PCs may not have backgrounds above level 5 unless they possess the Ventrue-specific Paragon merit (6pts). This includes Influences, though you may use combination actions to stack influence effects past level 5.
Anything you “acquire” in game must be purchased with points in a background. For example, if you purchase a hospital which you utilize for feeding, you must purchase Herd. If you have a force of mortals trained to kill vampires, you either need Military Force or Retainers (Ghoul) to represent this. Otherwise, the ST staff reserves the right to strip this item from you or limit its effectiveness.
Age – This background is banned.
Allies – Allies represent associates or friends, but not sworn followers. Thus, they require bartering of temporary resources or influences to make them do stuff for you. They are not willing to risk their time, energy, and possibly connections to gain something beneficial only to you. Allies are more talented in certain specified fields than retainers or contacts, making this effort on their behalf worth something. See the book for what they may do.
Alternate Identity – Represents concrete alternate identities established with working documentation and other forms of verification, more so than temporary ones created with influence expenditures. If players wish for their temporarily created identities to be foolproof, they may want to purchase this background or otherwise the STs reserve the right to complicate matters after a prolonged existence of an identity without this background securing it. This background will be monitored tightly if purchased at character creation.
Contacts – People who you can call on for information only. They cannot be used for favors. Contacts may be used as a substitution for an Influence you don’t have, only for the purpose of gathering information.
Fame – Using your fame to extend influences may not allow the action to be used with the stealth option, on a case-by-case basis. Likewise, such actions may result in media stories depending on their reach and intensity. (i.e. Hosting a statewide political function might get your false identity into the paper.)
Generation – Per Laws of the Night.
Herd – Provides 2 blood traits per point of herd used. A 15 minute wait is required per expenditure of herd. Alternately, herd may be spent at the beginning of play without a wait for 1 blood trait per point of herd. For forum play, you have up to twice your herd in blood, twice per month plus enough Blood to wake up everyday.
Mentor – In order to balance things and prevent purchase of a mentor in order to gain access to out-of-clan disciplines easily, a mentor will drop in strength over time as per the suggestion of Laws of the Night. When you learn what a mentor can teach at his full level, he drops by one level. In order to re-purchase him, you must complete some sort of favor or other arrangement with the mentor before he will re-invest his energies in you. The mentor NPC will be created between STs and the player. Mentors will not trivially give up clan-specific disciplines or clan secrets. Expect to work for what you want.
Occult Library – Some Kindred have accumulated vast stores of mystical knowledge over their many years. Such resources may have been inherited from a character’s sire, treasures gleaned from previous journeys, gifts from a mentor or even stolen from the rivals. In fact, a library need not even be printed – books contained on CD-ROM or even a contact who knows occult lore may be considered a library for the purposes of this Background.
Whatever form it takes, an Occult Library aids the character in certain cases involving knowledge of the mystical or magical. Whenever the player needs to make a roll involving the Occult Knowledge and the character has the opportunity to consult the books, she may call upon this Background to help her. While this won’t be of much aid if the character is held prisoner by another Kindred or visiting a foreign city, if the character is in her own library or laboratory, the information may prove invaluable.
- A few books: +1 to Occult challenges
- A modest collection: +1 trait to Occult challenges, -1 to Occult difficulties
- Many noteworthy titles: +2 to Occult challenges, -1 to Occult difficulties
- A wide variety of lore: +2 to Occult challenges, -2 to Occult difficulties
- A veritable magical encyclopedia: +3 to Occult challenges, -2 to Occult difficulties
Resources – Per Laws of the Night.
Retainers – Per Laws of the Night.