Carnevale 2.2 – New Book, New Rules

Blood on the Water is coming to pre-order this week!

Our very first Carnevale campaign expansion book is heading to the TTCombat webstore this Friday, and it’s got so much in it! We’ll be looking more at the contents in Teaser Tuesday tomorrow, but we’d like to talk a little about rules today.

Blood on the Water contains a fully updated version of the Carnevale rulebook, which we’ve numbered 2.2 (2.0 is the big one, 2.1 is the small one). This updated set of rules is based on several years of playing, playtesting, demoing, and – most importantly – feedback from the community.

While adding some extra rules for Blood on the Water, we decided it would be a good idea to tweak some current rules. This started off as a page in the book with errata and a few tweaks, but we realised that we hated that. Having to bring the full rulebook, Blood on the Water, character cards, and maybe even the rulebook PDF to a game was way too much. So we decided to add some extra pages and put all the rules in one place. If you pick up Blood on the Water, you’ll have literally every rule in there!

Of course, you know us. We don’t want to keep everything behind a paywall, so the updated core rulebook will be available for free digital download on Friday as well! Blood on the Water contains a bunch of advanced rules in addition to the core rules, which we’ll talk about later this week. For now though, let’s have a look at how the core rules are changing in version 2.2.

While we’re not going into everything here, we’ll be releasing a changelog on Friday as well, so you can see every change easily.

Fortune’s Favour

The biggest new rule addition is right at the front: Fortune’s Favour. We actually already showed this rule off in last year’s advent calendar, so we won’t go into too much detail here again.

Fortune’s Favour is a way of encouraging players to tell a story and be brave in their games! Daring plays should be rewarded, and Fortune’s Favour is our way of promoting that. Do something cool and replenish 1 Will Point. Tell the story of what you did and it’s 2 Will Points instead!

Note that there’s no penalty for being awarded Fortune’s Favour, other than potentially only winning because your opponent gave it to you. You still win of course, but they can always claim that it was only because they helped you. Best to give it right back when your opponent does something worthy of admiration. Think of it as competitive niceness!

Water Combat

Fighting in water is hard. From swimming to not being drowned, it’s not a great place to be! Unless you’re well trained or a fish monster of course. And without going into too much detail, that’s not just the Rashaar anymore!

To represent the difficulty of fighting and swimming in the canals of Venice, we’ve made a series of changes that are small on the surface, but have tremendous depth.

The canals themselves have had some changes.

Climbing out of water is easier than ever: you just move out of low canals! There’s no 1″ movement penalty anymore, it’s just automatic. This was how most people played it anyway, especially when playing on the cardboard tiles where it’s harder to judge the heights.

However, in the time since the big rulebook was released, we’ve made some taller street tiles. These higher ones cannot be climbed out of at all! So you’ll be able to block off areas of the board with carefully placed streets. Of course, if you have a ladder, steps, or crumbling streets, you can still climb out of even the tallest canalside, and you even gain a bonus for doing so.

Possibly the biggest change in the 2.2 rules is the one to Unarmed attacks.

What, you don’t see a difference? Well, Unarmed attacks have lost the Aquatic ability. Punching someone underwater was never especially effective, and didn’t make much sense either!

This means that most characters only have the option to drown opponents when in the water, which makes those with Aquatic weapons even more useful in your gang – especially when you’re fighting Water Creatures, who cannot be drowned! Stock up on Gondolas (which are only 4 Ducats now, by the way).

Lastly, characters in the water aren’t always in cover. If you’re in base contact, is never in cover, even in the water! Hybrids are going to be much more useful now, that’s for sure.

Command Points

Command Points are an incredibly useful resource in Carnevale, but in the 2.0 rules were a little bit clunky in their wording, and sometimes frustrating in their use. We’ve made some changes here to make them easier to understand and more fun to use.

There are 4 different Commands a character can use. Each character may still only use each once per round, for a total of 4 Command Points per round. Multiple characters can still use the same Commands though!

  • PLAN has been made much more useful. Instead of at the start of the game, this Command can be used at the start of each round to cycle an Agenda. If you had one that was possible at the start, but has become impossible, try using PLAN to get something new!
  • ORDER is the most similar to before. A character can gain +1AP from a friendly character for their turn. A small note: “activation” has been replaced with “turn” or more often “character turn”. A lot of people (us included) got confused between “activation” and “action” – especially those for whom English is not their first language.
  • COUNTER is a Command that has been changed in two ways. Being able to make out of sequence actions is extremely powerful, especially when used to interrupt an opponent’s attack. Now a COUNTER Command may only be a 1AP action, and it counts towards a character’s maximum of 3AP per round! In addition, COUNTER Commands may only be used after an enemy character completes their action (including Attacks of Opportunity). No more interrupting an AoO to Grapple them away!

We have also made some changes to Command Abilities:

Command Abilities now come in two types.

  • PULSE abilities are those that affect someone from the time of use. These most often make a character perform an action immediately, or give a character a special rule which often lasts until the end of the game.
  • AURA abilities make up the majority of Command Abilities, and have been changed to be easier to manage. Now they fully act as a “bubble” which is active until it runs out. Only the characters in that bubble gain the benefit, and only while they’re still in the bubble. So you no longer have to remember who was affected by a Command Ability waaaay back at the start of the round. Just measure during the action to see if its relevant. Easier to remember, but it does mean your commanding characters are going to have to get stuck in a little more!

New Actions

There are a bunch of new things to do in the Advanced Rules in Blood on the Water, but the core rules have one brand new action, and one tweaked action.

Hide is a brand new action which helps combat-focused gangs survive a little longer. With ranges on weapons higher than ever, this is one you’ll have to use a fair bit!

Hiding stops all line of sight from characters further than 6″ away. Enemies cannot see hidden characters, and hidden characters cannot see anyone (which counts for things like Command Abilities that require line of sight).

Of course, you can always Grapple a hidden enemy out into the open, leaving them in a bit of trouble.

Oh and while we’re talking about hidden counters: this is what Smoke does now! A Smoke Bomb counts as cover and gives everyone in the blast radius a Hidden counter as well. So you’ll still be able to see them if you’re close enough, but at a distance they’ll be safe.

Long suffering acrobats will love this change to Controlled Landings. Previously it cost 2AP to perform a Controlled Landing, which was basically never worth the cost.

Instead, a Controlled Landing costs 1 Will Point, and rather than subtracting 2 from the fall distance, makes all dice rolls for that fall easier!

Experimental Rules

For the last little while we’ve had some experimental rules in the FAQ document. Both were received well, and so have made their way into the 2.2 edition of the rules!

Opposed Rolls are now done one at a time. The defender rolls first, then the attacker subtracts the Aces from their total roll, rather than their successes. While on the surface this might look like it takes a little longer, it means that more actions are successful, which helps the game move quicker!

Dispel has also seen an update, although it’s not exactly the same as it was in the experimental rules.

To Dispel you now have to be in line of sight to the caster (previously it was to the caster or target, and previously to that it was within 6″). However, you only have to pay 1 Will Point to Dispel, no matter how much the spell cost to cast. So it’s a little easier to Dispel, but with more limited range.

Oh and while we’re at it: you can now cast magic spells in base contact with no penalty. Wheeee!


There are a whole load of new types of scenery (and even more in Blood on the Water’s Advanced Rules), but we’re just going to look at one. Solid Ground has now got two sub-categories: Difficult Ground (which is the same as before), and Unstable Ground.

This new type of terrain is perfect for larger jetties, water taxis, or even gondolas. To answer the question “what happens if a gondola is full? How do I get them off?” Well you just jump on it until they fall off! Bonus points if you do that with a Lion.

It’s fun and cinematic, and – before you ask – yes that bit about even dead bodies working is based on something that actually happened in playtesting, and it was hilarious.

Falling off things is actually a whole other topic, as the 2.2 rules have expanded types of landing spots. Water still does -2″ on the fall, but Dangerous terrain (like a spiky railing) does +4″! We’re not spoiling everything today though.

Special Rules

The last thing we’re going to talk about today are some abilities. We have tweaked some Character abilities, and added some new ones. There are even some changes to weapons!

Speaking of new abilities, how about Expert Grappler? Re-roll X dice on Grapples or Drowns? Yes please! This is a super simple rule, but expect to see it on a few existing characters in the balance pass this week.

Slippery is one of three rules that have been entirely simplified. Rather than having a number of dice to re-roll (which was usually 3 anyway), Slippery just lets you automatically succeed your Disengage rolls! That’s handy.

Engage does the exact same thing when defending against disengaging, which means Engage characters will always hit you on the way out. Unless you also have Slippery, which cancels each other out.

Brave is another “automatic” skill. Rather than re-rolling Fear rolls without modifiers, Brave characters are just unaffected by Fear.

On the topic of simplifying, Primitive is now just a pass/fail state. Get at least 1 Ace on your Mind roll and you’re fine. Get no Aces and you are Stunned. No more table you have to look up.

We didn’t just simplify rules though, we made some more useful!

Companion has had a massive change that we’ve actually been playing in the office for a few years now. To gain the MIND benefit, you have to have line of sight. Good for the Commedia dell’Arte!

However, if you have line of sight at the start of that character’s turn, they also replenish 1 Will Point. This is massive, and can be used in so many different ways. Expect to see more of this rule when we talk about how the factions have been changed in the next few days.

Our very last rule for today is Reload.

Ranged weapons have long been a sticking point in the community. We designed Carnevale for close up combat, and that’s not changing. It’s not a game of gun lines, it’s close quarters battle in the winding streets of Venice. However, ranged weapons before were a bit rubbish. They used to require 1AP to reload after every shot or two, which made them just a little bit rubbish.

This change to Reload does away with that entirely! We now assume that a character can reload quickly and easily enough that they can do it while doing something else. An Arbalest should be able to shoot and then draw a new bolt while on the move. A Merchant can quick-fire a pistol, reloading as she goes, or shoot once and then run away again.

So the Reload rule now shows how many times a weapon can be used in a single round (that’s round, not character turn, so Guard is still useful). Once you’ve reached that limit, you’d better start doing something else.

However, reloading in close quarters is rather more difficult. No one is going to stand around and wait for a Guard Marksman to reload his musket! To represent this, that limit turns into a countdown timer in base contact. Once it goes down to zero, you cannot use the weapon again until starting your turn out of base contact. No stepping back for a second before blasting someone with a nock gun! You have to take your time to reload it.

Ranged weapons are definitely more powerful now, but do come with some severe drawbacks still!

Phew! That’s it for now. We haven’t even gone into all the ways we’ve changed the wording of rules to be more user-friendly, or the new Barricade rules, Disengaging giving +1 DEX if you’re on a smaller base, or even Knockback – my favourite new weapon ability!

The full digital 2.2 rulebook will be available to download for free on Friday, and all of these rules are included in Blood on the Water, which will give you one place to have everything including the Advanced Rules we’ll look at later this week!

Blood on the Water will be available to pre-order this Friday, and we’ll be back every day with more information about what’s inside, and the full balance pass coming your way as well!

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