The Trickster is devious and calculating. They fear closeness, sincerity, and vulnerability. If they show you the truth of their heart, they’ll be wearing a mask to do it.
Their central conflict lies in desiring closeness while fearing vulnerability.
- Business-like Spy
- Endearing Charlatan
- Cold Mastermind
(circle or invent one for each)
- Harmless demeanor, suspicious demeanor, mercurial demeanor
- Hooded clothes, nondescript clothes, clothes to play a role
- A concealed sword, a venomous sword, a surprising sword
Choose one column of stats, then add 1 each to two different stats.
Too Many Feelings
Your heart is as passionate as any other, but you bury it beneath layers of deception—until you can’t keep your feelings in any longer.
Start at 1 and increase your Feelings by 1 each time you gain a String, someone gains a String on you, or you mark a Condition. You may also choose to increase your Feelings any time you find yourself gasping or swooning over someone. Strings assigned during character creation don’t increase your Feelings.
When you open up to someone whose regard matters to you, reduce your Feelings by 2. When you secretly perform a loving act for someone, reduce your Feelings by 1.
If your Feelings track reaches 4, you can’t hold it in anymore. Tear off the mask and scream what you’ve been holding in, do what you’ve been afraid to do, and damn the consequences. You can give anyone present a String on you to gain a String on them. Stop when the consequences catch up with you, for good or ill.
Afterwards, reduce your Feelings to 0 and clear a Condition. It feels good to get it out, at least in the moment.
(start with the moves marked and choose two more from the list)
Ew, Feelings: When someone offers you Emotional Support and you refuse to open up, increase your Feelings by 1 and choose 1 from the listed options for that move as if they rolled 7–9. If they rolled 10+, they know they got through to you; they gain the benefits of a 10+ result as if you had opened up.
The Mask: When you seek to persuade an NPC of a lie about yourself, roll +Wit:
- 10+: Choose 2
- 7–9: Choose 1
- They believe a big lie
- The lie you have chosen is unexpectedly perfect, creating a new opportunity
- They give you the benefit of the doubt and remain convinced even if there is some evidence of your lie
Additionally, whenever a PC Figures You Out, you can give false answers. You must increase your Feelings by 1 at the end of any scene where you do this.
Center of the Web: When someone approaches you to get something from you or threaten you, choose 1:
- Gain a String on them or they lose a String on you
- Ask them a question from the Figure Out a Person move
- +1 ongoing against them for the scene
Deft Fingers: When you filch something from a person, roll +Grace:
- 10+: Choose 2
- 7–9: Choose 1
- The item reveals a secret love or vulnerability
- The item creates an opportunity (such as a map, key, or note)
- The person doesn’t know you took it
Devious Scheme: When others go along with your cunning plan, roll +Wit:
- 10+: Twice during your plan, you may choose 1
- 7–9: Once during your plan, you may choose 1
- Produce just the right object
- Describe an unexpected weakness in an obstacle
- Appear right behind someone at a crucial moment
Knives behind the Mask: When someone reveals a secret about you in your presence, you’re prepared with a damaging secret about them. If you reveal it now in retaliation, they mark a Condition. If you keep the secret for the time being, gain a String on them.
Play the Part: When you use someone else’s personal item or clothing to disguise yourself as them, roll +Daring:
- 10+: While you remain so dressed, your disguise is perfect; only your words or deeds may expose you.
- 7–9: Someone sees through your disguise, but they don’t give you away just yet. Give them a String.
Truths of Heart and Blade
A Beautiful Lie: When you become Smitten with someone, say why, give them a String, and answer this question:
- What secret do you have that you think would make them reject you if they knew?
I See through You: When you Figure Out a Person during a physical conflict, you may additionally ask one of these questions, even on a 6-:
- Who do you want me to be?
- What are you most afraid of right now?
Playing the Trickster
The Trickster doesn’t want to be open with their feelings, but they can’t keep them bottled up forever. You can play this playbook several different ways. First, you can bottle things up until you explode, and basically be the worst at managing your emotions. Alternately, you can desperately try to avoid emotional vulnerability by doing secret acts of kindness. Finally, of course, you can always just be vulnerable and sincere—but then you wouldn’t be much of a Trickster, now would you?
Why are you afraid to be vulnerable? Did you have a bad experience? Do you judge yourself for your feelings? Is pretending to be emotionless the way you repress or hide trauma?
A Trickster might be mysterious and aloof, or they might pretend to be an open book, adopting a persona as a performance to deflect attention from their true feelings. They might lie simply to stay in the habit, or they might prefer silence and stonewalling. A Trickster deep in their performance might even believe that others are faking as well; if the Trickster can Play the Part just as well as the original, how can they ever believe that others are sincere?
In any case, you’ll get the most satisfying stories if at least some of the other players know what you’re keeping secret, or at least a hint of it, so that they can help set up situations where it’s relevant. Secrets in games are meant to be revealed at some point, otherwise you’ve wasted a juicy story element. The character might be dead set against ever revealing what’s in their heart, but the player should be aiming to make sure it’s revealed at a dramatic moment, and the GM and other players are probably eager to help.
The Trickster is most sympathetic when using their skills to defy toxic authorities or preserve their own privacy, not to undermine others’ agency. Disaster lesbians sometimes act poorly, but be sure to check in with the other players as needed and make sure that the narrative at least recognizes when the Trickster is misbehaving instead of celebrating it.
Growth for the Trickster might involve learning to trust others or developing the confidence to let others see their truth, even without knowing how they’ll react. A Trickster can readily grow into any of the other playbooks. Perhaps they develop a great deal of trust in one person or group and become Devoted—and dependent. They might become an Infamous, secure in their truth but known as devious and untrustworthy. Their taste for secrets might even have led them to learn of the Unseen, to make weird friends and awkwardly try to have earnest relationships as a Spooky Witch.