Key Rules Interpretations and Changes
In general, we play by the rules in Laws of the Night: Revised as written. This sheet identifies certain house rules and explains how some ambiguous rules are interpreted in this game.
The E-mail Rule
- If a player wishes to spend Influence, Resources, Contacts, Allies, or Retainers or to take any direct action that would affect the world outside of normal character-to-character interaction, that expenditure or action must be submitted to the Storyteller in writing by email.
- This rule is in place not to deny players the ability to change the world around them, but it is instead intended to help the Storyteller keep everything straight and to have a written record of those actions and expenditures. Dave is a forgetful creature.
- You don’t need to spend Willpower to attempt a challenge covered by an Ability you don’t possess.
- You can use any plausible Ability to retest in a challenge, so long as all players involved or the presiding Narrator or ST agrees. The ruling of the ST in this regard is final.
- Abilities are used only to retest challenges or meet the prerequisite checks for other systems.
- Lore is now an Ability Specialization of Occult. If you want to determine if your character knows something, a Static Mental challenge may be used (with Occult as the retest). Please see the Storyteller for more information.
- Quell the Beast no longer requires a Social Challenge to soothe a vampire from frenzy (though it still requires physical or eye contact and the expenditure of a Willpower).
Auspex versus Obfuscate
- In cases where someone is attempting to use Auspex: Heightened Senses to break through Obfuscate, each character’s skill in their respective Discipline is measured. In the event that the Obfuscate user has more skill, they automatically win the challenge. If the Auspex user has more skill, they automatically win the challenge instead. If two characters have equal skill, the challenge proceeds as usual. When making a hand sign for Heightened Senses or Obfuscate, players should do so using a number of fingers equal to the level of the Discipline that they possess (one for Basic, two for Intermediate, and three for Advanced). For example, Amy has Intermediate Obfuscate and is trying to sneak by David, who has only Basic Auspex. She crosses her arms over her chest to indicate that she is using Unseen Presence and holds up two fingers on her right hand. David puts one finger to his eye to note that he is using Heightened Senses. Since Amy is more skilled at Obfuscate than David is at Auspex, she makes it past him unnoticed.
- Auspex may only pierce Unseen Presence, Vanish from the Mind’s Eye, or Cloak the Gathering on moving targets.
- As there are not rules for Bardo in the rules as written, we have rewritten the Discipline based on the rules listed in V20.
The first thing that the Children of Osiris are taught is that Humanity does not have to be an inexorable slide into depravity. Instead, it is more akin to a climb up an extremely steep hill. The vampire is going to lose some ground, but with perseverance and strength, he can regain it.
When the vampire loses a dot of Humanity, he can attempt to regain it without spending experience points by using this power. The Child must use this power within a week of losing the Humanity, and must not have lost any more Humanity since the initial loss (that is, if the character falls from Humanity 4 to Humanity 3, and then falls to Humanity 2 before using this power, Restore Humanitas can only be used to recover Humanity 3). The character meditates for several hours and spends all of the blood points currently in his body. The player then makes a Static Conscience Challenge (difficulty equal to the level of Humanity being regained). If successful, the target regains a Humanity Trait.
Banishing Sign of Thoth
The character gestures, turning aside any supernatural effect aimed at her. The source of the effect does not matter. She can thwart, or at least blunt, the strength of any mystical attack. This sign was supposedly taught to Osiris by Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom and magic. What Thoth actually was—vampire, mortal, or spellcaster—is lost to time.
To evoke this power, she must make the appropriate gesture where her opponent can see it. She may engage in a retest by spending one Trait (Physical, Social, or Mental) that is appropriate to the challenge. This Discipline wards against Thaumaturgy, Dominate, Presence and Auspex.
Gift of Apis
All vampires must consume blood, no matter how good their intentions. While this basic fact of undeath cannot be circumvented, the Children of Osiris can at least avoid drinking human blood.
Animal blood is just as nourishing to the character as human blood. An animal is considered to have a blood pool equal to the number of health levels it has, rather than the lesser value usually assigned to represent the creature’s less-than-filling fluids. This ability is always active.
Pillar of Osiris
In the center of every temple is a Pillar of Osiris, a place of meditation and power in which the Children’s magic is greatly increased. At this level of Bardo, the character learns to create such a Pillar, meaning that he can create his own temple.
Creating the Pillar of Osiris requires a night-long ritual, upon the ending of which the player spends a Willpower. This power does not require a physical pillar — the Pillar of Osiris is conceptual, not literal. Once the Pillar is created, any vampire with at least one dot of Bardo receives a 3 Trait bonus to the use of any Discipline or other mystical activity (including blood magic) performed at the Pillar. However, this boon requires regular trips to the Pillar. Once the vampire has created a Pillar, he must visit it at least once a month, or it ceases to function. In addition, for every week he is away from a Pillar (not necessarily the one he created), the Child wakes each night with one fewer Self Control card. The Beast, long denied by the Child’s ascetic practices, grows in strength while away from the Pillar, and eventually pushes the vampire to frenzy and (likely) Humanity loss. The Children of Osiris, for this and other reasons, do not leave their temples for long.
The Child utters a phrase or a riddle that lays bare the truth of the universe to a listener. That truth — the perspective of that one listener’s importance weighed against the whole of creation — is enough to immobilize the target for short while. Although this experience would seem to be disheartening, after the fact the targets are loath to harm the Child. Whether that’s because of a newfound appreciation for one’s place in the world, or out of fear that the vampire will reveal the paradox again, no one really knows.
The vampire speaks the phrase, spends a point of Willpower, and engages all targets in a Social Challenge (the Retest for which is Occult). Each victim who loses this challenge is immobilized for the scene as he contemplates what he has heard. Striking the victim snaps him out of it. At the end of the scene, the paradox is gone, and the target can’t ever quite explain it. He does, however, down 1 bid in any challenges to harm or act against the Child of Osiris.
- Blood use is reflexive. It doesn’t count as an action and can be performed at any time. This includes healing.
- Healing Aggravated Wounds requires three Blood Traits’ expenditure and a full night’s rest. While sleeping, a character may spend three more Blood and a Willpower for each Aggravated Wound to be healed past the first.
- Characters are limited in the amount of blood they may spend in downtime by the total amount of blood they had at the end of the previous game session. Characters may also not feed in downtime, though they may spend unspent Herd, Influence, or the “Let the Blood Flow” King of the Hill power in order to get more blood.
- Clarification: Vampires can feed on animals, but animal blood is far less filling (and much less tasty—think thin, weak broth instead of a rich, succulent stew) than human blood. A successful hunting challenge can take up to 2 Blood Traits from an animal without harming it. If you take 3 Blood Traits, the animal needs immediate medical attention, and taking 4 or 5 kills it. You don’t risk your Humanity when you feed on an animal, even if you kill it, unless you would otherwise risk your Humanity from the act (for instance, if you have Humanity 4 and you kill a farmer’s cow, that action would constitute theft and warrant a Conscience check). Some Disciplines allow a vampire to drink animal blood and receive nourishment as if it were human blood. In those cases, you still don’t risk your Humanity when feeding from the animal, but you can drain blood from it normally (up to 5 Traits with no ill effects, 6-7 Traits require immediate medical attention, and 8 or more kills the animal).
- Alacrity now allows your normal action for the turn to be preemptive, as is noted in the rules as written (RAW).
- Additional Celerity actions can only be used with Physical actions.
- Surprise is defined as “any action that your character was not expecting.” Narrators or the Storyteller will be the final arbiters of whether a character has been surprised. If a character is surprised, they lose their basic action for the round. Additional actions obtained through Celerity may be used as normal.
- The most traits any character may lose during a challenge is five. If a player must bid more than five traits during a challenge (in a mob scene, for example), that player bids five instead.
- In the event of a mob scene, players lose 1 trait per challenge they lose up to 5, regardless of the number of challenges they threw. (For example, if seven people are all attacking Sigmund at once, he must bid 5 traits. If he loses three of those challenges, he loses 3 traits. If he loses all seven, he still only loses 5 traits.)
- The rules for Two Gun Mojo have been reworked (LotN, p. 207). That text is replaced with:
“When you want to use two weapons at a time in combat, you must bid an additional trait, and your opponent may bid the negative traits of the weapons in both of your hands, if applicable. If your attack is successful, you may cause one additional point of damage. This damage is of the worst possible type of the two weapons. For example, if you cause aggravated damage with one weapon and bashing damage with the other, you cause one additional bashing damage with your attack.
“When attacking with two weapons, you only get the highest bonus traits of both weapons wielded. If you possess the merit Ambidexterity, you need not bid an additional trait when attacking with two weapons, but you still only receive the highest bonus traits of both weapons. Note that a specialization in Melee or Brawl can only apply to attacking with a single weapon or with two weapons, never both.”
“The mechanical effect of Ambidexterity is to eliminate the one bid penalty when attacking with two weapons.”
- If you would like to craft an item (magical, scientific, or otherwise), please see the Storyteller, who will work with you on the specifics. Of course, all crafted items are subject to Storyteller approval.
- A brief rundown of the Crafting System may be found here: https://www.facebook.com/riversidelarp/posts/1906109762968224.
- Players may spend Influence, Allies, or Retainers to Build an item they have Blueprinted using the Crafting system. The cost is determined by the highest difficulty effect used in the item’s creation and is then increased by 2 for each extra effect of the item. Making an item from the book or making commonly available items costs 1 (but you have to have a blueprint). Compatibility with Puissance, +1 Damage (for a weapon), +1 Health Level (for armor), +2 BT, -1 Neg Trait, and “Add a new weapon ability,” all cost 2. Causing Aggravated damage costs 3. Manipulating objects existing in the environment costs 4. Emulating Ritual or Discipline effects will cost 5. You can combine these Backgrounds to pay for Builds, and players are only capped in the number of Builds they can make in this fashion by the amount of Backgrounds they have to spend.
- Clarification: The creation of magical or “enchanted” items is not allowed unless all characters who participated in the Blueprint or Build of said item possess at least one level of Thaumaturgy or Necromancy.
- Below is a list of items that could be crafted in Riverside Opera along with all of the prerequisites required to build them. Each item requires two challenges to build—a “blueprint” challenge and a “construction” challenge—in addition to requiring a varying number of Abilities as prerequisites. Note that every item that has been crafted for Riverside Opera is in this list, but not every item in this list has been crafted (some are merely provided as examples).
- Blood-reactive Aerosols
- 5 uses per aerosol, Bonus Traits: 0, Negative Traits: Clumsy, Concealability: Pocket, Damage: varies (see below).
- Three varieties: Stun (target loses next action), Hypnosis (target is susceptible to a one-word command), and Incendiary (1 Aggravated damage). (These effects cannot be combined.)
- Abilities required: Science: Biology x4, Medicine x3, Occult x1
- Blueprint difficulty: 11 traits
- Crafting: Physical challenge vs. 10 traits or 5 Influence/Allies
- Electro-magnetic Pulse
- 10 use device, shorts out electronics in a short radius for 10 minutes.
- Abilities required: Science: Electrical Engineering x1, Computer x2, Crafts: Electronics x2, Repair x1
- Blueprint difficulty: 6 traits
- Crafting: Physical challenge vs. 4 traits or 4 Influence/Allies
- Flaming, Double-edged Great Sword
- Bonus Traits: 4, Negative Traits: Clumsy and Heavy, Concealability: None, Damage: 4 Aggravated, Special: Two-handed (unless the wielder has Potence: Vigor)
- Abilities required: Academics x2, Crafts: Blacksmithing x5, Occult x3, Repair x4, Science: Metallurgy x3
- Blueprint difficulty: 20 traits
- Crafting: Physical challenge vs. 18 traits or 15 Influence/Allies
- Stake Launcher
- Bonus Traits: 3, Negative Traits: Clumsy, Concealability: none, Damage: 2 Lethal, Special: Staking
- Abilities required: 4 Firearms, 4 Science: Physics x3, Crafts: Gunsmithing x2
- Blueprint difficulty: 10 traits
- Crafting: Physical challenge vs. 8 traits or 6 Influence/Allies
- Power Armor with on-board Pulse Cannons
- Health Levels: 6, Negative Traits: Clumsy, Concealability: lol, Special: Grants the effects of Prowess and Might to the user
- Pulse Cannon—Bonus Traits: 2, Negative Traits: Loud, Damage: 1 Aggravated
- Abilities required: Academics x1, Computer x1, Crafts: Blacksmithing x4, Crafts: Electronics x1, Firearms x1, Occult x2, Repair x3, Science: Physics x3, Science: Metallurgy x3, Science: Electrical Engineering x2, Science: Mathematics x1
- Blueprint difficulty: 24 traits
- Crafting: Physical challenge vs. 22 traits or 20 Influence/Allies
- Blood-reactive Aerosols
- To take a Derangement on non-Malkavian characters at character creation requires ST approval. This rule also applies to Malkavian characters’ optional additional Derangement.
- Any character may purchase the three Physical Disciplines (Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence) without a teacher for out of clan costs.
- If a Discipline is attempted on you and fails, you’re aware of the attempt, but not necessarily the source. You, and anyone else who observed the challenge, can attempt a Static Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the user’s Mental Traits (using Awareness to retest) to identify the source and, if not already known, the Discipline used and the target.
- If a Discipline requires physical contact to use and you willingly submit to that contact before the use of the Discipline, you relent to any challenge normally required to establish that contact.
- Dominate: Conditioning (Intermediate-2) now reads: You have honed your mental powers to the point where the strength of your will defies all mortal capabilities. Your exceptional conditioning allows you to make a single retest on any Mental Challenge that involves controlling or influencing a mind. This Retest costs nothing to use and may only be used once per Challenge.Additionally, whenever you enter a Mental challenge where a mind is being controlled or altered, you may use Conditioned as your bid Trait. This Trait does not count toward totals when resolving ties or overbids, but it can never be lost; thus, you may continually use Conditioned in successive challenges. Only if you are forced to risk multiple Traits do you risk losing any of your other Mental Traits.Note that Conditioning only reflects the strength of your will when either your mind is being influenced or controlled or when you are attempting to control or influence another mind. You may not use this Discipline when you are, say, rebuilding a car engine, trying to fire a gun. or using Thaumaturgy.
Duration of Powers
- If a power’s duration is listed as, “one scene or X amount of time,” use the lesser duration.
- Experience bonuses will be given out at the end of each session at the following rates: +1 for Best Costume, which is voted on at the end of the night by all players; +1 for driving the plot, which is given at Storyteller discretion; +1 for excellent roleplaying, which is given at Storyteller discretion; and +1 for obtaining or holding a city position and performing all duties associated with that position (see: City Positions).
- Each player will be given four “MVP Votes” at the beginning of each game session, which they may give to another player for any reason. Each of these cards is worth ¼ experience to the person to whom it is awarded. Players may not address their MVP votes to themselves.
- Each player may receive 1 bonus experience for roleplaying in between games. In order to receive this bonus XP, the Storyteller must be either present during said RP, CC’ed on in-character emails, or added to other methods of text-based communication, like Skype or Facebook chat.
- If there are multiple sessions of Riverside Opera during a month, players may only receive attendance XP for one of those sessions. Players may, however, accumulate Costume, MVP, RP, or Plot XP as per usual.
- Resilience now allows you to make a Simple Test for *each* level of damage, not just the first.
- Resisting frenzy no longer requires a Self-Control challenge. Instead, each player will receive a number of “Red Cards” equal to their character’s Self-Control. Each time something occurs that would cause a character to test for frenzy (like being insulted at court, for example), the Storyteller or a Narrator will ask that character’s player for a Red Card. If they cannot or will not give one up, they are forced to spend a Willpower or enter frenzy.
- If a Narrator asks for a Red Card, you may appeal the decision to the Storyteller, but the Storyteller’s decision is final.
- The Virtue Instinct has been reworked to better fit in line with the way Self Control functions. As is noted in the book, if your Instinct rating is at least twice that of the provocation, you may ignore it entirely (which does not count as “resisting” frenzy for the purposes of Path checks). If at any point you would normally make an Instinct Test to enter a controlled frenzy state, you may spend an Instinct Card to enter that state. If you do not, you may spend a Willpower to resist (which does count as “resisting” frenzy for the purposes of Path checks) or you may enter regular frenzy. Please ask either the Storyteller or a member of the Narration staff if you have any questions about the difference between regular frenzies and Instinct frenzies.
Havens and Technology
- It is assumed that every character in the game has a one-bedroom apartment, access to electricity, a relatively recent PC that can access the internet, an email address, and a smart phone with at least 3G capabilities. All apartments are considered to be first-floor, have a dead bolt and a safety chain on the front door, and have a bedroom that is sufficiently occluded from sunlight (whether by having no windows or from having those windows blacked out). If a character would have something different from the default, a detailed description must be submitted to the Storyteller in writing.
- The most Influence that can be spent on a given move is 5.
- Multiple players may combine Influences of the same sphere to make larger moves together than either could separately.
- Every Influence move that is made will have a general description of the move anonymously posted to the Influence Boards located on the Discord server. Players may look at any pages of that board for which they have Influence at any time. Players will be added to the appropriate groups when their character sheets are approved and they have joined the Discord server.
- When a character spends Influence to do something, that character’s player may spend any number of extra Influence of the same type to perform a Cloak move. If that player does, the cloaked move will not show up on the Influence Board. Note that the Cloak is a separate move itself, not an extension of the cloaked move.
- At any time, a player may contact the Storyteller to perform what is known as a “Zero-point Scan.” Zero-point Scans are used to look at a given Influence Page and check whether there has been a Cloak move used in that Influence in the last month. The Zero-Point Scan will also reveal how many points were spent on the Cloak.
- After discovering a cloaked move, players must spend a number of Influence equal to the amount spent on the Cloak to see what was done in the original move.
- To use an item that offers benefits in a challenge, you must be touching the item with your hands. In general, when the rules refer to “touching,” they mean with your hands.
The Kiasyd Bloodline Advantage
- The Kiasyd often spend their unlives in search of secrets, and much of the bloodline’s concept of prestige balances upon how much a given member knows. To reflect this undying thirst for knowledge, Kiasyd gain one level of either Academics or Occult (the Ability) as well as one level of either Occult or University Influence.
The Lasombra antitribu Bloodline Advantage
- Lasombra antitribu do not receive a bonus Status Trait as indicated in the book. Instead, they receive an additional Church, Political, or Underworld Influence.
Learning and Teaching Disciplines
- (Clarification) In order to learn a Clan-specific Discipline (Chimerstry, Thaumaturgy, Protean, etc.), the learner must drink a Trait of blood from a Kindred who can learn that Discipline natively for each power of the Discipline learned.
- Additionally, anyone who wishes to teach a Discipline must possess powers one level higher than the one they wish to teach (so they must have Intermediate to teach Basic, Advanced to teach Intermediate, and Master to teach Advanced).
The Malkavian Clan Advantage
- All Malkavians start with Dominate as an in-clan Discipline rather than Dementation.
- The Malkavian Clan Advantage allows a member of the clan to access the Malkavian Madness Network, where they can learn Dementation without a formal teacher at the out-of-clan experience cost.
- Additionally, as is noted in the RAW, their advantage allows them to identify other Malkavians on sight.
- Madrigal (Intermediate-1 Melpominee) now reads: “When using this power, the user must select a mood they wish to invoke and an appropriate Negative Trait. Everyone who is affected by the power gains that Negative Trait x2 for the duration of the song and are encouraged to roleplay this change in demeanor, aptitude, or abiity.” Previously, this power had essentially no effect, as players could essentially ignore its effects at their leisure.
Merits and Flaws
- Merits and Flaws in the Camarilla Guide and items in Dark Epics are now available at Character Creation (and after, if appropriate, at their regular costs) with Storyteller approval.
- Iron Will allows you to spend a Willpower trait after losing a Dominate challenge to call for a second challenge; this is not considered a retest. If you win that challenge, the Dominate power doesn’t affect you and you’re immune to other uses of Dominate for five minutes.
- Nightmares causes you to begin play down one trait in every category. You may choose which traits are expended.
- The effect of Lucky is now to provide a Merit retest, Lucky, usable once per game session on any challenge.
- Enchanting Voice is only usable in Challenges where you both use your voice and Performance or Expression are applicable Retests.
- Natural Leader is only usable in Challenges where Leadership is an applicable Retest. In addition, Natural Leader only grants one Bonus Trait.
- Fae Sight (Basic Mytherceria) reads:
- “Your ability to view multiple levels of reality at once has advanced to the point that you can perceive all things magical as they truly are. This Discipline has two effects: One, you can see active magical effects present on anyone or anything; and Two, with a small amount of effort, you can also scrutinize an area to determine if Thaumaturgy or Necromancy was recently used there or if any Rituals are present.
The first part of this power is always in effect. No challenge is needed.
To determine if Thaumaturgy for Necromancy was used in an area within the past three nights, concentrate for a turn and expend a Mental Trait. Traces of magic appear to you as faintly glowing footprints, runes, or scorch marks. Interpretation of these signs or to discerning what the exact effects of an active spell are may require one or more Static Mental Challenges, as determined by the Storyteller, but you can always tell whether or not the signs are actually there.
- Riddle Phantastique (Advanced Mytherceria) reads, in addition to its current rules text: “Victims of this power will not relent to assault, however. In fact, if disturbed while trying to puzzle out the solution, victims are likely to lash out. Whenever another character engages the victim in a Challenge, she may respond with an aggressive action of her own. She may not initiate aggressive actions, however, and if attacks on her person cease, she will go back to pondering the riddle.”
- Necromancy is classified as “magic” for the purposes of the Magic Resistance Merit as well as any power that references magic.
- The Necromantic Ritual “Eyes of the Grave” only takes 10 minutes to cast.
The Nosferatu Clan Advantage
- To reflect the tendency of the Nosferatu to have access to quite the large breadth of information, once a month the Storyteller may, at his discretion, give each member of the Clan a different piece of information regarding goings on in the city.
- Obfuscate continues to work on digital recording devices, even when viewed at a later date. Unlike analogue recording technology, like film-based cameras and video tape, the mind trick effect of Obfuscate persists.
- Clarification: The total darkness penalties under Obtenebration: Shroud of Night will be interpreted as, “All victims of the cloud suffer a 2-Trait penalty to all Challenges, and their opponents in Challenges get a free Retest. This Retest counts as a Discipline-based Retest.”
- Clarification: The range on Obtenebration: Arms of the Abyss is “Line of sight.”
- Perks are special benefits that players may purchase with XP. Please see the Character Creation section of the website for more information.
- The Perk, “Buy Extra Status at Character Creation” may be used to purchase three (3) extra Status of the player’s choosing (and with ST approval), which may be purchased with either Free Traits or XP.
- Players may buy Perks for characters they are currently playing with ST approval, so long as the Perk is something that may be changed about their character.
- XP spent on Perks is erased from the character and player records entirely and does not transfer to new characters.
- If a Perk refers to a Merit, additional XP or Free Traits must be spent to purchase said Merit.
- If a Perk refers to a Path of Enlightenment and a player uses that Perk to transition their character into that Path, all scores for the old Path and Virtues transfer to the new Path and Virtues. Note: Players may still RP their way to Paths of Enlightenment without buying the associated Perk (contact the ST for more information).
- Perks referring to Generation, Clans, or Bloodlines may not be purchased after Character Creation. Characters may still lower their Generation though Diablerie without having to purchase the Perk.
- A Might retest can be recalled with Might.
- A Might retest is considered a Discipline-based retest. It is not required to be the final retest on any challenge.
- All weapons not specifically noted on their item card as being compatible with Potence break when used with Puissance.
- In order to have human ghouls as Retainers, a character must have at least 3 traits in the Retainers background. For every point of Retainers a character possesses above 3, that character may have an additional ghoul, to a maximum of three ghouls at Retainers 5.
- All human Retainers have 6 traits in every category and one applicable retest for completion of a given task. Note that this retest might be different from month to month, but it is still just one retest no matter the task.
- All human ghoul Retainers have 7 traits in every category, two applicable retests, and one Basic physical Discipline (Celerity, Fortitude, or Potence) for completion of a given task. Note that these retests might be different from month, but they are still just two retests total, no matter the task.
- All Retainers are assumed to be mundane humans unless cleared by the Storyteller.
- For every ghoul a character possesses, that character starts the game -1 Blood trait.
- Riverside Opera does not use the Status system as outlined in Laws of the Night.
- Status is not added to trait totals in ties during Social challenges. Instead, Riverside Opera uses a new type of challenge: Status challenges. See: Status, below.
- Politics and Etiquette may be used as retests during Status challenges.
- Characters may only receive one non-position-related permanent Status Trait per month. They may lose any number of permanent Status per month, though.
- In lieu of removing a permanent Status, players may grant Negative Status instead. (This one was already a rule, we’re just including it all official-like.)
- Players may loan temporary Status Traits to other players at any time and for no cost. Players may revoke loaned Status at any time without cause or cost. Keep in mind that both of these functions may incur IC repercussions, even if there is no OOC cost.
- All pronouncements of Status must take place at court. The target of such pronouncements (the person gaining or losing Status) does not have to be present for them to be valid, though all participants in the pronouncement (persons loaning temporary Status for the move) must be.
- The Primogen Council may spend a number of temporary Status Traits equal to the Prince’s permanent Status to either grant or remove one permanent Status from the Prince.
- Members of a Clan may spend a number of temporary Status Traits equal to their Primogen’s permanent Status to either grant or remove one permanent Status trait from said Primogen.
- In the event that a Kindred in a position of power is stripped of one of their position-based permanent Status, they instead lose it for the rest of the night. However, while that character is without that Status Trait, they lose all Status-based powers afforded them by that position. Other, non-Status-related powers remain unaffected. For example, a Primogen member who is so affected would lose the ability to grant or remove Status from members of their Clan, accept new members into the Clan, etc., but they still speak for the Clan in Primogen meetings and may call Clan meetings to order.
Tests and Traits
- A “test” constitutes the bidding of traits, throwing of paper-rock-scissors, and comparing traits and “win all ties” powers, if necessary. A “challenge” is the set of all tests, including retests, which result in determining the resolution of an action.
- During any given challenge, a player may call for a maximum of four retests, excluding overbids (which may be performed as many times as possible). They are: one Ability retest; one Discipline-based retest; one Willpower retest (if applicable); and one Merit-based retest. Certain Merits, such as Nine Lives, explicitly override this rule.
- A player involved in a challenge may recall the use of an Ability by their opponent with another relevant ability. If a player’s Ability retest is recalled their opponent, they may expend another level of a relevant Ability to attempt to retest again. They may do this until they either run out of relevant Ability retests or until a retest is thrown.
- If you have an ability, item, or Discipline that allows you to throw the Bomb or win all ties, you don’t have to declare that information at the beginning of a challenge.
- You always bid whatever traits are appropriate for your desired result from the challenge. For instance, if you want to punch someone who’s trying to Dominate you, you bid Physical traits and they bid Mental traits.
- Upon losing any challenge, any traits bid are lost for the rest of the game session.
- Only current, non-expended traits are bid when comparing traits in a test.
- Overbids require the expenditure of a trait in the appropriate category, but only after counting traits to determine if an Overbid is possible. In either case, the trait is still spent. A character or Static Challenge may declare multiple Overbids in a single Challenge, so long as the character or Static Challenge continues to have at least twice the traits of the opponent.
- Mental and Social challenges can be used each round in combat. The “five minute rule” doesn’t apply in this instance.
- Players may expend levels of the Medicine Ability to Retest the Simple Tests that occur during a staking attempt. This is the only time that Simple Tests may be Retested.
- Withering (Intermediate Thanatosis) now renders characters affected by a touch to the head incapable of using powers other than Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence. This clarification brings the power in line with its functionality from tabletop editions of the game.
- You may begin play with up to 60 minutes of rituals cast.
- For specific effects of rituals, please refer to the item card associated with the ritual.
- All effects of Thaumaturgy are obvious to the target and all onlookers, successful or not, unless otherwise explicitly stated otherwise in the Discipline’s description. However, the activation of said powers is not necessarily immediately evident.
- Thaumaturgical powers and rituals that have an explicit cost other than a blood trait use that cost instead of the normal cost of one blood trait.
- Theft of Vitae explicitly has no blood trait cost.
- Blood consumed through Theft of Vitae and A Taste for Blood does not cause Blood Bonds.
- Tremere characters may begin with their choice of one of the “Basic” Paths of Thaumaturgy: Path of Blood, Lure of Flames, or Movement of the Mind.
- In order to conduct Thaumaturgical research into non-“Basic” Paths or Rituals, the Occult Influence is required.
- All Tremere characters may learn their primary Path of Thaumaturgy without a teacher, regardless of whether they operate inside of the Clan.
- Thaumaturgy is only usable as a base round action.
- As per the RAW, players may only use Willpower as a retest when they are the defender of a Mental or Social challenge.
- Willpower now refreshes fully at the beginning of every monthly game session.
Status is an objective measure of one’s standing within the city and vampire society as a whole. Since one can expect to be listened by those with less Status—and to be respectful and even obsequious to those with more Status—keeping track of, protecting, and building one’s Status is critical to Kindred who want any freedom of will.
Status is always public knowledge. Those in possession of permanent Status beyond the basic Acknowledged trait must list their traits on a visible badge (signed by the GM) for them to apply in game.
Effects of Status and Status Challenges
Status has no mystical pull, but for those who desire the protection of the city, it sets out certain social restrictions. Primarily, those with lower Status will be respectful, flattering, and generally eager to aid those with higher Status. They’re under no obligation to do favors without demanding appropriate Prestation, but they generally won’t turn down requests for aid that aren’t suicidal without considering them. Additionally, minor tasks for which no Prestation would normally be required (fetching another Kindred or ghoul, getting a drink, and such) will generally be undertaken without question. While being so sycophantic may be distasteful to some, it’s simply part of the great Jyhad.
Conversely, those with higher Status are to generally protect those with lower Status (albeit in return for proper Prestation), to not demand unreasonable services from them, and to not force them into suicidal or self-destructive situations. They must also act in accordance with their Status in order for it to be respected; for example, someone who is Feared must attempt to evoke fear, while those who are Well-Known must keep themselves in the spotlight. Beyond that, they may act as they see fit. This freedom makes the acquisition of Status a key point in any Kindred’s life, as it lets him be the one disdainfully giving orders rather than the one (falsely) graciously receiving them.
In the greater scheme of Kindred society, those with greater Status are believed before those with lower Status, find it much easier to gain an audience with the Prince and with Primogen, and can speak more often at court.
To reflect all these issues, the Status Challenge mechanic is used. Whenever a person seems to be acting in violation of the rules of Status, or when a person wishes to force a societal issue (such as getting an audience with Prince over someone else, or getting the Prince to believe their word over someone else’s), a Status Challenge may be called. In such a challenge, the only traits that count and that can be bid are Status traits. The loser of the challenge must back down (by adjusting his behavior as desired by the winner, or by leaving the area in a melodramatic huff) or publicly declare that he’s ignoring the other person’s Status—an event that’s dramatic and has other effects (see Ignoring Status, below). Remember, the Status Challenge is always between the people with the dispute; if two people are vying for the Prince’s attention, they engage in a Status Challenge between each other, not against the Prince, as it’s not his Status that’s being called into question.
During a Status Challenge, other characters nearby may throw their Status (through a public declaration of support) in with either character. The characters involved may bid and count any Status traits they possess—even those on loan, assuming their owners don’t revoke those traits upon their being bid. Characters may retest a Status Challenge by expending a Status trait (which then doesn’t count when comparing traits in the result of a tie). It is important to note, however, that a character may require proof of loaned Status if it is to be used in a Status Challenge.
It’s possible to have mass Status Challenges, but generally those Challenges are best resolved by each side picking a representative and throwing their traits behind that representative.
Granting and Removing Status
Permanent Status represents your character’s relative standing in the city and is typically granted (and removed) by city officials. Permanent Status changes must generally occur publicly and dramatically—usually at court, so the whole city can see—and usually must be witnessed by the Prince. The person whose Status is being altered need not be present, though it’s something of an insult to not be present when one is being awarded Status.
Temporary Status is a different matter and is given and taken away much more freely. Temporary Status isn’t a measure of your personal standing in the city; instead, it represents someone granting you their favor and the ability to act in their name. Since temporary Status can be revoked at relatively any time by the grantor, there’s less of a trust issue involved in its transfer.
Anyone can loan any permanent Status trait away as temporary Status. Doing so disables the trait for its owner; while everyone knows they still have it, it cannot be bid or counted in Status Challenges, except by its current possessor. To give temporary Status, the grantor must either announce it publicly or give the target a letter or other token representing the traits transferred. If a token is used, the traits it is worth must be announced publicly or described in a written form that those who are to recognize the Status traits possess. Tokens and public announcements are often used for long term grants of Status; letters are preferred when the person possessing the Status is running an errand, or if the grantor wishes to keep the transfer a private matter between himself, the person he’s granted it to, and a small circle of other Kindred. Letters are commonly used when coteries, elders, or other factions wish to have a single representative act in their name with another faction or single Kindred. It’s important to note that, since Status is based on belief, those who have no reason to believe you possess the Status traits you claim may ignore them without serious repercussions (see: Ignoring Status, below).
Temporary Status can be revoked extremely quickly. A public pronouncement is all that’s needed to return the trait to its owner. Status granted via tokens or letters can be revoked publicly, but it’s important that those who might be recognizing the Status based on such hear the announcement. It’s perfectly reasonable that the grantor demand that the token be returned or any letters destroyed upon revoking the Status. When a temporary Status trait is returned, it is returned expended if its previous possessor expended it. Temporary Status can be revoked preemptively in response to its usage; if the grantor of the trait doesn’t agree with how it’s about to be used, he can recover it beforehand.
Status is generally expended through Status Challenges, although some city officials can expend Status for other effects. Both permanent and temporary Status can be expended; when a Status trait is expended, it can’t be bid and is no longer counted in Status Challenges.
One important Status expenditure that any character, or group of characters, can do is the removal of permanent Status. By bidding a number of traits equal to another character’s permanent Status and defeating him in a Status Challenge, a target can be stripped of one permanent Status. All the traits bid are expended whether the Challenge is successful or not. Doing this for any reason but a grievous violation of decorum (read: the Status system) is likely to raise the ire of the Prince and Harpy; doing so in the presence of any city official is a dire insult and challenge to their authority.
Whenever Status is permanently removed from a character, he gets to decide what Status trait is lost, unless the removal is such that the traits removed are selected for him (such as the loss of Status for losing a city position).
It is not uncommon for a character whose status it to be removed to be granted a Negative Status instead, especially in situations where a given offense is not so egregious as to warrant the stripping of a permanent Status, but there still should be some Status-based consequences (see: Negative Status, below).
A character is under no necessary obligation to maintain the Status system. He may, at any time, ignore someone’s Status by simply publicly (loudly and melodramatically, usually) declaring that he’s doing so. Ignoring Status can be used to negate the result of a Status Challenge and is, in fact, the reason one would generally do so. Such a negated Challenge is assumed to have been won by the person who is ignoring Status, with his desired result being to simply not do what was demanded by the winner.
This action has no necessary, immediate repercussions, unless a city official is nearby (or unless a group of proactive Kindred are nearby and choose to strip the character of Status). It’s a terrible breach of etiquette, however, and can result in one’s Status being stripped. Doing so in the presence of the Harpy, Prince, or one’s own Primogen almost guarantees the immediate loss of Status.
Having No Status
The last Status trait a character can lose is his Acknowledged trait. A character with no Status traits is no longer under the protection of the Prince or the city. He may not be killed without permission, of course, as that’d violate the Tradition of Destruction, but he can be abused, maimed, or even tortured—even on Elysium grounds—without any major problems. In fact, most Princes consider one with no Status kine, which means he can be slain without violating the Traditions (as the Prince has, in this case, given implicit permission to do so).
Certain city positions grant permanent Status traits. These traits can’t normally be removed as long as the Kindred holds the position, but if any of these traits are stripped permanently, they’re immediately considered expended (although they’re not permanently removed). More importantly, the loss of such a trait in this way represents a loss of the city’s trust and prevents the vampire from using any of his position’s special powers until the beginning of the next game. In most cases, having a position-based Status trait removed is grounds for removal from one’s position.
Position status can’t normally be stripped until all of the character’s other permanent Status has been removed.
Whenever a permanent Status trait is removed, the Kindred removing it can choose instead to grant a permanent negative Status trait. This acts like a normal negative trait in any Status Challenge, with the exception that it’s public knowledge and therefore can (and should) be bid against its holder. Likewise, instead of granting a permanent Status trait (or restoring a permanent Status trait), a Kindred can remove a negative Status trait instead.
Naturally, negative Status can’t be expended as temporary Status or given as a temporary Status trait to another character.
What do you get an undead killing machine as a gift for their help? What currency matters to immortals who can trivially take whatever they desire from the kine? Money is irrelevant to those whose cons are backed by supernatural might and to those whose investments can gather interest for centuries. Jewels and gold that would make a pauper cry and a king salivate mean nothing to the Kindred that control streets and thrones. A pretty little object of desire has no value to those of dead flesh, save as food – and blood is cheap in the teeming cities of the modern era.
Instead of material goods, favors are the currency of Kindred society. The semi-formal social code by which favors are traded is known as Prestation, and the favors themselves are known as boons. Whether Sabbat, Camarilla, or inconnu, all vampires participate in Prestation to some degree. Only the foolish, weakest, or most desperate vampires work for immediate material rewards; everyone else realizes that the value of a favor yet undecided is much greater among immortals than any mere stack of mortal currency or blood pack. Even in the Sabbat, Prestation is common. While individual packs may only trade favors informally, the game is deadly serious at higher levels and particularly among the Lasombra, whose Les Amies Noir are perhaps the most talented players among all of Caine’s progeny.
Because Prestation is a key part of vampiric society, particularly in the Camarilla, there’s little stigma to owing boons. In fact, while smart Kindred try to be owed more than they owe, they realize the value in owing a boon to someone else. Those who’ve “invested” in you by holding a boon from you have no interest in seeing their investment destroyed by your destruction or even exile, so they’ll often expend some effort to keep you safe. After all, by accepting your boon, they’re banking that you’ll be useful to them at some point – either as your power grows, or when you’re simply in the right place at the right time. Even powerful ancillae and elders will offer small boons to those weaker than themselves for minor services as another way of establishing loyalty. If you’re a mere neonate owed a boon by an elder, you’ve a compelling reason to keep that elder around and happy, since you never know when you might need their help.
The importance of Prestation explains why some Kindred take it as a personal insult when assistance is offered for free; doing so is essentially stating publicly that their future assistance is worthless. Likewise, a Kindred who fails to demand a boon for all but the most trivial favors is viewed as weak, inept, and uncouth. This is true even if the favor is ultimately self-serving or the vampire is truly altruistic (a rarity indeed).
Prestation, as a social game, is enforced through Status. For that reason, the Prince and the Harpy ultimately serve as the final arbiters of the system. Those who violate their sense of fair play, the rules they set forth, or the terms of any contract that the involved Kindred sign will almost certainly lose their favor and, thus, Status within the city.
Types of Boons
Very generally speaking, boons can be divided up into five different sizes, reflecting both the imposition of the favor for which the boon is owed and the size of the favor required to repay the debt.
- Trivial boons represent minimal favors, such as using a single Discipline on someone, translating a letter, or spending a small amount of Influence (2 points or less).
- Minor boons are more substantial, but still quite small, impositions, such as keeping a person away from a meeting by tying him up with a conversation, planting a small bit of evidence near someone, or spending a bit more Influence (3 or 4 points). Basic Rituals performed by the Tremere are often considered minor boons.
- Major boons are serious favors that usually take more than one game to accomplish, such as making a large expenditure of Influence (5 or 6 points), arranging the grant of a Permanent Status trait, teaching one level of a Discipline, or performing an Intermediate Ritual.
- Blood boons are favors similar to major boons, but are much larger in scale, involve violence, or require acting against the pronouncements of a city official. These include roughing up a member of another Clan, killing a ghoul or other kine, firebombing a building, bringing weapons onto Elysium if they’re not permitted, making massive expenditures of Influence (7 or 8 points), or performing an Advanced Ritual.
- Life boons are favors so massive that they’re worth a trade of a Kindred’s unlife or entire Domain. This can include killing another Kindred – or preventing one from being killed, a truly gigantic expenditure of Influence (9 or more points), teaching a Clan-specific Discipline for which the penalty for teaching it is Final Death (such as Thaumaturgy or Obtenebration), backing treasonous moves against the Prince, blatantly breaking one of the Traditions, or engaging in the wholesale slaughter of kine.
Boons aren’t “fungible,” nor can they be split up or combined—at least not without the agreement of the person who owes the boon, the Harpy, or the Prince. Three trivial boons aren’t automatically worth a major boon, nor is a life boon worth five trivial boons. With that in mind, when trading or settling boons, the actual value is worth whatever those involved are willing to accept. A trivial boon from an elder might be worth a blood boon to a neonate, but merely a minor boon to an ancilla. Conversely, ten trivial boons from different neonates may be worth nothing to an elder—or they may be worth a blood boon, if that elder has a particular need for ten pawns.
Public and Private Prestation
Prestation can performed in private, in which case only the Kindred involved know about the boon. This sort of Prestation involves a bit more trust than most Kindred are comfortable with giving, as there’s no proof of the boon and no way to enforce it unless you happen to have more Status and can petition the Prince or the Harpy. However, very few Kindred will break a boon, even a private one; doing so invites retribution from you and your entire Clan, as well as anyone else you tell about the malfeasance. In fact, some of the longest running feuds in the Jyhad have started over broken private boons.
For Kindred who don’t trust each other, public Prestation is a more secure option. In this case, the offering and accepting of the boon takes in front of the Harpy, and preferably before multiple witnesses. In this case, the Harpy can sanctify the boon, recording it for reference and making it much easier for her to punish either party who breaks the agreement. While some Harpies may request a boon for this service, few Primogen will brook a Harpy demanding recompense for doing their job, making it rarely a costly way to ensure your boons are enforced. However, public Prestation is obviously inappropriate for anything you don’t want the whole city to eventually know about. The deal to use your influence to help a Toreador build a new nightclub is a perfect agreement to present to the Harpy; the deal to use your influence to help that Toreador overthrow the Prince isn’t.
For those who don’t even trust the Harpy, there are other ways to enforce boons. Dominate can require the execution of a boon, at least within the limits of its power. Allegedly, the Tremere have magics that can create mystical contracts with dire consequences for those who break them.
You can’t simply give a boon you’re owed to someone else without notifying the person who owes you the favor. Proper decorum in the Camarilla requires that the one who owes the boon accept the trade, though if they’re particularly well-liked by the Harpy or the Prince, they may be able to get away with denying such a trade unscathed. After all, they’re not denying that they owe the favor—they’re just refusing to owe it to some other uninvolved vampire.
Of course, one can attempt to bypass the consent of the person who owes you the boon by going straight to the Harpy or the Prince. While they might demand a boon from you for the service, they can simply call in the other Kindred and inform them that the boon has been transferred. This strategy is particularly effective when done in public, as it forces the one who owes you the boon to accept the trade or potentially lose face before the whole city.
Each level of Boon can be considered to have a numerical value, with Trivial Boons being “one point Boons” and Life Boons being “five point Boons.” Despite the fact that boons aren’t fungible currency, very generally speaking, a fair repayment for a boon is a number of services whose equivalent value equals the value of the initial boon. So, a fair repayment for major boon
(3 points) can be a service worthy of a major boon, a service worthy of a minor boon (2 points) and a service worthy of a trivial boon (1 point), or three services worthy of a trivial boon (1 point). Any payment that isn’t an equivalent exchange, however, is up to the discretion of the Kindred involved and the Harpy, either of which may permit or deny them as they see fit – since the only social rule about Boons is that they be repaid in kind.
Naturally, that means that the specifics of the repayment of a Boon are up to the Kindred to whom it is owed. Besides simply performing the task requested of you, one easy way to settle a boon is to acquire a boon from the Kindred you owe that’s of equal size as the one you owe to him. It’s then possible to declare them both settled, as you’ve at that point performed a service equal to the original boon. It’s sometimes possible to get out of a Boon by performing a service worthy enough to repay it at a remarkably fortuitous time, then demanding (usually publicly, preferably with the Harpy around) that the Boon be considered repaid, but again, nothing requires the Kindred to consider this a viable form of repayment, other than the degree to which he feels he can potentially lose face and his own sense of fair play.
Of course, since boons and Prestation are social structures, the court of public opinion is often a powerful tool to convince people to see things your way. Since Status is so important among Kindred, it can be used as a bargaining chip during Prestation. Having a contract that specifies the services rendered and the type and size of repayment expected – then having that contract sanctified by the Harpy – almost assures that the boon isn’t abused by either party. Announcing a boon at court, or demanding a boon be considered settled for services rendered in front of a large gathering of Kindred, is an excellent way to put either party on the spot; properly acted with just the right amount of melodrama, these sorts of scenes can force the other vampire to acquiesce or face a loss of Status for offending the sensibilities of the other Kindred there. This strategy can backfire, however, if the boon was originally kept private because it involved some rather unsavory activities. Finally, those with higher Status can often get away with more abusive actions with boons—as can those who are owed boons by the Harpy.
Prestation: Clan Perspectives
- Brujah: As much as they rail against it, Brujah typically recognize the value of Prestation to achieve their revolutionary ends. After all, it’s difficult to change a system from within if you have no power in it. That said, Brujah rarely engage in Prestation with their fellow clan members. Kindred in the clan are brothers and sisters; family don’t charge family for favors. Instead, Brujah simply deny assistance to deadbeats who don’t provide anything of value or who constantly demand help but never reciprocate. Even then, the clan will still rush to the aid of a member in dire straits, no matter what they’ve done in the past.
- Gangrel: Gangrel rarely run into each other and so rarely have a need to engage in Prestation within the clan, but for all their independent ways, Gangrel are among the more strict enforcers of the system. Any Gangrel asking a fellow for a favor is expected to offer a similar service in return, though most Gangrel rarely hold boons but instead discharge them quickly—often with an equivalent service rendered immediately; boons only serve to tie down these wandering souls. While no immediate retribution will come to one who doesn’t follow the rules, a Gangrel who refuses to repay favors or offer boons to fellow Kindred of the clan is likely to find himself bereft of aid in lupine territory or in an open field come sunrise.
- Malkavian: Many Malkavians profess no care or understanding for Prestation and instead aid other Kindred at their own twisted whims. The wise Kindred always bends the ear of the harpies when cutting deals with the childer of Malkav. Within the Malkavian clan, Prestation is extremely mercurial, with massive debts being repaid by seemingly trivial services. Recovering a lost toy might be repaid with a blood boon, while destroying another Kindred might be worth merely a trivial boon. In short, political power and boons within the clan are gained by being better able to comprehend the madness of one’s fellow Kindred. More lucid Malkavians capitalize on this to rapidly achieve dominance over their clan in the city.
- Nosferatu: The tightly-knit Nosferatu use Prestation as a means of establishing a meritocracy within the city. For Nosferatu, information is currency, and no information is given without getting a boon or an equally valuable tidbit of data in return. Asking for information without offering a boon or a secret of your own is an insult, but offering information without expecting something in return is a greater one; you’re essentially saying your information is worthless, or that your associate is incapable of getting any information of value. Those Nosferatu who hold a large number of boons aren’t despised but are instead feted as among the clan’s most effective spies.
- Toreador: While Nosferatu gather boons to prove their worth and Ventrue gather them as relationship-building, Toreador largely collect and trade boons to achieve their goals with the city’s kine. Artistes trade their works to poseurs for boons that they can use to fund their continued art, while poseurs trade boons to expand their influence and support their chosen mortal artists. Like the Malkavians, Prestation can be quite fluid within the clan, particularly where art is concerned; an original Manet may be worth a life boon to one Toreador and a mere scoff from another.
- Tremere: Prestation is rarely performed within the Tremere clan in a given city, as its members are expected to act primarily to strengthen the clan as a whole. Instead, Prestation occurs between chantries and regions, with Regents and Lords swapping favors primarily to secure choice apprentices and territories. This game is permitted by the Council so long as it ultimately ensures the most politically adept rise to the top; the moment it harms the clan’s overall goals, the next highest authority in the Pyramid puts a quick stop to it. Within a city, while Apprentices will sometimes engage in Prestation with each other to get out of (or into) particular duties, it is still rare. Instead, most Tremere aid each other freely in order to prove their worth and strengthen the clan as a whole against its, and the Camarilla’s, many enemies. However, Tremere who abuse the largesse of their fellows are transferred away to less prestigious chantries or sent to Vienna, never to be seen again.
- Ventrue: While the Ventrue are arguably more hierarchal than the Tremere, Prestation plays a much greater role. As consummate politicians, no Ventrue gives anything away for free, even to another Ventrue; you never know when a favor may prove useful, or even when owing one might prove useful by letting you get close to a more influential member of the clan. Among Ventrue, Prestation is a friendly, personal exchange among noble peers. No Ventrue would stoop so low as to involve the Harpy in a private deal, as Kindred of this clan should be better than to renege on their word; calling in the Harpy is tantamount to saying you don’t trust your own clan and is a severe insult. Most Ventrue owe and are owed a dizzying array of Boons within their own clan, each of which represents a “business relationship.” Most Ventrue consider it a serious insult to offer them assistance without Prestation, as that’s essentially stating their future services are worthless.
Getting the Keys to the Kingdom: Dirty Tricks for Enterprising Kindred
Through the ages, many Kindred have discovered ways to use the social structures of the Camarilla to their advantage. Here are some of the dirtier tricks they’ve used to gain power; these are included both to aid the devious and to help those in power protect what they have. They’re sorted roughly in order of complexity, risk, and sheer deviousness.
- “Fall in love” with a member of another Clan. Use this connection to gather information about that Clan’s activities.
- Sell information—true or not—about your Clan’s activities for small Boons. Use these small Boons together to demand a large service.
- Whenever you catch someone doing something objectionable, demand a Boon from them to stay quiet. This means you should always be on the lookout for the sorts of private meetings in which evil acts are planned and executed.
- Sell small Boons on city officials to younger, less powerful Kindred for massive Boons.
- Arrange to get kicked out of your Clan. Then throw yourself on the mercy of another Clan so you’re taken under their wing. Proceed to sell their secrets back to your own Clan—preferably for Boons.
- Never do any dirty deed yourself. Always use Boons to do them, so the crime is less traceable. Optimally, use a Boon to have someone else actually give the order so you have plausible deniability. For the extra point, make sure the person who gives the order is a city official, so you can blackmail a Boon out of them later when the instrument of your wickedness is caught (probably by your hand).
- The Keeper of Elysium and the Sheriff aren’t immune to each other. Their roles also often conflict. Make sure they conflict as much as possible so that they’re either both tied up and not doing their jobs, or so that one tries to overthrow the other. After the decision to eliminate the rival has been made, you can then reveal (privately!) what you’ve done and offer further support at the cost of a Boon. Alternatively, you can go to the targeted rival and offer to expose the other’s improprieties to the Prince—for a price.
- Are you the Harpy? Be sure to be capricious and unfair in your adjudication of Status. Favor those who don’t owe you Boons, so they’ll use your services often. You can then suddenly revoke your favor and demand a Boon to give it back. Be sure to abuse younger Kindred with less Status, then take them aside and request Boons from them to be nicer to them.
- As the Sheriff, plant evidence of crimes on those who seem to be getting a lot of Status. Then dramatically reveal an “ongoing investigation” at court and subtly point fingers at those people. You can then demand Boons to stay silent. Those who don’t pay will have the evidence against them dramatically revealed at the next court and suffer the consequences.