Berlin After Dark
Character (Character Creation, page 52): A
persona controlled by either a player or the
gamemaster, consisting of a collection of
aspects, skills, stunts, and possibly supernatural
powers. During play, whoever controls
the character describes what that character
says, dictates the character’s actions, and
rolls dice for that character when appropriate.
PC is often used to refer to a player character;
NPC is often used to refer to a gamemastercontrolled
(or non-player) character.
Combined Skills (Playing the Game, page 213):
Any action that requires the use of two skills.
When this occurs, one skill is named primary,
and the other skill is named secondary and
might provide a bonus or penalty to the
primary skill depending on the circumstance.
Compel (Aspects, page 100): Bringing an aspect
into play to introduce a complication or limit
the responses available to a character in a
particular situation. Responding appropriately
to a compel gives the responding player
a fate point; ignoring the compel costs the
responding player a fate point.
Complement (Playing the Game, page 214): On
any roll with combined skills, when the
secondary skill can only add to the primary
skill, it is said to complement that skill.
Complexity (Spellcasting, page 264): The general
difficulty of performing a particular thaumaturgical
spell. Complexity determines both
how much power needs to be summoned for
the spell and how much preparation must be
devoted to its casting. Complexity is usually
compared to the Lore skill of the caster.
Concession (Playing the Game, page 206): An
alternative to being taken out in a conflict,
wherein a player accepts defeat for his character
(or the GM, for an NPC) in exchange
for being able
Conflict (Playing the Game, page 197): A situation
where two or more characters have
mutually exclusive interests that cannot be
easily resolved; in other words, one party
cannot succeed without harming the other.
Typically exemplified by a fight scene, but
mental and social conflict are also possible.
Game time operates differently in a conflict,
divided up into exchanges.
Consequence (Aspects, page 203): A type of
aspect that describes the effect of lasting
harm to a character. Consequences come in
four severities: mild, moderate, severe, and
extreme. A character can only have one of
each type at a given time and must recover
from that level of consequence before taking
another at the same level.
Consequential Contest (Playing the Game,
page 193): A contest that could potentially
result in the inflicting of consequences on
Containment (Spellcasting, page 272): A thaumaturgical
spell intended to hold or trap
a supernatural entity for a certain period
of time. Usually the prelude to a binding
Contest (Playing the Game, page 193): A simple
action that is rolled against another PC or
against opposition, rather than against a set
difficulty. The party that rolls highest is the
winner of the contest.
Control (Spellcasting, page 256): The general
difficulty of safely channeling power for
a spell. A caster rolls his Discipline skill to
control the amount of summoned power.
Failure to achieve this control results in either
backlash or fallout.
Counterspell (Spellcasting, page 253): An evocation
intended to cancel out or interfere with
the energies of another spell.
Debt (Spellcasting, page 288): A compel owed to
a sponsor. Unlike a normal compel, you do
not gain a fate point for responding appropriately
to it. You accrue debt by using a
sponsor to invoke an aspect without paying
a fate point for it.
Declaration (Aspects, page 116): An action
taken in order to establish or create a new
aspect on a target or a relevant fact that’s
of benefit to a character. Analogous to an
assessment, except that the declaring player
chooses the aspect or fact that’s being established,
rather than discovering it.
Defense (Playing the Game, page 200): An action
taken to prevent an attack or maneuver from
affecting a character. Unlike a block, which
is preemptive, defense is a free action and
can be attempted as many times as necessary
during an exchange.
Defining Moment (Aspects, page 105): An event
of such significant dramatic weight that it
justifies escalating a compel. Highly subjective
according to the consensus of the play
Difficulty (Running the Game, page 310): A rank
on the ladder that indicates how challenging
it is to accomplish an action. A skill roll must
meet or exceed the difficulty for the action to
Effect (Playing the Game, page 192): The number
of shifts generated by a skill roll. The higher
the effect, the more potent the results of the
skill roll. Also referred to as strength, especially
in reference to the effectiveness of
Effort (Playing the Game, page 192): The base
result of a skill roll before it’s compared to
anything, expressed as a rank on the ladder.
Element (Spellcasting, page 250): A basic
component of an evocation. In the Classical
tradition, the elements are air, fire, earth,
water, and spirit (or force).
Enchanted Items (Spellcasting, page 279): An
item that contains a “ready to cast” spell
within it, which must be recharged after
use. Spellcasters often have a number of
enchanted items at their disposal.
Escalate a Compel (Aspects, page 105): Creating a
compel that is of sufficient dramatic weight
to be worth more than one fate point.
Optionally offered at a defining moment.
Evocation (Spellcasting, page 249): A direct,
no-prep, short-term form of magic spell,
usually used in combat. Evocations can only
be used for attacks, blocks, maneuvers, and
Exchange (Playing the Game, page 197): A unit of
game time used in conflicts, where each individual
in the conflict takes turns performing
and resolving a single action.
Extended Contest (Playing the Game, page 193):
A contest that requires multiple skill rolls to
Face (City Creation, page 41): An NPC who
represents or exemplifies a theme, threat, or
location in a city.
Fallout (Spellcasting, page 256): One of two results
of failing to control magical energy in a spell.
Fallout expresses itself as stress, consequences,
temporary aspects, and other unintended
side effects to the environment and
Fate Points (The Basics, page 19): A currency that
players spend to take advantage of aspects.
They are regained primarily by responding
appropriately to compels.
Finish Line (Playing the Game, page 194): The
limit on the number of rolls allowed in a
Focus Items (Spellcasting, page 278): An item
that gives a spellcaster a bonus for doing
magic. Most spellcasters have several of these
to help make their evocations and thaumaturgy
Fragile (Aspects, page 114): A temporary aspect
that goes away after it is tagged.
Free Action (Playing the Game, page 213): An
action that doesn’t count against the normal
“one action” limit in an exchange; the most
common example is defense.
Frequency (Spellcasting, page 279): The number
of times an enchanted item or potion can be
used in a session. A spellcaster who specializes
in Crafting can get bonuses to frequency.
Full Defense (Playing the Game, page 199): The
choice, during an exchange, not to take an
action in favor of concentrating on defense.
This adds +2 to all defense rolls for that
Game Aspects (Aspects, page 107): An optional
category of aspect that applies to the entire
game, rather than to a specific character
or scene. Usually used to represent broad
thematic ideas or concepts.
Game Master (Running the Game, page 306): An
individual responsible for overseeing the
game, adjudicating the rules, creating opposition
and the content used in scenarios, and
controlling all NPCs. “GM” is often used as a
shorthand to refer to the game master.
Game Time (Running the Game, page 314):
Units of measure used to describe actual,
“real world” play time as experienced by the
participants. Divided into exchanges, scenes,
sessions, scenarios, and campaigns.
Grapple (Playing the Game, page 211): A special
type of block where the target must break
free before attempting any other actions.
In any exchange where the target is still
grappled, the grappler may perform several
different supplemental actions on the target.
Hexing (Living With Magic, page 228): The use
of magic to interfere with or damage technology.
A spellcaster might accidentally hex a
piece of technology in moments of emotional
High Concept (Character Creation, page 54):
An aspect that defines the essential nature of
a character. Access to supernatural powers
is often restricted by a character’s high
Initiative (Playing the Game, page 199): The order
in which all participating characters act in an
Intensity (Living With Magic, page 223): The
mind-breaking impact of people, places, or
objects seen with the Sight. Individuals using
the Sight risk stress or consequences when
viewing things with a high intensity.
Invoke (Aspects, page 98): Bringing an aspect
into play to aid a character on a skill roll.
Doing so costs a fate point, and allows either
a +2 bonus to a skill roll or a reroll of the dice.
Invoking for Effect (Aspects, page 99): Bringing
an aspect into play to make a declaration
without the use of a skill roll.
Ladder (The Basics, page 16): A tiered set of
adjectives and numbers used to describe skill
level, effort, and difficulty in the game. It
ranges from Terrible (-2) to Legendary (+8).
Lawbreaker Ability (Supernatural Powers,
page 182): A supernatural power acquired by
spellcasters who routinely break the Laws
of Magic (page 232). These abilities have a
corrupting influence and can slowly alter the
caster’s aspects over time.
Location (City Creation, page 37): A particular
area of a city where scenes usually take place
and which possesses its own aspects and
faces. There are two types of locations: neighborhoods
and places of interest.
Maneuver (Playing the Game, page 207): An
action taken in a conflict to create a situational
advantage for a character, represented
as a temporary aspect.
Milestone (Advancement, page 88): The basic
unit of advancement, allowing PCs to change
or add details to the character sheet. They
are divided into categories: minor, significant,
Modify (Playing the Game, page 214): In any
action with combined skills, when the
secondary skill can either add a bonus to or
penalize the primary skill, it is said to modify
Must (Types & Templates, page 72): A requirement
to qualify for a particular template,
usually in terms of specifying a particular
NPC (Running the Game, page 326): Acronym
for “non-player character;” any character
controlled by the GM. They are divided into
types based on their significance in the game:
nameless, supporting, and main.
Opposed Roll (Playing the Game, page 193): Any
roll where a player rolls against another
player (or the GM) instead of a set difficulty.
Opposition (Running the Game, page 326):
NPCs specifically designed with a direct,
abiding conflict of interest to the PCs. Overt
antagonists. They are divided into categories
based on how difficult they are to defeat:
minor, equal, challenging, and overwhelming.
Overflow (Playing the Game, page 214): A
number of shifts left over from resolving an
action, which can be used for an additional
action in certain circumstances.
Partial Refresh (Running the Game, page 317):
The occurrence of a refresh during a particular
session, which gives back part of a PC’s
refresh level in fate points.
Persistence (Spellcasting, page 252): An evocation
that lasts for more than a single
exchange has persistence.
Person Aspect (Aspects, page 108): A type of
aspect describing a relationship between
Phase (Character Creation, page 58): A “unit” of
backstory, used to help choose a character’s
aspects during character creation.
Phrase Aspect (Aspects, page 108): A type of
aspect describing an interesting or noteworthy
fact about a character.
Player (The Basics, page 16): An individual who
controls a single character in the game.
PC (The Basics, page 17): An acronym for
“player character,” a de facto protagonist of
the game, controlled by a player.
Potion (Spellcasting, page 280): An enchanted
item that can only be used a limited number
of times before it is consumed.
Power (Spellcasting, page 255): The effect of a
particular spell, measured in shifts. All
the power summoned for a spell must
be controlled for the spell to function as
intended. The amount of power a spellcaster
can summon safely is affected by the
Power Level (Character Creation, page 53): The
base refresh, upper skill limit, and skill
points allowed to PCs at character creation.
Divided into tiers based on amount of exposure
to the supernatural world: Feet in the
Water, Up to Your Waist, Chest-Deep, and
Preparation (Spellcasting, page 266): Additional
steps that need to be taken to successfully
cast a complex thaumaturgic spell. Typically,
preparation involves perfecting or researching
the necessary ritual actions for a spell,
acquiring symbolic links to the spell’s target,
and acquiring additional sources of contributed
Prop Aspect (Aspects, page 108): An aspect
describing a significant, identity-defining
object possessed by a character.
Race (Playing the Game, page 194): A type of
extended contest where two or more participants
roll several times against a set difficulty
and attempt to acquire the highest number of
Refresh (The Basics, page 20): The awarding of
fate points to a PC at the beginning of every
session. The number of fate points received is
determined by a character’s refresh level.
Refresh Level (The Basics, page 20): The difference
between base refresh and spent refresh.
For PCs, this must always be 1 or higher.
Restrict (Playing the Game, page 214): On any roll
with combined skills, when a secondary skill
can only penalize the primary skill, it is said
to restrict that skill.
Rote (Spellcasting, page 257): An evocation that a
spellcaster can perform via “muscle memory,”
allowing a certain effect and effort without
rolling the dice.
Scenario (Running the Game, page 314): A unit of
game time, the sum total of scenes required
to resolve a particular storyline or plot,
usually taking one to three sessions. The
end of a scenario usually triggers a significant
milestone; the end of every few scenarios
usually triggers a major milestone.
Scene (Running the Game, page 307): A unit of
game time, consisting of the amount of time
it takes to resolve a single conflict or accomplish
some other significant purpose. Scenes
can vary widely in length from a few minutes
to a half hour or longer.
Scene Aspect (Aspects, page 105): A type of
aspect that is placed on a scene, rather than
on a particular character. Scene aspects
usually describe noteworthy features of the
environment in which the scene is set.
Session (Running the Game, page 314): A unit of
game time, consisting of a number of scenes
played across the span of a number of hours
(usually two to four). A single “sitting” of the
Shift (Playing the Game, page 192): The basic unit
of measure for effect. Shifts are applied to
affect nearly every outcome of a skill roll in
Sight, The (Living With Magic, page 223): A
mystical capability allowing an individual to
see reality in a supernatural context rather
than a physical one. Use of the Sight is risky
and can potentially cause harm to the viewer.
Simple Action (Playing the Game, page 192): An
action taken to accomplish a single, basic
task or goal, most frequently against a set
Situation Aspect (Aspects, page 110): An aspect
describing circumstances routinely experienced
by a character.
Soulgazing (Living With Magic, page 226): A
narrow, specific application of the Sight that
allows an individual to gain a supernatural
insight into the nature of another individual,
at the cost of revealing their own soul as well.
As with The Sight, soulgazing can be risky to
Specialization (Supernatural Powers, page 182): A
particular capacity at a certain kind of magic,
represented as bonuses to spellcasting rolls.
Spellcasters can specialize in areas of both
evocation and thaumaturgy.
Spent Refresh (Running the Game, page 20):
The amount of base refresh used to attain
stunts and supernatural powers.
Spin (Playing the Game, page 214): An optional
rule allowing a bonus on a subsequent action
if a particular defensive effort succeeds with a
high degree of effect.
Sponsor (Spellcasting, page 287): A supernatural
being that confers supernatural powers to an
individual, usually in the form of a specialized
kind of magic.
Spray Attack (Running the Game, page 326): An
attack that divides the effort up between
Sprint (Skills, page 212): An action taken during
a conflict to move across several zones.
Sticky (Aspects, page 115): A temporary aspect
that remains after it is tagged, usually for the
duration of a scene.
Story Aspect (Aspects, page 110): An aspect that
describes a potential source of dramatic
complication in a character’s life, or a catalyst
for that character to get into difficult
Story Time (Running the Game, page 314): Time
as experienced by the characters in the game,
usually divided into seconds, hours, days,
Strength (Spellcasting, page 279): The potency of
a particular enchanted item. Analogous to
Stress (Playing the Game, page 201): Minor
harm suffered by characters in conflicts.
Stress almost never lasts beyond the scene in
which the conflict occurs. Divided into categories
based on the source of harm: physical,
mental, and social.
Stunt (Mortal Stunts, page 146): Special tricks
that a character can do, expanding the
function of a character’s skills or otherwise
subverting the normal game rules in a particular
Summoning (Spellcasting, page 273): The act of
bringing a supernatural entity into a spellcaster’s
immediate vicinity, usually to bargain for
information or power, or attempt a binding.
Supernatural Power (Supernatural Powers,
page 158): An ability that is completely impossible
for mortals to achieve, flying in the face
of generally accepted laws of reality. In game
terms, supernatural powers can be viewed as
“stunts on steroids,” providing an immense
comparative benefit at the cost of more spent
Supplemental Action (Playing the Game,
page 213): A minor action taken as an adjunct
to a character’s normal action in an exchange,
significant enough to affect the roll, but not
significant enough to require its own roll. A
supplemental action gives a -1 penalty to the
main action for the exchange.
Tagging an Aspect (Aspects, page 106): Invoking
an aspect without spending a fate point. A
player is allowed one tag on an aspect that he
has established or discovered with an attack,
maneuver, assessment, or declaration.
Taken Out (Playing the Game, page 203): Defeat
of a character in a conflict. Being taken out
allows the opponent to determine and dictate
the fate of the defeated character.
Template (Character Creation, page 72): A
particular character “type,” characterized
by access to certain (or no) supernatural
powers. Usually, a character must have a
particular high concept to qualify for a
Temporary Aspect (Aspects, page 114): An
aspect established by a maneuver, either
on a character or on the scene. A temporary
aspect lasts until removed by another
maneuver or until the end of the scene,
whichever comes first.
Thaumaturgic Types (Spellcasting, page 272): A
subdivision of thaumaturgy analogous to
elements in evocation, for the purposes of
specialization and item bonuses.
Thaumaturgy (Spellcasting, page 261): Ritual or
ceremonial magic used outside of combat,
capable of a wide variety of functions and
long-lasting effects, but often requiring significant
preparation to perform.
Themes (City Creation, page 30): A short description
of a key concept or idea that defines
the identity of a city. May become an aspect
during city creation.
Threats (City Creation, page 31): A short description
of a problem that is pervasive in a city.
May become an aspect during city creation.
Threshold (Living With Magic, page 230): A
supernatural barrier that inhibits the operation
of supernatural powers, usually
surrounding homes, sacred sites, and other
Time Chart (Running the Game, page 315): A
tiered set of story time divisions, useful for
dealing with issues such as how long it takes
to perform a simple action, thaumaturgic
spell duration, and so on.
Trapping (Aspects, page 120): A discrete category
of function for a skill, describing what
actions can typically be performed with that
Trouble (Character Creation, page 55): An
aspect describing a complication for the
character’s high concept.
Veil (Spellcasting, page 255): A type of spell
which can be cast as either evocation or
thaumaturgy, designed to render the caster
(and potentially others) invisible to normal
Worldwalking (Spellcasting, page 283): A type
of thaumaturgy involving transition
between the normal world and realms in the
Zones (Playing the Game, page 197): An
abstract measure of space used to divide and
organize the location where a conflict takes
place. If the location is a bar, the zones might
be the bar itself, the back room, and the