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Term Name: Effect

Description: Any game ability that temporarily modifies a character either positively or negatively.

Rule Type: Gameplay

Any modifier to a character's traits whether positive or negative is an 'effect' on that character. This page will discuss how they work and interact.


Every time a spell is cast it has an effect on something, generally on a character. Often effects are temporary, but some might be permanent (such as healing someone). Using items such as alchemicals or potions creates effects as well. Anything that deviates from the normal ongoing rules or has lasting impact on the world is an effect.

Postive effects are often referred to as 'buffs' and negative effects are often referred to as 'debuffs'.

Effect Types

Much like calls, effects can have types associated with them. If the effect was created by a spell (or a spell-like item it is a 'spell effect'). Those created by alchemicals are 'alchemical effects'. Most of the time none of this matters. You only need to know what type of effect something has if another effect refers to a category it interacts with. When this happens it should be relatively clear if an effect is or is not part of the relevant category.

For example:The Dispel Magic spell removes all spell effects from a target. Rather than list what is a spell effect, its easier to just know any buff or debuff caused by a spell on a target will be removed when they are affected by 'Dispel Magic!'.

Effect Durations

Each effect has a duration, how long it will last.

Durations always fall into the following categories:

  • Instant: The effect does it's job and then ends immediately.
  • Short (1 Minute): These effects are generally meant to be used in a combat situation. Because 1 minute is difficult to track in a combat situation, we rely on players to use their best judgement and the honor system.
  • Medium (10 Minutes): 10 minutes is long enough an extended fight. These effects are meant to last for the entirety of a typical combat encounter or to be used on the way to one. Players should generally avoid trying to 'get more value out of their buffs' by chasing secondary encounters while a buff from a previous encounter is still functioning. This has a tendency to lead to behavior that is bad for the community/ game. Sometimes though, you finish an encounter and immediately stumble onto another one, and there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Long (Game Day): This effect lasts until convergence. Generally these effects are defensive buffs or major penalties. These effects are used well in advance because you predict you might run into a situation where it will be relevant.
  • Extra-Long (Event): These effects are generally the most powerful, costly, or conditional to use. This duration is very rare and mostly appears on rituals.
  • Continuous: These effects last for as long as you are using a particular item and stop when you take the item off (only to start again when you put it on again). They exclusively come from magic items and tinkering items.

Dispelling Effects

Effects will end when their duration runs out or if another effect removes them. To remove one effect you need a second effect that specifically removes the first effect, or something that removes all effects of a particular type.

Buff spells that have a range other than tag bag can be ended at any time by the person benefiting from it. The caster of a buff spell can also end if they touch the target who must be either willing or Helpless and then declare aloud that the spell is over.

For example: A character has their Might increased by the Strength spell. It will last for 10 minutes (the duration of that spell) or until something dispels it. To dispel the Strength spell something must either state it ends that spell specifically or all spells (such as 'Dispel Magic!'). Because it is a spell with a range of touch, the Strength spell can also be ended voluntarily by the character who has it, or by the caster if they touch the target again.

An instant effect does whatever it does, and ends immediately. Effects with an instant duration can never be dispelled - they have already done what they set out to do. You can however undo the results.

Example: A spell creates tag bags that call for '4 Magic!' damage. There is nothing to be dispelled after the spell is cast, but you can heal the damage caused.

Flag Requirements

If an effect requires a flag it will list it to let you know. Any effect that requires a flag does not take start until the flag is put into place. If you do not place the flag within one minute of causing the effect (such as within one minute of casting a spell), the effect ends immediately. Should the flag fall off the effect will also fall off (end) as well. To help avoid this players are allowed to put multiple flags onto a person or object. Only if all flags fall off does the effect end. If multiple effects that require flags are on a single thing, only one flag is required to be placed.


Some traits have limits on how much they can be improved. This is for game balance's sake. The rules for each trait explain if there is a cap on it, and if so what that cap is.

A limited number of very powerful abilities and items allow characters to break these caps. Anything that allows a character to do this will say that they can "break cap" explicitly.

The caps are:

Stacking Effects

When two different effects both enhance the same thing, we call the interaction of those two effects 'stacking'. Characters can benefit from multiple bonuses to the same trait as long as they come from differently named effects. A character cannot benefit from two effects with the same name at once.

Example: A character has 1 Might, they normally deals 1 damage with their sword. Someone casts the Strength spell on them (increasing their Might by 1 for 10 minutes), now they deal 2 damage with their sword. A different person gives them a Strength potion which they drink. These effects have the same name, 'Strength', so the character only gets a bonus once. However, if they were to use a Weapon Stone on their sword (which increases Might with that weapon), they would now deal 3 damage with it for as long as the two effects last.

Non-Stacking Effects

Some rules state that they do not stack. For any given trait you can benefit from only one effect that 'does not stack'. If you have a second effect that does stack, it can be used with a single effect that does not stack.

Example: A character casts on themself the spell Stoneskin, which provides 2 Natural armor points that stack. They then cast the ritual of Ironbark which provides additional Natural Armor points (we'll say 4 for this example), but does not stack. That means the character now has 6 natural armor points (one effect that stacks with one effect that does not). If they were to then drink a Natural Armor Elixir (a scarce item that provides 2 points of Natural Armor that does not stack), they would not gain any further Natural Armor points. Both the Natural Armor Elixir and the Ironbark do not stack, so you could only benefit from one of the two. You would use the Ironbark because it provides the better bonus, the Natural Armor Elixir has gone to waste.


Many traits have minimums that they cannot be reduced below. If effects would reduce a character to below a minimum, the effects only bring the character to the minimum unless the effect specifically says it can take the trait below its minimum.

Setting Traits

If an effect sets a trait to a certain number it overrides all other modifiers to that trait for as long as it lasts. When two different effects set a character to two different numbers, the effect that was applied second is the only one that matters.

For example: A character has 2 body. They cast the spell Toughness (which grants 2 additional body points) on themselves bringing their total body up by two to a total of 4. Someone else casts the spell Heroism on them, which sets their body to 10. The character now has 10 body, not 12. If that character gains the Diseased condition (which among other things causes a character to have -1 body), they still have 10 body, because Heroism sets your body to 10. If the character then gets hit with a 'Curse!' call, they gain the Cursed condition (which sets their body to a maximum of 1), they now have 1 body point.


An enchantment is a special kind of effect that can last longer than an event. The source of the enchantment will specify exactly how long it lasts and exactly what it does. Enchantments are a catch all category for special story related effects not covered by any other rule, that affect a character for a long period of time. If a character has an enchantment on them the plot marshal or second (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) will note it on their character sheet.



Categories: Gameplay Rules | Spell and Item Rules | Terminology

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