Second City House Rules

House Rules (For Future Reference):

  1. Speed = Str + Dex + Athletics
  2. The Attack Roll is [Attribute] + [Skill]Defense.
  3. Damage is [Successes from Attack Roll] + [Equipment Bonus] -* Armor*.
  4. Mage Armor spells add Defense, but at Arcana 3 can Reflexively add Armor at the cost of a mana. (The spell must already be active – only the mana expenditure is Reflexive.)
  5. Unseen Senses: When a Mage has Mage Sight active, they automatically sense the presence of any non-veiling supernatural effects (excluding Sight). Without Mage Sight active, Mages automatically sense Vulgar magic when it’s being cast. They get a Wits + Gnosis roll to sense magic when entering an area with active magic. They can call for a Wits + Gnosis roll to sense active covert magic. Regardless of what kind of supernatural power they sense, they only sense that they are in the presence or not – there’s not a new “ping,” for example, with each new magical effect.
  6. Experience is granted and spent only between Stories (not sessions). Arcane Experience will be handled by me and will go directly towards Gnosis; the more you learn about the Mysteries, the faster you’ll increase your Gnosis.
  7. Temporary Merits: Certain Merits, typically Social, can be earned through play. These are marked as a slash through the circle on the character sheet (as opposed to a dot that fills it). Temporary Merits last through the remainder of the story, at which point they must either be purchased with XP or lost.
  8. Almost all weapons inflict lethal damage. Baseball bats shatter bones and rupture organs. Only weapons specifically designed to be non-lethal (saps or beanbag launchers, for example) inflict bashing. Otherwise, if you want to avoid killing someone, you have to switch to your feet or fists. Alternatively, you can spend a Willpower point (per turn) to use a weapon in a non-lethal manner (pommel-strikes, cracking someone with the pistol grip, etc.) provided you can do so in a way that makes sense.
  9. Only weapons that do grievous bodily harm (grenades, for example) inflict Aggravated damage.
  10. Order rote specialties are a neat idea and a good mechanic hobbled by the fact that a bunch of the rote specialty skills are never used. I think that it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that mages have rotes that speak to the style of magic that their orders espouse. Thus, if you purchase a rote and you believe that it is a particularly appropriate rote for your order, we may switch out the Skill for that rote. The spell needs to be A) one that would use the Skill you want to substitute in, and B) a spell the Order would likely make prominent use of. I remain the arbiter of both of those things. (Go ahead and assume, Mysties, that I won’t be subbing in Occult for anything ever. You’ve already got plenty to choose from on that account. )
  11. Aspirations – Each character has three aspirations, one tied to the mundane world, one tied to Awakened life, and one obsession that’s tied to a specific area of research. If the player ever resolves an Aspiration, she gains an Experience Point and replaces the Aspiration with a new one. If she makes significant progress towards an Aspiration, she can ask for an additional Experience Point. Aspirations can also be used to gain dice bonuses (or inflict penalties on others). For example, when resisting a power that would influence you to act against one of your Inspirations, you would gain a bonus die on your resistance roll (or levy an additional die of penalty to the aggressor’s roll in a non-contested roll). (Additional House Mechanic borrowed from GMC).
  12. Bonuses to spellcasting: These come in two flavors – you can get extra dice by being descriptive when casting an Improvised spell and you can get extra factors by using sacrificial items or performing ritual actions when casting a rote. In both cases, the goal is to emphasize the fact that the Awakened perform magic, which involves ritual action and arcane behavior.
    - Improvised Bonus – When casting an Improvised spell, describing your character’s actions in a way that is thematically appropriate (to your character’s magical style) garners a +1 bonus to the roll. Doing so in a particularly interesting way or in a way that makes use of the current scene (the weather, the setting, the individuals) will grant a +2. On very rare occasions, a spectacularly cool description that gets everyone at the table to say “whoa” may garner a +3.
    - Rote Factor Bonus – When casting a Rote spell, utilizing items or actions in the spellcasting that are appropriate to the rote result in you getting bonus spell factors (to be used on Potency, Duration, or Targets, for example). These bonus factors are only granted if the spellcasting roll is successful, obviously. Generally, actions that qualify will take a turn or more to enact (such as Phil having Jen’s character fill his augury bowl with water before divining her future). If a character uses an item, it is generally destroyed during the spellcasting. Usually this will only grant one bonus factor, but a particularly cool idea might net you two. The factor to be increased should be chosen before the spellcasting roll is made.
    - Note that the second of these is better than the first (at least when fastcasting) – an automatic factor basically negates a -2 penalty to the spellcasting roll.
    - I’ll try to keep an eye out for these and grant them proactively, but never be afraid to ask for a bonus.
  13. When a Paradox occurs during spellcasting and the Awakened wishes to attempt to absorb the Paradox as damage, she makes a Reflexive Gnosis roll. She absorbs an amount of damage equal to the successes.
  14. Every Legacy grants an additional Ruling Arcanum. If you join a Legacy whose Primary Arcanum is one of your Path’s Ruling Arcanum, you get the Legacy’s Secondary Arcanum as Ruling. If you already had that as Ruling, you get the Path’s Conjunctional Arcanum. If, for some reason, none of these apply, we’ll figure out an appropriate third Ruling Arcanum.

I’ll add more as needed.

Second City House Rules

2nd City souslemiroir