So, how will kegare work in the game? As a resource statistics, like shin’i, it will come in points. Most resource statistics, including shin’i, are spent to get good effects. Kegare is the opposite. A persona can accept kegare to avoid bad effects.
If a player does not like a die roll, she can accept of point of kegare for the persona, and reroll as many of the dice as she wants. Statistically, it is usually sensible to reroll any dice showing a three or lower, as there is a better than even chance of improvement. However, if the player needs all sixes to succeed, it makes sense to reroll anything that is not a six. If the reroll is still not good enough, or even worse than the initial attempt, the player can take another point of kegare to roll again.
A player can also choose to have her persona take kegare to aid another persona. In that case, for every point of kegare that the player’s persona takes, she can change any two dice to be sixes. Normally, changing the lowest two dice would be the best option, but if changing two dice would make all the kept dice sixes, it doesn’t really matter.
In both cases, the players make the decision whether to accept kegare after the dice have been rolled, and the result has been calculated. However, kegare must be accepted and the result altered before any further rolls are made, or further results are calculated.
The problem here is that this kegare does not seem to correspond to in-game actions or events that would be viewed as causing kegare in Shinto. We could say that the effort the persona puts into avoiding the near-disaster drains some of her energy, leaving her weaker and withered. That would fit nicely with the idea that kegare is not sin, but this is something that may need further thought.
There is no formal upper limit on kegare, but a character with kegare suffers from negative effects.
First, kegare is catastrophic during matsuri. The total number of points of kegare held by the participants is subtracted from the number of steps the matsuri has, making the matsuri much less effective. As a result, it almost never makes sense to take kegare during a matsuri, although it is quite reasonable to do so while creating it. In addition, kegare acts as a penalty to any kami’s attitude towards a persona. The number of points of kegare subtracts from the number of dice the kami keeps when deciding whether to aid the persona, even if the persona does not participate in the ritual making the request.
The negative effects of kegare are not restricted to direct contact with kami. If a player keeps at least one 1 on a die roll, then if the number of ones a player keeps, plus the persona’s current kegare, is greater than the number of dice the player kept for that roll, something really bad happens. For example, a player whose persona has 3 points of kegare is keeping 2 dice. In this case, if she keeps even a single one, something bad will happen, because 1 + 3 is greater than 2. However, if the persona only has 1 point of kegare, the player needs to keep two ones for something to go seriously wrong. If the player keeps no ones, then there is no disaster, no matter how much kegare the persona has. If the persona has 3 kegare and is keeping 2 dice, then there is no disaster as long as neither die is a 1. Obviously, this means that these disasters are much less likely if the player is rolling more dice than she is keeping, and much more likely if she is keeping more than she is rolling.
The negative effect depends on the context, but it is worse than a failure on the roll. If something is being created, this effect typically destroys all the progress that has been made so far, but the players should describe what goes wrong.
The persona may accept a point of kegare to avoid the crisis. Doing this too often, however, quickly leads to kegare totals that guarantee that even a single one leads to disaster, and make it completely impossible for the persona to interact effectively with kami, or participate in a matsuri.
If kegare builds up, personae need to reduce it in order to be able to deal with the kami again. That is the function of harae.