The Complete Guide to the Crafting System

The Complete Guide to the Riverside Opera Crafting System

Customizability in characters is an important part of any RPG.  In Vampire LARP, that customization historically comes from Disciplines.  While customizing with Disciplines is great, it isn’t the only way that a character would progress their effectiveness were the Kindred a real thing.  Many of them would opt to create their own armor, weapons, and other items.  In the rules as written, the Crafts Ability exists, so it seems as though it was a thing that the developers intended, but they didn’t provide any actual mechanics for doing so.  Toward that end, Riverside Opera has its own unique Crafting rules.

Crafting Quick Steps

  1. Blueprint the item.
    • Item Concept
    • Determine Item Effects
    • Determine Item Function
    • ST Approval
      • Determine Costs
      • Determine Difficulty
    • Pay Costs
    • Win Static Mental Challenge
  2. Build the item.
    • Determine Difficulty and Type of Challenge
    • Determine I/R/A Cost
    • Win Static Challenge
    • Request Item Card
  3. Manufacture the item (optional, not a Crafting action).

Crafting Actions

All characters get two Crafting actions each month, of which there are two types: Blueprints and Builds.  Characters may mix and match those two in whatever combination they like (so, Blueprint/Build, Blueprint/Blueprint, or Build/Build).  In order to execute a Build on an item, a character must possess a Blueprint for that item.


A Blueprint action has five steps.

First, the player settles on a concept for the Blueprint.  Concepts can be as simple, broad, complicated, or detailed as you like.  Anything from “a lapel pin that shoots fire” to “a gun that never misses, can be fired 5 times a round, is concealable in my pocket, deals more damage, and makes people see bunnies when they get shot” is acceptable as a concept for a Blueprint.

Note, however, that a concept for a Blueprint is not always likely to be exactly what the item does at the end of the process.

The second step is figuring out what available effects combine to make the item work.  Each effect has an Ability cost and a Blueprint Difficulty.  If an item has multiple effects, you choose the effect with the highest Blueprint Difficulty and then add 2 to the Ability costs and Difficulties for each effect past the first.  If an effect requires a specific Ability, that Ability must be spent to create the Blueprint, but it is not added to the total cost.

The Abilities that can be spent to Craft items are: Academics, Animal Ken, Computer, Crafts, Firearms, Medicine, Melee, Occult, Repair, Science, and Security.  You only need enough total Abilities from among all of those areas relevant to the Blueprint in order to pay the costs for that Blueprint (Medicine, for example,  will not help you design a gun).

The third step is defining what the item looks like and how it works.  This step is largely up to individual player and character style, and creativity is strongly encouraged, here.  Of note is that unless your character possesses magical talents (Necromancy or Thaumaturgy), there must be a plausible explanation for how the item actually works.

If your character possesses magical talents, they may craft items with up to two magical effects (effects that operate through no obvious mechanism).  Thaumaturgical items may have no more than four total effects.  Necromantic items may have any number of total effects, but the item should be deathly, disgusting, or otherwise disturbing.

Step four is working with the Storyteller to approve your item.  During this part of the process, the two of you will work together to determine exactly what the item does, how it does it, what it looks like, and what it costs to Blueprint and Build.  The item may change during this stage, but the Storyteller will work to make sure you get something with which you’re ultimately happy.

The last thing to do is pay the costs and win a Static Mental Challenge.  If you can do both, you have the Blueprint for your item.

Note: Blueprints are not transferrable.

Build Actions

A Build action has four steps.

First, the Storyteller determines the type of Challenge to Build the item (Mental or Physical) and the Difficulty of that Challenge.  The type of Challenge is based upon how your character intends to build the item.  If they’re enchanting a talisman or building computer code, that’s going to require a Static Mental Challenge.  If they’re building armor or smithing iron into a sword, that’s going to be a Static Physical Challenge.  The Difficulty of said Challenge is based upon the effects of the Blueprint.

Manufacturing Items

All Crafted items come with an I/R/A (Influence, Retainers, or Allies) cost.  By paying this cost, your character can obtain that item—and paying it does not count as a Crafting action, meaning you can pay it over and over again to get multiple copies of the same item in a single month.  If your character uses Influence, she uses her pull in one or multiple areas of human society to get her item put together.  Using Retainers makes your ghouls or servants do the job.  Using Allies asks your buddies for help.

Characters may mix and match these Backgrounds to manufacture items.

Item Effects

Create a common item 1 1 1 1
Use Base Weapon or Armor 1 4 2 1
Upgrade Weapon Damage Type 6 (Occult) 8 6 3
Make item Unbreakable 5 (Crafts) 5 3 2
+1 Weapon Damage 5 (Crafts) 5 3 2
+1 Armor Health 5 (Crafts) 5 3 2
Give an item 2 Bonus Traits 4 (Repair) 4 2 2
Remove a Negative Trait 4 (Repair) 4 2 2
Add a Special Weapon Ability 5 (Crafts) 6 4 2
Emulate a Basic Discipline 9 (Special) 12 10 5
Emulate a Basic Ritual 7 (Occult) 10 8 5
Non-Mechanical Effect 6 (Special) 7 5 4
Make a Weapon or Armor More Concealable 2 (Academics) 2 2 2
Single Use -2 -2 -2 -2
Limited Uses (2-5) -1 -1 -1 -1
Add Negative Trait -2 -2 -2 -2
-2 Bonus Traits -2 -2 -2 -2
-1 Weapon Damage -2 -2 -2 -2
-1 Armor Health -2 -2 -2 -2
Downgrade Weapon Damage Type -2 -2 -2 -2
Make a Weapon or Armor Less Concealable -2 -2 -2 -2

Each one of these effects can be placed onto an item once.  For example, you couldn’t create an item that had five different instances of +2 Bonus Traits.

When emulating a Basic Discipline or Basic Ritual, the effect will always be worse than or have another drawback to the powers of said Discipline.  Additionally, you cannot stack both Disciplines and Rituals onto the same item.  Lastly, when emulating a Basic Discipline, the required Ability will be the Ability required to Retest said Discipline (e.g., Awareness for Auspex, Intimidation for Dominate, etc.)

When making an item Single Use, it makes things easier, but it also triples the number of items you receive.  When making an item Limited Use, it doubles the number of items you receive.  These effects are most commonly used in ammunition and explosives.

“Non-Mechanical Effect” is a catch-all effect for items such as EMPs, smoke bombs, and the like that have no analogue in the rules already or have no mechanical benefit whatsoever. The ST will determine if an item falls under this effect or if another effect is more appropriate.

“Making an item that already exists” is only considered part of the effect of a blueprint if you are required to build the item as part of your blueprint. For instance, if you want to modify a sword to be used with Puissance, if you already have a sword, you don’t need to include making one as part of your blueprint. However, this also means the blueprint can’t be used unless you already have a sword on hand (i.e., the Blueprint is making a coating that keeps the sword from breaking). Novel items don’t need to have the “making any item that exists in the book” effect, as their creation is part of the blueprint by definition.  Of note here is including the “Create a common weapon or armor” trait when making weapons and armor is that you also get the base stats of the weapon or armor in question if you do so.

A “commonly available item” is an object that already exists in the world, is readily purchasable, and a trained person could create with the right tools. This includes blown glass, works of art, jewelry, clocks, and so on. An Xbox One, while readily purchasable, isn’t something a trained person can build with the right tools, so it doesn’t qualify. A laser can be built by a trained person with the right tools, but isn’t readily purchasable, so it also doesn’t qualify as “commonly available.” Commonly available items have no mechanical effects by themselves. You use this effect to make such items instead of going out and purchasing them yourself.

Entering Play with a Crafted Item

New characters may enter play with a single Crafted item with Storyteller approval provided that:

  1. The character possesses all Abilities required to Blueprint the item;
  2. The Blueprinting Challenge cannot overbid the character; and
  3. The Build Challenge cannot overbid the character.