Toward One

Written in 2003 by D. Vincent Baker

Dead Can Dance: The Serpent's Egg
Baaba Maal: Souka Nayo and Firin' in Fouta
Angelique Kidjo: Logozo
Loreena McKinnet: The Mask and the Mirror
Peter Gabriel: Passion: the Last Temptation of Christ
Steven Flynn: Rapture Rumi
Lisa Gerrard: The Mirror Pool

Pistachio nuts, cashews, dried apricots.
Cured olives, olives stuffed with garlic or almonds.
Green tea with fresh spearmint.
Ethiopian coffee, very strong.


Players: Overview

You are a religious mystic in the court of Prince Mulu Alem of Abaid, a made-up city in fantasy North Africa. Mulu Alem is devout, wise, tolerant, and generous, a Muslim in an age when Islam is the light of the world. Abaid under his rule is enormously prosperous, on trade roads for frankincense, ivory, spices, and gold, and a center of science, literature and art. He employs you (and perhaps God does as well) to fight Jinn, the enemies of humanity, evil spirits who crave the downfall of the faithful.

There are nine sects. You can play an Ethiopian Sufi, a Moroccan or Arabic Sheikh, a Turkish Mulla, a Christian, a Jew, a Tuareg, a Zoroastrian Persian, or even an Idolater from afar. You don't get to just decide, though. There can be only one character of each sect, so you bid for them.

You have three skills: Calligraphy, which you use to bind Jinn; Law, that is, Divine Law, which you use to command Jinn; and Numerology, which you use to identify and define Jinn. You also have a Luxury stat, which represents the time and wealth that the Prince gives you; a Renown stat, which represents your fame and good name in Abaid; and an Esteem stat, which represents the reputation of your sect and the respect they're accorded.

You keep a running tally of the bonuses you accumulate and spend for each skill and stat. Bonuses are named: Illumination for Calligraphy, Righteousness for Law, Insight for Numerology; Leisure for Luxury, Prowess for Renown, and Respect for Esteem.

You choose Rituals based on your sect and your Law skill; Rituals allow you to make particular rolls at a big advantage. You can perform each Ritual only once against any certain Jinn. You might also have Allies, people in Abaid who help you by giving you free bonuses.

Jinn have 3 skills, opposing yours: Malice opposes Calligraphy, Lawlessness opposes Law, and Subtlety opposes Numerology. (I'll use Malicious, Lawless and Subtle too, interchangeably.) Each Jinn is also the author of a particular Evil: Murder, Idolatry, Famine, and the like. Jinn are intangible spirits until you've provoked and constrained them to manifest, but then you can bind them, capturing them in a scroll or book of illuminated scripture.

When you roll dice, roll a number of d10s equal to your skill or stat, sometimes modified. Each of your dice that comes up a 2, 3, 4 or 5 counts as a success; each 1 counts as two successes. If you don't like your results, you can spend your bonuses to add new dice or change the values of the ones you've already rolled.

You make the majority of your rolls in opposition to Jinn. Each of a Jinn's dice that comes up 6-9 counts as a success for the Jinn, and each 10 counts as two. The Jinn's successes do harm or misfortune to you, but you can choose to expend your successes to counter them. Otherwise, you'll generally choose whether your successes directly affect the Jinn or give you bonuses to future rolls.

(Occasionally you'll want to roll against a fellow PC. Those rolls are almost always Renown vs. Renown.)

The game is quite structured. You take turns calling for scenes for your character. Every scene has a specific goal, building up to confronting and binding your Jinn, and you take them in strict order. The order's based on your character's standing in the city. You choose which Jinn you'll take on in the same order.

When you defeat Jinn, the Prince rewards you with Luxury, Renown, Esteem, or Allies. It's to your advantage to defeat Jinn quickly, but it's also more rewarding to face more powerful Jinn. Making canny early decisions about risk vs. gain can turn into big power later in the game.

GM: Game Structure

  1. Character Creation.
  2. Jinn Creation.
  3. Players and GM introduce their Jinn to the group.
  4. Establish Esteem+Renown order.
  5. Players choose Jinn to take on, in Esteem+Renown order.
  6. Scenes, in Esteem+Renown order:
    1. Some number of regular scenes;
    2. A Final Confrontation scene;
    3. A Collecting Rewards scene;
    4. Some number of Self-improvement scenes;
    5. A Taking On a New Jinn scene.
  7. The scene cycle continues until the game ends. Create new Jinn as called for.

Shall we?

Players: Character Creation

Roll 6d10. You build your character out of those 6 numbers. Write them in the top margin of your character sheet.

Choose one to be your bid for your sect. Start with the player on the GM's right and go around the room; call out your bid and cross it off your character sheet. Once everybody's bid, figure out your order, high bid to low. In case of ties, roll off or do rock-paper-scissors.

So choose your sect, following bid order. There can be only one character of each sect, so don't choose one that somebody's already taken. Here are the sects:

  • Ethiopian: Esteem 5, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Law, +1 Numerology.
  • Arab: Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Numerology.
  • Turk: Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Luxury.
  • Moroccan: Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Renown.
  • Jew: Esteem 3, +1 Law, +1 Numerology.
  • Christian: Esteem 3, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Law.
  • Zoroastrian: Esteem 2, +1 Law, Ally - Attendant Spirit.
  • Tuareg: Esteem 2, +1 Law, Ally - Family Member.
  • Idolater: Esteem 1, +1 to any one skill, Ally - Caravaneer.

(If you have more than nine players, you can have multiple Idolaters, just make them all from different parts of the world. But consider splitting the game instead.)

Write your sect on your character sheet, then copy down your Esteem and your skill/stat modifiers. If you get a starting Ally, write it in the Allies box. If you're an Idolater, see your section below for more info.

You have five numbers left. Use them to buy skills and stats. (Skills and stats are measured in dice, as in "I've got 4 dice in Law.") You'll recall that the skills are Calligraphy, Law and Numerology, and the stats are Esteem (which you've got already), Luxury and Renown. Read the skills' and stats' section below for more. Anyway but buy them with this chart:

  • Die Value: 1 = Skill or Stat Dice: 2.
  • Die Value: 2-3 = Skill or Stat Dice: 3.
  • Die Value: 4-6 = Skill or Stat Dice: 4.
  • Die Value: 7-10 = Skill or Stat Dice: 5.

You get 3 free bonuses for each skill and stat. Show them with hash marks, far enough apart that you can erase them as you spend them.

So let's say you put your 7 die into your Law. On your character sheet it looks like this:

Law (7)  5   - Righteousness: / / /

If you're say Christian, with +1 Law, it looks like this:

Law (7)  6   - Righteousness: / / /


(While you're at it, put three hash marks for your 3 starting Respect, and you can put your bid die in the Esteem parens if you want.)

So now buy rituals. You get a number of Rituals equal to your Law, and the first has to be the one for your sect (eg, an Ethiopian's first Ritual must be the Coffee Ritual). See your sect's section below. Meanwhile choose the rest from these:

  • Ecstatic Dance: Add your Esteem to a Numerology roll.
  • Fasting: Add your Law to a Numerology roll.
  • Litany: Add your Calligraphy to a Law roll.
  • Orthodoxy: Add your Law to a Renown roll.
  • Prayer: Add your Calligraphy to a Numerology roll.
  • Prophecy: Add your Numerology to a Calligraphy roll.
  • Religious Office: Add your Esteem to a Law roll.
  • Scholarship: Add your Law to a Calligraphy roll.

I'll go ahead and give you the obvious advice: take Rituals that let you add your best skill to other skill rolls. If Numerology's your thing, for instance, prioritize Litany and Prophecy.

Oh, and if you roll against another PC, it's usually a Renown roll, so Orthodoxy's handy for that.

Choose an Ally, in addition to the one you got from your Sect if you did.

That's it! Name yourself and your Ally or Allies. Here are the sects:

  • Ethiopians: Ethiopia is the birthplace of Coffee, and, as we all know, when you've got a mind-altering substance religion springs up around it. Coffee is a big deal in Dervish ceremony even today.

    Esteem 5, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Law, +1 Numerology.

    The Coffee Ritual: Add your Luxury to a Law roll.

  • Arabs: Arabia is the center of the civilized world, rich, learned, leisured, and expressive. Soon the Christian Crusades will radicalize and militarize Islam, but not yet.

    Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Numerology.

    Inspired Poetry: Add your Luxury to a Calligraphy roll.

  • Turks: Turkey lacks the moderation and restraint of the more civilized West. Turks brew their coffee sometimes with crushed coriander, cardamom or pepper, if you can imagine!

    Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Luxury.

    Generous Giving: Add your Luxury to a Renown roll.

  • Moroccans: The famed explorer Ibn Battuta is from Morocco. He's known for his diligent study, his pursuit of knowledge, and his strict adherence to Islam.

    Esteem 4, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Renown.

    Diligent Study: Add your Renown to a Law roll.

  • Jews: Jews, of course, are the first of the Faithful. Jewish mystics are masterful numerologists.

    Esteem 3, +1 Law, +1 Numerology.

    Kaballah: Add your Luxury to a Numerology roll.

  • Christians: Animosity between Muslims and Christians isn't yet widespread. Christians, like Jews, are people of the faith.

    Esteem 3, +1 Calligraphy, +1 Law.

    Confession: Add your Esteem to a Calligraphy roll.

  • Zoroastrians: Persia is the birthplace of Monotheism, and forms of the first religion survive today. Zoroastrians are powerful magicians and astrologers.

    Esteem 2, +1 Law, Ally - Attendant Spirit.

    Astrology: Add your Renown to a Numerology roll.

  • Tuareg: The Tuareg are the nomads and caravaneers of the Sahara. They're fierce and hard, and the men go veiled out of respect for the women. They're sometimes called Blue Men because the indigo in their veils stains their faces.

    Esteem 2, +1 Law, Ally - Family Member.

    Warrior Heritage: Add your Renown to a Calligraphy roll.

  • Idolaters: Abaid is a crossroads of trade and learning. In it you can find people from as far away as India, China, Malaysia, Southern and Western Africa, and farthest northern Europe. None of these people serve the one God, except as He is disguised in their superstitious cults.

    Esteem 1, +1 to any one skill (your choice), Ally - Caravaneer.

    Make up your own ritual! For instance: Kung Fu: Add your Law to a Renown roll. Or Karma: Add your Renown to a Luxury roll. Or whatever!

    You Idolaters can also rename Calligraphy, if it doesn't fit your culture. Choose an appropriate art: Woodcarving, for instance, or Making Fetish Bags.

Here are the skills and stats, more fully described:


  • Calligraphy is an art that requires much more than excellent handwriting. It includes technical skills, like making colored inks and applying gold and silver leaf, artistic skills, like designing ornate capitals and decorative borders, and - most broadly - expressive skills, like composing beautiful poetry and drawing subtle parallels to existing text.

    Roll Calligraphy for any creative use of words or language: speaking to sway people's emotions, composing ecstatic chant, or (naturally) scribing, illustrating and illuminating text. A Calligraphy roll is required to bind Jinn.

    Illumination supports Calligraphy, representing your inspiration and skill and the suitability of your artistic choices.

  • Law is the knowledge of the laws of God. It's not strictly linked to theology; this is an era when God is expansive and indulgent, not exclusive. You can ignore in your fellows even grievous errors of doctrine if they're living Faithful lives. (Rituals like Orthodoxy and Religious Office are where specific theologies come in.)

    Roll Law for anything requiring authority, correctness, or critical thought: decrying sin in a community, commanding obedience, or (naturally) reciting and expounding on scripture. A Law roll is required to command Jinn.

    Righteousness supports Law, representing your accordance with God's will.

  • Numerology is the study of the laws of nature, fate and fortune, as well as calculating hidden influences, reading omens, and discovering the future.

    Roll Numerology for attempts to learn, understand or foresee: figuring out the true powers in a mob, finding a hidden clue, or determining a Jinn's next victim. A Numerology roll is required to name Jinn.

    Insight supports Numerology, representing your attention to details and alertness to possibilities.


  • Esteem is your sect's standing in Abaid. It represents your people's influence in the public sphere, integration into the community, prestige, and also the alignment of your beliefs with the mainstream.

    Roll Esteem for anything that depends on your being accepted by people who don't know you: finding a bargain in the bazaar, visiting a stranger's home, or reciting the names of your ancestors.

    Respect supports Esteem, representing the good you've done that reflects on your people.

  • Luxury is your own personal wealth and prosperity. It represents money, goods, fashion, trade arrangements, dowries, free time, and all earthly pleasures.

    Roll Luxury for anything that requires an investment of money or time: bribing the chief caravaneer, buying milk-white vellum and gold leaf, or translating an occult text from some idolatrous alphabet.

    Leisure supports Luxury, representing your uncommitted time and cash on hand.

  • Renown is your own fame and good name. It represents the deeds you've done, prayers said in your behalf or in your name, and the stories people tell of you.

    Roll Renown for anything that requires personal prowess: arguing against another PC in court, defending yourself against bandits on the road, or calling on magical powers.

    Prowess supports Renown, representing your strength, endurance, and skill.

And here are the Allies:

  • An Attendant Spirit converts Renown to Insight.
  • A Caravaneer converts Renown to Leisure.
  • A Courtier converts Leisure to Prowess.
  • A Family Member converts Respect to Renown.
  • A Follower converts Righteousness to Renown.
  • A Former Teacher converts Leisure to Righteousness.
  • A Student converts Leisure to Illumination.
  • A Wife converts Prowess to Leisure.

There's a made up character and a blank character sheet at the end.

Everybody: Jinn

Creating Jinn
Roll d10s equal to your Numerology +2. (If by mischance that happens to be fewer than 4 dice, which I can't think of a way but there it is, roll 4.) (GM, roll as many dice as you want.) Choose one to be your Jinn's Evil, according to this chart:

  1. Murder
  2. Idolatry
  3. Disaster (floods, earthquakes, fires, storms)
  4. Robbery
  5. Corruption
  6. Plague
  7. Licentiousness
  8. Sedition
  9. Famine / Barrenness
  10. Drunkenness

Choose 3 dice to be your Jinn's skills. Its skills are, you'll recall, Malice, Lawlessness, and Subtlety. Buy its skills on the same ol' chart:

  • Die Value: 1 = Skill Dice: 2.
  • Die Value: 2-3 = Skill Dice: 3.
  • Die Value: 4-6 = Skill Dice: 4.
  • Die Value: 7-10 = Skill Dice: 5.

Unlike your characters, Jinns' raw dice values are important. Do you know about numerological reduction? It works like this.

Add up your Jinn's four dice (e.g. 4 + 5 + 7 + 7 = 23).

Separate the digits of the sum and add them (e.g. 2 + 3 = 5).

If you don't have a one-digit number now, repeat until you do.

This number is way significant in the game! Write it down in your Jinn's Numerological Value space and hang in there, I'll tell you about it in a bit.

Meanwhile, most Jinn enter play as incorporeal spirits, but all will manifest themselves materially sooner or later. Describe what your Jinn will look like. Be as monstrous as you can.

And finally, your Jinn is right now as we speak doing badness in the world. Write a sentence or two (under "Harm") about the problems your Jinn is creating for Abaid. You can introduce your Jinn to the group by saying its Evil, its skill values, and its Harm.

There's a blank Jinn sheet at the end, and the Jinn from the example below reappears there as well.

What Happens with Jinn
Symbolically speaking, One is a big deal. It's the world, the universe, God and everything. Jinn hate One and it's their weakness.

As you confront, oppose, and thwart a Jinn, its skills increase. Prevent it from harming people and it becomes more Malicious; predict who it will attack and warn them away and it becomes more Subtle; confront it with its own evil and it becomes more Lawless. That's how they are, and that's why they can't ever be converted.

So sometimes you'll use your successes in your rolls to increase the Jinn's skills. You don't directly increase their skill dice, however; you increase the number in parenthesis, the number from the original die. Only increase its skill dice when its number crosses to the next level up.

But regardless, recalculate its Numerological Value. (It's easy: when you increase one of its skills by 1, its Numerological Value increases by 1 too.) Eventually its Numerical Value will increase to 10, which reduces (1 + 0 = 1) to 1. At that point, the Jinn provoked and constrained and raging, manifests physically.

Then you can bind it.

A Jinn, for example

Dice: 4 5 7 7
Evil (4) Robbery
Malice (5)   4  
Lawlessness (7)   5  
Subtlety (7)   5  
Numerological Value   5  
Appearance: I'm a raging beastial ogre, fifteen feet high, with tusks capped in steel and heavy gold rings in my ears, nose, and nipples. I have a steel sword that weighs 200 pounds and blasphemies tattooed on my skin. I eat babies and women and bathe in molten metals.
Harm: I've inspired a gang of bandits to raid the caravans in and out of Abaid. When the merchants speak of them they make signs against evil and look over their shoulders, and the caravaneers are convinced that their leader is the Devil Himself. They're right.
  • Die Value: 1 = Skill Dice: 2.
  • Die Value: 2-3 = Skill Dice: 3.
  • Die Value: 4-6 = Skill Dice: 4.
  • Die Value: 7-10 = Skill Dice: 5.
  • Die Value: 11-16 = Skill Dice: 6.
  • Die Value: 17+ = Skill Dice: 7.

So some little prick of a mystic takes me on. He teaches prayers to the caravaneers and tells them auspicious times to leave Abaid, he publically decries robbery, he confronts my bandit chieftain and convinces his concubines to leave him to live modest lives, all to get at me. It works, of course.

On one roll, he increases my Lawlessness Value by 4. Here's how my character sheet changes:

Lawlessness (11)   6  
Numerological Value   9  

And then a bit later he increases my Malice Value by 1:

Malice (5)   4  
Numerological Value   1  

And I can't stand any more. I reveal myself, coming out of the desert surrounded by my men, howling, to bite the heads off of caravaneers and snap their camels' backs.

Can he bind me? We'll see.


Players: Order

Everybody, add your Esteem to your Renown. Compare with the other players. In case of ties, roll off or do rock-paper-scissors.

Now, get up and physically order yourselves. Highest Esteem+Renown at the GM's right, then next highest, then next, around to the lowest at the GM's left. Your characters get scenes in that order.

Whenever anybody's Esteem or Renown changes, finish out the cycle, but when you get back to the GM, recalculate. Again, get up and move around. Continue play in the new order.

Everybody: Scenes

A scene begins with the player declaring her character's action.

  • Examples: I use Numerology to determine the Jinn's next victim. I go to the market square and decry licentiousness. I visit the chief caravaneer and ask him to expel the silk trader.

The GM decides which skill or stat the player should roll. Usually this'll be implicit in the player's statement, and the GM can feel free to ask the player to clarify. The GM also decides which skill the Jinn will use to oppose the player: generally Malice vs. Calligraphy, Lawlessness vs. Law, and Subtlety vs. Numerology. If the player's rolling a stat, the GM decides by common sense or whim.

The GM fills in details of the scene and introduces the Jinn's actions against the player.

  • Examples, respectively: As you're calculating the horoscopes of the previous victims, the distracting aroma of roasting lamb and spices comes in from the kitchen [Subtlety]. The people in the market square become rude and uncivil, hooting and bleating at you and throwing debris [Lawlessness]. The chief caravaneer snorts skeptically and derides your refined speech [Malice].

You can go back and forth with this as long as you like. When you're ready, roll. See the section on The Roll, below.

Player: if you spend bonuses, perform rituals, or call on Allies, describe what your character does.

  • Examples, continuing: Aha! I notice that the horoscopes of the previous victims numerologically match passages of the Torah, and use my Kabbalah to add my Luxury to the roll, patiently working out the implications. I am stern and unbending and, spending 2 Righteousness, I call the people to shame! With a flash of (3 points of) Illumination, I appeal to the caravaneer's devotion to his family and wife, and ask him to consider his actions' reflection on them.

And then the GM assigns bonuses to the character, increases the Jinn's skills, and inflicts Suffering on the character, all according to the player's assignment of her successes (see The Roll's section for details). GM, feel free to ask for clarification, descriptions, or follow through, as you like.

  • Examples, concluding: Warning the future victim is a thoughtful and appropriate thing to do, so gain 4 Righteousness. Your conversion of the crowd pisses the Jinn off, to the tune of +3 Malice! The caravaneer is so angry that he beats and robs you (lose 2 Leisure), but you've gained valuable information about the Jinn's nature (gain 8 Insight).

And there the scene ends. Go on to the next player.

Player: Special Scenes

Scenes with Other PCs: We do not care about logistics or realism! If you say "I meet with all the PCs, the Prince, the chief caravaneer, and a hundred slaves from Egypt," so it is! All the PCs are there, even if they've traveled to India and Tibet to fight their Jinn, even if they've sworn a hundred days of seclusion for contemplation, even if they've been dead these many years. Players, you play your characters, and you can try to justify their presence or simply accept it without comment, as you like.

Asking Another PC for Help: You might say, for instance, "I go to Ibrahim and ask him to read the horoscopes of the previous victims." So you do, and Ibrahim's player can agree or refuse.

If she agrees, she rolls, spending bonuses and performing Rituals as she chooses, and assigning her successes as normal. However, all the consequences of his roll are yours: if she assigns successes to gaining bonuses, you get them; if she assigns successes to increasing the Jinn's skills, your Jinn is affected; if she fails to assign successes to countering the Jinn's successes, your character suffers.

If she refuses, you can either bargain with her until she agrees, or try to force her. In the latter case, roll Renown vs. Renown, representing bullying, threats, extortion, blackmail, violence, or whatever you like. If you score more successes, Ibrahim must do as you demand. (Ibrahim's player still uses her bonuses and Rituals as she sees fit, still assigns her successes, and you still get all the consequences, as before.) If she scores more successes, Ibrahim gains 1 Prowess per excess success, but they can be used only against you. (She might mark them on his character sheet with your initial instead of a hash mark.)

Attacking Another PC: You might say, for instance, "I go to the Prince and complain about Ibrahim's unorthodox doctrines," or "I wait for Ibrahim outside the bazaar and hit him with a stick." Choose something from the Suffering list, and roll Renown vs. Renown. If you score more successes, your excess successes determine the degree of Suffering you inflict (see the section on Suffering for details). If poor beset Ibrahim's player scores more successes, Ibrahim gains 1 Prowess per excess success, usuable only against you, as above.

Notice that other PCs in your scenes cannot gain or suffer, except in these very narrow cases. Unless you attack or threaten them somehow, participating in your scene can't ever cost them anything.

The Final Confrontation: Once you've forced your Jinn to manifest, you can confront and (hopefully) bind it. Go to where it is. Make 3 consecutive rolls:

  1. A Numerology vs. Subtlety roll, to name it;
  2. A Law vs. Lawlessness roll, to command it to be still; and
  3. A Calligraphy vs. Malice roll, to bind it.

If you beat it in all three rolls, you've trapped it. On your next scene, you can take it to the Prince and trade it in for praise and rewards.

(Meanwhile, whoever made your Jinn: create a new Jinn and introduce it to the group. Hand it over to the GM. When somebody decides to take on a new Jinn, it's available.)

If you don't beat the Jinn in all three rolls, ignore the results of the rolls you did win, use all of your successes in the roll you lost to negate the Jinn's successes, and take Suffering for the successes the Jinn had over yours. See the sections on The Roll and Suffering for details.

Rewards: Once you've bound your Jinn, take it to the Prince. Tell him who it is and how you defeated it, and choose your rewards. If it outclassed you, choose 3 rewards; if you were evenly matched, choose 2; if you outclassed it, choose 1.

Here's how you tell. Add together the two highest of your skills and stats and the lowest of your skills and stats. Subtract the Jinn's three skills. If the result is less than -2, the Jinn outclassed you. If it's greater than 2, you outclassed the Jinn. If it's between -2 and 2, inclusive, you were evenly matched.

Here are the rewards you can choose from:

  1. A new Ally.
  2. +1 Renown.
  3. +1 Luxury.
  4. +1 Esteem.

Now this last, +1 Esteem, is tricky. Esteem in Abaid is zero-sum; that is, when you get a +1, some other sect gets a -1. You choose which. Screw your rivals over!

If you choose to increase your Renown or your Esteem, everybody has to recalculate their place in the Esteem+Renown order, as I've said.

If you're choosing more than one reward, you can choose different rewards or the same reward multiple times. It's all one in the eyes of God.

Self-improvement: Once you've collected your rewards, you can elect to spend some time in self-improvement. Permanently spend a die of Luxury to permanently gain a die in one of your skills. Describe what you do: I devote myself to the study of scripture, barely eating or speaking to anyone, for +1 Law dice; or I invest vast sums in new inks, vellums, and precious supplies, for +1 Calligraphy dice; or whatever seems good.

If you improve your Law, choose a new Ritual too.

You can keep taking Self-improvement scenes until you're ready to take on a new Jinn (there will be at least two available), unless you run out of Luxury.

Taking on a new Jinn: When you're ready, simply declare that you do so and launch into your first scene against it.

Everybody: The Roll

PC vs. Jinn Rolls
Player: Roll d10s equal to your character's relevant stat or skill. Each die that comes up 2-5 is a success; each 1 is two successes.

GM: Roll d10s equal to the Jinn's relevant skill. Each die that comes up 6-9 is a success; each 10 is two successes. Tell the player how many successes you scored.

Player: If you don't like your results, there are three ways to change them:

  • Perform a Ritual: Say what ritual you're performing, and describe what you do. Roll dice for the skill or stat that the Ritual allows you to add, and add their successes to the ones already showing.

    Example: I'm trying to compose a prayer to teach some sailors, to protect them from the terrible storms my Jinn is causing, and I've just made a pretty crappy Calligraphy roll. I'm an Arab, so one of my character's Rituals is Divine Poetry. I describe how I pause and find inspiration in the words of Rumi, building my new prayer off of one of his immortal poems. I roll my Luxury dice and count their successes as well.

    You can only perform a given Ritual once per Jinn, so put a little x by it.

  • Use Bonuses: For each bonus you spend, you can either a. roll an additional die, or b. decrease the number showing on one of your dice by 1. You can only spend the bonuses of your skill or stat relevant to the roll: Righteousness during a Law roll, for instance, but not during a Numerology roll. If you've already performed a Ritual, you can spend the bonuses of both.

    Example: I still don't have enough successes to beat my Jinn, despite my Ritual. So I spend 2 Illumination and 1 Leisure. I change one of my dice from a 2 to a 1, one of my dice from a 6 to a 5, and I roll one more die.

    Erase each bonus from your character sheet when you spend it.

  • Call on an Ally: Allies let you convert one certain type of bonus into another, one for one. You must incorporate the Ally into the scene, and you must spend all of your converted bonuses.

    Example: Still not enough! I call on my wife, who is (now) there with me, and who converts Prowess into Leisure. I convert 3 Prowess and roll my 3 new Leisure as additional dice. I describe how she rubs my brow and prepares coffee for me while I concentrate.

Player: Once you've finished adjusting your roll, you get to assign your successes. Choose one of the following for each success:

  • Gain Bonuses;
  • Manipulate the Jinn; or
  • Negate one of the Jinn's successes.

GM: Describe the outcome of the roll, according to the player's assignment of her successes:

  • For each Gain Bonuses success, the PC gets 2 bonuses to a skill or stat of your choice. Feel free to ask for the player's input. Generally, give bonuses to a different skill or stat than the one she rolled on.

    Example: Teaching the sailors the protective prayer is a good deed, and reflects well on you and your community. Gain 2 Respect.

  • For each Manipulate the Jinn success, increase one of the Jinn's skills by 1. (Increase the Die Value, not the Dice.) Choose whichever skill seems good.

    Example: Armed with their new prayer, the sailors can safely make their way. The Jinn becomes wary, and considers its future attacks more carefully: it gains 1 Subtlety.

  • For each Negate success, ignore one of the Jinn's successes. As you'd expect.

  • If the Jinn has successes left over, use them to inflict Suffering on the PC. Choose which sort of Suffering (see the section on Suffering below); the number of successes the Jinn has determines the Suffering's duration.

PC vs. PC Rolls
Both players: Roll d10s equal to your characters' relevant stats or skills (generally Renown vs. Renown). Each of your dice that comes up 2-5 is a success for you; each 1 is two successes.

Whichever player has fewer successes has the option to perform a Ritual or spend bonuses. Switch back and forth, adding dice as you choose and are able, until one player concedes. Narrate this sequence of exchanges!

Ultimately, one player will have fewer successes than the other. Each of the loser's successes negates one of the winner's, and the winner's excess successes go toward whatever the roll was for (as you'll recall from the Scenes section).

Example: I wait for Ibrahim outside the bazaar and hit him with a stick. I'm trying to inflict Suffering on him, Bad Health to be precise. We roll Renown vs. Renown. He has 3 successes to my 2, blocking my stick with his staff, but aha! I have Orthodoxy, the Ritual. "Bastard of an unbeliever!" I shout, and roll my fearsome 5 Law. I get 4 more successes(!) and Ibrahim's player concedes. Taken substantially aback by my dogmatic wrath, let's say.

His 3 successes subtract from my 6, leaving me with 3. Checking the chart for Suffering, we see that Ibrahim loses 3 Prowess and suffers a 1-die penalty to his next Renown roll. I stroll away, whistling and swinging my stick.

Everybody: Suffering

PC vs. PC: The player of the attacking character chooses the type of Suffering up front, when she calls for the Scene.

Jinn vs. PC: The GM chooses the type of Suffering after the roll, if the Jinn has successes left over. GM, feel free to discuss and negotiate the type and details with the player if you want to.

There are four types of Suffering:

  1. Bad Behavior, meaning that the character acts under the sway of the Jinn. Penalizes Respect and Esteem. PCs can't inflict this type of Suffering on each other.
  2. Bad Health, meaning injury or disease. Penalizes Prowess and Renown.
  3. Expenses, meaning loss or destruction of wealth, or the retraction of Luxury by the Prince. Penalizes Leisure and Luxury.
  4. Personal Loss, meaning social isolation or betrayal. Penalizes an Ally.

Recall that Respect, Prowess, and Leisure are the bonuses for Esteem, Renown, and Luxury.

The severity of the Suffering depends on the attacker's non-negated successes. For Suffering types 1-3:

  • 1 Success: lose 1 bonus.
  • 2 Successes: lose 2 bonuses.
  • 3 Successes: lose 3 bonuses and take a 1-die penalty to your next roll on that stat.
  • 4 Successes: lose 4 bonuses and take a 1-die penalty to every roll you make on that stat until you bind your current Jinn.
  • 5 Successes or more: lose 5 bonuses and permanently lose 1 die from the stat.

Example: I'm in the bazaar decrying Licentiousness, but I roll crap and the GM rolls very well for the Jinn, to the tune of 4 successes over mine. The GM decides to inflict Bad Behavior; we discuss it and I agree to, yes, chase after the wanton women of the bazaar, overcome with the very thing I oppose! Worked myself up into a frenzy, I suppose. Anyway I lose 4 Respect (if I even have that many) and I'll be at a 1-die penalty to all my Esteem rolls until I defeat this Jinn.

For Suffering type 4, penalizing an Ally:

  • 1 Success: You cannot call on the Ally during your next scene.
  • 2 Successes: The Ally is in some physical. social, or personal danger. Your next scene must be to go to her aid.
  • 3 Successes: You cannot call on the Ally until you bind your current Jinn.
  • 4 Successes: You cannot call on the Ally until you bind your current Jinn and take a Self-improvement scene to get the Ally back. For this Self-improvement scene, don't spend a point of Luxury.
  • 5 Successes or more: The Ally's killed or otherwise gone forever.

Notice that dice penalties don't change your actual Esteem or Renown, so you can take Suffering up to level 4 without having to recalculate the Esteem+Renown order.



Name: Ibrahim
Dice: 3 4 6 7 7 10
Sect: Turkish
Calligraphy (7)   6   - Illumination: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Law (6)   4   - Righteousness: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Numerology (7)   5   - Insight: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Esteem (4)   3   - Respect: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Luxury (10)   6   - Leisure: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Renown (3)   3   - Prowess: / / / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
• Generous Giving: Luxury to Renown.
• Litany: Calligraphy to Law.
• Prayer: Calligraphy to Numerology.
• Prophecy: Numerology to Calligraphy.
• Courtier: Leisure to Renown.


Sample Jinn
Dice: 4 5 7 7
Evil (4) Robbery
Malice (5)   4  
Lawlessness (7)   5  
Subtlety (7)   5  
Numerological Value   5  
Appearance: I'm a raging beastial ogre, fifteen feet high, with tusks capped in steel and heavy gold rings in my ears, nose, and nipples. I have a steel sword that weighs 200 pounds and blasphemies tattooed on my skin. I eat babies and women and bathe in molten metals.
Harm: I've inspired a gang of bandits to raid the caravans in and out of Abaid. When the merchants speak of them they make signs against evil and look over their shoulders, and the caravaneers are convinced that their leader is the Devil Himself. They're right.
  • Die Value: 1 = Skill Dice: 2.
  • Die Value: 2-3 = Skill Dice: 3.
  • Die Value: 4-6 = Skill Dice: 4.
  • Die Value: 7-10 = Skill Dice: 5.
  • Die Value: 11-16 = Skill Dice: 6.
  • Die Value: 17+ = Skill Dice: 7.

Dice: __ __ __ __ __ __
Calligraphy (  ) _____ - Illumination: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Law (  ) _____ - Righteousness: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Numerology (  ) _____ - Insight: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Esteem (  ) _____ - Respect: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Luxury (  ) _____ - Leisure: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Renown (  ) _____ - Prowess: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _



Dice: __ __ __ __
Evil (  ) ________________
Malice (  ) _____
Lawlessness (  ) _____
Subtlety (  ) _____
Numerological Value _____
  • Die Value: 1 = Skill Dice: 2.
  • Die Value: 2-3 = Skill Dice: 3.
  • Die Value: 4-6 = Skill Dice: 4.
  • Die Value: 7-10 = Skill Dice: 5.
  • Die Value: 11-16 = Skill Dice: 6.
  • Die Value: 17+ = Skill Dice: 7.