House Rules

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Game-Wide House Rules

Game-Wide House Rules & Character Policies

Armor Stacking

A character can benefit from one source of supernatural armor, and up to two sources of mundane armor if and only if one of them is intrinsic.

"Intrinsic" armor, like the Iron Skin merit or a werewolf's Fortified Form merit, or anything of that sort is either mundane or supernatural armor depending on its source. Iron Skin would be a mundane armor source, and Fortified Form would be a supernatural one.

So, the Iron Skin merit would stack with a Kevlar vest, but a Kevlar vest would not stack with riot gear or reinforced clothing.

Beat Tracking

We use a modified beat system.

Character Age, Pregnancy, Children

Your character must be, look, and in all ways act 18+. You may not mention that your character 'looks underage', state or imply your character is childlike or underage mentally. This is grounds for immediate banning. No discussion. Don't play games with us.

In addition, pregnancy is not an aspect of this game and while children may exist, they do so in an off screen capacity and should never be depicted on screen.

Clash of Wills

  • Werewolves use Primal Urge + highest Renown in a Clash.
  • Sin-Eaters use Synergy + Haunt, or Ceremony in a Clash.
  • The Mortal+ merit Supernatural Resistance does not add to Clash pools.

Crafting System

Dark City uses a modified crafting system similar to what you will find in the Chronicles of Darkness core book and in the Hurt Locker supplement that was originally written by the great people at From Dusk Till Jawn. You can find the details here.

Custom Items and Powers

While custom items and powers are permitted, you are limited to one custom item OR power at chargen, and then one per month thereafter. At this time, a character may have no more than one custom power or item of each type. So a Wolf-Blooded could have a custom Fetish, a custom Tell, and a custom Wolf Rite, but not multiple custom Tells, or multiple custom Fetishes. This is to maintain emphasis on source material and prevent OP stacking in an XP rich environment.

Exceptional Successes on 3

Exceptional successes on three do not add successes; they only grant the benefits of having achieved an exceptional. In a contested roll-off, upon the instance of a tie, if one character has Exceptional Successes on 3, they win.

Fighting Style and Merit Damage

Fighting styles that say that you can inflict extra bashing damage in certain circumstances, like when someone in reach rises from prone, always do bashing damage regardless of the normal damage that your character may do. This includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Body as a Weapon
  • Boxing 2 (Defensive Jab)
  • Chain Weapons 1 & 2
  • Close Quarters Combat 5
  • Grappling 2 (Small Joint Manipulation OR Takedown), 3 (Joint Lock) and 5 (Positional Dominance)
  • Kino Mutai 2
  • Kung Fu 3
  • Street Fighting 3 & 4
  • Trunk Squeeze
  • Unarmed Defense 4
  • Weapon and Shield 1

Firearms

The gun laws in New York are particularly strict, with the approval process for a permit often taking upwards of six months to a year, and including a comprehensive background check cross-referenced with the FBI and personally weighed in on by a sitting county judge; only members of the police force with Law & Government Status 2 will be able to sidestep this process to acquire single pistol or revolver, light or heavy at creation. Beyond that they will need to be acquired through play or the Black Market System.

Most people, but especially criminals, new arrivals, and those with Status (Crime) will not be able to purchase Firearms equipment in the usual way, unless your character is of good legal standing and has a reason to own a Firearm that would stand up to the scrutiny of a New York county judge.

However, purchasing a Firearm legally isn't the only way to obtain one. Most characters will use the Black Market for their less-than-scrupulous purchases.

Grappling

A successful Damage maneuver in Grappling deals damage in net successes, not total successes. However, only for the purposes of determining an exceptional success, use total successes. Upon exceptional success, you can't choose the same maneuver twice.

Inspired Condition

If Inspired, Steadfast, Empowered, or another Condition that confers successes, or a lower threshhold of successes, is used to achieve an exceptional success, then Inspired, Steadfast, and/or Empowered cannot be applied again, as the result of that Condition being resolved. Basically, you can't have an endless chain of Inspired Conditions, etc.

Merits from Other Books

Universal merits from other books that are not part of the gamelines we use are allowed if they are listed below:

  • Killer Instinct (Beast: the Primordial)
Killer Instinct (•to •••)Prerequisite: Composure •••, Medicine •, Wits •••
Effect:  Your  character’s  experience  with  the  darkness  inherent in this world has left her cold and calculating, so she can see the 
fragile threads that hold life together. Activating this Merit requires an instant action to assess a creature, human, animal, monster, 
or otherwise. When making an attack against that target, you may divide the dots in this Merit among any of the three following effects: 
• Ignore 1/1 armor on the target. 
• Convert 1 bashing damage caused in that attack to lethal. 
• Ignore one point of the target’s Defense. 
The turn spent assessing a target can be combined with a turn used for aiming (see p. 334).
  • Advanced Library (Mage: the Awakening)

Library, Advanced (• to •••••) Prerequisites: Library •••, Safe Place (special) Effect: Your character not only possesses a massive, credible library, but she also hoards thorough information about highly secretive supernatural topics. For each dot in this Merit, choose a topic. This could be “vampires,” “mages,” or any other supernatural force in the Fallen World. When your character consults her library on one of those topics, take the Informed Condition relating to the topic. You can do this once per story, per topic. Advanced Library has a special prerequisite; your character requires a Safe Place equal to its dot rating. As with Library, your characters can share a library location (and the players split the cost in dots).

Numina

Defense applies to attacks from Numina that cause damage, including but not limited to Blast. They act as a Firearms attack, and Defense works accordingly.

Professional Training

You may only take Professional Training in a single profession, and it must be a profession in which your character received professional training. Professional Training dice tricks, including rote for a WP, do not affect any supernatural powers, rites, or activations.

Prosthetics

Using a prosthetic allows you to temporarily replace the condition with the rules of the prosthetic. It does not relieve the condition per se, but replaces one set of rules with another. Your character then reverts to the condition once they are no longer wearing the prosthetic.

Social Maneuvering

Social Maneuvering works exactly as it's described in the core book and can be used on PCs, though it's customary, polite, and recommended to discuss you intentions OOCly with the other player beforehand.

Sexual Assault

Don't make people read this. Why, why would you do that? It's the World of Darkness, but be thoughtful to your fellow players. Sexual assault can never be depicted on-screen in any way, shape, or form, no matter if it is OOC consented to. As a backstory element, it should only be referenced in the vaguest of terms.

No warnings for this one, zero, you get banned.

Shared Merits

Any group may take shared mundane merits (Resources, Contacts, Allies, Safe Place, etc.) even if their core book does not specify that they are able to do so, with the following restrictions:

  • The group has three or more members.
  • The group has a linking merit such as Mystery Cult or Hobbyist Clique, or a sphere-specific family group such as a coterie.
  • Only members who possess the above merit(s) or are in the group and have contributed to the merit in question can directly access it.

Specialties

Specialties function as a bonus to rolls made where the Specialty is applicable; they do not increase the base stat. That means that Specialties don't factor into anything where a roll isn't being made, including stats like Defense.

The largest bonus that a single roll can receive from Specialties is +3. That can be 3 different applicable Specialties, or two Specialties where one has Area of Expertise. If multiple applicable Specialties with Area of Expertise apply, the roll's bonus from Specialties still caps out at +3 total.

Specialties do not apply to power activations unless they are specifically for that power, like Specialty (Fetish rite).

Spending XP

  • We do not require scene justifications for anything except Civil Society Status above 3, and whatever else is dictated by your splat. If you are a Mortal/+, then that is your only justification trait. Werewolves require justification for Renown above 3. Vampires for any status increases since sanction.
  • As long as you meet the justifications for the merit, you can purchase as many dots in a scaled merit or merit style as you wish at one time.

Status

  • At character creation, Civil Society Status may not be higher than 2 in one sphere, with 1 in a second sphere.

Switching Venues

  • Half splats that are venue specific (wolf blooded, ghoul, etc) will not be allowed to switch venues.
  • This will also not be allowed in terms of character history.
  • Mortal/Mortal+ will be the only splat that can transition into a full venue as either a half splat, or full splat.

Timekeeping

Time is managed per the following:

  • Scene = Scene
  • Session = Day
  • Chapter = Week
  • Story = Month
  • Chronicle = A year and a day

Gyms, Workshops, Tools, & Instruments

Gyms are fixed locations containing gear that serves the function of exercise, sparring, resistance training, etc. They provide a +1 to +3 equipment bonus to that can be spread across Athletics or Brawls rolls, as designated by the Gym Owner. So for Availabiity 5, you could have +2 Athletics, +1 Brawl as a fixed bonus.

Workshops are fixed locations containing tools and equipment that serve a specific function. They provide a +1 to +3 equipment bonus to rolls to create, repair, jury-rig, or modify items within their specific area of focus. They breakdown as follows:

  1. +1 Workshop. Availability 1. Size: A small room.
  2. +2 Workshop. Availability 3. Size: A single room.
  3. +3 Workshop. Availability 5. Size: A garage or large room.

Tools are portable implements that serve a specific function. They provide a +1 or +2 equipment bonus to rolls to create, repair, jury-rid, or modify items within their specific area of focus. They breakdown as follows:

  1. +1 Tools. Availability 2. Size: 2
  2. +2 Tools. Availability 4. Size: 3

Musical Instruments vary in quality from a 0 bonus to a +3 bonus. This bonus only applies to performances made while playing the instrument, and potentially to social rolls made while holding it at the ST's discretion.

  1. +1 Instrument. Availability 1.
  2. +2 Instrument. Availability 3.
  3. +3 Instrument. Availability 5.

Appropriate descriptions for tools and workshops include: Archaic Weapons, Firearms, Armor, Sewing, Leatherworking, Painting, Electrical, Automotive, Bowyer & Fletcher, etc.

Mortal House Rules

All of Dark City's House Rules can be found here.

Character Creation

  • As with supernatural PCs, Mortals and Mortal+ PCs take 10 merit dots at character creation, in addition to their XP.

Psychokinesis

This Merit only works with material forces, as specified by the book and the intended meaning (kinetic translates to force), and are intended to represent only a single force. So you might have Cryokinesis (Cold), but you would not have Cryohydraulic (Cold and Water). The merit may be taken no more than once.

Microtemplates

Microtemplates are limited to the merits with in their template. The one exception to this is supernatural merits granted through an MCI.

Stat Tracking

  • Health, Willpower and other vital stats are tracked through your characters Tracking page.

Werewolf House Rules

Character Creation

  • You get free dots in Moon Gifts according to your Auspice Renown, two Facets of Shadow Gifts from your Tribe and Auspice, and one facet of a Wolf Gift.
  • In addition to what's in the book, you may choose a Blood and Bone from the Blood and Bone list, or submit your own using the rules listed on that page.
  • Upon character creation, you are limited to one Renown at 3, and the rest may be at 2 or below.
  • Wolf-Blooded may take the merits: Supernatural Resistance, Aura Reading, Mind of a Madman, Cursed, Unseen Sense, Clairvoyance, Laying on Hands, and Medium.

Custom Abilities and Items

Essence

  • There are a number of publically available Loci that werewolves may use to gain access to the Hisil, or to replenish their Essence. It is assumed that you regain 3 Essence per week via access to normal, public Loci.
  • You regain a point of Essence the first time you see your auspice moon at night.
  • The merit Dedicated Locus also provides 3 Essence per day per dot in it. If you're sharing this merit with a pack, you're still limited to 3 Essence per point per day, and may divvy it up how you see fit among you.

Fetishes and Talens

  • When crafted, Fetishes and Talens must be supported by dots in Resources or Esoteric Armory equal to their rating.

Fighting Styles

  • Human Fighting Styles (Boxing, Martial Arts) can only be used in Hishu and Dalu.

Gifts

  • The Pure Gift trees from Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon are permitted: Agony, Blood, Disease, Fervor, and Hunger. These are all considered non-affinity.
  • The Gift of City (non-affinity) and the Gift of Essence are permitted: read them here.
  • The Gift of Metal has been House Ruled in.

Hunting Natures

  • Hunting Natures are not in use; no drawbacks or benefits of Hunting Nature Conditions are granted.

Moon Taint

  • Moon Taint causes Poisoned at "moderate".

Packs

  • Pack Beats and Pack Experience will not be in use. Totem advantages and Pack merits will work as normal.
  • Packs make take any mundane Shared Merit tagged (Motley), and the same rules apply; to reap the benefit of the shared Merit, you must have purchased into it.
  • Pack Composite Sheet that combines Pack, Safe Place, and Totem into one.
  • At this time, we are not permitting Packs to exceed 5 Player Character members.

Renown

  • Raising Renown in-play beyond 3 must be justified.
  • You are limited to one Renown at 3 to start, the rest must be at 2 or below.

Rites

  • The Merits Good Time Management and Patient apply to Rites.
  • When you learn a Rite from someone else, you do not have to inherit their dice pool. You may select your own, representing your own spin on the Rite.

Spirit Interactions

  • Werewolves predate spirits; do not assume that they will just up and talk to you and give you information instead of scurrying away, or flat out ignoring you.
    • You must have Contacts or Allies to reliably get intel from spirits regarding anything of specific interest.
    • Contacts or Allies cannot simply reflect (Spirits); they must reflect a specific umia of spirits, and your inquiry must be relevant to the spirits you have ties/merits with.
    • Even with these merits, spirits always take payment in gathra (Essence). This is normally 1-2 Essence for something of small value, and more if the value is greater. ST discretion applies.
    • General spirit chatterings will be posted in #spirit-chatter. It is assumed that anything posted in there is general knowledge that anyone might overhear from spirits in passing. That reflects what you are able to learn or casually overhear without the appropriate merits or Conditions.
  • Getting information from the spirits requires the same mechanical avenues (Contacts, Allies) as getting information from anyone else as with, with one caveat, which is the Connected condition. If you have this condition with an umia, you don't need to use Contacts or Allies to get information, or even a favor, from any spirit in that umia.
  • As with everything else, there are instances where you need a critical piece of information that is not reflected in your current Contacts, Allies, or Connected Conditions. You are encouraged to collaborate with other Werewolves to get the "in".
  • In some cases, you may be able to "find" where certain spirits are hanging out, and coax them with Social Maneuvering and bribe them with more gathra than usual, but this is not reliable, and will work less and less the more that you rely on it, as spirits notice you are an easy mark for payment who has no networks and allies of their own.

Essence Tracking

  • Essence and other vital stats are tracked through your Tracker page.

House Rule Conditions

Alert

Your character, while not quite on edge, is focused and alert, not easily distracted from the current situation. Perception rolls they make gain a +2 bonus, including rolls to notice an ambush or other surprise.

  • Possible Sources: Exceptional success on a Wits + Composure roll.
  • Resolution: Fail a perception roll, get surprised, or leave the current location.

Discord

Your character has been the target of a supernatural or otherworldly power, and suffers shock from it. (Contagion Chronicle, p280)

  • Possible Sources: Being the target of an exceptional success on a supernatural power activation from a splat-type that is not your own; dramatic failure on a resistance roll against a supernatural power that is not your own splat-type.
  • Resolution: Refill your Essence, Ephemera, Plasm or equivalent to 100%.

Empowered

Your character feels charged with supernatural power. Upon gaining this condition from a listed source, note that power. Upon successfully using that power, you may resolve this condition to gain an extra success on the roll. This does not work on contested abilities, however.

  • Possible Sources: Exceptional success on a power activation roll or use of a (rolled) template ability.
  • Resolution: Gain an extra success on a roll with that power as described above, fail a roll using that power.
    • Note: This cannot be granted directly by magic or other powers unless they explicitly say they do; it's by default only available when you roll an exceptional success on a power.

Resolute

Having stood up in the face of danger, oppression, or hostility from another, your character finds themselves feeling unshakeable. They gain +2 on any Resolve or Composure rolls used to resist supernatural powers or social dice pools, and +1 for determining Doors for social maneuvering initiated while the character has this condition.

  • Possible Sources: Exceptional success resisting a mental power or social roll, or on a resolve + composure roll.
  • Resolution: Succumb to supernatural power, fail a resolve or composure roll, end up with the Shaken or Spooked condition, lose Willpower you didn't spend yourself.

Suspicious

You've noticed a lie or other dishonesty from a given character (attach their name to the condition), and they find it harder to trick you because of it. They suffer a −2 penalty on subterfuge, persuasion, or socialize actions against you, and you're considered to have a step worse Impression in Social maneuvering initiated by them while you have the condition.

  • Possible Sources: Exceptional Success on Empathy or Subterfuge noticing a lie or other misdirection
  • Resolution: Succumb to Social Maneuvering against the character, fail an empathy or subterfuge roll against them, or otherwise let them regain your trust.

Tilt: Agony

Personal

Description: The character feels intense pain, above and beyond what's expected for typical physical trauma. The character suffers injury to a vulnerable part of the anatomy, an agonizing toxin, or a terrible illness.

Effect: Reeling with pain, the character must choose between only one of the following options per turn: moving, performing an instant action (including an attack), benefiting from Defense, or performing a reflexive Strength or Dexterity-based physical action (such as resisting an attack or hazard). For instance, a character who moves may not attack or benefit from Defense. Characters suffering Agony may not perform the Dodge action.

Causing the Tilt: The character suffers the following:

  • Burns from acids or extreme heat (fire, red-hot surfaces) that inflict lethal damage in excess of Stamina.
  • Further injury (1 point of damage, bashing or lethal) to an specified target already affected by a personal Tilt such as Blinded or Arm Wrack.
  • Injury (1 point of damage, bashing or lethal) to a pain point. A pain point is a specified target category that encompasses the liver, genitals, armpits and similar vulnerable areas. Attacks targeting pain points suffer a -5 penalty.
  • Certain special Fighting Style maneuvers and other circumstances may also impose the Tilt, such as certain insect stings, degloving injuries, or a maneuver that breaks fingers. Consult listed systems or the Storyteller.

Ending the Tilt: After the first turn, roll Resolve + Stamina as a reflexive action, once per turn. The player may spend Willpower to add dice to this roll. Success ends the Tilt, or it fades at the end of the scene.

[Errata Link]