Requires Storyteller approval.
Your character has an assistant, employee, follower, or buddy on whom they can rely. Establish who this companion is and how they were acquired. It may be as simple as a paycheck. They might owe your character their life. However it happened, your character has a hold on them.
An Accomplice is more reliable than a Mentor and more loyal than an Ally. On the other hand, an Accomplice is a lone person, less capable and influential than the broader Merits.
The Merit’s dot rating determines the relative competency of the Accomplice. A one-dot Accomplice is barely able to do anything of use, such as a pet that knows one useful trick or a homeless old man that does minor errands for food. A three-dot Accomplice is a professional in their field, someone capable in their line of work, such as a reliable getaway driver. A five-dot is one of the best in their class, such as a local runaway who knows every nook and cranny away from the prying eyes of the cops. If an Accomplice needs to make a roll, if it’s within their field, double the dot rating and use it as a dice pool. For anything else, use the dot rating as a dice pool.
This Merit can be purchased multiple times to represent multiple Accomplices.
Allies help your character. They might be friends, employees, associates, or people your character has blackmailed. Each instance of this Merit represents one type of ally. This could be in an organization, a society, a clique, or an individual. Examples include the police, a secret society, crime, unions, local politics, and the academic community. Each purchase has its own rating. Your character might have Allies (Masons) ••, Allies (Carter Crime Family) •••, and Allies (Catholic Church) •.
Each dot represents a layer of influence in the group. One dot would constitute small favors and passing influence. Three could offer considerable influence, such as the overlooking of a misdemeanor charge by the police. Five dots stretch the limits of the organization’s influence, as its leaders put their own influence on the line for the character. This could include things such as massive insider training or fouling up a felony investigation. No matter the request, it has to be something that organization could accomplish.
One additional favor a character can ask of her Allies is to block another character’s Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Retainer, or Status (if she knows the character possesses the relevant Merit). The rating is equal to the Merit dots blocked. No roll is necessary unless the target’s Merit exceeds the character’s Allies.
Alternate Identity (●-●●●)
Your character has established an alternate identity. The level of this Merit determines the amount of scrutiny it can withstand. At one dot, the identity is superficial and unofficial. For example, your character uses an alias with a simple costume and adopts an accent. She hasn’t established the necessary paperwork to even approach a bureaucratic background check, let alone pass. At two dots, she’s supported her identity with paperwork and identification. It’s not liable to stand up to extensive research, but it’ll turn away private investigators and internet hobbyists. At three dots, the identity can pass thorough inspection. The identity has been deeply entrenched in relevant databases, with subtle flourishes and details to make it seem real even to trained professionals.
The Merit also reflects time the character has spent honing the persona. At one or two dots, she gains a +1 to all Subterfuge rolls to defend the identity. At three dots, she gains +2.
This Merit can be purchased multiple times. Each time representing an additional identity.
Prerequisites: Cannot have Fame.
Your character lives off the grid. This means purchases must be made with cash or falsified credit cards. She eschews identification. She avoids any official authoritative influence in her affairs. Any attempts to find her by paper trail suffer a –1 penalty per dot purchased in this Merit.
Drawback: Your character cannot purchase the Fame Merit. This also may limit Status purchases, if the character cannot provide sufficient identification for the roles she wishes to take.
Prerequisites: Streetwise ••
Your character is a natural in the bar environment and can procure an open invitation wherever she wishes. Whereas most characters would require rolls to blend into social functions they don’t belong in, she doesn’t; she belongs. Rolls to identify her as an outsider suffer her Socialize as a penalty.
Contacts provide your character with information. Each dot in this Merit represents a sphere or organization with which the character can garner information. For example, a character with Contacts ••• might have Bloggers, Drug Dealers, and Financial Speculators for connections. Contacts do not provide services, only information. This may be face-to-face, email, by telephone, or even by séance in some strange instances.
Garnering information via Contacts requires a Manipulation + Social Skill roll, depending on the method the character uses. This Merit can either be used generally, in which case only the field is necessary, or it can be personalized by identifying an individual within the field whom the character can call. If using the latter method, the Storyteller should give a bonus or penalty, dependent on how relevant the information is to that particular Contact, whether accessing the information is dangerous, and if the character has maintained good relations or done favors for the Contact. These modifiers should range from –3 to +3 in most cases. If successful, the Contact provides the information.
A character can have more than five Contacts, but the Merit’s rating is limited to five, for the purposes of Allies blocking.
Your character has one person or ideal that they care very strongly about to the exclusion of anything else. Any draws to influence you against the subject of your devotion suffer a -3 penalty. In addition, once per session your character can regain one spent Willpower by acting in defense of the subject of their devotion.
Your character is recognized within a certain sphere for a certain skill, or because of some past action, or just a stroke of luck. This can mean favors and attention, but it can also mean negative attention and scrutiny. When choosing the Merit, define what your character is known for. As a rule of thumb, one dot means local recognition or reputation within a confined subculture. Two dots means regional recognition by a wide swath of people. Three dots means worldwide recognition to anyone who might have been exposed to the source of the fame. Each dot adds a die to any Social rolls among those who are impressed by your character’s celebrity.
Drawback: Any rolls to find or identify the character enjoy a +1 bonus per dot of the Merit. If the character has Alternate Identity, she can mitigate this drawback. A character with Fame cannot have the Anonymity Merit.
Prerequisites: Manipulation •••, Subterfuge ••
Always Be Closing (•): With the right leading phrases, your character can direct a mark to say what she wants, when she wants. This trips the mark into vulnerable positions. When a mark contests or resists your character’s Social interactions, apply a –1 to their Resolve or Composure.
Jargon (••): Your character confuses her mark using complex terminology. You may apply one relevant Specialty to any Social roll you make, even if the Specialty isn’t tied to the Skill in use.
Devil’s Advocacy (•••): Your character often poses arguments she doesn’t agree with in order to challenge a mark’s position and keep him from advancing discussion. You can reroll one failed Subterfuge roll per scene.
Prerequisites: Presence •••
Your character’s passion inspires those around her to greatness. With a few words, she can redouble a group’s confidence or move them to action.
Make a Presence + Leadership roll. A small clique of listeners levies a –1 penalty, a small crowd a –2, and a large crowd a –3. Listeners gain the Inspired Condition. The character may not use this Merit on herself.
Iron Will (●●)
Prerequisites: Resolve •••
Your character’s resolve is unwavering. When spending Willpower to contest or resist in a Social interaction, you may substitute your character’s Resolve for the usual Willpower bonus. If the roll is contested, roll with 8-again.
his Merit gives your character a teacher that provides advice and guidance. He acts on your character’s behalf, often in the background and sometimes without your character’s knowledge. While Mentors can be highly compe- tent, they almost always want something in return for their services. The dot rating determines the Mentor’s capabilities, and to what extent he’ll aid your character.
When establishing a Mentor, determine what the Mentor wants from your character. This should be personally important to him and it should reflect on the dot rating chosen. A one-dot Mentor might be incapable of dealing with modern society and want to live vicariously through your character. This might mean coming to him and telling stories of her exploits. A five-dot Mentor would want some- thing astronomical, such as an oath to procure an ancient, cursed artifact that may or may not exist, in order to prevent a prophesized death.
Choose three Skills the Mentor possesses. You can substitute Resources for one of these Skills. Once per session, the character may ask her Mentor for a favor. The favor must involve one of those Skills or be within the scope of his Resources. The Mentor commits to the favor (often asking for a commensurate favor in return); and if a roll is required, the Mentor is automatically considered to have successes equal to his dot rating. Alternately, the player may ask the Storyteller to have the Mentor act on her character’s behalf, without her character knowing or initiating the request.
This Merit reflects your character’s disposable income. She might live in an upscale condo, but if her income is tied up in the mortgage and child support payments, she might have little money to throw around. Characters are as- sumed to have basic necessities without Resources.
The dot rating determines the relative amount of disposable funding the character has available, depending on your particular chronicle’s setting. The same amount of money means completely different things in a game set in Silicon Val- ley compared to one set in the Detroit slums. One dot is a little spending money here and there. Two is a comfortable, middle class wage. Three is a nicer, upper middle class life. Four is moderately wealthy. Five is filthy rich.
Safe Place (●-●●●●●)
Your character has somewhere she can go where she can feel secure. While she may have enemies that could attack her there, she’s prepared and has the upper hand. The dot rating reflects the security of the place. The actual location, the luxury, and the size are represented by equipment. A one-dot Safe Place might be equipped with basic security systems or a booby trap at the windows and door. A five-dot could have a security crew, infrared scanners at every entrance, or trained dogs. Each place could be an apartment, a mansion or a hidey-hole.
Unlike most Merits, multiple characters can contribute dots to a single Safe Place, combining their points into some- thing greater. A Safe Place gives an Initiative bonus equal to the Merit dots. This only applies to a character with dots invested in the Safe Place.
Any efforts to breach the Safe Place suffer a penalty equal to the Merit dots invested. If the character desires, the Safe Place can include traps that cause intruders lethal damage equal to a maximum of the Merit rating (player’s choice as to how much damage a given trap inflicts). This requires that the character has at least a dot in Crafts. The traps may be avoided with a Dexterity + Larceny roll, penalized by the Safe Place dots.
Small Unit Tactics (●●)
Prerequisites: Presence ••, Leadership ••
Your character is a proficient leader on the field. She can organize efforts and bark orders to remarkable effect. Once per scene, when making a coordinated action that was planned in advance, spend a point of Willpower and an instant action. A number of characters equal to your character’s Presence can benefit from the +3 bonus from the Willpower expenditure.
Your character has a crew of workers or assistants at her disposal. They may be housekeepers, designers, research assistants, animators, cheap thugs, or whatever else makes sense. For every dot in this Merit, choose one type of assistant, and one Skill. At any reasonable time, her staff can take actions using that Skill. These actions automatically garner a single success. While not useful in contested actions, this guarantees success on minor, mundane activities. Note that you may have employees without requiring the Staff Merit. Staff simply adds a mechanical advantage for those groups.
Your character has standing, membership, authority, control over, or respect from a group or organization. This may reflect official standing or informal respect. No matter the source, your character enjoys certain privileges within that structure.
Each instance of this Merit reflects standing in a different group or organization. Your character may have Status (The Luck Gang) •••, Status (Drag Racing Circuit) ••, and Status (Police) •. Each affords its own unique benefits. As you increase dot ratings, your character rises in prominence in the relevant group.
Status only allows advantages within the confines of the group reflected in the Merit. Status (Organized Crime) won’t help if your character wants an official concealed carry firearms permit, for example.
Status provides a number of advantages.
First, your character can apply her Status to any Social roll with those over which she has authority or sway.
Second, she has access to group facilities, resources, and funding. Dependent on the group, this could be limited by red tape and requisitioning processes. It’s also dependent on the resources the particular group has available.
Third, she has pull. If your character knows another character’s Mentor, Resources, Accomplice, Contacts, or Allies, she can block their usage. Once per chapter, she can stop a single Merit from being used if it’s of a lower dot rating than her Status and if it makes sense for her organization to obstruct that type of person’s behavior. In our Organized Crime example, if your character knows that the chief of police has Contacts (Criminal Informant), you may opt to block usage by threatening the informant into silence.
Drawback: Status requires upkeep and often regular duties. If these duties are not upheld, Status may be lost. The dots will not be accessible until the character re-establishes her standing. In our Organized Crime example, your character may be expected to pay protection money, offer tribute to a higher authority, or undertake felonious activities.
Striking Looks (●-●●)
Your character is stunning, alarming, commanding, repulsing, threatening, charming, or otherwise worthy of attention. Determine how your character looks and how people react to that. For one dot, your character gets a +1 bonus on any Social rolls that would be influenced by her looks. For two dots, the benefit increases to +2. Depending on the particulars, this might influence Expression, Intimidation, Persuasion, Subterfuge, or other rolls.
Drawback: Attention is a double-edged sword. Any rolls to spot, notice, or remember your character gain the same die bo- nus. Sometimes, your character will draw unwanted attention in social situations. This could cause further complications.
Prerequisites: Crafts ••, a Specialty in Crafts or Expression
Your character has refined tastes and can identify minor details in fashion, food, architecture, and other forms of artistry and craftsmanship. Not only does this give an eye for detail, it makes her a center of attention in critical circles. She can appraise items within her area of expertise. With a Wits + Skill roll, depending on the creation in question (Expression for poetry, Crafts for architecture, for example), your character can pick out obscure details about the item that other, less discerning minds would not. For each success, ask one of the following questions, or take a +1 bonus to any Social rolls pertaining to groups interested in the art assessed for the remainder of the scene.
• What is the hidden meaning in this?
• What was the creator feeling during its creation?
• What’s its weakest point?
• What other witness is most moved by this piece?
• How should one best appreciate this piece?