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Artifice artwork

Soldiers often say that the sword doesn't make the man, arguing that skill at arms is more important than strength of steel. Artificers roll their eyes at that statement -- or at least, they would if they weren't too busy carving magic runes into an indestructible sword. Or setting enchanted rubies into a suit of armor that renders the wearer immune to fire. Or placing gears into a steam-powered bull large enough to level a fortress. Those who doubt the power of craftsmanship have clearly never experienced the beauty of creation. Truly, a single act of creation can change the world. How will you leave your mark? Will you build something that the world has never before seen? Will you forge a sword capable of slaying dragons? Will you construct thick city walls to protect those you love? Fire up the forges, young artisan, and prove to the gods you, too, have mastered the art of creation!

Examples of Artifice characters include:


Armor Plating

(Artifice | Combat)

  • Defenses you gain from armor and shields each grant 1 additional box
  • Descriptions
  • steam-powered absorption plates
  • glowing symbols
  • thick chainmail
  • dragon-scale armor plating
  • Arsenal

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • Draw a symbol next to 3 of your inventory slots. Items you place in these slots vanish from reality (but still occupy these slots). No one else can access these items. Whenever you want, you can call any of these items to your person, or make them vanish again
  • Descriptions
  • a sword appearing in your hand
  • summoning your hammer from the heavens
  • morphin' time
  • Deflect

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • At any point, you can break one of your weapons, shields, or armor worth at least 1 treasure to completely avoid a Bad Tale related to being attacked
  • Descriptions
  • sparks flying when blades clash
  • your ablative armor
  • taking the hit with your shield
  • Dismantle

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • You can destroy a personal item, such as a weapon or suit of armor
  • Descriptions
  • striking a structural weak point
  • breaking it in half
  • matching its vibration frequencies
  • Enchant

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • You can give a touched item 1 item trait (max 3) as a temporary trait for several hours
  • Descriptions
  • etching runes on its surface
  • treating it with magic oils
  • altering its molecular structure
  • War Machine

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • You can spend materials to create a war machine with half your XP. It's inert without a pilot. The pilot uses the machine's attributes instead of their own
  • Descriptions
  • steam-powered gears
  • shining metal
  • smoke billowing from a furnace
  • blinking lights
  • a console
  • Examples
  • power armor
  • steam-powered catapult
  • submarine
  • elemental cannon
  • clockwork steed
  • spider tank
  • Materials
  • scrap metal
  • saw blades
  • shields and armor plating
  • rubber tubes
  • copper wires
  • gears
  • gizmos
  • Warhead

    (Artifice | Combat)

  • You can spend materials to create a warhead. Once activated, it gathers power for about 1 minute and then explodes, causing massive damage out to a far distance. Only one attempt can be made to disarm it
  • Descriptions
  • bundle of explosives
  • glowing spell-bomb
  • antimatter emitter
  • napalm tank
  • portable black hole
  • Examples
    Gathers Power
  • ominous humming that grows louder
  • burning fuse
  • running hourglass
  • deep rumbling
  • Materials
  • oil
  • high explosives
  • firing pins
  • wire
  • metal casing
  • unstable chemicals
  • magic runes
  • gunpowder
  • Forge

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can spend materials to create a magic item, or improve an existing item. Collaborate on the item's properties. Stronger materials create more powerful items
  • Descriptions
  • hammering metal at a forge
  • performing the naming ritual
  • imbuing an item with magic
  • Examples
  • iron
  • steel
  • mithril
  • metal from a meteorite
  • glowing crystals
  • dragon scales
  • blood oak
  • demon hide
  • Grappling Hook

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can pull yourself to a far object, or pull it to you (whichever is more logical). If you or your target is falling, you can use this instantly
  • Descriptions
  • launching a grappling hook
  • throwing a tether
  • using a web-shooter
  • firing a magnet gun
  • Identify

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • When you examine a magic item, the GM must tell you all of its properties. Then, collaborate on 1 additional property that you discover of unlock
  • Descriptions
  • reading an item's aura
  • recalling its history
  • noticing tiny details that tell a deeper story
  • Examples
  • how is this blade connected to demons? what happens when this shield touches sunlight?
  • Ingenuity

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • Your ability to fix, build, and deconstruct exceeds normal limits. Collaborate on what you're capable of doing
  • Descriptions
  • tinkering with gears
  • your expert craftsmanship
  • intuitively understanding how it works
  • Mobile Fortress

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can spend materials to make a structure mobile. Collaborate on how it moves
  • Descriptions
  • steering the ship
  • activating a gravity reverser
  • fueling the steam engine
  • triggering magic runes
  • Examples
  • floats on water
  • hovers a few inches off the ground
  • flies
  • rolls
  • teleports to a visible spot at dawn
  • Pocket Plane

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You have an extradimensional space, which is a miniature universe. Collaborate on its properties. On your turn, you can open or close a portal to it
  • Descriptions
  • opening a door in the air
  • a floating island in space
  • a featureless room
  • an empty white nothing
  • Examples
  • size
  • temperature
  • if there's fresh air
  • appearance
  • dangers
  • flaws
  • how large the portal is
  • Prosthesis

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can create a prosthesis and attach it to someone. Prostheses compensate for physical disabilities and can remove permanent conditions such as amputations
  • Descriptions
  • attaching it through gruesome surgery
  • building it in a workshop
  • collaborating with the recipient
  • Examples
  • steam-powered arm
  • goggle eyepatch
  • golem leg
  • metal skin plates
  • clockwork heart
  • Tool for the Job

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can instantly create an item, which persists as long as it's in your presence. You have 1 rune to spend as if it's treasure to buy item traits for these conjured items. You can sacrifice 1 treasure to give this trait +1 rune. Conjured items refund their runes when their expire
  • Descriptions
  • conjuring a tool out of nothing
  • creating a sword out of sunlight
  • making a shield out of ice
  • Examples
  • sword
  • shield
  • suit of armor
  • candle
  • rope
  • chalk
  • water skin
  • hammer
  • nails
  • crowbar
  • pouch
  • hand drill
  • X-Ray Vision

    (Artifice | Exploration)

  • You can see through materials. Collaborate on what material you can't see through
  • Descriptions
  • donning x-ray goggles
  • emitting x-ray pulses
  • peering through a magic gem
  • your eyes changing color
  • Examples
    Can't See Through
  • metal
  • wood
  • magic
  • stone
  • organic matter
  • smooth surfaces
  • things that are green
  • A Thing of Beauty

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • You can make someone obsessed with a visible item worth at least 1 treasure. They gain an overwhelming desire to possess it, or they focus on it while ignoring their surroundings
  • Descriptions
  • swinging a hypnotic pocket watch
  • showing a glittering gemstone
  • showing how the gears work

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • You can make everyone believe that an item does something specific, even if it doesn't. They cease to believe if they closely inspect the item
  • Descriptions
  • using words too big for anyone to understand
  • grandiose threats
  • cackling madly
  • Buyer's Market

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • In addition to what the GM decides is available at every market, shop, or fence you encounter, you can decide 1 additional thing that's in stock
  • Descriptions
  • having a keen eye
  • knowing the best markets
  • tracking down merchants
  • sending order requests
  • Communicator

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • You can spend materials to create a communicator. Creatures with one of your communicators can communicated with each other
  • Descriptions
  • handheld device
  • resonating sonic crystals
  • bottled air elementals
  • gizmos linked by ethereal threads
  • Crazy Enough to Work

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • When you explain a plan that is even theoretically possible, it becomes perfectly feasible. The GM can't cite logic, physics, or difficulty as reasons to decrease your rolls to enact the plan. Also, you're bolstered to enact your plan
  • Descriptions
  • cackling madly
  • created absurdly complicated blueprints
  • using technobabble
  • showing your math
  • Don't Push that Button!

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • If you warn somebody not to do something harmless and they do it anyway, tell a free Good Tale about how they made a terrible mistake
  • Descriptions
  • using big words to confuse them
  • implying terrible consequences
  • acting like you know a secret
  • It's Dangerous to Go Alone, Take This

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • When you give someone a new or improved item, they're bolstered to use that item
  • Descriptions
  • use small words to explain how it works
  • giving the right tool at the right moment
  • enchanting it
  • Spark

    (Artifice | Interaction)

  • You can give an item sentience. Collaborate on its personality, and if it can move and communicate. It gains XP equal to half your total XP. Its disposition toward you significantly improves
  • Descriptions
  • inscribing a mind rune
  • enchanting it
  • giving it a true name
  • igniting it with the life spark

  • © 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