After almost a year since the digital publishing of Early Dark, we’ve had many opportunities to play Early Dark with folks all over the United States. During those months, and through many discussions and open forums with dozens of players, we came up with a few small changes that make for quicker, more streamlined public play. As it turns out, these three strategies may also help your home games go more smoothly. So here they are:


1. All Tacks Deal Fatigue

Combat feels a little more brutal when every Tack can directly weaken an opponent. Whenever playing at conventions or public demos, we will allow all Tacks to deal Fatigue.

Secondary Tacks

If you don’t need an Advantage or a Talent to gain the upper hand in combat, use One-Tacks and Two-Tacks to distract or wear an opponent down. When dealing Fatigue, Secondary Tacks use the character’s DPD Trait and may or may not allow for a weapon’s Load bonus at the Scribe’s discretion. Secondary Tacks, remember, are not true “attacks” in Early Dark so these might not represent direct hits or even physical contact. Use a One-Tack to wave your arms in the air and distract a foe. Spend a Two-Tack walking your enemy into a corner. Either of these would count as lowering the opponent’s Guard.

Primary Tacks

Primary Tacks deal Fatigue as normal and generally count as true “attacks” that make contact with an enemy. When dealing Fatigue with Primary Tacks, the Load bonus of any applicable weapon is added to the total Fatigue dealt by each Tack.


2.Start With 4 Guard Dice

All creatures will begin with Mundane, Arcane, Loom, and Guard Dice being equal. This gives any person or monster a beginning level of difficulty. Typical humans would begin with 2 or 3 Dice, while Heroes start the creation process with 4 Dice in each category. Adding 7 Stars to new Heroes and monsters allows for instant customization and tailoring to fit the party.

Remember, a combatant’s Guard Dice set the number of dice he or she rolls when Evading after the usual RPR are spent.

In public play, heroes will begin a campaign with only 3 Wounds. These mark the number of times a hero can “take a fall” before being truly dead.


3. Skip Wager When Using Arcane Magick

To make combat move more quickly during public play, we omit the Wagers required for Arcane Magick in the Early Dark Corebook. Instead, players roll their Arcane Dice as in a Mundane or Loom attack. Then, all dice that do not land after the Bout is reduced are used to roll Drain.

A Wager is still built into the system: If a caster decides not to roll all his or her Arcane Dice for any given spell, then the potential for Drain is diminished. Source and Blood function exactly as they do in traditional play: Source reduce the number of dice rolled, and Blood acts as a direct buffer.

A Backlash occurs when no Dice land after the Bout reduces. All the energy from the Fray summoned by the caster has nowhere to go (no viable Tacks or actions) so the caster suffers. Follow the standard rules for rolling Drain during a Backlash.