Given the mechanics of Second Edition, most charms necessarily fit into broad functional categories, based on how they alter those mechanics. This page lists the various types of charms, primarily intended to be used as a reference by other pages and provide a common terminology for discussing charm mechanics. An extremely important aspect of this page is that it is house rules agnostic. That is, the definitions have very specific definitions that must apply to all games equally and do not change from game to game. What may change from game to game is which of these definitions fits a particular charm. For example, say a charm adds dice, but is phrased in a way that some may interpret being limited by the dice cap (what the definitions below call a "pool adder") and others interpret as being exempt from the cap (what the definitions below call a "pool augmenter"). Some house rules may decide that particular charm is a pool adder, others made decide it is a pool augmenter, but the definitions of each remain the same. If there are cases where a given definition begs to work in more than one way, then it is time for an additional definition, where the original works one way and the new one works another.
In many cases (particularly with defensive charms) it can be difficult to tell which of these definitions applies to various charms. In some cases, more than one definition will apply. This page will attempt to site canonical examples of each charm type only when it it is completely clear the charm fits the definition. It may also mention that a charm "may" fit a definition, depending on interpretation, but arguments on the "correct" interpretation are for other pages (try Rulings).
- 1 Pool Manipulation
- 2 Penalty Manipulation
- 3 Success Manipulation
- 4 Damage Manipulation
- 5 = Result Multiplier
- 6 Essence Manipulation
- 7 Charm Manipulation
- 8 Comments
A pool adder is a charm that adds dice to a pool. Pool adders always count against the dice cap. Pool adders are applied in step 3 in the "Order of Modifiers" (ex2e.124).
Some charms change the "effective" rating of a trait, altering it for some reasons but not others. If dice pool limits are one of the things that do not use the "effective" rating (and this can be sometimes hard to tell), the charm is a pool adder.
Some canonical pool adders are:
- First Excellency (ex2e.183), when used to augment actual tests (not static values).
- Voice of Mastery (exdb.131)
- Sidereal First Excellency (ex2e.335), when used buy dice
A pool reducer is a charm that removes dice from a pool (usually your opponent's). Pool reducers are included in dice cap calculations. That is, if you have a cap of seven dice, and someone uses a pool reducer on you to remove three dice, you could use charms to gain 10 dice, for a net of seven. Pool reducers are applied during step 4 in the "Order of Modifiers" (ex2e.124).
While there are some canonical charms that reduce pools, it is never explicitly stated how these interact with dice caps. Because the rules (ex2e.185) say "no combination of charms may exceed", and such combination explicitly includes charms from any source (also ex2e.185), it suggests that such charms are intended to be included against the dice pool limit and, thus, are pool reducers rather than pool degraders (see below).
Some canonical pool reducers are:
- Snake Form (ex2e.240) may be a pool reducer
A pool augmenter is a charm that adds dice to a pool, but does not count against the dice cap. Charms of this type typically contain language specifically indicating they ignore caps. Pool augmenters are applied in step 3 in the "Order of Modifiers" (ex2e.124).
A number of canonical charms enhance attacks by "adding to Accuracy", rather than adding dice to the pool. It is unclear is this is just sloppy language or specifically intended to make the charm act like a pool augmenter (since Accuracy of weapons plays no part in dice limits) instead of a pool adder.
Some canonical pool augmenters are:
- One Weapon, Two Blows (ex2e.191) may be a pool augmenter
- Fists of Iron Technique (ex2e.242) may be a pool augmenter
- Five-Dragon Form (exdb.190) almost certainly contains a pool augmenting effect.
A pool degrader is a charm that removes dice from a pool (usually your opponent's), but are ignored in dice cap calculations. Pool degrader are applied in step 3 in the "Order of Modifiers" (ex2e.124).
See the entry on pool reducers discussion canonical charms of this type. Some canonical pool degraders are:
- Snake Form (ex2e.240) may be a pool degrader.
A trait modifier is a charm that increases your effective trait. This indirectly changes the number of dice in a pool, but these are not counted against the cap. Instead, the changed trait will actually increase or decrease the dice cap (assuming your dice cap includes that trait). These charms take effect before the "Order of Modifiers" (ex2e.124) table begins, sort of during an implied step 0 "determine your base pool".
Some charms claim to add "dots" to a trait, or say "add X to (a trait) for a test" rather than "add to the test's pool", and it is not always clear if this is intended to make the charm a trait modifier, or just sloppy way of indicating it is a pool adder.
Some charms change the "effective" rating of a trait, altering it for some reasons but not others. If dice pool limits are one of the things that use the "effective" rating (and this can be sometimes hard to tell), the charm is a trait modifier.
Some trait adders are:
- Terrestrial (Ability) Reinforcement (exdb.128)
- The spell Incomparable Body Arsenal acts as a trait adder (ex2e.255)
- Soul Fire Shaping Form (monk.136)
A penalty remover is a charm that removes a penalty (internal, external, or both). Penalty removers do not count against dice caps, making them stronger than they might seem, particularly for characters with lower dice pool limits. Depending on their actual effects, penalty removers may be applied in steps 2 and/or 4 in the "Order of Modifiers" (see above). They may also occur during an implied "step 7", to remove external penalties.
Canon is very clear (ex2e.185) that charms that reduce penalties ignore dice caps. Note that some charms (e.g. the ) can act as both pool adder and penalty remover.
Some penalty removers are:
- There is No Wind (ex2e.187)
- Dipping Swallow Defense (ex2e.192)
- Bulwark Stance (ex2e.193)
- Fivefold Bulwark Stance (ex2e.194)
- Shadow Over Water (ex2e.227)
- Flow Like Blood (ex2e.227)
- Sidereal First Excellency (ex2e.335), when used to eliminate penalties.
A penalty inflicter is a charm that adds a penalty (internal, external, or both). Penalty inflcters do not count against dice caps. Depending on their actual effects, penalty removers may be applied in steps 2 and/or 4 in the "Order of Modifiers" (see above). They may also occur during an implied "step 7", to remove external penalties. Mathematically, penalty inflicters that give internal penalties are very much like pool degraders. The main difference is that penalty removers can potentially counter the effects of penalty inflicters but not of pool degraders. Thus, penalty inflicters are less effective than pool degraders. Comparing penalty inflicters to pool reducers, however, shows no clear advantage to either, as both have different strengths and weaknesses.
Some charms that inflict penalties use language stating the effect both as a pool reduction and a penalty, so it is unclear if if the charm is meant to be a pool reducer, a pool degrader or a penalty inflicter. Some penalty inflicters are:
- Foul Air of Argument Technique (ex2e.232)
- Venomous Whispers Technique (ex2e.239)
- Ox-Stunning Blow (ex2e.243)
- Joint-Wounding Attack (ex2e.195) is probably a penalty inflicter, but it's phrasing suggests is may be a pool reducer instead.
A success adder is a charm that adds successes directly to a test, after the roll is made. These charms are not bound by dice pool limits. Successes are applied during step 6 in the "Order of Modifiers".
The lunar book (exlu.139) makes it clear that, "as normal, charms that add successes…do not count as increases to a dice pool unless otherwise noted". Therefore, any canonical charm that adds successes without talking about pool limits should be considered a success adder. Some of these are:
- Courtier's Eye Technique (ex2e.214)
- Judge's Ear Technique (ex2e.213), if opposed by another charm
A success reducer is a charm that removes successes from your result. These charms are not bound by dice pool limits. Successes are removed during step 6 in the "Order of Modifiers".
Some success reducers are:
A bound adder is a charm that adds successes directly, but still runs into dice pool limits (ex2e.185). That is, the charm adds successes like other external effects, during step 6 in the "Order of Modifiers", but its declaration counts in prior steps, as if some number of dice were added to the pool for the purposes of limits, preventing that many dice from being added by other effects. Bound adders are, of course, weaker than success adders.
When used for defense, it is unclear exactly how bound adders interact with pool limits, but there are two different (mathematically identical) ways to handle it. Choose whatever mechanism makes the most sense to you. Because the total dice cap from charms applies regardless of if you are adding successes or dice, both methods need to pay attention to the total number of pool adders from charms that were present as internal bonuses in step 3 of the Order of Modifiers (represented by B below). Since very few defensive charms work as pool adders, this number is likely to be zero.
The pool method treats everything as dice. Under this method, the dice cap is stated in dice (as some of the rules in the book do). Using this method, most confusion involving rounding is eliminated, as there generally isn't any needed until the very end.
- Let A be the value of DV, retaining fractions.
- Let D be the dice cap.
- Let B be the internal bonus from pool adders, if any.
- Calculate P, a "dice pool" generated by bound adders: Treat any bound adder charm that gives "+x to DV" as adding 2x dice to P.
- If B + P exceed D, reduce P until B + P = D
- V = P / 2, keeping fractions
- Final DV in in step 6 is DV = round(A + V)
The direct method treats everything as successes (or, if you like, DV directly). Under this method, the dice cap is stated as a maximum DV bonus (as other rules in the book do). Using this method is a bit more "natural" to some, but requires special attention to rounding issues. In particular, any fractional DV that results at any stage is retained as a fraction until the end, where the total is rounded once.
- Let A be the base DV, keeping fractions
- Let D be the dice cap.
- Let B be the internal bonus from pool adders, if any.
- Let M = (D - B) / 2 (retain fractions). This is the maximum DV bonus allowed under the die cap.
- Calculate V, a DV bonus generated by bound adders: Treat any charm that gives "+x to DV" as adding x to V.
- If V exceeds M, set V equal to M.
- Final DV in in step 6 is DV = round(A + V)
Some canonical bound adders are:
- Second Excellency (ex2e.184)
Example - Simple Second Excellency
Schmendrick is dodging, gaining +1 DV from the Second Excellency. He has Dex 4, Dodge 5, Essence 3. He wears hearthstone bracers. As a success adder, the Second Excellency doesn't apply until Step 6 of the Order of Modifiers, so calculate his base DV: (4 Dex + 5 Dodge + 3 Ess + 0 specialties + 0 pool adders + 3 hearthstone bracers - 0 internal penalties) / 2 = 15/2 = 7.5 = A. Now in step 6 of the modifiers, add the second excellency bonus. Schmendrick is a terrestrial, making D = 5 Dodge + 0 specialty = 5. B = 0, since there were no pool adder charms and x = 1:
- Pool method: P = 2x = 2. Testing against the cap (0 + 2) < 5, so no cap applies. V = 2/2 = 1. DV = round(7.5 + 1) = 9.
- Direct method: M = (5 - 0) / 2 = 2.5. V = x = 1. Testing against the cap, 1 < 2.5, so no cap applies. DV = round(7.5 + 1) = 9.
Example - Limited Second Excellency
Same as the previous example, except that Schmendrick wants to gain +3 DV from the Second Excellency. Done as before, except x = 3:
- Pool method: P = 2x = 6. Testing against the cap (0 + 6) > 5, so the cap applies, forcing P = 5. V = 5/2 = 2.5. DV = round(7.5 + 2.5) = 10.
- Direct method: M = (5 - 0) / 2 = 2.5. V = x = 3. Testing against the cap, 3 > 2.5, so cap applies, forcing V = 2.5. DV = round(7.5 + 2.5) = 10.
There are two things to note about this example. The first is that, as written, dice caps conspired to make Schmendrick waste essence in this case. Even though he bought +3 to his DV with charms, the end result is that his DV is only one better than when he added +1. He should have saved the essence and only bought a +2 DV. The second thing to note is to suppose his Dex was better, a 5. In both this and the previous example, 5 Dex doesn't affect his cap (since he is a terrestrial), but would have made A = 8 instead of 7.5. In the first example, this has no effect on the result: round(8 + 1) = 9. In the second example, however, it matters: round(8 + 2.5) = 11. In this case, the essence paid to buy +3 DV is not wasted, because Schmendrick takes advantage of the "half success" and rounding to actually gain +3.
A rolled adder is a charm that provides a pool of dice that do not count against the dice cap; however, the successes they generate do. Success rolled from the pools provided by such charms work like bound adders, with an additional step to actually determine how many successes are generated. Such charms can be either better or worse than pool adders or bound adders, depending on relative costs.
Some canonical rolled adders are:
- First Excellency (ex2e.183), when used to augment DV
A success multiplier is a charm that either multiplies or divides (i.e. multiplies by 0.5) the number of successes on a test. Success multipliers alter only successes actually rolled, not those from other sources and are applied during step 6 in the "Order of Modifiers".
Some success multipliers are:
A damage adder adds some value to the pool of damage dice rolled on a hit, prior to soak. In addition to making more likely to exceed soak, damage adders can also allow an attack to exceed Hardness. Differing soaks make these type of charms situationally effective.
Some damage adders are:
- Impressions of Strength (exlu.144) in its Rock-to-Pebbles Attitude mode.
A damage converter exchanges one or more damage pool dice into automatic successes, after soak had been applied. For each die, this converts an average of 0.4 levels of damage into 1.0 levels of damage; however, because these dice are applied after soak is calculated, they cannot help an attack exceed Hardness.
Some damage converters are:
- Unstoppable Lunar Wound (exlu.145)
A damage inflicter deals automatic levels of damage on a successful attack, if a damage roll actually results. Such charms can be stopped by Hardness, if it is sufficient to stop the raw damage of the attack. Damage inflicters are clearly more powerful than damage converter, as they add successes on top of post-soak damage pool.
Some damage inflicters are:
= Result Multiplier
An result multiplier multiplies the number of "additional successes", after exceeding the difficulty or DV, by some factor, usually 2 or 0.5, before adding them to the damage pool. This happens prior to soak being applied, but after other defenses. Result multipliers are weaker than standard success multipliers (see above), because they take effect after DV has reduced the total successes. In some cases, particularly attacks with extremely large pools or added successes or against small DVs, attack success multipliers can be more effective than base damage multipliers (see below).
Some attack success multipliers are:
- Hungry Tiger Technique (ex2e.190)
Base Damage Multiplier
A damage base multiplier multiplies the base damage of an attack by some factor, usually 2 or 0.5, before adding them to the damage pool. This happens prior to soak being applied, but after other defenses. Base damage is usually Strength + Weapon Damage. In many situations, particularly with high Strength and/or high weapon damage attacks, damage base multipliers can be more effective than attack success multipliers (see above).
Some damage base multipliers are:
- Five-Dragon-Force Blow (ex2e.190)
Damage Pool Multiplier
A damage pool multiplier takes the raw damage pool and multiplies it by some factor, usually 2 or 0.5. This happens prior to soak being applied, but after other defenses. Clearly, as such charms combine the effects of an attack success multiplier and a damage base multipliers, such charms are more effective those two types acting alone.
Some damage pool multipliers are:
- Tearing Claw Atemi (exlu.145), when used for attacks
Damage Roll Multiplier
A damage roll multiplier acts as a success multiplier (see above) for damage rolls, where each success on the roll is multiplied by some factor, usually 2 or 0.5. Because damage rolls do not count 10s as two successes, this type of charm is not as efficient in creating extra successes as a typical success multiplier; however, in terms of making attacks actually deal damage, it is more useful in cases where the target's Hardness is low.
Some damage roll multipliers are:
A damage tweaker changes a damage roll to allow 10s to count as two successes. These charms add an average of 10% to inflicted damage.
Some damage tweakers are:
- Impressions of Strength (exlu.144) in its Ogre's Loving Caress mode.
A ping modifier changes the minimum size of a damage pool after soak has been applied. On average, every two damage dice added by a ping modifier have the same effect as a single success from a damage inflicter, but have a more random distribution of outcome (potentially 0 to 2 damage levels). Such charms also make damage tweakers more effective (with two dice then able to generate between 0 and 4 damage levels).
Some ping modifiers are:
- Violet Bier of Sorrows Form
- Impressions of Strength (exlu.144) in its Undeniable Might mode.
When active, a cost reducer lowers the cost of one or more other charms. Usually the activation cost controls the amount of the reduction. Some cost reducers are permanent.
Some cost reducers are:
- Infinite (Ability) Mastery (ex2e.186)
A mote drainer reduces the pool of available motes from a target. Motes so removed are lost to not only the target, but also everyone else. (Compare to "mote stealer".)
Some mote drainers are:
- Essence-Devouring Ghost Touch (rgd2.134)
- Ravening Life-Force Hunger (rgd2.134)
A mote gainer increases the caster's pool of available motes, usually in response to some sort of stimulus.
Some mote gainers are:
- Essence Gathering Temper (ex2e.207)
A mote conduit transfers motes between the caster and a voluntary target.
Some mote gainers are:
- Blending the Streams of Essence (rgd2.135)
- Essence-Lending Method (ex2e.217)
- Feeding Life's Fountain (rgd2.135)
A mote leacher pulls motes released by some trigger into the caster, replenishing the caster's mote pool. These charms to not drain motes themselves, but rather make use of motes made available in other ways, such as being drained by a soulsteel weapon, drained by some other charm and so on.
Some mote leechers are:
- Blood-Drinking Thirst (rgd2.134)
- Power-Reaping Prana (exab.187)
A mote stealer combines the effects of a mote drainer and mote leecher into a single effect, transfering motes from an involuntary target to the caster.
Some mote stealers are:
- Blood-Drinking Thirst (rgd2.134)
An activation blocker prevents a target charm from being activated. Usually the cost of activation blocker depends on the cost of the charm being blocked.
Some activation blockers are:
- Charm Redirection Technique (monk.135)
A charm canceler deactivates a target charm that has already been activated.
Some charm cancelers are:
- Charm-Smothering Technique (exab.187)
- Sequential Charm Disruption (monk.135)
Looks good and this a nice idea, man. On examples, I think Hungry Tiger Technique from Solar Hero Style is a damage manipulation Charm, by the way, and one of the DB Melee Charms is a damage adder. - MoonSword