Economy & Items

Philosophy of the Economy

The economy at Darkwood Nights looks to mimic provincial economies in the dark ages. A time and place where coin was scarce. Locals bartered goods and services among themselves while saving their coin to deal with outsiders or governments. 

There are a few common ways to engage in this type of economic system and each method lends itself to different character concepts and professions. The first is to be a laborer, these characters purchase the Trade skill and gain Commodities which can be traded among PCs and NPCs alike for goods and services and are important for crafting as well as maintaining and expanding the town. The second is to be a crafter, these characters take Alchemy, Crafting, Smithing, and/or powers that allow them to create magical items and trade these. Crafters will be dependent on laborers to create the resources they need and so will be incentivized to seek out characters who can supply them with the materials they need to create items. The third is to offer service. These characters do things like run the inn, guard buildings/the town, provide healing or use skills such as Fortune Telling or their magic as their barter. The final method is to provide things players need, these characters are the non-mechanical merchants who sell food, drink, garb and anything else they wish to bring in and trade. 

The Coin of Darkwood Nights is the Pfennig and is intended to be used when barter breaks down or, more commonly, with outside merchants. We expect the value of Pfennig to change as their In Game supply does and so have taken pains to ensure that there is no mechanical value associated with them. NPCs will travel through town with Commodities, equipment, potions/poisons, magical items of their own, and Pfennig to trade and turn a profit. Characters may be able to barter commodities and services with these merchants, afterall the furs and lumber of the region is sought far and wide, but these merchants will primarily seek to trade in Pfennig. This will allow the value of a Pfennig to be determined in game naturally and fluctuate with supply and demand organically.


Darkwood Nights uses 1 coin, the silver Pfennig. We have no mechanical value placed on the Pfennig within the rules and we expect the value of the Pfennig to wax and wane as its supply and demand shifts in game. Its value will be determined by the players trading them. The Pfennig is meant to be used to trade with merchants from outside Wollbach or in situations where the barter system described above breaks down. While we only have 1 coin there are a number of trade currencies that are used at this time for large transactions.

The Pfennig was made by minting 240 coins from 1 pound of silver. Sometimes a larger coin, called a Groat, was minted by combining 6 Pfennig and so typically worth 6 Pfennig. The Shilling was worth 12 Pfennig but rarely minted at this time. Next up was the Mark which was worth 120 Pfennig and, when traded, was a half pound bar of silver. Finally there was the Pfund, 1 pound of silver worth 240 Pfennig.


Commodities are the main economy driver at Darkwood Nights and represent the resources needed to craft items, maintain and expand the town and Province, and trade goods imported and exported into the province. They are represented by 1” by 1” tags and are earned by characters at check in with the Trade Skill and traded among PC and NPC’s alike. These are not physical items themselves but represent the goods a character has to trade and so should not be laid out on tables or handed off to other players to leaf through, although sample props showing the commodities one has available are encouraged. Players should negotiate their trade and, once agreed, exchange the appropriate Commodity Tags.

Commodities are not In Game items and so cannot be stolen or looted off of corpses, only given willingly. Beyond trading with other players, Commodities will be required to improve the town by upgrading the Iron Mine, Sawmill and other areas of the province which will also affect Commodity production. How many Commodities are produced by each specialization of the Trade skill may vary game to game based on the actions of players, however the minimum number of Commodities that can be earned are 1 per Dot of the Trade Skill possessed. Commodities, like crafted items, will not last forever and expire 5 games after they are earned.

Commodities will also need to be spent to maintain buildings, primarily logs, lumber, furs and iron, or they will become uninhabitable. These costs will be administered the first game of Spring with exact numbers determined by ST and/or the Proconsul. 

Below is a list of the Commodity tags and their primary uses:

Example: Henry is a miner by trade but also part of the town watch. He has decided he needs to get Winnefred the smith to make him a shield. He has earned 3 Iron tags this game and goes and talks to Winnefred. They agree that he can pay Winnefred 2 iron in exchange for a shield she has now. Henry gives Winnefred the 2 Iron tags and Winnefred gives Henry the shield. In order to replace that Shield Winnefred would need to trade or buy 1 Lumber and 1 Fur tag and craft another one at check in. 

Item Creation Costs

Items and equipment have the following Commodity Costs and each line counts as 1 Item for the crafting limits imposed by the crafting skills:

In Game Items

All In Game Items have two parts; 1. A prop which physically represents the item and, 2. A Tag which details the items In Game Effects. Itesm are further split into Crafted Items, items made using the Alchemicy, Crafting or Smithing skills, and Magical Items, items created with powers that typically grant powers themselves. A single prop can have multiple Tags attached to it but only 1 Magical Item Tag, so a sword prop can have a Medium Weapon Tag and a Relic Tag, for example. The exceptions are Pfennig, documents and coin pouches, which all count as In Game Items even though they aren’t tagged. Commodities are NOT In Game Items and so the rules below do not apply to them.

Crafted items are: Weapons, thrown weapons, arrows, armor, locks, keys, shackles, rope, and stakes. 

Magical Items are detailed below and encompass Potions and Poisons, Temporary Magical Items, Permanent Magical Items, Magical Components, Foci, and Grimoires. Any other type of tagged item is also considered an In Game item even if it isn’t on the above list.

Tag Size: Tags will state what kind of item the tag represents and must be attached to the correct type of prop. For example you cannot attach a Small Weapon Tag on a 6’ long staff weapon. Tags have different sizes so the type of item can easily be determined by looking at the size of the tag.

Expiration: All Crafted Items have an Expiration section on their tag with the game number the item expires on. After that game the item can no longer be used, however if a Character isn’t played at the game their items expire on any items they possess expire at the end of the next game they play instead. This is meant to keep the economy moving and represent needing to repair, replace, and the resources to maintain, used equipment. 

Stealing: All in game items can be stolen. To steal an item a player must take the prop and the tag and cannot transfer the tag to another prop unless the owner of the prop agrees. This is to allow stolen items to be identified, if you steal a magical sword the owner will recognize that magical sword. Props must be returned to the owner after the game, however this can be done through staff so the owner doesn’t know who stole the item in game. If the owner wishes they may remove the tag and either give it back to the player who stole the item, or game staff, for the thief to attach it to a new prop, otherwise they must give the prop and tag back to the thief at the start of the next game.

Breaking and Repairing Items

Certain powers or mechanics allow a Character to break an item, typically the Drain Item or Destroy Item powers. To use these powers the user must pay all costs and then remove the tag from the item and tear it in half. The breaking player then either leaves the prop and torn tag on the ground, placing the prop over the torn tag pieces so they don’t blow away, or takes both the prop and tag with them. If they do the latter they must return the prop to the player at the end of the game similar to Stealing above. If you can’t tear the tag you may separate it from the item instead, such as when tag tape makes it too durable to tear. An item whose tag has been torn in half or removed from the prop is broken and can no longer be used.

Powers and Mechanics, such as the Repair Item power allow a broken item to be repaired. Magic Items cannot be repaired if broken but Crafted Items can be. To repair an item you must fulfill all costs for using the power or mechanic, typically this is to roleplay fixing the item,reassemble the tag, write your character’s initials across the tear line, and then attach it to the original prop. An item can only be repaired once, if it is broken a second time it is broken for good.


We use foam and latex weapons at Darkwood Nights. All weapons must pass a safety check each game they are to be used and any weapon that fails cannot be used at Darkwood Nights. All Melee Weapons must appear as the weapon type they are representing and we encourage the use of commercial weapons to represent Melee weapons. Boffers, typically homemade round weapons with a cloth covering, represent natural weapons at Darkwood Nights and cannot be used to represent Melee Weapons.

Natural weapons are Fists, Claws and Shadow Weapons and are represented by boffers with different colored wrapping. All Natural Weapons can only be used in one hand and have a base damage of 1. In order to use Claws or Shadow Weapons a character must have a power that allows them to do so.

Melee Weapons must be represented with a prop that looks like the type of weapon being used. Melee Weapons are broken into; Small, Medium, Large, Staff/Polearm, and Thrown Weapons. These are crafted with the Smithing Skill.

Shields can be used once a character has purchased Melee 2. They are not a weapon, however, any attack that strikes a shield while it is held or strapped to a player’s arm is counted as being parried. A shield must be no more than 36 inches long in length or width, must have padded edges, and cannot be used to strike. This means that a Shield that is 3” by 2” is acceptable, and a round shield can be no more than 36” in diameter. If a shield is worn on a player’s back it counts as Rigid Armor if struck, providing DR 2 instead of parrying the blow. This does not stack with any other worn armor. See section 8 below.

Bows are crafted with the Crafting skill. A bow must be professionally or commercially made, no homemade bows or arrows are allowed at Darkwood Nights. A bow must have a draw weight of no more than 35 pounds at 28 inches. Bows have a base damage of 1 and cannot be used to block melee attacks. However you may hold other items in either hand while using a bow if you can do so safely.


Armor provides Damage Reduction, reducing the amount of damage a character receives, when it is hit. In order to reduce any incoming damage the armor piece itself must be struck, if an attack doesn’t hit a piece of armor no Damage Reduction is conferred. There are two types of armor, Soft and Rigid, and the Damage Reduction provided by them does not stack with each other. However it does stack with other sources of Damage Reduction. For example, a character wearing a gambeson (Soft Armor), metal pauldrons (Rigid Armor) and has Fortitude 3 (grants 3 Damage Reduction) that is struck on the shoulder will have 5 Damage Reduction, 2 for the Rigid armor and 3 from Fortitude. The Rigid Armor and Soft Armor do not stack.

Each piece of armor must be individually tagged and each type of armor dictates what areas a single tag can cover, see below. If a single piece of prop armor covers more area of the body than a single tag allows it requires multiple tags. For example if a character is wearing a full sleeve chainmail shirt they would need 5 Rigid Armor Tags, 1 for the torso, 1 for each shoulder/upper arm and one for each forearm.

In order to use a piece of armor it must be maintained. To Maintain armor a player must use the Crafting skill for Soft Armor or the Smithing Skill for Rigid Armor and spend time, based on their dots in those skills, roleplaying maintaining it. All armor enters game maintained, so it must be maintained before it is usable in Day 2.

Locks and Keys

Locks and keys are used to secure doors and chests without actually locking them. We cannot actually lock doors or chests that store In Game Items, the former for safety reasons and the latter for gameplay. Afterall, whether a character can bypass a lock is determined by their powers and skills and not their real life ability to pick a lock! 

To use a lock attach it to the door handle or chest, typically by tying it to the handle with string. This indicates the door or chest is locked. Each lock and key will have a four digit code written on them by the item crafter. In order to lock or unlock a lock a player must have the key with the matching code and roleplay using that key to unlock the door.  

Some powers and skills allow the user to bypass a lock. In these cases follow the instructions on the power. If the lock is broken the tag must be left with the prop, unless both are taken. If it is picked with the Lockpick Skill the tag remains attached to the lock and the lock can be used again.

Magic Items

Magic items represent the items of power in the World of Darkness. At Darkwood Nights we have three categories of Magic Items; Consumable, Temporary, and Permanent. Each of these are made and used differently as detailed below. To create a Magic Item a character must have a Skill or Power that allows for their creation. These are the Alchemy Skill, Create Charm, Create Relic, Create Fetish, and Create Artifact. Artifacts are the realm of special Mages who have unlocked their secrets (at Darkwood Nights used Kismet to unlock the power) and Storytellers. Unless specifically stated otherwise, a character must have a power on their Character Sheet to imbue it into a Magic Item with Create Charm or Create Relic.

Consumable Magic Items are Potions and Poisons crafted with the Alchemy skill. All consumable magic items must have their tags attached to a prop, typically a bottle or vial. Potions and Poisons are used differently and expire 5 games after the tag was purchased.. 

Potions and Poisons are split into two further categories. 

Temporary Magic Items are typically called Charms, however others may be added in the future. Charms can be created with the Create Charm power and allow the user to put one of their activated powers into an item for later use by themselves or another. To create a Charm the character pays all activation costs for the Create Charm power and the power they want to put into the Charm then writes that power on the Charm Tag, along with their character’s name, and attaches it to the prop. The prop can be anything, but must be large enough to easily hold the tag so things like rings are usually not appropriate.

A Charm can only be used once. To use a Charm the user will need to hold it, or touch it if it is being worn, and can then use the power contained within for free. After the power is used the Charm tag should be removed from the prop and torn in half at the earliest convenience. The power holding Charms together doesn’t last long and Charms expire at the end of the game after they are created.

Permanent Magic Items are imbued with greater power and can be used repeatedly. Such is their power that they do not expire and last until destroyed. To use a Permanent Magic item it must be prominently worn, so the tag is easily visible, on your person or held. If the power on the tag has P before it, where Cost usually is, that power is Persistent and always affects the character wearing or holding it. Otherwise the user must hold or touch the item and spend the number and type of energy listed in the Cost to use the power. 

In regards to Permanent Magic there are four types of Items, although more may be added in the future; Grimoire, Relic, Fetish, and Artifact.

1. Grimoires are items that contain knowledge that characters may use to learn Attributes. There are two types of Grimoires, Lesser and Greater. To create a Grimoire the character must possess the Create Relic power for Lesser Grimoires or the Create Artifact power for Greater. Grimoires have a Dot Rating equal to the Dot Rating of the Attribute they can teach, so a Grimoire that can teach Modus 3 has a Dot Rating of 3. Each type of Grimoire have different costs to create. 

Grimoires exist for almost all Factions, Vampires, Mages and Humans have Grimoires that provide teaching for Disciplines, Devotions, Foundation, Pillars, Rotes and Skills. Fae have little need for them, since none of their Attributes require teaching. Grimoires can take many forms and do not need to be books or scrolls. A Grimiore to teach Spirit Talker’s Chieftain Pillar may be a statue of a legendary king while a Grimoire to teach the Devotion Claws of Fenris may be a vial of blood.

A Grimoire can only be used by one player per game, and that player can use no more than 1 Grimoire per game. To use a Grimoire the Player enters the Attribute they wish to learn and notes that they were taught by a Grimoire in the App. Logistics will then note this on their Character Envelope and the Player will present the Grimoire at Check-In. If a Lesser Grimoire the Logistics is used the Staff Member will destroy the Grimoire tag, if Greater the owning player keeps the item.

2. Relics are the commonly created Magic Items of the World of Darkness and are items imbued with spells, magic, or darker powers. Relics are further broken into types based upon the Faction that created them. Fae create Treasures, Mages Talismans, Vampires Blood Relics, and Humans Holy Relics. These classifications help characters know which Faction created the item but little more. 

3. Fetishes are Magical Items created by placing a Spirit within an item. The Spirit doesn’t need to be willing, although a willing Spirit typically makes for a more effective and potent Fetish. Fetishes have Capacity, which is the Energy stored within the Item, and any costs for powers imbued into the Fetish can only be paid by using Energy from the Fetish’s Capacity and not the character’s Energy Pool/s. 

4. Artifacts are powerful items beyond the ability of most creatures to create. Excalibur, The Eye of Ra, Gae Bolg, The Book of the Dead, Longinus, and the Holy Grail are examples of artifacts throughout history and legend. Artifacts always have an Energy Type of Any and follow the rules above for Relics in that regard.