Rules and FAQ


d10s. Everything's a d10 unless another die size is called for. The 0 face of a d10 is taken to mean 10 in this system. If you're already using dice that show 10, good!

The die formula for rolls is expressed as XkY+Z.

To roll a total dice pool of XkY+Z, follow these steps:
1) Roll X dice.
2) Apply emphases if applicable.
3) Explode the results if applicable. Repeat this step until there are no more dice to explode.
4) Choose Y dice from the post-explosion pool to sum together.
5) Add Z as a flat number to the result.
6) Determine your final result.

Example dice pool of 7k3+5, with emphasis.
1) Roll 7 dice. (Example: 1, 3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10)
2) Apply emphases if applicable. (3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10)
3) Explode the results if applicable. (3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 15)
4) Choose 3 dice from the post-explosion pool to sum together. (Results: 8 + 11 + 15 = 34)
5) Add 5 as a flat number to the result. (Results: 8 + 11 + 15 = 34 + 5 = 39)
6) Determine your final result. (Results: 39)


Contest - When two or more characters would roll dice pools with no set target number, with the highest of the results winning the roll. Any bonus specifically gained to a contest is not applied to tests that fit similar criteria.
Dice Pool - The group of dice a player rolls when their character performs a contest or test.
Emphasis - Skills have different emphases which may be purchased for your character during play. Contests and tests benefit from emphases when the appropriate emphasis applies. The bonus this grants by default is: once per die, if the result of that die is 1, reroll it. Rolls such as 10 exploding into a 1 can not be rerolled by emphasis, as emphases are done before explosions.
Explosion - By default, dice that show the result 10 explode. To explode a die, roll another die and add it to to the original die (this can lead to further explosions). Count a die and all its resulting explosions as a single die when choosing to sum dice in step 4.
Flat Modifier - The value that is added or subtracted after dice are rolled and summed. 5k2+2 has a flat modifier of +2.
Gain - Bonuses to dice pools are noted as "gain +XkY" or "gain +Z". When a bonus is written as "+XkY" (ex: Gain +0k2), it adds to the rolled dice, summed dice, or both, as appropriate. When a bonus is written as "+Z" (ex: Gain +7) it adds to the total result as a flat modifier.
Malus - Some effects reduce the number of rolled or summed dice, or adds a negative flat modifier. These effects are noted Maluses, and they always subtract from a dice pool. A Malus of 5 and a Malus of -5 are the exact same as far as the rules are concerned.
Result - The final value a roll has. The result of the roll is used in tests and contests to determine success.
Rolled Dice - The total number of dice you roll in a contest or test, not including explosions. 5k2+2 has 5 rolled dice.
Summed Dice - The total number of dice you sum together in a contest or test. 5k2+2 has 2 summed dice.
Test - When one or more characters would roll a dice pool against a set target number. Any bonus gained to tests is also gained to contests, so long as all other conditions also apply.
Unskilled Penalty - If a character tests a skill in which they have no ranks, the dice in this test do not explode by default. (Rolls that do not have skills associated, such as damage rolls, spellcasting rolls, and attribute rolls explode normally)

Assembling Your Dice Pool

Let's assemble the dice pool for a typical skill test.
1) Begin with a dicepool of 0k0+0.
2) First determine which attribute you will be using. This is typically determined by the skill or emphasis being contested or tested. Gain +XkX, where X is the value of that attribute. (Remember: X = X)
3) Next, determine what skill you're using. Gain +Xk0, where X is the rank of that skill. For tests and contests without skills (such as attribute and ring tests), skip this step.
4) Next, apply all techniques, modifiers, raises, maneuvers, misc. bonuses and maluses, etc. These will further modify your dice pool by adding or subtracting from the dice pool or from the flat modifier. Bonuses always add and Maluses always subtract.
5) If the number of rolled dice exceeds 10, gain -Xk0, where X is the number by which it exceeds 10, then for every time X can be divided by 2, gain +0k1. (13k5 would become 10k6. 3 can be divided by 2 once.)
6) If the number of summed dice exceeds your rolled dice, gain -0kX, where X is the number by which it exceeds your summed dice, then for every die subtracted, gain +4. (2k4 would become 2k2+8. 10k13 would become 10k10+12)
7) Once your dice pool is finally assembled, roll dice equal to the value before the k. After you have applied applicable emphasis bonuses, techniques, and explosions, choose dice to sum together for your result equal to the value after the k (you may choose dice that are not the highest, but circumstances where this is beneficial are exceedingly rare). Finally, sum the result of the dice with the flat modifier (be it positive or negative).

Maneuvers and Raises

While participating in a Test or Contest a character may perform Maneuvers associated with that test or contest. To perform a Maneuver, first you must select each Maneuver to use before dice are rolled, and then pay a number of Raises equal to the total cost of those Maneuvers. To obtain a Raise, take a malus of 5 to your total roll for each Raise you wish to call. You may obtain a number of Raises this way equal to your Void Attribute. Maneuvers may also be paid for with Free Raises. Free Raises do not count against the limit set by your Void Attribute. Unless otherwise stated, a maneuver's effects can only be triggered, activated, or applied only once per Test or Contest. Unless otherwise stated, if the Test or Contest is failed or lost, Maneuvers called do not trigger, activate, or in any way apply.

Each Test and Contest has the following maneuver:
Free Raise Buydown - 1 Raise. This maneuver applies when assembling your dice pool. For each time this maneuver is called, gain +5 to that dice pool.

Empty Raises
Some effects may force you to call Empty Raises. These are simply Raises for no effect. You may not spend Free Raises on them. You must suffer a Malus of 5 to your test or contest, and Empty Raises count against the limit of raises you can call per test or contest. If one or more effects require you to call more Empty Raises than your Raise Limit, then you must suffer the consequences of all effects you could not meet the Empty Raise requirement for.

Maneuvers will have the following format:
[Name] - [#] Raise(s). [Effect].

Example maneuvers:
Second Wind - 1 Raise. When this maneuver is called, regain wounds equal to your lowest ring.
Note: It does not matter how many times you call this raise. It's effect is active when it is called at least once.

More Bugs - 1 Raise. For each time this maneuver is called, you catch one additional firefly.
Note: This maneuver has an effect each time it is called.

Flurry - 3 Raises. After this attack, make another attack using Unarmed Weapon. This maneuver applies even if you fail this test.
Note: This maneuver does something even when its associated test fails.



  • Sometimes a technique, advantage, disadvantage, or other effect becomes blank. While something is blank, it has no text whatsoever except for a name - no tags, no types, no effect.
  • When an Advantage or Disadvantage becomes blank, it doesn't change a character's XP totals or the Advantage or Disadvantage caps. Those Advantages and Disadvantages were still purchased or inflicted and the XP associated with them remains where it is.
  • When equipment becomes blank, it only loses effects in addition to its default statistics. A katana that becomes blank still has 3k2 damage and can still activate on damage rolls, and still benefits from non-blank effects that give bonuses to katanas.

Clear Thinker

  • Clear Thinker applies only when the advantaged character knows to resist. It may be used, for example, to oppose a slight of hand magic trick performed in public, but not a slight of hand to pick a pocket unseen, or a slight of hand to conceal a knife on one's person. As another example, a Clear Thinking character may not use it in an investigation/stealth contest against a character they are unaware of, but they may use it in an investigation/stealth contest against a character they are aware of (such as a character disappearing into a crowd and attempting to blend in).


  • Knives do not benefit from the Kenjutsu masteries, even when being used with Kenjutsu skill.

Improvised Weapons

  • Using a weapon in an unintended way, such as bashing someone with a sheathed katana or stabbing with an arrow, uses Jujutsu (Improvised) and has damage appropriate for an improvised weapon of its size
  • When using a weapon as an improvised weapon, use any applicable masteries from its typical skill.
  • A standard weapon used as an improvised weapon retains all of its non-damage properties, such as the ability to grapple or be thrown. If a property of a weapon grants damage (such as dealing bonus damage to spirits), that property is also retained. Only the base damage is different.


  • Some effects call for "Mark"s. A Mark is a special wording for a character chosen by an effect.
  • A Mark is only a Mark for the effect that made it a Mark. If you have two or more effects that call for Marks, the only way to stack their effects is to designate the same character as a mark for their respective effects. You can not use Technique A to Mark a target to gain the benefit of Technique B.
  • Unless otherwise noted, a character is an effect's Mark until the end of the encounter.
  • When you designate one or more Marks with an effect, all previous Marks from that effect are no longer the effect's Mark. Ex: If a technique allows you to select a Mark each readying phase, each time you do so, all previous Marks are no longer that effect's Mark, unless otherwise specified.


  • Some effects allow you to move as if your Water Ring were higher, and others force you to move as if your Water Ring were lower. In the case of multiple effects of this nature, treat them as additive. Example: A character with Water 2, Swift 1, and suffering a -2 penalty for their Water for determining their movement moves at Water 1.
  • Remember: If you would be forced to move as if your Water Ring were below 1, you may move as Water 1 instead.

Reducing Gains and Maluses

  • Some effects "reduce" gains or maluses. When a Gain, Bonus, Malus, or Penalty is reduced, always add or subtract toward the value 0.
  • Gains and Bonuses can not give a negative value to a roll or statistic. Any effect that would reduce a Gain or Bonus can only reduce it to a minimum of 0.
  • Maluses and Penalties can not give a positive value to a roll or statistic. Any effect that would reduce a Malus or Penalty can only reduce it to a minimum of 0.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License