i20™ Branch Essentials

These materials represent the Incarna i20™ approach based on d20 use.

The “d20” approach (see too the d20 System) is common in many game systems that leveraged the original D&D idea of a 20 sided die with active ‘classes’ and ‘levels’ of capability vs. a passive targeted difficulty for resolving outcomes of actions.

Primary System Focus: 5e (This may change in the future.)

Keep in mind, that any system or author can use the iVerse™ materials in any way they see fit. Individual GMs may alter or “homebrew” their own variants. Everything is Creative Commons licensed – a citation/link back to the source is all that’s required.


Incarna Concepts Expressed in 5e

CHECK RESULT OUTCOME/QUALITY: Health (HP), damage, and other factors use a measured outcome scale for damage or effect. That average is to be used unless noted in materials. All outcomes for skill checks follow provisions in the d20/DnD 5™ Skills -> i20 Features mapping.

CLASS: The Character Pathway mechanics, specifically the Incarna Class Expressions override those of 5e, though leverage the core ideals.

ABILITY SCORES + SANITY: There are 7 (Attribute) values, adding Sanity. Sanity is used to make horror/terror/fear checks, typically replacing Wisdom and Charisma. All races have a starting Sanity of 11, 10 for half breeds. It is generated however each GM desires it to be depending on their preferred method used (points, rolls, etc.).

EXPERIENCE POINTS: Incarna does NOT use “Experience Points” (XP) for advancement. Improvement/advancement is based on the story and story milestones and approved use of Character Points (which are awarded like XP, but there are different ways of gaining them) or Character Weaves (which alter immediate outcomes – like “hero points” or “action points”).

Health, Damage, Resting and Recovery: Health is the measure of Hit Points (HP). Damage and Recovery are more lethal. Hit Dice are not rolled for healing! A Short Rest is a full night of rest, after which time characters regain 1 + their Constitution bonus (min of 1) in HP. Exhaustion is recovered at 1 measure per Short Rest. A Long Rest is a full week of rest (after which time character regains their full HP). Wounds (see hereafter) can inhibit this, and quality of care and conditions can adjust this.

  • Temporary Health: Temporary Health is lost when used or after a Short Rest if the effect granting them does not specify.
  • Starting Health: Characters start with only an average Hit Dice at first level, unless noted.
  • Fatigue Damage: Light stress and strain on Health. If it drops a character below 1, they become unconscious – it cannot kill. Unless noted, it is completely healed after a completed Rest of any kind.
  • Hard Damage: OVerly impactful damage that heals at the rate of 1 per Long Rest. Very few effects produce Hard Damage.
  • Damage Resistance: Effects like Barbarian Rage, that grants resistance, also applies to magical attacks of the same type unless they have additional damage types in the same strike, are described as preventing this (powerful weapons/effects), or under the effect of the Magic Weapon spell.

Magic Warranted Changes

These are critical changes to how magic works – review carefully!

  1. Practice of Magic is divided into Low Arts and High Arts; Low Art (normal spells) ALL use, by default, Verbal, Somatic, and Material elements.
  2. The Arcane Focus or Holy Symbol is a form Focus Point Item and requires Attunement (1 Essence).
  3. Rules that remove the “each round” aspect of most spell saves
EMPOWERED MAGIC: Removes the “check each round” aspect of spells.

ASSIGN A MYSTIC TRADITION: Any magical capabilities come from the Mystic Traditions of Inspiration or Spark. When they Manifest spell type capabilities, it is using the Invocation practice of Casting.

ENCUMBERED CASTING: Spell casters need to abide by Casting Constraints for rules on casting encumbered. It pays to be without any encumbrance/load/burden.

IDENTIFYING MAGIC ITEMS: Use of the Identify spell to discern specific magical Dweomers and Auras of items, places, etc. is generally replaced with the Rituals of Knowing. See Identifying Items for basic dweomer/aura assessment and the Items and Services for the setting the character is in.

LONG LIFE THREAD SPELL IMPACT: Creatures with a Long Life Thread Impact (e.g. Elves, etc.) cannot be affected by either d20 Raise Dead or Revivify.

Incarna Concepts New to 5e

APTITUDE: Aptitude indicates the direction of your character’s natural capabilities. Incarna Class Expressions require aptitude. Aptitude is acquired using Essence.

ESSENCE: All things have Essence, with Higher Order beings having more. Many classes require the character expend a small amount of Essence in order to be able to use their related capabilities upon The Pattern. It is also used for Bindings and Attunements, returning at 1/Short Rest once it is no longer used for this. It can be used to barter for powers and enhancements with powerful creatures (like “selling your soul”) capable of granting such.

RESILIENCE OF ITEMS: The Incarna basic Resilience rules for items are used. Every point of Resilience can be used to shift the Quality of Result down, at the expense of using the item to take the blow and reduces its long term effectiveness. For example, a medium light shield has 1 Resilience – it can absorb 1 blow. Resilience can be restored by an appropriate crafter or technology, usually for a cost.


A character who is “Wounded” suffers immediate (damage) and longer term effects. The source of the wound may describe other specific effects, but always cover the following: 1) The target gains a level of Exhaustion (cumulative, to a maximum of 5 – i.e. cannot kill), 2) Their sequence of Death Saves starts with one failure. They lose any advantage on their physical ability checks, and lose 5′ of movement. A character automatically becomes Wounded when:

  • They take a Critical Hit – Minor Wound
  • They drop to 0 hit points (of non-fatigue damage) but are not killed outright – Major Wound; any healing spell that is equal to or more than the negative HP value that is cast upon the target in the same round, will return them to 1 HP without the Wounded condition.

Minor Wound: The effects of 1 Minor Wound are negated after a Short Rest is completed; Additional ones each take a Short Rest.

Major Wound: The effects of 1 Major Wound are negated after a Long Rest is completed; Additional ones each take a Long Rest. Greater Restoration can heal one Major Wound or all Minor Wounds. Example:

  1. -1 Strength
  2. -1 Constitution
  3. -1 Dexterity
  4. -1 Physical Attacks
  5. -1 Intelligence
  6. -1 Wisdom
  7. -1 Charisma
  8. -2m/5′ Movement
  9. 1 permanent failed death save
  10. -1 HP permanent

Grievous Wounds can only be healed with Regenerate spell, which only completes after a full Long Rest.

Universal Class Specific Changes

If not covered elsewhere in this synopsis, the following changes also apply:

Advancement on Story: It follows the general Story Advancement guidelines of average challenge, levels 3-8 for i20™ versions. Instead of character powers and health regaining swiftly, that pace is slowed to something more realistic following the “Gritty Realism” principles.