Monday, May 1, 2017

[CRIT] NWoD 1e House Rules

Last Updated 5/25/17
This is a set of house rules for New World of Darkness, or as it’s now branded, Chronicles of Darkness 1e. I prefer the 2004 version of the rules, though I use a lot of the rules variants found in Mirrors, and wanted to include some things I liked from The God-Machine Chronicle.

Character Creation


You start with 3 Player-Described Merits.

The Fifth Dot

Purchasing the fifth dot in anything does not cost extra.

Starting Experience Points

For each Story a character would have completed, give them 25 Experience Points.
At the Storyteller’s discretion, a character can get 5 Experience Points at character creation by losing 1 dot of Morality and taking a Derangement. A character must start with 5 Morality.
During character creation, you can exchange a player-defined Merit for 10 Experience Points.

Attributes & Skills

Skill Specialties

The same Skill Specialty can be purchased up to three times.

Rolling Dice

Dramatic Failures

If you roll anything besides a 10 on a chance die, you suffer a dramatic failure.


Gaining Willpower

Motivations (Mirrors 24) are used instead of Virtue and Vice. These Motivations should reflect a desire, a regret, and either a fear or a hope.
You culminate a Motivation when you use it 5 times. When you culminate a Motivation, you gain 1 Experience Point and replace it with a new Motivation. You can change a Motivation without culminating it by spending a dot of Willpower.

Spending Willpower

A point of Willpower can be spent to cut the time to perform an action in half.


Breaking Points

Breaking Points are used instead of the hierarchy of sins Morality is based on. A Breaking Point can be defined using any one of the statements below, but the Storyteller should consult with a player to determine if something constitutes a Breaking Point.
  • The character performs an action that violated their personal moral code.
  • The character performs an action that is considered unacceptable in society.
  • The character witnesses or experiences something traumatic or terrifying.
  • The character’s understanding of the world is rattled.


When a character encounters a Breaking Point, they roll Resolve + Composure. This roll is modified by the Storyteller based on how relatively heinous or traumatic the event that caused the Breaking Point is (GMC 184). This roll is also modified by the character’s Morality dots as described under “Morality Modifiers” below.
  • Dramatic Failure: You lose a dot of Morality and take a Derangement.
  • Failure: You lose a dot of Morality.
  • Success: You do not lose a dot of Morality.
  • Exceptional Success: You do not lose a dot of Morality, and you gain a point of Willpower.

Morality Modifiers

These modifiers apply to degeneration rolls, all social rolls, and the amount of Willpower points or dots you lose when you neglect to play a Derangement in a scene.
  • 8-10 Morality: +1
  • 7-6 Morality: +0
  • 5-4 Morality: -1
  • 3-2 Morality: -2
  • 1 Morality: -3


Derangements are additional Motivations that a character has. You can use Derangements as you would your other Motivations, except you cannot spend a dot of Willpower to change it.
At any point, the Storyteller can decide that your character must fulfill a Derangement during a scene. If you accept, you take 1 Experience Point. If you refuse, you lose a dot of Willpower.
If a character with multiple Derangements fulfills a Derangement, they cannot fulfill that Derangement until the rest of their Derangements have been fulfilled.
A character can remove a Derangement either by culminating it (they get an Experience Point for doing so), or by regaining the level of Morality above the level where the Derangement was inflicted.

Experience Points

Gaining Experience Points

You gain 1 Experience Point each time you meet one of the following conditions. You can only meet each of these conditions once per session.
  • You turn a failure into a dramatic failure.
  • You take a narrative disadvantage from a Player-Described Merit.
  • You are forced to play a Derangement during a scene.
  • You culminate a Motivation.
  • You take damage in your rightmost Health box.
  • You surrender when you are Beaten Down.
  • You allow yourself to become obsessed with a vision from Omen Sensitivity (Stigmatics Only).
  • You facilitate an Angel’s Function.
  • You finish a game session.

Spending Experience Points

  • 5 XP: Buy a Skill Specialty
  • 5 XP: Replace an existing Player-Described Merit
  • 5 XP: Buy 1 dot of a Merit
  • 5 XP: Buy 1 dot of Willpower
  • 10 XP: Buy 1 dot of Aether (Stigmatics and Demons only)
  • 10 XP: Buy 1 dot of a Skill
  • 15 XP: Buy an additional Player-Described Merit
  • 15 XP: Buy 1 dot of Morality
  • 20 XP: Buy 1 dot of an Attribute


Player-Described Merits

I use Player-Described Merits (Mirrors 35) in the place of all other Merits, except those specified in the sections below.
When you record a Player-Described Merit on your character sheet, leave the corresponding dots blank. When you use a Player-Described Merit, place an “X” in one of the corresponding dots. When there are a total of 5 “X” marks in your Merits section, you can no longer use Player-Described Merits for the session.

Combat Merits

Players can also design and buy combat maneuver Merits using action aspects (Mirrors 74). These combat maneuvers can include condition aspects (Mirrors 76), but condition aspects affect the Merit’s price in one of two ways (player chooses):
  • The condition aspect’s rating is used to calculate the price of the Combat Merit.
  • The Combat Merit can apply a condition aspect, but at a penalty to the roll equal to the condition aspect’s rating.

Supernatural Merits

Characters who have the Stigmatic template are allowed to purchase certain Supernatural Merits.


Weapon Finesse

When you attack with a melee weapon that has a size of 1 or 2, you can choose to substitute Dexterity for Strength.


This combat rule was taken from The God-Machine Chronicle (195).
At the beginning of a violent encounter, the players have to decide as a group what they want out of that encounter. The Storyteller also declares what the NPCs want. Intent statements begin with “I want,” and are relevant to the current scene.
When all combatants on one side are incapacitated or have surrendered, the other side gets their intent. If one side has a purely violent intent – i.e., violence isn’t a means to an end, it is violence for its own sake – the other side does not become Beaten Down.

Beaten Down

This combat rule was taken from The God-Machine Chronicle (195).
Over the course of a violent encounter, if you have taken an amount of bashing damage equal to your Stamina, or any amount of lethal damage, for the rest of the fight, you must spend a point of Willpower each time you want to take a violent action in combat.
If you surrender while in this state, you take an Experience and regain a point of Willpower.

Quick NPCs

Step One: Rank

Pick a Rank for the NPC from 1 to 5. Each Rank after 1 is equivalent to 25 Experience Points.
When performing an action, an NPC rolls an amount of dice equal to their Rank.

Step Two: Speciality

Choose Mental, Physical, or Social. NPCs get +1 to rolls made within their Specialty.

Step Three: Competency

An NPC’s Competency is their Rank + 3. NPCs use this value instead of their Rank when making rolls that are within their Competency.
An NPC’s Competency is derived from their core concept. For example, a Corrupt Sheriff could add their Competency to handling a firearm, interrogating a detainee, and selling drugs on the street.
NPCs also use their Competency to resist supernatural powers.

Step Four: Resistance

An NPC’s Resistance is determined by their Rank:
  1. Resistance 2
  2. Resistance 2
  3. Resistance 3
  4. Resistance 3
  5. Resistance 4

Step Five: Derived Traits

  • Initiative = Competency (+1 for Physical or Social Specialty)
  • Defense = Resistance
  • Speed = Competency + 5 (+2 for Physical Specialty)
  • Health = Resistance + 5 (+1 for Physical Specialty)
  • Willpower = Competency. (Alternatively, for a more balanced approach, have all NPCs share a pool of Willpower equal to half the total Willpower of the characters. This pool refreshes each session.)
  • Morality = 8 − Rank. (The NPC can have a higher Morality if you choose; this is a “lower boundary” of sorts. Give low-Morality NPCs a couple Derangements.)
  • Supernatural Tolerance = Rank

Step Six: Attack Pools

  • Combatants: Competency + Weapon bonus (+1 for Physical Specialty).
  • Non-Combatants: Rank + Weapon bonus (+1 for Physical Specialty).

Step Seven: Merits

A minor NPC’s realm of Competency acts as a player-described Merit that can be used a number of times per session equal to their Rank.
NPCs can also have a dots of Combat Maneuver Merits equal to their Rank (non-combatants) or Competency (combatants). You should make up combat maneuvers in-game and codify them as Merits.

Step Eight: Powers

An NPC has a power stat equal to their Rank (or their Competency for especially powerful supernatural creatures). They also have a number of supernatural abilities according to their Rank:
  1. 1
  2. 2/1
  3. 3/2/1
  4. 4/3/2/1
  5. 5/4/3/2
The die pool for a power is Competency + power stat + a relevant Specialty.

Step Nine: Energy

If an NPC uses Energy to fuel their abilities, they always have enough. However, they can only use an amount of Energy each turn equal to their Rank.


The Stigmatic, Demon, and Angel templates have been rewritten.