Every hero ought to have some sort of crowning moment, even if that moment is their last. It can feel strange and anticlimactic when a character has a lot of emotional gravitas in a specific situation only for the dice to turn against them and deliver an average (if not weak) performance in a crucial moment. Aristeia (AHR-iss-TAY-uh, which literally translates to “excellence” and is commonly used to denote a character’s moment of crowning achievement in a story) is a system designed to give characters some extra punch in a crucial moment, although its use comes at a cost such that it should only be used in the most dire of situations.

Aristeia is a state that a character with at least one Aristeia feat can enter for one minute as a free action on their turn, and it grants various benefits depending on the level of Aristeia achieved. A character can never activate Aristeia against their will. Entering Aristeia requires an expenditure of Aristeia points equal to the level of Aristeia entered. In a game that uses the hero points rules, a character can use hero points in place of Aristeia points, but cannot use temporary hero points such as those gained through spells, class features, or items.

A character’s pool of Aristeia points is equal to the number of Aristeia feats they possess. This pool is replenished whenever the character levels up. However, a character cannot spend Aristeia points at just any time. For every Aristeia feat a character possesses, they can name a specific situation in which they are capable of using Aristeia points. These situations must be ones in which the character has a personal stake and that coincide with some personal goal (for example, “when I am in danger” is not an acceptable situation, but “when I am fighting this specific person”, “when I am defending this specific city from destruction”, and “when the stars are in the same alignment as they were the night I developed my magic” are acceptable). A character may change these situations every time they level up, although certain other dramatic circumstances may allow a character to change their situations in light of new priorities (subject to GM discretion).

Table: Aristeia Effects
Aristeia Level/Cost Aristeia Bonus Minimum Roll Special Abilities Backlash
1 +2 2 - 2 negative levels
2 +4 5 Condition negation (1) 4 negative levels
3 +6 8 Condition negation (2), unstoppable 6 negative levels
4 +8 11 Bonus action (1 round’s worth), condition negation (4), Unstoppable 8 negative levels
5 +10 14 Bonus action (2 rounds’ worth), condition negation (unlimited), unstoppable Destruction


Every level of Aristeia has a cost which must be paid in Aristeia points when the Aristeia begins. If a character does not possess the requisite number of Aristeia points, they cannot use Aristeia of that level.

Aristeia Bonus

While a character is in a state of Aristeia, they gain an untyped bonus on all d20 rolls and damage rolls known as the Aristeia bonus. A character can only apply the die roll bonus once per total of dice (for example, a character can only apply the bonus to one die roll used for an attack roll or one die roll used for a damage roll).

Minimum Roll

While a character is in a state of Aristeia, the immense power they wield ensures a certain minimum degree of success in all of their actions. Whenever a character in Aristeia rolls a result on a d20 which would be below the minimum roll, they are instead treated as having rolled the minimum roll.

Special Abilities

At higher levels of Aristeia, a character gains special abilities from their Aristeia. These special abilities are extraordinary in nature and function as follows.

Condition Negation

At Aristeia level 2, a character gains the ability to ignore a condition affecting them so long as they remain in Aristeia. The duration of the condition is expended as normal, it simply has no effect. The negated condition may be changed by the character in Aristeia as a free action once per round. At level 3, the character can negate two conditions. At level 4, they can negate four conditions. At level 5, they can negate any number of conditions. The conditions capable of being negated are as follows: battered, blinded, confused, cowering, dazed, dazzled, deafened, disabled, dying (though they still suffer hit point damage each round), energy drained, exhausted, fascinated, fatigued, frightened, helpless, nauseated, panicked, paralyzed, petrified, shaken, sickened, staggered, stunned, or unconscious. This ability can also be used to negate magic effects which would directly affect the character (such as curses or charms) as well. Additional effects may be negated by this ability at GM discretion.


At Aristeia level 3, a character becomes immensely difficult to impede or restrain. So long as they are in Aristeia, the character’s movement speeds are doubled and they benefit from a constant supernatural effect identical to the Freedom talent from the Fate sphere. The character ignores any form of difficult terrain as well as all forms of damage reduction and hardness. The character also ignores any environmental effects which would impede their actions (such as wards from the Protection sphere or stone spikes from the Nature sphere).

Bonus Actions

At Aristeia level 4, a character can take an additional round’s worth of actions on their initiative count each round. These can be divided however the character wishes (such as two full-round actions and two swift actions, two standard actions, two move actions, and two swift actions, or a fullround action, a standard action, a move action, and two swift actions, two one-round actions, or one two-round action). At Aristeia level 5, a character can take two additional round’s worth of actions on their initiative count each round.


Although Aristeia is immensely powerful, it comes at a great cost. When Aristeia ends after one minute, a character in Aristeia gains a number of permanent negative levels based on the level of Aristeia the character entered. These ignore any immunities that a creature might have to negative levels and abilities which would automatically remove negative levels after a certain period of time. These permanent negative levels cannot be healed by any means, but wear off at a rate of one per day.

When a character leaves Aristeia level 5, they are completely obliterated rather than just suffering negative levels. Their body and spirit are completely destroyed, and nothing short of a wish or miracle effect can restore the character.

A character cannot use Aristeia if the negative levels from its backlash would cause their negative levels to exceed their character level. In addition, a character must be at least 10th level and be able to use Aristeia level 4 in order to use Aristeia level 5.

Aristeia Feats

Click the link above to see Aristeia feats.

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