The life of a Noble is difficult and dangerous. She must oppose the plots of powerful Dark creatures, along with simple human wickedness that adds to the Darkness’ power; she must also form and preserve her ties to ordinary people to keep her sanity and fuel her magic, and protect those people from the things that lurk in shadows. Few Princesses can keep their heads and carry the fight to their enemy when their loved ones are threatened - and the tools of the Darkness are well aware of that. Thus whenever a Noble Blossoms and takes up her Calling, creatures of Darkness will appear, trying to identify, isolate and destroy her. The Darkness’ general awareness of its natural foes in the setting is represented by a Tension trait. Usually Tension starts at 1 (it can never be lower than that) but the Storyteller can raise it higher in campaigns where the Darkness has grown especially strong.
The Darkness may turn its attention on any character who confronts and defeats a creature of Darkness in public (before multiple mundane witnesses); or if Noble, leaves evidence linking her mundane and transformed identities. When a character does something that can draw attention from the Darkness, the Storyteller rolls Tension + the character’s base Sensitivity - the character’s Subterfuge. Bonus dice are added to the pool for especially public or revealing acts. For public battles with the Darkness, witnesses in greater numbers add more dice; add +1 for tens of witnesses, +2 for hundreds, and higher bonuses for truly large crowds. Strongly suggestive clues of a relationship between the identities can add +1 or +2; higher bonuses are used for serious breaches, like claiming friendship with one’s transformed ID while mundane, or leaving a driver’s license where one’s mundane ID has never been. On the other hand, the Palace and Veiling Merits both conceal a Noble from the Darkness’ attention.
- Dramatic Failure: The Dark creature looking for the character misreads the clues she dropped. Remove one level of the Tracked Condition, if the character has it.
- Failure: The character’s activities pass without notice.
- Success: A Dark creature is on the character’s track. She gains one level of the Tracked Condition.
- Exceptional Success: The character was blatant enough to attract several Dark creatures, raising the danger for everyone. The character gains one level of the Tracked Condition, and the campaign’s Tension level rises by one step.
Lowering Tension is considerably harder than raising it - it normally takes a significant victory against the Darkness. Permanently cleansing a potent Tainted area or rooting out a cell of a Dark cult is often enough to remove a point of Tension. Defeating a capable Nemesis can lower Tension by 1 as well. Destroying a powerful Mnenosyne or Cataphract who has risen to command most of the Dark creatures in a city should be awarded by reducing Tension to the minimum of 1.