Hands of Fate

Hands of Fate - Core Rules
Hands of Fate a Fantasy Genre Roleplaying Game System designed by Audio Samurai Games. It is a card based, diceless system that uses regular playing cards to resolve conflicts and for many other purposes as well. It has several different styles of magic, 2 of which are free form. These free form styles, one divine and the other elemental in nature, present to the spell caster groups of effects that can manipulated by the character to form spells. Benedictions, for example, uses Spheres as depicted by their deity such as Bless, Curse, Life, Death and Destruction. Elemental Sorcerers use the 4 classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to create effects. A more subtle, structured form of magic is Enchantment. This form of magic has set spells chosen from different types of effect, grouped into Charms, Illusions, Divinations and Cantrips. Capping off the magic in Hands of Fate are the spiritual Animists; this form of magic is all about communicating with, and absorbing aspects from, the various immortal spirits that reside in many things in nature. Animists can call a spirit's Aspects into themselves, gaining the appearance and abilities of the spirits. Aspects include gaining the ability to shape rock and stone, act as a conduit for the dead, grow monstrous claws or horns of a bull. Antithesis to Animism is Diabolism, which works much the same as Animism only it contacts the demons that plagued the lands for generations. This vast spread of abilities and spells ensures that no two spell casters are alike. 

Characters are classless, defined by their Skills and their Talents, abilities picked up during character generation and through spending experience points during play. Nearly any type of character can be generated through these rules; a werewolf/spell slinging/assassin/thief/vampire is even possible, if that is your thing. There are no 'hit points' or 'health', damage is depicted by the loss of cards from a player's Hand; the measure of a character's control and coolness under fire. Cards from the Hand can be used to 'stack' a play, such as when making attacks in combat or trying to pass a skill check. The ways a card play can be manipulated and modified far outweigh the possibilities of dice, so cards add a unique and vibrant method for play.

Hands of Fate - Exile's End
Exile's End is the upgraded and updated Core Rules, modified for play in a Science Fiction setting. The stock setting takes place in humanity's far future, nearly 3000 years later. The game supports sandbox style play, allowing Games Masters to create fully detailed star systems complete with political systems, factions and troubles motivating players to interact. It has rules for interstellar trade, factions that grow and decline independently of player interaction, behind the scenes plotting against the players using factions without needing to have fully fleshed out organisations, starship and vehicle tactical combat rules, free form Psionics based on an improved version of Sorcery and Benedictions from the Core Rules, countless aliens and npcs that you can just insert straight into a story arc with little to no preparation and an Experience Point Award system that promotes roleplaying and storytelling rather than a body count.

Passing the Narrative
Both Hands of Fate - Core Rules and Exile's End include a mechanic known as 'Passing the Narrative'. Success and failure of skill checks does not simply just move the story along, it allows players to influence the story directly. When a PC passes a skill check at a critical moment in the story, the GM passes the narrative to that player, who then picks up the story and runs with it. Other players can also gain the narrative by actively participating in the story, rewarding players who step up to the plate rather than remain reactionary to the story. Having the narrative, and telling brilliant stories, is the key way to gain experience points for a character and players who tell a good yarn can expect great rewards. The narrative dynamic is reinforced with an 'advantage vs complication' system; if a player who has the narrative introduces elements to a story that makes the party's struggle easier, the GM is encouraged to add complications to the story. Conversely, players who use the narrative to make things harder for themselves can be rewarded with XP, or just a fun game session. We've found that the fear of a GM adding something nefarious to the story to offset a player's 'advantage' makes for interesting and fun twists in the story, as players hastily foul things up for themselves trying to find a balance between really a easy mission or quest and a really hard one.

Both of these products, and their supplements, are available exclusively from DriveThruRPG and RPGNow websites:

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