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 Character Creation

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Join date : 2012-02-29

Character Creation Empty
PostCharacter Creation

Step One: Character Concept
Concept needs only to be a general idea — renowned socialite, musical prodigy, heroic savior — but it should be enough to spawn ever more complex ideas about the character’s motives, environment and relationships. Of course, a concept can be far more complex: “My character was a staunch defender of New York’s homeless, fighting for their rights and tending to their needs. His Embrace into the Mekhet clan frightened him into hiding among the downtrodden, who have now come to see him as a predator of the alleys.” Your character’s concept will be fleshed-out in his background (see Step Cool.

Virtues and Vices
The Virtues and Vices available to mortal characters are the same as those available to vampires, though they manifest in different ways. For instance, a character who suffers the Vice of Wrath might be prone to frenzy, while one indulging in Gluttony might leave a trail of exsanguinated bodies in her wake, finding it difficult to stop feeding before victims’ hearts stop. On the other hand, a character with the Virtue of Hope might dedicate his nights to achieving Golconda, while a character with the Virtue of Justice might carefully choose his victims from among those deserving punishment (such as rapists or murderers), becoming a crusader of the night.

Choose one Virtue and one Vice. For more information, see p. 100 of the World of Darkness book.
Virtues: Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence, & Temperance
Vices: Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, & Wrath

Age and Anachronism
For the purposes of classification, a Kindred's age is determined by her Requiem, which refers to the existence of a Kindred after the Embrace. Therefore, if a 30-year old woman was Embraced in 1950, her Requiem would currently have lasted 61 years. She will have existed for 91 years, but only 61 of those as a vampire.

Some vampires can be of considerable age although many are not. For those that are of an older time, remembering the past is not always a marvelous stroll down memory lane. The respect that age garners in Kindred society is a costly one and for good reason. Most Kindred just don’t survive more than a couple of centuries for many reasons beyond the typical troubles of vampirism and the deadly games of politics the Kindred play. Physiological hardships and depression eventually take its toll on the Kindred’s mind driving them to seek salvation through suicide. The following list allows players to alter their character to represent these older Kindred.

0 – 50 years: Neonate
51 – 100 years: Ambitious Ancilla ( -1 Humanity )
101 – 150 years: Seasoned Ancilla ( -2 Humanity )
151 – 200 years: Established Elder ( -2 Humanity with Mild Derangement)
201 – 300 years: Obdurate Elder ( -2 Humanity with a Mild and Severe Derangement)
301 + years: Antiquated Elder ( -2 Humanity with a Mild and Severe Derangement that suffers from ‘Anachronism’ )

Note: These deductions of Humanity do not garner additional experience points for starting characters. However, you can lower your character’s Humanity by up to an additional 2 dots for 5 experience points per dot.

Regardless of what a character's background might say, changing a category requires both IC role-play and storyteller approval. In the case of Neonate or Ancilla, it is usually best to simply create a character who is already that age category, so there will be no confusion later on. Players should clearly define their character's age in their background and on their initial character sheet submitted to the storytellers. A player may not use her background as a means to circumvent the requirements for playing an Elder. Ergo, if a player creates an Ancilla character who is 150 years old, just because she plays the game for one year does not mean she automatically becomes an Elder. She must not only follow the rules above but also the rules for applying to play an Elder. As always, if the Storytellers decide the game has too many Elders, that character will remain an Ancilla until a spot opens up. This is merely to maintain a balance in the game.

NOTE: A few characters in the game may be older than the max presented here. This is usually due to a special arrangement with the Storyteller Council.

The character cannot begin play with any modern skill higher than 1 dot. These skills include Computer, Science, Drive, Firearms, and Streetwise. They also cannot begin play with any Skill Specialization that would lend itself to a modern use. The ST may even penalize them in any challenge that includes modern tech or modern socialization. Such as using Academics while performing research in a modern Library, the use of Larceny while trying to pick a modern dead bolt, or trying to persuade or seduce a teenager.

Dressing the Part
Note that when any description in the books say a court or assembly “resembles” something from the past, it doesn’t mean the Kindred involved are dressed in cloaks, hose and powdered wigs. While some truly eccentric or anachronistic elders might maintain the look they preferred back in their mortal days (at least in private), most aren’t too many years behind the modern fashion. Dressing as an obvious anachronism is a great way to attract attention, and the Kindred know all too well that attention is bad.

Step Two: Select Attributes
After the more qualitative aspects of a character have been solidified, you must assign numbers that support your decisions. The first step in determining a character’s numeric traits is to prioritize his Attributes. Attributes represent raw, natural ability. How strong is the character? How smart? How agile? What impression does he make as he enters a room? Attributes take these questions and more into account, ultimately providing the foundation upon which a character is built.

Characters have nine Attributes, divided into three categories: Mental (Intelligence, Wits, and Resolve), Physical (Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina) and Social (Presence, Manipulation, and Composure).

First, you must decide in which of these categories your character excels the most (primary). You then select the group of Attributes in which your character is average (secondary). Finally, the remaining category is designated as the character’s weakest area of natural talent (tertiary). Is your character a scrawny intellectual or a brute lacking in social graces?

All characters begin with one dot in each Attribute, reflecting the basic capabilities of all human beings. The priorities established in the preceding paragraph determine how many dots are allocated for each Attribute cluster. Five additional dots are added to the primary group, four additional dots to the secondary group and three dots to the tertiary group.

For example, a scrawny intellectual would have five dots in his Mental category, four in his Social and three in his Physical category, while a tactless brute would have five dots in his Physical category, four in his Mental and only three in his Social category.

The fifth dot in any Attribute costs two dots to purchase. So, a player who wants his character to have a Dexterity of 5 needs to spend five dots. (He starts with one free dot, then spends three more to achieve a score of 4, and then spends two more for the fifth dot.)

It’s suggested that any Attribute above a 3 should be mentioned and explained in the character’s background.

Step Three: Select Skills
Skills are divided into the same three subcategories as Attributes: Mental, Physical and Social. Mental Skills tend to rely on knowledge of the world and are improved through study and practical application. Physical Skills rely on training, improved mainly through practice and repetition. Finally, Social Skills rely heavily on interpersonal experience and improve through interaction with others or through trial and error.

Like Attributes, Skill groups must be prioritized during character creation. Players should select primary, secondary and tertiary categories for their Skills. The primary group receives 11 dots, the secondary group gets seven, and the tertiary group receives four. Note that, unlike Attributes, characters do not begin the game with an automatic dot in each Skill, as Skills dots are obtained through dedication to a field, not natural talent alone. As before, the fifth dot in any Skill costs two dots to purchase.

It’s suggested that any Skill above a 3 should be mentioned and explained in the Character’s background.

Step Four: Select Skill Specialties
While characters might have considerable training in Firearms or expertise in Medicine, they excel in certain aspects of these Skills more so than in others. For instance, Officer Grimes might have a special proficiency with his particular sidearm but not with rifles, shotguns or chain guns. He might understand the basic principles of using these firearms, but the bulk of his training has been with his pistol. Represented in game terms, such a character may have three dots in Firearms, with a Skill Specialty in 9mm automatic pistols.

Players choose three Skill Specialties during character creation. These should be very specific, though players may choose more than one Specialty for any given Skill. So, using the previous example, Officer Grimes might have Specialties in both 9mm automatic pistols and 12-gauge shotguns. You may not use any of these starting Skill Specialties to specialize in supernatural powers – you can do that later with experience points.

Step Five: Add Vampire Template
Here is where your character sloughs off her mortal coil and truly becomes a creature of the night. The Embrace changes a character into something no longer mortal, endowing her with special abilities and unique advantages unimagined in her previous existence. Aside from entering a new world based on clan and covenant, supernatural changes affect her Attributes and allow her access to the powers of the Blood.

A character’s clan serves as a sort of extended family of the night, bound by lineage and responsible for certain similarities among its members. Vampires are always of the same clan as the sires that Embrace them, though it is possible to later start a new bloodline that deviates slightly from other close blood relations. Examine the five clan descriptions presented in Vampire: The Requiem (pp. 104-113) and determine which clan you want your character to belong.

NOTE: Your character receives the first dot of the Clan Status Merit for free.

A covenant is more social than familial, concerned with a character’s worldview and relationship to other Kindred rather than the advantages and bonds of the Blood. Each of these societies seeks different goals using (sometimes dramatically) diverse methods, all sure in the knowledge that their way is “right,” or at least more right than all the others. Covenant is not governed by clan or sire, though childer often begin their Requiems in the covenants of their sires, either out of familiarity or promise of status.

The Carthians seek to reconcile Kindred society with modern governmental structures and social systems.

The Circle of the Crone practices dark rituals and venerates a variety of female figures as an amalgamated creator of vampires, the Mother of all Monsters.

The Invictus is the aristocracy of the night.

The Lancea Sanctum seeks to influence Kindred society with the strictures of Longinus, who is believed to have been turned into one of the Damned by the very blood of Christ.

The Ordo Dracul research rituals and mystical knowledge that allows the Kindred to transcend their vampiric states.

If a covenant is chosen during character creation, there is no reason why it can’t be changed as a character comes to more fully understand her place in the world. While a character’s covenant is not set in stone, those who change allegiances are often viewed with suspicion and might have difficulty gaining trust or status within the new social hierarchy. Your character’s covenant need not be decided upon at character creation, though your concept should give some clue as to which covenants are most or least comfortable. Covenants grant certain benefits to their members.

NOTE: If your character belongs to a covenant, they receive the first dot of the Covenant Status Merit for free and gain advantages as follows:

• The Carthians: Members of the Carthians may purchase the Allies, Contacts, Haven and Herd Merits at half the normal experience-point cost. This cost break does not apply to purchases of these Merits during character creation.

• The Circle of the Crone: Members of the Circle of the Crone may learn the Discipline of Crúac.

• The Invictus: Members of the Invictus may purchase the Herd, Mentor, Resources and Retainer Merits at half the normal experience point cost. This cost break does not apply to purchases of these Merits during character creation.

• The Lancea Sanctum: Members of the Lancea Sanctum may learn the Discipline of Theban Sorcery.

• The Ordo Dracul: Members of the Ordo Dracul may learn the Coils of the Dragon.

Unless you receive a special card draw during character creation, you cannot start with a bloodline. One of the special cards will allow you to start the game with a sire who is a member of a bloodline. If you draw this special card, your character may begin play as member of the bloodline as long as he has a Blood Potency of 2 or higher. Otherwise, it will require your character to start with or acquire a 3-dot Mentor (the Avus), Blood Potency 4, and 5 months of training with that Avus to join a bloodline in game (not to mention the standard Willpower dot). Keep in mind that ALL bloodlines are subject to Head-ST approval – don’t bother purchasing the Mentor unless you have been cleared.

Favored Attributes
The Embrace forces drastic changes upon the human body, altering its aspects to that of a vampiric predator. While all vampires possess the same vulnerability to fire and the need to consume blood, their bodies adapt more subtly based on the blood of their sires. Each clan has adjusted somewhat differently to the rigors of the Embrace, choosing a divergent path of development toward becoming a more successful predator breed. These adaptations are carried through the blood of the clan, altering the natural abilities of newly Embraced childer. Each clan has a pair of favored Attributes, enjoying a more acute development of certain natural aspects of the body. Once a clan is chosen, choose one Attribute from a clan’s favored pair and add one dot to it. This additional dot can be the fifth dot in an Attribute.

Clan Favored Attributes (choose one):
Daeva: Dexterity or Manipulation
Gangrel: Composure or Stamina
Mekhet: Intelligence or Wits
Nosferatu: Composure or Strength
Ventrue: Presence or Resolve

When vampires are embraced, their sires teach them certain blood-based mystical powers known as Disciplines. Disciplines are those mysterious and often terrifying capabilities that the Kindred can manifest at will. Taking the shape of an animal, running at superhuman speeds or bending a victim’s will to one’s own are examples of Disciplines in use.

Each character begins with three dots of Disciplines, which can be allocated as you choose. At least two dots must be devoted to a character’s in-clan Disciplines, however, before any thought is given to an out-of-clan Discipline. (That is, you may choose to spend two dots on clan Disciplines and a single dot on an out-of-clan, but not two dots on out-of-clan Disciplines and only one on an in-clan Discipline.)

Animalism: Power over animals and even the Beast of Kindred.
Auspex: Preternatural senses and perception.
Celerity: Superhuman speed.
Coils of the Dragon*: The Ordo Dracul’s secrets of transcendence.
Crúac*: Blood magic practiced by the witches of the Circle of the Crone.
Dominate: The ability to overwhelm the mind.
Majesty: Tremendous force of personality.
Nightmare: Manipulating fear itself.
Obfuscate: Hiding aspects of one’s self, even one’s body.
Protean: Shape-changing and adjustments of the vampiric form.
Resilience: Legendary toughness.
Theban Sorcery*: The Biblical “dark miracles” of the Lancea Sanctum.
Vigor: The epic strength of legendary vampires
* Available to covenant members only.

See the Vampire: The Requiem book for detailed Discipline descriptions (pp. 114-150). Note: Some Discipline powers and/or mechanics may have been altered for play. Please see House Rules for any changes or alterations.

Blood Potency
A character’s Blood Potency represents how much innate, mystical power has concentrated within her undead body. Characters with a high Blood Potency possess both great mastery over their Vitae and more inherent potential in that Vitae. Characters with low Blood Potency are either unpracticed or their Blood is so young or inert as to have little connate potential. All vampire characters receive the Blood Potency advantage at one dot for free. Blood Potency can be increased with Merit-point expenditure at a rate of three to one at character creation. That is, a player may spend three of his character’s seven Merit points for Blood Potency 2, or spend six of his character’s seven Merit points for Blood Potency 3. Blood Potency is described on p. 99 of Vampire the Requiem.

Step Six: Determine Advantages
Determine advantages, traits derived from your Character’s Attributes: Defense (the lower of Dexterity or Wits), Health (Stamina + Size), Initiative (Dexterity + Composure), Humanity (7 for starting characters), Size (5 for most humans), Speed (Strength + Dexterity +5), Willpower (Resolve + Composure). For more information, see ‘World of Darkness, Chapter 4: Advantages.

Vampires lead existences of constant struggle, fighting against their base, predatory natures to retain control of their slipping connections to humanity. Fighting the Beast within them calls for a measure of self-reliance often lacking in ordinary mortals, making Willpower of great value. Vampires’ dangerous emotional situations can lead to violent, mindless frenzy (Vampire: The Requiem, p. 178), and they hold their bestial tendencies in check through sheer force of will. Vampires’ experience points can be spent to recoup lost Willpower dots. See the House Rules section and p. 93 & 230 of Vampire: the Requiem for more information on spending experience. A player may spend vitae in the same turn in which he spends a point of Willpower. For more on spending Vitae, see pp. 156-157 of Vampire: The Requiem.

After the Embrace, a vampire begins to lose touch with those elements of her nature that make her human. These qualities erode over time as the vampire becomes more jaded and the world evolves without her. For this reason, the concept of Morality as outlined in the World of Darkness Rulebook is replaced with Humanity here.

During character creation, you may trade dots of Humanity for experience points. This trade-in reflects some heinous past behavior the vampire engaged in and learned from (accounting for the added experience points), but which also scarred her deeply (explaining the loss in Humanity). Players may sacrifice a dot of Humanity for five experience points, dropping their character’s Humanity by up to two dots for a maximum of 10 extra experience points.

Please take the time to mention this degradation of Humanity in the character’s background.

Step Seven: Select Merits
A beginning character has seven dots worth of Merits, which may be distributed at the player’s discretion. These traits should fit the character concept — a Daeva socialite isn’t likely to have the Stunt Driver Merit, for example, unless her background involves it somehow. A Storyteller may encourage or disallow certain Merits. The fifth dot in any Merit costs two dots to purchase.

Some Merits found in the books may have been altered or removed from game play. Please check with your ST for specifics or you may refer to the House Rules section of our website (http://darkseattlelarp.forumotion.com/f4-merits).

City Status may not be purchased as all characters are considered just starting out in Seattle. The reasons for your character’s arrival could be as simple as searching to find a new home or as grandiose as being politically motivated to strengthen your covenant in the city. Seattle is a fresh start to all characters entering the city and considering that, City Status for all players begins at zero. All characters begin with one dot of the appropriate Clan and Covenant Status. No Character can purchase Clan or Covenant Status higher than a two at character creation without explicit Head ST approval. Mortal Status (from the WOD book) is not limited in anyway.

Starting Equipment
All starting Characters begin play with 3 times their monthly Resource Traits plus 5 in equipment. (If you have no Resources Merit, you start with 5 Resource Traits of starting equipment.) This equipment can be chosen from the ‘World of Darkness’ Book and the ‘Armory’. The ST has the final world on what equipment can enter play at character creation. Characters cannot start with any item outside the World of Darkness, Vampire: the Requiem or the Armory book without special permission from a Head ST. Any of the Resource Traits for starting equipment not used before your character enters play are lost – you cannot bank them.

Step Eight: Character Generation Card Pull
Each player gets to randomly choose a card from a deck of 52 cards. Each card is different and entitles the character to some form of bonus. This bonus can range from Skills, Merits, bloodlines, equipment, or even special merits that cannot be gained in any other way.

Step Nine: Spark of Un-life (Background)
At this point you should have a character, at least in a purely mechanical sense. You have all you need to use your character as a playing piece in your Storyteller’s chronicle, combining Attributes with Skills and drawing cards as necessary. Roleplaying, however, is not simply pitting cards against cards, or using spiffy powers left and right. The previous steps have created a basic framework, a rough sculpture of a character hammered out in the most simplistic of terms. Now is the time to break out the fine tools, refining the crude figure with details and nuance. Examine the dots on your character sheet and figure out why they’re there. What in your character’s life made him pick up his first firearm and begin training? How did he learn so much about the ways of the street or the methods of intimidation? When did he pick up his rudimentary medical skills? How will this background come across in the story? What parts don’t you know yet about your character?

Just like working a fine sculpture, shape and polish your character’s physical, psychological and background details to make him one of a kind, even among the undead. Just what exactly does having a Presence of 3 mean? Does your character possess the chiseled features of a runway model, causing all eyes to turn his way as he enters a room? Or does he have the hardened look of a dockyard worker who isn’t to be trifled with? Perhaps he exudes an air of old money and confidence from behind his tailored suits and fine jewelry. What features cause others to react to him with such intensity? What color are his eyes, his hair, his skin? Does he have a clean cut, refined look or perhaps a nasty scar running from his scalp down between his eyes to his neck? Is his voice harsh and raspy, silky smooth or does he stutter, relying wholly on his looks to carry him?

While these final touches might seem the least necessary, they are the most important. Otherwise, your Ventrue with Presence 3, Manipulation 4 and Composure 3 will be just like every other Ventrue with Presence 3, Manipulation 4 and Composure 3. You want to avoid such two-dimensional characters and strive for something unique, fascinating and memorable. Finally, the unlife of a vampire is certainly a place for ironies and fate. You’ve done all the work so far, choosing which traits you want your character to possess and arranging dots on the character sheet.

Character Background Bonus Experience Points
If you submit a character with a written background, you may receive bonus experience points for the character. This character background should be at least around one page in length (that’s about 350+ words). For doing so, players receive a bonus 25 experience points. These experience points are applied after basic character creation is complete and are in addition to any other bonus experience points (such as from spent brownie points or granted for good character death).

The questions that follow can be used to flesh out a character’s background, providing insight into areas a player might gloss over during character creation. You should answer as many of these as you can by writing out a brief back story and description for your Storyteller. The devil is in the details, as they say, and these specifics help make your character far more real once the story begins.

• How old are you? When were you born? How old were you when you were Embraced? How long have you existed as a vampire? How old do you look to others? Are you more or less mature than you seem?

• What was unique about your childhood? What do you remember about your early years? What forged your basic motivations and attitudes? Where did you go to school? Were you a good student? Who were your immediate family members? What is your clearest childhood memory? Did you go to high school or College? Did you have a hometown, or did your family move often? Did you run away from home? Did you play sports? Did any of your childhood friendships last until adulthood?

• What kind of person were you? Were you a kind and gentle person or an arrogant bastard? Were you popular or a social outcast? Did you have a family? How did you earn a living? Did you have any real friends, or just acquaintances? What kept you going from day to day? Will anyone miss you?

• What was your first brush with the supernatural? When did you first realize you were being stalked? Had you dabbled in the occult at all before your Embrace? When did you first meet a vampire? Were you afraid? Disbelieving? Curious? Angry?

• How did the Embrace change you? How did your sire catch you? Was the Embrace painful? Did you get perverse pleasure from it? Did the Hunger tear at you? Were you frightened? Did it somehow feel right? Are you grateful to your sire? Do you want to kill her for what she did to you?

• Who was your sire, and how did she treat you? What do you know of your sire? Was she seductive, forceful, abusive, cryptic or open? Why do you think she chose you? Did you even know your sire? How long did you stay with your sire? Did she teach you anything at all? How long was it until your sire released you? Where did you stay? Where did you go? Did you meet any other vampires during that time? Did your sire Embrace another? Do you judge other vampires by your opinion of your sire?

• Were you presented to Kindred society? Did the Prince welcome you? Was he reluctant to accept you? Did prominent Kindred need to be bribed or threatened before accepting you? Did your sire have permission to create you? Are you on the run from Kindred authorities? What do you suppose your domain’s preeminent Kindred think about you?

• How did you meet the others in your coterie? Were you brought together by chance or design? Are you all of one covenant or clan? Are you united in purpose, working toward the same goal? How long have you been together? Did you know any of the others before your Embrace? Do your sires cooperate, or are they rivals? Do any of you share the same sire? What holds your coterie together when the situation is at its worst?DragonQuillsLARP.forumotion.com/f4-merits
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