The Flow of Animus

The Flow of Animus

Advancement takes place through the accumulation of Animus points. Animus points can be spent to help your character in a conflict, as outlined in "The Paladin in Action" or they can be spent for advancement.

No character can have more than 20 total Animus points at any time.

It is useful to keep a listing of your Order's Code handy so you can check off (mark) any broken rules...

The Interaction of Light and Dark

Dark Animus impedes the usage of Light Animus. The accumulation of Dark Animus is a taint on the soul of the character. If a character has more Dark Animus than Light Animus at any time, the player may not spend Light Animus, except to purge that Dark Animus. Dark Animus can be purged (gotten rid of) on a one-for-one basis by spending Light Animus.

This may mean that a character that spends too much Light Animus finds herself unable to access it suddenly. This is the stuff of great stories, and is definitely a feature, not a bug: in the middle of a terrible combat, you're down to your last bit of resources, and suddenly fear and hatred overcome you. Do you access that fear and hatred and use it, or do you suffer?


Gloria has 5 Light Animus and 3 Dark Animus. She spends 3 Light Animus to give her 3 extra dice on a roll. 3 points are subtracted from Light Animus, bringing it to 2. She can spend no more Light Animus until it exceeds her Dark Animus. She can, however, spend those three Dark Animus and perhaps win the fight: the acts involved in spending Dark Animus often build more Dark Animus at simultaneously.

When you spend Dark Animus points, both pools are affected. Unless specifically stated otherwise, every time you spend Dark Animus, you lose an equivalent amount of Light Animus. You can spend Dark Animus even when Light Animus is at zero, though: the pools never go into negative numbers. You may never spend both Light and Dark Animus at the same time.

Light Animus

The main accumulation of Light Animus points comes from one source: facing adversity. Anytime a character faces danger in pursuit of the goals of their Order or Code without using any Dark Animus, she receives Light Animus points. Adversity can be classified as Minor, Major, or Unthinkable.

Leaping through a first story window, leaping out from a moving chariot, taking on a lesser opponent with Animus, ignoring the needs of a loved one temporarily because of responsibility, or taking any action with some physical or emotional risk counts as Minor Adversity.

Walking into a burning building, crashing a speeder into a platoon of troopers, taking on an opponent equivalent to yourself with Animus, taking a responsible action at the direct protest of a loved one, or taking any action with significant physical or emotional risk counts as Major Adversity.

Leaping from the top of a building, covering a bomb with your body, crashing a starship into an enemy base, taking on a superior opponent, severing a relationship with a loved one for responsibility, or taking any action with certain physical or emotional risk counts as Unthinkable Adversity.

When faced with Minor Adversity, gain one Light Animus point. When faced with Major Adversity, gain 3 Light Animus points. When faced with Unthinkable Adversity, gain 7 Light Animus points. No Dark Animus can be used when confronting the adversity. If it is, the Light Animus points gained will be taken away.

Your character also receives Light Animus for defeating a foe that is primarily Dark. (That is, he has more Dark Animus than Light Animus at the beginning of the conflict.) Your character receives a number of Light Animus points equal to the foe's highest cliché used. She must not use Dark Animus in defeating this foe. Defeating is left intentionally vague - there are many ways to defeat a foe without killing them.

Dark Animus

Dark Animus is much easier to get: break the Code and receive Dark Animus points. If your character breaks a Minor Law, receive 2 Dark Animus points; if she breaks a Major Law, receive 5; if she breaks an Unbreakable Law, receive 10. Mark a check beside this stricture on your character sheet (i.e. next to the broken code).

Gaining Marks

If you break a minor law 5 times, a major law 3 times, or an ubreakable law 1 time, you will need to roll whenever your character breaks the same stricture again in order to receive the Dark Animus. You will roll a number of dice equal to your combined Dark Animus attributes, and you must roll against a target number based on the level of the code (minor: 10; major: 15; unbreakable: 20). You can activate your lowest Dark Animus attribute on this roll by sacrificing one point from your cliché.

When you gain a Mark, though, two more things happen. You must immediately lower your character's Light Animus pool by 1. You also must choose a deformity - your character's physical appearance twists to reflect her growing Darkness. A Level 1 deformity (when you gain a Level 1 Mark) would be slight, and not necessarily noticeable to the casual observer - she might get a strange growth on the back of her hand, or her tongue becomes pointed. As the deformities increase in level, they get much worse - someone with a Level 5 deformity would not even appear human.

When your character transgresses the Code, she separates herself from Light Animus as well. When your character has any Marks, you will need to roll whenever she should gain Light Animus as well. Roll a number of dice equal to her Light Animus pool against the number of Marks. You may not activate any Animus attributes on this roll.

Your character receives Dark Animus any time she breaks a law, not just when you as a player decide you want more Dark Animus. Your character also receives Dark Animus for killing a person that is primarily Light. (That is, he has more Light Animus than Dark Animus.) She receives a number of Dark Animus points equal to the foe's highest Light Animus attribute. She must not use Light Animus in killing this person.

Removing Marks

Removing Marks is a tricky affair. One can't remove them if they're focused on the Dark, and just want to get rid of them to make gaining Animus easier. One must be focused on the Light. Mechanically, if you have more points total in Dark Animus attributes than Light Animus attributes, you can't remove a Mark.

In order to remove a Mark, your character must perform an act of contrition. The easiest way to perform an act of contrition is to fix the wrong done by breaking the Code. If, for example, you're playing with "The Sword of Heaven" setting, and your character breaks the Minor Law that states that you may not tell an untruth, she must find the person she lied to, tell them that she lied, and fix any pain or suffering caused by her lie.

Often, things are not this easy, though. For example, if she has killed an innocent, she cannot restore that person to life. In cases where she cannot rectify the wrong she has done, she must perform a symbolic act of contrition. She must find a way to reinforce the Law she broke at great personal risk to herself. In order to find this way, you, the player, must discuss what your character intends to do with your GM, and get approval for it. You'll note in the examples below, the act actually causes an adventure - in a way, your character's original sin is a way for you, the player, to add to the story.

In order to remove a Mark from a Minor Law, one must perform an act that takes a moderate amount of time (one game session, minimum) and poses some physical or emotional hardship.


If a character received a Mark for ignoring a request for help, she could defend the village in which the requester lived until she had a chance to fight off a threat to the village.

In order to remove a Mark from a Major Law, one must perform an act that takes a significant amount of time (more than one game session) and poses great physical or emotional hardship.


If a character received a Mark for killing an innocent, a farmer,for example, she could go to the man's family and not only let them vent their anger, but make certain that they were well taken care of permanently.

In order to remove a Mark from an Unbreakable Law, one must perform an act that takes a tremendous amount of time (an entire story arc focused solely on the act of contrition) and poses very certain physical and emotional hardship. In order to perform an act of contrition for breaking an Unbreakable Law, the player must have the permission of everyone in your game group, as it will take a significant amount of their time, and your character must gain, during the act, the in-character forgiveness of all their characters.


If a character suffered a Witch to live, she could descend into the world outside Castillia and travel by foot for a hundred miles to destroy the fortress of an extremely powerful Witch.

When you remove a Mark from a Law, erase all checks from beside that Law. However, you must circle the level of the Mark you just removed. If your character ever breaks that Law again, you fill the boxes with checks back up to that Mark - the sin is forgiven, but not forgotten. In addition, any deformities your character has from gaining Marks are not removed.

Detecting Animus

Any Paladin can detect the use of Animus, or beings with a large amount of Animus. Whenever a character is witness to a non-obvious use of Animus, is in the presence of another Paladin or Dark Paladin, or a large use of Animus happens elsewhere within the framework of the story, roll according to the Detection Table.

Detection Table (successes needed)

Round down when dividing on this table. "Paladin" refers to a Paladin or Dark Paladin when used above. More successes on this roll give you more information about the Animus:

You always know whether the Animus was Light or Dark. A margin of victory of 1 gives you an idea of where or who the Animus is coming from. A margin of victory of 2 gives you pinpoint information on where the Animus is coming from and what it was used for. If your detection is focused on one person, 1 success will let you know whether they are primarily Light or Dark, 2 successes will let you know the amount of one of their Animus pools, and 3 successes will let you know the amount of their highest Animus attribute.

They may defend against this if their reactive Animus attribute is appropriate.