Game Play

Social Fun: We believe gaming should be a social event and ultimately your biggest expectation should be to have fun; If all you want to use is your imagination, you can read any number of books. When people get together and share the gaming experience, it is often far more rich, memorable, and interesting than any single person’s imagination. Expectations and experience will be different for everyone – each person can have different reactions to situations that come up during the play.

Group Cooperation: Tries to foster a positive collaborative group experience instead of a competitive one (unless the competition is key to the story). Success in shared endeavors and common goals binds a group together. Mechanics should do as much as possible to enhance the levels of character interdependence that many systems have introduced beforehand.

Character Challenge: Additionally, we have found that players who challenge themselves – choosing to play within limitations, who see risk and character death seriously – will have the most fulfilling time. Knowing your character cannot die tends to promote power-gaming and cheapens the satisfaction of solving puzzles and surviving the scenarios the GM provides.

Advancement on Story: Incarna™ gameplay was conceived around an overall slower and more precise advancement with capability based on individual skills, traits, and feature development. Ideally, the Game Master determines when the characters advance based on story milestones and way points (see 5E DMG p.261) that are tailored to their characters and the adventures they are undertaking. Most Incarna™ adventures are written for a middle range of character capability, so that they can easily be modified to make them scale for different challenge levels. However, epic actions are encouraged through limited use bonuses – characters must be judicious in their use.

Incarna I5 for [D20 Reference] and 5E

Formidable Adventure

Gritty Realism: We try and temper realistic with realism. The violence and edge-of-survival explorations done by characters are inherently risky and dangerous – most “adventurers” die young (unless the campaign is not organized around such tropes). We promote a greater than normal dynamic without over-legislating the rules.

Rule Changes: To promote the gritty and more realistic aspects of resolving actions and character damage

  • Deeply Defined Characters
  • Graduated Action Success
  • Trying Time Passage
  • Resilience of Items
  • Rest: A Short Rest is 8 hours; a Long Rest is 1 week! Note that some abilities by class are changed to provide characters enough fire power to get through encounters, but it does promote a more conservative use of powers and stress on resolving encounters using intelligence and planning.
  • Healing: There are no “Hit Dice” to expend; characters regain a base 1 HP per short rest, plus their Constitution bonus. Barring specific body or limb damage, most damage heals at the end of a Long Rest.
  • Law of Averages: Generally, players should be encouraged to use the law of averages. Average results are used instead of dice rolling for effect and damage. Players can use the random generation method, but do not gain the advantages of “Quality of Result”.
  • Quality of Result: Assumes the Law of Averages is being used. If a player makes a check that is 5 or more than what is needed to succeed, it is considered a major success. This does maximum base effect – effect dice, damage, etc. A critical result is double base effect.
  • Resilience of Items: Items like shields, armor, and equipment do not last forever. Many have a resilience rating. For each measure of resilience an item can reduce the result of a successful attack. A critical becomes a major, a major becomes a normal, and a normal has no effect.
ADVENTURE PRINCIPAL Do not let strict campaign or challenge level dictate your use of adventures. Story and play should be able to be modified to support most measures of Player Character capability. A good Game Master can generally use a system & tools to support them in telling a story with whatever characters and circumstances the Players have.


An example of a brief encounter resolution which demonstrates the level of immersive story telling and interaction the Incarna system engenders. It demonstrates the depth of description the GM should aim for, the danger and grittiness and roleplaying challenge framework.