Original Sway page

Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2017 at 15:25

Sway is how we measure things in T13. If you want to clobber a exoskeleton-clad villain through a building, you need Sway to measure how hard you hit. Sway translates directly into Difficulty, Rolled dice scores and other such nonsense. It is the balance about which the game pivots. Sway is the lifeblood of T13, it drives the narrative, defines the Characters and acts as a measure of Wealth, Experience and Power.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang are the two smallest unit of Sway point that exist in T13. One point of sway is a point of Yin or a point of Yang. Yin is associated with Yin Facets, passive, yielding, slow actions, Yang controls the Yang Facets, pro-active, aggressive and fast actions. For example: hitting someone is normally a Trial Facet and very much a Yang thing if you want to do more damage you can always boost the damage roll (or Ordeal card played with Yang); being hit however is more of a Rook Facet and Yin thing, you can ‘soak’ damage with Yin. Yin and Yang are the only forms of sway that a Grunt may directly spend on actions.

Storing Yin and Yang

A Character can store as much Yin as all the Boons of their Yin Facets added together (156 at 13), and as much Yang as their Yang Facet Boons all summed as well. This number of Yin and Yang that can be stored will increase by 24 with each increase in Scale. Grunts can store Yin and Yang in Descendants turning them into Trophies (the Yin and Yang is stored as Chi within the Descendant).

Gaining Yin and Yang

Characters gain Yin and Yang from their Geometry and I-Ching predominately, they may also gain them from small Handicaps and by generating rolled scores with the Sway gained equalling the rolled score less the Difficulty. Generally Yin and Yang are gained in small amounts throughout the game.

Character Type Yin / Yang gained from Geometry / I-Ching
Grunt 1 point
Mercari Lowest Handicap Boon
Solo Personality Boon Reduced

Spending Yin and Yang

Generally Yin and Yang can only be spent to increase rolls of the right Facet type, and such increases take place on a 1 point of Sway buys a +1. It can also be used to pay for Descendants (through Descendant Creation, Summoning and Purchasing rolls).


Chi is the divine combination of Yin and Yang, also called Tao or Jiang. You can make a point of Chi by combining any two points of Yin or Yang together as each contains their opposite strictly speaking. Chi can also be split into two points of Yin or Yang or a point of each.

Storing Chi

Grunts can store Chi (a number of points equal to their Personality Boon) and can also 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 practised by Mercari and other more powerful Characters. Mercari can store a number of points of Chi equal to their Personality Value and Solos can store Personality Super-value. Mercari can also store Chi in Descendants to create Monoliths.

Gaining Chi

Chi is usually gained from a Character’s Personality Annex, I-Ching, Wyrd Tarot card play (red 8), from Annex use, or as a reward for defeating Bad Guys (like experience points in D20 games).

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 Annexes the rolled score (less the Difficulty) is halved to create a number of points of Chi.

Spending Chi

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 affect a roll it will alter the roll by 2 points up or down as the Mercari decides. When affecting cards it usually alters a score by +/- 1 Pip. Chi is usually used to pay the costs of Descendants and is the only way of turning a Descendant into a Trophy, Monolith or a location into Real Estate. 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. Chi can be used to create Chronoliths, saving a moment so that it can be returned to later. Chronoliths also occur when Proficiency dice roll maximum or minimum (A Crisis situation or Critical). 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.

Target or Action
No. of Targets
Extend Duration
Limit Duration
Yarn / Twists
Sway / Diff
Proficiency / Dice Roll (Facet) / Save / Keep / Reroll / Record
A target
An Action
A century
Annex (Skill) / Descendant (Skill) / Distract Wound (Ordeal Card of 2-4) / Card in play /Scale of 1 / Gather / Find / (Draw from top of Deck) / Unfavorable lighting conditions / Trivial task (make a cuppa)
Part of a Room
A Round
A year
Any ongoing action / Card in Play (one atop a pile) / Replace / Mundane activity (make a sandwich)
A just completed event (card atop the discard pile)
Annex (Talent) / Descendant (Talent) / Chorus (Extras) / Flesh Wound (Ordeal Card of 5-7) / Scale of 2 / Simple task (cook a meal)
A Room
Minutes (A short Scene)
6 months
Annex (Power) / Descendant (Power) / A specific card or event / Read (Examine) / Simple Magic : Affect your own mind.
=Pips Reduced (+1-+4)/+2
+Pips of card/ Boon Reduced / +7
+Pips x2 / +14
Grunt / Trophy / Maiming Wound (Ordeal card of 8/9) / Bulmäs (Calf / Cub) / Reload Game / Scale of 3 / Easy Magic: “Conjuring” tricks, affect another’s mind
A Floor
<8 hours (A long Scene)
3 months
Crippling Wound (Ordeal card of 10/J) / First Time / Without proper Equipment
Goblin (lesser Demon) / Mortal Wound (Ordeal card of Q/K) / Super-skill Annex/ Descendant (super-skill) / Mercari / Monolith / Location / Bulmäs Adult (Herd / Hunter) / Scale of 4 / Medium Magic: Affect your physical form
A building
Until Sunrise, sunset, noon or midnight (8-24 hrs)
6 weeks
Any part of the game based on a single Boon e.g. A Facet, A Handicap, An Annex, Descendants, Trophies, Monoliths Extras etc
+Boon Reduced/ +4
+Boon / +13
+Boon Doubled / +26
Carnage Wound (Ordeal card of A/*) / Complex Task (Astrogation, Goumet meal)
Demon / Pact / Real Estate / Lesser Fæ / Bulmäs (Broccen) / Scale of 5 / Hard magic: Affect another’s form
A large building
A weekend, until moon changes phase.
3 Weeks
Solo / Grand Mercari / Province / Artefact / Bulmäs (Vermis) / Inactive Personality (or Unconscious mind) / Scale of 6 / Tricky Task (Learn a new language, survive in a hostile environment)
A street / field /copse
Up to 7 days
10 days
+6 / Personality Boon Reduced
+21 / Personality Boon
+42 /Personality Boon Doubled
Greater Dæmon / Greater Fæ / Bulmäs (Labyrinthion) / An active Personality (a conscious mind) / Scale of 7
A city block / village / small wood
Until next full / new / gibbous / crescent moon (<28 days)
5 days
+7 / Personality Boon Reduced
+26 / Personality Boon
+52 / Personality Boon Doubled
Scale of 8
A small town or hill
A season
2 days
Scale of 9 / Really Hard Magic: Requires Low budget Special Effects in a movie (e.g. Wires, Double Exposure, Poor model shots, Static Illusions, etc)
A medium town or hill
Half a year
24 hours
 Scale of 10
A large town or wood
A year and a day
15 hours
 Scale of 11
Valley or Mountain
<3 years
8 hours
Scale of 12 / Legendary Magic: Requires good budget special effects in a movie (In camera effects, Good model shots, Believable Illusions)
Small city
<6 years
4 hours
 Scale of 13
Long road, gorge, bay area
<12 years (decade)
2 hours
Medium city or forest
<30 yrs (a generation)
60 mins
Large city or constitutioncy
<60 yrs (a revolution)
30 mins
Epic Magic: Requires CGI effects and a huge budget
Small metropolis or county
A lifetime
15 mins
Medium metropolis or small country
<200 yrs
7 mins
Large metropolis, state or colony
<500 yrs(a social epoch)
3.5 mins
Miraculous Magic: Summoning Eldritch Gods etc. Climax of a Blockbuster
Country, large island or state.
A millenium
2 mins
No No No No
An era
60 secs
A planet or moon
An age (~500,000 yrs)
30 secs
A ringworld or mini-system (Jovian moons)
~1,000,000 yrs
Impossible Magic: Impossible to replicate even with CGI
A Dyson sphere or solar system.
7 secs
Multiple solar systems
A geological age (~37,000,000 yrs)
2 secs
Femite Technology
Interstellar Empire
A galactic revolution (~230,000,000 yrs)
1 sec / 2 actions
Improbably Impossible magic: Cannot even be accurately described
A billion years
1 action
Almost all
Billions of years
Half Action
God-like powers / Nullites
Galactic cluster
All bar one
Even Gods Would Dream
All and all their alternates
All Alternate Histories and Futures
All Times

Costs, and difficulties can be calculated from the effect required. For example to Force a reroll of a dice roll… Diceroll (+1), Mercari (+12) Reroll (+1)- So that costs 14 Chi or is diff 28 Increase your Awe facet boon (assume Boon 13) by 1 (will also reduce the Anti-Facet Jeer Boon by one) Self (+0), Facet (+13) Chi cost =13 Save the game (creating a Chronolith event) for yourself. Self (+0), Save (+1) Chi cost = 1 Loading the Game (returning to a Chronolith event earlier this scene) Self (+0), Reload (+8), A few minutes ago (+5) = 13 Chi

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, etc)
  • 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.


When Chi gathers together in huge amounts it becomes easier to count it in Yarn, Solos throw Yarn around for massive effects, but Mercari can spend Half of their Max Chi or all their current Chi as a burst of Yarn (called a Million-to-one shot).

Storing Yarn

Characters do not store Yarn in themselves instead they store Chi which can be spent as Yarn. When a Character spends Yarn they actually spend the Chi instead. If a Solo character turns their Monolith into an Artefact (or Real Estate into a Province) then they will also be storing Chi (which is Reduced to give the number of points of Yarn stored).

Spending Yarn

Yarn is the most powerful form of Sway and can allow the Grand Mercari or Solo to modify Chronoliths changing the reality around them by sidestepping into a Metaphor Universe. This can create Retcon or Mandela effects that appear to alter history, or create false memories in Grunts and Mercari.

Side-stepping can only be paid in Yarn and is calculated from Yarn costs on the Tables. A Mercari’s burst of Chi also causes a Metaphorical Sidestep to occur allowing them to cause that Million-to-one shot to happen. It is worth noting that a Character cannot “side-step” themselves directly, but must treat themselves as a target (Grunt/Mercari/Solo as appropriate)

Side-step / Metaphor Cost Modifier (Yarn)
Cosmetic Changes only (Colouration, Timbre, Logos, Brands, etc): Tone, Proficiencies +1
Distortion (Stretch, bend, reposition, Alter dates of events): Alter Boons, dice rolls and Descendants x2
Polymorph (Shape-shifting, rearangment, Alter remembered events): Alter Annexes, Handicaps x3
Transmute (Turn to stone, lead to gold, Alter evidence of history): Alter Facets e.g. Personality or Incarna x4
Warp (Bigger on the inside, alter history): Alter all aspects x5
Create (Spontaneous Creation) x8
Destroy (Complete Destruction) x10

Sidestepping is when a Character leaves one reality and approaches a metaphor reality. They may be travelling to a pocket universe, weaving an illusion, or retconning history. The method is largely irrelevant. The scene is roughly the same but the details are radically altered. When Side-stepping you calculate the largest change that you are trying and pay that cost, all other lesser costs are ignored.

Remember that this sidestepping is only the Solo moving to a nearby alternate timeline, it does not alter the original universe at all, to achieve a permanent change usually requires a Million-to-one shot (automatically pays for a duration of Permanent).


Twists are the forces generated by the Increated to mimic and counter the effects of Sway. Twists are not a true opposite, but allow Demons and their ilk to manipulate reality in ways not open to those without a connection to the Increated.

Gaining Twists

Twists are only gained by activating Dæmonic Handicaps (You gain Twists at a rate of the Handicap boon double reduced [1-4 Twists] ) or by having an Annex generate Twists, having an Annex generate Twists should not be done lightly, and Twists generated in this way cannot be stored, only spent. The diff is generally set at 24 as 12 Chi are required to affect a Goblin (the lowest of the Demons) and the normal Sway gain is Reduced on that roll.

Storing Twists

Twists can only be stored on a Handicap. Normally each Handicap can store 1 Twist, but it is possible for one Handicap to Store 2 with the Meddler Core (note that the Meddler Core never allows more than one extra Twist to be stored, even if it is taken multiple times). Storing a Twist adds an extra Bane Point to that Handicap whilst it is present, this usually adds to the Handicaps Temporary Banes. Each point stored upon a Handicap gives the character one special ability chosen from this list:

  • Sense that Handicap (within Handicap Boon metres radius) for 1 Chi. E.g. A character with Arachnophobia x15 can spend 1 Chi and detect all characters with a Fear Handicap within 15 metres.
  • Tone affinity. The Character can draw a Chi or Combat card any time they act in accord with their Handicap’s Facet Tone. E.g. That Arachnophobe can draw a card anytime they act Emotionally.
  • +1 Wound / Success Level with the Handicap Facet Attack type for 1 Chi. E.g. Arachnophobia would grant a +1 level to Duck attacks for 1 Chi
  • May change to the Handicap’s Facet Incarna for a duration equal the Handicap Boon as Chi on the Limit Duration table for a cost of 1 Chi. Chi may be spent to extend the duration (costs on the table above). E.g. Our Arachnophobic Demon can turn into a Spirit (Ka) until sunrise, sunset etc (upto 24 hours) for 1 Chi.

When a character has multiple instances of the same type of Handicap they should vary the effects they can achieve.

Twist uses

Twisted Pacts

Twisted Pacts are the Twisted equivalents of the normal Sway Pact the Alliance. They come in the following types.

  • Oppositional Pact: This is a pact created between a Demon and its opponent. This sort of Pact costs the Demon 1 Twists per target to initiate, and will last until they create a new Oppositional Pact or the targets are dead. This Pact grants the Demon Sway every time the opponent spends Sway and vice-versa.
  • Possession Pact: This is a pact created by a Demon and any target that it wishes to possess or control. The Target costs the normal Yarn/Twists cost and then the degree of control must also be purchased in Twists.
    Twists Degree of Control
    1 Tremble / Shake
    2 Throw / Tug – Range Penalties as Snap Shot (Pip per metre)
    3 Puppet – Range Penalties as Braced Shot (Pip per metres Reduced)
    4 Wear / Wield / Rough Possess – Range Penalties as Prone Shot (Pip per metres Double Reduced)
    5 Finesse Possession – No Range Penalties
    6 Full Possession- Possessor may spend Sway as if it is their body
    7 Eldritch – Add Twisted Facet Skill and Handicap
    8 Preternatural – Add 2 Twisted Facet Skills and Handicaps
    9 Supernatural – Add 2 Twisted Facet Skills, 1 Twisted Facet Talent and 3 Handicaps

    Possessing a suit of armour (Descendant [2 Twists]) and having it move as though you are wearing it [4 Twists] will cost 6 Twists. A Possession Pact can only be maintained by spending Sway on an Extended Duration (see table above) each time the Possessor enters a new duration category they must pay the next cost. Immediately the possession is successful spend 2 Chi, at the end of scene spend 5 Chi to maintain, pay 8 Chi at the end of eight hours to maintain, pay 12 Chi sometime before the end of the first day (noon, sunrise, sunset, midnight or exactly 24 hours)… etc.

Twisted Facet Annexes & Handicaps

Twisted Facet Annexes and Handicaps are both based on a single Facet. The Facet is the Root and Channelling Facet of the Annex. In a Talent the Facet will also be the Umbral and Nimbeds of the Talent. E.g. An Awe (Boon 13) becomes a Twisted Facet Skill (66+66=132) of Boon 21 (2d4+1), any Awe based roll can roll the Skill instead. This is always balanced by a Handicap of the full Boon for that Facet this Handicap is always Dæmonic

Spending Twists

Sway Multiplication

Multiply Sway being spent by 1+Twists spent on multiplying. Normally you can only use this ability on your own Chi, Pact members spending Chi or to multiply the effect of any Mercari million-to-one shot. E.g. When Lotho the ‘Penetrations Engineer’ used his Million-to-one shot his slightly Demonic friend Kat doubled the Chi release for 1 Twist.

Twisted Regeneration

Twisted Regeneration cost is equal to the highest Wound to be regenerated and completely removes all the Demon’s (or a Pact members) wounds instantly. So Healing a Carnage Wound (and everything under that) will cost 4 Twists. However, every wound removed (including Flesh and Distract Wounds) will increase a Handicap by 1 Boon or create a new Handicap. If all available Handicaps are Maxed then the character will gain a ‘Twisted Regeneration’ Boon 1 Descendant that consists of an ‘Always on’ Umbral and a “Scarred” , “Doomed” or similar Handicap of the required Boon +1.

Soul Stealing

Soul stealing can only be performed on targets that have entered a Pact with the Demon. Possession and Oppositional pacts do count. Soul-stealing costs a number of Twists equal to the cost for that target.

Soul-Stealing and Scale

Soul-stealing can reduce a Character’s Scale (releasing a number of points of Sway equal to the Character’s Max-Yin and Max-Yang in one go). The cost of targeting a Character’s Scale is the Current Scale in Twists plus the normal cost to affect that Character (e.g. 5 Twists to reduced the Scale of a Scale 2 [+2] Grunt [+3]) and will reduce the Scale by 1 each time it is taken (note the diminishing returns the Demon suffers on this), on average this returns 156 + 12 x The Scale for both Yin and Yang (assuming all 13 on the Facets). It should be noted that Scale-Stealing is instant and permanent. The Demon or Increated does not have to pay for additional duration.

Soul stealing in this way is usually only for a limited duration (paid in Sway as you pass each barrier i.e. at the end of the action pay 2 Sway, 4 Sway at the end of the round, 10 Sway at the end of the Combat, and so on), but if the possession target dies or is destroyed before the duration is up then you will keep the stolen goods for free. Conversely if you have a Memory stolen you can get it back again by: buying it again; destroying/killing the Character that stole it from you; or you will get it back if they stop paying for it (or get the Chi back if you have brought it again). Anything that is stolen is added to the Character as a Descendant, or as their own Alternate Personality.

Ignore Facet

Twists spent allows you to ignore all aspects of the specified Facet for a Twist based Duration. Spending 1 Twist will allow a Demon to ignore all aspects of Burden (for example) for 1 action (perhaps allowing them to step through a wall of solid rock), 6 Twists would allow them to ignore Burden for a Week. A Character or Dark Matter Descendant that is Ignoring a Facet can still generate a score in the Ignored Facet i.e. a Character who is ignoring Rook (and hence Defences) can still generate a score to defend themselves (but they won’t need to versus a Quash attack) or others.

Sway Vampirism

Sway Vampirism allows the Demon to spend Twists to drain Sway (in the form of Yarn) from a victim.

Twists Yarn drained Actual Sway drained
1 1d2 4-10
2 1d4 4-24
3 1d6 4-42
4 1d8 4-64
5 1d10 4-90
6 1d12 4-118
7 2d6 10-118
8 4d3 24-118
9 2d8 10-184
10 1d20 4-262
11 2d10 5-262
12 4d5 24-262
13 2d12 10-354
14 4d6 24-354

Nightmare Fuel

A Demon that is possessing a character, or an Increated (Dæmon) that is near a character can attempt to Nightmare Fuel itself. Tapping into the character’s Handicaps, Annex, Proficiencies and Descendants to create a Nightmare form for itself.The Nightmare Fuel Source grants potentially vast amounts of Twists that must be immediately spent (Nightmare Fuel that generates more than 14 Twists (the most you can spend at once) may fill the Demon with Twists. Any additional Twists beyond these limits (especially the Hard limit of 28) will be converted to Yarn.

Nightmare Form

A Nightmare Form is a supernaturally powerful monstrous form that a Demon can briefly inhabit while Nightmare Fueled. Nightmare forms grant the Demon additional Annexes, but at a cost of additional Handicaps.Typically a Nightmare Form is treated as a Descendant that the Demon gains access to. Normally the Nightmare form consists of a Single Annex with balancing Handicaps.A Demon can only maintain the Nightmare Form as long as it has access to the Nightmare Fuel that created it.E.g. An Increated that possess a corpse in Eastern Europe finds that when the shuffling puppet (Prop 2 + Puppet 3 = 5 Twists) approaches a local, their beliefs in ‘Vampyre’ legends grant them 12 Twists that they spend immediately upgrading their possession (2 Twists for the corpse and 7 for a supernatural Awe Facet Annex – the extra 3 Twists are used to Soul Steal from the Corpse gaining a Memory – had he been wounded he probably would have spent Twists healing) and access to a Nightmare Form ( “Vampyre Abilities” Boon 34 (d8+4) In daylight add +20 to difficulty Handicap : Dependence (Blood) (x14) -That’s 20 Boons from the Umbral and 14 from Handicaps). Should the Demon remove themselves from the locals they will once again lose access to the Nightmare Form.

Nightmare Refuelling

Every now and then Demons want a little more Nightmare Fuel, but how to get more fuel from a source? Well there are two ways.

  • Move away and move back. Or find a new source. You can’t change Nightmare Forms whilst you have one on, so the new Fuel source must have an applicable Proficiency or Handicap. A good tactic is to hit a crowd for Nightmare Fuel, you can keep pulling from all targets, especially if you target those with contagious Handicaps.
  • Retap the original Nightmare Fuel source. Pay Yarn (or Sway for Yarn) equal to the number of Twists that will be gained. E.g. if targeting a Handicap x24 the Demon must pay 354 Sway or 24 Yarn.

The Source will be drained one boon. Annexes of Boon 1 become Proficiencies, Proficiencies will be lost, Handicaps of Boon 1 are also lost, if a source is lost then the Nightmare Form will also be lost.

Nightmare Fuel Source Twists gained
Proficiency 1
Handicap Handicap Boon
Annex Annex Boon Reduced
Descendant Descendant Cost Reduced