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Bloodshadows Created by Cover Art by

Greg Farshtey & Ed Stark Felipe Gaona, Jason Moser
genreDiversion Rules Created by Interior Art by
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This Edition Designed and Produced by Jaime Lombardo & Ron Hill, Paul Daly, Coliin Throm,
Brett M. Bernstein Chris Watkins, Eric Coile, Marshall Andrews III,
Some Content Originally Written by Tim Bobko, Brian Schomburg, Stephen Crane, Rich Hawran,
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Dustin Browder, Bill Olmesdahl, Paul Sudlow, Special Thanks to
Sandy Addison Colin Throm, Talon Waite


©1994, 2016 Precis Intermedia. All rights reserved. Disposable Heroes is a registered trademark of Precis Intermedia.
Bloodshadows, MasterBook, genreDiversion, Ghostories, Mean Streets, and Active Exploits Diceless are trademarks of Precis Intermedia.
Introduction�������������� 3 6 Magic������������������� 107
Magic Casting Pursuits�����������������������108
1 The World of Marl ������13 Casting Spells���������������������������������������������109
The Godwar���������������������������������������������������� 20 Magic Exploits�������������������������������������������115
Spells & Cantrips�������������������������������������116
2 Characters���������������23 Cantrips���������������������������������������������������������116
Motivations����������������������������������������������������� 24 Chronomancy Spells���������������������������� 117
Abilities������������������������������������������������������������� 25 Elementalism Spells�����������������������������119
Pursuits�������������������������������������������������������������� 25 Necromancy Spells������������������������������ 123
Gimmicks������������������������������������������������������������ 28 Photomancy Spells������������������������������ 126
Alignment�������������������������������������������������������� 41 Somniomancy Spells���������������������������� 129
Species����������������������������������������������������������������� 41 Sorcery Spells������������������������������������������131
Roles�������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 Technomancy Spells�����������������������������133
Putting It All Together����������������������� 55 Vitomancy Spells������������������������������������135
3 Basic Rules ���������������65 Wizardry Spells��������������������������������������140
Creating New Spells������������������������������146
Tasks�������������������������������������������������������������������� 66
Active Tasks��������������������������������������������������� 68 7 Directing Stories ������ 155
Passive Tasks�������������������������������������������������� 70 More Character��������������������������������������� 156
Special Tasks�������������������������������������������������� 71 Character Development�������������������157
Damage & Abatement��������������������������������74 Non-Player Characters���������������������160
Experience�������������������������������������������������������� 78 Adventuring�������������������������������������������������166
Discrimination���������������������������������������������� 81 Running Stories���������������������������������������172
Exploits�������������������������������������������������������������� 81 Story Locales�������������������������������������������181
4 Conflict ������������������83 Conversions��������������������������������������������������187
Turns�������������������������������������������������������������������� 84 8 The Unnaturals���������� 191
Movement��������������������������������������������������������� 85 Breeds���������������������������������������������������������������193
Ranged Combat�������������������������������������������� 87 Demons�������������������������������������������������������������193
Close Combat������������������������������������������������ 88 Shifters������������������������������������������������������������196
Social Combat���������������������������������������������� 90 Undead�������������������������������������������������������������198
Chases����������������������������������������������������������������� 91 Wilderness Creatures�������������������������� 203
Other Actions���������������������������������������������� 94
Impacting Combat Tasks������������������������ 95 9 The City of Selastos���� 207
Weapon Gimmicks��������������������������������������� 96 Geography���������������������������������������������������� 208
Combat Exploits������������������������������������������ 97 History������������������������������������������������������������ 208
Selastos Today������������������������������������������ 209
5 Equipment�����������������99 Districts����������������������������������������������������������213
General Gear����������������������������������������������100 Cults������������������������������������������������������������������ 216
Wilderness Gear���������������������������������������101
Protective Gear����������������������������������������101 10 The Stories�������������� 217
Weapons����������������������������������������������������������102 The Lady is a Vamp�����������������������������������218
Transportation������������������������������������������104 Trail of Riches������������������������������������������ 232
Magical Gear����������������������������������������������105
Appendix���������������� 243
Sample Characters��������������������������������� 244
Reference Sheets������������������������������������� 252
Blank Sheets����������������������������������������������� 255

Jack Deacon hated working and down her lithe body. She hit into the next room, Deacon
divorce cases. As he stood outside the floor and began to transform remembered just why it was he
the door of the rundown inn, he again. If Deacon was expecting a hated magic.
thought about all the backaches naked Human, he was in for a “Found your husband,” Deacon
he earned peering through surprise. The thing on the floor said, jerking his thumb over his
keyholes in exchange for barely had gray, slick skin and no shoulder at the walking corpse.
enough gold to keep his bank identifiable features, although it
balance breathing. still managed to scream in pain. The adjoining room had turned
Deacon wondered if her client out to be occupied by his client,
He made the mistake of sharing the blond with the wandering
a warm drink with a cold blond, had known what he was getting.
mate. She sat in the chair, a little
who was dead certain that her “Maybe he asked for his money pistol in her shapely hand.
husband was having an affair back,” the detective thought as he
with a streetsinger. She wanted a reflected on the bloody scene “You’re a funny guy,” she said.
scare thrown into him and was that surrounded him. “Then how come you’re not
willing to pay for it. Deacon took “Drop the gun and turn around,” laughing?”
the job and spent the rest of the someone said. Her husband was vocal for a
night comforting her in her time dead guy. “I don’t like this, Vera.
of grief. Deacon did as he was asked. He
had seen too much to be shocked Maybe we should just beat it. The
The next night, Deacon was at the sight of the dead man shifter’s dead and…”
waiting for the noises inside the sitting propped up on an elbow, Vera’s face turned hard. “So
rented room to reach the proper gun in hand. How the guy was what? He killed her, didn’t he?
pace and pitch. Once they did, he talking with no throat was a good They can’t tie it to us. This is the
drew his revolver and kicked the question though. As the suddenly sweetest deal we’ve ever stumbled
door hard enough to splinter the spry corpse shoved a revolver on and if you think I’m backing
lock. There was a brief flare of into his ribs and prodded him out now, you’re crazy! Go back in
arcane energy as the cheap there and get the rest of yourself…
doorseal that was supposed to
there’s no point leaving the
guarantee privacy quit without a
sentinels anything to work with.”
He did as he was told. She
The dim light of a mounted
seemed the type who was used to
glowstone was just enough to
people doing what she told them.
show Deacon what was in store
for him. The guy on the bed “What’s this all about? Nobody’s
wouldn’t be messing around going to cough up any gold on
anymore, not with his throat torn my account. You snatched the
out and his blood all over the wrong guy.”
sheets. She smiled. It wasn’t as pretty
And the woman on top of him… an expression as it had been the
well, it was no lady. She sprang at night before. “It’s not about
Deacon with fangs gleaming and ransom, Deacon. Somebody
her long, coarse hair replacing wants you for their own reasons.
soft flesh. Sharp, black talons Me, I don’t ask questions. But
emerged from her fingertips. there’s enough dough in this to
There was only one thing worse get me out of town. If you have to
than a shifter whore. That was get iced, well, that’s a tough
one who enjoyed her work a little break.” Her features softened.
too much. “But we had last night, right? And
“Claws in, kitten,” Deacon you liked that, didn’t you?”
muttered as he pulled the trigger. Deacon shrugged. “Sure, kid.
The bullet caught her in the Same as I like hearing banshees
shoulder, sending electricity up sing in the shower.”


She thought about slapping the gun. Vera turned around, but For the first time, Vera looked
him, but realized it would mean wasn’t certain that she wanted to scared. “You don’t want to mess
getting close enough to let risk shooting when somebody with him, Deacon. When he finds
Deacon grab the gun. She was might stick their head out of a out I’ve double-crossed him… you
mean, but not stupid. She stayed room at any moment. She stood have to take care of me, Jack. We
as she was. and watched while Deacon have to get out of here.”
“We’re going on a trip,” she said turned Harv and consciousness “Sure, angel, sure,” Deacon said
coldly. “As soon as Harv is into strangers. soothingly. “We’ll go someplace,
finished cleaning up. You’ve got By the time she realized her all right. We’re going to take that
business elsewhere. Once we’re golden goose was armed again, car you have downstairs and visit
there, we drop you off and get Deacon had the gun on her. “Too your boss. Get going.”
our gold. Then we live high, and late, kid. Not making a decision is Vera’s eyes went wide. “You
you…” making a decision. I’ll take that can’t be serious! Do you know
“I stop living,” Deacon finished revolver.” what you’re saying? He’ll kill you.”
for her. “I get the picture. Tell me, A door down the hallway Deacon smiled. “Not if I kill
sister, how do you manage to opened. Some guy with suitcases him first, kid.”
sleep at night?” under his eyes wanted to know
what was happening. Deacon Deacon and Vera emerged from
Her features took on a strange the inn. A black car sat at the
sadness for just a moment before spoke before Vera could. “Inn
detective, sir. These two are under curb, as its uniformed driver
she answered. “Sometimes I don’t. waited impatiently. Dark suit,
Sometimes I get two-bit detectives arrest. Things got a little rough.
Sorry if we disturbed your sleep.” gloves, and hat pulled low—
to keep me company.” somebody had gone to a lot of
Harv picked that moment to The guy nodded and went back effort hiding the fact that he was
walk back into the room, his inside. Deacon took Vera’s bag dead a few days ago. This was not
throat sloppily put back together. and fished the gun out of it, surprising, since sentinels are
Vera went back to being all slipping it into his pocket. She quicker to accept walking corpses
business. “Let’s go. There’s a car looked at him like she was seeing
than they are driving ones.
downstairs.” him for the first time. “I never
really wanted to hurt you… Jack,” With the gun barrel in the small
Deacon waited until they were she said softly. “You must know of her back, Vera did her best to
in the hallway before making his that, but I need the money so look like everything was jake. She
move. desperately.” climbed into the back seat.
Vera was in front, trying to keep Deacon was about to follow when
“Play the other side, sister. I’ve
calm. Harv walked behind, something clicked in the
heard this one before,” Deacon
pointing Deacon’s gun at him, chauffeur’s decomposing brain.
trenchcoat buttoned high to hide He reached out a rotting paw for
the mess that was his throat. Vera moved a little closer. “But Deacon and managed a snarl.
Deacon figured that he’d have now it’s all changed. You and I,
Deacon took a second to size
about half a second of surprise together, we could find a way to
him up. Most lively dead are
between success and winding up make some dough. We could own
chosen for brawn rather than
dead in a cheap motel. this town, lover.”
brains and are long past feeling
He spun around and caught “What about Harv?” pain. This one must have a little
Harv’s gun hand, forcing down She looked at the lump on the more upstairs if he was driving,
the weapon. Harry’s finger floor that passed for her husband so his nerve endings were
squeezed the trigger and a slug with disgust. “What about him?” probably still on speaking terms.
buried itself in the ratty carpeting. Deacon tucked his revolver into Deacon smacked him across the
An instant later, half a meter of his pocket, but kept a finger on bridge of his nose with the
carpeting and floor were gone, the trigger. “Maybe we could revolver. His hip pockets bounced
eaten away by the bullet’s spell. make a deal at that, kid. First on the ground.
Deacon slammed Harv’s hand things first. Who hired you to put Vera chose that moment to slip
against the wall until he dropped the arm on me?” out of the other door and make a

break for it. Deacon was on her in “You’ll find out,” she answered, Deacon frowned. That line was
three strides. Their brief struggle steering for a narrow pass so old, it needed a walker to get
would have been dismissed as a between two rock walls. A from his lips to her ear. “Look,
lovers’ spat in a better sickening sensation overtook the pal, she’s my long-lost sister and
neighborhood. Around here, two, as if their bodies were she’s always dreamed of seeing a
people lose interest once they fail turning inside out. Then the car couple of holes in the ground
to see punches being thrown. and riders were gone. with delusions of grandeur. You
Deacon herded her back toward Deacon had only been through going to open the gate or not?”
the car. “Get in. You drive.” one other portal in his life. That The sentinel drew himself up to
“You’re crazy,” she pointed out was when he had to search a boat his full height. “Wise guy, huh?
as fact. that drifted through one on the We don’t like wise guys in
“Runs in the family,” he replied, river when he worked the docks Selastos. Maybe I’ll just turn you
shoving her behind the wheel. as a sentinel. Deacon was not around and send you back into
“We all take stupid risks for not sure where he and the surprised the sands, what about that?”
enough dough and fall for the crew wound up—it was like Deacon briefly thought of
kind who live on trouble. Let’s nothing he had seen before. turning the sentinel into a healer’s
go.” Fortunately, they sailed back out livelihood, but tossed the idea.
again, about three kilometers The guy could end up being more
Vera was smart enough not to
downriver from Galitia. trouble than he was worth.
waste any more energy on
protesting. She started the car, He was at least prepared for the Shrugging, Deacon offered him a
listening to the barely discernible sensation this time, but it was few more bits of gold and what
hum of elemental energy from new to Vera. The first thing she sounded like an apology—that is,
the motor. They were on the road did on the other side of the portal if you weren’t listening too hard.
an instant later, heading for the was pull over, bolt from the car, The sentinel flashed one last
main gate that led out of the city. and get sick. When Vera was leer at Vera and waved the gate
done, they started across the open.
“What are you going to tell the
sandy stretch that led to Selastos.
sentinels at the walls,” she asked. “The cheaper the burg, the
“They’ll want to know where It was smaller than Deacon had tougher the uniforms,” Deacon
we’re going this time of night.” expected, ringed with walls of muttered. “Find an inn and we’ll
sun-baked stone. Glowstones catch some sleep. We can go see
“We’ll use whatever story you
mounted near the gates were your boss in the morning.”
cooked up, kid,” Deacon
muted to prevent the light from
answered. “After all, we’re Vera nodded, as she kept an eye
attracting anything from outside.
partners now, right?” on the multi-colored glowstones
Vera’s sick relative bit was not that flashed on both sides of the
Vera told a sweet, sad story
going to work well here. The avenue, promising all sorts of
about a sick brother in Denrick
guards would want a name and
with just the right mix of sincere delights. Deacon settled into the
address, but neither one of them
concern and seduction. When passenger seat, pulling his hat
she was done, the sentinel was knew Selastos well enough to
down low over his eyes.
ready to carry her all the way fake one. Vera smiled prettily,
while Deacon slapped a few bits “And, Vera…?”
there. She settled for getting the
iron gates opened. of gold in the sentinel’s palm. “What?”
That got them through the outer “Welcome to Selastos.”
Vera repeated the performance gates, but the sentinel at the last
a few more times until they were gate gave a look like Deacon Vera’s instructions were simple.
out of the city and on the road. dropped a dead Skarth on him. She was supposed to take Deacon
After driving about fifteen The sentinel stuffed the gold in to a motel in the Oasis section
minutes, Vera made a sharp left his pocket and leaned in close to and wait for a call. Nice and easy.
and started up a dirt path into the Vera, “What’s a honey like you As they pulled in front of the
mountains. doing with this bum? You know, I Blue Note Hotel, Deacon slipped
“Where are we going,” Deacon know all the hot spots in Selastos. her the revolver. “Put this in your
demanded. I could take you places.” little black mesh bag, sister. Your


boss might have somebody a hand. “Remember… I fell for it Stinky was reloading as Deacon
watching and I’m supposed to be like an amateur, went for the ride, yelled, “your buddy’s dead. So is
the prisoner, remember?” and everything’s jake. We don’t Vera. Your boss takes good care of
Vera’s eyes gleamed like two want to get your friend nervous.” his people, does he?”
ice-cold diamonds as she took the Vera nodded and picked up the Stinky mumbled something
gun. “And what’s to stop me from phone. She mouthed a curt, obscene and started shooting
shooting you right now? I’ll tell “Hello,” listening for a second. again. He was not a good shot,
‘em you tried to escape, that’s Deacon saw her eyes widen and but it didn’t matter. Deacon was
what I’ll do.” heard a choking sound come down to the one runeslug he had
Deacon smiled. “Not unless from her mouth. A second later, been saving for the guy behind all
you’ve got a spell up your sleeve, he caught the smell of burning this. It was beginning to look like
kid. I took the bullets out of it.” flesh. Reflex took over where that was a luxury he could no
He opened his fist and showed reason failed. He hit the floor as a longer afford.
her the six slugs in his palm. “You fireball exploded out of the Deacon heard a soft sound that
really gotta stop being so trusting, receiver. The flames consumed rapidly grew louder. They were of
Vera. It’s gonna land you in Vera completely, but left the bed a different tone and pitch than in
trouble one of these days.” untouched. It was over in the Galitia, but had to be sentinel
They went into the dark, smelly longest few seconds Deacon had sirens. Someone must have tipped
hole of a lobby, whose only ever lived. Her charred skeleton them off when the shots started.
occupant was a Werewolf. He was crumbled to ash. Stinky heard the wails too, tossed
sitting behind the desk, watching The door splintered as a Hugor a few shots for cover, and beat it
a softcore conjurevid. He took a and something that smelled down the hall. Deacon took a
break from his busy schedule to horrible stepped into the room second to let his heart start
give them a key. with raised revolvers. They beating again and followed.
They put the bed in first and surveyed the pile of ash, melted It was a beautiful sight. Stinky
built the room around it—or at phone, and rest of the room. They walked right into the hands of the
least that’s how it looked. The then looked at each other, sentinels, who bundled him into
bedspread was stained and one of puzzled. “Wasn’t there supposed a car. Two uniforms waited for
the glowstones was on the verge to be somebody else here,” they Deacon at the bottom of the
of burning out. The neon sign mumbled to each other. stairs.
across the street was another Deacon popped up from “Got a call about a disturbance,”
story. It splashed red light through behind the bed and squeezed off one of them said. “What do you
the window every ten seconds. a shot. The bullet was just lead, know about it?”
The place had all the romance of but the Hugor was just flesh and “There’s two of them upstairs.
a dentist’s drill. Human-Ogre blood. The slug tore One shot, the other torched. It
“Now what,” Vera asked, sitting through his right arm, spilling was somebody’s idea of a party
on the edge of the bed and some of that blood. invitation.”
looking sullen. The smell, greasy hair, and ugly One of the sentinels extended a
Deacon had reclaimed the gun mug clinched it for Deacon—the hand. Deacon hesitated a second,
and was replacing the ammo. “We Hugor’s buddy was a Skethspawn. but turned over his gun. The men
wait for the call,” he said, nodding The half-breed took a few steps escorted him to the car and put
toward the phone in the corner. back into the hallway to return him in the back seat for the ride
“The furball downstairs dropped fire, using the ruined door-frame down to the station.
a selast on us the minute we were for cover. Bullets poked holes in He turned around to look at
out of the room, you can bet on the plaster above Deacon’s head. the other car carrying Stinky.
that. They know we’re here.” The Hugor crawled for the That was when he noticed the
They didn’t have to wait long. doorway, leaving a greasy trail of sentinel driver—the one missing
There was a harsh sound—part blood behind him. Deacon put part of his face, lost not to a bullet
ring, part buzz. Vera reached for another slug in him, so the Hugor or a blade, but to rot. Deacon
the receiver, but Deacon held up obligingly stopped moving. turned around to find himself

staring down the barrel of a .38. Nobody looks after your health Deacon knew the voice. It was
The sentinel’s smile was pure better than a creditor,” Deacon one that he hoped never to hear
malice. Deacon suddenly thought to himself. again. “Whisper,” he muttered.
remembered all the stories he The driver made a sharp right The voice sounded pleased.
heard about Selastos’ cheap labor. and pulled into an alley, with “Very good, Mr. Deacon. A man
“Someone wants to see you real warehouses on either side. He should always remember those
bad, Mr. Deacon,” the thing then drew his gun, aiming it at he has wronged.”
renting the sentinel body said. the detective. Deacon shot up. “Wronged?
“Don’t worry… the Taxim “End of the line, Deacon. This That’s not how I remember it,
Quarter’s lovely this time of year.” is where you get off.” buddy.”
The two sentinel cars, likely For a second, Deacon wondered “It makes no difference. It will
stolen by Deacon’s reckoning, if a dead man’s eyes would be the be settled now. But we need no
wound their way through the last thing he’d ever see. witnesses, do we?”
dark streets of the Taxim Quarter.
Reanimated corpses out at this The second Taxim got out and Deacon saw something flying
time shot baleful looks at the opened the back door for Deacon. toward him… rather, past him. At
vehicles. Even sentinels are not The driver’s gun never wavered as first, he thought they were
welcome in this section of town. the detective slid across the seat swarms of insects, until he saw
and stepped out into the alley. It them slice into the Taxim. Clouds
Deacon’s hosts had clammed could have been any dead end in of razors turned the two undead
up. They seemed nervous, like Galitia, stinking of trash and stale gunmen into bloody strips of
they weren’t really all that anxious liquor. The bum curled up with flesh.
to get where they were going. If his bottle had been dead for at
Vera was an example of how their A soft chuckle came from the
least six months. He was only still shadows. “And now, Mr. Deacon,
boss treats his employees, it’s not around because something
hard to imagine why they felt that it’s your turn.”
needed his body. In life, the guy
way. might have been a merchant or Strangely enough, Deacon’s
The silence was getting on his politician, but the demon renting whole life did not flash before his
nerves. “Law in this town renting his body only cared about booze. eyes as he stood in the warehouse,
their cars now? Or do you guys waiting for the spellslinger to
The second sentinel car kept make his move. Only the portion
just have pals on the force?”
going. Stinky was probably going in which Whisper played a part
“Shuddup, shamus,” one of to be getting his pay-off, likely in
them growled. “Or we might have appeared, as if the memory could
the form of a runeslug to the show him an escape route.
to rough you up a little.” head.
Deacon chuckled. “I don’t think Whisper was out-of-town talent,
The two Taxims shoved Deacon brought into Galitia for a few
so. I think your boss wants me in toward the side door of a dingy
one piece. He could have iced me murders. He was no slouch with a
warehouse. Deacon was led to spell, providing Deacon with a
in Galitia. Who is he, boys? What’s the center of the warehouse,
his beef?” few bad moments. Then he played
where the light of a single bait in a trap that killed a woman
The driver laughed. It sounded glowstone played upon a chair. that Deacon loved.
more like a croak. “You’re gonna The Taxims sat him down in it,
find out, buddy. And you’ll be then took a step back. When the detective finally
sorry you asked.” tracked him down, he fought the
There was a moment of silence urge to kill the spellslinger. A few
Deacon sat back, looking before a voice came from the shots from his revolver made
around. “No handles on the darkness, “I thought this an certain that Whisper would never
doors. Locks glowed like appropriate site for our last forget him.
something was charged in them. meeting, Mr. Deacon. There was a
Nothing to do but wait and time, not so long past, that I “Apparently he hasn’t,” Deacon
wonder if anybody in Galitia would not have required any help thought to himself.
notices I’m gone. Good thing I in capturing you. But that has A second pool of light appeared
owe so many people dough. changed. You changed that.” on the opposite end of the


warehouse. Whisper sat there in a wheelchair with

hands on his ruined knees. “They offered to heal GENREDIVERSION
me,” he said icily. “But I said no. I wanted no prison The genreDiversion™ rules began as a set of
healers touching me. And I wanted to remember the mechanics to facilitate a quick gaming experience,
pain, Deacon, so I could return it to you one day.” intended to be a diversion from the wear of extended
campaigning. The mechanics were an amalgam of
Whisper lifted his arms. For the first time, Deacon those found in Active Exploits™ Diceless Roleplaying
saw that the spellslinger’s hands were artificial, and Precis Intermedia’s original house system, utilizing
probably made of wood. “They did give me these. two base six-sided dice.
Pretty, aren’t they? Of course, I cannot gesture with
them as once I did, but a business associate saw to it A second incarnation of the rules, known as
that each finger was charged with a spell. You see?” genreDiversion i, maintained the same basic mechanics,
but expanded task resolution and changed the
A dagger of ice flew from one of Whisper’s digits, handling of damage. The first release was a generic
burying itself in the wall behind Deacon. manual, designed to be playable on its own with the
“The last time we encountered each other, Deacon, players’ own setting or as a way of updating the
you used my illusions against me,” Whisper original games to the most current rules. Revised
continued. “But this is no illusion. This is death, editions of existing genreDiversion games were
detective.” eventually released, along with new titles—
Deacon dove for one of the guns dropped by the HardNova™, EarthAD™, Coyote Trail™, Ghostories™,
Taxims, but the trigger glowed red-hot when he and Mean Streets™. Overall, these versions were more
touched it. He yelled and let go even as a bolt of flexible than their predecessors, adding longer-term
lightning crackled through the air above his head. play and more-detailed, yet still open settings.
Combining the versatility of the new mechanics with
“Run and hide, Deacon. There is no escape, but I
the practicality of the settings, thousands of copies of
will enjoy hunting you down in this place, as you
these titles were sold.
once did me. It may take days or weeks, but the end
will be the same—you will die.” Players eventually wanted more out of the
genreDiversion mechanics. They tried to stretch the
Deacon turned and disappeared into the darkness,
rules to go beyond their intended purposes, desiring
seeking a moment to plan his next play. There was a
more than just a diversion. They wanted a truly
feeling in his gut that maybe, just maybe, Whisper
universal rules system, capable of handling all sorts of
was holding all the cards…
wild situations, like spell-casting dragons and pulp-
action heroes. After much consideration and
substantial development, a third and most recent
edition was finally released—genreDiversion Third
Edition. This iteration of the game builds on its roots,
but also expands in new directions by incorporating
rules for miniatures and creating characters to be
more capable and heroic, with even more options for
customization, scaling, and cinematic outcomes.

Bloodshadows was first published by West End
Games™ as a worldbook for their MasterBook™
roleplaying rules system, and then as a worldbook for
their D6 system. Precis Intermedia acquired the
intellectual rights to MasterBook and Bloodshadows
in 2010. A number of the original books have been
reprinted since then. This new edition is a complete
roleplaying game, requiring no additional books for
play. While supplemental titles may be published in
future, they would be completely optional.

Bloodshadows is a roleplaying game—a distinct
form of storytelling in which events are decided by a DESIGN NOTES
combination of dice rolls and choices made by When sitting down to update Bloodshadows, I wanted
players. Veteran gamers will find a mix of both to maintain the game’s original approach. That is,
familiar elements and new techniques in these players can portray Humans and Unnaturals, and
anyone can use magic. So while some species have
pages, while those new to the hobby are presented special powers, they are on par with Human ability. No
with a set of rules that are easy to learn, flexible, and one can be injured more than is humanly possible and
expandable as their experience with it grows. simply walk away, for example. Of course, creatures
listed in the bestiary may be able to do this, but they
are primarily intended as antagonists.
A FANTASY-NOIR SETTING The included rules are modular in the sense that
Fantasy and horror, magic and technology, men ability and weapon gimmicks can be ignored, as can
and monsters meet and merge. Spellslingers and the exploits and the many options presented in this book.
ritual magic of blood cults exist parallel with smoking Players familiar with the genreDiversion Third Edition
revolvers, cold stiffs, and dark deceptions. rules will notice a few changes, like higher protective
Adventurers have the chance to gain riches and ratings, new pursuits, and the addition of social
power, provided they can survive the places where conflict. These reflect the nature of this setting and
also incorporate some concepts from the original
nothing is ever as it seems. MasterBook rules.
Bloodshadows Fantasy Magic relies on the same core concepts as the
The world of Marl has been at peace for centuries, original game, but is greatly simplified. For example,
the original version required both a skill (like alteration)
with only dim memories of a brutal war almost a and a focus (like vitomancy), and could be enhanced
millennia ago. Part of an ongoing struggle between with an arcane knowledge (like darkness or living
Order and Chaos that has touched many times and forces). Characters need only possess one pursuit (like
many realms, this bloody clash saw shadowy vitomancy) to cast associated spells. Creating new
elements fighting beside Humans. Much of the spells, however, also requires a theory (like alteration).
world was devastated in the end, with the war Alchemy was also incorporated into the various schools,
moving to other realms, leaving Marl forever since components and gestures do the same thing.
changed. Bloodshadows is a very unique setting. It features an
extremely diverse population, from blood-hungry
Civilization is now found only in the cities, each vampires to the four-armed catrarms. Whatever their
unique in its levels of technology and magic. All deal differences, the characters in the game all share one
with crime, corruption, and mysteries too frightening common theme—they struggle to survive in a Human-
to be solved in their own ways. The rich manipulate centric society. And while Humans have a slight
events to suit themselves from the streets and advantage (both in society and with magic), it does not
towers, the poor labor in flesh mills and talisman mean that their lives are rich and fulfilling. Everyone
has it hard, only some have it harder.
factories, and those in the middle dream of the day
when they can afford cars powered by elemental Most people have regular, everyday jobs. Even
energies. Magic is so common that almost everyone Taxims and Ghouls must work to earn a living. They
know that without steady income, they can’t enjoy
knows how to use a small spell or cantrip that can their vices, buy clothing of the latest trend, or move to
aid in their jobs or everyday lives. Vampires stand in a better part of town (well, some of them—it’s not like
the bloodlines of the cities’ netherworlds to get their Taxims would be welcome outside of their Quarter in
daily rations, beautiful shapeshifters sell their favors Selastos). In this sense, all characters are practically
on street corners, and Hugors make good livings as Human, even demons and the undead.
legbreakers. Magic exists in a similar state. Cults sometimes cast
Between the cities is the Wilderness. It is dangerous, powerful rituals that disrupt entire cities. These
incidents are usually short-lived, however. Powerful
deadly, and largely unexplored. Creatures who have spells are likely to have limited durations, so they
had hundreds of years to grow powerful and cunning eventually dissipate. Opposing factions and the
wait for the unwary here, luring them in with authorities are also quick to dispatch their own
promises of power before consuming their souls. spellslingers, who quell disruptive spells. Finally, those
Travel between cities is laden with risk, but gold in charge work hard to maintain the status quo, so they
flows like water for those brave enough to attempt it. stop at nothing to get rid of whatever upsets their little
corner of the world.


Film Noir The Struggle

Film noir is a French term that refers to movies Marl once again stands on the brink of the abyss,
from the Forties and Fifties, as well as the books on for the war has returned to this world. Order, Chaos,
which they were based, that explored the dark and a few other mysterious forces struggle in the
underside of American culture. Film noir was not so shadows. Cults and creatures are their soldiers in
much a movement, as a collection of themes and what may be the final battle of an eternal conflict. As
stylistic conventions that many of these movies you enter the tale of Bloodshadows, the war has
shared. begun in earnest for some cities and not yet touching
The themes consist of the violence inherent in others. For many, it brings death. It can also mean
American culture and the disillusioned facing moral opportunity for those with the strength, skill, and
dilemmas. The conventions are a dark and brooding intelligence to survive.
visual style, heavily overlaid with shadows. Settings The conflict between law and crime serves as a
are dark, dingy and worn. Life is violent and microcosm for the greater struggle of Order and
frequently short. Chaos. The many gangster movies serve as a great
example of this conflict. While crime may seem to
Bloodshadows Noir have an advantage when looking at mob wars, rub-
The world is dark. Stories occur in shadowy back outs, and sheer brutality, law enforcement can be
streets, amid the wails of the streetsingers, come-ons just as brutal in their pursuit of justice.
of the Abeskimas on the game, and curses of their
Gris keepers. A man might get killed with a gun or
knife—he could also trigger a ward or get fried by GETTING STARTED
some demented spellslinger from ten blocks away. The mechanics of this game were built for ease of
Life is not always cheap, but it can be easily lost. understanding and optimized to run quickly. The
following elements are basic to the game.
Many people seem cynical and violent. They are
not quite black or white, but somewhere among the Dice
shades of gray. Bad guys are always easy to find. Two six-sided dice are used to resolve most actions
There are also heroes who do what is right and make in this game. No other type of die is required,
sacrifices either for money, a cause, or sense of duty. although having more than two dice is convenient.
Most have lines that they do not cross, but sometimes
a man, woman, or entity has to do the unthinkable. Math
Ultimately, the end often justifies the means. A minimum of mathematical calculations are used
The stories are populated by tough, hard-drinking, to resolve some situations, typically confined to
chain-smoking characters who scrape out a living on addition and subtraction. When a fractional value
the underbelly of society. The men are frequently results from a division, it should be rounded down
hard-boiled detectives or thugs, and the women are unless otherwise noted. If a value is rounded to zero,
tough dames who know what they want and stop at consider it a one instead.
nothing to get it. The people with which they deal
are usually gangsters and the corrupt rich, who are Miniatures
essentially brutal and uncaring. The trappings and Metal, plastic, or paper miniatures can be optionally
styles of film noir give this setting its unique flavor. used to represent the placement of characters,
People in this world dance between the law and objects, and monsters involved in the game.
criminality. They have their own codes by which Miniatures should be designed for the 25mm or
they live, but do not like the strictness, regimentation, 28mm scale, although 30mm is also compatible.
and corruption favored by those in positions of
authority. Not only do Humans have to put up with GETTING TOGETHER
the dark desires and longings of their own kind, they This game requires two or more participants,
are also subject to the depredations of supernatural although three to five are recommended. While all
creatures, some of whom view Humans only as prey. participants work to unravel the continuing story,
Horror is a major part of the world—and the players one is directly responsible for the content presented.
can even portray it. The following elements define the roles of the
participants and the nature of the game itself.

The Director of episodes combine to form a story; this is often
One player assumes the role of director, sometimes referred to as a campaign or saga. If the players
called the gamemaster, referee, or judge in other intend to participate only once, the story can be
games. This player has the responsibility to advance completed in a single episode; this is typically
the plot; project the proper atmosphere; and assume referred to as a one-shot game.
the role of extras, monsters, and villains. The director During play, scenes are further compartmentalized
essentially sets the stage for the players, just as his sections of the story. Scenes can represent both
theatrical counterpart does for a play or film. Being abstract passages of time and structured sequences
a good director is just one key to an exciting game. involving measured turns.
The Characters
Characters are the participants in the story. Those GETTING THINGS DONE
not taking on the mantle of director portray the Players can normally do whatever it is they desire
primary characters in the game, or heroes. A player in a game by way of their characters. Not every
draws on his character’s abilities, training, personality, action is guaranteed, however. It would be quite
and background to bring the role to life. This is no unusual for a character to turn on a light by throwing
different from performing in theater, except that a rock at the switch, for example. In order to
each player picks his own lines in an improvised adjudicate special actions such as this, characters
manner. A little creativity goes a long way and the consist of certain elements that define their
more experience one gains in roleplaying, the easier capabilities. This measure of a character makes it
it gets. The characters are yet another important possible to quantify his chances of success when
element required for play and can develop through attempting to do things outside of normal activity or
the course of the game, becoming even more when pitted against another character in a direct
personalized and interesting. contest.
Villains, on the other hand, are characters who
oppose the heroes and ultimately face them in the Abilities
climax of a story. While heroes are portrayed by the Abilities are used as a base for determining how
players, villains are handled by the director. Another well a character can typically perform in a given
type of character is the extra. Very different from situation.
heroes and villains, extras are only superficially
described. They are incidentals, adding individual Pursuits
personalities that are more important than strict Pursuits complement abilities, as they encompass
game mechanics. specialized training and knowledge.

Stories Tasks
A roleplaying story is just like a novel. It Whenever a character attempts to do something in
encompasses an entire series of events, starting with which success is not guaranteed, such as firing a gun
an introduction that prepares the characters (and at someone over distance, a roll of the dice can be
the players) for what is yet to come. The story then made to determine the outcome. This roll, or task, is
presents a crisis or motivational element for the added to the numerical rating of the character’s
characters, building tension and summoning them most appropriate ability and the bonus from a
to action. A series of minor crises typically occurs at relevant pursuit (if available). When this total value is
this point, eventually building to the height of equal to or greater than an assigned difficulty rating,
tension and dilemma. Finally, the denouement is the task succeeds.
reached, quickly diminishing the tension and
resolving all the loose ends.
Particularly successful tasks can be exploited. That
Each time players meet to immerse themselves in is, a character can perform special stunts or
the game, they are either participating in a single maneuvers to take advantage of his success, often
episode (chapter of the story) or a complete story. gaining an advantage over opponents or additional
The difference is whether or not the players intend insight into situations.
to continue the same story at another time. A series



Long before the Godwar returned, Marl had more continents and the paths of a few rivers. With luck,
than its share of dangers. Those who lived their lives a few islands may be included, provided that are not
within the walls of a city or town enjoyed a modicum too far off the coast. All of this comes from the
of security, providing they shelled out for good hands of sailors over the years, but it is anyone’s
doorseals, stayed out of certain neighborhoods, and guess as to how accurate these maps are.
tried not to anger nearby spellslingers. The Maps of the interior are pretty localized to the
newscribes wrote every day about people who made immediate area. A Galitian merchant is not likely to
that one mistake and ended up on a slab in the city have a map of Guildsport on hand, for instance. If he
morgue. With luck, the coroner was not a closet does, it probably consists of general locations with
necromancer, making them shamble around until little detail. Some maps are so old that they still show
the local law decided to blow their brains out the sacked and burned cities from the previous war now
back of their heads. Hopefully, their relatives saved a surviving only as ruins. Most people do not even
few coins by slapping them in the ground at poorly- know that the continent on which cities like
guarded cemeteries, where they would stay until a Guildsport and Selastos can be found is called Eln.
resurrectionist dug them up for parts or sold the
body to a flesh mill. Maps of river routes are available if the focus is on
a river town. Charts of the oceans are guesses at best
Those who ventured out of the cities, whether by and lies at worst. Any sailor on an ocean vessel
choice or misfortune, faced a different kind of peril. knows that they hug the coastline, since there is no
Roads were few and far between; much of the way to be sure what might be waiting under the
Wilderness was unmapped; and the monstrous waves. Someone willing to take a few risks and
legends of what lived in the forest, mountains, and produce a true map of the big blues could make
rivers were more fact than fantasy. A number of serious gold, enough to stay drunk for two months.
travelers found themselves arriving at destinations
far sooner than planned, having wandered through While charts of the waters are rare, maps of portals
arcane portals, only to discover that a little piece of are almost impossible to find. These magical gateways
Hell had come along with them. Many more never act as shortcuts from one place to another. Since
even arrived. they cannot be seen with the naked eye and have
been known to move around Marl, gold spent on a
With a multi-faction war breaking out in the gazetteer of portals is probably wasted.
darkened streets of the cities, there is no real safety
to be found anywhere. Cults having played nicely The best sources for information of Marl’s
with each other for centuries now let their hate geography comes from the people whose jobs take
shine. City governments try to keep the lid on it as them outside the city walls. These include couriers,
body counts rise. Creatures who long-survived in traders, and the like. Most share what they know for
the shadows alongside Humans are drawn out by the right price. Some even act as guides, if they see
the smell of blood. Portions of Marl are thunder a way to profit and come back alive.
potions waiting for the spark to make them explode.
Now more than ever, those who can handle a gun,
Marl’s early history is the same old song. Humans
toss a spell, or scout a path through the Wilderness
emerged from the mud to run the planet, building
are in demand. Beleaguered city officials, local law,
crude settlements and using any excuse to kill each
and all sides of this new Godwar hire skilled
other. War was a welcome break from hunting and
freelancers to take on jobs that need doing. For
gathering. It has always been more fun to take what
somebody who knows their way around a fight or
the other guy has than to go out and get your own.
grimoire, the only thing easier to find than
employment these days is a quick death. The ones who were best at cracking heads started
carving out empires. Ideas about law, politics, and
Geography culture were tossed back and forth among those
There might have been a time when Marl’s who could not get real jobs. Civilizations rose until
continents and oceans were as widely-known as a they became too top-heavy, falling again. Wars broke
Skethspawn’s stench, but that was long ago. Walk out at the drop of a gauntlet. There are not many
into a library today asking for a map of the world acres of Marl that did not serve as battlefields or
and you get a tracing of the outlines of a few graveyards at one time or another.



This is a composite of maps charted by expeditions,
recovered from antiquity, and drawn by way of
divination. It is far from complete and likely
flawed. Travelers should not rely on its accuracy.

Permanent Portal


Marl was always a little different, though. The
earliest histories mention creatures that were more FILM NOIR SLANG
or less than Human, depending on who was writing. beef complaint
Some were captured and displayed in circuses.
big house jail
Others made lives for themselves inside the cities, as
laborers or bosses, predators or prey. Still others big sleep death
stayed out of sight and settled in the Wilderness, bit prison sentence
taking on anyone who came near them. Although blow leave
few historians are willing to admit it, the boundaries blower telephone
of empire were defined by how far they could be boob dumb guy
expanded before running into one of those things. booze alcohol
When scouting expeditions started getting torn to boozehound a drunk
pieces, it was time to stop and just be content.
box job safecracking
From the very beginning, magic was a part of life broad woman
on Marl. Armies counted on their scrying warlocks
bump off kill
to know where the enemy was and when it was a
good time to fight. Warlocks wore wild clothes in the cabbage money
old days as a way of impressing the generals. They canary female singer; informer
ceased that practice when realizing the enemy cheese it put things away; hide
aimed for the warlocks first. That may be why magic- chisel to swindle or cheat
users tried to fit in with the rest of society, instead of copper law enforcement officer
acting like a separate class. From there, it was a short dig understand
jump to the idea that everybody should know some dirt money or information
magic, if only enough to get by in life. Things went
dope information
on this way for about two-thousand years.
doll woman
Cities were built and abandoned, nations came
done a bunk spent time in prison
into being, and weapons and spells grew in power.
Unfortunately, these achievements never brought gin joint bar
about the promised Golden Age. Apart from a few grifter con man or woman
plagues, life proceeded about as one would expect flophouse place to stay; low-class hotel
for a world in its Middle Ages. gat pistol
Suddenly, everything changed. It started with the goon thug or hoodlum
cults tearing at each other. It then spread from the gum up interfere
borders of empires into the hearts of the cities. Next, gumshoe detective
civil war was everywhere, but not a war for territory— hash house cheap restaurant
this was a fight for minds and souls between those heap car
who believed in Order and those allied with Chaos.
heater gun
Before it was done, the empires had been swept
away and the great armies destroyed. hock shop pawn shop
joe coffee; ordinary guy
The worst was yet to come. Humans did not fight
this war alone. Both armies featured the dark things juice interest on a loanshark’s loan
of which legends spoke. A soldier could find a piece gun
shapeshifter by his side in combat. The undead pinch arrest
could be seen marching over the hill. All the rules of pig-sticker knife
battle were abandoned in what came to be known as rat on/out turn someone into the authorities
the Godwar—this was not difficult, particularly upon rod gun
seeing fields of enemy dead rise to resume the fight. sauce alcohol
As swiftly as it began, the war was over. There was shiv knife
no winner. The battle simply moved to another field, skirt woman
somewhere else. Most of the cities were left in ruins. sore angry or irritated
New towns were built like fortresses. The surviving



non-Humans, or Unnaturals as they became known,

MARL SLANG faded back into the shadows of these cities, seemingly
alchemist someone who specializes in waiting for a return of the Godwar.
charging spells into potions The biggest change was in the Wilderness. The
annie gun submachine gun entities who had always thrived there increased in
box artist safecracker number during the war. A massive army to keep
clipper high-priced night club them in check no longer existed. All anyone could
or rigged gambling den do was hide behind city walls and hope that they
were strong enough to keep out the creatures. This
creep joint brothel full of pickpockets;
intensified the isolation of the cities, so populations
anywhere Unnaturals are
were forced to become self-sufficient.
deadboy any undead (usually Zuvembie) Cities have grown and changed over the nine
centuries since the end of the first Godwar. Each is
dirt boy anyone who specializes
home to various forms of government, religion, and
in earth spells (insulting)
magical practices. Two neighboring cities may seem
finger music spellcasting so different that it is hard to believe they are only a
flamer anyone who specializes few-hundred kilometers from each other.
in fire spells (insulting)
flip side the destination of Civilization
a magical portal The heart of Marl is its cities. These range from
flipper anyone who specializes in metropolises like Galitia (with a population of three-
invocation spells (insulting) million) to isolated towns like Guildsport (with a
floater anyone who specializes population of ten-thousand). There are fortified
in air spells (insulting) settlements out in the Wilderness with smaller
gibberer anyone who uses incantations numbers of people, but one in a thousand lasts long
to cast magic (insulting) enough to grow into a city.
hairless half-breed name for Human Differences between cities can be small or large.
hug a pug street fight with a Hugor The way they are run varies, from dictatorships to
hugo Hugor (insulting) second cousins of anarchy. Most have their own
meat undead term for any living being forms of currency, although gold, silver, and other
nat Unnatural name for Human precious metals are used for dealings between
newscribe reporter towns.
oyster valuables hidden with magic No matter the differences, all cities face the same
player piano self-activating ward major problems: feeding the people and protecting
squealer alarm spell or informant them from predators. Most grow their own food in
fields located around the perimeter that are protected
runeslug bullet with a spell charged into it by a series of walls. Fish or game is a treat in most
and identifying runes carved on places, although larger cities breed their own stock
the shell for slaughter.
skrats Skitter-Rats (insulting)
Outer walls protect the cities from invasion or
spellslinger someone who uses magic,
unexpected visits by Wilderness creatures. Since
often freelancing for semi-legal
travelers who pass through portals have been known
or illegal work
to pick up a monstrous stowaway or two, they are
steamer car checked before being allowed to walk into the
stir prison settled areas. Along the same lines, some cities have
warlock ancient term for a spellslinger laws against outside vehicles being permitted to
warmflesh undead term for living beings enter—they must be checked at the gate and retrieved
wetman anyone who specializes upon leaving.
in water spells (insulting) Most cities cannot afford an army, so local law
witch wind gale that springs up suddenly handles all threats. A few utilize special units devoted


to dealing with non-Humans. Other, rarer outfits are creatures here are a far cry from the ones in the
trained to search portals in the surrounding areas cities. They are more powerful and more alien than
and kill anything that might be lurking inside them. anything likely to have been seen by most.
Cities are linked by couriers and traders. There are no roads, except for the occasional path
Teleportation and telepathy spells also keep cities in worn into the ground by traders. The only security
contact with each other, but not everything or to be had on a journey is the hired kind—armed
anyone can be trusted. Towns along a river are guards, scouts, and guides who make good money to
generally aware of each other, but two cities on get people to their destinations in one piece.
opposite sides of a mountain probably do not even The Wilderness is also where you find the portals,
know the other exists. which are capable of transporting people across a
Towns thrive economically by producing the goods continent or even another realm altogether. There
that their people need to survive. Any luxuries can are a number of theories about how these things
be used for trade, but no one trades for necessities— came to be. Some believe that they were created by
the areas between the cities are too dangerous to Wilderness creatures and travel with them, like
count on a trading vessel or convoy making it mobile traps. Others think that they are remnants of
through the Wilderness. the Godwar. Both theories are likely to be partially
Even the makeup of the population can change correct, as some portals do appear and then
from place to place. Some creatures might be native disappear, while others seem to be permanently
to one city, but never seen anywhere else. A good fixed in one spot.
example of this is Selastos, where the menial labor is
done by Taxims, which are reanimated dead Magic
possessed by industrious demons. Their presence is They say that when the first man saw a bolt of
accepted by the locals, although they have few rights lightning hit a tree and the limbs burst into flame, he
under the city code. realized that there were gods and devils out in the
ether greater than him. His thoughts on the day he
Imagine This… concentrated hard and caused lightning to flash
Philip from Galitia enters the city of Gimm. He is from his fingers is a mystery, but that was when
accustomed to wide avenues with a fair amount of primitive Humans on Marl realized the power of
automobile traffic and the sight of railrunners magic. It took another thousand years before
carrying mill-workers to their jobs. Philip now sees someone decided that arcane energy was a natural
narrow, cobblestoned streets where the people are force to be manipulated like any other. Long before
riding beast-drawn wagons. There is no stench of there was any industrial revolution, there was a
flesh mills in the air and no load of corpses being magical one; the blending of technology and magic
sold for their skin. Instead, he witnesses miners is a fact of life today.
hauling silver to smiths, waiting to be turned into
plates, cups, and knives. The streetsingers are belting Over the course of centuries, all of the mystic arts
out tunes about troubles with the Photomancer have enjoyed a few minutes of fame in the big cities.
Union, a group that does not even have a guild office Necromancy and other assorted “mancies” all enjoyed
in Galitia. The colleges are teaching rites that mean their moments in the spotlight. Specific types of
nothing to Philip. The local law politely suggests that magic became popular in certain areas, so that forms
he do his business and keep moving. Getting his practiced in one city might not be found or welcome
bearings is half of Philip’s battle. He needs to start all in neighboring towns.
over again if he survives his trip to another city. It is impossible to overestimate the effect that the
arcane has had on daily life all over Marl. In the early
days, it was discovered that there would always be
The Wilderness some who favored untainted technology and others
Few people can tell you much about the areas who felt spells should stand on their own without
between the cities. Vast tracts of land that is mostly being impressed into tools. Most people embraced a
unexplored or long-abandoned separate the towns compromise—a merging of the magic arts with those
better than any man-made barrier ever could. One of the woodworker, smith, and other craftsmen.
might find ruins of ancient cities, a few crazed exiles, Magic mixed with technology is now standard, with
or mysteries waiting to be solved for a big prize. The neither dominant over the other. Someone who



wants protection on the streets can buy regular lead Marl’s creatures can be divided into three broad
slugs for his gun or he can pay a little more and get categories—those who can pass as Human, those
bullets with spells built into them—these have runes who cannot, and those of the Wilderness. The first
carved into the shells. The smart ones buy both broad category covers Vampires, some shapeshifters,
kinds, since it is hard to know what is needed in a and anything else that looks close to Human (or can
any given situation. make itself look that way). These creatures find it
The average person probably knows enough magic easiest to coexist with Humans in cities, moving
to perform minor repairs on a car or change about fairly freely and with a measure of acceptance
glowstones in an apartment. Specialized spellslingers in some places. This cannot save them from being
must be called for more complicated tasks, some hunted by local law if enough deaths are traced to
charging by the hour, others by the spell. These their doors, however.
specialists keep the hot water flowing and watches The second group are those who stand out in a
running accurately. crowd due to their looks. Prejudice and fear, most of
The bigger the city, the more places there are it justified, keeps them in the shadows. While some
available to learn about the principles of magic. are not completely inhuman, they have drifted well
These range from cut-rate night courses offered in away from identifying with the ordinary mortals
someone’s apartment to expensive and exclusive around them. This makes them dangerous and
academies. There are also plenty of do-it-yourself unpredictable enemies. Their natures and ways of
grimoires out there. Shady characters also sell spell life make them prone to madness—no one wants to
scrolls in alleys, none of which are guaranteed to have to tell such a thing that it is crazy.
work as intended. Some cities have entire districts Both of these first two groups were most visible
filled with people who tried to do too much with too during the days of the first Godwar. Since then, they
little magic, driving them mad, scarred, or cursed as have come to be regarded in most places as
a result. undesirables, even if few people have actually
encountered one or would necessarily know if they
The Unnaturals had. With the Godwar returning to Marl, more
Some people still like to pretend that the Unnatural, things are emerging from the shadows to fight again,
the cursed, and the damned do not really exist. They or at least profit from the fighting.
are exaggerations of history or the products of The creatures of the Wilderness are breeds apart
hysteria. The truth is that things other than Humans from those in the cities. They are hated by Humans
have always been a part of Marl, only more visible at and non-Humans alike. It is the presence of these
some times than others. Wilderness creatures that makes travel between
cities, down rivers, and over oceans so deadly. Hard
information on these creatures is sketchy and
difficult to find­ —most descriptions of them are
unreliable. They are numerous and powerful enough
to make most of Marl’s citizens content to hide
behind city walls for their entire lives.

While magic was coming into its own, religion also
took root. The worship of gods and demons sprang
up in many places at once, but there are vastly
different methods. No single religion dominates.
Even before the first Godwar, civilized areas were
too distant from each for one creed to take hold and
spread. An assortment of cults flourished, with each
city having its own patron gods or devils. A large
metropolis today boasts dozens upon dozens of
cults within its walls, some enjoying thousands of
members and others no more than five or ten.


A cult cannot be judged by its size, however. A
small cult of dozens may lay claim to prominent THE GODWAR
bankers and businessmen, possessing more money The battle between Order and Chaos known on
and influence than one with five-thousand poorly Marl as the Godwar has been waging since before
educated mill-workers. recorded time. When the universe began, Chaos was
Travelers have found identical gods being in command of the swirling dust and gases that were
worshiped in adjacent cities, but under completely the whole of creation. As planets formed and began
different names in some cases. Cultists are often not to circle stars, Order took its place, imposing laws on
even aware that their god is worshiped by others, nature and all life to come. The two forces were
showing no inclination to contact them to form evenly matched and provided a balance to the
larger groups. The gods may not all be jealous by universe, but it was an uneasy peace from the start.
nature, but their followers often are. No one knows for certain how or why the war
Cults vary radically in behavior. Some are seen as started. Either one of these cosmic entities may have
very civic-minded, giving money to charity, funding seen an opportunity to seize the universe for itself,
the opening of hospitals, and working hard to using its followers on some long-forgotten world as
maintain good reputations. Others are isolationists, its army. That battle ended in a stalemate, but the
seemingly taking pride in the fact that their ways are war was far from done.
strange to outsiders. There are also the blood cults, Believers in Order and Chaos have clashed on
who are violent and deranged, sacrificing members different worlds and realms over the millennia. The
or innocents out of love for their god or just for the battles have been fought with every kind of weapon
fun of it. Unfortunately, these groups are not imaginable, from stones and clubs to magic missiles
mutually exclusive—the Ancient Order of Sura may and energy blasts. The bloodiest fights have been on
build parks for kids by day, but sacrifice those same worlds like Marl, where magic is a powerful part of
children under the trees at night. life. It may be that people already used to
The cults have taken on new importance as the manipulating the forces of nature are more sensitive
Godwar returns to Marl. They are the scouts, spies, to the call to war.
and expendable troops in this battle. They are also Regardless of where the Godwar is fought, it
more dangerous than ever before. follows a pattern. Those who are fanatically-devoted
to a side are the first to start killing. As with wildfires,
For the Politically Correct the conflict spreads until it encompasses those not
Bloodshadows takes its flavor from a fictional era even sure of why there is a fight. Skirmishes might
when men were tough guys, muscle, or wimps and be won, but the battles normally end in stalemates—
women were broads, skirts, and dames. Women did when one fragment of their armies are devastated,
not usually have much overt power, as everything Order and Chaos turn their attentions to other
was run by men who viewed them only as ornaments potential battlefields.
and status symbols. The men ran big business, The pattern has now been broken. New forces
crime, police departments, and political machines. have arisen on Marl to challenge the two age-old
Many women were able to turn that to their enemies. Chances are high that the final victory will
advantage. A woman who knew what she wanted go to one of the factions. It is this possibility that has
could generally find the right man, one who could sparked a renewal of the Godwar on Marl after so
be wrapped around her little finger. Strong women many centuries.
could get things accomplished by being circumspect
about it. Women may be called dames or broads on The Second Godwar
Marl, but they have a bit more identity than in Marl’s first taste of the Godwar took place during
classic film noir. A woman can be a hard-boiled its Middle Ages. Massive armies of men and creatures
detective, tough cop, or gangster, but they usually were armed with swords, spears, maces, battle-axes,
approach these roles a little differently than their and magic. Hundreds of cities were left in ruins,
male counterparts. countless millions were slain, and century-old
Note that the pronouns he, him, and his are intended empires were destroyed. The war ended as if a light
to be synonymous with she, her, or hers when part of switch had been flipped—Order and Chaos shifted
generic descriptions. This is done for brevity. their attentions elsewhere, leaving Marl to rebuild.



Nine centuries later, feuding cults that simmered Order

beneath the surface of some cities for years finally Also known as Akar, Sta, Ria, and Ison.
erupted. Bodies piled up in city morgues. Local law- Uniform, immutable, and controlled principles
enforcers suddenly found themselves facing a full- drive Order, a force striving to impose rules and
fledged war between the cults. They realized that the limits on the universe. It has long viewed its elder,
dozens of disparate groups were now organized into Chaos, as destructive and irrational, seeking to
four factions and fighting over ideals rather than exterminate it from all realms.
control over territories.
There are more followers of Order than Chaos.
The battle between the cults spread up and Humans tend to yearn for stability, shying away from
outwards. Those with power and allegiances the randomness of Chaos. Creatures aligned with
organized their intelligence networks and assassins Order need numbers just to survive, since their very
in preparation for war. Creatures living in Human nature makes them predictable and easier to kill.
guises since the first Godwar had their memories
and powers restored. Others emerged from the There are no beings forced from their creation to
shadows to join a faction, sometimes due to a show loyalty to a given faction, but some creatures
perceived safety in numbers. Mobilization and feel more comfortable with Order. There are more
maneuvering began, with each side trying to gain an Vampires aligned with Order, for instance. Such a
advantage over another. Vampire knows that it must feed on a regular basis.
Those aligned with Chaos have been known to
The Godwar cannot be fought with great armies starve due to a changing need for blood. More
and month-long battles this time. Instead, the creatures aligned with Order are able to pass as
struggle takes place in the alleys and dark streets of Human than those siding with Chaos. The latter
the cities, much like a gang war. Violence is sudden boasts more of those monstrous in appearance,
and bloody. Innocents caught in the middle are out requiring them to stay in the shadows.
of luck. People who live in cities touched by the war
learn quickly to avoid certain neighborhoods, though Chaos
they probably have no idea why the murder rate has Also known as Yanus, Saer, and Nerefand.
risen so steeply and swiftly.
Chaos and its soldiers are generally the most
Cities in which battles have begun in earnest, like frightening of the forces at war. Out of control and
Galitia, Gimm, and Corel, see overwhelmed unstable, Chaos offers a glimpse of the darker side
governments trying to do their best to maintain a that the veneer of civilization hides. Chaos is often
minimum of control. This typically involves rounding dismissed as inherently evil because of this. In truth,
up known cult-members and slapping them in cells it is nothing more than the other side of a cosmic
to cool off, while sending out squads to hunt down coin, being no more good or evil than Order.
Unnaturals, whether or not they are suspected of a
crime. The climate is one of fear. Those who guess Those aligned with Chaos are less concerned with
the cause of all this know that things are bound to consequences, so their acts are more likely to be
get bloodier before they get better. seen by others. One of the reasons that Order fears
Chaos is that its bloody actions rain Human hatred
on all Unnaturals, guilty and innocent alike.
The Sides of the Godwar
The two main forces at war are Order and Chaos. Chaos is fewer in number than Order, but overall
Two other mysterious factions known as the more powerful. It is often marked by a monstrous
Oathbreakers of Order and Oathbreakers of Chaos also physical appearance, since its very nature is in flux.
maneuver to gain control. This split carries over into Chaos has shown itself better to deal with Wilderness
many parts of life on Marl. The nature of creatures creatures, since both have drifted some distance
can vary depending on the force with which they are from humanity. What makes Chaos so dangerous is
aligned. Certain magic spells are inextricably bound their unpredictability. There is no way to guess
to specific factions. These factions also operate Chaos’ limits or why it does things as it does. The
under many different names, depending on the ignorance of its enemies is its greatest weapon.


spellslingers who enjoy slapping together bizarre
mechanicals and powering them with arcane and
dangerous magics. On the other end are those who
have actually merged with their machinery through
dark magics, some completely losing any shred of
their previous identities. These may be the most
powerful and dangerous Oathbreakers, but also the
most unstable. Insanity and bloodmania is common
among the Oathbreakers of Chaos.
The exact power of the Oathbreaker factions
might even be a mystery to its followers. They
explore uncharted territories and develop new
schools of magic as they evolve. Their rites are
conducted in strict secrecy—Oathbreakers who
reveal hidden truths to outsiders are murdered and
their corpses hideously mutilated as warnings.
When the Godwar resumed, both Order and
Chaos thought to bring the Oathbreakers onto their
side to tip the balance. The Oathbreakers proved to
be as elusive as a witch wind, showing no interest in
allying with anyone. They are shadowy figures seen
out of the corner of the eye, with only their strange
sacrifices left behind to mark their passing. They
may prove to be the saviors of Marl or ultimately
The Oathbreakers preside over its final destruction.
The most mysterious aspect of the Godwar are the
factions born from Marl and drawn from the ranks Incorporating The Godwar
of its enemies. They are called Oathbreakers by both The Godwar is meant to be a backdrop for the
Order and Chaos, believed to be allied with either at game, rather than the focus of it. Characters may be
one time. Why they turned away and how they hope affected directly by the conflict, perhaps hired by
to prevail against two such ancient powers is a one of the factions or a city government to protect
question with no answer. something from it. They may also be affected
There appears to be two distinct groups under this indirectly, such as when a blood cult conjures an
banner, enjoying an extremely uneasy alliance. entity of power and loses control of it, forcing the
Oathbreakers who have drifted from the side of characters to stop the creature as a means of survival.
Order seem to be bound to the planet. Their magic It is also possible that the characters may be working
is that of the earth, rock, water, and air. Their gods in an area that the war has not yet reached, keeping
are of nature, though they are worshiped in them away from the conflict while doing so.
basements, alleys, and abandoned warehouses rather The director is the ultimate arbiter of how much of
than the Wilderness—Oathbreakers are strange, but the Godwar is incorporated into stories. The struggle
certainly not crazy. Relatively few in number, they makes a great starting point for stories, since all four
hide their loyalties so well that they are often sides are hiring freelance spellslingers and other
mistaken for their enemy’s soldiers. Coupled with useful professionals. The war is intended to add a
the fact that elementalists are not killed casually to richness to the setting. It can be as much a part of it
avoid possible famine, this has allowed the as desired.
Oathbreakers to survive so long. The majority of the
Oathbreakers of Order are Human or near-Human.
Those who abandoned Chaos are of a very different
nature. Their magic focuses on technology—their
spells are cast solely on or through equipment and
weapons. On one end of the scale are those



Characters are perhaps the most important Even when a character does something heroic, it is
element of the game. It is through the characters probably not for the sake of heroism. A character
that the players and director interact. The players’ usually has his own private agenda. In most cases,
characters deal with the settings, encounters, and the end justifies the means. Something heroic may
personalities that the director has created. The be achieved, but it could be built on the blood and
director’s characters (non-player characters) are his broken bones of the character’s adversaries. The
tools to give the players information, point them in people of this world tend to be callous, so violence
the right direction, help them, or slap is a way of life. Even a character with a
them around. moral streak would not hesitate to
For this reason, characters should be stoop to violence if it gets the job done.
given a good deal of thought when This is what his opponent expects—it is
they are created. The goal is to invent just how things are done. There is very
characters that are memorable, serve little nobility in the citizens of Marl.
their purpose in the context of the In addition to the many citizens who
game, do not seem out of place, and share the standard world-view of Marl,
can be enjoyable to portray. there are those who have an even
dimmer outlook of the world and
society. They are the Unnaturals. Some
MOTIVATIONS of them were once Human. Becoming
The denizens of Marl are not heroes. Unnaturals has not improved their
They are ordinary folk looking to get outlook. Those who were not once
through life, without being bothered, Human often see Humans as fair game.
and hoping to one day improve their As such, the viewpoint of Unnatural
lots. There may well be the occasional characters is generally much grimmer
sentinel, detective, or newscribe out to than that of Humans. Not only do they
right the perceived wrongs of society, deal with the dark underbelly of society
but most people look out for themselves. every day, they are very frequently that
They go about their business, looking dark underbelly.
to make a buck and lose their problems
in the bottom of a bottle of their Unnaturals who were once Human
favorite drink. might still share some of the Human
world-view, depending on how much
Typical characters are cynical and hard-bitten. they have changed. Many once-Humans no longer
Having been around the block a few times, they think along those lines, however, as they have new
know that the deck is stacked against the average concerns to occupy their existence. For instance, a
person. The money, power, and prestige go to those Vampire is more concerned with finding his next
who already have them—the rich, authorities, heads pint of blood, rather than whether the guild bosses
of industry, and guild bosses. These prizes are doled are playing fair with their members. Unnaturals
out only in small chunks and to those who sell their must frequently endure discrimination and being
souls, sometimes literally, to these leaders. The poor ostracized. Even when they are accepted in a city,
slob on the street does his job, hopes he has enough they are not accorded the same rights and privileges
money to keep the landlord off his back, buys some as Humans. This does not make for a positive
food, and holds onto his preferred bottle of outlook on life.
Despite all that they have going against them, it is
In spite of their cynicism, many characters would still possible for some of these monsters to work
take the opportunity to stick it to those who reside with Humans. They may not like it and may wish
in the upper strata of society. That opportunity that Humans were their next meal, but there are
could be a chance to knock off one of the well-to-do times when they need to work with them. The
from their high horse or help an average citizen get exigencies of a particular investigation or mission
out from under the thumb of the bosses. This is not important to the war might require it of them. They
about working in the cause of good, but evening out would be forced to put aside their normal fears,
the balance. urges, or desires, at least for a short time.


Abilities describe the areas in which a character Pursuits describe a character’s specialized training
either has talent or lacks it. When a character and fields of study. Each pursuit is associated with
attempts to do something outside of normal activity, one ability for its most common uses, but other
such as maneuvering across a rickety bridge, a single abilities can also be the focus, depending on the
ability becomes the focus of determining the situation. While pursuits rely mostly on training,
outcome. Abilities are the primary means of deciding some also consist of large bodies of knowledge that
the chances of completing complicated tasks. There can take years to comprehend. These intensive
are five abilities—fitness, awareness, creativity, reasoning, pursuits are classified as academic ones and marked
and influence. with the  icon. This distinction means that
Fitness represents physical strength, prowess, characters cannot perform tasks that rely on one or
and resistance. more academic pursuits without proper training. For
instance, casting a spell can only be attempted by
Awareness represents observation and intuition. those with the proper magical training.
Creativity represents aesthetics and imagination. Characters are considered to have a basic
Reasoning represents intelligence, memory, knowledge of all but academic pursuits. A basic
and mental will. knowledge means that they can attempt to perform
Influence represents appearance, charisma, tasks involving non-academic pursuits without
and social standing. penalty. Training beyond basic knowledge comes in
the form of proficiencies, specialties, masteries, and
Each ability is rated on a scale from zero to five.
grand-masteries. This scale of competence determines
Zero reflects a disability, so it is not recommended.
not only how well a character’s ability is augmented
Additionally, abilities can technically go above five,
when making tasks related to a pursuit, but also how
but only for creatures and characters that are beyond
effectively exploits can be performed once the task
the normal Human potential.
is an overpowering success.
ABILITY RATINGS It is also possible for characters to be incompetent
rating measure
in one or more pursuits, representing a severe
0 Disability awkwardness and inflicting a penalty when
1 Poor Ability attempted.
2–3 Average Ability
4–5 Gifted Ability
6+ Unimaginable Ability rating measure effect
-1 Incompetency Penalty of -1 to Task
0 Basic Knowledge No Effect
A NOTE ABOUT ABILITIES +1 Proficiency Bonus of +1 to Task
+2 Specialty Bonus of +2 to Task
Roleplaying is an offshoot of wargaming, often
requiring a lot of physical statistics. Hence, many of +3 Mastery Bonus of +3 to Task
these games rely on two or more physical abilities for +4 Grand-Mastery Bonus of +4 to Task
play. This is a deeply-entrenched remnant of
wargaming that is not always necessary. For one, EXAMPLE
ability gimmicks (see page 29) can be used to reproduce A proficiency in driving means that a bonus of +1 is
multiple physical abilities for those who want to use applied to all rolls involving driving a car and similar
them. Secondly, other abilities can be used for what vehicles.
are normally thought of as physical abilities—awareness
can be used to fire a gun as an instinctive action A mastery in streetwise means that a bonus of +3 is
(firing from the hip), reasoning can be used to time an applied to all rolls involving picking locks, inventing a
effective punch (catching someone off-guard), or scam, and finding a source to buy some cheap bullets.
creativity can be used to move in such an unusual way
to gain an advantage (bewildering an opponent). An incompetency in finances means that a penalty
Consider this sort of improvisational and out-of-the- of -1 is applied to all rolls involving money and
box thinking, as it can be a liberating experience. accounting.

Fitness-Based Pursuits Creativity-Based Pursuits
Archery: construction and use of not only bows Alteration : this magic theory is used to create
and arrows, but also crossbows. spells that transform people and objects (see
Athletics: wide range of physical activities, including Chapter Six)
climbing, rowing, swimming, throwing, Carpentry: building things out of wood, by
tumbling, and balancing; appropriate tools can measuring, cutting, shaping, joining, and
aid in the task when needed finishing
Brawling: physical and often brutal, this includes Conjuration : this magic theory is used to create
the best ways of inflicting harm using fists, legs, spells that cause something to be produced
and the body itself; it also covers grappling and from nothing, such as fire or even life (see
parrying; brass knuckles are commonly used to Chapter Six)
increase damage when punching Design: painting, drawing, sculpting, and printing
Driving: operation of all steam, combustion, and Disguise: use and application of cosmetics, wigs,
elemental-powered cars clothing, and other adornments in order to hide
Firearms: use and repair of pistols, rifles, and other one’s true identity
gunpowder-based projectile weapons Forgery: creating documents and identification
Legerdemain: misdirection and sleight-of-hand papers to pass as legitimate; other pursuits
tricks normally associated with stage magic, often used in conjunction with this are design,
including picking pockets, dealing cards, and prose, music, finances, and lore
concealing items Masonry: design and building of stone and concrete
Melee: methodology for fighting with knives, clubs, structures; may be combined with carpentry for
stakes, and similar weapons reinforcing the frame
Riding: control of and riding horses, as well as Metalworking: forging weapons, armor, ornaments,
other mounts and other small objects from metals

Awareness-Based Pursuits
Divination : this magic theory is used to create
spells that obtain knowledge or expand the
senses in some way past the norm (see Chapter
Empathy: focusing on someone’s body language
and speech patterns to glean insight into his
general attitude, emotional state, and honesty
Gambling: winning money from games of chance,
whether by playing directly, such as with poker,
or solely predicting the outcome, like horse-
racing or roulette
Interrogation: acquiring information from people
by tricking them into providing answers
Investigation: acquisition of data through
examination, observation, and research
Stealth: avoiding detection, particularity while
moving, and focusing on being quiet,
maintaining a small profile, and blending into
the environment
Tracking: by using a variety of signs, including
footprints, disturbances, animal activity, and
background information, the movements of Catrarms are no different from Humans,
except for the fact that they have four arms.
people and animals can be tracked


Music: fundamentals of musical composition, Lore: This pursuit represents a broad category of
including the recognition and design of scores, knowledge, requiring a specific focus on topics
as well as playing instruments and singing not covered by other pursuits; examples include
Prose: writing in an expressive manner with the lore: court etiquette, lore: Selastos weather patterns,
proper usage of grammar and lore: Wilderness roads—each one of these is a
separate pursuit; the director must determine
Reasoning-Based Pursuits whether or not a specific focus is considered an
Apportation : this magic theory is used to create academic pursuit
spells that govern the movement of people and Mechanics: design and repair of mechanical
objects (see Chapter Six) components utilizing pulleys and gears; other
Boating: operation of steam, combustion, and pursuits, such as driving and firearms, may also
elemental-powered boats. be required
Cantrips : casting widespread and easy household Medicine : general medicine, Human anatomy,
spells, also known as cantrips, without needing and basic techniques of surgery; the anatomy of
to know specific forms of magic (see Chapter other species, apart from those virtually Human,
Six) like Face-Shifters and Human-form Werewolves,
require a specific lore (i.e. lore: Elkist)
Commodities: appraising goods, particularly
valuable ones like jewels and antiques Navigation: determining geographical positions in
a variety of ways, including via landmarks,
Finances : managing money, ledgers, and taxes maps, compass direction, and the stars
First Aid: keeping injured characters alive and Streetwise: illegal endeavors like lock-picking,
functioning until they can be healed or get racketeering, confidence scams, and locating
treated; anything more complicated than setting cheap goods
a broken bone or stitching a wound requires
the medicine pursuit Survival: locating shelter, food, and water in the

Influence-Based Pursuits
Charm: seducing or cajoling people to do things
through social and/or psychological niceties
Hypnotism : placing subjects into trance-like
states, under which their subconscious minds
can be probed for information or implanted
with suggestions
Intimidation: frightening or coercing people to do
things with the use of physical and/or
psychological threats
Invocation : this magic theory is used to create
spells that involve the instantaneous
transmission of objects or entities between
locations (see Chapter Six)
Negotiation: bartering and persuading people to
one’s way of thinking or to gain the upper hand
Oratory: projecting one’s voice and expressing
sentiments to a crowd
Performance: fundamentals of the dramatic arts,
including acting and deceiving others
Street-Talk: using contacts to procure information,
Elkists are organ-eating, Ghoul-demon
crossbreeds who can become partially intangible. goods, and recognition

Magic Casting Pursuits x a numerical value
See Chapter Six for detailed information on how ±x a positive or negative numerical modifier
the following pursuits are used. v a name or description; these should always be
approved by the director
Chronomancy : casting spells to manipulate
time; this form of magic is extremely rare, so EXAMPLE
player characters should not begin play with The strength gimmick can be defined by a positive or
this pursuit negative number, such as strength (+2) or strength (-1).
Elementalism : casting spells that govern the The contacts gimmick is described by a specific person
four elements—fire, earth, air, and water or group, like contacts (Taxim Union). If a character
possesses the smell (+2) gimmick and temporarily
Necromancy : casting spells that interact with gains smell (-4) due to magic, it becomes smell (-2) for
the dead and undead the duration of the spell.
Photomancy : casting spells that control light
and darkness Some gimmicks are classified as being detrimental
(those marked with the ? icon). Ability gimmicks
Somniomancy : casting spells that affect sleep with negative values are also considered detrimental.
and dreams; this form of magic is rare, so player This means that they provide more drawbacks than
characters should not begin play with this bonuses. While detrimental gimmicks are generally
pursuit unless the director permits it bad, they can also enhance the atmosphere of the
Sorcery : casting spells that interact with portals game, providing subplots for the director and
and other realms of existence. enabling players to better visualize their characters
Technomancy : casting spells that govern metals and the world around them.
and machines Other gimmicks may be marked with the  icon.
Vitomancy : casting spells that interact with all This means that they are not available to player
living things, from Humans and breeds to characters, reserved only for other Unnaturals and
animals and plants (not undead or demons) creatures described later in this book. They are
included here so that all gimmicks are described in
Wizardry : casting spells that focus magical
one section, making it easier to reference them.
energies directly or interact with demons

Other Pursuits
Composure: resist panic, pain, and temptation; no
primary ability is associated with this pursuit

Gimmicks are special properties that can be used
to better define a character’s background, physical
oddities, personality, or other aspects not covered by
abilities and pursuits. They can also fine-tune specific
abilities. Some are noted with a value in parentheses.
This designation is called a defined value and is
specific for the gimmick to which it is attached.
Depending on the gimmick, a defined value can be
a number, location, character, object, time, or
anything specific in nature. If a character gains a
gimmick with a numerical defined value during play
and already possesses that gimmick, the new defined
value is added to the original one (a negative value
reduces it)—if a defined value becomes zero exactly
in this manner, the character no longer possesses Granis are stone-like shapeshifters,
the gimmick. Defined gimmicks are noted with one who consume rocky minerals for nourishment.
of the following representations in parenthesis:


Ability Gimmicks applied to the character’s fitness rating for all tasks
Ability gimmicks greatly enhance play for those and calculations involving manual dexterity and
interested in defining abilities with greater focus. An hand-eye coordination.
ability gimmick can, for instance, designate a Endurance (±x)
character as being extremely agile, but not terribly The character can endure more or less fatigue than
strong—while both properties are representative of his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is
the fitness ability, they each measure different applied to the character’s fitness rating when
aspects of that ability. determining his fatigue threshold and padding value.
The defined value of an ability gimmick modifies
the appropriate ability rating—a positive value Flexibility (±x)
increases it, while a negative one decreases it. The The character’s body is more or less supple than
modified ability rating cannot be greater than five or his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is
less than zero, unless caused by magic. If no defined applied to the character’s fitness rating for all tasks
value is shown, assume that it is +1 (for ±x gimmicks), and calculations involving the contortion of his
-1 (for ±x gimmicks used as detrimental gimmicks), body, as well as escaping bonds and grapples.
or 1 (for x gimmicks). Fortitude (±x)
EXAMPLE The character is more or less resistant to injury
Greene possesses the strength (-2) gimmick, so his than his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is
fitness rating is reduced by 2 for all tasks relying on applied to the character’s fitness rating when
physical muscle. If this were to reduce the character’s determining his injury threshold and armor value.
fitness rating to less than 0 (such as when having a Speed (±x)
fitness rating of 1), the result is considered 0, since it The character is faster or slower than his fitness
cannot be less than 0. rating indicates. The defined value is applied to the
If Greene develops the strength (+1) gimmick down character’s fitness rating for all tasks and calculations
the road by lifting weights, he would then possess involving distances moved.
strength (-1), since adding 1 to the existing -2 rating Strength (±x)
changes it to -1. The character is stronger or weaker than his fitness
rating indicates. The defined value is applied to the
Fitness-Based Gimmicks character’s fitness rating for all tasks and calculations
Agility (±x) involving physical strength (including base physical
The character is more or less nimble than his damage).
fitness rating indicates. The defined value is applied
to the character’s fitness rating for all tasks and Awareness-Based Gimmicks
calculations involving athletics and balance. Hearing (±x)
The character’s hearing is better or worse than his
Climbing (±x) awareness rating indicates. The defined value is
The character is better or worse at climbing than applied to the character’s awareness rating for all
his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is tasks and calculations involving hearing.
applied to the character’s fitness rating for all tasks
and calculations involving climbing. Reflex (±x)
The character is more or less reactive to his
Constitution (±x) surroundings than his awareness rating indicates.
The character’s immune system is stronger or The defined value is applied to the character’s
weaker than his fitness rating indicates. The defined awareness rating for all tasks and calculations
value is applied to the character’s fitness rating when involving reactions (including reaction tasks).
determining his immunity value and performing
intoxication tasks. Smell (±x)
The character’s sense of smell is better or worse
Dexterity (±x) than his awareness rating indicates. The defined
The character is more or less adroit with his hands value is applied to the character’s awareness rating
than his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is for all tasks and calculations involving smell.

Taste (±x) Recollection (±x)
The character’s sense of taste is better or worse The character’s power of recalling facts from
than his awareness rating indicates. The defined memory is greater or worse than his reasoning
value is applied to the character’s awareness rating ability indicates. The defined value is applied to the
for all tasks and calculations involving taste. character’s reasoning rating for all tasks and
calculations when attempting to remember a fact
Touch (±x) that he already knows.
The character’s tactile sense is better or worse than
his awareness rating indicates. The defined value is Stoicism (±x)
applied to the character’s awareness rating for all The character is more or less resistant to tension
tasks and calculations involving feeling through than his reasoning rating indicates. The defined
touch. value is applied to the character’s reasoning rating
when determining his tension threshold and will
Vision (±x) value.
The character’s eyesight is better or worse than his
awareness rating indicates. The defined value is Sufferance (±x)
applied to the character’s awareness rating for all The character is more or less resistant to mania
tasks and calculations involving vision. than his reasoning rating indicates. The defined
value is applied to the character’s reasoning rating
Creativity-Based Gimmicks when determining his mania threshold and ego
Aesthetic (±x) value.
The character is more or less artistic with visual
media, such as illustration and graphic design, than Influence-Based Gimmicks
his creativity rating indicates. The defined value is Appearance (±x)
applied to the character’s creativity rating for all The character’s appearance is more or less attractive
tasks involving the design and analysis of drawings, than his influence rating indicates. The defined
paintings, maps, and other forms of symbolic art. value is applied to the character’s influence rating for
all tasks and calculations involving his appearance.
Harmonic (±x)
The character is more or less attuned with auditory
media, such as music and song, than his creativity
rating indicates. The defined value is applied to the
character’s creativity rating for all tasks involving the
design, analysis, and application of rhythms, songs,
instrumentals, and other forms of melodic art.
Writing (±x)
The character is more or less adept with the
written word as found in prose and verse than his
creativity rating indicates. The defined value is
applied to the character’s creativity rating for all
tasks involving the creation, analysis, and
comprehension of literary works.

Reasoning-Based Gimmicks
Logic (±x)
The character’s power of deduction and
mathematical problem-solving are better or worse
than his reasoning ability indicates. The defined
value is applied to the character’s reasoning rating
for all tasks and calculations when solving
mathematical equations and puzzles. Gris are vile garbage-eaters spawned from magic,
who thrive in the underbelly of the cities.


Chastity (±x) Allegiance (x)

The character is more or less restrained when it The character has sworn allegiance to his chosen
comes to resisting the charms of those to whom he alignment. The defined value is equal to one, and
is sexually attracted than his influence rating increased by one for each iteration of this gimmick,
indicates. The defined value is applied to the representing his degree of connection. This value is
character’s influence rating for all tasks involving added to the character’s influence rating when
whomever his attractions involve. dealing with non-player characters of the same
alignment and subtracted from it when dealing with
Cynicism (±x) those from different alignments (this gimmick does
The character is more or less suspicious of the not affect interactions with those who are neutral).
orders and rallying speeches of leaders and those The defined value is also subtracted from the
with confidence. The defined value is applied to the feedback value of spells related to his alignment and
character’s influence rating for all contested tasks added to it for spells opposing his alignment (see
involving people of authority. page 112).
Eloquence (±x) Amnesia (x) ?
The character’s way with words is more or less The character has forgotten an important event
elegant than his influence rating indicates. The that he experienced (the defined value), such as a
defined value is applied to the character’s influence fight with someone he was chasing or how he
rating for all tasks and calculations involving public became a Vampire. While others may assume that
speaking and general conversation. the character knows all about this event or its details
Leadership (±x) and discuss it with him, he is completely clueless
The character has more or less talent for about it.
commanding and inspiring people than his influence Authority (v)
rating indicates. The defined value is applied to the The character is a member of a special body (the
character’s influence rating for all tasks involving defined value) that has rights above normal citizens.
subordinates and the issuing of orders. This could be a government agency, religious order,
Passion (±x) or as a sentinel. This authority entitles the character
The character speaks with more or less spirit than to gain special access to private information, conduct
his influence rating indicates. The defined value is official investigations, acquire warrants, and make
applied to the character’s influence rating for all arrests without serious legal consequences.
tasks and calculations when conveying information Bigot (v) ?
privately or in a public forum. The character does not like a particular species,
Stature (±x) people of a particular role, or other aspect of life to
The character’s appearance and speech patterns which people, commonly minorities, are associated,
are more or less intimidating than his influence as specified by the defined value. Examples include
rating indicates. The defined value is applied to the Vampires, crooks, and Fire Cultists. While this
character’s influence rating for all tasks and bigotry should not be overt and rule the character, it
calculations involving intimidation (including base is something that should be portrayed. The character
social damage). Apply the opposite of the defined may not even be aware of it. He is probably able to
value (negative if positive, or positive if negative) to work with these people when necessary, but not
his influence rating for all tasks and calculations without making a lot noise and slinging a number of
made to seduce or gain the trust of someone. insults. Because of this, all influence-based tasks
involving these people receive a penalty of +2diff.
City Compass
Cultural Gimmicks The character has a natural talent for determining
Cultural gimmicks reflect a character’s his location in any city. He can recognize landmarks
environmental influences and natural talents often and streets to find his way to destinations.
encouraged by his upbringing or a result of past

Compulsion (v) ? breaking the law or betraying his own. Failure to do
The character is slightly dependent on a substance so could be mean bodily harm or gaining the enemies
or action, as specified by the defined value. Examples gimmick (removing this gimmick).
include cigarettes, alcohol, and even casting spells. If
Guilt-Ridden (v) ?
he does not partake of the defined value once every
The character is uneasy around a particular group
few hours, he gains one mark of absolute tension.
or species, as specified by the defined value. This is
Contacts (v) caused by a sense of guilt, whether or not it is
The character has strong ties with a unique warranted. As a result, all tasks involving social
individual or group (the defined value), whom he conflict against the defined value are modified by
can call on to deliver information or equipment, set +2diff and tasks attempted by the specified group
up meetings with third parties, and provide hiding against him are impacted by -2diff.
places. Examples include criminal, merchant,
Infamy ?
sentinels, Hugors, union, and street life.
The character is well-known among others of the
Debt ? same role, species, or alignment for having a bad
The character owes money or something of value reputation. Whenever there is the potential for
to someone, typically a loan shark or bank. This someone to recognize the character, a die is rolled. A
prevents the character from getting credit, so he result of 1 or 2 indicates that he is immediately
pays in gold for everything. He must continue to recognized, while a 3 to 6 means that he must first
earn enough cash, so that he can make substantial do something special to be recognized. The
payments each week. He does everything he can to detriments are up to the director, but typically
avoid defaulting, which could result in the loss of include a penalty of +2diff on all influence-based
property, broken legs, or nasty spells. tasks involving those who recognize him, hostility,
small slights, trumped up charges, and poor service.
Enemies (v) ?
A nemesis of the character is out to get him. The Jack of All Trades
defined value could be an organization or a powerful The character is a jack of all trades, but master of
non-player character who is either duty-bound or none. He can attempt any academic pursuits even
simply enjoys thwarting his efforts. This enemy may without training (treat all unknown academic
even go so far as to actively hunt the character or put
a price on his head. Regardless of the methods and
reasons, the enemy is encountered at least once per
The character is a well-known personality as a
result of a reputation among others of the same role,
species, or alignment. Whenever there is the potential
for someone to recognize the character, a die is
rolled. A result of 1 or 2 indicates that he is
immediately recognized, while a 3 to 6 means that
he must first do something special to be recognized.
The benefits are up to the director, but typically
include a bonus of -2diff on all influence-based
tasks involving those who recognize him, small
perks and favors, and avoiding trivial legal hassles.
Favors ?
The character owes someone, but rather than the
debt being paid back in cash, it must be paid in
favors. Whenever the person owning his debt comes
calling (which should be at least once per story), the Hugors are Human-Ogre crossbreeds,
character must accommodate him, even if it means often staying close to their symbiotic life-mates.


pursuits as basic knowledges). As a result of this Stunted Ability (v) ?

talent, the character never concentrates on a single The character has hit a roadblock involving a
pursuit, preventing any one them from ever reaching single ability (the defined value), preventing him
a mastery or grand-mastery. When building the from developing it further. The director cannot
character, reduce all masteries to specialties; each reward the character with new pursuits or increased
reduction adds a new proficiency or increases a ratings for pursuits in which the ability is listed as
proficiency to a specialty. being a primary.
Lip-Reading Traumatic Triggers (v) ?
The character is capable of reading lips to discover The character suffers from paralyzing episodes
what someone is saying when the words cannot be brought on by a past trauma, as specified by the
heard. This requires a complex empathy task. The defined value. He cannot move for a number of
director should modify the difficulty based on turns (sequential scenes) or minutes (open scenes)
visibility and distance. equal to the roll of one die when facing similar
events. The character may attempt to overcome his
Materialistic (x) ?
paralysis with a challenging reasoning-based
The character is drawn to material objects and
composure task—any attempt, whether or not
comforts, making him more susceptible to bribery
successful, inflicts a number of marks of absolute
and deals that sound too good to be true than his
tension equal to the roll of one die.
reasoning rating indicates. The defined value is
subtracted from the character’s reasoning rating for Wealthy
all tasks involving gaining wealth. The character can afford pretty much anything he
desires, and is also very influential in some local
Natural Compass
neighborhoods and political circles. Because of this,
The character has a natural talent for finding his
it is more likely for certain transgressions to be
way in the Wilderness. He can recognize foliage and
ignored or for people to fill his requests without
trails to eventually find his way to a city every time.
question, assuming that they will eventually get paid
Patron and with a large tip.
Someone employs the character to benefit himself.
Whether he steals, trades, sells, uncovers, or protects, Special Gimmicks
the character gets paid a salary or commission, as Special gimmicks are unusual qualities that
well as expenses, to turn over a profit for his characters possess, representing unique powers or
benefactor. The exact details of the arrangement are afflictions.
up to the player and director, but the benefactor is
likely to require at least 60% of all profits. Affinity (v)
The character has a supernormal connection to
Phobia (v) ? the defined value. This not only allows him to detect
The character suffers from irrational anxiety or the presence of the defined value as if a regular
dread, as specified by the defined value, often sense (using the awareness ability), but also
brought on by a clinical phobia, such as acrophobia. determine its general condition (rotted, toxic, dead,
He suffers a number of marks of mania equal to the solid, weak, and the like).
roll of one die when facing the defined value. A
challenging reasoning-based composure task must Allergy (v) ?
be made in order to pursue or approach the source The character is highly allergic to a particular
of anxiety. substance, as specified by the defined value. All
damage caused by the substance is doubled.
Poor ?
The character has barely enough money to cover Aversion (v) ?
his monthly bills. Most of his possessions are old The character is repulsed by a particular substance,
and worn, and it is highly unlikely for him to be able as specified by the defined value. The character
to scrape together enough cash for any major receives one mark of absolute tension each turn he
purchases. Temporary windfalls always seem to go is within one space of the substance and either sees
towards paying bills or purchasing necessities, it or knows it is there; one line of tension is sustained
leaving very little in the end. each turn he is in direct physical contact with it.

Blur  character also possesses the nourishment gimmick
The character can choose to appear indistinct to with the same defined value, tension and fatigue are
the naked eye or non-enchanted visual aids, such as instead sustained every few hours after the associated
binoculars. Spotting the character usually only interval at which he must feed. For each additional
occurs accidentally, such as when seeing movement day of going without it, he receives one mark of
out of the corner of one’s eye. The character also absolute injury.
gains a bonus of -2diff on all stealth tasks; +2diff is
Dominate 
applied to all tasks made to attack the character
The character can join with and take over the body
when he is evading or actively blocking.
of a living being with a contested influence-based
Change Form composure task. The character essentially merges
The character can change into whatever form he with the body, taking on its fitness rating, fitness
desires at any time. Unlike the shapeshift gimmick, gimmicks, and any other gimmicks that are associated
this transformation does not affect his ability ratings with physical properties of the body (this also
or coloring, just the shape of his body. His relative includes awareness gimmicks involving the senses,
body mass must also remain the same. Two full turns such as keen hearing and muted vision). The
are required to change his whole form, as is a routine character can also gain knowledge of the host’s life
disguise task. Only one turn and a trivial disguise with an investigation task (contested by the host
task is required when changing the form of only a with a reasoning-based composure task). Leaving
limb. Failure means that the transformation does not the body requires a trivial influence-based composure
occur as desired, but there is a definite change into task. The character is killed if the host body dies
something else as determined by the director; the while joined with it, something that may occur if
character cannot try again for five minutes unless he taken by surprise.
elects to take one mark of absolute tension.
Elasticity 
Confusion  The character can stretch, elongate, and compress
The character can scramble the thoughts of anyone his body, growing up to double his height or
who comes into physical contact with him by becoming narrow enough to pass through keyholes,
making an influence-based composure task cracks, and other openings normally too small for
(contested with a reasoning-based composure task). such movement. He also gains a bonus of -2diff on
Anyone affected cannot perform any creativity, athletics tasks and -4diff on legerdemain tasks.
reasoning, or influence-based tasks for four turns.
Constraint (v) ?
The character loses the use of certain pursuits and
gimmicks under special conditions, as specified by
the defined value.
Custody (v)
The character can join with and take over the body
of a corpse with a trivial influence-based composure
task. Leaving the body requires the same task. The
character is killed if the host body dies while joined
with it, something that may occur if taken by
surprise. If an optional situation or substance is
specified as the defined value, the character cannot
enter or exit a body while exposed to it.
Dependency (v) ?
The character is totally dependent on a particular
substance or action for survival, as specified by the
defined value. If he does not partake of the defined
value once every few hours, he gains one mark of Orris are bone-eaters who can alter
both absolute tension and absolute fatigue. If the their clay-like bodies into inanimate forms.


Extra Sense (v)  the consistency of the substance. One full turn is
The character possesses an extra sense that allows required to change form.
him to detect or otherwise perceive the defined
Flight (x) 
value. Examples include Human life, Wilderness
The character is able to fly, either by having wings
creatures, or even danger. Tasks involving this sense
or other natural means. The defined value is equal to
are no different from his other senses, relying on the
one and increased by one for each iteration of this
awareness ability.
gimmick. He can fly normally up to a number of
Extra Tough (x)  spaces each turn equal to his fitness rating plus the
The character is especially resistant to physical defined value. During rushed flight, the maximum
harm. His padding, armor, and immunity ratings are distance in spaces that the character can travel is
increased by the defined value—this bonus does not determined by rolling a number of dice equal to one
apply when involving magic spells, enchanted plus the defined value and adding twice his fitness
weapons, allergies, and vulnerabilities. The rating (a penalty of +2diff is also applied to all
character’s padding, armor, and immunity ratings fitness and awareness-based tasks when moving this
can be increased above five in this manner. fast). As with running, evasion is possible when
performing rushed flight.
Extreme Dependency (v) ?
The character is voraciously dependent on a Gliding (x) 
particular substance or action for survival, as If immediately following a turn of running or
specified by the defined value. If he does not partake falling, the character can glide in the air. A number
of the defined value once every six hours, he gains of dice equal to the defined value are rolled. The sum
one mark of both absolute mania and absolute equals the number of spaces traveled per turn.
injury. If the character also possesses the nourishment
Hypnotic (x)
gimmick with the same defined value, the mania and
The character possesses a natural talent to
injury are instead sustained every few hours after
hypnotize those who are unwilling. He can also use
the associated interval at which he must feed.
the hypnotism pursuit as if it were not an academic
Facade  pursuit. The defined value is added to the character’s
The character blends into his surroundings. All influence rating when attempting to hypnotize
tasks made to spot him receive a penalty of +4diff. someone who is not willing to be hypnotized. The
time required is also reduced by a number of
Faceshift seconds equal to twenty times the defined value.
The character can change the shape and appearance
of his head whenever he desires. While his hair and Immortal (v) 
face can look completely different, it must remain The character is immortal. If he sustains five
approximately the same size, though with different grades of injury, he does not die—he just continues.
proportions and colors. One full turn is required to The character does not lose consciousness, nor does
change form, as is a routine disguise task. Failure he heal injuries at this point (unless he possesses the
means that the transformation does not occur as regeneration or intangible gimmick). If his arms are
desired, but there is a definite change into something blown off or he has a hole in his chest, he may be
else as determined by the director; the character limited in his actions, but the character may still act
cannot try again for five minutes unless he elects to in some limited function. The only way for the
take one mark of absolute tension. character to die is specified by the defined value—
this could be a set of circumstances, particular
Fast Healer (v)  substance, magic, or by decapitation.
The character heals quicker than normal. The form
of health specified by the defined value is reduced Impervious (v) 
twice as much as it normally would (two lines The character cannot be harmed by a particular
instead of one line, for instance). substance or attack, as specified by the defined
value. Any attacks made against the character with
Flesh-Shift (v)  this substance are ignored. Likewise, he cannot
The character can change his flesh to a substance interact with the physical world, except through
specified by the defined value when he desires. natural weapons, with an influence-based composure
While his shape does not change, his skin takes on task, or via other means devised by the director.

Incorporeal  Venom: If the character inflicts at least one mark
The character’s has no physical body. While it may of injury from a natural weapon associated with
be possible to see and target him, the character this gimmick, the victim is infected with venom.
cannot be damaged by normal means. Only magic, The nature of the venom is either described with
enchanted weapons, allergies, and vulnerabilities this gimmick or by the director (see Poison).
can affect the character. He can only perform attacks
Intangibility 
via magic, natural weapons, or other gimmicks.
The character’s entire body is virtually intangible.
Infectious (v) ? This means that he cannot be targeted, struck,
The character can pass on the gimmicks associated damaged, or seen (nor can he carry or strike
with his infection, as specified by the defined value, anything) unless he chooses to increase his density
to others. The method of transfer depends on the to interact with the physical world, which only lasts
type of infection: up to one minute. A full turn is required to change
Zombie Plague: Whenever a pure-race or breed his physical state from tangible to intangible, or vice
victim sustains an amount of injury equal to his versa.
injury threshold within a period of thirty minutes Invisibility 
due to the character biting him, the victim gains The character can become transparent, making
all the gimmicks associated with Plague Zombies him extremely hard to see. He gains a bonus of
within a week’s time, eventually becoming a -8diff on all stealth tasks. No other character should
Plague Zombie. These gimmicks are normally be able to spot him unless the director feels that
gained incrementally (one per day), losing those there is sufficient provocation (a modifier of +4diff
the character already possessed (unless an to +8diff should be applied). It is also up to the
integral part of their appearance; the director director to determine if this gimmick extends to a
should use his best judgment). character’s clothing. If so, only his basic clothes
Lycanthropy: Whenever a Human victim sustains should be covered, as opposed to any gear carried or
an amount of injury equal to double his injury anything he holds in his hands. Since the character
threshold within a period of thirty minutes due is transparent, he cannot hide things behind his
to the character biting him, the victim gains all back—in fact, picking up anything should make it
the gimmicks associated with Werewolves within easier for someone to spot him.
a number of days equal to the roll of one die.
Poison: The director must judge how the poison
infects a victim, typically through ingestion or
piercing the skin (one or more marks of injury).
See page 78 for more information about poisons.
Vampirism: Whenever a Human victim sustains
an amount of injury equal to three times his
injury threshold within a period of thirty minutes
due to the character biting him, the victim gains
all the gimmicks associated with Vampires by
the next day, becoming a Vampire.
Verex Blight: Whenever a pure-race or breed
victim is killed by a Verex’s physical drain, his
corpse awakens after two days with the extreme
dependency (drain), vulnerability (sunlight), amnesia
(identity), and amnesia (Verex attack) gimmicks—
since the victim does not actually possess the life
drain (physical) gimmick, he cannot sate this
dependency, gaining both mania and injury until
he dies. Although rare, some victims (at the
director’s discretion) take on all of a Verex’s Skethspawn are short, smelly, and fast
gimmicks, turning them into Verexes. offspring of Humans and the demonic Sketh.


Magic Affinity Natural Ego (x)

The character is slightly more attuned with magic, The character possesses a natural form of
as is common among Humans. As a result, his ability protection, increasing his ego value as specified by
total is one greater for all tasks involving magical the defined value. Note that ego values cannot be
pursuits (but not cantrips). increased above five in this manner.
Magic Resistance (v)  Natural Immunity (x)
The character is unusually resistant to either The character possesses a natural form of
physical or mental attacks caused by spells (but not protection, increasing his immunity value as specified
by enchanted weapons). When physical is chosen as by the defined value. Note that immunity values
the defined value, his padding and armor ratings are cannot be increased above five in this manner.
increased by four when damage is caused by magic;
when mental is chosen as the defined value, the Natural Magic (v) 
character’s will and ego ratings are increased by four The character can cast a specific spell even without
when damage is caused by magic. an understanding of magic. The spell specified by
the defined value is treated like a normal pursuit
Mental Drain (v) that is rated as a specialty (+2). The ability on which
The character inflicts a target with a number of it is based depends on the theory of the spell (see
marks of tension equal to his influence rating. This table below). Every time a task is made to use this
is normally done as part of some sort of physical or spell, the character gains a number of marks of
social attack, as specified by the defined value. Once tension equal to half the roll of one die, but no other
a victim reaches five grades of tension, the character feedback occurs.
inflicts him with mania. Every two marks of tension
or mania sustained by the victim after the abatement NATURAL MAGIC ABILITY
roll can be used in one of the following ways: theory ability
• Reduce the character’s own tension by one mark. Alteration Creativity
• Reduce the character’s own mania by one mark. Apportation Reasoning
• Increase the character’s reasoning rating by one Conjuration Creativity
for one hour (the rating cannot be raised to Divination Awareness
more than double its original value). Invocation Influence
• Increase the character’s creativity rating by one
for one hour (the rating cannot be raised to Natural Padding (x)
more than double its original value). The character possesses a natural form of
• Increase the character’s influence rating by one protection, increasing his padding value as specified
for one hour when used for tasks involving the by the defined value. Note that padding values
victim (the rating cannot be raised to more cannot be increased above five in this manner.
than double its original value).
• Increase the character’s base social damage by Natural Weapon (v)
one for an hour (the value cannot be raised to The character possesses a natural armament, as
more than his influence rating). described by the defined value. The brawling pursuit
is normally used for close combat attacks with the
Multi-Limbed (v) natural weapon, while the athletics or archery
The character has an extra limb or set of limbs, as pursuit (director’s discretion) is used for ranged
specified by the defined value. The extra limbs can attacks.
perform actions independent of the others. For
every five limbs, one can generally perform an extra Natural Will (x)
action each turn without penalty. The director is free The character possesses a natural form of
to augment this number. protection, increasing his will value as specified by
the defined value. Note that will values cannot be
Natural Armor (x) increased above five in this manner.
The character possesses a natural form of
protection, increasing his armor value as specified Night Vision
by the defined value. Note that armor values cannot By utilizing even the tiniest of light sources, the
be increased above five in this manner. character can see in the dark without penalty.

Nourishment (v) ? Partial Intangibility
The character must ingest an element not The character can reduce the physical density of
commonly consumed, particularly among Humans, one portion of his body (arm, leg, torso, head, etc.)
as specified by the defined value. Roll a die before for up to one minute. This means that the intangible
play if the character’s alignment is Order, body part cannot be targeted, struck, damaged, seen,
Oathbreakers of Order, or neutral; otherwise, roll or used to carry or strike anything during this time.
each time he consumes the substance. Consult the The character can instantly switch the intangibility
table below after rolling the die to determine how to another part of his body. After the one-minute
long he can go before suffering adverse effects (more period has elapsed, however, another minute must
information about suffering from Hunger can be be spent solid before going intangible again.
found on page 78).
Penchant (v) ?
NOURISHMENT The character is drawn by a particular substance or
location, as specified by the defined value. The
roll time until next feeding
character receives a penalty of +2diff on all tasks
1 1 Day when in the presence of the define value, since he
2 3 Days cannot stop thinking about it.
3 5 Days
4 1 Week Physical Drain (v)
5 1 Month The character inflicts a target with a number of
6 3 Months marks of fatigue equal to his fitness rating. This is
normally done as part of some sort of attack, as
Omnivorous specified by the defined value. Once a victim reaches
The character is capable of gaining nourishment five grades of fatigue, the character inflicts him with
from any organic substance, although he is not injury. Every two marks of fatigue or injury sustained
immune to poisons when ingesting them. by the victim after the abatement roll can be used in
one of the following ways:
Overload 
The character can overload someone’s senses • Reduce the character’s own fatigue by one mark.
(vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, or one provided • Reduce the character’s own injury by one mark.
by another gimmick) with a successful contested • Increase the character’s fitness rating by one for
influence task. Once overloaded, the target’s sense is one hour (the rating cannot be raised to more
useless for a full open scene or a number of turns than double its original value).
equal to the character’s influence rating. • Increase the character’s awareness rating by one
for one hour (the rating cannot be raised to
Oversized (x) more than double its original value).
The character is larger and/or taller than the • Increase the character’s base physical damage
typical Human. The difficulty of all attempts to by one for an hour (the value cannot be raised
strike, target, or notice the character is reduced by to more than his fitness rating).
the defined value. Note that clothing must be larger Possession 
in size to fit for each iteration of this gimmick. The character can join with the body of a living
Paralysis  being by making a contested influence-based
The character can cause someone to become composure task. The character can also gain
paralyzed by touching his flesh—this may require a knowledge of the host’s life with an investigation
contested athletics or brawling task. A further task (contested by the host with a reasoning-based
contested influence-based composure task is also composure task). While the character cannot directly
required, with the character receiving a bonus of control the body, he can attempt to charm, intimidate,
+6diff on it. If successful, the target cannot move and otherwise convince the host to do things.
until he can successfully contest the character’s Leaving the body requires a trivial influence-based
original success (one task permitted per turn). Note composure task. The character is killed if the host
that it may be difficult to reach a target’s flesh if he body dies while joined with it, something that may
is adequately covered. occur if taken by surprise.


Regeneration  Shapeshift (v)

The character’s injury is reduced by a number of The character can change his form whenever he
marks equal to the roll of one die every ten turns desires into the defined value. The second form can
(sequential scenes) or a number of lines equal to the have a different fixed allocation of ability ratings, but
roll of one die each scene (open scenes). must total the same amount as the original form
(while protective values are affected, health
Resistant (v)  thresholds are not). Other gimmicks are often
The character is unusually resistant to a particular assigned to only the second form. Two full turns and
substance, as specified by the defined value. His a routine disguise task are required to change form.
protective value for any attack made with this The character can speed up this transformation to
substance is increased by four. The relevant protective one turn, but this increases the difficulty to complex.
rating can be increased above five in this manner. Failure means that the transformation does not
Rot ? occur and the character cannot try again for an hour,
The character’s body is rotting, periodically although he can shorten this time by ten minutes for
shedding fingers, toes, and other small bits. This every mark of absolute tension he elects to take.
means that he must occasionally pause to fuse them Slow Healer (v) ?
back on his body—while this requires no task roll, it The character heals slower than normal. The form
does take a full turn. This is an inconvenience and of health specified by the defined value is reduced
can be distracting at times, particularly during half as much as it normally would (a half of line
conflicts (dropping weapons and losing balance, for instead of a full line, for instance).
instance). This usually occurs during calamities and
through overwhelming damage. Stench (x) ?
The character emits a foul smell. The defined value
Scare  is subtracted from the character’s influence rating
The character causes anyone who sees him to for all tasks and calculations for which his stench is
receive a number of marks of mania equal to his a factor, such as charm, negotiation, and even stealth
influence rating. The maximum number of characters (since everyone is more likely to smell him).
affected each time is equal to the roll of one die. A
specific person can only be scared by the character Sure-Jumper (x) 
once per story. The character can jump considerably farther than
his fitness rating indicates. The defined value is
equal to one, and increased by one for each iteration
of this gimmick. A number of extra dice equal to the
defined value are added to the distance traveled
each time the character jumps.
Symbiosis (v) ?
The character is bound to another person, drawing
strength and energy from him. This is either a
physical or mental symbiotic relationship, as
specified by the defined value. For every fifty spaces
distance between the two, both receive one line of
absolute fatigue (physical) or tension (mental). If the
character’s symbiote is killed, he cannot restore the
appropriate form of health normally until finding
someone else with which to willingly bond.
The character can disappear from his current
location and reappear anywhere within five spaces
after one full turn. This distance can be increased by
Skitter-Rats are small, rat-like humanoids who an additional five spaces for every mark of absolute
make good investigators, snitches, and cat burglars. fatigue sustained by choice (up to one line maximum).

Transform (v) Vulnerability (v) ?
The character changes his form into the defined The character is susceptible to a particular
value only under certain conditions. The second substance, as specified by the defined value. The
form can have a different fixed allocation of ability character receives one mark of absolute fatigue each
ratings, but must total the same amount as the turn he is within one space of the substance; one
original form (while protective values are affected, line of fatigue is sustained each turn he is in direct
health thresholds are not). Other gimmicks are often physical contact with it. Any attack performed
assigned to only the second form. Two full turns are against the character with the substance inflicts
required to change form as an automatic task. The double the normal amount of damage.
character’s alignment determines when he
transforms—choose one or roll a die to select one Weaken (v) 
randomly. If the character wishes to stop the The character can try to alter a target’s ability
transformation, he may try with an improbable ratings after making a successful brawling attack
awareness-based composure task; he receives one against him. A further contested influence-based
line of absolute fatigue if he fails and one line of composure task is also required. The abilities that
absolute tension if he succeeds. can be reduced are specified by the defined value—
either [fitness, awareness and creativity] or [reasoning
TRANSFORM CONDITIONS and influence]. Reducing the defined ability or set of
abilities means that the other abilities must be
roll order or oathbreakers of order
increased. All abilities must add up to the original
1 Visible Full, Half, or Crescent Moon sum before the change. No ability may be reduced
2 Spring, Summer, Winter, or Autumn Nights below one or increased above six. Other aspects, like
3 From Dusk to Dawn health thresholds and base damage, should be
4 Odd-Numbered Days recalculated when affected by this change. This
5 One Day per Week change remains in effect for a number of turns equal
6 When Strong Winds Blow to the roll of one die, plus an additional die for each
roll chaos or oathbreakers of chaos point of overkill; after this time, the ratings return to
1 Overwhelmed by Injury or Mania their original values. The target’s abilities cannot be
2 Overwhelmed by Fatigue or Tension changed again until they return to normal.
3 Getting into an Argument
4 Being Targeted by a Spell
5 Experiencing Sexual Ecstasy
6 Experiencing Severe Fear
roll neutral
1 From Dusk to Dawn
2 Overwhelmed by Injury or Mania
3 Experiencing Sexual Ecstasy
4 Witnessing Dripping Blood
5 Witnessing Alluring Figures
6 Traveling the Wilderness

Undersized (x)
The character is smaller and/or shorter than the
typical Human. The difficulty of all attempts to
strike, target, or notice the character is increased by
the defined value. Note that clothing must be
smaller in size to fit properly for each iteration of
this gimmick.
Unrelenting 
The character does not gain fatigue from any
Succubi and Incubi easily blend into society,
source. even as these demons feed on Human emotions.


Some characters, particularly spellcasters and non- Since the denizens of Marl are diverse, characters
Humans, have chosen sides in the Godwar, while in a group can belong to a number of species. Some
others remain neutral. Those aligned with a side may may possess advantages or detriments that help
enjoy helpful contacts and easier spellcasting for further define them. There are six general
related spells. There are four factions in the Godwar: classifications of beings on Marl—pure races, breeds,
Order, Chaos, Oathbreakers of Order, and Oathbreakers demons, shifters, undead, and Wilderness creatures.
of Chaos. Guidelines for choosing alignment, gimmicks, and
weight for each species are provided here, but the
Order process is explained on page 55.
Order strives to impose rules and limits on the
universe. It has long viewed Chaos as destructive Pure Races
and irrational, seeking to exterminate it. Stability is These species have evolved on Marl. Some are
in life, as they have rigid and organized views. known to exist in distant lands, but Humans are the
only ones of which most people are aware today.
Chaos Humans are usually wary of other species out of fear
Chaos is less concerned with consequences, and mistrust, so anyone not Human is considered to
making them unpredictable and frightening. be Unnatural.
Monstrous appearances are common, as they enjoy
little or no restraints, particularly with their magic. Breeds
Various species have been created over the years
Oathbreakers of Order via crossbreeding and magic. While this practice is
Oathbreakers of Order view the planet’s bounty as very rare these days, there are a number of mixed
the archetypal natural order. Much of their magic is races in existence, many of whom now identify as
associated with Marl’s rocks, plants, and air. pure-bred. Some breeds can pass as Human.
Catrarms, Elkists, Gris, Hugors, Humbus, Skethspawns,
Oathbreakers of Chaos and Skitter-Rats are all considered breeds.
Oathbreakers of Chaos choose technology over
nature, some evolving into new species through Demons
their machinations. Their magic is typically channeled Some beings originate from other worlds, existing
through equipment and weapons. on Marl through the Godwar or summoned by
magic. Succubi/Incubi are examples of demons.
This is not an alignment, but most citizens of Marl Shifters
either do not wish to take a side, are afraid to take a The origins of beings who can change their forms
side, or just do not care about the Godwar. Neutral or alter their appearances are largely unknown, but
characters are not beholden to any faction, nor can magic is likely involved. Some shifters can pass as
they seek help from one. Human, either by assuming their guise or having a
base form that resembles that of a Human. Face-
Shifters, Grani, and Werewolves are all shifter species.

The dead are sometimes brought back to life
through magic. Some bear the characteristics of
Humans, while others struggle to fit into society.
Ghouls, Orris, Taxims, and Vampires belong to the

Wilderness Creatures
The beastly monsters of the Wilderness are so
unpredictable and inhuman that they may not be
portrayed as player characters. A number of these
creatures are detailed in Chapter Eight.

Humans pure race Catrarms breed
The cities were originally built by Humans for Catrarms are identical to Humans, except that
Humans, so it is no wonder that they are the they have four arms instead of two. They seek
predominant species. Humans are intelligent, but equality with Humans, but are still considered
fraught with weaknesses—they must eat, breathe, Unnaturals because of their physical difference and
and sleep six to eight hours to be worth their weight. lack of political voice. Still, they are more likely to get
They are vulnerable to the oddest things and an office job than something more dangerous like
constantly work to find new and better ways to kill. an Elkist or Hugor.
Despite this, they are also adept at lots of things, No one knows the origins of Catrarms. One
including building new structures and using magic. legend suggests that they were born from the union
Most Humans resent Unnaturals, likely because it is of a Human and now-extinct species, while another
tough thinking of oneself as something else’s prey. story explains how a magical spell became
Note that ethnicities on Marl are not the same as permanent, warping the caster’s body long ago and
those in the real world, since the cultures developed forcing that physical change on his descendants.
quite differently. This fact is not vital to the game, so Regardless of their origins, Catrarms are as diverse
work with whatever ethnicity, real or imagined, as Humans, varying in pigment, hair color, and size.
works towards more enjoyment in the game. Mating between a Human and Catrarm typically
produces the latter.
“How come Humans have lasted so long? How “Let me just say that nobody has any reason
come we run the planet and not some other to be afraid of us. We’re taxpayers, mothers,
species? In other words, what do we got that fathers, and law-abiding citizens just like
they ain’t got? I’ll tell ya. We haven’t got you. We’re tired of being lumped together
claws. We can’t fly. We can’t walk through with all the dangerous and crazy Unnaturals.
walls. And the only shapeshifting I’ve seen We were born the way we are. We had no choice
done was when my wife put on all that weight in the matter. Think about it. I’m no
right after the wedding. We’re smart enough different from you, except for a few extra
to build cities, but that’s not enough. What arms. I’m more than the sum of my parts. Most
we got is numbers. We breed like rabbits and Catrarms repair and build things for a
there’s too many of us to kill. So, we living. Some of us are damn fine spellslingers.
eventually just overwhelm everybody else. Two Catrarm sentinels won medals of valor
I’m no sage, but that’s how it seems to me.” last year. Sure, I’m defensive. Wouldn’t you
be in my place?”

Humans are very diverse, so it is common for them to Most Catrarms appear to be aligned with Chaos, but the
align with any faction. Oathbreakers of Order and Oathbreakers of Chaos are
possible due to their disaffection with society.
• contacts (choose one) GIMMICKS
• magic affinity • multi-limbed (four arms)
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1–4 choose any one ability gimmick (+1) 1–4 dexterity (+1)
5–6 choose any two ability gimmicks (+1) 5–6 dexterity (+2)
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1 aesthetic odd: (-1) even: (+1) 1 agility odd: (-1) even: (+1)
2 harmonic odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 hearing odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 recollection odd: (-1) even: (+1) 3 harmonic odd: (-1) even: (+1)
4 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1) 4 stature odd: (-1) even: (+1)
5 compulsion (either alcohol, cigarettes, or spells) 5 bigot (Humans)
6 materialistic (1) 6 materialistic (1)
Males average 150 to 200 pounds Males average 150 to 200 pounds
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Females average 110 to 160 pounds


Elkists breed Face-Shifters shifter

Elkists are the result of crossbreeding between Face-Shifters seem to be Human in every aspect,
Ghouls and an extinct demonic species. Their diet except that they can alter the appearance of their
consists of the internal organs from a living or dead faces, essentially becoming someone else. This
Human or Catrarm (and sometimes Face-Shifters), change does not affect the rest of their bodies, so it
particularly the stomach and liver, but they can is not foolproof. Bigotry and hatred follow once
settle for flesh when necessary. Most keep this fact branded a shapeshifter, so most try to hide their
quiet, likely not to startle the Humans with whom true natures. Before that happens, however, they can
they must get along. live the same, full lives as Humans—not that their
Elkists can cause any one part of their bodies, lives are all that much better. Since the temptation
whether hands, feet, arms, legs, head, neck, or torso, to alter one’s appearance is so great at times, many
to become intangible at a given moment—this makes are discovered, eventually turning to work as
them feared combatants. They can be found in a prostitutes, cheap entertainers, and even sentinels.
number of cities as sentinels, brawlers, and leg- Whether the power to alter their faces is purely an
breakers. Most have learned not to sit with their inherited one or the result of a curse, no one knows.
backs to the door, since surprise is an important Face-Shifters typically focus on social pursuits,
factor in defeating them—it prevents them from often making use of disguises. There is a fair degree
having enough time to become intangible when it of certainty that mating between a Face-Shifter and
really counts. Human will result in a Face-Shifter fifty-percent of
Elkists tend to shy away from magical pursuits, the time.
especially those involving demons. The name Elkist,
“Come on over, honey. What’s your pleasure
roughly translated as parts is parts, seems to have tonight? I’m not like those other girls. I
been chosen by early members of this species. can be any girl you want. I can be anybody,
but it’s going to cost you. What do you mean,
“You got sumthin’ to say? Then shuddup and why do I work here? I thought you were a
lemme talk. That’s why you’re here, right? paying customer, not some bleeding heart. I
Play straight with me and we’ll be pals. Get don’t need no sympathy. Sure, there are
out of line and I’ll use your ribs for a shoe other jobs, the kind your type considers
rack. I’ve never met the bum who could take honest work, but they only go to the
me. Day I do, I got this little trick. See? trustworthy. And nobody trusts a shifter.
Aw, siddown. It ain’t that bad. It’s only my You trust your eyes too much. Seeing them
gut that’s gone missing. Not like it was tricked scares you Humans pretty bad, doesn’t
somethin’ important, like my head. And no it? If you would look less with your eyes
cracks or I’ll have to introduce you to my and more with your heart, maybe we wouldn’t
brass knuckles.” frighten you so much. Then maybe you wouldn’t
hate us like you do. So, you looking for a
good time or what? Who’s face do you prefer?”
Elkists typically remain neutral, since they usually support ALIGNMENT
the highest bidder. Face-Shifters are almost always aligned with Chaos.
• nourishment (Human internal organs) • faceshift
• partial intangibility • contacts (choose one)
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1 constitution odd: (-1) even: (+1) 1 aesthetic odd: (-1) even: (+1)
2 endurance odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 harmonic odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 stature odd: (-1) even: (+1) 3 eloquence odd: (-1) even: (+1)
4 fortitude (+1) 4 passion odd: (-1) even: (+1)
5 strength (+1) 5 chastity odd: (-1) even: (+1)
6 appearance(-1) 6 cynicism odd: (-1) even: (+1)

Males average 150 to 200 pounds Males average 150 to 200 pounds
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Females average 110 to 160 pounds

Ghouls undead Granis shifter
A fixture of every large city, Ghouls can range Made of a stone-like material, Grani can change
from being completely inhuman to appearing the shape of their bodies or just a portion. No one
almost-Human. This means that they can have gray knows their origins, but Grani have a great affinity
and slick skin, long claws, and sharp teeth that are for earthen material, even consuming stone as food.
crooked—or just slightly sharper nails and teeth to Some scholars believe that they originated deep
mark their true nature. Some of these undead underground, but a terrible cataclysm drove them to
creatures are ravenous enough to tear into anything the surface ages past. They gather in some cities to
living or dead, while more-intelligent Ghouls pick form stonemason unions, leading to violence
their feeding grounds and meals with great care. between Grani and Humans as work becomes
Most have a favorite cut of meat, making it hard to scarce. In other cities, Grani work as artists, using
find one that uses every part of a corpse. their superior feel and sense of stone to make
They can fit in with Humans extremely well, wonderfully bizarre sculptures.
although some pose as Vampires in cities where that
form of Unnatural is better tolerated. Ghouls
benefited the most from the first Godwar, as “They say we’re not Human and that we have
thousands of dead made every day a feast. Nasty never been Human. We are of Marl’s flesh.
Even now, separated by the street and dead
alteration spells hurled at the enemy triggered an stone, I can feel it, Marl’s blood rushing
explosion of their population. deep underground. Look at my hand and see the
gray hardness. No, it is real stone. You can
see that when I die, because I will turn to
clay. I can change my shape into anything of
“We’re both meat-eaters. You eat the dead stone. I am an artist. I am my own sculpture,
of other species, but never think twice but it is not for sale. Oh, I suppose I could
about it. I eat the dead of your species. I make weapons of my hands, but not very good
have to sneak into kirkyards in the dead of ones. If they break, then there will be that
night and dig up my meals, while praying much less of me when I want to change again.
that I don’t run afoul of a guard or ward in The pieces die when they come off me, you
the process. It’s a rare city that has a know. They can’t be reattached.”
market that caters to my kind. Every other
species dies and is consumed, but you Humans
think you should be exempt from the food
chain. If I try to put your dead to practical ALIGNMENT
use, I have to flee the ensuing mob with
stones flying around my ears. Is this just? Granis prefer to remain neutral, since they are really only
Think about it.” concerned with getting paid.
ALIGNMENT • natural weapon (bludgeon: +1fat)
Ghouls tend to be aligned with Order, but the Oathbreakers • natural padding (2)
of Order are not much of a stretch. • change form
• slow healer (injury)
GIMMICKS • nourishment (stone)
• endurance (+2) • Roll a Die
• nourishment (Human flesh) 1–5 affinity (rock and clay beneath them)
• rot 6 natural armor (2)
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1 appearance odd: (-1) even: (-2) 1 aesthetic odd: (+1) even: (+2)
2 eloquence odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 passion odd: (-1) even: (+1) 3 touch odd: (-1) even: (+1)
4 stench odd: (1) even: (2) 4 fame
5 natural weapon (claws: +1inj) 5 agility (-1)
6 natural weapon (teeth: +0inj) 6 city compass
Ghouls average 90 to 140 pounds Granis average 175 to 250 pounds


Gris breed Hugors breed

Gris are not natural, but the product of a magical Hugors resulted from the crossbreeding between
experiment gone very wrong. They are bad- Humans and the long-extinct Ogres. They are tall
tempered, squat, muscular eaters of garbage— masses of muscle, with a greenish cast to their skin,
basically, a blight on society. Gris have yellowish foul breath, and black hair that covers most of their
skin and greasy black hair. bodies. Hugors find work as heavy laborers, sentinels,
Most live in the undersides of cities, running bouncers, or strikebreakers. They mostly keep to
numbers or whorehouses. Sentinels are taught not themselves in the poorer neighborhoods of major
to take on a Gris without plenty of back-up. Gris are cities, since they are not really accepted by the
forced off the streets when possible, since they drive Human populations.
down property values. Even Hugors are more Hugors always travel with their life-mates, as they
desirable in a neighborhood. In much the same way form symbiotic relationships (it would be a good
that Taxims have their own quarter in Selastos, some idea for another player to portray the companion
cities dump all their Gris in small conclaves to avoid Hugor). They seem to be largely misunderstood as
their mixing with Humans. If they only paid for all muscle and no brains. That part is somewhat true,
garbage to eat, they could probably live better lives. but they have also been known to be caring and
Unfortunately, paying for things is not part of their loyal, something hard to find on the cynical streets
repertoire. of Marl. It is extremely rare for Hugors to possess
Most Gris take up combat-related pursuits, but magical pursuits, but it is possible.
can just easily lean towards the scholarly and
creative ones.

“That’s right, I’m a Gris. Want to make “Break things. Get paid. Life is good.”
something of it? Good. You’d lose. My Pa was
a spellslinger. My Ma was a burner and a
glass tube. Somebody mixed Hugor and Human
blood, along with some other odds and ends,
and came up with me. I don’t really belong
to either group. Who the hell would want to?
I can breed with both kinds of women though. ALIGNMENT
And once you’ve done it with a Gris...” Hugors virtually always align themselves with Order.
ALIGNMENT • symbiosis (physical)
Gris mostly remain neutral, since they prefer not to get • stature (+1)
involved in other people’s problems. • flexibility (-1)
• logic (-1)
GIMMICKS • Roll a Die
• omnivorous 1–4 strength (+1)
• strength (+1) 5–6 strength (+2)
• speed (+1) • Roll a Die
• passion (-1) 1–4 fortitude (+1)
• Roll a Die 5–6 fortitude (+2)
1 hearing odd: (-1) even: (+1) • Roll a Die
2 smell odd: (-1) even: (+1) 1 hearing odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 vision odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 smell odd: (-1) even: (+1)
4 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1) 3 vision odd: (-1) even: (+1)
5 stench odd: (1) even: (2) 4 stoicism odd: (-1) even: (+1)
6 enemies (vigilante sentinel) 5 constitution (-1)
6 agility (-1)
Males average 150 to 200 pounds WEIGHT
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Hugors average 175 to 250 pounds

Humbi breed Orris undead
A Humbus is the offspring of a Human and Orris are humanoid in appearance, but their skin
Succubus/Incubus. While Humbi cannot drain life, is similar to clay, giving them a lumpy, half-finished
they do possess other qualities that set them apart facade. Orris can change their shape to resemble
from Humans, including the powers to see in the any non-living thing of roughly the same mass.
dark and that of teleportation. The telltale sign of Furniture seems to be a choice for most, remaining
being a Humbus is the blackened eyes, much like in that form for hours at a time. This makes them
those of a Succubi/Uncubi’s victims. excellent spies. Those with artistic talent often
Humbi have been the subject of numerous legal shape themselves into a basic Human form (more
battles in some of Marl’s larger cities. As they are like a mannequin), an illusion completed by paint
invariably bastard children, it has been ruled that and make-up. This is adequate for slipping through
they have no legal rights to any property belonging dark and lonely streets, but not likely to fool anyone
to their Human parents. This is yet another reason under normal conditions.
for them to be bitter. As with their demonic parents, Restricted to a diet of bones, these undead
Humbi focus on social pursuits at the expense of creatures commonly look down on their ghoulish,
combat training. Many are familiar with finances, flesh-eating relations. Orris fancy themselves as
since they are often involved in sales. fastidious and knowledgeable, but are violent when
the desire takes them. They also tend to live longer
than their ghoulish cousins, simply because they are
more careful and can also hide better.
“As soon as vou walk back through that
door, I’m not a Humbus. Got that? I’ve got a
great little business here and don’t need my
customers thinking that I’m going to suck “Too many years have passed since I last
them dry. My mother was a succubus who got walked Marl. So much has changed... the
her timing wrong. My father was one of her buildings and the fashions. Ghouls are
meals. She wasn’t the greatest mother. To be closer to living than true dead. Zuvembies
fair, she never went after any of my friends. and Taxims are just walking corpses, but
Humans and Humbi don’t need to drain people Orris are suspended between the two states,
like my mother did. Sure, I can teleport and rejected by both this world and the next. I
see a lot better than you, I’d wager. Some must feed on bones, even animal bones if
of us are also more charming than any ten necessary, but I prefer those of larger
Humans put together. If it wasn’t for our creatures. I can shape my flesh into other
blackened eyes, you’d never know we weren’t forms, provided it is something non-living,
fully Human.” like a rock or piece of furniture, but that
only seems to make me more unwanted.”

Humbi typically side with Chaos or remain neutral. Orris prefer to remain neutral.
• night vision • natural padding (2)
• teleportation • natural armor (1)
• penchant (heavy emotions from those to whom he is attracted) • shapeshift (objects)
• Roll a Die • nourishment (humanoid or animal bones)
1 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1) • Roll a Die
2 chastity odd: (-1) even: (+1) 1 agility odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 passion odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 flexibility odd: (+1) even: (+2)
4 logic odd: (-1) even: (+1) 3 logic odd: (-1) even: (+1)
5 lip-reading 4 aesthetic odd: (-1) even: (+1)
6 hypnotic (1) 5 compulsion (fresh, bloody bones)
6 jack of all trades
Males average 150 to 200 pounds WEIGHT
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Orris average 140 to 200 pounds


Skethspawns breed Skitter-Rats breed

Mating between Sketh and Humans sometimes Skitter-Rats are hairy humanoids with large eyes,
occurs, even though it is an unpleasant thought— elongated faces, and hairless tails. While smaller
Sketh are minor demons with black fur. These than Humans, a Skitter-Rat can pass for one in a
offspring are quick, stand about four to five feet tall, trench-coat, hat, glasses, and dark alley. No one is
and have greasy, black hair. Many are also quite sure how they evolved, but the streets say that it
unattractive. It is fortunate that they lack a Sketh’s happened when a spellslinger attempted to cure an
fur, since having it would remove them even further elusive Wererat of its curse.
from the ranks of society. Skethspawns seem to be Skitter-Rats are naturals at climbing walls, using
afraid of water, which explains why they never bathe their sharp nails and great sense of balance to good
and stink as badly as any Sketh. effect. They also make good trackers and informants.
These half-breeds often make use of the stealth Few Skitter-Rats possess magical pursuits, leaning
and legerdemain pursuits—most are thieves. towards skills that can aid their natural talents.
Skethspawns typically keep to themselves, avoiding Skitter-Rats are very family-oriented, with dozens
groups, organizing, and responsibility. Some people sometimes packed into small apartments. They are
have labeled them as big a blight as Gris, but their known to look out for their own, but are commonly
lack of organization probably limits their aspirations— intolerant of shifters or demons.
not a problem that the Gris have.
“You don’t smell like a wrong guy, but I
still don’t know if I like you, hairless.
Wouldn’t try anything on me, would you? Hope
not fer your sake, cause we Skitters watch
“Hiya. My name is Bob. Yes it is, yes it out fer each other. You hairless types
is. And I’m a Skethspawn, Yes I am, Yes I oughta keep that in mind after you go
am. My father was a Sketh and my mom wasn’t, stealing from the boss or take in a kinkshow
no she wasn’t, no she wasn’t. I’m not as fast when the wife’s not looking. We’re everywhere
as my Pa, but I’m quicker than most Humans. and nowhere. Most of you groundlings never
Yes I am, Yes I am. Got to go now. Yes I do, seem to know when to look up. There’s a whole
Yes I do. By the way, thanks for the watch, world up there, and it’s a hell of a lot
thanks for the watch.” cleaner than what you’ve got.”

ALIGNMENT Skitter-rats generally do not pick a side, remaining
Skethspawns almost always side with Chaos. neutral.
• phobia (water) • natural weapon (claws: +1inj)
• aversion (being covered in water) • agility (+1)
• stench (1) • climbing (+1)
• Roll a Die • undersized (1)
1–4 speed (+2) • Roll a Die
5–6 speed (+3) 1–3 climbing (+1)
• Roll a Die 4–6 agility (+1)
1 agility odd: (+1) even: (+2) • Roll a Die
2 dexterity odd: (+1) even: (+2) 1 constitution odd: (-1) even: (+1)
3 smell odd: (+1) even: (+2) 2 hearing (+1)
4 appearance odd: (-1) even: (-2) 3 smell (+1)
5 eloquence (-1) 4 city compass
6 logic (-1) 5 natural compass
6 natural weapon (teeth: +0inj)
Males average 150 to 200 pounds WEIGHT
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Skitter-Rats average 100 to 150 pounds

Succubi and Incubi demon Taxims undead
A Succubus (female) or Incubus (male) is a life- Taxims are demons who possess the bodies of
draining demonic entity who feeds on strong dead Humans. Once a corpse has been taken over,
emotions. While fear and anger are just as nourishing the body ceases to rot. They indulge in all manner of
sustenance, these emotions are harder to produce vices, most staying in the Taxim Quarter of Selastos,
and maintain in Humans (or Catrarms), their chosen where they have free reign, since even sentinels
prey. To heighten a Human’s emotional state, these avoid that area.
creatures alter their appearances in whatever way Taxim are considered cheap labor, since they are
they can to match what their victim considers the willing to do just about any job in order to pay for
peak of attractiveness. Some drain all of the feelings their vices. Those in authority are willing to overlook
from a victim, killing him and turning his eyes to their petty crimes just to keep them working, but
blackened pits, as these are the conduits through hard-working folk do not like or trust them. Most are
which emotions are extracted. scam-artists or thugs, but some manage to break
Succubi and Incubi are found anywhere there is away from the stereotype that defines all too much
potential prey, including brothels, bars, back alleys, of Taxim-kind.
and the docks. Most concentrate on developing
their social prowess and gaining new lores. Many
take pride in being ignorant of violent pursuits. All
of them appear as very attractive Humans.
“Hands off the merchandise, buddy. I’m not
“Don’t be shy. I don’t bite or scratch like that kind of girl. I’m just renting. Know
some of these others. We’re just going to do what I mean? I work hard and may be willing
a little... business. I give you some to do lots of things to earn a little extra
pleasure or some pain, whatever lights your scratch, but not that. If you try anything,
fire. And I get a little bit of your soul I’ll just find another body. Then I’ll
that I promise you’ll never miss. Sure, arrange for you to be brought to the Taxim
there are a lot of other broads in here that Quarter, where even the sentinels can’t help
do it for gold, but they can’t do what I can, you. And who knows, once you’re dead, maybe
brother. It’s what my kind does best. I’ve I’ll take over your skin just to spite you.”
got enough dough stashed around town from
marrying rich guys that I could kick back
and retire. I do this ‘cause I want to. Just
lie back and relax. I’m sure we’ll both enjoy
it. You’ll see.”

Succubi and Incubi often create the illusion that they are Taxims prefer to align themselves with Chaos.
neutral, but many align themselves with either Order or
• natural padding (2)
GIMMICKS • custody (over water)
• appearance (+2) • penchant (graveyards)
• mental drain (staring into eyes at height of emotion) • Roll a Die
• dependency (mental drain) 1–3 stench (1)
• Roll a Die 4–6 chastity (-1)
1 aesthetic odd: (-1) even: (+1) • Roll a Die
2 passion odd: (-1) even: (+1) 1 constitution odd: (+1) even: (+2)
3 stature odd: (-1) even: (+1) 2 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1)
4 compulsion (drain only beautiful people) 3 eloquence odd: (-1) even: (+1)
5 bigot (Humbi) 4 passion odd: (-1) even: (+1)
6 invisibility 5 contacts (Taxim Drivers Union)
6 materialistic (1)
Incubi average 150 to 200 pounds WEIGHT
Succubi average 110 to 160 pounds Taxims average 150 to 200 pounds


Vampires undead Werewolves shifter

Despite being undead, Vampires are like most Werewolves are Humans who can transform into
people—they do what they must to survive, which wolf-like creatures. These changes are often triggered
for them means feeding on Human blood (or by environmental conditions (phases of the moon
Catrarm blood in a pinch). Most die within the first or temperatures), emotional factors (anger, stress, or
few months of their undead existence. Those who sexual ecstasy), or controlled entirely by the
live longer invest in learning more about their character. Werewolves are capable of leading
vampiric qualities. A large city is usually home to a productive lives, provided they are surrounded by
few dozen Vampires, who must keep what they are people who understand their affliction or prevent
a secret to avoid hatred and prejudice. The themselves from getting too close to anyone. They
establishment of blood-banks in some very large fathom the psychology of both predator and prey
cities is part of an effort to appease militant Vampires better than almost any creature—a factor in why
who threaten to commit terrorist acts if their rights some cities make use of Werewolf squads as an
are not protected. Being a Vampire is a struggle, so adjunct to their police forces.
most pursue knowledge that can help them survive
in society.
“Seventy five years ago, my grandfather
pissed off the wrong person. The result was
“Listen up, bloodbag. I’m short a meal a curse that runs through my family and
tonight, so I don’t have a lot of time to turns us into wolf-things a few nights each
spend on you. Most of the great and powerful month. I tried tracking down the bastard’s
undead are scared of dying and do anything descendants to see what it would take to get
to avoid it. Either they haven’t advertised the curse lifted. He wanted to be difficult,
what they are or they got hired because of so I ripped out his throat. It ain’t an easy
it. One vamp’s a meal, two’s a feast, and existence. If you don’t kill anybody
three bleed a block dry. Get too many important, you’ll be fine. Go wild in the
bloodsuckers in one neighborhood and they’ll streets and you’ll wind up dead or in a zoo.
use up the good prey, eventually fighting My advice is to find work with somebody who
over the rats and bugs. We hunt you, you hunt knows what you are.”
us. It’s been going on for centuries.”

Vampires mostly align themselves with Order, but their Werewolves are wildly different when it comes to choosing
ever-increasing struggle in society has some joining the an alignment, so any are possible.
Oathbreakers of Order.
GIMMICKS • constraint (while in Human form):
• physical drain (bite) • natural weapon (claws: +1inj)
• nourishment (blood) • natural weapon (teeth: +1inj)
form only

• infectious (vampirism) • natural padding (2)

• Roll a Die • natural armor (2)
1–3 aversion (religious artifact or symbol) • night vision
4–6 hypnotic (1) • infectious (lycanthropy)
• Roll a Die • allergy (silver)
1 speed odd: (-1) even: (+1) • oversized (1)
2 appearance odd: (-1) even: (+1) • Roll a Die
3 hearing (+1) 1–3 shapeshift (Werewolf)
4 night vision 4–6 transform (Werewolf)
5 natural weapon (fangs: +0inj)
6 dependency (blood) WEIGHT
Werewolf form males average 200 to 300 pounds
WEIGHT Werewolf form females average 150 to 240 pounds
Males average 150 to 200 pounds Human form Males average 150 to 200 pounds
Females average 110 to 160 pounds Human form Females average 110 to 160 pounds

CLASSIC VAMPIRES & WEREWOLVES Crooks use illicit schemes, thievery, and/or
violence in order to acquire that which seems out of
Vampires and Werewolves in Bloodshadows are their reach—jewels, grimoires, antiques, and even
somewhat different from those of classic film information. Then they sell it for profit. Those with
and novel. They could be viewed as more Human- ambition tend to live in comfort, while those who
like. While a lot of their legendary qualities can play it safe or are indebted to others tend to be
be added as extra gimmicks, these are not worse off than if they had normal jobs. Then there
available by default. This is intentional. are those who did time, ready to begin anew with
Vampires fresh schemes.
A wide variety of Vampires exist, each Most crooks use charm to their best advantage,
possessing some or all of these gimmicks. If all although some merely know how to manipulate
players agree, one or more of the following people without all the frills. Regardless of their
gimmicks can be given to all Vampires in the methods, a good crook has the right contacts,
game: nimble fingers, and proper tools to get the job done.
• strength (+2)
• hypnotic (2)
• natural weapon (fangs: +0inj)
• dependency (blood) “No, I said it was inspired by Rafaeli’s
• shapeshift (bat or wolf) work, not that it was sculpted by Rafaeli
himself. I’m sorry, but all sales are final.
• vulnerability (religious artifact or symbol) If you’d like me to take it off your hands,
• vulnerability (sunlight) I’m sure we could come to some arrangement.”

If all players agree, the fitness and awareness
ratings are increased by one and the creativity, PURSUITS
reasoning, and influence ratings are decreased
by one while in Werewolf form. The following Required
gimmicks can also be given to Werewolves: none
• strength (+2) Recommended
• agility (+2) commodities, forgery, gambling, legerdemain,
• climbing (+2) performance, stealth, streetwise, street-talk
• sure-jumper (2)
• fast healer GIMMICKS
• natural compass
• shapeshift (wolf) or transform (wolf) Choose Two
• contacts (criminal)
• appearance (+1)
• eloquence (+1)
ROLES • Roll a Die
Every character either has a purpose in life or does 1–3 logic (+1)
what he has to do in order to put food on the table. 4–6 recollection (+1)
This job is referred to as his role. It could be a career
or whatever work he can find. The following roles EQUIPMENT
are available for characters. Some roles require • assorted pocket watches
characters to possess certain pursuits in order for • assorted jewelry
them to be selected for a character. A list of • Roll a Die
recommended pursuits is also provided. Two 1–3 lockpick set
gimmicks must be chosen from the list provided for 4–6 lockpicker
each role. Characters also begin play with certain • Roll a Die
items at no cost, as provided for their role. This 1–3 knife
process is explained on page 62. 4–6 .22 pistol with 6 slugs


Merchants Newscribes
Merchants buy and sell wares, often importing Newscribes write the news. They hang out on
them from other cities or purchasing used items street corners, bars, and other interesting locales to
locally. Merchandise runs the gamut from art and get inspiration for their latest stories. They investigate
antiques to general goods and hardware. Most strange events and potential scandals, sometimes
merchants make enough gold to survive, benefiting inventing a bit here and there to make it interesting
from a little extra for rainy days. Some smuggle and newsworthy. Put simply, newscribes are
exotic and illegal goods to supplement their incomes, reporters, often unrelenting in the face of danger to
but this can invite serious risk from both sentinels get the latest scoop.
and gangsters. Newscribes are best served with knowledge of the
Merchants can range from being too honest to local hangouts, a gang of informants who can bring
completely shady. Those who rip off their customers them the best tips, and the gumption to go anywhere
are not likely to remain in business, as word of for a story. Both unscrupulous reporters and those
mouth is a highly effective consumer tool. For this determined to get the complete truth often make
reason, the majority of merchants are trustworthy. powerful enemies. As they say, a man can be judged
Of course, this does not preclude the odd scam- by the quality of his enemies.
artist, but these merchants are either considered
crooks or cover their tracks so well that customers
do not even realize that they have been taken for
“Do I suspect foul play, you ask? I assumed
fools. it was foul play three stiffs ago. There’s
definitely a story in this, maybe even
enough of one to take down someone big. If
“I have all manner of goods. And if I don’t anyone can break the story, it’s me. Just
have what you’re looking for, I’m sure that don’t ask how I’m going to do it. You
I can get it. Let’s just say that I specialize probably don’t want to know.”
in acquiring hard-to-find items, if you know
what I mean... for a modest fee, of course.”

Required Required
• commodities • investigation
• finances • prose
Recommended Recommended
negotiation, performance, street-talk interrogation, street-talk
Choose Two Choose Two
• contacts (local merchants) • contacts (media)
• contacts (foreign merchants) • contacts (local merchants)
• contacts (transportation union) • contacts (street urchins)
• Roll a Die • writing (+1)
1–3 fame • Roll a Die
4–6 wealth 1–3 city compass
4–6 enemies (choose one)
• handheld crystal set EQUIPMENT
• Roll a Die • scribepad
1 horse • glowstone
2–3 cart • Roll a Die
4–5 steam cart 1–3 sedan
6 truck 4–6 —

Private Detectives Sentinels
Private detectives are not that concerned with law Sentinels generally have a driving urge to protect
and order, but solving a crime or locating a missing and serve the people of the city. Many take on the
person pays the bills. Being observant, patient, and mantle, because their fathers and grandfathers did
putting all the pieces together is what gets the job it. Others simply need work and possess the right
done. They are sure to cross paths with different talents. The job is mixed with exhilaration, danger,
folk, make lots of enemies, and gain a number of stress, and monotony. To survive, the character must
contacts. Many private detectives are former be perceptive, yet physically and mentally proficient.
sentinels with visions of cracking big cases, but Overstepping authority is common, as is looking the
became just another gumshoe. other way with the right amount of motivation.

“The only things that separate the good

“He needed one hand for the money, one for guys from the bad guys are this badge and an
the gun, and one for the dame. Unfortunately, invisible line. One’s just a piece of tin,
that left him one free hand to slug me. And and the other is easy to cross. Too easy.
that he did.” Keep that in mind when you want to break the
law along my beat.”

Required Required
• investigation • brawling
• street-talk • firearms
Recommended • composure
interrogation, brawling, firearms, stealth, composure Recommended
athletics, interrogation, intimidation, melee, investigation
Choose Two
• contacts (sentinels) Choose Two
• contacts (petty criminals) • authority (sentinel); Characters lacking this are on probation.
• Roll a Die • stature (+1)
1–3 stoicism (+1) • city compass
4–6 passion (+1) • Roll a Die
• Roll a Die 1–3 contacts (local magistrate)
1–3 contacts (local newscribes) 4–6 contacts (local merchants)
4–6 contacts (local streetsingers) • Roll a Die
1–3 contacts (local newscribes)
EQUIPMENT 4–6 contacts (local streetsingers)
• lockpick set
• glowstone EQUIPMENT
• binoculars • handheld crystal set
• Roll a Die • .38 pistol with 20 slugs
1–2 .22 pistol • sentinel-issued sedan
3–4 .38 pistol • Roll a Die
5–6 .44 semi-auto pistol 1–4 padded wear
• 20 slugs 5–6 bulletproof vest
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1 leathers 1–3 baton
2–3 bulletproof vest 4 baton (charged with slow spell)
4–5 sedan 5 baton (charged with speed spell)
6 roadster 6 baton (charged with illusory pain spell)


Socialites Spellslingers
Socialites mix it up with the wealthy and powerful. Spellslingers concentrate on magical pursuits,
This does not necessarily mean that they are wealthy earning a living by selling their skill to those who
and powerful, however. They may have some money, can afford it. The illegal stuff pays better, but those
but are nothing without their contacts and insider jobs often come with more risk and complications.
information. Such characters use other people as a Some spellslingers open their own shops, in which
way to climb the social ladder, typically only being they sell ready-made potions and the ingredients
loyal to power and money. They usually lack expertise needed to brew them. Spellslinger is a general term
in any given field, acting the dilettante and sometimes for anyone focusing on their magical pursuits, but
even the fool. they are also known by their specific magical fields:
Socialites are similar to crooks, as they often • Chronomancers • Elementalists
inveigle their way into high society. While they may • Necromancers • Photomancers
not work towards stealing from the elite, they do • Somniomancers • Sorcerers
ingratiate themselves by spreading lies. This can • Technomancers • Vitomancers
prove dangerous when those manipulated in this • Wizards
manner do not take kindly to being used. This is Spellslingers are hired by a variety of people and
especially true when massive resources are at their groups, from the elite in need of protectors or
disposal to make someone “disappear.” private investigators needing a magical hand in
solving a case to labor unions looking to make the
conditions in which their members work safer or
specialized departments of the sentinels charged
“I’ve got lots of friends in high places. with taking down organized crime run by the
One call and I can have your business shut undead.
and your family evicted. Now, does my friend
have the job or what?” “You mix this vial with that vial... or was
it the other one? Well, we’ll all find out
in a few minutes. If this works the way it
should, we’ll soon have a potion that heals
your condition. Either that or it will turn
you purple.”
• performance Required
• charm • one magic casting pursuit
Recommended • one magic theory pursuit
finances, oratory Recommended
cantrips, intimidation, composure
Choose Two
• wealth Choose Two
• eloquence (+1) • sufferance (+1)
• contacts (elite) • recollection (+1)
• fame • internal clock
• contacts (specific spellslinger shop)
• pocket watch EQUIPMENT
• extensive wardrobe (designer wear) • blank grimoire
• gold jewelry • one set of components for each spell (if necessary)
• Roll a Die • Roll a Die
1–5 sedan 1–3 dreamstone or two potions
6 roadster 4–6 —

Streetsingers Thugs
Streetsingers love to entertain and please their Thugs are little different from menial laborers.
fans. The cheers of a satisfied audience is what fuels They work for criminal organizations, cults,
their passion. When lively gigs are not available, they businessmen, or anyone who needs some muscle—
turn to the streets, belting out enough of the days’ only they do not belong to unions. Thugs are cold,
headlines to pique an audience’s interest for more calculating, and quick to sell out to anyone. They live
details. And when the headlines do not earn enough, the life of corruption and deceit, so they do whatever
streetsingers often turn to singing popular tunes, it takes to survive, sometimes even the unthinkable.
selling elicit information and goods, and even There is sometimes a fine line between crooks and
prostitution. thugs, but the former often hone their methods to
It helps to have a great singing voice, but a handful better effect. Thugs are more likely to take a direct
have made a living out of singing badly. Audiences and violent approach to things. Some crooks even
seem to like it when enough comedy, sensual moves, start out as thugs, gaining experience on the streets,
or tricks are injected into the act. More often than eventually learning to rely only on themselves.
not, however, a bad performance leads to no Thugs are a dime a dozen, but the right person can
audiences and demands to leave the area by local elevate this role to something more, maybe even
merchants. becoming a boss down the road.
“The boss don’t like it when you forget to
pay him. And you’ve forgotten twice now.
Which knee would you feel more comfortable
hobbling on? Wait, you can pay me to leave
you alone, but you can’t pay the boss? Let
“Look, I don’t make the news. I just sing me see the money first.”
it. If you don’t like what you hear, take it
up with my boss. If you don’t go away, I’ll
call a sentinel.” PURSUITS
brawling, driving, firearms, melee, interrogation,
tracking, streetwise, intimidation
• music
• oratory Choose Two
Recommended • stature (+1)
• patron
performance, streetwise, negotiation
• contacts (black market)
GIMMICKS • contacts (union boss)


• harmonic (+1) • Roll a Die
• leadership (+1) 1–2 lockpick set
• contacts (local newscribes) 3–4 .22 pistol with 6 slugs
• contacts (local merchants) 5 motorcycle
• contacts (local streetsingers) 6 boss’ sedan (keep it safe)
• Roll a Die
EQUIPMENT 1–2 switchblade
• collection of cheap gowns or suits 3 club
• Roll a Die 4 brass knuckles
1–4 switchblade 5 .38 pistol with 6 slugs
5–6 .22 pistol with 6 slugs 6 submachine gun with 30 slugs


Average Joes
This character has always been his own person, PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
taking orders from no one—when he can get away
with it. He takes on whatever trade seems right at 1. Species
the time, from driving and ditch-digging to cooking Choose the species to which the character belongs.
and bartending. The character has led a diverse life Note that non-Humans are likely to get a raw deal in
and is considered a citizen of the world, often society. The available species are Humans, Catrarms,
moving from one city to the next as moods change. Elkists, Face-Shifters, Ghouls, Granis, Gris, Hugors,
This role is intended for characters who do not fit Humbi, Orris, Skethspawn, Skitter-Rats, Succubi/Incubi,
the others. It is more open and can also be used as Taxims, Vampires, and Werewolves.
a template to create new roles, should the director EXAMPLE
choose to do so. Simply replace the gimmicks that Colin is creating a new character. He wishes to
can be chosen, and/or select required or portray someone just outside of Human society, but
recommended pursuits. close enough to blend in when necessary. His choice is
a Face-Shifter.

2. Role
Choose one role for the character. Keep the
required and recommended pursuits in mind for
“I’ve got a job to do. Sure, I’ve got a few step 5. The available roles are crooks, merchants,
hobbies that take up more of my time. I also newscribes, private detectives, sentinels, socialites,
got mouths to feed. I don’t mind giving you spellslingers, streetsingers, thugs, and average Joes.
a hand or providing information, but it
doesn’t come free. Give up the gold and you EXAMPLE
got yourself an assistant. Pay me what I’m
really worth and you’ve got yourself Colin sees his Face-Shifter as someone who can
something more.” sneak around and investigate. Because of this, he
chooses the role of newscribe.

3. Alignment
A character may or may not take a side in the
Godwar. This means that he can either remain
neutral or choose an alignment. Each species has its
own predisposition towards aligning with factions.
The available alignments are Order, Chaos,
Required Oathbreakers of Order, or Oathbreakers of Chaos.
Recommended Colin thinks that his newscribe is unpredictable,
any since he gets a lot of stories by taking unnecessary
risks and following leads that no one else would.
GIMMICKS Coupled with the fact that Face-Shifters commonly
align themselves with Chaos, Colin does the same.
Choose Two
• leadership (+1)
• jack of all trades 4. Abilities
• contacts (choose one) Allocate twelve points among a character’s abilities,
• contacts (choose one) but no ability can have a rating less than one or
greater than five. The director can choose to increase
EQUIPMENT or decrease the total number allocated if desired,
• The director should assign two pieces of equipment depending on the tone of his game. An epic
vital to the character’s job or related to his backstory. campaign, for instance, in which characters are

expected to perform cinematic feats and impossible
tasks might warrant a total of fifteen, while ten may PURSUITS
be more suitable for a gritty game in which the
characters must struggle every day just to survive. Fitness Pursuits
Archery Athletics Brawling
EXAMPLE Driving Firearms Legerdemain
Colin wants his newscribe to be very perceptive and Melee Riding
able to talk his way out of sticky situations. He
allocates points to abilities in the following way: Awareness Pursuits
Divination  Empathy Gambling
Fitness 1, Awareness 4, Creativity 2, Reasoning 2, Influence 3 Interrogation Investigation Stealth
It is still possible to increase aspects of these abilities Tracking
through gimmicks. Since his influence is not as high as
he would prefer, he plans to take advantage of Creativity Pursuits
gimmicks in a later step. Alteration  Carpentry Conjuration 
Design Disguise Forgery
Masonry Metalworking Music
5. Pursuits Prose
Allocate fourteen points among pursuits; a new Reasoning Pursuits
proficiency costs one, new specialty costs two, new Apportation  Cantrips  Commodities
mastery costs three, and a new incompetency Finances  First Aid Lore*
increases the total allocated by one. Pursuits can also Mechanics Medicine  Navigation
be noted with their bonus/penalty, such as firearms Streetwise Survival
+2. As with abilities, the director may increase or
decrease the number of points allocated for pursuits. Influence Pursuits
Note that starting characters may not possess Charm Hypnotism  Intimidation
pursuits at the grand-mastery level—this degree of Invocation  Negotiation Oratory
Performance Street-Talk
training may only be accomplished through play.
Magic Casting Pursuits
PURSUIT COSTS Chronomancy  Elementalism  Necromancy 
rating cost Photomancy  Somniomancy  Sorcery 
Incompetency -1 (maximum of two) Technomancy  Vitomancy  Wizardry 
Basic Knowledge 0
Proficiency 1 Magic Theory Pursuits
Alteration  Apportation  Conjuration 
Specialty 2
Divination  Invocation 
Mastery 3
Other Pursuits
Required Pursuits Composure
Some roles require the character to have more Common Lores*
than just a basic knowledge in a pursuit, so be sure Ancient Legends Anatomy [choose a species]
that a character meets these standards. If not, choose Wilderness Plants Wilderness Creatures
another role. Open Markets [choose a city] Cults [choose a faction]
City Slang [choose a city] Trade Tools [choose a role]
Choosing Cantrips Language [choose one] Marl History
A character with the cantrips pursuit can choose a Cooking Farming
number of cantrips equal to his reasoning rating. A Law Tactics
list of cantrips can be found on the next page, with
descriptions provided on page 116. Pursuit Ratings
Incompetency (-1) Specialty (+2)
Magic Casting Pursuits Basic Knowledge (0) Mastery (+3)
Proficiency (+1) Grand-Mastery (+4)**
There are nine pursuits used to cast spells—
chronomancy, elementalism, necromancy, photomancy, ** Not available to new characters.
somniomancy, sorcery, technomancy, vitomancy, and


wizardry. These represent the schools in which a

CANTRIPS character has been trained for magic. Each allows a
The following cantrips may be chosen for character to cast a specific style of spell. Note that
characters. they are not linked to a particular ability. No
Breeze Candle Chill character may possess more casting pursuits greater
Clean Compass Find than his reasoning ability. Note that chronomancy is
Groom Heat Note not recommended for starting characters, nor are
Slow Reflexes Summon Fire Sustenance more than two casting pursuits.
Writing Pen Summon Metal Object
Magic Theory Pursuits
SPELLS (PART 1) There are five pursuits used to create new spells in
The following spells are available to characters. conjunction with relevant casting pursuits—alteration,
Those with the  symbol are not recommended apportation, conjuration, divination, and invocation (see
for beginning characters, as they are more Chapter Six). These are not necessary, unless the
difficult to perform. player intends to create new spells for his character
to use during the game.
Elementalism (page 119)
Acid Bath Air Barrier  Choosing Spells
All Wet Arms of Marl  Characters must memorize spells in order to use
Carrying Wind  Clean Air  them. Spellslingers begin play with a number of
Dust Devil  Elemental Dagger memorized spells for each of their associated casting
Explosive Rune Fireball
Fog Freeze
pursuits equal to the pursuit bonuses. In other
Ice Dagger Purify  words, if a spellslinger possesses vitomancy +3 (a
Pyre’s Flickering Fire Shield  Quicksand  mastery), he has memorized three vitomancy spells.
Refill Shards of Ice  Non-spellslingers can only memorize one spell per
Shatter Wall Shield of Marl  casting pursuit by default.
Summon More Fire  Tar Pit Additional spells may also be chosen as if gaining
Wall of Air Windstorm  new proficiencies (cost of 1). Be sure to select spells
Necromancy (page 123) that are not too difficult to prevent problems when
Animate Dead  Animate Things  trying to cast them—feedback can be quite dangerous.
Armor of the Dead  Call Dead
Finally, characters can also purchase grimoires, or
Caustic Cloud  Corpse Rot 
Create Skeletal Thug  Disease  spell books (see page 62). There are two types—
Leech  Rot  established and blanks. Established grimoires
Speak to Dead Stiff contain all the necessary information to cast any
Winds of the Dead established spell associated with a single casting
pursuit. While this means that the character does
Photomancy (page 126) not need to memorize a ton of spells to use them,
Blight  Blind
Blur Words  Create Shadow these grimoires are expensive. Only a fool would
Dark Cloud False Images carry one around with him without necessity—a
Light Neon Sign stolen, lost, or damaged grimoire is no use to him.
Scry  Shadow Jump Blank grimoires are simply journals that can be used
Shadow Merge  Smoke Screen to record new spells that the character designs
Warning Light himself. Once a character establishes a new spell, he
Somniomancy (page 129) can cast it from the blank grimoire or memorize it.
Alter Dream Become Dream 
Dream Jump  Dream Trap Gaining More Points
Drowsy Make Physical  A character can also be given up to two
Nightmare  Open Window incompetencies. Each one increases another
Quiet Night Quiet Soul  pursuit’s rating/bonus by one. The director must
Rouse Sleeping Sights  judge whether the choice of incompetency is
Sleeping Sights of Others  appropriate; it should have the potential to arise
during play and not be an academic pursuit.

Colin chooses the following pursuits: empathy +2, SPELLS (PART 2)
investigation +3, prose +2, lore (Selastos crime) +2,
street-talk +2, necromancy +2, charm +3, intimidation Sorcery (page 131)
-1, gambling -1. He also gets to select one spell for the Back Again Doorway
necromancy pursuit. His choice is Speak to Dead, so Expel  Fold 
Gate Incinerator 
that he can question the deceased victims of crimes. Quick Phase Retrieve 
Return  View 
6. Gimmicks Walk
Characters automatically receive certain gimmicks, Technomancy (page 133)
depending on their chosen species and role—see the Agitator  All That Glitters
chart provided with each species and role description. Analyze Metal Bullet
Some are determined randomly by rolling a die (as Dagger Heat Metal
noted). If a selection lists both an odd and even Lock Pick Magnetic Attraction 
value, roll a die to determine the correct option (an Off Track  Pain Missile
odd result indicates the odd option, for instance). Rain of Razors Razor’s Edge
Reload Weapon Undo 
Other ability or cultural gimmicks can also be
added to a character at this stage, as described Vitomancy (page 135)
below. While special gimmicks should not be used Brain Cloud Charm
unless key to a particular species, the director may Commune with Animal* Cowardice
choose to permit the use of some for more fantastical Deafen  Drain Energy 
games. Eagle Eyes  Exhaustion 
Facade Fake Death
Ability Gimmicks Fear First Aid
Additional ability gimmicks may be chosen, but Forget  Glass Jaw 
they must be balanced for each ability. In other Grey Box  Heighten Ability* 
Illusory Pain Invisibility
words, the number of positive and negative defined Mold  Obey 
values for each ability must be equal for these added Personality Plant Cuffs
gimmicks (this does not apply to gimmicks Poisoned Water Power
automatically assigned for a species). Read Mind Revitalize 
Send Message Scattered Thoughts
Slow  Speed
Milton wants his character to be stronger, so he Stabilize  Toughen 
selects the strength (+1) gimmick. To balance this, he Weaken Ability* 
also chooses the speed (-1) gimmick. Milton also
prefers for his character to have really good vision, so Wizardry (page 140)
he adds the vision (+2) gimmick. To balance this, he Alarm Animate Golem 
adds the hearing (-1) and touch (-1) gimmicks. Bind Demon Block Cantrips
Cage Circle of Calm
Circle of Health  Circle of Protection 
Cultural Gimmicks Control Golem Create Homunculus 
Each non-detrimental cultural gimmick added Destroy Magic Destroy Spell 
requires one of the following handicaps: Detect Magic Enthrall Undead
• Decrease a pursuit rating by one Lightning Bolt  Magic Shield* 
(the lowest it can be is an incompetency). Material Sight* Motion
• Add a new incompetency. Mystic Barrier  Mystic Chains 
• Add a detrimental cultural gimmick. Sense Undead Silent
Stench Strong as Steel 
Each detrimental cultural gimmick provides one Summon Demon  Tongues
of the following benefits: Undead Protection
• Increase a pursuit rating by one
* A specific distinction must be chosen for this spell.
(the best it can be is a mastery).


• Add a new proficiency.

GIMMICKS • Add a non-detrimental cultural gimmick.
Fitness Gimmicks EXAMPLE

Agility Climbing Constitution

Colin’s Face-Shifter gets the faceshift and contacts
(streetsingers) gimmicks. A roll of 2 also means that he
Dexterity Endurance Flexibility gains the harmonic gimmick; a further roll of 2 (even)
Fortitude Speed Strength means that it has a defined value of +1. As a newscribe,
he also chooses the contacts (media) and city compass
Awareness Gimmicks gimmicks. He then picks eloquence (+2), balancing it
Hearing Reflex Smell with stature (-1) and leadership (-1). He contemplates
Taste Touch Vision adding agility (+1) to make the character a bit more
nimble, but decides against it to avoid reducing
Creativity Gimmicks another aspect of the fitness ability to zero.
Aesthetic Harmonic Writing
7. Health
Reasoning Gimmicks
Health is utilized to track a character’s current
Logic Recollection Stoicism physical and mental condition. When a character’s
Sufferance health worsens, he suffers difficulty in performing
certain actions. There are two physical forms of
Influence Gimmicks health—fatigue and injury. There are also two mental
Appearance Chastity Cynicism forms of health—tension and mania.
Eloquence Leadership Passion Fatigue (fat): bruises and physical strain; caused
Stature by overexertion or blunt trauma
Injury (inj): lacerations, burns, fractures, and
Cultural Gimmicks internal bleeding; caused by serious wounds,
Allegiance Amnesia ? Authority illness, and disease
Bigot ? City Compass Compulsion ? Tension (ten): mental stress, irritability, and loss
Contacts Debt ? Enemies ? of focus; caused by overexertion and mental
Fame Favors ? Guilt-Ridden ? attacks
Infamy ? Jack of All Trades Lip Reading Mania (man): apprehension, fear, anxiety, and
Materialistic ? Natural Compass Patron other mental imbalances; caused by shock,
Phobia ? Poor ? Stunted Ability ? fright, and magic
Traumatic Triggers ? Wealthy Thresholds
Special Gimmicks A threshold value is calculated and assigned to
each form of health. Thresholds defines how much
Affinity Allergy ? Aversion ? punishment a character can take before his health
Change Form Constraint ? Custody noticeably worsens. Fatigue and injury thresholds
Dependency ? Faceshift Hypnotic are both equal to the character’s fitness rating, but
Infectious ? Magic Affinity Mental Drain can be modified by certain gimmicks. Tension and
Multi-Limbed Natural Armor Natural Ego mania thresholds are both equal to the character’s
reasoning rating, but can also be modified by certain
Natural Immunity Natural Magic Natural Padding
Natural Weapon Natural Will Night Vision
Nourishment ? Omnivorous Oversized EXAMPLE

Partial Intangibility Penchant ? Physical Drain The fatigue and injury thresholds for Colin’s
character are both 1. His tension and mania thresholds
Rot ? Shapeshift Slow Healer ?
are both 2.
Stench ? Symbiosis ? Teleportation
Transform Undersized Vulnerability ?

Protection 8. Base Damage
There are a five forms of protective aspects that aid A character’s base physical damage is the amount
in resisting damage—padding, armor, immunity, will, of harm he can inflict on others when punching or
and ego. kicking, while social damage is dealt when taunting
Padding protects against fatigue-inflicting and intimidating. Consult the table below,
damage. referencing the character’s fitness rating (modified
by certain gimmicks like strength) to determine the
Armor protects against injury-inflicting damage.
number of marks of fatigue a character inflicts in
Immunity protects against any damage caused close combat. Reference his influence rating
by disease, exposure, and toxins. (modified by certain gimmicks like stature) to
Will protects against tension-inflicting damage. determine the number of marks of tension or mania
Ego protects against mania-inflicting damage. he inflicts for social combat.
The various forms of protection are rated on a BASE DAMAGE
scale from zero to five, although this value can be
ability base damage value
greater than five when magic is involved.
0–3 1
8–11 3
rating immunity other 12–15 4
0 Fragile No Protection 16–19 5
1 Weak Scant Protection 20+ +1 for every 4 above 19
2 Solid Light Protection
3 Hardy Moderate Protection
4 Rugged Significant Protection
The base physical damage and social damage for
5 Resilient Extreme Protection
Colin’s character are both 1.
6+ Invulnerable Impervious Protection

A character’s immunity value is equal to his fitness 9. Experience

rating. His other inherent protective values are Experience is a measure of a character’s past
determined by consulting the chart below, using the adventures, and can be used to augment his abilities
ratings of the following abilities: and pursuits with practical, real-world acumen.
Fitness for padding and armor. Experience can also make characters more adaptable,
better resisting physical abuse. Each character begins
Reasoning for will.
play with an amount of experience equal to the roll
Awareness for ego. of one die.

ability protective value

Colin rolls a die, for a result of 2. This indicates that
0–3 0 his character begins the game with 2 experience.
4–7 1
8–11 2
12–15 3
16–19 4
20+ 5

Note that ability ratings may be modified by

certain gimmicks when determining these values.
The base protections for Colin’s character are:
padding 0, armor 0, will 0, ego 1, and immunity 1.


10. Living Conditions

EQUIPMENT (PART 1) Gold coins are used for small purchases. Larger
GENERAL GEAR purchases are made with gold certificates, which a
Conjurevid 10 bank provides in exchange for raw gold and
Dreamdust/Dreamstone 1/100 sometimes silver. If a character does not have a bank
First Aid Kit 25 account, it may take longer to convince them to
Glowstone 1 exchange gold for a certificate. The default city of
Handheld Crystal Set 8 play is Selastos, so this gold would likely come in the
Heatstone 1 form of selasts (see Chapter Five for other types of
Lockpick Set 2 currency).
Lockpicker 5
Pocket Watch 5 Cash
Scribepad 5 Characters generally begin play with an amount of
gold equal to the roll of one die, multiplied by
twenty. If the character possesses the poor gimmick,
Backpack 45 multiply the roll by two instead of twenty. Characters
Bedroll (Basic/With Netting) 5/8
with the wealthy gimmick multiply the roll by one-
Mosquito Netting (for Bedroll) 3
hundred. Halve the result for characters with the
Sleeping Mat 15
Binoculars 30
debt gimmick.
Camp Stove 10
Fishing Tackle 15
Grappling Hook 12 Characters also accrue assets throughout their
Lantern (Oil/Magical Bug) 10/150 lives. This may include investments, property, and
Rations (for One Week) 3 even magical relics. Since assets may change in
Rope (10/20 feet) 3/6 value, they cannot be easily increased by pouring
Rope (100 feet) 10 cash into them. Instead, investments may be made
Sack (Small/Large) 1/2 (see page 158), or objects can be added to a collection
Sack (Large Waterproof) 4 and their value mingled with the character’s assets.
Tent (Fits 2/4/8) 30/50/100 The basic worth of assets for characters is equal to
Animal Trap 10 the roll of one die, multiplied by two-hundred. Those
with the poor gimmick only multiply the roll by
twenty, while characters who possess the wealthy
Eagle Eyes* 25 gimmick multiply it by two-thousand. Do not modify
Power* 35 the result for characters with the debt gimmick.
Razor’s Edge 35
Revitalize* 50 CASH AND ASSETS
Smokescreen 50
Stabilize* 40 situation cash multiplier assets multiplier
Stench 30 Default ×20 ×200
Tar Pit 35 Poor Gimmick ×2 ×20
Toughen* 80 Wealthy Gimmick ×100 ×2,000
Debt Gimmick ½ ×1
Horse (work/mount) 200/500
Cart 300 Accommodations
Armored Wagon 2,000 Most characters rent apartments. Some rent small
Steam Cart, Motorcycle 500 houses, often splitting the costs with other lodgers.
Roadster 1,200 Those with the poor gimmick can only afford the
Sedan 1,000 smallest of apartments or cheapest of hotel rooms,
Truck 2,000 often in poorer neighborhood. Characters who
Rowboat (Manual/Enchanted Oars) 30/50 possess the wealthy gimmick enjoy large, nicely-
Collapsible Raft 400 furnished apartments or houses in the better
* Potion does not affect demons or the undead. neighborhoods; some may even employ the
occasional housekeeper.

Colin rolls a 6, so his starting cash is 120 selasts. EQUIPMENT (PART 2)
Colin then rolls a 4, so his assets are worth 800 selasts.
Equipment Boots 3
Note the provided equipment listed for the chosen Shoes (Cheap/Designer) 2/9
role. Some may include multiple options that require Overalls 3
dice rolls. Other equipment should be purchased for Casual Wear 2
characters using their available assets. It is assumed Suit (Cheap/Designer) 40/100
that a character owns basic clothing and essentials. Gown (Cheap/Designer) 10/100
Note that protective wear adjusts padding and/or Trenchcoat 15
armor values. Once assets are spent, the character is Sweater 2
Hat (Cheap/Designer) 2/10
not left with much on which to rely for emergency
funds during play—use it wisely. PROTECTIVE GEAR
EXAMPLE Hides & Furs 5
Colin chooses a .22 pistol and 12 slugs for Bones & Hide 8
emergencies, as well as some padded wear (which Padded 10
increases his padding rating to 2). He saves the rest of Leathers 5
his selasts for a rainy day. Bronze Alloy 100
Bulletproof Vest 125

11. Other Details WEAPONS

Other, non-rule-related elements should be added Club, Baton 2
to help define a character. A brief description of his Spiked Club 3
background, family, friends, education, physical Knife, Dagger 3
appearance, weight, and personality can be the final Switchblade 4
touches that bring him to life. A well-developed Stake, Axe 4
character not only helps a player envision and Cleaver, Machete 5
portray him better, but it also gives the director Blackjack, Hammer 5
necessary insight for better integrating him into the Brass Knuckles 10
story and evolving it in a direction that is best-suited Bow and Arrow 7
for that character. Crossbow 15
.22 Pistol 10
.38 Pistol 15
.44 Semi-Auto Pistol 40
Rifle 40
Shotgun 20
Submachine Gun 90
Arrow (Quiver of Ten) 5
Crossbow Bolt (Bundle of Ten) 10
.22 Lead Slug 2
.38 Lead Slug 1
.44 Lead Slug 2
Rifle Slug 1
Shotgun Shell 1
Submachine Gun Lead Slug 3
Established Grimoire 5,000
Blank Grimoire 75


Choose a species: Note required gimmicks for chosen species and role.
Human: the predominant species on Marl. Choose and balance ability gimmicks. Choose desired
Catrarm: four-armed breed of near-Humans. cultural gimmicks:
Elkist: ghoulish breed that can become partially intangible. Select one for each cultural gimmick:
Face-Shifter: face-changing near-Humans. • Decrease a pursuit rating by one.
Ghoul: undead who require Human flesh to survive. • Add a new incompetency.
Grani: stone-like shifters. • Add a detrimental cultural gimmick.
Gris: foul, garbage-eating, magically-created breed.
Hugor: muscular and simple breed. Select one for each detrimental cultural gimmick:
Humbus: offspring of Succubi/Incubi and Humans. • Increase a pursuit rating by one.
Orris: undead shifters who eat bones to survive. • Add a new proficiency.
Skethspawn: vile offspring of Sketh and Humans. • Add a non-detrimental cultural gimmick.
Skitter-Rat: nimble, rat-like breed.
Succubus/Incubus: life-draining demons. STEP 7: HEALTH
Taxim: corpses possessed by vice-driven demons. Determine thresholds:
Vampire: undead who require Human blood to survive. Fatigue/Injury: fitness rating
Werewolf: shifters who change into Human-Wolf form. Tension/Mania: reasoning rating
STEP 2: ROLE Determine protection (modified by gimmicks)
(ratings of 1 to 3 are 0, and 4 to 5 are 1):
Choose a role: Padding: fitness rating
Crook: no required pursuits. Armor: fitness rating
Merchant: requires commodities and finances. Will: reasoning rating
Newscribe: requires investigation and prose. Ego: awareness rating
Private Detective: requires investigation and street-talk. Immunity: equal to fitness rating
Sentinel: requires brawling, firearms, and composure.
Socialite: requires performance and charm. STEP 8: BASE DAMAGE
Spellslinger: requires one casting and one theory pursuit. Determine base damage (modified by gimmicks)
Streetsinger: requires music and oratory. (ratings of 1 to 3 are 1, and 4 to 5 are 2):
Thug: no required pursuits.
Average Joe: no required pursuits. Physical: fitness rating
Social: influence rating
Choose an alignment (consult species):
Roll one die to determine starting experience points.
Order: stability through rules and limits.
Chaos: favorable outcomes outweigh the consequences. STEP 10: LIVING CONDITIONS
Oathbreaker of Order: stability is achieved through the
natural world. To determine gold on hand, roll one die. Multiply the
Oathbreaker of Chaos: technology can secure greater result by 20 (characters with the poor gimmick multiply
achievements. by 2, those with the wealthy gimmick multiply by 100,
Neutral: not willing to choose sides in the Godwar. and anyone with the debt gimmick halves the roll).
To determine assets, roll one die. Multiply the result by
STEP 4: ABILITIES 200 (characters with the poor gimmick multiply by 20,
Allocate 12 points among the fitness, awareness, creativity, those with the wealthy gimmick multiply by 2,000, and
reasoning, and influence abilities, so that each one is anyone with the debt gimmick does not modify the roll).
between 1 and 5. Characters typically rent apartments. Those with the poor
gimmick can only afford tiny apartments or cheap hotel
STEP 5: PURSUITS rooms. Those who possess the wealthy gimmick enjoy
Allocate 14 points among pursuits, rating from +1 to +3. large apartments or houses, with the occasional
Up to 2 incompetencies (-1) each add 1 point. Extra housekeeper.
spells costs one point. Some roles require specific Note provided equipment for chosen role. Purchase
pursuits. other equipment using assets.

The following entry illustrates how completed
character sheets should appear. More sample
characters can be found at the back of this book,
starting on page 244. They can be used by
players to jump right into the action.

NAME Jellan Kurry ROLE Newscribe

_____ MAGIC
base physical damage: gimmicks spells/cantrips
1 casting
ChronomanCy 
-1 +1 +2 +3 +4

ElEmEntalism  speak to dead

nECromanCy 
PhotomanCy 
pursuits -1 +1 +2 +3 +4 somniomanCy 
pursuits -1 +1 +2 +3 +4 Boating sorCEry 
arChEry CantriPs  tEChnomanCy 
athlEtiCs CommoditiEs VitomanCy 
BraWling FinanCEs  Wizardry 
driVing First aid theory -1 +1 +2 +3 +4
FirEarms mEChaniCs altEration C
lEgErdEmain mEdiCinE  aPPortation r
mElEE naVigation Conjuration C
riding strEEtWisE diVination a
surViVal inVoCation i 
lores -1 +1 +2 +3 +4
_____ Selastos Crime
_________________ HEALTH
_________________ FatiguE Padding: 0/2*
dazed faceshift
_________________ stressed city compass
_________________ strained
pursuits -1 +1 +2 +3 +4 _________________ exhausted contacts (streetsingers)
EmPathy _________________
unconscious contacts (media)
injury armor: 0
intErrogation sprained
inVEstigation INFLUENCE 3
_____ Wounded
stEalth base social damage:
1 incapacitated
traCking 0
gimmicks tEnsion Will:

Stature (-1) sensitive

_____ Leadership (-1) distracted EXPERIENCE
Eloquence (+2) irrational
gimmicks lethargic
harmonic (+1) pursuits -1 +1 +2 +3 +4 mania Ego:
Charm uneasy NOTES
hyPnotism  Worried
panicked 165 lbs
pursuits -1 +1 +2 +3 +4 nEgotiation catatonic
CarPEntry oratory
dEsign PErFormanCE
immunity: 1
disguisE strEEt-talk
mEtalWorking OTHER
pursuit -1 +1 +2 +3 +4


120 selasts in cash
756 selasts in assets

scribepad, glowstone, .22 pistol, 12x .22 slugs, padded wear*

©2016 Precis Intermedia. Bloodshadows is a trademark of Precis Intermedia. Permission granted to duplicate this page for personal use only.


Roleplaying games share many similarities with Determining the Pursuit Bonus or Penalty
other media like movies, books, plays, and video A pursuit must also be decided for the task. The
games. Just as in film and literature, this game is appropriate pursuit is usually obvious, but it may
comprised of individual scenes that further the sometimes feel like more than one is relevant. The
story. It is important for the director to establish director needs to use his best judgment in
coherent scenes that are framed around the actions determining the proper pursuit in these cases.
of the characters and the events in which they are Some tasks actually require training in two or
involved. Every scene involving the player characters more pursuits, such as when striking an opponent
must be defined by location, objective, and with a sword from atop a horse (a melee and riding
connection to the story. When a location changes, task). Since only one pursuit can contribute to a task
the scene usually changes as well. roll, the one with the lowest rating is used. For
Scenes that do not require extreme detail or order instance, if a character possesses a mastery (+3) in
are considered open. This means that characters can melee and a proficiency (+1) in riding, the effective
perform tasks and interact with their environment pursuit rating for the task would be a proficiency (+1,
in such a way that exacting detail is not necessary. In since it has the lowest value).
most cases, the actions of characters are simply When there is no clear choice for an appropriate
narrated by the players who control them. The pursuit, either use the closest match or do not assign
director need only interject when success is not one, leaving the character to rely on his ability alone.
certain, portray non-player characters, and describe If the task requires an academic pursuit, the character
events beyond the characters’ control. must possess at least a proficiency in the pursuit to
Scenes that require players to be focused and the succeed at it.
action tracked with more detail are considered to be
sequential. These scenes occur on a turn-by-turn
basis, permitting characters to act in a specified Allen’s character attempts to break down a door. The
order and requiring task rolls. Each turn is roughly director determines that this task requires the fitness
five seconds in length, but this could just as easily be ability and athletics pursuit, hence it is referred to as a
an abstract measure when timing is not important. fitness-based athletics task.
Katy’s character has a better idea. She wishes to pick
Tasks represent harder actions undertaken by the lock and simply open the door, rather than resorting
characters. Several factors that go into resolving a to brute force. The director decides that her method is
task include the relevant ability, pursuit, and a reasoning-based streetwise task.
difficulty. Only one ability is typically used for a
particular situation (usually the primary ability with
which the pursuit is connected), but the director is Determining the Difficulty
free to assign a different ability if it better fits the Difficulty ratings are applied to tasks as a way of
character’s actions. measuring how hard they are to accomplish. Lesser
difficulties can be assigned to easier tasks, while
EXAMPLE greater difficulties can be assigned to harder ones.
Firing a gun is a fitness-based firearms task, but Tasks without assigned difficulty ratings are
repairing the weapon could be a reasoning-based considered to be routine by default. The various
firearms task, since it requires deduction over dexterity. difficulty ratings are explained in the What is a
Difficulty sidebar on the next page. Difficulties can
Determining the Ability Rating be designated by description or numerical value—a
The first step is for the director to determine the routine difficulty has a numerical difficulty of 10, for
ability that is best suited for the task. instance. Numerical difficulties are always followed
by “diff” (such as 10diff).
Swinging a sword or punching someone in the face Impacting the Task
would be a fitness-based task, forging a document While difficulties set the stage for the chance of
would be a creativity-based task, and bribing a guard success, impacts represent other environmental and
may require an influence-based task. situational factors that further affect difficulty. These
factors alter the numerical values of difficulties in
the form of positive or negative modifiers. Positive


modifiers, such as +2diff, directly increase the

WHAT IS A DIFFICULTY difficulty’s numerical value, making a task harder.
The terminology used in this game to describe the Conversely, negative modifiers like -1diff decrease a
degree of difficulty, such as trivial or challenging, difficulty value.
makes it easier to assign a descriptive term to a task EXAMPLE
rather than an arbitrary number. For example, doing
something possible but unlikely is improbable and
The director impacts a task with a difficulty of
something as simple as coloring within the lines is 14diff by applying a modifier of +2diff. This results
trivial. While it is perfectly acceptable to assign the in the task’s final difficulty being 16diff. Conversely,
numerical values of 16 or 8 respectively, this approach applying a modifier of -3diff would change the final
requires much more thought. The primary difficulty difficulty to 11diff.
names and corresponding values are as follows:
Making the Roll
Trivial (8diff) tasks are mundane labors that usually
Ability Rating + Pursuit Rating + Dice Roll
require little or no training, although they can also be
deceptively easy at times. The average proficient In order to determine if a task succeeds, roll two
character can succeed at this type of task approximately six-sided dice, calculate their sum, and add the
80% of the time, while a more talented and better- character’s ability to the total. If the character
trained character always succeeds. possesses a pursuit that is relevant to the task, its
Routine (10diff) tasks are innocuous actions that bonus or penalty is also added to the total. This final
must rely on training. If no difficulty is listed for a value is called the dice total. If the dice total is equal
task, it is considered to be routine. The average to or greater than the assigned difficulty value, the
proficient character can succeed at this type of task task is a success.
approximately 65% of the time, while a more talented
and better-trained character has about an 80% chance Overkill
of success. The pinnacle of Human achievement When a character succeeds at a task, the difference
always succeeds at this type of task. between the dice total and difficulty value is called
Complex (12diff) tasks are slightly harder than overkill. This can represent how well a character
routine ones, and represent actions requiring some succeeds, particularly when compared to another
degree of precision or accuracy. The average proficient character in a contest. Simply subtract the difficulty
character can succeed at this type of task approximately value from the dice total to compute this number.
45% of the time, while a more talented and better- While overkill is not needed for most tasks, it is
trained character has about a 65% chance of success.
required for contested tasks and when using exploits
Challenging (14diff) tasks require more than basic (see Exploits at the end of this chapter).
training, and typically represent actions unfamiliar to
a character. Challenging tasks can also be fairly Negative overkill is what results when the
dangerous, thereby allowing calamities to occur. The character’s dice total is less than the difficulty value,
average proficient character can succeed at this type since the difference of the two creates a number less
of task almost 30% of the time, while a more talented than zero. Negative overkill is normally not
and better-trained character has about a 45% chance important, but some tasks may take it into account
of success. when determining the outcome.
Improbable (16diff) tasks consist of dangerous EXAMPLE
situations or those unlikely to be successful. The
A dice total of 14 is rolled and compared to the
average proficient character can succeed at this type
of task approximately 10% of the time, while a more assigned difficulty of complex (12diff). The difference
talented and better-trained character has almost a between these two values is 2 (dice total - difficulty).
30% chance of success. Therefore, the task results in 2 overkill. This is normally
ignored, but if the overkill were 5 or more and a
Impossible (18diff) tasks consist of extremely
dangerous or wildly untenable situations. The average pursuit bonus was applied, an exploit could be used.
proficient character cannot succeed at this type of
task without aid, while a more talented and better- Triumphs (Double Sixes)
trained character has about a 10% chance of success. If the die roll for a task results in double sixes, it is
The pinnacle of Human achievement succeeds at this considered a triumph—an automatic success and
type of task almost 30% of the time. possibly an extraordinary outcome. The player rolls

an additional die, adding the result to the dice total
of twelve. Triumphs make it possible for characters SAMPLE DIFFICULTIES 1
to succeed at very difficult tasks and boost their FITNESS-BASED TASKS
chances of exploiting that success. athletics difficulty
Swing on a Rope Across a Pit Routine
Potential Calamities (Double Ones) Back Flip Improbable
If the die roll for a task results in double ones, the Climb Rickety Ladder Trivial
task may become a calamity (a catastrophic outcome). Climb Small Tree Routine
For tasks less than challenging difficulty, a normal Climb Tall Tree or Gradual Slope Complex
failure occurs if no pursuit bonus was used. If a Climb Steep Slope or Ice Dune Challenging
pursuit bonus was applied, the task is handled Climb Sheer Cliff or Sand Dune Improbable
normally—it results in a success or failure, depending Climb Sheer Ice Dune Impossible
on the actual dice total. Climbing in Rain +4diff
Climbing with Proper Gear -2diff
For tasks of challenging or greater difficulty, a Lift 100lbs/45kg Trivial
calamity occurs. The manifestation of the calamity is Lift 125lbs/60kg Routine
up to the director. It could mean falling from a Lift 175lbs/80kg Complex
ladder, tripping along a road, running into a person, Lift 250lbs/110kg Challenging
revealing confidential information, or even shooting Lift 500lbs/225kg Improbable
oneself in the foot. It all depends on the nature of Lift 700lbs/320kg Impossible
the original task and the director’s discretion. Swim in Rough Water Complex
The director may also inflict the character with Swim in Undercurrents Challenging
one mark of absolute tension (see Damage and Swim with Heavy Clothing +2diff
Abatement, later in this chapter) as a way of Swim with Proper Gear -2diff
representing his frustration with the failure. This is legerdemain difficulty
completely optional, however. Watchful Target +6diff
Suspicious Target +2diff
DOUBLE ONES ARE ROLLED Clueless Target -2diff
Distracted Target -2diff
situation effect
Difficulty is Less than Challenging; Failure REASONING-BASED TASKS
No Pursuit Bonus lore (or other knowledge) difficulty
Difficulty is Less than Challenging; As per Dice Total Common Knowledge Trivial
Pursuit Bonus Widely-Distributed Knowledge Routine
Difficulty is Challenging or More Calamity Obtainable Knowledge Complex
Unusual or Isolated Knowledge Challenging
Rare Knowledge Improbable
ACTIVE TASKS Concealed or Arcane Knowledge Impossible
Active tasks are those attempted consciously by a streetwise difficulty
character. They are considered concentrated actions Pick Interior Door Lock Complex
when occurring during a sequential scene. This Pick Padlock Improbable
means that they comprise most of the character’s Pick Wall Safe Impossible
energy during the turn and may or may not be Poorly Constructed Lock -2diff
Well-Constructed Lock +2diff
combined with other active tasks.
Rusted Lock +2diff
A character can choose to over-exert himself in Security Lock +4diff
order to reduce the difficulty of any active task by Using Proper Tools -2diff
two (-2diff). In exchange for this bonus, the character survival difficulty
receives one line of absolute damage, as determined Woods or Grasslands Trivial
by the type of task. Fitness and awareness-based Waters or Swamps Routine
tasks inflict fatigue, while tasks based on other Mountains Complex
abilities inflict tension. Barrens or Desert Improbable



Most actions are considered to be automatic tasks.
AWARENESS-BASED TASKS These require no die roll. Determining success is a
gambling difficulty simple process of analyzing the situation. If a
Odds are 2:1 Complex character’s ability rating and competence of pursuit
Odds are 3:1 Challenging indicate that he is more likely to succeed than not,
Odds are 5:1 15diff the character succeeds. Harder tasks and contests
Odds are 9:1 Improbable between characters should be handled with die rolls.
Odds are 99:1 Impossible
interrogation difficulty Contested Tasks
Target is Helpful Routine Greater Overkill or
Target is Cooperative Complex Difficulty: 8 + Ability + Pursuit Rating
Target is Resistant Challenging
Target is Hostile Improbable When two or more characters are at odds with
Target is in Weakened Position -2diff each other in a struggle or contest, all those involved
Target is Helpless -4diff make task rolls. The character with the greatest
Target has Already Been Intimidated -1diff overkill wins the struggle (unless otherwise specified,
Target is in Superior Position +2diff to +5diff the difficulty of the task is routine). If all involved
Target is Among Friends +2diff parties fail their tasks or their overkill is the same (a
Target Feels Unimportant Information -4diff tie), everyone fails. However, if one character has a
Target Feels Important Information +4diff greater pursuit than another in a tie, he wins the
Target Would Rather Die +6diff contest. Once the result is determined, subtract the
stealth difficulty losing side’s highest overkill value from that of the
Dark Covered Area Trivial winning side to reflect the new overkill value (an
Dark City Street Routine opponent impacts the winner’s level of success).
Busy City Street or Dark Room Complex
Empty City Street Challenging
Open Field or Lit Room Improbable Kim, Arnold, and Andre’s characters are debating
Open Patrolled Area or Checkpoint Impossible the best plan of action to take against a Wilderness
Heavy Rain -2diff creature that is terrorizing the city. Each character
Fog -4diff must make an influence-based lore: wilderness
tracking difficulty
creatures task (the director could have also chosen the
Trail is a Day Old +2diff reasoning ability as the focus of the task, but since this
Trail is a Few Days Old +4diff is a public debate, influence is being used). The
Inclement Weather +2diff character who achieves the greatest overkill wins the
Hard Surface +8diff argument and gets the locals to support his plan.
Mud or Snow -4diff Alternatively, the argument could have been split into
For Each Person Tracked beyond First -1diff turns, with one character having to win each turn
separately. A different subject could also have been
CREATIVITY-BASED TASKS chosen for each turn (lore: tactics, intimidation, or
disguise difficulty streetwise, for instance).
Specific Person +8diff
Opposite Sex +2diff When attempts are made to undo previously-
Different, but Similar Species +2diff successful tasks performed by other characters (such
Different and Dissimilar Species +6diff as spotting forged documents), the difficulty is equal
Larger Build +2diff to eight (8) plus the original character’s ability rating
Smaller Build +6diff and relevant pursuit bonus.
forgery difficulty
Intimately Familiar with Documents -4diff
Karl must undo the damage caused to his car by a
Vague Concepts +4diff
Guessing Blindly +6diff
Chaos operative. This requires a reasoning-based
Missing Tools +6diff mechanics task. The saboteur’s reasoning rating is 4
and his mechanics bonus is +3. This means that the
difficulty of the task is 15 (8 + 4 + 3).

Passive tasks are activities related to subconscious, INFLUENCE-BASED TASKS
reflexive, and sensory actions. Unlike active tasks, charm/negotiation difficulty
they can be performed any number of times during Target is Friendly Routine
a turn. These tasks are mostly utilized by the director Target is Neutral Complex
as tools to determine a character’s current state of Target is Suspicious/Unfriendly Challenging
mind and alertness. Target is Hostile Improbable
Target Has Been Bribed Well -2diff
Ability Checks intimidation difficulty
6 + (2 × Ability) Target is in Weakened Position -2diff
Ability checks are used when a character does not Target is Helpless -4diff
actively pursue the completion of a task, but the Target has Already Been Intimidated -1diff
Target is in Superior Position +2diff to +5diff
level of his ability can determine the outcome.
Target is Among Friends +2diff
Checks are not tasks in the strictest of definitions,
oratory difficulty
since no die roll is made. They also cannot be used
Informing a Crowd Trivial
to decide a direct contest between two or more Convincing a Crowd Complex
characters—that is a contested task. If six (6) plus Winning over or Rallying a Crowd Challenging
double the character’s relevant ability rating (no Manipulating a Crowd Improbable
pursuit bonus is added) is equal to or greater than Commanding a Crowd Impossible
the assigned difficulty value, the check is successful.
Creativity-based composure tasks are made to
A deadly Wilderness spider crawls on Raymond’s
resist being enamored and obsessed by works of art
back. He must make an awareness check to notice it.
and other things of beauty.
His awareness rating is three and the difficulty is
routine, so Raymond succeeds—his total of 12 (6 + 3 + Reasoning-based composure tasks are made
3) beats the difficulty of 10. when abstaining from compulsive behaviors and
immoral acts. Examples include addictions and
primal urges.
Composure Tasks Influence-based composure tasks are made
Ability Rating + Composure Rating + Dice Roll
when facing social pressures and verbal abuse.
Composure tasks are made when a character Examples include mudslinging, peer pressure, and
experiences a moment of internal conflict, such as a taunts. Most of these tasks are of routine or complex
need to restrain his desires or habits, resist the urge difficulty; they can also be performed to contest
to respond to external stimuli, or reconcile events another character’s influence-based task (such as for
that contradict his beliefs. This type of task relies on intimidation).
the composure pursuit and an ability based on the
situation, as described below.
Reaction Tasks
Fitness-based composure tasks are made when Awareness Rating + Dice Roll or
resisting the urge to respond to physical stimuli. Creativity Rating + Composure Rating + Dice Roll
Examples include screaming or flinching from pain,
An awareness task is made whenever the director
swatting an annoying insect, and scratching an itch.
needs to determine if a character reacts in a timely
The base difficulty is routine, but can vary depending
fashion to a threat or other challenge to his reflexes.
on the degree of contact; impact the task by +1diff
This is not a task that the character actively pursues,
per grade of injury or fatigue sustained.
and is used only as a mechanism for success. The
Awareness-based composure tasks are made character is permitted to attempt an additional task
when recognizing and preventing a character’s own within the same turn if successful—this is called a
subconscious behavior. Examples include nervous follow-up task. The difficulty of a reaction task is
tics, stuttering, and impulsive acts (this does not determined by the amount of time in which the
apply to the issues caused by gimmicks). Most of character has to react. The director determines the
these tasks are of challenging difficulty. available reaction time using his best judgment.



situation difficulty There are several different methods for locating
React within One Second or Less Improbable and analyzing clues and evidence. These should
React within Two or Three Seconds Challenging cover most situations for the investigative character,
React within Four or Five Seconds Routine but the director is encouraged to improvise when
While a reaction task is typically passive in nature,
a player can elect to make it into an active one by Overt Clues
performing a creativity-based composure task Clues that are in plain sight, such as letters sitting
instead. This has the potential of increasing the on a desk or blood stains on a jacket, require an
odds, but a character cannot apply a pursuit bonus ability check. The director assigns a difficulty to the
to the follow-up task when this is done (a pursuit discovery of a clue—a large suitcase may be trivial, a
penalty is still applied). The task is based on the book could be complex, and a small ring on a table
creativity ability, since the task becomes one of may be challenging.
improvisation rather than instinct.
A diamond ring belonging to the now-dead victim
SPECIAL TASKS sits on a night-stand. It is small yet pretty, so the
The following tasks describe special situations that director assigns this overt clue with a challenging
supplement those previously described. difficulty. An investigating character can notice the
ring if his awareness rating is 4 or greater.
United Tasks
Some tasks can be performed by multiple Hidden Clues
characters for one purpose. The character with the Clues that are hidden from normal view require a
greatest ability and pursuit total acts as the leader of search of the area. This is done by a player declaring
the task. All characters, except the leader, make a where his character is searching and that he is
task roll for this action—the difficulty depends on attempting an investigation task. The difficulty
how hard it is to coordinate together (typically should be set by the director based on how hard he
routine or complex). The difficulty for the leader’s feels it would be to discover the clue.
task is determined normally for how hard the action EXAMPLE
is. Add the pursuit bonus of each successful character A note rests in the pocket of the victim’s coat, which
to the leader’s ability total. If a character does not is hanging in the closet. The director assumes that most
possess a bonus for the relevant non-academic people would search pockets, so he assigns this hidden
pursuit, add one to the total only if it is something clue with a complex difficulty. A character searching
that raw ability could cover, such as lifting, drawing, the area can notice the ring with a complex investigation
and basic math. task.
Jose is trying to lift a dead Hugor into his car. The Cryptic Clues
director has assigned a difficulty of challenging to the In some cases, clues are not only hidden from
task. Jose is not that strong—his fitness rating is 3 and sight, but so are their meanings. To discover these
athletics pursuit is only basic knowledge. Andrew and meanings, a task is required using a relevant pursuit,
Vass decide to help him. They are not much stronger, which is decided by the director—a specific lore for
but at least Vass specializes in athletics. Coordinating occult matters, finances for business matters, and
this action is routine, since they are only lifting a dead medicine for prescriptions are some examples. The
body into a car. Andrew fails the task, which could difficulty should be assigned based on the obscurity
mean that he was unable to get a good grip or find a of the meanings.
decent angle into the car. Vass is successful, so his +2
athletics bonus is added to Jose’s ability total.
A piece of paper with a secret passage from ancient
Marl scrolls written on it is useless without knowing
how to decipher its meaning—a challenging lore:
ancient legends task is required.

A braided circle inscribed on the grass where an Connection Tasks
innocent was found murdered cannot be deciphered When characters wish to use their established
without knowing about the inscription’s ancient and contacts (via the contacts gimmick) to discover
long-forgotten origins. This calls for an impossible lore: information or get something done behind the
ancient legends task. scenes, there is normally no need to roll any dice. If
the request made to the contact is within his normal
Forensic Clues capabilities, it is automatically successful, although it
On the opposite end of the spectrum from overt may take hours or days, preferably just in time to
clues are those that require research. Forensic clues help or save the character.
can be unearthed with a relevant pursuit, like EXAMPLE
commodities, finances, mechanics, medicine, or a Josephine wishes to use her contacts (newscribes)
specific lore. These tasks are time-consuming, gimmick to get a list of the people they interviewed
devouring hours of laboratory work, calculations, about the crime she is investigating. Cole uses his
and/or research. The difficulty is often not the contacts (street thugs) gimmicks to discover who is
important factor, rather the fact that a character is passing off backfiring potions on the black market.
proficient in the pursuit and has the necessary time
to perform the operation.
Special Requests
EXAMPLE When a contact is asked to do something beyond
Autopsies, psychological studies, physical its normal capabilities, a task must be made for the
examinations, mechanical disassembly, reconciling character to convince the contact to get the job
accounts, and laboratory experiments are common done. In such cases, the character attempts a
methods for interpreting forensic clues. negotiation or performance task with a specified
difficulty (see table below). If the director has
Serendipitous Clues developed the contact into a major non-player
Clues sometimes drop into a character’s lap. character rather than just a nameless extra, a
Occurrences like dripping paint, debris over which contested task may be performed instead, pitting
to trip, or blinking lights can be used as plot devices the character’s negotiation or charm pursuit against
either when the director wishes to steer the that of the contact.
investigation in a particular direction or aid characters
who have performed less than effective investigations. Nameless Requests
There is no need to roll any dice for this type of clue. When attempting to discover information or
procure goods from sources other than established
Random Clues contacts, a street-talk task is made when it involves
If the purpose of a serendipitous or other type of extras and negotiation task when it involves regular
clue is not clear, simply roll one die and consult the non-player characters. The difficulty should reflect
table below to narrow down what evidence the clue the nature of the request (see table below).
should provide.
RANDOM CLUES situation difficulty
roll evidence Request Common Information Trivial
1 Who (someone close to the victim or suspect) Request Hard to Find Information Complex
2 What (something owned or used by the Request Guarded Information Challenging
victim or suspect) Obtaining Common Goods Routine
3 Where (place involved in the mystery) Obtaining Expensive Goods Complex
4 When (time of a meeting or event related Obtaining Rare Goods Challenging
to the mystery) Obtaining Illegal or Guarded Goods Improbable
5 Why (motive for the mystery)
6 How (chain of events or methodology
for the mystery)


Intoxication Tasks A suggestion may also be implanted in a hypnotized

Fitness Rating + Composure Rating + Dice Roll target, requiring an additional hypnotism task. The
difficulty of this task depends on the nature of the
Whenever a character drinks an excessive amount
suggestion (see table below).
of alcohol (beer, whiskey, or a cocktail), a fitness-
based composure task is required to determine if he IMPLANTING SUGGESTIONS
is intoxicated. If successful, the character remains
sober, but another task must be made after every suggestion difficulty
fifteen minutes’ worth of additional drinking until Simple to Perform Trivial
he fails. The difficulty is increased by +2diff for each Difficult to Perform Complex
successful task. Goes Against Target’s Moral Code +2diff
Target is Willing to Do It -2diff
When the character fails the task, he is considered Extremely Dangerous for Target +4diff
drunk and receives a penalty of +4diff on all tasks.
Additionally, the character can ignore all penalties
due to fatigue and injury. The character sobers up Cantrip Tasks
after a few hours (at the director’s discretion), Reasoning Rating + Cantrips Rating + Dice Roll
provided he has stopped drinking.
Cantrips are simple, household spells that just
EXAMPLE about anyone can learn without the need for magical
Simon performs a fitness-based composure task (of theory and other magical pursuits. Casting a cantrip
the default routine difficulty) after consuming a lot of generally requires only a trivial cantrips task,
whiskey. He succeeds and continues to drink, so he although some may also need physical components
makes another task after fifteen minutes have elapsed. or specific gestures. Unlike regular spells, no cantrips
This second task receives a penalty of +2diff. This task favor any alignments, nor do they produce feedback.
is also successful and he keeps drinking, so another
task is made after another fifteen minutes. This next Spellcasting Tasks
task receives a penalty of +4diff. He finally fails the Ability Rating + Casting Pursuit Rating + Dice Roll
task, so he receives a penalty of +4diff on all tasks, but Spells are normally unleashed using an appropriate
ignores all penalties that result from fatigue or injury. casting pursuit and an ability determined by the
related theory pursuit (see table below). The difficulty
Hypnotism Tasks is determined by the specific spell, but may also be
Influence Rating + Hypnotism Rating + Dice Roll modified by other factors, such as whether a grimoire
A character may attempt to hypnotize someone by is used, the amount of time taken, and a character’s
focusing all of the target’s attention on one point, alignment. If the spellcasting task is a failure, a
such as a pocket watch, bauble, coin, pen, or his own further die roll is needed to determine if any
eyes. The target is encouraged to relax until finally feedback results. This is only a very brief summary—
reaching a trance-like state. When the target is see Chapter Six for the complete spellcasting rules.
willing to undergo this, the process requires at least
two minutes and a challenging hypnotism task. If
the willing target’s reasoning rating is 4 or more, theory ability
modify the difficulty by -2diff. Any penalties due to Alteration Creativity
tension or mania for either character are also applied. Apportation Reasoning
Conjuration Creativity
Hypnotizing an unwilling subject requires a
Divination Awareness
hypnotism task with a difficulty of 14, plus the
Invocation Influence
target’s reasoning rating. Again, tension and mania
penalties are applied. Also apply a modifier of -1diff
for each grade of fatigue the target has sustained.
Once hypnotized, the target may be interrogated
with a bonus of -4diff. If the character is trying to
discover information that the target has forgotten or
blocked out, a modifier of +2diff to +4diff should
be applied, depending on how obscure or old it is.

Copying Spells
Reasoning Rating + Theory Pursuit Rating + Dice Roll DAMAGE & ABATEMENT
Health is measured by marks, lines, and grades of
Characters may copy spells found in other damage. One mark is the equivalent of ticking off
grimoires to their own, provided they are at least one checkbox of damage. Every character can take a
proficient in the appropriate magic theory pursuit. A maximum number of checkboxes worth of damage
routine reasoning-based task using this pursuit is for each form of health equal to five times the
required to do so. The difficulty may be increased by relevant threshold rating. Whenever a number
the director if the character is rushed or the precedes fat, inj, ten, or man, it indicates the
conditions are not conducive to this sort of activity. number of marks of that particular type of damage.
A failure indicates that the spell was recorded
incorrectly and either does not work or may have EXAMPLE

dire consequences (at the director’s discretion). The Jack has a threshold value of 3 for injury. This means
director should limit how many spells a character that he would be able to sustain a maximum of 15
copies to prevent abuse—he may run out of time, the marks of injury before succumbing to its effects
grimoire may be warded, or it even may be illegible completely.
thanks to poor handwriting. Note that spellslingers While one mark is always constant, a line of
and many other characters in this game are damage can vary depending on the character. Each
particularly greedy, so they would not want the line for a given character represents a number of
secrets of their power to be given away so freely— marks equal to his threshold rating of the relevant
grimoires are sure to be protected, either by magic type of health.
or physical security.
That same threshold value of 3 for Jack means that
one line of health for the character is equal to 3 marks.
One grade represents a full line of damage, ranging
from one to five. Each full line of damage that a
character sustains causes him to bear the effects of
that grade. In other words, if the character has
received one line of damage, he also suffers from
one grade of damage. Lines are different from grades
in that lines represent additional damage, but grades
measure the character’s current level of severity and
the effects that accompany it.
The sample health meter below illustrates how marks
and lines are checked, and that one grade of injury has
been sustained.
1 CCC This indicates 1 full grade of injury.
2 CCE This indicates 2 additional marks (not a full grade).
3 EEE These empty checkboxes mean that the character
4 EEE has only sustained a total of 5 marks and the effect
5 EEE of only one grade are applied (no notable effect).
If a character gains an additional line of injury (or
3 marks since his threshold value is 3), he suffers from
2 grades of injury and his health meter looks like this:
1 CCC This indicates 1 full grade of injury.
2 CCC This indicates 1 full grade of injury, for a total of 2 grades.
3 CCE This indicates 2 additional marks (not a full grade).



fatigue injury tension mania Detective Jason Long receives 6inj (six marks of
1 Dazed Bruised Sensitive Uneasy injury). Since his armor value is currently 7 due to
2 Stressed Sprained Agitated Worried magic, all injury against which armor would logically
3 Strained Wounded Distracted Shaken protect is first reduced by 2. This means that the 6inj
4 Exhausted Maimed Irrational Panicked is reduced to 4inj (6 - 2 = 4).
5 Unconscious Incapacitated Lethargic Catatonic A number of dice equal to the damage value (the
number of marks) are then rolled to determine the
Abating Damage degree of abatement. Each die that is greater than
Whenever a character receives damage (fatigue, the appropriate protective value (using a maximum
injury, tension, or mania) and also has an appropriate protective value of five) is considered to have
protective rating (padding, armor, will, or ego) greater penetrated the character’s source of protection,
than zero, an abatement roll is made. Abatement increasing the relevant health meter by one mark.
rolls are handled differently from task rolls, since
their purpose is to determine not what a character EXAMPLE

can do, but how well he can resist a threat to his An abatement roll is made for the 4inj, using an
health. armor value of 5 (it is technically 7, but the maximum
used for abatement rolls is 5—we already adjusted
Any protective rating greater than five is considered damage for the other two points of protection). The die
to be of a magical nature, since it is not possible to roll is 6, 3, 4, and 5. Since one die (the six) is greater
reach that level innately. When dealing with a than Long’s armor value, it is applied to his health.
protective value like this, reduce damage by one for One injury box is checked: C
each point above five before a roll is made.
Damage can be applied in a variety of ways, as
previously described—as marks, lines, or grades.
PROTECTION Damage is typically applied as a general affliction;
Protective wear can provide padding and the location of the damage on the body, such as for
armor. The heavier components are bulky, injury, is not usually important for play, but can be
impacting all physical tasks. Some can also be specified by the director to add extra atmosphere.
layered together—add all relevant padding and Damage that penetrates the character’s relevant
armor ratings to determine the total for each (up protection is applied directly to one or more types of
to a maximum of five). When layering more than health (check off the appropriate number of boxes).
two types of protection, add a bulk modifier of 1 Mark: 1 Damage Checkbox
+1diff (applied to all physical tasks). 1 Line: 1 Mark × Threshold Rating
1 Grade: 1 Full Line of Damage
component padding armor bulk
If Long is inflicted with 1 line of mania and his
Hides & Furs 1 — —
mania threshold is 4, it would equate to 4man or four
Bones & Hide 2 1 —
marks of mania. His abatement roll would consist of
Padded Wear 2 — —
four dice, using his ego value for protection.
Leathers 1 — —
Bronze Alloy 2 2 +1diff
Bulletproof Vest 2 3 +1diff Absolute Damage
When damage is noted as being absolute, an
COMBINING PROTECTION abatement roll cannot be made. The damage is
component mix with directly applied to a character’s health.
Hides & Furs leathers, padded, bronze, bulletproof vest EXAMPLE
Bones & Hide leathers, padded A spell inflicts Detective Long with 2 marks of
Padded any absolute fatigue. No abatement roll is made and two
Leathers any fatigue boxes are checked.
Bronze Alloy hides & furs, padded, leathers
Bulletproof Vest hides & furs, padded, leathers

Overwhelming Damage EFFECTS OF DAMAGE
Whenever a character receives an amount of damage symptoms
damage greater than his appropriate threshold Fatigue soreness, slowness, sweating, nausea,
rating, he becomes overwhelmed. This can represent discoloration, heavy breathing
different things depending on the situation. Being Injury pain, limp, cannot use limb, bloodied
overwhelmed by fatigue or injury as a result of a Tension lack of concentration, depression,
strike from an opponent means being knocked restlessness, forgetfulness, irritability,
down to the ground, overwhelming damage from a headache, stomachache, chest pain
toxin could cause vomiting or high fevers, and the Mania hyper-sensitivity, anxiety, hallucinations,
same due to tension or mania could mean being tears, loss of breath, racing heart
stunned. These effects generally only occur for one
turn. Each time a character receives overwhelming Loss and Healing
damage, he must make a fitness-based composure All forms of health can be restored, given the
task for fatigue and injury damage to prevent crying appropriate conditions and passage of time.
out in pain and a reasoning-based composure task
for tension and mania to avoid yelling, using abusive Fatigue
language towards others, or becoming physical ill When a character sustains five grades of fatigue,
(adjust difficulty by the current degree of damage). he falls unconscious. Additional levels of fatigue are
applied as injury. Unconscious characters heal one
The Effects of Damage mark of fatigue and awaken after one minute. A
As characters receive damage, penalties are applied successful routine first aid or medicine task can be
to certain tasks, as indicated on the table below. made to awaken a character when performed.
Fatigue is automatically reduced after a character
has rested at least six hours. The number of lines
damage affected tasks removed is equal to the character’s fitness rating. A
Fatigue Fitness, Awareness successful medicine task can reduce an additional
Injury Fitness, Awareness line of fatigue per day; the difficulty for this task is
Tension Creativity, Reasoning, Influence determined by the patient’s current degree of fatigue
Mania Awareness, Reasoning, Influence (see the First Aid & Treatment Table on the next page).
The degree of penalty, or increase in difficulty for Injury
tasks, is determined by the number of grades When a character has sustained five grades of
sustained (see the table below). injury, he falls unconscious and is totally
incapacitated. If the character receives any additional
HEALTH PENALTIES injury, he dies. Injury heals on a weekly basis once
grade penalty he receives proper medical attention. The number of
1 None lines removed is equal to the character’s fitness
2 +1diff rating. A successful medicine task can reduce an
3 +2diff additional line of injury per week; the difficulty for
4 +3diff this task is determined by the patient’s current
5 Cannot Act severity of injury (see the First Aid & Treatment Table).
A first aid or medicine task can be performed to
Damage can also be portrayed during open scenes
stabilize a character’s wounds and temporarily
as symptoms (see the table below). There are no
improve his condition once per scene. The difficulty
definitive game mechanics for these symptoms,
for this task is also determined by the patient’s
except as specified above, so the director should
current severity of injury. If successful, his penalties
either improvise or simply encourage players to
due to injury are considered one grade less for the
incorporate these issues into their characters’
remainder of the scene. If he sustains more injury, all
associated penalties are treated normally as if no
Note that while most demons possessing corpses first aid task was made. Additional first aid tasks
and other bodies often do not feel pain, they still cannot normally be attempted on the same patient,
suffer from its drawbacks (penalties). but the director may allow it for purposes of the


Tension Common Sources of Damage

When a character sustains five grades of tension, The most common sources of damage outside of
he lacks complete motivation to do anything, falling physical conflict are described below.
into a lethargic state. Additional levels of tension are
applied as mania. Lethargic characters heal one Asphyxiation and Drowning
mark of tension and are motivated to act after one Holding one’s breath is limited to a few minutes. If
hour. A complex hypnotism task can be made to a character is suddenly thrust into a situation
motivate a character. Tension is automatically requiring him to do so, however, a reaction task
reduced after a character has rested at least six must first be made. If successful, the character can
hours. The number of lines removed is equal to the function normally for two minutes before requiring
character’s reasoning rating. A successful hypnotism oxygen; he then begins to suffer from the effects of
task can reduce an additional line of tension per day; asphyxiation. A failed task means that asphyxiation
the difficulty for this task is determined by the begins immediately. The character receives a number
patient’s current degree of tension (see the First Aid of marks of absolute fatigue equal to the roll of one
& Treatment Table). die after an interval, which is a number of minutes
equal to double the character’s fitness rating (or
Mania twenty-four turns times his fitness rating). This
When a character has sustained five grades of damage is applied each time the interval is repeated
mania, he becomes delirious and enters a catatonic or until the character is either no longer being
state. Additional mania damage is ignored. Mania asphyxiated or dies. If the character falls unconscious,
can lessen on a weekly basis, but requires hypnotic injury is applied instead of fatigue.
counseling for greater effect. The number of marks
removed is equal to the character’s reasoning rating. Collisions
A successful hypnotism task can reduce an additional When two cars collide (or a car collides with an
line of mania per week; the difficulty for this task is obstacle), the passengers each suffer an amount of
determined by the patient’s current level of mania injury equal to the roll of one die—a normal damage
(see the First Aid & Treatment Table). roll is made, using the vehicle’s cover rating (see next
chapter) in place of armor. The same method is
FIRST AID & TREATMENT TABLE applied when a pedestrian is struck by a car, but
grade difficulty
normal armor rules are used. When characters
Less than 1 Trivial (8) collide with each other, they suffer an amount of
1 Routine (10) fatigue equal to the roll of one die.
2 Complex (12)
3 Challenging (14)
Being dragged along the ground by a vehicle or
4 Improbable (16)
animal inflicts a number of marks of damage equal
5 Impossible (18)
to half the roll of one die per turn (or a full die per
open scene). The type is damage can vary by
environment—fatigue for muddy or sandy regions
and injury for concrete and other rough terrain.

For every six feet in a fall, the character receives a
number of marks of damage equal to the roll of one
die. Injury is inflicted in most cases, but the director
can substitute fatigue for padded surfaces.

Fire and Smoke

When a character comes into contact with fire,
dice are rolled to determine the number of marks of
injury sustained. Since fire can vary greatly in size,
the number of dice can range from one for multiple
small flames to five for serious, expansive fires.

Smoke inhalation is a possibility when characters Sickness and Disease
are trapped in enclosed areas or dense patches. One Unsanitary conditions coupled with lack of
or two dice are rolled, depending on how much adequate medical care can lead to the rapid spread
smoke is present. The sum determines the number of sickness and disease. Characters who contract a
of fatigue marks inflicted by the smoke. minor illness should suffer a line of absolute fatigue
for a number of days equal to the roll of one die (or
Psychological Abuse even tension, depending on the type of illness).
Being abused on a psychological level, such as by Long-term sickness and diseases are beyond the
humiliation or hostility, can take a toll on a character. scope of the setting—while characters should not be
One to four marks of tension are often inflicted above such concerns, the director can reserve major
during each occurrence, depending on whether it is illnesses for non-player characters and/or as part of
caused by an individual or group. Note that this ongoing plots and subplots.
does not cover ordinary social interaction, rather
coordinated, ongoing, or intensely personal abuse.
Physical Abuse Experience is a measure of a character’s past
Physical torture inflicts one mark of tension or adventures. Unlike abilities, experience can increase
mania for every two marks of injury sustained. The or decrease quickly during play. Bonus dice can be
director should decide how extreme the torture is, rolled or the character can escape danger through
affecting the type of damage. his practical knowledge and worldliness. Experience
is expended when using it to augment tasks or
Fright reduce damage, and increased when accomplishing
Witnessing horrific acts of violence against an missions or for good roleplaying.
individual inflicts one mark of mania, against a
group causes two marks, and a whole mob being Augmenting Tasks
victimized inflicts four. Encountering fantastic magic A character can expend experience to roll one
and catastrophic events causes one line or eight additional die (a total of three dice) when attempting
marks of mania, depending on the circumstances. an active task (but not passive tasks). This must be
announced before rolling the dice. The amount of
Poison and Drugs experience required depends on the rating of the
Damage from poison and drugs is handled in character’s relevant ability. No more than one bonus
intervals. A specified amount of a particular type of die can be rolled per task.
damage is inflicted at each interval, which can be in
turns, minutes, hours, or days. A 1inj/2 turns poison BONUS DIE COST
inflicts one mark of injury every two turns, for ability required experience
instance. An abatement roll is also made, using the 0 4
character’s immunity value, regardless of the type of 1 3
damage. 2–3 2
4+ 1
Hunger should be handled abstractly. A character
can go a number of days equal to his fitness rating Breaking Ties
without food and one day without water before A character who ties another in a contested task
suffering adverse effects—characters with other can expend one experience to break the tie. The
nutritional requirements may be able to go longer. other character(s) can also expend experience to try
After this time period, the character sustains one to do the same. This turns into a bidding war of
grade of absolute fatigue for each subsequent day sorts, with the character expending the most
without necessary food or water. These grades of experience finally breaking the tie.
fatigue can only be reduced by returning to a normal
diet. The director should use common sense when Healing Damage
deciding whether or not the characters have access A character may expend one point of experience
to adequate food, water, or other required during open scenes to reduce fatigue, injury, tension,
nourishment. or mania by one line.


Increasing Protection
SUBPLOTS A character can also expend experience to increase
As an option, characters may spend one experience a protective value against a single source of damage
for the director to introduce a new subplot into the for one open scene or one turn (for sequential
story. The nature of the subplot can be determined scenes). Each point of experience expended increases
randomly or at the discretion of the director. If the the protective value by one, up to a maximum
player portrays his character in a believable way, the determined by the character’s composure rating (an
director may refund his experience. incompetency does nothing). Note that the
1. Common Ground protection value cannot be raised above five.
The character shares a connection with a non-
player character that is the antithesis of himself (a MAXIMUM PROTECTIVE INCREASE
sentinel with a crook or a demon with a Human, for composure maximum increase
instance). While the nature of the relationship is up to
0 Basic Knowledge +1
the director, the two characters can clearly see eye to
eye with each other, even if through a narrow focus. +1 Proficiency +2
+2 Specialty +3
2. Dark Past +3 Mastery +4
Someone from the character’s past that is believed +4 Grand-Mastery +5
to be dead or otherwise unreachable returns
unexpectedly. This person could be a long-lost
member of his family, former lover, or even a threat. Lessening Spell Feedback
While the character may wish to keep the past and its After a feedback roll is made (see Chapter Six),
accompanying secrets buried, feelings of experience may be expended to lessen its severity.
bewilderment, angst, terror, or overriding joy could Each point of experience expended reduces the
just as easily surface. severity by one step (moderate feedback becomes
minor feedback, for instance), up to a maximum
3. Mistaken Identity
determined by the competency of the relevant
The character is mistaken for someone else by one
or more people important to the story. This erroneous magic casting pursuit.
identity can either land the character in trouble (via
grudges, contracts, or warrants), assist in his activities MAXIMUM FEEDBACK DECREASE
(via offers of information, resources, or cooperation), magical pursuit maximum decrease
or cause embarrassment (via dirty looks, salacious +1 Proficiency -1
offers, or people acting in a far too familiar way). +2 Specialty -2
4. Romance +3 Mastery -3
The character attracts a romantic interest. While the +4 Grand-Mastery -4
character does not necessarily feel the same way, this
person may become a distraction (by stalking or Requesting Alignment Assistance
maintaining contact with the character) or a serious A character with the allegiance gimmick can expend
impediment (by taking revenge or smothering the one experience to call in favors from other members
character with affection).
of his alignment. This is completely up to the
5. Money discretion of the director, so a character is not
The character comes into some money, whether in guaranteed to get what he wants. The defined value
the form of gold or equipment that he can sell. It may of the gimmick determines how useful they can be:
be a bonus from a grateful client, motivation by an
employer to work harder, or simply blind luck. The
• A defined value of 1 can bring a piece of
amount is up to the director, but should not generally information useful to the story, such as the
exceed a few hundred selasts in value. location of a witness, details of an accident, or
owner of a property.
6. Doubt
A non-player character starts to doubt his own • A defined value of 2 could provide harder-to-
actions or orders from a superior, possibly preventing find evidence, equipment that can aid the story,
him from performing them. This person could be one or a minimum of back-up for a conflict.
of the player character’s contacts, family members, • A defined value of 3 or more may afford the
friends, enemies, or clients. character rare items, gold, considerable aid in a
conflict, and perhaps even a smoking gun.

Gaining Experience Waypoints
The director awards experience for characters’ A waypoint normally occurs at the conclusion of
accomplishments and their players’ immersion along each episode or game session. The director can also
waypoints in the story. designate other parts of a story as waypoints, such as
a resting scene or interludes between other important
Accomplishments scenes. Characters can be replenished in this manner,
As characters progress through a story, they often (and health restored), ready for a new chapter in the
learn things about themselves, gain insight into story.
trivial matters, and evolve in one way or another. If a player stayed in character and truly acted out
One point of experience is awarded immediately to his personality, responsibilities, and even detrimental
simulate these developments: gimmicks, he should receive an amount of experience
• Each task with a difficulty of at least complex not equal to the roll of one die. If a player stayed true to
augmented by experience that resulted in overkill. his character most of the time, but did some things
• Orchestrating brilliant tactics that were used to that seemed disparate, halve that amount. Players
defeat an opponent without brute force. who were disruptive or mostly antithetical with their
characters’ actions receive no award of experience.
• Accomplishing a goal important to the story or
a subplot. Other Methods
• Accomplishing a goal specific to the character’s Other ways to gain experience are certainly
role: possible. The director can always experiment with
Crooks: pilfer from or swindle someone out of various methods for both rewarding experience and
at least 100 selasts or equivalent value—if the allowing players to spend it. For example, the
character is caught for this crime, not only is director may choose to refresh a character’s pool of
the experience revoked, but one experience is experience at every waypoint—that is, expended
also lost. points are automatically returned on a regular basis.
This is merely optional, however, as the rules
Merchants: sell or trade something to make a provided for accomplishments and waypoints are
profit of at least 100 selasts or equivalent value. likely sufficient for most groups.
Newscribes: write a story that becomes the
headline of the local news.
Private Detectives: solve a separate case without
help from the other characters.
Sentinels: make an arrest and bring the suspect
to the precinct house—if he is later released,
the experience is revoked; if it is later shown
that he was arrested without evidence or
improperly arrested, not only is the experience
revoked, but one experience is also lost.
Socialites: convince one of the elite or rich to
use their resources for good in the community
and organize the way it is handled.
Spellslingers: design a new spell and utilize it in
a way that is useful during the story.
Streetsingers: gain a loyal fan who goes out of
his way to hear the character’s songs.
Thugs: gain recognition from the boss for an
important job well done.
Average Joes: the director should determine the
requirements based on the character’s
motivations, employment, alignment, and any
other important factors.


DISCRIMINATION The character accomplishes the active task quicker
Human bigotry is a common theme of the game. than thought possible, not only amazing those
Other species like Face-Shifters and Hugors also around him, but also breaking any ties. Since this
enjoy their fair share of bigoted attitudes, however. exploit requires an open scene, the exact timing
All Unnaturals and many minority groups face involved is up to the director to decide. The rating of
discrimination, whether at the hands of Humans, the associated pursuit is factored into the reduction.
other species, or other factions. This is particularly
apparent when an Unnatural or other person is SPEED
clearly different from Humans in appearance or pursuit rating effect
behavior. Many Unnaturals avoid discrimination by -1 Incompetency One Less Minute or Second
hiding their differences, but this is not always 0 Basic Knowledge Three-Quarters the Normal Time
possible. +1 Proficiency One-Half the Normal Time
Whenever a character is faced with this sort of +2 Specialty One-Quarter the Normal Time
bigotry (which is likely most of the time), he receives +3 Mastery One-Eighth the Normal Time
a penalty of +2diff on all influence-based tasks. The or Immediate
director may also opt to reverse this modifier (-2diff) +4 Grand-Mastery Instantaneous
when the character attempts to intimidate a bigoted
person, although it depends on the cause of the
bigotry (fear and anxiety may cause this, but loathing
The character scrutinizes his awareness or
and elitism probably do not).
influence-based task to the point of identifying
It is important to remember that while a character hidden elements. This can include recognizing
may be an Unnatural, this fact is not always obvious. muffled sounds, cloud-covered sights, exotic flavors,
Incubi and Face-Shifters, for instance, look noxious smells, the ever-so-slight tingling of insects
completely Human. Species like this can fit into crawling on skin, and people’s true motives
society just as well as any Human. This can change (influence-based). The degree of identification is
quickly and violently, however, as their true natures determined by the rating of the associated pursuit.
are discovered, whether by someone informing on
them or their powers being witnessed. PROWESS
pursuit rating effect
EXPLOITS -1 Incompetency Vague Hint
If a task results in five or more overkill, the 0 Basic Knowledge Knowing it is somewhere,
character can exploit his success, increasing its but not what it is
effects. Only one exploit can be chosen by a player +1 Proficiency Knowing the exact source,
for a single task. The effects of the task are typically but not what it is
enhanced by the bonus of the pursuit used. General +2 Specialty Knowing the exact source
exploits are described below, while exploits specific and what it is
to combat are described in the next chapter and +3 Mastery Knowing the exact source,
those related to magic can be found in Chapter Six. and what and how much it is
The director is free to create his own exploits. +4 Grand-Mastery Full Knowledge

Force Emotion
The outcome of the character’s active task is well The character’s creativity or influence-based task
beyond that which is needed to succeed. Fitness- involving artistic creation, speech, or performance
based tasks result in increased power (often meaning emotionally charges his audience. All those present
that the character does not know his own strength), get swept up in the emotion and either cry or
creativity-based tasks manifest as works of art, become totally enthralled in the work. A reasoning-
reasoning-based tasks become irrefutable and valid, based composure task is required by individuals to
and influence-based tasks yield coercive and resist this emotional torrent, with the difficulty
authoritative consequences. determined by the pursuit bonus used for the task.

pursuit rating effect pursuit rating effect dice
-1 Incompetency Trivial -1 Incompetency -1diff only on First 0
0 Basic Knowledge Routine Task within Scene (1 Person)
+1 Proficiency Complex 0 Basic Knowledge -1diff ½
+2 Specialty Challenging +1 Proficiency -2diff 1
+3 Mastery Improbable +2 Specialty -3diff 2
+4 Grand-Mastery Impossible +3 Mastery -4diff 3
+3 Grand-Mastery -5diff 4
The character’s active task is so successful, that it Trust
unlocks clues to solving similar tasks. The character The character’s actions promote trust in one or
gains a bonus on other non-contested tasks made more witnesses, provided the two run parallel (the
with the same pursuit until either failing a task or act must coincide with the witness’s beliefs and
the scene ends. goals). Those who were previously unsure about the
character’s skill or intentions are reassured. The
BREAKTHROUGH maximum number affected from a single action is
pursuit rating effect determined by rolling one or more dice (see table
-1 Incompetency -1diff only on First Task below) and computing the sum.
within Scene
0 Basic Knowledge -1diff TRUST
+1 Proficiency -2diff pursuit rating dice
+2 Specialty -3diff -1 Incompetency 0 (1 Person)
+3 Mastery -4diff 0 Basic Knowledge ½ (halve one die)
+4 Grand-Mastery -5diff +1 Proficiency 1
+2 Specialty 2
+3 Mastery 3
+4 Grand-Mastery 4
The character’s influence-based task made to rally
a group inspires one or more of them. The maximum
number affected is determined by rolling one or
more dice (see table below) and computing the sum.
The affected people gain confidence and a sense of
purpose, receiving a bonus on all tasks until failing a
task or the scene ends.


Whenever characters are pitted against one or
more opponents in a physical conflict (and sometimes MULTIPLE TASKS PER TURN
a social conflict), a sequential scene is initiated. All As an option, characters can perform more
action occurs on a turn-by-turn basis. At the start of than one action each turn, providing specific
every turn, all characters make routine reaction rules do not preclude this and the director
tasks. This is a contested task, so they act in the deems it possible. A character might shoot a gun
order of greatest overkill to lowest, although they at two targets or intimidate one person while
may also defer actions in order to wait and see what negotiating with another, for instance.
an opponent does to respond accordingly. Unless The player must declare the order in which his
otherwise stated, a character can perform movement character will perform the actions. A penalty is
and one other action each turn. applied to each action, becoming harder as more
A character’s actions can occur only when it is his actions are performed.
chance to perform them. If a character defers his If the character performs multiple actions
action, however, he can choose to initiate it between using the same pursuit against different targets
the actions of other participants (after he would (same action against different targets), he can roll
normally act), but it cannot interrupt another only once for all of them. Simply compare the
character’s action. As with any other reaction task, a adjusted difficulty for each task to the single
character cannot apply a pursuit bonus to an action ability total to determine which actions are
if the composure bonus was applied to the reaction successful.
task. A character’s reaction task may be modified,
depending on the circumstances. The most common MULTIPLE ACTION PENALTIES
situations are described below.
action penalty
Encumbrance First +2diff
A character carrying bulky items or an excessive Second +3diff
number of items receives a penalty of +2diff to Third +4diff
+4diff on the reaction task. The director can choose Fourth +5diff
based on the degree of encumbrance. Fifth +6diff

Characters who are injured receive the normal Amber decides to shoot at the Zuvembie bouncer
injury penalty on the reaction task. and then his boss in the same turn (both at short
range). Normal ranged combat tasks are made for
Fatigue both, except that the shot to the bouncer is
Characters who are fatigued receive the normal impacted by +2diff and the shot to the boss is
fatigue penalty only on the first reaction task of a impacted by +3diff.
conflict. The director decides that only one roll is needed,
since both tasks are the same, only with different
Overwhelmed difficulties. The difficulty to hit the bouncer is
If a character was overwhelmed on the previous complex (12diff), while the difficulty to hit the
turn, his reaction task for the current turn receives a boss is 13diff. If the ability total is equal to or
penalty of +2diff. greater than 13, both targets are hit; if it is equal
to or greater than 12, only the bouncer is hit; and
Surprised if it is less than 12, both shots miss their targets.
Characters who are taken by surprise (jumped
from behind, shot at by opportunity fire, or surprised
via exploit) on the previous turn receive a penalty of
+4diff on the reaction task.
Kalen and Drew enter into a melee against each other. Kalen is slightly injured (sprained or 2 grades), so her task’s
difficulty is increased by +1diff (a difficulty of 11). Drew is not at any disadvantage, so he must beat the default
difficulty of routine (10). Kalen achieves 2 overkill on her task, while Drew unluckily achieves none, even though it
succeeds. Kalen gets to act first, followed by Drew.


MOVEMENT Instead of simply running to the exit, Julio evades
All distances are measured in spaces. This not only the gang’s gunfire. He moves up to 11 spaces towards
bridges the gap between imperial and metric systems, the exit, but cannot perform any other actions until
but also simplifies the use of miniatures with the next turn. The gang receives a penalty of +4diff to hit
game. One space is equal to six feet, which is the him with their guns.
same as two yards and roughly the same as two
meters. When using miniatures, one space equals Going Prone
one inch. The following rules are used when the Spaces: Half of (1 + Fitness Rating)
director wishes to add more detail to the action, but
the specific numbers can be easily ignored for Sometimes it is best for characters to hit the dirt.
simpler action. Movement can be performed with or Going prone or returning to one’s feet does not
without an accompanying attack, but must come count as movement, but only one or the other can
first. A character carrying bulky items or an excessive be performed each turn. A character who is prone or
number of items is considered to have a fitness knocked down can either return to his feet or crawl
rating of one less for the purposes of movement. on the ground. The maximum number of spaces that
a character can traverse while crawling is equal to
Walking one-half his normal walking rate.
Spaces: 1 + Fitness Rating
A character can walk up to a number of spaces Spaces: Fitness Rating
each turn equal to one plus his fitness rating.
A character can climb a wall or sheer surface at a
EXAMPLE rate up to his fitness rating per turn. No other
Julio has a fitness rating of 4, so he can walk 5 actions are possible during a turn in which a
spaces per turn, which is the same as 30 feet, 10 character climbs.
meters/yards, and 5 inches (for miniatures).
Julio climbs a ladder to get a better shot at his target.
Running The ladder is 18 feet high (3 spaces) and Julio can
Spaces: 1 + Fitness Rating + 1 Die Roll climb 4 spaces per turn, but he only wants to climb 2
In lieu of walking, a character can run up to a spaces. He is now 2 spaces off the ground, with a better
number of spaces equal to his walking rate plus the angle to see his targets on the following turn.
roll of one die. A penalty of +2diff is applied to all of
a character’s tasks during a turn in which he runs. Swimming
Actively blocking attacks is also not possible during Spaces: 1 + Fitness Rating (Halved for Incompetency)
a turn in which a character runs.
A character can typically swim as quickly as he can
EXAMPLE walk. If the character’s athletics pursuit is an
Julio chooses to run to the nearest exit in order to incompetency, the number of spaces is halved and
escape a gang. He rolls a 6 on one die, adding it to 1 an athletics task is required to maintain his calm and
and his fitness rating of 4 for a total of 11. This means prevent drowning (see Common Sources of Damage in
that he can run up to a total of 11 spaces this turn. As the previous chapter).
a result of his speed, however, any task that he attempts
this turn is penalized by +2diff. Jumping
Spaces: Half of Fitness Rating
Evasion A character can make a single horizontal jump of
Spaces: 1 + Fitness Rating + 1 Die Roll one space over a small obstacle while walking or
A character can also run to avoid being hit by a running, but it replaces two spaces of normal
ranged attack. This is called evasion, and is handled movement. If the character wishes to jump farther,
just like running, except that he cannot perform any he can do so, but it requires all of his available
other actions during the same turn. A penalty of movement and means that he cannot perform
+4diff is applied to all tasks made to hit him with a another action during the same turn. The maximum
ranged attack when evading. number of spaces that a character can jump is equal
to half of his fitness rating.

EXAMPLE Impassable Terrain
Julio can walk up to 5 spaces per turn. He proceeds Impassable terrain includes sheer inclines, huge
to walk 2 spaces, jumps over a puddle of 1 space obstacles, and fast-moving deep water. This type of
(counts as two spaces), and can still walk up to 1 more terrain cannot be traversed; characters must find a
space this turn. way around it or travel in a different direction.

Terrain Effects of Injury on Movement

While open ground is easy to traverse, some forms When a character is injured, his movement
of terrain can hinder movement. Terrain and becomes restricted. The limitations vary, depending
obstacles are broken down into four categories. on how hurt he is. As an option, the director can
apply the same restrictions for when a character is
Open Terrain fatigued.
Open terrain includes solid ground that is flat or • When a character suffers from two grades of
only slightly-inclined, sparse foliage, and short injury, all of his maximum movement distances
obstacles. Open terrain does not affect a character’s are reduced by one space.
movement capability.
• When a character has sustained three grades of
Rough Terrain injury, all of his maximum movement distances
Rough terrain consists of steeply-inclined solid are reduced by two. If this reduces a rate to zero
ground, flat or slightly-inclined loose ground, or less, it takes two turns to move one space.
moderately-dense foliage, and slow-moving water • When a character is afflicted with four grades of
(choppy water when swimming). One space through injury, he can no longer run, climb, or jump.
rough terrain counts as two spaces of movement. Additionally, going prone or standing requires
two turns.
Moving through rough terrain, Julio’s walking rate • When a character has sustained five grades of
of 5 is considered 2—each space counts as two, so injury, he is out of action and cannot move or
moving 2 spaces is like walking 4 spaces in open act.
terrain. Even though he can still move one more space, EXAMPLE
this is only possible in open terrain, since rough terrain Julio is wounded (3 grades of injury), so his normal
requires 2. walking rate of 5 is now 3, running is 3 plus the die
roll, etc.
Hazardous Terrain
Hazardous terrain consists of steeply-inclined
solid ground, steeply-inclined loose ground,
Random Directions
Whenever a direction is required to be chosen
extremely-dense foliage, tall obstacles, fast-moving
randomly, roll two dice and compute their sum. Use
shallow water, and slow-moving deep water. One
this value as the position of a clock hand, where
space through hazardous terrain counts as three
twelve o’clock is straight ahead and six-o’clock is
spaces of movement and an athletics task is required
to maintain balance.
¸ 2 o’clock 
Moving through hazardous terrain, Julio’s walking
 3 o’clock 
rate of 5 is now considered 1—each space counts as
 4 o’clock 
three, so moving 1 space is like walking 3 spaces in
 6 o’clock 
open terrain. Even though he can still move two more
¿ 9 o’clock 
spaces, this is only possible in open or rough terrain,
 10 o’clock 
since hazardous terrain requires 3.
 12 o’clock 


increased by +2diff (partial cover). If more than two-

RANGED COMBAT thirds, but not all of the target, is obscured, the
Base Difficulty: Determined By Range difficulty is increased by +4diff (heavy cover).
Ranged attacks, or those executed at a distance
greater than one space, are typically resolved using Aiming
the fitness ability and a pursuit like firearms, archery, A character can spend a full turn aiming his
or athletics. The difficulty for these attacks is weapon at a target. Up to three consecutive turns
determined by the range and can be modified by can be spent aiming. Each turn modifies the difficulty
other factors. Each of these weapons is given three of the attack by -1diff. If the character’s aim is
range values. A distance of one or two spaces is interrupted, such as by being struck, he loses the
always considered to be point-blank. Ranges greater cumulative benefits of his aim and must begin from
than two spaces are either short, medium, or long, scratch. A character cannot attack or move during a
depending on the actual distances listed for each turn in which he is aiming.
Indirect Attacks
RANGE DIFFICULTIES Some ranged attacks can be launched indirectly at
a target, such as in an arc, allowing the projectile to
range difficulty
travel over obstacles. The target of such an attack
Point Blank (1–2 Spaces) Trivial must be in front of the character, but does not have
Short Routine to be visible.
Medium Challenging
Long Improbable When an indirect attack is made against a visible
target, a normal ranged attack task is made, but
Thrown attacks are handled in the same manner, cover and aiming are not taken into consideration. If
except that a character’s fitness rating determines successful, the target is hit; otherwise, the projectile
the ranged distances. Short range for a throwing strikes a number of spaces in a random direction
attack falls between three and five spaces. Distances equal to the roll of one die.
greater than five and less than or equal to five plus
half the character’s fitness rating are medium range.
Long range consists of all distances greater than five
plus half the character’s fitness rating and less than RANGED WEAPONS
or equal to six plus the character’s fitness rating. weapon short medium long damage
These values assume that the character is throwing a Throwing Dagger —thrown— +1inj
small object. The director is free to decrease these Bow & Arrow 3–10 11–25 26–60 +1inj
values for larger and/or heavier objects. Crossbow 3–8 9–20 21–50 3inj
.22 Pistol 3–6 7–10 11–20 2inj
.38 Pistol 3–8 9–14 15–20 3inj
distance range .44 Semi-Auto Pistol 3–8 9–15 16–25 3inj
1 to 2 Spaces Point Blank Rifle 3–12 13–35 36–100 4inj
3 to 5 Spaces Short Range Shotgun 3–8 9–15 16–25 4inj
6 to (5 + Half Fitness) Medium Range Submachine Gun 3–10 11–15 16–25 2inj*
(6 + Half Fitness) to (6 + Fitness) Long Range
weapon damage
Obstacles, such as walls and debris, within a Club, Baton, Blackjack +1fat
distance of one space from a target can block some Brass Knuckles +2fat
or all of a character’s line of sight. If the obstacle is Staff +2fat
large enough to completely conceal a character, he is Knife, Dagger, Switchblade, Cleaver +1inj
not a viable target (total cover). If the target is not Stake, Spiked Club, Hammer +1inj
completely concealed, however, it can be attacked Machete, Axe +2inj
with an increase in difficulty. If at least one-third of Sword +3inj
the target is concealed by cover, the difficulty is * When not using the weapon gimmicks rules (page 96),
multiply this amount by half the roll of one die.

Indirect attacks made against hidden targets EXAMPLE
require the attacker to guess the distance in spaces Julio attempts to punch a thug named Jensen. Since
beforehand. Again, cover and aiming are not factored Jensen’s fitness rating is 3 and brawling bonus is +1, the
into the task. If successful, the projectile strikes a difficulty for the attack is 12 (8 + 3 + 1). Since Mark
point along a straight path to the target, but at a already hit Jensen this turn, the difficulty of Julio’s task
distance equal to the attacker’s guess. A failure is further modified by -1diff, for a final difficulty of 11.
indicates that it strikes a number of spaces from the
guessed point in a random direction equal to the roll Charged Attacks
of one die. If a character ran at least a distance of five spaces
to reach the target, the close combat attack is
Hitting Specific Targets in a Crowd considered to be charged, meaning that it is powered
When performing a ranged attack on a specific by his momentum. The damage inflicted by a
target in the midst of a crowd, the difficulty is successful charged attack is doubled. A failure
modified by +1diff for each additional member of indicates that the character stumbles to the ground,
the crowd beyond the target. A failure indicates that as if he was overwhelmed.
a random member of the crowd is hit by the attack.

Targets hit by a ranged attack sustain an amount of
damage equal to the weapon’s damage value, which STRUCTURAL DAMAGE
specifies the number of marks of a certain type of
damage (fatigue or injury, though more commonly Objects and structures have their own health
the latter). If a weapon’s damage value is preceded called integrity, which is a combination of both
by a plus sign (+), the attacker’s base physical damage fatigue and injury with a specified threshold.
is also added, but converted to whatever type of Integrity is protected by both padding and
damage is inflicted by the weapon. If a successful armor ratings. Any fatigue or injury that
attack results in no overkill, it is considered to have penetrates the object’s padding or armor,
only grazed the target and the damage value is respectively, is applied to its integrity. Note that
reduced by half. The application of damage is penetration of the armor is just that—the attack
handled normally. pierces the object, but it requires the full five
grades of integrity for it to actually be destroyed.
Julio is hit by a bullet for 3inj. Since the attack OBJECT/STRUCTURE INTEGRITY
achieved no overkill, it is only a graze and the damage object threshold padding armor
is reduced to 1inj. An abatement roll is made (one die Typewriter 1 2 1
is rolled) versus Julio’s current armor rating. Oven 3 5 2
Furniture 3 4 2
Barrel, Crate 1 3 2
CLOSE COMBAT Wooden Door 1 4 2
Base Difficulty: 8 + Target’s Fitness + Target’s Pursuit Metal Door 6 7 3
Close combat consists of direct, physical conflict Lock 1 5 1
between two or more characters. This means that it Interior Wall 2 3 2
occurs within a distance of one space. It is usually Exterior Wall 8 7 4
resolved using the fitness ability and the brawling or Large Tree 3 6 2
melee pursuit. The difficulty of a close combat task Machinery 6 5 4
is 8 plus the target’s fitness rating and relevant
pursuit bonus/penalty. The difficulty is modified by EXAMPLE
-1diff for each close combat attack already attempted A wooden crate has an integrity threshold of 1,
against the target during the same turn, whether or which means that it can sustain 5 marks of
not successful. If a target is knocked down, the fatigue/injury before falling apart. It also has a
difficulty to hit him in close combat is 6. If he is padding rating of 3 to resist fatigue damage and
prone, the difficulty is 8 plus his pursuit bonus/ an armor rating of 2 to resist injury damage.
penalty (fitness is not factored into this).


RANDOM DAMAGE If a target is taken by surprise and free to act (not
As an option, damage can be made random. bound or restricted in some way), he must make an
Before checking for damage abatement, roll a die improbable reaction task. If the task is successful,
for every six marks of damage. If the value of a the difficulty to hit him is 8 plus his brawling or
die is less than the damage value (up to six marks athletics bonus. Otherwise, the difficulty is 8.
for each die), use that value as the number of
marks; otherwise, damage remains the same for Quick Wits
that die. Consider the original damage to be the If the attacker achieved overkill of at least one on
maximum that can possibly happen. his reaction task and his target’s reaction task
resulted in negative overkill, the attacker’s close
combat or ranged task receives a bonus of +2diff.
Raven casts a spell against Slim, causing 8inj.
The damage is split up into two dice—one Damage
representing an initial value of 6 marks and the If a weapon is used and it has a damage value
other with an initial value of 2 marks (8 - 6 = 2). preceded by a plus sign (+), it is added to the
The first die results in a 3, so that means a random attacker’s base physical damage. If the weapon
result of 3inj, since 3 is less than 6. The second die inflicts injury damage, the character’s base physical
is a 6, but the initial value was only 2, so it damage is converted to injury (even if the weapon
remains 2inj. Rather than using the original does no actual damage when noted as +0inj). If a
damage (or maximum possible) of 8inj, it was weapon’s damage value does not include a plus sign,
randomly determined to only be 5inj (3inj + 2inj). it completely replaces the character’s base physical
damage for the attack. If a successful attack results in
Active Blocking no overkill, it is considered to have only grazed the
Characters can take an active blocking stance target and the damage value is reduced by half.
during the entire turn, but cannot move or attack EXAMPLE
when doing so. All close combat attacks made Julio strikes his opponent with a fire axe by the door
against a blocking character have a difficulty of 8 for +1inj. This means that he inflicts 3inj (base
plus the target’s fitness rating and double his physical damage of 2fat + 1inj, converting fatigue to
brawling bonus. If someone makes a ranged attack injury).
against a blocking character within a distance of one Ander’s fangs inflict +0inj when biting. This means
space, the difficulty of the attack is the same as if it that he inflicts 1inj (base physical damage of 1fat +
was a regular close combat task (8 plus the target’s 0inj, converting fatigue to injury).
fitness rating and brawling bonus/penalty) due to
the proximity. A character can block all attacks
directed at him within a single turn without
restriction, provided he does not become
overwhelmed and is not prone.
If a close combat task that is blocked in this
manner results in a potential calamity, the defending
character can opt to immediately perform his own
close combat task against the attacker, although he
can no longer block or perform any other actions for
the remainder of the turn if he does.
Julio actively blocks during the turn in which Jensen
swings a sledgehammer at him. The difficulty of the
attack is 16 (8 + 4 + 4) thanks to Julio’s fitness rating
of 4 and brawling bonus of +2. Unfortunately for
Jensen, this is just too difficult and his attack results in
a calamity. Julio may now execute a counter-attack at
the expense of ending his blocking.

Mutual Conflict
SOCIAL COMBAT An opponent who has not yet acted during the
Base Difficulty: 8 + Target’s Influence + Target’s Pursuit turn can mirror the attacker’s own actions. This
Social combat consists of verbal interaction and means that if the attacker is trying to intimidate
posturing between two or more characters. It someone, that person can also try to intimidate the
normally occurs within a distance of one to three attacker. This becomes a contested task, so the
spaces. Many social interactions are completely character with the greater amount of overkill wins.
devoid of physical conflict, and can also be resolved Once this is done, the opponent can only perform
in open scenes. Mixing social conflict with the this same action against anyone else who attacks
physical aspect is common—two sides can negotiate him with it, provided he is not overwhelmed—no
to cease or even prevent hostilities, an opponent can other actions are possible and he cannot initiate an
be tricked into believing that he cannot win, a attack on his own.
character can taunt someone enough that he cannot
think straight, or a threat can be unsettled enough Fighting Over a Third Party
not to think clearly. Seducing or negotiating with If two characters are each trying to influence
someone is not likely to occur without that person another person or group, apply any modifiers due to
being open to it, however. the third party and then determine success normally.
The side with the most overkill wins.
Social combat is usually resolved using the
influence ability and a relevant pursuit: EXAMPLE

• Charm for seducing or persuading someone to Ambrose and Kiel are both trying to convince a
do something sentinel that the other broke a law and should be
• Empathy for determining someone’s emotional arrested. Ambrose performs a charm task to persuade
state and motives the sentinel, while Kiel performs a performance task as
• Intimidation for taunting, bullying, or he acts like the victim and attests to Ambrose’
otherwise frightening someone atrocities. The character with the most overkill
• Negotiation for bargaining with someone to successfully convinces the sentinel that the other is
reach an agreement guilty. If both fail the task, neither has any effect on the
• Performance for tricking someone into sentinel, leaving it open for the director to determine
believing something how the sentinel feels towards both of them.
The difficulty of a social combat task is 8 plus the
target’s influence rating and relevant pursuit bonus/
penalty (composure can also be used to defend PUSHING/PULLING DAMAGE
against charm, empathy, and intimidation). The As an option, fatigue or tension damage can be
difficulty is modified by -1diff for each social pushed to greater effect, changing it to injury or
combat attack already made against the target mania, respectively. Conversely, injury or mania
during the same turn, whether or not successful. As damage can be pulled back, changing it to
an alternative, the director may wish to simply use fatigue or tension. Each point of experience
contested tasks, so that whomever achieves the expended by the character causing it pushes or
most overkill wins the conflict. pulls one mark of damage.
Julio tries to bully Mary into giving up her boss. He Joel strikes his opponent, inflicting 2fat. He
performs an intimidation task. Mary’s influence rating wants to do more serious damage, so he spends
is 3 and composure bonus is +1. This makes the two points of experience to push the damage to
difficulty 12 (8 + 3 + 1). 2inj.
Mary wants to better understand why Julio is doing
this, so she makes an empathy task. If Julio’s influence Anders inflicts 4man on an opponent through a
is 4 and performance bonus is +2, the difficulty is 14 spell. He prefers that the target gets a little stressed
(8 + 4 + 2). Performance is used for the difficulty, since rather than shocked, so he spends three points of
Julio is acting like he is in control, but is really in a experience to pull three marks, converting it to
state of panic. She realizes this if the task is successful. tension. The damage becomes 1man and 3ten.


Group Courage
When an opponent is surrounded by a large group
of friends or allies, a modifier of +2diff is applied to
intimidation tasks made against him.
When a character slips an opponent an appropriate
amount of money to sway his opinion, a modifier of
-2diff is applied to negotiation tasks involving him.
If the character produces the appropriate evidence
to back up his claims (news clippings, forged
documents, witnesses, scary weapons, or creatures),
a modifier of -2diff is applied to charm, negotiation,
and intimidation tasks when using that evidence.
Forcing the Issue
There are times when a social conflict should only
last a set number of turns. This works best when
time is a factor, or if opponents or a crowd are
impatient. When a conflict needs to be constrained
to a single turn, the conflict is entirely resolved by
the end of that turn. In other cases, the best out of
three or five turns can be used—the most successes
(or overkill, at the director’s discretion) over the
course of these turns wins the conflict.
The character’s base social damage is applied as The distance between the two sides is called the
tension when taunting and mania when bullying or gap. The aggressor’s goal is to decrease the gap,
threatening an opponent. If taunting with evidence while the target wishes to increase it. The gap is
or something that could hurt the character socially, usually set by the director, representing how many
modify the damage by +1ten to +5ten, depending turns of a lead the target has. A single die can also be
on the situation. If bullying or threatening something rolled to determine this value randomly.
with a weapon, apply the weapon’s damage value as The target rolls a single die on the first turn of the
mania (+2fat would be +2man, for instance). All chase, adding the leader’s streetwise bonus/penalty
other tasks do not result in any damage unless the to the die result. Reference the Chase Activity Table to
director feels that it is warranted, such as when determine the upcoming route. This roll is then
negotiating a bad deal (tension). Most social tasks made again in a number of turns equal to the overkill
are better-suited for roleplaying their outcomes. of the target’s next gap task. If the overkill is zero or
less, another roll is made on the next turn. The
possible route activities are listed below.
When characters are involved in a car chase or foot CHASE ACTIVITY
pursuit, each side (one side is always chasing the
other) has a goal—either capture (the aggressor) or roll situation

escape (the target). Capture consists of trapping or 1 Blocked Path

disabling the other side, while escape is comprised 2 Imposing Path
of losing the other side or stopping it from pursuing. 3 Rocky Path
The character who is driving or is in the forefront of 4 Busy Path
a side is considered its leader. The term path is used 5–6 Winding Path
to represent a road, sidewalk, trail, or other route 7–8 Narrow Path
through which the chase occurs. 9–10 Wide Path

Before the chase begins, Howard rolls a 2, adding his At the beginning of the chase, each side makes a
streetwise bonus of +2 (specialty), for a total of 4. This gap task—a contested driving (car chase), riding
indicates that the route he takes is very busy, hindering (horseback), or athletics (foot pursuit) task. The
his athletics tasks by +3diff. Since Howard’s first gap ability depends on what the side is doing, as
task achieves 1 overkill, he must roll to choose a new determined by the director:
path after the next turn.
• Fitness for utilizing speed and maneuvering
• Awareness for keeping a close eye on possible
Blocked Path route shortcuts
The path is blocked and cannot be followed • Creativity for making sneaky decisions, like
further. The characters must turn back or attempt to weaving between market stalls or making
go around the obstruction. The gap is decreased by sharp turns
one, and another die roll must be made on the Chase • Reasoning for turning knowledge of the route
Activity Table next turn. into an advantage
• Influence for convincing pedestrians and
Imposing Path drivers to get out of the way
The path has many intersections that are extremely
active, increasing the risk of collision. A roll of 1 to 4 When a chase occurs in wide-open spaces, a
on a single die means that the leader must make an vehicle or horse always has an advantage over
additional impossible driving (car chase), riding someone on foot. Modify the difficulty by -2diff for
(horseback), or athletics (foot pursuit) task to avoid a someone riding a horse against someone on foot
crash (see Other Sources of Damage in the previous and -4diff for driving a vehicle against someone on
chapter). foot. Note that quick-thinking targets on foot can
always weave around corners and alleyways through
Rocky Path which most vehicles could never fit (motorcycles
The path is bumpy and rough. A penalty of +4diff
is applied to the leader’s driving (car chase), riding
(horseback), or athletics (foot pursuit) tasks while VEHICLES IN CHASES
traveling along this route. Vehicles not only provide cover for characters,
but some also affect gap tasks, depending on
Busy Path whether the focus of the task is speed (typically
The path is crowded and hinders the speed at in a straight line) or maneuvering (sharp turns
which the sides progress. A penalty of +3diff is and other creative driving).
applied to the leader’s driving (car chase), riding
(horseback), or athletics (foot pursuit) tasks while VEHICLES
traveling along this route.
vehicle speed maneuvering cover

Winding Path Motorcycle -2diff -2diff —

The path is full of sharp turns and prevents a Cart +2diff +2diff —
decent speed. A penalty of +2diff is applied to the Armored Wagon +3diff +2diff 3
leader’s driving (car chase), riding (horseback), or Steam Cart +3diff +2diff —
athletics (foot pursuit) tasks while traveling along Roadster -4diff -2diff 3*
this route. Sedan -3diff +1diff 3
Truck -2diff — 4
Narrow Path Railrunner -1diff ** 5
The path is narrow, but easily traversed. Rowboat/Raft +4diff +1diff —
Schooner -2diff -1diff 5
Wide Path Barque — +3diff 5
The path is wide, making it fairly easy to traverse. Merchantman -1diff +3diff 5
A bonus of -2diff is applied to the leader’s driving Frigate — +2diff 5
(car chase), riding (horseback), or athletics (foot * The cover rating is 2 when the top is down.
pursuit) tasks while traveling along this route. ** Cannot maneuver, as it is stuck on tracks.


and horses may fit), so there are situations when the CHASE HAZARDS
director must improvise, possibly negating this roll hazard
bonus or merely reducing it. 1 Potholes/Cracked Pavement
If the aggressor wins, the gap is reduced by one. If 2 Bad Driver/Playing Children
the target wins, the gap is increased by one. Increase 3 Pedestrians
this change by one for every two overkill achieved. If 4 Oblivious Dog/Child/Undead
the gap is reduced to zero, the chase is over, which 5 Oncoming Traffic
may lead to physical or social conflict (if the targets 6 Construction/Traffic Jammed
are in a car, they can now continue the chase on foot,
Potholes/Cracked Pavement
EXAMPLE The path is cratered, making for a bumpy ride or
Howard is being chased by Kirk on foot through the the possibility of tripping. Each character receives
streets of Selastos. The gap is only 3. Howard uses his one mark of fatigue.
creativity to duck through a hidden alley, while Kirk
uses his fitness to remain steadfast in the pursuit. The Bad Driver or Playing Children
two perform their gap tasks, with Kirk achieving 3 A poorly handled car, horse, or group of children
overkill and Howard achieving 1. Since Kirk wins this suddenly appear in front of the characters. A driving
contested task, the gap is reduced to 1 (3 - 1 = 2 (car chase), riding (horseback), or athletics (foot
contested overkill, for +1 gap). Kirk closes on Howard. pursuit) task is required to prevent hitting another
obstacle while swerving to avoid them. Failure
This process is repeated each turn until the chase indicates a crash (see Other Sources of Damage in the
ends (a gap of ten ends the chase by making the previous chapter), which undoubtedly attracts
distance too great, but this value can vary at the sentinels and is likely to be a crime.
director’s discretion). If a gap task is unsuccessful,
the side then rolls a single die and consults the Pedestrians
Chase Hazards Table. The possible outcomes are Intersections along the path are littered with
listed below. people, requiring the use of a horn or loud voice to
alert them. An awareness-based (car chase or
BLEEDING horseback) or influence-based (foot pursuit)
composure task is required to warn the pedestrians
As an option, the director can declare that in a timely manner. Failure indicates a collision with
injury damage from an attack causes bleeding, as them and the characters receive one mark of mania
is common from a gunshot wound. This bleeding due to the traumatic experience. Failure also means
wound causes the character to sustain one mark that the gap is increased by one if this affects the
of absolute fatigue each turn. A character can aggressor or decreased by one if it affects the target.
suffer from multiple bleeding wounds, each one
inflicting an extra mark of absolute fatigue per Oblivious Dog, Child, or Undead
turn. A first aid or medicine task can be made to A dog, child, or undead runs out in front of the
stop the bleeding—the difficulty is equal to 10, characters. An awareness-based driving (car chase),
plus 2 for each bleeding wound. Bleeding can riding (horseback), or athletics (foot pursuit) task is
also be determined randomly by rolling a die required to avoid running over it by completely
and consulting the table below each time injury stopping. The characters receive one mark of mania
is sustained (the same can be done for fatigue- due to the traumatic experience when failing this
inflicting attacks, at the director’s discretion). task involving a child (the director can choose the
same outcome for other victims). Failure also means
RANDOM BLEEDING that the gap is increased by one if this affects the
type of attack roll needed aggressor or decreased by one if it affects the target.
Bladed or Impaling Weapon 3–6
Bullet, Arrow, or Crossbow Bolt 4–6 Oncoming Traffic
Bludgeoning Weapon or Rock 5–6 A crowded swarm of cars or massive flow of
Fist or Club 6 pedestrians are heading straight for the characters.
An impossible driving (car chase), riding (horseback),

or athletics (foot pursuit) task is required to maneuver
through the traffic, lest they collide with it, receiving RANDOM COMBAT CALAMITIES
injury (see Other Sources of Damage in the previous The following random tables can be used to
chapter). quickly determine the effects of attack tasks that
result in calamities. Roll a die and consult the
Construction Work or Traffic Jam appropriate table.
The characters have no choice but to stop and turn
around. The gap is increased by two if this affects the roll outcome
aggressor or decreased by two if it affects the target. 1 The weapon is out of ammunition and must
be reloaded.
Combat Tasks 2 The weapon jams, becoming useless until it
Characters involved in chases can also shoot can be corrected on a subsequent turn with
firearms or cast spells at each other, but a penalty of a reasoning-based task using a pursuit that
+4diff should be applied. Some vehicles have cover corresponds to the weapon.
ratings that act as both armor and padding. When a 3 The weapon explodes (firearms) or shatters
character in a vehicle with a cover rating is hit from violently (bows), inflicting the character
an attack from outside of it, an abatement roll is with 1 mark of absolute injury.
made using the cover rating. Any damage that 4 The character accidentally shoots an extra
penetrates the cover is then applied normally to the or animal, killing or severely wounding it.
character, using a second abatement roll. Characters 5 The character accidentally shoots an ally;
involved in a foot pursuit can stop running for one damage is applied normally.
turn in order to steady their aim, but this changes 6 The character accidentally shoots himself;
the gap—if the aggressor stops, the gap is increased damage is applied normally.
by one; if the target stops, the gap is decreased by CLOSE COMBAT (MELEE)
one. roll outcome
1 The character drops the weapon, requiring
him to go prone to recover it.
OTHER ACTIONS 2 The weapon is worn and rough from use;
Just about any task is possible during scenes of inflicting a penalty of +1diff to attack
physical conflict. Since turns are used to judge the unless wearing thick gloves.
action, only tasks that can be performed quickly or 3 The character trips over the weapon; he is
over consecutive turns are practical. A few of these overwhelmed and falls to the ground.
tasks are described below. 4 The weapon breaks, rendering it useless.
5 The character accidentally hits an ally with
Quick-Draw the weapon; damage is applied normally.
A character can ready a weapon for use during the 6 The character accidentally hits himself with
same turn with a successful challenging fitness- the weapon; damage is applied normally.
based reaction task.
roll outcome
Reloading 1 The character drops all carried items.
A character can reload a weapon that uses some
2 The character gets dust or dirt in his eyes,
sort of projectile or ammunition in lieu of other
preventing him from attacking next turn.
actions, except walking (this reduces his maximum
3 The character is dazed; -2diff on all attacks
distance for walking by half). This is considered an
made against him for the remainder of this
automatic fitness task.
and the following turn.
As an option, characters can reload automatically 4 The character trips; he is overwhelmed and
when necessary, not counting as an action, except falls to the ground.
when a calamity is rolled for an attack. 5 The character damages his protective wear,
permanently halving its protective values.
6 The character accidentally hits a nearby ally
or himself; damage is applied normally.



The following situations modify the difficulty of
roll outcome certain attacks and related tasks. The director is free
1–2 The character is stunned; consider him to add his own impacts as needed by environmental,
overwhelmed from tension. physical, or mental conditions.
3 The other side sees right through the
character’s actions; future attempts with Encumbered
this side receive +2diff. A character carrying bulky items or an excessive
4 The character becomes sympathetic towards number of items, or otherwise considered
the other side; future attempts for the other encumbered receives a modifier of +1diff to +2diff
side to charm the character receive -2diff. (director’s discretion) on all close combat and
5 The other side feels foolish, viewing the athletics-related tasks. Note that some protective
character as an enemy. wear is bulky, modifying tasks by the specified
6 The other side feels nothing but anger, amount (see next chapter).
becoming violent towards the character.
Hitting Moving Targets
INTIMIDATING Ranged attacks against targets that have moved
roll outcome more than five spaces receive a penalty of +2diff.
1 The character is stunned; consider him
overwhelmed from tension. Hitting Smaller or Larger Targets
2 The other side is only emboldened; future Extremely small, short, or thin targets modify the
attempts to intimidate the other side receive difficulty of a ranged attack by +4diff, since they are
+2diff. much harder to hit. Only slightly smaller than
3 The character loses confidence; future normal targets modify the difficulty by +2diff.
attempts for the other side to intimidate the Conversely, larger than normal targets modify the
character receive -2diff. difficulty by -2diff and very large targets modify it
4 Other people not involved in the conflict by -4diff.
are emboldened; future attempts to intimidate
any of these people receive +2diff. Injury, Fatigue, Tension, & Mania
5 Other people not involved in the conflict Characters who have suffered enough grades of
side with the opponent, viewing the injury receive a penalty on all fitness and awareness
character as an enemy. tasks (see the Health Penalties Table).
6 Everyone but the character’s friends Characters who have gained enough grades of
attack him either physically or verbally. fatigue receive a penalty on all fitness and awareness
tasks only on the first turn of a sequential scene.
NEGOTIATING After that, adrenaline counters this affliction (see
roll outcome
the Health Penalties Table).
1–2 The character gets confused, receiving a
penalty of +2diff on his next task involving Characters who have suffered enough grades of
the other side. tension receive a penalty on all creativity, reasoning,
3 The other side feels like the character is and influence tasks (see the Health Penalties Table).
wasting time and refuses to deal with him Characters who have suffered enough grades of
further. mania receive a penalty on all awareness, reasoning,
4 The other side feels like his time is being and influence tasks (see the Health Penalties Table).
wasted and refuses to deal with the character
5 The other side feels cheated and bad grade penalty
mouths the character in future. 1 None
6 The other side feels nothing but anger over 2 +1diff
the poor negotiations, becoming violent 3 +2diff
towards the character. 4 +3diff
5 Cannot Act

Overwhelmed PARRY
When a character is overwhelmed by an attack, he pursuit rating maximum increase
cannot perform any actions during the current turn. -1 Incompetency 0
A modifier of +2diff is also applied to all tasks 0 Basic Knowledge +1diff
during the following turn. +1 Proficiency +1diff
+2 Specialty +2diff
Poor Lighting +3 Mastery +3diff
If an attack is made in partial lighting conditions, +4 Grand-Mastery +4diff
the difficulty is modified by +2diff. The director is
free to increase this difficulty further for even darker
situations. While total darkness makes ranged attacks Radius (x)
completely unthinkable, a modifier of +5diff can be The weapon creates an effect that covers a radius
applied to close combat attacks in such conditions. indicated by its defined value (in spaces) from where
it strikes. All those within the specified radius of the
Unstable Area attack receive full damage from the weapon, while
When characters perform actions while on those within one space away from the perimeter of
unstable ground or structures, the difficulty can be the radius must make a fitness-based composure
increased at the director’s discretion. Modifiers of task. If this task results in a failure, the victim is
+1diff to +3diff are recommended. knocked to the ground and considered overwhelmed.

Rate (x)
WEAPON GIMMICKS Most ranged weapons can only fire once per turn.
Some weapons possess gimmicks just like Those with this gimmick can be fired more than
characters. The various gimmicks are described once during a turn. The weapon’s maximum number
below, but their effects can be easily ignored for less of shots per turn is equal to its defined value. For
detailed and faster-paced games. instance, a weapon with rate (3) can be fired up to
three times per turn. Each shot fired beyond the first
Ammunition (x) imposes a penalty on the attack task. If the shot is
The weapon can only be used a number of times fired at the same target as the previous use, the
as specified by its defined value before it must be penalty is +1diff; a different target inflicts a penalty
reloaded. of +2diff. Aiming bonuses cannot be applied beyond
the first shot.
The ranged weapon can be fired in a burst of three Spread
rounds. The attack receives a penalty of +2diff. If The ranged weapon’s projectile is composed of
successful, a single die is rolled. Half of the result smaller fragments that fan out when fired, such as
indicates the number of shots that hit the target, with shotgun shells. Rather than using the weapon’s
each inflicting normal damage for the weapon. More damage value beyond point blank range, roll one die
than one burst attack can be made in a turn if the to determine the amount of injury inflicted.
weapon also possesses the rate gimmick (the
maximum number of bursts is equal to the defined Strafe
value of the rate gimmick). The ranged weapon can be fired, strafing an area
over the full course of the turn, during which no
Indirect other actions are possible. The difficulty of the
The weapon is capable of indirect attacks. attack is modified by +3diff. Regardless of success, a
die is rolled to determine the number of non-player
Parry (±x) characters hit within the area of the attack (if
When used by the target of a close combat attack, applicable). If successful, a second die is also rolled—
the weapon modifies the difficulty of the attack by half of its result determines the number of player
the defined value. The target’s competency in the characters also within this area (if applicable). The
melee pursuit limits the increase in difficulty, actual victims should be decided randomly. Another
however (see table below). die is rolled for each target that is struck, with half


Hold Back (Close Combat only)

WEAPON GIMMICKS The character’s close combat attack inflicts no
RANGED WEAPONS physical damage, but the target is clearly rattled,
receiving a number of marks of tension equal to the
weapon gimmicks
relevant pursuit bonus.
Bow & Arrow indirect, ammunition (1)
Crossbow ammunition (1) Blinding Attack (Close Combat only)
.22 Pistol rate (2), ammunition (6) The character’s close combat attack results in dirt,
.38 Pistol rate (2), ammunition (6) or other particles or fluids being cast into the target’s
.44 Semi-Auto Pistol rate (3), two-hands (3), eyes, rendering him temporarily blind. The target
ammunition (6) suffers the same effects as being in total darkness for
Rifle two-hands, ammunition (6) a number of turns equal to the roll of one die.
Shotgun two-hands (4), spread,
radius (½), ammunition (2) Rampage (Close & Social Combat only)
Submachine Gun burst, strafe, two-hands, The character’s close combat or social attack not
ammunition (30) only inflicts damage on his target, but also one or
CLOSE COMBAT WEAPONS more other targets. The number of extra targets is
equal to the relevant pursuit bonus. The extra targets
weapon gimmicks must be within one space of the original target, and
Club, Baton, Machete parry (+1) they cannot be player characters or those essential
Sword, Axe parry (+1), two-hands (3) to the story as defined by the director.
Staff parry (+2), two-hands (3)
Disarm (Close & Ranged Combat only)
the result indicating the number of shots that hit, If the relevant attack pursuit is at least a proficiency,
each inflicting normal damage for the weapon. the character causes his close combat target to drop
Everyone within the direction of the attack receives a weapon or object. A mastery or grand-mastery can,
a number of marks of tension equal to the roll of one at the attacker’s option, destroy the target’s weapon
die. or object. A ranged weapon target drops a weapon
or object only if the relevant pursuit is a mastery or
Two-Hands (x) grand-mastery.
The item requires the use of both hands. The
weapon can be used with one hand only if the Find Vulnerability
character possesses a fitness rating equal to or The character notices a weakness in either the
greater than the defined value. If no value is defined, target’s padding or armor (ranged and close combat
it is too heavy or cumbersome for one-handed use. attacks) or either his will or ego (social attacks). The
target’s protective value (director’s choice) is reduced
by half when making abatement rolls that result
COMBAT EXPLOITS from an attack by the character.
Exploits utilized during combat are very
specialized, and can vary for ranged and close Grapple (Close Combat only)
combat attacks. Only one exploit can be performed The character’s close combat attack results in
per attack. either a locking of the target’s joints, or a pinning of
the target to the ground or against a wall. The target
Boost must make an athletics or brawling task to escape
The character takes advantage of the target’s the grapple, but this can only be attempted on
weaknesses, inflicting an extra number of marks of subsequent turns. The difficulty of the task is equal
the relevant damage equal to the relevant pursuit to 8 plus the character’s fitness rating and double his
bonus. brawling bonus. The target is considered pinned and
cannot move or attack until the task is successful.
Minimize The character can release the target any time he
The character deliberately holds back, inflicting a wishes, however.
fewer number of marks of damage up to the relevant
pursuit bonus (the player decides).

Ready (Close & Ranged Combat only)
The character can immediately draw a weapon HIT LOCATIONS
from his person as a result of his attack. If the As an option, the following table can be used
relevant pursuit is a specialty or mastery, he can to randomly determine the part of the body
conceal or secure one weapon on his person; struck by an attack. Each column is designed to
otherwise, he can drop one weapon. be used for a particular set of situations—the
general column is best for ranged combat or
Loot (Close Combat only) when two parties are brawling on the ground,
The character can perform a quick search of his the upper body column is best for punches or
brawling target’s body. The number of visible items when only the upper-body is exposed, and the
that can be taken from the target is equal to the lower body column is best for kicks or when
character’s pursuit bonus. Alternatively, the character only the lower-body is exposed. An asterisk (*)
can attempt a passive investigation task to locate one indicates that if a particular side of the body is
hidden item on the target. exposed, such as when only half of it peeks out
from cover, it is hit. Otherwise roll another die—
Precision Hit (Close & Ranged Combat only) an even number indicates that the right side was
The character strikes a specific area on the target,
hit, while an odd one indicates that it was the left
such as the hand, shoulder, or head. The location has
the potential to affect damage and pose other threats
to the target. If damage is altered due to the location,
it is done so after an abatement roll is made. The RANDOM LOCATION
director is free to improvise, devising new effects for roll general upper-body lower-body
any location. The effects described with the optional 2 Foot* Hand* Hand*
hit location rules below can also be utilized, if 3 Hand* Arm* Foot*
preferred. 4 Arm* Arm* Stomach
• Arm or Hand: The target drops whatever he is 5 Arm* Shoulder Stomach
holding in the specified hand. Damage is reduced 6–8 Chest Chest Thigh/Hip*
by half. 9 Leg* Stomach Stomach
10 Shoulder* Stomach Leg*
• Leg or Foot: The target must make a fitness task. 11 Stomach Head Leg*
The difficulty of the task is equal to 8 plus the 12 Head Head Leg*
amount of damage inflicted. Failure indicates
that the target is overwhelmed and falls to the
When the head is hit as the result of a close
ground. Damage is reduced by half.
combat attack, a die is rolled, and the table
• Stomach: Damage is increased by half. below is consulted. All difficulty modifiers
• Head: Damage from ranged attacks is doubled. remain in effect until the damage is healed.

roll location effect
1 Face +2diff on Face-to-Face
Influence-Based Tasks
2 Jaw +2diff on Verbal Influence-
Based Tasks
3 Eye +2diff on Visual Awareness-
Based Tasks
4 Ear +2diff on Aural Awareness-
Based Tasks
5 Throat Increase Damage by Half;
Cannot Speak until Healed
6 Skull No Additional Effect


The world of Bloodshadows is a violent and Conjurevids
dangerous place. A smart guy knows to pack the These conjurestones are imbued with images and
right gear for the job before he hits the street. That light that are projected in the air above them,
pistol full of lead might be enough for the average bit providing entertainment or information. The most
of trouble, but that lightning-enhanced rod at the an affordable conjurevid can remain active is two
hip is perfect when walking into a gang of shifters hours. These stones are used by sentinels to display
and demons. suspects to witnesses or preserve crime scenes.
Conjurevids that can be used for recording are not
commonly available, but can be found at about four
GENERAL GEAR times the price. Those pushed by streetsingers are
General gear represents the common items of called newsvids.
everyday life on Marl, although some variations may
be harder to find. Crystal Sets
Along with the more expensive conjurevids,
Lockpick Sets crystal sets are the primary source of communication
Standard tools for picking locks can be easily had and entertainment in Marl’s cities. The sizes of these
from locksmiths or metalsmiths. Lockpickers, on the crystals vary, ranging from large sets in bars, sentinel
other hand, are charged with lockpick spells and can stations, and hospitals to those able to fit in one’s
only be found on the black market—simply stick hand. All basically work the same way: wooden or
them in the keyhole and they do all the work. metal housings are fitted with magically-treated
crystals that allow them to send and/or receive
Pocket Watch messages. Those found in local bars can only
Probably the least-requested item until someone receive—they rent custom crystals from local stations,
needs to know the time is the pocket watch. This making payment on a monthly basis. Sets used by
small, enclosed timepiece fits in a pocket and can be sentinels, as well as handheld versions, both send
secured to a coat or belt loop with the attached and receive.
chain. These sets are designed to receive messages sent
from others fitted with identical crystals. Handheld
Scribepad versions are limited to a range of ten kilometers, but
Scribepads are indispensable tools for sentinels,
larger sets can reach other cities. Broadcasting
detectives, and newscribes. They are used to
between cities is problematic, due to interference
unerringly record any word spoken by a subject. The
from portals and other magics that permeate the
user must be within earshot of the subject for the
Wilderness. This fact keeps couriers in business.
pad to work. Words can be taken down in any
Criminals often find ways to intercept messages not
language. For a little extra, they can also be recorded
meant for them.
in a code known only to the user.
Clothing Glowstones are imbued with light spells, typically
Various forms of clothing may be purchased, from good for roughly six months of continuous use.
casual wear to tailor-made suits and accessories. They come in a number of different sizes—some are
small enough to fit in penlight or flashlight apparatus,
Conjurestones while others are large enough to act as street lamps.
These pieces of polished stone, glass, or rock are The crystals can also be tinted to radiate various
sold as a way for people to cast spells of which they shades for those who prefer colored light (these are
might not normally be capable. Conjurestones are used for the notorious red stone districts in most
no larger than the size of a Human palm, but can cities). Larger stones are normally recharged, but
trigger a spell simply by willing it to do so (some smaller ones are cheap enough to discard.
people prefer a coded incantation to prevent
accidents). The most common types of stones are The light spells charged inside vary. Some activate
conjurevids, glowstones, and heatstones. They vary as soon as someone opens a door or steps nearby,
in price, depending on the type of spell charged into but others need to be activated by the user, often by
them. touching the stone or passing a hand in front of a
panel in the wall.


Heatstones Bones & Hide

These conjurestones are very similar to glowstones, Craftsman take pieces of bone to shape and sew
except that they are charged with spells that allow them into hide as protective wear. Bones and hide
them to radiate heat. Small versions are used as are products of northern cities and very small towns,
lighters and matches, while larger ones can be used where better protection might not be available. They
for cooking food, heating chemicals, or providing are usually fitted for customers, so that the layer of
warmth in the outdoors. bone conforms to their shape. Not having it tailored
is a sucker’s bet, since it will not fit perfectly, causing
the bones to snap with one line of injury or more,
WILDERNESS GEAR reducing its armor rating by one. Shifters never wear
Life in the Wilderness is dependent on a this form of protection for this reason.
combination of the following items. This gear is
cost padding armor bulk
available almost anywhere.
8 2 1 —
mix with leathers, padded
Carry Gear
Backpacks and sacks are important for transporting Padded
other gear, as well as keeping them dry and safe. Padded wear consists of two layers of cloth fitted
with cushioned material between them to absorb
Sleeping Gear shock. It does not help against a slug, but can be
Bedrolls, mats, and tents are vital shelter elements. combined with other protective gear. Padded gear is
Tents keep out rain and wind, bedrolls maintain sometimes heavy, but provides a little extra protection
warmth, and mats promote comfort. to prevent bruising.
Cooking Gear cost padding armor bulk
Fishing tackle and animal traps are necessary for 10 2 — —
mix with any
high-protein foods, while elemental and fire-powered
stoves make them edible and also boil toxins out of Leathers
water. Emergency rations can also be purchased for If nothing else, leathers are stylish. This is mainly a
trips—they keep travelers alive, but do not taste all stiffened and treated leather jacket. Sentinels in
that great. larger cities wear them with shoulder patches to
identify their units over uniforms. These are
Utility Gear sometimes enchanted, depending on budget
Binoculars, lanterns, rope, and grappling hooks restrictions. Leathers are heavier and stiffer than the
make scouting and off-road travel easier, if not typical hide outfits worn by average citizens.
cost padding armor bulk
5 1 — —
PROTECTIVE GEAR mix with any
Various forms of protective wear have been utilized Bronze Alloy
since the early days of Marl. Those who can afford the flashier gear go with
these pieces made from bronze alloy. They offer
Hides & Furs moderate protection, but are heavy.
More commonly found in northern cities, hides
cost padding armor bulk
and furs are better against the cold than bullets.
They provide minimal protection, but are cheap and 100 2 2 +1diff
mix with hides & furs, padded, leathers
double as bedding in the Wilderness or when
homeless. Bulletproof Vest
cost padding armor bulk Another common type of protective gear available
5 1 — — to sentinels, bulletproof vests are sometimes also
mix with leathers, padded, bronze, bulletproof vest available to the general public. They provide good
protection, but are bulky.
cost padding armor bulk
125 2 3 +1diff
mix with hides & furs, padded, leathers

Shields Staff
Shields are not common on Marl, virtually Any tree branch or wood plank that is sufficiently
impossible to find unless made at home. They are rounded, thin, and long can be used to aid in
useful against both melee and ranged weapons, with walking, climbing, or fighting off combatants.
the exception of firearms. cost damage gimmicks
cost damage gimmicks 0–1 +2fat parry (+2), two-hands (3)
? +1fat parry (+1 or +2) Stake
Wood that has been sharpened to a point on one
WEAPONS end is traditionally used against Vampires, but works
equally well against just about every else. In fact,
Melee Weapons unless a Vampire has a vulnerability to wood, the
Unless otherwise specified, most metal melee stake is no more effective than any other implement.
weapons are made of iron or steel. Iron weapons Some believe that the idea of using a wooden steak
cost fifty-percent more than steel, but inflict an extra was perpetuated by Vampires, so people would stop
mark of fatigue when used against beings whose shooting at them. Others think that all Vampires
existence is derived from magic (such as demons). once shared a vulnerability to wooden stakes, but
Club and Baton that they grew a certain tolerance to it over time.
Basic bludgeoning weapons generally consist of a cost damage gimmicks
heavy, wooden stick with a thicker end designed for 4 +1inj —
blunt trauma. Batons are favored by sentinels, as Hammer
they are smaller, and easier to carry and conceal. This tool consists of a heavy, metal head mounted
Clubs are notoriously hard to conceal. to a short, wooden handle. Its main use is that of
cost damage gimmicks driving nails into wood and other materials. Some
2–5 +1fat parry (+1) versions replace the metal heads with softer, stuffed
Blackjack ones for somewhat delicate work (these inflict +1fat
Also called saps, these weapons can be as simple as instead of +1inj).
a sock filled with packed dirt or buckshot. Most cost damage gimmicks
consist of small, black bags filled with two steel balls 5 +1inj —
that are attached to flexible leather handles. Knife, Dagger, and Cleaver
Blackjacks are small enough to be concealed, making There are a variety of small, bladed weapons.
them a quick and quiet way to take someone down Typical knives and daggers are easily sheathed or
before they can raise the alarm. concealed, with ornately-decorated versions utilized
cost damage gimmicks for ceremonies and sacred rituals. Many people
2–5 +1fat — carry knives for basic protection or work. Cleavers
Spiked Club are larger blades, good for both chopping and
Clubs are very nasty when nails are driven through stabbing, but are harder to conceal.
them. This also makes them even harder to conceal. cost damage gimmicks

cost damage gimmicks

3–5 +1inj —
5 +1inj parry (+1) Machete
Brass Knuckles This large, broad-bladed knife is mostly used in the
Brass knuckles can be kept in a pocket and slipped Wilderness for both cutting through dense vegetation
on unnoticed during a fight, significantly increasing and as a weapon.
the damage of a punch. They can be made from cost damage gimmicks
linked metal rings or a solid metal bar with holes 5 +2inj parry (+1)
through which the fingers fit. They are often used by Axe
bouncers and thugs to drive home a message. Flat blades are fitted to long, wooden handles for
cost damage gimmicks chopping wood and people.
10 +2fat — cost damage gimmicks
4 +2inj parry (+1), two-hands (3)


Sword defense in their homes. Almost impossible to conceal

Large swords are extremely rare on Marl. In fact, without the aid of magic, walking around with a rifle
they are practically non-existent, except for a few is sure to get unwanted attention.
settlements too close to the Wilderness or where cost damage short medium long
runeslugs are not available. 40 (1) 4inj 3–12 13–35 36–100
cost damage gimmicks two-hands, ammunition (6)
? +3inj parry (+1), two-hands (3) Shotgun
Firearms This double-barreled piece can easily cut a target
There are no standard brands of firearm on Marl in half. It is particularly deadly when loaded with
due to the difficulty of importing and exporting fireball runeshot, since the scattering effect can set a
goods. All of these guns can fire both normal lead large area on fire.
bullets and runeslugs, even using mixed loads of cost damage short medium long
both. Those with revolving cylinders can fire specific 20 (1) 4inj 3–8 9–15 16–25
bullets by turning the cylinder to the desired position two-hands (4), spread, radius (½), ammunition (2)
(a routine reasoning check is required to remember Submachine Gun
the position of cylinder for the desired bullet). This automatic weapon is typically fired from the
Guns using clips can only fire bullets in the order hip. It is a big favorite among gangs, particularly in
that they were loaded; most users of these guns stay Selastos. Ammo is fed to the barrel via a round
away from mixed loads, sticking to clips with all lead drum. Those loaded with runeslugs are particularly
or all of the same type of runeslug. Clips can always frightening to see at work, as a spray of lighting, fire,
be changed quickly and easily, however. Costs in and impending agony can be imagined and eventually
parenthesis are for the appropriate ammunition seen when the shots begin.
(each slug or shot). cost damage short medium long
.22 Pistol 90 (3) 2inj 3–10 11–15 16–25
The revolving cylinder .22 does not pack the same burst, strafe, two-hands, ammunition (30)
kind of punch as its larger cousins, but is easily Other Ranged Weapons
concealed. It is popular among those who simply
want a little protection. Throwing Dagger
Specialized daggers are balanced to be thrown
cost damage short medium long with accuracy at a target. They are traditionally easy
10 (2) 2inj 3–6 7–10 11–20 to conceal.
rate (2), ammunition (6)
cost damage short medium long
.38 Pistol 3 +1inj — thrown —
This is the most common caliber found on the
streets of most cities. It is also standard issue for Bow and Arrow
sentinels in both Selastos and Galitia. The .38 In its most basic form, a wooden bow is under two
features a revolving cylinder. meters in length. It launches wooden shafts with
metallic heads.
cost damage short medium long
cost damage short medium long
15 (1) 3inj 3–8 9–14 15–20
rate (2), ammunition (6) 7 (5 per 10) +1inj 3–10 11–25 26–60
indirect, ammunition (1)
.44 Semi-Automatic Pistol
The .44 is the most powerful of Marl’s handguns, Crossbow
but is difficult to conceal and uses clips. A crossbow fires a bolt of wood once it is cocked
on its wooden stock. Many are mechanically bent,
cost damage short medium long allowing for stronger pulls and thus greater power.
40 (2) 3inj 3–8 9–15 16–25 Runebolts are extremely popular ammunition for
rate (3), two-hands (3), ammunition (6) crossbows.
Rifle cost damage short medium long
This weapon is primarily used by security teams 15 (10 per 10) 3inj 3–8 9–20 21–50
on Wilderness caravans or to put down riots in ammunition (1)
cities. Collectors also keep them for show or self-

Steam Cart
TRANSPORTATION A popular vehicle in smaller cities like Guildsport,
Marl’s cities are littered with carts, cars, and trucks. this open wagon runs on a back-mounted steam-
Boats and ships can be found around cities with engine that moves the wheels. It is narrow and light
access to rivers or the ocean, such as Galitia or enough to get places that cars cannot go, while
Guildsport. There are no air vehicles on Marl, reaching respectable speeds. Unfortunately, steam
because they are easy prey for Wilderness creatures carts cannot be covered due to the heat radiated by
and magical attacks. the engine. An endless supply of water can keep this
Land vehicles may be beast-drawn, or powered by cart running forever.
combustion, steam, or elemental magic. Boats and cost speed maneuvering cover
ships are powered by oars, wind, steam, or magic. 500 +3diff +2diff —
Vehicles powered by magic cost about fifty-percent
more than others. Roadster
Built for speed and style, this four-passenger
Horse convertible is popular among the rich of Selastos.
A good mount can always give a character the The canvas top can be closed for privacy and better
advantage. Most are trained well, responding to cover*. It is available in either combustion or
simple commands. Some riders utilize commune with elemental models, but the latter is far more popular.
animal spells to keep them happy and cooperative. cost speed maneuvering cover
See Chapter Eight for using horses as creatures. 1,200 -4diff -2diff 2–3*
cost speed maneuvering cover
200–500 — — —
Big, relatively slow, with ample protection, sedans
Motorcycle are used by everyone from middle-income families
Perfect for city streets and Wilderness trails, to crime bosses in the large cities. Steam, combustion,
motorcycles are cheaper than cars, but offer no and elemental models are available; all three are in
protection to the driver. They are not ideal for common use. This car seats five, but two more can
traveling uphill, or through mud or rocky terrain. stand on the outside running boards.
cost speed maneuvering cover cost speed maneuvering cover
500 -2diff -2diff — 1,000 -3diff +1diff 3

Cart Truck
The basic cart is still found in smaller cities and Equipped to handle rough terrain, small trucks can
inland towns, particularly the poorer areas. Almost navigate narrow streets and the larger boulevards of
always drawn by beasts, these open wagons afford cities like Selastos. It can seat two in the cab and
virtually no protection to drivers or passengers, but carry fifteen tons of cargo in the rear. Steam and
have room to carry some cargo in the back. They are combustion models are common in cities, but few
fine for city use, but not recommended for travel in businesses use them in the Wilderness in fear of
the Wilderness. running out of fuel. Elemental-powered trucks are
cost speed maneuvering cover
instead utilized in the Wilderness, with spells
300 +2diff +2diff —
keeping them moving.
cost speed maneuvering cover
Armored Wagon 2,000 -2diff — 4
If a business needs to send goods through parts of
the Wilderness where trucks cannot go, an armored Railrunner
wagon is a good choice. It looks like a covered cart The primary means of mass transit in Selastos,
from the outside, but a spell is cast to provide Galitia, and a few other large cities consists of long,
additional cover. Other spells may also be used for open cars that run on tracks built into the streets.
added benefits. Available in both beast-drawn and They can travel above and below ground, moving
elemental-powered models, it seats two passengers down the middle of avenues to avoid interfering
and can carry cargo in the back section. with automobile traffic. Railrunners are either beast-
cost speed maneuvering cover
drawn (in poorer sections) or powered by elemental
2,000 +3diff +2diff 3
magics. They seat up to forty people, while another
twenty can travel standing.


cost speed maneuvering cover Frigate

75,000 -1diff n/a 5 Frigates are not seen outside of city waters, as they
patrol straits and help traders make it into port. They
Rowboat are primarily military vessels, requiring one-hundred
Going from a ship to the nearest island or across a
men to crew and maintain their twenty-five cannons
calm river is the perfect job for a rowboat. These
and deck guns. Frigates are too big for river travel
come with or without enchanted oars that do all the
and too expensive for most cities to afford.
rowing (affecting price). Rowboats seat two
comfortably, but can hold as many as four. cost speed maneuvering cover
600,000 — +2diff 5
cost speed maneuvering cover
30–50 +4diff +1diff —
Collapsible Raft MAGICAL GEAR
Appearing as a folded tent made of rubber, these Potions
rafts fill with air and expand by spoken command. Spells may be brewed from components and
Use a different command and the air evacuates, so turned into liquid form. The magic is then released
that it can return back to its folded form. When upon drinking the liquid or smashing its container,
expanded, collapsible rafts can fit eight people, but depending on the nature of the spell. Potions may be
paddles are not included. purchased from alchemy shops or created from
cost speed maneuvering cover scratch. More information about them can be found
400 +4diff +1diff — in the next chapter). See page 60 for a list of prices
for common potions.
Being extremely fast and maneuverable, schooners Grimoires
are favored by smugglers and legitimate traders for There are two types of spell books—those
traveling the rivers of Marl. They can carry up to containing a catalog of spells and blank ones. Either
forty tons of cargo and six to eight crewmen. version is invaluable to both its owner and anyone
cost speed maneuvering cover with the capability to cast new spells. Grimoires
200,000 -2diff -1diff 5 should be kept hidden and secure, so that they are
not lost, stolen, or in the wrong hands.
While slow and not very maneuverable, barques Grimoire catalogs provide all the necessary
are just about the largest ships on a river, boasting information for established spells of a single school,
sixty tons of cargo space and a crew of one to two such as necromancy or sorcery. Anyone that is at
dozen men. It is not designed for the ocean, since least proficient in the appropriate casting pursuit
rough seas can play havoc with the hull. Both sails can unleash these spells with a successful task. Some
and oars are provided, the former often charged vendors or spellslingers may offer lower cost
with a month’s worth of spells upon purchase. grimoires that contain a fewer number of spells or
those of less utility. Blank grimoires are essentially
cost speed maneuvering cover
notebooks that allow characters to record newly-
400,000 — +3diff 5
established spells of their own or others they find
Merchantman along the way.
This is the most common vessel among those
brave enough to challenge Marl’s oceans. Spell Scrolls
Mechantmen can carry one-hundred tons of cargo Spell scrolls function the same way as grimoires,
and up to a dozen spell-imbued cannons. As few as except that they provide only one spell. Scrolls are
twenty men can handle this rather ponderous ship— relatively easy to find, but most are dubious in
even fewer when specialized spellslingers man it. quality, often containing homebrew spells that are
not established (see Chapter Six). The director should
cost speed maneuvering cover
introduce these sparingly, either as rewards or plot
300,000 -1diff +3diff 5
devices. They can range in price from one-hundred
to several thousand selasts, depending on quality,
purpose, and legitimacy.

Dreamstones Enchanted Weapons
A dreamstone is a very rare and expensive form of Common weapons may be enchanted with spells.
conjurestone, threaded with gold and purple hues. These may be purchased from specialty shops, shady
Its most basic use is that of a component necessary merchants, or the black market. The costs for many
for some somniomancy spells. Dreamstones can also items are in the hundreds of selasts, but characters
reduce feedback for any spell, whether or not it is a are free to charge their own enchanted items, should
required component (each time a spell is cast while they have the necessary skill. The following types of
holding the dreamstone, its feedback rating is enchanted items are common in the larger cities.
reduced by an amount equal to half the roll of one
die). Runeslugs
Standard lead bullets are good enough for the
Other uses involve dreams. When kept within a average thug on the street, but a little extra is needed
few feet of someone sleeping, he is more likely to when up against something that shapeshifts, shoots
enjoy extra-vivid dreams and restful sleep. Finally, bone spikes, or already died twice this week. That is
when combined with the dreamtrap spell, someone’s when it makes sense to buy runeslugs. These are
dreams can actually be stored within the stone for bullets with magic spells charged into them that
the caster to experience at a later time. trigger when striking a target. They got their name
Dreamstones fade with time and use, generally from the fact that craftsman carve runes into the
lasting up to one year. The gold-speckled areas sides and backs of the shells, so users can tell which
become dull, eventually losing their color completely. bullet is going into the chamber next simply by feel.
Once the gold begins to fade, the stone becomes Virtually any spell can be charged into a runeslug,
unreliable (roll a die: an odd result means that it fails but the popular ones are fireball, lightning bolt, mystic
to function in a given instance). Stones in this chains, and illusory pain. Runeslugs may be charged
condition have been known to prevent dreamers for one or multiple uses. When a character charges a
from waking, rare though it is. The purple areas also runeslug with a spell himself, the difficulty/feedback
darken until finally turning the stone black and of the spell is increased by four (see Creating New
completely useless. Spells in the next chapter). When charging more than
one runeslug at a time with the same spell, the
Dreamdust difficulty/feedback is further increased by two for
Because of the prohibitive pricing of dreamstones, each additional charge. The director must decide
some unscrupulous street vendors offer dreamdust. how to allocate the values between difficulty and
A smear of these finely-ground fragments of feedback. Note that this increase in difficulty/
dreamstones are swallowed (being tasteless, they go feedback can be ignored if the spell is already
down easily). This has no effect until the person falls designed to charge a ward. And since the spell is
asleep. At that time, he experiences vivid dreams. charged into a ward, extra tasks like throwing
These dreams are controllable the first few times something at a target (fireball spell) are not required.
that someone uses dreamdust. After that, the body
builds up a tolerance and the person loses control of A runeslug must inflict at least one mark of injury
the dreams, which turn into nightmares. A person after the abatement roll (they cause the same
can compensate for this by increasing the dosage amount as a regular bullet of the same size) in order
each time the body builds tolerance. for the spell to be triggered. Runeslugs typically cost
about the same as the difficulty rating of the spell
This is effectively a drug that either requires charged into them. Other forms of ammunition,
higher doses or stopping its use. The former method such as shotgun shells, crossbow bolts, and even
can get very expensive. The latter strategy means daggers may benefit from charging spells into them.
losing the ability to fall asleep (the number of doses
required indicates the number of days before his Sentinel Batons
body will actually permit sleep). It should be noted Sentinels often charge spells into the batons they
that dreamdust is harmless when taking one or two carry when patrolling their beats. This is done in a
doses, but the ever-increasing tolerance to it leads similar manner to runeslugs. Common spells include
many to addiction (see the compulsion gimmick). slow, speed, and illusory pain. Whenever the baton
touches a target, the spell is triggered.


The rarest and arguably most powerful form of
magic focuses on time itself. There are no known
schools of chronomancy remaining in Marl’s cities,
although there are rumors of a hidden city in which
it is taught. Some say that sorcery was also originally
taught there, but a handful of the students eventually
left to impart those secrets in larger cities for gold.
It is not recommended for player characters to
begin play versed in chronomancy. A story can be
created around a search for the hidden city (or cities)
in which this school is taught, as well as the tests
they must past in order to earn the right to learn it.

Magic is an important part of daily life on Marl. In
This is the magic that governs fire, earth, air, and
fact, most of its denizens view it in much the same
water. Elementalism is very common in most cities,
way as we view electricity—it is something on which
large and small. Elementalists are essential to a city’s
they depend and something they take for granted.
agriculture and sailing vessels. Many are also
Marl’s cities would grind to a halt should magic
attached to the local law and charged with dousing
blazes, whether natural or supernatural in origin.
Virtually everyone knows some magic, even if it is Rogue elementalists who use their spells for arson
just basic cantrips, the magical equivalent of knowing and spontaneous combustion are hunted down and
how to ride a bike or tie shoelaces. Above them, killed without remorse.
there are people who know a little about a lot of
different types of magic. They are versatile, but not Necromancy
as effective as someone specializing in a particular Necromancy deals with the dead. It consists of
type of magic. It is akin to someone knowing how to either communicating with the dead (through the
change a car tire, unclog a sink, or plaster over a hole afterworld) or raising them from their graves.
in the wall. This does not make them mechanics, Although the average necromancer tells you that his
plumbers, or carpenters, though. Complex issues school of magic is no worse than any other, numerous
require specialists. incidents suggest otherwise, giving it a very bad
Not every kind of spellslinger can be found in reputation. Necromancers often keep their work to
every city. There are some who are so few and far themselves, since few landlords want reanimated
between that encountering them is not very likely. corpses traipsing up and down the stairs. Many
The rarest are chronomancers, somniomancers, and pretend to be elementalists, since it can easily
sorcerers—when one is found, the price is so high explain the clumps of fresh dirt everywhere.
that the average citizen cannot afford to hire him.
There is also a small percentage of Marl’s population The school of photomancy covers all light and
who do not even know a single cantrip. Some are darkness spells. Evenly divided between Order and
simply magically-uncoordinated, never learning the Chaos, the former concentrates on light-based spells
basics. Others are incapable of learning the skills, and the latter on those of darkness. Many
but may have a heightened resistance to magic as a photomancers find employment in the entertainment
way to compensate. industry, constructing light and darkness shows.

MAGIC CASTING PURSUITS Somniomancy is another rare school. It consists of
There are nine schools of magic. Characters are spells that promote sleep and dreaming, potentially
usually only versed in the spells of a few schools at interacting with the dreamworld. While the body is
most. asleep, the mind is freed of the distractions of the
waking world, able to plumb new depths of


knowledge—mainly knowledge of self, but also of as detectives, teachers, guides, exorcists, and a host
reality as a whole. While asleep, a somniomancer has of other occupations. Note that this versatile school
unparalleled control of his own body. He cannot of magic and its practitioners are very often the prey
only heal wounds and diseases, but also send his of powerful Unnaturals that fear their potential hold
consciousness across great distances to view on Marl.
dreaming images of other places and times. While
awake, he can affect the sleep and dreams of others,
whether physically in his presence or over distances. CASTING SPELLS
Tasks performed to cast spells are done with the
Sorcery normal process, except that the appropriate casting
A powerful and relatively rare type of magic, pursuit is combined with an ability determined by
sorcery governs interaction with portals and the theory pursuit used to create the spell.
otherworldly realms. Purchasing the services of a
sorcerer is always a worthwhile investment, especially CASTING ABILITY
if a party is planning a trip through a portal or theory ability
seeking an otherworldly entity. The realms through Alteration Creativity
which characters might pass (or arrive) make Selastos’ Apportation Reasoning
Taxim Quarter look like a social in the town hall. Conjuration Creativity
Having someone who knows his way around a Divination Awareness
bizarre environment can come in handy. Invocation Influence

Technomancy The spells provided later in this section are

Technomancy is typically favored by the considered to be established. That means that they
Oathbreakers of Chaos, as it integrates magic with have been around for a while and have had most of
machinery. Mechanics, weaponsmiths, and the kinks worked out of them.
metalworkers also make use of technomancy on a
daily basis. This is a valuable practice for those who Difficulty
wish to forge their living through mining or tracing A difficulty rating is provided for each spell. Some
stolen, precious metals. may also include special instructions that must be
accomplished for the spell to be successful. This
Vitomancy value is given for spells that have been memorized.
While necromancy is essentially the magic of Using a grimoire to cast a spell modifies the difficulty
death, vitomancy is the magic of life. Just about by +2diff. Note that characters can also over-exert
anything that lives can be affected by the spells from themselves by receiving one line of absolute tension
this school, but the walking dead (like Zuvembies), in exchange for impacting the task by -2diff.
undead (like Vampires), and entities that have never
lived (like demons) are immune to vitomancy—these Casting Time
beings can be affected by wizardry, however. Each spell requires a certain amount of time for
Vitomancy includes spells that heal, alter abilities, the caster to prepare it. While this does not need
and otherwise affect the plant and animal kingdoms. complete concentration in most cases, unrelated
This school also has its darker side, such as the actions may not be performed, preventing the spell
creation of half-breeds and genetic horrors. Many from even getting to the task roll stage. A character
Wilderness creatures would not exist without can choose to spend extra casting time to reduce
vitomancy. Oathbreakers of Order often rely on both the difficulty and feedback of a spell:
vitomancy spells, as the school is bound to nature. • Double the amount of time to impact the task
by -2diff and reduce feedback by two.
Wizardry • Triple the amount of time to impact the task by
Wizardry is the magic of magic, governing not only -3diff and reduce feedback by three.
simple spells, but demons (often via otherworldly
realms) and other Unnaturals who are magical by • Quadruple the amount of time to impact the
nature. It is one of the more powerful, commonly task by -4diff and reduce feedback by four.
available schools of magic, with practitioners working

Since cities can be noisy and dangerous (and the Rituals
Wilderness even more so), it is very possible for a Spells cast together by a number of people are
character working on casting a spell to be interrupted generally considered to be rituals. These utilize the
before he can finish, such as by being attacked, united tasks rule, both increasing the odds of success
taunted, or otherwise distracted. A composure task and reducing feedback. This is a smart way of casting
may be required to maintain focus in these cases. spells, but not necessarily the most efficient, since it
The act of casting a spell is also sometimes pretty means getting all involved parties together in the
apparent, so an opponent is likely to shoot or same place and at the same time. Additionally,
otherwise attack a character to prevent any use of everyone involved also needs to put all required
magic. Distractions are also good ways for the gestures, incantations, and inscriptions to use; and
director to prevent characters from focusing too each caster must use his own required components.
much on magic or trying to game the system.
Special Requirements
Range There are a number of elements that are part of
The maximum distance over which the spell can some spells. These are described below.
be cast is determined by its range. Unless dealing
with large distances, ranges are noted in spaces. If Components
touching a moving target or someone who resists is Some spells require physical objects for part of the
required, an athletics or brawling task can be made casting rite. Without these components, the spell
to do so. The difficulty should reflect the speed of automatically fails. Locating the needed components
the object or be contested by the target character. A for a character’s spells can be an adventure unto
target can try to evade spells that project something itself. Components are sometimes destroyed during
at him (see Movement: Running in Chapter Four). the casting process, depending on the spell. When
If a targeted object under a spell is moved outside the  symbol is displayed with a list of components,
of the range from where it was cast, the magical it means that they are destroyed and cannot be
effects cease. This does not mean that the caster can reused once the spell has been attempted.
move to maintain that range with the object, because
it is where the spell was originally cast that matters. Gestures
It is important to remember than magic manifests as The caster may be required to perform certain
a geographical overlay, rather than centering on the physical actions in order to cast a spell. Without
caster. This restriction does not apply to spells these gestures, the spell automatically fails. Note
directly affecting living creatures, however, as magic that performing certain actions may not only give
seems to pervade their physical forms. Note that the away his intentions, but also make him vulnerable to
undead and non-physical spirits are considered attack by others.
objects for purposes of range.
EXAMPLE One or more spoken words or phrases may be
A spell that directly increases a character’s size, required to cast the spell. Without these incantations,
strength, damage, or armor would remain in effect the spell automatically fails. A character must be
even if he moves outside its initial range. This is not able to speak the words audibly for the spell to
true of spells that affect objects that the character may function. Many incantations are made to pass for
hold or see, or even elements like air or water with normal conversation, since it is tough to be sneaky
which he may interact. If the air that a character when speaking magical phrases.
breathes is the target of a spell and he moves out of
range of the spell, the air he now breathes is no longer Inscriptions
affected. Visible writings may be required to cast the spell.
Without these inscriptions, the spell automatically
Duration fails. If a character cannot write properly, whether
Some spells are instantaneous, unleashing their his hand is broken or tied behind his back, there is
effects and then ceasing. Others may remain active no point in even trying to cast the spell.
for a number of turns, hours, days, or years.


Charges The Spell Effect

Some spells are particularly difficult or require Magic can manifest in any number of ways. Spells
excessive amounts of time in order to be cast. For are the carriers through which magic comes to be.
this reason, many spellslingers cast their spells ahead Common effects include:
of time, storing them in objects or the caster’s own • modifying an ability or ability gimmick
mind. Once a spell is charged in this manner, it can • impacting a task
be released as an automatic task at any time, either • acting as an ability total or difficulty
when the caster desires it or when a certain action • inflicting or healing damage
triggers it (in the case of wards). • increasing a protective value
Wards are charges that are either triggered by a set • creating a structure with integrity
of circumstances or after a designated amount of • calling an object into being
time. There is no need for a character to trigger the • transporting someone or something
charge, since it is an automatic process. It is possible
for someone to avoid a ward by sneaking past it, but Damage
the director should make this difficult (challenging Spells that cause damage as the result of a blast,
or more). kinetic displacement, or physical strike may be
abated using a character’s padding or armor ratings.
Potions are wards in liquid form, requiring some Those inflicting damage through illnesses, diseases,
form of container to hold them. Depending on the or other toxins may be abated with his immunity
spell, they are either triggered by ingesting the rating. If there is no clear physical cause for damage,
potion or shattering its container. this damage may be absolute (no abatement roll can
The players should not be permitted to charge be made), unless otherwise noted—these magical
spells too often during open scenes—too many can effects simply occur and there is usually no way to
seriously unbalance play. As with casting spells, block them. Abatement rolls for tension or mania
there is always something that can distract or are normal practice, but the director may choose
otherwise prevent them from following through that absolute damage is better-suited for a given
with certain tasks. It is a good idea for the director situation.
to keep track of all charged spells and wards, and
also use creative methods to limit the players’ ability Area
to create more. Most spells affect a specific target, but some create
effects that encompass an area. This area is described
Related Pursuits for each spell, often in square spaces or a diameter.
Some spells require additional knowledge beyond When a spell affecting an area must be thrown at or
magic to accomplish. When a related pursuit is otherwise physically hit a target, a modifier of -2diff
designated for a spell, a separate task for that pursuit is applied to this task for every two spaces in
must be performed at the specified difficulty, either diameter beyond the first.
before or after the casting task is attempted (this
depends on the nature of the spell). Illusions
Some spells are illusory in nature. This means that
the effects may be perceived as real, even feeling
real, but they are actually illusions. The spell is
OVERCASTING automatically believed unless a target or observer
As an option, a target that has been affected by states otherwise, calling for an awareness-based
more than one spell at the same time becomes investigation task with the specified difficulty. Player
extremely obvious. This means that it may glow characters can attempt to disbelieve an illusionary
a particular color, radiate heat or cold, become spell if they have reason to suspect it as such, while
translucent, or emit odd sounds. These effects non-player characters should only attempt to
are purely illusionary, as they do not actually disbelieve them when the director thinks it is
change the target’s state. The more spells actively appropriate or they are familiar with the spell.
affecting the target, the more drastic this change If successful, that character is completely immune
is likely to be. The effects are entirely up to the to the effects of the spell, even if it is cast again by
discretion of the director. someone else under the same conditions. While this

does not affect other characters unless they are also
successful at the task, a successful character can
encourage others to disbelieve, modifying their task SPELL FEEDBACK
by -4diff. Anyone who has cast this same spell at
least once is always immune to its effects when cast
by others. feedback Effect
up to 2 None
Movement 3–4 Light Tension
When a spell moves a person or object, its weight 5–6 Light Fatigue
is a factor. Consult the Quick Reference: Distance vs 7–9 Minor Feedback Roll
Weight Tables on page 118 to determine how far 10–12 Moderate Feedback Roll
something can be moved by referencing its weight 13–15 Significant Feedback Roll
with the base distance that the spell moves an 16+ Dire Feedback Roll
object. Distances are listed in spaces and kilometers,
depending on the magnitude. Spells that instantly
transport people or objects, such as those related to roll Effect
invocation and sorcery, are not typically concerned 1 Excessive Tension
with weight, merely the distances involved. 2 Excessive Fatigue
3 Vomiting
EXAMPLE 4 Light Burns
A spell propels an object 20 spaces forward each 5 Loss of Voice
turn. This distance assumes that the object weighs less 6 Simple Luck
than 100 pounds. If it weighs 150 pounds, cross-
reference the 20 column with the 150 row. This yields MODERATE FEEDBACK
an actual distance of 10 spaces per turn. The target’s roll Effect
weight is a literal drag on the spell. 1 Loss of Pursuit
2 Cosmetic Change
3 Memory Loss
Feedback 4 Awkward Posture
Entire neighborhoods are filled with people who
5 Wrong Target
tried to do too much with too little magic and blew
6 Remnant Energy
their brains out the back of their heads. Madness,
mutation, and malevolent miseries wait for casters SIGNIFICANT FEEDBACK
who were not quite good enough to cast a spell.
roll Effect
Whenever a character fails a casting task, the total 1 Physical Change
amount of feedback must be calculated and the 2 Magical Drain
Feedback Table consulted. A second roll may be 3 Magical Hindrance
required on a different table—do not add feedback or 4 Magical Burst
modifiers to the second roll. 5 Teleport
• Determine the spell’s feedback value. 6 Magical Surge
• If the character possesses the allegiance gimmick DIRE FEEDBACK
and the spell is associated with his alignment,
roll Effect
subtract its defined value from feedback.
1 Portal
• If the character possesses the allegiance gimmick 2 Summoned Being
and the spell is not associated with his 3 Combustion
alignment, add its defined value to feedback. 4 Spiritual Shift
If no alignment is associated with the spell, 5 Crater
ignore this. 6 Funneled Energy
• Add one to feedback for every two points of
negative overkill.


• Add two to feedback if double ones were rolled Simple Luck

for the task. The character gains a minimum of luck, allowing
• Reduce feedback by one for each person him to ignore all calamities for one day (double ones
helping cast the spell beyond the lead caster. are ignored, treated as a regular roll even when
determining feedback).
• Roll one die and add the result to feedback.
Moderate Feedback
The spell’s feedback value is 2. Malkin fails his spell Loss of Pursuit
casting task with -2 overkill, so feedback is now 3. He One of the character’s pursuits (of at least a
is neutral, so alignment is not relevant. He rolls a 4, proficiency) is now considered an incompetency. It
adding it to the modified feedback of 3 for a total of 7. may be restored at any time by spending two points
This requires a roll on the Minor Feedback Table. He of experience.
rolls a 1 this time, for a result of “Excessive Tension.”
Cosmetic Change
The director must choose one of the following
Basic Feedback permanent changes or create his own of similar
Light Tension effect. An appropriate ability gimmick may also be
The force of will to cast the spell results in a applied at the director’s discretion.
number of marks of tension equal to half the roll of • The character’s skin changes color in a radical
one die. fashion not typical for his species.
Light Fatigue • The character’s eyes change color to an unnatural
The physical strain involved in casting the spell hue for his species.
results in a number of marks of fatigue equal to half • The character glows faintly, illuminating the dark
the roll of one die. enough to read with minor difficulty.
Minor Feedback • Regardless of how often he washes, the character
attracts excessive dirt and filth.
Excessive Tension
The force of will to cast the spell results in a • The character’s outward appearance changes to
number of marks of tension equal to the roll of one that of the opposite sex of his species.
die. • The character’s ears, eyes, or nose double in size.
Excessive Fatigue Memory Loss
The physical strain involved in casting the spell The character cannot remember any events from
results in a number of marks of fatigue equal to the the last ten minutes, including the casting of the
roll of one die. spell that manifested this feedback.
Vomiting Awkward Posture
The character vomits foreign objects for a number The strain of casting the spell throws out the
of turns equal to the roll of one die. The director can character’s neck and back, resulting in an awkward
choose the type of object, from feathers and blood posture for a week. This causes a penalty of +4diff
to insects and coins. The character cannot perform on all physical tasks during this time.
any actions while vomiting.
Wrong Target
Light Burns The spell is actually cast as if successful, except
Residual energies from the spell course through that its effect is centered on a random being or
the character’s body, singeing all his body hair, object within two spaces of the original target.
which does not regrow. He also suffers from minor
scarring, receiving one mark of absolute fatigue and Remnant Energy
gaining the appearance (-1) gimmick. Remnant magical currents flow through the
character’s body for one day, settling in his nervous
Loss of Voice system. Whenever the character receives any type of
The character loses his voice for a number of hours overwhelming damage during this time, he also
equal to the roll of one die. sustains one line of absolute fatigue.

Significant Feedback Magical Surge
Physical Change A magical surge expands the character’s skill with
The director must choose one of the following the magical pursuit that cast the spell. The pursuit’s
permanent changes or create his own of similar rating is increased by one (up to grand-mastery).
Dire Feedback
• The character grows in size considerably. He
gains the oversized (1), agility (-1), and strength
A hole is ripped open in space, swallowing all
(+1) gimmicks.
loose objects and people within five spaces, including
• The character shrinks in size considerably. He the caster. They are transported to another location
gains the undersized (1), agility (+1), and strength on Marl, time, or even an otherworldly realm.
(-1) gimmicks.
Summoned Being
• The character’s hands double in size. He gains
A dimensional portal opens, transporting one or
the dexterity (-1) gimmick.
more Wilderness creatures to the character’s location.
• The character’s fingers become thin and supple. What the creature(s) does next is up to the director.
He gains the dexterity (+1) gimmick.
• The character grows an extra head somewhere
The character bursts into flames. If two experience
on his body, providing a bonus of -2diff on all
are expended, he survives as a creature of fire;
tasks when the second head’s senses can be
otherwise, he dies. The surviving character remains
utilized. This invites extreme discrimination.
the same, except that he risks igniting any flammable
• The character grows an extra arm that may be materials with which he comes into contact,
used normally. The placement is up to the including other people (inflicting a number of marks
director. He gains the multi-limbed (extra arm) of injury equal to the roll of one die).
gimmick. This invites extreme discrimination.
Spiritual Shift
• The character grows an extra leg that may be
The character’s spirit leaps out of his body and
used normally. The placement is up to the
immediately attempts to take over the body of the
director. He gains the multi-limbed (extra leg)
closest person or creature. He must make a contested
gimmick. This invites extreme discrimination.
influence-based composure task against the target. If
Magical Drain successful, the character casts out the victim’s spirit,
The character inflicts a number of marks of
tension to everyone within a fifteen-space radius
equal to the roll of one die. For every five marks OTHER FEEDBACK METHODS
inflicted after abatement rolls, the character receives
one line of absolute injury or mania (in any As an option, the director can utilize feedback
combination the director chooses). for successful casting tasks, as opposed to just
for failed spells. When doing so, reduce the
Magical Hindrance feedback value by two for every point of overkill.
The character is wrapped in a field of residual This method makes magic even more dangerous,
magical energy that prevents him from casting any so it discourages players from using it too often.
spells for one day. Another option is to inflict a character with
Magical Burst tension for every successful spell that is cast.
Residual magical energy is expelled from the This means that a character casting a spell
character’s body. Everyone within two spaces of him sustains a number of marks of tension equal to
receive a number of marks of fatigue equal to the roll its feedback value, less the amount of overkill. If
of one die. The character is burned all over his body, a spell has zero feedback or it is reduced to less
receiving two lines of absolute injury. than one, no tension is inflicted. If no overkill is
achieved, the character suffers a minimum of
Teleport 1ten, even if the spell has a feedback value of
The character is magically and instantly transported zero. This can limit the number of spells cast for
fifty spaces in a random direction. players who rely on it too heavily.


who immediately takes over the caster’s body. The specialty means that the spell’s effects can be
two characters’ fitness and awareness ratings are delayed up to a number of turns equal to the
switched with each other (any gimmicks affecting character’s relevant ability rating for the task. A
those abilities or appearance are also switched mastery permits the character to completely stop
between the two bodies). If the character does not the spell’s effects before the duration is reached,
succeed at this task within a number of turns equal should it become necessary. Characters with a
to his influence rating, his body dies and he becomes grand-mastery can change the target of spells with
a bodiless spirit. durations greater than one turn—this can only be
done once per spell (the first target no longer
Crater experiences the spell’s effects).
A magical surge creates a crater in the ground,
spanning eight spaces in width where the character Enlarged Effect
is standing. All buildings, objects, and people within The character concentrates his energy to enlarge
the crater are destroyed, including the caster. an effect’s size. Increasing size is typically limited to
Funneled Energy broadening the diameter of an affected area. If the
All magical energies in the region are funneled relevant pursuit is a proficiency, the effect expands it
into the caster for one week. During this time, a by a distance equal to half the radius. A specialty
bonus of -8diff is applied to all casting tasks and five doubles the size of the diameter, a mastery triples it,
is added when rolling on the Feedback Table. and a grand-mastery quadruples it.

Extended Effect
MAGIC EXPLOITS The character concentrates his energy to extend
Magic exploits can vary greatly by effect, so the an effect’s duration. If the relevant pursuit is a
director must use his best judgment when applying proficiency, the duration is increased by half
them. Only one exploit can be performed per task. (multiply the time by 1.5), while a specialty doubles,
While exploits are not recommended for use with mastery triples, and grand-mastery quadruples it.
cantrips, this is left to the director’s discretion.
Minimizing Effect
Arcing Effect The character holds back his energy to lessen the
The casting task not only affects the desired target, strength of an effect, affecting damage, protection,
but also one or more other targets. The number of defined value, or difficulty—decrease one of these by
extra targets is equal to the relevant pursuit bonus. the relevant pursuit bonus. Only one of these
The extra targets must be within one space of the elements can be altered each turn.
original target or within its area of effect.
Realistic Effect
Charged Effect The character concentrates his energy to make an
The character concentrates his energy to magnify illusionary effect seem more real. The difficulty to
the strength of an effect, increasing damage, disbelieve the illusion is increased by the relevant
protection, ability ratings, defined value, quantity, pursuit bonus.
weight, distance, time, size, or difficulty—increase
one of these by the relevant pursuit bonus (values
like weight, distance, and time should be modified as
per the Enlarged Effect exploit, below). Only one of As an option, the director may permit more
these elements can be altered each turn. than one exploit to be performed for a task. For
every two points of overkill over five, the player
Controlled Effect may choose an additional exploit if he expends
The character has greater, but limited control over one experience (that would be one experience
the spell once it has been cast, depending on the per extra exploit).
rating of his relevant pursuit (higher pursuit ratings For more cinematic and fantastical games, one
can also accomplish what lower ratings do). A exploit may be performed for every two points
proficiency allows him to stop the spell before its of overkill. One point of experience must be
effects are manifested, acting as a failsafe when expended for each exploit employed.
unforeseen events require the spell to be aborted. A


Breeze 1 turn 0 1 turn locate objects

instant 3 1 turn light draft Use this cantrip to locate missing keys or other
When a distraction is needed, this cantrip is just small objects within three and a half spaces by
the thing. A light draft blows within three spaces of saying “look.” If successful, the caster immediately
the caster, enough to move a piece of paper or other knows the location of the object.
feather-light object around the area. It could even
unbalance someone (a trivial athletics task would be
needed to maintain balance).
instant touch permanent clean up
COMPONENTS: scented water, clean cloth, comb or brush,
needle, and thread
GESTURES: lay out components neatly
2 turns touch 1 hour small flame
This cantrip causes a small flame to appear on the This cantrip is great for last-minute appointments.
caster’s fingertip. The flame provides illumination Simply lay out scented water, a clean cloth, comb or
just as a candle would and is able to light something brush, needle, and thread in a neat manner. Then
small and flammable like a cigarette, but does not touch the intended target after a successful task to
inflict any damage. tidy his or her hair, clean and fragrance exposed
skin, and mend and clean clothing.
2 turns touch 1 turn freeze an object CASTING RANGE DURATION EFFECT

Freeze water into ice or chill a beer with this 1 turn touch 2 turns heat an object
cantrip, which is popular among bartenders. It cools Melt ice, boil water, or heat coffee quickly with this
just about anything the caster can touch. It even cantrip, which is popular among waitresses. It warms
inflicts 2fat when touching bare skin. just about anything the caster can touch. It even
inflicts 1inj when touching bare skin or just makes
Clean someone uncomfortably warm.
2 turns 5 2 turns dust an object Note
GESTURES: sweeping motion

Make a sweeping motion with the hand and all 1 turn 3 5 minutes leave a note
COMPONENTS: piece of the target
dirt is swept off a single object. This cantrip is
GESTURES: mimic writing
popular with maids.
CHARGES: 1 ward

Compass This cantrip creates a charged ward in the form of

CASTING RANGE DURATION EFFECT a note that remains out of sight until the specified
instant 0 instant recognize north person comes close enough to read it. Creating this
This cantrip is common among Wilderness ward requires the caster to mimic writing something
travelers. When cast, the character instantly on a surface and leaving a piece of the intended
recognizes which way is north. person to trigger it (this could be a hair, nail clipping,
drop of blood, and the like).


Slow Reflexes
1 turn touch 2 minutes -3 on reaction tasks Erode Spell Alteration
GESTURES: wave hands slowly
16 1 turn 10 instant 8
When a slight edge is needed, this cantrip may do EFFECT: reduce spell duration by one hour
the job. The caster must touch the target character, COMPONENTS: two stones, satchel
wave his hands slowly, and say “go slow.” The target’s GESTURES: place stones in satchel
ability total is reduced by three for all reaction tasks INSCRIPTIONS: mark each stone with name of targeted spell
made within two minutes of this spell being cast. This is a powerful spell, as it can stop many spells
instantly. The caster marks two stones with the
Summon Fire name of the spell to be eroded and places them in a
CASTING RANGE DURATION EFFECT satchel. The duration of the target spell (which must
instant touch instant burst into flames
have a difficulty of impossible or less) is reduced by
COMPONENTS: flammable object
thirty minutes (reducing the duration to zero or less
The caster holds a flammable object and wills it to
causes the spell to stop functioning).
burst into flames. If successful, the object continues
to burn normally until it is consumed or the fire is Recognize Corpse Divination
extinguished. The flames may also inflict damage to DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
anyone coming into contact with them, depending 12 2 minutes 0 1 turn 8
on how strong they are. EFFECT: turn
back appearance of corpse to when it was alive
Summon Metal Object GESTURES: mold clay to look like a heart
instant touch 10 minutes conjure small object
Sentinels use this spell to determine the identity
This cantrip conjures a small, metal object into the
of murdered, rotted corpses. The caster molds some
open hand of the caster. This could be a pistol or
clay to look like a heart and says “be seen as you once
lump of iron. While the object is real, it vanishes
were.” If successful, the appearance of the target
once the spell ceases.
corpse rolls back to what it was up to six years
Sustenance previously for one turn (the caster decides the
CASTING RANGE DURATION EFFECT number of years when casting the spell).
5 turns 0 3 hours conjure bread/water
COMPONENTS: woven napkin, metal cup
Sense Past Divination
GESTURES: cover cup with napkin, shake them repeatedly
12 1 hour 0 5 turns 10
The caster covers a metal cup with a cloth napkin,
EFFECT: view events from area’s past
and shakes them repeatedly to conjure a loaf of
COMPONENTS: history book, candle, blank sheet of paper 
bread and fill the cup with water. They provide
GESTURES: light candle
proper sustenance when consumed within the hour.
INCANTATIONS: “Be seen again, for your time is past,

Writing Pen yet it is now.”

INSCRIPTIONS: write number of preceding years to see
2 turns 3 10 minutes dictate to pen The caster lights a candle, writes the number of
COMPONENTS: pen made from gold preceding years to view (up to fifty), and says “be seen
INCANTATIONS: “From my mind to my hand, from my hand
again, for your time is past, yet it is now.” An area five
to the pen.” spaces wide appears as it did the specified number
The caster says “from my mind to my hand, from my of years in the past. The difficulty changes, depending
hand to the pen” while holding a gold pen. Then he on how many preceding years are chosen beyond
can dictate whatever it is he wants written and the the first (up to three: +2diff, up to six: +4diff, up to
pen does the work on any surface available. While ten: +6diff, then an additional +2diff for every five
the handwriting is slightly neater than his own, any years thereafter). Only the caster can see the events
spelling mistakes he would make are still present. unfold, but he cannot interact with them—any such
interaction is with the present-day area.

eight (lbs) 2
w 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250
<100 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250
100 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150
125 — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125
150 — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100
175 — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75
200 — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50
250 — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40
350 — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30
500 — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20
600 — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15
700 — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12
800 — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10
950 — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6
1,100 — — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4
1,250 — — — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3
1,400 — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2
1,600 — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 1

Sidestep Apportation Cover an object weighing up to two-hundred

DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK pounds with a linen sheet and it disappears, being
14 5 minutes 0 10 minutes 6 sent ten minutes into the future. The object appears
EFFECT: move caster one turn ahead for duration ten minutes after the spell is cast in exactly the same
A lot safer than hiding out in a portal, since they place as it started.
are often home to dangerous creatures, this spell
continuously propels the caster forward in time by
one turn for the duration. This keeps him out of
phase with those in normal time. During this period,
he can prepare spells, read, or perform other actions,
but not interact with his surroundings. He returns to
the same location in which this spell was cast when
it ceases to function.

Temporal Fires Alteration

14 2 turns 10 instant 4
EFFECT: reigniteold charcoal into flames
COMPONENTS: old charcoal
GESTURES: throw charcoal at target
The caster throws an old piece of charcoal at the
target, requiring an athletics task to hit (short range
is 3–4, medium is 5–7, and long is 8–10). The charcoal
returns to its earlier state of being red hot and highly
flammable, so a successful hit inflicts 6inj.

Waiting in Time Apportation

16 2 turns 3 instant 0
EFFECT: send object ten minutes into the future
COMPONENTS: linen sheet
GESTURES: cover object with sheet



eight (lbs) 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km
w 8km 10km 15km 20km 25km 30km
<100 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km 10km 15km 20km 25km 30km
100 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km 10km 15km 20km 25km
125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km 10km 15km 20km
150 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km 10km 15km
175 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km 10km
200 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km 8km
250 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km 6km
350 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km 4km
500 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km 3km
600 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km 2km
700 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km 1.6km
800 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km 1.2km
950 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400 1km
1,100 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250 400
1,250 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150 250
1,400 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125 150
1,600 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100 125
1,800 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75 100
2,000 — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50 75
3,000 — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40 50
4,000 — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30 40
5,000 — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20 30
6,000 — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15 20
7,000 — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12 15
8,000 — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10 12
9,000 — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6 10
10,000 — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4 6
15,000 — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3 4
20,000 — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2 3
25,000 — — — — — — — — — — — — 1 2
30,000 — — — — — — — — — — — — — 1

Air Barrier Conjuration


Acid Bath Alteration 16 1 hour 10 10 minutes 6

EFFECT: integrity(padding/armor 5, threshold 5)
GESTURES: sculpt wall out of air 
14 1 turn 50 1 turn 4
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Order
EFFECT: inflict 4inj
This invisible wall not only acts as cover (except
COMPONENTS: handful of water 
that anyone behind the wall can still be seen), but
can also confuse anyone trying to get past it—this
All this spell needs is a handful of water and a has been known to stump far too many Hugors. The
streak of sadism. Put the water in a bucket, bottle, or wall is five spaces wide by five spaces tall, with a
palm of the hand and toss it at the target, requiring thickness of about one space. Its integrity consists of
an athletics task to hit (short range is 3–15, medium armor and padding ratings of 5 and a threshold of 5.
is 16–34, and long is 35–50). The water changes into The caster requires one hour to create this spell by
a corrosive that inflicts 4inj. shaping it out of air as a charge that may be released
at any time.

All Wet Conjuration Clean Air Alteration
12 2 turns 10 20 seconds 0 16 2 turns self 30 minutes 6
EFFECT: inflict
3fat EFFECT: removetoxins from air that caster breathes
COMPONENTS: quart of water and squeezable container  COMPONENTS: bag of salt, flame 
This spell requires a quart/liter of water in a GESTURES: put hand over mouth, ignite bag with flame,
container that can be squeezed to produce a spray. breathe deeply
As the spell is used, the caster squirts the water onto This is a handy spell when around noxious fumes
his hand, letting it run off in the direction of the and other dangerous toxins. The caster covers his
target. The volume and force behind the water spray mouth, ignites a bag of salt with a flame, removes his
increases dramatically. The caster can control the hand, and breathes deeply. When successful, this
direction of the spray with movements of his hand. spell counters up to five marks of injury each turn
A contested athletics task is required to hit the from poisonous gas as it is inhaled.
target, since he can try to dodge the water. If
successful, the target receives a penalty of +2diff on Dust Devil Conjuration
all actions for four turns and sustains 3fat. DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
16 2 minutes 25 1 minute 8
Arms of Marl Alteration EFFECT: blinding winds
18 1 turn 3 1 minute 8 GESTURES: spin in a circle
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Order INCANTATIONS: “Release”
EFFECT: improbable athletics or brawling task to avoid/escape The caster spins in a circle with a bag of dust and
COMPONENTS: patch of dirt yells “release” to summon available winds to form in
GESTURES: raise both hands in air a small cone. The wind blinds everyone within three
When cast on a patch of ground that is primarily spaces, makes verbal communication impossible,
dirt while arms are raised in the air, a pair of large and scatters loose objects. Anyone within four and a
arms sprout anywhere within range, grabbing half spaces of the cone must make an athletics task
anything the caster desires. The arms can also move with a difficulty of 17 each turn it is active to prevent
up to two spaces per turn within range. An becoming overwhelmed (and knocked to the ground,
improbable athletics or brawling task must be made if standing).
to avoid being grappled by the arms, which have a
padding/armor rating of 4 and threshold of 5. Elemental Dagger Conjuration
Carrying Wind Apportation 12 1 turn 10 1 turn 6
16 10 minutes self 30 minutes 6 COMPONENTS: knife 
EFFECT: levitates
and moves caster in air This is the perfect spell when a caster has nothing
COMPONENTS: open area outside left up his sleeve. Elemental energy surges into the
GESTURES: mimic flying caster’s knife, which is then consumed, projecting a
CHARGES: 5 magical blast at the target that inflicts 3inj. A glowing
The caster merely pretends to fly in the open air, dagger appears at the point of contact.
generally looking stupid, to create five charges of
this spell. When released, the spell causes a wind to Explosive Rune Conjuration
rise, lifting the caster a few feet into the air. The DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
character can control the direction of the wind and 14 10 minutes 0 instant 0
its speed (a maximum distance of fifteen spaces)— EFFECT: 5inj
consult the Quick Reference: Distance vs Weight Table COMPONENTS: patch of dirt
to determine how far the wind moves him each turn. GESTURES: move hands up and down page, jerk hands
away as if shocked, and drop book
INCANTATIONS: “If the wrong eyes see this, burn them out.”
CHARGES: 4 wards


A layer of magic is laid onto the page of a book or Freeze Alteration

other document as a ward by the caster moving his DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
hands up and down the page, jerking them away as 10 5 turns 25 instant 2
if shocked, dropping the book, and saying “if the EFFECT: coldair, inflict 5fat
wrong eyes see this, burn them out.” If successful, this GESTURES: shivering motion and then blow air at target
ward becomes the magical equivalent of a time INCANTATIONS: blowing sound
bomb four times over (once for each charge). Should The caster mimics a shiver running down his spine
the eyes of a sentient being touch the page without and ejects a big blast of breath to cast this spell. If
speaking a special password designated by the successful, cold air slams into the target, lowering
caster, the magic releases its fury as a bright flash the temperature, extinguishing flames, freezing
and fiery explosion, inflicting 5inj to anyone within liquid, and inflicting 5fat (use padding or armor
a half space of the page. The book is not affected by rating for abatement roll, whichever is higher).
this blast. This spell can be cast for every page of a
book for the ultimate in protection. Ice Dagger Alteration
Fireball Conjuration 10 1 turn 10 1 turn 0
12 1 turn 25 1 turn 2 COMPONENTS: handful of water 
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos GESTURES: hold water in hand and throw
EFFECT: inflict 4inj Just grab a handful of water and pitch it at a target.
COMPONENTS: open flame It freezes into a sharp, little dagger along the way. An
GESTURES: shape and throw athletics task is required to hit (short range is 3–4,
INCANTATIONS: “Burn” medium is 5–7, and long is 8–10), inflicting 3inj.
This spell requires an open flame, such as a match,
campfire, lantern, or blazing tenement. The caster Purify Alteration
gestures as if grabbing some of the fire and shaping DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
it into a ball. This is followed by shouting “burn” and 16 3 hours 0 1 day 8
throwing a fireball at the target, requiring an athletics EFFECT: healup to 4inj due to toxins, +3 immunity
task to hit (short range is 3–10, medium is 11–16, and COMPONENTS: water, specialty tea leaf, fire 
long is 17–25). Successful hits inflict 4inj. This is a GESTURES: brew components over fire
good spell for defending oneself inside a city, as CHARGES: 1 ward
there is no blast radius. Brew the water and tea over a fire to create a
potion. When someone drinks the potion, up to four
Fog Alteration marks of injury that were caused by any toxin is
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK removed. Additionally, the target’s immunity rating
11 2 turns 0 1 minute 2 is increased by three for the duration of this spell,
EFFECT: +6diff on all vision-related tasks, automatic illusion ready to tackle most poisons.
COMPONENTS: bucket of water
GESTURES: spill water on ground Pyre’s Flickering Fire Shield Alteration
A little fog can go a long way to get lost before DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
things get hot, sneak around someplace without 14 5 turns touch 30 minutes 2
being spotted, or avoid the person you woke up with EFFECT: +6diff for all fire-related spells affecting target
this morning. The caster holds a bucket of water and COMPONENTS: flame
then pours it over the ground while casting this GESTURES: pass hand through flame and touch hand of target
spell. If successful, the water turns to vapor and The caster passes his hand through a flame and
billows forth into a dense fog, which completely fills then touches the hand of the target. If successful, a
a sphere of five spaces in width. The fog is dense, but barely visible flicker of flame radiates from that hand
evaporates immediately after the spell expires. in the shape of a shield. The difficulty of all spells
Anyone within the fog or attempting to see through involving fire targeting the affected character are
it receives a modifier of +6diff on all tasks involving modified by +6diff.
vision. This spell is automatically disbelieved if
suspected of being an illusion.

Shards of Ice Conjuration
Some places are steeped in magical power, 18 1 turn 10 1 turn 10
whether a result from the Godwar or excessive EFFECT: inflict
spell casting. As an option, some of these GESTURES: trace a circle in the air
locations may favor or oppose particular Upon tracing a circle in the air and successfully
alignments, schools, theories, or even all forms casting this spell, a thin sheet of ice momentarily
of magic. For example, one area may provide a appears. The ice then shatters and the shards fly
bonus of -2diff on all divination spells, another towards the target, inflicting 7inj. This is a good spell
may cause a penalty of +4diff on all Order spells, when time is a factor.
and yet another may reduce feedback by half.
The application and association are decided by Shatter Wall Alteration
the director, but this should be done sparingly. DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
16 2 turns touch instant 8
EFFECT: inflict
10inj on wall
COMPONENTS: piece of glass and piece of stone 
Quicksand Alteration
GESTURES: touch stone or wall to be affected
INCANTATIONS: “They don’t make them like they used to.”
16 1 hour 10 1 hour 4
Place a piece of stone on the ground and smash a
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Order
piece of glass on it, crushing any remaining glass
EFFECT: improbable athletics task to escape
fragments on the rock. After reciting “they don’t make
COMPONENTS: dirt and water 
them like they used to,” the caster touches the target
GESTURES: mix dirt and water
stone or wall. The director can either make a one-
space section of wall brittle or inflict 10inj on it,
Mix water with dirt for an hour and make a lot of
depending on his preferred level of detail.
mud to charge two spells. When triggered, the spell
turns a three-space diameter of ground into Shield of Marl Apportation
quicksand. People sink in it very quickly, requiring DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
an improbable athletics task to escape or assistance 16 2 turns touch 30 minutes 6
from others. Anyone stuck in it suffers two marks of EFFECT: integrity (padding/armor 3, threshold 4)
fatigue each turn. COMPONENTS: clumps of dirt
GESTURES: squeeze a clump of dirt in hands and then
Refill Conjuration
drop it to the ground
Upon squeezing some dirt in the caster’s hands
12 1 hour touch 2 weeks 4
and dropping it back to the ground, a shield of one
EFFECT: refill
up to 2,800 ounces
space in height rises in front of him. The shield has
COMPONENTS: drops of water, wine, and blood 
armor and padding ratings of 3 and a threshold of 4.
GESTURES: raise vessel over head and down five times
It remains where it rose until either destroyed in the
This spell is cast on a drinking vessel or anything
normal manner or the spell expires.
that holds fluids by first placing a drop of water, drop
of wine, and drop of blood in it. The caster then Summon More Fire Invocation
raises the vessel above his head with both hands and DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
lowers it to his waist, repeating five times. Once the 16 instant touch 5 turns 6
spell is successfully cast, the vessel is refilled with EFFECT: burstinto flames; inflict 5inj
the last fluid it contained once completely drained COMPONENTS: flammable object 
and placed on a flat surface. The spell lasts for up to This is a deadlier version of the summon fire
two weeks or until 2,800 ounces is refilled (most cantrip. The caster holds a flammable object and
cups and glasses hold between six and twelve wills it to burst into flames. If successful, the object
ounces). Cleaning the vessel requires being held on continues to burn normally until consumed or the
its side—if it dries before being placed on a flat fire is extinguished, but the flames are larger than
surface to refill, the last fluid is considered whatever they should be for five turns, capable of inflicting
was in it before the cleaning. 5inj when coming into contact with someone.


Tar Pit Conjuration

14 30 minutes 0 10 minutes 2 Animate Dead Alteration
EFFECT: pool of tar; +10diff to move or keep balance
COMPONENTS: charred wood, black rock, fire 
17 10 minutes 3 1 hour 7
GESTURES: brew components over fire
CHARGES: 1 ward
EFFECT: create animated corpse
Brew some charred wood and a black rock over a COMPONENTS: a complete corpse
fire to create a potion. When thrown at a target or INCANTATIONS: “I command you to rise.”
the vial in which it is carried shatters, tar fills a INSCRIPTIONS: arcane symbols on head and every limb
diameter of five spaces on the ground. A modifier of FOCUS: target corpse
+10diff is applied to anyone within the tar pool Upon inscribing arcane symbols on a fully-formed
attempting to maintain balance or otherwise move. corpse’s head and limbs, and saying “I command you
to rise,” that dead form stands and obeys two-word
Wall of Air Alteration
commands by the caster (such as lift bag or hit him).
Since this is focused on the corpse, it can leave the
15 3 hours 3 2 minutes 5
caster’s presence while the spell is active. The
EFFECT: integrity(padding/armor 5, threshold 7)
director is free to determine how and if the animated
GESTURES: stand on furniture, sculpt wall out of air
corpse can learn pursuits, but it cannot speak. It may
wear clothing or armor at the caster’s direction. All
This spell creates an invisible wall out of air, which
animated corpses possess the immortal (expiration of
acts as cover (except that anyone behind the wall can
spell) gimmick and the following ability ratings:
still be seen). The wall is three by three spaces in
size, but the shape is up to the caster. Its integrity Fitness Awareness Creativity Reasoning Influence
can be tracked if needed—the wall has armor and 2 1 0 1 0
padding ratings of 5 and a threshold of 7. This spell
is time-consuming, as it requires the caster to stand
on top of whatever furniture is present and gesture
The following potions are common in many
like he is sculpting a wall out of air for three hours.
cities. They may be purchased from alchemy
Once successfully completed, the caster has four
shops or created from scratch (the individual
charges that can be unleashed whenever needed.
spells can be found in this chapter).
Windstorm Apportation Eagle Eyes: increases a character’s awareness
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK to incredible heights; costs 25 selasts.*
16 2 turns 3 instant 2 Power: increases a character’s physical
EFFECT: impossible athletics task to resist strength; costs 35 selasts.*
GESTURES: spin in place Razor’s Edge: coats a blade with a toxic layer;
This spell can buy some time in a tight spot. The costs 35 selasts.
caster whirls himself around like a kite in a gust. Revitalize: removes fatigue; costs 50 selasts.*
When finished, a stiff breeze knocks over his target, Smoke Screen: fills an area with darkness,
who can resist it with an impossible athletics task. making visibility virtually impossible; costs
Failure to resist means that he receives a number of 50 selasts.
marks of fatigue equal to his task’s negative overkill.
Stabilize: stabilizes a character’s wounds;
costs 40 selasts.*
Stench: fills an area with an otherworldly
stench; costs 30 selasts.
Tar Pit: creates a pool of tar, making
movement difficult; costs 35 selasts.
Toughen: increases a character’s physical
protection; costs 80 selasts.*
* Potion does not affect demons or the undead.

Animate Things Alteration is transported into its corpse, which he can use to
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK talk and move for one hour with the bare minimum
20 2 turns 3 2 minutes 10 ability required to do so. Anyone can now
EFFECT: create animated limbs communicate with the spirit, although it is not
COMPONENTS: up to four hands, arms, legs, or necessarily inclined to cooperate.
extremities from a corpse
GESTURES: make squiggly motion with hands Caustic Cloud Conjuration

FOCUS: target limbs 18 1 minute 10 1 hour 14

This is one of those creepy spells that nobody EFFECT: cloud that causes 3inj and +3diff on
wants to experience. The caster targets up to four all awareness tasks
limbs within three spaces, wriggles his hands, and COMPONENTS: slime beans 

says “go forth and live.” If successful, the limbs come to GESTURES: eat beans

life, attacking anyone opposing the caster. Allocate four After the caster eats a bunch of slime beans, a
points among each limb’s fitness ability—one limb cloud of noxious gas affects anyone within its
would have a fitness rating of 4, two could each have 2, perimeter (eight spaces wide) by inflicting 3inj
or four could each have 1, for example. All other abilities (abated by immunity) and causing +3diff on all
are rated at zero. The limbs can wriggle, crawl, or roll awareness-based tasks.
towards their opponents whom they can trip, grab, claw,
or otherwise attack or impede. Corpse Rot Conjuration

Armor of the Dead Alteration 18 2 minutes 10 1 week 10

5inj, rot and stench (2) gimmicks
16 1 minute 0 12 hours 4 COMPONENTS: grave soil and human ash 

EFFECT: meld dead flesh to caster’s own for protection GESTURES: point at target while holding soil and ash

COMPONENTS: flesh of a dead creature INCANTATIONS: “Rot and crumble, you might as well be dead.”

INCANTATIONS: “Living as I may, your death now has purpose.” The caster holds human ash and some soil from a
Upon saying “living as I may, your death now has grave in his hand, while pointing at his target and
purpose” over the flesh of a dead creature, it melds saying “rot and crumble, you might as well be dead.” When
with the caster’s own skin. No one else can be successfully cast, the target not only receives 3inj,
within two spaces of the caster, nor can he wear but also gains the rot and stench (2) gimmicks for the
anything considered protective wear (although, he duration of the spell.
can wear it once the spell is cast). This flesh increases
his natural padding and armor ratings by three. The Create Skeletal Thug Alteration
melded flesh rots, eventually causing a foul stench
after about ten hours (+2diff on all influence-based 22 3 hours 3 1 week 16
EFFECT: create skeletal thug
tasks and -2diff to detect the source of the smell).
COMPONENTS: fresh Human skull, Human blood 
Since the caster has to live with the constantly-
GESTURES: complicated ritual with lots of finger gestures
putrefying flesh, he receives a penalty of +2diff on
INCANTATIONS: long passages about the person being
all smell-related tasks.
brought back, “come forth and do the job I have set
Call Dead Invocation for you.”

15 1 hour 3 1 hour 7 into the skull

EFFECT: summon spirit from the afterworld into its corpse FOCUS: caster

COMPONENTS: spirit’s corpse, cloth This is a very complicated spell. The caster must
GESTURES: sew cloth above corpse’s heart first locate a fresh Human skull and a bit of Human
INSCRIPTIONS: name of spirit/corpse blood. He begins the ritual in a graveyard on a
FOCUS: corpse moonless night by carving both the name of the
The caster writes the name of the spirit/corpse spell and corpse into the skull. Once that is done,
onto a piece of cloth and sews it into the flesh above the caster holds and stares at the skull, performing a
the corpse’s heart. If the spell is successful, the spirit series of special finger movements. He then recites


long passages about the corpse, requiring a complex Leech Conjuration

oratory task to remember and say it properly. As the DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
spell nears completion, he drips the blood on the 17 1 turn 3 1 minute 9
skull, drops the skull, and says “come forth and do the EFFECT: effectssimilar to physical drain gimmick
job I have set for you.” If successful, darkness appears COMPONENTS: live leech 
to flow from nearby graves towards the skull, the GESTURES: mime drawing life from the target and
ground rumbles, and a skeletal thug emerges from then hurl leech at him
the dirt. The thug is clad in a ruined trenchcoat and Note that this spell explains why carrying a leech
weapon of the caster’s choice. The thug does its best is a felony in some cities. The caster moves his hands
to protect the caster, always remaining within three as if drawing energy from the target and then hurls
spaces of him. The skeletal thug possesses the a live leech at him. The caster inflicts the target with
following ability ratings (it has no pursuits by default, 5fat and can apply any two of the effects below to
but the director may add them based on the amount himself:
of overkill or applied exploits): • Reduce his own fatigue by one mark.
Fitness Awareness Creativity Reasoning Influence • Reduce his own injury by one mark.
4 3 1 2 1 • Increase his fitness rating by one for the
Disease Invocation duration of this spell.
• Increase his awareness rating by one for the
18 30 minutes 50 3 years 12 duration of this spell.
EFFECT: bind demon to target, who becomes infected • Increase his base physical damage by one for
COMPONENTS: black worm silk, object belonging to target 
the duration of this spell.
GESTURES: hold and break an object belonging to target, Rot Alteration
INCANTATIONS: “You don’t look so good.” 16 1 turn 50 instant 4
The caster holds and breaks an object belonging to EFFECT: inflict
7inj on undead
the target character, spreads out the pieces while COMPONENTS: rancid baby flesh 
holding some silk from a black worm, and says “you GESTURES: point at the target
don’t look so good.” If successful, a Soul-Blight demon INCANTATIONS: “Time’s ravages take you.”
is summoned and bound to the target, who must Pointing at the target with rancid baby flesh
have an influence and composure total of 8 or less (which is really hard to find) and saying “time’s
(+2diff for each point above 8). The demon ravages take you” unleashes this spell if successfully
introduces an illness to the target of its own choosing, cast. The target, which must be an undead creature,
something fitting and of which the character has no sustains 7inj. This damage does not puncture or
predisposition to combat—the director should burn, but it does cause the target’s flesh to melt and
choose an illness to enhance the story, but the drip to the ground. Sentinels often use this spell
character must succumb to its effects with fatigue, against Taxims.
injury, and/or other possible side effects. No overkill
on the casting task may indicate the common cold, Speak to Dead Invocation
while four overkill could cause something serious DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
like pneumonia, and six or more may mean that it is 15 1 minute 0 10 minutes 3
eventually fatal. A little bit of overkill could mean ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
that the target may be healed normally, while lots of EFFECT: improbable influence-based composure task
overkill may require magical healing. for spirit to resist
COMPONENTS: object linked to the deceased spirit
The caster holds an object that was close to the
target spirit while it was alive (a book, wedding ring,
or trinket, for example). If the spell is successful, the
spirit is lured to the caster, although it may resist
with an improbable influence-based composure task
(assign it influence and composure ratings based on
the original living persona). The caster can ask the

spirit a number of questions equal to his influence
rating. This spell does not guarantee that the spirit PHOTOMANCY SPELLS
will cooperate with the caster or answer truthfully.
Charming or intimidating tactics may need to be
Blight Conjuration
employed to get the desired answers.
18 12 hours 0 6 months 16
EFFECT: createan area of darkness
Stiff Alteration
GESTURES: walk perimeter of desired area at night,
10 1 turn 3 1 minute 0
EFFECT: +6diff on all fitness-based tasks involving moving sprinkling salt; then walk to center, lift arms
COMPONENTS: finger taken from a body with rigor mortis 
and drop them as if drawing down a veil
GESTURES: make free-flowing motions and then suddenly
The caster must walk around the perimeter of a
freeze in a locked position circle (eighteen spaces in width) at night, sprinkling
INCANTATIONS: “Joints lock up. Muscles on strike.
salt on the ground as he goes. A challenging
Stop moving.” awareness-based athletics task is required for the
This spell was originally created to stop Skeths in circle to be accurate enough for the spell. Once that
their tracks. By making a free-flowing motion while is completed, he walks to the center of the circle, lifts
holding a finger taken from a body in which rigor his arms, and then drops them as if pulling darkness
mortis has set, suddenly stopping, and saying “joints, from the sky. If successful, darkness fills an area of
lock up, muscles on strike, stop moving,” this spell eighteen spaces in diameter and six spaces in height.
causes a target’s joints to lock. Not only does this This area blocks all forms of light—a penalty of
prevent a target’s blur and similar gimmicks from +8diff is applied to all spells that create light.
working, it also impacts all of his fitness-based tasks This spell was originally created to kill all plant-life
by +6diff in which even the slightest movement is dependent on sunlight. While it does not directly kill
required. animals, those remaining in the area once their food-
sources have died, share the same fate as the plants.
Winds of the Dead Conjuration
EFFECT: damaging cloud (2inj) 12 1 turn 10 4 turns 2
COMPONENTS: ash from a Human corpse ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
GESTURES: blow ash from hand EFFECT: vision (-5)
INCANTATIONS: “Winds are like the dead.” COMPONENTS: small silver mirror 
Once the caster blows Human ash from his hand GESTURES: cover eyes and point mirror at target
and says “winds are like the dead,” a two and half This spell can buy enough time to skip out on
space-wide whirlwind rushes straight towards the danger without causing sentinels to come knocking.
target. Both the target and anyone in the way receive The caster places his hands over his eyes for a
2inj, +2diff on all vision-related tasks, and +1diff on second and then points a silver mirror at the target.
all balance-related tasks for two turns. As the mirror destroys itself, a beam of light projects
from the caster’s finger to the target’s eyes, blinding
him for twenty seconds—same as vision (-5) gimmick.


Blur Words Alteration Dark Cloud Conjuration

16 1 hour touch 1 decade 8 10 10 minutes 10 1 minute 0
EFFECT: make book unreadable, impossible resistance ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
COMPONENTS: Taxim spinal fluid, blank sheet of paper  EFFECT: +6diff on awareness tasks involving vision
GESTURES: hold book, rub open hand up and down every page COMPONENTS: match , wall
INSCRIPTIONS: either write a pattern of nonsense on page GESTURES: light match, grab shadow it casts on wall,
or write alternate wording for the first page of book and throw it
This spell changes the text of a book to appear CHARGES: 3
either as nonsense or completely different The caster strikes a match, grabs the shadow it
information, as desired by the caster. The need for creates on a wall, and throws it to create three
Taxim spinal fluid makes this spell hard to achieve, charges. Simply pretend to throw the shadow at a
but it can be very useful to hide valuable information, target, which can be a person or location, to surround
since it can be applied to grimoires, journals, and it in a sphere of black smoke that is one space in
other books. The caster either writes a pattern of width. All characters within that cloud receive a
nonsense on a blank page or fills it with different modifier of +6diff on all awareness tasks involving
wording, such as text taken from another book. He vision for one minute (twelve turns).
then submerges the sheet in the spinal fluid. Holding
the book in his hands, the caster rubs his open palm False Images Conjuration
up and down any page within it. If successful, the DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
words in the book appear as those he wrote on the 12 10 minutes touch 1 minute 0
blank paper. The book is completely legible to the ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos
caster, but anyone else looking at it must make an EFFECT: five mirror images, challenging illusion
impossible investigation task to see through the COMPONENTS: room
magical overlay; a failed task means that the reader CHARGES: 1 ward
has no clue that the book has been enchanted, This is a good spell to distract and confuse an
taking it at face value. opponent. It must be cast in a room that acts as the
ward, released whenever the caster wishes. When
Create Shadow Conjuration unleashed, four mirror images randomly appear in
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK the room within five spaces of the center. They
12 2 turns touch 10 minutes 0 mimic the caster’s actions, but cannot shift position.
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos Note that these images cannot be harmed, nor can
EFFECT: ±6diff on awareness tasks to spot character they physically interact with anyone or anything, as
COMPONENTS: sewer or cave water, area that casts shadows they are just formless, magical facades. This spell can
GESTURES: move hands up and down target’s body be disbelieved with a challenging investigation task.
INCANTATIONS: “From light, from dark, draw close and
fuse, the gray is here for me to use.” Light Conjuration
Useful when somewhat dark, but light enough to 12 5 turns 0 1 hour 6
cast a shadow, this spell requires the caster to cup EFFECT: sphereof light
some sewer or cave water in his hand, move it up GESTURES: put hands over eyes and remove
and down the target’s body (which could also be his INCANTATIONS: “Show me what must be seen.”
own), and say “from light, from dark, draw close and FOCUS: caster
fuse, the gray is here for me to use.” If successful, a small When the caster covers his eyes, says “show me
veil of shadow appears around the target, moving as what must be seen,” and then removes his hands, a
if draped around him. This could make it easier to light appears in his hand. The light moves with him,
locate someone by their shadow (-6diff to notice) or but does not require his hand to carry it. It illuminates
blend into the shadow (+6diff to notice), depending one space all around him.
on how bright the area is.

Neon Sign Alteration Shadow Merge Alteration
15 1 minute 10 1 hour 4 16 1 turn touch 1 hour 6
EFFECT: glowing writing ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
GESTURES: write intended words in air EFFECT: merge with shadow
INCANTATIONS: the intended words COMPONENTS: mirror , shadow
Common among shopkeepers, this is a great way GESTURES: move hands up and down body,
to advertise. Upon writing the intended words in the then draw circle around body
air and speaking them, a glowing writing akin to a INCANTATIONS: “Time to fade away.”
neon sign appears within five spaces of the caster. Another good way to avoid conflict, this spell has
The words fit in an area of five by five spaces, which its limitations. While holding a mirror in a shadow,
becomes slightly darkened for better visibility, and the caster moves his hands up and down his body,
can be turned on and off at the will of the caster. draws a circle around himself, and says “time to fade
away.” If successful, he becomes one with the
Scry Divination shadow, remaining so as long as he does not move
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK outside its confines. While in this state, a modifier of
18 10 minutes 5km 1 hour 6 +11diff is applied to all attacks made against the
EFFECT: view events within 5km away caster and to notice him; he also cannot physically
COMPONENTS: crystal ball, mirror, or even a puddle interact with anything outside of the shadow. If light
GESTURES: stare into component dispels the shadow, the caster receives five marks of
INCANTATIONS: “Mirrored pool, reflecting ball, become a window.” absolute tension and the spell ceases to function.
FOCUS: utilized component
After staring into anything that reflects light and Smoke Screen Conjuration
repeating “mirrored pool, reflecting ball, become a DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
window,” that object displays moving images from 14 30 minutes 0 2 minutes 0
any area of five by five spaces within a distance of EFFECT: areaof darkness; +10diff to see in or through area
five kilometers. The spell cannot display a specific COMPONENTS: coal dust, bat claws, fire 
area without the caster actually knowing where it is. GESTURES: brew components over fire
This is normally cast as a ritual, using others to help. CHARGES: 1 ward
Brew some coal dust and a few bat claws over a fire
Shadow Jump Invocation to create a potion. When the potion is thrown at a
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK target or the vial in which it is carried shatters,
12 5 turns touch 1 hour 2 darkness fills a sphere with a diameter of four
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos spaces. A modifier of +10diff is applied when trying
EFFECT: teleport between shadows to see within or through this area.
COMPONENTS: 15-year-old cobwebs , shadow
GESTURES: move hands up and down body, Warning Light Conjuration
INCANTATIONS: “From shadow to shadow do the dim lights 15 30 minutes 0 1 year 5
flow, from shadow to shadow now I will go.” EFFECT: warded object glows when disturbed
This spell is great for hiding. While holding COMPONENTS: a thousand lightning bugs, container 
cobwebs that are at least fifteen years old in a CHARGES: 1 ward
shadow, the caster moves his hands up and down his This is basically an alarm system. The caster places
body, reaches forward, jumps, and says “from shadow the object to be protected in a container, along with
to shadow do the dim lights flow, from shadow to shadow a thousand lightning bugs. If successful, the object
now I will go.” If successful, he appears in the closest, glows steadily for an entire year if touched or
unobstructed shadow within thirty spaces that is otherwise disturbed by anyone except the caster.
large enough to cloak his body. This jump can be The glow may be stopped at any time by the caster.
repeated—each time it is, deduct the distance traveled Once the alarm is activated, another spell must be
from thirty spaces; when it drops to zero or the spell cast for future protection.
expires, no more jumps can be made. The caster is
more difficult to spot while in a shadow (+4diff), but
is still vulnerable to attack.


Become Dream Invocation


Alter Dream Alteration 20 2 minutes 3 1 hour 10

ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
EFFECT: enter someone’s dreams
15 1 minute 25 2 turns 3
COMPONENTS: dreamstone
EFFECT: alter someone’s dreams
GESTURES: place hand over eyes
INCANTATIONS: “Humble am I, he who becomes one with
GESTURES: twist feather
Once the caster can see a target’s dreams with the another scape of thoughts.”
open window spell, he can alter them with this spell. Good for getting information out of someone the
The caster twists a feather and can then tweak minor hard way or just messing with a person, the caster
aspects of the target’s dreams. The target must have holds a dreamstone while holding a hand over his
an influence and composure total of 7 or less (+2diff eyes and saying “humble am I, he who becomes one with
for each point above 7). The intensity of the dreams another scape of thoughts.” If successful, he enters the
remain unchanged (nightmares are still nightmares, dreams of a target within three spaces, completely
for instance), but the focus could be transformed disappearing from the real world. There, the caster
(spiders could be changed to worms or Vampires can interact with denizens of the dreams and
could be changed to Elkists, for instance). This has attempt to steer them a particular way (this requires
the potential to modify a person’s likes, dislikes, a relevant influence-based task, such as charm or
hopes, and fears when used over time (the director performance). If the target wakes or the spell ends,
should gauge this appropriately). the caster returns to the real world within three
spaces of the dreamer.

Dream Jump Invocation

12 2 turns 0 instant 6
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
EFFECT: enter someone else’s dreams while in a dream
GESTURES: reach outward
INCANTATIONS: “Fetch a new dream.”
While a become dream spell is being used, the caster
reaches outward and says “fetch a new dream.” If
successful, he is transported to the closest dreaming
mind within one-hundred spaces. Once in the
dreams of a different person, the current state of the
become dream spell continues.

Dream Trap Alteration

16 1 hour 0 instant 6
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
EFFECT: record dreams in dreamstone
COMPONENTS: dreamstone 
INCANTATIONS: “Dreams are but doors to the mind.”
CHARGES: 5 per ward
Keep a dreamstone near the target and it records
up to five of his dreams (each being a charge) within
the one-hour casting period when the caster says
“dreams are but doors to the mind.” The target must
have an influence and composure total of 8 or less
(+2diff for each point above 8). The caster may
activate the dreamstone at any time. Once asleep,

the dreams are played out within the caster’s own Open Window Divination
mind during a three-hour period. Since the efficacy DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
of dreamstones fade with time, they should be used 15 1 minute 25 30 minutes 7
within a year for fully-formed dreams. EFFECT: viewsomeone’s dreams
Drowsy Alteration GESTURES: hand on forehead, place feather on top of head
13 instant 3 2 turns 7 This is a good way to gain insight into someone’s
EFFECT: challenging fitness-based composure task to mind, especially how to frighten them. The caster
remain awake; +2diff on all tasks places a hand on his forehead and a feather on top
GESTURES: close fingers together of his head while saying “be it heard from the dreams of
INCANTATIONS: “Good night.” yonder.” He can then view the dreams of the target,
For a nice distraction, the caster closes his fingers who must have an influence and composure total of
together and says “good night.” If successful, the 7 or less (+2diff for each point above 7). While all
target becomes very drowsy, requiring a challenging facets of the dream are seen, nothing can be done to
fitness-based composure task to remain awake. If the alter them without the use of another spell (see alter
target nods off, he awakens after two turns. dream). The target cannot tell that anyone is watching
Otherwise, this groggy feeling causes a penalty of this dream, except by some form of magic.
+2diff on all his tasks for two turns.
Quiet Night Alteration
20 1 hour 3 1 hour 10 EFFECT: +8diff somniomancy spells against target,
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos prevents nightmares
EFFECT: make creature in nightmare real COMPONENTS: dreamstone
COMPONENTS: candle made from corpse fat  INCANTATIONS: “Sleep softly, sleep soundly.”
INCANTATIONS: “Creature of dream, come into our world.” The caster says “sleep softly, sleep soundly” while
Once the caster can see a target’s dreams with the placing a dreamstone beside the target. All
open window spell, he can call forth something somniomancy spells cast to affect the target while he
actively seen in those dreams. The creature appears is asleep receive a penalty of +8diff. This spell also
as though it were a living and breathing thing. If it is prevents the target from experiencing nightmares,
killed while real, it never appears in the target’s although other spells may still cause them. While the
dreams again. The target suffers one mark of mania spell has a duration of twelve hours, that time begins
if he sees the creature. The dream creature has the when it is cast, but only protects the target while he
following ability ratings, but the director may alter is asleep. Many spellslingers versed in somniomancy
them to better suit the story: make use of this spell to protect themselves while
Fitness Awareness Creativity Reasoning Influence sleeping. This is also a common service offered by
4 3 0 0 0 somiomancers to their customers.
Nightmare Alteration
Quiet Soul Alteration
16 1 hour 250 1 hour 10
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos 16 10 minutes touch instant 4
EFFECT: heal
5ten and 5man
EFFECT: create a nightmare that inflicts 4man
INSCRIPTIONS: draw circles within circles
COMPONENTS: candle , dreamstone
GESTURES: light candle
This spell is widely used by healers to soothe the
INCANTATIONS: recite folklore tale of horror
deranged and calm the irate. The caster draws circles
The caster lights a candle and recites a tale of within circles on a sheet of paper or in sand to
horror from Marl folklore while holding a dreamstone. unleash this spell. If successful, the target sleeping
The sleeping target then experiences nightmares for character heals up to five marks of tension and five
an hour, inflicting 4man. The target must have an marks of mania.
influence and composure total of 8 or less (+2diff
for each point above 8).


Rouse Alteration
12 1 turn 10 1 turn 0 Back Again Conjuration
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
EFFECT: insert message into dream
15 1 hour 0 instant 3
COMPONENTS: drop of water 
EFFECT: teleportsanyone within 2.5 spaces from ribbon
GESTURES: flick water
to another location
This spell is great for waking someone when no COMPONENTS: ribbon 
one else needs to notice. The caster flicks some GESTURES: trace a square by walking it, knot ribbon
water in the air to insert a message no longer than CHARGES: 1 ward
seven words into the target’s dream. The target must This spell is both effective as an escape tool and a
make a routine investigation task to realize that way to ambush opponents. The caster walks the
someone is sending that message, rather than it perimeter of a square and then ties a loose knot in a
being a natural part of his dream. If the dreamer is ribbon. Whenever the caster unties the ribbon, a
successful, he immediately wakes (unless unconscious portal with a diameter of five spaces with him in the
due to wounds). center opens. Anyone within this area, including the
caster, are instantly transported to the location
Sleeping Sights Divination
where the spell was charged into the ribbon, provided
it is within one kilometer of the portal; otherwise, it
16 10 minutes 1 km 10 minutes 8
leads to a location one-kilometer away along the
EFFECT: viewanother location while sleeping
path to where the spell was cast.
COMPONENTS: lit candle 
GESTURES: drip candle wax on pillow
Doorway Alteration
The caster drips candle wax on his pillow and goes DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
to sleep. He can view an area of five by five spaces 14 5 turns 3 2 minutes 0
anywhere within a distance of one kilometer, EFFECT: createportal in wall
although physical barriers can still block it. He This spell comes in handy when all the doors are
notices any hidden or otherwise hard-to-see objects locked or faced with a dead end. A temporary
or people in that area that would normally require a doorway is created within a physical wall up to three
challenging (or lower difficulty) task. The caster spaces from the caster for two minutes. Since it is
immediately awakens when the spell ceases. magical in nature, it does not disturb mechanical
objects like traps or damage it physically.
Sleeping Sights of Others Divination
Expel Conjuration
EFFECT: view target’s location while he sleeps
22 5 turns 25 1 turn 10
COMPONENTS: two lit candles, blindfold 
GESTURES: drip candle wax on self, extinguish candles,
EFFECT: send summoned demon back to his realm
wear blindfold GESTURES: pantomime a door opening
INCANTATIONS: “I see through your dreams and through
INCANTATIONS: say demon’s name and then shout “go”
your eyes.” Sometimes summoning a demon turns out to be a
The caster drips candle wax on himself (suffering mistake. A portal opens upon pantomiming the
one mark of fatigue), extinguishes the candles, dons opening of a door, saying the demon’s name, and
a blindfold, and says “I see through your dreams and then shouting “go.” This portal pulls the demon back
through your eyes.“ If successful, he can then view an into the realm from where it was originally summoned
area of five by five spaces immediately near a target (assuming that it was summoned at some point). At
who is currently sleeping within 250 spaces and has the end of the turn, the demon is gone and the
an influence and composure total of 7 or less (+2diff portal closes. This portal does not affect anyone or
for each point above 7). He notices any hidden or anything else in the area. Some demons try to grab
otherwise hard-to-see objects or people in that area anyone near them when this occurs, causing damage
that would normally require a complex (or lower or death to the poor soul unlucky to be too close,
difficulty) task. since they cannot enter the portal.

Fold Alteration
20 30 minutes 0 1 hour 10
EFFECT: hidein a dimensional pocket
COMPONENTS: petrified wood 
GESTURES: cross arms over chest
This is the ultimate way to hide. The caster places
petrified wood at his feet and crosses his arms over
his chest. If successful, this spell folds the walls of
reality around the target and anything or anyone
within a half of space of him/it. Anything affected
disappears; it looks like nothing is there, even when
magic is used to detect the target (although magic
may detect some sort of anomaly in the area). From
the target’s perspective, he is in a dark and noiseless
void, unable to see, hear, smell, or feel anything apart
from himself.

Gate Conjuration
15 10 minutes 3 1 minute 5
EFFECT: createportal
GESTURES: draw gate in air and pantomime opening it
This spell opens a portal that can be used to travel
from one place to another on Marl within one-
hundred and twenty-five spaces. Since the caster is
not actually transferring or moving anyone (the
portal does that), there is a degree of uncertainty.
The caster draws a door in the air with his finger and Quick Phase Alteration
then pretends to open it. Once a portal appears DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK

where it was drawn, anyone who steps through it 12 instant self 5 turns 2
travels to the other side, wherever that might be. EFFECT: become incorporeal
Unless the caster states very specifically where he COMPONENTS: metal in a liquid state 

wants to go and has a very good picture of it in his GESTURES: pour metal on ground

mind, the other side of the portal could end up INCANTATIONS: “Fluid”

anywhere within one-hundred and twenty-five The caster pours liquid metal on the ground and
spaces. It is up to the director to decide how easy or says “fluid” for his physical form to slightly phase out
hard it should be for characters to identify or of this realm of existence—he is visible, but any
remember specific places. object with an integrity threshold of 6 or less passes
right through him, including anything he is holding
Incinerator Conjuration (which is dropped). The director must judge what is
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK tough enough to impact his body, but most things
16 1 hour 0 1 minute 8 cannot. Magic is not subject to these restrictions and
EFFECT: open a portal can affect the caster normally.
COMPONENTS: ash, hot coals 
Favored by the rich and underhanded, this spell is Retrieve Invocation
great for getting rid of documents and evidence. A DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK

portal to a realm of pure flame opens around the 16 1 turn see below instant 2
coals and ash placed on the ground. Anything EFFECT: summon object seen with view spell
thrown through this portal sustains 10inj each turn, GESTURES: point at object seen by view spell

likely destroying it in less than thirty seconds (even INCANTATIONS: “As I reach out beyond the boundaries,

if it is not destroyed, it is trapped in that realm). bring that object to me.”


While a view spell is being used, the caster points

to an object seen through the portal and says “as I TECHNOMANCY SPELLS
reach out beyond the boundaries, bring that object to me.”
If successful, the object (weighing up to five-hundred
Agitator Alteration
pounds) instantly appears in front of the caster. This
16 2 minutes 10 instant 2
can also summon characters and creatures, but they
EFFECT: inflict6ten
may resist it with an improbable influence-based
COMPONENTS: metal rod
wizardry task.
GESTURES: flick rod with finger
INSCRIPTIONS: carve squiggly lines into rod
Return Invocation
CHARGES: 4 wards
16 2 turns 5 km instant 4 This spell is common among socialites and
EFFECT: send self back home politicians, often utilized to unsettle opponents as
COMPONENTS: lump of moss-covered rock 
they speak in public. The caster carves squiggly lines
INCANTATIONS: “As the rock is propelled to its home, so
into a metal rod, which he then flicks with his finger
shall I be drawn to my home.” to imbue it with four charges. Each charge is
CHARGES: 1 ward
unleashed by pointing the rod at a target, inflicting
The caster throws a moss-covered rock and says “as him with 6ten.
the rock is propelled to its home, so shall I be drawn to my
home” to imbue it as a ward. Throwing that rock a
All that Glitters Alteration
second time unleashes the spell, instantly
15 5 turns touch 1 year 7
transporting the caster back to where the spell was
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos
cast, provided he is within five kilometers of that
EFFECT: convert lead to metal, challenging illusion
location; otherwise, he is transported five kilometers
COMPONENTS: sample of metal to be faked
away along the path to that location.
Rub a bit of the desired metal (gold or silver, for
View Divination instance) onto a lump of lead or other worthless
metal to cast this spell. If successful, the character
18 1 minute 3 10 minutes 8 converts two pounds worth of the lead into an
EFFECT: open a limited portal to view another location illusion of the chosen metal. This spell can be
disbelieved with a challenging investigation task.
GESTURES: swimming motion with hands
INCANTATIONS: “Let me see beyond what I know to be.”
Analyze Metal Divination
Once the caster makes a swimming motion with
12 1 turn touch 1 turn 4
his hands and says “let me see beyond what I know to
EFFECT: analyze metallic object
be,” a portal opens above where the ball was placed.
GESTURES: taste and smell target object
Nothing can travel through this portal, but it acts as
Taste and smell any metal object, such as a firearm
a one-way window to anywhere within one-hundred
or gold earing, and the caster knows its entire
and twenty-five spaces.
composition and worth.
Walk Alteration
Bullet Apportation
14 1 minute 1 1 turn 2
12 1 turn 25 1 turn 0
EFFECT: transport up to 1,000lbs to location of view spell
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos
EFFECT: inflict 3inj
GESTURES: throw key at portal
COMPONENTS: small metal object 
INCANTATIONS: “Let’s take a walk through the veil.”
GESTURES: shoot someone with finger
While a view spell is being used, the caster throws
Some guys need to be shot, but not every place
a key at the portal and says “let’s take a walk through
lets people pack rods. The caster holds a coin, slug,
the veil.” If successful, the portal allows instantaneous,
or other small, metal object and pretends to shoot
one-way travel to the other location for one turn.
somebody with that hand. If the spell is successfully
Anyone and anything can travel through the portal
cast, the metal object flies across the room and
during that turn.
inflicts the target with 3inj.

Dagger Conjuration carrying or wearing them are weighed to the ground,
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK unable to move unless dropping the object or
14 1 turn touch 1 hour 6 making an athletics task (based on strength) with a
EFFECT: creates
a dagger in caster’s hand difficulty rating of 17 each turn.
GESTURES: wave hand
INCANTATIONS: “Create dagger.” Off Track Alteration

Casting this spell requires the waving of a hand 17 2 turns 25 10 minutes 7

and saying “create dagger.” If successful, a throwing EFFECT: +5diff to hit with target firearm
dagger appears in the caster’s hand. It can then be COMPONENTS: bent spoon, crooked tree branch

thrown at someone or used to stab him. The dagger GESTURES: make spiral motion with hand

disappears after one hour. FOCUS: metal projectile

This spell reduces the accuracy of firearms. The
Heat Metal Alteration caster holds a bent spoon and crooked tree branch
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK in one hand, while making a spiral motion with the
14 2 turns 25 1 minute 8 other. If successful, a penalty of +5diff is applied
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos when using the target firearm.
EFFECT: heat small lump of metal to red-hot temperatures
COMPONENTS: fire source  Pain Missile Alteration
The caster holds a fire source (like a match) to heat DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK

any metallic object no larger than a fist to extreme 13 2 minutes 0 1 turn 3

temperatures, making it glow red. Anything touching ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos
it immediately starts to burn, inflicting 4inj each EFFECT: inflict5fat
turn—flesh seers, leathers smolder, locks burn away CHARGES: 1 ward
from doors, and wooden gun stocks separate, for This spell can be used to create a ward out of a lead
example. In fact, objects become unusable if they slug or other metallic projectile (even a dart or
contain any flammable parts used to fasten a metal. needle). When the ward strikes a target during an
attack, it inflicts 5fat, and all further attacks during
Lockpick Apportation the same turn inflict an additional 1fat due to pain.
8 2 turns touch instant 0 Rain of Razors Apportation
EFFECT: open a lock no tougher than improbable DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK

COMPONENTS: any key 14 2 turns 25 1 turn 2

INCANTATIONS: “Swing wide.” EFFECT: inflict up to 3inj
The caster holds onto a key, mutters “swing wide,” COMPONENTS: sharp metal fragments

and touches the target door. If successful, any lock The caster holds sharp, metal fragments in his
rated to pick at a difficulty up to improbable opens. hand. If successful, they are projected at a target,
inflicting a number of marks of injury equal to half
Magnetic Attraction Alteration the roll of one die.
16 2 minutes 0 1 hour 8 Razor’s Edge Alteration

EFFECT: make metal objects immovable 10 30 minutes 0 1 hour 0

COMPONENTS: iron filings  EFFECT: +4inj from bladed weapon
GESTURES: sprinkle iron filings on ground, point to ground COMPONENTS: finely-ground stone, glass, fire 

INCANTATIONS: make humming sound GESTURES: brew components over fire

CHARGES: 1 ward CHARGES: 1 ward

Once the caster sprinkles iron filings on ground Brew a finely-ground stone and some glass over a
while humming and then points to the ground, a fire to create a potion. Coating a bladed weapon
ward is created where he stands. It is triggered when with the potion inflicts an additional 4inj (abated by
anyone enters within two and half spaces of that immunity) when the weapon causes at least one
point. The area attracts metal objects, so anyone mark of injury. The coating remains on the weapon
for one hour.


Brain Cloud Alteration
15 2 minutes touch 1 hour 7
EFFECT: +9diff on reasoning-related spells against target
GESTURES: rub hands over target’s head in swirling motion
INCANTATIONS: “Forget, for that is all we are.”
When the caster rubs his hands over the target’s
head in a swirling motion and says “forget, for that is
all we are,” a magical cloud forms around the target.
All spells that target his mind or anything to do with
his reasoning ability receive a penalty of +9diff.

Charm Alteration
15 1 hour touch 3 months 5 EFFECT: -5diff on charm tasks against target
EFFECT: reloadfirearm GESTURES: being friendly
GESTURES: motion to pull a trigger and manually This spell works on normal folk who understand
reload repeatedly civilized ways. The caster makes some kind of
INCANTATIONS: “Never run out of bullets.” friendly gesture, whether a smile, outstretched hand,
FOCUS: firearm or pat on the back to complete this spell. If successful,
The caster holds the target firearm in one hand, he receives a modifier of -5diff on all charm (and
while pretending to pull a trigger and manually possibly negotiation) tasks involving the target for
reload bullets repeatedly in the other, and saying one minute.
“never run out of bullets.” If successful, a bullet is
summoned from up to two spaces away and Commune with Animal (specific animal) Divination
automatically loaded into the weapon each time it is DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK

fired. The caster should make sure that enough 12 1 minute 10 30 minutes 2
ammunition remains near the weapon, so that it ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
keeps reloading as needed. EFFECT: talk with animal
COMPONENTS: piece of the animal
Undo Alteration GESTURES: pet the animal and pretend to converse with it
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK This spell explains why people are not permitted
22 3 hours 1 km 2 turns 4 to look at the horses before a race—crooks moved
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos from bribing the jockeys to bribing the nags. This
EFFECT: disassemble a machine spell covers any one type of animal (like a dog or
COMPONENTS: glass horse), but each one is considered a separate spell—
GESTURES: break glass the type of animal must be specified when this spell
The caster breaks a glass to initiate this spell, is chosen. The caster must have something of that
which is designed to separate the metal parts of a type of animal, like a claw or hide, often an item that
device, such as an engine, car, or mechanical clock. can be cut off or purchased in a shop. While holding
Screws, nails, and pegs loosen and fall out of the the item, he pets the animal and pretends to have a
machine within two turns, eventually causing the conversation with it. While the animal is now
target object to collapse. If the object is an engine or capable of talking to the caster, it is not a guarantee
anything that houses potentially explosive that it will—the caster may employ routine charm,
substances, there may be an explosion of sorts. Cars intimidation, and negotiation tasks to get it to talk.
moving at high velocities may crash, causing damage Only the caster can understand the animal, and the
to both occupants and anyone in their way. The animal can only understand the caster.
director should judge the situation accordingly.

Cowardice Alteration Eagle Eyes Alteration
14 1 turn 3 1 hour 6 18 30 minutes 0 1 day 2
EFFECT: +4man when intimidated or attacked EFFECT: awareness+5
COMPONENTS: chicken liver, feather, yellow paint  COMPONENTS: feather, brightly-colored flower, fire 
INCANTATIONS: “You are nothing but a yellow rat.” GESTURES: brew components over fire
INSCRIPTIONS: draw a streak on the ground with paint CHARGES: 1 ward
A good way to support intimidating someone, this Brew a feather and brightly-colored flower over a
spell requires the caster to hold a chicken liver and fire to create a potion. When someone drinks the
feather, draw a streak on the ground with yellow potion, his awareness rating is increased by five for
paint, and say “you are nothing but a yellow rat.” If one day
successful, the target suffers an extra 4man whenever
he is intimidated or any aggressive action is taken Exhaustion Alteration
against him. The target realizes that this is not DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
normal, but can do nothing about it. 16 2 turns 3 1 minute 6
EFFECT: inflict
4fat, fatigue threshold -3
Deafen Alteration COMPONENTS: animal ligament, animal bone 
16 5 turns 3 30 minutes 10 INSCRIPTIONS: carve target’s name into bone
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order The caster carves the name of his target into an
EFFECT: hearing (-5), 2fat animal bone and wraps an animal’s ligament around
COMPONENTS: small drum  it. The target suffers four marks of absolute fatigue;
GESTURES: break drum his fatigue threshold is also reduced by three (to a
INCANTATIONS: “The music must one day end.” minimum of one) for the duration of this spell.
This spell makes it hard for one’s enemies to
communicate with each other. Break a small drum Facade Alteration
and say “the music must one day end” to unleash a DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
powerful noise in the target’s ears. Not only does 12 5 turns self 1 hour 6
this inflict two marks of absolute fatigue, but the EFFECT: impossible resistance, challenging illusion
target also gains the hearing (-5) gimmick for the COMPONENTS: blank sheet of paper 
duration of this spell. INSCRIPTIONS: “I am Human.”
The Unnatural caster writes “I am Human” on a
Drain Energy Alteration piece of paper to take on the appearance of being
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK Human. This works just like a disguise, requiring an
16 2 turns 25 1 minute 6 impossible investigation task to see through it. If
EFFECT: +2 padding/armor/immunity to caster; someone suspects that the character is an Unnatural,
3fat to target knows his true appearance, or otherwise has a
COMPONENTS: funnel, blood of lassiter  reason to disbelieve this spell, a challenging
GESTURES: pour blood of lassiter into funnel, investigation task is all that it takes to see through
point funnel at target the disguise.
INCANTATIONS: “This should soften you up.”
This spell is often witnessed during slugfests on Fake Death Alteration
the streets of Marl, but sentinels tend to frown on its DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
use, becoming vindictive when arresting the 15 1 turn 0 1 hour 5
combatants. The caster pours the blood of a lassiter EFFECT: body appears dead
through a funnel, points the funnel at the target, and COMPONENTS: queskworm blood 
says “this should soften you up.” If successfully cast, the GESTURES: rub queskworm blood on target
target sustains 3fat. The target’s life energy is pulled This spell does the trick when playing dead is not
towards the funnel, increasing the caster’s padding, enough to fool them. The caster rubs queskworm
armor, and immunity ratings by two for the duration blood on the target, who then falls to the ground as
of this spell. if dead. He can pass a corpse, lacking a pulse and
any type of breathing. The body does not suffer any


actual harm, reviving once the spell ends, provided The caster is required to point at the target while
actual harm has not befallen it. An investigation task pantomiming collapse. If successful, the target’s
with a difficulty of 15 can be made to realize that the fatigue threshold is reduced by four (to a minimum
target is not actually dead. Note that necromancy or of one) for the duration of this spell.
any other spells that target the dead cannot affect
the target, since he is not actually dead. Grey Box Alteration
Fear Alteration 22 1 minutes touch 1 hour 14
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK EFFECT: hearing (-2), smell (-2), taste (-2), touch (-2),
15 5 turns 50 instant 5 vision (-2)
EFFECT: 6man COMPONENTS: wood-carved figure, small wood box
COMPONENTS: itemowned by the target GESTURES: move hands over eyes, mouth, nose, and ears
“Fear now, fear all.”
INSCRIPTIONS: INSCRIPTIONS: “Muted are our lives and senses.”
The caster writes “fear now, fear all” on something This spell is rather cruel. The caster places a wood-
belonging to the target, who then suffers 6man. carved figure in a wooden box, and then says “muted
are our lives and senses” while moving his hands over
First Aid Alteration his eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. The target then
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK gains the hearing (-2), smell (-2), taste (-2), touch (-2),
12 2 turns touch instant 0 and vision (-2) gimmicks for the duration of this spell.
EFFECT: heal
up to three bleeding wounds
Only use this spell if the optional bleeding rules Heighten Ability (specific gimmick) Alteration
are used. Up to three bleeding wounds are patched— DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
this does not heal any injury, but the wounds are no 16 1 minute touch 10 minutes 2
longer bleeding. This spell does not function if the ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
target has more than three bleeding wounds. EFFECT: ability gimmick (+4)
GESTURES: mimic use of ability and touch target
Forget Alteration This spell covers any one ability gimmick, but each
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK one is considered a separate spell—the ability
16 1 day 3 3 years 10 gimmick must be specified when this spell is chosen.
EFFECT: losememory of last 30 minutes While casting this spell, the character must mime an
COMPONENTS: pickled brain from an undead  action related to the ability gimmick and then touch
GESTURES: place inscribed paper on top of brain the target. If successful, the target gains the ability
INSCRIPTIONS: “Like the dead, you see nothing gimmick with a defined value of +4. This spell has a
and remember nothing.” side-effect—once someone experiences the increased
CHARGES: 1 ability, it is hard losing it, so he is willing to do just
Often employed by gangsters, this spell requires about anything for a another hit of the spell. Many
the caster to write “like the dead, you see nothing and spellslingers give out the first hit for free to keep an
remember nothing” on a piece of paper, which is then endless supply of customers.
placed on top of an undead creature’s brain that has
been pickled to preserve it. When the charged spell Illusory Pain Alteration
is released, the target loses any memory of the last DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
thirty minutes for the duration of this spell. 12 1 turn 10 5 turns 3
EFFECT: +8diff on all tasks due to extreme pain,
Glass Jaw Alteration routine illusion
16 2 turns 10 1 minute 2 This is a relatively easy spell that sometimes does
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order not do much, since the target has a chance of
EFFECT: fatigue threshold -4 realizing that the pain is not real. The caster points
GESTURES: point and pantomime at his target, who then suffers searing pain that
This spell has always been a favorite of Galitian causes a penalty of +8diff on all tasks while this
gamblers who prefer ringside seats at prizefights. A spell remains in effect. This spell can be disbelieved
little jab of this and the odds-on favorite folds faster with a routine investigation task.
than a card-player with nothing but junk in his hand.

Invisibility Alteration Personality Alteration
12 2 minutes touch 1 hour 4 14 1 minute self 10 minutes 4
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
EFFECT: improbable resistance to see target EFFECT: influence +4
COMPONENTS: piece of target and white cloth GESTURES: smile, put hands together, and bow or curtsy
GESTURES: wrap piece of target in white cloth The caster smiles, places his hands together or at
Wrap a lock of the target’s hair, drop of his blood, his waist, and then either bows or curtsies. If
nail clippings, or something else from his body in a successful, his influence rating is increased by four
white cloth. If successful, he disappears and cannot for ten minutes. Some guys use this spell to improve
be seen. The target is not actually invisible—he is just their chances with the dames.
not noticed. He can only be seen with an improbable
investigation task under the right conditions, such Plant Cuffs Apportation
as disappearing directly in front of someone or DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
making noises around them. 14 1 turn 10 2 minutes 8
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Order
Mold Alteration EFFECT: plants wrap around and hold target,
17 30 minutes touch 3 years 2 COMPONENTS: living vine or other plant
EFFECT: makes an object look old and decayed, GESTURES: point at target
routine illusion This spell is a good delaying tactic to get away
COMPONENTS: lichen  from someone intent on causing harm. The caster
GESTURES: smear object with lichen grabs a vine or other plant in the immediate area
This spell is used to make something look and points at the target. A number of plants in the
outwardly old by smearing lichen on it. Since this is area (other plants must also be growing here) wrap
an illusionary effect, there are no true physical themselves around the target’s wrists and ankles. An
changes (it can be disbelieved with a routine athletics task with a difficulty of 15 can be attempted
investigation task). The target object cannot weigh to escape the plants; they can also be cut with a knife
more than 175 pounds. Common items targeted by or other sharp instrument to break free.
this spell include books, jewelry, furniture, and
weapon collections (for instance a book would have Poisoned Water Alteration
a wrinkled and creased cover, with possible bits of DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
dust and mold, but the interior remains the same). 13 2 minutes touch 1 day 7
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
Obey Alteration EFFECT: change liquid into a 5inj poison
20 2 weeks touch 1 year 14 GESTURES: swirl finger over liquid with root in hand
EFFECT: challenging resistance to resist orders INCANTATIONS: “Alter water and obscure wealth,
COMPONENTS: ring or collar poison water and destroy wealth.”
INCANTATIONS: “I’m the boss.” When poison is not available, turn any liquid into
The caster charges a ring or collar as a ward by a toxic brew with this spell. The caster swirls his
saying “I’m the boss.” Once someone dons that ward, finger over the target liquid while holding a
they must obey the caster’s instructions for the poisonous root and saying “alter water and obscure
duration of the spell or until the object is removed. wealth, poison water and destroy wealth.” The liquid
The person can resist the caster’s commands with a transforms into a poison that causes 5inj when
challenging influence-based composure task. If the ingested. The poisonous quality of the liquid can
person is commanded to commit a self-destructive only be detected through magic, since it appears as
act or do something completely against his nature, it originally was. If cast on a liquid that is already
he can attempt to resist it again with a bonus of naturally poisonous, it is enhanced, causing an extra
-4diff (each additional command that is anathema 5inj. This spell has been witnessed far too often,
to his values modifies the difficulty by -1diff). especially when involving politics and gangs.


Power Alteration
14 1 hour 0 1 day 2
EFFECT: strength(+5) gimmick
COMPONENTS: any poisonous plant leaf, lump of lead, fire 
GESTURES: brew components over fire
CHARGES: 1 ward
Brew the leaf of a poisonous plant and lump of
lead over a fire to create a potion. When someone
drinks the potion, he gains the strength (+5) gimmick
for one day.

Read Mind Divination

13 1 turn 25 1 turn 7
EFFECT: readsomeone’s thoughts
The caster can instantly read the conscious
thoughts of the target, who must have an influence
and composure total of 7 or less (+2diff for each
point above 7). While this can provide details of the Scattered Thoughts Alteration
target’s planned actions, it does not necessarily DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
mean that he follows through with those actions or 15 2 turns 25 instant 3
that there is even enough time for the caster or his ALIGNMENT: Chaos
comrades to act on them. EFFECT: inflict 5ten
Revitalize Alteration GESTURES: shakerattle and stomp feet
16 3 hours 0 1 day 6 The caster shakes a rattle or similar implement
EFFECT: remove up to 9fat while stomping his feet and saying “by day, by night,
COMPONENTS: ground animal hoof, tree bark, be not still and wary.” If successful, the target and
lump of clay, fire  anyone within two and half spaces from him receives
GESTURES: brew components over fire 5ten. Such a spell is commonly followed by a
INSCRIPTIONS: list of physically-exerting activities physical attack from the caster’s allies.
CHARGES: 1 ward
Brew the ground hoof of any animal, tree bark, and Slow Alteration
lump of clay over a fire and write a list of physically- DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
exerting activities to create a potion. When someone 16 30 minutes 10 5 minutes 6
drinks the potion, up to nine marks of fatigue are ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
healed. This fatigue can be removed over the course EFFECT: -15 spaces of movement
of a day until all nine marks are removed. GESTURES: point with ward
Send Message Conjuration CHARGES: 5 per ward
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK This a favorite spell among sentinels who walk the
11 instant 250 1 turn 3 beat and hate getting stuck in long chases. It is
EFFECT: implant a message in someone’s mind usually charged into a baton or some other piece of
The caster can instantly send a message no longer equipment that sentinels carry to subdue criminals.
than something normally spoken within one turn to The caster points the object to act as the ward while
the conscious mind of the target. If the target is too saying “freeze” to imbue it with five charges. When
preoccupied to listen or is not conscious, it goes triggered by repeating that process, the target’s
unheard, although the caster would be oblivious to maximum movement rate is reduced by fifteen
that fact (an awareness task or check by the target spaces (to a minimum of zero) for the duration of
may be required to detect the message). the spell.

Speed Alteration
12 2 turns self 5 minutes 2 Alarm Conjuration
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
EFFECT: +6 spaces of movement
12 1 minute 50 1 hour 2
EFFECT: soundsalarm; contest through stealth to avoid
Another good spell for getting away from trouble, GESTURES: pantomime breaking into the place
the caster merely says “hasten” to add six spaces to INCANTATIONS: scream
his maximum movement rate. CHARGES: 1 ward
This is an alarm system, usually charged into a
Stabilize Alteration
door or window. The caster pretends to break into
the place and then screams himself hoarse for a
16 30 minutes 0 1 day 2
minute. Once the ward is in place, it responds to
EFFECT: stabilize
anyone or anything entering with a shriek that could
COMPONENTS: ground animal horn, vegetable oil,
wake the dead. The alarm remains screaming for an
sheet of paper, fire 
hour or until the caster stops it.
GESTURES: brew components over fire
CHARGES: 1 ward
Animate Golem Conjuration
Brew the ground horn of any animal, vegetable oil, DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
and a sheet of paper over a fire to create a potion. 20 3 days touch 1 month 6
When someone drinks the potion, any wounds ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
needing to be stabilized are automatically done so EFFECT: create a golem
for one day (see page 76). COMPONENTS: golem, blood
GESTURES: rub blood all over golem
Toughen Alteration
INCANTATIONS: special litany
FOCUS: golem
16 30 minutes 0 1 day 4
Golems are big hulks made out of wood, stone, or
EFFECT: padding, armor, and immunity +4
a block of whatever is handy. The first step is to build
COMPONENTS: shiny metallic rock, dull rock, fire 
a golem—this requires a routine carpentry, masonry,
GESTURES: brew components over fire
or metalworking task (depending on the material).
INSCRIPTIONS: “Protect thy self.”
Alternatively, a ready-made shell can be purchased,
CHARGES: 1 ward
but these are prohibitively expensive. Most golems
Brew a shiny metallic rock and a dull-looking rock
are built to look Human, but the designer is not
over a fire to create a potion. When someone drinks
limited to that form. Some of the material is then
the potion, his padding, armor, and immunity ratings
ground and mixed with blood, which is then poured
are increased by four for one day.
all over the golem and rubbed into it. A litany is then
Weaken Ability (specific gimmick) Alteration spoken to bind a spirit to the golem. When
successfully completed, a golem waiting to take
16 1 minute touch 10 minutes 2 orders from the caster is created. Since the spell is
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order focused on the golem, it can leave the caster’s
EFFECT: ability gimmick (-4)
presence while the spell is active. The director can
GESTURES: touch target with limp hand
determine how and if the golem can learn pursuits.
As with the heighten ability spell, this one covers All golems have the following ability ratings:
any single ability gimmick, which must be specified Fitness Awareness Creativity Reasoning Influence
when this spell is chosen (each one is considered a 4 2 0 1 0
separate spell). While casting this spell, the character • Wood golems possess the natural padding (3)
touches the target with a limp-wristed hand. If and natural armor (1) gimmicks.
successful, the target gains the ability gimmick with • Stone golems possess the natural padding (3)
a defined value of -4. and natural armor (3) gimmicks.
• Metal golems possess the natural padding (4)
and natural armor (4) gimmicks.


Bind Demon Alteration Block Cantrips Alteration

15 1 hour 3 1 day 2 14 2 turns 0 10 minutes 2
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos EFFECT: counterall cantrips
EFFECT: impossible resistance, impossible illusion GESTURES: hold hand with palm outward
COMPONENTS: blood, floor to write A useful spell to prevent sneaky cantrips, the
INSCRIPTIONS: pentagram and demon’s name caster holds the palm of his hand outward. If
CHARGES: 1 successful, all cantrips within five spaces from the
This spell is almost always charged into a wand or caster cease to function, nor can any new ones be
similar item, since spending an hour to get a demon unleashed within this same area for ten minutes.
under control is not a good idea. Demons probably
should not be summoned in the first place—they Cage Conjuration
smell bad, lie like rugs, and are hell on property DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
values. The first step is to draw a pentagram with 15 1 minute 10 1 hour 10
blood on the floor and then write the demon’s name EFFECT: traptarget in magical cage, challenging illusion
inside of it. The demon must make an impossible GESTURES: extend arm and close fist
influence-based composure task to resist This is a useful spell for keeping an opponent in
intimidation—the demon thinks that it has no choice place, but has been known to backfire from feedback.
but to obey the caster. Since this is an illusory effect, The caster extends his arm and closes his fist as if
the demon may sense that fact; if appropriate, it trapping the target. If successful, the target is trapped
makes an impossible investigation task to disbelieve in a cage of magical energy. It requires an improbable
the spell. athletics task to escape or can be disbelieved with a
challenging investigation task, since it is only an
illusory cage. Due to the nature of the spell, all
brawling and melee attacks made against the
ensnared target receive a penalty of +3diff.

Circle of Calm Conjuration

15 1 minute 0 30 minutes 9
EFFECT: -6ten
COMPONENTS: handkerchief, ink
INCANTATIONS: “Still of the mind is what keeps me well.”
INSCRIPTIONS: write a poem on handkerchief
The caster says “still of the mind is what keeps me
well” and writes a calming poem on a handkerchief,
requiring a routine prose task. Tension sustained by
anyone within five spaces of where the spell was cast
is reduced by six marks.

Circle of Health Conjuration

17 1 minute 0 30 minutes 9
EFFECT: -6inj
COMPONENTS: handkerchief, ink
INCANTATIONS: “Gone are the wounds that prevent success.”
INSCRIPTIONS: write a poem about spring on handkerchief
The caster says “gone are the wounds that prevent
success” and writes a poem about spring on a
handkerchief, requiring a routine prose task. Injury
sustained by anyone within five spaces of where the
spell was cast is reduced by six marks.

Circle of Protection Conjuration are very hard to find. A name is written on a sheet
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK of paper, which is then mixed together with blood,
16 1 minute 0 1 hour 10 water, lead, and doll in a pot over a slow flame for a
EFFECT: blockmagic month. Everything congeals and a naked, meter-tall,
COMPONENTS: animal bone Human-like being comes to life. For all intents and
GESTURES: break bone purposes, this homunculus is alive, similar to a child,
INCANTATIONS: “No matter, no magic.” able to gain pursuits and experience. Since the spell
INSCRIPTIONS: draw a circle in the ground around self is focused on the homunculus, it can leave the
with animal bone caster’s presence. All homunculi are considered
The caster draws a circle in the ground using an magical in nature, typically live to a ripe old age of
animal bone (this works best on dirt or sand), says ten years, and have the following ability ratings:
“no matter, no magic,” and breaks the bone. A penalty Fitness Awareness Creativity Reasoning Influence
of +8diff is applied to all spells targeting anyone or 2 2 1 1 1
anything within five spaces of where it was cast. • All homunculi possess the undersized (2) gimmick.
• Stone homunculi also possess the natural
Control Golem Alteration padding (1) and natural armor (1) gimmicks.
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK • Metal homunculi also possess the natural
12 30 minutes touch 1 month 2 padding (2) and natural armor (2) gimmicks.
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
EFFECT: force a golem to obey caster’s commands
Destroy Magic Alteration
INCANTATIONS: special litany
14 1 hour 50 1 minute 4
INSCRIPTIONS: special litany
EFFECT: seebelow
FOCUS: golem
GESTURES: chop wrist and point
Sometimes golems just do not want to cooperate
or someone else’s golem may be useful. A litany
similar to the one used to create a golem is both
This potent little spell takes out moderately-
recited and carved into it. This requires the proper
powerful magic inside a five-space circle for up to a
tools, especially for metal golems. The golem may
minute. The caster brings one hand down in a chop
also need to be tied down in order to complete the
against the wrist, says “stop,” and then points to
carving. Once this spell is successfully cast, the
create a charge. If all spells within 2.5 spaces of the
golem is forced to take orders from the caster.
target location have a difficulty of 14 or less when
Should an order contradict that of the golem’s
the charge is unleashed, they all stop working for the
creator, either compare their influence ratings or
duration of this spell. If any spell with a higher
amount of overkill achieved for the animate golem
difficulty is successfully cast in the affected area, this
and control golem tasks. Since the spell is focused
spell stops working as if the duration had elapsed.
on the golem, it can leave the caster’s presence while
Note that this spell does not affect charged spells
the spell is active and still carry out his orders.
until they are actually unleashed.
Create Homunculus Conjuration
Destroy Spell Alteration
20 1 month touch 1 decade 10
16 30 minutes 3 3 hours 8
EFFECT: counter a spell
EFFECT: createa homunculus
GESTURES: use fingers to mime scissors
COMPONENTS: blood, water, lead, sheet of paper, doll, flame 
By pretending to cut the air with his fingers, the
INCANTATIONS: special litany
caster can cause a target spell of a difficulty of 18 or
INSCRIPTIONS: name of the homunculus
less within three spaces to cease functioning for
FOCUS: homunculus
three hours. If the target spell would normally
This spell is for building a mock-Human with no
function longer than this time, it resumes after that
special talents out of a doll. Assembling the doll
time; otherwise, it stops working completely. Note
requires a complex carpentry, masonry, or
that this spell does not affect charged spells until
metalworking task (depending on the material).
they are actually unleashed and the target spell must
Ready-made dolls may also be purchased, but they
either be obvious or detected with another spell.


Detect magic Divination Lightning Bolt Alteration

14 2 turns 0 1 turn 2 16 1 turn 10 instant 4
ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos
EFFECT: detect spells up to impossible difficulty EFFECT: inflict 5inj, -4diff to hit
GESTURES: draw circle and magical symbol in air COMPONENTS: metal fragments
INCANTATIONS: recite complex passage GESTURES: quick motion and throw
This spell informs the caster of any other active Shake a fistful of metal bits and pretend to throw
spells that are of impossible difficulty or less. The a bolt of lightning at a visible target, even one
caster draws a circle around himself, writes a magical standing behind someone or something around the
symbol in the air, and speaks a complex incantation, same size as him. This requires an athletics task to
requiring a routine oratory task to remember and hit the target (short range is 3–4, medium is 5–7, and
say it properly. If successful, the caster recognizes long is 8–10), modified by -4diff. If successful, a
the magical skill and theory used to create each lightning bolt crackles from the character’s hand to
active spell within two and a half spaces of him. If the target, bending around obstacles as needed to
two overkill are achieved, the caster recognizes the reach him, and inflicting 5inj.
identity of each spell. If four overkill are achieved,
the caster knows which exploits were used to boost Magic Shield (specific school) Alteration
16 2 turns touch 3 hours 4
Enthrall Undead Conjuration ALIGNMENT: Order, Oathbreakers of Order
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK EFFECT: shield that applies +5diff to specific school of spells
15 3 hours touch 1 hour 4 COMPONENTS: object shaped like a shield 
ALIGNMENT: Oathbreakers of Chaos INCANTATIONS: “Shield me from the power.”
EFFECT: improbable resistance to approach rod, The caster holds an object that can be used as a
challenging illusion shield and says “shield me from the power.” This results
COMPONENTS: two metal rods  in the object protecting the caster from spells of a
INSCRIPTIONS: engrave special symbols on rods particular school, which must be specified when this
FOCUS: rods spell is chosen (such as necromancy or wizardry;
CHARGES: 2 wards each one is considered a separate spell). Only spells
Most people want to repulse the undead, but some that target the caster are affected—it does not apply
casters use this spell to attract them to a particular to spells affecting an entire area. The caster must
area—whether these casters have a brilliant plan or either actively block or perform a reaction task to
are simply insane is debatable. The caster engraves use the shield, which modifies the spell task targeting
arcane symbols on two metal rods. If the spell is him by +5diff (the difficulty of the reaction task
successfully cast, each rod is imbued with one should be based on how much advanced warning he
charge that the caster can unleash by thrusting it has, typically challenging or routine).
into the ground. This causes any undead creatures
within five and a half spaces to be drawn to the rod. Material Sight (specific material) Divination
They can resist this draw with an improbable DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK
reasoning-based composure task. Since this is an 12 30 minutes touch 1 hour 2
illusory effect, an affected undead creature may EFFECT: seethrough a specific material
sense that fact—if appropriate, it makes a challenging This is probably one of the more useful spells
investigation task to disbelieve the spell. when it comes to keeping a low profile. A single type
of material must be specified when this spell is
chosen (each one is considered a separate spell). The
target, which may also be the caster, can see through
objects made from the specified material as if they
were translucent (thickness may reduce visibility).
Sample materials include wood, stone, metal, flesh,
earth, fire, water, snow, and gems.

Mystic Chains Conjuration
16 3 hours 25 10 minutes 6
EFFECT: bindtarget in magic cuffs; threshold of 5 to destroy
COMPONENTS: steel manacles 
GESTURES: hold wrists together
INCANTATIONS: “This binds you.”
CHARGES: 4 wards
The caster holds a pair of steel manacles while
keeping his wrists together and saying “this binds
you” to create four wards (examples include bullets,
canes, and badges). When pointing at a target with
the ward, magical chains wrap around his arms,
limiting their motion (the director should decide the
actions available to him). The magical chains can be
destroyed with sufficient damage—they have armor/
padding ratings of 4 and a threshold of 5.

Sense Undead Divination

15 5 turns 50 instant 5
EFFECT: detect
COMPONENTS: dousing rod
Sentinels use this spell to avoid surprises. While
holding a dousing rod (two-forked stick), the caster
detects up to eight undead creatures, like Vampires
and animated corpses (but not demons or other
entities) within three spaces of the target location.
The amount of information provided consists of the
Motion Apportation species, exact location, and quantity (up to eight).
12 2 turns 10 5 minutes 4 Silent Alteration
GESTURES: wave hands 15 2 minutes self 1 hour 7
The caster waves his hands to move an object up EFFECT: become stealthy, +11diff to hear him
to six spaces each turn. Consult the Quick Reference: GESTURES: walk on toes as if trying to be quiet
Distance vs Weight Table to determine how far the INCANTATIONS: “Magic in the air, magic everywhere, come
object can be moved according to its weight. and mask my sounds, make me silent in the night air.”
Likely to be one of the most common spells today,
Mystic Barrier Conjuration the caster walks on his toes, pretending to move
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK silently while saying “magic in the air, magic everywhere,
16 5 minutes 0 1 day 6 come and mask my sounds, make me silent in the night
spells that target caster +6diff air.” If successful, he is then able to move around
COMPONENTS: bell  without making a sound. The sounds of walking on
INCANTATIONS: “Guard against power, guard against magic.” creaky floorboards or eggshells would even be
The caster holds a bell and says “guard against silenced, although this does not apply to his speech.
power, guard against magic” to create a magical shell Any tasks made to detect the caster audibly are
that encircles him. The task for any spell that modified by +11diff (while this makes the character
specifically targets the caster is modified by +6diff more stealthy when it comes to the noise he makes,
(it does not apply to spells affecting an entire area). it does not affect anyone seeing or smelling him).


Stench Invocation Tongues Divination

14 30 minutes 0 1 hour 2 14 1 minute self 1 hour 10
EFFECT: area of horrific smell EFFECT: speak up to nine languages
COMPONENTS: coal dust, sheet of paper, fire  COMPONENTS: forked reptile tongue 
GESTURES: brew components over fire GESTURES: move mouth in distorted ways, as if
INSCRIPTIONS: “Odorous and Onerous” speaking a wildly strange language.
CHARGES: 1 ward INSCRIPTIONS: “Tongues of ancients, tongues of present,
Brew some coal dust and a sheet of paper with let me speak.”
“odorous and onerous” written on it over a fire to Once the caster moves his mouth wildly as if
create a potion. When the potion is thrown at a speaking a crazy language and says “tongues of
target or the vial in which it is carried shatters, a foul ancients, tongues of present, let me speak” while holding
stench is brought forth from a Sketh in another the forked tongue of a snake or other reptile, he can
realm that fills a sphere with a diameter of three- speak up to nine languages. The caster does not
spaces. Anyone within this area must make an actually know these languages or that he is even
improbable fitness-based composure task to remain speaking them. For all intents and purposes, the
there; otherwise, they do whatever is necessary to caster hears only his own native language. Everyone
get away from the smell. If a character has a negative else within three spaces from him hears their own
defined value for the smell gimmick, deduct it from native language. Only nine different languages can
his difficulty to remain in the area. be heard in this manner, so if more than nine
different people have a different native language,
Strong as Steel Alteration they hear the closest to their own.
16 10 minutes touch 1 day 2 Undead Protection Conjuration
COMPONENTS: weapon, garment  10 5 minutes touch 1 hour 12
GESTURES: break weapons EFFECT: +4padding/armor while holding target item
This spell makes a trench coat more than just a COMPONENTS: silver dust and ink mixture 
trench coat. The caster touches a weapon to the INSCRIPTIONS: draw protective symbols on target item
target item of clothing and then breaks the weapon. When facing out-of-control undead, this spell is
If successful, the garment’s padding and armor invaluable. The caster uses a mixture of silver dust
ratings are increased by three. and ink to draw protective symbols on any item he
can hold. If successful, the padding and armor
Summon Demon Invocation ratings of anyone holding the item are increased by
DIFFICULTY CASTING RANGE DURATION FEEDBACK four against any attack made by an undead creature.
18 30 minutes 3 1 hour 12 Unfortunately, there are exceptions to the creatures
ALIGNMENT: Chaos, Oathbreakers of Chaos against which it protects—this does nothing against
EFFECT: summon demon from otherworldly realm Vampires and similar life-draining entities.
INCANTATIONS: “Demon, I command you to appear.”
INSCRIPTIONS: pentagram, name of demon
The caster draws a pentagram on the ground and
writes the name of the demon in the middle of it. He
then says “demon, I command you to appear.” If the
spell is successful, the demon is transported within
three spaces of the caster. The demon may or may
not cooperate, possibly even attempting to kill the
caster. If the demon accepted the spell willingly, he
remains in this world indefinitely; otherwise, the
demon returns to its own world after one hour.

New spells can be created by spellslingers and Magic Theory
other characters. There are four primary elements There are five fundamental applications of theory
that must be decided—these are effect, range, duration, that are essential for creating new spells. One of
and casting time. Additional elements are optional. these must be chosen for the spell, as must a casting
When creating a spell, the cost must be computed, pursuit—these determine the nature (and effects) of
since this is used to determine its difficulty and the spell. In order to create a new spell, a character
feedback. Each element has an associated cost for its must possess both the magic theory and casting
efficacy. As an element is added to the spell, note its pursuits required for it.
cost—the Spell Worksheet in the back of this book
should be used to aid in this process. EXAMPLE
Jonna is designing a new spell that creates a wall of
New cantrips can also be created. Any spell with a
skulls. The spell requires the necromancy school, since
difficulty value less than 8, casting time less than five
it involves the dead, along with the conjuration theory,
minutes, and no feedback can be considered a
since it requires calling them into being from nothing.
Magic Schools Alteration spells cause things to change by
The casting pursuit with which a spell is associated
modifying or otherwise mutating them into
determines certain factors. Since these are discussed
something else. Alteration cannot create something
previously in this chapter, the following points are
from nothing, such as by giving them new non-
only highlighted here:
ability gimmicks or raising abilities with ratings of
• Chronomancy spells affect time. zero, as that falls under the powers of conjuration
• Elementalism spells create effects that involve (there may be rational exceptions to this rule, so
fire, earth, air, or water. final arbitration is up to the director). Common
• Necromancy spells interact with or directly effects for alteration include modifying abilities,
affect the dead, either their spirits or corpses, ability gimmicks, difficulties, damage, and protection.
including the undead in most cases.
• Photomancy spells deal with light (illumination) Apportation spells govern the controlled
and dark (shadows), many times involving movement of targets from one place to another
illusions. through intervening space. Apportation essentially
• Somniomancy spells promote sleep or the changes the normal process of physically moving
manipulation of dreams. something by way of a magical means. Movement
• Sorcery spells focus on travel through and outside of physical reality, such as by teleportation,
interaction with other realms. falls under the powers of invocation. Apportation
spells typically involve kinetic force and distance.
• Technomancy spells create effects that involve
machinery and metals. Conjuration
• Vitomancy spells interact with the plant and Conjuration spells produce something from
animal kingdoms. nothing, such as materializing rocks from thin air,
• Wizardry spells affect all things magical, from imbuing life into inanimate objects, raising abilities
demons and magically-created beings to the with ratings of zero, or assigning characters with
focusing and shaping of magical energies. new non-ability gimmicks. Spells that increase
abilities with ratings of one or more fall under the
powers of alteration. Common effects for conjuration
include damage, difficulty, cover, and weight.


Divination increased by one. The director should decide how

Divination spells provide information, whether by many effects are too many, but the cost is the best
gleaning it through other people’s minds, distant way of limiting a spell’s power. Note that extra costs
places, or expanding a character’s senses beyond the are not always necessary when side effects may
norm. Examples include seeing behind walls, over occur. For instance, a pool of sticky glue would also
obstructed distances, or into the past. Spells that cause penalties to movement. Common sense should
simply increase a character’s awareness, such as be used in these cases to determine the nature of the
range of vision or quality of hearing, fall under the side effect.
powers of alteration. Common effects for divinity More abstract effects are also possible, but must
include difficulty and time. be determined by the director, since they typically
cannot be quantified—decide how easy or hard the
Invocation spell should be (use a lower effect value for easier
The invocation theory was originally developed to spells and higher effect value for harder ones).
summon entities from other realms so that they Divination and alteration spells are likely to be easy,
appear before the caster. Over time, it evolved to since they may only need to mimic certain pursuits.
also cover the instantaneous transportation of Apportation spells are also pretty easy, since they
someone or something from one location to another. are generally about moving a certain weight.
Examples include transferring a dagger from its box Invocation and conjuration spells are likely to be the
at home to a character’s hand or luring a demon hardest, as they call an entity or object forth, or
from some otherworldly realm. This theory relies on create something out of nothing.
the teleportation of that which exists elsewhere, not
to be confused with creating an object or creature EXAMPLE
out of nothingness, which falls under the powers of Merdre’s new spell creates three effects: 2inj, strength
conjuration. Common effects for entities include (-3), and -1 armor. These cost 4, 6 (5+1), and 3 (2+1),
distance, difficulty, and time. respectively. The total base cost for these effects is 13.

Alignment Ability
A spell may be associated with certain factions of This effect increases or decreases one of the
the Godwar. This is not mandatory, since not all target’s ability ratings (fitness, awareness, creativity,
spells are even known to most factions. Assigning reasoning, or influence) by the designated value. The
one or more alignments to a spell signifies that it ability must be specified when creating the spell.
was developed and/or established by the specified Consult the ability column for this effect. This is
faction(s) and tied to their beliefs and practices. common among alteration spells.
• Order favors spells involving light, life, magical EXAMPLE
forces, fluidity, air, and time. An alteration spell with an ability effect cost of 10 is
• Chaos prefers spells involving darkness, physical designed to reduce a character’s awareness by 5. This
forces, spiritual entities, fire, water, and prevents a target from noticing things around him.
• Oathbreakers of Order are inclined to use Ability Gimmick
spells involving light, life, magical forces, fluidity, This effect increases or decreases one ability
air, and earth. gimmick (strength or eloquence, for instance) for one
of the character’s abilities. The ability gimmick must
• Oathbreakers of Chaos lean towards spells
be specified when creating the spell. Consult the
involving darkness, physical forces, spiritual
gimmick column for this effect. This is common
entities, fire, water, and metal.
among alteration spells.
A spell can affect different aspects of characters An alteration spell with an ability gimmick effect
and situations. Choose one desired effect and note cost of 5 is designed to give a target the appearance
its corresponding cost from the Effects Table on the (+3) gimmick. This helps him considerably when
next page. More than one effect can also be created. charming people.
The base cost for each effect beyond the first is

Action this value increase the difficulty by +2diff for each
This effect works as if the character performed a point above the maximum. This is common among
successful task for a specific pursuit. This means that somniomancy spells.
the spell performs the specified task at the designated
difficulty. This may require the target to contest this
A somiomancy spell with an action effect cost of 9
task (using the designated difficulty) to resist it. The
only functions against characters with a combined
type of task (ability and pursuit combination) must
reasoning and composure total of 9 or less. If the
be specified when creating the spell. Consult the act
target’s reasoning and composure total is 11, the spell’s
column for this effect. This is common among
difficulty is increased by 4diff.
apportation, divination, and invocation spells.
A divination spell with an action effect cost of 10 This effect alters the difficulty of tasks during
works as if the character succeeded at an impossible specific conditions or for specific abilities/pursuits,
(18) investigation task. which must be decided when creating the spell.
Consult the impact column for this effect. This is
Alternatively, the effect cost can represent a
common among alteration spells.
character’s maximum ability and pursuit total that
the spell can target. Ability and pursuit totals over

cost ability gimmick act impact damage protection cover weight distance time
1 — ±1 9 ±1diff ±1fat|ten ±1padding|imm|will 1 (1) 100 2 1 turn
2 ±1 — 10 ±2diff ±1inj|man ±1armor|ego 1 (2) 125 3 4 turns
3 — ±2 11 ±3diff ±2fat|ten ±1physical|mental 2 (2) 150 4 1 min
4 ±2 — 12 ±4diff ±2inj|man ±2padding|imm|will 2 (3) 175 6 2 min
5 — ±3 13 ±5diff ±3fat|ten ±2armor|ego 3 (3) 200 10 5 mins
6 ±3 — 14 ±6diff ±3inj|man ±2physical|mental 3 (4) 250 12 10 mins
7 — ±4 15 ±7diff ±4fat|ten ±3padding|imm|will 4 (4) 350 15 30 mins
8 ±4 — 16 ±8diff ±4inj|man ±3armor|ego 4 (5) 500 20 1 hr
9 — ±5 17 ±9diff ±5fat|ten ±3physical|mental 5 (5) 600 30 3 hrs
10 ±5 — 18 ±10diff ±5inj|man ±4padding|imm|will 5 (6) 700 40 12 hrs
11 — ±6 19 ±11diff ±6fat|ten ±4armor|ego 5 (7) 800 50 18 hrs
12 ±6 — 20 ±12diff ±6inj|man ±4physical|mental 5 (8) 950 75 1 day
13 — ±7 21 ±13diff ±7fat|ten ±5padding|imm|will 6 (6) 1,100 100 3 days
14 ±7 — 22 ±14diff ±7inj|man ±5armor|ego 6 (7) 1,250 125 1 wk
15 — ±8 23 ±15diff ±8fat|ten ±5physical|mental 6 (8) 1,400 150 2 wks
16 ±8 — 24 ±16diff ±8inj|man ±6padding|imm|will 6 (9) 1,600 250 1 mth
17 — ±9 25 ±17diff ±9fat|ten ±6armor|ego 7 (7) 1,800 400 3 mths
18 ±9 — 26 ±18diff ±9inj|man ±6physical|mental 7 (8) 2,000 1km 6 mths
19 — ±10 27 ±19diff ±10fat|ten ±7padding|imm|will 7 (9) 3,000 1.2km 1 yr
20 ±10 — 28 ±20diff ±10inj|man ±7armor|ego 7 (10) 4,000 1.6km 3 yrs
21 — ±11 29 ±21diff ±11fat|ten ±7physical|mental 8 (8) 5,000 2km 6 yrs
22 ±11 — 30 ±22diff ±11inj|man ±8padding|imm|will 8 (9) 6,000 3km 10 yrs
23 — ±12 31 ±23diff ±12fat|ten ±8armor|ego 8 (10) 7,000 4km 15 yrs
24 ±12 — 32 ±24diff ±12inj|man ±8physical|mental 8 (11) 8,000 6km 20 yrs
25 — ±13 33 ±25diff ±13fat|ten ±9padding|imm|will 9 (9) 9,000 8km 25 yrs
26 ±13 — 34 ±26diff ±13inj|man ±9armor|ego 9 (10) 10,000 10km 30 yrs
27 — ±14 35 ±27diff ±14fat|ten ±9physical|mental 9 (11) 15,000 15km 35 yrs
28 ±14 — 36 ±28diff ±14inj|man ±10padding|imm|will 9 (12) 20,000 20km 40 yrs
29 — ±15 37 ±29diff ±15fat|ten ±10armor|ego 10 (10) 25,000 25km 45 yrs
30 ±15 — 38 ±30diff ±15inj|man ±10physical|mental 10 (11) 30,000 30km 50 yrs


EXAMPLE the weight column for this effect. This is common

An alteration spell with an impact effect cost of 4 is among apportation, as well as some conjuration and
designed to increase the difficulty to hit a target with invocation spells. Volume for liquids can also be
ranged weapons by 4diff. determined using this value—multiply the value by
16 for {fluid} ounces or halve it for liters.
This effect can inflict or reduce damage, typically An apportation spell with a weight effect cost of 5 is
those made against or caused by the target. Consult designed to prevent a target weighing no more than
the damage column for this effect. Two types of 200 pounds from moving.
damage are indicated on each row; choose just one
of these when creating the spell. This is common
among conjuration and alteration spells. Distance
This effect can move or otherwise transport an
EXAMPLE object. Distances are measured in spaces, unless
An apportation spell with a damage effect cost of 8 otherwise noted (multiply spaces by two when
inflicts 4inj as a result of kinetic vibration. converting to meters or yards, and by six when
converting to feet). Consult the distance column for
Protection this effect. This is common among apportation and
This effect alters the target’s protection rating (it invocation spells.
cannot be reduced below zero, but can be raised to The distance traveled in one turn depends on the
any amount). Consult the protection column for object’s weight for apportation spells. Determine the
this effect. Multiple types of protection are indicated cost for the weight of the object that is being moved
on each row; choose just one of these when creating using apportation (using the highest weight closest;
the spell—physical affects padding, armor, and anything under fifty pounds has a cost of 0) and
immunity, while mental affects will and ego. This is subtract it from the specified distance cost. Then
common among alteration spells. reference the distance column using this new value
as the cost to determine the distance it moves
during one turn (results less than zero indicate that
An alteration spell with a protection effect cost of 17
the object is too heavy for the spell to move; a
is designed to increase a target’s ego rating by 6 (even
distance of zero is equivalent to one space). The
above the normal maximum rating of 5). This makes
object must move the entire distance using
him very resistant to mania-inflicting attacks.
apportation, unless blocked by an obstacle, which
may cause damage (at the director’s discretion).
This effect creates a structure that can be used to Weight does not affect distance for invocation
protect those behind or within it. Consult the cover spells or in the case of portals, which can also be
column for this effect. The first specified number linked to areas within the specified distance, rather
refers to the object’s padding and armor ratings, than the actual maximum value. The effect costs to
while the number in parenthesis indicates its achieve distances required for certain realms can be
threshold. This is common among alteration and found on the table below.
conjuration spells.
EXAMPLE realm cost
A conjuration spell with a cover effect cost of 16 is Afterworld (spirits of the dead) 14
designed to create a wall with padding/armor ratings Dreamworld (dreams) 16
of 6 and a threshold of 9. Elemental Realms (pure fire, water, etc.) 16
Otherworldly Realms (demons) 18
This effect can lift or create an object of the EXAMPLE
specified weight in pounds (multiply this value by An apportation spell with a distance effect cost of 13
0.45 when converting to kilograms). This is the can move a target less than 100 pounds by 100 spaces
maximum amount of weight that can be lifted in the (200 meters or 600 feet) in one turn, unless stopped by
air, held in place, or otherwise transported. Consult

an obstruction. A target up to 950 pounds can also be Quantities
moved, although something that heavy cannot go This effect may create a number of illusions,
further than two spaces. objects, flashes, words, images, sounds, and the like.
An invocation spell with a distance effect cost of 9 The number of the chosen element is equal to the
can move a target up to thirty spaces. effect value in these cases.
An invocation spell that transports someone to a
demonic realm requires a distance effect cost of 18. Range
The distance over which a spell can function is
Time very important. A spell can be made to affect any
This effect is designed to interact with time, target within its specified distance from the caster.
whether by moving through it or sensing events Choose the desired range and note its corresponding
within it. Consult the time column for this effect. cost from the Primary Factors Table. Note that a)
This is common among apportation, divination, and conversion between metric and imperial values are
invocation spells. rounded for simplicity; b) some values are extremely
large, intended for spells involving other planes of
existence; and c) range is where an effect is unleashed,
A divination spell with a time effect cost of 19 is
not necessarily how it links to another location (a
designed to look into the past of a specific area. Each
portal’s range is where it opens in relation to the
turn the spell is in effect, it can be used to view a
caster, but the distance effect cost determines where
different point in time up to one year in the past.
the other end opens). Spells designed to search an
area rely on the effect area option, below. Put simply,
range is merely the distance to a target.

____________________ range_ _________________ _ _____ time______
cost spaces metric imperial duration/casting
0 touch touch touch instantaneous
1 3 6 m 18 feet 5 seconds / 1 turn
2 10 20 m 60 feet 10 seconds / 2 turns
3 25 50 m 150 feet 25 seconds / 5 turns
4 50 100 m 300 feet 1 minute
5 250 500 m 1,500 feet 2 minutes
6 — 1 km 3,200 feet 5 minutes
7 — 2 km 1 mile 10 minutes
8 — 5 km 3 miles 30 minutes
9 — 20 km 12 miles 1 hour
10 — 50 km 30 miles 3 hours
11 — 100 km 60 miles 12 hours
12 — 500 km 300 miles 1 day
13 — 1,000 km 600 miles 3 days
14 — 2,000 km 1,200 miles 1 week
15 — 5,000 km 3,000 miles 2 weeks
16 — 10,000 km 6,000 miles 1 month
17 — 20,000 km 12,000 miles 3 months
18 — 50,000 km 30,000 miles 6 months
19 — 100,000 km 60,000 miles 1 year
20 — 200,000 km 120,000 miles 3 years
21 — 500,000 km 300,000 miles 6 years
22 — 1,000,000 km 600,000 miles 1 decade
23 — 2,0000,000 km 1,200,000 miles 3 decades
24 — 5,0000,000 km 3,000,000 miles 6 decades
25 — 1,000,000,000 km 6,000,000 miles 1 century


A spell with a range cost of 10 can target a person, A spell that affects anyone standing within a
object, or event within 50 kilometers (30 miles). diameter of three spaces increases its cost by 2.

Duration Charges
The length of time during which a spell remains in Building spells so that they can be stored for later
effect is another crucial element. Spells that are use in the caster’s mind costs 1 per charge. When a
instantaneous must create a permanent effect or be spell is stored as a ward in an object, triggered by
worthless. For instance, if a fireball was instantaneous, itself under specific circumstances, the cost is 2 per
it would be extinguished before even reaching its charge. The required actions for a charge to be
target, but a spell that opens a door or inflicts fatigue triggered must be specified when the spell is created.
directly only need to do so in an instant. Choose the Items commonly used as wards include potions,
desired duration and note its corresponding cost inscriptions, books, clothing, weapons, and doors.
from the Primary Factors Table. EXAMPLE

A spell that can be charged into the caster’s mind
A spell with a duration cost of 13 continues to three times, increases its cost by 3. Then it can be
function for three days. quickly unleashed when needed.

Casting Time Spells can be built requiring special items to lower
The final primary factor is the length of time the cost. Consult the table below to determine the
required to actually cast the spell. The default casting reduction in the spell’s cost for each component.
time is instantaneous, meaning that the effect is Also reduce the cost by one if at least one of the
unleashed during the same turn as it was cast. components are destroyed upon casting the spell.
Longer times make the spell easier to cast—reduce
the spell’s cost by the listed value on the Primary COMPONENT COSTS
Factors Table. Note that the casting time must elapse
before the spell’s effects actually manifest—a casting type of component cost

time of one turn, for instance, means that the spell’s Common Item (rock, pencil) -1
effects are unleashed on the following turn. Easy to Buy or Find (clothing, watch) -2
Rare or Expensive (gun, gold bar) -3
A spell with a casting time of one hour reduces the EXAMPLE
spell’s cost by 9, but a character trying to use the spell A spell that requires a knife as part of the ritual
must spend one hour casting it. reduces its cost by 2. If that knife is destroyed in the
process, the cost is further reduced by 1.
Once the primary elements are decided, other Gestures
options may be built into the spell. As with components, one or more physical actions
can be required for the caster to perform in order to
Effect Area lower the spell’s cost. Consult the table below to
A spell normally only affects a single target determine the reduction of cost for each gesture.
character or object. The effect can be augmented to A very common gesture is throwing something at
affect a two or three-dimensional area. This means a target. This is useful for spells that conjure elements
that the spell affects all viable targets or provides and other items, such as fireballs. Since the item
insight into specified elements within that area. The does not move on its own, it can be thrown at a
base cost for a diameter of one space (or radius of target within the spell’s range. The difficulty to hit a
half a space) is 1 for two-dimensional areas and 2 for target with the item is determined by the distance to
three-dimensional areas. Increase the cost by one for the target, as per a normal thrown attack—the
every two additional spaces of the diameter (or one director must determine the values for each range
additional space for the radius). value (short, medium, and long) using his best

judgment. Note that brewing components into a EXAMPLE
potion is considered a series of movements with a A spell that requires the caster to write down the
cost of -2. target’s name reduces its cost by 1.

GESTURE COSTS Related Pursuits

type of gesture cost Linking an additional task to the casting of the
Quick or Simple (pointing finger, throwing) -1 spell is yet another way to reduce its cost. The
Series of Movements (writing in the air) -2 specified task (or pursuit) must be performed once
Complex (dancing, coordinated movements) -3 the spell is cast in order for its effects to manifest; if
this task fails, so too does the casting task. Consult
EXAMPLE the table below to determine the reduction in the
A spell that requires the character to jump up and spell’s cost for the related pursuit.
down as part of the ritual reduces its cost by 2.
Incantations difficulty of task cost
Another way of lowering the cost of a spell, this Routine -1
requires the caster to speak anywhere from a few Complex -2
words to a complex essay. The director may require Challenging -3
the character to make a reasoning task to remember Improbable -4
the words for complex incantations. Consult the
table below to determine the reduction in the spell’s EXAMPLE
cost for the incantation. A spell requires that a new knife be made by the
caster. He must make a complex metalworking task
INCANTATION COSTS (plus appropriate time and tools) to this end before
type of incantation cost casting the spell (the spell cost was reduced by 2).
A Few Words or a Sentence -1
One or Two Paragraphs -2 Limitations
Complicated Formula or Statement -3 Some spells may be limited in who or what they
can affect. This could be only certain species or
EXAMPLE specific objects of a specific color. The director is the
A spell that requires the caster to recite a long poem final arbiter of what limitation can be applied to a
as part of the ritual reduces its cost by 3. spell, but they should reduce the cost by no more
than two, although a cost of -1 is usually most
Inscriptions appropriate.
An alternative to incantations, this requires the
caster to visibly write a word, phrase, symbol, or Flexible Targeting
formulation on paper, parchment, slate, sand, or This option requires the creator of the spell to
other surface. The director may require the character possess the apportation pursuit, since it involves
to make a reasoning task to remember the words for moving its focus. Unlike most of the other options,
complex inscriptions and/or design task to keep it it increases a spell’s cost to make it easier to throw
legible and accurate. Consult the table below to its effects at the target, typically when gesturing or a
determine the reduction in the spell’s cost for the related pursuit is required. The costs are as follows:
inscription. This option can be combined with 1. The spell can move around objects much
components so that it must be written on specific smaller than the target, which must be visible;
surfaces or with specific writing instruments. modify the task to hit the target by -2diff.
2. The spell can move around objects the same
INSCRIPTION COSTS size as the target, which must be visible; modify
type of incantation cost the task to hit the target by -4diff.
Single Word, Name, or Symbol -1 3. The spell can move around objects larger than
Sentence or Short Series of Symbols -2 the target, even if totally obstructed; modify the
Number of Sentences or Strings of Symbols -3 task to hit the target by -6diff.


EXAMPLE Finalizing the Spell

A spell with flexible targeting for its conjured If the illusion option was chosen, multiply the total
flaming axe receives a bonus of -4diff to hit targets cost by the relevant value on the table below (round
when thrown, even behind obstructions, since it can up) to determine the new total cost for the spell.
weave around them. This increases the spell’s cost by 2.
Flexible Activation grade of illusion cost
The caster is able to stop and/or start the spell Automatic .25
before the duration is reached. Obviously, this only Routine .375
affects spells that cause a continuing effect, rather Challenging .5
than an instantaneous or momentary one. Impossible .75

type of flexibility cost A spell with a total cost of 18 that is made into a
Switch it off at any time 1 challenging illusion has a new cost of 9 (18 × .5 = 9).
Switch it off and on at any time repeatedly 2
Determine Base Difficulty
Focus The base difficulty of the spell is equal to double
A spell ceases to function if a targeted object (but the spell’s total cost. While feedback can cause
not living creatures) moves out of range from its explosive effects, it can also make spells easier to
original casting point. By adding this option, the cast. Any amount of feedback, up to half the spell’s
range does not matter once the spell is cast—the base difficulty can be assigned to the spell. The
target can never be moved out of range, as it chosen amount is deducted from the spell’s difficulty,
becomes the focus. To determine this option’s cost, for a final difficulty value. Since high feedback can
add the effect(s) cost and duration cost together, and have devastating consequences, it is recommended
then divide the result by five. to keep this value to less than six.

A spell’s total cost is 9, making its base difficulty 18.
A spell with an effect cost of 6 and duration cost of The spell’s designer chooses to lower the difficulty by
8 that focuses light on a stick to act as a torch increases giving it a feedback value of 5, so the final difficulty
its cost by 2 (6 + 8 / 5 = 2.8, rounding down to 2). value for the spell is 13.

Illusion Casting the Spell

Spells can be made to create illusory effects. While When experimenting with a new spell, the relevant
this reduces a spell’s cost, it also makes it possible for magic theory (alteration, apportation, conjuration,
people to realize that it is an illusion, ignoring the divination, or invocation) is used in place of the
effects. There are four grades of illusory spells, normal casting pursuit. And since casting the spell
reflecting the difficulty for them to be discovered for the very first time is really just a trial run, the
with an awareness-based investigation task: automatic, feedback value is increased by two and the task is
routine, challenging, and impossible. Illusions modify treated as if using a grimoire (the character records
the cost of a spell differently from the other options, his findings in a blank grimoire). This remains in
so this is discussed under Finalizing the Spell, below. effect until the spell is successfully cast. Once
successful, feedback is only increased by one. After
the spell has been successfully cast a second time,
future attempts can be done normally. The character
can memorize the spell/cantrip by expending two
experience. Other characters can also memorize the
new spell, but this is done using the Character
Development rules in the next chapter. Otherwise,
they can copy it into their own blank grimoires (see
page 74).

The following entry illustrates how the spell
worksheet aids in creating new magical effects.


Magnetic Attraction Alteration
SPELL WORKSHEET Oathbreakers of Chaos Technomancy

+ ______ EFFECT AREA + ______ 3 SUBTOTAL = ______ TRIAL RUN 1
Weighs Metal Objects Down 5-space diameter SUBTOTAL × (.25|.375|.5|.75) USE THEORY PURSUIT TO CAST
17diff to resist (2.5 spaces from ward) +2 FEEDBACK
EFFECT +1+ ______ CHARGES + 2
______ TRIAL RUN 2
1 Ward
iron filings 1  24

________________  VIA GRIMOIRE (+2DIFF)
________________  CANTRIP
EFFECT +1+ ______
________________  USE CANTRIP PURSUIT IF
- ______
EFFECT +1+ ______
sprinkle filings on ground 2 DIFFICULTY 16
________________ = ______ DESIGNER MAY SPEND 2
point to ground 1
________________ OTHERS MUST MEMORIZE
________________ NORMALLY
make humming sound 1
______ ________________
1 hour ________________ DIFFICULTY = 16
______ CASTING 2 minutes
= __________

______ RANGE = 0
______ 1 hour
DURATION = __________
2 minutes ________________
________________ FEEDBACK = 8
______ ________________
PURSUITS - ______ Effect Area: 5 spaces
Charges: 1 ward
Components: iron filings (destroyed)
Gestures: sprinkle iron filings on ground, point to ground
LIMITATIONS - ______ Incantations: make humming sound

TARGETING + ______

The ward triggers when someone is 2.5 spaces from it.
All metal objects in the area are weighed to the ground,
FOCUS + ______ requiring an athletics task (17diff) to resist (and move) or
(EFFECTS COST + DURATION COST) / 5 dropping the object.


©2016 Precis Intermedia. Bloodshadows is a trademark of Precis Intermedia. Permission granted to duplicate this page for personal use only.


Player characters generally have a lot of thought the plight of the average individual. They always
put into them right from the beginning, as players share the basic agenda of serving their cause, so
may already have strong ideas about the personalities most actions are taken with that in mind.
they intend to play. Even if a character is not fully Even those aligned to one of the powers may have
fleshed out when created, it develops more depth private agendas. While a character may wish to see
and identity as the player continues to portray the Chaos become dominant, his real reason may be
individual. Additional information is provided here because he sees it as away to gain personal power. A
to aid the director in guiding players when creating supporter of Order may feel that he can be at the top
their characters. of a very orderly pyramid of power when his faction
prevails. Many aligned characters do not even look
The Godwar’s Influence that far ahead. Most see their alignments as being
A defining factor for many characters is that of the rewarding now—an agent of Chaos gets to fight,
eons-long struggle that has shaped the world of cause trouble, and increase his personal power while
Marl. People’s motivations stem from the current a follower of Order has someone to tell him what to
social situation in the cities. It is the outlook of those do, passing on orders when he gets powerful, and
who live in the present, not exposed to the long adhering to a structure.
history of the Godwar and continual plotting that
occurs behind the scenes. The Oathbreakers’ primary motivation is to free
Marl from the depredations of the two powers. A
Those directly involved in the struggle taking place character who is aligned with the Oathbreakers may
on Marl generally have a different impetus for action. not openly display that intent, however. The great
The overarching consideration is the character’s strength of the Oathbreakers is their prowess to go
place in the Godwar. Those characters who are undetected by the forces of Chaos and Order. This
aware of the war are either aligned with Order, makes them very interesting to portray, as they
Chaos, Oathbreakers of Order, or Oathbreakers of attempt to further their own goals while pretending
Chaos. Some may also be free agents, who do not to be working for one of the opposing powers.
give their allegiance so easily. Oathbreakers often work at cross-purposes—
People aligned with Order or Chaos serve their Oathbreakers find themselves in opposition to
respective factions and share their outlooks. Order- Order and Chaos, and vice versa.
aligned characters tend to be more rigid and The free agents are the investigators, adventurers,
organized in their outlook and actions. Not
and spellslingers who may be aware of the great
surprisingly, they see those aligned with Chaos as
conflict underway, but have not allied themselves
the enemies in a great war.
with any side. They remain neutral, but most are
Chaos-aligned characters are less predictable and willing to work for a side if the price is right. They
more improvisational in their plans. To them, those are frequently sought by the various factions as
aligned with Order are the enemy. independent operatives to mask operations and
Characters aligned to either power see the agendas. Free agents generally share the worldview
Oathbreakers as traitors and threats, although they of the average citizen of Marl. They just happen to
may not be above trying to manipulate those also be privy to some details of the Godwar. It is
offshoots into a confrontation with the opposing even possible for free agents to be completely
power. They are more interested in furthering the oblivious of the war—the hiring faction may want a
plans of their chosen power and less concerned with complete naif to prevent any leaked information.


The Party dead bodies, causing him to be seriously distracted

Many noir stories seem to revolve around lone and impacting all tasks with a penalty until he gets
wolves. Parties come together, stay together, and do far enough away from the smell.
things together on Marl for the same reason they do Since the game does not enforce this sort of
in other fantasy and horror games: activity through mechanical means, the sole burden
• A mixture of pursuits are needed to solve a is on the director to implement it. There are no set
problem. One character might be great at rules or requirements when working gimmicks into
tracking a thief, but perhaps not charming or the story in this fashion, other than upholding
persuasive enough to get information from existing mechanical rules and not forcing a gimmick
people in his neighborhood. When cornered, into the story—allow gimmicks to naturally
he might not be strong enough or know the supplement the story.
right spells to take down the thief. That is why
allies come in handy.
• Everyone needs someone to watch his back. As a story unfolds and players immerse themselves
Whether in a cheap apartment in Selastos or in the setting, characters become living entities that
out in the Wilderness, just about everyone evolve and become more real. Not only do their
needs to sleep at some point. All the alarm actions help create this illusion of reality, but so does
spells in the world are not as much of a comfort their constant advancement, which consists mainly
as having someone trustworthy on guard. of changes in terms of game mechanics.
• Time is short, and there are a number of tasks In order for characters to develop mechanically,
that have to get done. It is best to split the party players must immerse them in the story. Characters
and do everything at once rather than go from must face their fears, pursue specific knowledges,
one job to another. This is a little harder on the practice techniques, and analyze the various
director, but is in keeping with the nature of situations into which they are thrust.
adventuring in this world.
It is the director’s job to record the characters’
actions. Once a story concludes, the director then
Working Gimmicks into Play looks over his notes for a specific character and
While gimmicks mostly focus on mechanical determines what actions were most taken, whether
advantages and disadvantages, they can also augment it be fighting, casting spells, researching specific
the story as it unfolds. For instance, a character with topics, or flirting with the vulnerable souls.
the leadership (+1) gimmick may take center stage in
a scene, with extras and villains calling on him to Each player then suggests a course of action for his
take action, either individually or through character between stories. There are three choices—
commanding his subordinates. A character with the research, training, or investment. Each requires certain
speed (-1) gimmick may become the target of an resources, which may be a short story or subplot of
attack simply because he cannot run as fast as the a story, as the character seeks to locate those assets.
other members of the group. Of course, actual
ability ratings better quantify the chances of this Research
happening, but gimmicks are there for a reason, so The character spends a considerable amount of
the director should use them as a guide. time and analysis conducting research. This requires
It should not be inferred that detrimental gimmicks access to the appropriate sources of information,
encourage only negative effects on the story or vice such as archives, grimoires, libraries, contacts, and/
versa. Indeed, a detrimental gimmick can also or guild resources. Choose one of the following
influence the story in a positive way. A character options:
with the stature (-1) gimmick, for example, may be • One new cantrip can be learned by those who are
perceived as weak and ineffectual when he is really at least proficient with the cantrips pursuit. If
quite powerful in other ways. As a result, his captor the character has the appropriate casting and
relies on only a minimum of security, making it theory pursuits, he may even create a new one.
easier for the character to escape his basement • One new spell appropriate for the character can
prison. Likewise, a character with the smell (+1) be memorized.
gimmick may be more susceptible to the stench of

• One new lore agreed upon by both the director Characters can also change their alignment during
and player as a proficiency or increase an the course of adventuring or even become neutral.
existing lore’s rating by one. Note that increasing Such shifts tend to be subtle—a spellcaster learns
a lore to a grand-mastery also requires the rites of the opposite alignment over time and slowly
expenditure of one experience. drifts toward it, for instance. A character may still
consider himself aligned with one faction, but others
Training may see him as belonging to another due to actions
The character undergoes a regimen of study, that promote that belief.
practice, and/or conditioning. This requires a Characters who do not possess the allegiance
mentor, teacher, or coach. Choose one of the gimmick can change alignment without any
following options: mechanical effects in the game. Those who do have
• One new pursuit agreed upon by both the an allegiance are more entrenched within that
director and player as a proficiency or increase faction. They must perform missions and services
an existing pursuit’s rating by one. Note that for the new faction or those that work against the
increasing a pursuit to a grand-mastery also current faction as part of the story. When a character
requires the expenditure of one experience. has performed such a deed by the end of a session,
he can reduce the defined value for the allegiance
• One new ability gimmick agreed upon by both the
gimmick by one. When it is reduced to zero, the
director and player or increase an existing
character loses the gimmick, but is considered to be
ability gimmick’s defined value by one.
aligned with the new faction. He may gain the
allegiance gimmick for the new faction by the
Investment methods described above.
The character pools his financial and/or social
resources to make a large purchase, such as a house,
automobile, rare book collection, antique jewelry,
priceless information, or even just the opportunity
to win a huge windfall of money. This can increase GRITTIER CHARACTER HEALTH
the character’s assets, but they may not be spent so For more dramatic or gritty games, thresholds
easily—assets from a house could only be used if the can be ignored (or more accurately, be equal to
house is sold, for instance. In exchange for this one) to make health, specifically fatigue and
investment, one of the following occurs: injury, more realistic. Using this method, combat
• The character gains the enemy, debt, favors, or can be deadly in just a few short turns. Thresholds
infamy gimmick. should be used when cinematic action is
preferred. By allowing only five marks of damage
• Half of the character’s assets are lost, as is just for everyone, players must focus on making
about all of his cash; if the character owns his realistic choices, like diving for cover, rather than
accommodations, this might also be lost, forcing standing unafraid in front of a barrage of bullets.
him to move. This could be the result of a
mortgage or poor money management. In order for more powerful characters or
creatures to maintain some toughness, thresholds
• The character’s contacts are fed up with him—all can be reduced rather than eliminated completely.
connection tasks are impacted by +2diff during The table below indicates the threshold value
the next story. that should be assigned for a given ability rating
when only a reduction is preferred.
Other Factors
Alignment and Allegiance REDUCED THRESHOLD
A character can increase his commitment to the ability threshold
Godwar by gaining the allegiance gimmick. This is 0–5 1
driven by the story. If the character consistently 6–10 2
displays devotion to his alignment during play, the 11–15 3
director can assign him the allegiance gimmick with 16–20 4
a defined value of one or increase the current 21+ +1 for every 5 above 20
defined value for his ongoing efforts.


Cultural Gimmicks
EARMARKED EXPERIENCE Once play begins, new cultural gimmicks can only
As an option, characters may be awarded be assigned by the director as driven by the story.
additional experience that must be expended in Some may require the expenditure of experience,
specific ways, depending on the character’s according to the director’s preference. Gimmicks
chosen role. No more than two experience like contacts or patron, for instance, could be added
should be awarded like this between stories, when new extras with certain talents are deliberately
although one is recommended per character. befriended by a character; this should require one
• Crooks may spend this experience to experience to be expended.
automatically unlock a door or safe, secure Cultural gimmicks can be removed, but only
an item from the black market, or seduce/ through the course of the game. For instance, a
trick someone. character with the enemies gimmick can only get rid
• Merchants may spend this experience to of it by either vanquishing his enemies or gaining
automatically locate or know the history their allegiance; such a goal should be extremely
of a specific commodity (this includes the difficult and a major focus or subplot of a given
people who may possess or have sold it). story. Gimmicks like bigot should be tackled in a
similar manner, requiring the character to somehow
• Newscribes may spend this experience to have an epiphany or some sort of counseling; after
recognize if a single piece of gossip is true time and possibly social hardship, he recognizes that
or remember a past article, revealing details his hateful feelings may be unfounded and even the
about a personality, locale, or event that is cause for his own unhappiness.
relevant to the story.
• Private Detectives may spend this Permanent Injury and Mania
experience to automatically notice a clue When a character suffers severe injury or mania,
or hidden object, or tell if someone is his ordeals can develop into permanent problems.
armed or lying. This is simulated by gaining a new detrimental
• Sentinels may spend this experience to gimmick. If the character already possesses the
call for backup or automatically invoke gimmick with a high defined value, a different
authority to a group of non-player gimmick should be chosen; otherwise, the new value
characters. is added to the existing one.
• Socialites may spend this experience to When a character ends a story with at least four
automatically arrange transportation grades of injury or mania, roll two dice and use their
within the city, or gain credit or collateral sum to determine the gimmick on the table below.
for purchases or loans, respectively. The director should decide on non-numerical
defined values based on the source of the injury/
• Spellslingers may spend this experience mania.
to cast a spell without the need for either
components, gestures, incantations, or LONG TERM EFFECTS OF INJURY AND MANIA
inscriptions (choose one) or modify the
difficulty of someone else’s spell by +2diff. roll injury mania
2 Endurance (-1) Traumatic Triggers
• Streetsingers may spend this experience to 3 Constitution (-1) Compulsion
add a bonus die to any one task attempted 4 Strength (-1) Eloquence (-1)
by another character or automatically 5 Fortitude (-1) Amnesia
gather a crowd of non-player characters in 6 Appearance (-1) Phobia
public through a performance. 7 Agility (-1) Phobia
• Thugs may spend this experience to 8 Dexterity (-1) Guilt-Ridden
automatically intimidate a single non-player 9 Reflex (-1) Passion (-1)
character or acquire an illegal good. 10 Recollection (-1) Stoicism (-1)
• Average Joes may spend this experience to 11 Vision (-1) Reflex (-1)
add a bonus die to any one task. 12 Hearing (-1) Stature (-1)

In the sample scene above, three types of non-
NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS player characters are introduced. Carter Holgist is a
Much more care is given to the creation of player major character, troubling our heroes at other points
characters. They can be fleshed out and afforded in the story. He needs to be detailed.
more depth over the course of many stories. Each The torch singer is a minor character at this point.
player generally has only one character to develop. She introduces further mystery to the player
The director’s job is so much more complex. He characters. If they choose to pursue her lead, she
must design every other character with which the may become a major character, but it is not necessary
players’ characters interact. The director has to to give her an extensive background just yet.
develop an entire cast of characters, from supporting
parts to the merest extras, and breathe life into them The waiters and the bouncer are just extras, filling
to make them distinctive. It does not have to be such in the details of the Topaz Room. They only need a
a daunting task, as a number of guidelines are few lines of description. The player characters may
presented here to aid in this process, even at a be seeing more of the bouncer soon if they are not
moment’s notice. careful. At that point, he may be upgraded from an
extra to a minor character should the director wish
The first thing to be determined is what role the to focus on him and a serious conflict.
character will play in the story, whether a major part,
someone to drive the plot, a person to fill in the Once a non-player character’s role has been
background, or just a way to add flavor. The part the determined, it is time to consider what he is like.
character fills determines how much depth is needed This is partly determined by the role he plays and
for his background. the director’s reasoning for using him. One way to
come up with a idea is to base it on a player role.
This is also a good method when a minor or major
EXAMPLE character is needed in a hurry. A capsule description
As you enter the Topaz Room, you tear your eyes can be quite useful. It should be a short paragraph
from the opulence of the trappings in order to take in describing the character in such a way that the
the staff located around the soon-to-be-filled main hall. director is able to understand and get into the part
A handful of formally-dressed waiters scurry about the quickly. The character’s personality, motivation,
room, preparing the tables for the club’s opening. As background, and quirks can be included. The key
you spy Carter Holgist, the owner of the Topaz Room, factor is to cover the pertinent information to tell
walking closer, you also catch a glimpse of his featured who the character is at a glance.
torch singer relaxing at a nearby table after rehearsals.
She’s a knockout. Elegantly-coiffed red hair cascades
over one of her sparkling green eyes. She takes a long
Extras can be very important, since they are used
drag at the cigarette holder poised gracefully in her
as henchmen, friends, obstacles, sources of
shapely gloved hand before puckering her lips in your
information, and cannon fodder. What sets extras
direction. Before you can react, she vacates the table
apart from minor and major non-player characters is
and heads through a door leading backstage, passing
that they require very little detail and can be created
the very large, stolid, and unmoving bouncer stationed
and dealt with more quickly than normal. Player
characters always defeat extras in tasks, unless the
While you’re hesitating, uncertain of what to make
outcome is important to the progress of the story. In
of what you just saw, Holgist comes up to you. You
this case, a normal (likely contested) task roll should
force your gaze back to him-—after all, he is the one
be made.
you’re here to grill. You see a slender, well-dressed man
with slicked-back hair and a pencil-thin mustache. He Extras possess all abilities at a rating of two. More
exudes an air of confidence and something in his talented extras can possess one ability with a higher
demeanor hints at a touch of malevolence. Here is a rating—this determines their primary function. The
man to be handled cautiously. He extends his hand ability rating represents not only the extra’s potential,
and speaks in a cultured and refined voice, “gentlemen, but also his training—assign a rating based on the
ladies, what can I do for you?” desired level of competence. For instance, an
extremely athletic extra could possess a fitness
rating of four or even five.


TYPES OF EXTRAS The director is not required to track health for

description ability extras, except for henchmen, which is a catch-all term
Physical Extras Fitness for a villain’s guards and lackeys. Henchmen possess
Observant Extras Awareness threshold ratings of 1. All successful attacks against
Artistic Extras Creativity non-henchmen extras that inflict fatigue
Intelligent Extras Reasoning automatically cause them to fall unconscious, tension
Social Extras Influence causes them to surrender, injury causes them to
become incapacitated, and mania causes them to
Pursuits may also be assigned based on their run away. The following random table can be used
function. A competent extra may possess one or (roll two dice) to determine an extra’s attitude
more proficiencies based on his role, while a master towards the player characters.
craftsman could possess a number of specialties or
masteries. Gimmicks may also be assigned at the EXTRA ATTITUDE
director’s discretion. roll attitude
2 Friendly
3 Cooperative
4 Cowardly
5 Apathetic
6 Selfish
7 Seductive
8 Pompous
9 Manipulative
10 Treacherous
11 Uncooperative
12 Hostile

Minor Characters
A minor character is designed to help drive the
plot. This may be a continuing contact who shows
up on occasion or someone who plays a major part
in one scene, but not the entire story. Minor
characters need to be better described. They do not
usually need an extensive background, but are
created just like player characters, possessing
pursuits and even experience. Assigning a threshold
rating of 1 or 2 to minor characters can make them
easier to dispatch, should they prove too challenging.

Major Characters
If a character is going to play an extensive part in
the story, he is considered a major character. There
are usually only one or two major characters in a
story. These tend to stand opposed to the player
characters, but an ally or patron could also take the
part of a major character. Major characters drive
along the plot, working behind the scenes to direct
their lackeys into encounters with the player
characters. They may even take an active part in
most of the scenes of the story. A major character
should also play a significant part in climactic

Such a character needs to be fully developed. A EXAMPLE
detailed description of his appearance and A simple way of describing an event: A figure comes
personality is needed, as well as any apparent up the alley in your direction. As it gets closer, you see
mannerisms. The character’s background and it’s a Zuvembie. It suddenly turns toward you and
objectives must also be determined in depth, as well attacks.
as his motivations. Major characters should be A more descriptive way: A lone figure approaches
created like player characters, with histories and your position in the alley. As it shambles through a
fully-described capabilities. pool of light, you notice its bluish pallor and the dry,
peeling skin of its face. The scattered patches of
Fleshing out the Details unkempt hair and the glazed look in its eyes confirm
While major characters need quite a bit of detail to what you were afraid of—it’s a Zuvembie. Suddenly, it
make them seem real to the players, minor characters lurches around and comes toward you, its reaching
can get away with details in only one or two areas. arms flailing about to strike.

Background The second description above is richer in detail,

The place from which a character originates goes a giving the players a better feel for the encounter and
long way in determining what he is like today. bringing it to life. Of course, a shorter description
Whether he came from a life of crime or worked his can also be just as effective—it all depends on how it
way up the ranks honestly makes a difference. A is worded.
club singer, gangster’s moll, and rich dame all look at EXAMPLE
life and react differently, for instance. Likewise, a You come around a corner and grimy, rotting hands
former sentinel can be very different from another grab you! A foul odor assaults your sense of smell! My
one, depending on whether he was drummed off the god, it’s a Zuvembie!
force or retired after a corrupt career. Not all
spellslingers view magic the same way, especially if
the character merely dabbles in magic, focusing on
other important interests.
Another factor is whether he has a history with
the player characters—perhaps a former sentinel was
one of their partners or a now-wealthy woman was
an old flame. Where the character has been and his
current life helps the director portray him.
Constructing non-player characters that work
themselves into the backgrounds of the player
characters is a terrific idea, but must be done by
writing up a few paragraphs of information regarding
the relationship. That information should be given
to the relevant players as memories when the
character is encountered for the first time.

One of the easiest ways to help players visualize
the non-player characters with which they deal is by
using a good description. The best way to provide a
good description is to offer something distinctive to
remember about the character. A specific physical
characteristic really makes an encounter memorable
and helps the players recognize him more quickly in
future meetings. Using appropriate details in the
descriptions gives the players a richer feel for the
setting, much more so than a nondescript narration


Another aspect of physical appearance is the the player characters in the first scene. He sends his
clothing a character wears. Whether he is fastidious goons to do the dirty work. It is up to the player
or generally unkempt can also make a difference. If characters to determine where the opposition is
someone is always seen in formal wear and the centered—they have to track down the head of the
player characters witness a slender figure in such operation, should they suspect there is an
clothing dealing with some hoods in a dark alley, organization involved. The villain generally only
they have an easier time of guessing who it is. steps in to handle the job once player characters
Jewelry and other accessories are also good have been softened up by his agents or if the fight is
elements of physical appearance. The local fire brought to him.
elementalist always wears a large brooch crafted in Resources must also be established for spellslingers.
the shape of a salamander dancing in flames, for A major spellslinger needs more than just a few
instance. A character’s taste in accessories or what spells and equipment. A few surprises are in order—
they represent are often important insights into who he may know non-established spells, constantly
they are. Accessories also include any equipment a keep protective wards charged, or maintain a few
character regularly carries. summoned creatures who lurk in the shadows ready
to pounce. He is a dangerous spellslinger, so he
should be treated as such.
Jake Marsh, a private investigator, wears a wrinkled
trenchcoat and a crumpled hat that is always pulled
down tight over his eyes. His weapon of choice is a .38 Bringing Characters to Life
service revolver, which he used when he was a sentinel. The director must breathe life into the non-player
Elacar Stang, a bounty hunter, carries a shotgun, characters, using their backgrounds, abilities, and
with one barrel for standard shot and the other for his personalities. The prominent features described in
favored runeshot of the day. the previous sections make characters distinctive, so
that the players can relate to them. Additional
idiosyncratic features can also be added as a starting
Personality point for their portrayals.
Every character needs personality—the way he acts
and presents himself to the world. He could always As roleplaying games are primarily verbal, the
be in control of the situation or the ever-petulant strongest cues are also verbal. The director’s
worm. He could also be a flirt or all business. Pick characters interact with the players’ characters by
one aspect of his personality and emphasize it as a speaking to them, so their speech should be unique.
prominent trait with which to identify the character. One of the quickest ways to do this is to use an
Also choose how the character generally reacts to accent of some sort.
the world—perhaps he panics in the face of danger, This game’s major motif is the hard-bitten detective,
maintains his composure, or flies into a rage. so think of the characters in those movies. A good
Bogart impression can come in handy, but other
Resources types of characters are also important (not everyone
No characters operate in a vacuum. Most have one should sound the same). Gangster films offer a
or more friends or associates with whom they work. wealth of bad Brooklyn accents and gangster slang.
If the character is powerful enough, he may have an Not everyone is a product of the streets, so more
entire organization at his disposable. Keep in mind genteel accents are also appropriate. Carter Holgist
the type of assets that are available to him. If the is a very urbane, cultured individual, and would
character is a crime boss, his entire organization and speak accordingly. Foreign accents are also welcome
plenty of muscle can be called to his aid; he also to show that certain characters might have come
enjoys access to lots of weapons, cars, and magic. from other cities.
Information brokers, whose resources are not as Many characters are likely to share backgrounds,
organized, can eventually garner necessary such as coming from the same neighborhoods or
information, though it might take time. cities, so a multitude of accents would begin to
A major villain uses whatever resources he has. sound odd. Characters can be assigned verbal
Since he did not get to be the head of an organization mannerisms and use similar figures of speech,
by squandering his resources, he uses them something that comes in very handy when a number
intelligently. A major villain does not face off against of non-player characters are involved simultaneously.

An easy mannerism is frequently interjecting a Many contacts can be continuing characters. This
sound or word. is one way to build growth into the campaign. The
player characters may meet a sentinel in one story,
providing them with information or assisting in the
“I want some information, see? And I’m gonna get it climactic scenes. He may approach them with
from you one way or another, see?” information on a case that has him stumped during
“My friend there is a touch sensitive, isn’t he, hmmm? a later story, requiring their input and leading to yet
I’d hate for him to lose control. Now, I believe we can another story.
come to some sort of understanding, hmmm?”
“There’s so much violence in the world today, no? It’s A later story could see the player characters
frightening. It’s especially frightening when it strikes so requesting information from their sentinel contact
close to home, no?” to help solve their current case. This contact becomes
a continuing character and grows over time just like
Other mannerisms might be used to refer to the player characters. Their sentinel buddy may
oneself in the third person or by name. make detective a few years later—they might have
aided him in a big case that won his promotion.
“Morris knows what he likes, he does. If Morris The development of the relationship with this
wants something, Morris goes out and gets it.” non-player character does not even have to be a
smooth one. It could be a love-hate relationship, in
Another mannerism suitable to scatterbrained or which the player characters work outside of proper
dumb characters is rambling. This can also be used channels, hassling the director’s character on
to drive the players crazy, especially if he really does occasion or even getting him into trouble. The non-
have information useful to them. player character possibly develops a grudging respect
for them as they get things done.
“…and then he says the wrong thing to me, so’s I Other types of possible continuing characters
plugs him and—what was we talkin’ about?” include newscribes with beats covering the player
characters’ stomping grounds, bail bondsmen who
Characters can also have other types of mannerisms. hired them in the past, or even local streetsingers
These would be revealed as the director describes who frequent the corner outside of their offices.
the situation before and between exchanges of There are also guild leaders, rich newspaper owners,
dialogue. Examples include wringing hands, licking sentinel chiefs, and desk sergeants whose paths may
lips, dangling cigarettes, or tapping on cigarette often cross those of the player characters.
cases. Other mannerisms may also include distinctive
traits, such as a limp or large mole on the face that
the character constantly touches. Describing these
features when laying out the scene for the players
adds life and depth to the story, producing a
satisfying experience for everyone.

Continuing Characters
It sometimes seems a shame to have non-player
characters last for only one story after putting so
much work into creating them. No one says that
they must disappear after the story, though. Keeping
characters around not only lends a sense of continuity
to a saga, but also adds greater depth to the setting.
The more continuing characters there are, the
better the chances of foreshadowing events for
future stories without the player characters getting
suspicious. Continuing characters are usually minor
ones, although the occasional major character can
also be utilized.


There are also continuing antagonists, who can One version of nemesis is the crime boss. Over the
provide the tension of a dramatic story. They range course of a story, the player characters could
from the minor villain that surfaces once in a while determine the major villain behind the scheme.
to the background nemesis that continually crosses They take out the lackeys and confront the villain in
the player characters’ paths. his headquarters. After a close battle, the player
The minor villain could be someone that the characters overpower him, but he escapes to avoid
player characters put away in a previous story. He capture—he may even appear to have been killed.
goes back to his old ways once he has done his time, The do not know that the gunrunning operation is
is out for good behavior, or got sprung by his thugs. just one of the villain’s many livelihoods. He also has
He likely remembers the role that the characters his fingers into prostitution, gambling, and
played in his incarceration and is out to even the racketeering. The gunrunner may just be a high-level
score. He could come right after them or be subtle hood, with a boss who controls the other rackets. In
about the ruination of their careers before finally either case, their paths cross again in future.
revealing himself to them before they die. After a number of stories dealing with the crime
Of course, not all continuing antagonists need to boss, the player characters finally figure out who he
be gangsters. Useful types could be hostile to the is and what he has been doing. The continuing
player characters or villains could be friendly. The storyline can eventually culminate in a final climactic
newspaper tycoon, for instance, finds the battle, facing off with the nemesis and resolving the
investigators to be a thorn in his side, as they are situation for good.
always uncovering his plots. A gangster may feel Since there may also be an Unnatural aspect, the
indebted to the player characters, because they nemesis could be a powerful shifter or demonic
performed a service for him in the past—whether or entity. This means that the player characters must be
not it was intentional on their part. cautious of magical assaults and traps. A villain that
A minor villain can sometimes become an ally. A the player characters were forced to kill cannot even
gangster’s moll helps the gangster set up the player be guaranteed to stay dead. He and his minions may
characters. After they turn the tables on the gangster return to haunt the characters.
and put him away, the moll comes to admire them.
She may even become romantically involved with Character Growth
one of them or eventually grow into a valuable In each of these cases, the continuing characters
underworld contact. develop as they interact with the player characters. It
is necessary to keep track of that growth between
The most ambitious continuing character is the stories. The easiest way is to record each character
nemesis. This type can fuel a campaign of many intended to continue throughout the stories in a
stories. The best way to use the nemesis is not to notebook. Detail a full character sheet for each one,
overdo it. Every second or third story could be updating these sheets as they develop. Each time a
devoted to bringing the nemesis back into the character is used in a story, a brief description of the
picture. It may even be possible that the player part he played and what resulted should be noted.
characters initially fail to realize that there is a single
person orchestrating the actions against them. Part The director should assess how active continuing
of the thrill is the gradual realization that there is characters have been after every few stories, adding
someone or something out there with vast or improving pursuits as would occur with a player
connections and resources. The player characters character. New adventures or experiences can even
must come up with a plan to get to the source and be invented outside of their interactions with the
put an end to the evil once and for all. player characters.

This setting affords a lot of freedom. Suppose the promised a car in every garage and conjurer’s brew
director or players wish to visit a city that does not in every pot. Buildings tickle the sky and there is
yet exist in the game world. Simply create it for a enough booze flowing to drown the city.
story. When the characters wonder why they have Selastos is not really that much different from a
never heard of it before, it can be explained that Succubus with the plague. On any given day, the
there are a lot of unknowns on Marl. Just because Elders and top sentinel can be heard making
the people of Selastos might not have heard of speeches about cleaning up the burg. The politicians
Guildsport, that does not mean it does not exist. The do not really run this town, though. They never have.
average person is aware of the cities that do some The big rich run it—the mining tycoons and vice
business with his own, the number probably being kings run it to suit themselves. When they die,
relatively few in number. somebody will conjure up their faces at City Hall,
Since most of the city-states of Marl have developed declaring them to be civic heroes.
in their own ways over the last nine-hundred years, In the meantime, the suckers scrabble in the dark
they need not have the same government, laws, for a handful of dust. They pray for the walls not to
culture, or types of magic as those published here. cave in and queskworms not to get them. If they
This same guideline can be applied to many aspects make it through the week, there is a bottle and broad
of the game, like finding ruins of a forgotten city in to help them forget why they are here. If there is not
the Wilderness or inventing new Unnaturals. There enough money for the good stuff and a Human
is plenty of room for countless numbers of new whore, there is always the Taxim Quarter.
breeds, demons, shapeshifters, and undead.
The Godwar is intended as a backdrop for the Galitia
game, so it should probably be kept well in the This long, thin metropolis stretches along the
background when first starting. The characters will banks of the River Skorn. Its four main walls and
probably have to establish a reputation for themselves ruined fortress present quite the view for those
before the powers that be tap them for a job. Elements gazing down from the heights of its mining
of the conflict can be introduced at any pace, but the community. Galitia is crowded with more than
vast majority of player characters are not likely to three-million Humans and Unnaturals. Filth spewed
recognize them for what they are. Most see the into the air by the flesh mills, alchemical factories,
Godwar as some sort of war of cults, not really and other industries make it seem even more
worrying about it until it actually touches their lives. claustrophobic.
Tall guild buildings and sprawling mansions of the
The Cities big rich emphasize the squalid conditions in most of
While there are undoubtedly more cities spread the city during the day. The real ugliness of Galitia
throughout Marl, these are the most widely-known— boils to the surface at night, even though it appears
or at least, most discussed in stories. quite beautiful in the dark at a distance. The city
offers opportunities never found in backwater towns.
Selastos Much of Galitia’s economy is devoted to keeping
Selastos is the default city in which this game takes the population alive (or dead and buried, as the case
place. According to seers, almost a million people may be). Crafts made by skilled artisans and goods
live here. Most work to fatten the wallets of five or from flesh mills make up the bulk of what Galitia has
six guys. They all got sucked in by the stories that to trade. Flesh mills are aptly named, as corpses of


animals and people are boiled, rendered, tanned, Hypocrisy is common, however, as most people are
manipulated, and/or enchanted into a variety of not above using firearms, especially the aristocrats
items—most Humans do not take jobs here, unless who drive the culture.
truly desperate or mad.
Guildsport As with Galitia, Dela lies on the River Skorn and is
Guildsport is a very small, coastal city that focuses overcrowded. Unlike Galitia, however, guilds and
on profit. The Guild Council generally supports any others forms of unionized movement are viewed
project that can boost the city’s economy. This has with disdain. Family ties are the only recognized
proven beneficial for its citizens—at least, for some. form of registered organization, although Unnaturals
Others are out of work due to cheaper, undead labor. without actual families can register small
Many also consider certain jobs only fit for the brotherhoods with nearly as much influence.
walking dead. Rumors of new sources of income and Businesses are run by these families, with elders
good jobs often drive citizens of other cities to make passing on their knowledge to the younger
the trek to Guildsport, only to find disappointment, generations. Thus, families are likely to be forever
debt, and sometimes debauchery. engaged in the same endeavors.
Guildsport’s sentinels, called bailiffs, stay busy, Unnaturals can actually get a fair shake in Dela,
since there are so few of them. Crime is generally provided they belong to a brotherhood. While the
low, which is a testament to both the bailiffs and the preeminent families rule Dela, there is a sense of
citizens. Goods and jobs are regulated by various fairness, in that any family is afforded equal rights
guilds, from the Shipwrights and Lumberworks and can obtain the same quality goods at the same
Guilds to the Construction and Mining Guilds. The price. Newcomers, however, are not afforded many
Blue Guild oversees magic—they know who can rights unless sponsored by one of Dela’s registered
perform what spells. The Grey Guild not only families. It may also be harder for newcomers to
organizes crime, like smuggling and loansharking, purchase goods at a fair price without the backing of
but is also said to harbor rogue spellslingers. It can a family.
be argued that crime is low not due to the bailiffs’
efforts, but those of the Grey Guild. Gimm
Gimm is ruled by Elementalists and the elites who
Padarr pay them. Most drivers are beholden to them, since
Some call the coastal city of Padarr a bleak, there are few combustion-powered cars—anyone
depressing hell-hole, while others see it as pay dirt. trying to import fuel winds up drinking the stuff
If common citizens are considered the bottom rung while looking down the barrel of a gun. Textile
of the ladder, Unnaturals are the mud below it. They barons also command much in Gimm, as other cities
have no official existence or rights in Padarr, being cannot compete in this trade—not even Galitia.
even more oppressed and exploited than in other The Order of Manda is another powerful force in
cities. Most Unnaturals would undoubtedly leave for the city. It was born from a political movement
more tolerant cities, if not for the dangers of the consisting almost entirely of shifters, seeking laws to
Wilderness. guarantee themselves equal protection, affordable
Corruption and bribery are commonplace all over housing, and job opportunities. Humans and a
Marl, but overt displays of pay-offs, or squeeze, is a number of breeds originally reacted with riots and
common sight in Padarr. It is just how things get lynchings. The violence continued for a while, since
done in the city. Padarrens hate people from other sentinels were not willing to get bloodied to save
cities, because visitors are either ignorant of paying shifters. The Order was eventually formed to protect
the squeeze or refuse to sink to that level. Even shifters, but now acts as a vigilante group patrolling
salaries take projected squeeze amounts into areas frequented by them. The Order’s goal is the
consideration. same as the movement on which it was based,
A sort of technological snobbery has pervaded except that its members use whatever means is
Padarr society. Pure magic is considered vastly necessary to further that end, including the shedding
superior to any other form of transportation. of blood and wielding of powerful magics. News of
Technomancy is considered a corruption of magic. this movement draws shifters of all sorts into Gimm
on a regular basis.

A few brave souls forged a plan years later to
construct barges and nets to withstand the nearby
Boiling Swamps. This opened up a new market for
rare plants, unusual schools of fish, and swarms of
spicy fire-eels worth plenty in the cities. More
people flocked to the swamps to get their own piece
of the pie. Barge-trains now leave Mukden at dawn
and return just before sunset.
Swampers dressed in loose-sleeved, white shirts
walk alongside lawyers and merchants wearing
expensive suits in this boomtown. The finest
elemental-powered cars drive up and down the
narrow streets, splashing mud on beaten nags.
Sailors in Mukden are prone to finding trouble.
Fighting, swearing, and drinking practically gauges
success within this rough crowd. The only time
Mukden sailors shape up is when they are in the
deadly swamps, performing their jobs with grit and

This quiet little town is a common rest stop for
Corel those traveling between Mukden and either Eaton
This small city has embraced technology over or Gwalior. A handful of citizens are brave enough
magic. Few spellslingers or Unnaturals reside here— to traverse its neighboring portion of the Boiling
most have been driven out of town, as magic and Swamps to supplement the city’s mineral trade with
anything seeming like magic is believed to be evil. one-of-a-kind commodities. Their boats would be
Combustion, steam, and manual labor power carts, unfit for the blazing heat of the swamps without the
automobiles, and boats in Corel. elemental spells protecting them. Likewise, the
Corel is largely undisturbed by visitors. While crews and citizens would be quickly lost without the
trade is common with Padarr and sometimes protection of the wizards’ golems and animated
Mukden, merchants know to keep to themselves protectors. For this reason, elementalists and wizards
while in town, particularly if there is a chance of virtually rule Adderhead.
non-Human qualities showing. Crime can be high, The city enjoys very low crime at the expense of
depending on the part of town one visits. Only the little excitement. Citizens go about their business in
brothels and cults that pay stipends to Corel’s city the hopes of earning a little extra silver. Few covet
council are tolerated. The city is known for its active other people’s property, since wealth is largely
nightlife, which can be traced back centuries as a divided evenly. Adderhead’s society is almost
way to scare off would-be predators. While its communal—shared tasks means shared wealth and
twenty-foot-tall walls and repeating canons easily going it alone means starving.
keep the predators at bay, nightly parades, parties,
and ceremonies have become a way of life. Daytime Albredura
activity is relatively quiet, as mundane business is This city suffered under the depredations of
handled and many recover from the previous night’s Wilderness creatures that the Godwar unleashed
celebrations. onto Marl. Albredura decreased in size as it became
harder to adequately defend, but what remains of
Mukden the city is still a bustling center of activity. Built on
Mukden was once a small and wealthy town, the copper trade, Albredura enjoyed an alchemical
originally founded by fishermen many generations marketplace that eventually expanded to support
ago. The leader was called the Captain, who built the other forms of magic.
first iron-bottomed boat. This title is now reserved
for the current leader of the town.


A select few citizens enjoy a propitious life, while cults to spark violence. Diplomats were dispatched
the vast majority take each day as it comes. Albredura to smooth relations, but this only led to tragedy. A
is governed by a mayor and City Council. The mayor cult calling itself the Red Hand botched a spell,
is a breath of fresh air for a city with its head in the creating a tidal wave that washed over the southern
mines, according to the streetsingers. Albredura’s portion of the city. Hundreds of homes and
sentinels began as muscle for the early mine owners, businesses were destroyed. A third of the port city
but are now a respected part of the city. A few now lies under water.
sentinels are in the pockets of crime bosses and The ground beneath Gwalior is riddled with
copper barons. natural sea caves and empty voids. This combined
with the city’s concrete and iron sewer system for an
Eaton extensive underground network. While the sewers
One of the more civilized cities, Eaton (or Grand are probably the safest part of Gwalior, flooding and
Eaton, as its citizens sometimes call it) is very dangerous critters suggest otherwise.
structured from a social perspective. A certain level
of grandiosity is embraced by most of its citizens. Other Cities
Everyone strives to be a part of the nobility that A number of hard-to-find and long-lost cities also
rules the masses, to the point of masquerading as exist on Marl. Some, like Tarik, export a number of
richer and better-connected than they really are. It is goods, but few people outside of the merchant
a city of airs, where nothing and no one are what caravans know about them. Others, such as Coorlow
they appear. Most follow the fashions set by the and Frem, struggle every day to stay fed and fend off
lords and ladies who appropriate other people’s beasts from the Wilderness.
ideas, thus creating a need for countless counterfeiters
of clothing, furniture, and baubles. Other Continents and Islands
The people of Eaton view humanity as one of the The cities and Wilderness of Eln are the main
pillars of society. As long as someone looks Human, focus of this game, but the director can develop
they reap the benefits of civility. Deviants, as the other continents and islands for characters to explore
obvious Unnaturals are called here, are not extended or from which to originate. Some regions may
this same treatment. While the city’s laws extend to encourage particular forms of magic over others,
everyone, fosters (their version of sentinels) often even to the point of enjoying bizarre spells and
ignore crimes against deviants. There is no way to deadly rituals to cast them. Other places on Marl
appeal such behavior, since the nobles are not may rely more on technology or hamper expansion
particularly interested in the lower classes, merely with unfounded superstitions. These are just a few
seeking to maintain the status quo. examples that can lead to exciting stories. Once
players become accustomed to the particulars of the
Gwalior base setting, new avenues for intrigue and action
According to stone markers dating back to the first can certainly be introduced.
Godwar, Gwalior stands on the site of a major battle
between the forces of Order and Chaos. It is said The Wilderness
that Chaos was led by Zagwannorr, the Brood The Wilderness exists to discourage players from
Mistress of Corruption, who could transform going off the map, as it were. Suppose things start
creatures into chaotic monstrosities with a simple getting hot for the player characters in Selastos—they
touch of her hand. Legends describe how she was are caught between two opposing factions, a killer is
ultimately sealed in a casket of lead, which was on their trail, or they are wanted for crimes they did
protected by powerful wards and hidden beneath not commit. The easy way out would be to blow
the sea for all eternity. Her influence is still felt to town While this could end their problem, it could
this day, twisting the wildlife near Gwalior. also end the story. The Wilderness ensures that any
Ruled by the city of Eaton for a few hundred years, problem they find out there is worse than the one in
Gwalior has only recently taken steps towards which they are currently suffering. The reputation
independence. What began as a respectable endeavor that the Wilderness enjoys means that the characters
devolved into chaos, plunging Gwalior into also know that. This does not suggest that they can
catastrophe. Just as independence seemed a reality, never hop a boat or truck to escape a city. It just
rebels seized all Eaton property, prompting chaos makes it less likely to happen, given the dangers.

Wilderness Travel • By Portal: The characters walk through a portal
There are lots of roads in the Wilderness and even and exit somewhere else. There is the potential
more trails. Some of them even lead to places. The for danger, as Wilderness creatures sometimes
road between Gwalior and Adderhead, for instance, lurk inside portals. There is little potential for
is well-known. Any farther than that, though, means adventure, however, since there is no real
walking in the woods or mountains. Even isolated journey. It only takes a matter of seconds to
cities like Guildsport usually have lots of outposts or travel through a portal. The adventure lies in
nearby villages. This is out of necessity, since not actually finding the portal and taking a chance
many places possess all the required resources on where it leads, if it is not a permanent one.
within city limits. Outposts almost always enjoy a • By Sea: If the characters are in a city with a port,
decent road leading to a city—stick to it and do not they can board a sailing vessel to reach another
venture away from it. port city. They can buy passage, work their way
Paths in the middle of nowhere are usually trouble. across, or simply stow away. This is a relatively
Stay a few meters off to the side of a trail to avoid its safe way to travel, since sailing vessels, especially
owner—if it can protect itself from Wilderness merchantman, are protected by scores of spells.
creatures, it can almost surely dispatch the characters They need all this magic to guard against ocean
quite easily or at least use spell wards to guard it. creatures, storms, and other hazards. Most
The safest way to move through the Wilderness is ships on Marl specialize in short voyages or
to know the route and destination. A little research long trips with multiple stops—taking days or
can make a huge difference when leaving the safety weeks. It is extremely rare to find a vessel that
of a city. There are not a lot of maps, but a compass sails into the middle of an unknown ocean with
can help keep characters on track or make it back no land in sight. While protective spells are
from where they started. Also avoid traveling at good, common sense is still the best defense.
night—there are lots more creatures roaming the There is some potential for adventure on sea or
Wilderness after sundown than during the day. river journeys, especially if the boat mistakenly
passes through a portal.
There are five possibilities for travel through the
Wilderness: • By Caravan: When no port is available, traveling
with a caravan is the way to go, especially if the
• By Vehicle or Horse: The characters can always characters would like to earn some gold.
travel on their own via car, truck, wagon, or on Whether wagons and carts or a line of trucks
horseback. If their vehicle has sufficient are utilized, caravans need protection in the
enchantments to handle rough terrain, they Wilderness and are willing to pay through the
gain the advantage of speed—about 50km per nose for it. Caravans only move as fast as the
day for cars and trucks on roads, 35km to 45km slowest member of its group. There is a
for motorcycles, and 25km to 30km per day for tremendous potential for both profit and
horses. A breakdown or the death of one of the adventure here—a valuable cargo is always a
animals might prove fatal, with the characters temptation for crooks insufficiently discouraged
appearing to be easy targets to Wilderness by the presence of the player characters. It is
creatures or raider parties. also a device that makes for easier directing—
• By Foot: If the characters must absolutely get the characters can encounter a fearsome
out of town and cannot find a vehicle that can Wilderness creature that strikes at the trucks
manage uncertain terrain, there may be no and kills some of the extras, but leaves the
other choice but to tackle the Wilderness on player characters untouched; this sparks a little
foot. Characters should be able to make between fear with ruining anyone’s game and relying on
10km and 15km per day, depending on whether a lot of die rolls.
they travel on roads or the unpredictable wilds. Characters need to rest after a hard day’s travel.
They have a much better chance of stumbling The Wilderness is not known for its accommodations,
on lost artifacts and ruined cities this way, since so knowing what is safe and what is not becomes
they can reach places and cover terrain not paramount. A big, flat rock is the best place to unroll
normally fit for vehicles. Unfortunately, they a blanket; a second rock hanging over it can keep
also move at a much slower pace, making it characters dry when it rains. Everyone should
tough to outrun threats.


always make sure that those rocks do not have teeth

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL GUIDE and are not the jaws of a sneaky creature. Patches of
Be sure to follow these ground rules to stay alive stinkweed are also good—while poisonous if eaten, it
when traveling the Wilderness.
is tall enough to hide people and bugs hate its grass-
1. Listen like smell.
This is the most important rule. Always listen to
what the locals tell you about the nearby roads and Wilderness Dangers
accompanying Wilderness. If they tell you not to The Wilderness is potentially deadly, but it is not
touch something, there is probably a good reason. It suicidal to venture there. If it were, it would severely
is always better to spend a few minutes listening to cramp the player characters from traveling between
some old geezer than waking up undead. cities when a story requires it. They are sure to
2. Be Prepared encounter any number of people who think setting
Do not go out into the Wilderness without beans foot beyond the walls is inviting certain death.
and bullets. Not many explorers forget to bring their Part of what makes the Wilderness so dangerous is
favorite shotgun, but a lot of guys go light on the food its reputation. Everyone knows that there are things
and water. They think that they can catch their own
beyond Human comprehension out there, just like
game. The problem is knowing what creatures and
plants are safe to eat. Some are poisonous, others everyone has heard stories about Wilderness
regenerate wounds before your eyes, and many are creatures infiltrating cities and slaughtering
too weird to even think about eating. Remember rule innocents. If characters are in a city and one of them
number one when running out of food—listen. Find starts acting strangely, slapping him around and
out what the locals eat—make sure that it is not you. telling him to stop is probably enough. If that same
person acts weird in the Wilderness, he might have
3. Keep Quiet
a screw loose or be possessed by something nasty.
Stay out of everyone’s hair. Do not look for any
more trouble than you already have. The best way to Most parties quickly realize that there is time and
do that is to stay quiet. Creaky saddles, clanking risk involved in finding out the truth, so shooting
armor, and rattling rifle straps all sound out of place him would be quicker and easier. Simple fear and
in the Wilderness. Tape or cloth can be used to keep paranoia engendered by the Wilderness’ reputation
this stuff quiet. Put blankets under saddles when on is all that is needed to explain the high mortality rate
horseback to prevent horses from blistering. Silencing among travelers on Marl.
vehicles means long-lasting spells—these can easily be Keeping in mind that travelers are more likely to
found in Galitia, Selastos, and Guildsport and at
reasonable rates.
encounter creatures overland than on the water, the
Wilderness need not be a killing ground where they
4. Make Noise have to fight for every inch of territory. Instead, they
No, this is not a contradiction. This is about can sweat for the duration of the trip—little noises in
communication and working together as a team. the brush, that feeling of being watched, strange
Even if you do not like someone, keep it to yourself— sounds in the night, and anything else can convince
no one wants to see somebody fail to watch his back, them that death is right around the corner. Terror by
because of a snide comment. If you get attacked by
suggestion is a great deal more effective than a huge,
something, start yelling. The bad guys probably know
what and who is in the area, but instructions to the amorphous mass oozing out of the ground and
rest of the group can save not only yourself, but also swallowing the party.
the remainder of the party. They can concentrate fire A sure sign that the party is just asking to be
and coordinate efforts. Once the threat has been attacked by something is if they start taking the
eliminated, it is time to leave—all that noise is bound Wilderness too lightly. Not posting a guard at night,
to attract more unwanted attention. not bothering to put people on point or on the
5. Stay Home flanks, blazing away at everything that moves, and
The only real way to be safe is not to enter the making enough noise to wake a comatose queskworm
Wilderness. Handling a pack of alley bandits is a far is just begging for trouble—the director should
cry from surviving the creatures of the Wilderness. oblige them. They should be bloodied just enough to
Travelers who cannot understood that fact are not learn how to respect the Wilderness in future.
long for this world. And because it cannot be said
enough times, avoid the Wilderness.

The Denizens The Director
The Unnaturals are the non-Human inhabitants of It is up to the director to provide a course for the
Marl. They are a big part of the setting’s mythos. A story. He presents the world to the players. They see
few of the possible concerns that the director may what he wants them to see, based on the proper
have regarding these types of characters are described mood and feel of the story, and of the universe in
below. which it occurs.
The director also controls the pace of the story.
Humans versus Unnaturals This is how fast it develops, when the action slows to
If a player can portray a creature with all sorts of evoke a mood, and when the action heats up to keep
unique powers, why would he want to play a the players excited and involved. The presentation of
Human? A group of all Unnaturals could be fairly the story may also be enhanced by sound effects,
powerful, but have a hard time getting jobs or help lighting, or props. These factors are entirely up to the
in a city. Humans are the dominant species on Marl. director in furthering the storyline.
They run most of the known cities and have most of
the wealth. More than a few Unnaturals get by only The Script
because they can pass as Humans. In the role of scriptwriter, the director determines
Humans also have a natural advantage when the overall course of the story. He is actually more of
casting spells, as evidenced by their magic affinity a story editor than an actual scriptwriter, deciding
gimmick. Most Unnatural characters have detrimental on key elements:
gimmicks that accompany their beneficial ones, • goals and the intermediate steps necessary to
while Humans do not. achieve them
Unnaturals as Characters • events that keep the players interested and
The most-important element when designing moving forward to the conclusion
Unnaturals as player or non-player characters is that • types of non-player characters necessary to move
they are individuals. A half-dozen Werewolves might the story in the right direction
all have the same powers and weaknesses, but they The course of the story must be planned, with the
are still six unique beings with different fears, loves, required information provided to let the players find
and hatreds. They should be portrayed that way. their way through it. The director is under no
Unless a creature is mindless or incapable of relating obligation to make it obvious—the players must work
to Human concepts, as many Wilderness creatures for their clues. On the other hand, the information
are, they should be invested with just as much also should not be too obscure.
character as any Human adventurer.
Since players are an inventive lot, side trips and
A number of basic types of Unnaturals are provided tangents must be planned. They are likely to do
in the next chapter, but the director is free to invent something or go somewhere that was not originally
his own using the rules presented here. Virtually any intended, so a contingency should be readily
kind of creature can be created in this way—the only available. Such alternate plans do not need to be
limit is your imagination. fully developed, but some basic ideas should be
drawn up to act as a springboard.
RUNNING STORIES The details worked into the script also go a long
As mentioned earlier in this book, the underlying way to evoking the feel of a real world. The goal is to
motif is that of fantasy-noir. In keeping with that describe a world that lives and breathes. The players
background, the best way to consider a story, or should not feel that their characters are just acting
adventure, is in terms of film. The story itself is an on a stage. They should feel that they are interacting
open-ended movie. As it plays out, the characters’ with a world. The players should care about what
actions help determine the ending. This may be the their characters are doing and feel that what the
ending planned by the director or something far characters do makes a difference in the world.
different. The various aspects of the film analogy are Non-player characters should be interesting and
fulfilled by both the director and the players, with engaging in order to encourage players to interact
the majority of the responsibility on the director’s with them. The story should be tailored to the
shoulders. players’ characters. They need to be challenged by


the non-player characters, without making things a feeling of being someplace. Ambient sounds can
impossibly difficult. Situations can also be designed usually be downloaded or purchased in the form of
to allow the player characters to grow and develop. thunderstorms, howling wolves, clanking chains,
Above all, everyone should have fun. and eerie moans. The director can also make his own
If time does not permit the creation of an original sounds, such as the growl of a dog or scratching of a
story, another alternative is to use an existing creature at the door.
adventure (two are provided in Chapter Ten to help Lighting is an often-overlooked adjunct to
get the action rolling). Most of the work of plotting roleplaying. No one expects a series of spotlights
the story and creating the details is already done, and colored gels to be used, but just dimming the
but the director still needs to become familiar with lights or turning off all but one light can make things
the story before running it. An adventure should be more eerie. Bear in mind that a dominant element of
read with notes taken. Some modifications may the visual style is heavy shadows cast across the
need to be made to the story or the details so that it scene in film noir. A single, bare bulb placed low can
is customized for the players. cast effective shadows. Colored light bulbs
(particularly red, green, and blue) placed in a fixture
The Actors and turned on for the appropriate scene can quickly
The players are the stars of the film, portraying the establish a setting. A shorthand can also be
protagonists around whom the story revolves. Much developed, so that the players can tell what the
of the enjoyment of a roleplaying game lies in situation is just by the lighting—a red bulb could be
bringing characters to life. The director should used to signify night, for example. Colored film over
encourage players to portray characters as genuinely a flashlight can also be used to establish scenes and
as possible. The rules and die rolls are merely characters.
guidelines to the characters’ actions, providing a
framework with which actions can be compared and The Bloodshadows Style
resolved. The heart of the game is really about In order to convey the unique atmosphere of this
playing a role. game, a number of elements should be kept in mind
The rest of the cast is filled by the director. He when designing or preparing stories. These items
portrays every other character in the story—villains, serve to establish the proper mood or reinforce the
antagonists, and all the extras. This takes some work, feel of the story. The director should remain aware of
but pays off in the end. Just as the players try to stay these elements, both when designing the story and
in character, so should the director. His characters when running it. Use of these items helps keep the
have a purpose in the storyline, interacting with the players in the proper frame of mind and serve to
players’ characters. heighten the roleplaying experience.

The Crew Mood

Everything else necessary to the running of the Marl is dark and brooding, filled with shadows.
game is handled by the director. He is occasionally Things are very often unknown and sinister. It is a
required to act as property master, sound effects hard world, in which only the tough survive. Those
generator, or lighting director. The property master who really experience life often come face to face
prepares and distributes whatever props are required with death. Criminals are brutal, and many times so
to advance the story. These are typically newspaper is the law. Even though the world is dark, it is not
clippings, notes scrawled on scraps of paper, invoices, unrelentingly so. It should be leavened with lighter
maps, or whatever else might provide a clue. Actually scenes, so that it does not become overpoweringly
preparing a sheet of paper with the information on oppressive.
it and handing it to players at the appropriate time A lot of the emphasis should be on those details
reinforces the reality of the game. It also saves on derived from film noir. Here are some standard
misunderstandings that come from inaccurate conventions of the genre that can be utilized to
descriptions. evoke the proper feel:
The sound effects generator sets the mood with • The world appears to be in black and white;
appropriate sounds or music. A suitable musical describe it in terms of grays, blacks, and
selection playing in the background can really evoke shadows.

• Long shadows stretch across the scene, as well as tasks to resist panicking or may gain mania from the
any people or objects in it. perceived dangers. A group can also be isolated from
• A lone ceiling fan spins slowly overhead, casting the civilized world by being stranded in the
moving shadows across the room. Wilderness or locked in a mansion that is supposedly
• Faces are usually obscured by shadows.
The environment typically incites fear due to
• Streetlights cast circles of light on an otherwise cultural stereotypes and superstitions. Most people
dark street. are wary of visiting a cemetery at night, probably
• Streets and buildings are damp, glistening with due to tales of the restless dead haunting such places
moisture, as if it had just rained. (which is extremely likely on Marl) and because
• A neon sign buzzes in the background, blinking cemeteries are dark, unfamiliar, and isolated places.
on and off. The location is key to instilling fear, not only by its
very nature, but also by augmenting it with
• Dramatic camera angles make the world seem to
environmental situations—fog, thunder storms,
skew crazily (“As you run into the darkened
darkness, and the like. Again, the solitude of a
alleyway, the long shadows slanting down its length
location, and the characters as a result, enhance the
make the walls seem to lean wildly in on you.”)
sense of dread and helplessness, lending to the
• Characters can be hard-drinking, usually carrying desired mood.
a flask or bottle of whiskey with them, or
keeping one in an easily-accessible location,
such as a desk drawer or filing cabinet.
• Almost everyone smokes cigarettes or cigars,
with one dangling from their lips.
• Men wear trenchcoats, fedoras, tuxedos, cheap
suits, or other easily-identifiable garb.
• Women wear evening dresses, fancy hats, knee-
length skirts, tight sweaters, and other
• A dead body would lie face-down in a slowly-
spreading pool of blood.
• Streetsingers hawk headlines proclaiming a crime
wave or gang war.

Horror meshes with the noir style very well. Its
mood should produce suspense, surprise, chills, and
sometimes an overriding sense of desperation and
dread. There are four main sources of horror—
solitude, environment, legends, and the unknown.
Isolating a character from the rest of his colleagues
can cause him to face dangers, real or imagined.
Strange thoughts could run through his mind,
ominous sounds can be heard, and mysterious
shadows can be seen. These elements should be
conveyed to the players, so that they can better
picture what their characters may be feeling—every
sensation, from the sound of the howling wind, sight
of fireflies, smell of rotting meat, or even touch of
cobwebs, should convey the tension of the situation.
Characters could be required to make composure


Legends often originate from someone’s clouded Details

observations or twisted deductions, but are grounded Details give a setting a life of its own. The world
in some form of reality, no matter how tenuous. becomes real when they are mentioned in passing.
Legends can cause people to act in certain ways, The reference implies the much larger, accepted
explain how to avoid or deal with particular creatures, background. Avoid describing objects in a generic
or simply create tension and mania. Legends can be sense—give it a name or a model number. Using a
the backbone of stories, lending their underlying brand name in the description suggests a much
themes, imagery, and causal relationships to the mix. more interesting world. A significance can be
When characters face what they know, it often attached to different brand names. The characters
defines the level of danger or allows them to better may know that Varenburg motor cars are like the
judge a proper course of action. The unknown, Mercedes brand on Earth—it helps establish the
however, means that the characters cannot predict characters who own or use such items. It is sometimes
the outcome of the story or even what their chances difficult to invent titles and brand names at the drop
are at defeating the antagonist. This unknown of a hat, so a collection of index cards or series of
element sparks the characters’ interest, forcing them pages in a notebook can be utilized to jot down
to investigate further, and eventually leading them to names and ideas as they occur.
make conclusions. They discover new clues along In order to drive home the feeling that the
the way. While some of these clues may reveal characters exist in a real world, it is helpful to run
different aspects of the story, they may not know them through scenes that are not directly tied to the
how to deal with them. story. If they travel to a different city, portray their
A varied cast of creatures for use in horror stories arrival and the search for an inn at which to stay.
is provided in the next chapter. They range from Describe the city’s sights, sounds, and smells to the
almost-conventional horror creatures to unusual and players. They should see that there is more to the
startling ones The players may even be portraying world than the events in which they have become
some of the monsters in the story, such as Vampires embroiled.
or Ghouls. Horror is a major part of the world, so the The players should also be occasionally informed
stories should reflect that, particularly when of events that occur independently of their characters’
describing scenes and encounters. actions. An election may be underway, for instance.
As the characters pursue an investigation, the
Magic progress of the election could be injected. As they
Horror is not the only element of fantasy that prowl through one sector of a city, streetsingers
flavors the setting. Magic is both widespread and an could be describing charges of fraud leveled by one
accepted form of technology. Indeed, it was the candidate at another. A sentinel they are questioning
primary form of technology until recently. It is so could chat about his favored candidate or a newscribe
common that almost everyone knows at least a small may attempt to discuss politics with the characters.
spell or cantrip that aids them in their jobs or daily The impression of a vaster world that is growing and
existence. Both indoor and outside lighting is developing around the characters and their local
provided by glowstones. Doors are locked with concerns can be given. They may even become
doorseals and other wards. involved in the background developments, as a
It is important to remember the omnipresent candidate’s campaign manager hires them to dig up
nature of magic. Passing references to it should be dirt on an opponent. The world can develop
sprinkled liberally via the descriptions of scenes— independently, keeping the characters aware of it to
the mechanic gestures over the elemental engine of foreshadow and/or introduce upcoming stories.
an automobile as he tunes it or the sentinel carries
evidence from the crime scene in a globe of spell- Tough Guys
shielding, for instance. These references do not have As previously stated, the setting is that of a hard
to be major ones. Small uses of magic in the world. The characters who walk its back alleys must
background say a lot more about its pervasive nature be tough to survive—detectives are hard-boiled,
in this society than obvious spells like fireballs and dames are hard-bitten, and everyone covers
powerful rituals. themselves with a hard emotional shell. The chances
of getting hurt emotionally or physically are greater
when not doing so.

It is not just the heroes who are tough. So too are Then players attempt to uncover the nonexistent,
the criminals and the sentinels who must deal with hidden motives of the client, obviously to no avail.
them. Nice guys get eaten alive (sometimes literally), The honest client throws them for a loop, since they
so no one does anything without putting up a tough are expecting lies.
front. This toughness should be worked into The uncertainty factor also applies to the various
characters and situations. aspects of a story. Its most basic use alters the story
Most of the characters involved in a story have into something other than what it appeared
been around the block, making then very cynical. originally. Uncertainty can be used with the different
They have had their share of pain and encountered elements that make up the story. For instance,
the duplicity of their fellow beings firsthand. creatures may possess gimmicks and powers not
Characters with that kind of background never take normally found for their species; just because the
anything at face value. They constantly look for the characters have faced a Vampire or Relkazar before
angle—either that of the person with whom they are does not mean that they are prepared for the one
dealing or one of their own. This provides a good currently standing before them.
opportunity for dramatic tension in the story. An
investigating team knows that the client is lying to Running Stories
them, but not about which aspect of the case. This The director has the most-difficult task in the
facet of the situation should be emphasized to keep game—he must make it not only entertaining for
players on their toes as they attempt to unravel the himself, but also for the other players. Approaching
mystery behind the mystery. the story as a movie helps differentiate the various
parts in running a game mesh together to form an
Uncertainty all-encompassing whole. Applying the proper style
The unknown pervades the world of Marl. Things to that whole gives the story a distinctive feel that
are very frequently not what they seem. This is an makes it come alive. Preserving that feel is another
element that makes the lives of its inhabitants an task, however.
unsure thing at best. It is this state of affairs that
causes them to develop the practiced art of cynicism. Players must get into their roles and experience
the world created for them. This means that they
This doubt also helps keep the players off balance. need to be encouraged to participate in the
They never know exactly what it is they seek or what roleplaying experience, thereby increasing the fun
may be lurking around the next corner. This keeps for everyone. It also provides greater opportunities
the level of tension high, promoting a more exciting for characters to develop.
game. It also serves to intrigue the players and
maintain their interest. In addition to solving mysteries, players should be
encouraged to consider their characters’ actions and
The players want to know what is happening, so the repercussions that follow. A character may
they keep moving forward in an attempt to unravel appear to slowly change his alignment or view the
the tangled threads of the mystery presented to world differently by his actions, for instance. These
them. In light of this, stories that are not are often conscious decisions, by may also surprise
straightforward, but take full advantage of the players to discover how much their characters have
principle of uncertainty should be presented. That changed. It is this exploration of the characters and
said, the story should still appear straightforward. the opportunity for players to portray them
Mystery need not be thrown at the players from differently from themselves that can make it a fun
the very beginning. They should discover it through and challenging pursuit.
their own actions. Enough of the hook should be
presented to keep the players following, so that they Staying in Character
discover plot twists naturally. The easiest way to promote roleplaying is to keep
This incertitude can also be used to trick players the players in character. There is always a tendency
into tripping over themselves. After a few games, the for players to slip out of character, telling jokes or
players begin to realize that the clients who hire discussing the day’s events. While this has its place
them are lying or otherwise misleading them. Once (gaming is a social function), it tends to be distracting.
they achieve this mindset of uncertainty and It should therefore be reserved for before the game,
cynicism, a straightforward client should appear. after the game, or during breaks.


Keeping the players in character maintains their Abilities and pursuits serve only as guidelines, so
focus on the story. One of the ways to do this is with they can be utilized for quick and dirty resolutions,
the director’s characters. These personalities can be rather than long-winded dice rolls. It is more fulfilling
a good tool for maintaining the players’ attention to have the players think about their actions and
without being too heavy-handed. The director can play them through to the end.
talk to the players with them and wait for a response. Yet another way to keep the players in character is
If there is no response, the director’s character can to make the world feel real. The characters should be
repeat his request until the player gets the message. involved in situations that are not purely action or
Non-player characters should challenge the players. directly related to their current case or mission. They
A snitch dealing with a player’s character who seems should experience the world around them.
indecisive might say, “I thought I was dealin’ with a Descriptions should be peppered with slices of life,
tough guy who could get things done.” so the background pops and seems alive. The
Another method is to encourage the players to streetsingers calling out their news as the characters
respond to the director’s characters by saying, “I do walk through the streets can be described, for
this” or “I do that,” rather than, “My character does this.” instance, as should a colorful description of the
Some situations are best resolved by roleplaying hoods lounging outside the boarded storefront be
rather than die-rolling, so this can also encourage painted. The key to presenting memorable depictions
focus. It is better to have players try to talk their way is the use of detail. They bring a description to life,
through something instead of resorting to violence. raising it above a run-of-the-mill generic listing of
A pair of characters faced with a Relkazar, for elements.
instance, might do better by conning, persuading, or
intimidating it rather than getting involved in a Failure and Its Consequences
gunfight or brawl. There are times when even the best-laid schemes
go astray. There is a fine line to walk when adjudicating
failure. In order to give a story meaning, players
must feel that their characters are in jeopardy when
involved in an adventure. There is no fun or challenge
if the players know that their characters cannot die.
On the other hand, there is no more story if all the
protagonists are eliminated by a stroke of bad luck
early in the story. The director must walk that fine
When planning encounters for a story, the director
must keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of
the players’ characters. Encounters should challenge
the characters, yet not be impossible to overcome.
There should always be a chance of failure, although
the odds of it occurring can be modified when
required by the storyline. Changing the difficulty
numbers as the situation changes is one way to
modify the players’ chances. Another method is to
fudge the die rolls, judging the results by how the
players perform rather than their characters. This
can be explained by luck: “The Hellghest’s vicious swipe
catches you square in the side. Its sharp claws would’ve
ripped your ribcage open if they hadn’t been deflected by
your shoulder holster.” Secret die rolls may be more
accommodating for this sort of adjustment, since
the players should not know that they are being cut
any slack. Similarly, the director could roll randomly
for no particular reason to throw off players and give
them a reason to stay on their toes.

Failure is also entirely justified sometimes. If the used or are likely to make an appearance, all
players act foolishly, such as charging into a information pertaining to them should be made
dangerous situation without a plan or precautions, handy. Nothing slows down an adventure as quickly
let the dice fall where they may. The surviving as having the director paging through the rule book
characters will quickly learn not to be to find the relevant information.
so hasty or foolish in the future. The All non-player characters also need to
director is under no obligation to make be ready. The director must be familiar
it easy for rash characters. with the major and minor characters
The storyline may also justify failure. found in the story. A notebook for
If the time is dramatically suitable for keeping track of the director’s
one or more characters to fail, the characters comes in handy. A director
director may increase the difficulty. familiar with the course of the story
Bear in mind that failure does not and its various elements, as well as
necessarily mean death, rather a major having all the pertinent facts at his
setback to the players’ plans or forcing fingertips, allows him to keep the
a situation that endangers them further. adventure moving, even if the players
The failure of one or more characters go off on a tangent.
could even lead to new stories or Overly cautious players can
propel them into a continuing saga. sometimes cause problems with the
There are many tales of detectives pace. This can be avoided by careful
continuing to pursue cases and uncover planning. If the encounters are too
the client’s’ murderers, for instance. tough for the characters, players tend
Capture of one or more members of to become cautious, not wanting to
the team is also a possibility, leading to take risks. Striking that careful balance
stories centering on their escape attempts or the between tough encounters and cakewalks is a very
rescue being mounted for them. The tension can be important skill for a director to develop. If the
increased by instituting a time limit. For instance, players still insist on being too cautious, they must
the characters may have been captured by a cult they be drawn out of their vigilant behavior. This can be
were investigating, now waiting to be sacrificed in a done through character interactions that pique their
ritual at the next assemblage, which is in two days. interests, eventually leading to less caution.
Before preparing the game session, certain things
Maintaining the Pace need to be kept in mind to prevent it from stalling:
In order to maintain a level of excitement and
keep the players’ interest, the story must move along • Avoid boring scenes.
briskly. Stories that get bogged down begin to fall • Each scene should advance the story somehow,
apart. The best way to keep a story moving is to be preferably giving the players something to do.
prepared. Once the story is written and finalized, it • Scenes not directly related to the storyline are
should be read again. Published adventures should still a good idea to immerse players in the
be read once or twice in order to become familiar world, but should be kept brief.
with the storyline and possible plot twists.
• Transitional scenes sometimes last too long and
The more familiar the director is with the material, break up the flow of the story; these can be
the better he can locate information and respond to trimmed or removed altogether.
turns of events, both expected and unexpected.
Enough copies of any available handouts should be • A scene shift can be utilized to bridge the extra
made, ready in one spot, so that they can be reached time, or avoid dull or repetitive tasks. This is
easily. Props and handouts should be stacked in used in books and films to gloss over
order, so that they are easier to distribute as the unimportant information, keeping the action
story unfolds. moving directly to the next scene. Traveling
between the south and north end of Galitia, for
The director should also gather any information instance, does not necessarily need any special
needed during the course of the game. If certain discussion—just a shift to the new location.
weapons, spells, rules, maps, and locations will be


Unfolding the Story Basic Plots

A story typically develops in one of three general Once it is determined how the story unfolds, the
ways—simple becoming complex, straightforward, or basic premises are needed. A few ideas are presented
complicated with a simple solution. below.

Simple Story Grows Complex Finding Someone

A simple story may become complicated as it The team must find a missing person. They may
progresses. This is common, likely due to a client have been hired by a client to find someone who has
hiding aspects of the case when hiring the team or recently disappeared or someone they knew many
not even being aware of it. As the player characters years ago to get reacquainted or deliver something,
delve deeper into the mystery, they discover some of such as an inheritance. It is also possible that one of
the hidden information, eventually revealing the the characters’ friends or acquaintances has gone
larger picture. missing or a kidnapping has occurred.

Straightforward Story Protecting Someone

Sometimes a story is exactly as it appears to be, The characters are hired as bodyguards for a client.
having no added twists or complications. The It may be that he is a merchant doing business in an
characters become involved in a situation, do what unsavory neighborhood, has received death threats,
they need to do in order to resolve it, and succeed or or suspects that he is being targeted by a cult. Their
fail depending on their talents. charge may even be to guard a caravan.

Complicated Story has Simple Solution Finding Something

The least-common type of story is complicated, A client needs a rare and/or valuable object that
but can be solved easily once all the facts are known. may have been stolen or lost to be recovered. For
This is harder to construct, but handled by gradually extra dangers, this happened in the Wilderness
introducing the characters to two or three new cases. when the caravan transporting it was attacked. It
As the cases develop, the characters come to realize may currently reside inside the safe of one of the
that there are connections between the various town’s biggest gangsters. This does not even have to
investigations. They eventually determine that all be an object—it could be information.
three cases boil down to the same cause, leading to Perhaps, the client is not being forthright about
an easy solution. The end result is easiest to invent, the circumstances of the case. The object may
backtracking through the story to set up the various belong to someone else, so recovering it would
diversions required to make an interesting adventure. mean that the characters are unknowingly stealing
This sort of story works best when the players are it. This can lead to all sorts of complications, as the
not suspicious of the cases; this can be prevented by characters are wanted by the sentinels and then
having them pursue multiple, unrelated cases in need to get the item back from the client to clear
earlier stories, so that they get used to the idea. their names.
Concurrent Stories Blackmail
The characters can also be involved in more than The client is being blackmailed and needs the
one investigation at a time, each a separate, fully- characters to either discover the culprit or deliver
fledged adventure with its own storyline. Elements the ransom. It may even be one of the characters
may be common among the stories, as may non- that is being blackmailed. The incriminating
player characters, as a way to make them more information could be true or fabricated. It may also
enjoyable and intriguing. Each of the stories can be be that the characters are simply hired to find out if
structured, using the methods described above. the information is actually true. This blackmail
scenario may only be the catalyst for the story,
driving the characters to do something for the
blackmailer in return for what he holds.

Specialized Plots
Plots can also be specialized for a character’s role.
The tables on this page may be utilized to randomly
determine how a specific role can be associated with SOCIALITES
the story. roll plot
1 Befriend one of the rich
CROOKS 2 Charm way into a big party
roll plot 3 Receive an offer of gold to discredit an elite’s rival
1 Steal a priceless artifact, magical component, 4 Extorted into betraying a friend’s trust
or work of art 5 See an opportunity to gain approval of the elite
2 Gain the confidence of an elite to pull off a job by committing illegal acts
3 Blackmail someone to gain gold or goods 6 Threatened to cover up someone’s crime
4 Hired to assassinate someone
5 Hired to seduce someone or keep them busy SPELLSLINGERS
6 Hired to retrieve a stolen item roll plot
1 Locate required magical components
; MERCHANTS 2 Hired to protect someone or something
roll plot 3 Offer to receive components for assistance
1 Transport goods to another city 4 Hired to create a new spell for someone
2 Assemble funds to make a large purchase 5 Offered membership in a dangerous cult
3 Sell off stolen goods quickly and quietly 6 Requested by sentinels to aid in an investigation
4 Hired to appraise stolen or antique goods
5 Locate exotic goods that are rumored to be in town STREETSINGERS
6 Find a buyer for an expensive item roll plot
1 Get attacked while singing the news
NEWSCRIBES 2 Gain an admirer while singing the news
roll plot 3 Receive an offer to perform in a night club
1 Investigate a corrupt city official for a story 4 Receive an offer to alter the news
2 Investigate a crime boss for a story 5 Receive an offer to sell stolen goods
3 Infiltrate a cult for a story 6 Witness a crime while singing the news
4 Investigate a string of murders or burglaries
5 Investigate one or more missing persons THUGS
6 Investigate the rumor of a new type of roll plot
Unnatural in town 1 Hired to rough up someone
2 Hired to collect protection money for crime boss
PRIVATE DETECTIVES 3 Hired to kidnap someone
roll plot 4 Hired to break into a shop and steal something
1 Hired to locate a missing person or goods 5 Hired to steal something from another character
2 Hired to observe the actions of someone 6 See an opportunity and take it to earn gold
3 Hired to confirm a rumor
4 Hired to solve a murder or other crime AVERAGE JOES
5 Hired to protect someone or something roll plot
6 Hired to investigate an unsolved mystery 1 Witness a crime with consequences for testifying
2 Receive a new job offer, which appears too
SENTINELS good to be true
roll plot 3 Befriend someone with power at the expense of
1 Walk a beat that turns ugly escalating favors
2 Receive a call to investigate a crime in progress 4 Receive a windfall of gold that attracts all the
3 Investigate a blackmail or kidnapping wrong types
4 Receive an offer of bribery to look the other way 5 Mysterious strangers seem to pop up
5 Receive an offer of bribery to provide information everywhere and all too often
6 Dig up new leads for an old, unsolved crime 6 A long-lost friend or relation reaches out for help


Investigations & Research Other sources of data can also be subplots all their
There are three elements that investigators use to own, requiring a special journey, expedition, or
solve crimes—method, opportunity, and motive. further research. This can lead to finding lost tombs,
Methods tell the investigator how the crime was occult books, magical relics, or secretive cults.
committed. They are the easiest to identify, since a In many cases, research can be performed by just
crime scene can be searched and analyzed for clues. locating someone who supposedly knows something.
In most cases, the method is fairly obvious. Clues The best (and possibly the only) way to find out who
can be found by characters investigating the scene. that person is and what he knows is to talk to him.
While overt clues are common, so too are hidden Interviews, casual questioning, and simple
and forensic ones. Once a method has been conversation can reveal much. Being friendly and
determined, characters can begin looking for open to people can also help create contacts and
someone who had the opportunity. allies who might assist a character on future cases.
Opportunity explains when and under what Talking does not do any good without listening.
circumstances the suspect committed the crime. Close attention should always be paid to what
This element can sometimes be difficult to analyze, people say. If deception is suspected, white lies and
since it means discovering who was present not only inconsistencies in the stories should be expected.
at the crime scene (if there was an obvious one), but Eyewitnesses are often mistaken about some aspects
also at the proper time. This is when alibis become of what they saw, as are other people with information
important. If a suspect’s whereabouts cannot be in other areas, so facts should not be considered
corroborated by a credible source at the time of the accurate until verified by other witnesses. Also keep
crime, he remains a suspect. in mind that the more time that passes between the
When the method and suspects with the incident and the witness’s testimony, the less likely
opportunity have been established, characters must it is to be reliable. Eavesdropping is another effective
establish a motive. This explains why the crime was option, even though it is considered rude. Magic
committed, and is likely to be the most-difficult part may also be helpful, but it should not be considered
of the investigation. It requires researching the the proverbial magic bullet, always able to uncover
personal lives of the parties involved in the case. A what is needed.
number of clues can be found, but hidden and
serendipitous one are most-likely. Motives behind
crimes can vary greatly, from greed and lust to STORY LOCALES
jealousy and revenge. Some crimes can even be One of the elements that defines a story is the
caused by accidents, with the mystery resulting from location in which it occurs. This setting encompasses
a cover-up. elements of horror, fantasy, and film noir. While a
haunted house or ruined fortress may be applicable
Even more of a leap may be required to discover at certain times, most stories are set in the cities and
the opportunity when Unnaturals or magic are their accompanying locales.
involved, since this could be as foreign to Human
analysis as air is to grasp. Still, experienced A number of establishments that can be found in
investigators can sometimes make educated guesses most cities are presented below. They represent the
or have hunches that prove to be correct. types of locales that make up the Bloodshadows
milieu. Two or three locations can also be attached
Clues under the same roof, as can common non-player
While not every clue should be obvious, players characters appear in multiple locales. For instance, a
should still be given a fair amount of overt or strange customer from the curio shop may also
serendipitous clues, so that they can solve at least wander into the gin joint while the player characters
part of a mystery. It is no fun running around in are visiting. The fact that the players see these
circles with no hope of success. characters linked to a number of locations only
makes them more real and interesting. Put simply,
Some investigations may require further anything done to make these locations reusable is a
consultations. Characters can perform research by good idea.
using libraries, contacting local cults, or examining
city records. Acquiring these records may not be Extra details should be filled in by the director,
easy without proper authority, contacts, or charisma. including business names, owners, and motifs.

Gin Joint Gambling Den
The gin joint is a local barroom, ranging from a Gambling is either illegal or tightly controlled in
large, crowded, popular establishment to a seedy, many cities. There are always people looking for a
little dive with a handful of patrons concerned only high-stakes thrill and those willing to provide it. It is
with the glass of forgetfulness clenched in their practically a given for a gambling den to be found in
hands. It can serve a number of purposes in a story. any city, whether legal or not.
The gin joint is mostly encountered during the Gambling dens feature covert and generally illegal
course of an investigation, as the characters search games of chance that can be played by patrons—legal
for someone who frequents the place or was seen gambling establishments are not dens. In some
there. They may also troll for information there. instances, dens may actually be ever-changing
Bartenders are usually good sources of local gossip, locations, moving each day to avoid raids by the
although it may take gold to loosen some tongues. local law. Gambling dens are sometimes found in
A story may begin in a gin joint, as the characters long-established locations, remaining undiscovered
encounter strange events, and then move on to through careful procedures or judicious purchases
investigate further. They may also be approached by of the law enforcement community.
someone who recognizes them, with the gin joint The gambling den is primarily a place for
being used as the office of a private investigator information-gathering, socializing, and having fun.
having a tough time or a crook who can provide The characters may be able to wangle an invitation
illegal goods. to the place or somehow pry the daily password out
There are numerous minor characters or extras of someone they are questioning. On the other
that could be found in any gin joint at any given hand, they may find themselves on the receiving
time. Some examples of these personalities include: end of an invitation from the gambling boss himself.
• The Bar Fly: Not necessarily a drunk, but a His car could pull up to the characters on the street,
regular at the gin joint nonetheless. This with his goons requesting their attendance
character can provide information on the other immediately. This would generally occur after the
regulars, the gin joint itself, some local characters begin snooping into the boss’s business
characters, and past events. or roust some of his people. He may even want to
hire them.
• The Entertainer: Singers, comedians, magicians
(stage magic still draws a crowd if it is good), Gambling dens have their own stable of minor
and even strippers fit this bill. This character characters. A few are likely to be similar to those at
typically needs to be coaxed or flattered to the gin joint, but these denizens tend to be slightly
divulge something learned in a conversation or more dangerous and desperate, as they are used to
overheard in the gin joint. looking over their shoulders. Some examples of
these characters include:
• The Bouncer: Big and tough, bouncers need not
be dumb, although it is commonly believed so. • The Smuggler: This character uses the den as a
This misconception means that bouncers hear place to meet clients and get paid by his
a lot of what is said in the gin joint, but are very gangster and law enforcement contacts. He can
tight-lipped if the information can cause the get it for the player characters at the right price,
place trouble. Bouncers make good friends if but may just as readily also sell information
trouble starts. about them to someone else.
• The Streetsinger: The city’s youth make money • The Dealer: As with any hired help, this character
selling papers or newsvids in the gin joint as knows a lot more about what is going on in the
streetsingers. While they might not make good den than the average customer, but he also
informants, these young streetsingers do know knows to keep quiet. Often a contact for the
what is happening around town. They may boss, dealers also usually know a lot about the
even be convinced to share extra information regulars of the gambling den.
or even watch the characters’ backs with the • The Rich Kid: Often in trouble and more than
offer of some reward. often drunk, this character spends his parents’
money like it was water—not that he would ever
touch water. The rich kid is tolerated, even


when late to pay the bills, only because his • The Beat Cop: This character might be an old
parents are influential or likely to pay off big sentinel buddy of the detective, but is far more
sometime. He is more likely to cause trouble likely to be in the office in the same capacity as
than anything else and try someone’s patience the gangster lieutenant. A trip downtown and
once too often. an appointment with a rubber hose sounds
• The Loan Shark: Someone has to loan money to appropriate.
those a little light. The den gets a cut of the • The Client: This character comes in all shapes
interest, but that leaves a sizable chunk for the and sizes—the shapelier, the better. Detectives
shark. This character hangs around, often with long for the day when a client willing to pay ten
a couple of goons, waiting for someone grand for the return of a pet cat walks into the
desperate enough to accept