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General BackgroundsEdit

 AlliesEdit

You have friends who can help you out when you are in need. Allies are not at your beck and call, but they will do what they can to keep you out of trouble, and will even go out of their way to help as long as it is not dangerous for them to do so. By definition, Allies have some useful abilities, influence and contacts that can benefit you. For each point of this background you have, you have one Ally.

Allies are generally trustworthy friends who will not betray your interests. An Ally may also ask a favor of you at some point (you are supposed to be friends, after all), and you should do what you can for them or risk losing the Ally’s help next time you need it.

One ally, of moderate influence and power.
●● Two allies, both of them of moderate power.
●●● Three allies, one of them quite influential.
●●●● Four allies, one of them very influential.
●●●●● Five allies, one of them extremely influential.

ContactsEdit

Your character knows certain people in useful places to whom she can turn to for information and assistance. The contacts background defines how influential these people are and how helpful. Major contacts are friends on whom your character can rely to provide her with accurate information in their fields. When creating your character, you should describe her contacts as completely as possible, with profession and area of influence. This trait also gives your character a number of minor contacts. When your character wants to get in touch with a minor contact, roll a Dice Pool equal to the number of dots you have in contacts (base difficulty 7). For each success, she can touch base with one of her minor contacts. At that point, she can attempt to bribe or charm the contact into giving her what she needs. Listed below is the number of major contacts your character gets for each dot.

Basic: You have one major contact.
●● Minor: You have two major contacts.
●●● Useful: You have three major contacts.
●●●● Significant: You have four major contacts.
●●●●● Incredible: You have five major contacts.

FameEdit

You are widely known among mortals, perhaps as a famous writer, performer, or athlete. Your fame gives you certain advantages (like preferential treatment), but it can also give you a lot of unwanted attention sometimes. Fame gives you a great deal of pull with the media, gives you the chance to spread influence others through your work.

The Storyteller may allow you to use Fame + a Social Attribute to accomplish some tasks, like convincing the maitre’d to get you a table immediately or to convince someone that he should listen to you. Your rating in this Background is a measure of how famous you are.

You are known by a select subculture of the city you live in.
●● Your face is recognized by the majority of the people in your home city; local celebrity.
●●● You are fairly famous; your name and face are known by many.
●●●● You are quite renowned; everyone has at least heard of you.
●●●●● You are nationally or even internationally famous - a movie star, politician, or major athlete.

InfluenceEdit

Your influence is a measure of your political power in mortal society.

Your rating in the Influence Background is a measure of your influence and what you can accomplish in the social or political scene. Occasionally, the Storyteller might call for a roll using Influence in place of an Ability to determine how effective you are at getting what you want out of the political machine.

A character does not have to be vastly influential to affect things in the mortal world for the good or ill of the supernatural. Someone on a local school board can make decisions and bring about changes that can have considerable effects on the local Changeling childlings and wilders for instance.

Moderately influential; a factor in local politics.
●● Well-connected; a factor in city politics.
●●● Position of influence in state politics.
●●●● Broad personal power; a factor in regional politics.
●●●●● Vastly influential; a factor in national politics.

MentorEdit

The denizens of the World of Darkness tend to look after one another, educating and protecting those who have recently experienced their own becoming. The relationship between a student and his mentor is often very close. A mentor can serve as an invaluable guide to supernatual society. Mentors may also protect a character from danger and inform him of social opportunities. However, a mentor may expect some favors in return for the information or assistance she provides.

Basic: Your mentor knows little of import.
●● Minor: Your mentor has some noteworthy pieces of information to share.
●●● Useful: Your mentor has significant secrets to share.
●●●● Significant: Your mentor has extraordinary knowledge to pass along.
●●●●● Incredible: If your mentor doesn't know, no one probably does.

ResourcesEdit

The resources background quantifies your character's financial resources or access to such funds. The resources are not always completely liquid, but your character can sell them to gain money. It may take weeks or even months to do so, depending on how much needs to be sold. This background also determines your character's monthly income. Your storyteller may ask you to define the source of your character's income, because the well might 'dry up' depending on the circumstances of the chronicle.

Basic: You might have a small savings, an apartment and a motorcycle (Assets: $1000 - income: $500/month).
●● Minor: You might have an apartment or a condominium with a reliable rustbucket (Assets: $8000 - Income: $1200/month).
●●● Useful: You might have a large savings and own a house and a nice car (Assets: $50,000 - Income: $3000/month).
●●●● Significant: You are well off and might own a large house or a rundown mansion and a new car (Assets: $500,000 - Income: $9000/month).
●●●●● Incredible: You are a millionaire (Assets: $5,000,000 - Income: $30,000/month).

Werewolf BackgroundsEdit

AncestorsEdit

Ancestral memory in humans is no more than pseudoscientific nonsense. To the Garou, who can contact the spirits of their ancestors, it’s a fact of life. Many werewolves carry some of the memories of a distant ancestor; some even allow their forebears to take over their bodies. Once per game session, the player of a Garou with this Background may roll his Ancestors Background (difficulty 8, or 10 if he’s trying to contact the spirit of a specific ancestor).

Each success allows the character to increase any Ability by one for the purposes of a single die roll, even if he has no dots in the Ability — and he doesn’t suffer the penalty for not having the Ability. For example, young Emil, a pure flatlander, must scale an immense cliff to come to the aid of his embattled pack. Emil has an Ancestors rating of 4 and Athletics 0. He calls on his forebears to guide him, and Emil’s player rolls four dice at difficulty 8. He scores three successes. Emil contacts his great-great-great granduncle Cragtamer, who guides him over the sheer face and over the top. Now the player has an effective Athletics rating of 3 to make his climbing roll. If the Garou had an Athletics rating of 2, then his effective dice pool would be 5. All effects last for the rest of the scene.

While it is more difficult to contact a specific ancestor, successful contact provides either useful advice or precognitive visions at the discretion of the Storyteller. Botching an Ancestors roll may indicate that the character becomes catatonic for the remainder of the scene as he’s overwhelmed by the memories of thousands of lives. Alternatively, the ancestral spirit refuses to relinquish the body. How long the ancestor stays depends on the Storyteller.

You have brief, hazy visions from the distant past.
●● You remember faces and places from past lives just as you remember those of your early childhood.
●●● You put names to faces among your ancestors.
●●●● Ancestors converse with you on a regular basis.
●●●●● Your ancestors watch your adventures with interest, and they often come to counsel you.

FateEdit

The Fate Background represents a prophecy that accompanied your birth or the creation of your pack. A Fate is always something significant, but it’s as likely to be dark and infamous as it is to be full of glory. In these times of Apocalypse, the Garou cannot afford to sacrifice even one warrior, no matter how dark the portents surrounding them are. However, even those with terrible fates often prove to be some of the greatest Garou, perhaps because they try so hard to defy their fate. Some even succeed.

In addition to the fame or infamy these prophecies garner you, once per game session you may use this Background to add successes to any roll that either failed or achieved fewer successes than were required. The player rolls his rating in this Background (difficulty 8) and adds any successes to those that were achieved in the original failed roll. If this means the action succeeds, the player should describe what fortuitous events caused him to succeed. If the Storyteller feels the player’s actions run against what he is destined to do, she may choose to disallow the use of the background.

When Fate is pooled among the pack, each member may call on this Background once per game session. If the action failed involves the entire pack in some way, then the player may draw on an amount of Fate up to the highest individual Fate in the pack. If the character is acting on her own, the player can only draw on an amount of Fate up to the lowest individual Fate in the pack (to a minimum of one). In a pack with pooled Fate, any character can raise her personal Fate with experience points, much like the Totem Background. However, she can only raise it up to the same level as the highest Fate in the pack — if no member of the pack starts with more than three dots of Fate, no pack member can ever buy Fate up to four or five dots.

Packs tend to garner prophecies of greater proportions than individuals. This is not only because of the greater weight a pack can swing compared to a single werewolf, but also because the Garou tend to see a pack’s accomplishments as more legitimate than those of just one person. For roleplaying purposes, consider the pack’s Fate to be equal to that of the highest Fate rating in the pack. Fate may be pooled among a pack.

Your pack will be involved in an event that will make you known to the entire Garou Nation. For now, though, only those in your sept know of this prophecy.
●● Your pack will be the cause of an event that greatly impacts your sept, such as the destruction of a long time enemy or a highly admired Garou. The Garou throughout the city or local geographical area in which you reside might know your fate.
●●● Your pack will be responsible for an event that impacts werewolves across the continent, perhaps singlehandedly saving (or destroying) a caern. Any Garou in your hemisphere might know of the prophecy.
●●●● The actions of your pack will affect the entire Garou Nation, such as the defeat of a great Wyrm enemy or the massacre of dozens of Garou. There might be a cub or two that hasn’t heard of your destiny, but don’t count on it.
●●●●● You, or your pack, will be a direct factor in the fate of the Apocalypse, one way or another. There isn’t a cub that hasn’t heard of your destiny.

FetishEdit

You possess a fetish — a physical object into which a werewolf has bound a spirit. The spirit grants a number of powers to a fetish, so they are very significant to the Garou. Such things are valuable, and other Garou (or other supernatural beings) may covet them.

You possess one Level One fetish.
●● You possess one Level Two fetish or two Level One fetishes.
●●● You possess one or more fetishes with a total of three levels.
●●●● You possess one or more fetishes with a total of four levels.
●●●●● You possess one or more fetishes with a total of five levels.

KinfolkEdit

Kinfolk are otherwise normal humans and wolves who descended from Garou without inheriting their spiritual duty. Through this Background you are in contact with a number of Kinfolk. While Kinfolk are normal members of their species in most respects, they are immune to the Delirium, giving them the dubious advantage of looking upon a Crinos-form werewolf. They know that you are Garou, and they are willing to help you however they can, although most are not in positions of power (such people are considered Allies). Networks of Kinfolk are a valuable way for werewolves to deal with the human world without risking frenzy or discovery. Some Kinfolk may be related to you directly, while others are contacts you have made through your sept.

Kinfolk may be pooled among a pack.

Two Kinfolk
●● Five Kinfolk
●●● 10 Kinfolk
●●●● 20 Kinfolk
●●●●● 50 Kinfolk

Pure BreedEdit

Garou take great stock in ancestry, and the werewolf who is descended from renowned forbears has a definite advantage in Garou society. This Background represents your lineage, markings, bearing and other features of birth. Other Garou revere werewolves with high ranks in Pure Breed as heroes of yore come to life — and such werewolves are expected to act the part. The higher your Pure Breed score is, the more likely you are to impress elder councils or receive hospitality from foreign tribes. Each point of Pure Breed adds an extra die to formal challenges (such as Rank challenges) and to Social rolls involving other Garou (even Ronin or Black Spiral Dancers).

Pure Breed is a nebulous combination of bloodline and spiritual inheritance. A character with high Pure Breed looks and carries himself like an archetypal member of his tribe — however, if he does not join that tribe, any benefits of Pure Breed are removed by the tribe’s totem. Many werewolves with Pure Breed can trace their ancestry directly, while others resemble distant ancestors who cannot be connected without a degree of genealogical exactitude that is lost to the Garou.

Some tribes place more value on good breeding than others, but Pure Breed is almost universally respected. It’s a mystical trait, and werewolves can tell instinctively whose blood is particularly pure. Of course, Garou expect those of pure blood to live up to the standards set by their noble ancestors. They frown on those who can’t or won’t accept the challenge.

You have your father’s eyes.
●● Your grandfather made a name for himself at the Battle of Bloody Ford, and you carry that name with pride.
●●● Your pedigree is blessed with pillars of the Garou Nation, and the blood tells.
●●●● You could be dressed as a beggar and still command respect.
●●●●● The greatest of heroes live on in you.

RitesEdit

Rituals are an important part of Garou life. This Trait denotes how many rites the character knows at the beginning of the game. The rating represents levels of rites, so a character with four dots in this Background may have a Level Four rite, one Level One and one Level Three rites or any other combination. Remember that to learn a rite the character needs a Rituals Knowledge rating at least equal to the level of a given rite. While Rank is not necessarily a factor, many Theurges would need a pretty convincing reason to teach a Level Five rite to a Rank 1 Garou. Note that two minor rites can be purchased in place of one Level One rite.

You know one level of rites.
•• You know two levels of rites.
••• You know three levels of rites.
•••• You know four levels of rites.
••••• You know five levels of rites.

Spirit Companion (WtA)Edit

You have a special relationship with a spirit, one who is freely and without compunction is your companion. This spirit can be an animal spirit (perhaps associated with a totem), an affiliated spirit (such as an elemental type, or spirit of war), or some other type of spirit. The spirit follows you wherever you in the Umbra, and it's always waiting for you when you step sideways. It can act as a “battery” for extra energies (Gnosis/Rage/Willpower for Garou, Quintessence or Mana/Willpower for Mages/Sorcerers, etc.); you can give these points to your familiar to hold until they are needed, but requires direct contact and cannot normally be done over a distance or over the Gauntlet. This Background can only be bought with Freebee points or gifted by the ST, it may not be purchased with XP.

Your Companion is the smallest Gaffling and not too bright. The only ways you can speak to it are with the gift of spirit speech/approprate magic or by direct communication when your near it in the Umbra. It can store three extra points of energy for you, but only one type. It normally cannot peek through the Gauntlet, so it rarely knows what's going on in the Realm.
●● Your Companion is a descent sized Gaffling and almost intelligent. The only ways you can speak to it are with the gift of spirit speech/approprate magic or by direct communication when you are near it in the Umbra. It can store five extra points of energy for you, but only one type. It knows instinctively where you are, and it can peek to see you from time to time.
●●● Your Companion is a Jaggling of average intelligence. You can speak aloud to it easily through the bond you share, as long as it is nearby. It can store five extra points of energy for you, and you may select two types. It knows instinctively where you are, can see through your eyes and can also peek through the Gauntlet.
●●●● Your Companion is a fairly bright Jaggling. You can speak telepathically to it through the bond you share, as long as it is nearby. You always know where it is and it always knows where you are. You can see through its eyes and it can borrow your sight as well. It can store six extra points of energy for you in any combination. It can peek into (and possibly even manifest in) the Realm.
●●●●● Your Companion is an intelligent Jaggling affiliated with a specific Incarna. You can speak telepathically to it no matter how far away it is. You and it always know each other's location. You can both share any of the five senses and knowledge from any one gift/rote/path (only one ability in said path). It can store a total of eight extra points of energy for you in any combination. It may peek and manifest in the Realm.

Spirit HeritageEdit

The Garou are creatures of duality — torn between man and wolf, and between flesh and spirit. The Garou share a kinship with inhabitants of the spirit world, but some have a stronger connection than others. For some reason, perhaps an ancestral tie to a household of spirits, certain types of spirits react more positively to you than others. This doesn’t need to be a friendly relationship — spirits may be fearful and respectful of you, in awe of you, or feel a sense of duty to you. No matter what the relationship, one group of spirits is more likely to cooperate with you.

When you select this background, choose one type of spirits. Examples of possible groups are animal spirits, plant spirits, elementals, urban spirits, and even Banes. When dealing with spirits of this type, the player may add his Spirit Heritage rating to any Social rolls, or rolls involved in challenges. Spirits whom you are attuned to view you, to some degree, as one of their own — a daunting prospect for those attuned to Banes, when other Garou discover their heritage. If you act against such spirits or ignore their plights, you may be seen as betraying them.

Spirits can smell their scent on you, though no one else can.
●● The spirits note your arrival. You bring your chosen spirits to mind in others when they look at you, though few understand why.
●●● In the Umbra, you emanate an intangible, though noticeable, sense of your aligned spirit type.
●●●● In the Umbra, you have visible hints of your aligned spirit type. Those attuned to nature spirits may have tiny twigs emerge from their fur, for example.
●●●●● Some question if you really are only half spirit.

Totem (WtA)Edit

Totem is a Background that applies directly to the character’s pack, rather than the individual. Unlike other pooled Backgrounds, the pack spends all of the points that members have invested in this Trait to determine their totem’s power.

Each totem has a Background cost rating; the pack must spend that amount to ally with that totem. Some totems are willing to lend great powers to their adherents; their point costs are correspondingly greater. In addition to their Totem bonuses, all beginning totems have a base of eight points to divide among Rage, Willpower, and Gnosis. The totem also begins with the Airt Sense and Re-form Charms. Apart from bestowing power, totems start out somewhat aloof from the pack, and they have little influence among spirits, unless the players buy a closer connection with Background points. With time, roleplaying, and experience points, pack totems can grow in power as their pack grows in Rank and influence. Some totems can even become the totems of whole septs or — in legendary circumstances — even tribes.

Most of the powers that totems bestow are available to only one pack member at a time. At the end of each turn, the Garou with the power declares who the power may be given to next turn (assuming that she doesn’t keep it). After spending the initial cost of the totem, the players can spend any remaining Background points to add to the totem’s strength and abilities.

Cost Power
1 Per three points to spend on Willpower, Rage, or Gnosis
1 Totem can speak to the pack without the benefit of the Gift: Spirit Speech.
1 Totem can always find the pack members.
2 Totem is nearly always with the pack members.
2 Totem is respected by other spirits.
2 Per charm possessed
3 Per extra pack member who can use the totem’s powers in the same turn
4 Totem is connected mystically to all pack members, allowing communication among them even at great distances.
5 Totem is feared by agents of the Wyrm. Either minions of the Wyrm flee from the pack, or they do their best to kill the pack.

The listed cost is in Background points, which can be bought through experience at the rate of two experience points per Background point. (Therefore, three points of Rage would cost two experience points.) The Storyteller should allow increases in totem powers only when it fits in to the story, such as when pack members gain a higher rank, a new member joins the pack, or when pack members gain new insight into the nature of their totem. When the totem is affiliated with a more powerful spirit, the greater spirit might grant the strengthening of its servant (pack totem) in return for a great service done it by the pack.

Mage BackgroundsEdit

ArcaneEdit

Mages walk the edge of what normal people consider reality. Because of their magical nature, they sometimes escape the notice of Sleepers. Their very existence is an anomaly, and some of them just evade notice. This effect manifests differently for different mages.

Although the Arcane Background doesn't make mages invisible, it makes them less noteworthy. An Arcane mage seems nondescript and not particularly noticeable. Features just seem to slip away from memory, and the mage just never seems to get caught on film. Records disappear, people forget the mage's name or even assume that discussions are about someone different, and witnesses can't garner more than “That guy. Girl. Whatever.” The mage doesn't trigger these effects actively; they just happen. The mage can, however, consciously dampen the effect and allow others to see her as she truly is.

You add your character's Arcane score to any Stealth rolls you make, and your opponents reduce their Perception or Investigation dice pools by a number of dice equal to your score in Arcane.

Note that Arcane only helps when the mage is inconspicuous or absent; if the character is screaming, waving around a sword, or otherwise drawing attention to herself, Arcane doesn't help. Of course, people might give conflicting descriptions later or be hard-pressed to remember her name. When your character is directly involved in combat, this Trait gives her no benefits. Note also that a character with specific, extremely unusual traits – like purple hair, a peg leg, or huge size – won't be able to conceal those traits; they stand out too much in peoples' minds.

You blend in with the crowd.
●● You're easy to forget.
●●● You're difficult to follow.
●●●● There are scant photos, papers, or records of you, and people can't even agree on what you look like.
●●●●● In other people's minds, you don't even exist.

AvatarEdit

All mages have an Awakened Avatar, and through that Avatar the mage alters reality. However, not all Avatars affects her Quintessence score directly. It also determines how much Quintessence your character can reabsorb at any one time. It's wise to put at least one dot in this Background. Mages with extremely weak Avatars can't channel Quintessence at all, which can make many magical feats difficult or impossible.

Whenever your character's Quintessence score drops below her score in this Trait, she can meditate at a Node, for at least one hour, in an attempt to rebuild her Quintessence levels. You roll a dice pool based on Meditation (Perception + Meditation; difficulty 7) for each hour spent at the Node, and the number of your successes determines how much Quintessence she regains. No matter how many successes you roll, however, your character can't reabsorb more Quintessence than the number of dots you placed in her Avatar Background. Her Avatar score serves as a ceiling to the Quintessence points she can soak in through meditation at a Node.

The Avatar rating is also the limit to the amount of Quintessence that a mage may channel for an Effect. A mage can't channel more Quintessence than her Avatar rating, so mages with weak Avatars are limited to smaller Effects.

Quintessence stored in the Avatar is “personal” and inviolable; it can't be taken from the mage with Prime magic.

Note that the role of the Avatar may vary with the Storyteller's slant on the game, and as such this Background may be changed to represent other powers.

May rebuild a pool of/expend one Quintessence.
●● May rebuild a pool of/expend two Quintessence.
●●● May rebuild a pool of/expend three Quintessence.
●●●● May rebuild a pool of/expend four Quintessence.
●●●●● May rebuild a pool of/expend five Quintessence.

Backup (Technocracy)Edit

When you work for the Technocracy, other people work for you. If everything goes to hell, you've got a team of un-Enlightened agents to help you out (See the climax of almost any James Bond movie for an example of this Background in action). Each Convention has its own name for these grunts like sympathizers, associates, students, marines or Kamrads. They're among the most essential agents in the Technocracy's crusades...and the most expendable. In honor of their contributions, many agents regard them with familial affection, calling them brethren, sisters or cousins. Less-affectionate agens refer to them as cannon fodder and proles.

This Background represents a number of low-level operatives that an amalgam has at its disposal. Unlike Allies, such personnel are largely nameless, faceless and expendable; unlike Spies, they're not particularly connected, although they might be able to score you some advance intelligence. Although Enlightened Technocrats can and sometimes do engage these agents in conversation, camaraderie and the occasional affair, they sense that these people are their inferiors. Supervisors move Backup teams around at seemingly random intervals..especially if some Enlightened op establishes personal bonds with a prole. Harsh as it may seem, these people are little more than tools of the Technocratic high command.

"Backup" usually takes the form of last minute assault squads; if an op is in danger, a team of gun-wielding sympathizers can provide enough cover to let him finish his mission. But the Background reflects other support-teams too - laboratory technicians, media personnel, co-pilots, drivers, wait staff, office staff, personal servents and even prostitutes. As the ops takes care of the important stuff, the Backup personnel handle the mundane details, from conveying information to cleaning up dead bodies.

The available Backup depends on the Convention (or even Methodology) of the agent or group that requests it. A Man in Black can call up some spies, thugs or reporters, but he'd have a hard time calling in Iteration X Kamrads or Progenitor constructs unless he was working with a member of those Conventions. Typically, an agent or team pools its Backup rating at the beginning of each mission and defines the kind of Backup it may need:

  • All: Students, drivers, secretaries, couriers, lab techs, political activists, emergency medics, simple thugs.
  • Iteration X: Manual laborers, machinists, cyborg "temps", mechanics, soldiers
  • NWO: Un-Enlightened constructs, cops and detectives, commandos, reporters, hookers, clean-up crews.
  • Progenitors: Basic clones, gang members, doctors, bioconstructs, and slightly Enhanced humans (count as "temps").
  • Syndicate: Personal assistants, gofers, hookers, gang members, corporate toadies, body-disposal specialists.
  • Void Engineers: Space marines, pilots, technicians, SF fans.

(Note that anyone who dismisses the value of students, secretaries or teachers should remember that campus demonstrations, lost files and strident intellectuals can affect more long-term change than a gun-wielding mob...and with much less risk.)

Some amalgams also rely on employees, assistants of unusual skill. In game terms, these lesser agents may be experienced mercenaries, information specialists, detectives or technicians with superior Traits (4s and 5s in several categories) or resources (see "Extraordinary Citizens"). Essentially, these "temps" become your Allies for a single mission. This kind of Backup costs twice the normal amount, however; the temps might still be temps, but they're damn good at their jobs.

Generally, an amalgam begins with a Backup crew of three; individual agents have no "default" in this Trait - you'll have to buy it in the beginning, or earn it through your successes. If your "proles" have a tendency to die horrible deaths, you might lose this Background for a while... or for good. Casualties are taken out of your squad, and they probably won't be replaced. This Background cannot be raised with experience points; once the chronicle begins, only the Storyteller can give you more Backup. After all, if you constantly need assistance, you must not be worth the trouble of providing it.

Two basic sympathizers.
●● Four basic sympathizers, or two skilled "temps"
●●● Six sympathizers
●●●● Eight sympathizers
●●●●● 10 sympathizers
●●●●● ● 12 sympathizers, or six "temps".
●●●●● ●● 14 sympathizers.
●●●●● ●●● 16 sympathizers, or eight "temps"
●●●●● ●●●● 18 sympathizers
●●●●● ●●●●● 20 sympathizers, or 10 "temps".

ChantryEdit

Contrary to popular belief, a Chantry is not just a secret clubhouse or spooky house on the hill, though many Chantries own such real estate. Rather, a Chantry is a mage's commune, a pool of joint resources that all the members may draw upon. That is to say, a Chantry is just as much a building with four walls as the people who dwell within those four walls. With Chan tries, the membership roster may change over time and the physical structure may change form and location, as with fraternity houses and churches in the Sleeper world, but the history and identity remain.

Your rating in the chantry background determines how well liked you are in your chantry and how much contribution you've given in the past and can expect to receive in return. Specify which Chantry this represents at Creation.

Chole (Sorcerer/Psychic)Edit

You are a medium in the voodoo sense, originally known amongst the Bata'a and other similar practitioners as chole or Godflowers. That is, your body and mind are open gateways tothe spirit world. Ghosts, nature spirits and the mighty loa ride you like a fine horse. Today called Les Chevaux, literally The Horses, amongst the Bata'a and other voodoo practitioners, sorcerers and mages with a strong connection to the spirit world are suitably respected. The sacrifice intrinsic to acting as the open door between the realms is a sacred duty and garners immense attention from otherworldly powers and deep honor among spiritual cultures. The power you represent is demonstrated in the ease with which spirits may possess you and channel their magical charms through you into the material world. The higher your rating in thts Background, the more easily spirits can use you, for good or ill. This is the ultimate sacrifice, however, and at least some of the loa will truly appreciate and reward you. It is worth noting that this Background can even exist amongst otherwise normal mortals. The will of the other world is not limited to the enlightened alone.

Weak- you are the equivalent of a lame nag; -1 to spirit difficulties through you.
●● Medium- you have practice, and spirits appreciate this; -2 to difficulties of possession and charms
●●● Strong - spirits favor a link such as you; -3 to difficulnes to affect the world through you.
●●●● Powerful-the loa enjoy the gateway you provide; -4 to difficulties to enact spirt powers.
●●●●● Legendary- even the unbelievers see the divine in you; -5 to target numbers for spirits.

Cloaking (Arcane - Technocracy)Edit

Many Technocrats "hide in plain sight", using psychological tricks, minor disguises and so forth. Other agents (notably NWO spies, Iteration X cyborgs and Syndicate field ops) employ "cloaking devices" that literally scramble light, sound and brainwave activity in a small radius around the agent (See "Biotech"). Some ops, however, simply have a "talent for disappearing"; while they cannot actually become invisible, they're notoriously hard to keep track of. Secret Agent John Courage is one such agent, but he's not alone.

The Cloaking Background can be considered as either a talent for misdirection, an implant or a mysterious (and unsettling) ability to defy certain laws of physics. To the Union, this talent is an enigma...one it would dearly love to solve. Until that day, however, it puts the talent to good use and makes a special point of keeping track of agents who display it...as much as one can keep track of these people, at least.

Companion (Familiar - Technocracy)Edit

Even Technocrats get lonely, especially those who spend a lot of time away from the Masses. In the rarefied atmosphere of Horizon Constructs, remote laboratories and Voidcraft, these operatives occasionally make companions to accompany them in their duties. More often than not, these constructs are odd creatures; even though many of them appear to be perfectly normal examples of their kind, any perceptive person can tell that they're more than they seem to be...

This Background is rare among all the Conventions - it smacks too much of medieval wizardry. However, those few Technocrats who have Companions often swear by them. The newer, younger breed of Technocrats seem slightly more inclined to have Companions than their elders do. These Companions often take the form of house pets or the other creatures listed below:

  • Iteration X: Robots, AIs, intelligent weapons, data beasts and attack progs.
  • NWO: AI's, intelligent animals (attack dogs, pets).
  • Progenitors: Bioconstructs (human, animal and other), genegineered beasts, "normal" animals with very abnormal abilities.
  • Syndicate: Pets, attack animals, humanoid constructs (usually very attractive and efficient).
  • Void Engineers: Alien creatures (that is, materialized spirits; see the movie version of Lost in Space), genegineered animals, data beasts, robots, LERMUs and other bioconstructs.

In game terms, the Background works exactly the same ways as the Background: Familiar, with the following exceptions:

  • A Technocrat does not perform a "bonding ceremony"; most of the time, he makes the Companion with biotech or hypertech, invests it with a bit of self-will and some intelligence and dotes on it a bit. Over time, the creation bonds with the Technocrat...often becoming far more than the "little friend" the operative expected. Void Engineers occasionally bond with creatures from "out there"; such bonds violate Technocracy policy, but in the Deep Univers, Supervisors often look the other way unless there's trouble
  • The Companion does not devour Tass or Primal Energy per se, but it does follow the Technocrat around, demanding favors and attention. Many of those favors involve strange diets (high-energy food, alien plants) and close person contact (affection, sex, mind-melds, etc.) - both of which supply the Primal Energy the Companion requires. For some odd reason, all Companions, even animal and robotic ones (but not AIs), seem to love Erg Cola.

Naturally, you're responsible for anything your Companion does - an important consideration for agents involved with sensitive material. An angry Companion can make an operative's life very difficult; these creatures seem to know all sorts of classified information, and the Union is not nearly as tolerant of such breaches as the Traditions might be....

(Note: This Background covers realy special, personal companions. Many operatives have allies [robots, super-smart dogs, flesh-eating carpets, cute-but-dumb sidekicks and so on] who don't have the special "talents" that Companions possess...Use the Background: Allies for these characters, instead).

Construct (Chantry - Technocracy)Edit

Home is where you hang your hat...and mirrorshades. Technocrats refer to their places of power as Constructs rather than Chantries. Among younger, newer Technocrats, even the term "Construct" has fallen out of favor somewhat, since it's easily confused with the biocrafted beings of the Progenitors and Iteration X. Instead they tend to use the term 'headquarters', or the Convention-specific terms listed here:

  • Iteration X: Arsenals, offices, outposts, Constructs
  • NWO: Offices, towers, Horizon Collectives, Safe Houses.
  • Progenitors: Laboratories, research facilities.
  • Syndicate: Offices, lodges, Safe Houses, hideouts
  • Void Engineers: Outposts, stations, Voidcraft, motherships

Agents who belong to a Construct (which is most of them) are subject to restrictions similar to those governing Chantry-based mages. They start low on the "corporate ladder" and work their way up. They have a certain degree of access to the Construct's resources as well. In exchange, however, they are also subject to attacks by its enemies and must perform duties and chores to keep the place running

CultEdit

Magic is the force of will, and a mage with this Background is wise enough to know that his is not the only will on the planet. Such a mage is a priest a flock of true fbelievers, a rock star with groupies or a guru with a gaggle of devotees willing to believe any miracle he deigns perform. As listed on p. 154 of Mage: The Ascension, a group of believing acolytes can add successes to the results of an Effect, if they participate and truly believe in your mage's power.

Having a cult means there are Sleepers who actively believe. They fully expect grand things from the mage, and they are willing to help him perform his magic. They are not Awakened, nor do they know anything of magic beyond what they're told - if you want a truly skilled helper, get a magician's assistant for a Retainer, have a few Allies or take a young mage as apprentice. Nevertheless, are devoted and enthusiastic, that enthusiasm is what the mage needs. The higher the Cult rating, the larger the cult. However, beyond their belief, the cult is composed of plain, ordinary humans, and are not exceptionally powerful or useful unless you buy Allies, Contacts or Retainers as well.

Tiny Cult: 3-7 people. Add one success to any rituals cast when the entire cult is gathered.
●● Small Cult: 8-12 people. Add two successes to any rituals cast when the entire cult is gathered.
●●● Moderate Cult: 13-17 people. Add three successes to any rituals cast when the entire cult is gathered.
●●●● Large cult: 18-22 people. Add four successes to any rituals cast when the entire cult is gathered.
●●●●● Huge cult: 23-27 people. Add five successes to any rituals cast when the entire cult is gathered.

DestinyEdit

Some mages – or even Sleepers – stand out heroically, pulling the threads of the Tapestry around them as they charge blindly on to an undeniable destiny. The fate of such a mage is generally known, though in a vague way. A prophecy, a vision, or even just a “sense of greatness” follows this sort of mage. Her fellow mages sense this fate, as does she. Although none of the characters will know the exact nature of her fate, you should work it out behind the scenes with your Storyteller, or have your Storyteller determine it for you secretly. This final fate should remain mysterious – an enigma – within the context of the story.

The knowledge that she'll go on to do great things gives your character a stronger sense of purpose and, thus, it increases her ability to exert her will. She knows that she won't die an ignominious death and this knowledge gives her the courage to go on when times get rough. Once per story (not each game session), if your character faces an end that goes against her destiny, you may roll her Destiny score versus a difficulty number of 8. Each success you roll allows you to regain one spent Willpower Point. You may use these points to help your character avoid a cheap death. Destiny steps in and helps your character when she needs it the most.

However, your Storyteller may decide, at any time, that the danger your character faces meets the criteria of her destiny and disallow you any special saving rolls. Your character's fate, in this case, has come calling and she must survive on her own or fulfill that destiny.

Although the Union refers to "destiny" by the same name their superstitionist rivals use, they define it in scientific terms, rather than in quasi-mystical ones. To a Technocrat, your Destiny represents an overwhelming probability, a statistical likelihood that you will accomplish something positive. (Technocrats with the Background often spend countless hours running temporal analysis calculations, trying to find out what this "destiny" might be.) Some scholars equate this term with the "manifest destiny" philosophy popular in the 19th-century America: You know, somehow, that you're meant to do great things.

In the collective mind set of the Union, something as individualistic as Destiny might be considered unmutual. After all, the whole is supposed to be greater than its parts. Yet considering how inspirational some of those parts can be (look at Tychoides, Rivallon de Corbie, Queen Victoria and even mythical figures like King Arthur), a hero can be great for morale. The occasional celebrity illuminates the Technocratic ideal. So long as such people remember that their place in the larger whole, "destiny" is often encouraged.

Of course, Destiny is not always related to heroism. An agent with this Background might be fated to betray the Union - as many Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts did - or to break ranks in some way that makes a big difference to the Union but blows policy all to hell. As always, it's up to the Storyteller to determine what a character's Destiny is, and how it comes to pass.

The new breed of Technocrat exhibits a flair that often puts mages to shame. What's better, he manages to pull it off as part of a group (anyone can look good when he's on his own, after all). Thus Destiny is perfectly appropriate for a Technocratic character. You represent the men and women who're going to infuse new life into the Conventions, lead them to new heights of accomplishment and triumph in the Ascension War.

A character can fulfill his destiny, and at such a time, the Background goes away. The fulfillment of the destiny usually culminates in some large change for the character's life, though. Conversely, an otherwise mundane person may suddenly discover a powerful destiny. The course of fate is fickle indeed, and even mages can't see the future with total certainty.

A minor Destiny; roll one die.
●● An impressive Destiny; roll two dice.
●●● A crucial Destiny; roll three dice.
●●●● A world changing Destiny; roll four dice.
●●●●● An earth shattering Destiny; roll five dice.

Device (Talisman - Technocracy)Edit

The Union watches its resources carefully, Technocratic devices are essential in the war effort, but as with many other luxuries, there aren't enough of them to go around. Q Division and Research & Execution hoard their hypertech carefully. Even so, many ops have a personal toy or two that they keep in their own quarters. Not everything finds its way back to the arsenal, and gifts, inventions and scavenged great often belong to individuals, not to groups.

Aside from the specifics noted in the "Devices" section of the Wiki, this Trait works exactly the same as the Talisman Background given. With this Background, the item belongs to the agent, not to his Convention. Which isn't to say no one can take it from you - you simply don't have to return it at the end of the mission or petition a Supervisor to get it.

(In some previous sourcebooks, this Background represented an agents standing with Q Division and his ability to requisition hypertech. This rule has been changed to allow Technocratic characters to own personal equipment, and to give amalgams the ability to pool resources. See "Requisitions and Secret Weapons" for the new replacements to the old rule.)

DreamEdit

With the Dream Background, your character has the ability to meditate and tap into the wealth of information carried within the universal mind. She must focus on a particular problem while meditating, and the amount of time it takes her to glean the information will vary based on its complexity. This process has is drawbacks. She may not get exactly what she wanted, but instead may find herself possessing an intuitive understanding that she didn't expect. The universal mind knows better than she does what will help her, but that doesn't mean she'll figure out why this particular bit of information applies to her dilemma. Furthermore, she only has access to the information until she sleeps again. Once she sleeps, the knowledge flies out of her mind and she loses access to it.

Your Storyteller may ask you to roll Perception + Dream to see how well your character can focus and reach a meditative state. Each character will have her own unique way of bringing forth the dream. It doesn't have to be sitting in a full lotus with incense burning. Some take long walks by the beach or vegetate to rock music. Whatever method your character uses, she must have no interruptions for the amount of time the Storyteller determines necessary. The information your character receives isn't concrete information, but rather an intuitive, guiding sense about something. She can't find a person's address this way, but she can sense that the person probably lives near the river, for example. Roll your character's Perception + Dream (difficulty 6) to determine to what extent the information she receives is helpful.

Once per day, after your character has meditated successfully, you can substitute her Dream score for an Ability in a dice roll pertaining to the topic of her meditation. This applies whether she has the Ability or not. For example, if she's seeking some insight into her friend's emotions, you can roll Intelligence + Dream instead of Intelligence + Alertness, even if your character has no Alertness score. If she does have an Alertness score, you can substitute, if you choose. However, you can't add her Dream and Alertness scores. You roll either one or the other.

You catch hazy bits of information.
●● You gain helpful insight.
●●● You can access worthwhile lore.
●●●● You glean a wealth of knowledge.
●●●●● You make amazing leaps with your insight.

EnhancementEdit

Some agents are created more human than others. Enhanced agents have either been genegineered in a laboratory, cloned from other Technocrats or equipped with cybertech. With this Background, you become one of them. This Trait allows you to choose one of two options.

  • As a cyborg, you have certain biomechanical devices integrated within your body - biomesh armor, Primium bones, plasma cannons or infra-red scanners. (See "Biotech" and "Biomods" for details.) The Background rating allows you to possess a certain amount of cybernetic or biomodification Enhancement, at the cost of permanent Paradox points.
  • As a genegineered human, you possess certain physical enhancements that make you stronger, faster, tougher, smarter, more beautiful or more perceptive than a normal Homo Sapiens. The Background rating allows you to raise certain Attributes above their normal maximums, at the cost of permanent genetic Flaws.

These two options may not be mixed. Experiments along these lines have had disastrous results. Each option has certain rules and limitations:

  • Cybernetics: The devices built inside your body turn you into a walking Paradox magnet. Although they may or may not be obvious to a witness, the modifications ensure that when you do use your powers, the forces of the universe react. In game terms, the Paradox points are added to your Paradox effect circle; no matter how bad a backlash may be, these points never go away unless the devices are removed. Any additional Paradox you earn is added on top of these permanent points which may cause greater backlashes when things go bad.

Whatever form they take - from Nanotech to mechanical limbs - cybernetics are essentially machines keyed to your body. If Control wishes to teach you a lesson, these devices may be removed, crippling or killing you in the process. As a walking investment, you'll be monitored even more thoroughly than most Technocracy agents already are; if you go rogue, they'll make it a priority to get you back. Those machines can be targeted by Reality Deviant mages, too. Consider the cyborg attacked by a Virtual Adept. It's not pretty.

Once it's set up, mechanical cybertech cannot be augmented with additional Procedures or magic; after your Plasma Cannon is installed, you can't use additional Forces Procedures to make it more powerful. If a rival sorcerer turns Life-based spells against you, however, she can make a mess of your modifications. Many a badass cyborg has been creamed by a witch who made his body reject the machines! In game terms, destructive Life spells inflict two additional health levels of aggravated damage if they get past your countermagic. To offset this vulnerability, most cyborgs are outfitted with Primium Countermeasures. If that witch gets past your protection, though, you're screwed!

Biomods - genetic mutations like gills and claws - count as cybernetics for game purposes, even though they come from genegineering, not biomechanics. Unlike cybernetics, biomods are not subject to removal (although a sadistic agent can cut them off), and they cannot be forced out of your body the way cybernetics can. Hence, the Life magic penalty does not apply to biomods. The permanent Paradox, however, does. Like other genegineered agents, a character with biomods must also take at least one Genetic Flaw per level of Enhancement.

  • Genegineering: Bioconstructs are far more subtle than cyborgs; unless the Enhancement is painfully obvious - like the ability to life a car or make Cindy Crawford look homely - you seem perfectly normal. Sadly, genetic hyperscience is far from perfect. Bioconstructs still have bugs in their designs, like chronic insanity, poor health, spontaneous cancer, nagging pains and degenerative tissue. In game terms, these take the form of Genetic Flaws, inborn disabilities that render "perfect" humanoids a little less than perfect.

Even without the Flaws, an obviously inhuman person stands out. Stunning beauty or surpassing genius rouse jealousy among "lesser" people, some of whom will go out of their way to make your life miserable. Incredible strength, agility or endurance often manifest as physical abnormalities (gigantic muscles, leathery skin or hypersensitive reflexes) that make it hard to keep a low profile. You and your Storyteller should play up these quirks whenever possible.

The following Attributes can be modified with Enhancements: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Appearance, Perception, Intelligence, and Health. Regardless of justification, no other Trait may be modified this way. The added Traits may raise a character's normal Attributes as high as 8, and they can be divided between several different Attributes (three to Strength, two to Health and so forth).

Like the Background: Device (Talisman), each dot in Enhancements costs two Background points, not one; the modifications are essentially built-in devices. This Background cannot be requisitioned, shared or pooled. It may be raised with experience points, however, provided someone performs intricate operation to update the technology. Although, certain bizarre Technocrats may have more than five dots in Enhancements, we do not recommend allowing player character to go that high. This Trait is powerful enough already.

+1 point of Attributes, or 3 points for Devices. One paradox point or Genetic Flaw
●● +2 points of Attributes, or 6 points for Devices. Two Paradox points or Genetic Flaws
●●● +3 points of Attributes, or 9 points for Devices. Three Paradox points or Genetic Flaws
●●●● +4 points of Attributes, or 9 points for Devices. Three Paradox points or Genetic Flaws
●●●●● +5 points of Attributes, or 15 points for Devices. Five Paradox points or Genetic Flaws

FamiliarEdit

A mage and Familiar hold a special bond. Generally, the mage gives physical form to some spirit, enabling that spirit to manifest and enjoy the fruits of the material, living world - but some powerful spirits or pre-existing creatures seek out mages on their own. In either case, the mage forges a potent spiritual bond with the Familiar. The two souls become intertwined; the mage benefits from the Familiar's special knowledge and capabilities, while the Familiar garners magical energies and vicarious experience through the mage. While many Familiars follow very archetypal forms - black cats, bats, hawks, ferrets and other similar small animals- modern mages create or entice Familiars of all kinds, including golems or robots made by the Sons of Ether, self-aware computers of the Virtual Adepts and even mythic beasts like tiny dragonets or djinn summoned by the Order of Hermes.

Rules for creating familiars can be found here.

Genius (Avatar - Technocracy)Edit

While superstionists refer to the guiding brilliance within them as an "avatar" (the spirit of an incarnated god), Technocrats know better. They understand the true significance of this driving force, and they refer to it as Genius. The word "avatar" not only carries supernatural baggage, it implies that a person is only a host for some greater spirit entity. "Genius", with its connotations of superior intelligence, insight, revelation and Enlightened guidance, captures the true nature of this inner spark far better than the superstitionist term ever could.

Every Technocrat has a bit of Genius within her. It's what allows her to understand the vast forces she commands. Yet that insight has its price: When a human being has the doors of perception and possibility thrown wide, she risks going crazy. This threat is the disease other "mages" suffer from: delusions brought about by their guiding brilliance and outmoded mythologies, and recklessness brought on by the things they can do. It's a good thing you're more evolved than they are! You know better, and you can handle the power your Genius grants you.

While the superstitionalist flails around in his private hell, a Technocrat can focus her intellect and overcome the deviant visions that sometimes follow Enlightenment. Through hard work and training, you have learned to focus your intellectual energy with meditation, study, physical exercise or experimentation in the laboratory. This activity is known as "sanitizing one's mind", presumably because it dispells deviant urges. Any agent beginning to have doubts about her way of life should report to the nearest laboratory immediately for more hard work and study.

But the benefits of focus go further than that. By attuning yourself to your work, you can restore the Primal Element (a.k.a., "Quintessence") lost in the day's normal affairs. With a bit of meditation, study and discipline in the right surroundings, you refresh the energy spent on important tasks. When you need that extra boost - often called "the push" - the Primal Element is there, waiting to be used.

Naturally, you must work free of distractions. Some Technocrats practice the questionable discipline of yoga to clear their minds, while others study, exercise or hook themselves to isolation devices and shut out the world. Naturally, the Technocracy provides "focus centers" where such things are available - gymnasiums, laboratories, isolation rooms, databanks and libraries. Stocked with high-energy foods and drinks (like Erg Cola), helpful associates and privacy areas, these centers help you refresh that essential energy and clear your mind of deviant delusions.

In game terms, this Background works exactly like the Avatar Background. The character, on the other hand, views it through a totally different perspective. When she speaks of "avatars", she prefers the term "Genius"; when she views them through special devices or Procedures, she's simply recognizing the archetypal forms shaped by the mage who "wears" them..or noticing the alien beings that have corrupted their pawns and now ride them to destruction. No Technocrat will allow herself the luxury of that corruption! To her, the Genius is within.

GuideEdit

A mystical animal or minor spirit has chosen to help the sorcerer along her magical Path. Generally such entities are very interested in the welfare (or at least foibles) of humans but have some motive to attempt to encourage certain types of behavior in their sorcerer companions. Crafty, knowledgeable in magical concerns and possessed of inhuman senses, these beings have a lot to offer their patrons. Nothing is free, though, and this relationship is a two-way street. Guides expect special treatment, including food, shelter, friendship and even strange supernatural necessities. In return, guides can help a sorcerer learn mythic lore, gain new Paths or discover unseen things. Take the opportunity to create an interesting, unique creature who has reason to share your sorcerer's fate and influence her behavior.

Weak guide- a talking, relatively non-combative animal with a few occult skills.
●● Minor guide- exceptionally bright animal or spirit with detailed occult knowledge.
●●● Apt guide- a large, intelligent animal or a smaller supernatural creature.
●●●● Strong guide- an animal or spirit with a few magical abilities of its own.
●●●●● Powerful guide- a creature with magical talents, vast knowledge and probably a reputation.

Hypercram (Dream - Technocracy)Edit

Who says studying is boring? Hypercram is the Technocrats' version of Dream. Like that Background, it allows a character to temporarily access information that he didn't already have. In place of trances and meditation, Hypercram substitutes study, data analysis and comparative statistics. Younger Technocrats call the process "blitzing" or "grinding"

To Hypercram, the agent reviews super-condensed information about the subject he wants to master. This study is usually done through typical forms (accessing special libraries, reviewing the Convention's databases or surfing pertinent websites), but sometimes involves sleep-reading, nanotech databanks or memory implantation. Some Progenitors even experiment with a technique in which RNA encoded with the appropriate information is implanted in the subject, allowing him to access the data through cellular processes. It's not perfect, but it works.

In game terms, Hypercram gives a Technocrat access to the same sorts of information that other mages learn using Dream. Likewise, it's subject to the same limitations and restrictions on its use. But, as any grad student knows, temporary information on a subject is better than no information at all.

Laboratory (Technocracy)Edit

Everyone needs a place to work. In the specially prepared laboratories, weapons-ranges, boardrooms and research quarters of Union operatives, a Technocrat can concentrate on her special projects. As a Background Trait, "Laboratory" covers many different kinds of space. Some agents have huge libraries, gymnasiums, personal labs or machine shops loaded with odd gadgets; others share a communal area where the resources are shared between ops with the proper clearance.

In game terms, this Background works like the Sanctum Trait, with the following specifics:

  • The Union's Laboratories are equipped with magical failsafes. All Procedures that fit the Technocratic worldview are considered coincidental. Traditional "mystic" magic styles (Voodoo, Pagan magic, Hermetic rituals and so forth) are always vulgar there, as are the weird sciences of the Sons of Ether. Virtual Adepts, however, know enough about Technocratic protocols to bypass these failsafes; their "spells" are almost always coincidental in these labs, too.
  • A combination of computer-link misdirections, dampen-field bafflers and camouflage provides a "cloaking effect" that disguises the existence of a Laboratory.
  • The Gauntlet rating in a Technocratic Laboratory is considered 9, even against Dimensional Science Procedures. Those Procedures are simply considered coincidental, rather than vulgar.
  • A Laboratory set up within an established Construct belongs to the Union; it may be shared, monitored, spied upon or siezed with little or no warning. The "cloaking effect" does not affect Control - your superiors always know where their Laboratories are!
  • A wealthy operative (or amalgam) may set up a Laboratory outside an established Construct. Doing so, however, could be considered unmutual. Bribes and favors are always a good idea if you want to keep your Laboratory secure. In personally owned Laboratories, the "cloaking effect" protects against all intrusions, even Technocratic ones. There's something to be said for privacy!

LibraryEdit

With this Background, your character has access to a great wealth of information. This “library” may take the form of books, old scrolls, computer databases, or even of friends who have it all in their heads and who are happy to share it with you. Most importantly, your character can access this information whenever she wants and study it at will. The knowledge contained in your character's library can include both mundane and occult elements. Although it may not always prove entirely reliable, more often than not your character can take her time, cross-reference and check her information. Best of all, such a library is often a wealth of information that your particular mage considers important, so it has useful knowledge about magic, the supernatural, and other obscure topics that wouldn't be found in a more mundane collection.

Libraries are especially useful in unearthing new lore, Sphere knowledge, or specialized information. Use a Mental Attribute + Library roll to look up information regarding an arcane or obscure topic. Success helps your character in such an endeavor, possibly justifying the expenditure of experience on such Traits.

Depending on the nature of the “library,” your character may choose to keep it somewhere that everyone in her cabal can use it. In such a case, all players involved can pool their Library (pending Storyteller approval). However, they may run into duplication of information. Thus, a pooled library is only as effective as the best Library rating in the group, plus one for each additional Library thrown in.

You've got some New-Age paperbacks.
●● Your library is 90% pulp and 10% substance.
●●● You have numerous useful texts.
●●●● You have an enviable collection, both occult and mundane.
●●●●● You can access lore, lost secrets, common wisdom, and obscure facts.

Mana (Sorcerer/Psychic)Edit

Whether they call it chi, essence, ki, pneuma, psychic energy, ionized electrolytes or any number of other traditional names, sorcerers can tap into sources of energy that empower them in their performance of magic. Meditating or resting on ley lines, in holy places or even in supercharged chemical baths grants the magician who understands their nature a source of power. Other sorcerers ingest a diet of rare substances believed to invoke potency or engage themselves in strenuous rituals, exhausting daily regimens of practice or hypnotic empowerment. Whatever the individual's methods, she exhibits an energy that helps her work her Art, a force described by some as being akin to breath or spirit, or, in Latin, “Mana.”

When performing Path or ritual magic, a sorcerer may expend Mana to lower the difficulty target number. As usual, her difficulty cannot be lowered by more than three; however, Mana may reduce threshold instead, though never below one. Recovering Mana requires the sorcerer to perform her chosen method of recharging and succeed in a Perception + Meditation roll, difficulty 7, with each success restoring one point.

May store a pool of/expend one Mana
●● May store a pool of/expend two Mana
●●● May store a pool of/expend three Mana
●●●● May store a pool of/expend four Mana
●●●●● May store a pool of/expend five Mana

NodeEdit

One of the most hotly contested prizes I the war between access to a place of power were she can replenish her Quintessence and gather Tass. Your Node can be located – in a cellar, a high-rise, a grove, a glade, a crystal cave, or an old church – but mages protect them like the treasures they are. Quintessence thieves may attempt to overthrow the current custodians of a Node and take the location for themselves. Your character may have to fight to keep her Node.

You and your fellow players can pool your characters' Node scores to increase the value of one particular Node rather than having several small ones scattered around the area. The Node's rating determines how much Tass the place produces and how much “free” Quintessence a character can absorb from it per week. Your character can stockpile Tass, but the magical energy may lose its potency after a short time if not used. The form this Tass takes reflects the nature of the Node. If the Node is in a cemetery, the Tass may take the form of grave moss that your character will have to boil down to remove the Tass. Or, if the Node sits in a cave by the ocean, the Tass may take the form of salt-like deposits that your character will have to gather up and sift out to separate sand and silt.

The Quintessence available from a Node counts for all uses of absorption. Thus, characters who meditate to refresh their Avatar rating must draw on the Node and deplete it, and the Node may temporarily run out of power. A node generates ten tass or Quintessence per week per dot, and the Gauntlet rating nearby can vary from 1-4, depending on the potency of it.

A minor Node, barely worthy of mention.
●● A small Node, holding a useful trickle of energy.
●●● A significant Node, able to power several mages.
●●●● A major Node, hotly contested.
●●●●● A powerful Node, one of the few sites of magic left on Earth.

Past LivesEdit

The Avatar tends to collect experiences from the incarnations with which it associates. In mages, these sometimes appear as flashes of memory or sudden insight. While reincarnation of human souls remains a hotly-debated topic, most mages who study Avatars agree that Avatars tend to spring from some source in the distant past (the legendary primordial “One”) and that experiences from lives with which they were once attached can sometimes provide valuable insight, or even memories of things never known to the mage.

Such Past Life experiences can be unsettling, but in time a mage can learn to harness these memories and insights through meditation and internal exploration, in a process similar to a Seeking. In some ways this is similar to the Dream Background, but the mage pulls out moments of former personal lives instead of cosmic subconscious knowledge.

Exploring a Past Life may take some time and concentration (a turn or more of meditation), or it may happen in a spontaneous flash of insight - at the Storyteller's discretion. The player rolls dice equal to the dots of Past Life at a difficulty of 8; each success grants one die to a subsequent roll, on one Ability. Unlike Dream, these dice do add if the character already has the Ability in question- but there's no guarantee that the player will score any successes. Success generally indicates that the mage found some snippet of wisdom to guide and assist in the current endeavor.

You may use your Past Life once per game session. Botching tends to put the mage in a Mindscape relating to a Past Life trauma. Once you use Past Life, you should record the names and events of the ancestor, so that you can use them in your mage's character history and development.

You don't need the Avatar Background to have Past Life. Even a very weak and slumbering Avatar might have snippets of memory.

Faint Past Life: Every once in a while you feel a sense of deja vu
●● Weak Past Life: You have an inkling that you've done this before …
●●● Moderate Past Life: You definitely recall other times and places, and vague flashes of former habits and beliefs.
●●●● Strong Past Life: You possess clear memories of other existences, which you can summon up almost at will.
●●●●● Overwhelming Past Life: Sometimes you're not sure which life you're living.

Patron (Technocracy)Edit

You have someone watching over you, someone further up the food chain who covers your ass and hands you a tissue. Chances are, it's not your immediate Supervisor, although it could be. When you need some slack, she might pull just the right strings...if you return the favor later.

A Patron is not realy a Mentor, but a highly connected Technocrat whose influence is often helpful to you. Like any character, this person wants something that makes you worth her time and trouble. Perhaps she's in love, or she considers you the son she never had. More likely, you're a good source of information, you have access to things she cannot reach or you belong to some sort of alliance (such as Project Invictus) that binds you both together. Sooner or later, you will have to repay the Patron's aid. Depend on it too frequently, and you will lose it.

Gamewise, this Background helps you in ways you could never help yourself. So long as her efforts are rewarded, the Patron can get you out of trouble (sometimes), access information (usually), pull rank on your behalf (a big favor!), requisition equipment (often) or cover your tracks (as long as you weren't too messy when you left!). Natrually, you had best respect this person, do what she wants and watch your back. Very likely, you're a valuable piece in a large chess game. If you're not careful, you might become the next piece sacrificed....

A shadowy "someone" who leaves occasional clues
●● A helpful benefactor who would rather remain nameless
●●● A Supervisor who grudgingly lends assistance
●●●● A superior who openly likes you (or at least seems to)
●●●●● A high-ranking Technocrat dedicated to your welfare - for now.

Requisitions (Technocracy)Edit

The plus side of belonging to a group is that you've got access to all kinds of things; the downside is that you generally have to kiss ass to get anything worthwhile. This Background allows you to do just that - it reflects your standing with your supervisors, the amount of trust they have in you, and the stuff they allow you to borrow for a mission.

Before a mission, your Supervisor will assign whatever mundane or hypertechnological equipment he feels you need. If you're anything like the average agent, you'll want more than that. The section of "Requisitioning, Outsourcing and Borrowing Devices" describes the process used to obtain special equipment. The Requisitions Trait helps you get it. At missions end, you must return this equipment...or your Supervisor will take it back himself.

In game terms, this Background gives you a dice pool when you're requesting special favors from the higher-ups. Members of close-knit amalgams may pool the Requisitions ratings of individual members if they want to obtain more stuff for the group. The difficulty of the roll depends on how well you do your job...or how well the Powers That Be like you. each success gives you five Background points with which to "buy" devices. The listings in the Hypertech Devices section of this wiki give the cost of hypertech devices. As for mundane stuff, just assume that three successes or more allows you to get whatever you need.

Relationship Difficulty
Poor 9
Fair 8
Good 7
Very Good 6
Exemplary

5

As an optional rule, the Storyteller could just decide that each dot is worth five Background points for anyone who stays in relatively good standing. The roll might be reserved for special favors, or for times when the agent or his amalgam have made a mess of things once too often.

At the end of the mission, return the gear and report your performance. If the mission went well, your Relationship might go up one or two factors; if not, your status could drop one or two factors - maybe more, if you realy screwed up. If you lose the requisitioned equipment, that will cost you some favors too. The Technocracy is an understanding group, but it has no tolerance for carelessness (See the Flaws: Mr. Red Tape, Rogue and Fifth Degree

One die: They don't think much of you
●● Two dice: "Sure, we might give you something..."
●●● Three dice: You've proved your worth
●●●● Four Dice: They like you
●●●●● Five Dice: You're a valuable, trusted operative.
●●●●● ● Six Dice: A squad of trusted agents
●●●●● ●● Seven Dice: A team of valued ops
●●●●● ●●● Eight Dice: A team of specialists
●●●●● ●●●● Nine Dice: Elite clearance for elite operatives
●●●●● ●●●●● Ten Dice: Maximum clearance for extraordinary ops.

SanctumEdit

Young mages often have a spark of creativity, from which they imagine their own places of mystery and influence. Like a Bridge to Terabithia, the mage steps across a threshold and enters a realm where her will defines the course of nature. Older mages may spend years working in the same place, shaping it with their desires and their magics until it becomes a private haven of possibility. Unlike a Demesne, though, this is no dream realm, but an actual physical location where the very laws of reality that hold sway there all follow the mage's decree.

The Sanctum Background represents the mage's special workshop. Within a Sanctum, the mage's paradigm rules. Here, anything that follows the mage's rules of magic functions naturally, while anything from a different paradigm- be it super-science, high ritual or faith - is vulgar.

In game terms, your mage can perform magical effects of his paradigm in a Sanctum without garnering any Paradox at all. They're coincidences in the location. Only on a botch would the mage suffer Paradox, and even then it would be for a coincidental effect. Witnesses have no effect on this!

Naturally, there are some limits to a Sanctum. First, the level of the Background determines the maximum size of the area (see below). Second, a Sanctum doesn't just spring up over night; it's a secret grove, a hidden room, a moldy and forgotten tower or other place hidden from prying eyes where exposure to the mage's magic has bent the Tapestry for decades until finally it's become pliant to the mage's beliefs. (Generally, assume that it takes at least five years of work per dot for a Sanctum to form.) Third, Sancta aren't just free for the taking. One mage's Sanctum doesn't automatically accommodate other mages' paradigms. Usually, an owner of a Sanctum can't just hand it over; only an apprentice or someone who directly shared the owner's paradigm could benefit from it. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the benefits of the Sanctum only cover effects cast within. If an effect reaches outside the Sanctum (perhaps because of Correspondence), then it suffers the full effects of Paradox, very likely unraveling the effect (although the mage himself won't suffer the Paradox directly). If the mage casts a powerful effect and then takes it outside with him, the effect will quickly erode due to Unbelief if it violates the Consensus. So, it's quite possible for a mage to remain immortal so long as the individual stays in the Sanctum but upon leaving, the mage would quickly age and crumble to dust!

A Sanctum is, naturally, a perfect place to keep a Library or other useful implements of magical practice, and the Backgrounds may be tied together. A Sanctum can also have an Arcane rating of its own, showing how hidden it is from prying eyes; this costs points from the Background's size but gives it effective Arcane (and also cloaks anything within its boundaries, so the owner is hidden while within- this does stack with any Arcane that the mage personally has). In some ancient and ancestral Chantries, a few mages might have small Sancta in various rooms.

Tiny Sanctum: As long as you're in your secret closet …
●● Small Sanctum: A very small room bends to your will.
●●● Moderate Sanctum: You have a workshop, and maybe an associated small bedroom, in which you practice.
●●●● Large Sanctum: A small house or set of rooms all hosts your magic.
●●●●● Extravagant Sanctum: An entire manor, a series of catacombs, a castle or faerie forest … and it all works as you desire.

Secret Weapons (Technocracy)Edit

You're a guinea pig - a trusted guinea pig! -- for Q Division. Most ops have been trained with standard weaponry, but you've been suited up with the experimental stuff. When some new device comes off the drawing board, the designers give you a crash-course with it. Sometimes they even let you take it out for a spin...

Though devices are assigned to agents with fair alacrity, you are often assigned special gear. Q Division gives you the opportunity to test materials and projects that haven't yet made it into the general Technocratic ranks. Your rating in this Background determines how many special devices you can get for a mission, and it also determines how useful they'll be. Use Charisma or Manipulation + Secret Weapons to pull useful tools instead of random junk. With no successes, Q Division doesn't have anything for you this time; with one or more, you get something of dubious value. The more successes you score, the more the item is likely to be useful for your mission.

Why bother with testing weird gadgets for Q Division, especially if they won't do you any good? Well, you get to play with stuff that the rest of the Union isn't using yet, but might be using in the near future. You also win points with Q Division and your superiors for trying out new techniques in a field test. Not a bad job, as long as it doesn't blow up in your face.

You can get an item of trivial utility (a new sort of environment pen or a modified version of Erg Cola)
●● A minor toy is within your reach (a small sensory device, power source or minor single-effect device is accessible).
●●● They trust you with stuff most operatives never see (a modified hand weapon, armor treatment or special medical supply).
●●●● You're familiar with the quirks of most Technocracy weaponsmiths, because you use their works so much (improved heavy weapons, a potent but quirky transportation device, some sort of mind-altering device).
●●●●● You can pretty much pull any experimental object on call (get two or three minor items, or test out a new vehicle, robot or device or Procedure requiring additional Union resources).

Spies (Technocracy)Edit

Loose lips sink ships - and you're the guy with the torpedo and the sonar readout. Through contacts and informants, you can keep tabs on various people and institutions. Once you have what you need, it's easy to assemble data, make plans, and strike.

Spies come in many forms: the disgruntled secretary, the old army buddy, the cop who knows his hands are tied and the junkie who wants "the realy good stuff" all qualify. Some Technocrats even have genegineered animals or micro-cams they deploy in search of information. Unlike Allies, these Spies are not loyal. They'll help you so long as you repay the favor. If someone else gets hold of them, they might turn on you....

In system terms, Spies allow you to ferret information in or out (Intelligence + Spies), circulate misinformation and diversion (Manipulation + Spies), impress people in secure locations (Charisma + Spies) and note ominous developments before they reach Ground Zero (Perception + Spies). That's not to say that your Spies never provide wrong information - they don't always know what's correct themselves. The data and it's security is only as good as the informant. And if they're speaking to you, who knows what other ears might be listening to what they have to say?

One or two spies in a helpful area (the police, Wall Street, the Mafia)
●● Four to six informants in various helpful places
●●● A handful of spies in several hard-to-reach places(the pentagon, the UN); or one of two in a realy secure area (the local Symposium, a Tradition Chantry).
●●●● Infiltrators in a whole sphere of influence (the underworld, international affairs);
or a handful in a Chantry or Construct.
●●●●● Eyes, ears and mouths scattered among the Masses or several contacts in the Enlightened world.
●●●●● ● You've got the equivalent of a small news agency on your payroll, and it has an ear to the ground in magical affairs.
●●●●● ●● In addition to hundred of contacts among the Masses, you've got many "friends" in various supernatural societies
●●●●●●●● You have an entire intelligence agency working for you on both sides of the Masses
●●●●●●●●● Big Brother
●●●●●●●●●● Big Brother on a global scale

Spirit Companion (MtA)Edit

You have a special relationship with a spirit, one who is freely and without compunction is your companion. This spirit can be an animal spirit (perhaps associated with a totem), an affiliated spirit (such as an elemental type, or spirit of war), an Astral Spirit (such as an angel or demon), or some other type of spirit. The spirit follows you wherever you in the Umbra, and it's always waiting for you when you step sideways. It can act as a “battery” for extra energies (Gnosis/Rage/Willpower for Garou, Quintessence or Mana/Willpower for Mages/Sorcerers, etc.); you can give these points to your spirit to hold until they are needed, but requires direct contact and cannot normally be done over a distance or over the Gauntlet. This Background can only be bought with Freebee points or gifted by the ST; it may not be purchased with XP without permission.

Your Companion is the smallest Gaffling/Minion and not too bright. The only ways you can speak to it are with the gift of spirit speech/approprate magic or by direct communication when your near it in the Umbra. It can store three extra points of energy for you, but only one type. It normally cannot peek through the Gauntlet, so it rarely knows what's going on in the Realm.
●● Your Companion is a descent sized Gaffling/Minion and almost intelligent. The only ways you can speak to it are with the gift of spirit speech/approprate magic or by direct communication when you are near it in the Umbra. It can store five extra points of energy for you, but only one type. It knows instinctively where you are, and it can peek to see you from time to time.
●●● Your Companion is a Jaggling/Majordomo of average intelligence. You can speak aloud to it easily through the bond you share, as long as it is nearby. It can store five extra points of energy for you, and you may select two types. It knows instinctively where you are, can see through your eyes and can also peek through the Gauntlet.
●●●● Your Companion is a fairly bright Jaggling/Majordomo. You can speak telepathically to it through the bond you share, as long as it is nearby. You always know where it is and it always knows where you are. You can see through its eyes and it can borrow your sight as well. It can store six extra points of energy for you in any combination. It can peek into (and possibly even manifest in) the Realm.
●●●●● Your Companion is an intelligent Jaggling/Majordomo affiliated with a specific Incarna. You can speak telepathically to it no matter how far away it is. You and it always know each other's location. You can both share any of the five senses and knowledge from any one gift/rote/path (only one ability in said path). It can store a total of eight extra points of energy for you in any combination. It may peek and manifest in the Realm.

NodeEdit

One of the most hotly contested prizes I the war between access to a place of power were she can replenish her Quintessence and gather Tass. Your Node can be located – in a cellar, a high-rise, a grove, a glade, a crystal cave, or an old church – but mages protect them like the treasures they are. Quintessence thieves may attempt to overthrow the current custodians of a Node and take the location for themselves. Your character may have to fight to keep her Node.

You and your fellow players can pool your characters' Node scores to increase the value of one particular Node rather than having several small ones scattered around the area. The Node's rating determines how much Tass the place produces and how much “free” Quintessence a character can absorb from it per week. Your character can stockpile Tass, but the magical energy may lose its potency after a short time if not used. The form this Tass takes reflects the nature of the Node. If the Node is in a cemetery, the Tass may take the form of grave moss that your character will have to boil down to remove the Tass. Or, if the Node sits in a cave by the ocean, the Tass may take the form of salt-like deposits that your character will have to gather up and sift out to separate sand and silt.

The Quintessence available from a Node counts for all uses of absorption. Thus, characters who meditate to refresh their Avatar rating must draw on the Node and deplete it, and the Node may temporarily run out of power. A node generates ten tass or Quintessence per week per dot, and the Gauntlet rating nearby can vary from 1-4, depending on the potency of it.

A minor Node, barely worthy of mention.
●● A small Node, holding a useful trickle of energy.
●●● A significant Node, able to power several mages.
●●●● A major Node, hotly contested.
●●●●● A powerful Node, one of the few sites of magic left on Earth.

Past LivesEdit

The Avatar tends to collect experiences from the incarnations with which it associates. In mages, these sometimes appear as flashes of memory or sudden insight. While reincarnation of human souls remains a hotly-debated topic, most mages who study Avatars agree that Avatars tend to spring from some source in the distant past (the legendary primordial “One”) and that experiences from lives with which they were once attached can sometimes provide valuable insight, or even memories of things never known to the mage.

Such Past Life experiences can be unsettling, but in time a mage can learn to harness these memories and insights through meditation and internal exploration, in a process similar to a Seeking. In some ways this is similar to the Dream Background, but the mage pulls out moments of former personal lives instead of cosmic subconscious knowledge.

Exploring a Past Life may take some time and concentration (a turn or more of meditation), or it may happen in a spontaneous flash of insight - at the Storyteller's discretion. The player rolls dice equal to the dots of Past Life at a difficulty of 8; each success grants one die to a subsequent roll, on one Ability. Unlike Dream, these dice do add if the character already has the Ability in question- but there's no guarantee that the player will score any successes. Success generally indicates that the mage found some snippet of wisdom to guide and assist in the current endeavor.

You may use your Past Life once per game session. Botching tends to put the mage in a Mindscape relating to a Past Life trauma. Once you use Past Life, you should record the names and events of the ancestor, so that you can use them in your mage's character history and development.

You don't need the Avatar Background to have Past Life. Even a very weak and slumbering Avatar might have snippets of memory.

Faint Past Life: Every once in a while you feel a sense of deja vu
●● Weak Past Life: You have an inkling that you've done this before …
●●● Moderate Past Life: You definitely recall other times and places, and vague flashes of former habits and beliefs.
●●●● Strong Past Life: You possess clear memories of other existences, which you can summon up almost at will.
●●●●● Overwhelming Past Life: Sometimes you're not sure which life you're living.

SanctumEdit

Young mages often have a spark of creativity, from which they imagine their own places of mystery and influence. Like a Bridge to Terabithia, the mage steps across a threshold and enters a realm where her will defines the course of nature. Older mages may spend years working in the same place, shaping it with their desires and their magics until it becomes a private haven of possibility. Unlike a Demesne, though, this is no dream realm, but an actual physical location where the very laws of reality that hold sway there all follow the mage's decree.

The Sanctum Background represents the mage's special workshop. Within a Sanctum, the mage's paradigm rules. Here, anything that follows the mage's rules of magic functions naturally, while anything from a different paradigm- be it super-science, high ritual or faith - is vulgar.

In game terms, your mage can perform magical effects of his paradigm in a Sanctum without garnering any Paradox at all. They're coincidences in the location. Only on a botch would the mage suffer Paradox, and even then it would be for a coincidental effect. Witnesses have no effect on this!

Naturally, there are some limits to a Sanctum. First, the level of the Background determines the maximum size of the area (see below). Second, a Sanctum doesn't just spring up over night; it's a secret grove, a hidden room, a moldy and forgotten tower or other place hidden from prying eyes where exposure to the mage's magic has bent the Tapestry for decades until finally it's become pliant to the mage's beliefs. (Generally, assume that it takes at least five years of work per dot for a Sanctum to form.) Third, Sancta aren't just free for the taking. One mage's Sanctum doesn't automatically accommodate other mages' paradigms. Usually, an owner of a Sanctum can't just hand it over; only an apprentice or someone who directly shared the owner's paradigm could benefit from it. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the benefits of the Sanctum only cover effects cast within. If an effect reaches outside the Sanctum (perhaps because of Correspondence), then it suffers the full effects of Paradox, very likely unraveling the effect (although the mage himself won't suffer the Paradox directly). If the mage casts a powerful effect and then takes it outside with him, the effect will quickly erode due to Unbelief if it violates the Consensus. So, it's quite possible for a mage to remain immortal so long as the individual stays in the Sanctum but upon leaving, the mage would quickly age and crumble to dust!

A Sanctum is, naturally, a perfect place to keep a Library or other useful implements of magical practice, and the Backgrounds may be tied together. A Sanctum can also have an Arcane rating of its own, showing how hidden it is from prying eyes; this costs points from the Background's size but gives it effective Arcane (and also cloaks anything within its boundaries, so the owner is hidden while within- this does stack with any Arcane that the mage personally has). In some ancient and ancestral Chantries, a few mages might have small Sancta in various rooms.

Tiny Sanctum: As long as you're in your secret closet …
●● Small Sanctum: A very small room bends to your will.
●●● Moderate Sanctum: You have a workshop, and maybe an associated small bedroom, in which you practice.
●●●● Large Sanctum: A small house or set of rooms all hosts your magic.
●●●●● Extravagant Sanctum: An entire manor, a series of catacombs, a castle or faerie forest … and it all works as you desire.

TalismanEdit

A Talisman (or Device, to the Technocracy) is an object of power, an item imbued with magick which the wielder can use. This Background allows a beginning character to start play with a Talisman in her possession. It's a tricky Background, and Storytellers may limit it if they see fit.

Any item can be a Talisman if it's enchanted somehow; stones, cybernetics, computers, bones, weapons, even works of art may be used as magickal items. Note that mages do not take these wondrous things for granted - there is so little real magick in the world that Talismans are both rare and treasured.

These objects have built-in magickal Effects. In most cases, only an Awakened person can use them, although there may be exceptions if the Storyteller wants to make them. Some Talismans have several small powers, while others have one big one. No matter how many powers such an item possesses, it cannot have more Effects than the dots in its rating. A level three Talisman, then, could have three Effects, maximum. The Effect is also limited to a Sphere level equal to the dots in the Talisman; the same Talisman could not have an Effect beyond the third rank in a Sphere. Conjunctional Effects are considered to take up one dot per Sphere involved; the sample item could only have one power if that effect used three different Spheres.

Because of their power, Talismans are purchased differently than other Backgrounds. Each dot costs -two- Backgrounds instead of one. A level 5 Talisman, then, would cost 10 points. Our third-level Talisman costs six points.

Every Talisman has an "Arete" of its own, allowing the mage to roll one die per point of Arete. Most Talismans have one point of Arete (i.e. one die) per level. An optional rule allows a mage to buy an additional point of Arete for another Background point. To buy the sample Talisman an Arete of five, the player must spend 8 Background points instead of six.

Each use of a Talisman's power expends one Quintessence from an inner reserve. This Prime Force powers the Effects, and when it's gone, the item is useless. Before this happens, the owner may "refuel" it with a Prime 3 Effect. A similar spell may drain a Talisman, taking one Quintessence point per success rolled (difficulty 10). These reserves usually equal the item's Arete x 5, the sample Talisman, then, has 15 Quintessence at Arete 3 or 25 at Arete 5.

Spirit Talismans, called Fetishes, work differently in story terms, but are purchased the same way. These items contain spirits who have, by force or friendliness, entered the item to perform a service. They may or may not cause the mage some difficulty when doing so, depending on how the mage treats the spirit. Assume that when the Quintessence is used up, the spirit departs. Fetishes cannot be refueled.

Talismans can be used as foci. This may not make their magick coincidental (it usually isn't), but may help the mystick concentrate. All Paradox an item's Effect produces goes to the mage.

A weak item. 2 points, Arete 1, Quintessence 5

●● A useful Talisman. 4 points, Arete 2, Quintessence 10
●●● A significant item. 6 points, Arete 3, Quintessence 15
●●●● A famous and potent Talisman. 8 points, Arete 4, Quintessence 20
●●●●● A powerful magickal device. 10 points, Arete 5, Quintessence 25

Vampire BackgroundsEdit

Alternate IdentityEdit

You maintain an alternate identity, complete with papers, birth certificates, or any other documentation you desire. Only a few may know your real name or identity. Your alternate persona may be highly involved in organized crime, a member of the opposite Sect, a con artist who uses alternate identities for her game, or you may simply gather information about the enemy. Indeed, some vampires may know you as one individual while others believe you to be someone else entirely.

You are new at this identity game. Sometimes you slip and forget your other persona.
•• You are well grounded in your alternate identity. You are convincing enough to play the part of a doctor, lawyer, funeral salesman, drug-smuggler, or a capable spy.
••• You have a fair reputation as your alternate persona and get namerecognition in the area where you have infiltrated.
•••• Your alternate identity has respect and trust within your area of infiltration.
••••• You command respect in your area of infiltration, and you may even have accumulated a bit of influence. You have the trust (or at least the recognition) of many powerful individuals within your area.

Black Hand MembershipEdit

You are a member of the feared Black Hand, the body of soldiers and assassins that serves the Sabbat fervently. Having this Background indicates that you are a full-fledged member of the organization, and you have all the responsibilities and benefits that accompany membership.
You may call upon members of the Black Hand to aid you, should you ever need it. Of course, this ability is a two-way street, and other Hand members may call upon you to aid them. Thus, you may find yourself assigned to perform assassinations, lend martial aid, or even further the political ends of the Hand as a diplomat or spy. You may also be required to attend crusades that take you away from your pack. All members of the Black Hand must heed the call of another Hand member, especially the superiors of the faction.
Being a member of the Black Hand is a prestigious matter, and other members of the Sabbat respect the organization. When dealing with other Sabbat, should you choose to reveal your affiliation with the Hand, you may add your rating in this Background to any Social dice pools, even after Status or other Abilities have been taken into account. Most Hand members, however, choose not to reveal their allegiance. The Black Hand is also remarkably adept at hunting down Sabbat who claim membership in the Sect but do not truly belong — liars, beware.

You are a grunt; you may call upon one Black Hand member once per story.
•• You are known and respected in the Black Hand; you may call upon two Black Hand members once per story.
••• You are held in the Black Hand’s regard; you may call upon five Black Hand members once per story.
•••• You are a hero among members of the Black Hand; you may call upon seven Black Hand members twice per story (but you’d better have just cause — if it seems you’re becoming soft, you may lose points in this Background). You may also lead large numbers of Hand members into action should it ever become necessary.
••••• You are part of Black Hand legend; you may call upon 12 Black Hand members twice per story (but see the preceding caution). You may also lead large numbers of Hand members into action should it ever become necessary. The Seraphim may even seek your counsel on matters of import.

DomainEdit

Domain is physical territory (usually within the chronicle’s central city) to which your character controls access for the purpose of feeding. Some Kindred refer to their domain as hunting grounds, and most jealously guard their domains, even invoking the Tradition of the same name to protect their claims. As part of this Background, the character’s claim to the domain is recognized by the Prince or some other Kindred authority in the city where it is located. The Kindred who claims the domain can’t keep the living inhabitants from going about their business, nor does she exercise any direct influence over them, but she can keep watch herself and mind their comings and goings. She can also have Allies or Retainers specifically look for unfamiliar vampires and alert her when they find some. Domain refers specifically to the geography (in most cases a neighborhood or street) and properties on it, as opposed to the people who may dwell there (which is the emphasis of Herd). Domain plays an important part in Kindred society — vampires who lack significant Domain seldom earn respect — but it isn’t an automatic entitlement to status among the Damned. You may designate one or more dots in Domain to increase the security of your character’s territory rather than its size. Each dot so assigned to security provides a +1 difficulty penalty to efforts to intrude into the domain by anyone your character hasn’t specifically allowed in, and a -1 difficulty bonus to efforts by your character to identify and track intruders in the domain. A Domain of one dot’s size and two dots’ security, for instance, is small but quite resistant to intrusion, as opposed to a Domain rating of three dots’ size with no extraordinary security. Each level of Domain reduces the difficulty of hunting checks by one for your character and those whom the character allows in. It also adds to your starting (not maximum) blood pool. If you use the domain security option, each dot of domain security raises the difficulty of hunting checks by one for uninvited vampires. See p. 259 for more information on hunting. Domain (both size and security) can be used with pooled Background points.

A single small building, such as a single-family home or a social establishment — enough for a basic haven.
•• A church, factory, warehouse, mid-rise, or other large structure — a location with ready but easily controllable access to the outside world.
••• A high-rise, city block, or an important intersection — a location or area that offers areas for concealment as well as controlled access.
•••• A sewer subsection, a network of service tunnels, the enclave of homes on a hill overlooking the city — place with inherently protective features, such as an isolated mountain road, bridge-only access, or vigilant private security force.
••••• An entire neighborhood, an ethnic subdivision like “Chinatown” or “Little Italy,” or a whole suburb.

As noted previously, characters in a coterie can share their domain resources for better results. Six to eight dots secure all of a small town or a distinct city region as a domain. Ten to 15 dots secure an important but not geographically huge city sector, such as “the docks,” or “Highland Park.” A large city itself might be a hundred-plus Domain points, as with Atlanta, Dallas, Geneva, or Baghdad. A city such as New York, London, Paris, Rome, Sao Paolo, or Shanghai would require many hundreds of Domain points.

GenerationEdit

This Background represents your Generation: the purity of your blood, and your proximity to the First Vampire. A high Generation rating may represent a powerful sire or a decidedly dangerous taste for diablerie. If you don’t take any dots in this Trait, you begin play as a Thirteenth Generation vampire. See p. 270 for further information.

Twelfth Generation: 11 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
•• Eleventh Generation: 12 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
••• Tenth Generation: 13 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
•••• Ninth Generation: 14 blood pool, can spend 2 blood points per turn
••••• Eighth Generation: 15 blood pool, can spend 3 blood points per turn

HerdEdit

You have built a group of mortals from whom you can feed without fear. A herd may take many forms, from circles of kinky clubgoers to actual cults built around you as a god-figure. In addition to providing nourishment, your herd might come in handy for minor tasks, though they are typically not very controllable, closely connected to you, or particularly skilled (for more effective pawns, purchase Allies or Retainers). Your Herd rating adds dice to your rolls for hunting; see p. 259 for further details. Players may purchase pooled Herd with Background points.

Three vessels
•• Seven vessels
••• 15 vessels
•••• 30 vessels
••••• 60 vessels

RetainersEdit

Not precisely Allies or Contacts, your retainers are servants, assistants, or other people who are your loyal and steadfast companions. Many vampires’ servants are ghouls (p. 496) — their supernatural powers and blood bond-enforced loyalty make them the servants of choice. Retainers may also be people whom you’ve repeatedly Dominated until they have no free will left, or followers so enthralled with your Presence that their loyalty borders on blind fanaticism. Some vampires, particularly those with the Animalism Discipline, use animal ghouls as retainers.
You must maintain some control over your retainers, whether through a salary, the gift of your vitae, or the use of Disciplines. Retainers are never “blindly loyal no matter what” — if you treat them poorly without exercising strict control, they might well turn on you.
Retainers may be useful, but they should never be flawless. A physically powerful ghoul might be rebellious, inconveniently dull-witted, or lacking in practical skills. A loyal manservant might be physically weak or possess no real personal initiative or creativity. This Background isn’t an excuse to craft an unstoppable bodyguard or pet assassin — it’s a method to bring more fully-developed characters into the chronicle, as well as to reflect the followers for which the Kindred are notorious. Generally, retainers are more like Renfield than Anita Blake. (If the player and Storyteller agree, a player may create a more competent single Retainer by combining more points in this Background, putting more eggs in one basket, as the saying goes.)
Players can spend pooled Background points on Retainers.

One retainer
•• Two retainers
••• Three retainers
•••• Four retainers
••••• Five retainers

RitualsEdit

You know the ritae and rituals of the Sabbat, and you can enact many of them. This Background is vital to being a Pack Priest — without this Background, ritae will not function. This Background is actually a supernatural investment, drawing on the magic of the eldest Tzimisce sorcerers. Sabbat vampires who are not their pack‘s priests should have an outstanding reason for acquiring this Background, as Pack Priests are loath to share their secrets with more secular members of the Sect. Some example rituals include the Vaulderie (p. 288), as well as those presented in the Appendix (p. 507).

You know a few of the auctoritas ritae (your choice).
•• You know some of the auctoritas ritae (your choice) and a few ignoblis ritae (your choice).
••• You know all of the auctoritas ritae and some ignoblis ritae (your choice). Also, you may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects).
•••• You know all the auctoritas ritae and many ignoblis ritae (your choice). You may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects). You are lso familiar with the functions of numerous regional and pack-specific ignoblis ritae, even if you cannot perform them.
••••• You know all the auctoritas ritae and dozens of ignoblis ritae (your choice). You may create your own ignoblis ritae, given enough time (consult your Storyteller for development time and game effects). You are also familiar with the functions of almost all regional and pack-specific ignoblis ritae, even if you cannot perform them; if it’s been written down or passed around in lore, you’ve heard of it.

Pages in category "Backgrounds"

This category contains only the following page.

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