Destiny is a series of video games that started in 2014. It’s reputed for its gunfighting and its spiffy johnharrislike landscapes.
This specific article :
- Includes a compact primer to the world of Destiny.
- Presents an example Exo Titan Guardian.
- Covers the three free-as-of-this-writing single-player campaigns (Red War, The Curse of Osiris, Warmind).
World backstory (part 1)
There exists an eternal conflict between Light and Darkness.
The Darkness was reportedly discovered in the depths of an enormous gas giant. Renegade local nobles entreated Worm Gods, and were exposed to a philosophy of strength through extermination. This “Sword Logic” endowed its followers with magic powers.
These nobles and their Darkness servants found the Light in orbit. They warred to destroy it, until it was forced to flee. The Light was seeded by a sort of gigantic robot spaceship called the Traveller.
The Traveller touched several great civilizations. But they all eventually were exterminated by the Darkness’ forces in pursuit, calling themselves the Hive.
In 2014, the Traveller reached Mars.
Humanity’s golden age
The Traveller terraformed the Sol system. Each planet now could support Earth life.
The Light also made Humans more collaborative and ethical. With this newfound harmony, they solved many of the evils that had plagued them. Humanity made great advances for a few centuries.
(However, these advances seem to have been chiefly about space-related technologies and computing. Everyday cars, trucks, industrial machinery, firearms, roads, etc. seem mostly identical to 2000s ones.)
Then the Darkness found the Traveller.
Humanity and its creations were pretty much destroyed. Attempts at fleeing were crushed, leaving a huge belt of spaceship debris as a new feature of the Solar System.
But this time the Traveller didn’t leave. Its last stand seemingly killed it, but it also broke the immensely powerful invader.
Awash in ruin
The Traveller left behind Ghosts. These were tiny drones bearing a fragment of the Light. The Ghosts raised worthy dead fighters as Guardians, powered by the Light.
Though Guardians weren’t invincible, their Ghost could raise them from the dead again and again.
A second kind of new humanity resulted from the clash. One of the fleeing colony ships had been caught in a balanced clash of Dark and Light magic. These energies created a black hole, sucking the ship into a new dimension. The altered passengers became the immortal Awoken.
The Awoken spent 12+ billion years of relative time in another reality. A task force then returned to the universe, where little time had elapsed. With their magic — neither Light nor Dark — the Awoken set out to assess the situation.
But Humanity was close to extinction. The war had smashed most everything into rubble. Furthermore, various alien powers seeking the Traveller, plus Hive survivors, were now waging war across the Solar System.
If y’all want some music, here is the main theme from the first Destiny.
World backstory (part 2)
Attempting to rebuild
The Guardians, at first, mostly acted as tyrants. But a few didn’t. And the necessity of protecting the raggedy survivors grew ever more evident as alien attacks mounted.
Thus a working Human government reemerged. It was located in the Last City on Earth, under the corpse of the Traveller.
The Last City withstood two massive attacks by the Fallen. The Fallen were the desperate remains of a species that had once served the Traveller. They sought to repossess the body of their god, and envied humanity for having been gifted the Light. But the Guardians twice repelled them.
Some later campaigns were successes. Such as a terrible war to exterminate alien dragons shadowing the Traveller, and their toxic wish-granting magic. Others were failures, such as an attempt at reclaiming the lost SIVA nanotechnological resources. Rampant SIVA nanites killed many Guardians.
An attempt to retake the Moon from entrenched Hive survivors fared even worse. It came to be known as the Great Disaster.
During those years, the Guardians made some key allies :
- The Awoken more clearly sided with Humans. This was invaluable in preventing further Hive forces from reconquering the Solar System, though the Awoken took severe casualties.
- Eris Morn , a Guardian who had been thought dead since the Great Disaster. Having been stranded on the Moon all this time, Ms. Morn now knew a great deal about the Hive.
They also clashed with enemies new and old :
- Various Fallen attacks. The most dangerous one involved the Fallen infusing themselves with SIVA nanites, found under the Vostok Cosmodrome in Old Russia.
- The Hive. The Guardians repeatedly clashed with the Hive’s patriarch-god, who was eventually destroyed.
- Time-travelling war cyborgs the Vex. These seemed, maybe, to have become Darkness-touched.
- The huge alien troopers of the Cabal. These used to rule the galaxy and were trying to conquer it anew. But the Cabal forces in the Solar System ended up fighting both the Hive and the Guardians, which they could not hope to win.
With these wars won, there was a short but welcome span of peace.
- Real Name: Anabasis-5.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: N.A..
- Group Affiliation: Guardians of the Last City.
- Base of Operations: Last City.
- Height: 5’6″ Weight: 270 lbs.
- Eyes: Cyan optics. Hair: N.A.
The bicentennial woman
Anabasis-5 is an Exo. These are sophisticated androids, whose physical and mental capabilities are at least equal to Humans’. Exos are a significant minority among the survivors on Earth, and an everyday sight and neighbours in the Last City.
Exos were created during the Golden Age of Mankind. They seem to have been warriors, but nobody knows why they were created. No Exo can remember that far back (beyond vague images in their dreams), and there isn’t enough historical data to hazard hypotheses.
Likewise, nobody knows why there are andromorphic and gynomorphic individuals. Boy robots and girl robots, if you prefer. It seems… pointless.
Exos are so sophisticated and humanlike that the Light can reactivate them, just like it resurrects humans, to become Guardians.
The number after an Exo’s name is the number of times they went through a factory reset for their brain. However, it seems common for some data and personality traits to survive the reformatting.
(The origin of the exos and their memory wipes is revealed later in the game.)
Powers & Abilities
Anabasis-5 is a Titan Guardian. This means that her equipment and training favour heavy infantry tactics. Big armour, big guns and lots of explosions. Titan Guardians are key in defending the Last City.
Key abilities include :
- Superhuman strength and durability.
- Small thrusters allowing for superhuman jumps followed by a sort of short gliding flight.
- A sound dampening unit that muffles the report of her weapons and makes it harder to locate. (This bit is to help explain low enemy awareness – it’s not diegetic .)
- Force shield generators. These allow for occasionally dropping a translucent force wall that serves as cover.
Ana’s standard loadout is :
- Power armour , emphasising durability. It has built-in flashlights, webbing and holsters.
- Powerful, wide-area-of-effect electrical grenades. Grenades are good.
- Some form of assault carbine, for copious automatic fire in close quarters.
- A scoped, precision energy weapon for longer range fire. It is also useful for imploding energy shields.
- A reloadable rocket launcher to deal with armour and heavy units. There’s usually a void-powered secondary warhead, to deal with energy shields.
- Reinforced gauntlets for punching.
She also flies an antiquated, refurbished Wanderwing. This is a light jet fighter, though hers is unarmed. It is capable of quickly crossing the Solar System, as well as of atmospheric rapid flight.
Anabasis-5’s voicebox is damaged. It normally renders her voice as a faint whisper.
It’s a very old model without spare pieces. And desecrating hundreds of Exo corpses to find a similar one is obviously out of question.
If she has to speak, she’ll reroute and fiddle with power for a bit, to brute-force the weakened electronics.
The previous piece of music was only two minutes. So if y’all want there’s a live orchestral rendition of the Journey Theme in Destiny II.
History (part 1)
Anabasis-5 retains an unusual amount of data from one of her prior lives. A small memory unit — think USB thumb drive — was permanently retrofitted into one of her shoulders.
This drive has thousands of food recipes from Northern Africa and the Middle East. Couscous, tajine, ubrak, zitounia, hummus, makhroud, flaounes, moukraines à la glaviouse, etc..
Presumably a previous incarnation of Anabasis was a cook. But the recipes also come with a vast amount of historical data. If you want to know about the regional variations of kushari in early XXth Century Egypt, just ask.
Perhaps Anabasis-1 or Anabasis-2 assisted with some sort of food history research project ?
There was a cat that really was gone
Anabasis-5 also retains a tiny protected sector in her main drive, which dates back to Anabasis-3. These four packets of executed code are titled :
- CARRHAE WHITE ENGAGE.
- VOLUSPA \ FREYA PRIDE OVERRUN.
- YUGA SUNDOWN AWARE.
- MIDNIGHT EXIGENT SLUMBER.
All four are clear historical markers, and all four are tied to the Warmind Rasputin.
A Warmind is a super-advanced military artificial intelligence built during the Golden Age of Humanity.
The point of Warminds is to C3 super-arsenals with a speed and precision that would be impossible for Human commanders. They can also run millions of predictive simulations. If there’s enough data, they can thus accurately predict the odds of success of their own strategies.
The Warmind Rasputin, specifically, seems to have been in control of most or all of Humanity’s major defense systems when the Hive first attacked the Solar System.
It was a shame how he carried on
That Anabasis-3 had a hardcoded CARRHAE WHITE ENGAGE directive means that she saw combat all through the original Hive attack. All such attacks failed to stop the Darkness. To survive these, Anabasis-3 likely was particularly tough and particularly lucky.
The VOLUSPA protocols were apparently a series of weapons or strategies for which Rasputin couldn’t yet conclude that the odds of failure were 100%.
What the specific FREYA PRIDE project was is unknown. Anabasis-5’s brain is the only known remaining trace of it outside of Warminds.
The YUGA protocols apparently meant “try every VOLUSPA last-ditch effort until they have failed or will certainly fail”. At which point the Warmind Rasputin pivoted to the YUGA SUNDOWN order. Which apparently meant “all is lost, redeploy whatever is left to defend and prepare the next step.”
Said next step was the MIDNIGHT EXIGENT protocol. This one seems to mean “stop fighting for Humanity’s survival and hide for centuries while computing a way to avenge it”.
Executing MIDNIGHT EXIGENT SLUMBER code likely means that Anabasis-3 was stored in deep sleep in one of Rasputin hardened caches.
Use the fourth, Grigori
Anabasis-4 was apparently reactivated by Rasputin… at some point, perhaps along with other Exos. She fought in Kazakhstan, near the immense Cosmodrome complex.
The Cosmodrome was a key site during the Golden Age of mankind. For centuries, it was wrongly assumed to be the main location of the Warmind Rasputin. But so many things happened there that there’s no way to deduce in which conditions Anabasis-4 was slain.
History (part 2)
There seems to have been an unusual density of Ghosts near the Cosmodrome. Apparently, Rasputin played some role in the Traveller’s surprising decision to stand and fight to the death. So there may be a link.
(The Ghosts are the little drones sent out by the Traveller to create Guardians, remember ?)
One of the Ghosts resurrected Anabasis-4 (now rebooted as Anabasis-5) as a Guardian. She nicknamed it Zeitoun.
Anabasis-5 was a late resurrectee. She served for but a month before the Red War.
The Red War
The Red Legion of the Cabal unexpectedly invaded the Last City. While the fighting raged on, the Cabal deployed a gigantic special weapon. It clamped upon the Traveller, blocking its Light.
Like most Guardians, Anabasis-5 fought well against the Cabal invasion of the Last City. She boarded and crippled a huge warship. But once the Traveller was shut down, Guardians could barely stand.
Ana spent two days inactive until she could reboot and reunite with her Ghost. During that time she had a weird vision (video), seemingly granted by the Traveller.
Completely cut off, Anabasis-5 had to flee into the wilderness. Meanwhile, most survivors had fled to the oceanic moon of Titan.
European Dead Zone
After a week, Ana ended up with a community of survivors in what had been Switzerland.
The area had been devastated at the end of the Golden Age, when a fragment of the Traveller crashed there. The immense fragment had corrupted much of the area, making it partly uninhabitable.
However, Ana’s Ghost could tap the fragment to relink with the Light. This was a freak, one-off occurrence tied to her vision.
It also apparently made Anabasis-5 an anomaly, whose role was not computable when figuring out timelines.
As the only Guardian with her Light, Anabasis-5 :
- Weakened the tougher-than-expected Hive forces to help secure the Titan secret rag-tag base.
- Determined that the Cabal’s master weapon, which could make a sun go nova, was in the Sol system.
- Assisted leading Guardians Cayde-6 and Ikora Rey in gathering resources and intel.
- Launched a solo raid to shut down the sun-killing weapon. Meanwhile, mixed forces on Earth stormed the Last City.
Both attacks were as successful as could be hoped. This was largely thanks to Ghaul, the Cabal commander, being distracted by his obsession about being chosen by the Traveller to receive the Light.
(One also imagines that the Cabal forces had taken major casualties before the Guardians were cut off from the Light. Leaving them overstretched afterwards.)
Ghaul briefly succeeded in claiming the Traveller’s Light. But this soon destroyed him, as well as the Light-blocking device caging the Traveller. All Guardians were thus restored, and the Traveller no longer seemed dead.
Partially reawakening the Traveller also reactivated a dormant part of the Hive fleet. Apparently Savathûn, one of the Hive witch-goddesses, intended to kill the Traveller a second time. But this fleet would take a few years to arrive.
Osiris is alive
Ikora Rey, the most senior Warlock Guardian, then sent Anabasis-5 on a secret mission.
Her former teacher, Osiris, was likely on Mercury. But Osiris had left the Last City in troubled circumstances. Therefore, Ikora couldn’t officially expend too many resources making sure that he was OK.
Osiris was researching the Infinite Forest, a technology/location built by the Vex alien cyborgs. The Forest’s immense computing power allowed for liquid time and vast virtual reality.
Both Osiris and a Vex mastermind had been racing each other in using the Forest to compute timelines in which the Vex would be defeated, or would be unstoppable.
Taking on the Vex at their own games proved difficult. Even if outmanoeuvred for a bit, they could bring in resources from Vex-dominated futures as a counter. But Ikora came in to help.
Anabasis-5 being non-computable ultimately allowed for extinguishing the past that’d lead to an unbreakable Vex future.
Doctor Bray, I presume
Anabasis-5 was then covertly contacted by a fellow Guardian, Anastasia Bray . Though she was reported as having heroically fallen at the Battle of Twilight Gap, Bray had actually faked her death.
Against regulations, Ms. Bray had been investigating who she’d been before the Light resurrected her. Having faked her death meant that she was now free to do this. That led her to investigate the Clovis Bray Corporation, which had been a major player during the Golden Age.
(Anastasia had been resurrected while still wearing her Clovis Bray ID badge. This gave her much more information about her identity than the Guardian norm. Which in turn made her more independent.)
Ms. Bray discovered that BrayTech Futurescape research centres had been caught in the Mars glaciation. This likely meant computing centres that once hosted the Warmind Rasputin.
Get your arse to Mars
After running into Hive forces that also had been caught in the ice, Anastasia allied with Anabasis-5 to invade the research centre.
The Golden Age computers recognised the Human from her first life, as Dr. Anastasia Bray. Her work had been essential in building the Rasputin consciousness.
Dr. Bray could thus confirm that this place was where the main Rasputin process had been running. The servers in Old Russia, widely assumed to be Rasputin, were just one of his secondary processes.
Anabasis-5 was also recognised. She could access one of the many, many Rasputin weapons – the Valkyrie javelins.
Though the Guardian higher-ups weren’t pleased with the initiative, the two Anas clearly had found something valuable. And huge firepower would soon be needed.
The glaciation on Mars had been triggered by Rasputin at the end of the Golden Age. It had trapped one of the Worm Gods who had taught the Sword Logic to the Hive. But with the ice now thawing, the god and its followers were coming back to life.
This god — Xol, Will Of The Thousands — was drawn in using a small fragment of the Traveller.
The other Guardians were reluctant to involve the inhuman intelligence of a Warmind. But the two Anas convinced them there was no other way to take on such a powerful foe.
War on Mars
Rasputin was reactivated just in time to forge more Valkyrie weapons. Once Light-charged, these were enough to kill Xol – the weakest of the Worm Gods.
As feared, Rasputin was incontrolable. He was still operating under MIDNIGHT EXIGENT protocols. Meaning that the survival of humanity wasn’t his priority.
However, Dr. Bray had enough administrative rights from her previous, Golden Age life that she might keep the Warmind under some control. Possibly. And Anabasis-5 also had some unclear rights tied to whatever the FREYA PRIDE protocol had been.
But meanwhile, a surviving, shape-changing, conniving space dragon was using her Wish Magic on the Awoken leader in the Solar System…
A silent, methodical, computer-like commando.
While Exos normally have a full personality, Anabasis-5 seems to have received firmware tweaks narrowing her range. This may be tied to her service with the Warminds, or it may precede it.
Anabasis-5 and Dr. Bray (or “Bot-Ana” and “Flesh-Ana”, as they usually put it) are close friends. There’s some code allowing for Anabasis-5 to have a much fuller, empathic personality with a scion of the Bray family.
This, in turn, suggests that Ana was originally built and/or programmed by the Clovis Bray Corporation.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 06||Str: 05||Bod: 06||Motivation: Responsibility|
|Int: 04||Wil: 03||Min: 06||Occupation: Guardian|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 02||Spi: 06||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 015||HP: 065|
Data storage: 04, Density increase: 01, Force wall: 10, Self-Link (Gadgetry): 06, Gliding: 02, Invulnerability: 09, Jumping: 02, Obscure: 18, Regeneration: 05, Running: 06, Sound nullify: 01
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Density Increase is Always on and Already Factored In.
- Force Wall is Minor Marginal.
- Force Wall is transparent to sight, opaque to sound and gas.
- Invulnerability rolls take a minute.
- Invulnerability requires the Ghost’s presence, plus a connection with the Light.
- Obscure only applies against attempts to predict her role in future events.
Acrobatics: 05, Vehicles: 04, Weaponry (Firearms, Heavy): 07
Credentials (Guardians, Medium ; Warmind Rasputin, Low), Immortal, Iron Nerves, Life Support (No eat/drink), Lightning Reflexes, Pet (Ghost), Scholar (MENA cuisine).
Guardians (Low), Warlock Vanguard Ikora Rey (Low), Doctor Guardian Anastasia Bray (High).
MPR (needs to overload her voicebox to speak).
- DECOMMISSIONED WANDERWING FIGHTER [STR 06 BODY 09, Flight: 25, Radar sense: 21, Sealed systems: 10, Teleportation: 04, Limitation: Teleportation does not have the +7 Range Bonus: Teleportation only from or to the pilot’s seat].
- ARMOUR [BODY 09, Damage capacity: 08, Enhance (STR): 02 (cap is 07), Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 08), Enhance (BODY): 02 (cap is 08), Flash (stdy illu only): 04, Radio communications: 06, Sealed systems: 07].
- Automatic carbine [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 01, Telescopic vision: 01, R#02, Advantage: Autofire, Recommended STR 04]. Ana carries a dozen spare mags.
- Precision heat beam long gun [BODY 02, Heat vision: 07, Ammo: 08, Telescopic vision: 03, R#03, Recommended STR 04]. Another dozen spare mags. Heavy unit shields are more vulnerable to energy attacks, but that’s a property of the shields.
- Reloadable rocket launcher [BODY 01, Bomb: 05, Projectile Weapons: 10, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 01, Bonus: Projectile weapons and Bomb can be Combined (Bomb rides the Range of Projectile weapons), Drawback: Long reload time, Recommended STR 05]. Plus a dozen spare rockets.
- Electric grenades (x6) [BODY 01, Lightning (Explosive AoE): 10, Grenade Drawback, R#02].
Anabasis-5’s Ghost, aka Zeitoun
|Dex: 02||Str: 01||Bod: 02||Motivation: Responsibility|
|Int: 06||Wil: 06||Min: 06||Occupation: Ghost|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 05||Wealth: ////|
|Init: 011||HP: 010|
Acuity: 05, Flight: 06, Intangibility: 04, Radio communications (Encrypted): 15
Medicine (First aid): 05, Scientist: 06, Scientist (Computers): 09, Thief (Security systems, Locks & Safes): 07, Vehicles: 03
Bonuses and Limitations:
Thief (Locks & Safes) limited to electronic locks – and Vehicles to those vehicles with electronic controls.
Credentials (Guardians, Medium), Languages (multiple ones, including Hive languages).
I haven’t modelled her Super. Since I’ve almost never used it in the solo campaign or the mini-dungeons.
The Destiny guns do not seem that much more powerful than 2010s firearms. I’ve gone for a mere +1 EV compared to stock stats, plus a strangely elevated Recommended STR score so only Guardians wield them.
The elevated Hero Points are :
- To represent the heroic stature of Guardians.
- To represent the fairly easy solo campaign gameplay.
- To represent a loose implication that the Player Character is, as Adam Warlock would fittingly put it, outside of the loop of destiny.
The Flight speed for the Wanderwing was lowballed as an heartfelt homage to the interminable load times.
Source of Character: Destiny 2 vidjagame.
Helper(s): Byf’s all-in-one video lore summary.
Writeup completed on the 6th of September, 2020.