World of Darkness: Tenebris Raptis

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 New Rules for Backgrounds

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PostSubject: New Rules for Backgrounds   Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:25 am

Backgrounds describe advantages of relationship, circumstance, and opportunity: Material possessions, social networks, and the like. Backgrounds are external, not internal, Traits, and you should always rationalize how you came to possess them, as well as what they represent. Who are your contacts? Why do your allies support you? Where did you meet your retainers? What investments do you possess that yield your four dots in Resources? If you've put enough detail into your character concept, selecting appropriate Backgrounds should be easy.

Although it's uncommon to make rolls involving Background Traits, your Storyteller might have you do so to see if you can obtain information, goods, or favors. For example, you might have to roll Wits + Resources to keep your stock portfolio healthy, or Manipulation + Contacts to wheedle that extra favor from your smuggler "associate."
DOT RATINGS CHART

This chart may be used to determine the level of skill a character has based on the dot rating for a Trait.

Dots Description
0 Abysmal
1 Poor
2 Average
3 Good
4 Exceptional
5 Superb



Pooling Backgrounds
Some Backgrounds lend themselves to joint ownership. Specifically, the members of a coterie may choose to pool their individual stores of Allies, Contacts, Domain, Herd, Influence, Resources, and Retainers.

The Anchor
You and the other players choose one Background as the anchor that holds the shared assets together. For example, this Background might be Domain, with the physical place the characters claim as their haven and for hunting, which also acts as a meeting ground for the mortals they deal with, a repository for their wealth, and so on. Any of the poolable Backgrounds can serve in this role, however: Herd might be this coterie's key to sustenance and stability.

No Background pool can have more dots assigned to it than the Anchor Background does at any time. If the Background is damaged by events during play or between sessions, other assets drift away from the characters' control, and it takes effort to win them back. Any character contributing to the pool may pull his stake out at any time. The dislocations guarantee some damage: The character gets back one dot less than he put in.

As the Anchor Background rating rises again, so do the ratings of those anchored to it, as a result of storytelling directed toward the goals of improving lost Backgrounds.

Under normal circumstances, a coterie can't change its Anchor Background, nor can it acquire a new Anchor Background. While it may choose to abandon a certain Background asset over the course of a chronicle (and thus free itself of the limitations of the pooled Backgrounds in question), the fact that Backgrounds change value only as a result of the story's events means that the coterie must acquire new Backgrounds in that manner, rather than through freebie or experience points.

In the end, most vampires end up following personal goals over the course of their unlives. Pooled Backgrounds are a great way for young Kindred to gain an initial advantage as neonates in the World of Darkness, but they quickly become outdated or even liabilities as the Kindred formerly attached to them pursue their own, private agendas.

Using Pooled Backgrounds
Pooled Backgrounds are shared resources; essentially the coterie's communal property. Anyone who contributes to the pool (no matter how much he contributes) has equal access to it. Even if the character donates to only one of the pool's associated Backgrounds, he still has equal access to it. Not everyone can use the pool simultaneously, though. A Herd pool of seven dots can grant access only to the same, finite number of vessels. Just how those points are split up depends on the circumstances and agreements between the characters.

At the Storyteller's discretion, players can agree to place individual access limits on shared Backgrounds, to reflect any agreements their characters have made with one another. Sometimes being the Kindred who contributed fewer Backgrounds than the others comes with its own considerations.

Upper Limits
By pooling points, a coterie can get Backgrounds that surpass the normal five-dot limit. This arrangement is normal, and it reflects the advantages of cooperation. A group can secure a larger domain or maintain a larger network of allies and contacts than a single vampire can. There is no absolute upper limit on the level to which a pooled Background can rise, but things can get downright ludicrous if you aren't careful. It's usually best for the Storyteller to impose a 10-dot limit on the Anchor Background (and thus on all others).

The Storyteller should also take into consideration the scaling of Backgrounds, increasing their reliability rather than their quantitative value as the ratings escalate among the coterie. For example, if an average player group of four players each contributes a single dot or two to a shared Resources pool of 6, the effect shouldn't be that they're collectively the world's secret Kindred billionaires, but rather that they're of more modest means, and that those means are more difficult to wrest from them by other jealous vampires. This is a question of balancing player expectations with elements of the story, so be sure to set some guidelines for what the shared Backgrounds actually represent before the chronicle begins.
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