- Paul is the only one who can have a Retainer, Mentor and Allies in the Criminal (Vampire) World. However anyone can have Contacts.
- Since the Luchesse family runs the largest Criminal Organisation in Chicago, each Dot in City Status also gives one free dot in Status: Criminals.
- Since the Lucheese Bloodline is the Main Bloodline, Clan Status had been removed for redundency.
Haven (• to •••••) Edit
A haven is a place where a vampire sleeps, protected from the sun during the deadly daylight hours. Legends tell of vampires in dark, twisted citadels on high mountain peaks, complete with labyrinthine catacombs, but the reality is far less grandiose. In truth, a haven can be as simple as a sewer or an abandoned warehouse or a crate in a forgotten storage closet, as long as it is undisturbed between dawn and dusk.
All havens are not created equal. A warehouse might have plenty of space and proximity to a significant amount of prey, but it might not be secure against unwanted visitors. An abandoned subway car in a long-forgotten tunnel has space and adequate security, but it might be so far out of the way that finding prey is difficult. Great time and effort is spent finding suitable havens, and their value is represented by three factors — location, size and security. Players who choose this Merit must also choose how to allocate these three factors when spending points. For instance, two points may be spent on Haven Location, with a third spent onHaven Security.
A good Haven Location makes it easier for a vampire to feed, situated near a meeting place for large numbers of humans. A haven with many dots in this category might be close to several nightclubs or bars that do considerable nighttime business, while one with few dots might simply be close to a bus or train station that brings travelers on a regular basis. Each dot of Haven Location grants a +1 die bonus on hunting checks for the character who controls it and any whom she allows in. Havens without any dots in Location are sufficiently secluded so as to not provide any bonus.
Haven Size is important to characters who need a place to safely store their possessions and valuables. A haven with no dots in Haven Size is just large enough for its owner and perhaps a single companion, with minimal if any storage capacity— the aforementioned crate in the forgotten storage closet, or a cramped apartment. By spending points to increase a haven’s size, a player allows for accoutrements and personal effects. Larger havens can be anything from mansions to mountain hideaways to vast subterranean catacombs. Note, however, that havens of considerable size are not necessarily easy to maintain.
• A small apartment or underground chamber; 1-2 rooms
•• A large apartment or small family home; 3-4 rooms
••• A warehouse, church or large home; 5-8 rooms, or large enclosure•••• A abandoned mansion or network of subway tunnels; equivalent of 9-15 rooms or chambers
••••• A sprawling estate or vast network of tunnels; countless rooms or chambers
Of course, Haven Location and Haven Size do not prevent rival vampires from attempting to find and steal choice havens, nor do they prevent intrusion by mortals (police, criminal organizations, social workers). Players of characters who wish to ensure privacy and safety may choose to spend points on Haven Security, thus making it difficult for others to gain entrance. Havens with no dots in Haven Security can be found by those intent enough to look, and offer little protection once they have been breached. Each dot of Haven Security subtracts one die from efforts to intrude into the haven by anyone a character doesn’t specifically allow in. This increased difficulty may be because the entrance is so difficult to locate (behind a bookcase, under a carpet) or simply difficult to penetrate (behind a vault door). Also, each dot of Haven Security offers a +1 bonus on Initiative for those inside against anyone attempting to gain entrance (good sight lines, video surveillance). Characters whose players spend no points at all on Haven might have their own small, humble havens, or perhaps they share the haven of a sire or Prince. In any event, they simply do not gain the mechanical benefits of those who have spent Merit points improving the quality of their homes. Each aspect of the Haven Merit has a limit of 5. In other words, Haven Location, Haven Size and Haven Security may not rise above 5.
Herd (• to •••••) Edit
Some vampires tire of the hunt and seek to develop a small group of mortals upon whom they can feed without fear. Such a herd may take many forms, from a brothel of prostitutes to a blood cult worshipping a vampiric god. These mortals provide nourishment without the difficulties of the hunt. Typically, herds are not very controllable or closely connected to the vampires who use them, nor do they possess great skill in any one area. (For effective agents, the Allies or Retainers Merit is more suitable.) Each dot of Herd adds one die to feeding rolls (p. 164).
Status (• to •••••) Edit
While certain Merits detailed in the World of Darkness Rulebook focus on recognition in mortal society, certain Status concerns itself with the social orders of the night and represents recognition among other vampires. Status is divided into two areas — City and Covenant. Players must choose one of these two areas for each Merit point spent.
(Enterprising Storytellers may come up with additional types of Status, and clever players might have unique applications as well. Status is designed as a sort of “umbrella” Merit, under which new types can be created.)
City Status Edit
represents a vested responsibility and according acknowledgement in the affairs of a domain. Regardless of clan and covenant, certain individuals rise to the top of the social or feudal strata, exemplary because of their efforts in the name of the domain as a whole. Princes, Regents, Primogen, Harpies and other “officers” of a given domain fit this description.
Additionally, City Status represents those Kindred who aren’t part of the prevailing social structure, but who nonetheless have significant esteem, sway or reputation among the Kindred. Examples include bosses of powerful gangs, Kindred who have considerable influence in specialized areas (prominent businessmen, city government, health care and hospitals, religious communities), or even just those who are powerful in their own right but largely apolitical, as with a potent elder who abstains from city responsibilities but whose territory is respected by all other local Kindred.
In some cases, City Status is very much a chicken-and-egg situation — does Prince Maxwell have City Status 5 because he’s Prince, or did his accumulated City Status result in his claiming praxis? In other cases, City Status obviously reflects accomplishment, as with a political activist who has many mortal supporters — but those supporters obviously didn’t join his cause because they knew he was a vampire. Harpies, in particular, make much of these distinctions, but some speculate that that’s because their own Status falls under the definition of City Status.
• Hound or “rising star”
•• Sheriff or “accomplished individual”
••• Harpy, Seneschal, Master of Elysium or “muchdeserved reputation”
•••• Regent, Primogen, Herald or “cornerstone of Kindred society”
••••• Prince or “true paragon”
Covenant Status Edit
represents rank, achievement and responsibility, less concerned with clan ideals and more with covenant actions, philosophies and accomplishments. The various covenants are not bound by any supernatural means or governed by clan lineage. They find a commonality of goals and ideologies, instead. It is not enough to be powerful or exemplary of clan ideals; a covenant is concerned with what its members have done to benefit its cause and combat its rivals. Those Kindred who enjoy the greatest covenant-based esteem are often the core members of their factions in a given city, those around whom others rally. These Kindred instigate or mediate conflict with other covenants, generally looking to further certain idealistic goals and establish themselves or other members in positions of influence in the local hierarchy. A Mekhet in command of a massive spy network might have status within his clan, but the lowliest of his spies might risk her unlife to gather a specific piece of information that helps oust the Invictus Prince, subsequently enjoying far more status with, say, the Ordo Dracul than her master.
A character must have at least a single dot of Covenant Status in order to gain the benefits of any special abilities of that covenant. In other words, a character must have at least one dot of Covenant Status (Lancea Sanctum) in order to learn Theban Sorcery. Or a character must have at least one dot of Covenant Status (Invictus) to take advantage of the experience-point break on the Herd, Mentor, Resources and Retainer Merits. If a character leaves a covenant after learning some of its secrets, he does not lose any of those traits for which he paid experience points, but he may not learn additional dots of those traits (or additional dots at that particular price break, as with the Invictus and the Carthians). See p. 91-92 for the complete list of which covenants grant which benefits.
Like Clan Status, Covenant Status is not so specifically tied to certain titles. It is more a notion of an individual’s accomplishments.
A Lancea Sanctum Priest, for example, has a greater title than, say, a noted ethicist of the covenant, but that ethicist might have written numerous treatises on the state of undeath and the soul, according her more esteem among her peers than the Priest who rides solely on the weight of her title.
• The character is known to a select subset of the clan/covenant — a spy network, perhaps.
•• The majority of the clan/covenant in the city recognizes the character’s face and can recall her exploits.
••• The character’s deeds are known to all in the local covenant, even in other nearby cities; many members of other covenants recognize her face.
•••• Word of the character’s exploits has traveled far, and her name is known in cities around the country.
••••• The character’s name and face are synonymous with her clan/covenant; her exploits are taught to new members of the clan/covenant.
Status can serve as a mixed blessing, however. Those who enjoy the most might be able to use it to their advantage, but they are also visible targets for their enemies. High levels of Status make it almost impossible to pass unnoticed, even while they open doors that would otherwise remain closed. Status works like a “social tool” in that it adds to dice pools for social interactions between members of the sub-group in question. That is, Covenant Status adds to dice pools for interactions with members of the same covenant, Clan Status enhances interactions with members of the same Clan, and City Status affects those who are recognized residents of the given domain. City Status, however, may be ignored by those who are among the unbound.
Status does not add to dice pools predicated on supernatural powers. For example, a Prince’s City Status is not added to a dice pool for use of his Dread Gaze power.
Dealing with Status can be a mire of responsibility, though clever characters can turn it to their advantage. They may actually have a variety of Status — it is not unheard of for a character to have City Status, Clan Status and Covenant Status. A character may have Clan Status only as a member of his own clan. For instance, a Nosferatu never gains Clan Status (Gangrel) no matter how much aid he provides the Savages. His aid of the Gangrel may certainly earn him esteem, but such concern is better handled on a case-by-case basis by the Storyteller, not in the form of Clan Status.
Covenant Status is unique in that a character may, on occasion, have more than one form of it. This occurs almost exclusively at low levels, where a character is often beneath the notice of most other members of his covenants. A character may never have more than three dots total in Covenant Status among multiple covenants. A double-agent, for example, might take two dots worth of Covenant Status (Carthians) and a single dot of Covenant Status (Lancea Sanctum), representing the character’s true allegiance to the Carthians as well as the fact that he’s in on the ground floor of the Lancea Sanctum so that he can feed information back to his Carthian fellows. A character may even have a single dot of Covenant Status in three different covenants — perhaps he’s somewhat accomplished in each, but has yet to determine where his true loyalties lie. Naturally, a character with Status in only one Covenant is not beholden to the three-dot limit.
A character with dots in Covenant Status through multiple factions does indeed gain access to those covenants’ special benefits. Covenants expect certain contributions of their members, however, and if other Kindred find out that the vampire in question plays multiple sides against the middle, he might see that Status vanish in a single night in which he’s called upon to account for his treacheries. Such is also the reason that cumulative Covenant Status is limited to three dots. By the time a character gains a certain degree of Status in a single covenant, he sticks out like a sore thumb if he turns up among another covenant’s members. (An exception to this might occur if a character is truly some sort of deep-cover agent or other mole, but that circumstance is best handled at the Storyteller’s discretion).
Tunnel Rat (• to •••) Edit
Homeless or investigative vampires who have spent all or most of their Requiems in Chicago may have gained some knowledge of the vast and complicated system of connected el tunnels, abandoned freight tunnels, deep tunnels, sewers and commuter train tunnels that riddle the land beneath the city. This Merit indicates how well the character knows this interconnecting suite of tunnels. Characters may add their dots in this Merit to Survival dice pools made within the Undercity, in addition to the effects described below. It should be noted that any Kindred who starts bringing unwanted visitors into the Undercity makes enemies of his fellow tunneldwellers in no time.
• The character has ventured into the tunnels once or twice. He’s safe so long as he stays on the biggest and busiest passageways. Getting from one place to another strictly through the tunnels may take up to twice as long as it would on the surface. Penalties to dice pools for navigation and survival in the Undercity are reduced by one (e.g., from –3 to –2).
•• The character has a solid, but imperfect, understanding of Chicago’s tunnels. He may specialize in one kind of tunnel (el tunnels or freight tunnels, for example), or he may stick to primary and secondary tunnels. Traveling from one place to another through the Undercity is no more time-consuming than surface travel. Penalties to dice pools for navigation and survival in the Undercity are reduced by two (e.g., from –3 to –1).
••• The character knows the Undercity in an up-close and personal way. She has personally explored dozens of tunnels down to the smallest service conduit and probably spends most of her active time down in the Undercity. She can tell her location in the tunnels by one or two subtle landmarks and knows the fastest routes to get anywhere. A character with this level of knowledge need never fear getting lost in the Undercity and cuts travel time by 25% when traveling between any two points in Chicago via the tunnels. Penalties to dice pools for navigation and survival in the Undercity are reduced by three (e.g., from –3 to 0).