Rage against the God-Machine
Conditions and Tilts
Conditions add an additional layer of consequence and reward to certain actions in the World of Darkness. They’re not traits a player can buy or choose for her character. They’re conditional; the context and the gameplay apply them and they remain only until certain resolution criteria are met. These resolutions are determined by the effect that causes the Condition or the terms of the Condition itself. Whenever your character resolves a Condition, take a Beat.
Conditions and Tilts (see p. 206) work similarly, but Conditions primarily play roles outside of combat, whereas Tilts tip the tides of a battle.
A character cannot have multiple instances of a Condition unless they apply to two different and specific things. For example, you may have Connected (Mob) and Connected (Police. Conditions replace the Flaws rules in the World of Darkness Rulebook.
Sources of Conditions
Various things within the course of a game can cause Conditions. The most common is exceptional successes. Any time a player rolls an exceptional success, the player may choose to bring a Condition into play. This Condition must be relevant to the situation. Some supernatural abilities can also offer Conditions. Ghostly Numina may offer Conditions, as well as vampiric Disciplines or werewolf Gifts.
A Storyteller may add a Condition to a character during any situation where she feels it would heighten the drama of the game.
Breaking points can cause Conditions (see Integrity, p. 184).
Lastly, complex behaviors may cause Conditions. For example, a well-planned heist may impose the Overwhelmed Condition on the chief of police, or a detailed bout of research and investigation may offer the Informed Condition.
While we’ve listed resolutions for each Condition, other things may end its effects. Use your better judgment when determining Condition resolution. The rule of thumb is that anything that would cause the Condition’s effects to end can be counted as resolution.
Some Conditions are marked as Persistent. These Conditions are tied inexorably to the character (replacing the Flaws in the World of Darkness Rulebook). Persistent Conditions may offer one Beat per game session when they complicate the character’s life. With Storyteller permission, players may take Persistent Conditions for their characters at character creation. Persistent Conditions may be resolved permanently only with a specific and impressive effort, along with Storyteller discretion.
The list below includes common Conditions that can be applied to characters. For Skill-based rolls, an exceptional success allows the noted Condition (unless otherwise stated). It may go to your character or the subject of the roll, as noted.
While we’ve listed a handful of recommended Skills that afford a given Condition, this list is hardly exhaustive. Give whatever Conditions make sense within the scope of the story. If a Condition has no listed Skills, it’s because another circumstance within the rules can cause it and it’s not something easily brought upon by regular Skill usage.
Your character is addicted to something, whether drugs, gambling or other destructive behaviors. Some addictions are more dangerous than others, but the nature of addiction is that it slowly takes over your life, impeding functionality. If you are addicted, you need to indulge your addiction regularly to keep it under control. A specific addiction should be chosen upon taking this Condition; characters can take this Condition multiple times for different addictions. Being unable to feed your addiction can result in the Deprived Condition.
Resolution: Regain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.
Beat: Your character chooses to get a fix rather than fulfill an obligation.
Your character is missing a portion of her memory. An entire period of her life is just gone. This causes massive difficulties with friends and loved ones.
Resolution: You regain your memory and learn the truth. Depending on the circumstances, this may constitute a breaking point.
Beat: Something problematic arises, such as a forgotten arrest warrant or old enemy.
Your character cannot see. Any rolls requiring sight may only use a chance die. If another sense can be reasonably substituted, make the roll at –3 instead. In a combat situation, she suffers the drawbacks of the Blinded Tilt (see p. 208). This Condition may be temporary, but that is usually the result of a combat effect, in which case the Blindness Tilt would apply.
Resolution: Your character regains her sight.
Beat: Your character encounters a limitation or difficulty that inconveniences her.
Whatever you did or saw, something inside you snapped. You can barely muster up the will to do your job anymore, and anything more emotionally intense than a raised voice makes you flinch and back down. Apply a –2 to all Social rolls and rolls involving Resolve and a –5 to all use of the Intimidation Skill.
Resolution: Regain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.
Beat: You back down from a confrontation or fail a roll due to this Condition.
Your character has established an extensive bond with a specific animal. She gains +2 on any rolls to influence or persuade her bonded animal. It may add your Animal Ken to any rolls to resist coercion or fear when in your character’s presence. The animal may add your character’s Animal Ken to any one die roll.
Resolution: The bonded animal dies or is otherwise parted from the character.
Your character has made inroads with a specified group. While she has this Condition, she gets a +2 to all rolls relating to that group. Alternately, she can shed this Condition to gain a one-time automatic exceptional success on the next roll to influence or otherwise take advantage of the group. Once Connected is resolved, the character is considered to have burned her bridges and is no longer an accepted member. The character may be able to regain Connected with the specified group per Storyteller approval.
Example Skills: Politics, Socialize
Resolution: The character loses her membership or otherwise loses her standing with the group.
Beat: The character is asked to perform a favor for the group that inconveniences her.
Your character has limited or no ability to walk. Her Speed trait is effectively 1. She must rely on a wheelchair or other device to travel. A manual wheelchair’s Speed is equal to your character’s Strength and requires use of her hands. Electric wheelchairs have a Speed of 3, but allow the free use of the character’s hands.
An injury can cause this Condition temporarily, in which case it is resolved when the injury heals and the character regains mobility.
Resolution: The character’s disability is cured by mundane or supernatural means.
Beat: Your character’s limited mobility inconveniences your character and makes her slow to respond.
Your character suffers from an addiction. She is unable to get her fix, however, leaving her irritable, anxious, and unable to focus. Remove one from her Stamina, Resolve, and Composure dice pools. This does not influence derived traits; it only influences dice pools that use these Attributes.
Resolution: Your character indulges her addiction.
Your character has a secret from his past that could come back to haunt him. If this secret gets out, he could be ostracized or maybe even arrested. If it becomes known, this Condition is exchanged for Notoriety (p. 183).
Resolution: The character’s secret is made public, or the character does whatever is necessary to make sure it never comes to light.
Something terrible happened. Rather than deal with it or let it break you, your mind shuts it out. You are prone to blackouts and lost time. Whenever circumstances become too similar to the situation that led to your gaining this Condition, the player rolls Resolve + Composure. If you fail the roll, the Storyteller controls your character for the next scene; your character, left to his own devices, will seek to avoid the conflict and get away from the area.
Resolution: Regain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.
Beat: You enter a fugue state as described above.
Your character is experiencing deep-seated feelings of guilt and remorse. This Condition is commonly applied after a successful breaking point roll (p. 185). While the character is under the effects of this Condition, he receives a –2 to any Resolve or Composure rolls to defend against Subterfuge, Empathy or Intimidation rolls.
Resolution: The character confesses his crimes and makes restitution for whatever he did.
Your character has a breadth of research information based on the topic she investigated. When you make a roll re-lating to the topic, you may choose to resolve this Condition. If you resolve it and the roll failed, it is instead considered to have a single success. If it succeeded, the roll is considered an exceptional success.
The roll that benefits from the Informed Condition can be any relevant Skill roll. For example, a character with Informed (Werewolves) might gain its benefits when using researched information to build a silver bear trap with the Crafts Skill. Combat rolls cannot benefit from this Condition.
Example Skills: Academics, Investigation, Occult, Science
Resolution: Your character uses her research to gain information; the Condition is resolved as described above.
Your character is deeply inspired. When your character takes an action pertaining to that inspiration, you may resolve this Condition. An exceptional success on that roll requires only three successes instead of five and you gain a point of Willpower.
Example Skills: Crafts, Expression
Resolution: You spend inspiration to spur yourself to greater success, resolving the Condition as described above.
Your character has been blackmailed, tricked, convinced, or otherwise leveraged into doing what another character wishes. You may have the Leveraged Condition multiple times for different characters. Any time the specified character requests something of you, you may resolve this Condition if your character does as requested without rolling to resist.
Example Skills: Empathy, Persuasion, Subterfuge
Resolution: Your character may either resolve the Condition by complying with a request as above, or if you apply the Leveraged condition to the specified character.
Your character has no idea where she is or how to reach her target. Characters with the Lost Condition remove one die from their Composure dice pools. This does not influence derived traits; it only influences dice pools that use these Attributes. A Lost character cannot make any headway toward her goal without first navigating and finding her place. This requires a successful Wits + Streetwise action (in the city) or Wits + Survival action (in the wilderness).
Resolution: Your character gives up on reaching her intended destination, or she successfully navigates as described above.
Your character saw or did something that jarred her loose from reality. This isn’t a mental illness born of brain chemistry — that, at least, might be treatable. This madness is the product of supernatural tampering or witnessing something that humanity was never meant to comprehend. The Storyteller has a pool of dice equal to 10 – (character’s Integrity). Once per chapter, the Storyteller can apply those dice as a negative modifier to any Mental or Social roll made for the character.
Resolution: Regain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.
Beat: The character fails a roll because of this Condition.
Your character cannot speak. Any communication must be done through writing, gestures, or hand signs. Illness, injury, or supernatural powers can inflict this Condition on a temporary basis.
Resolution: The character regains her voice through mundane or supernatural means.
Beat: Your character suffers a limitation or communication difficulty that heightens immediate danger.
Whether or not your character actually did something heinous in the past, the wrong people think he did and now he’s ostracized by the general public. Your character suffers a –2 on any Social rolls against those who know of his notoriety. If using Social maneuvering (p. 188), the character must open one extra Door if his target knows of his notoriety.
Example Skills: Subterfuge, Socialize
Resolution: The story is debunked or the character’s name is cleared.
Something’s on your character’s mind and she just can’t shake it. She gains the 9-again quality on all rolls related to pursuing her obsession. On rolls that are unrelated to her obsession, she loses the 10-again quality. Obsession can be a temporary quality per Storyteller approval.
Resolution: The character sheds or purges her fixation.
Beat: Character fails to fulfill an obligation due to pursuing her obligation.
Something has severely frightened your character. Any time your character is taking an action where that fear might hinder her, you may opt to fail the roll and resolve this Condition. This Condition can be imposed by undergoing a breaking point roll.
Example Skills: Brawl, Firearms, Intimidation, Weaponry
Resolution: The character gives into her fear and fails a roll as described above.
Your character has seen something supernatural — not overt enough to terrify her, but unmistakably otherworldly. How your character responds to this is up to you, but it captivates her and dominates her focus.
Resolution: This Condition is resolved when your character’s fear and fascination causes her to do something that hinders the group or complicates things (she goes off alone to investigate a strange noise, stays up all night researching, runs away instead of holding her ground, etc.).
Your character is confident and resolved. When you’ve failed a roll, you may choose resolve this Condition to instead treat the action as if you’d rolled a single success. If the roll is a chance die, you may choose to
resolve this Condition and roll a single regular die instead.
Resolution: Your character’s confidence carries him through and the worst is avoided; the Condition is resolved as described above.
Your character is attracted to someone and is vulnerable where they are concerned. He may have the proverbial “butterflies in his stomach” or just be constantly aware of the object of his affection. A character may have multiple instances of this Condition, reflecting affection for multiple characters. He suffers a –2 to any rolls that would adversely affect the specified character, who also gains +2 on any Social rolls against him. If the specified character is attempting Social maneuvering on the Swooning character, the impression level is considered one higher (maximum of perfect; see p. 193).
Example Skills: Persuasion, Subterfuge
Resolution: Your character does something for his love interest that puts him in danger, or he opts to fail a roll to resist a Social action by the specified character.
Tilts were introduced in The Danse Macabre for Vampire: The Requiem as a unified way of applying circumstances to both characters and scenes. Tilts are mechanically similar to Conditions, but they affect characters and scenes in combat. Out of combat, use Conditions instead. Tilts replace the existing combat rules for Fighting Blind, Immobilized, Knockdown, Knockout, and Stun effects. They also provide a new way of handling drugs, poisons, sickness, and environmental and weather effects, but only as they apply to combat. Out of combat, use the normal rules for these effects. Tilts do not give characters Beats when they end, but the effects of a Tilt can very easily cause a Condition. For instance, a character in a fight gets a handful of road salt flung in his eyes and receives the Blinded Tilt. When combat ends, this shifts to the Blind Condition. Resolving this Condition will give the character a Beat. If the character enters combat again before the Condition is resolved, the Blinded Tilt applies again. Tilts come in two forms: Personal and Environmental. Personal Tilts only apply to one character and include ways in which that character can overcome the effect. Environmental Tilts affect the whole scene, and offer ways for individual characters to mitigate their effects.
Your arm burns with pain and then goes numb. It could be dislocated, sprained, or broken: whatever’s wrong with it, you can’t move your limb.
Effect: If your arm’s broken or otherwise busted, you drop whatever you’re holding in that arm and can’t use it to attack opponents — unless you’ve got the Ambidextrous Merit, you suffer off-hand penalties for any rolls that require manual dexterity. If this effect spreads to both limbs, you’re down to a chance die on any rolls that require manual dexterity, and −3 to all other Physical actions.
Causing the Tilt: Some supernatural powers can cripple a victim’s limbs or break bones with a touch. A character can have his arm knocked out by a targeted blow to the arm (–2 penalty) that deals more damage than the character’s Stamina. A targeted blow to the hand inflicts this Tilt if it does any damage.
Ending the Tilt: If the Tilt is inflicted as a result of an attack, mark an ‘x’ under the leftmost Health box inflicted in that attack; the Tilt ends when the damage that caused it has healed. If aggravated damage inflicts this Tilt, the character loses the use of his arm (or straight up loses his arm) permanently.
The character has had the fight knocked out of him.
Effect: The character cannot take active part in the fight without extra effort. The player must spend a point of Willpower each time he wants the character to take a violent ac-tion in the fight. He can still run, Dodge, and apply Defense. If he wishes to take another action, the Storyteller should judge whether the action is aggressive enough to require the expenditure.
Causing the Tilt: The character suffers bashing damage in excess of his Stamina or any amount of lethal damage. Ending the Tilt: The character surrenders and gives the aggressor what he wants. At this point, the character regains a point of Willpower and takes a Beat, but can take no further action in the fight. If the aggressor’s intent is to kill or injure the character, obviously surrender isn’t a good option.
The character’s eyes are damaged or removed, or the character is placed in a situation where eyesight is eliminated (a pitch-black room or a supernatural effect).
Effect: The character suffers a −3 penalty to any rolls that rely on vision — including attack rolls — and halves his Defense if one eye is blinded. That penalty increases to −5 and losing all Defense if both eyes are affected.
Causing the Tilt: The most common means of inflicting the tilt is to severely impair the target’s eyesight (using a blindfold, etc). An attacker can inflict temporary blindness by slashing at her opponent’s brow, throwing sand into his eyes, or kicking up dirt. This requires an attack roll of Dexterity + Athletics with a −3 penalty; the victim’s Defense applies to this attack. If it succeeds, the target is Blinded for the next turn.
Blindness can also be inflicted by dealing damage to the target’s eyes — a specified attack with a −5 penalty (see Specified Targets, above). A successful attack normally damages one eye. It takes an exceptional success to totally blind an attacker.
Ending the Tilt: If an attack against the character’s eye does any points of damage, mark an ‘x’ under the leftmost Health box inflicted in that attack. If the damage inflicted is aggravated the character loses vision in that eye permanently. Otherwise, the condition ends when the damage that caused the Tilt is healed.
Heavy snowfall carpets the ground and just keeps falling, whipped up by howling winds into a barrage of whirling white.
Effect: Blizzards make it very hard to see for any real distance. Rolls to see things close to the character’s person, out to arm’s length away, suffer a −1 penalty. Each additional ten yards inflicts an additional −1 penalty (cumulative) on all visual Perception rolls. This penalty also applies to ranged attack rolls. Moving through snow is difficult. Every four inches of snow applies a −1 penalty to appropriate Physical rolls, including combat rolls, Athletics, and so forth. The Blizzard Tilt rarely applies by itself — the Storyteller may also inflict any or all of the Extreme Cold, Heavy Winds, or Ice Tilts (all found below).
Causing the Tilt: For the most part, the weather is out of the characters’ control — the Storyteller should telegraph an incoming blizzard before it hits, but it’s ultimately up to her. Some supernatural powers might grant a character the power to create a blizzard.
Ending the Tilt: Without supernatural powers, characters can’t “end” a blizzard. The best they can manage is to escape the weather or wait for it to stop. Proper equipment (such as goggles and snow boots) can add +1 to +3 to a roll, offsetting some of the penalties. If someone is causing this Tilt through a supernatural power, it’s possible that the characters could disrupt his concentration.
The character can’t hear. Maybe he’s suffering intense tinnitus or can only hear the roaring of blood in his ears, or he just plain can’t hear.
Effect: If the character is deaf in one ear, he suffers a −3 penalty to hearing-based Perception rolls. A character who is struck deaf in both ears only gets a chance die on hearing-based Perception rolls, and suffers a −2 penalty to all combat-related dice rolls — suddenly losing the ability to hear the people around you is tremendously disorienting.
Causing the Tilt: A particularly loud noise within 10 feet of the character may cause temporary hearing loss as though the character were deaf in both ears. Alternatively, a targeted attack on the ear — at a −4 penalty — can deafen a character. Supernatural creatures with heightened senses can be deafened by loud noises at greater distances.
Ending the Tilt: Deafness from loud noises fades after 10 – (victim’s Stamina + Resolve) turns. If an attack against the character’s ear does any points of damage, mark an ‘x’ under the leftmost Health box inflicted in that attack. If the damage inflicted is aggravated, the character loses hearing in the ear permanently. Otherwise, the condition ends when the damage that caused the Tilt is healed.
The character’s mind is addled by mind-altering substances, such as drink or drugs.
Effect: The effects of specific drugs are detailed in the on p.177 of the World of Darkness Rulebook. A generic narcotic can be represented with one set of modifiers: the character suffers a −2 modifier to Speed (and static Defense, if used) and a −3 penalty to all rolls in combat, including Defense and Perception. The character also ignores wound penalties.
Causing the Tilt: If the character has chosen to take drugs, then he suffers the effects. To administer drugs to another character is a Dexterity + Weaponry attack, suffering a −1 modifier for the improvised weapon. If the drug has to go in to a specific body part (such as an arm or mouth), it requires an attack against a specified target.
Ending the Tilt: Each drug in the World of Darkness Rulebook explains how long a high lasts. A generic narcotic lasts for 10 – (victim’s Stamina + Resolve) hours. This time is halved by medical help, such as pumping the victim’s stomach or flushing his system.
Everything shudders and shakes; huge rents and holes tear the ground wide open.
Effect: Earthquakes don’t last long, but they don’t have to. When the quake’s actually occurring, all Dexterity-based dice pools (and Defense) suffer a −1 to −5 penalty depending on the quake’s severity. Characters take between one and three points of lethal damage per turn of the quake’s duration, though a reflexive Stamina + Athletics roll can downgrade that damage to bashing — or cancel it entirely on an exceptional success.
Causing the Tilt: Without tremendous supernatural power, it’s almost impossible to cause an earthquake. A character who detonates a powerful explosive underground might simulate the effects over a city-block for a few seconds.
Ending the Tilt: Earthquakes are fortunately very quick events. It’s very rare for one to last more than a minute (20 turns), so waiting them out is the best course of action.
Extreme Cold (Environmental)
Bone-chilling winds bite through the character, or trudging through knee-deep snow takes all of the sensation from his limbs. Any time the temperature gets down below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), a character can suffer from the cold’s effects. This Tilt can sometimes be personal, either as a result of a medical condition such as hypothermia or a supernatural power.
Effect: When the temperature is below freezing, characters can’t heal bashing damage — the extreme temperature deals damage at the same rate normal characters heal it (a cut might turn to frostbite, for instance). Supernatural beings and characters who heal faster than normal instead halve their normal healing rate. For every hour that a character is continuously affected by this Tilt, he accrues a −1 penalty to all rolls. When that penalty hits −5 dice, he instead suffers 1 point of lethal damage per hour.
Causing the Tilt: A character can suffer this Tilt from being in a frozen environment — whether he’s outside in the Arctic tundra or in a walk-in freezer. Inflicting the Tilt is reasonably straightforward: throw the victim into a freezing lake or lock him in a freezer for long enough and he’ll develop hypothermia.
Ending the Tilt: The best way to escape the freezing cold is to find a source of warmth — either a building with working heating, or warm bundled clothing. A character who has hypothermia requires medical attention.
Extreme Heat (Environmental)
The character might be stumbling through the desert with the sun beating down on him, or running through the steam-tunnels surrounding an old boiler room. This Tilt can also be personal, the result of a debilitating fever that spikes his temperature far above the norm. Extreme heat is normally anything above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) — this includes both environmental temperature and internal body temperature due to fever.
Effect: When the temperature is far above normal, characters can’t heal bashing damage — the extreme temperature deals damage at the same rate normal characters heal it (a cut might heal, but it’s replaced by sunburn or sunstroke). Supernatural beings and characters who heal faster than normal instead halve their normal healing rate. For every hour that a character is continuously affected by this Tilt, he accrues a −1 penalty to all rolls. When that penalty hits −5 dice, he instead suffers a point of lethal damage per hour.
Causing the Tilt: This Tilt is usually caused by environmental factors — being out at noon in the desert or spending too long in a sauna or forge. Even a fever is the result of an infection, rather than something that an opponent can force on a character. It’s possible to create this Tilt on a given character: securing someone to a chair right next to an old, inefficient boiler, or stranding them in the desert far from any shade.
Ending the Tilt: The key to ending this Tilt is simple: get out of the heat. In a desert or similar environment, finding
shade is paramount. Elsewhere, the character needs to escape whatever is causing the abnormal temperatures.
Some liquid — brackish water, mud, gore, or raw sewage — is high enough to impede the character’s progress.
Effect: Each foot of liquid inflicts a −2 penalty to all Physical dice pools. If the water goes up over her head, a character has to swim (Dexterity + Athletics) with a penalty appropriate for the speed of flooding. Alternatively, she can try to hold her breath (“Holding Breath,” p. 49 of the World of Darkness Rulebook) if she cannot get her head above the rising waters.
Causing the Tilt: Normally, this Tilt is the result of heavy rain, sudden snowmelt, or a broken water main. Characters can cause this Tilt by smashing up a water heater or blowing up a small dam. Some supernatural creatures may be able to call floods down onto a region.
Ending the Tilt: Characters can escape flooding by getting to high ground, which is enough to mitigate this Tilt. A long-term fix would require draining the floodwaters, but each flood requires its own solution.
Heavy Rain (Environmental)
Torrential rain lashes down in knives, bouncing high off the sidewalk. The sound of rain on the ground is a constant hammering rumble that goes on without end, like dropping ball bearings on a tin roof. Thick gray curtains of water obscure vision.
Effect: Heavy rains — approaching tropical storm levels or worse — cause a Perception penalty of −3 dice to both vision and hearing. Rain’s hard to see through, but it’s also loud. If the rains carry on for an hour or more, the Flooded Tilt will soon follow. This Tilt is often accompanied by Heavy Winds; a character trapped out in Heavy Rains might come under the effects of Extreme Cold.
Causing the Tilt: Short of supernatural power or a fleet of cloud-seeding aircraft, Heavy Rain is the result of natural weather patterns.
Ending the Tilt: The best way out of the rain is to get indoors. Unless it’s the start of some sodden apocalypse, the characters can wait for the weather to ease.
Heavy Winds (Environmental)
Howling winds buffet at the characters, whipping street furniture into the air, tearing the roofs from buildings. Powerful winds can toss cars around like toys. Anyone out in the winds feels like they’re taking a beating just for walking down the street.
Effect: Heavy winds are loud, so characters suffer a −3 modifier to aural Perception rolls. Also the wind inflicts a penalty to all Physical rolls when out in the winds — including Drive rolls. Grade the wind from one to five — one is tropical storm level (around 40 MPH), three is hurricane level (around 80 MPH), and five is tornado level (150+ MPH). This is the penalty applied to Physical dice rolls. Characters outside in the maelstrom take damage from flying debris, taking bashing damage each turn equal to the wind’s rating. Characters can make a reflexive Dexterity + Athletics roll to avoid damage.
Causing the Tilt: Heavy winds are a fact of life, from siroccos in the desert to tornados in the Midwest to wind shears everywhere.
Ending the Tilt: Getting out of the wind is the best way to end this Tilt. Sometimes that’s as easy as sheltering in an automobile — as long as nobody tries to drive. Buildings provide more permanent shelter.
The ground’s covered in a mirror-smooth layer of ice that sends wheels spinning and people’s feet flying out from under them. The ice could be so thin as to be nearly invisible or a thick layer that’s the only thing keeping the characters from sinking into a frozen lake.
Effect: When a character can’t trust her footing, divide her Speed in half and all Physical rolls (and Defense) suffer a −2 penalty. Attempting to move at full Speed increases the Physical penalty to −4. Any dramatic failure on a Physical roll inflicts the Knocked Down Tilt. Driving on ice is a real pain — halve Acceleration and characters suffer a −5 penalty to Drive rolls.
Causing the Tilt: This Tilt doesn’t just apply to icy conditions, but to any surface that’s slick and slippery, including a spill of industrial lubricant or just a really well polished wooden or linoleum floor. Characters can use a Dexterity + Crafts roll to cover an area in industrial cleaner or mix up cleaning chemicals into a lubricant. If the Extreme Cold Tilt is in effect, even covering the area with water would do the trick.
Ending the Tilt: “Get off the ice” is good advice, but that can take work. Characters can use heat or fire to melt ice, or throw down copious quantities of salt or grit to increase traction.
Something holds the character fast, preventing him from moving. This could be a grappling opponent, a straightjacket wrapped with heavy chains, or a coffin secured on the outside with a padlock.
Effect: The character can’t do anything but wriggle helplessly. He can’t apply Defense against incoming attacks and can’t take combat-related actions. If someone’s holding him down, he can spend a point of Willpower to deliver a head-butt or similar attack, but even that might not free him.
Causing the Tilt: The usual way to inflict this Tilt is through the Restrain grappling move. This often uses material means to prevent the victim from moving, such as binding limbs with duct tape or zip-ties, tossing the victim into a car trunk or similar tight space, or applying painful holds and joint locks.
Ending the Tilt: An Immobilized target can break free by escaping from a grapple or snapping whatever binds her. If grappled, the character can struggle as normal but can only select the Break Free move on a success. If held by an item, the character must make a Strength + Athletics roll penalized by the item’s Durability. If a character’s arms and legs are both bound, he suffers a −2 penalty; this increases to −4 if he’s hog-tied. On a success, he snaps the bindings or breaks free. Each roll, successful or not, deals a point of bashing damage.
The character suffers from a panic attack, sudden imbalance, or a full-on psychotic break. Her pulse races and her mind cannot focus. The world’s an unstable place, and she’s unable to keep her balance.
Effect: Someone suffering a psychotic break isn’t the sort of person to go down without a fight. Her stated intent might be irrational or just plain impossible, and she might have fewer ethical problems with using extreme violence to get what she wants. The character gains a +1 bonus to all combat rolls, but takes actions after everyone else (if two characters suffer from the Insane Tilt, both act after everyone else but compare Initiative as normal). A character suffering from this Tilt may spend Willpower, but the cost is 2 dots instead of 1 for the same effect.
Causing the Tilt: Faced with extraordinary circumstances, any character with an appropriate Condition may gain the Insane Tilt. The Storyteller can call for a Resolve + Composure roll to resist a general anxiety that gnaws at the character’s mind; if the character fails, he gains the Tilt. If the character witnesses something truly horrific — a daughter watches her father walk to the end of the garden and shoot himself in the head, smiling all the while; a man stumbles into the wrong office at work and sees his co-workers feasting on the intern’s organs; a solder sees her unit gunned down by a sniper while she can do nothing — the Storyteller can rule that the Tilt is unavoidable.
The Insane Tilt can also be triggered by a breaking point. If a character fails a breaking point role during combat, the Storyteller may apply the Insane Tilt then as well.
A character can work to inspire another character’s madness in order to cause this Tilt. She could orchestrate events that she hopes will provoke a psychotic break, but that’s amateur hour. A professional swaps out her victim’s meds, giving stimulants just as his bipolar cycle ticks into mania, or dosing a paranoid or schizophrenic with hallucinogenic drugs.
Some supernatural creatures possess mind-affecting powers that can apply this Tilt, even to characters who do not have an appropriate Condition.
Ending the Tilt: The specific effects of this Tilt don’t normally last beyond the end of the scene. A character can try to force her mind to a state of balance, but it’s not easy. She must sit and focus on blocking out the craziness. She rolls Resolve + Composure as an instant action contested by a dice pool of (10 – her Willpower). She can’t take any other actions that turn and doesn’t apply Defense against any attacks.
The character shuts down, either due to extreme fear or sudden pleasure. He may huddle in a corner, cringe away from sudden noises, or stare into space as waves of pleasure lap over him.
Effect: The character can’t take any actions until the Tilt is resolved. He can apply Defense to incoming attacks, and if he takes any damage from an attack, he’s knocked free of whatever fogged his brain.
Causing the Tilt: Several supernatural powers can leave their victim in a trance-like state of heightened emotion, whether it’s a vampire’s mind-affecting tricks or the pants-shitting terror of
witnessing a werewolf take on an inhuman form. A truly heroic amount of alcohol or a hallucinogenic drug might have similar effects; administering such a drug is a Dexterity + Weaponry attack, suffering a −1 modifier for the improvised weapon.
Ending the Tilt: The Tilt wears off at the end of the scene. The victim can spend a point of Willpower before then to act normally for one turn. A successful attack will also end the Tilt. If a character has been knocked insensible by drugs, this Tilt is replaced with the Drugged Tilt when it ends.
Something knocks the character to the floor, either toppling her with a powerful blow to the chest or taking one of her legs out from under her.
Effect: The character is knocked off her feet. If she hasn’t already acted this turn, she loses her action. Once she’s on the ground, a character is considered prone (see “Going Prone,” pp. 164–165 of the World of Darkness Rulebook). The character can still apply Defense against incoming attacks, and can attempt to attack from the ground at a −2 penalty.
Causing the Tilt: Some weapons list “Knockdown” as a special effect of a damaging hit. Otherwise, a melee weapon with a damage modifier of +2 or greater, or a firearm with a damage modifier of +3 or more can be used to knock a character down with the force of the blow. Alternatively, a melee weapon or unarmed attack can knock an opponent down with a targeted attack against the legs (–2 modifier). The attacker declares that he wants to knock his opponent down and halves the total damage done (rounding down). On a successful attack, the target is knocked down.
Ending the Tilt: The easiest way to end this Tilt is to stand up, which takes an action. A character affected by this Tilt who hasn’t yet acted can make a Dexterity + Athletics roll, minus any weapon modifier, instead of her normal action. If successful, she avoids the effects of this Tilt altogether. On a failure, she falls over and the Tilt applies as normal.
Your leg feels like it’s going to snap clean off whenever you move; when you stop moving, you feel a burning numbness that encourages you to avoid moving.
Effect: If your leg is broken, sprained, or dislocated, halve your Speed and suffer a −2 penalty on Physical rolls that require movement (and Defense). If both of your legs are wracked, you fall over — taking the Knocked Down Tilt — and cannot get up. Your Speed is reduced to 1; if you want to move at all, you cannot take any other action. Physical rolls that require movement are reduced to a chance die.
Causing the Tilt: Some supernatural powers can cripple a victim’s limbs or break bone with a touch. A character can have his leg knocked out by a targeted blow to the leg (–2 penalty) that deals more damage than the character’s Stamina.
Ending the Tilt: If the Tilt is inflicted as a result of an attack, mark an ‘x’ under the leftmost Health box inflicted in that attack. The Tilt ends when that damage that caused it has healed. If the damage that inflicts this Tilt is aggravated, the character loses use of his leg permanently.
You’ve got poison inside you. It’s tearing you apart from the inside; burning like acid in your gut and making your head swim.
Effect: This Tilt applies a general sense of being poisoned to a character without worrying about Toxicity during combat. For the purposes of this Tilt, a poison is either “moderate” or “grave” — a moderate poison causes 1 point of bashing damage per turn of combat, while a grave poison ups that to 1 point of lethal damage per turn. If the Storyteller cares to continue the effects of the poison outside of combat, he can apply the standard rules for handling poisons and toxins when combat is complete.
Causing the Tilt: It’s possible for a character to not know that he’s been poisoned. It could be as innocuous as switch-ing drinks with a pretty girl who is the target of a mob hit, or as simple as walking into a house with a carbon monoxide leak. That said, the main time poison comes up in combat is when one combatant inflicts it on another. Injecting your opponent with a syringe full of drain cleaner or snake venom is a Dexterity + Weaponry attack, suffering a −1 modifier for the improvised weapon.
Ending the Tilt: Short of immediate medical attention — and how many fights take place in an emergency room? — all a victim can do is struggle on. Roll Stamina + Resolve as a reflexive action each turn that your character is poisoned. If your character intends to act (meaning, takes a non-reflexive action), the roll suffers a −3 penalty. Success counteracts the damage for one turn only.
Your stomach churns. You retch and heave but only succeed in bringing up bile. Sweat beads on your brow as you spike a fever. Your muscles ache with every movement. You’re wracked with hot and cold flushes as a sickness gnaws away at your insides.
Effect: This Tilt applies a general sickness to a character without worrying about the specific illness. For the purposes of this Tilt, a sickness is either “moderate” or “grave.” A moderate sickness, such as a cold, asthma, the flu, or just a bad hangover, causes a −1 penalty to all actions during combat. That penalty increases by one every two turns (the first two turns, the character suffers a −1 penalty, the next two turns the penalty is −2, and so on up to a maximum of −5 dice on turn 9). A grave sickness, such as pneumonia, heavy metal poisoning, or aggressive cancer, inflicts the same dice pool penalties as a mild sickness. In addition, however, the physical stress of fighting or even defending oneself from an attacker while gravely ill inflicts 1 point of bashing damage per turn of combat.
Causing the Tilt: It’s not easy to deliberately make someone sick. Sure, if you can get your hands on a vial of smallpox or deliberately use a disease you’ve got to make someone sick (a breaking point, especially in the case of grave diseases like AIDS), then you’ve got a reasonable chance. Some supernatural creatures have abilities that can inflict diseases on others. Aside from that, you’ve just got to expose your opponent to the sickness long before you fight and hope for the best.
Ending the Tilt: This Tilt reflects the effects of sickness as it specifically applies to combat. Outside of combat, use the existing system for diseases (World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 176). The penalties inflicted by this Tilt fade at a rate of one point per turn once the character has a chance to rest, but any damage inflicted remains until the character can heal.
Your character is dazed and unable to think straight. Maybe her vision blurs. If she’s stunned as a result of a blow to the head, she’s probably got a concussion.
Effect: A character with the Stunned Tilt loses her next action, and halves her Defense until she can next act.
Causing the Tilt: A character can be stunned by any attack that does at least as much damage as her Size in a single hit. Some weapons have a “stun” special ability. These double the weapon modifier only for the purposes of determining whether the attacker inflicts the Stunned Tilt. Attacks against the target’s head (see “Specified Targets,” p. 203) count the character’s Size as one lower for the purposes of this Tilt. The Storyteller might determine that additional effects cause this Tilt, like being caught in the blast area of an explosion (World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 178).
Ending the Tilt: The effects of this Tilt normally only last for a single turn. The character can end the Tilt during her own action by reflexively spending a point of Willpower to gather her wits, though she suffers a –3 modifier to any actions she takes that turn.