City of Shadows employs a simplified version of the FATE system, although dice and stats are very much optional. The focus of the game is on roleplay and communal storytelling, and it is acceptable for people to simply use skills as a guideline for their roleplay rather than to determine outcomes. Storytellers or GMs may opt to use skill rolls or other dice rolls in their scenes, but this should be announced ahead of time if it is a planned event. It is also an option for players to use fudge dice on their own to add an element of randomness to scenes.

Fate points and refresh levels are not used and the skills have been condensed.

The system is quite basic and revolves around a skill ladder, where each rating is given a description that can be used to base RP upon.

+8 Legendary
+7 Epic
+6 Fantastic
+5 Superb
+4 Great
+3 Good
+2 Fair
+1 Average
0 Mediocre
-1 Poor
-2 Terrible

The limit for humans is a rating of 5, Superb. PC supernatural characters may have some skills at 6 with their abilities limited to 6. NPC characters may have skills and abilities in the 7-8 range. Any skill that is not improved can be considered as a 0; although players may choose to take -1 or -2 if they wish, there is no advantage to doing so other than as an RP hook.

Because the Fate system is designed for a top skill of 5, Supernaturals may get higher than +8. Anything higher than +8 is still Legendary; anything lower than a -2 is still Terrible. It only matters if in a head-to-head contest, in which the higher score would beat the lower.

To test a skill, a set of four fudge dice are rolled. These can be thought of as six-sided dice with the following outcomes:

1-2: -1
3-4: No change
5-6: +1

So, for example. If you were to have a Driving skill of Fair (2) and you rolled fudge dice of 1, 3, 5, 6 they could be considered as -1, 0, +1, +1 giving a net total of your skill (2) +1 for an end result of Good (3).

If players wish to add the element of randomness in this way to their scenes, they can come to an agreement in conflict situations as to what appropriate rolls will be and how they will be opposed. In general, if a situation must have a victor rather than a tie, the slight favor should go to the defending party.

GMs may also fudge an NPC's stats by +fudge/npc <NPC>=<Skill>/<Value> For Example, +fudge/npc Thien=Stealth/5

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