New Merits

VtM

Merits

Merits represent advantages a character may have due to
circumstance and opportunity. They include material possessions
and social networks, elements external to the physical
changes brought on by the Embrace. While the World of
Darkness Rulebook describes Merits in greater detail and provides
lists of examples, vampires are removed somewhat from
mortal society and often require unique or specialized Merits.
What follows are traits designed solely for vampires, allowing
players to further distinguish their characters from ordinary
mortals and other nonhuman beings. These Merits are
available at character creation and during the course of the
chronicle. The first instance assumes that your vampire character
is already Embraced at the beginning of play or is Embraced
very soon afterward. (It’s not possible for a strictly mortal
character to have the following traits as presented here.)

Haven (• to •••••; special)

Effect: 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 on
Haven 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.

Haven Size

• 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
Haven Security
may not rise above 5 (to a maximum of 15 points spent on
this Merit).

Special: It’s possible for the Haven Merit to be shared among
characters in a close-knit group. They might simply be devoted
to one another and willing to pool what they have, or
perhaps their mutual reliance on an individual or trust could
bring them together to share what they have in common.
To share this Merit, two or more characters simply have to
be willing to pool their dots for greater capability. A shared
rating in the Haven Merit cannot rise higher than five dots in
any of the three aspects of the trait. That is, characters cannot
pool more than five points to be devoted to, say, Haven
Size. If they wish to devote extra points to the Merit, they
must allocate those dots to a different aspect of the Merit,
such as Location or Security.
Shared Haven dots can be lost. Coterie members or associates
might be abused or mistreated, ending relationships.
Group members might perform actions that cast
themselves (and the group) in a bad light. Money might
be spent or lost. If any group member does something to
diminish the haven, its dots decrease for all group members.
That’s the weakness of sharing dots in this Merit. The
chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The Storyteller
dictates when character actions or events in a story compromise
shared Haven dots.
Characters can also leave a shared haven. A rift might
form between close Kindred. A character might meet Final
Death. Or one could be kicked out of the haven by the others.
When a character leaves a shared-Haven relationship,
the dots he contributed are removed from the pool. If the
individual still survives, he doesn’t get all his dots back for
his own purposes. He gets one less than he originally contributed.
So, if a character breaks a relationship with his coterie,
his two Haven dots are lost by the group, but he gets
only one dot back for his own purposes. The lost dot represents
the cost or bad image that comes from the breakup. If
all members agree to part ways, they all lose one dot from
what they originally contributed.
The Storyteller decides what reduced dots mean in the story
when a character leaves a shared haven. Perhaps no one else
picks up the character’s attention to Haven Security, leaving
that to drop. The haven might not be tended as fastidiously,
causing a drop in the Haven Location value. Maybe a portion
of the haven falls into disuse or even collapses, causing an
effective drop in Haven Size. Whatever the case, a plausible
explanation must be determined.
A character need not devote all of her Haven dots to the
shared Haven Merit, of course. A Kindred might maintain a
separate haven of her own outside the communal one represented
by the shared trait. Any leftover dots that a character
has (or is unwilling to share) signify what she has to draw
upon as an individual, separate from her partners. For example,
three characters share a haven and expend a group total of
five dots. One character chooses to use two other dots on a
private haven for herself. Those remaining two dots represent
a haven entirely separate from what she and her partners
have established together.
To record a shared Haven Merit on
your character sheet, put an asterisk next
to the name of the Haven Merit and fill
in the total dots that your character has
access to thanks to his partnership. In
order to record his original contribution,
write it in parentheses along with the
Merit’s name. It is not important to note
which aspect of the Haven Merit on
which those points are spent, as this allows
greater flexibility should a character
ever decide to withdraw from the
community arrangement. The result
looks like this:
In this example, the character shares
a Haven Merit dedicated to the coterie’s
communal shelter. He contributes two dots to the relationship,
and the group has a total of four dots that are made available
to each member. The character also has his own private
Haven Merit rated •••, which he maintains by himself. And,
the character has Retainer rated •• that is also his own Merit.

Herd (• to •••••)

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 •••••; special)

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 three areas — City, Clan and Sect. Players must
choose one of these three 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 represents a vested responsibility and according
acknowledgement in the affairs of a domain. Regardless
of clan and Sect, 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.

CITY STATUS

• Acknowledged
•• Sheriff or “accomplished individual”
••• Harpy, Seneschal, Keeper of Elysium or “much deserved
reputation”
•••• Regent, Primogen, Herald or “cornerstone of
Kindred society”
••••• Prince or “true paragon”

Clan Status is concerned with lineage and the Blood. At the
outset of a chronicle, a Kindred’s standing often reflects the
prestige her sire has gained and passed along, such as with regard
to the Ventrue. Many assume that childer who were Embraced
by powerful and influential members of the clan have
already shown some special quality or excellence, otherwise
they would not have been chosen by so great a sire. This kind
of recognition is short lived, however. A neonate might enjoy
prestige by association under the purview of her sire, but such a
favored childe is expected to make a name for herself.
Vampires who truly embody the ideals of their clan and
who establish themselves in positions of power and influence
(often as Prisci) gain the respect of others in their clan, being
perceived as models for success. While the Daeva tell tales of
particularly vicious Harpies of distant cities, the Gangrel speak
of brooding hulks who confidently brave the Lupine-infested
wilds alone. Those who diverge from the expected behavior
of the clan in remarkable ways gain renown (or notoriety), as
well, perhaps founding bloodlines that become known to vampire
society as a whole.
Clan Status is not so rigidly defined as City Status. While
individual clan titles might arise, the notion of esteem is more
general in this context.
Sect Status represents rank, achievement and responsibility,
less concerned with clan ideals and more with Sect
actions, philosophies and accomplishments. The various
Sects 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 Sect is concerned with what its
members have done to benefit its cause and combat its rivals.
Those Kindred who enjoy the greatest Sect-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 Sects, generally looking
to further certain idealistic goals and establish themselves or
other members in positions of influence in the local hierarchy.
in order to gain the benefits of any special abilities of that

SECT STATUS

• The character is known to a select subset of the clan/
Sect — a spy network, perhaps.
•• The majority of the clan/Sect in the city
recognizes the character’s face and can recall
her exploits.
••• The character’s deeds are known to all in the local
Sect, even in other nearby cities; many
members of other Sects 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/Sect; her exploits are taught to new
members of the clan/Sect.

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, Sect Status adds to dice pools for interactions
with members of the same Sect, 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 Sect 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.
Sect 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 Sects. A character
may never have more than three dots total in Sect
Status among multiple Sects. A double-agent,
for example, might take two dots worth of Sect Status
(Anarchs) and a single dot of Sect Status (Lancea
Sanctum), representing the character’s true allegiance to the
Anarchs as well as the fact that he’s in on the ground floor
of the Camarilla so that he can feed information back
to his Anarch fellows. A character may even have a single
dot of Sect Status in three different Sects — 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 Sect is not beholden to the
three-dot limit.
A character with dots in Sect Status through multiple
factions does indeed gain access to those Sects’
special benefits. Sects 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 Sect
Status is limited to three dots. By the time a character
gains a certain degree of Status in a single Sect, he
sticks out like a sore thumb if he turns up among another
Sect’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).

New Merits

Game Idea Voidoblivion