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 Status. How to play it. How to use it.

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PostStatus. How to play it. How to use it.

STATUS
Rule or be ruled. In the Danse Macabre, nothing is as much a measure of control, manipulation and desire as the esteem granted a Kindred by his peers. 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.

Example: Loki wants access to the Mekhet Priscus, but the Priscus is already occupied with an envoy from Clan Daeva. He instead finds himself dealing with one of her aides, another Mekhet.
Loki, a Mekhet himself, tries to convince the aide that he has important business to discuss with the Priscus. His player adds Clan Status to a Manipulation + Persuasion dice pool. Loki has Manipulation 2, Persuasion 3 and Clan Status (Mekhet) 2, creating a pool of seven dice for the task. 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 Majesty power.

Status is fluid, however. Once play begins, a character’s actions (and the reactions of those round him) have as much to do with his standing as any expenditure of experience. This flow of esteem and rank is one of the clearest manifestations of the Danse Macabre. In any large chronicle, Status acts as the essential measure of standing, respect and reputation accorded to a vampire by undead society. As explained, Status can take several forms: Clan, Covenant and City. These Merits collectively determine reputation and renown in Kindred society as a whole. Characters with very high Status traits are so well known that most socially aware vampires know their names, even far from the celebrities’ own domains. Status is not a blunt weapon, though. It is a scalpel that must be used carefully. Apply too much pressure and the tool breaks. Relying on Status to open all social doors is likely to establish a Kindred’s reputation as boorish and unworthy of his high standing. At the same time, failing to cultivate the respect of one’s peers by participating in Kindred society leads to deteriorated Status. High standing is a mantle that requires constant care. Those who wield it are under attack from those below, as well as under close scrutiny by those on the same level and above.
This section details a variety of systems related to Status, but it is the players, Storytellers and the chronicle that provide a context for these systems. The in-game means through which two Kindred achieve the same Status dots can vary greatly. A social wallflower who is the progeny of the Prince, and an unbound rabble-rouser who has proved effective, might have both City Status 2, but they aren’t treated the same. Similarly, a high Status does not mean a “better” vampire, simply one with more respect in a certain group. Status is somewhat rigid among the clans and covenants, but each group has its own standards and its own ways to appoint leaders. The Ordo Dracul values research into arcane knowledge above all else, and holds the most advanced scholars in high esteem. The Circle of the Crone emphasizes a Kindred’s spiritual nature, and the most fervent priestesses hold the highest positions. The Ventrue prize temporal achievements such as political influence, favors owed and material resources. Clan and Covenant Status thus rarely carry over to Kindred outside of those groups. Few Ventrue know or care if a particular Mekhet is famed in her clan as a big-shot hacker, for example.
SPEAKING ABOUT STATUS
“Status” is an out-of-character game term. It quantifies perceptions that exist in character, but no Kindred would describe herself (or anyone else) as having “Status 2,” and players should avoid using such terms as much as possible. The terms below can be woven into in-character conversation seamlessly and can even be used in out of-character conversations between players to remain in the habit. These words are generally capitalized so that their system implications are clear. The phrases in quotations are other ways to convey the same information.

• Acknowledged (or “of low standing or rank”
•• Recognized (or “of some standing or rank”
••• Valued (or “of significant standing or rank”
•••• Respected (or “of high standing or rank”
••••• Admired (or “of pre-eminent standing or rank” [1 positions available]

For Example: For declaring Status, one would state that “William Scott is Acknowledged by Clan Gangrel,” “Dillon Radley is Respected in the domain of London,” and “In the eyes of the Invictus, none is more Admired than Joshua Musgrove himself.”
STARTING PLAY
As described in previously with some special exceptions, characters entering an established chronicle cannot begin with City, Clan or Covenant Status dots above 2. Even these scores are appropriate only if a new character enters with an established connection to the city or faction in question. Clan and Covenant Status increases occur as normal through game play adjudicated by the Storyteller, as explained below. Increases in City Status occur entirely as a result of in-character actions and interplay, as explained below, and no further experience expenditures are required. Players should note that characters starting with no City Status (zero dots) can quickly earn their first dot at no cost so long as the Prince accepts them in the city. As outlined below the Prince can also freely grant City Status 1 to any character he acknowledges as a resident of his domain. Players need not spend any Merit dots or experience for these starting scores, but the Storyteller is likely to turn to them to ensure that stories start off right. The Storyteller may strip these City Status dots (without refunding any experience) if characters are portrayed in ways that would weaken their standing in their city.
This allocation of City Status dots is usable regardless of the in-character history of the city, whether Kindred have recently arrived from elsewhere or have been present in the shadows all along. Storytellers should be very selective when allowing characters to gain City Status by founding a domain in play. There must be a significant and differentiated population center of some relevance in the new area. A Kindred shunned in his own city who goes to the nearest small town and declares himself Prince won’t get any respect.
DETERMINING ANOTHER’S STATUS
Kindred are social predators; most struggle for station from the moment of their Embrace until their destruction. But knowing ones’ own standing is useless without being able to tell how esteemed others are. The best way to determine social standing is certainly through roleplaying and interaction, but the degree of attention Kindred pay to discussions of and clues to social position can have a role. When one Kindred meets another, the first player may make a reflexive Intelligence + Occult + the subjects Status to recall if her character has heard of the other in a particular context. Trying to recall City Status, Clan Status or Covenant Status are all separate actions.
This draw can occur only when the observing character reasonably determines the observed Kindred’s identity. An introduction certainly qualifies, but overhearing a name is just as good. If the observed character is never identified, no draw is possible. If he presents himself under an assumed name, then the draw is possible but can determine only the Status of his false identity. For City Status, Kindred can determine only the effective City Status of visitors, not strangers’ true status back home. For their part, visitors who size residents up suffer a penalty equal to that imposed on their own City Status (see below).
For Clan and Covenant Status, the draw fails automatically if the observer has no Clan or Covenant Status of her own or she tries to determine Status across clan or covenant lines.

Failure: The observer has no sense of the subject’s standing. After a failed attempt, the observer cannot try to determine the same Status type for the same subject until a full hour has passed.

Success: The observer recalls the Kindred’s standing (the player knows the other character’s dots of Status). In the case of characters with the relevant Status at zero, the observer knows if the subject has not earned any standing in the domain, clan or covenant, or has somehow been stripped of Status. If the latter case, the observer does not learn how Status was lost unless it was in a blood hunt.
STATUS AND TRAVEL
Kindred are predominantly sedentary creatures and their ranks and privileges do not travel well. Still, the clans and covenants do provide means to send word from domain to domain, and a powerful Prince traveling abroad is still afforded respect. Clan and Covenant Status do not change as a character travels. A Cardinal of the Lancea Sanctum abroad still outranks a local parish priest. The visiting worthy may not have the local resources to enforce his will, however, so respect of domain remains a wise move for traveling Kindred, even among clan and covenant mates.
City Status is the most bound to the conditions of a particular domain. This specificity makes it an effective tool in that locale, but also makes the trait highly unsuited to travel. Characters visiting a domain have no true City Status, but do gain an effective rating based on their reputation back home and how far they have traveled. A visitor’s effective City Status is equal to her City Status in her home domain, modified as follows:

EFFECTIVE CITY STATUS WHEN TRAVELING

Character Is... City Status Modifier
From a neighboring City: -1
In his home region, but not city -2
In his home nation, but not region -3
Outside his home nation -4


These penalties are levied on a character’s City Status when he leaves his home city, and don’t reflect on any bonuses for being part of the eminent clan or ascendant covenant (in either his home city or the one he visits). If a character is under a blood hunt in his home city, his City Status in his home city is considered zero (and so is effective City Status is also zero). What’s more, a visitor’s effective City Status can never be higher than 3. The above penalties also apply to any attempts a visitor makes to determine the City Status of a resident in a visited domain (see “Determining Another’s Status,” above). Effective City Status does not grant any special powers or privileges and cannot be used as a “social tool” as native City Status can. Instead, it denotes a level of respect that a character’s reputation reasonably carries outside his home domain.
Visitors are largely immune to the games of Status in a city through which they pass. The worst a Prince and his Harpies can do is strip a newcomer of effective City Status in the visited domain. This has no effect on the visitor’s City Status back home. Even the effects of a blood hunt are only local. The Prince or a Harpy may send word of an infraction, praiseworthy deed or blood hunt back to the visitor’s home domain, but any result is dependent on officials back home taking action.
Princes cannot flatly refuse to acknowledge Kindred who have any effective City Status (one or more dots). They may, however, use their powers to reduce visitors’ City Status down to 1 and to strip that last dot, revoking any welcome. Doing so is trivial in the case of those who arrive with an effective City Status of 1, accomplished with a simple princely fiat that the outsider is unwelcome in the domain. Dealing with those with grander reputations can be harder and requires a Prince to strip the visitor’s legitimacy through concerted effort, usually through a series of public insults or reprimands. If a visiting character decides to stay in a new domain, the effective City Status she would have as a visitor to the city becomes her new City Status dots. Status in her former domain is lost (although she can return as a visitor). Kindred may only consider one place their home domain.

Note that holding an official position in a domain does not grant dots of City Status or any guarantee of esteem. However, the rough equivalencies between City Status and the positions provided can serve as guidelines. Characters in official positions and with significantly lower City Status than suggested are unlikely to rest easy in their roles. A Primogen with only two dots of City Status has to tread carefully, lest he anger the Prince and find himself stripped of all rank. The actual naming of positions other than those described here occurs purely through roleplaying. The Prince and Harpies (and to a more limited degree, the Prisci and Master of Elysium) are the most immediate adjudicators of City Status. Actual City Status dots and in-character favors and rights create a vicious circle of sorts. City Status can translate into access to the Prince and to favors, but to gain City Status, a Kindred must do favors for the Prince or Harpies. Such is the give and take of the Danse Macabre.

STATUS POINTS
The Prince and the two main Harpies of a domain are unique in that they have points as well as dots of City Status. Like those of Willpower, these points can be spent for a variety of effects. They replenish on the night of the court gathering every month. If for some reason an individual stops holding a position that grants Status points, the character immediately loses access to their effects. If another character ascends to the vacant position, the new officer may use only the points that remain unspent for the month. An election or appointment doesn’t refresh the pool until the beginning of the next Gathering. To see how many Status points a Prince or Harpy has, see the sections on the individual positions, below. Note that in cities that use different names for equivalent Kindred officials, those officials follow the same basic rules.
Points of City Status can be spent to award another character a permanent dot of City Status, or to remove one. No Prince or Harpy can grant more than one dot to a single character within the same calendar month, but the official can remove more than one dot at one time (at a cost of one point per dot in either case). [Clarification 10/11/2009: No Character may gain more then 1 status per Game and it's following Downtime period] No Prince or Harpy can affect her own City Status with these points. They can affect each other’s traits, however. Granting each other more than one dot over the course of 12 months is a sin against the city, see “Status Sins and Deeds,”

A character’s last dot of City Status cannot be removed due to the expenditure of a Prince or Harpy’s Status points. Only the Prince and the Master of Elysium have the ability to strip that last dot and they do so without any expenditure of Status points (see below).

• The Prince: The Prince’s Status points are equal to his personal City Status (after taking into account any bonuses provided by the position of his clan, covenant and age, see below). In addition to spending Status points to grant or remove dots of City Status (as described above), the Prince has special power over the first dot of City Status that another vampire has. Granting that initial dot represents the Prince’s sanction of a Kindred to hunt in the city. The Prince can grant that first dot to any character who otherwise has no City Status, and at no cost to the newly Acknowledged vampire (in experience) or to himself (in Status points). The Prince can similarly strip a character who has (OR HAS BEEN REDUCED TO) City Status 1 of her last dot. He does so by casting the character out of the city or by clearly implying he no longer cares for her fate (this is distinct from an actual blood hunt; see below). In the very rare cases when he feels an entire group has betrayed the city (or his rule), a Prince may declare an entire clan or covenant unwelcome in his domain. All members of the group who have City Status 1 immediately lose that dot at no cost to the Prince’s Status points, but those with higher City Status must be stripped of it dot by dot as usual. Eminent and rival clans and the ascendant and contender covenants are immune to such sweeping declarations (see below).

• Too many or too Few Princes: There can usually be only a single Prince in a city, but there are instances when two or more rival Princes claim domain over a city and they refuse to recognize one another’s claims. In this care, calculate the total City Status dots of all active characters who support each contender. The contender with the highest total gets Status points and their related abilities. Other contenders cannot grant Status and their supporters are liable to face loss of personal Status by the winner’s decree — one reason why Kindred contenders for the throne usually keep their ambitions closely guarded. In cities with no single point of authority, the highest City Status of any of the individual Kindred involved in the ruling council (or similar body) equals the points that are at the disposal of the council to spend. Allocating them usually requires a prior arrangement among council members and the Storyteller. Say, a majority vote is needed, or anyone may access the points whenever they want to, without consultation.

• The Prince’s Harpy: The Prince can appoint a Harpy at his discretion, empowering a Kindred to grant his esteem (or to remove it). The Prince’s Harpy retains her own personal City Status dots, and gains Status points equal to the Prince’s own City Status (even if that means she has more points than dots). The eminence or ascendancy of the Prince’s clan or covenant affects his Harpy’s Status points, while her own affiliations affect only her City Status dots. Although the Harpy’s pool of points starts at the same number as the Prince’s, it is distinct — the Harpy and Prince do not share points. The Prince’s Harpy can spend them to bequeath or remove City Status dots from others, and can also act as an arbiter of prestation. She cannot serve as Prince, Priscus or a Primogen.
• The Prisci: The eldest (or most respected) members of each clan stand as the domain’s Prisci. No Kindred without appropriate Clan Status can serve as a Priscus, and if there is a dispute over who a clan’s Priscus is, the contender with the highest amount of Clan Status is generally the victor, but if the rival Clan members have equal Clan status then whom ever has the highest Clan and City Status is the victor for the purposes of all Prisci votes. If this too is equal, then it is who has majority support with in the Clan. If only a single member of a given clan has been visible or active in a domain over the previous three months, the other Prisci do not have to accept a Priscus from that clan. The Prisci have no impetus to agree or cooperate, other than that they can empower a Harpy of their own. For a domain to have a second Harpy, there must be at least two Prisci who do not also hold the title of Primogen. Without that number, the city is simply too weak to support a second Harpy. A character must gain (and retain) the support of a majority of the Prisci who are not also Primogen or Prince to be named their Harpy, otherwise they are no longer Harpy. If a majority of such Prisci cannot agree, they cannot name hold a Harpy or name a new one. No Priscus can serve as a Harpy.

• The Prisci’s Harpy: Once selected by the Prisci, their Harpy retains her own Status dots and gains Status points equal to the highest City Status among the Prisci supporting her (even if that means having more points than dots). She can spend them to grant and remove City Status dots to and from others in the domain, and can also act as an arbiter of prestation. The Prisci’s Harpy cannot serve as Prince, Priscus or a Primogen.

• The Master of Elysium: The Master of Elysium has no City Status points of his own, but can remove dots from Kindred who perpetrate violence within Elysium or who otherwise violate the institution. He does so at his sole discretion and may remove up to one dot per week from any single Kindred (and may do so to as many Kindred as he sees fit as long as they have violated Elysium in some manner). The Master of Elysium can remove a Kindred’s last dot of City of Status in this manner.

THE CASE OF BLOOD HUNTS
The Prince can call a blood hunt on any Kindred in his domain. Doing so temporarily removes all of the subject’s City Status dots until the matter is settled — usually with the target’s destruction. The Prince (or his successor) can reinstate a hunted character’s City Status (thus ending the hunt) at his discretion and at no cost in Status points. The succession of a new Prince (whether through peaceful means or not) immediately ends all ongoing blood hunts, unless the new Prince explicitly announces any of them to be still active. This does mean that one way out of a blood hunt is to eliminate the Prince, although a formerly hunted Kindred publicly revealed to have ended the hunt by such means immediately loses all of his City Status dots. Note that the hunt on such an offending character is not restored, but the current Prince can call a new one. A Primogen or Priscus can effectively call a blood hunt on a character who doesn’t have any dots in City Status (who thus doesn’t enjoy the Prince’s official protection). If the Prince disapproves, however, he may take steps to protect the target and punish the Primogen or Priscus (perhaps by granting and stripping Status dots as appropriate).

THE PASSAGE OF TIME
City Status is highly contingent on remaining socially active in a domain. A Kindred who has been present at every ball and court or whose name comes up a great deal is likely to have significant standing. Conversely, one who vanishes from sight for months on end or who slips into torpor sees her position erode very quickly.

• Activity: For every 12 consecutive calendar months that a Kindred has been active in a particular domain, acknowledged by its Prince, and has called it her home domain, she gains a dot of City Status. This automatic gain can never raise City Status above 3 and does not apply if the Prince refuses to grant acknowledgment. A Kindred may consider only one place her home domain.

• Inactivity: A Kindred who is not visibly active in her home domain for six months has her
City Status halved (round down). Remaining inactive for another six months results in another halving, and so on. Long-gone Kindred become irrelevant and are forgotten in the fog of time.
The Storyteller overseeing the domain determines activity. If a player attends a game in character, that character is clearly active. Posting on in-character mailing lists or other remote activities may also qualify at the Storyteller’s discretion. Players can maintain several characters so long as activity requirements for each are upheld.

ADJUDICATING STATUS CHANGES
City Status is very fluid and changes largely at the discretion of the players portraying the Prince and Harpies. Storytellers always have the right to step in if they feel an official’s player is being abusive, however. Favoritism and pettiness among characters is altogether appropriate, but is unwelcome among players. To help players and Storytellers adjudicate when an increase or decrease in City Status is justified, the following table presents a series of sins and praiseworthy deeds ranked by dots in the Merit.

In general, Princes and Harpies are justified in stripping City Status from characters who commit sins at their rank of City Status or below. Meanwhile, a character who regularly does a praiseworthy deed of a rank higher than his current City Status can qualify for an increase.

Avoiding sins and praiseworthy deeds can also justify changes in Status. Those who stalwartly avoid Status sins (especially those above their current rating) may be worthy of an increase, while those who fail to accomplish the deeds associated with their current dots or below may well be in for a loss of Status. As always, individual judgment should come into play. When referring to these tables, Storytellers and players can take into account the bonus City Status dots awarded by eminence or ascendancy. Members of a city’s leading clan or covenant gain extra standing, but they must also hold themselves to high standards.

Example: Santini the Nosferatu has City Status 4 and is thus a very important member of the domain. He finds out that the Daeva have organized a party, inviting all the local Ventrue and Mekhet — but no Nosferatu or Gangrel. Annoyed at this display of snobbery, Santini crashes the party, appearing with a number of uninvited guests, and proceeds to let them trash the place — tipping over tables, prodding guests into frenzy, and so on. The Prince’s Harpy, outraged that someone who is held in such high esteem would dare act so boorishly, strips him of a point of City Status right then and there (since “Actively disrupting a gathering of the area Kindred” applies). The Harpy doesn’t think in terms of “Santini committed a level-4 sin,” but rather states that “Santini didn’t display the grace expected from one held in such high esteem in the domain.”

3.13 — SINS AGAINST THE CITY
Status Deeds
••••• Speaking ill of the city or its leadership in public
•••• Failing to attend regular gatherings of the local undead; actively disrupting a gathering of the local Kindred
••• Hindering a local industry or resource; killing a local mortal in a suspicious manner without good cause; a Prince and Harpy exchanging City Status awards with one another more than once a year.
•• Accidental public violations of the Traditions; deliberate private violations of the Traditions; murdering prominent local mortals without dire need; actively disobeying city elders
• Deliberate public violations of the Traditions; wanton slaying of mortals or destruction of property; betraying resident Kindred to outsiders (Lupines, foreign vampires)

3.14 — PRAISEWORTHY DEEDS FOR THE CITY
Status Deeds
••••• Significantly expanding the city’s overall power, resources or reputation; assuming a position of leadership in the city
•••• Expanding the city’s overall power, resources or reputation in a minor way; removing a significant obstacle or threat to local Kindred
••• Devising and implementing plans that further the goals of city elders; carrying out specific plans beyond the norm on behalf of city elders
•• Actively promoting loyalty to the city’s elders; obeying the edicts of all city elders
• Defending the city against outside threats; regularly attending local Kindred functions (without being disruptive)
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