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Narrative Control

The GM describes scenes, NPCs, and the scenery. Players describe their characters, the actions of their characters, and may insert appropriate local color at will, especially when stunting. Players also control their own followers and familiars, especially in scenes where their PCs are not present but their followers are.

In contested rolls, the winner of the contest describes its outcome.

In uncontested rolls, the player describes the results of successful rolls, while the GM describes failed ones.

New Difficulty Scale

I'm using DS' Expanded Difficulty to gauge the degree of success, but still setting difficulties on the standard 1-5 scale.

Social Expansion

I'm working on some rules for "social combat" and, especially, gauging loyalty:JesseLowe/RelationshipRules



Declaring Defenses

Unless otherwise specified, a defense (including Charms) can be declared either before or after the attack roll. (This differs from the standard rule that Dodge attempts must be declared before the attack roll.) While reducing the strategic nature of the combat slightly, this should speed play and balances the Melee and Dodge Charm trees a bit.

Aggravated Damage Soak

Per a mention from Rebecca Borgstrom, armor does soak Aggravated Damage, unless the damage is from something that couldn't be soaked by armor anyway (such as the poisonous breath of a demon or something).

Improvised Weapons

The governing ability for improvised melee weapon is Brawl and Brawl only. Melee is powerful enough already.

"Finish Him

Borrowed and adapted from SJE

In combat, no one blow is mighty enough to kill a non-extra outright. Instead, damage stops at Incapacitated- to kill an non-extra, you need to make a final coup de grace on the Incapacitated character as another action. The purpose of this house rule is to stop accidental deaths of PC's (and important antagonists), and add drama and action as other PC's try to rescue their downed comrade.

Magic: Charms, Spells, and Other Abilities

Tiger Warrior Training Technique Clarification

(courtesy of hplovescats, off of, but with a couple of tweaks)

Tiger Warrior Training is specific to the Charm-user. After one month of training, the warriors gain the following:

  • An automatic skill of three in any two (2) Favored / Caste abilities of the Solar
  • An automatic skill of two in any three (3) Favored / Caste abilities of the Solar
  • A dot in the Virtue that is linked to the Solar's Virtue Flaw (up to a maximum of the Solar's level in that Virtue).
  • All Attributes are raised to 2 (if they aren't already there) and one attribute of the Solar's choice, relevant to the role they're being trained for, is raised to 3.

Further months of training have the following effects:

  • Each month provides 1 ability dot and one specialty in the relevant abilities.
  • For every three months trained, the mortal may raise one relevant Attribute by one dot.
  • A full year of training may (at the Solar's discretion) raise a Virtue of his choice.

Tiger Warrior Training is not effective on mortals who have trained under it for a year (cumulative).

What you're essentially doing is extending your natural aptitude with your tags to your loyal companions, who then become little "mini-me"s. The skills trained can change, but only within the Charm-user's Favored / Caste abilities. So if your pirate-queen wants sailors, she picks Endurance, Sail, Melee, Resistance, and Presence. If the master thief wants ninja warriors, she trains her pupils in Stealth, Melee, Thrown, Athletics, and Dodge.

Bulwark Stance

Bulwark Stance (Solar Melee) is now a Reflexive Charm with an Instant duration.

Fivefold-Bulwark Stance

FBS is now a Simple Charm, instead of being Reflexive.

Zenith Caste Anima Ability Clarifications

Dawn / Dusk Caste Solar Anima Flare: Mortal opponents flee on a failed Valor roll, and are at -2 on all combat rolls if they succeed on the Valor roll. This roll is made when the anima flare occurs and lasts for the entire scene; newcomers on the scene make this roll when they first see the anima flaring, which lasts until the end of the scene.

Zenith Anima Flare: Lesser undead (hungry ghosts, zombies, war ghosts, nemissaries, etc.) flee on a failed Valor roll, and are at -2 on all combat rolls if they succeed on the valor roll. Zombies always fail the Valor roll. This roll is made when the anima flare occurs and lasts for the entire scene; newcomers on the scene make this roll when they first see the anima flaring, which lasts until the end of the scene.

Zenith Caste Solars can cause damage equal to Essence to creatures of darkness. Deathlords and Abyssals only take lethal, not aggravated, damage from this ability.

Travel Time

I've found this immensely helpful:



For Dynasts, Backing can be used to represent command of a military unit according to the following scale:
• -- Scale, or underofficer in the navy.
•• -- Talon, or command of a minor ship (such as a scout or a support vessel), or underofficer on a larger ship.
••• -- Wing, or command of warship (such as a trireme)
•••• -- Dragon, or command of a squadron (five to ten warships), or command of a light First Age vessel.
••••• -- Legion, or command of a fleet (twenty to a hundred ships, often including a light First Age vessel), or a heavy First Age vessel.

Higher levels of command -- such as command of the Water Fleet, for example -- are probably best represented by a combination of Backing (even higher), Connections, Influence, and Contacts, as applicable. Backing differs from Command in that the troops or sailors led are loyal to the organization, not to the character specifically. Furthermore, they typically have certain duties which the character must also fulfill. (Of course, a character may well take Command as well as Backing, to represent a portion of troops loyal to him and at his disposal.)

Naval Command

This represents the number of ships a character may muster to his personal flag.
• -- Fast courier, small coaster, small yacht
•• -- Large yacht, coastal trader, or 3-5 smaller ships.
••• -- Bireme, blue-water merchant, large merchant ship, or 3-5 smaller ships.
•••• -- Trireme, trireme tender, or 3-5 smaller ships.
••••• -- Light First Age vessel, or 3-5 smaller ships.

Resources & Money

We'll be using the alternate cost list (when we worry about it at all) here: Charlequin/ManacleAndCoinRevisedChart. It'll be most important for things like the upcoming auction, I imagine.

Experience and Training

Awarding Experience

Baseline, every player gets 3 xp for attending. So do major NPCs in a session. (Minor NPCs, such as Followers, receive 2 XP/session unless they play a larger role in a particular session.) XPs are also awarded for:

Stunts: For a 3-die stunt, you get 1 XP. (Remember, you can stunt just about anything, not just combat.)

Limit Breaks: For a really well-played limit break, you get 5 XP.

Missions: At the beginning of each session, I'll ask what the PCs' plans are (assuming I don't already know via prior communication) and declare the missions for that session. For completing a mission, a character gets a set amount of experience; for making significant progress toward a mission goal, he gets 1 XP. Missions are minor (1 XP), major (2 XP), and critical (4 XP).

The difference is in how difficult the mission is, how important it is to the characters, and how great the consequences of failure are. In session 6 ofJesseLowe/PirateMonkey, for example, the PCs robbed the flagship of a V'neef admiral under his very nose. This qualified as a major mission -- it was difficult and moderately important, but could have been abandoned with minimal consequences. A minor mission might be getting Captain Kaizoku's daiklave fixed, while a critical one could be assassinating Walker in Darkness' top lieutenant and getting away with it.

As a rule, a mission should be something that the characters can complete in one or two sessions. It should be active, not reactive -- something the character does, not something that's done to him. Players can suggest what should and should not be missions, but I reserve the final decision.

Training Times

We're using the training times listed in the book, but for abilities used quite a bit in play, I may give a discount. This is a case-by-case thing, and players will probably need to bring it up as I'm liable to forget.

Shipboard time counts as training at the following rates:

  • Full time for Physical Attributes
  • 1/4 time for most traits
  • Not at all for Essence


To buy a Combo costs the same as in the main rulebook: XP equal to the sum of the Ability Requirements of the Charms in the Combo.

To add a Charm to a Combo costs XP equal to its Ability requirements and takes a week's training time.

Dossier Notes

I've taken to writing up little dossiers of NPCs for my games as player handouts. This gives players a quick look at what their Followers are capable of as well as a feeling for what they're like.

Ranking Scale:

  • Superb
  • Exceptional
  • Good
  • Average
  • Poor

Ranking Categories
Combat: (Physical Attributes + Archery OR Thrown + Melee + Brawl OR Martial Arts + Dodge)/7
Diplomacy: (Social Attributes + Presence + Performance + Socialize)/6
Espionage: (Mental Attributes + Social Attributes + Larceny + Investigation + Stealth)/9
Leadership: (Social Attributes + Intelligence + Presence + Bureaucracy)/6
Magic: (Mental Attributes + Lore + Occult + Medicine OR Crafts + Willpower + Essence)/9

Characters can go up or down a rank depending on their Charm selection as well.

Random Weather Table: Sea

(Roll d% twice a day: once for daytime, once for night)

01% Hurricane (West only)
02%-10% Squall
11%-20% Storm
21%-30% Fog
31%-40% Dead calm for 1d6 hours
41%-100% Good sailing weather

Setting Up A Spy Network

To set up a spy network: This is an extended Manipulation + Larceny roll. Each roll takes one day. Difficulty is set by how easy it is to find appropriate agents. Successes are spent between the network's defense against discovery and its attack -- what it uses to find good intel.

Up to 5 attack and defense: 1 success = 1 die Between 6 and 10 attack and defense: 2 successes = 1 die Between 11 and 20 attack and defense: 4 successes = 1 die

Proposed 2e House Rules by TonyC

  • Twilight Anima power is out of whack. While this probably won't come up in-game, if it does, I suggest going back to 1e power scale. That is, roll Essence, successes reduces damage taken.
  • Grappling timing. See Rulings. I suggest the one action if you want to contest and that while the initial attempt is an attack, further contests are not attacks.
  • Aborting a Guard or Aim action is not considered a new action. Otherwise I can Guard for one tick and put up a reflexive scene-long charm, and then abort to my real action and unleash my combo.


Added proposed 2e house rules. - TonyC