or natural armor, or a bonus to an ability score, saving throw, etc. Multiple enhancement bonuses on the same target do not stack; only the highest applies.
Equipment Modifier: Equipment modifiers represent some effect of worn equipment or carried items on your rolls or statistics. The most common equipment modifiers are those coming from armors and shields and applying to your Defense. Armor and shield bonuses do stack with each other, but only a single armor bonus can be applied at one time. You may carry two shields, and those bonuses will stack provided that the shields are on different arms. Unless otherwise specified, equipment modifiers that apply to Defense do not apply to touch attacks.
Fortitude Bonus: Your fortitude bonus represents your physical hardiness and improves your Primary defense and Vigor, but does not stack with Agility or Willpower bonuses.
Morale Modifier: Morale modifiers represent the effects of hope, courage, determination, and sheer willpower, or conversely, fear, hesitation, and despair. For morale modifiers, only the highest bonus and worst penalty apply. Non-intelligent creatures, having an intelligence of -5 or no score at all, are not affected by morale.
Natural Armor Bonus: Natural armor refers to a creature's hide. Those with particularly tough skin, scales, chitin, etc. have a natural armor bonus. Certain spells can also grant enhancement bonuses to your existing natural armor, in which case the effect stacks with whatever natural armor you already possess. If the effect grants simply a natural armor bonus, however, then it does not stack. Natural armor applies to Defense, and does not apply against touch attacks.
Racial Modifier: This represents a race's natural abilities, inherent in the type of creature. If a creature's race changes by any means, it loses all racial bonuses it had before, and applies those gained from its new form instead.
Agility Bonus: Your agility bonus represents your skill at avoiding blows and improves your Primary defense and Celerity, but does not stack with Fortitude or Willpower bonuses. There are several effects that negate your agility bonus.
Size Modifier: Size modifiers are derived from the size category of a creature. Different size modifiers apply to attack rolls, Defense, Stealth (hide) checks, grapple checks, and so on.
Willpower Bonus: This represents your strength of will and mental alertness and improves your Primary defense and Spirit, but does not stack with Fortitude or Agility bonuses.
Unless otherwise specified, whenever you wind up with a fraction, round down. This ensures that the formulas in the book will remain accurate and consistent. Certain rolls, such as damage, have a minimum of 1, regardless of any possible penalties.
When multiplying dice rolls and modifiers, each multiple actually adds to the original roll rather than being multiplied together. For example, if you multiply 1d6 by 3 and by 2, then you actually end up with 4d6, not 6d6, because the multiple of 3 increases the roll by 2d6, and the multiple of 2 increases it by 1d6.
Multipliers stack normally when applied to other types of non-abstract values.
Anything not stated specifically in these rules has either been overlooked, or intentionally left to the DM to decide. I would like to thank TSR for inspiring me to create the original version of this gaming system, and Wizards of the Coast for the revised versions. All material not taken directly from their rules, including most of this handbook and the character sheets and other resources, is copyright © 2004-2010 Thayne Bohman.
Portions from the official d20 SRD
Portions of the writing here have been modified from the standard d20 SRD, which is free to use under the Open Game License (OGL), and some pieces, particularly some spell descriptions, are taken wholesale. Nothing from the Wizards of the Coast (WotC) books has been included except for that available legally for free. No portions of this site are intended to disenfranchise WotC in any way or to take credit for or make money from their work.