Prime Traits: Distinctions

In Development, Mechanics by Req

Prime Traits are the backbone of a Cortex Prime game so that’s where we will start…

At the core of it, characters can be summed up by three player created phrases: Distinctions. Just like any Cortex Prime game, Distinctions are one of the most important traits that define the who and what of your character. In the Sands of Destiny Roleplaying Game these three Distinctions cover the following aspects of the character: The Origin, The Root, The Drive.


The Origin
Who was your character before Awakening? All characters started somewhere. The Origin represents the who and what of their life before starting the Path of Immortality. This Distinction can combine lineage, roles and vocations that were a part of your character’s life prior to their Awakening.

A lot of Xianxia Fiction has the character start in a mortal state doing mundane things. This is meant to handle that aspect of the character by giving them that “starting” point from which their Hero’s Journey begins.

Example Origins
Soldier of the Vayle Republic
Wandering Vagabond Scholar
Delaryn Orphan of the Beggar’s Clan


The Root
The life of a plant starts with its roots. The Path of Immortality also starts with a root. This Distinction represents the way they came into Immortal Society. The Root Distinction includes what type of Immortal your character is and can also include membership into an Immortal Organization such as a Sect.

Types of Immortals

  • A Sublime Immortal is a mortal who spontaneously Awakens and with no prior connection with Immortality.
  • A Graven Immortal is a mortal who has been Awaken through a process called Engraving. This is when an Immortal engraves a portion of their own essence onto a Mortal.
  • Primogen Immortals are the original Immortals brought into existence by the Shangdi.*
  • Elementals are Immortals who are evolved from the raw essences of the Pillars of Divinity.*
  • Demon Cultivators are inhumans who have awakened and are able to take on a human-like form.*

*Primogen Immortals, Elementals and Demon Cultivators all have unique rules for Player Characters.

The Root serves a purpose of setting the character’s place in the Immortal World. It represents how other Immortals might react to them at first or potential connections they may have. This could also help determine starting Assets and/or future Assets the character may obtain.


Example Roots
Sublime Disciple of the Peerless Sword Sect
Reformed Primogen Incarnate
Graven of the Rat King Sect


The Drive
Your character, regardless of where they are from or how they awakened has their own motivations and drive. This Distinction sums up their biggest motivation for moving forward.

The Drive is the player’s way of saying this is what I would like to do in this this game. This Distinction is good for the GM to look at when they want to try to involve a character more into a Myth. What’s a Myth, you might ask? I’ll tackle the details of that topic in a future Dev Blog, but suffice it to say its what the Sands of Destiny Roleplaying Game calls Quests/Adventures.


Example Persona
Seeking To Regain Their Family’s Honor
Wealth Obsessed Miser
Always Wants to Be Stronger


Just like other Cortex Prime games, character Distinctions will be rated with a d8 and also have the Hinder SFX attached. In addition, you’ll have a selection of SFX options available to unlock for each of your Distinction’s based on your choices.


Next up on the Dev Blog will be the next Prime Set for Sands of Destiny, Elements.