House Rules

From Dark City

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General House Rules


  • Bows and Crossbows use the Ranged Combat rules from core, meaning the Opponent's Defense does not apply.
  • Crossbows use Dex + Firearms
  • Bows may use Dex + Fireams or Dex + Athletics (player's choice)
  • Bows and Crossbows can stake vampires by targeting the heart (-3 penalty) and inflicting 5 net damage.
  • Bows and Crossbows are subject to the Firearms in Close Combat rules.
  • Rapid Nock and Out of Nowhere apply regardless of which style you're using. No other features from the Combat Archery or Bowmanship combat styles are cross-compatible.

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.

Breaking Points

If your character possesses the Guilty, Shaken, AND Spooked Conditions and succeeds at a Breaking Point roll, they gain a Persistent Condition of the ST's choice.

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.
  • Changelings use Wyrd + Appropriate Finesse Attribute.
  • Vampires use Blood Potency + Appropriate Finesse Attribute/Appropriate Discipline/Blood Sorcery Rating (ask your ST).
  • The Mortal+ merit Supernatural Resistance does not add to Clash pools.


All Conditions, negative or positive, must be resolved within one scene of when they were received unless they are Persistent, otherwise noted, or the ST says differently. (So the scene they were earned, or the following scene.)

Positive Conditions that are not resolved in that timeframe will be lost with no Beat awarded. Negative Conditions that are not resolved in that timeframe will go into the ST's hand to utilize at their choosing, and no Beat will be awarded.

Computers Skill

Starting with the Jericho chronicle, we won't use the Computers skill. Instead, we'll be using Enigmas, as explained in Dark Eras on page 26, and in Dark Eras 2 on page 13.

Downtime Actions

Willpower spent during the course of a downtime action will be considered Invested into that action. Downtime actions typically cover actions over the course of an extended period of time and to reflect that the Willpower that would be spent on such a roll will not be readily available otherwise. Invested Willpower will not recover through rest until after your character's next ST scene, however Invested Willpower can be recovered in other fashions and then will recover as normal.

Enhanced Attributes as Prerequisites

When a character has a power that is considered always on that functions to add directly to attribute value, that enhanced value can be used to meet the pre-requisites of merits or equipment. Should this persistent power become disrupted for any reason, the associated merits cannot be accessed and equipment use faces the normal complications of use below attribute requirement.

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


We are using the Hurt Locker system for reloading firearms (High/Medium/Low Capacity instead of clips), a detailed description of which can be found on page 131.


  • 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.
  • You may not choose the same maneuver twice with an exceptional success.
  • When grappled, the target of the grapple does not lose their first turn if they haven’t acted in that round. They may still make a roll to contest the initial grapple and try to escape using the Break Free maneuver, or take another action that the grapple wouldn’t prevent.
  • When a player scores an exceptional success, using Break Free after another, initial, move does NOT give you another action unless the other maneuver was also reflexive.

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.


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

We do not allow Professional Training on any characters in any splat.


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 have contributed to the merit in question can access it.


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).


Time is managed per the following:

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

Each new chapter/week begins Sunday, server time.

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.

Repositories can be purchased on various subjects at ST Discretion.

  1. +1 Repository. Availability 1.
  2. +2 Repository. Availability 3.
  3. +3 Repository. Availability 5.

Splat-Specific House Rules



  • Last Stand - This merit can be used once per chapter, not once per session, and does not grant a free action.
  • We are not using Professional Training, or the Boxing Fighting Style.



House Conditions and Tilts


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.


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%.


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.


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.


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.


Personal Tilt

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.