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Read First General System House rules

#21
NPC Experience

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar to you. You're playing Vampire. You did something naughty, and you were hauled before the Prince. Now, for the sake of the argument, let's say you know what the Sheriff's sheet looks like, and for one reason or another, you know you can win against them in a straight fight. The ST just says you're staked with no chance to resist and then you're as good as dead.

This is not that game. We are against auto-killing on principle. Yes, yes, we know, 'personal horror.' That can be accomplished without railroading characters into an early grave, it's how we've always done it and we're not changing that. But how do we prevent the scenario where a character has become so powerful that only literal Antediluvians and Deep Umbral eldritch abominations are the only thing that can even make them spend a Willpower point?

That's where this system comes in. From now on, important NPCs who participate in scenes may now, at ST discretion, earn experience points just like player characters. What does this mean for you, however? For those of you with the relevant backgrounds (Allies, Contacts, Retainers, Thralls/Followers, Neteru, etc.), if these characters participate in a scene, they, too, at ST discretion, can receive XP. Please note that if a scene where these characters are present turns into a fight, these characters will be controlled by an ST, usually the ST of either your splat or the the ST of the scene in question. They will count as 'ally' characters. Priority in scenes with a finite number of slots will always go to other player characters over helper NPCs.
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#22
The Child Flaw, and the Aging Flaw

Let me begin by posting this disclaimer: This is something the STs have been debating for weeks behind closed doors, and we've been agonizing over it with multiple arguments that have at times gotten heated. After painstakingly hashing this out, we've reached a final ruling on this issue:

The Child Flaw is banned.

We know. This is World of Darkness. The Child Flaw has plenty of legitimate uses for the sake of interesting storytelling and plot potential. But there are certain players (and STs) in this game who just cannot bare the sight of children being hurt or abused in any way for reasons stemming from personal trauma, and we have decided to accommodate these players.

That said, we have reached a compromise. While the Child Flaw is banned, the Aging Flaw (M20: Book of Secrets, p. 40, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 pts) is not. This flaw runs the gamut from young teenagers (12-17 years old) all the way up to elderly seniors (age 75+). Note that the Child Flaw specifically states that it applies to characters aged 10 and under, while Aging can apply to teenagers, so if you absolutely must play an adolescent, we will still allow it. Yes, even for vampires, Mummies, Wraiths, and Demons.

For younger characters (including characters who only look young), in addition to physical issues such as height (see: the Short Flaw, (M20: Book of Secrets, p. 41), expect to get weird looks every time you're out late at night or during school hours during the weekdays, and forget getting into bars or nightclubs without having to show ID. In the state of Florida, minors are allowed into some businesses that serve or sell alcohol, so long as they are accompanied by an adult, preferably a parent or legal guardian. Florida also has notoriously strict truancy laws, so if it looks like you're skipping school and a cop notices, be prepared to be asked a few questions.

For older characters, with age comes certain health problems, and sometimes supernatural help just won't be enough. If you were embraced by a vampire in your seventies, the tabula rasa will only bend so far, and you may need a few extra points of blood to accommodate for arthritis or osteoporosis. If you're a Mage, there comes a point where using the Life Sphere or the Time Sphere to keep up with the young whippersnappers doing parkour along the rooftops just breaks the willing suspension of disbelief, and Paradox will hit you for it. And so on, and so forth. Use your common sense. Yes, a lot of elderly people are perfectly healthy and can kick ass with the best of them. A 60 year old man in peak physical condition probably can. Somebody in their eighties is pushing it.

This ruling is final. We have been debating this for a long time and this is the deal we've reached that can make as many people happy as possible. Please do not ask us to take this issue up again.
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#23
Merits that Grant Connections to Other Splats

We've been asked about this before, and it's really about time we make an official ruling on this. There are merits that exist that grant a character deep ties to other supernatural communities, one they would not initially have without that merit. For example, someone who is a Kinfolk can in theory Awaken as a Mage, or someone who was Imbued could be Fae-Blooded without knowing. How do we handle these types of characters? Do they 'count' as being in two splats at once? The answer: Yes, and no.

Your character only counts towards the 'population' of their primary splat.

For example: If you are a Mage that took the Shapechanger Kin merit (4 pts, M20: Book of Secrets, p. 74), you are still considered a Mage, and not a part of the Werewolf splat as far as population goes. However, you must still coordinate with the Werewolf ST(s), because depending on the Tribe you are Kinfolk to, they will not take kindly to one of their own becoming a Willworker and potentially turning their back on their blood. Even if you picked one of the more open-minded Tribes, you must still coordinate with the Werewolf ST(s), because even if you aren't considered a part of the splat as far as the game's population count is concerned, you are still deeply connected to it, and a part of the splat in all but name.

All of these merits are very much double-edged swords, granting both benefits and drawbacks. Coordinating with the STs of two different splats can be fun, but be prepared to be pulled in two different directions in-game... which may mean eventually your character alienates one side or the other, whether intentionally or not.

Note that this does not apply to characters who are primarily a Ghoul, Kinfolk, etc. This applies to, but is not limited to, the following types of characters who took the corresponding merit, or otherwise gained deep ties to a splat through in-game actions:
  • Kinfolk: If having taken the Shapechanger Kin merit (4 pts, M20: Book of Secrets, p. 74). You must decide with the ST(s) of both your primary splat and the Werewolf ST(s) which tribe you are Kinfolk to. Choose wisely; certain Tribes are less accepting of potential outsider influence than others...
  • Ghouls: If your character is primarily a ghoul, you can ignore this. If, however, you were ghouled during the course of the game or took the Ghoul merit (5 pts, M20: Book of Secrets, p. 75), you must coordinate with both the ST(s) of both your splat, and the Vampire ST(s). Note that becoming a ghoul, while having a few obvious benefits, also has very major drawbacks: A Mage, for example, choosing to hang around Nightfolk and becoming a junkie hooked on their blood will lose their Avatars eventually, and will become a pariah in the eyes of their Tradition and their Chantry (God help you if you're a Technocrat). The good news is that someday, you might become a candidate for the embrace.
  • Kinain: If you took the Fae Blood merit (4 pts, M20: Book of Secrets, p. 74), you, again, must coordinate with both your splat's ST(s) and the Changeling ST(s). This means you might want to watch your Banality score.
  • Thralls: See Fallen Mechanics. If you form a Pact with a Fallen Player Character (which must be done in-game and not at character creation), you automatically gain the Bound flaw (5 points, M20: Book of Secrets, p.92), and from that point on, must coordinate with both your splat's ST(s), and the STs for Demon. If you made a deal with some other type of entity (Wyrm Banes, Apophis, etc.), talk to the relevant splat ST.
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