Status in Dark Ages Vampire is much more abstract than in the modern nights, and players of OWbN games in particular may find it much less codified than they are used to.
A character’s Status determined how respected he is in Cainite society. However, it is an abstract concept. Status traits are a measured as a defined number, but that number doesn’t mean nearly as much as players may be used to. It’s simply a guideline. It is also much more subject to change than is the case in modern chronicles. A character’s status is a reflection of his reputation, and often changes to reflect that. However, unlike in the modern era, Status is not often granted or removed by a specific Cainite. Rather, if a character becomes more or less regarded, his Status automatically changes to reflect this.
There are 17 Status traits. They are as follows: Acknowledged, Admired, Adored, Cherished, Esteemed, Exalted, Famous, Faultless, Feared, Honorable, Influential, Just, Praised, Renowned, Respected, Revered, and Trustworthy. All characters are assumed the have the Status of Acknowledged unless some unusual circumstances preclude this. Some characters, such as Princes and Lasombra, automatically receive additional Status traits. Characters may also purchase up to two additional Status traits at character creation; doing so costs 1 freebie point or 2 experience points. Since many people have already made characters, I will allow players to retroactively adjust their sheets to purchase Status if they so choose.
You can spend a level of the Politics Ability to determine someone’s exact Status, but otherwise, IC knowledge of a character’s Status is difficult to determine. Without the benefit of this Ability, you must learn a character’s standing IC. The Chamberlain is generally a good source for this information.
Most of this is outlined in Faith and Fire. However, the book doesn’t give a good mechanic for how this gradual Status evolution should be reflected. Rather than simply have the ST arbitrarily assign and remove Status, I will accept Status nominations between games. These can be positive or negative—you can nominate someone to gain Status or to lose it. Once a character has received sufficient nominations for a given Status trait (“I think Estelle acted very Honorably at the last game”), it will be added to her sheet. Likewise, if a character receives enough negative nominations (“Francis’ conduct during court didn’t befit such an Adored Cainite”), his Status will be reduced. Nominations given by the Chamberlain or Prince count as two nominations, to reflect the social esteem carried by the approval of these characters. A character must generally receive a number of Status nominations equal to his permanent Status in order to get a Status increase in this manner. Losing Status is much easier—it usually only takes three negative nominations for a character to suffer a Status reduction. However, the Acknowledged Status can never be lost in this manner.
It is possible to more directly affect a character’s Status, as described in Faith and Fire. A character with greater Status may spend a permanent Status trait to permanently remove one Status trait from a character with less Status. Example: Robert, who holds 4 Status, may permanently spend a Just trait to remove the Status of Esteemed from Victor, a Cainite with 2 Status. Likewise, a group of lower-Status Cainites of the same clan may strip a higher-Status clanmate by spending a number of permanent Status traits equal to the permanent Status of the target. However, only a Prince can strip a character of the Acknowledged Status. Status can also be directly granted. However, only the Prince or a character with twice as much Status as the receiving character can directly grant Status.
Status is also used differently than some players are used to. First, a character may add his current Status to any non-Discipline-related Social challenge made to order, intimidate, or motivate another character, or to resist any such challenges. It is possible to ignore these extra traits by publicly refusing to acknowledge the character’s Status. However, doing so is a direct act of defiance of the feudal system, and as such is treated with the utmost harshness by Princes and others in authority. Status does not inherently make a character “right,” but it can mean that other characters are more likely to listen more closely.