Last Updated 6/9/17
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.
You start with 10 Merit dots.
You have one Skill at ●●●●, two Skills at ●●●, three Skills at ●●, and four Skills at ●.
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. A character must start with 5 Morality.
During character creation, you can exchange a Player-Described Merit for 10 Experience Points.
Merits have been completely overhauled.
If you roll anything besides a 10 on a chance die, you suffer a dramatic failure.
Touchstones are used instead of Virtue and Vice. A Touchstone is a person, place, object, or activity, a relic of a normal life that contributes to a stable sense of self.
When you interact with one of your Touchstones as part of a scene, you regain 1 point of Willpower.
Each time you use a Touchstone, you put a dot in it. Each dot represents the Touchstone “absorbing” your traumas:
- Your best friend is taxed when you continually vent your emotions to them. Eventually they stop answering your texts.
- The coffee shop you always go to has to close at 9pm. That bothers you more than it should.
- The car you built from scratch deteriorates significantly as you take it on more and more high-octane offroad excursions.
- The fictional worlds detailed in the books you read seem preferable to real life. So you start pretending that you live there.
When a Touchstone has 5 dots, or it is no longer accessible in the narrative, you lose that Touchstone. Losing a Touchstone is always a Breaking Point.
You can remove a Touchstone’s dots by spending a dot of Willpower.
A point of Willpower can be spent to cut the time to perform an action in half.
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 relative heinousness or trauma of the Breaking Point (GMC 184), the character’s Morality modifier (see below), and by +1 for each Touchstone with no dots in it.
- Dramatic Failure: You lose a dot of Morality degenerate, and become shaken, spooked, or guilty.
- Failure: You lose a dot of Morality, and become shaken, spooked, or guilty.
- Success: You do not lose a dot of Morality, and become shaken, spooked, or guilty.
- Exceptional Success: You do not lose a dot of Morality, and you gain a point of Willpower.
When you become shaken, you fail your next roll. When you become spooked, you immediately escalate the scene or story. When you become guilty, your Morality modifier decreases by -2 until you make recompense for your actions.
Degeneration signifies a radical shift in your character’s demeanor, values, and outlook on life in the face of massive trauma or horror. When you degenerate, choose one of the following:
- Place a star next to all of your current Touchstones. These Touchstones are corrupted. Every time you interact with a corrupted Touchstone, you or the group suffer negative consequences.
- You take the Scarred Merit. You cannot regain Morality above the point where you got the Scarred Merit, but can regain Morality up until there.
These modifiers apply to degeneration rolls, and all Social rolls made against characters with a higher Morality than them.
- 8-10 Morality: +1
- 7-6 Morality: +0
- 5-4 Morality: -1
- 3-2 Morality: -2
- 1 Morality: -3
Gaining Experience Points
You gain 1 Experience Point each time you meet one of the following conditions.
- You turn a failure into a dramatic failure (once per session).
- You make a degeneration roll.
- You act to defend a Touchstone when it is directly threatened.
- 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 (Stigmatics Only).
- You enter into a Pact with a Demon (Stigmatics Only).
- You finish a game session.
Spending Experience Points
- 5 XP: Buy a Skill Specialty
- 5 XP: Buy 1 dot of a Merit
- 5 XP: Buy 1 dot of Willpower
- 5 XP: Buy a Touchstone
- 10 XP: Buy 1 dot of Aether (Stigmatics and Demons only)
- 10 XP: Buy 1 dot of a Skill
- 15 XP: Buy 1 dot of Morality
- 20 XP: Buy 1 dot of an Attribute
All weapons deal lethal damage.
When you attack with a melee weapon that has a size of 1 or 2, you can choose to substitute Dexterity for Strength.
Covering fire requires an automatic weapon, and takes 10 bullets.
State a general area that you are firing at and roll Dexterity + Firearms + Damage Rating. If successful, characters in the area who take an action on their next turn take damage equal to successes.
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.
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 get one Experience Point and regain a point of Willpower.
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 use their Competency when handling a firearm, interrogating a detainee, and selling drugs on the street.
Step Four: Resistance
An NPC’s Resistance is determined by their Rank:
- Resistance 2
- Resistance 2
- Resistance 3
- Resistance 3
- Resistance 4
Step Five: Derived Traits
- Initiative = Competency (+1 for Physical or Social Specialty)
- Defense = Resistance (+1 for Physical or Mental Specialty, +1 if combatant)
- 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 the number of characters. This pool refreshes each scene.)
- Morality = 8 − Rank. (The NPC can have a higher Morality if you choose; this is a “lower boundary” of sorts.)
- Supernatural Tolerance = Competency
Step Six: Attack Pools
- Combatants: Competency + Weapon bonus (+1 for Physical Specialty).
- Non-Combatants: Rank + Weapon bonus (+1 for Physical Specialty).
Step Seven: Merits
An NPC has all the Merits that they need in order to satisfy their Competency. If you want exact metrics for Merits, use the following values, which are based on the NPC’s Rank:
- 8 dots
- 10 dots
- 12 dots
- 15 dots
- 18 dots
Step Eight: Powers
An NPC has a power stat equal to their Rank (or their Competency for especially powerful supernatural creatures). They also have dots of supernatural abilities according to their Rank:
- 1 dot
- 3 dots
- 6 dots
- 10 dots
- 14 dots
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.