Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2017 at 22:15

Chi is the divine combination of Yin and Yang, also called Tao or Jiang. Chi is considered the base form of Sway. All other Sway is converted to or from it.

Chi Conversion

You can make a point of Chi by combining any two points of Yin/Yang together as each contains their opposite. So two points of Yang or Yin can create a point of Chi, or a point of each can be used instead.

Chi can also be split into two points of Yin or Yang or a point of each.

Chi can also be converted into Yarn, by Reducing the amount being spent. So if you want to spend 8 Yarn you would have to spend 32 Chi (or 64 Yin and Yang).

Storing Chi

Grunts can store Chi (a number of points equal to their Personality Boon).

Mercari can store a number of points of Chi equal to their Personality Value.

Solos can store Personality Super-value.

Mercari and better Characters can also store Chi in Descendants to create Trophies and Monoliths.

Gaining Chi

Chi is usually gained from a Character’s Personality Annex, Core and I-Ching, 

Character Type Personality/Core/I-Ching Chi Gain
Grunt Personality Boon Double Reduced
Mercari Personality Boon Reduced / rolled Personality Dice
Solo Personality Boon / rolled Personality Dice as Yarn

When gaining Chi from an Annex the rolled score (less the Difficulty) is halved to create a number of points of Chi with any remainder taken as Yin or Yang as appropriate.

Wyrd Tarot card play (red 8) draws a second card. Mercari gain a point of Chi for each Pip. Solos gain a point of Yarn.

You may also gain Chi as a reward for defeating Bad Guys (like experience points in D20 games) or as a result of a Gain Event, when this happens the Referee will tell you how many Chi are gained (usually quite a lot in one go).

Spending Chi

Grunts can spend Chi purchasing Annexes, Descendants and the like, but they can never use it to directly affect rolls, or the system in general. That sort of Chi manipulation is only practised by Mercari and other more powerful Characters. Chi affects reality, things that cost and hold Chi are more Real than things that don’t, by moving and spending Chi a Mercari can manipulate reality directly. 

Because Chi is the combination of Yin and Yang it is universal and therefore operates at around the Boon level of the model. 

If a Mercari spends Chi to alter a Score (a rolled die) it will alter it 2 points up or down as the Mercari decides.

When affecting cards it usually alters Pips by +/- 1 Pip.

Chi is usually used to pay the costs of Descendants.

Chi can also be used to purchase aspects of Characters, Alter Handicaps, Facets and Annexes as costed on the Sway Table.

Adding and losing Alternates.

When a Character and a Referee are ready, then the Character may add or lose an Alternate. Adding a new Alternate will normally cost a Character’s Max Chi, but this can be modified down to Half-Max. A nice Ref may make this cheaper (to a minimum of 21 Chi), because of good roleplaying set-up or narrative determinism. Losing Alternatives are usually a result of extreme Magicks or High Twist plays by powerful Demons.

Other things you can do with Chi and Sway

There are three special amounts of Sway that a Character can spend.

  • Max-Chi and Maxed Yin & Yang: Any character that is full of Chi, Yin and Yang can spend the whole lot to move a Grunt character to Mercari or a Mercari to Solo (it will also likewise improve the types of demonic characters (Goblins become Demons, Demons become Demonlords)
  • All stored Chi: A Character can blow all their currently stored Chi as a Yarn effect (this is called a million-to-one shot. The Ref controls exactly what happens to the Yarn unless the Character is a Solo (or equivalent). This burst can cancel wounds, heal the dead, that kind of thing.
  • Half-Max Chi: A character can blow half their Max-Chi to improve important aspects of the Character such as Integration of Alternate personalities or to improve their Scale (a character can also improve Scale by spending their Max-Yin and Max-Yang simultaneously.

Storing Chi in Descendants

Chi can be stored in Descendants which creates Trophies and Monoliths (and eventually Artefacts) they have their own rules and powers which are discussed here.


Chi can also be used to create Chronoliths, granting Chi to a moment in time, saving that moment so that it can be returned to later. Chronoliths also occur during a Proficiency crisis (Prof dice roll maximum or minimum). Such Chronoliths are created with Chi equal to half the score rolled during the Crisis (including the Prof Dice).

During a Chronolith all hands and cards in play (bar one per player – usually the card atop their pile) are handed in and then redealt. This also occurs when a Save is Reloaded. The Chronolith itself disrupts Mercari and even Fae’s ability to look into the past and future.

A Mercari or Solo will usually be able to detect any recent (and often approaching) Chronoliths, based on how powerfully they have been charged with Chi. 

Chronoliths with high Chi stored in them are easier to reaccess even after days or weeks of time. 

Find out more about Chronoliths here