ST Announcement: Game Announcement

Hey all,

The next night game of LL&S will be this coming Friday. Check-in will start at 6:00; game will begin at 7:00. If you haven't checked in by 7:00, you'll need to wait until after game intro to do check-in. Game fee will be $2.00.

I will be responding to BGAs all this week; remember that midnight on Wednesday is the deadline to submit BGAs (or at least the deadline for getting responses to your BGAs before the next game).

I'll be sending out a few emails, notably on Resources and on the etiquette of inter-Road relations, tonight or tomorrow.

I hope to see you all on Friday!

- Mark

ST Announcement: Rules Update

Hey all,

I've made a few changes to the hosue rules:

- Arsenal: This Background reflects access to a wide variety of weapons. In this it is similar to the Equipment background, only it is restricted to weapons. Each level of Arsenal is equivalent to a level of Resources for purposes of obtaining weapons.

- Influence: When using Influence to obtain coins, divide the listed number of coins by 10. Thus, if you use Influence to obtain 250 coins, you actually receive 25. This is to keep the wealth obtained from Influence in line with the amount granted by Resources.

- Resources: A character receives a number of Resource Traits per month equal to his permanent Resources rating. These traits disappear if they are not spent by the end of the month. These traits are distinct from a character’s annual coin income; these will be tracked separately. These Traits represent a character’s credit and ability to bargain using other current possessions.

- Weapons or armor with an availability of Common can be located and obtained in one day. Uncommon items take one week to locate. Rare items can take one month or longer. Obtaining Very Rare weapons or armor requires a minimum of two months, and an explanation of how you intend to locate and obtain such incredible items. Finding weapons of such legendary craftsmanship will almost always require a scene of some sort: finding and bargaining with a smith capable of creating them—- or stealing them from others who have them. No character may begin play with such items.

- Weapon/armor/sheild rarity: A weapon, shield, or suit of armor made with Crafts 4 or 5 is considered to be one category more rare than listed. An item made with Crafts 6 is automatically Very Rare (see above).

- Total Defense Actions: If you take no actions other than to defend (dodging or parrying), you receive a 2-trait bonus to defend against any physical attacks which you are aware of.

- Dominate: Vessel (adv.): You may speak while using Vessel, although your voice is that of the vessel.

- Dissolve the Flesh (adv.): The power's duration is based on the caster's Medicine rating, rather than her Occult rating.

If you have any questions or suggestions reagrding house rules, don't hesitate to contact me.

- Mark

ST Notes: Sheet Revisions

Hey all,

I've said this in person to several people, but since I hadn't actually put it out on the list, I figured I should:

If, at any point before your fourth game, you want to change your character sheet in any way, you may. If you decide that you want to change your Nature or Road because you found another that suits your perception of the character, or you realize that you should have taken an Ability that you forgot about at character creation, consult me and we'll make the changes. This can be done at any point before your fourth game with the character. Note that this is the number of games that YOU'VE played in, not the number that have been held. So if you missed the first game, but manage to attend the next four, you have until the fifth game to change your sheet.

- Mark

ST Advice: Interacting with Roads

Hey all,

I've had several people ask about Roads and the etiquette in dealing with them. Are Cainites on the Road of Sin reviled and hunted as "evil?" If a Cainite on Road of the Beast frenzies on a snarky Toreador for mocking him, how responsible is he for his actions? Because this information isn't clearly explained in Faith and Fire, I'll outline it here.

First of all, all of the mainstream versions of the five major Roads (Beast, Heaven, Humanity, Kings, and Sins) are more or less universally accepted in Cainite society. The minor Clan-specific Roads, such as Metamorphosis, Paradox, or Bones, are accepted or reviled by most Princes and Cainites on an individual level, as are the Paths (sub-Roads) that are derived
from the five major Roads (such as the Sins Path of Cruelty or the Heaven Path of Retribution). These Roads and Paths are lesser-known, and Cainite society has not formed universal opinions of them. The descriptions of these moralities often detail how other Cainites react to those who follow them. Learned Cainites are generally aware of the existence of the Clan-specific Roads, but not the details of their ethics. Likewise, most Cainites who study such things are aware of the divergent Paths of the various Roads, particularly variants of the Road that they follow. If you are unsure of how Cainites typically react to other vampires on a given Road or Path, consult me.

Another very important aspect of Cainite etiquette and society is the virtue of Instinct. Unlike those who aspire to Self-Control, Cainites on Instinct-based Roads (notably Beast and Sins) are very prone to frenzy. If they are attacked or humiliated, these vampires are virtually guaranteed to succumb to frenzy. So what happens if a Cainite on Instinct is slapped in the face (literally or figuratively) by another, and promptly enters into a frenzy? Can the frenzied Cainite be held responsible for his actions while in this frenzy?

Well, it depends. Instinct allows a character to direct his frenzy, rather than resist it. If the frenzied vampire turns around and tears into the nearest person, he is held accountable for that attack, because he failed to diret his rage appropriately. However, if he controls his frenzy and keeps his attacks restricted to the vampire who insulted or attacked him, the vampire is typically **NOT** punished for the attack. In this case, it is actually the vampire who PROVOKED the frenzied Cainite who is usually held responsible.

This is because most Cainites bear an aura that makes it easy to determine their Road. In the case of characters on Sins or Beast, this means that other vampires should be aware that the character directs his Beast, rather than caging it, and are EXPECTED to consider this in their dealings with the Cainite. Quite simply, if a character is foolish enough to provoke a character on an Instinct-based Road, the offender deserves what he gets.

Not all Cainites think this way. Some individuals may choose to hold any vampire who frenzies accountable for his actions. These individuals simply do not have many friends among those on Road of the Beast or Road of Sins. However, most Princes and elders recognize that, as Beast and Sins are viable Roads, concessions must be made in dealing with those who follow them. The most common concession is, as detailed above, the understanding that those on such Roads are simply not to be provoked.

Minor Roads or Paths, however, are lesser-known. In cases where such Roads or Paths adhere to Instinct, it is considered common etiquette to discreetly inform others of this fact. Failure to do so can result in a Prince severely punishing the character for his apparent loss of control.

If there are any other questions on the matter of Roads (or any other matters), feel free to ask.

- Mark

Raising Stats

From an e-mail sent by erdedrache

Several people have asked how they can go about raising various Abilities, Backgrounds, Disciplines, etc.. I've outlined the procedure for raising most stats.

- Abilities: There are two ways to raise an Ability. First, you can spend a month training with a teacher who has the Ability at one level higher than the level you desire to learn. Thus, to raise Survival to 3, you must learn from a teacher with Survival 4.

Second, you can spend a number of months training by yourself equal to the level of the Ability to wish to buy. During this time, you must use the Ability in some meaningful way in game. So again, to raise Survival to 3, you would have to spend 3 months learning on your own. During that time, you would need to track an elusive quarry over a long distance, cross a mountain range, or do something significant that uses Survival.

However, in most cases, buying the first level of an Ability can be done with minimal effort, and can be learned over the course of a month with no further requirements. Some esoteric abilities, particularly Lores, will always require additional effort, but buying the first level of Archery is as simple as picking up a bow and shooting with it for a month.

- Traits: You can generally just buy these at the rate of one trait per category per month, unless there's some reason that you shouldn't. For instance, if you've spent the last three months in captivity chained to a wall and barely being fed, you have no justification for raising Physical Traits, and if you've been living in the woods without any contact with sentient beings, don't expect to buy Socials.

- Road rating: To raise your character's Road (or Humanity, if you're human), you spend a number of months equal to the level you wish to buy acting as if that were your Road rating and without committing ANY sins of that level. Thus, to raise Road of Heaven to 3, for three months, you would have to act as if you were on Road of Heaven 3, and cannot commit any sin of level 3 or lower.

- Backgrounds: Background requirements are a bit more vague. In general, you must provide some sort of explanation for why you should be allowed to raise the Background, and the ST must accept it. For example, you might raise your Military Force for 2 to 3 if you recently increased your Resources and are using that new income to hire soldiers. You might raise your Equipment to 2 if you recently murdered a trader and stole his wares. Backgrounds may or may not require time to raise, depending on the explanation given.

- Influences: We use the Influence growth rules in Dark Epics. Basically, you devote your Influences to the Growth action. Once you have spent a number of traits on growth equal to three times your current rating, the Influence automatically goes up by 1. This does *not* require an XP expenditure. Example: to raise your Court Influence from 3 to 4, you must devote 9 levels to growth. The quickest way to do this is to devote all your levels to Growth for three months. However, in doing that, you leave yourself vulnerable to Watch and Trace actions that can lead to attacks on your Influences. Read Dark Epics for more details.

- Disciplines: For in-clan Disciplines or physical Disciplines (Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence) you simply spend the XP. (All vampire can learn the physical Disciplines without a teacher, but must pay out-of-clan costs if the Disciplines aren't in-clan for them.) A character may learn one Discipline per month. To learn any other Discipline, you must have a Cainite teacher who has the Discipline at one level above the level you wish to learn. It doesn't necessarily need to be in-clan for the teacher, though, as long as they know it. Thus, a Tzimisce with Auspex 4 could teach his Gangrel ally up to Auspex 3. That Gangrel could in turn teach his Brujah ally up to Auspex 2. However, for clan-specific Disciplines (Protean, Obtenebration, Vicissitude, etc.), you must drink a trait of blood from a vampire who has the Discipline as an in-clan. (This needn't necessarily be the same person who is teaching it.) So a Ventrue with Protean 3 could teach his childe Protean 2, but the childe would need to drink a bit of Gangrel blood first. Yes, this means out-of-clan Disciplines can become very widespread. That's why vampires are very reluctant to teach their Disciplines. A Toreador may teach his Lasombra friend Presence, but that also means that he's indirectly allowing any of that Lasombra's allies, whether he likes them or not, to learn Presence as well. In general, Cainites should think very hard before teaching their Disciplines. After all, that Nosferatu who taught his animalistic Gangrel buddy Obfuscate may well get killed in a ninja surprise attack from a Brujah who learned Obfuscate from that Gangrel.

Character Creation session postponed tonight

Due to an unexpected work issue (an extended shift which I thought was over at 6:00, but which actually goes until 8:00), I need to delay the character creation session tonight until 8:15. However, if someone would be willing to still show up at 7:00 to inform anyone who doesn't get the message, I would appreciate it.

Also, to expediate things during the session, I'm going to have a sign-in sheet that will prioritize people based on how much time they need.
- People with quick, specific questions will be dealt with first.
- Next will be people who want to submit sheets for approval or make changes to existing backgrounds or sheets.
- Last will be people who either have no idea what they want to play or who want help building their sheet. (In the case of the latter group, you might try asking other players for help.)

Results so far

I've been impressed with the survey results shared so far. Almost 65% of the game has responded, which is awesome. Of those, exactly half went on to answer the forum questionnaire. The only thing we really agree on is that we all feel comfortable finding information on the email list, but whether we keep that email list... well, things aren't so clear-cut. I'd like to do a proper write up, once all the results are in, but I thought I'd post how things are now, so people can look for trends. Voting will close tomorrow.
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