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Essence users and heroic mortals can learn an unlimited number of specialties, each to a maximum rating of three. Only the highest rated specialty applies at any one time.

Specialties XP costs:

  • New specialty: 1 XP
  • Favored or Caste specialty: Current rating x 1 XP
  • Other specialties: Current Rating x 1 + 1 XP



Roll Dexterity + Stealth at a difficulty equal to the target’s Perception rating, or the highest Perception rating for a group. Scoring more successes than the target’s Wits rating prohibits the target from acting until the following turn. Fewer successes allows the target to defend but not attack. On a failure the target may act normally.

A target may use his Essence rating if higher than Perception or Wits.


Roll Dexterity + combat ability at a difficulty equal to the target’s Melee rating. A disarm can be defended against as a normal attack. An unarmed disarm that scores at least three successes allows the attacker to take the weapon.

Initiative & Speed

The base initiative result (Initiative + 1D10) de-termines the order of acting in a turn. Only when two or more engage in hand-to-hand-combat is the order modified by their weapon Speed, but only among the combatants internally.

Example 1: Kai attacks the sword-wielding Ping with a spear. Ping gets a higher Initiative and tries to move away from combat. But Kai moves fast enough to follow her and gets to attack her anyway. With his spear’s Speed added to his Initiative, Kai wins over Ping’s Speed total and gets to act before her when the combat is resolved.

Example 2: Shen spots the combat from afar and tries to save Ping from Kai’s attacks by shooting him with his bow. He wins the Iniative but has a lower Speed total than Kai. However, since they’re not engaged in hand-to-hand combat, Shen isn’t affected by Kai’s Speed total and can fire his bow before the combat between Kai and Ping is resolved.


I like the speed rules (and use something similar myself), although your formula for calculating Specialities makes Caste or Favoured ones free at their first level (as their current rating is effectively 0); I assume that's a typo? Otherwise, with no limit on the number that can be taken, you're giving characters one free die in every Caste or Favoured Ability they have. Also, you may wish to clarify whether someone caught completely by surprise by an ambush is able to activate reflexive Charms / reflexive defensive Charms. Otherwise, a good bunch of house rules...DeathBySurfeit

D'oh. Specialties will be modified with a cost for a new Specialty - probably 1 XP for favored and 2 XP for non-favored. It's as Darloth says below with Reflexive Charms. Resplendence

Most reflexive defense charms state specifically whether they can be used against attacks you're not aware of. Those that don't are badly written, which doesn't help I know, but most are easy to decide on, and happen to say, no, they don't work if you didn't know it was coming.
-- Darloth

As to the initiative system... I'd really -like- to use something like that, but I imagine it would get rather confusing... What would happen if for example someone with a grand daiklave (-2 I believe) and a base init of 10 (rolled badly) attacked someone with an init of 9, but a direlance? presumably, the daiklavist would move beforehand, and... then what, have to wait until the lancer has acted? What if they choose to move away, though? Hmm... Actually, thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense, but does cause weird stuff to happen to the combat system when more than one person becomes involved. Take the example here... If the lancer wants to attack Pointless-Mook-A, who she was previously attacking last turn, and is in melee range with... now, the daiklavist can move and initiate a combat before she does anything... if she wants to attack the Mook, does she have to simply ignore the daiklavists attack, or split for more actions later on, and counter/parry now?


Actually, this system makes perfect sense, if you have a ST sharp enough to apply it properly all of the time. I think I might adopt it... Hope you don't mind me posting a summary of it (I'll link here too) on my house rules?
-- Darloth

The way I intended it, the guy with the grand daiklave actually gets to act first on his Initiative. As soon as he takes a combat action, however, his Speed is added and he goes last in the attack order. Before that he has the chance to activate Simple Charms, run away, etc. If more people come into the same combat situation, they act on their Speed totals as well. Speed totals only apply to that situation, however, and Initiative rules outside it. It is a bit involved and tricky to keep track of, but so far I prefer it over always adding Speed. What I haven't thought about is if someone activates a Simple attack Charm... Hmm... *thinky*
Please, feel free to post it and above all test it. I've still only used it in one combat session, which was confusing because it was new. Resplendence