Monday, February 1, 2021

VtS Update: Everything a player needs to know

 As I am nearly finished with a dramatic update to Vain the Sword, I thought I'd collect everything a player needs to know for a one-shot in one place, so they don't actually need to study the rulebook in its entirety.

Players, click here: 

Cool character. 

You can do anything without rolling dice unless failure is interesting and possible. As a group, you can declare that time passes and I have to advance the story without killing you. You are entitled to a short list of social mores that you can exploit.

When you get into a fight, I'll tell you if and how to roll for initiative. On your turn, you can do some kind of maneuver and cast a spell or attack someone.

  • A maneuver is any action, like cutting a rope or taking a moment to bypass defenses, or pulling on someone's shield.
  • You can cast a spell if you have an MD, or some magic scroll. 
  • When you attack, you roll a d20 and your weapon's damage die at the same time. If your d20 roll is equal to or under your THEWS, you deal damage equal to the damage die. Simple. 

Your morale is kind of like your health. It goes down when you are hurt, but also when you witness violence (unless you are inured to violence).

Your orisons are d4s that you can spend in prayer while on an adventure. If you roll a 4, your prayer is answered in some way-- though seldom spectacularly and sometimes to your detriment.

In general, weapons damage is based on how many it takes up:

  • 0: (unarmed) 1d4
  • 1: 1d6, one-handed
  • 2: 1d6 one-handed, 1d8 two-handed
  • 3: 1d10 two-handed
    They won't be enough

In general, armor provides:

  • 2 defense if it protects the head or everything but the head
  • 4 defense if it covers the head and most of the torso
  • 6 defense if it covers the head, torso, and most of the limbs.
    Most characters have some defense unarmored, but this can be bypassed by the maneuvers of your foes.
Drugs are magic. When you take a dose, you get a benefit and a drawback
  • Wine: get a feeling when divine miracles are at play. You are cursed if you attack your host or guests.
  • Opium: get a feeling when chemicals are at play. You are cursed if you do manual labor.
  • Absnthe: get a feeling when magic is at play. You are cursed if you are attentive.


  1. Condensed and to the point, cool! One question, weapon damage is listed according to inventory slots I presume. The list says that 2: 1d6 one-handed, 1d6 two-handed. Is it simply to clarify that no matter how you use it, wielding the weapon with two hands still deals 1d6 damage? Or should it say 1d8 or something?