Game Mechanics


In the World of Darkness the supernatural is real and in the 900’s the common men and women knew something we have forgotten, that the monsters in the darkest places of the world are real. They knew the forests held monsters and that monsters could appear as human as they. They may not know the real truth surrounding the supernatural groups that live among and alongside them, but they know they are not alone. 


Darkwood Nights explores this setting, a world where the monsters of legend are real, the World of Darkness. You, the player, create a character who lives in, or travels to, the province of Wollbach, a small and forgotten area of the Black Forest. Why they’re there and what their goals are is up to you. Your character may be a human, vampire, mage or fae. They could be from the province or traveled there. Your story is yours to tell. 


This document will go over Darkwood Night’s mechanics, the foundation that all other player’s guides are built on. This, along with the Characters Guide and Economy Guide, make up the Core Rules of Darkwood Nights. These guides are meant to describe our game rules in conversational language and showcase how they’re used. The Comprehensive Rules Document has the technical wording and is the final authority on how the rules function while this guide is to help understand them.

Rules Philosophy

Darkwood Nights aims to be as close to World of Darkness cannon as possible and, by extension, recreate the feel of playing the World of Darkness in a LARP setting. Each Faction is built towards this ideal first and balance second. 

We view character interaction and conflict as supported by three major pillars; Player Skill, Tactical Decisions, and Character sheet. We strive to make each of these pillars matter equally, so in situations where two players are equally skilled in negotiating their tactical decisions (what powers to use, what outside support they’ve gathered) and their character’s abilities determine the victor.

The World of Darkness is a dangerous place for humans and supernatural creatures alike. Killing is a choice and death in our game is not mechanically difficult or complicated. Like in real life, the social consequences and risk to your character are the deterrent to solving all of a character’s problems with murder. There is no such thing as a mechanically invincible character at Darkwood Nights.

In order for the above point to work our rules and story must allow for options other than violence. Our rules strive to make diplomacy, trickery and manipulation as equally viable conflict resolutions as combat and, by extension, our Story Tellers will not be sending out stories designed with combat as the only, or even main, pathway to resolution. We also do not wish to make any powers “must haves” or “taxes”  in order to play.

Finally ALL of Darkwood’s Nights rules will be publicly available. Both Player and Story Teller rules will be posted for all to see. We believe that our stories should surprise, terrify and delight and to support that everyone needs to know how all the rules function.

Game Rules

Live Action Roleplay (LARP) and What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) 

Darkwood Nights is a Live Action game where you physically take on the role of your character. When your character attacks another, or is attacked, you are physically swinging your weapon, dodging, blocking and so forth. When negotiating you are having to convince another person. Your Character Sheet will have powers that allow you to influence and affect other players as well as resist what powers they use on you however, since you are embodying that character, certain things can’t be represented by your character sheet. These represent the Player Skill Pillar, how good are you at reading body language, at fighting with LARP weapons, at making friends or negotiation? Your abilities in these areas will influence the story you tell through your character. LARP can also provide an avenue to practice these skills.

A note about Non-Combatants. We have decided to not have a Non-Combat designation. If you are unable to participate in combat and still wish to play at Darkwood Nights we encourage you to avoid it or surrender when it is directed at you. Our expectation is that our players use the lightest touch necessary when engaging in combat and by extension will not hit a surrendered person with force.

Darkwood Nights aims to be, as much as possible, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) game. As part of embodying your character everyone at Darkwood Nights needs to dress in clothing, called garb, appropriate to the setting. See our Deco Guide for specific details, but in general this means that you will want to look “generally medieval” and avoid wearing modern clothing. This also extends to weaponry, swords should be commercially purchased and look like swords or the weapons they are representing. Round boffers have specific in-game effects and should not be used to represent general weapons.

In Game and Out of Game Knowledge 

Since our Characters are not us we use the concepts of In Game Knowledge/Character Knowledge (IG) and Out of Game Knowledge (OOG). We, as players, will see and hear things that our Characters don’t and this is defined as OOG Knowledge. Examples include players who are Out of Game, power calls, documents written in languages the player understands but the character doesn’t, conversations with other players at parties, conversations happening with Telepathy and more. Players can only act on information their Character obtained In Game through IG observation, conversation, or experiences. Any knowledge the Player has that their Character doesn’t should not be used in the course of game and doing so is called Meta Gaming. Meta Gaming is considered cheating.

However there is a concept in LARP called, “Positive Meta-Gaming.” It means taking information you know about other players OOG and allowing it to direct your In Game actions to benefit the other player’s enjoyment of the game. Examples are knowing that a player is injured and so not pushing them hard in combat or that they are uncomfortable with specific types of stories and so not engaging in them with those players. We highly encourage Positive Meta-Gaming. Our game is meant to be fun and while we enjoy making our character’s lives hell, player’s lives are another matter. What is, and isn’t, Positive Meta-Gaming can vary on the individual and we encourage people to have these discussions on our Facebook, Discord and in person.

Out Of Game Indicators: To show that you are out of game you should either: wear an orange headband, hold your weapons above your head with both hands or place a closed fist on top of your head. In addition, players will often leave Story Teller Camp OOG or go OOG for other reasons. It is expected that other players will ignore them and treat their presence as OOG Knowledge

Actions and Timings

At Darkwood Nights actions are when we attack with our weapons or use powers on another character. We use 1 Second action timing, meaning players can use 1 power or make one attack per second. This doesn’t mean a single swing of your boffer but a single attempt to strike or the use of a single power. Feinting an attack then striking elsewhere is a single action, as is throwing a packet attack or using a Mental power.

Players are expected to respond to Actions in a timely and safe manner, usually within a second or two. If you are hit with Paralyze while running safely stop as quickly as you can then freeze. If you are ever unsure of what effect a power has on you cross your fingers and ask, then take the effects described.


Most powers and attacks are accompanied by a Call. The Call is what the attacker or defender uses to alert other players to what they are doing and what effects are hitting their character. All Calls must be loud enough for the target to hear and must be said before the attack, packet or touch connects with the target. Calls that alert the attacking player that their effect has been resisted must be given in a reasonable time, within roughly 2 seconds if it is a power/effect that can be immediately resisted, or when the effect is resisted by the defender.

Calls convey information to Players but may not be taken as IG Knowledge, Characters will have to infer what happened from the effects of the power and a character doesn’t know they were under the effect of a power even if they resisted it, unless a power or effect states otherwise. The exception is Elemental Damage. These have effects that are visible and everyone who sees the action and hears the call knows what element was used. For examples

Attack Calls should be said in the following order: “Sunder, Corrupted, Damage #, Type, Power.” Only sections applicable should be used, so if a power doesn’t have Corrupted as part of the call that section is not used. Sunder is listed first so it alerts the target that their armor doesn’t provide Damage Reduction (DR). Damage # is the amount of damage your attack deals. Type is any special Damage Types, such as Iron or Fire, that the attack deals. Power is listed as the Call in the Power Table and indicates what power is being used. If these are reordered, still take the effects. 3 Corrupted Agg should still work as the call. Example: “Corrupted 3 Agg.” 

Power Calls should be said in the following order, “Mass, Power, Instructions/Special.” Mass alerts everyone within 10 feet of the User they are effected by the power. Power is listed as the Call in the Power Table and indicates what power is being used. Instructions / Special are part of some powers call where the User must give instructions or provide more detail on what the Target experiences. Example: “Mass Hallucinate Swarm of Bees”

Physical Combat

Combat at Darkwood Nights is fought between players using latex/foam weapons and packets as well as the powers on their character sheet. We use the “Lightest Touch'' rule, which means that a player should only swing hard enough for their target to know they were hit and no harder. To support this, any parry prior to a strike landing negates the hit and the target takes no damage, even if the strike still connects. This is to prevent players trying to batter through defenses which leads to unsafe situations. Not just any contact counts, the parry has to interrupt the line of attack, that is be in the way of or deflect the weapon off of, the line it is swinging and must contact the attacking weapon before it lands. It is up to the defender to determine if an attack has been parried.

When attacking with weapons slashes, push cuts, pull cuts and stop cuts are all allowed. Thrusting or stabbing of any kind is not. Hands, feet, neck, head and groin are illegal targets and any strike that lands on one of them is ignored. Attacks can be delivered with weapons, boffers, touch, packets or Mass calls which are detailed in the Powers section. Packets are seen IG and a player can take who threw them as Character Knowledge. However their effects, unless another power states otherwise, must be inferred. 

Base damage is 1 and attacks do a minimum of 1 damage (you can call 0 when practicing or training IG). This is increased by a character’s Augment. Augment can be obtained from Abilities, Powers or Items and different sources (different names) stack up to a maximum of 10. For example if a Vampire has Potence 3 (3 Augment), Enhance Strength (2 Augment), Melee 3 (1 Augment) and spends 1 Blood Point to Blood Buff (1 Augment) they would swing for 8. If they somehow had Enhance Strength twice they could still only gain 2 Augment from that source.

Damage Reduction (DR) always has a number rating, for example DR 2. Damage is reduced by a Character’s DR rating to a minimum of 1. Armor only provides DR if it is hit, so attackers can avoid having their damage reduced by aiming for areas not covered in armor. Supernatural powers can provide DR over the entire body. The following examples help explain Damage and DR:

Perfect Dodge is used to negate the hit entirely. No damage or effects are applied if an attack is dodged. 

Lastly Vampires have the ability to instantly heal with Blood. This can be done immediately as the attack lands and can prevent a blow from incapacitating a character. Effectively Healing with Blood Points can negate the damage from an attack similar to Perfect Dodge.  see the Vampire section for more details. 

Damage and Damage Types

Damage removes Health Points, or HP, equal to the number called. Damage is broken into different types, Regular, Aggravated, Holy, Elemental and Material. These will have the effects detailed below and some Factions treat certain Elemental or Material Damage as Aggravated Damage.

Regular damage is the baseline in Darkwood Knights. It requires no special call, so if no other damage type is called the damage is Regular. It can be healed normally with skills, powers and rest. 

Aggravated damage means one thing, death. In the World of Darkness throwing around Aggravated damage means you intend to kill and so risk death yourself. Aggravated damage has the Agg call after the damage number, “3 Agg,” and it reduces HP equal to the number called. Unlike Regular damage Aggravated damage can only be healed through powers that specify they heal Agg damage or rest. 

Due to this, players must keep track of how many health points they have lost to Aggravated Damage and a character has lost all of their HP from Agg damage is dead. The Soak Agg power reduces Agg damage to a minimum of 1 Regular damage, Like DR. Unlike Regular Damage, Aggravated Damage is capped at 6, meaning no attack that has the Agg call can hit for more than 6, even if a character’s augment usually lets them hit for more. Unlike the table top game, damage doesn’t loop around so if a character lost 4 HP to Regular damage then took 10 Agg they would only have lost 6 HP to Agg damage.

Holy Damage represents divine energy and power. What makes it special is how it interacts with characters of different Factions. Holy Damage deals no damage to Humans. It deals Regular damage to Vampires, Shifters, Mages or Monsters and Aggravated Damage to Fae, Spirits and Demons. Like Regular damage it maxes out at 10. 

Elemental damage represents empowering your weapon with an element or directly throwing that element. The Elemental types are Fire, Cold, Spark, and Earth. Some of these, such as Fire for Vampires, may count as Aggravated damage for a specific faction. To use these you must have a power or item that grants Elemental damage and add the Elemental Type to the damage call. Example: “4 Cold.”

Material damage is damage dealt by a weapon made of specific materials. The Material Weapon types are silver, gold or iron. When wielding such a weapon the Material damage type you must add the type to the damage call. Example: “3 Iron.”


Characters heal at Darkwood Nights through Sleep, the Medicine skill, Powers or Faction Abilities. 

Example: Lilly has taken 7 damage, and so has 3 Health Points remaining. She receives aid from Michael, who has the Medicine Skill, who heals her for 2. Lilly adds 2 Health Points to her Health Pool, bringing her up to 5. Then Lilly goes to sleep. When she wakes up she’s healed 5 damage, so adds 5 Health Points to her total, bringing her up to 10 and is now fully healed.


Darkwood Nights uses the following durations as standard: 

Powers and Types

To use a power a Player must have the power of their Character’s sheet and spend its activation cost, if any. Most powers cost either energy or have a role play requirement listed in the source of the power. The source of the power is the rules mechanic that grants the power, such as Disciplines, Skills, Dominions or Pillars. All costs must be paid before the power is used and, unless stated otherwise in the rules below, target 1 character. 

The Comprehensive Rules Document has detailed information on what can be taken as IG knowledge, in general who used the power and what it does cannot be taken as IG Knowledge, even if you resisted it, have it on your sheet or are familiar with its use. Packets and physical attacks are seen in Game, as are any powers that use an Elemental damage call. This means that even if you are alone with a person and they use the Confusion power on you you cannot take that knowledge IG unless another effect specifically states that you can. Your character may question why they acted strange, and they may suspect foul play, but they do not know Confusion was used on them.

Some powers end if the target takes damage, such as Paralyze, which is specified in the power itself. If a power is ended in this way the target is immune to that power for the next minute. 

The type of power, detailed below, will state when and how it can be resisted. Powers can have more than one type. We have the following power types at Darkwood Knights

All Mental powers last 1 minute and can be resisted after acting on the power for 5 seconds by spending 1 Willpower Point or using the Iron Will power. 

Example: Player A uses Hallucinate on Player B to make them see butterflies everywhere. Player B sees butterflies for 5 seconds then decides to spend Willpower to remove the mental. Player B is immune to Hallucinate for 60 seconds so when another Player then tries to use Hallucinate: “Monsters Everywhere” Player B does not take the effect. If Player A had used any other means of removing the Hallucinate power (an item or another power)  they would then take Player the second Hallucinate.

Example: Player A is targeted with Fear but it takes them 3 seconds to comprehend the effect due to the combat going on around them. They must first run away for 5 seconds before they can resist even though the power was said 3 seconds ago.

Example: Player A has “Conditioning, When Lars says Peekaboo, Hallucinate Crowds Screaming.” Later in the Tavern Player A hears Lars say peekaboo and the Hallucinate power triggers. They hear crowds screaming for 5 seconds before Resisting the power.

Example Persistent Aura: Majesty. Claus uses Majesty by raising one hand above their head with their palm facing up and calls, “Majesty, Spend Will to Act Against Me.” Every character who can see Claus with his arm raised is affected by his Majesty, even if they didn’t hear the call and so must spend 1 Willpower Point if they want to attack, use a power on, or challenge Claus.

Character States

While in a Frenzy the character Immediately ends any Mental power they are affected by, Additionally they are immune to Mental, Mass and Persistent/Immediate Aura Powers, and resists Status and Targeted Aura powers for free after 5 seconds. FInally they do not remember the events of the Frenzy. Frenzy lasts 1 minute. Depending on the type of Frenzy the character also:

The Day

There are 2 mechanical days at Darkwood Nights. Powers that have a duration of 1 Day last until the end of the day they are used.

Example: A power with a duration of 1 day that is used at 10am Saturday morning lasts until 7pm Saturday while the same power used at 8pm Saturday lasts until game end. 

Searching and Looting

For safety reasons Darkwood Nights limits where a player can carry and wear in Game items. These locations are: On the head, around the neck, on the arms, on the belt (in pouches, frogs, cases and so on), or in the boot. In Game items are not to be stored or hidden in other places on the body. An incapacitated character may be searched using one of the following methods:

Special Locations

There are 4 special locations at Darkwood Nights; Holy Ground, the Umbra, a Cray and the Fae Hold. Each of these will be clearly marked by a Location Card, and identified on the site map. 

Holy Ground: Is defined as the Church/Pagan temple and any location ST tags as Holy Ground. By itself this site has no additional rules, however other mechanics may refer to it, such as the Baali clan weakness.

Umbra: The Umbra represents the Spirit Realm and is a separate section of Game Space. Entrance into the Umbra requires certain powers, such as Cross Over, and without them your character cannot access this space. Other mechanics also use the Umbra, such as Mages energy regeneration. At Camp Parsons it is located at Scoutcraft behind ST Camp and is accessible from the wooden arches.

Cray: A Cray is a wellspring of magical energy that Mages use to restore Quinessence and other creatures use as a food source. A Cray is represented by a tagged pair of bags attached to a feature at site. Once made into a Cray the Cray doesn’t move although it can be over-used, damaged and destroyed. All Crays have a rating of 1-5 and at the beginning of Game ST or Deco counts out 10x the Cray Rating of markers and puts them with each Cray. In the two bags are ‘the Well’, where the energy in the Cray is stored, and ‘the Reserve’, where the OOG markers not inside the Cray are stored. If, at the end of game, the Cray Tag is torn or missing it loses 1 Dot, if this brings the Rating to 0 it is destroyed.

Fae Holde: Is a special location accessed by a Trod, which will be tagged and have instructions for the entrance ritual. Only characters with at least Kenning 1 can see this card, however any character that does the proper ritual may access the Hold. Be wary though, for the Hold can be upgraded by the ruling Fae and this includes defenses, a nasty surprise may be in store for any who enter this place uninvited. This represents a space safe for the Fae and will have additional rules on its location tag. The Fae Hold tag will have the following: Entry Ritual, Ruling Fae, Ruling Court, Invited Courts, Defenses and Effects.

Improving the Fae Holde: This may only be done by the Ruling Lord and there are many things they can do to fortify, improve and solidify their power.  


Kismet is earned by players for helping Darkwood Nights run and supporting the game. It is a separate resource from XP and is tracked at the Player level.

Earning: Kismet are earned for the following:

Using Kismet: Kismet can be exchanged for the following:

1   Subject to ST approval 

Relics are not guaranteed or intended to be given to spender.

The player acts as a Guest ST and must play a NPC associated with their plot line.