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Play-Test Rulebook

Revision 1

Mechanics, Rules, Graphic Design, Art, and Layout:

Ben ONeal

Special Thanks to:

The Forge ( and all its members.

All play-testers of Scarlet Wake will recieve their name in the credits of this rulebook when it is published if
they send me an email letting me know their name. Those who also post their play-testing experiences to
the Scarlet Wake forum ( may also recieve a free copy of the
fully illustrated (by me) final version of Scarlet Wake when it is published.
Additionally, if you are a Scarlet Wake play-tester and you need play-testers for your own game, I will play
your game and give you at least the same amount of feedback you give me.

If you review this game and email me with a link to the review (, then I will send
you a free copy of the finished Scarlet Wake rulebook when it is published.

Id love to hear your thoughts about this game, so visit my forums or send me an email to let me know.
Thank you, Ben ONeal
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction p3
Playing Scarlet Wake

Chapter 2: Character Creation p4

Your Character Sheet
Character Traits
Creating Your Character

Chapter 3: The List p8

Rigid List Creation
Flexible List Creation

Chapter 4: Doing Stuff p12

Kicking Ass
Other Stuff
Bringing the Pain: Fuel and Fire

Chapter 5: Growth p15

Fluke Rolls
Binds in Detail

Chapter 6: Competition p19

Protagonist Codes of Conduct
Competing for Boss Killing Rights
The troubleshooting Rule

Chapter 7: Playing p23

Play Structure
Narration Rights
Play Example

Scarlet Wake and all associated characters, logos, and Chapter 8: Endgame p31
illustrations are copyright 2004 Ben ONeal. Winning
All artwork is copyright 2004 Ben ONeal.
Play Style Ideas
Introduction and the other players will be Antago-
nists, but there are many opportuni-
ties for multiple players to be Pro-
Scarlet Wake is game about pain, hate, tagonists playing their PCs against
and bloody revenge. With a strong only one or so Antagonists.
focus on tactics, gambling, and in- Protagonists narrate the results of
ter-player competition, Scarlet Wake any rolls they make, having full pow-
asks Are you cool enough to be even er over their PC. They also have pow-
cooler? In Scarlet Wake, your char- er over how many Peons come at them
acter truly is limited only by your each Wave, though no control over the
imagination. Rank of the peons sent at them (see
This game is intended to be played Chapter 4: Doing Stuff, and Chapter
over several nights, as players char- 6: Competition).
acters work towards killing those who Antagonists have total power over
have wronged them, and all who stand the ACs, over which Rank Peons get
in their way. The game ends when all played and when, and the use of Kick
players have killed all those on their to increase the challenges for a PC
kill-list. Scarlet Wake was designed (see Chapter 6: Competition).
to work with between 3 and 6 players,
but 4 players works the best. All
players have their own characters, What you need in order to play
and all players are involved at all Throughout this rulebook, dice will
times. be referred to using the convention:
These rules include everything you XdY, where X is the number of dice,
will need to play, and all players d stands for die and Y is the
should either have their own copy, or number of sides on that die. So d6
have read these rules and are able to is a six-sided die, and 3d6 means
share a copy. This rulebook will take Three six-sided dice.
you through creating your character, In order to play, you will need
planning the challenges he/she will about 5 or 6 of each of the following
face, how to kill and do other stuff, die types: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12. You
how to improve your character, and will also need a copy of the charac-
how to make life harder for the other ter sheet, a pencil, an eraser, and
players, while keeping the game fun you will need to know the rules in
for all involved. this rulebook.
So grab your dice, create your char-
acter, and get with the killing!
Playing Scarlet Wake
All players create a single char-
acter, referred to as their PC (Pro- Disclaimer
tagonist Character). They also create In this rulebook you will some-
a list of 5 characters who their PC times be used in reference to your
seeks revenge against. These 5 char- character. It is up to you, as a real
acters are known as Bosses, and the human player, to know when the rules
list is simply known as The List. are referring to your imaginary char- Chapter 1: Introduction
Some of these Bosses (or all of them, acter, or you as the person you are.
its up to you) will have other char- If you are ever confused about this
acters who protect them, like their distinction, Scarlet Wake is not the
gang, hired goons, or employees, and game for you. I am not responsible if
these characters are known as Peons. you kill someone as a result of this
Each player takes turns being a game, or harm yourself, or anyone
Protagonist, playing their PC, while else, or suffer any loss whatsoever,
the other players play the Antagonist or commit any crime. In short, I can-
Characters (ACs), such as the Peons not be held responsible for anything
and Bosses. When a player is play- at all you ever do. By reading past
ing the ACs against a PC, that player this page, you are agreeing to these
is known as an Antagonist. In most terms.
cases, there will be one Protagonist,
4 5:
Character Creation Fire and Fuel. These two traits
are very powerful ways to increase
your characters ass-kicking power.
Your character in Scarlet Wake is Whenever you take damage, you record
represented by their Character Sheet. this as Fuel, and you can burn Fuel
The Character Sheet records all im- to give you Fire, which adds to your
portant aspects of your character, Action Pool (see 6).
and also the challenges you wish them
to face. A Character Sheet is pro- 6: Your AP (Action Pool). This shows
vided at the back of this rulebook. how many of each die type you have
Character Sheets look like the pic- available to roll when doing stuff.
ture on the next page, and below is
a description of the various impor- 7: Notes. You can use this section
tant parts to help you learn your way to write down anything important you
around the Character Sheet. might need to remember about your
character, or just to describe them
in more detail.
Your Character Sheet
Here I will guide you around the 8: The List. This half of your Char-
Character Sheet, to help you famil- acter Sheet is devoted to your list
iarize yourself with the important of Bosses and their Peons. You work
traits of your PC. The picture on the your way from 1 through to 5, and ev-
next page shows the Character Sheet, erything you need to know about each
with various areas labelled with num- Boss you can record here (see Chapter
bers. These areas are explained be- 3: The List).
9: Kick. This is a resource that goes
1: This half of the page is dedicated up every time you gain Fuel (take
to your character, recording all the damage). It does not go down when you
important things you need to know for burn Fuel, and in fact, you cant use
playing your character. it in any way at all. Kick is a re-
source for Antagonists to use against
2: Your characters Name. You will you, so keep that in mind when you
notice a little box next to your want to benefit from Fuel (see Chap-
Name, dont worry about that yet, ter 6: Competition).
we will come back to it briefly when
dealing with The List in chapter 3, 10: Boss and Peon traits. Here you
and more in Chapter 6: Competition. can record the names of each Boss,
Right now, the most important thing 1 through to 5, their traits, and
is that you Name your character with the Peons that stand between you and
Chapter 2: Character Creation

a cool Name. them. Each Boss must have a Name,

and a score for that Name equal to
3: These three traits: Style, Weap- how many players have that same Boss
on and Luck, are the basic primary on their list. For example, if three
traits of your character. At least players have the same Boss on their
one of these will be involved in al- List, then the Name score for that
most everything you ever do. More de- Boss is 3.
tail concerning the traits is given The other traits of Bosses are the
later in this chapter. same as your own, except that instead
of having a Grudge trait, they have a
4: Grudge and Honour. These two Crime trait, which measures how much
traits are strongly tied together, they have wronged you.
in that if you lose Grudge, you gain Peons are recorded here according
Honour, and if you lose Honour, you to Rank. R1 means Rank 1 Peon, so
gain Grudge. Youll have to work to here is where you record how many Pe-
make sure you do more gaining than ons of each rank a Boss has.
losing. Finally, the AP of each Boss is sim-
ply their Action Pool, and shows how

many of each die type that Boss rolls

against you. Name: This trait can only increase
by killing Bosses. Whenever you kill
a Boss, your Name increases by the
Character Traits value of that Bosses Name. See Chap-
All traits are measured from 1 to 5, ter 4 and Chapter 6 for more informa-
with 5 being the maximum achievable. tion.
These numbers measure the type of die Write your PCs name on the line next
this trait adds to your Action Pool to the score. There are a few rules
(AP). Your AP is a product of the die for what your PCs name can be.
types from the relevant traits for It must not be a real name
the action being taken. The traits It must be at least two words
are rated as follows: One of these words must be a noun

Chapter 2: Character Creation

1 = d4 Your Name adds to your AP whenever
2 = d6 your character does something where
3 = d8 who they are is important. If you
4 = d10 are trying to avoid notice, or if you
5 = d12 are unrecognizable, then you dont
For example, if you have a Style score use your Name trait in your AP.
of 3, then this trait contributes a
single d8 to your AP for any action Style:This trait measures how cool
that uses your Style. your character is at what they do. A
All traits start at zero (no dice). score of 1 means that they are only
Only Style, Weapon, Luck, and Grudge partially cool, while a score of 5
(marked with an asterisk (*) on your means they are super-cool.
character sheet) can be added to at Write a brief description of your
character creation, the rest must be characters style next to your score.
increased through play. Once a trait Some examples might be Hidden Dragon
has been increased to 1, it cannot be Kung Fu, or Hardcore Terminator.
reduced below 1 from then on. You decide how your character does
stuff, and why it is so cool.
6 Your Style adds to your AP whenever on The List next to your score. Some
you are doing something impressive. examples might be Killed Wife and
This is probably going to be most of Children or Murdered Parents.
the time. Your Grudge adds to your AP when-
ever you are rolling against some-
Weapon: This trait measures how thing that is between you and one of
cool your characters weapon(s) of the 5 names on your List, and always
choice is(are). A score of one means when you are rolling against anyone
the weapon is not very cool, while a on your List.
score of 5 means the weapon is as awe-
some as a weapon can be. Honour:This trait measures both how
Write a brief description of your much your character can forgive and
characters weapon next to your how much they are willing to cooper-
score. Some examples might be A ate with others rather than fighting
Black Katana, or Two Automatic Pis- them. It can only be increased by
tols. You decide what weapons you allowing a Boss to live, or working
want your character to have based on with another PC to share the killing
their Weapon score (if you think a of a Boss.
sniper rifle is the coolest thing in Write a brief description of the
the world, but the character only has things you have done to increase your
a Weapon score of 3, then dont say Honour next to your score.
the character has a sniper rifle un- Your Honour adds to your AP in near-
til they have a Weapon score of 5). ly every roll you make, with only a
Your Weapon adds to your AP whenever few exceptions.
you are wielding it, either to at-
tack someone, or to threaten someone. Fire:This trait measures your char-
Again, this will probably be most of acters rage and ability to bounce
the time. back when beaten down. Fire can only
be increased by burning Fuel. Any
Luck: This trait simply measures points of Fuel can be burnt into Fire
how lucky your character is at hav- at a 2:1 ratio, meaning that if you
ing things go their way. A score of 1 burn 4 points of Fuel, you gain 2
means your character is barely lucky points of Fire.
enough to be alive, and a score of 5 Additionally, Fire spreads, mean-
means they often find things turn out ing that if you burn more than 10 Fuel,
well for them. you gain another Fire trait (which is
You must specify a lucky charm that why there are so many little boxes
your character possesses which is the next to Fire on the Character Sheet).
source of their Luck. It can be any- For example, if you burn 16 points of
thing, so long as it is not a part Fuel, the first 10 will give you a
Chapter 2: Character Creation

of them. An example might be Pendant Fire trait of 5 (which is the maximum

from Father, or Bullet from a Chest any trait can be), and the next 6 Fuel
Wound. will give you another Fire trait of
Your Luck adds to your AP so long as 3 right next to the first one. So by
you are in possession of your lucky burning 16 Fuel, you can add 1d12 and
charm. 1d8 to your AP.
Fire only lasts for one full encoun-
Grudge:This trait measures how much ter. You can only burn Fuel before the
your character hates those on The first Wave of an encounter, and any
List for what they have done to them. Fire gained this way only lasts until
A score of 1 means they want them the person or people you are fighting
dead, and will try to see that hap- or are about to fight are dead. For
pen, while a score of 5 means that example, if you burn all your Fuel
they will chase them into the pits of into Fire against one person, then, a
hell in order to wear their skin as minute after you kill them, you en-
a hat. counter another enemy, your Fire for
Write a brief description of why this new encounter will be zero.
they hold their Grudge against those
Fuel:This is how you record all dam- tual characteristics of the traits. 7
age done to your character. The maxi- For example, your must describe what
mum amount of Fuel you can handle is style your character fights with, so
calculated by adding up all the scores you might use adjectives such as:
of all your traits, then doubling the smooth, swift, menacing, cold, or sa-
result. If your Fuel exceeds the max- distic.
imum, you are forced into a Bind (see Finally, you need to start think-
Chapter 5: Growth) ing about their story. Why are they
You can burn Fuel into Fire to in- seeking revenge? Who are the people
crease your characters AP (see Fire, they are seeking revenge against? Why
above). Any Fuel burnt this way is did these people wrong your character
gone. in the first place? You will need to
Every time your Fuel increases, in- develop deep answers for these ques-
crease your Kick by the same amount. tions and more, because this is how
For example, if you take 6 points of you will drive your character through
damage, thus increasing your Fuel by the game (see Chapter 7).
6, then you must add 6 to your Kick. In Scarlet Wake, your characters
Fuel only ever decreases when you coolness is all that matters. You
burn it into Fire. It does not go down can have anything you want for your
after a Bind, or for any other reason character if you think it fits. They
than burning it for Fire. can be filthy rich, dirt poor, have
gadgets for every occasion or rely on
Kick:This trait measures how many their wits. If you think theyd have
points of Fuel you have gained. Kick it, then they do.
can only be used by the Antagonists
playing against you. At any time they Tips for Character Creation:
Creating your
desire, Antagonists can use up Kick character is the most important part
to increase the challenges you face of playing Scarlet Wake. It is more
in various ways (see Chapter 6: Com- than just writing up numbers and
petition). So remember that whenever names on your character sheet, it
you gain Fuel, you are also giving is also generating the entire reason
the Antagonists more power to chal- for their existence in the game. The
lenge you. first time this will become apparent
is when you must narrate your first
scene, known as a Snippet (see Chap-
Creating Your Character ter 7: Playing). Ask yourself:
You start the game with 8 points to What happened to my PC to make them
distribute amongst your Style, Weap- seek vengeance?
on, Luck, and Grudge traits as you What events led up to this?
see fit. At this stage, you cannot How was my PC involved in the first

Chapter 2: Character Creation

put any points into any of the other place?
traits. To make this easy to see, How can I break up this story so
these traits are the ones with the that I can play it out?
asterisks next to them on your Char- How is my PC going to go about
acter Sheet. The minimum you can put seeking vengeance?
into these four traits is 1, and the What sort of personality does my PC
maximum is 5. have?
Now your character needs a name. The Do they value anything?
name cannot be a real name, it must be Do they have any unique character-
at least two words, and at least one istics, such as scars, limps, cloth-
of these must be a noun. A nice easy ing, and other quirks?
convention is adjective noun. For It will also help tremendously to
example, all the example characters imagine how you want your PC to move,
in this rulebook are named according talk and do stuff, because you will
to colour creature, such as Amber be spending a large amount of time
Ghost, and Crimson Fiend. narrating these things.
You also need to go through all your
traits and describe briefly the ac-
The List Whenever you force a Boss on your
List into Maximum Karma, you gain
their Name score, and add it to your
The List is a record of the people own. If this would increase your Name
upon whom your character seeks bloody score to more than 5, then the extra
retribution. These five names are the Name gets added as permanent Fire.
reason your character exists right For example, if you have a Name score
now, and they will not rest until all of 3, and you kill a Boss with a
five are dead. The number 5 name on Name of 4, then your Name score would
that list belongs to the most vile increase to 5, and you would gain a
of the 5, the one who you will chase permanent Fire score of 2, which is
to the ends of the earth to bring treated as part of your Name score
justice to. The one responsible for for the purposes of determining its
it all. Your PC will work down the use in your Action Pool.
list, killing each Boss from 1 to 5.
You get to create all the Bosses
on The List, everything about them, Peons
including the people who you must Within the game world, Peons can
kill to get to them, known as Peons. exist for infinite reasons, depending
There are a few rules you must follow on the Bosses they protect against
though, and this chapter presents you. But mechanically speaking, they
two alternative methods of creating exist for one main purpose: to get
your List. The rigid method is a slaughtered whilst damaging your PC
simpler and quicker method, whilst enough to give you a decent amount
the flexible method allows greater of Fuel. Most Bosses will be too
control over your characters story difficult for you to beat without
and the challenges they will face. using Fire, especially once the
But first, lets familiarise Antagonists have a supply of Kick to
ourselves with Bosses and Peons. use against you.
There are 5 different types of Peons
in Scarlet Wake, measured according to
Bosses Rank. Peon Ranks range from R1 (Rank
Just like your own character, 1) to R5 (Rank 5), with R5 being the
Bosses are defined by their scores in toughest. A Peons Rank determines
various traits. Bosses have 5 traits: their Maximum Karma (MK) and Action
Name, Style, Weapon, Luck, and Crime. Pool (AP). An individual Peons MK is
Crime is the only trait that differs equal to their Rank, meaning that an
from your own characters traits, R2 Peon will have an MK of 2, and an
and represents the extent that this R5 Peon will have an MK of 5.
Boss wronged your character. In this A Peons AP is a number of d4 equal
way it is the mirror of your Grudge to their Rank. This means that an R3
trait, in that your Grudge measures Peon rolls 3d4 to do anything, and an
how much you hate those on you List, R5 Peon rolls 5d4 to do anything.
and Crime measures how much each Boss
is deserving of that hate. Bosses do
not have Fuel, Fire, or Honour. Rigid List Creation
Just as Bosses have Crime instead First, you must give each Boss a
of Grudge, so to do they have Karma Name, using the same rules as when
Chapter 3: The List

instead of Fuel. When you take you made your PCs Name.
damage, you add it as Fuel, but when It is a good idea to make your
a Boss takes damage, it adds to their List in collaboration with the other
Karma. When you have reached your players, so that you can choose which
maximum Fuel, a Bind is triggered Bosses you will have appear on each
(see Chapter 4: Doing Stuff), but others Lists. The reason for this is
when a Boss has reached their Maximum twofold: Firstly, when a Boss appears
Karma (MK), they are dead (or in some on more than one List, it is worth
other way incapacitated, depending on more to anyone who kills it. Secondly,
the effect you want). you can all make sure that the spread
of shared Bosses is equal, so that no Peons 9
player is left out of the Boss sharing In addition to creating the Bosses
(which would lower the rewards they on The List, you must also create the
could receive). The rules for having Peons that protect them.
a Boss appear on more than one List You have a total of 50 Peons that
are as follows: you can spread among the 5 Bosses any
Any Boss can appear on more than way you wish, but you must use all
one List. 50. These 50 Peons are made up of 10
Any Boss on more than one List Peons of each Rank (so 10 R1s, 10
must be the same number on each List R2s, etc.)
(a Boss at number 4 must be at number All this can be seen in the table
4 on all Lists). below, which shows the different Ranks
No Boss can appear on all Lists, of Peons, the MK and AP of each Rank,
there must always be an Antagonist and how many you have to distribute
available. amongst your Bosses.
The traits for a shared Boss must
be the same on all Lists. Peons
Rank MK AP Number
Boss Traits R1 1 1d4 10
The number of points you must R2 2 2d4 10
distribute among the traits of each
R3 3 3d4 10
Boss varies according to their order
in The List. Bosses higher in the R4 4 4d4 10
order are tougher, while those lower R5 5 5d4 10
are weaker.
Creating a Boss uses exactly the same Hint: Think about how much Fire
process as creating your character, you are likely to need to take down
except where you start with only 8 each Boss, and distribute Peons
points to distribute amongst your accordingly.
PCs traits, each Boss starts with
a greater amount, depending on their
position in The List. The table below Example Rigid Boss Creation
shows how many points each Boss has. In order to illustrate how to create
You must distribute all of these a Boss from start to finish using
points among any traits you choose the rigid method, here is an example
(except Name, which can only increase of how to create a Boss that will be
by that Boss appearing on multiple number 3 on The List.
Lists). Step 1: First I pick a name. Lets call
this Boss Grey Golem. He appears on
Rigid Boss Creation two other players Lists, so his Name
Boss # Trait Points Maximum Karma score is 3.
Step 2: Now I look at the table on page
1 12 24 8, and see that a number 3 Boss has
2 14 28 16 points to distribute among their
3 16 32 traits. So I give him Style:3, Weapon:
4, Luck:4, and Crime:5. According
4 18 36 to the table, he also has a Maximum
Chapter 3: The List
5 20 40 Karma of 32.
Step 3: Now he needs Peons. This Boss
We can see that the number 1 Boss has is a big-time corporate guy, so these
12 points to be distributed amongst Peons will be mostly security guards,
their traits and an MK of 24, the next but hell also have two tough-guy
Boss at number 2 has 14 points to be personal bodyguards. With this in
distributed among their traits and an mind, I give him 6 R2 Peons (the
MK of 28, and the number 5 Boss has 20 security guards) and 2 R5 Peons (the
trait points and an MK of 40. bodyguards).
Step 4: Finally, I look at all of Grey
10 Golems traits including his Name When using these 150 points to
score, and I work out his AP. He has buy Peons for your Bosses, you must
two traits at 3 (Name and Style), two ocnsider the cost of the different
traits at 4 (Weapon and Luck), and Rank Peons. The cost of a Peon is
one at 5 (Crime). So Grey Golems AP equal to its Rank. For example, if
is 2d8, 2d10, and 1d12 (see page 5, you want a Peon of Rank 3, then you
under Character Traits). must pay 3 points, and ten Rank 3
Peons would cost 30 points. The table
below shows the 5 Ranks of Peons,
Flexible List Creation their Maximum Karma (MK), Action Pool
This method is identical to the (AP), and point cost.
rigid method right up until defining
the Boss traits. However, there are Peons
two additional rules for sharing a Rank MK AP Cost
Boss if one or more players are using
the Flexible method: R1 1 1d4 1
Any player using the Rigid method R2 2 2d4 2
must be the one to define that Bosses R3 3 3d4 3
traits, and any players using the
flexible method must still pay for R4 4 4d4 4
those traits as if they had bought R5 5 5d4 5
the scores themselves (see below).
All players sharing a Boss must pay So with your 150 points, you could
the same points for both Boss traits conceivably buy 150 R1 Peons, or 30
and Peons, but the result is only as R5 Peons. However, its a much better
if one player had paid. For example, idea to buy a range of different Rank
to raise a Bosses style score to 4, Peons and spread them among your
all players who share that Boss must Bosses with consideration for the
pay 4 trait points. potential Fire you could gain from
For the above reasons, its best if them.
all the players in a group use the
same method.
Example Flexible Boss Creation
In order to illustrate how to create
Boss Traits a Boss from start to finish using the
You have 80 points to distribute flexible method, here is an example
among any of the Bosses traits. This of how to create a Boss that will be
means you can make the number 5 Boss number 5 on The List.
weaker than the number 2 Boss, or any Step 1: First I pick a name. Lets call
other combination you want. Keep in this Boss Gold Chimera. She appears
mind, however, that you must spend on three other players Lists, so her
all 80 points on your Bosses traits, Name score is 4.
so by making one weaker, you must Step 2: This Boss is the mastermind
make another stronger. behind my PCs grief, but isnt
To figure out the Maximum Karma particularly awesome compared to the
a Boss has, simply figure out how other Bosses on The List, because
many points you have spent on their she is oldish and kinda frail. Shes
traits, and multiply this by 2. For still pretty tough, but shes not
Chapter 3: The List

example, if you have given a Boss the what she used to be. So I give her
following traits: Style:3, Weapon:4, Style:2, Weapon:3, Luck:5, and Crime:
Luck:2, and Crime:2; then their MK 5. This means I have spent 15 points
would be 22 (11 multiplied by 2). on her, so her MK is 30, and I have 65
points left to distribute among the
other Bosses.
Peons Step 3: Now she needs Peons. Lots of
You have 150 points to spend on them. This Boss is big on her minions,
creating Peons for your Bosses, and so these Peons will be members of her
you must spend all 150. private army. With this in mind, I
give her 20 R2 Peons and 10 R3 Peons, will only help you when you are 11
costing me a total of 70 out of my 150 narrating your slaughter of them.
points. The other 80 points will give If you have developed your Bosses
the other Bosses their Peons. and Peons well, you will find playing
Step 4: Finally, I look at all of Gold is much easier, and your descriptions
Chimeras traits including her Name to the Antagonists will be much
score, and I work out her AP. She has clearer, allowing them to play the
one trait at 2 (Style), one trait at 3 Bosses, Peons, and other Antagonist
(Weapon), one at 4 (Name), and two at Characters in a way that fits your
5 (Luck and Crime). So Gold Chimeras PCs story.
AP is 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, and 2d12 (see My final tip for creating Bosses and
page 5, under Character Traits). Peons is to keep in mind that YOU are
the one creating the challenges that
Tips for List Creation:
In order to get the your PC will face, and so it is up to
most out of your play experience, you you to make sure that you dont make
should ensure that each Boss on the things too easy (you wont gain enough
list has a well developed reason for Fuel for Fire, and youll constantly
being there. Ask yourself: fall into Binds) or too hard (again,
How does my PC know this Boss? youll constantly fall into Binds).
What did this Boss do to my PC to This game relies very strongly on
earn my PCs wrath? How does this good strategy and tactics, and its
justify their position on The List? surprisingly easy to shoot yourself
What sort of character is this in the foot without knowing it.
Boss? Once you have created your PC and
What is their occupation? The List, you have everything you
How did they get where they are need to play the game from beginning
today? to end, written right there on your
How will they react to my PC? Character Sheet. Good Luck!
Do they have any unique quirks
or characteristics, such as scars,
tattoos, a limp, or whatever? Karma
What sort of personality do they Your PC has a trait called Fuel,
have? which is how you track the damage
There is no real reason to write all that they recieve in a fight, and
this stuff down, because some of it which also can be burnt off to give
may change as you play and further you a serious advantage in the form
develop your own PC. But it is a of Fire (see Chapter 4: Doing Stuff).
great idea to start thinking about However, Bosses, Sub-Bosses, and
all this stuff when making your List, Peons do not have Fuel. Instead, they
and it will really help you later on have Karma.
when you have to narrate scenes with Unlike Fuel, Karma cannot be
these Bosses and describe them for burnt away, and cannot decrease
the Antagonists to play. except by being healed with Kick
Peons are a little easier. For by the Antagonists (see Chapter 6:
starters, considering your answers Competition). It does not decrease
to the above questions, you should with time. This means that if you
be able to imagine the sorts of Peons damage a Boss, then, as part of your
each Boss will have. Will they be story, many months go by before your
Chapter 3: The List
security guards? Employees? Friends? return to finish the job, that Boss
Soldiers? Mercenaries? Mafia thugs? will have the same amount of Karma as
Fans (if your Boss is a famous when you left them.
person)? Ninjas? When a character has taken enough
All you really have to do is justify damage to exceed their Maximum Karma,
why each Boss has Peons, and why they then they can no longer influence
have as many as they do. You dont the story, either by being dead or
have to consider why the Peons have rendered obsolete in some other way.
the Ranks that they do. The types of
Peons that they are (thugs, ninjas)
Doing Stuff This tells them to send the Boss
at you without the Peons. If you
make this gesture, you cannot burn
Blowing heads off, sending limbs Fuel, and you cannot kill the Boss.
flying, painting the decor red, Essentially this is to allow you
maiming, threatening, cooperating, to trigger a Bind (See Chapter 5:
gambling, escaping, racing, hacking, Growth).
and kicking ass: these are just some Holding both your hands in raised
of the fun things your character will fists, palms facing you, and
be doing in Scarlet Wake. This chapter extending the middle finger of both
is all about how you do stuff. First, hands. This tells the Antagonists
well deal with the most important that you think you are way too
part of Scarlet Wake: kicking ass, hardcore for your own good, so they
before moving on to other stuff. should send all the Peons AND the
Boss against you. This is also an
open invitation for them to spend
Kicking Ass all your Kick against you. If you
For the majority of combat situations manage to kill everyone in this
you are likely to get into, you will encounter without falling into a
use all your traits in your AP. Any Bind, then you gain double the
time you want to do something, you Name points from killing this Boss
roll your AP, and your opponents will and you have proven to the world
roll their AP against you. that you are cool enough to be the
coolest. If you fall into a Bind or
leave the encounter with someone
Waves left alive, you will have proven
In Scarlet Wake, combat is measured yourself to be an idiot, and you
in Waves. A Wave can consist of a lose all your Name points.
bunch of enemies engaging you, or Step 2: The Antagonists narrate how
a single opponent. A Wave does not the Peons (or Boss) are advancing
last for any specific length of time, on the PC, and this narration can be
and can be anything from a few brief as creative as the Antagonists wish.
seconds to a minute, depending on The Antagonists roll the dice for the
how the players narrate the events. Peons or Boss, at the same time as the
Additionally, a Wave does not consist Protagonist(s) roll their AP.
of any set number of attacks or Step 3: The Antagonists add up all
defences, but instead has as many the dice for the Peons or Boss, the
attacks as the players narrate. Protagonist(s) add up their AP(s),
However, each Wave only has one roll and the results are spoken aloud. The
for all participants, made at the Protagonist(s) then choose how they
beginning of the Wave. will distribute the points of the
Heres how a Wave works: rolls, before narrating the outcome
of the Wave, describing the resulting
Step 1: The Protagonist gives one of carnage in graphic detail.
four different types of signal to the
Antagonists. The four types of signal
Chapter 4: Doing Stuff

are: Damage
Holding up a number of fingers Damage to a PC is recorded as Fuel
equal to how many Peons you want on your character sheet, but damage
sent against you. to Peons and Bosses is recorded as
Holding both hands out, palms up, Karma. When you have taken enough
and waving them towards you. This damage to make you exceed your maximum
gestures Bring It On, and tells Fuel, your PC is forced into a Bind.
the Antagonists to send all the When a Peon or Boss has taken enough
remaining Peons at you. If there damage to exceed their Maximum Karma,
are no remaining Peons, this is they are dead or otherwise rendered
the gesture to send the Boss. incapacitated.
Pointing at the Antagonists. In a Wave, if the PCs roll is
higher than the opponents roll, your AP, and give a few examples of 13
then the PC can avoid all damage, specific tasks.
dealing the difference as damage to
the opponent. If the opponents roll Name: Are the people you are rolling
is higher, then the PC cannot avoid against familiar with you or your
damage, but can still choose to take reputation? Are you identifiable
more damage in order to deal damage as yourself (not wearing a mask or
to the opponents. hidden somehow)? If you answered yes
For example, Violent Angel rolls 27, to both of these, then you should use
and her opponents roll 34. No matter your Name trait in your AP.
what, Violent Angel will take at least
7 damage this Wave, and if this is all Style:Are you moving around in a
she takes, she cannot deal any damage vaguely impressive way? Are you
in return. However, she can choose speaking with someone in a vaguely
to take more damage, freeing up impressive way? If so, you should use
some of her own roll to deal damage your Style in your AP.
against her enemies. She chooses to
take a total of 14 damage, allowing Weapon: Are you holding your weapon?
her to deal 7 damage to her enemies. Does it help your cause to be holding
Peons that take damage without dying your weapon? If so, then you should
sit out the next Wave as they deal use your Weapon trait in your AP. It
with the pain. is important to note that this means
In the next wave, she rolls 32, and your exact weapon, as written on your
her opponents roll 29. Violent Angel Character Sheet. No other weapons can
can deal 3 points of damage to her ever give you a Weapon trait score.
enemies without taking any herself.
The Protagonist decides where damage Luck:Do you have your lucky charm?
is dealt and how, and narrates the If so, you should use your Luck in
result for the other players. your AP.
Make sure you remember to keep track
of the damage you take with your Fuel Grudge: Do you hate the person you
trait, and make sure to update your are rolling against? Are you rolling
Kick too. If you ever exceed your against a person because they are
maximum Fuel, you are forced into a preventing you from killing a Boss?
Bind (see Chapter 5: Growth). If so, you should use your Grudge in
your AP.

Other Stuff Honour:Are you NOT trying to overcome

There will be a few times where you a Dilemma? If so, you should use your
will want your character to do things Honour in your AP.
that dont involve killing other If there is ever any question as
people. In these circumstances, it to which traits to use in a roll,
is important to consider what traits the above guidelines are the final
are involved in your AP, and who you arbiters. If you answer No to any
are being opposed by. All actions of the above questions, then you
that arent being hindered by another dont use that trait in your AP.
Chapter 4: Doing Stuff
character automatically succeed if The above guidelines apply to PCs,
you want them to. This isnt a game Bosses, Sub-Bosses, and other non-
about falling off cliffs or failing Peon characters. This means that in
to pick locks, Scarlet Wake is about some circumstances your PC may be
doing what needs to be done to bring rolling different traits in their AP
your wrath upon your enemies. than the character they are rolling
However, if you are trying to do against (especially in Binds).
something which is opposed by another When rolling against a Peon for any
character, then you must roll against reason, including Binds, Peons always
them to see who wins. This section use their full AP as defined by their
will provide the guidelines for Rank.
when each trait should contribute to
14 Examples Onyx Dragon: Onyx Dragon has been
defeated and humiliated. A million
Amber Ghost:Amber Ghost is trying to miles from nowhere and naked, his face
overcome a Bind to improve her Style. swollen and bloodied, he struggles to
She has been stripped naked, tied up, run along the empty road in the harsh
and gagged by Boss number 2 on her sun.
List. She is currently laying under He is going to attempt to increase
a tarp in the back of a truck, which his Weapon to 4, and his Weapon is
her Boss is driving to the local his fists. His lucky charm has been
abattoir, where he and his friends stolen, so all he can roll to improve
are planning to go to work on her his Weapon is his Style, Weapon, and
while she is still alive. She needs Honour, and hell be rolling against
to escape her bonds. these same traits all at 4. He rolls 23
She cannot move, and has no for himself, and the Antagonists roll
possessions, so she cannot use her 18 for the difficulty of increasing
Style, Weapon, or Luck traits for his Weapon.
her AP. She rolls her AP with Name, With every step of every mile, he
Grudge and Honour, and gets 15. At pushes himself, conditioning his fists
the same time, the Antagonists roll against anything he passes: trees,
for the Boss, to see how well he tied road signs, wildlife, anything. When
the bonds on Amber Ghost, using his he pushes too far and collapses in
Name, Style, Luck, and Crime traits, exhaustion, he punches the ground
but not Weapon (he wasnt using his with every breath. His hands bruised,
weapon to tie the bonds). They roll cut, and bloodied, he punches on.
for the Boss and get 13. Days later, his forearms are thicker,
Amber Ghost escapes the bonds and harder, and he grins with satisfaction
removes her gag, grabs a crowbar from as he punches a hole clean through
the tool box in the ute next to her, another steel road-sign: Next Town:
and readies herself to bring the pain 35 Miles.
to this Boss.

Jade Templar & Sapphire Knight: Jade Bringing the Pain: Fuel and Fire
Templar and Sapphire Knight have Fire can make a difficult battle,
decided that because they both want easy, or an impossible one, achievable.
to kill Boss number 3 on their Lists, It is your most powerful resource. By
but arent willing to share the kill, taking damage which increases your
that they will race each other to Fuel, you are building up the means
the Boss, with the winner getting to to really lay the smack down on your
take on the Boss alone. They agree opponents, by burning that Fuel into
on making 5 rolls, with the winner Fire.
of the most rolls winning the race. When you burn Fuel, you must decide
They arent using their Weapon trait how much you wish to burn. This number
for their rolls, but all their other must be an even number, because you
traits are important. will be dividing it by 2 to figure out
Jade Templar rolls 21, 17, 28, 36, how much Fire you gain. For example,
and 25 while Sapphire Knight rolls 30, if you burn 24 Fuel, you would gain
Chapter 4: Doing Stuff

23, 27, 23, and 22. Jade Templar won 12 Fire.

the third, fourth, and fifth rolls, Because no trait can ever be higher
so he arrives first, and gets to kill than 5, you must split your Fire up
Boss number 3 alone. According to into bundles of 5. Using the above
the competition rules in chapter 6, example, you would have 5, 5, and 2,
both Jade Templar and Sapphire Knight which would add 2d12 and 1d6 to your
took damage during the race, and must Action Pool.
narrate accordingly after each roll. You can only ever burn Fuel before
Overall, Jade Templar gained 15 Fuel the first Wave of an encounter, so if
(and 15 Kick), and Sapphire Knight you gain Fuel in a fight, you cannot
gained 17 Fuel (and 17 Kick). use it till the next encounter.
Each one of your characters traits A Bind in a Box
can be increased, and each one is
increased in different ways with A Bind is triggered any time a PC takes enough damage
different rules. This chapter shows to reach their maximum capacity of Fuel. When a Bind
you what you have to do to make your is triggered, the Antagonists must narrate the PC into
character as cool as they can be. a very difficult and horrible circumstance, which the PC
must be able to feasibly escape from. The rules for nar-
rating a Bind are as follows:
Making a Name For Yourself
Increasing your Name trait is easy. You cannot kill the PC.
All you have to do is kill a Boss
on your List. When you do, you add You cannot control anything that the PC says or does,
that Bosss Name score to your own. but you can control what they cannot do, so long as you
However, if you have shared the give a good reason for why they cant do it.
killing of a Boss with another PC,
then you split the Name score between You cannot cause any permanent injury to a PC without
the PCs, rounding up when necessary. the players explicit consent.
For example, if you alone kill a
Boss who appears on The Lists of two The Bind must be a truly terrible circumstance.
other PCs (meaning that Bosss Name
score is 3), then you add 3 to your The Bind must be escapable.
Name score. If you shared the kill
with one other PC, then you would Only 3 rolls are allowed to escape a Bind, but a success
both increase your Name traits by 2 on one is all that is needed.
(3, divided by 2, rounded up). If all
three of the PCs killed that Boss, Once the conditions of the Bind have been set, you
then each one would increase their cannot introduce any more conditions, and must leave
Name trait by 1 (3 divided by 3). the PC to escape without further difficulties.
See Chapter 6: Competition for more
information on sharing a Boss.
If you gain enough Name to increase
your Name trait above 5, then any anything from your characters past,
extra points are recorded as permanent whether it was that morning or ten
Fire, which is treated as an extension years ago. For this reason, this
of your Name score. This means you narration is known as a Present
cannot use it unless you can use your Narration. A Present Narration has
Name, it counts towards your maximum 3 phases which must be followed in
Fuel, it counts towards your AP, and order to increase your Style and
it counts in determining if you are escape the Bind:
a winner at the end of the game (see Phase 1: You must narrate how your
Chapter 8: Endgame). character struggles in futility
against the circumstances of the Bind,
including what they are thinking, and
Becoming More Stylish how they are feeling.
If you want to increase your Style, Phase 2: You must make any rolls
Chapter 5: Growth
and lets face it, of course you do, necessary to overcome the Bind,
then you must first get yourself narrating the outcomes of each roll
into a Bind (see A Bind in a Box, as you go.
this page). Once you are in a Bind, Phase 3: You must narrate your overall
you must narrate your way out of it, escape from the Bind, and what your
passing rolls when necessary (see PC is thinking and feeling at that
Chapter 4: Doing Stuff). moment.
There are rules for this narration. If you fail to escape the Bind
For starters, you must deal only in Phase 2, the Antagonists get to
with the present; you cannot include narrate the consequences of your
16 current Bind. These consequences Buying your weapon:
This covers all non-
cannot include death or permanent lethal means of obtaining a weapon.
injury, but they can be nasty things Again, the score of your desired
like putting your PC into a coma or weapon is the score of all the traits
leaving you stranded somewhere. You of the possessor of the weapon. In
then fail your Present Narration, and this case, however, you will only be
cannot increase your Style trait. Now rolling some of your traits, those
you are free to continue the narration that are relevant to the task at hand
of your PC. (see Chapter 4: Doing Stuff), against
the traits that are relevant for the
Upgrading to a Cooler Weapon
So youve made your PC, given them Getting Lucky
an awesome weapon, and now you want Everyone wants to get lucky, but
an even cooler one (or two). What do few are good at it. The first thing
you do? Well, first you need to decide you must do, is get yourself into a
exactly what would be cooler than Bind (see A Bind in a Box, previous
your current weapon. This could be page). Now that you are in a Bind,
anything, from grabbing another one you must narrate your way out of it,
(if theres anything cooler than a passing rolls when necessary (see
sword, its two swords), to upgrading Chapter 4: Doing Stuff).
your existing one, to getting a new There are rules for this narration.
weapon entirely. You are free to For starters, you must introduce
decide. your characters past, bringing this
Now you must decide where you can into the present. For this reason,
get this added coolness. Are you this narration is known as a History
going to commission it from a famous Narration. A History Narration has 4
weapon smith? Are you going to kill phases which must be followed in order
the possessor of this great weapon? to increase your Luck and escape the
Are you going to convince someone to Bind:
give you a family heirloom? Phase 1: You must narrate how your
You must also specify the exact character struggles in futility
Weapon trait that this weapon will against the circumstances of the Bind,
bring, narrating why it is so cool. including what they are thinking, and
Once you have decided what needs how they are feeling.
to be done to get the weapon and Phase 2: You must narrate a series of
what the weapons score will be, you scenes and events in your PCs past
must get it. To do so, you have two which at first must seem to have
main options: kill the possessor, or nothing to do with the present Bind.
bribe, buy, or obtain it from someone. It is important that by the end of
You must narrate the whole thing, this phase, you have provided enough
designating other players to play information that the other players
the roles of the other characters can see how your past will help you
involved. escape from the Bind.
Phase 3: Back in the present, you must
Killing for your weapon:
The score of your make any rolls necessary to overcome
desired weapon will be the score of the Bind, narrating the outcomes of
all the traits of the possessor. If each roll as you go. If your phase
Chapter 5: Growth

you want a weapon with a score of 4, 2 was narrated well, the Antagonists
then all the possessors traits will must allow you to re-roll once any
be 4. You must defeat them in combat failed rolls that relate to your
without using Fire. past.
This possessor can never be a Boss. Phase 4: You must narrate your overall
What sort of freak are you anyway escape from the Bind, and what your
to want a weapon that belonged to a PC is thinking and feeling at that
person you loathe more than anything moment.
in the world? If you fail to escape the Bind
in Phase 3, the Antagonists get to
narrate the consequences of your Boss was spectacular enough that you 17
current Bind. These consequences would definitely make a name for
cannot include death or permanent yourself despite not killing them.
injury, but they can be nasty things You can introduce multiple Dilemmas
like putting your PC into a coma or per Boss, but each one must be new.
leaving you stranded somewhere. You
then fail your History Narration, and
cannot increase your Luck trait. Now Earning Honour
you are free to continue the narration Some say Honour is the only thing
of your PC. that cant be taken from you. Some
say it is the only true measure of a
persons worth. Whatever you believe,
Nursing Your Grudge there are only two ways you can
So you think you know what hate is increase your Honour. The first, is
do you? Well, here is how you can to allow a Boss to live by failing
prove it. To really test your Grudge, a Dilemma as discussed above. The
you must face a Boss, and introduce a second, is to accept another PCs
Dilemma. A Dilemma is something that offer to share the killing of a Boss
your PC feels very strongly about, (see Chapter 6: Competition).
and which threatens to prevent them
from killing this Boss. A few examples
might be: the Boss is pregnant, and Fluke Rolls
your character feels very strongly In a combat situation, if you and
about not taking the life of an your opponent(s) roll the same result,
unborn child; the Boss is the father its no big deal: no-one takes any
or mother of your PCs child, who damage. But what about when you are
they thought was dead; the Boss turns rolling for a win/lose situation, like
out to be your PCs long-lost parent trying to escape a Bind, overcome a
or sibling. Dilemma, or improve your Weapon? In
There are a few rules for how you these circumstances, rolling the same
must face and overcome a Dilemma, result as your opponent allows you
which must be narrated in 3 phases: to make a Fluke Roll. Heres how it
Phase 1: You must narrate the works:
introduction of the Dilemma, and First, determine if your result was
must narrate how your character feels even (2,4,6, etc.), or odd (1,3,5,
about the situation, and why it is a etc). This will determine the possible
true Dilemma for them. stakes for your Fluke Roll. Then you
Phase 2: You must roll your Grudge trait make your Fluke Roll (a re-roll)
against the Bosses Luck trait. If you with the consequences of success or
win, your Grudge increases by 1 point, failure determined by the result of
and you have proven that your hate is the intitial roll.
stronger than any other emotion you If the intitial roll was even, and
might feel. If you lose, you cannot you win on your Fluke Roll, your trait
bring yourself to kill that Boss, and increases by 2, instead of 1. If you
you lose 1 point of Grudge, but gain lose the Fluke Roll, you simply fail
1 point of Honour. If you wish, you the attempt as usual.
can sacrifice that point of Honour to If the intitial roll was odd, and
have the Antagonists make the Boss you lose on your Fluke Roll, your
Chapter 5: Growth
attack you anyway. trait decreases by 1. If you win the
Phase 3: You must narrate the overall Fluke Roll, then your trait increases
outcome of the Dilemma, and how by 1 as usual.
your PC is reacting to that outcome This is shown in the table below:
If you fail the Dilemma, and keep Initial Roll Lose Fluke Roll Win Fluke Roll
your Honour, then you dont recieve
the Name for that Boss. However, this Even 0 to trait +2 to trait
rule can be over-ridden by unanimous Odd -1 to trait +1 to trait
decision that your hunting of that
18 Keep in mind though, that this only etc. but you cannot narrate how the
applies to circumstances where you PC reacts to these things or what
can succeed or fail with a single they say.
roll, and this should only ever apply Whilst you cannot cause any
when you are attempting to increase permanent injury to a PC, you are
one of your traits via methods allowed a huge range of freedom
described earlier in this chapter. To within this rule. This is because in
re-cap, this means that a Fluke Roll Scarlet Wake, Permanent injury is
can only really apply to attempts at defined as: any injury which could
increasing your Style, Weapon, Luck, not reasonably heal within a year.
and Grudge. Additionally, any psychological
injury which does not have a brain-
damage component (which would be
Binds in Detail permanent) is automatically allowable
A PCs current Fuel can never exceed within this rule. Of course, if a
their maximum Fuel. This means that if PCs player explicitly agrees to it,
a PCs maximum Fuel is 26, then their then you can inflict permanent injury
current Fuel can never be more than to a PC, thus ignoring this rule.
26. However, a Bind is only triggered When narrating the conditions of the
when a PCs Fuel would exceed their Bind, you must keep in mind that there
maximum Fuel. How does this work? must be a concievable way for the
Well, say your PC has a maximum Fuel PC to escape from it. When actually
of 26, and they currently have 24 attempting to escape from a Bind, all
Fuel. If they take 2 points of damage a player needs to do is think up a
in the next Wave, then they would suitable plan of escape, and roll to
write down 26 as their current see if this plan succeeds. Such escape
Fuel, but will not have triggered plans should cover all the details of
a Bind. However, if they had taken the Bind, and should be sufficient to
any more than 2 damage, or if they completely escape the situation. For
took more damage next Wave, then they example, if part of the conditions of
would still write down 26 as their a Bind are that your PC is in a bag
current Fuel, but now they will have and bound in chains, then the plan
triggered a Bind. should include a narration for how
It should be noted that Fuel cannot they can free themselves of the bag,
decrease in any way other than to so that they can unlock the padlock
burn it into Fire. So if you get out on the chains, then free themselves
of a Bind, you will still have your of both bag and chains. Only one
maximum Fuel, so any further Fuel you roll is required per escape plan,
take will immediately trigger another regardless of complexity, and your AP
Bind. for this roll will be determined by
It should also be noted that Kick the details of your escape plan (see
only increases when Fuel increases, Chapter 4: Doing Stuff for details
so just because you might take more about which traits may apply). Only 3
damage than your maximum Fuel allows, rolls are allowed to escape a Bind.
does not mean you take more Kick than Once you have set the conditions of
the amount you write down as Fuel. a Bind, the player has the remainder
When a Bind is triggered, you of that scene to escape from the
immediately lose narration rights Bind. You cannot add any more
Chapter 5: Growth

over your PC, and the Antagonists conditions than those set initially.
narrate the outcome of that Wave, For example, if you fail to specify
before beginning a new scene to what a PC has on their person, the
narrate the conditions of the Bind. player may narrate that they have a
Whilst narrating the conditions of a lockpicking kit in their pocket, and
Bind, you cannot control the PC. You use this in their escape plan, and
may narrate things which happen to you cannot change this by adding a
the PC beyond the PCs control, such condition such as Oh yeah, you were
as being knocked unconscious, moved, naked in that bag.
beaten, tormented, gagged, bound,
Competition must let them play them as they wish.
However, if there is something really
important you wish to happen, you can
Scarlet Wake is a game which encourages tell the Antagonist how the character
player competition. You must prove must react, kinda like how a director
that you and your PC are cool enough tells the actors how they must portray
to be even cooler. You must be able a line. It is suggested you only do
to handle anything they throw at you, this when absolutely necessary.
no matter how depraved or horrible. It is also your duty to make sure
Furthermore, you must occasionally your scenes do not go for too long
face the other PCs head-on, as you or too short compared to the other
vie for the killing rights of Bosses. players scenes. If the other players
This chapter deals with the rules of feel you arent putting in enough
conduct when you are Protagonist, when effort, or are getting too carried
you are an Antagonist, and when your away, you must adjust your playing.
PCs must compete to kill a Boss. When in doubt, majority rules.

Protagonist Codes of Conduct Antagonists

The role of playing your PC is the The rules for being an Antagonist
easiest, and the hardest. It is easiest are somewhat more formalised. You
in the sense that you are in control must, at all times, remember that
of your PC, and you have the final it is the Protagonists scene, and
say in practically everything that their story. You can have a lot of fun
happens to them (with the exception within these boundaries, but there
of Binds). It is the hardest in the are a few things you cant do:
sense that you must be on top of You cant decide what a PC does,
everything, managing the logistics of or what happens to them. However,
your rolls and creating appropriate you may make suggestions, but its
narrations on-the-fly. You must up to the Protagonist to decide,
also drive the scenes, making sure because its their story.
that there is never really a lack of You cant steal the spotlight
stuff happening. Equally difficult from the PC, or introduce new
is simply coming up with a suitable characters of your own. You may
storyline for your PC and the Bosses make suggestions though, and you
(see Chapter 7: Playing, and also can develop a character that the
Chapters 2 and 3). Protagonist gives you, but you
Sometimes, you will find your cant make this character more
PC in the same scene as another important than the PC. You must
players PC, and at these times, you also play ACs in the way the
(and they) must work to share the Protagonist needs you to.
spotlight equally. If you feel that You must share the control of
another player is not putting in an Peons and Bosses with any other
equal effort to the scene, or if they Antagonists, either by rotating
are hogging it, you can appeal to the control or splitting it up. This Chapter 6: Competition
Antagonists for them to step in and includes the narration rights
ensure that the spotlight is shared that come with them.
equally. Hopefully, this will never You must consult all other
have to happen. Antagonists when deciding to
Whenever possible, you must designate spend Kick, and a majority vote
certain Antagonists to play the roles wins. This goes for both choosing
of ACs in the current scene, even to spend it in the first place,
if each Antagonist is handling more and how it is spent.
than one character. When assigning These above rules are not negotiable,
these players to these roles, you but your group may add more if they
must provide them with a brief but feel the need.
useful description of the important On the other hand, there are a few
aspects of that AC, and then you things which you have absolute rights
20 over. These include:
How an AC is played. Whilst the Kick effects and Costs
Protagonist can decide what needs Effect Kick Cost
to be achieved with this character,
Its up to you to decide how this Introduce Peons variable
character is going to go about it. Heal a Boss 2
Furthermore, Protagonists can never Increase Boss traits 3
play any character other than their
own PC. Deprive a PC of a trait 5
Kick. The Protagonist has no say Cant Run, Cant Hide 10
in your spending of Kick in any way.
Narration rights over how ACs Introduce a Sub-Boss 20
enter Waves, but not over how they Cause a PC roll to fail 30
exit them. Kill a PC 50
Any information or details that
the Protagonist doesnt provide.
This means that if the Protagonist
doesnt say that there isnt a piano Introduce Peons:
For every point of
in the far corner, then you can Kick you spend, you can introduce a
decide that there is. You can add Rank 1 Peon, or increase the rank of
to the environment or the ACs in any an existing Peon by one. For example,
way that isnt contrary to what the you could pay 10 Kick to introduce
Protagonist describes. Maybe there is two Rank 5 Peons, ten Rank 1 Peons,
a motorcycle nearby, or maybe this or increase ten Rank 3 Peons to Rank
AC is wearing a bulletproof vest: if 4 Peons.
the Protagonist didnt say otherwise,
then you can add it. If there is any Heal a Boss:
For every 2 points of Kick
contention about something which you you pay, you can remove 1 point of
or another Antagonist add, majority Karma from a Boss or Sub-Boss. For
rules. example. If a Boss currently has 10
These above rules are not negotiable, points going towards their Maximum
and your group cannot add any more Karma, then you can pay 20 Kick to
without total consensus. If there is remove all of them. You can only do
any concern over who gets to narrate this once per Boss, per encounter. So
what, see the Narration Rights if a PC is fighting in an encounter
section in Chapter 7: Playing. with one Boss and one Sub-Boss, then
you can heal the Boss once and the
Sub-Boss once during that encounter.
Spending Kick
The name Kick, comes from the Increase Boss traits:
For every 3 points
saying Kickem while theyre down, of Kick you pay, you can increase
and this is exactly what Kick is all a trait of a Boss or Sub-Boss by 1
about. Kick is the Antagonists real point. For example, if a Boss has a
power. With it, the challenges for Crime of 4, you can spend 3 Kick to
a PC can be drastically increased, increase that trait to 5. When you
Chapter 6: Competition

and tactics of a Protagonist can be increase traits this way, make sure
stopped dead. In short, Kick is the to increase their Maximum Karma.
Antagonists best friend.
You can use Kick at any time where it Deprive a PC of a trait:
For 5 Kick, you
is appropriate to a scene, and when it can dictate that a PC cannot use
would make life harder for a PC. The a particular trait for the next 5
only rule is that to signal the use Waves, losing that die from their AP.
of Kick, all Antagonists must wear a The only traits which can be deprived
sinister grin at the same time. this way are Name, Weapon, Luck, and
The different ways Kick can be spent Grudge. A PC cannot be deprived of
are shown in the table below, along more than 3 traits at a given moment
with how much Kick must be spent in through this method. All you have
order to achieve the effect. to do is pay the Kick, and declare
which traits cannot be used for the Kick, and two, it can only be used when 21
next 5 Waves, and the Protagonist a PC fails a Bind, during the stage
must justify narratively why this where you narrate the consequences.
is so. Example justifications might When you kill a PC this way, that
include: PCs Protagonist player remains in
Name: The opponents do not actually the game as an Antagonist, and also
know the PC, or do not care. gets 40 Kick, which they can add to
Weapon: The PC loses their weapon any players Character Sheet any
temporarily. time they choose. Thus, if you kill
Luck: The PCs lucky charm gets a players PC, they can now kill any
ripped off or falls off somehow. other PC that fails a Bind with 10 or
Grudge: The PC finds themselves more Kick.
respecting their opponents too much.
The PC must also narrate how they
get their trait back. Competing for Boss Killing Rights
If your List has names shared on
Cant Run, Cant Hide: By spending 10 Kick, other Lists, and it really should,
you can prevent a PC from leaving then there will inevitably come
their current encounter for 5 Waves. a time when you are faced with a
For example, if a PC decides to run choice: share the kill, or take it for
away from an encounter in order to yourself. In this section, well see
avoid being forced into a Bind, then how these situations are handled.
you can prevent them from doing so As will be discussed in Chapter 7:
for at least the next 5 Waves. Playing, play revolves around players
narrating scenes for their PCs. When
Introduce a Sub-Boss:
Sub-Bosses are the a player is seeking to kill one of
unique creations of the Antagonists. the people on their List, and that
They cannot be controlled by the person is also on another players
Protagonist, and control of them must List, then both players must compete
be shared amongst the Antagonists. To with each other. There must always be
bring them into play, you must pay 20 a fight before players can cooperate,
Kick out of the PCs Kick score, and and choosing to cooperate or not must
narrate their entrance, including who follow certain rules.
this Sub-Boss is, and why they are Whenever it has been identified that
interested in killing the PC. a player is attempting to kill a Boss
When they enter play, Sub-Bosses that appears on more than one List,
have exactly the same traits as the then all players whose Lists contain
PC they are opposing, with the only that Boss enter the scene (with
exceptions being that they do not have appropriate narration of course).
Honour, Fuel, or Fire (only PCs can There must be a fight between all the
have these traits). They have Maximum PCs. This fight does not have to be
Karma equal to the sum of their traits a literal fight, but could instead
multiplied by two (like all Bosses). be a race or some other contest,
If the PCs traits increase while a but it must involve at least as much
Sub-Boss is alive, the Sub-Boss risk for injury as a fight does, and Chapter 6: Competition
traits increase accordingly. is handled exactly as a fight, only
with different narration. An example
Cause a PC roll to fail:
By paying 30 Kick, of this can be seen on page 11 under
you can cause any PC roll to fail. the Jade Templar & Sapphire Knight
This only works when a roll can fail example, where these two characters
or succeed, so it doesnt work when are racing, and must narrate the
fighting. This is particularly nasty damage they recieve in accordance
when a PC is trying to overcome a Bind with the events of the race.
you set for them. Dont forget your For this fight, Fuel cannot be
sinister grin! burned. The winner is the last one
standing, and the losers are the PCs
Kill a PC: This effect has two who have reached their maximum Fuel
conditions. One, you must pay the 50 (triggering a Bind). The winner gets
22 to kill the Boss alone, keeping all
the Name points for themselves. The The Troubleshooting Rule
losers must deal with their Binds. If you are finding that some of your
However, at any point during the players dont seem to be very creative
fight, a PC can make an offer of or interesting in their narrations,
cooperation. then try this rule out.
At the end of every session, each
Offers of Cooperation:
When two or more player writes on a small piece of
PCs cooperate, they can kill the Boss paper the name of the player who they
together, and must split the Name thought narrated the coolest stuff
points between them, rounding up where that session. Get one player to count
necessary. By sacrificing 1 point of these votes, and determine who had the
Honour, a PC can offer to cooperate most votes for coolest narrations.
with another PC. If that PC accepts That player gets to choose one of
the offer, they gain 1 Honour, and two rewards: either they can add 1
the PC who offers cooperation regains point to any of their characters
their point of Honour that they just traits; or, they can subtract 1 point
sacrificed. from any trait of any other players
However, if a PC sacrifices 1 Honour character.
to make an offer of cooperation, and If two or more players are tied
the other PC rejects that offer, then for votes on having the coolest
the fight continues, but the outcome narrations, then these players must
can have varying effects: write down on scraps of paper which
If the PC who rejects cooperation reward option they intend to use, and
wins the fight, then they dont have who they will use it against. These
to share the Boss. scraps of paper are then revealed
If the PC who rejects cooperation simultaneously, and then are carried
loses the fight, they also lose 1 out. This step is simply to prevent
point of Honour, and are left with a players changing their minds about
Bind, which the player of the winning the rewards they choose based on the
PC defines. decisions of the other player(s).
If the PC who offers cooperation This rule is only intended for use
wins the fight, then they dont have when one or more players in a group
to share the Boss, and they regain are not putting as much effort into
the point of Honour they sacrificed their narrations as they could and
to make the offer. would like to. If this rule does work,
If the PC who offers cooperation then consider abandoning it after a
loses the fight, then they gain 1 few sessions. If it does not work,
point of Grudge, and are left with a meaning the quality of narrations
Bind, which the player of the winning does not increase, then discontinue
PC defines. using this rule, and evaluate whether
there is in fact a problem with the
Multiple PCs Competing for Bosses:The narrations. If there is a problem,
above rules work exactly the same for and your group feels this problem is
multiple PCs, only becoming slightly infringing on their enjoyment of the
Chapter 6: Competition

more dynamic in how the players can game, then perhaps it would be best
choose to interact with making offers for your group if the problem player
of cooperation. does not play this game with you.
Additionally, when three or more There are plenty of other enjoyable
PCs are fighting, all players roll games available which may be better
once, and the player with the highest suited for your group, and theres no
roll decides how they are going to point playing a game if you or your
distribute their damage between the friends are not having fun with it.
opponents, the player with the next
highest roll does the same, and so on,
until all damage has been distributed.
The player who takes the most damage
narrates the outcome of that Wave.
Playing clearly significant occurrence in
the story, such as the killing of a
Boss, an attempt to increase a trait
Now that you are familiar with all (failed or succeeded, see Chapter
the rules of the various aspects of 5: Growth), or the revelation of
Scarlet Wake, its time to bring them something important about one of the
all together. This chapter will first characters.
present the way play is structured,
and then provide a demonstration of Encounter:An encounter can sometimes
most of the rules in practice through seem a little hard to define, but its
an example of play. really quite simple. An encounter is
defined as a period of time within a
scene during which a PC is engaged in
Play Structure successive Waves with no significant
Scarlet Wake has seven levels which pause in combat. A significant pause
define play, from broad to specific. in this context means being forced into
These seven levels are: Game, Session, a Bind, a scene change, or the death
Turn, Scene, Event, Encounter, and of all current opponents. A typical
Wave. Each level contains all the example might be a single encounter
levels after it, and following are during which all Peons are fought,
the definitions of each: and then a seperate encounter where
the Boss is fought. If there is any
Game: A game is defined by a group doubt about whether an encounter has
of players playing Scarlet Wake from ended or not, or where an encounter
Character Creation to Endgame, each ends and a new one begins, majority
one having cleared their Lists. This rules.
may span many days, which need not be Fuel can only be burnt into Fire
consecutive. A game usually contains between encounters, never during
several sessions. one.

Session:A session is any period of Wave: Waves are periods of variable

time spent playing the game relatively lengths of in-game time where a
uninterrupted, usually anywhere single roll made by the Protagonist
between 2 to 8 hours. It is probably is opposed by a single roll made by
possible for an entire game to take the Antagonists to determine damage
place in a single session, but this dealt to either party. Waves are
is rarely the case. A session usually defined in more detail on page 12 in
contains a few turns. Chapter 4: Doing Stuff.

Turn: A turn is a period of time

where one player plays their PC, and Organizing the Levels
the others are Antagonists. They may To play Scarlet Wake, it is important
be joined by other PCs during certain to organize each level properly,
scenes, but this is still considered moving from game down through to
that players turn. A turn can last no Waves. This section will help you
more than 3 scenes, after which time organize these levels to ensure play
the next player has their turn. is fun and runs smoothly.

Scene: Organizing a Game:

Chapter 7: Playing
A scene is a period of play The first step is
under the control of a single player to get together with a few of your
consisting of a definite beginning, friends with whom you wish to play
and a clear end, often marked by a this game, let them know about the
change in location, mood, time, or general gist of the game, and ask if
the end of an event. A scene can only theyd be interested in playing it
have one event, and cannot last more with you.
than 10 minutes. Now that you have a group of friends
to play Scarlet Wake with, the next
Event: An event is signified by any step is to organize a time for the
24 first session, and to ensure that each Organizing Turns:
The first part of any
player has read this entire rulebook play session should be to establish
before this first session. You should the turn order. This is easily done
anticipate an ideal session length by each player rolling a d12, with the
of around 4-6 hours, and pick a time highest roll having first turn, and
where everyone can make it without any the next highest roll going second
conflicts with other commitments. and so on. If two players roll the
Next, you all need to ensure that each same number, they get to re-roll to
player will have time and oppurtunity see which plays first of the two. It
to play in all subsequent sessions usually helps if players sit around
until Endgame is reached. Few things a table in the order of their turns,
are as annoying as starting a really though sometimes this is not possible
fun game and never finishing it. (such as with couples).
Finally, you all need to agree on Each turn consists of no more than
the general style that you will bring 3 scenes, and it is left to the
into this game. See the end of Chapter individual players how they will
8: Endgame for a bunch of ideas about spend those scenes. However, for
the styles you can play Scarlet Wake the very first turn for each player,
in. All players should have plenty the first scene must be a Snippet of
of time to think about how they are their characters past, a narration
going to fit their character into the of the evil which has pushed them
style of the game before the first into hunting those on the list. You
session is started. will see an example of this later in
this chapter in the play example.
Organizing Sessions:
All players should When a players 3 scenes are over,
have a shared understanding of how the focus shifts to the next player,
long a specific session will run for, for them to have their 3 scenes.
where and when it will be held, and
how each player is going to arrive and Organizing Scenes:
With the exception of
leave. This is absolutely crucial. Snippets, scenes must begin with the
Almost as crucial, is the provision Protagonist designating Antagonists
of food for the session. A common to play the roles of key characters
agreement is that each player brings for the scene. When doing so, you
something, such as chips, drinks, must provide them with enough info
lollies, chocolates, or whatever, so to help them roleplay that character,
long as all players are contributing such as a brief description of their
to the available food. Sometimes it appearance, personality, motivations,
is agreed that the host doesnt and quirks.
need to bring food, because they are During a scene, a Protagonist can
providing the setting. only roleplay their PC, and all other
Finally, double check that each characters must be handled by the
player has at least a working Antagonists. A Protagonist can tell
understanding of the rules, and that an Antagonist what they want from a
each player has enough dice of the character, but it is the Antagonists
right types. At least one player must role to play that character as they
have a copy of this rulebook during see fit in accordance with the
the session. Protagonists descriptions.
The very first session should at Snippet scenes must be narrated as
Chapter 7: Playing

least partially be spent with each the first scene for a players first
player creating their character. This turn, and every scene immediately
is important because it allows Bosses following the killing of a Boss. A
to be shared optimally, and it also Snippet scene must reveal something
gets everyone thinking about the game about the PCs past, something about
so they are all ready when it starts. their hunting of those on The List,
You should allow for about an hour for or something personal about them
everyone to create their characters which has or will have relevance to
and organise their Lists. their story. A Snippet scene cannot
be used for Growth.
64 Scene Locations In a casino.
In an office building.
In a hotel.
On a battlefield.
On a train. In a graveyard. In a submarine.
In an alley. At a public school. In a research laboratory.
In a night-club. At an internet cafe. At the zoo.
At a movie. On an island. In a mansion.
On a bus. In a seedy motel. In the middle of a protest.
At the beach. At a resaurant. On a snowy mountain.
In a hospital. Somewhere famous. In a castle.
On the highway. At an abottoir. On a cliff-face.
In a dirty apartment. At a construction site. In a helicopter.
On a busy street. In a secret lair. Somewhere haunted.
In the desert. In a dungeon. At a concert.
On a plane. In the middle of nowhere. At an airport.
At an awards ceremony. On a live TV set. Wherever you are now.
In a penthouse. In a park. In cyberspace.
At the pool. On top of a building. In a bar.
In a dojo. In a prison. At a major sporting event.
At someones house. In a factory. In a police station.
In the jungle. At a brothel. At a birthday party.
On a boat. In a warehouse. At a wrecking yard.
In a military base. In a church. On a parade float.

When it is your turn, use a die to power over events and your PC, so you
show which scene you are up to, to help can narrate them any way you choose.
the other players be certain about
the ending of your scenes. Remeber, Organizing Encounters:
There really
no scene can last for more than 10 isnt much you need to do to organise
minutes, unless all the players agree an encounter. Simply initiate a
on a new time-limit, and strictly Wave with the gestures in Chapter
adhere to it. 4 and youre in an encounter. Stop
the Waves and do something else and
Organizing Events:
Whenever you begin a youre out of the encounter. Simple.
scene, you should have a clear idea On a grander scale, however, you might
about the event that this scene will want to give some thought about when
lead up to, and at least a rough you want encounters and what purpose
idea about how it will proceed. Only they serve. Its usually best to use
significant occurances can count Peon encounters before you take on
as an event. Such occurances might the Bosses, and to gain as much Fuel
be the killing of a Boss, doing as you can from the Peons.
everything required to increase a
trait (regardless of whether or not Organizing Waves:
The only real advice
you succeed), or revealing something I can give you is to try to get a feel
very important about your PC or one for how many Peons you can handle for
of the Bosses on your List. If you each Wave. Try not to waste them by
Chapter 7: Playing
fail to do any of these things within calling on too few, though sometimes
the time you have to narrate a scene, this can be better than calling on
then you can still finish an event in too many. Practise makes perfect!
the next scene, but you should try
to press harder. Scarlet Wake is not
a game about admiring the flowers. Narration Rights
There are only 3 things important in This section is essentially a
this game: being cool, kicking ass, distilling of points covered in
and becoming cooler. various sections throughout this
That said, you have total narrative rulebook, presented in one place for
26 easy reference. direction you are aiming for.
It should be noted that whilst one Both Antagonists and Protagonists
player may have narration rights over need to cooperate and work off each
a particular aspect of the game, this other by contributing equally to the
does not in any way preclude other renditions of the characters and the
players from making suggestions or fleshing out of the scene.
requests. It only means that this
player has the final say. Scene Narration:Antagonists have the
right to introduce almost anything
Wave Narration:Antagonists have full into a scene, from details about
narration rights over how opponents surrounding structures or props,
enter a Wave, including descriptions to information about the situation.
of things like what weapons they have, However, Protagonists have the right
how they are moving, special effects, to refuse anything introduced this
what they look like, any sounds they way if it deviates too strongly from
make, and how the scenery is used. their goals for their PCs story.
Protagonists have full narration Protagonists have full narration
rights over how the opponents leave rights over a scene, where it is
the Wave, including how the PC located (see 64 Scene Locations on
interacts with them, the result of previous page for some ideas), how
this interaction, and how they may their PC sees and reacts within that
die. scene, as well as their motivations.
Antagonists narrate before the Protagonists also have the right
roll, and Protagonists narrate after to override most things that the
the roll. Antagonists may introduce into a
scene, but this should rarely be
Encounter Narration:
Antagonists can necessary. In fact, it is often far
spend Kick to introduce new Peons easier to work collaboratively with
or Sub-Bosses to begin an encounter the Antagonists to set a scene, because
with a PC whenever they want. They it shares the workload around.
have full narration rights over the There are a few exceptions to the
entry of these characters and the above rules. When narrating a Bind,
initiation of the encounter. Antagonists have full narration
Protagonists have full narration rights over the scene of a Bind,
rights over the ending of any and this goes for any narrations of
encounter, and over the beginning of Bind consequences if the PC fails to
an encounter with any characters on escape. Additionally, Antagonists
their Lists (including Peons). have the right to end a scene if the
Protagonist goes over the 10 minute
Event Narration: Antagonists have scene limit.
narration rights over how all non- Antagonists can never control how
PC characters are played, but cannot a PC is played, and Protagonists can
prevent a PC from reaching the focus never control how an AC is played.
of an event. The goal is not to
obstruct the Protagonists story,
but to participate in its telling. Play Example
You have every right to spice things The following is a short example of
up and bring your ACs to life, but how a game of Scarlet Wake might play
Chapter 7: Playing

keep in mind the direction that the out. There are 3 players; Jodi, Andy,
Protagonist needs. and Mark. Jodis PC is Violent Angel,
Protagonists have narration rights and for this example we are only
over what events will be sought going to deal with her first turn to
after, and how they will unfold. play her PC. Player names will be in
Remember though, that you can only bold. Player actions such as speaking
control your own PC, so you will need out-of-character will be in bold,
to cooperate with the Antagonists to while commentary by me about whats
give them enough information about happening will be italicised.
their characters and the general
The End is the Beginning. Chapter 1. scenes important character roles to 27
We begin our example with the first the other players.
turn, which was decided by rolling a Jodi: Ok that was scene one...
d12 to be Jodis turn. All the players Mark: Awww what?! What the hell just
are sitting around a table with their happened?
character sheets and dice in front of Jodi: Shhh. Andy, youre gonna play
them, with drinks and munchies within a tall and attractive young cop, but
easy reach of everyone. Because it is he isnt particularly bright. Hes
her first scene in her first turn, investigating a murder, and right now
Jodi must narrate her first scene as hes at the victims house, searching
a Snippet. for clues. Mark, you are going to play
a short, balding, grumpy detective
Scene 1:Looking down at her character at the same house. This detective
sheet to jog her memory, Jodi begins has only seen pictures of the victim
narration of the Snippet through the after she died. In case you hadt
eyes of her PC: guessed, the victim is my character,
Jodi: A frozen shock cracks through and youre at her house.
her bones, instantly forcing her Mark: Ok, cool.
mind awake and her eyes wide open. Andy: Alright.
Suddenly her chest burns like fire, Jodi: There are also a bunch of other
and convulsions rack her body. Her cops there, searching for clues. Ready?
movements feel slow, as if being Ok. I awake with a start, staring at
held back, and all she sees is a few a grey blur until my eyes focus on a
shining white spots, sparkling amidst familiar ceiling. I look around, to
a blackish blue wash. Fear tears find myself in my room. Sitting up, I
her mind open, and what is revealed try to remember what happened, but my
terrifies her more, and in that instant head hurts when I try. I look around
she knows she is dying, drowning. my room again, and notice that it
She tries to scream, but her body seems different somehow, but I cant
is again racked by convulsions which recall exactly how it was supposed to
threaten to break her in half, and her look. It just feels different. Then
lungs burn hotter. Flailing wildy, I notice something that Im sure Ive
she seeks the surface, unmoving. never seen before: a black sword with
She struggles harder, fueled by pure a silver serpent engraved into the
panic and burning pain, unmoving. sheath, resting on my couch. I walk
Through a distant cold numbness, she over to it, and as I pick it up, it
feels her feet bound and weighted. A suddenly feels right, as if it is a
human anchor in a dark cold void, only part of me, and I feel somehow whole.
her screaming pain and the sparkles Suddenly, I hear voices coming...Jodi
of the moon on the surface to witness gestures towards Andy.
her end. Andy: Look, Im telling you, Ive
And now she floats, eyes unblinking, been through her room already, theres
watching as tiny pale specks float nothing in here but some clothes and
through the water before her, their candles. This girl loved her damn
delicate dance in slow motion. Her candles...
hair drifts before her eyes like Jodi: As I hear that, I quickly look
blackened fingers, reaching out to around, astonished to see all the
touch her... and in her last moment candles in my room! Ive never liked
Chapter 7: Playing
of awareness, she reaches out to the candles! Worse, all the candles are
black fingers which seek to engulf black, and look as if theyve been
her... used before.
... and finds a hand, attached to Andy: The two cops stop outside the
a figure in white, as all turns to door, one of them continuing: ...
dark, and life is snuffed away. and if you ask me, she was probably
Jodi decides that she wants to keep into the occult, what with all the
the other players guessing, so she candles being black and all. The
declares the beginning of the next other cop says Maybe she just liked
scene, and must now distribute this the colour, did you ever think of
28 that? Anyways, Barker says we gotta Mark: Is this what youre looking
go over everything one more time, so for? I hold up the sword, admiring
we are gonna go over everything one its beauty.
more time. I open the door to the Jodi: I nod. May I have it back,
room. please?
Jodi: You see me standing inside, Mark: I take a seat on a couch
dressed in a full-length white dress facing you. That depends maam.
with a black coat over the top, First, Im going to need to ask you
holding a shiny black and silver a few questions, and youre going to
katana. I look slightly startled have to give me a few answers.
and afraid, like I was expecting Jodi: What do you want to know?
intruders, but wasnt really ready to Mark: What are you doing here, and
deal with them. how did you get in?
Andy: Woah, says a tall and Jodi: This is my house. I just woke
handsome cop. Holy... says the up before I found you lot in here.
other one, who looks like a total Im developing a scowl as I talk.
rookie. Both of them draw their guns Andy: Thats what she said before.
and aim at you. Put down the sword But Tommy searched that room no more
maam. than an hour ago, and he never saw no
Jodi: I pause for a moment, then sleeping lady.
sheath my sword. What the hell are Mark: Nodding: You look familiar
you doing in my house? maam, have we met before?
Andy: Turning to Mark: Dude, you Jodi: I notice that this detective
play this other cop with me. Mark does look familiar, but I cant think
nods. Maam, this is a crime scene. of why. I dont think so. I turn
This isnt your house, the lady who to the good-looking cop, Im telling
lived here died. How did you get in the truth, maybe Tommy wasnt doing
here? I dont lower my gun. his job. I DID just wake up, and
Jodi: I am thrown for a second, as I this IS my house. What the hell are
look at all the black candles around you guys doing here, and why are you
the room, but the rest of it looks interrogating me in my own home?
exactly the same. I look confused, Mark: Were investigating a murder
but I say: This IS my house, and as maam, the murder of the lady who
you can see, Im clearly not dead. lived here. So you see, this cant
As soon as I say that, hundreds of be your house, because you arent
images burn through my mind, too fast dead.
to notice, but a few of them linger Jodi: As you say that, another
for just long enough for me to see: barrage of images sears through
a man dressed all in white, radiating my mind, most dissapearing as soon
light and warmth, holding a golden as they appear. But one sticks out
quill; two mens faces staring at me above the others, a man in a grey
as they lean over a railing, growing pin-stripe suit, handing money to
smaller rapidly; a woman wearing way a prostitute; taking money from a
too much make-up and a too-short man dressed in black; tying down a
skirt, accepting a thick wad of cash screaming man and cutting him up with
from a man in a grey pin-stripe suit; a butchers knife; pushing a litle
a vial of blue liquid in a purse. girl on a swing; tying her down to a
Too many images, and I collapse into table as she whimpers... the images
Chapter 7: Playing

unconsciousness. end in a blinding flash, with the

Mark: Ok, we both carry you into the mans face burned into my vision like
loungeroom, lay you on a couch, and a negative. As the image fades, that
tell the detective about you. face is replaced by the same face, as
Jodi: As I come to, I see you all I look at the detective.
standing around in my loungeroom. The Mark: Woah, are you alright maam,
first thing I notice is that I feel you sorta blanked out on us there.
like something is missing from me, Andy: Thats what happened before
and I find myself feeling around for sir, right before she collapsed.
my sword. Jodi: Im fine. I do my best to
keep a calm face while I talk. Maybe Mark: The detective leaps backwards 29
youre right. I dont know how, but over the couch, and one of the cops who
this place looks almost exactly like was in the kitchen comes around the
my home. I, ahh, had a long night out corner in response to the detective
last night. I must have come here yelling, when he sees you there with
without realising it wasnt my own your sword drawn, he immediately
home, then broken in to the bedroom draws his pistol.
when I found that my key didnt work. Andy: The tall cop pulls his gun too,
Maybe that cop didnt notice me and hes standing next to the couch
because I usually sleep very still. that the detective just jumped over.
Can I have my sword back please? Then Another cop who was in the hallway
I can be on my way. runs in when he hears the commotion,
Mark: I lean forward in my couch, and dives at you from behind.
nodding slowly, before reaching out Mark and Andy roll 7d4 for the Peons
and placing the sword on the coffee (2 R2 peons with 2d4 each, and 1 R3
table. As I lean back, I say: Its Peon with 3d4). They roll a total of
a very nice sword maam, but Id like 16.
to know two more things before I can Jodi rolls her AP, which is 1d4,
let you go. First, Whered you get 2d6, and 1d8. She rolls a total of
that sword, and why did you have it 15.
on you when we found you? I cant Andy: We got 16.
imagine anyone going out for a night Jodi: 15. But Im going to take an
on the town while carrying a weapon extra 2 points of damage so I can kill
like that. one of the Peons. So I take 3 points
Jodi: Its, umm, a very important of Fuel.
family heirloom. My grandfather Jodi writes down 3 Fuel on her
earned it in service to the japanese Character Sheet, and also adds 3 to
army in World War II. I take it with her Kick.
me everywhere recently because I had Jodi: Ok. In my disorientation
a break in a little while ago and lost from the exhilaration of holding
some other very special things, and the sword, I dont notice the cop
I dont want to lose this. Not many behind me until he smashes into me
people are willing to trouble a drunk and knocks me down. Unfortunately for
girl with a sword. I try to think him, I manage to twist as we fall, and
where the sword really came from, and he lands with my sword in his neck.
why I want to hold it so bad, but Jodi notes on her Character Sheet
trying only hurts my head. What was that there is one less R2 Peon left
the second thing? for this Boss. She then holds up 4
Mark: I nod slowly. Fair enough. fingers, signalling for 4 Peons.
The second thing Ill need to know is Andy: Both R3s and two R2s? Mark
your name. nods. Ok, the tall guy opens fire at
Jodi: My name? Violent Angel. you. Behind him, two more cops appear
Mark: Can I have the detective with guns drawn.
recognise that name? Jodi nods. Ok. Mark: The cop from the kitchen is
My face goes pale as I realise how positioning himself for a better shot
I recognise you. YOU! I yell as I whilst protecting the detective.
reach for the sword. Mark and Andy roll 10d4 for the 2
Jodi: I grab it before you, and R3s and the 2 R2s. They roll a total
Chapter 7: Playing
instantly I feel whole. I feel of 28.
right. I have it drawn a split second Jodi rolls her AP, and rolls a total
later. of 17.
Jodi gives Mark and Andy a signal Andy: 28.
to begin a Wave, by holding up 3 Jodi: 17, so I will take at least 11
fingers. This Boss has 5 R2 peons, Fuel this Wave. Hmmm. Ok.
and 2 R3 Peons. Jodi updates her Fuel, increasing it
Mark: Andy, whadya reckon? 2 R2s from 3 to 14. She only has a maximum
and an R3? Fuel of 16. She also increases her
Andy: Sounds good. Kick from 3 to 14.
30 Jodi: I do my best to use the dead murky. When your eyes adjust, you
cops body as a shield, but a few notice a dim lightbulb hanging from
bullets manage to hit me in the leg a dark and dirty ceiling. You are
and my left arm. I scream out in lying on your back on a hard wooden
pain but its barely audible over table, with your hands and feet tied
the gunshots. Blood is splattering to each corner with coarse rope.
everywhere as my human shield is When you look at the table, you can
peppered with bullets. see that it is very dark and stained
Jodi holds up 3 fingers, signalling in places, and there is a butchers
the Antagonists to send 3 Peons knife resting next to you. Your sword
against her. is sitting on a shelf on the wall. You
Mark: 2 R3s and an R2 Andy? can hear voices coming from behind a
Andy: Yep. Wanna deprive her of her door at the top of some stairs in the
Weapon? corner of the room, which is starting
Mark: Heheheh, yeah! to look like a basement.
Jodi: Doh! Mark: Awesome dude.
Andy: Ok Jodi, were spending 5 Jodi: Hmmm, ok. I take it the
of your Kick to deprive you of your detective was the one who tied me up,
Weapon for the next 5 Waves. so Ill be rolling against him huh?
Mark: Ill count the Waves on this Andy: Yeah.
d6. This one will be the first. Jodi: Alright. When I see the knife
Jodi: Ok. I try to move my sword, and realise where I am, I really
but I find that it is stuck in this start to freak out. Tears start
cops neck. streaming down the sides of my face,
Jodi decreases her Kick to 9. and I twist and turn as best as I can
Andy: When they hear your screams, to try to pull free of the rope. My
the cops figure they must have shot wrists and ankles start to bleed, and
you. Two of them jump onto the couch Im trying hard not to cry or scream.
with their guns pointing at you, My mind becomes filled with images of
moving closer so they can be sure. the detective cutting pieces off a
Mark: The cop that is near the man and a little girl as they scream
detective has you lined up, ready to horribly. Im going to try to push
fire if you make a wrong move. myself off the table, then smash
Mark and Andy roll 8d4 for the 2 R3s myself down into it hard enough to
and the R2. They roll a total of 23. break the table. Ill be using my
Jodi rolls her AP without her Weapon Style, Luck, and Grudge. Whats the
trait, which removes her d8. She Boss rolling?
rolls a total of 10. Mark: It should be his Name, Style,
Mark: 23. Luck, and Crime.
Jodi: 10. Crap! Mark rolls for the Boss, rolling a
Andy: Woohoo! Bind! Do you wanna total of 11.
narrate this Bind Mark? Jodi rolls for Violent Angel, and
Mark: How about I narrate the end rolls 13.
of the Wave and the scene, and you Mark: 11, Whatd you get?
narrate the Bind? Jodi: 13. Sweet! I gain Style!
Andy: Sounds good. Jodi increases her Style trait by 1
Mark: The tall cop looks down at point, replacing the d6 that her Style
your bleeding body, with your sword contributed to her AP with a d8.
Chapter 7: Playing

stuck in the neck of his comrade. He Jodi: Well then. I lift myself up
holsters his pistol and cuffs you, as high as I can, and with all my
before pulling you roughly to your strength, I smash myself into the
feet. Should we call an ambulance? table, breaking it in half as I crash
he asks the detective. Nah. Bitch onto the floor. I quickly untie my
killed Ryan, Ive got a better idea. hands and feet and filled with fear-
The last thing you see is his fist. fueled rage, I grab my sword as the
And thats the end of scene 2. detective comes down the stairs. And
Andy: When you finally open your thats the end of that scene, and
eyes, everything looks very dark and also the end of my turn.
Endgame Cameo Appearances by...
When all Bosses on all Lists are
dead, each player narrates one last One rule which you may choose to implement in
scene, describing the outcome from your future games is to allow old characters from
the perspective of their PC. The game previous games to appear on The Lists of new
is now officially ended, and its characters, or to be potential Sub-Bosses for the
time to determine who won the game. Antagonists to introduce with Kick. This can be quite
a fun way to play, especially when you get to kill your
old characters in epic battles. Or even better, other
Winning players characters.
Winning the game is a matter of being
the most successful at improving your The reasons for doing so could be many, and might
PC and killing Bosses. To determine even be the basis of your new characters concept.
this, add up the scores of all these For example, maybe when your old character killed
traits: Name, Style, Weapon, Luck, one of the Bosses on their List, they actually killed
Grudge, and Honour. Whoever has the your new characters mother, while they watched
highest total, is the winner, and unseen, vowing revenge.
everyone else is a loser.
If you are the winner, make sure
you gloat and rub it in, by dancing,
poking fun, throwing things at the Play Style Ideas
losers, grinning annoyingly for the In the examples in this rulebook, I
next week, and reminding the losers have used a style of a modern world
at every opportunity of how much similar to our real world (with
cooler than them you truly are. perhaps a hint of a supernatural
If you are a loser, you suck, and bent), but where swords and stuff are
clearly arent cool enough to play still used.
anything. This section is devoted to all the
Im just kidding. You can still play various ways you can play Scarlet
solitaire. Wake and have a blast.

Once More Into the Breach? Some Styles

If you want to play another game,
even with new characters and a new Movies: Scarlet Wake is ideal for
style, you must use half your total duplicating the experience of certain
score from the last game as the number types of movies. Some examples might
of points you have to distribute among be Kill Bill, The Crow (the original,
your characters traits when you not those blasphemous sequels), The
create them (see Chapter 2: Character Count of Monte Cristo, and even
Creation). You can only do this if The Princess Bride with the right
you were a loser from the last game. narrative style. Others that can be
If you won the last game, you must easily adapted might include many Hong
start with the standard 8 points. Kong action flicks, horror movies,
For example, if you were a loser and hell, basically any movie where
Chapter 8: Endgame
last game, and the total of your killing is a valid way to resolve
characters traits was 24, then you problems.
would start this next game with 12
points to distribute between Style, Other Games:Another style well suited
Weapon, Luck, and Grudge. The winner for Scarlet Wake is other games.
would only have the standard 8 points. Some examples might be Diablo 2,
Thatll teach the bastard for rubbing Neverwinter Nights, and Blood Rayne.
it in like an asshole. In fact, any game with a focus on
action and progressing through enemies
of increasing difficulty could be
easily duplicated with Scarlet Wake.
32 Genres: Sci-fi, horror, action,
fantasy, these are all viable and
fun options for Scarlet Wake styles.
Genres like romance, and soap-operas
are not going to work too well with Game Design
Scarlet Wake, and if you were even Ben ONeal
thinking of playing Scarlet Wake with
them, put down this rulebook, step
away, turn around, and never touch
Layout, Graphics, and Art
this book again. Ben ONeal
Implementation Kirk Mitchell
Its remarkably easy to implement
any style you want into Scarlet Malcolm Mitchell
Wake. Follow the steps for character Oliver Chapman
creation as usual, and in fact, you Tristan Leftwich
dont even have to change a single rule
at all. All you need to do to colour Ian Donald
your Scarlet Wake play experience Matt Mulray
with a new style, is approach your Chris M.
narrations with the style in mind.
For example, if you want your Your name here?
character to be a magician, simply
write Magic next to her Weapon Contribution and Inspiration
trait, and narrate your actions with (In no particular order)
your spells. If you want to give your
character X-Men powers, simply write Ralph Mazza (for giving me the first push)
something like teleportation next Sydney Freedberg (for miscellaneous help)
to your Style trait, and take this
into account when narrating scenes, Ben Lehman (more good suggestions)
like saying I teleport behind this Chris M. (helpful advice and enthusiasm)
guy and kick him clean across the Andrew Morris (excellent help with editing)
room, before teleporting again an
instant later and appearing behind Mike Holmes (for helping me understand game theory)
the next guy.... If you want your M. J. Young (more help with game theory)
character to have lasers for arms, Ron Edwards (for the GNS theory and the Forge)
well... you get the idea.
Vampires, angels, demons, And numerous others who have posted to my
swashbucklers, mutants, zombies, topics and provided valued responses.
cops, assassins, magicians, soldiers,
pirates, thieves, and monsters; these
are all great ideas for characters
Thank you.
and styles which you can easily play visit
in Scarlet Wake without needing to
change a single rule. Of course, you
can change the names of some traits
Chapter 8: Endgame

if you feel it would help your chosen

style. Scarlet Wake and all associated characters, logos, and
illustrations are copyright 2004 Ben ONeal.

Denoument All artwork is copyright 2004 Ben ONeal.

I hope you have as much fun playing
this game as I had making it. You can Kill Bill, The Crow, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Princess
email me at with Bride, Diablo 2, Neverwinter Nights, Blood Rayne, and
your thoughts on this game. X-Men are all copyright and trademark of their respected
Visit the Scarlet Wake website at: authors and/or copyright owners, and are not affiliated or associated with Scarlet Wake in any way.
Scarlet Wake Character Sheet The List Kick [__]
Name [ ]:___________________________
Name [ ]:__________________________________
Style [ ], Weapon [ ], Luck [ ], Crime [ ], MK [__]
* Style [ ]:__________________________________ 1 Peons: R1 [ ], R2 [ ], R3 [ ], R4 [ ], R5 [ ]
* Weapon [ ]:__________________________________
AP: __d4, __d6, __d8, __d10, __d12
* Luck [ ]:__________________________________
* Grudge [ ]:__________________________________ Name [ ]:___________________________
Honour [ ]:__________________________________ Style [ ], Weapon [ ], Luck [ ], Crime [ ], MK [__]
Fire [ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ]:[ ] 2 Peons: R1 [ ], R2 [ ], R3 [ ], R4 [ ], R5 [ ]
AP: __d4, __d6, __d8, __d10, __d12
Fuel [__] max: [__]
Name [ ]:___________________________
AP: __d4 (1s), __d6 (2s), __d8 (3s), __d10 (4s), __d12 (5s) Style [ ], Weapon [ ], Luck [ ], Crime [ ], MK [__]
3 Peons: R1 [ ], R2 [ ], R3 [ ], R4 [ ], R5 [ ]
Notes:______________________________________ AP: __d4, __d6, __d8, __d10, __d12
__________________________________________ Name [ ]:___________________________
_____________________________________________________ Style [ ], Weapon [ ], Luck [ ], Crime [ ], MK [__]
_____________________________________________________ 4 Peons: R1 [ ], R2 [ ], R3 [ ], R4 [ ], R5 [ ]
_____________________________________________________ AP: __d4, __d6, __d8, __d10, __d12
_____________________________________________________ Name [ ]:___________________________
_____________________________________________________ Style [ ], Weapon [ ], Luck [ ], Crime [ ], MK [__]
_____________________________________________________ 5 Peons: R1 [ ], R2 [ ], R3 [ ], R4 [ ], R5 [ ]
______________________________________________________ AP: __d4, __d6, __d8, __d10, __d12

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