House Rules Update – April 2019

April 2019 House Rules Update

Addendum, 4/16 – Updated Stats for Bows

Given that the Crafting system has made guns extremely powerful and the only choice for ranged combatants, we have updated the stats for bows to make them somewhat more competitive and to give choice to players.  The previous Dark Epics stats are listed in strike-through text below.
All bows, when given the “Puissance compatible” Crafting effect now allow the user to use their Potence when firing these weapons.
Though it is not a House Rule, per se, it bears clarification here: arrows are compatible with Quietus and various Necromantic and Thaumaturgical rituals.
Shortbow
Bonus Traits: 2 3
Negative Traits: Fragile (which makes basically no sense, but whatever)
Concealability: Trenchcoat
Damage: 1L 2L
Rate: 1 3
Special Abilities: Staking, Armor Piercing, Two-Hand Requirement
Longbow
Bonus Traits: 3 4
Negative Traits: Fragile, Heavy
Concealability: None
Damage: 2L 3L
Rate: 1 2
Special Abilities: Staking, Armor Piercing, Two-Hand Requirement, Destroy Shield
Crossbow
Bonus Traits: 2 3
Negative Traits: Heavy, Slow
Concealability: None
Damage: 2L 3L
Rate: 1 Special (every other action must be a reload action with this weapon)
Special Abilities: Staking, Armor Piercing, Two-Hand Requirement, Destroy Shield

Action Economy

Characters may not benefit from more than five total actions per round.  Celerity, Retainers, Allies, Crafted items, and all other NPC forces controlled by a character’s player count toward this limit.

Quell the Beast

Using Quell the Beast on a target that is not in frenzy does not prevent the target from spending Willpower to resist frenzy.

King of the Hill

We have rewritten a few powers for the King of the Hill system.  During the end of year survey, many players requested that we make changes to certain weak, confusing, or otherwise problematic powers, and we have taken those suggestions to heart.

New Keyword – Untraceable

Untraceable powers are not broadcast on the King of the Hill board and may not be investigated using regular Influence.

Church: Resolute Mind

The church is a strong, calming influence, even on the Kindred.  Even if one does not personally believe in the particular trappings or dogma of a given religious doctrine, no one could argue that a church on a calm night, sitting in a pew, listening to the quiet music of wind and chimes does not do a soul good.  As such, the Deacon gains an additional Trait in each of their Virtues and an additional Willpower Trait for as long as they remain the Deacon.  This power is always active and cannot be loaned.

High Society: I Have a Guy for That

The Trendsetter is well known throughout human circles, and humans far and wide are aware of them and likely even owe them favors.  As such, once per month, the Trendsetter may choose Allies, Contacts, Fame, Herd, Influence (any sphere), or Retainers.  Until the beginning of the next game session, the Trendsetter gets two extra points in those Backgrounds for use as they choose.  These Backgrounds are considered loaned, and no experience points are added to their character sheet.  These Backgrounds can raise a character above their Generational limits.

Police: Seize Assets

The Commissioner is a powerful public force, and they have phenomenal powers to disrupt regular citizens’ lives.  Once per month, the Commissioner may target a character and a sphere of influence they believe that character possesses.  Agents in the police department then harass and detain two of that character’s informants.   The Commissioner may then spend those two influences for themselves.  If the character does not possess any unspent influence in the chosen sphere, this power has no effect.  Influences gained this way are considered to be loaned and are not removed from or added to character sheets.

The Commissioner may also acquire one Common item per month of their choice, per ST approval.  This part of the Commissioner’s power is Untraceable.

Street: Back Alley Dealing

The Triple O.G. has people everywhere.  At the grocery store, in the court houses, in the jail, and even in the church.  Any information, they can find with ease.  Once per month, the Triple O.G. may call on their informants to scout out the opposition.  The Triple O.G. picks an Influence move or a King of the Hill bid, and their informants discover how many Influence was spent on the move and to whom those influence belong.

Additionally, the Triple O.G. can move silently through mortal circles as well.  Once per month, they may cloak a single Influence move as though they had spent 2 Influence toward the effort.  This part of the power is Untraceable.

Underworld: This is My City

The ability to see all Influence boards is now Untraceable.

University: Boundless Research

The lore part of this power now is Untraceable.

Necromancy Guide

Necromancy Paths and Rituals

All Necromancy not listed herein is not only banned from Riverside Opera, it does not exist as Necromancy in the game, if it even exists at all. All uses of Necromancy, unless a higher cost is stated in the Discipline or Ritual, require the expenditure of 1 Blood. Necromancy is considered “magic” for the purposes of effects that apply to magic, such as Magic Resistance and Magic Susceptibility.

The primary Path of Necromancy for all characters is the Sepulchre Path, the Ash Path, or the Bone Path unless you purchase the 10-point Perk, “Begin with a non-standard Path of Thaumaturgy.” If you purchase that perk, you may select any path of Necromancy from Standard Practices or Advanced Study as your primary path. You can always advance your primary Path, even if it’s Advanced Study, by spending XP alone if Necromancy is an in-clan Discipline for you.

Unless otherwise noted, most Necromantic rituals can be cast to benefit a target other than the person performing the ritual. The time and costs are the same, though any blood requirements in these cases refer to the blood of the recipient of the effect. It is not inherently obvious to an observer what ritual is actually being performed; a Static Mental Challenge, using Occult to retest, may be used to ascertain this. Likewise, merely seeing a ritual being performed is not sufficient to grant knowledge of the ritual or any level of Necromancy.

The casting of Necromancy that is not a ritual is not inherently obvious. Any effects are very likely obvious, however; you cannot hide a shambling corpse, for instance, or stepping into the Underworld. The casting of a ritual is obvious, though the challenge for completion of a ritual (such as those required to employ Call on the Shadow’s Grace) follows the normal rule for Necromancy challenges.

Learning multiple paths of Necromancy follows the same rules as that of Thaumaturgy: you cannot learn other paths at all until you reach Intermediate in your primary Path, at which point you may learn the Basic powers of other paths. Once you reach Advanced in your primary Path, you may learn other Paths freely.

The Shadowlands of Necromancy, also known as the Underworld, is separate from the Astral Plane accessed by Auspex and Thaumaturgy. Those in the Underworld cannot interact with those on the Astral Plane and vice-versa. Auspex cannot be used to see into the Shadowlands. “The Quick” referred to in many Necromancy effects is the real world.

Like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy is a Mental discipline, regardless of the specific challenge type a power uses. It is, therefore, only usable on your base action each round unless otherwise noted in a power’s description. You may not use Celerity actions to use Necromancy powers unless otherwise noted in a power’s description.

For the purposes of this guide, the Samedi are considered to have Necromancy “in-Clan,” though they must still purchase the Discipline at out-of-Clan XP costs.

Standard Practices

The following paths and rituals are considered “standard practices” and can be purchased with free traits or experience points on character creation with no perk required by any character who has Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline. After character creation, subject to the usual restrictions of learning multiple Paths of Necromancy, those with Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline may learn these Paths or purchase these rituals with experience points alone. No research is required.

Characters who do not have Necromancy as an in-clan Discipline must learn each Path as if it were a different Discipline. As usual, a trait of blood from a clan for which Necromancy is in-clan must be consumed to gain access to Necromancy, though this need only be done once no matter how many Paths you wish to learn. Once this is done, you can research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught Necromancy by another character, subject to the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or learn it from your Mentor. Alternatively, you can purchase one of these paths on character creation with free traits or experience points by purchasing the 10-point-perk “Start with a single (non-Thaumaturgy) out-of-Clan Discipline.”

Any of the rituals below may be purchased on character creation, whenever a character may learn a ritual for free through progression of their primary Path, or whenever purchasing a ritual with experience points. No research is required to purchase these rituals, as they are considered relatively common knowledge among thaumaturges or are naturally “intuitive” to a necromancer.

Paths

Name Description Reference
The Ash Path Peer into, interact with, and even travel to the lands of the dead. LotN, 153
The Bone Path Interact with and manipulate corpses LotN, 155
The Sepulchre Path Witness, summon, and command the spirits of the dead. LotN, 152

 

Name Level Description Reference
Call of the Hungry Dead Basic Inflict Oblivious x2 on a target for 1 scene. LotN, 157
Eldritch Beacon Basic Create a sphere that, when in a target’s possession, renders them 1 trait down to resist any powers of a wraith. Lasts for 1 hour, plus 1 hour per Blood trait expended during casting. SG 116
Eyes of the Grave Basic Force a target to fail a retest. You must designate the target for this ritual upon casting and it cannot be changed; however, you may prepare this ritual more than once. Its effects do not stack. Instead, each casting allows you to target another individual. LotN, 157
Hand of Glory Basic Creates a hand that, when placed in a house and lit, renders all mortals within unconscious. The effects last for one scene, but the hand can be reused as desired. Requires 2 weeks to construct. **
Minestra di Morte Basic Creates a liquid that, when consumed, informs the drinker of whether the target is alive (or undead) or dead and, if dead, if they became a wraith. Requires a piece of the target’s flesh (requiring at least 1 lethal damage to require) and 1 trait of your blood. **
Spirit Beacon Basic Draws wraiths to the target location. You cannot designate which wraiths are drawn in, though they will typically be weak-willed. At least one wraith will arrive over the course of an hour appear for each Blood expended during the casting of the ritual, though the necromancer has no special knowledge nor authority over these wraiths. LotN, 157

**

Blood Dance Intermediate The caster allows a living being (including a vampire) to communicate with the wraith of a relative for up to one hour. Takes 2 hours to cast and lasts for one scene. The beneficiary of the ritual must be able to unambiguously specify the wraith to contact. **
Cadaver’s Touch Intermediate Make a mortal appear to be dead. LotN, 157
Call on the Shadow’s Grace Intermediate Ascertain a negative trait or flaw of the target, or force a wraith into a violent, negatively inclined state similar to frenzy. Your target decides which negative trait or flaw is revealed to you, though if you are already aware of that negative trait or flaw from a prior casting of this ritual, you may force them to name another. Your target is not necessarily aware that this ritual has been used upon them. LotN, 157

**

Din of the Damned Intermediate Forces others to win a Static Mental Challenge against 9 traits to eavesdrop via any means on the defined enclosed space; failure blocks the intrusion and applies Oblivious x2 to the afflicted individual for the remainder of the night. Characters attempting to listen in using Heightened Senses are also deafened from sensory overload, per that Discipline’s rules. SG 116-117
Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter Intermediate Enchants the finger bone of a corpse such that it points to items and areas of that were significant to that individual when they were alive. This effect applies to vampires as well, should you manage to remove such a bone from them. Because the body parts of vampires decay based on the age of their source, this ritual typically only works well on neonates and childer. LotN, 158

**

Esilio Advanced Creates a vortex to Oblivion in the caster’s chest. If the caster succeeds on a Physical Challenge to grapple a wraith (which may require other rituals or Disciplines to be able to do so in the first place), she may instantly destroy it by casting it into the vortex. This ritual takes 1 full turn to cast (and is therefore incompatible with Celerity), costs 1 Blood and 1 Willpower to cast, and lasts for 1 scene. Each wraith destroyed costs the caster 1 lethal damage which cannot be reduced in any way, even by Fortitude, though it can be healed normally. Invoking this ritual at all is a sin against Humanity 1 and therefore requires a Conscience check whenever it is used. It may impact other Paths as well (Bones and Death and the Soul, particularly, but also likely Feral Heart and Cathari). **
Grasp the Ghostly Advanced Exchanges an item in the Underworld for an item of equivalent size and mass in the material world. The item cannot be a creature of any sort. The object remains for one year before fading away. LotN, 158

 

Advanced Study

The following paths and rituals are more difficult to access, even by Giovanni. Regardless of your clan, to purchase one of these paths on character creation using free traits or experience points, you must purchase the 10-point perk, “Begin with a non-standard path of Thaumaturgy,” in addition to the 20-point perk, “Begin with Thaumaturgy,” if Necromancy is not in-clan for you.

To learn these Paths after character creation, you must research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught each level by another player character, following the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or be taught them using your Mentor background.

Whenever you are allowed to select a new ritual for free by progressing your primary Path, you may select one of the rituals below. They cannot otherwise be purchased on character creation. After character creation, to learn them by spending experience points, you must research them using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught a ritual by another player character who already knows it, or learn it from your Mentor using the Mentor background.

A Mentor can only know a single Path of Necromancy from Advanced Study. Once you select the Path your Mentor knows, it is permanently fixed.

Paths

Name Description Reference
Cenotaph Path Analyze the connections between the living world and the Shadowlands. **
Mortuus Path Apply the physical manifestations of death to yourself and others. SG 113-116
Vitreous Path Manipulate the forces of entropy. VSG 26-30

 

Rituals

Name Level Description Reference
Death’s Communion Basic Grants the caster 1 Bonus Trait or another target 2  Bonus Traits on all challenges involving Necromancy. The effect lasts for one night. **
Insight Basic Reveals the circumstances of a corpse’s death. The caster sees only the moment of death and the seconds immediately preceding it unless she bids one or more Mental Traits and wins a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the subject’s Mental Traits or their killer’s Mental Traits, whichever are higher. If one trait is bid, the caster sees up to 10 minutes preceding the death. For two traits, the caster sees up to 30 minutes. For three traits, the caster sees up to 60 minutes. This effect cannot be used on vampires or corpses missing eyes or that are older than a few days. **
Puppet Basic Grants any wraith one free Discipline-based retest to possess a target. The effect lasts until the retest is used or for one scene. SG 116
Two Centimes Basic Sends a mortal into the Underworld, though only as a projected soul that can neither interact with, nor be interacted with, the wraiths there. While the mortal is in the Underworld, they can speak with the caster telepathically. **
Bastone Diabolico Intermediate Creates a talisman that, when used to strike animated dead created through Necromancy or Thaumaturgy, inflicts 2 aggravated damage with 0 Bonus Traits and 0 Negative Traits. When activated for a scene by spending 1 Willpower, it can also strike wraiths, even unmaterialized ones, reducing their Passion by 1. (The stick is considered an improvised weapon against all other targets.) The wielder of the talisman is down one bid to attract or summon wraiths. **
Peek Past the Shroud Intermediate Creates 3 doses of a powder that grants those who consume it the Necromancy power, Shroudsight, for 3 hours. SG 117
Ritual of Xipe Totec Intermediate Turns the caster into a visual facsimile of a victim by wrapping them in the victim’s skin. The ruse is impenetrable by Auspex, but as it doesn’t affect mannerisms, much like Vicissitude disguises, other techniques may ascertain the ruse. Supernatural targets, such as vampires, cannot be victims of this ritual. To cast the ritual requires flaying the victim alive (which requires a Conscience check for any character on Humanity) and 1 Blood, plus 1 Blood per night. The skin can only be used once. **
Tempesta Scudo Intermediate The caster draws a circle the diameter of her outstretched hands in which all wraiths or magical effects that affect or operate through wraiths are one bid down. This penalty applies to any abilities performed in the circle, that would affect anyone inside the circle, or that would cross the boundary of the circle. The caster is not affected by her own circle. This ritual requires 1 full turn to cast (it is not compatible with any Celerity actions), as well as 1 bashing damage and 1 Blood. **
Chill of Oblivion Advanced Grants considerable resistance to fire and the ability to snuff out flames for 1 week, but renders the target highly susceptible to the powers of wraiths and makes them appear to have committed diablerie. SG 117

 

Esoterica

The following paths can only be accessed through research using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught such Paths by another player character who knows them. The Mentor background cannot be used to acquire Paths in Esoterica.

Rituals in this category may only be learned after performing research, as outlined above, and by spending experience points. You may also be taught these rituals by another player character who knows them.

No character may begin play with these rituals or paths. They are only accessible with research and can only be purchased with experience points.

Paths

Name Description Reference
Corpse in the Monster Alter vampiric flesh with the properties of the corpse. **
Grave’s Decay Inflict the ravages of time upon targets. **
Path of the Four Humours Manipulate the assumed vital essences of bodies. **

 

Rituals

Name Level Description Reference
Knowing Stone Basic Create a stone that instantly locates a target, whether alive or dead. If the target is dead and became a wraith, the stone indicates the location of the wraith; if not, it indicates the location of the corpse or where the corpse fully decayed. The stone provides no information as to the target’s state of being, merely their location. Requires 1 trait of the target’s blood to cast and lasts until the next November after casting. You can only be attuned to one Knowing Stone at a time, and any Knowing Stone can only be attuned to a single target. **
Occhio d’Uomo Morto Basic Allows the necromancer to replace one of their eyes with the eye belonging to the corpse of a wraith. This ritual can only be performed on the new moon and requires 1 Blood and 4 aggravated wounds (from removing the eye) to cast. Completion grants the caster the Discipline of Shroudsight permanently and +1 trait to defend against powers that require eye contact (such as Dominate or Eyes of the Serpent). However, the caster gains the negative traits Oblivious and Repugnant permanently and suffers -1 trait to defend against effects from the wraith whose corpse the eye belonged. The caster also immediately and permanently gains the flaw: Enemy (that wraith). This flaw is not removed even if the caster ends the ritual by removing the eye and suffering another 4 aggravated wounds. **
Baleful Doll Intermediate The caster creates a doll that resembles the target (and thus the caster must have at least 1 level of Crafts). At any time, the holder of the doll (who need not be the caster) can damage the doll in some way to inflict 1 bashing damage per action on the target; the doll can be used this way at most 10 times before the power of the ritual is spent. By destroying the doll in one action, the target suffers 4 lethal damage instantly. This damage cannot be absorbed by armor, but Fortitude affects it normally. The wielder of the doll need not be in the presence of the target to harm them. To create the doll requires 1 Blood and an article of clothing of the target. Only one Baleful Doll can be attuned to a given subject at a time; attempts to create a new one while one currently exists fail, and the caster is aware of why the ritual failed. **
Divine Sign Intermediate The caster either holds an understanding of a wraith so intimate that it constitutes an item of great significance to the wraith in life (known as a “fetter” and useful in other uses of necromancy) or can, at some point later in the night that you cast this ritual, predict the action of a target and thereby receive two free Discipline-based retests in any single challenge with them. You must know the birth date of the target to affect them. The effects of this ritual do not stack on a single target. **
Nightmare Drums Intermediate The target of this ritual receives the flaw: Nightmares permanently, or until the caster is destroyed or terminates the effect. If the target already possesses this flaw, they gain a Derangement of the ST’s choice. Casting this ritual requires 1 Blood, a personal item of the target (which can be a trait of their Blood if a Cainite), and performing a service for the wraiths of the ST’s choice. Multiple castings of this ritual on the same target have no effect. **
Ferryman’s Recall Advanced Allows the Embrace on a recently deceased target, up to (14 days minus the caster’s Generation) after the target’s death. Requires 8 hours to cast and at least one trait of Blood of the intended sire. The target must be present, and the ritual must either be cast in a location of great significance to the target or with an item of great significance (perhaps found using another ritual). If the caster doesn’t win or tie a Simple Test upon casting, the target is afflicted with the flaw, Permanent Wound. **

 

Necromancy House Rules

Cenotaph Path

The Cenotaph Path forges connections between the living land, the Quick, and the lands of the dead, the Shadowlands.

Basic

A Touch of Death

Touch your target. You are instantly aware if the target is currently under the influence of any powers of a wraith or if they’re possessed by one. You may also make a Mental Challenge against the wraith in question; if you succeed, you can ask one of the following questions: What was the power used by the wraith on this target? When was that power used? What is the name of the wraith? Any successful use of this part of the Discipline grants an image of the wraith in question that is sufficient to affect it with other Necromancy powers that have that as a requirement.

Reveal the Catene

Touch an object or location. You are instantly aware of whether it is a Fetter for a wraith. If you know the wraith in question – specifically, if you have used any power of Necromancy to summon or compel it – you can instantly identify that it’s their Fetter. Otherwise, you can defeat the wraith in question in a Mental Challenge to identify it. Successful identification of the wraith constitutes an image of the wraith sufficient to use other powers of Necromancy upon it.

This Discipline requires 3 full rounds to use. Each use identifies a different wraith who considers that object a Fetter.

Intermediate

Tread Upon the Grave

Spend a point of Willpower. You know whether the area in which you are is highly attuned to the dead, somewhat attuned to the dead, or removed from the dead. Beyond the benefits in terms of determining the likelihood of encountering wraiths, successful use of this power grants 3 additional traits on any challenge to summon wraiths for the scene. This power may only be used once per scene.

Death Knell

Whenever a person dies within a half mile of you, and that person becomes a wraith (often with Kindred, rarely with mortals), you are instantly aware of it. This effect is always active and costs nothing to use, and you may suppress it at will.

You may spend a Willpower point upon sensing a death, then win a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the permanent Willpower the newly deceased had at the time of death; if you succeed, you know the exact location of the death and newly minted wraith. This also provides an image of the wraith sufficient to use other powers of Necromancy upon it.

Advanced

Ephemeral Binding

You turn a target object or creature (including yourself) into a Fetter for a wraith you have previously summoned or compelled, as well as for any for which you have an image. Spend a Willpower and one or more Social Traits. For every Social Trait you expend, the target becomes a Fetter for that wraith for 1 day. Alternatively, you may expend 7 Social Traits and a permanent Willpower to make it a Fetter for a year and a day. An unwilling target of this effect must be defeated in a Social Challenge.

The wraith who has a Fetter created for it by this power is immediately aware of its creation, though not necessarily aware of its location.

Path of the Four Humours

This ancient path allows manipulations of the claimed essential elements of life, the humours.

Basic

Whispers to the Soul

Whisper the target’s name (as you know it) into the target’s ear, spend 1 Blood, and defeat your target in a Social Challenge. If successful, your opponent is 1 trait down on all challenges for the remainder of the night due to the distraction of maddening whispers and possesses the Flaw: Nightmares for one night per Social Trait you have. Your target may expend 1 Willpower to cancel the effect entirely.

You cannot effectively whisper into a target’s ear during combat.

Kiss of the Dark Mother

Spend a Blood. Your bite attack causes 1 additional aggravated damage. You can activate this power reflexively, and it lasts until you either rinse out your mouth or the effect is discharged by use. Note that you must successfully grapple a target with a Physical Challenge before you can bite them (again, with a Physical Challenge) on subsequent actions.

Intermediate

Dark Humours

The vampire can exude a coat of a particular humor onto their skin, causing all that touch it to experience the most intense form of that humor.  After a necromancer has used this power, they generally feel the opposite of the sensation the humor normally conveys: Using blood leaves them depressed and pessimistic; using yellow bile renders them calm and placid; using black bile leaves them optimistic; and using phlegm makes them arouse and angry.  

Spend two Blood. You exude one of the four humours from your flesh, which you can then use to poison a target (by mixing the exudate with vitae or food) or use to coat your skin to deliver as a contact poison by touch (requiring a successful Physical Challenge in combat). Each use of this Discipline creates one dose of the humours, and the humour must be delivered by touch to something before another can be called forth. To resist the effects, the target must win a Static Physical Challenge (retest Survival) against a difficulty of your Physical Traits. This resistance test is made at the time the poison is delivered.

  • Phlegm: The target receives the negative trait: Lethargic for one scene. This effect does stack with additional applications of the humour, up to a maximum of Lethargic x3.
  • Blood: The target suffers an additional wound on the round after taking any damage. No matter how much damage is caused in that round, only one additional damage is taken on the subsequent round, but it is of the most severe type suffered. Armor does not affect this damage, but Fortitude can reduce it normally. This effect occurs once per dose of the humour delivered; additional applications increase the duration, but not the intensity, of the effect.
  • Black Bile: The target suffers 3 lethal damage instantly. Armor does not affect this damage, but Fortitude can reduce it normally. This effect does not stack with itself.
  • Yellow Bile: The target cannot spend Willpower for one scene. This effect does not stack with itself.

Clutching the Shroud

Consume 5 Blood from a human corpse, then spend it to activate this power. For the rest of the scene, you receive the effects of the Ash Path powers Shroudsight and Lifeless Tongues and the Fortitude powers Endurance and Mettle. You also receive the effects of the Vitreous Path power Eyes of the Dead. However, you are 3 traits down to resist any powers of wraiths while under the effects of this power.

The corpse from which the blood is consumed must already be dead at the time you drink from it; you can’t consume all of a human’s blood, then use this power. Additionally, the corpse must be relatively fresh (a few hours old at most) and the death must typically not be from trauma that would cause blood loss. You must drink directly from the corpse, which is a sin for many morality paths (certainly Humanity, regardless of your path rating) and such blood is deeply unappetizing. At the ST’s discretion, you may have to spend a Willpower to stomach the ghoulish fluid.

Advanced

Black Breath

Spend 1 Willpower and 1 Blood. You exude a black cloud from your mouth that fills an entire room (making the source of the effect obvious and likely constituting a breach of the Masquerade). Make a mass challenge against everyone in the area, using your Physical Traits against their Physical Traits. Celerity and Potence are not applicable for you in this challenge. Those who succeed escape from the cloud, if possible. Those who fail, or those who have no means of escape, are afflicted with anoverwhelming depression. Mortals, including ghouls, kill themselves on their next action by the most effective means they have available. If prevented from killing themselves immediately, they attempt suicide again as soon as possible for the rest of the scene. Afflicted vampires instantly enter torpor (lasting for the usual time based on their Humanity or Path rating) unless they spend 1 Willpower to resist the effect, in which case they suffer a 2 trait penalty to all challenges for the remainder of the scene. This penalty does not stack, though repeated uses of this power can, of course, drain multiple points of Willpower from afflicted targets. The caster of this effect is not harmed by it.

Grave’s Decay

This path allows the wielder to channel the forces of decay. This is somewhat different than Vitreous Path, which manipulates entropy as a larger concept; this path affects decay processes.

Basic

Destroy the Husk

Spend a Blood. The target human corpse is reduced to dust over 5 minutes.

Rigor Mortis

This power is mechanically identical to the Thaumaturgy: Movement of the Mind power, Force Bolt, though its narrative effects are slightly different.  Rather than being knocked to the ground, the victim of this power is frozen in place as their muscles contract and stiffen, betraying them for a short time. This power costs 1 Willpower to activate.

Intermediate

Wither

This power is identical to the Thanatosis power, Withering, except it can only be used to strike limbs and not the head.  This power costs 1 Willpower to activate.

Corrupt the Undead Flesh

Spend a Willpower and defeat your target in a Mental vs. Physical Challenge. If successful, the target is afflicted with a virulent disease for one week. During this time, he possesses the Negative Traits: Witless, Clumsy, and Sickly. He must expend one additional Blood to rise each evening and must give up a Self-Control or Instinct card to feed or vomits up all of the blood consumed. Each night that a vampire is afflicted, he may make a Static Physical Challenge against a difficulty of the caster’s Mental traits; if successful, he casts off the disease.

A mortal afflicted by this disease dies after one week. Medical care has no effect on the progression of the disease, making this a potential breach of the Masquerade. Any vampire who drinks the blood of anyone afflicted by the disease is afflicted, and any mortal who spends more than a few hours around someone afflicted by the disease is afflicted.

Advanced

Dissolve the Flesh

This power is identical to the Quietus power, Taste of Death, except it costs 2 Blood to activate and the toxic blood isn’t spit but rather oozes from the caster. Each draught created inflicts 1 aggravated wound. The toxic blood can’t be used to coat weapons, as nearly the whole draught must touch the target to be effective, but it can be stored for later use, including as a thrown weapon.

Injuries caused by this toxin result in flesh dissolving into dust. That dust, if collected, is considered an item of importance to the target and something they own, which may be useful to other Disciplines and rituals. If you destroy a target using this power, and they become a wraith, the dust that remains becomes a Fetter for that wraith.

Corpse in the Monster

This path allows the wielder to apply some of the characteristics of corpses to vampires. Unless otherwise notes, none of these powers work on creatures that are not vampires.

Basic

Masque of Death

Spend a Blood and touch your target; an unwilling target must be defeated in a Physical Challenge to be touched. If successful, the target’s skin pulls against bone and grows pallid and thin. A vampire so afflicted gains the Negative Traits: Clumsy and Repugnant, but gains Intimidating x2 and, whenever standing still, is indistinguishable from a corpse. This latter ruse can be pierced by defeating the target in a Mental vs. Physical Challenge (retest Medicine), but the defender gets a free Discipline-related retest.

The effects of this power last for the remainder of the night, unless the user chooses to end it earlier.

Cold of the Grave

Spend a Willpower. For the remainder of the scene, you ignore all wound penalties and receive +1 trait to resist emotional manipulations, but are -1 trait to emotionally manipulate others. Additionally, you receive the flaw: Touch of Frost for the duration of the power.

Intermediate

Curse of Life

Spend a Willpower and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge (retest Medicine). If successful, your target takes on the negative aspects of life, such as a breathing reflex, hunger, thirst, and the need to urinate and defecate. The character can’t actually do some of these things, even though they are compelled to (a vampire can’t defecate, but they can absolutely eat and then vomit; this doesn’t cause the hunger to fade). The distraction renders them 2 traits down on all challenges, which can be ignored if they spend a Willpower each scene. More dangerously, the character cannot spend Blood for Physical Traits, and this penalty cannot be counteracted.

This power lasts until the next sunset, unless the user chooses to end it earlier.

Gift of the Corpse

The Necromancer becomes akin to a corpse. Holy artifacts and holy ground do not affect her, she is immune to frenzy and Rotschreck, sunlight inflicts only bashing damage and only when it shines on bare skin, staking has no effect, and fire only causes lethal damage. The caster must spend 1 Willpower and 2 Blood to activate this effect, which takes effect at the end of the current round and lasts until the end of the next round. She may maintain the effect by expending 1 Willpower per additional round.

Advanced

Gift of Life

Expend 12 blood to activate this power. Until the next stroke of midnight, the character is, largely, human. With proper cover of all exposed skin, she takes no damage from sunlight. He may eat and drink, fully enjoy sex, and doesn’t hunger for blood. He may remain awake during the day with no limitations (other than being tired) and takes only lethal damage from fire. She is still subject to frenzy and Rotschreck, though she has double her normal number of Self-Control or Instinct cards and Courage difficulties are halved. However, he may only use Fortitude and Auspex for the duration of the effect.

At the end of the effect (which lasts until the next stroke of midnight), for the next six nights, the character has zero Self-Control or Instinct cards and all Courage difficulties to resist Rotschreck are tripled.

Wraith Rules

Statistics

A wraith in Riverside Opera that is not an NPC is limited to statistics similar to a ghoul retainer: they have 6 traits in their primary category, 4 in their secondary, and 3 in their tertiary. They have the equivalent of 3 retests in a single area of expertise. They also possess 2 of the powers listed below, selected by their summoner or the ST.

In the Shadowlands, interacting with other entities in the Shadowlands, a wraith is far more dangerous. Double all of their traits, and they receive a free non-recallable retest on all challenges. This benefit does not apply to non-materialized wraiths affecting the Quick (the real world).

If a wraith should ever end up in the Astral Plane, it is immediately ejected and cast into slumber. Wraiths can under no circumstances affect the Astral Plane or those who reside within it.

Passion

Wraiths have a Passion pool of 10. Wraiths use Passion in lieu of Willpower and regain Passion by being in the presence of others’ strong emotions (including combat scenes, a vampire in frenzy, a performance at Performance x3 or better, or even an impassioned speech). A wraith gains 1 Passion per round or 5 Passion per scene in such situations, though they can never exceed their pool of 10.

Whenever a wraith takes damage, they lose Passion (with the exception of when materialized; see Powers, below). However, a wraith is largely immune to most sources of damage.

Powers

A wraith in Riverside Opera that is not an NPC has 2 of the Powers below, designated by the summoner or the ST.

  • Lifesight: Spend 1 Passion per scene to peer into the Quick and observe it. You can hear and see anything there, but you remain otherwise undetectable.
  • Materialize: Spend 5 Passion to form an actual body out of ectoplasm. This body has 7 health levels and is fully solid; it doesn’t distinguish between different types of damage because it has no ability to heal. You use your own traits in this body. Destruction of the body returns you to the Shadowlands but has no other ill effects. Materialization lasts for one scene.
  • Poltergeist: Moves objects (never living beings) in the Quick around. Spend 1 Passion per round that any number of objects in the scene, whose mass cannot exceed 200 pounds, are moved. The control is not fine enough, nor is the force great enough, to use them to cause damage. If an object to be moved is in the possession of someone, you must defeat them in a challenge if you want to move the object without them knowing or if you want to pluck it from their hands.
  • Possess: Spend 5 Passion and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge. You then possess the target for one scene. You can direct their actions and speak through them. Like the Dominate power of Possession, your subject is unaware of what’s going on (and therefore not subject to Conscience or Conviction checks for actions you take), but unlike that Discipline, you have no access to their Disciplines outside of Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence. You use the subject’s Physical traits instead of your own. If you force them to do something that violates their Nature, they can spend 1 Willpower to attempt another Mental Challenge to eject you from their body. You are three traits up on this challenge (self-exorcism is quite difficult). You cannot possess a vampire unless that vampire’s soul has been removed from their body (through Astral Projection, Soul Stealing, Possession, or some other means); however, if the vampire’s soul should attempt to return the body, you must defeat them in a Mental Challenge to maintain control, and they are three traits up in this challenge. The vampire may attempt this challenge every hour or scene until they evict you or they give up. Possession otherwise lasts until you release the body, though you must spend 1 Passion per day to maintain the effect.
  • Project: Spend 1 Passion per scene to project an image of yourself to a single target in the Quick. You appear as a ghostly apparition that can speak to the target normally. You can move up to 10 paces away from the target and still maintain this effect; at will, you can move with them, no matter how fast they can travel. No one else can see you and you can’t see anything other than your chosen target. You can be affected by any Mental or Social Disciplines of the target that alter the mind or emotions, including Dominate and Presence.
  • Psychomachiae: Spend 1 Passion per scene to speak to any number of targets in the Quick. You can be affected by any Mental or Social Disciplines of those who can hear you, so long as those Disciplines only operate through voice. You can hear responses from your targets, but only if they’re directed to you; you can’t use this power to eavesdrop.
  • Rage: Inflicts 1 lethal damage to a target within line of sight. Can be used by an unmaterialized wraith. Costs 2 Passion and requires a successful challenge (using your Mental or Physical traits, your choice) against the target, though it is almost always from surprise at least initially. The damage of Rage can be increased to aggravated by spending 3 Passion per attack instead.

Slumber and Catharsis

A wraith reduced to 0 Passion enters slumber; they fade away and reform somewhere in the Shadowlands after a time, typically near one of their Fetters. Slumber is akin to torpor, except the wraith has no corporeal or spiritual form in slumber and the ST determines how long the effect lasts. In general, more willful wraiths stay in slumber for less time, though. A wraith at 0 Passion is unable to take actions and fades away at the end of the next round, giving crafty Necromancers a means to ensnare or destroy it, though destroying a wraith can’t be accomplished simply by removing more Passion from it.

A wraith that is bullied, harassed, or affected by certain Necromancy powers may enter a state akin in frenzy, known as catharsis. Such a wraith lashes out at its tormentors for an entire scene with whatever powers it has available. Wraiths do not, as a rule, resist catharsis.

Immunities

A wraith that is not materialized is immune to all Physical Disciplines as well as most Mental and Social ones. As a general rule, only Necromancy and Obtenebration can affect a non-materialized wraith. If such a wraith opts to speak with someone in the Quick, that person – and that person only – can affect it with Disciplines that rely on voice and seeing the wielder alone, such as Presence and Melpominee. A materialized wraith, or a wraith possessing a target, is subject to all Discipline effects normally.

Obtenebration creates manifestations of the Abyss and therefore its effects are real in both the Quick and the Shadowlands. Arms of the Abyss can, for instance, strike wraiths, though the Lasombra would have to be aware of the wraith’s presence and be able to see them in order to affect them.

Conversely, a wraith that is not materialized can do very little to affect the Quick; see Powers, above, for more details.

When a non-materialized wraith takes damage, they lose Passion equal to the damage suffered. When a materialized wraith takes damage, they suffer health level loss to their materialized body; upon reaching Incapacitated, the body decomposes into ectoplasm (which is considered to be an item belonging to the wraith for the purposes of other Disciplines and rituals) and the wraith is ejected into the Shadowlands. When a materialized wraith is affected by effects that would reduce their Self-Control/Instinct or force them to frenzy or enter Rotschreck, they enter catharsis instead. When a materialized wraith is affected by effects that would reduce their Blood or Willpower, they lose Passion instead. A vampire can’t gain any sustenance from Passion, however.

Fetters

A Fetter is an object or place that was of great significance to the wraith in life. In death, it binds the poor creature to existence. If you possess or are within a Fetter for a wraith, you hold power over the ghost. You can destroy the Fetter to instantly reduce the wraith’s Passion by 5, though this almost always causes catharsis (assuming the injury doesn’t knock it into slumber). You also receive 3 bonus traits on any Necromancy effects to affect the wraith or Social Challenges to attempt to coerce it.

A wraith near a Fetter can retreat into it, entering slumber voluntarily and recovering 1 Passion per day. A wraith within a Fetter is immune to all effects outside of Necromancy to summon it, but even then the wraith has +6 traits to resist the effect. Destroying the Fetter casts the wraith out of it and causes them to enter catharsis.

If all of a Fetters of a wraith are destroyed, that wraith is destroyed irrevocably. The ST rules on how many Fetters a wraith has, though in general, most wraiths have at least 3 Fetters. Destroying a wraith in this way is a sin against Humanity (at 3, for property damage, for destroying each Fetter, then at 2 for premeditated killing) and several other paths. It’s rumoured that a friendly necromancer can free a wraith from its ghostly existence in a positive way by helping them “resolve” their Fetters, but such a process is left to the ST’s discretion.

Sensing Wraiths

While Auspex cannot be used to detect a wraith directly, anyone who suspects a wraith is in the vicinity may make a Mental Challenge against the wraith using Awareness (the wraith retests with Stealth). Success indicates that a wraith is present but provides no additional information. Each level of Auspex the vampire has grants a +1 bonus to detect the presence of wraiths.

Wraiths as Player Characters

Wraiths are not permitted as player characters in Riverside Opera. The ST, and only the ST, may decide if a destroyed player character becomes a wraith and what statistics it has.

Stock Wraiths

The Ingenue

Physical 3, Social 6, Mental 4

Powers: Lifesight, Project

The Psychopath

Physical 6, Social 4, Mental 3

Powers: Rage, Psychomachiae

The Dominator

Physical 4, Social 6, Mental 3

Powers: Possess, Materialize

The Child

Physical 3, Social 6, Mental 4

Powers: Materialize, Poltergeist

 

Thaumaturgy Guide

Thaumaturgy Paths and Rituals

All Thaumaturgy not on this master list is banned from Riverside Opera.

The primary path of Thaumaturgy for all characters is Path of Blood, Lure of Flame, or Movement of the Mind unless the 10-point perk, “Begin with a non-standard path of Thaumaturgy,” is purchased. If you purchase that perk, you may select any path of Thaumaturgy from Standard Practices or Advanced Study as your primary path. You can always advance your primary Path, even if it’s Advanced Study, by spending XP alone if Thaumaturgy is an in-clan Discipline for you.

Paths of “Dark Thaumaturgy” are no more or less inherently evil than normal thaumaturgy, though they retain a significant stigma due to their common appearance among the worst sorts of the Damned. They certainly do not actually require consorting with the minions of Hell. Cainites being rumormongers at heart, though, claims of demon-haunted Tremere, orgiastic Black Masses, and more persist and may have significant and potentially fatal impacts on one’s reputation should you obviously employ such magicks. In the Sabbat, the Inquisition destroys such Cainites on sight.

Unless otherwise noted, most Thaumaturgical rituals can be cast to benefit a target other than the person performing the ritual. The time and costs are the same, though any blood requirements in these cases refer to the blood of the recipient of the effect. It is not inherently obvious to an observer what ritual is actually being performed; a Static Mental Challenge, using Occult to retest, may be used to ascertain this. Likewise, merely seeing a ritual being performed is not sufficient to grant knowledge of the ritual or any level of Thaumaturgy.

The casting of Thaumaturgy that is not a ritual is not inherently obvious. Any effects are very likely obvious, however; you cannot hide a flaming hand, for instance, or conjuring a suit of armor. The casting of a ritual is obvious, though the challenge for completion of a ritual (such as those required to employ Fire in the Blood) follows the normal rule for Thaumaturgy challenges.

Standard Practices

The following paths and rituals are considered “standard practices” and can be purchased with free traits or experience points on character creation with no perk required by any character who has Thaumaturgy as an in-clan Discipline. After character creation, subject to the usual restrictions of learning multiple Paths of Thaumaturgy, those with Thaumaturgy as an in-clan Discipline may learn these Paths or purchase these rituals with experience points alone. No research is required.

Characters who do not have Thaumaturgy as an in-clan Discipline must learn each Path as if it were a different Discipline. As usual, a trait of blood from a clan for which Thaumaturgy is in-clan must be consumed to gain access to Thaumaturgy, though this need only be done once no matter how many Paths you wish to learn. Once this is done, you can research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught Thaumaturgy by another character, subject to the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or learn it from your Mentor. Alternatively, you can purchase one of these paths on character creation with free traits or experience points by purchasing the 20-point perk, “Begin with Thaumaturgy.”

Any of the rituals below may be purchased on character creation, whenever a character may learn a ritual for free through progression of their primary Path, or whenever purchasing a ritual with experience points. No research is required to purchase these rituals, as they are considered relatively common knowledge among thaumaturges or are naturally “intuitive” to a thaumaturge.

Paths

Name Description Reference
Path of Blood Manipulate the properties of blood. LotN 177-178
Lure of Flames Create fire. LotN 178-180
Movement of the Mind Wield telekinesis. LotN 180-181
Weather Control Manipulate local weather. CG 93-95

 

Rituals

Name Level Description Reference
Communicate with Kindred Sire Basic Communicate with your sire telepathically over any distance. LotN 185
Defense of the Sacred Haven Basic Prevent sunlight from entering a room, as long as you reside there. LotN 185
Deflection of Wooden Doom Basic Until the next dusk or dawn, the next successful staking attempt on you fails, and the stake is destroyed. LotN 185
Devil’s Touch Basic Give a mortal Repugnant and Obnoxious until the next dawn. LotN 185
The Open Passage Basic Make a barrier of any sort insubstantial for one round. LotN 185-186
Principal Focus of Vitae Infusion Basic Infuse an item with a trait of your own blood, which you can then dissolve back into blood instantly. LotN 186
Wake with Evening’s Freshness Basic Instantly awaken during the day with no penalties for two rounds if you are threatened. LotN 186
Ward versus Ghouls Basic Cause 1 lethal damage to any ghoul who touches the warded object. (This damage is additive with other damage sources, but it does not change the type of damage of the other source. A warded weapon that does bashing damage adds 1 lethal from the ward; the ward does not change the rest of the damage to lethal.) LotN 186
Blood Rush Basic Until the next sunset, gain a free retest to avoid frenzying from hunger or the smell or sight of blood. SG 128
Dominoe of Life Basic Assume one physical characteristic of mortality per casting. Multiple applications stack. Lasts until one hour after the next dawn. SG 128
Widow’s Spite Basic Apply the negative trait, Witless, to a target for one night. SG 128-129
Blood Walk Basic Determine the complete lineage of a vampire, to the Fourth Generation – true names and faces. This necessarily provides the clan and generation of the target as well. With a successful Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the subject’s Mental Traits, the caster learns the identity of all parties with whom the target shares a Blood Bond (as regnant or thrall). Requires three hours to cast and 1 Blood trait of the target, which is consumed in the ritual. **
Purity of Flesh Basic Removes impurities (poisons, drugs, pollutants, and other adulterants, but not diseases or magical effects) from a target’s blood. Requires 1 Blood trait from the target, which is consumed in the ritual. **
Rebirth of Mortal Vanity Basic Regrows hair. Requires a hair from a mortal child, one per inch of overall growth, which is consumed during casting. **
Bone of Lies Intermediate Create an item that turns black and forces the holder to tell the truth whenever the holder attempts to speak a lie. After 10 uses, the bone is pitch black and useless. LotN 186
Incorporeal Passage Intermediate Become incorporeal for one scene or one hour (or until you end the ritual). You can only move forward or stand still; you may not turn or back up. LotN 186-187
Rutor’s Hands Intermediate Create a creature made of a hand and eye that you can mentally control and see and hear through. LotN 187
Soul of the Homunculi Intermediate Create a tiny replica of yourself that acts like an extra limb or retainer. LotN 187
Detect the Hidden Observer Intermediate Notifies the caster when any type of surveillance, supernatural or otherwise, is attempted on her. AG 67
Hell’s Calling Intermediate Forces a target to resist or enter Rotschreck. AG 67
Ward versus Kindred Intermediate As Ward versus Ghouls, except it causes lethal damage to vampires. **
Greater Ward versus Ghouls Intermediate As Ward versus Ghouls, except it causes aggravated damage. **
Blood Contract Advanced Creates a contract that, if broken by either party, instantly places them in torpor. LotN 187
Greater Ward versus Kindred Advanced As Ward versus Ghouls, except it causes aggravated damage to vampires. **
Escape to True Friend Advanced Create a ritual circle over 6 nights using 3 blood per night. Once created, at any time, you can step into the circle and instantly Fair Escape, appearing next to the individual you selected when you cast the ritual. The effect is instantaneous and cannot be interrupted. You can take one other individual or cargo in mass roughly equal to your own. The user of the circle, and the target, must be specified at the time of casting. The same circle can be enabled for additional users and targets by recasting the ritual. **

 

Advanced Study

The following paths and rituals are more difficult to access, even by Tremere. Regardless of your clan, to purchase one of these paths on character creation using free traits or experience points, you must purchase the 10-point perk, “Begin with a non-standard path of Thaumaturgy,” in addition to the 20-point perk, “Begin with Thaumaturgy,” if Thaumaturgy is not in-clan for you.

To learn these Paths after character creation, you must research each level of the Path using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught each level by another player character, following the usual rules for teaching Disciplines, or be taught them using your Mentor background.

Whenever you are allowed to select a new ritual for free by progressing your primary Path, you may select one of the rituals below. They cannot otherwise be purchased on character creation. After character creation, to learn them by spending experience points, you must research them using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught a ritual by another player character who already knows it, or learn it from your Mentor using the Mentor background.

A Mentor can only know a single Path of Thaumaturgy from Advanced Study. Once you select the Path your Mentor knows, it is permanently fixed.

Paths

Name Description Reference
Hands of Destruction Corrode and destroy objects. LotN 183-185
The Green Path Manipulate plant life. CG 78-81
Neptune’s Might Create and control water. CG 81-83
Path of Technomancy Control machines. CG 86-89
Fires of the Inferno Create sickly green fire, as if channeling the fires of Hell. SG 98-99
Path of Phobos Manipulate fears. SG 100-101

 

Rituals

Name Level Description Reference
Banish Big Brother Basic Detect and potentially disable technological eavesdropping devices. AG 66
Flatline Basic Remove all signs of life from a mortal until the next sunrise. AG 66-67
Iron Body Basic Convert up to four levels of aggravated damage to lethal damage. AG 67
Illuminate Trail of the Prey Basic Track a target using a glowing path (three free retests to track). SG 128
Eyes of the Night Hawk Basic See through the eyes of, and control the flight of, a predatory bird. SG 128
Machine Blitz Basic Disable an electronic or mechanical device. SG 129
Recure of the Homeland Basic Create a paste that can heal aggravated damage. SG 129
Rite of Introduction Basic Send a broadcast message to other members of your Clan (typically, this is used by Tremere to introduce themselves). The message reaches the highest ranking Tremere first, then moves downward through the circles. If you are not Tremere, the message travels from closest to Caine to furthest. It may be up to five minutes in length. Any individual may express a desire to converse, at which point you may spend a Mental Trait to reply (1 Mental Trait per five minutes). **
Craft Bloodstone Basic Create a stone whose location you instantly and intuitively know. Costs 3 Blood Traits to cast, which are consumed during the ritual. You may only be attuned to a single Bloodstone at a time. **
Clinging of the Insect Intermediate Climb on walls or ceilings like an insect for one scene. SG 130
Firewalker Intermediate Win or tie a simple test to reduce aggravated damage from fire to lethal damage for one hour. SG 130
Mirror of Second Sight Intermediate Create a mirror that detects the type of supernatural creatures. SG 130
Pavis of Foul Presence Intermediate Reflect active Presence effects on their users. (Note: This ritual is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for non-Tremere to learn. Access to it outside clan Tremere is at the Storyteller’s discretion.) LotN 187
Heart of Stone Intermediate You are immune to all forms of staking and receive three bonus traits and a free retest to defend against Presence and other emotional manipulation powers. However, for the duration, your Conscience is reduced to 1, you lose all Empathy traits or abilities, and you are three traits down and lose all ties on all Social challenges except those involving Intimidation. All Merits that provide benefits in positive social interactions are neutralized as well. The effect is permanent until canceled. Requires 9 hours to cast and causes 1 aggravated damage, and can only be cast on yourself. **
Iron Mind Intermediate Whenever a character attempts to employ any power of Auspex on you, they must expend 1 Willpower trait and win a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of your Mental Traits. If they succeed, they can perform the Auspex challenge normally. The increased difficulty is obvious. This ritual costs 1 Willpower trait to activate and lasts for one hour per Mental trait expended at the time of casting. You must wear an iron object on your head, though it need not be visible and can be as simple as barrette. Iron Mind does not affect Spirit’s Touch or Psychic Projection – only Auspex effects that target you directly and involve a challenge (Heightened Senses to see through Obfuscate, Aura Perception, and Telepathy). **
Bottled Voice Intermediate Produce an empty bottle with a stopper that has been prepared in the casting of this ritual and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge. If you succeed, your target cannot speak until the bottle is opened or destroyed. The bottle may only be used once per casting of the ritual. **
Paper Flesh Advanced Remove all Fortitude and endurance-related traits from a target for one night. SG 131
Shaft of Belated Quiescence Advanced Enchant a wooden weapon (not a bullet) to burrow through a target to reach its heart. If at least one health level of damage is caused by the stake, the tip breaks off and begins burrowing to the heart. The tip makes staking challenges every hour until it succeeds in staking the target. A surgeon can make a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the caster’s Mental Traits to surgically remove the tip, or (if possible) the limb that was hit can be removed (causing aggravated damage). The target is not necessarily aware of the tip working through their body. The ritual requires 3 blood traits and 5 hours to complete. The weapon is enchanted until used. **
Flesh of Fiery Touch Advanced Anyone who voluntarily touches the subject suffers one aggravated damage. This damage ignores armor. Requires the target suffer 1 aggravated damage to enact and lasts for one night. **
Enchant Talisman Advanced Enchant a rigid object of at least three feet in length to aid in Thaumaturgy. When in hand, you receive 3 bonus traits on all Thaumaturgy or other magic challenges and may throw the Bomb on such challenges. You can spend one Mental trait to instantly know the location of your talisman if it’s separated from you. However, if someone holds your talisman, they receive all these benefits to wield magic on you. You can only have one talisman at a time. Creation takes one month and your entire blood pool (you begin the game after creation with zero blood and must hunt to have any blood). You can only create a talisman for yourself. **
Thirst Unquenchable Advanced Your target is considered starving for the entire night; they may not use Self-Control cards to resist frenzy and frenzy upon the sight or smell of any blood. Requires five minutes during which your target must remain still. **

 

Esoterica

The following paths can only be accessed through research using Occult influence (x3 for a Basic, x4 for an Intermediate, or x5 for an Advanced level of a path) or the Secrets of the Arcane power. You can also be taught such Paths by another player character who knows them. The Mentor background cannot be used to acquire Paths in Esoterica.

Rituals in this category may only be learned after performing research, as outlined above, and by spending experience points. You may also be taught these rituals by another player character who knows them.

No character may begin play with these rituals or paths. They are only accessible with research and can only be purchased with experience points.

Paths

Name Description Reference
Path of Corruption Warp the minds of targets to make them engage in dark acts or be dependent upon you. CG 83-86
Path of Mars Gain powers related to combat. SG 123-125
Path of Father’s Vengeance Impose curses related to the trials of Caine. SG 125-127
Taking of the Spirit Degrade others’ Mental and Social capabilities. SG 101-103

 

Rituals

Name Level Description Reference
Curse of Oedipus Basic Blind a target and force him to bleed tears of blood. SG 104
Crimson Sentinel Basic Wards a room against a particular individual. They must win a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of your Mental Traits to enter the warded area; if they fail, they cannot enter. The ritual is permanent until the ward is destroyed (though an individual can repeatedly challenge the ward, up to once per hour). Requires 1 trait of the target’s Blood, which is consumed by the ritual. **
Engaging the Vessel of Transference Intermediate Enchants a small urn, which has magical symbols on it, to switch the blood trait it contains with that of any individual who contacts it with bare flesh. Only one blood trait can be transferred per casting of this ritual. The blood is considered consumed by the target, with all the usual effects thereof. A target feels a brief wave of coldness that is not, in and of itself, obviously supernatural (depending on the circumstances). **
Felis Negrum Intermediate Transform yourself, or another, into a (relatively) mundane black cat. SG 105
Plague’s Secret Domain Intermediate Impose a crushing depression on a target that may force them into torpor or to commit suicide. SG 105-106
Ward versus Vitae Intermediate As Ward versus Kindred, except it causes aggravated damage to vampires of lower generation than the caster. AG 68*
The Severed Hand Intermediate Remove a limb or other appendage; the target cannot regrow it until this ritual is reversed. The ritual must be cast on target as part of the removal of the appendage. **
Fire in the Blood Intermediate Touch your target after casting this ritual and say the word “burn” (which can be worked into a sentence and need not be otherwise obvious; however, an attempt to do this in combat is an obvious attack). If you defeat them in a Mental Challenge, this ritual takes effect. For the rest of the night, whenever the target engages in a Physical Challenge, they suffer 1 aggravated damage. This damage is suffered upon initiation of the challenge by either party and can be resisted by Fortitude normally, but ignores all armor. Relenting to the challenge allows the target to avoid the effects. What provokes the effect is immediately obvious, though its nature, cause, and source may not be. You need not specify your target when you initially cast this ritual; you may employ it on any one individual per casting chosen at the time of your challenge. You may only have one “charge” of this ritual active at a time. **
Innocence of the Child’s Heart Intermediate Foils Aura Perception by always returning a pure, white aura. You must carry a child’s toy on your person at all times during the effect (though it need not be visible). Costs 1 Mental Trait per hour of effect. **
Steps of the Terrified Intermediate Speak the word “slow” (which need not be obvious) and defeat your target in a Mental Challenge after casting this ritual. The target is progressively slowed on each round they attempt to run or employ Celerity. Each round removes one level of Celerity from the target. After all Celerity is removed, the target’s speed is reduced by half each round. The progression is halted on any round when the target neither runs nor uses Celerity, but immediately restarts if the target takes such actions again. (The effect and how to avoid it is immediately obvious, though its source is not.) The effect of this ritual lasts for one scene. You need not specify your target when you initially cast this ritual; you may employ it on any one individual per casting chosen at the time of your challenge. You may only have one “charge” of this ritual active at a time. **
Close the Ways Advanced Causes catastrophic bad luck to a target for months. SG 107
Nectar of the Bitter Rose Advanced Split diablerie across five targets. LotN 187-188
Umbra Walk Advanced Enter the Astral Plane. (There is no Umbra in our game.) When under the effects of this ritual, you have no equipment, but you have access to all your Disciplines and other abilities. As you are truly in the Astral Plane, you may employ physical and social Disciplines as normal. LotN 188
Abandon Fetters of Blood Advanced The target is freed of the Blood Bond. The cost is one trait of the Regnant’s (or Regnants’) blood, all of the subject’s blood, and one permanent trait of the subject’s from each trait category. **
Binding the Beast Advanced Extract the Beast from a target. The target cannot frenzy, but also cannot regain Willpower, use more than one Blood per turn, or feed without making a Courage check (difficulty 3). The target must spend 1 Willpower to use any Discipline. The effects last for one month (ending at the beginning of the next game). Requires 10 minutes and the caster need not see the target, but must imbibe a trait of their blood and suffer two lethal health levels of damage. The target and those nearby are only aware of their extreme passivity; there is no obvious appearance or awareness of the loss of the Beast. **
Dominion Advanced Ward an area up to the size of a large room (500 square feet) such that all uses of Animalism, Dominate, and Presence, save those employed by you or those you designate (and are attuned with 1 trait of their Blood), automatically fail (no challenge). To cast this ritual, you must embed iron seals in all doors and window frames in the area of effect and expend 1 Blood per seal; the seals need not be obvious, but if they are damaged or removed in any way, the effect ends. The effect lasts for one month (ending at the beginning of next game) and requires one week to cast, plus any time required to create the seals. **

 

The Ok Check-In Mechanic

The Ok Check-In Mechanic

As our player base grows, we continue to be amazed at the depth of emotion, the dedication, and the commitment of our players.  The work each of you puts into not just your characters but also in a shared story is what sets Riverside Opera apart and is what will keep us going for years to come.

Riverside Opera is, first and foremost, a story-driven game.  We focus on enhancing the play experience and increasing the feeling of immersion, all while providing a safe and consent-based play environment for everyone. When we LARP, we often place ourselves into the lives of our characters, letting them steer the scene.  We feel what they feel, and sometimes our bodies don’t know the difference between fictional emotional trauma and real emotional trauma.  Sometimes, a scene is too intense or triggers a physical/emotional response that means we need a moment, but don’t know how to ask for that moment without breaking the story flow.  To that end, we are excited to announce that, effective as of Riverside Opera: Regency, we will be implementing a version of the OK Check-In system utilized by many of the American Free-Form LARPs.

The OK Check-In system has been in place in LARP circles for many years, and designed specifically to allow players to check in on the comfort level and well-being of their fellow players, without breaking the flow of the story.  With the implementation of the OK Check-In mechanic, the “Ok” hand symbol will no longer be used to indicated Out of Character.  Going forward, we will be exclusively using the crossed fingers symbol to indicated a player is OOC, when they are not in the OOC space.

The OK Check-In mechanic works in very straightforward fashion, as follows:

Player A Flashes the Ok hand symbol at Player B during a scene: This asks the question, “Are you ok?”

Player B responds in one of three ways:

  • Thumbs up – Player B is mentally/physically/emotionally ok with how the scene is unfolding. Play continues as normal

  • Palm Flat – Player B is unsure of how they feel in the moment, but is not fully ok in the scene. This should be treated as a Thumbs Down by Player A, the scene should be paused, Player B should be given the opportunity to either take a moment, or leave/be escorted from scene.

 

  • Thumbs Down – Player B is NOT ok. Scene should be paused, Player B should be given the opportunity to either take a moment or leave/be escorted from scene.

Palm Flat, and Thumbs Down are to be treated as the same response, because often, a player is afraid of “ruining the fun” by saying no, or they are otherwise incapable of giving a hard “No” in the moment for whatever reason.  The Palm Flat option is in in place because of the “I’m fine” or “Meh” default answers many people give to stress, out of fear of causing problems or being a bother.  Sometimes, a player just needs a de-escalation of the aggression level of the scene. Sometimes, they need to take a private moment to collect themselves, or go to the OOC space and detach from game stress for a moment.  The immediate follow-up question to either of those symbols should be, “Would you like an escort to the OOC space or for me to call a Narrator?”  This allows Player B to dictate what they need a go-forward, which may be as simple as, “Can we dial down the yelling?”

One does not have to be a primary player involved in a scene to perform an OK check.  We’ve all seen players portray character who have become overwhelmed IC, and had emotional breaks.  Anyone can do an OK check on anyone, at any time, if they are worried about a player’s emotional state or comfort level.

The Player who has called for a pause or stop should not be pressured into explaining why they called for said stop.  Unless Player B chooses to discuss the incident later, it is not a topic of discussion.  No IC repercussions may occur because of Player B’s need to deescalate or end scene.  That said, the Ok Check-In system is not to be used as an easy out to avoid negative IC consequences for player action, nor should it be used to interrupt a scene between players for personal IC gain.  Abuse of the system to that end is considered metagaming, and will be handled accordingly.

Example 1:

Brujah Prince Cup de Cake is squaring off against Ventrue Archon No Fun, who has been caught trying to incite a revolt in the city.  Prince Cup de Cake abruptly stands, interrupting the Archon by slamming one hand on the table as she loudly counters the Archon’s point, flashing the OK symbol with the other.  Archon No Fun flashes a Thumbs up, standing as he does so, matching the Prince’s vocal tone and volume, and agreeing to the escalation of aggression in the scene.

Example 2:

Anarch Baron Jay Cartier attempts to grandstand in the middle of open court, mocking the Sovereign’s rule and gets in a screaming match with Enforcer Merci Ravyn.  Jay and Merci players did not perform an ok check before they starting the argument, but Jay wants to escalate by moving into Merci’s personal space.  Jay flashes the Ok check, stepping one foot forward to indicate intent, and Merci flashes a Thumbs Down.  Jay’s immediately asks ““Would you like an escort to the OOC space or for me to call a Narrator?” Merci declines, indicates the personal space invasion is a no, and she would like to continue the scene, but at the established distance.  Jay steps back, and allows Merci to continue the scene at the level at which she is comfortable.

Example 3:

After an intense combat scene, Thyme the Malkavian notices that Rick the Setite, usually a very talkative chap, seems to be hiding in a corner avoiding people. Thyme catches his eyes and flashes the Ok symbol, and Rick replies with a shaky palm flat.  Thyme asks if he needs an escort to the OOC space, he says yes, and they both exit the play space.

Example 4, group scenario:

The Giovanni clan meeting is getting heated, accusations flying about one (or more) of their number acting against the Family’s best interest.  As volume levels rise, Emissary Lannie flashes the ok symbol, as group check in to make sure everyone is all right. All but two of the players flash Thumbs up. Those two players respond at the verbal follow-up, that they don’t want to leave scene, but the volume level is causing them issues.  Emissary Lannie gives an impassioned plea for the Family to maintain their calm, and the rest of the Giovanni comply.

We understand that these mechanics will take some time to fully transition into.  We ask that everyone give them a try, and practice implementing the OK Check-In mechanics in play.  Once comfortable with the mechanics, we feel that everyone will find them to enhance the player experience, maximize immersion, and minimize potential player discomfort.  A full demonstration of the OK Check-in mechanics, as they will be used in Riverside Opera, will be performed as part of the player meeting in January, and as needed to increase familiarity.

The Ok Check-In mechanics do not, in anyway supersede our Code of Conduct.  While these mechanics can be used to confirm permission to touch, please continue to obtain full verbal consent in the moment for player contact that has not already been pre-negotiated and informed to the Staff at large.

End of Year Summary – 2018

2018 End of Year Summary and House Rules Update

Every year, we publish a survey for the players to tell us how we’re doing.  The replies we get help us improve, and they help us get a temperature for how the community feels about certain issues and topics, and this year is no different.  Let’s get right into it.

Data

Players tend to enjoy earning XP (92.3% of respondents), to the shock of absolutely no one.  Solving mysteries and using super sweet vampire powers were not far behind (84.6% and 73.1%, respectively).  Neither of those answers comes as a great surprise, but what does is the fact that people seem to enjoy jockeying for boons and status less than in previous years (down to 46.2% from 57.9% last year).

The website, Facebook, and Discord remain the most popular ways to interact with the game, and we will look to capitalize on that trend in the coming year by posting things on the website first, then cross-posting everywhere else.  A large subset of people (61.5%) want us to put more stuff on the website, and I think it’s a good idea, too.

As for the kinds of content people enjoy, Streets posts are far and away the most popular, with 53.8% of players saying they like those the best, with no other answer getting more than 15% of the pie.  In addition to wanting more RO fiction, players also indicate that they want more political and setting guides as well.  You are heard on both fronts.

Most of the respondents said they had a strong grasp on the rules and on the setting.  One area we have not done a great job, though is with communicating our Crafting system.  A whopping 61.5% of respondents said that it confused them.  Other major points of confusion were the King of the Hill system and, strangely enough, Nature and Demeanor.  So, expect some stuff examining those in the future.  In the immediate future, you can expect a brand new writeup on the Crafting system, with a step-by-step process going from concept to item card.

On the King of the Hill front, people’s favorite titles are (in order) Master of the Occult, Kingpin, and Councilman.  The others got a few votes, but those three were the only ones above 45%.  As for which ones need to be worked on, that’s a bit muddier, and I’ll talk more about that a little later.

Overall, most players think that we’re doing a good job running the game, and every single respondent said that they would tell their friends about us.  Of all respondents, 88.5% said the game was fair to all players, and that same percentage said that the community was welcoming to new players.

Overall, the data are encouraging, but there are some things I’d like to spend some time on.

King of the Hill

We’ll start with the softball of the group.

King of the Hill as a system has had two full years to percolate in our players’ minds and for the staff to hammer out all of the wrinkles.  Still, I wanted to ask players what they thought and where we could improve, since there are lots of titles that stay unclaimed from month to month, and while we as a staff think that all of the KotH powers are really, really strong, clearly our players do not agree.

Dragnet, That’s So In Right Now, Spin City, Arbitrary and Capricious Lawmaking, Put a Cap in Their Asses, and This is My City all had over 20% of respondents say that they needed work.  Whether they meant that they needed a buff or a nerf, I am not entirely sure, but the comments were helpful in examining those numbers a little more closely.

Many players left some sort of comment indicating that some of the powers, specifically the aggressive ones, are suicide to use or are do something so specific as to be unusable.  That’s good feedback, overall, and we will definitely take a look at how each of the powers match up against each other in power.  However, we need to have some of the options be aggressive and splashy, just like we need some of them to be passive and reactive.  Our main objective with the KotH powers is that each one does something that isn’t doable within the system already while also being uniquely desirable to characters who would be invested in those areas of Influence.  It’s a challenge, to be sure, but we will investigate how to revise powers moving forward.

The Independent Alliance

As a LARP, we are taking quite the risk with the Independent Alliance.  On the one hand, the game was becoming stale, and after a while, a reboot would be necessary to shake things up and get new plots moving again.  On the other, familiar structures, Clans, and plots make the game accessible for newer players, so you kind of want to keep them in place.  The IA works to solve the first problem without creating the second, but it’s a difficult balance.

We were really interested to hear what people thought of the IA from an OOC perspective so that we could better get a temperature for what we are doing right with it and what we’re doing wrong with it.  So, we asked.  It appears as though the player base is quite polarized.

Most players think that it is a great idea and that the writeup is super interesting.  Players also seem to be happy that they get to play some new Clans without Perking.  However, we did get a lot of responses that suggest the Camarilla and Independent Alliance are not too dissimilar.

We have not done a great job at showing what, precisely, is different or unique about the Independent Alliance.  We need to start by focusing on that in the coming year, both with political guides and by showing those differences at games.  Characters and players alike need to see the Magistrate in action.  They need to see a Trial by Combat.  They need to get a glimpse of the power plays of the Emissaries against a Sovereign they want to rein in.  They need to see the city itself actually make a Boon that lasts through changes in leadership.  Additionally, they need to see what happens when less-than-scrupulous vampires make use of those societal structures.

Look for writeups along those lines early next year.

The New Player Experience

New players have it rough in Riverside Opera.  It’s true.  Any game of sufficient length, no matter the genre, has to contend with balancing making their veterans happy and engaged and welcoming new players with good experiences and accessibility right of the bat, and it is difficult to do.  The primary method we have used to make that happen has been with Perks and, to a lesser extent, Character Surveys.  Perks entice people to retire their characters so that they can play weird or esoteric things, which keeps the XP economy fairly low (around 30 – 40 XP has been the average across active characters for most of the game’s run).  Character Surveys not only give direction to new players about the things they should be thinking about but also provide an XP catchup mechanism.

Of course, those two things are not exactly obvious to new players.  They come in and see a bunch of people they don’t know doing things in a setting with which they’re not familiar (even if they know Vampire, they don’t know what has gone on in RO).  That’s quite daunting.  Luckily for our game, we have a great cast of players who are generally very helpful in getting newer players involved, if only just for a scene or two.  I as the Storyteller try to make the rounds and speak to each new player, asking them questions, pointing them in directions, etc., but I don’t do a good enough job of it.  Our Narrators also work toward that end, with varying levels of success (though they’re a bit hampered by the characters they play where I am not).

The last obstacle that new players have to deal with is the things they are allowed to play off the bat.  For a long time, the base Camarilla-7 Clans have been excellent at being easily approachable starter Clans for new players, but we, as a game that has moved to the Independent Alliance, have to have Clans and Bloodlines who are native to that sect be readily available for play.  While that does give players who are new to RO (but not Vampire) the opportunity to play different things off the bat, it doesn’t do much to help a brand new player.  To combat that, we have left Brujah, Caitiff, Gangrel, Nosferatu, and Toreador as free to play, since, by and large, those are the Clans to which new players tend to gravitate.

Improving the New Player Experience

We’ve been talking internally since these results started to come in about what we can do to help new players get into the groove of the game better, and we have plans.  The number one thing we can do as a staff is be cognizant of our new players and make sure that we give them roleplaying opportunities.  We have two ways we want to accomplish that task.

First, we will work to involve new players in RP at game sessions and in downtime more actively.  Rather than allowing the new players to come to us, we will reach out to them.  In order to diffuse the Narrator PCs out a little bit more going forward, Narrators will no longer have strong ties to each other’s’ characters before entering play.  (Note: This stance does not dissolve current ties, and it does not preclude Narrator PCs from becoming allied during play.)

Secondly, we have a new mechanic that we’ll be introducing called Plot Cards, which will be intended for new players (more on that below in the HR section).

Ultimately, making sure that new players are taken care of and welcomed into the game is high on our priorities list, and we are going to take steps to improve that experience.

Priorities for 2019

I think it’s important to outline exactly where our priorities lay and what our goals are before the year starts.  It gives us some guidance were we to get lost along the way, and it also establishes accountability.  Here are our top three goals for the coming year.

  1. Improve the experience for new players and give everyone more opportunities to get involved in the plot.
  2. Make the website a more complete resource for available lore and rules information.
  3. Provide open lines of communication for players to staff members.

House Rules Changes

Effective immediately, the following changes are being made to Riverside Opera:

Plot Cards

Plot Cards are, like Rumors, bits of story hook to allow players to get involved in the game when they’ve hit a wall or feel like they have nothing going on.  There aren’t any rewards for completing a goal on a Plot Card, but they will give you a hook to get involved in the story, which has its own rewards (e.g., potential XP votes, Boons, etc.).

Here is an example of what you might find on a Plot Card:

A Kindred you know from your previous city, Claudia Reynolds, has contacted you for assistance.  She would like to come to Memphis, and she wants you to talk to the Sovereign on her behalf.  The only problem is that she’s a Tremere—who is on the run from the Camarilla.

Goal: Get the Sovereign to agree to allow Claudia to take asylum in Memphis.

Researching Disciplines

Though it has been an interesting year or so with our approach to Occult Influence and researching Disciplines, it has had the unintended consequence of making some Disciplines that ought to feel unique commonplace and ubiquitous.  We need to make sure that things like Thaumaturgy, Necromancy, and even Protean start to feel special again and give players a reason to play Clans who possess those Disciplines.

Going forward, Occult Influence can only research Thaumaturgy and Necromancy Rituals and secondary Paths, and only characters who have those Disciplines in-Clan can use Occult Influence to research them in this way.

This change is a pretty big one.  Previously in Riverside Opera, you could research any Discipline using Occult Influence.  Even Clan-specific stuff was on the table.  The drawback there was twofold: Occult Influence was overpowered, and Disciplines weren’t special anymore.  We look forward to seeing the Boon economy flourish when people have to barter for Disciplines they want, and we expect this change will also make Master of the Occult far more desirable.

Note: The physical Disciplines (Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence) are unaffected by this change.  Anyone can still learn those Disciplines without a teacher at out-of-Clan costs.

Clan Discord Channels

We will be reopening the Clan Discord channels.  Clan strife (or cohesion) is an important and fundamental role of Vampire, and though they weren’t used very often, it’s important that they exist.  We’ll also be opening brand new channels for the Giovanni, Ravnos, Setites, and Assamites.

Anonymous Comment Box

We will be opening a comment form for anonymous suggestions, complaints, and ideas.  Whenever someone submits something, I’ll get an email.  All submissions will be confidential and anonymous.

I expect that either this comment box will be an excellent source of constant improvement or it will be another internet bridge under which trolls can lurk.  Either way, it will be open for the foreseeable future.  Click here to go to the comment box. You can also find it embedded into the Contact page.

Riverside Chats

We need to make sure we’re more present both in and out of character, and face time with staff was one of the biggest requests on the survey, so we’ve decided to start a weekly event called Riverside Chats.  Starting in January, each week, one or more staff members will be hopping into Discord voice chat to talk about various topics, answer questions, and just be there for players to ask questions.  We will be putting a schedule together for the topics in these chats over the coming weeks, and we’ll publish it in the Discord server.

If you have an idea for a Riverside Chat, you can submit one of those in the Comment Box!

Thank you all for playing in our game, and I look forward to this year being our best yet!

October 2018 House Rules Updates

House Rules Update – October 2018

Introduction

After careful consideration and thorough discussion, we have decided that no one’s character has been rendered unplayable by the events of October’s game.  Each faction still has its own leadership, territory, and chips to be played, and encouraging character churn would not only artificially influence that dynamic, but it would also be a huge amount of work on the Staff leading into a Con game (which is already an insane time of year for us).  So, it is with egg on my face and crow in my mouth that I must announce that we will not be offering full transfers or free Perks at this time.

We will, however be offering refunds to all players who brought in Camarilla-loyal characters who were played for the first time at October’s game.

Additionally, we will be awarding 5 XP as a consolation for the rules and metaplot changes to all active characters as of today, October 19, 2018.  This XP is transferrable.

What is Changing?

Several things are going to change with this update.  One, our Perk list is going to change.  It isn’t particularly fair for one faction to have free-to-play Clans and the other to require Perks to play, so we had to rearrange some things.

While we were in there, we made some other changes as well, including writing some brand-new Riverside Opera Merits, which are available with a Perk, just like Unbondable and Iron Will.  And since some Perks were made cheaper in the 30-Point range, we even unbanned some things as well!

There are even a few Merits and Flaws that haven’t existed in LARP that we are porting over from tabletop or older editions of the game, including Danger Sense.

As for city position XP, the faction currently in power will be the one whose city positions are rewarded with position XP.  The way we’re going to determine which faction is in power is playground rules: If you can knock the big kid (the Prince or Sovereign of the current ruling faction) off the top of the hill, your faction then takes over.  We feel like in the interim, this stance will promote drama between the sects and also make it so that we don’t have to change this rule again if one sect dominates over the others.

Going into Riverside Opera: Schism, the Independent Alliance is the ruling faction, with Sovereign Ramona Stone at its head.

House Rules Changes

Ravnos Clan Weakness

The Ravnos Clan Weakness has been changed.  It now reads:

While the Ravnos are masters of changing the reality around them, they have a harder time changing their own fundamental reality. All Ravnos have a key personality trait, chosen at character creation, which they are incapable of resisting if the opportunity to express it presents itself. This can be some kind of virtuous act, such as defending the weak, or something more sinister, such as taking advantage of someone in a lesser position. Often, the trait is tied to the jati the Ravnos belongs to. When presented with the opportunity to indulge in her virtue or vice, she does so unless the player spends a Self-Control, Instinct, or Willpower.  A Ravnos’s virtue or vice need not be extreme or violent, nor need it be immediately noticeable to a casual onlooker.  It should, however, be something that might come up during an average gathering of Kindred.

Temporis

Selective Suspension (Intermediate 2) – This power no longer involves a Static Challenge, but any outside contact with or force upon a suspended item will immediately unsuspend it.  To increase the duration of suspension, you expend Stamina-related Physical Traits, not Blood, following the table on ST Guide p. 35.

Clotho’s Gift (Advanced) – The maximum number of Physical Traits that can be spent during the activation of this Discipline is 5.  The difficulty of the Static Challenge is 9.

Valeren

Armor of Caine’s Fury (Intermediate 2) – The strength of Caine surrounds you, protecting you from all but the most severe of injuries and steeling your resolve against the Beast. For the duration of this power, the Salubri’s third eye is flung open and glows red, and an obviously magical red aura glows around you.

Spend a Blood Trait and up to five Stamina-based Physical Traits. For the rest of the scene, you gain a number of levels of armor that can soak Bashing and Lethal damage equal to the number of Traits you spent. Additionally, you gain +1 Bonus Trait vs. Rotschrek.

This power may only be used once per scene and does not stack with other armor.

Revised Perks List

 Free to Play

  • Play a character who belongs to one of the following Clans or Bloodlines: Assamites, Brujah, Caitiff, Followers of Set, Gangrel, Giovanni, Nosferatu, Ravnos, or Toreador.

10-Point Perks

  • Begin play as a member of the Independent Alliance if your character’s clan is not a signatory of the Independent Accords. Your character must begin with Probationary Sect Member.
  • Create a falsified backstory that is verified by a figure of authority and stands up to low-level scrutiny.
  • Play a character who belongs to one of the following Clans or Bloodlines: Samedi, Tremere (either Cam-loyal or House Pirelli), or Ventrue.
  • Purchase the Merit: Adopted (see below).
  • Purchase the Merit: Hidden Diablerie (see below).
  • Purchase the Merit: Intuitive Design (see below).
  • Purchase the Merit: Iron Will.
  • Purchase the Merit: Natural Engineer (see below).
  • Purchase the Merit: Ritualist (see below).
  • Purchase the Merit: Unbondable.
  • Purchase up to three Prestige, Status, or Reputation at character creation, which must be purchased with XP. This Perk may be purchased once if buying Prestige, up to twice if buying Status, and up to three times if purchasing Reputation.
  • Start at 8th Generation
  • Start on one of these Paths of Enlightenment: Path of Bones, Path of Death and the Soul (Sabbat Guide P. 81), Path of Honorable Accord (Sabbat Guide P. 88), or Path of Power and the Inner Voice (Sabbat Guide P. 93).
  • Start with a non-standard Thaumaturgy Path (If you have Thau in-clan or have purchased the perk to buy it out of clan.).
  • Start with a single Advanced Discipline, which must be purchased with experience.
  • Start with out-of-Clan Animalism, Auspex, Chimerstry, Dominate, Necromancy, Obfuscate, Presence, Protean, Quietus, or Serpentis.

20-Point Perks

  • Play a character who belongs to one of the following Clans or Bloodlines:  Assamite viziers, Malkavian, Old Clan Tzimisce (Lore Only: V20 P. 439), Phuri Dae Ravnos, Salubri, Daughters of Cacophony, or Children of Osiris (Lore only: V20 P. 420 Bardo Rules can be found in our House Rules).
  • Start on one of these Paths of Enlightenment: Path of Cathari (Sabbat Guide P. 78), Path of the Feral Heart (Sabbat Guide P. 86), Path of Lilith (Sabbat Guide P. 90), or Path of Caine (Sabbat Guide P 76)
  • Start with out-of-Clan Mytherceria (Sabbat Guide P. 112), Obeah, Obtenebration, Temporis (ST Guide P. 31), Thaumaturgy, or Valeren (Sabbat Guide, P. 133).

30-Point Perks

  • Play one of the following Clans or Bloodlines: Gargoyles (Camarilla Guide P. 35), Kiasyd (Sabbat Guide P. 40), Lasombra antitribu, Nagaraja, True Brujah (ST Guide P. 20), and Wu Zao.
  • Purchase the Merit: True Faith.
  • Start on the Path of Typhon if you are not one of the Followers of Set.

Banned

The things listed here are banned unless the Storyteller asks you explicitly to play them. Please note that this list is not comprehensive, and some things that are not listed here may, in fact, be banned. If in doubt, ask the Storyteller.

  • Any Path of Thaumaturgy or Necromancy that are not mentioned explicitly in our Thaumaturgy or Necromancy documents.
  • Post Advanced Disciplines.
  • The following Clans and Bloodlines: Ahrimanes, Anda, Angellis Ater, Any Dark Ages Bloodline or Clan, Baali, Blood Brothers, Cappadocian, City Gangrel, Country Gangrel, Daitya, Gangrel Mariners, Harbingers of Skulls, Lamia, Lasombra, Malkavian antitribu, Nicktuku, Nosferatu antitribu, Panders, Ravnos antitribu, Salubri antitribu, Serpents of the Light, Telyavic Tremere, Tlacique, Toreador antitribu, Tremere antitribu, Tzimisce, and Ventrue antitribu.
  • The following Disciplines: Any Clan- or Bloodline-specific Discipline for any banned Bloodline or Discipline that is not explicitly granted by your Clan or Bloodline; Assamite Sorcery, Koldunic Sorcery, and Setite Sorcery.
  • The following Merits and Flaws: Fourteenth Generation, Child, Spirit Mentor, Haunted, Dark Fate, Amnesia.
  • The following Paths of Enlightenment: Path of Night, Path of Paradox (even if you’re playing a Ravnos), Path of Blood if you’re not an Assamite.
  • Visceratika and Flight, if you’re not playing a Gargoyle.

New Merits and Flaws

New Merits

  • Adopted (2 Trait Merit) – Your character was adopted into another Clan at some point in their past. Socially, they belong to their adoptive Clan, and they are accepted by them as such.  They do not gain the Clan Advantage, Weakness, or Disciplines, but they may bargain for education in Disciplines during play.  (This Merit requires a Perk.)
  • Danger Sense (2 Trait Merit) – You cannot be surprised. This Merit does not allow you to respond to Mental or Social Challenges outside of combat with Physical ones; it only protects you against surprise in combat or at the initiation of combat.
  • Hidden Diablerie (5 Trait Merit) – The tell-tale black streaks of diablerie do not manifest in your aura. Other ways of detecting diablerie remain unaffected. (This Merit requires a Perk.)
  • Ritualist (3 Trait Merit) – Through years of study and careful precision, you have learned how to expedite the casting of Rituals. As such, you may begin play during each game session with 30 additional minutes of Rituals prepared. (This Merit requires a Perk.)
  • Natural Engineer (2 Trait Merit) – You gain 2 Bonus Traits on all Build Challenges. (This Merit requires a Perk.)
  • Intuitive Design (2 Trait Merit) – You gain 2 Bonus Traits on all Blueprinting Challenges. (This Merit requires a Perk.)

New Flaws

  • Bard’s Tongue (3 Trait Flaw) – You speak the truth, uncannily so. Things you say tend to be true and sometimes you say things that come  First, you cannot lie.  This is not an effect that can be overruled by any conscious or unconscious control.  Additionally, at least once per game session, the Storyteller will share an uncomfortable truth with you regarding any current situation, and it will fall out through your lips immediately.  To avoid speaking prophecy or telling the truth when asked a direct question, you must expend a Willpower and take one Lethal Health Level of damage from the strain of resisting as you bite a hole in your tongue.  While this Flaw prevents your character from lying, it does not prevent you from dancing around the truth or telling half-truths, so long as you’re creative.
  • Disgrace to the Blood (3 Trait Flaw) – Your sire regards the fact that he Embraced you to be a titanic mistake and has let everyone know it. You are mocked at gatherings, taunted by your peers, and actively despised by the one who should be giving you guidance. Any request or petition you make is likely to be looked down upon by friends of your sire, and your achievements are likely to be discounted.
  • Hatred (3 Trait Flaw) – There is something out there which you absolutely loathe and will do anything to destroy when you encounter it. You must spend a Self-Control or Instinct card to resist going after the thing you hate when you are presented with the opportunity to do so.  Hatreds are subject to approval by the Storyteller and are generally groups or organizations and are never individuals or unique items.
  • Vulnerability to Silver (2 Trait Flaw) – To you, silver is as painful and as deadly as the rays of the sun. You suffer aggravated wounds from any silver weapons (bullets, knives, etc.), and the mere touch of silver objects discomfits you.