Excerpts 12/03/2004

Races of Destiny
By David Noonan, Eric Cagle, and Aaron Rosenberg

In most D&D worlds, human societies dominate much of the map, and human culture is standard by which other cultures are described. Despite other races' unusual powers and long histories, it is humanity and its related races that seem poised to control the future. This book focuses on these races whose destiny, for good or ill, is tied to the fate of the human empires of your world: humans, races that have some human blood within their veins, races that were once fully human, and the panoply of strange races that either live peacefully among humans or have successfully infiltrated human society. Players will find new feats, spells, and prestige classes for their characters -- and a new race that may be inspiration for the next character they create. DMs will find a wealth of building blocks for adventures. Whether you're looking for an oddball race to play or your players' next archenemy, you'll find something useful here.

Chapter 7: Magic

As social creatures, the races of destiny create spells that focus on community life. Those aware of their special role in the world also craft unique magic that can reshape the flow of fate itself. The following spells and magic items offer new choices for spellcasters and nonspellcasters alike.

Swift and Immediate Actions

The Miniatures Handbook introduced the concept of a new action type: the swift action. Likewise, the Expanded Psionics Handbook introduced another new action type: the immediate action. These two game concepts are not restricted to miniatures play or psionics and can be utilized in a regular D&D roleplaying game. Some of the feats, spells, or items in Races of Destiny and future Dungeons & Dragons supplements use these concepts. A description of how they work follows.

Swift Action: A swift action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions. In that regard, a swift action is like a free action. However, you can perform only a single swift action per turn, regardless of what other actions you take. You can take a swift action any time you would normally be allowed to take a free action. Swift actions usually involve spellcasting or the activation of magic items; many characters (especially those who don't cast spells) never have an opportunity to take a swift action.

Casting a quickened spell is a swift action (instead of a free action, as stated in the Quicken Spell feat description in the Player's Handbook). In addition, casting any spell with a casting time of 1 swift action (such as choose destiny) is a swift action.

Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 swift action does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Immediate Action: Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time -- even if it's not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action (instead of a free action, as stated in the spell description in the Player's Handbook), since the spell can be cast at any time.

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action, and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

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