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Rules FAQ

This FAQ is for questions specifically pertaining to the rules and rulebook of Dust to Dust. For general questions about gameplay, volunteering, logistics, and the world, please see our general FAQ. If you have rules questions, feel free to pose them on the forums, or email plot.

Character Creation and Races | Advantages and Disadvantages | Magic Talents | Weapons, Armor, Warrior Orders, & Combat | Production Basics | Inscription and Binding Contracts | Smithing, Security, and Forge Magic | Magic of the Celestials | Magic of the Humans | Magic of the Returned | Ritualism | Effect List

Character Creation and Races

  • When paying for starting equipment, you're just paying the MU in gold, yes?


Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Intolerance to Magic Items includes Glyphs, Scrolls, and Contracts. Should items enchanted with Forge Magic be in there?

    Yes, Forge Magic explicitly creates Magic Items. Glyphs, Scrolls and Contracts are included here as inclusion, rather than everything else being excluded. Focuses for Cultists and Ritualists are also magic items and will be tagged as such.

  • Do you get the stated starting money for Increased Wealth in addition to the per event money at the first event?

    No, the first event money listed is INSTEAD OF, not IN ADDITION TO the per event money.

  • What is a Truename, and how do they work?

    Obviously (since it’s an Advantage), not all characters have a True Name. It is a mystical gift received at one’s birth, though if stories are true it may be possible to gain a True Name through certain esoteric practices, the details of which are unclear. (You can buy it after character creation, with Plot intervention. This is not easy, but it is feasible.) Those who have True Names learn those names by hearing it whispered in dreams or times of contemplation. Other forms of personal revelation are possible. The character’s True Name will be assigned to you by Plot; its syllables are in the language of magic, not the language of mortals. The True Name has a meaning in the language of magic, other than being your personal signifier. When your True Name is assigned, you will also be given one possible interpretation of its meaning (presumed to be based on your character's research prior to the start of play), and the combination of domino bones that correctly form it.

    True Names might have three, four, or five syllables. In ritual usage, shorter names are easier to incorporate but less beneficial, while longer names are more difficult to form in full but more beneficial. Plot therefore regards the names of three, four, or five syllables as approximately mechanically equal. There may be other applications for True Names, though their use in casting rituals and avoiding some kinds of hostile effects remains primary.

Magic Talents

  • Do you need to touch a packet to your focus before you throw it?


  • Where are the packet colors listed?

    Each section of magic should cover it. However, to sum up:

    • Magic of the Realms uses White Packets
    • Magic of the Forms uses Red Packets.
    • Natural effects use Green Packets.
    • Celestial Ways uses only White Packets.
    • Cults use White and Red Packets, depending on whether it is a Form or Realm granting the power.
    • Ritualism only uses Grey Packets.
    • Ancient Arts should use Grey for any walls, but otherwise use either White or Red depending on the power.
    • Alchemy will use Green Packets most of the time, there will be some exceptions. These will be noted in any specific formulation.
    • [REDACTED] uses Red Packets.
    • [REDACTED] uses Black Packets.


  • Only three levels of lores this time? It doesn't seem like you can know everything there is to know about a topic for only 6-12-18. How does that work?

    Yes,there are only three levels of lore skills. We made this change because we felt that 94 build to max out your knowledge of something was too steep, and concluded that three levels fit in nicely with what we wanted to do elsewhere. A total of 36 CP seems more commensurate with the intended level of usefulness of even the most useful Lores. As it was phrased in the original discussion of this change: "These Lores would be broken down into three levels, which can represent a high-school education, a college education, and a doctorate."

  • Also, how granular and specific do you want lores to be? For example, Lore: History, or Lore: History of Gaunt, or Lore: History: The Margravate of the Skattenmark?

    A character can learn Lore: History up to 3 levels, Lore: History of Gaunt up to 3 levels, and Lore: History of the Margravate of the Skattenmark probably up to 2 levels. Lore: History will apply to a much wider range of topics, Lore: History of Gaunt will apply to a narrower range with more depth, and Lore: That Third One will apply to a narrow range with considerable depth. If you are in doubt about the number of levels available in a Lore, contact us and we'll discuss it. This is why the rulebook has examples rather than an exhaustive list.

  • I'm assuming an inplay teacher must be found to raise Lore once a character is in-play. Is this correct?

    Yes, learning new levels of Lore after start of play requires a teacher, or other Plot permission. Access to a substantial library might qualify, for example.

Armor, Weapons, Warrior Orders, and Combat

  • Do Warrior Order Prerequisite abilities need to be purchased with character creation points?

    No. Warrior Orders may be purchased with after-creation points, and the cost doesn't increase. You must simply possess the skills required for the Order to purchase the Order. Warrior Orders can be purchased after start of play, they just require a teacher at that point. So as a "what if" scenario:

    You purchase Novice of Celestial Ways with your 43 points of "At-creation" character points. You can then spend 10 on long weapon and then 10 on Warrior Order with your "world experience" points and your character points from Buttons.

  • Silver Swordsman: Can you use two weapons?

    Yes. To quote: "Silver Swordsmen of Tarsikka may use their Maneuvers with any sword, individually or in combination". This is meant to indicate the use of a sword in the offhand

  • So, I read in the rulebook some Warrior Order text that seems to hint at actual skills. Are there abilities with specific mechanics and costs that are not explicitly listed in the rulebook?

    Yes. There are definately abilities which are Find Out In Play.

  • If you were particularly desirous, could you forgo a "master level" optional power to pick up a second "intermediate level" one?

    You cannot.

Production Basics

  • For the purpose of reading the production tables (and figuring out starting gear!), what is the 'historical average' cost for MU for the various production skills?
  • 10 silver thrones or silver dinar. We have shifted from the "base 5" MU system to a "base 10" so that we can enjoy the benefits of increased granularity if and when we adjust the cost of particular MUs.

  • If you have a craft and a production skill, do you get both your production points and the money from your craft at the beginning of the Event?


  • Are things still as they were in other RB games, in that at an Event you get 2 production periods for EACH skill you have, but each BGA is a production period for only a single skill?

    Yes, there has been no change.

Inscription and Binding Contracts

  • What is a 'charge' in the context of a Warding Glyph? The description of glyphs in the inscription chapter made me think they activated an unlimited number of times (once per target creature passing through the door) during their duration.

    When you apply a Warding Glyph to a house, the Warding Glyph is consumed. It's just like using a scroll. The Glyph then performs the specified effect for the specified duration. This power allows Warding Glyphs created by the hero to be used two times, rather than one time, before the production item is consumed.

  • Do Warding Glyphs trigger on passage through the warded doorway in BOTH directions, or only when passing through from the side where the glyph is written? If the latter, are both sides of the door counted in the one-glyph-per-door limit?

    Warding Glyphs trigger on passage through the door from the side of the door on which the glyph is displayed. The one-glyph-per-door limit (two with the Forge Magic enchant) is per side. The Forge Magic enchant also only covers one side of the door, but could be applied to each side separately, for a hypothetical upper limit of four Warding Glyphs on the same door.

  • Does Making a Scroll check your strength in the relevant Source of power?

    Making requires only the formula, level of inscription and access to the Source.

  • Does Using a scroll check your strength in the relevant source of power, (assuming that you have a high enough Inscription Level)?

    Using a scroll does not check the strength of your Source as long as your Inscription Level is high enough and you have the appropriate access to the Source. Ink must be carried on your person if you have no other Source access. It is considered a focus to activate these scrolls.

  • When using Inscribing Ink as a Focus, is it carried like a Totemic Focus, or touched like a Ritualism Focus?

    Carried like a Totemic Focus.

Smithing and Forge Magic

  • If I have Armorsmith 3 and Weaponsmith 3, and I have Forge Magic, does that mean I get 6PP for Forge Magic?

    No. Forge Magic does not have its own production points. It only matters for pre-requisites. You would have 3PP for any Weapon based Forge Magic, and 3PP for any Armor based Forge Magic. The PP works as normal still, too.

  • It says you can buy forge magic formulas at start for the cost of MU to make the item. Are there two formulas, one for 3 month and one for 6 month, or is it one formula? If so, which MU cost is the cost of the formula?

    One formula, 3 event cost.

  • Does Using Forge Magic lead to ID Magic Item, and if so, when?

    Forge Magic qualifies for ID magic item at Forge Magic 3, regardless of skill obtained to get there (weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, etc).

  • I encounter a lock that is locked, but out of maintenance. Can anyone open it, since it no longer functions? Or does it still need to be picked, and can't be relocked?

    The lock must be picked, and can't be relocked.

Magic of the Celestials

  • According to the blurb for Initiate Celestial Ways: Single Realm, the "character begins at First Circle, has knowledge of two spells of her choice, and five points of mana." Does this mean that the 20 CP cost for this skill 'includes' the costs for First Circle and the first 5 mana? The chart for Celestial mana starts 1-20, and not 7-12 as the Totemic mana chart does.

    Yes, but as mentioned elsewhere, you actually get 10 mana. Not 5. The reason the costs of 1-20 are listed is because Celestials can start as Novice, whereas Totemic Mages cannot.

  • How are Celestial spells acquired?

    All Celestials must learn spells from another Celestial who is one (1) Circle higher than the spell to be learned. The exception to this is Fifth Circle spells, which may be taught by a Fifth Circle channeler. There is no xp cost.

    Once a spell is learned, it is permanently “burned” into the channeler’s memory. The spell must then be recorded on the player’s Spell List card to indicate that the spell is known. Characters retain these spells in their memory, even if they cannot access them.

  • How many Celestial spells can be learned at a time? What about ever?

    A channeler may learn up to his Circle in spell Circles per game month. For example, Karl is a Third Circle channeler. He may learn three (3) First Circle spells, one (1) Second Circle spell and one (1) First Circle spell, or one (1) Third Circle spell.

    Characters can learn one, and only one, spell during each BGA period. There is no cap on the number of spells you may know.

Magic of the Humans

  • Ebon Aspect: Slivers of Stone/Ice and Herald of the Desolate North/Guardian of the Furthest Reaches. What color should the created weapons be?

    These weapons should be mostly black with blue highlights or designs being allowed.

  • Ebon Aspect: Winter's Fury (imbue a weapon with Spellstrike Ice Arrow): Does this work with bow/crossbow, or only melee weapons?
  • Ranged weapons are fine. For a thrown weapon this would be a single thrown weapon. Bows/Crossbows can be imbued, you don't need to imbue individual bolts/arrows.
  • Light Under the Mountain: Blessing of the Vengeful Dead is a "Light Blessing" effect. Glory of the Vengeful Dead has a "6pt skin" and a "Lasting Strength" effect but no "Light" tagline component. Was this intentional and if so do the effects stack?

    Yes to both.

Magic of the Returned

  • Some of the Returned abilities say they can return mana to the hero...is this a mistake?

    No, this is quite intentional.

  • A Sigil of Spell Storing specifies that the Sigil must be drawn on the back of the hand and the Sigil must be visible. If one is planning on wearing gloves, could the Sigil be placed on the back of the glove where it was visible?

    Yes, the same goes for any similar Ancient Arts.

  • In the Team Player Tagline: Assist Ally, it reads: "The hero understands the basics of tactics, and knows how to help out an ally engaged in a fight. The hero may call “Piercing Blow” on every swing against a single foe that is already engaged with an ally in a fight for one (1) minute." Is this: "After an ally has been engaged in a fight against a foe for 1 minute, the hero may call piercing blow with every swing." or is it: "For 1 minute, the hero may call "Piercing Blow" on every swing against a single foe that is already enaged with an ally in a fight."

    The answer is: "For 1 minute, the hero may call "Piercing Blow" on every swing against a single foe that is already enaged with an ally in a fight." The same with other ancient arts phrased this way.

  • Can The Warrior Ability Bladebones be used on an unbreakable weapon or a weapon that has been given a Resist Break effect?

    Yes, it absolutely can.


  • the word "Backlash" is used a bunch of times but I can't find a definition of it. Does it just mean injury/wounding or some kind?

    Backlash is a specific ritual effect. Each ritual is detailed with a specific backlash as a penalty for failing to complete the ritual. This is unique to each ritual, and is listed clearly on each rep. If she cannot complete the ritual (because the bones she has drawn make it impossible), walks away from the ritual without completing it, suffers a Disrupt effect before completing it, or falls unconscious before completing it, she immediately suffers the backlash described in the ritual formula. She does not take the normal Fatigue for casting the spell Every single ritual has a Backlash listed on it.Backlashes are common enough so that every ritualist has seen it. It's the penalty for failing to be able to complete a ritual. This ranges from "lose all fire spells in your focus" to "see plot immediately". There is no unified "Backlash" effect. Each ritual is different and the risk and reward of success and failure are there to be weighed.

    Only the prime ritualist receives the backlash unless the ritual specifically states otherwise. One thing to keep in mind. You HAVE to have the spell in front of you when you are performing a ritual. There is no need to memorize anything. All the information you ever need is available on each spell.

  • So do we all see dominoes as an obvious sign of ritualism? Or is there a cool dominoes game that everyone plays - is it more like, wow! everyone has a set of chess! awesomesauce!

    Ritualism relies on the markings on the dominoes, but not dominoes themselves. Stones with the appropriate symbols, wood carved with the appropriate symbols, and so on, still all work. People throughout the world play with dominoes, it is one of the popular games of the world. Part of the protective camouflage of ritualism is the fact that it is easily hidden, particularly if multiple people are assisting in the ritual. Solitaire style dominoes is common, as are many variations on a standard domino game.

  • Touching a focus, can it be in skin contact (an amulet under your shirt, for example), or do you have to touch it with your hand?

    Hand contact. Gloves are fine.

  • So lets say that Pedro the Ritualist starts what should be an easy ritual by himself. Things go very wrong for poor dear Pedro and he has drawn very poorly and knows that he can not complete the ritual. Can he send out one of his friends to find another ritualist for help and turn the solo ritual into a duo or is poor Pedro fubar'd?

    Poor Pedro! Yes, he is,as the ritualists say, boned. Any additional casters must be present at the time the ritual begins, and when the ritual ends.

  • When casting rituals that take effect immediately, do the target(s) need to be present for the entire casting time, or only at the end? As an example, if casting Mark of the Queensguard, do the 3 targets of the Ice Skin 2 have to be present before the Ritualist draws his first bone?

    When the ritual ends.

  • How long can a Ritualist draw out their casting? Can they sit there indefinitely waiting to place the final bone? Or waiting to accept the backlash from a failure?

    They can sit there, doing nothing, waiting if they want. It provides more opportunities for backlash, but no problem.

  • Is talking/shouting possible while performing a Ritual?

    They can. Just don't do any of the other things listed. Using items is fine, specifically.

  • Is it possible to cast a Ritual when your Fatigue has reduced you to drawing 0 bones? Assuming that you are casting cooperatively, and are the First/Prime.

    No. Drawing and placing a bone is a key part of the mystical signifier of contribution.

  • Assuming I'm playing a human and get the first five bones automatically by starting as an Initiate, are additional bones purchased individually or in clusters? For example would it be: Bone 6 costs (4) + Bone 7 costs (5) = 9, or having 7 bones costs (5)?

    The cost for Ritualism bones is cumulative, so having seven bones costs 9 CP.

General Rules for Play

  • Can any Stabilize effect work as a Healing Ways for speeding up the healing time (not counting the Stabilize granted by an Accelerate Healing effect, since that is covered by its own entry)?


  • Would an Accelerate Healing effect treat both Wounds and Toughness at the same time?
  • Yes.

  • If a Heal Minor/Grievous/Mortal Wounds is applied to a character with wounds and injured toughness, does the wound-healing apply to the toughness, the wounds, or both?

    Real Wounds first, excess "healing of Wounds" does not carry over. If you have an arm Wound, and someone casts Heal Wound on you, the left over healing doesn't fix toughness, though you do get the Accelerate portion.

  • If a Heal XXX Wounds effect is applied to a character with wounds and injured toughness, does the Accelerate Healing portion of the effect apply to both injured toughness and any remaining wounds?

    The Accelerate applies to Wounds and Toughness at the same time.


  • The Forge Magic ability for Shields, 'Triggered Disrupt', grants a Triggered Shadow Disrupt. Is that a Triggered Disrupt Magic, with an effect source of Shadow, or is it a Triggered Disrupt Shadow Magic?

    The correct tagline is Triggered Shadow Disrupt Magic. It is of the Shadow Source, and will Disrupt all Magic.

  • Are the disadvantages inflicted by a Cursed Lock from a Dust source (like the Shatter), and blocked by Dust Ward / Magic Ward / Resist Magic?

    These are Trap effects of the Arcane Source. Standard protectives do no interact with them. Trap Dodge will work against them. Anything that interacts with Triggered effects will not.

  • So the Resist Magic from Master Enchanted lockpicks is a specific exception, and Resist Magic from another source wouldn't apply? (Also, if using Trap Dodge, can you dodge both effects at the same time, or are they separate?)

    It is a specific exception. The Curse is two effects in one. One applies to the picker, one applies to the picks. A Trap Dodge allows you to avoid both the Dust Shatter and the Disadvantage being applied.