The Draw

The Parts of a Draw

Every draw has three parts that go into it:

  • Number of Motes to be Drawn, that is, the Threshold of the appropriate color
  • Any modifiers which increase or decrease the number of motes drawn
  • The Power generated by any relevant Traits, or Motes derived from Traits

The basic draw starts with the Threshold (TH), the number of motes a character has in the appropriate color. If he's searching for something, then the color is green, but if he's trying to remember something, then it's cyan. If the character has no other appropriate Traits, that is, he's trying something totally new to him, or that he's just average at, then this is a default draw, depending purely on his native talent at those sorts of actions.

Next, there are modifiers. Tags, Invokes, Luck, bonuses given for exceptional role playing, penalties for very obscure skills - any of these could apply to the draw. Tagging is using Aspects that come from some other source besides your character, while Invokes use your character's own Aspects. Luck is what lets you break rules and stand center stage, and the rest are pretty self-explanatory. Most of these modifiers are described in the section on complicated draws.

Finally, if the character has a relevant Trait in the same color as the task, then they can add 1 Mote of Power for each mote in that Trait to the result. If an adjacent color (amber or magenta for red, for example) has an appropriate Trait, you can add a half a mote of Power for each in the Trait.

You actually have an option here. If you'd rather take the risk (or need to!) for more power, you can turn each mote in a Trait into 2 motes for the draw. If a Trait has one mote, you can add 2 to your draw, 2 motes gets you 4, 3 motes for 6, and so on. You could potentially get 4 Power for those motes, versus the 2 guaranteed Power you'd normally get, but you might also gain none at all.

The actual task you're taking determines what color your target is, and what color of motes your hoping for when you draw. If you're doing something red, like lifting a desk, then you want to get red motes when you draw, and if you're doing something green, such as trying to make out the license plate of an escaping car, then you need to get green motes.

Sam is drawing to swing a crow-bar into the face of hag hellbent on clawing out his eyes. That's a red action, and his threshold for red is 4. He has the Trait Strong 1, so that's 4 motes for the draw, and 2 Power to start with. He draws, and gets RAMX. He got one red mote, which is two power, for a total of 4.


For every mote of the target color you draw, you receive 2 motes of power. For every mote in an appropriate Trait, you also get 2 Power. The greater your power, the more powerful and successful the result. A power of 1 is way less impressive, and less likely to succeed, than a draw resulting in 6 power, the maximum for the average person doing an average task.

When the power of your draw is equal to or greater than the draw opposing you or the difficulty, you've succeeded. Because every draw is essentially a conflict, between your character and another, or between your character and "reality", what that success means varies a lot. Who decides what it means varies too - it could be either yourself or the Guide. It could indicate damage, a new Aspect, or just a simple, plain jane sort of "you lifted the table".

Adjacent Colors


You get power from other colors as well. When you are drawing with a target of red, the task is focused on strength, stamina, and athletic skills. These sorts of actions are helped by dexterity and willpower. The colors associated with dexterity (amber) and willpower (magenta) will add to the power of your draw too.

Sam actually got 6 power. Amber and magenta are adjacent to red, so those two motes add another 2 power to the two he got for the red mote and the 2 from Strong. Six power is a pretty awesome result, and he hasn't even tagged the Hag's "Vile Iron! Keep it away!" Aspect yet.

If you look at the spectrum wheel, these colors are right next to red, and so the colors next to your target color each provide a single mote of power. If you draw four motes with a target of blue, then you’ll get 2 power for each blue mote you draw, and 1 power for each cyan or magenta mote, because those are the colors adjacent to blue.

If the target color is clear, then the adjacent colors are red and magenta: intuitive magical acts are aided by physical stamina, discipline, and willpower. Think of clear Quiddity as pure light, with the red motes as infrared and the magenta ones as ultraviolet; it’s obvious that visible light is bordered at the ends by infrared and ultraviolet light. This doesn’t mean that these two have three neighboring colors, though – magenta is only surrounded by red and blue, and red only by magenta and amber.


Sam's Fate colors are
Boon: B
Bane: A
Wyrd: M

Draw: Then Fate is:
RRAAGF 3 power: amber is his Bane color, but there are an equal number of red, not a fate color
RAGMMF Wyrd: he has more of his Wyrd color, magenta, than any other color
AAGMMF Bane and Wyrd: weird, bad things happen because he has equal numbers of both colors
AACBBF Boon and Bane : they cancel out
RACCCF 3 power: he has more cyan than anything else, but it isn’t one of his Fate colors
Every caern has a single mote of a non-spectrum color; this mote is the Fate. It could be black or white, but silver, cat's eyes, or opalescent would work too. As long as it's different from the 7 colors of the spectrum, and you know what it is, it doesn't matter. When this mote of a different color is drawn, the rest of the motes in your draw are compared to your character’s Fate colors (each character has their own mix) to determine what kind of Fates you’ve drawn.

There are three kinds of Fates: Boons, Banes, and Wyrds.

A Boon indicates that the action has some useful side effect. It is different from failure or success: a Boon puts the best possible spin on your action. You can fail with a Boon, just as you can succeed without it, but the Boon is easily the better option. Since even a failure with a Boon comes with good stuff, it could be that the policeman didn’t believe your lie, but realized that you’re being held hostage by a thug behind the door. If the color you have the most motes of is your Boon color, you drew a Boon, and can rejoice appropriately.

A Bane is the opposite case: the worst possible spin on your effort. It introduces additional complications and difficulties, regardless of whether you succeeded or failed. The policeman buys the lie (with success), but because of the Bane, he complains to his partner and other colleagues, and now they are ignoring any reports coming from the building you’re being held in. As you have probably guessed by now, if your drew more motes of your Bane color than any other, you drew a Bane.

The last Fate is the Wyrd, which brings weird coincidence to your action. It could be almost anything, and is highly dependent on what the context is. It could be a lucky break, though perhaps one not quite obvious at first, or perhaps you gain or lose an object or information. Suddenly the security guard could be your long-time enemy, or your cousin Chuck. However it manifests, you can be sure that it moves your character towards a future destiny somehow. If you’re lying to the police, then perhaps a report comes over the police band at the same time, coincidentally confirming your story. In the simplest terms, the Wyrd is weird, and if you drew more motes of your Wyrd color than any other, get ready for weirdness to ensue.

It’s possible to draw multiple Fates. If you have equally high numbers of more than one of your Fate colors, then you’ve drawn each of the corresponding Fates. If you draw both a Boon and a Bane, then they cancel each other out. For example, if you've drawn 2 red and 2 blue, and red is your Bane color and blue your Wyrd color, then you've drawn a Bane and a Wyrd.

If you draw equal numbers of several colors, but one or more of those colors aren't Fate colors, then there's no Fate. If you've drawn more motes of a non-Fate color than of a Fate color, then there's no Fate again. In both cases, the Fate itself is worth 3 power.

  • Is there one color that predominates?

If it is a Fate color, you drew the corresponding Fate. Otherwise, 3 power.

  • Are there multiple colors that predominate, in equal amounts?

If all of them are Fate colors, you drew the corresponding Fates. Otherwise, 3 power.

  • No predominating colors at all?

3 power.

Oops! (or, "I drew too many, so now what?")

Sam is drawing to open a can of whupass on the hag, and he reaches into his caern for 6 motes. He counts, and pulls out his hand, getting 2 red, 2 amber, a green, a blue, and a clear. Wait… that's 7 motes! What do you do when you've drawn too many motes?

This is simple. Simply redraw the entire hand. If you drew awesomely, well, it sucks to be you. Be more careful next time. You might just draw one or two at a time - you're less likely to overdraw, it increases suspense and tension, and is a whole lot more fun.

Next: Complicated Draws

You could start with the situations that sometimes occur, or complicated issues with the draw itself. You could also move on and learn more about Conflict.