Merits

Please pardon our dust. This page is under construction, and the information here is not final.

Merits represent a variety of abilities and circumstances. These can be anything from special talents, to fighting styles, to industry connections, to languages spoken.

One key Merit that should be considered for all characters is Resources. Without it, your character is essentially destitute.

Drawbacks

Many Merits in Chronicles of Darkness include Drawbacks, disadvantages associated with the Merit. Unless a Drawback is specifically mentioned on this page, ignore it.

Sanctity of Merits

Players should be aware that some Merits represent things that can go away. Sometimes this loss is voluntary because the Merit no longer fits the character, while other times the Merit was lost due to IC circumstances. In either case, the character will be compensated for the lost Merit, either with a new Merit of equal value, or with Experiences.

Disallowed Merits

A number of Merits are not allowed. This might be due to the Merit being inappropriate to the setting, not well-suited for a MU* environment, or because they no longer function due to rules changes.

Disallowed Mental Merits: Encyclopedic Knowledge, Eye for the Strange, Investigative Aide, Investigative Prodigy, Professional Training, Vice-Ridden, Virtuous
Disallowed Physical Merits: None
Disallowed Social Merits: Alternate Identity, Anonymity, Barfly, Mentor, Mystery Cult Initiation, Pusher, Sympathetic, Takes One to Know One, True Friend
Disallowed Supernatural Merits: Automatic Writing, Biokinesis, Clairvoyance, Medium, Mind of a Madman, Omen Sensitivity, Numbing Touch, Psychokinesis, Psychometry, Telekinesis, Telepathy, Thief of Fate, Unseen Sense
Disallowed Fighting Merits: None

Mental Merits

Area of Expertise (●)

Prerequisite: Resolve ●● and one Skill Specialty
Choose a Specialty to grant a +2 bonus instead of the usual +1. This Merit may be taken multiple times, choosing a different Specialty each time.

Common Sense (●●)

Once per week as an instant action, you may roll Wits + Composure. If successful you can ask a Storyteller one of the following questions about a task at hand or course of action.

  • What is the worst choice?
  • What do I stand to lose here?
  • What's the safest choice?
  • Am I chasing a worthless lead?

There will not always be a Storyteller available to answer questions for this Merit, and sometimes one will need to rely on other players to make a fair judgement. As such, the cost of this Merit is reduced to two dots to reflect its reduced effectiveness.

Danger Sense (●●)

You gain a +2 modifier on reflexive Wits + Composure rolls to detect ambushes.

Direction Sense (●)

Your character never suffers penalties to navigate or find her way.

Eidetic Memory (●●)

You do not have to roll for your character to remember past experiences. When making Intelligence + Composure (or relevant Skill) rolls to recall minute facts from swaths of information, take a +2 bonus.

Fast Reflexes (● to ●●●)

Prerequisite: Wits ●●● or Dexterity ●●●
+1 Initiative per dot.

Good Time Management (●)

Prerequisite: Academics ●● or Science ●●
When taking an extended action, halve the time required between rolls.

Holistic Awareness (●)

Your character can provide basic medical care with natural, non-traditional healing methods. Unless your patient suffers wound penalties from lethal or aggravated wounds, you do not need traditional medical equipment to stabilize and treat injuries. With access to woodlands, a greenhouse, or other source of diverse flora, a Wits + Survival roll allows your character to gather all necessary supplies.

Indomitable (●●)

Prerequisite: Resolve ●●●
Any time your character is the target of a magical effect that influences thoughts or emotions, add two dice to the dice pool to contest it. If the roll is resisted, instead subtract two dice from the monster's dice pool. Note that this only affects influence that is magical in nature.

Interdisciplinary Specialty (●)

Prerequisite: Skill at ●●● or higher with a Specialty
Choose a Specialty that your character possesses. You can apply the +1 from that Specialty to any Skill with at least one dot, provided it's justifiable.

Language (● or ●●) [Special]

Your character has learned to understand, speak, and read a language other than his native tongue. Normally, a character may know a total number of languages (including native language) equal to his Intelligence. These are priced as one-dot Merits. Additional languages above one's Intelligence are purchased as two-dot Merits.

The languages of magical Beings can be learned, but are much rarer. As such, there are Brownie costs attached to these purchases:

  • Giant: 75 Brownies (25 Brownies for giant-kin)
  • Gobbledegook: 20 Brownies (Free for goblins)
  • Mermish: 50 Brownies

Library (● to ●●●)

Choose a Mental Skill. As long as your character has access to the library, on any extended roll involving the Skill in question, add the dots in this Merit. This benefit can be shared by other characters, with permission. This Merit can be purchased multiple times for different Skills.

Meditative Mind (●●)

The character does not suffer environmental penalties to meditation, even from wound penalties.

Multilingual (●●●)

Begin with two languages instead of one. For each time the Language Merit is taken, learn two new languages instead of one. With this Merit, a character may know a total number of languages (including native language) equal to twice his Intelligence. These are priced as one-dot Merits. Additional languages above one's Intelligence are purchased as two-dot Merits. These rules supersede those found in the Language Merit.

Patient (●)

On an extended action, you may make two additional rolls, above what your Attribute + Skill allows.

Mental Prodigy (●●) [100 Brownies]

Prerequisite: Character is a Child or Teen
Your character has an unusual talent for a particular Skill for someone of his age. Select a Mental Skill. Your character may exceed the usual three-dot cap imposed on youth characters for that Skill. You must still pay for all dots in the Skill as normal.

Tolerance for Biology (●●)

Prerequisite: Resolve ●●●
When other characters must resist shock or physical repulsion from the disgusting and morbid, your character stands her ground. You do not need to make Composure, Stamina, or Resolve rolls to withstand the biologically strange.

Trained Observer (● or ●●●)

Prerequisite: Wits ●●● or Composure ●●●
Any time you make a Perception roll (usually Wits + Composure), you benefit from the 9-again quality. With the three-dot version, you get 8-again.

Physical Merits

Ambidextrous (●●●)

Your character does not suffer the -2 penalty for using his off hand in combat or to perform other actions. Available only at character creation.

Automotive Genius (●)

Prerequisites: Crafts ●●, Drive ●
(Note: Prerequisites were reduced due to limited usefulness in the setting.)
When determining how many modifications your character can add to a vehicle (see Chronicles of Darkness p. 98), triple her Crafts dots instead of doubling them. Additionally, any relevant Crafts Specialties add one more potential modification to the total

Crack Driver (● or ●●)

Prerequisites: Drive ●●●
(Note: Costs were reduced due to limited usefulness in the setting.)
So long as your character is not taking any actions other than driving (and keeping the car safe), add his Composure to any rolls to Drive. Any rolls to disable his vehicle suffer a penalty equal to his Composure as well. With the two-dot version, once per turn he may take a Drive action reflexively.

Demolisher (● to ●●●)

Prerequisite: Strength ●●● or Intelligence ●●●
When damaging an object, ignore one point of the object’s Durability per dot.

Double Jointed (●●)

Prerequisite: Dexterity ●●●
Your character automatically escapes from any mundane bonds without a roll. When grappled, subtract her Dexterity from any rolls to overpower her, as long as she’s not taking any aggressive actions.

Fleet of Foot (● to ●●●)

Prerequisite: Athletics ●●
Gain +1 Speed per dot, and anyone pursuing suffers a -1 per dot to any foot chase rolls.

Greyhound (●)

Prerequisites: Athletics ●●●, Wits ●●●, Stamina ●●●
When in a chase (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 84), you receive the effects of an exceptional success on three successes instead of five.

Hardy (● to ●●●)

Prerequisite: Stamina ●●●
Add the dots in this Merit to any rolls to resist disease, poison, deprivation, unconsciousness, or suffocation.

Huge (●●●)

Your character is massive, towering over peers. Gain +1 to Size, and therefore +1 Health. Available at character creation only.
Note: This Merit is called Giant in Chronicles of Darkness. It was changed to avoid confusion with the giant species.

Iron Stamina (● to ●●●)

Prerequisite: Stamina ●●● or Resolve ●●●
Each dot eliminates a negative modifier (on a one-for-one basis) when resisting the effects of fatigue or injury. This includes wound penalties.

Parkour (● to ●●●●●, Style) [15 Brownies]

Prerequisites: Dexterity ●●●, Athletics ●●
Your character is trained in free running, the art of moving fluidly through urban environments with complex leaps, bounds, running tricks, and vaults.

Flow: In a foot chase, subtract your Parkour from the successes needed to pursue or evade. Also, ignore environmental penalties to Athletics rolls equal to your Parkour rating.
●● Cat Leap: When using a Dexterity + Athletics roll to mitigate damage from falling, gain one automatic success. Additionally, add your Parkour rating to the threshold of damage that can be removed through this roll. Parkour will not mitigate damage from a terminal velocity fall.
●●● Wall Run: Without rolling, your character scales 10 feet + five feet per dot of Athletics as an instant action, rather than the normal 10 feet.
●●●● Expert Traceur: By spending a Willpower point, you may designate one Athletics roll to run, jump, or climb as a rote action (reroll all failed dice once). On any turn during which you use this ability, you may not apply your character's Defense to oncoming attacks.
●●●●● Freeflow: The character must successfully meditate (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 75) to establish Freeflow, a Zenlike state of moving without thinking. Once established, your character is capable of taking Athletics actions reflexively once per turn. By spending a point of Willpower on an Athletics roll in a foot chase, gain three successes instead of three dice.

Physical Prodigy (●●) [100 Brownies]

Prerequisite: Character is a Child or Teen
Your character has an unusual talent for a particular Skill for someone of his age. Select a Physical Skill. Your character may exceed the usual three-dot cap imposed on youth characters for that Skill. You must still pay for all dots in the Skill as normal.

Quick Draw (●)

Prerequisite: Wits ●●●, a Specialty in the weapon or fighting style chosen
Choose a Specialty in Weaponry or Firearms. Drawing or holstering with that Specialty is considered a reflexive action, and can be done any time your character's Defense applies.

Relentless (●)

Prerequisites: Athletics ●●, Stamina ●●●
In any chase (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 84) your opponents must achieve two additional successes against yours to catch or elude your character.

Seizing the Edge (●●)

Prerequisites: Wits ●●●, Composure ●●●
Your character always has the Edge in the first turn of a chase scene (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 84). Additionally, the opponent must make a successful Wits + Composure roll, as if being ambushed, or your character does not have to account for her Speed or Initiative when calculating needed successes in the first turn.

Sleight of Hand (●●)

Prerequisite: Larceny ●●●
Your character can take one Larceny-based instant action reflexively in a given turn. As well, her Larcenry actions go unnoticed unless someone is trying specifically to catch her.

Small-Framed (●●)

Your character is diminutive. His Size is reduced by 1, and therefore he has one fewer Health box. He gains +2 to any rolls to hide or go unnoticed, and this bonus might apply any time being smaller would be an advantage, such as crawling through smaller spaces. Available at character creation only.

Stunt Driver (● TO ●●●●, Style)

Prerequisites: Dexterity ●●●, Drive ●●●, Wits ●●●

Defensive Driving: Subtract Drive dots from any attempt to hit your character's vehicle while it's mobile.
●● Speed Demon: Each success on rolls to accelerate a vehicle (see Chronicles of Darkness, p.98) raises the vehicles Speed by 10 instead of 5.
●●● Drift: Your character never needs to make a maneuvering roll to turn at high speeds.
●●●● Clipping: When your character voluntarily hits another character or vehicle with hers, ignore damage to her own vehicle equal to her Wits. This is applies before Durability.

Social Merits

The following Social Merits are not available in Witchcraft and Wizardry: Barfly, Mentor

Allies (● to ●●●●●) [Varies]

Allies are individuals or organizations that can provide favors for your character. Each instance of this Merit represents one type of ally.

Each dot represents a layer of influence with the ally. When a favor is asked, a Storyteller assigns a rating between one and five. No matter the request, it has to be something that the person or organization could accomplish.

Examples of Favors

Leaving a door unlocked
●● Arranging a meeting with a low-level official (Status 2)
●●● Police overlooking a misdemeanor charge
●●●● Arranging a meeting with a powerful individual (Status 4)
●●●●● Massive insider trading, fouling up a felony investigation

A character can ask for favors that add up to her Allies rating without penalty within a single week. If she extends her influence beyond that, roll Manipulation + Persuasion + Allies, with a penalty equal to the favor's rating. If the roll is successful, the group does as requested. Failed or successful, the character loses a dot of Allies. On a dramatic failure, the organization resents her and seeks retribution (and all dots in the Merit are lost). On an exceptional success, she doesn't lose the dot.

One additional favor a character can ask of her Allies is to block another character's Allies, Contacts, Retainer, or Status (if she knows the character possesses the relevant Merit). The rating is equal to the Merit dots blocked. If the block succeeds, the character cannot use the Merit during the same week.

Special: Mith-Ih-Kwuh Valley is a world apart, and largely beyond the reach of powers beyond its borders. Allies from outside of the Valley are restricted to three dots.

Brownie Cost: Certain established NPCs within Mith-Ih-Kwuh Valley may be taken as Allies with the expenditure of Brownies.

Closed Book (● to ●●●●●)

Prerequisites: Manipulation ●●●, Resolve ●●●
Add the dots in this Merit to any contested roll to resist uncovering her true feelings or motives. This applies to supernatural effects, such as Veritaserum or Legilimency. It does not apply to aura reading, since she cannot manipulate it.

Contacts (●)

Contacts provide your character with information (but not services). This Merit can be taken multiple times, each instance representing a different a sphere or organization through which the character can garner information.

Garnering information via Contacts requires a Manipulation + Social Skill roll, depending on the method the character uses, and the relationship between the characters. The Storyteller should give a bonus or penalty (typically ranging from -3 to +3), dependent on how relevant the information is to that particular Contact, whether accessing the information is dangerous, and if the character has maintained good relations or done favors for the Contact.

Fame (● to ●●●) [New dots x 100 Brownies]

Your character is recognized within a certain sphere, for a certain skill, or because of some past action or stroke of luck. This can mean favors and attention; it can also mean negative attention and scrutiny. Each dot adds a die to any Social rolls among those who are impressed by your character's celebrity.

Local recognition, or reputation within a confined subculture.
●● Regional recognition by a wide swath of people.
●●● Worldwide recognition to anyone that might have been exposed to the source of the fame.

Brownie Cost: Fame is rare in Mith-Ih-Kwuh Valley, especially the higher degrees of it. Each dot has an individual Brownie cost equal to the dot level x 100 Brownies, thus increasing the cost exponentially. This means that one dot of Fame costs 100 Brownies, two dots cost a total of 300 Brownies, and three dots costs a whopping 600 Brownies.

Fast-Talking (● to ●●●, Style)

Prerequisites: Manipulation ●●●, Subterfuge ●●

Always Be Closing: When a mark contests or resists your Social interactions, apply a -1 to their Resolve or Composure.
●● Jargon: You may apply on relevant Specialty to any Social roll you make, even if the Specialty isn't tied to the Skill in use.
●●● Devil's Advocacy: You can reroll one failed Subterfuge roll per scene.

Fixer (●●)

Prerequisites: Contacts ●●, Wits ●●●
When hiring a service (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 100), reduce the Availability score of the service by one dot.

Hobbyist Clique (●●)

Prerequisites: Membership in a clique. Chosen Skill at ●●+.
Your character is part of a group of hobbyists that specialize in one area, represented by a Skill. It may be a book club, a coven, a political party, or any group brought together by a common interest. When the group’s support is available, you benefit from the 9-again quality on rolls involving the group’s chosen Skill. As well, the clique offers two additional dice on any extended actions involving that Skill.

Special: Certain school clubs offer this Merit for free.

Inspiring (●●●)

Prerequisite: Presence ●●●
Make a Presence + Expression roll. A small group of listeners levies a -1 penalty, a small crowd a -2, and a large crowd -3. Listeners gain the Inspired Condition. This means that when the Inspired character takes an action pertaining to the inspiration, he gains a Willpower point, and may consider the roll an Exceptional Success on three successes, instead of five (after which the Condition is resolved). The character may not use this Merit on herself.

Iron Will (●●)

Prerequisite: Resolve ●●●●
When spending Willpower to contest or resist in a Social roll, you may substitute your Resolve for the usual Willpower bonus. If the roll is contested, roll with 8-again.

Resources (● to ●●●●●) [Special]

Resources represents your character's disposable income. The dot rating determines the relative amount of disposable funding the character has available.

X Destitute: You have nothing. No home, no job, no prospects.
Poor: Struggling, living paycheck to paycheck.
●● Comfortable: Lower middle class, getting by with a small savings.
●●● Prosperous: Upper middle class, with a large savings and some luxuries.
●●●● Affluent: Quite well-off, able to afford nice things without many financial worries.
●●●●● Rich: The 1%, living in opulent luxury.

Every item has an Availability rating. Once per week, your character can procure an item at her Resources level of lower, without issue. Procuring an item one Availability above her Resources reduces her effective Resources by one dot for a full month, since she has to rapidly liquidate funds. She can procure items two Availability below her Resources without limit (within reason).

Brownie Cost: Purchasing Resources ●●● or higher requires the expenditure of Brownies and staff approval, in addition to the Experience cost. The third, fourth, and fifth dots require Brownies equal to the new dots x 100. This means that going from Resources ●● to ●●● costs 300 Brownies, going to ●●●● costs an additional 400 Brownies (700 total), and ●●●●● costs 500 Brownies (1200 total).

Retainer (● to ●●●●●)

Your character has an assistant, sycophant, servant, or follower on whom she can rely. Establish who this companion is, how he was acquired, and what his role is (e.g. butler, mechanic, bodyguard, personal assistant, etc.).

The Merit's dot rating determines the relative competency of the Retainer. If the Retainer needs to make a roll, and it's within her field, double the dot rating and use it as a dice pool. For anything else, use the dot rating as a dice pool.

This Merit can be purchased multiple times to represent multiple Retainers.

Safe Place (● to ●●●●●)

Your character has somewhere she can go where she can feel secure. The dot rating represents the security of the place. The actual location, the luxury, and the size are represented by equipment. A one-dot Safe Place might be equipped with basic security systems or a booby trap at the windows and door. A five-dot could have a security crew, infrared scanners at every entrance, or trained dogs.

Unlike most Merits, multiple characters can contribute dots to a single Safe Place, combining their points into something greater (up to a maximum of five dots). A Safe Place gives an Initiative bonus equal to the Merit dots. This only applies to a character with dots invested in the Safe Place.

Any efforts to breach the Safe Place suffer a penalty equal to the Merit dots invested. If the character desires, the Safe Place can include traps that cause intruders lethal damage equal to a maximum of the Merit rating (player’s choice as to how much damage a given trap inflicts). This requires that the character has at least one dot in Crafts. The traps may be avoided with a Dexterity + Larceny roll, penalized by the Safe Place dots.

Small Unit Tactics (●●)

Prerequisite: Presence ●●●
Once per scene, when making a coordinated action that was planned in advance, spend a point of Willpower and an instant action. A number of characters equal to your character's Presence can benefit from the +3 bonus gains from the Willpower expenditure.

Social Prodigy (●●) [100 Brownies]

Prerequisite: Character is a Child or Teen
Your character has an unusual talent for a particular Skill for someone of his age. Select a Social Skill. Your character may exceed the usual three-dot cap imposed on youth characters for that Skill. You must still pay for all dots in the Skill as normal.

Spin Doctor (●)

Prerequisites: Manipulation ●●●, Subterfuge ●●
When suffering from Tainted Clues (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 80), your character does not ignore successes. Instead, apply a -1 penalty for each relevant Tainted Clue. Using a Tainted Clue only levies a total -2 penalty with this Merit, which includes the -1 taken in lieu of ignoring successes.

Staff (● to ●●●●●)

Your character has a crew of workers or assistants at his disposal. For every dot in this Merit, choose one type of assistant, and one Skill. At any reasonable time, his staff can take actions using that Skill. These actions automatically garner a single success. While not useful in contested actions, this guarantees success on minor, mundane activities. Note that your character may have employees without requiring the Staff Merit; Staff simply adds a mechanical advantage for those groups.

Status (● to ●●●●●)

Your character has some former or informal standing, membership, authority, control over, or respect from a group or organization, and enjoys certain privileges within that structure. Each instance of this Merit reflects standing in a different group or organization.

Status provides a number of advantages:

First, your character can apply her Status to any Social roll with those over which she has authority or sway.

Second, she has access to group facilities, resources, and funding. Depending on the group, this could be limited by red tape and requisitioning processes.

Third, she has pull. If she knows a character's Resources, Retainer, Contacts, or Allies, she can block their usage. Once per week, she can stop a single Merit from being used, if it's on a lower dot rating than her Status, and if it makes sense for her organization to obstruct that type of person's behavior.

Special: Specific organizations in Dawn's Early Light may have limitations or requirements for gaining Status in their ranks. See the appropriate organization's page for details.

Striking Looks (● or ●●)

Your character is stunning, alarming, commanding, repulsive, threatening, charming, or otherwise worthy of attention. Determine how your character looks and how people react to that. For one dot, your character gets a +1 bonus on any Social rolls that would be influenced by his looks. For two dots, the benefit increases to +2. Depending on the particulars, this might influence Expression, Intimidation, Persuasion, Subterfuge, or other rolls.

Table Turner (●)

Prerequisites: Composure ●●●, Manipulation ●●●, Wits ●●●
Any time a character initiates a Social roll against you, you may spend a Willpower point to preempt that attempt with one of your own.

Taste (●)

Prerequisites: Crafts ●●, and a Specialty in Crafts or Expression
Your character has refined tastes for artistry and craftsmanship. With a Wits + Skill roll, depending on the creation in question (e.g. Expression for poetry, Crafts for architecture), your character can pick out obscure details about the item that other, less discerning minds would not. For each success, ask one of the following questions, or take a +1 bonus to any Social rolls pertaining to groups interested in the art assessed for the remainder of the scene.

  • What is the hidden meaning in this?
  • What was the creator feeling during its creation?
  • What's its weakest point?
  • Which other witness is most moved by this piece?
  • How should one best appreciate this piece?

Untouchable (●)

Prerequisites: Manipulation ●●●, Subterfuge ●●
Your character commits crimes, and is always a step ahead of pursuers. Any roll to investigate him suffers the Incomplete Clue tag (see Chronicles of Darkness, p. 80) unless it achieves Exceptional Success.

Magical Merits

Supernatural Merits are referred to as Magical Merits in Witchcraft and Wizardry. Magical Merits may be only be taken by wizards unless otherwise specified.

Animagus (●● to ●●●●●) [300 Brownies | Arendi paradigm: -100 | Exotic animal: +100]

Prerequisites (Sorcery): Resolve ●●●, Composure ●●●, Transfiguration ●●●
Prerequisites (Arendi): Resolve ●●●, Composure ●●●, Sortilege ●●●

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●

An Animagus is a wizard that has honed a very difficult and very specific form of Transfiguration magic — the ability to transform into a single animal form at will. This form will always have some kind of identifying mark, often resembling some aspect of the Animagus's human shape.

Only one who is truly dedicated to Transfiguration will attain enough mastery to become an Animagus, and even then, few have the affinity or suitable motivation to accomplish it. The actual type of animal isn't up to the Animagus to choose. It is something inside him, manifesting in the form of a beast. Notably, Animagus forms and corporeal Patronuses are usually identical.

The type of animal that can be chosen depends upon the number of dots in the Merit.

●● Critter: Beaver, bird (small), bug/insect, crab, fish, frog/toad, rabbit/hare, scorpion, spider, squirrel
●●● Creature: Badger, bat, cat (domestic), dog (small), dolphin, fox, jellyfish, raccoon, raven/crow, owl, rat, snake (venomous), weasel/ferret
●●●● Animal Chimpanzee, deer, dog (large), lizard (great), ostrich/emu, shark, snake (constrictor), wolf
●●●●● Beast: Alligator/crocodile, bear, bovine, cat (great), caribou, eagle, elephant, hippopotamus, horse, orca, rhinoceros

To transform, spend a Willpower point and an instant action. No roll is required. In animal form, the Animagus's Physical Attributes, Size, Speed, and Health are replaced with those of the animal. His Skills remain, but if the animal naturally possesses a higher rating in a Skill, the animal's dots are used instead of the wizard's. He also gains any natural abilities or weapons that the animal possesses, such as claws, winged flight, or a keen sense of smell. However, the wizard is unable to use magic while in animal form.

Though human at their core, a transformed Animagus's mind takes on a more animalistic aspect. His emotions are less complex, and he tends to think in simple, straightforward terms. Due to this shift in mental state, Animagi in animal form can attempt to communicate with normal animals (and other transformed Animagi) on a rudimentary level. This is not speech, and complex concepts cannot be conveyed, but basic need and intent will be understood by both parties. Communicating this way requires a Manipulation + Wits roll.

When transforming, the Animagus's clothing changes with him, as do any small items on his person (e.g. wand, spectacles, handbag, etc.). Larger items not easily worn or tucked into pockets or handbags do not change, and will likely have to be left behind. If an Animagus has been otherwise transfigured, or suffers under a spell to prevent transfiguration, he cannot assume their Animagus form without first benefiting from a counter-spell to free him of the other magic.

Brownies: Wizards with the Arendi paradigm get a discount of 100 Brownies. Animagi that transform into exotic animals must pay an additional 100 Brownies. Exotic animals are generally those that are extraordinary in some way, either in terms of rarity or danger/power. Such animals will be labelled Exotic in the Bestiary.

Arithmancy (● to ●●●●●)

Prerequisites: Sorcery Paradigm, Gramarye ●●●

Arithmancy is the study of the magical properties of numbers, which in turn allows an arithmancer to describe magic in numerical and formulaic terms. While it does include some elements of mathematics, the similarities to Muggle math break down fairly quickly.

Though not an Art itself, Arithmancy does require a fundamental understanding of magic. Therefore, your Arithmancy dots cannot exceed your dots in Sortilege.

Arithmancy is a vital part of magical theory, and therefore essential to the creation, modification, and refinement of spells. See Creating New Spells for details.

The most practical use of arithmancy is as a tool for predicting and refining the behavior of magic. An arithmancer can prepare for a particular set of circumstances, working out the numerological equations ahead of time to determine precisely the best time and location to cast a given spell. Spells are, in essence, magical formulae. Arithmancy allows a wizard to take a spell's formula and apply variables that are otherwise left open to various circumstances.

To use Arithmancy to improve a spell casting roll, the arithmancer must have time to prepare the formula. Select a spell to enhance. The time required is equal to 10 x the spell's Casting Time. This preparation can be broken up into chunks of time, if necessary. After this preparation time, roll Intelligence + Arithmancy, with a penalty equal to the spell's level. The spell must be cast within 48 hours to benefit from a bonus. Beyond that span of time, there are too many variables for the arithmantic formula to take into account.

Dramatic Failure: There is an unnoticed error in the formula. The target suffers a -3 penalty the next time the indicated spell is cast (even if it is cast after 48 hours).
Failure: The arithmancer is unable to complete the formula. No effect.
Success: The target gains a +2 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.
Extraordinary Success: The target gains a +4 bonus the next time the indicated spell is cast.

Arithmancy can be used to improve a spell for another wizard. However, a given wizard can only have a single spell casting roll arithmantically improved per scene. Beyond that, the variables make the equations impossible to apply accurately.

Beast Speech (●●●) [100 Brownies | Arendi paradigm: 50 Brownies]

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●● (● for Parseltongue)

Beast speech is the magical ability to communicate with animals. There are a variety of beast speech "languages", each linked to a particular group of similar animals. The most notorious is Parseltongue, made famous by Salazar Slytherin for speaking with snakes. Usually, one must be born with the ability to speak to animals. But unbeknownst to most, the shamans of the American Indians have been known to acquire the ability through a vision quest involving a totem animal spirit.

The beast speech languages are:

  • Chirpwarble: Avians
  • Cloptrop: Equines
  • Cudmumble: Ruminants (grazing animals; e.g. cattle, sheep, etc.)
  • Glurblurble: Underwater animals and amphibians
  • Hisskratch: Felines
  • Parseltongue: Serpents
  • Scaleform: Reptiles (but not serpents)
  • Skweek: Critters (rodents, bats, opossums, beavers, and other small prey)
  • Wuffrowl: Canines and bears

Divination (● to ●●●●●)

Divination is one of the most hotly debated fields of magic. Some wizards suggest that it isn't magic at all, but merely the ability to interpret the signs provided by the universe about fate or the most likely course of events. The harshest skeptics dispute even this, saying Divination is nothing more than vague predictions that can be easily interpreted to suit events when they happen.

Those that study the art know that it is more than this, but they also know how difficult it is to use accurately. There is a lot of interpretation required, which is a skill developed over years of dedication to the craft. The best diviners learn not only to read the omens and portents, but also to trust their own instincts when it comes to deciphering them. But even then, divination is best performed for strangers, as foreknowledge about the subject can taint the diviner's ability to objectively interpret the signs.

Divination is not a doorway to the truth; it is a shuttered window, through which slivers of truth might be glimpsed in the form of clues. It is still up to much more mundane methods to piece those clues together and realize what they mean. Sometimes, the very act of divination leads to its own predictions coming true.

Though not an Art itself, Divination does require a fundamental understanding of magic. Therefore, your Divination dots cannot exceed your dots in Sortilege.

The subject of a divination is determined in two parts: Focus and Topic.

The Focus is a person, place, or thing. It is the Focus's fate that is being read. To read a given Focus, that Focus must be present. If the Focus is a person, it's possible to divine that person when not present, if in possession of a treasured belonging (e.g. a jacket worn every day, a Ravenclaw's favorite book, a child's doll, etc.).

The Topic is the set of circumstances being examined. The available Topics are:

  • Danger: Reveals information on a subject's peril, the nature and severity of the danger, when it might take place, etc.
  • History: Reveals information on the subject's past.
  • Prosperity: Reveals information on the subject's wealth prospects.
  • Relationships: Reveals information on the subject's interpersonal relationships.

To perform a reading, roll Wits + Divination. For each success you may ask a single yes-or-no question related to the Focus and Topic. A wizard may only attempt to divine a given Topic once for a given Focus, waiting a full month before that combination can be tried again. A failed roll simply means the diviner cannot interpret the signs, or there is some disturbance obfuscating the subject's destiny. Additionally, if the diviner is the Focus, the Divination roll is made at a -2 penalty.

EXAMPLE: Professor Mopsus wants to divine about Professor Flint's future wealth. The Focus is Professor Flint, and the Topic is Prosperity. Mopsus rolls Wits + Divination, and gets two successes. He can now ask two yes-or-no questions about Flint's money prospects. Examples might include: "Will Professor Flint get a raise in the next three months?" or "Will Professor Flint be able to afford the antique flying carpet he desires?"

Laying on Hands (●●●) [300 Brownies | Arendi paradigm: -100]

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●●● (● with Arendi paradigm)

Your character possesses the extraordinary magical ability to heal the sick and mend injuries with a touch. However, she takes some of those afflictions upon herself.

By spending a Willpower point, touching the sick or wounded, and rolling Presence + Empathy, your character may heal them. Every success heals two points of bashing damage, or one level of lethal damage. Three successes allows for a single point of aggravated damage.

For every two points of damage healed (round up), your character suffers a single point of the same type of damage. Additionally, your character may heal diseases and other ailments, even magical disease (but not curses). This takes an extended action, and the character suffers a minor version of the illness. See the table below for guidelines on the number of successes required to heal an ailment, and the backlash the healer suffers.

Ailment Successes Backlash
Common cold 1 Sniffles. -1 to Perception tasks for one day.
Intoxication 3 Woozy. -1 to all Mental rolls for one scene.
Flu 6 Aches and nausea. -1 to all rolls for two days.
Dragon Pox 8 Mild pox. -1 to all Physical rolls for one day.
Flesh-eating bacteria 10 Painful rash. -2 to all Physical rolls for three days.

Generally speaking, Laying on Hands cannot heal anything that modern medicine cannot heal. It can temporarily reduce the symptoms of conditions like cancer or AIDS, but not purge them entirely.

Legilimency (●●●●●) [250 Brownies | 300 Brownies for natural Legilimens]

Prerequisites (Trained): Wits ●●●, knows the Legilimency Spell
Prerequisites (Natural): Wits ●●●, Empathy ●●

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●●

Legilimency is the act of navigating through the layers of a person's mind and interpreting one's findings. A person who practices this art is known as a Legilimens. Laymen sometimes refer to Legilimency as "mind-reading," but practitioners disdain this term as naive, arguing that understanding a mind is far more complex that simply opening a book.

To attempt to delve into a mind, spend a point of Willpower and roll Wits + Empathy + Sortilege, minus the subject's Resolve if the subject is unwilling. Most unaware subjects are naturally unwilling, unless the player decides that there is a deep enough trust between the character and the Legilimens.

If successful, the Legilimens learns what the subject is thinking about in that moment. With additional successes, you may ask additional questions. Those on the following list are appropriate, though other questions are possible if the subject's player is agreeable to them. While the subject's player should answer clearly out-of-character, the Legilimens must interpret these answers from myriad images, sensations, and emotions.

  • What does your character want right now?
  • What does your character fear most right now?
  • What is your character hiding?
  • What does your character want mine to do?
  • What does your character know about [relevant topic at hand]?
  • What turns your character on right now?
  • What's something shameful or embarrassing about your character?

Lycanthropy (No Cost) [150 Brownies]

Your character has been infected with the horrible curse of lycanthropy. This magical affliction causes her to transform into a savage near-wolf creature every full moon. For three nights every month, she becomes a deadly beast that will attack any human it encounters (though generally leaving animals unthreatened). She will even attack and kill loved ones without hesitation. Worst of all, she will remember everything after she has returned to her human self.

The Wolfsbane Potion allows a werewolf to keep her human mind during the the transformation. However, nothing can prevent the change, nor is there any cure for lycanthropy.

Werewolves used to be required by law to register with the government. This was eventually declared discriminatory and repealed, but the MACUSA government still maintains a non-compulsory registry. Those werewolves that register are eligible for free Wolfsbane Potion, and are provided sanctuaries where they can be safe and looked after during their transformations.

Metamorphmagus (●●●●●) [400 Brownies]

Do Metamorphmagi physically age? Yes. While they can appear to be younger (or older) than they actually are, Metamorphmagi do age, and their natural forms will reflect this.

Does a Metamorphmagus's clothing transform? No, Metamorphmagi can only change their actual bodies.

Can a Metamorphmagus simulate tattoos? No. Tattoos are an artificial alteration to the skin, not a natural human pigmentation.

Can gender-swapped Metamorphmagi get pregnant or sire children? Yes. Even the internal organs can be changed to the opposite gender. However, a male metamorphed into a female runs a serious risk of miscarriage if the gender-change is allowed to begin reverting back to the wizard's natural form. Nine months of vigilance is a difficult thing to manage.

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●●●

Your character is a Metamorphmagus, born with the magical ability to alter her appearance, from hair and facial features, to height, to gender, to apparent age. It is a talent that Metamorphmagi must learn to control as they get get older. The most skilled of them can even emulate specific people. This metamorphosis can only alter human traits; a Metamorphmagus cannot transform to mimic other species, unless those species are already essentially human in appearance (e.g. Veela, hags, some half-breeds). This Merit may only be taken during character creation.

Metamorphosis typically takes only time to complete; the more extensive the transformation, the longer it takes. If speed is of the essence, the Metamorphmagus can attempt to hasten the change with an extended action, rolling Stamina + Composure once per round. The change requires one success for each of the following six aspects that is changed: face, hair, build/size, skin (includes blemishes), voice, and sex.

Example: Bailey needs a quick change. She wants to give herself blue eyes and fuller cheeks, red and curly hair, and a pale, freckled complexion. She has altered three aspects (face, hair, and skin), so she needs three successes on the extended action to finish the change.

Observer Familiarity Modifier
Family member, best friend, lover +3
Colleague, childhood friend, distant cousin +2
Casual acquaintance +1

A Metamorphmagus can attempt to use her abilities as a disguise, making herself unrecognizable or even emulating a specific person. An active observer (someone who is looking for the character, or has reason to be suspicious or alert) may a contested, reflexive action, rolling Wits + Composure or Subterfuge (choose one) against the Metamorphmagus's Wits + Composure + Subterfuge. If the observer is familiar with a person being emulated, he gains a bonus to the roll (see table).

Drawback: A Metamorphmagus's abilities are rooted in her emotions. As such, powerful emotions and stresses can induce physical manifestations of those emotions. Rage might cause hair to turn wild and eyes to flash red. Deep sorrow can inhibit the use of Metamorphmagus abilities at all.

Any time she would suffer a penalty to Composure rolls, a Metamorphmagus must roll Stamina + Composure (applying the penalty) to maintain control of her abilities. If the conditions causing the penalty persist for more than an hour, the roll must be made again every hour.

Occlumency (●●● to ●●●●●) [200 Brownies | Blig: +100 Brownies]

Prerequisite: Indomitable Merit

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●●

This Merit replaces Indomitable when taken. The refund from Indomitable (see Sanctity of Merits, above) can help to pay for Occlumency.

Occlumency is the art of shielding one's mind from outside influences. One who is skilled in this technique is known as an Occlumens. This is most useful for protecting one's thoughts and memories from being examined with Legilimency (and is one of the only ways to know when a Legilimens is doing just that). It can also help to avoid other mind- or emotion-affecting magic, such as a Veela's allure, Veritaserum, the Confundus Charm, or even the influence of the Imperius Curse. Occlumency is less of a magical ability, and more a matter of willpower, and training the mind to suppress certain thoughts. Even non-magical folk can learn to do it, though they find it more difficult, lacking a full understanding of that which they are defending against.

This Merit functions similarly to Indomitable. Any time your character is the target of a magical effect that influences thoughts or emotions, add your dots in Occlumency to the dice pool to contest it. If the roll is resisted, instead subtract your Occlumency rating from the aggressor's dice pool.

Sacrificial Protection (● or ●●●)

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●●●●

Sacrificial protection is an extremely powerful ancient magic which is formed when a person sacrifices himself or herself for a family member, out of love. The sacrifice creates a lingering protection in the blood of the person who was saved. As with most ancient magic, sacrificial protection is not completely understood by most wizards.

The three dot version of this Merit grants the following benefits:

  • The killer cannot touch the protected individual without experiencing excruciating pain, as if struck by a Cruciatus Curse.
  • If the killer casts any spell with the Dark or Harmful keywords at the protected person, the spell will rebound back on the killer. Even the Killing Curse will rebound in this way.

The one-dot version represents a character who is part of a whole group of people under the protection of a single sacrifice:

  • If many people are protected, the protection isn't quite a strong. The killer can touch these people. Dark and Harmful spells do not rebound, but they cannot achieve more than a single success, and any duration is cut in half (round up). A Killing Curse cast at a person protected this way is treated as a Stunning Spell.

Unbreakable Vow (No Cost)

Lore Threshold: Gramarye ●●

Your character has partaken in an Unbreakable Vow: an ancient form of magic that binds someone to their word. While this has usually been between two wizards, it is conceivable that the Vow could be entered into by a Squib, Muggle, or other Being. It seals a verbal contract between the participants in a bond so strong that if either should break their Vow, that person will die.

To make an Unbreakable Vow, the two participants must face each other and clasp hands. A third party, who must be a wizard, is called the Binder. It is the Binder's duty to seal the Vow's magic. The Binder places the tip of his wand against the clasped hands. Then the participants speak their terms to each other. As each term is accepted, a thin ribbon of fire emits from the Binder's wand, wrapping around the participants' hands. If either party declines any of the terms, the magic dissipates, and the Vow does not bind either of them.

There is no roll involved in the Unbreakable Vow. It is surprisingly easy magic to perform, but requires the willing participation of both Vow-takers and the Binder. If either participant breaks any of the terms of the Vow, that participant dies.

Unusual Patronus (●●●) [15 Brownies]

Prerequisite: Patronus Charm
You are capable of producing an unusual corporeal Patronus, beyond the normal animal forms. For example, a magical beast such as a dragon or griffin. When you manifest a corporeal Patronus, it replenishes one additional Willpower point.

Fighting Merits

All Fighting Merits: [Wizards: XX Brownies]

Wizards simply don't need to rely upon physical combat the way others do, so it is rare for them to study these techniques. As such, all Fighting Merits have a Brownie cost for wizard characters.

Armed Defense (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites: Dexterity ●●●, Weaponry ●●, Defensive Combat: Weaponry

You're able to use a weapon to stop people who are trying to kill you. Often deployed by police officers using riot shields or telescoping batons, it's just as effective while using a chair leg.

Cover the Angles: Whenever you take a Dodge action, reduce the Defense penalties for multiple attackers by 1. You can apply your full Defense against the first two attacks, suffer a -1 penalty against the third, and so on.
●● Weak Spot: Use this ability when defending against an armed attacker. If your Defense reduces his attack pool to 0, he’s disarmed. If you Dodge, you disarm your opponent if your Defense roll reduces his attack successes to 0.
●●● Aggressive Defense: When you take a Dodge action, if you score more successes than any attacker, you deal one point of lethal damage to the attacker per extra success. Your weapon bonus doesn’t apply to this extra damage. Drawback: You must spend a point of Willpower and declare that you are using Aggressive Defense at the start of the turn. You cannot combine this maneuver with Press the Advantage or Weak Spot.
●●●● Iron Guard: At the start of each turn, you can choose to reduce your weapon bonus (down to a minimum of 0) to increase your Defense by a like amount. If you take a Dodge action, add your full weapon bonus to your Defense after doubling your pool.
●●●●● Press the Advantage: When you’re taking a Dodge action, if your Defense roll reduces the attacker’s successes to 0, you can make an unarmed attack against that opponent at a -2 penalty. Your opponent applies Defense as normal. Drawback: Spend a point of Willpower to make the attack. You can only make one attack per turn in this way.

Cheap Shot (●●)

Prerequisites: Street Fighting ●●●, Subterfuge ●●

Make a Dexterity + Subterfuge roll as a reflexive action. The opponent’s player contests with Wits + Composure. If you score more successes, the opponent loses his Defense for the next turn. Each time a character uses this maneuver in a scene, it levies a cumulative -2 penalty to further uses since the opposition gets used to the tricks.

Choke Hold (●●)

Prerequisites: Brawl ●●

When grappling, your character can use the Choke move:

  • Choke: If you rolled more successes than twice the victim’s Stamina, he’s unconscious for (six - Stamina) minutes. You must first have succeeded at a Hold move. If you don’t score enough successes at first, you can Choke on future turns and total your successes.

Close Quarters Combat (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites: Wits ●●●, Athletics ●●, Brawl ●●●

Your character uses the environment to hurt people.

Firing Lines: Your character can run for cover as a reaction to a ranged attack instead of dropping prone. You give up your action for the turn, but your character can get to any cover that’s within twice his Speed.
●● Hard Surfaces: When your character is grappling someone, he can bounce them off a hard surface with a Damage move. He deals lethal damage, then immediately ends the grapple.
●●● Armored Coffin: When your character grapples an opponent, add their general armor rating to your dice pool. When he uses a Damage move, ignore his opponent’s armor. This technique can’t be used in conjunction with Hard Surfaces.
●●●● Prep Work: When launching a surprise attack, your Dexterity + Stealth roll becomes a rote action. Drawback: Your character can’t use this Merit to set up sniper attacks — his ambush must use Brawl or Weaponry.
●●●●● Turnabout: When your character attempts to Disarm his opponent, step the results up one level — on a failure, his opponent drops the weapon. On a success, your character takes possession of his opponent’s weapon. On an exceptional success, your character has the weapon and his opponent takes two points of bashing damage.

Defensive Combat (●)

Prerequisites: Brawl ● or Weaponry ●; choose one when this Merit is selected

Use Brawl or Weaponry to calculate Defense, rather than Athletics. Your character can learn both versions of this Merit, allowing you to use any of the three Skills to calculate Defense. However, you cannot use Weaponry to calculate Defense unless she actually has a weapon in her hand.

Fighting Finesse (●●)

Prerequisites: Dexterity ●●●, a Specialty in Weaponry or Brawl

Choose a Specialty in Weaponry or Brawl when you purchase this Merit. You may substitute your character's Dexterity for her Srrength when making rolls with that Specialty.

This Merit may be purchase multiple times to gain its benefit with multiple Specialties.

Firefight (● to ●●●, Style)

Prerequisites: Composure ●●●, Dexterity ●●●, Athletics ●●, Firearms ●●

Your character is comfortable with and trained to use a gun in stressful situations. This Style is about moving, strafing, and taking shots when you get them.

Shoot First: If your character's gun is drawn, add her Firearms score to her Initiative. If she has Quick Draw, she can use Shoot First to draw and fire with increased Initiative in the first turn of combat.
●● Suppressive Fire: When your character is using the Covering Fire maneuver (p. 90), her opponents cannot benefit from aiming against her. She can apply her Defense against incoming Firearms attacks, in addition to any cover bonuses. Additionally, her training allows her to use Suppressive Fire with a semi-automatic weapon.
●●● Secondary Target: By using Secondary Target, your character opts not to hit her target, but instead strike them with any collateral objects that might be nearby. She causes bashing damage instead of lethal, but ignores all cover penalties to the roll. The weapon’s damage rating does not add to the damage in this case.

Grappling (● to ●●●●●, style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}

Heavy Weapons (● to ●●●●●, Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}

Improvised Weaponry (● to ●●●, Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}

Iron Skin (●● or ●●●●)

Prerequisites:

Light Weapons (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}

Marksmanship (● to ●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}

Martial Arts (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}

Police Tactics (● to ●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}

Shiv (● or ●●)

Prerequisites:

Street Fighting (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}

Unarmed Defense (● to ●●●●●; Style)

Prerequisites:

{$dot1}
●● {$dot2}
●●● {$dot3}
●●●● {$dot4}
●●●●● {$dot5}
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