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Arcane artwork

There are some who seek to look beyond the veil to unravel the mysteries of the universe, unlocking ancient power that was never intended to fall into mortal hands. These masters of the arcane arts bend the universe to their will by breaking the laws of physics and inventing new laws at whim. They fling fireballs as easily as an archer might launch an arrow. They warp space and time to create portals that span across continents. They bind their enemies under powerful spells to leave them as helpless as newborn kittens. Do you dare to rip apart the fabric of spacetime to tinker with reality? Unfathomable power awaits those foolish or brave enough to try.

Examples of Arcane characters include:



(Arcane | Combat)

  • You can create a wall (max 1) of 20 spaces or less that lasts a few minutes. Shape it however you want, but don't imprison anyone
  • Descriptions
  • creating a wall of force
  • conjuring a wall of iron
  • dividing reality with an impenetrable barrier
  • Counterspell

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • Collaborate on how you charge this trait. At any point, spend the charge to make someone's Tale utterly fail
  • Descriptions
  • turning their power against them
  • activating a ward
  • triggering a contingency
  • casting an anti-spell
  • Examples
  • write runes in your spellbook
  • enchant your staff with a null-spell
  • meditate in total silence
  • Dispel

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • You can destroy or suppress magic.
  • Descriptions
  • stealing magic
  • purging dark magic
  • teleporting energy
  • reshaping reality
  • siphoning magic
  • Evocation

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • You can create an explosion in a zone
  • Descriptions
  • explosion of arcane energy
  • beam of pure energy
  • cone of force
  • burst of raw chaos all around you
  • Magic Resistance

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • Gain the defense "Magic Resistance ☐." Mark it when you suffer a Bad Tale related to magic. You're then immune to that specific magic for several minutes
  • Descriptions
  • conjuring a shield spell
  • your magical blood
  • have a resistant spirit
  • your spell-ward tattoos
  • Magic Missile

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • You don't need ammo to make ranged attacks, and your projectiles can turn corners to seek targets
  • Descriptions
  • conjuring orbs of energy
  • shooting blue lights
  • firing laser beams
  • creating ammo from the ether
  • Rewind

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • You can rewind someone, returning them to their status about 1 minute ago. Then, you can't use Rewind again for about 1 minute
  • Descriptions
  • turning back time
  • jumping into a wormhole
  • reversing time's flow
  • casting chrono-magic
  • Examples
  • inventory
  • wounds
  • location
  • treasure
  • temporary conditions
  • memories
  • physical condition
  • Warp Time

    (Arcane | Combat)

  • You can accelerate or decelerate someone for a few minutes. Accelerated creatures move about twice as fast as normal. Decelerated creatures move about half as fast as normal
  • Descriptions
  • casting a chronomancy spell
  • reversing the flow of time
  • opening or closing the time stream
  • Alter Time

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can alter time. Collaborate on what you do.
  • Descriptions
  • changing the flow of times
  • casting powerful chrono-magic
  • stepping out of the time stream
  • Examples
    Alter time
  • undo an event
  • slow down time in an area
  • travel to the far future or distant past
  • restore youth
  • Cantrip

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can perform minor magic tricks You can do virtually anything with these tricks so long as the effect is comparatively weak
  • Descriptions
  • performing sleight of hand
  • creating a minor illusion
  • dazzling with showy magic
  • casting rote spells
  • Examples
  • inscribe a permanent glowing rune
  • make a handheld item vanish or appear
  • light candles in a room
  • Detect Magic

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can experience magic with your normal senses
  • Descriptions
  • seeing swirls of magic
  • how magic sounds
  • the stench of necromancy
  • the glow of divine magic
  • Illusion

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can create a convincing illusion that lasts for several hours
  • Descriptions
  • bending light and shadow
  • creating a faerie illusion
  • deceiving their minds
  • casting twilight magic
  • Invisibility

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can touch something to turn it invisible for several hours. Collaborate on what causes the invisibility to flicker, fade, and end
  • Descriptions
  • bending light and shadow
  • creating a faerie illusion
  • deceiving their minds
  • casting twilight magic
  • Place of Power

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • Whenever you encounter a place of power, collaborate on what power you can draw from it
  • Descriptions
  • pulling forth a geyser of pure energy
  • devouring raw magic
  • bending energy to your will
  • Examples
  • ley line
  • magic anomaly
  • dragon graveyard
  • primeval grove
  • heart of the mountain
  • sun temple
  • Power
  • amplify a trait
  • gain a temporary trait
  • deal more damage there
  • heal more quickly
  • enhance a stat
  • Ritual

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • Whenever you want, tell the GM a powerful effect you want to achieve. The GM will tell you what you need to do to complete a ritual If you fulfill the requirements, you achieve the desired effect
  • Descriptions
  • performing an ancient ritual
  • reciting magic phrases
  • chanting around a glowing circle
  • Examples
  • eternally seal a creature in a prison
  • raise a sunken ship
  • make a magic effect permanent
  • Requirements
  • visit a special location
  • sacrifice treasure
  • chant with other wizards
  • obtain a special item
  • Teleport

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can teleport. Collaborate on what that entails
  • Descriptions
  • vanishing in a puff
  • rearranging spacetime
  • opening a wormhole
  • stepping across dimensions
  • Examples
    How it works
  • you must have been there before
  • requires line of sight
  • requires intense concentration
  • Wizard Eye

    (Arcane | Exploration)

  • You can create an eye-sized item. You can see, hear, and sense through it whenever you want. It's permanent and immobile, or it flies wherever you want and lasts for about 1 hour
  • Descriptions
  • conjuring a floating disembodied eye
  • enchanting a crystal ball
  • activating a magic drone
  • Apprentice

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • You can designate 1 of your minions (max 1) as your apprentice. Their disposition toward you significantly improves and the end of their contract becomes "in exchange for guidance and hands-on training." When you gain XP, your apprentice gains that much XP as well
  • Descriptions
  • leading by example
  • explaining the intricacies of your craft
  • testing their skills
  • bonding with them
  • Familiar

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • Create a minion with half of your XP and the contract "________ will loyally serve as your lab assistant, pet, and familiar in exchange for basic necessities." If lost, collaborate on how you replace it
  • Descriptions
  • summoning a familiar
  • growing it from a drop of your blood
  • enchanting an animal to serve you
  • Examples
  • imp
  • cat
  • frog
  • snake
  • mouse
  • dog
  • monkey
  • small robot
  • raven
  • owl
  • drakeling
  • mana dragon
  • Flawless Logic

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • You are far more persuasive with logic, reasoning, and evidence. You can sway others in situations when logic would normally fall on deaf ears. Collaborate on how your logical arguments exceed normal limitations
  • Descriptions
  • listing the facts
  • reaching a logical conclusion
  • using your sharp mind
  • outwitting someone
  • Gentleman and a Scholar

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • When you show someone respect, they will match the amount of respect you show them until your show them disrespect
  • Descriptions
  • wearing a monocle
  • bowing graciously
  • giving a firm handshake
  • showing due respect
  • Just an Old Man with a Walking Stick

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • You can make someone grossly underestimate you until they see proof to the contrary
  • Descriptions
  • leaning heavily on your cane
  • acting awkward and socially inept
  • acting naive and harmless
  • Mutual Edification

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • When you honestly reveal information to someone or answer one of their questions, they must share equally important information or answer an equally sensitive question
  • Descriptions
  • proposing an exchange
  • tricking them into talking
  • showing scholarly respect
  • educating each other
  • Pedantic

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • You can make people listening to your gain the condition "Bored and Sleepy"
  • Descriptions
  • talking in one long incredibly unbroken sentence
  • your monotone voice
  • droning on and on
  • Examples
  • spore varieties
  • extended noble lineage
  • agazar's third law of arcano-kinetics
  • ancient texts
  • Polyglot

    (Arcane | Interaction)

  • Collaborate on which additional languages you know
  • Descriptions
  • how you learned another language
  • the language's accent
  • speaking a sentence in that language

  • © 2023-2023




    Physical contact and adjacent spaces


    Several steps, or 3 spaces


    A room, or 5 spaces


    A building, or 10 spaces

    Very Far

    Several buildings, or 20+ spaces



    Players can spend their bolsters to increase a related roll. The GM can spend bolsters to make a PC decrease a related roll. Unspent bolsters eventually expire.

    Refer to Chapter 2 of the rules for more about increasing/decreasing rolls


    Traits that tell you to collaborate are intentionally vague and ambiguous. Work with the GM to create a balanced and thematically appropriate effect. Collaborations should be an ongoing process. For example, you may discover that an effect is too strong or weak after a few sessions, so you and the GM should rebalance the effect


    A condition is anything that temporarily affects your capabilities or status.

    Refer to Chapter 3 of the rules for more about conditions


    Defenses make you more resilient during Challenges. Defenses grant one or more boxes, which function the same as Challenge Number boxes. However, defenses have unique requirements that allow you to mark them only in specific situations


    A minion is a creature that serves another creature through a contract.

    Refer to Chapter 7 of the rules for more about minions


    A shrine is a divine conduit that allows a specific deity or set of deities to affect the mortal world.

    Refer to the Faith theme of the rules for more about shrines

    Temporary Item Trait

    A temporary item trait is any item trait that you did not spend XP to acquire. Temporary item traits come from a variety of source: magic items, potions, spells, etc. They're free and don't affect the XP cost of buying other item traits. You can't upgrade temporary item traits

    Temporary Trait

    A temporary trait is any that you did not spend XP to acquire. Temporary traits come from a variety of source: magic items, potions, spells, etc. They're free and don't affect the XP cost of buying other traits. You can't upgrade temporary traits


    Worldbuilding a collaborative process wherin the players and the GM work together to create something about the game world. One person is in charge of the worldbuilding event, and the other players support that player.

    Refer to Chapter 6 of the rules for more about world building


    A zone is an area of effect. If a trait affects a zone, collaborate on logically fitting zones that you can create with that trait, and write them into your trait. Example zones:
    Blast: An explosion that affects one space and adjacent spaces. Blast attacks can be melee or ranged.
    Cone: A 90° cone that extends out to a Close distance. Cone attacks are considered to be melee.
    Line: This is a line of spaces that extends out to a Far distance. Line attacks are considered to be ranged.


    Tavern Tales Toolkit 0.0.1-alpha-5

    Based on the Kickstarter 1.0.1 version of Tavern Tales with minor modifications


    • Metamagic has been renamed Augment and moved from Arcane traits into General traits
    Tavern Tales, the Tavern Tales logo, and any other associated artwork were orginally © 2014-2017 by Dabney Bailey, and has since been released under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license


    Tavern Tales KS 1.0.1 on Fandom Tavern Tales Discord