In The Dresden Files novels, The Sight is something that's taken seriously and not done frivolously because (1) you can't tell what you might see and what it might do to you, and (2) you keep what you see with you forever. From my experience, mechanically it does not confer this feeling of dread, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm playing it wrong, or if the mechanics don't mesh with the story in the way that I think it should.

From my understanding:

  1. The wizard takes an action to open The Sight,
  2. The game master describes the details of what the wizard sees,
  3. The game master sets an intensity which becomes the target level for understanding what the wizard sees, and resisting damage/closing The Sight,
  4. The wizard makes a roll to understand it, using his Lore vs. the intensity set above,
  5. The wizard rolls his Discipline as a defense roll against an attack roll using the intensity set above,
  6. If the wizard makes his roll, he can close The Sight. If not, this continues from step 2 above, and the wizard can focus on something else, choosing not to close The Sight even if he is able.

First, is my understanding correct, and if not, what am I doing wrong? Second, this doesn't seem to inflict the gravitas that is described in the books, no matter how evocative the description. The Wizards' first action in many cases is "I open The Sight," which feels wrong. Even when they take damage (tonight, I had someone take his full stress track in damage, and a minor consequence in addition) and even when the description makes them squirm, a little bit later and that fades. Is there any way systematically to enforce this feeling? Is there any way non-systematically to force it if not?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ One thing to keep in mind is that Wizards are less suseptable to The Sight compared to even a focused practitioner. As such, it's got to be something pretty serious (like, say, a skin walker: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) to really push them that far. However, multiple uses of the sight can push a character there because they haven't had time to get over the other experiences. \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


First of all, your understanding is correct. That's the basic mechanism.

If you want to model the life-changing effects of using the sight, you may just increase the intensity number to a level where the character could be prone to taking an extreme consequence.(YS205) This makes the character replace one of his permanent aspects with something that reflects what he has seen. And it will be with them forever unless they do something about it.

If he can avoid the extreme consequence, he has managed to survive what he has seen.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I generally set the intensity at either the shifts put into the spell, or the refresh penalty spent in supernatural powers on the creature, minimum of two. Mortals are no trouble, spells are only a problem at high power, but the big nasties of the world can mess someone up. Just be accepting of concessions! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 5:02

It stays with you forever. If you see monsters, they stay with you. If you see pain, it stays with you and never fades away. I would make those aspects (maybe group them into alienation, violence, insanity, self, etc... Very similar to Unknown Armies) which gather score the more the character does it. No, you cannot get it back down and most of the time those aspects will have negative impacts. Then as the referee, you can use those to compel the character at important story times.

In addition, you can role play it all... Been seeing too much suffering people? Sorry, you cannot do spells that require you to be happy. That pain is with you and unless you become perverted enough to find happiness in pain, you're stuck. Sucks to be you. ^_~

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    \$\begingroup\$ i'd rather not force the aspect, i'd prefer to set the intensity higher and make them fight to close the sight, resulting in more stress/consequences \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 15:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like giving the players powers that ultimately will doom them. The sight feels like one of those hence my take on it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Guaranteed doom is not fun to play. Give them hope, however slight it may be, and it will be worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 21:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only free thing is the cheese in the mouse trap. To be fair, not everything I do is to screw the characters up. I just like to have prices for powers: nothing comes free or easy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 7:52

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