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 Merits: Allies, Contacts & Mentors

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PostMerits: Allies, Contacts & Mentors

MERIT: ALLIES ● TO ●●●●●
You have powerful or useful friends who help you out in your endeavors. You can make a few calls and cut a few deals to get assistance in a wide range of activities. Each Allies Trait possessed represents several people whom you can call upon for aid. Unlike Influence, your Allies have special talents that make them better than the average person on the street. Although your Allies may not be aware of your supernatural nature (if you have any), they can be quite useful if you direct them properly. In general, your Allies do not appear during game-play. Instead, you can use them for certain services between play sessions, by notifying your Storyteller on your Downtime.

Each level of Allies offers a single Trait that replenishes at the Start of every game. By expending these Traits in Allies the player can borrow items, resources, or services. A use of Allies can be directed to follow up on research or activities that you have started. If this is the case the task or activity (non-combative of course) can be continued by them (such as tailing someone, researching a project or building a device), your Allies can continue the work doing so with one Ability worth of expertise per trait spent. Doing this does not count as one of your Downtime actions as you’ve handed off the project to another to complete for you. You may also use them in this fashion to assist you in extended challenges and adding their Traits as additional dice to your pool. As long as they work on the project your Allies Traits spent towards this endeavor is tied up. They also may temporarily loan you items of value equal to the level of Traits spent for the month. The list below shows the level of trust and capability these Allies afford you. Unlike influences the Traits spent do not need to equal the level to attain that desired effect.
Level 1: Access to Resources Skills or a place to stay (Closet)
Level 2: Loaning of simple Archaic Weapons & equipment or tools
Level 3: Loaning of Vehicles, guest room or small arms and armor
Level 4: Use of Expensive vehicles and exotic weapons or guest house
Level 5: Access to Complex and expensive equipment
Note: From time to time these Allies may call on you for favors in return. Failure to complete these tasks may cost you a permanent level of Allies as you are seen as untrustworthy or incompetent.

MERIT: CONTACTS ● TO ●●●●●
With the right contacts in all walks of life, you can get a line on all sorts of useful information. Although having an “ear to the wall” doesn’t necessarily provide you with good help or loyal servants, it does mean that you know whom to ask when looking for the movers and shakers behind the scenes. In game terms, your rating in Contacts allows you to gather rumors and information. When you call on your contacts, you make a few phone calls, check with likely snitches and grease a few palms. In return, you get rumors and information. Doing so lets you find out exactly what’s going on in the city within a particular area. You can get information of a level equal to however many contacts you use. If you use Contacts x3 on Industry Influence, for instance, you get information as if digging up dirt with Industry Influence x3. The advantage of the Contacts Background is that contacts can be switched from place to place. Contacts levels can also be spent as Influence to perform the Follow, Trace and Watch endeavors. Using Contacts for especially dangerous or secret information may require you to spend Resources to boost or a few favors, at the discretion of a Storyteller. On occasion, accidents can cause contacts in one area to dry up, such as a strike that affects your Industry contacts, or a particularly unlucky astronomical conjunction sends your Occult contacts running for the hills. Your contacts will not generally function as aides or lackeys. That sort of service is the purview of the Allies and Retainers Backgrounds.

MERIT: MENTOR ● TO ●●●●●
An older or more experienced individual looks after you and comes to your aid occasionally. Whatever the case is, you can get assistance from your mentor, although his favor may be fickle. When you call on your mentor, you risk a certain number of Traits to achieve a given effect. A lowly one-Trait mentor probably knows only little more than you, while a five-Trait mentor may well have luminous standing within your sect and a wide range of potent powers. Regardless, taking up your mentor’s valuable time is costly. Your mentor may demand a favor first before helping. In any case, you can call on your mentor only once in any given game session, and only if you have an appropriate way to contact him or her. The Player is required to give some basics details about the Mentor such as to what Clan and Covenant to which they belong and whether or not their Mentor is in fact their sire. The level of aid that your mentor can give depends on the number of Traits you have in this Background (and Storyteller approval, of course):

• For one Trait, your mentor is privy to experience and specialized information at a level above your own. They would be able to grant advice to relevant situations or perform a Downtime (non-combative) action with skills that you yourself do not possess.
• For two Traits, you can borrow up to two levels of Contacts, Influence, or Resources from your Mentor for the duration of the game. These cannot be spent towards trivial matters such as Influence growth. If your Mentor is very powerful (four or five Traits), you can borrow three levels.
• Having two Traits allows your mentor to instruct you in the Basics of an out of Clan Discipline that you do not know.
• For three Traits, your mentor can instruct you in moderate levels of an out of Clan Discipline or simple Devotion that you do not know.
• For three Traits, your mentor can loan you equipment or capable personnel for private tasks.
• For four Traits, your mentor can assist you in the growth of Influences of your particular interest. See level 2 mentor for more details.
• Also at a cost of four Traits, your mentor can train you in an Advanced out of Clan Discipline or moderate Devotion beyond your grasp.
• For five Traits, your mentor can train you in the phenomenal powers of the elders, if you are puissant enough to learn such secrets. This may include learning the basics of Clan Specific Disciplines or rare devotions. They may also lend you use of their level five influence, personal staff or significant pieces of equipment.
Since mentors can prove unbalancing by providing too many different powers over the course of a long game, the Storyteller will lower your total Mentor Traits as you call on his knowledge. For every level of Mentor possessed times three equals a total bank in which the player may call upon. Each level of request subtracts that many traits from this bank until it is depleted. This decrease represents the fact that as your character learns the mentor’s secrets; the mentor has less left to teach or has become tired of your petty begging and whining.
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