Table of Contents 00. What are Keywords? 01. Mundane Keywords 02. Magic Keywords 02.1 Portfolios 02.2 Keyword Notes 03. Master-Legendary Back to Top
Three On A Match - All About Keywords

Magic, Universal, and Mundane Keywords, and Portfolios

What are Keywords?

Keywords are used to create and customize your character's abilities, defining potential and limitations. There are two different kinds: Mundane and Magic. When creating or advancing your character, you select keywords from a few given pools that can help define your character's power base or theme. If your character possesses a keyword, they can theoretically do anything that keyword might imply or evoke, or that specific ability is available to them. For example, taking the Elemental keyword 'Fire' could mean that your character is capable of creating sparks of flame, extreme heat, or remove heat from a hot object.

Likewise, techniques for using a keyword may be different. Two shifters may have the same stealth keyword, but the way they use it may be a matter of moving silently or camouflage. In that same respect, it is important to be mindful of the constraints of keywords as well, and consider what they cannot do. Fire cannot make ice, and Animate cannot change the shape of an object.

Some do have codified limitations, but they will be noted in their descriptions.

Keywords are purely in the meta; characters don't know they 'have a keyword' they simply know their abilities or what kind of magic they specialize in.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Using Keywords

The keyword system is designed to be modular, allowing players to mix and match as they build their character concepts. Keywords are utilized differently by each path, humans and metahumans alike. Some do have limitations, but those will be noted.

This list will be modified as we go through play. If you have a keyword that's been absorbed into another, you may assume your character now has the new keyword.

Define a power for each keyword when you fill out your application. You are welcome to develop more without advancing ranks, but this must be done through threads.

Mundane Keywords

Mundane keywords are keywords that may be taken by any Path, magical or not. The skills described here are only those which affect the dice mechanics. All other non-magical "mundane" skills in a person's daily life, from skipping rocks to rocket science do not require a keyword. Unlike magic keywords, each of these mundane keywords can be earned with training.

Aside from "Iron Will", you do not need to select these keywords in order for your character to use (for example) guns, swords, or know martial arts. These keywords simply describe a high level of prowess in any given area. For example, you do not need to take a rank in Ballistic to be reasonably skilled with a firearm or throwing knives, and with your Strike pool, you can still use said weaponry. However, should you take a rank in it, it would mean you are especially proficient.

General Keywords

Iron Will
You have a great deal of mental fortitude, allowing you to resist the effects of mind-altering magic. If you are a Mundane Human, you can now resist mind-affecting magic with a Cinder dice pool of 5d6. If you are in any other Path, you may only add 1d6 to your Cinder pool for the resistance roll. If you have Exchange Equipment alongside Iron Will, you can add a 1d6 Cinder bonus from that Keyword in addition to Iron Will's bonus.

Exchange Equipment
Requirement: Active membership with the Exchange and a character on the Human Paths or Half-Blood Path. Your tenure with the Exchange has granted you not only physical prowess and investigative aptitude, but also magical equipment to combat the supernatural and counter magical trickery. This bonus does not apply to Undying or Shifters. +2d6 to Strike in Supernatural related rolls (combat/social). Luck bonus of 1.

Combat Keywords

Combat Keywords each have three attainable ranks, which each add one (1) additional 1d6 to your Strike pool. As three mutually exclusive rank skills, they do not stack except with themselves. For skills that need a weapon in hand, the bonus to your Strike pool is only valid while armed, and Brawler is only valid when engaging in hand-to-hand. You can have more than one combat skill.

Brawler I, II, III & VI
Whether you do martial arts, boxing, or are just plain scrappy, you are pretty good at going at it unarmed. +1d6 to Strike per rank, for a maximum of +4d6. Luck Bonus of 1 at Ranks II and VI, for a total of 2.

Melee weapons I, II, III & VI
Swords, knives, a baseball bat, a chair leg–these are your handheld weapons, pointed, edged, and blunt alike. +1d6 to Strike per rank, for a maximum of +4d6. Luck Bonus of 1 at Ranks II and VI, for a total of 2.

Ballistic weapons I, II, III & VI
Guns, slingshot, throwing stars? Are you a ninja? Are you an archer? This is the keyword for you. +1d6 to Strike per rank, for a maximum of +4d6. Luck Bonus of 1 at Ranks II and VI, for a total of 2.

Magic Keywords & Portfolios

Here are the meat and potatoes of the Keyword system. Below are Universal, Magic, and Master-Legendary Keywords. As noted before, characters are not aware of their keywords and you're welcome to try out anything that seems reasonable within the keyword.

As we go through play, it's likely we'll be updating and adjusting these keywords. If one keyword is absorbed into another, you're free to assume your character now possesses the one it was absorbed into.

The keywords are organized into portfolios for the Arcanist's Path. Most other Paths are able to ignore these categories.

Universal Magic Keywords

Universal magic keywords are available to be taken by any Path except the Arcanist. Some Paths such as the Shifter and the Undying, have some of these keywords automatically and they do not count towards their keyword slots. When taken by the Possessed, they only offer their benefits while the Passenger is active within the Host.

Preternatural Senses
Your senses are tuned far above the human average.

Heightened Strength
You are able to lift a draft horse overhead with little effort.

Heightened Speed
You are able to run at the speed of a horse, while retaining human stamina.

Inhuman Strength
(Prerequisite: Heightened Strength)
You are able to lift a standard SUV overhead with little effort. +1d6 to Strike.

Inhuman Speed
(Prerequisite: Heightened Speed)
You are able to run at the speed of a cheetah, while retaining human stamina. +1d6 to Strike.

Path Keywords

The Undying, Shifter, and Possessed Paths have an additional pool of Keywords unique to them. The Undying can draw from this pool and the Cthonic and Empyrean portfolios. You can find their pool of keywords under the Undying Path Keywords section on their Guidebook page.

For Shifters, they can only select Keywords from their own Path Keyword pool and the Universal Keywords. They cannot choose Keywords from the below Magic Keywords. They also have something we call Combination Keywords, which are unique to the Paths that have them. These are keywords that must be combined with another Keyword to work. For more information, see the Shifter Path Keywords section of their Guidebook page.

The Possessed also have Combination Keywords, but these function differently from the Shifter Combo Keywords. Read more about these keywords on the Possessed Combination Keywords section of their Guidebook page.


A portfolio is the term for a group of keywords that adhere to a certain theme. Like 'keyword', the term 'portfolio' is purely in the meta. Arcanists don't know they're falling into a certain portfolio. What they know is that they have a preference or affinity for studying and practicing a certain school of magic.

The name of each portfolio is meant to evoke a certain feeling about the kind of magic contained therein, while the subtitle gives a more concrete idea.

Arcanists are not locked out of portfolios they did not choose, but in essence, they have not studied the school enough to make efficient use of the keywords there. Mechanics for this are noted in the Arcanist document.

Below is a list of available magic keywords, separated into portfolios for the arcanists. Undying magic is limited to the Cthonic and Empyrean portfolios.

Elemental Power
Fey Mind
Animal Handling
Eldritch Body
Lesser shapeshifting*
Empyrean Light
True sight
Astral Manipulation
Cthonic Dark

Keyword Notes


With this keyword a character may give a command or a suggestion to another. The target of Hypnosis has the opportunity to resist the roll. Read more about the rules around rolling for this in the Mind Affecting Magic section. If they fail, they will be compelled to carry out the order while seeing nothing wrong with it. Anything that goes completely against their personal ideals may be ignored. If this ability is used on another PC, communication is critical. Hypnosis fades at the next sunrise.

Lesser Shapeshifting

You are able to transform into a small to medium-size animal. You are the average size of that animal and although you may retain some innate magical abilities, you are otherwise unremarkable. Unlike the shifters, who are given the complete package of instinct when it comes to assuming their other forms, you must manually learn how to function in whatever form you assume.


The Null keyword is a way of nullifying magic. If a Cinder roll with Null meets or exceeds the number of passes on the Cinder roll it is opposing, the magic fizzles out and is ineffective.


When Poison/Venom is used on another character, they can choose to roll an opposing Strike roll to resist the effect of the keyword. The resisting Strike roll must meet or exceed the number of Passes from the successful Cinder roll of the keyword.


The Shielding keyword can be used as a defensive keyword versus attacks. Shielding can block an attack if the Cinder roll meets or exceed the number of passes on the opposing attack roll.


Ironically, unlike the Undying's Grounding ability, this is something akin to the popular definition of vampirism. It is sucking the vitality out of something. Creature, object, situation. The mechanic is quite simple, in that this vitality transfers itself to the user, although it can also be stored in a separate vessel.


On using Healing magic for Luck: On a Complete Success, the healer restores +1 Luck to themselves or another. On an Extraordinary Success, the healer restores +2 Luck to themselves or another. A character cannot restore Luck above the maximum for any character.


Abidance is a sense of structure, in whatever way that may mean.


After a successful hit with Strike or Cinder, a character with Fortune can do an additional Cinder roll to "steal" a Luck point from their opponent This will either add to their Luck (if their opponent missed) or keep their Luck stable (if their opponent hit).

Master-Legendary Arcanist Keywords

The Master-Legendary Keywords describe powers that are far beyond the ken of your average arcanists. These are the practitioners who've dipped their pens in the inkwells of the gods to write their runes. These are powers that are not meant to be toyed with and although they may provide incredible rewards, the risk is extraordinary.

The forces of the universe aggressively protect themselves. If something Is, then it Is and it cannot be changed. The more lives, the more magic, the more intention, flowing through events in history or features of reality, the more opposition an arcanist will face in changing them. Some things appear to be outright impossible, although many have tried, and died.

Power Beyond Measure


The ability to bend time itself. Will you reverse the clock and step back in time? Will you launch yourself into the future? Will you freeze time so you can have a few seconds to come up with the wittiest comeback?

There are few limitations on what a chronomancer can accomplish, but they do not operate in a vacuum. Although they may be able to directly affect things in their own life, the timeline aggressively protects itself. Major events in history that millions of lives flow through are near impossible to alter. It is the difference between diverting a stream and a roaring river when all you have is a hand shovel.

Likewise, understand that the consequences are dire and you may one day draw the attention of the Hounds of Tindalos.


Fold space, make things bigger on the inside, or find your way into different dimensions altogether.

Some may consider the knowledge to reshape space somewhat banal in comparison to the other two, but its utility is endless. Just be wary of what you might find in the spaces between existence. All spaces can be reached, especially by those things that know how.


Wish - Rewrite reality to your liking, one wish at a time.

The insurmountable limitation is that, much like time, reality will aggressively protect itself. The minor things, such as the shape of your nose, the size of your bank account, the chronic illness of a loved one: these can be wished away, reality rewriting itself in your personal life to align with your desires. However, the fundamental features of the universe resist change so completely that an arcanist may suffer instantaneous backlash should they get too close to any such element.