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Published by: LabRatFan on Oct 03, 2010
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Opening the Dark System ReferenceDocument Version 1.3
Writing and Design:
Malcolm Sheppard.© 2007 Malcolm Sheppard and Mob United Media. No part of this work maybe reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any form or byany means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording of otherwisewithout the written permission of the copyright holders
under theterms of the Open Game License.All of the text in this book is designated Open Content.Please let us know if you use this Open Content. Email
with the details! Visit
to learn more about Mob United Media’sproducts.
This product uses the
Opening the Dark 
game system designed by MalcolmSheppard.
Opening the Dark 
’s original text is © Malcolm Sheppard and MobUnited Media (seehttp://www.mobunited.com).
Opening the Dark 
is a trademark of Malcolm Sheppard.
Game Terms
One activity performed during a set interval of time. Characters cantake multiple actions at a penalty.
A fundamental magical style.
One of nine character traits that describe basic aptitudes.
An abstract unit that powers supernatural abilities.
Critical Failure:
A disaster that might take place after scoring one or more1s on dice and no successes.
Dice Pool:
A number of dice figures by adding ranks fro applicable charactertraits, often an Attribute and Skill. Roll the pool, but do not add the results.Count successes instead.
The successes needed to accomplish a task.
Emotional Traits:
 Traits that measure a character’s emotional capabilities.
The innate energies possessed by some supernatural beings.
A character’s belief system, represented by a 1 to 10 rating.
A measure of how much serious injury a character can withstandbefore dying, and a type of damage that represents such injuries.
Character traits that routinely rise and fall in play.
Power Path:
A chain of strictly defined supernatural powers.
A loose category of magical ability.
A character trait that rarely changes in play. For example, acharacter’s Will
fluctuate, but his Will
are only increased withXP.
An abstract moment of game time that covers a specific point in thestory or a series of closely inked events – less time than an entire gamesession but longer than a single turn.
A trained ability.
A measure of how much minor injury a character can withstand beforedying, and a type of damage that represents such injuries.
Rolling 7 or higher on a die. Rolling 10 scores two successes. Toughness: A character’s resistance to injury. Armor adds to effective Toughness.
A unit of time that equals a few seconds, or enough time to perform abasic combat action.
Experience Points. These are awarded at the end of each game session.Players can spend them to improve character traits.
Character Creation Steps
Here’s a summary of the ten steps you’ll use to create a character.1.Concept (Heroic, Standard or Gritty Spread)2.Persona and Being (Choose one each)3.Emotional Traits (8, 7 or 6 ranks)4.Ethos (Prudence + Stoicism)5.Will (Passion) and Madness (0)6.Attributes (8/5/3, 7/4/3 or 5/4/3)7.Skills (15/10/7, 12/8/6 or 8/6/4)8.Bonus Traits (24, 18 or 12)9.Background Traits (spend Bonus Traits)10.Options (Change your character for extra Bonus Traits, if desired)
At this stage, the GM will tell you which character creation spread to usefrom among the following:
Heroic characters are larger than life: tougher, smarter, and moreresourceful than typical horror or dark fantasy protagonists.
Standard characters are more talented then most people. Theyhave just enough ability to get into trouble. When lesser characters fall tomonsters and threats to demonstrate to standard characters how dangerousthe situation really is, standard characters follow, using their abilities tomake a more effective stand against the threat.
Gritty characters are average people who usually don’t have anyexceptional talents. In the face of supernatural danger they’ll die unless theywork together – or unless one of them makes great sacrifices for theircomrades.In most games, all characters use the same spread so that everyone hasequal importance in the story. If the GM and group wish, however, they don’tneed to play this way. They can rotate a single Heroic character throughdifferent players while the rest play Gritty assistants, or develop other playmodels to experiment with new stories.
Persona and Being
Use a one word descriptor to assign a Persona type – the character’s publicface. This denotes the type of person the character appears to be.
Authoritarian, Bully, Cynic, Diplomat, Eccentric, Gallant,Hedonist, Politico, Pragmatist, Saint, Schemer, Vassal. The player may invent it, or choose it from a list of GM-created options. Acharacter is good at acting in accord with her Persona; she and gains +1 dieto Social rolls when her behavior matches what you’d expect from herPersona type. If the character doesn’t act in accord with her Persona
Beingshe suffers a –1 penalty to associated Social rolls. Neither her exterior façadenor her true feelings match her actions, so she isn’t as presentable as usual.
Being describes who the character truly is, beneath her public Persona. First,invent a one word descriptor using the same guidelines as for the Persona.(A character can have a Persona that’s the same as her Being, indicating anunusually forthright personality).

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