Desert of Shadows
  Frequently Asked Questions  
05/06/19    Character Creation  
05/22/19    Characters: General  
05/23/19    Chronicle Setting  
07/17/19    Clarifications  
05/01/19    Game: Miscellaneous  
03/22/19    In Between Games  
05/20/19    Status, Sects, and Objectives  
03/22/19    Terminology  
06/24/19    Website: General  
03/22/19    Website: Login Issues  

  Frequently Asked Questions  
FAQ - Clarifications
03/11/19    Clarifications on Alternate Identity  
03/08/19    Lore, what is it good for?  
05/01/19    More on Lore  
07/17/19    Morality, and Beast traits  
05/20/19    Resolution of outcomes in the game: STs are the only ultimate arbiter of rules.  
03/21/19    Humanity and the Beast  
04/30/19    DoS Endgame AMA #1  
04/30/19    DoS Endgame AMA #2  
05/20/19    DoS Endgame AMA #3  
04/30/19    IC/OC space online  
07/07/19    DoS Endgame AMA #4  
04/30/19    As evening fell on April 18th  
04/30/19    Game 1 premise  
04/30/19    What is the geographical space of Falkenhayn's domain?  

Back to main FAQ


Clarifications on Alternate Identity (03/11/19)

I wanted to talk about a question I've been asked by several people after the Q&A that I think players might benefit from during this character creation process.

The question has been about Alternate Identity, specifically about how Alternate Identity 5 works with supernatural powers. If we look at the level 5 of the Background on page 99, it says:

" Your identity is a respected member of society; it holds powerful office in the mortal world, or among vampires, concretely influences another clan or sect. You have a long history, an in-depth lineage, and your cover is solid enough to pass even supernatural means of verification. Note that this doesn’t prevent the character from being “found out” if you make a mistake and other players catch on. Even the strongest Alternate Identity will fail if you can’t keep a secret."

Following this level of Alternate Identity, in the closing graph of the background, it says:

"Alternate Identity will not fool supernatural powers or direct observation. For example, it will not help you when targeted by Telepathy. "

This ending of the Background sets the parameters, in my mind. I can think of non-discipline methods of supernatural verification that the 5th dot can refer to; The use of Boons to compel an honest answer from a Vampire who would know, the verification of the Tradition of Accounting not only through the pretend Sire of the character, but through supernaturals who shared a city at the time of the fictional embrace. The use of status to compel an answer from a Retainer of the character. Researching the history of the character's boon portfolio.

Ultimately, even Alternate Identity 5 is not a perfect cloak of deception. Players who buy this Background must be ever mindful not to trigger the suspicions of other players. This, to me, is what the Background means when it says "giving yourself away", inviting the use of disciplines to be used to find out more.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


Lore, what is it good for? (03/08/19)

The question relates to Lore (Page 94), specifically, what Lore gets you. And that's a complicated answer. The more general the Lore, the more vague a successful lore check will be. So imagine that a player has Werewolf Lore; you would get some basic details about the Werewolf setting, the Tribes of the setting, and that there is a "structure" of government for Werewolves. But you wouldn't know that the High King stepped into a portal and there is a struggle now for the throne of the Garou Nation, or that a Black Spiral Dancer is not part of that nation. If you want to know details about certain ratified or secret areas of the WoD, you have to specify your Lore so that you can get more detailed answers.

Also, remember that your mileage will vary. There is a difference between a Lore check at game and a Lore check in DT. This is both thematic and practical. A lore check at game represents you searching through your memory for things you've read, and this thematically reflects the IRL challenge of a ST also remembering lore and story elements while at game. It's not that things are withheld from you; a ST might genuinely forget a piece. A lore check in DT represents an action to research the topic in the sources of your Lore, and this is reflected in the ST being able to take their time and have access to story materials in order to give you a more complete response.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


More on Lore (05/01/19)


let's take a look at Lore:

"In order to survive, a vampire quickly learns her own biology. She knows that she must feed on blood, she feels the drives of the Beast, and she quickly recognizes dangers such as sunlight and fire. After a short time as a vampire, she gains an understanding of vampiric society, such as the most prevalent clans in her setting, as well as common vampiric disciplines and powers.

To know more about the supernatural world, a character must collect and study Lore. With several dots in Lore, the character is familiar with centuries of legends, understands the minute details of vampire existence, and may have even studied one or more pages of the Book of Nod. 
System: For every dot of Lore that a character possesses, the player chooses one category in which to specialize. Whenever a character requires knowledge that may be available through this category, the player makes a static challenge (Mental + Lore) to gain specific and detailed insight from the perspective of that specific topic.

Remember that Lore is not Academics; Lore involves knowledge of the supernatural world, where Academics is the study of more mundane topics. Your Storyteller will be the final arbiter of your character’s categories for the Lore skill. Potential categories in Lore might include the events of a specific period of vampiric history; a focus on one of the individual vampire clans; or a specialization in a type of non-vampiric creatures, such as werewolves, fae, or mages.
If you fail a Lore challenge, you cannot attempt the test again until you acquire new information.

Example: Eric has 3 dots of the Lore skill. With his Storyteller’s approval, his categories are: Brujah clan, Mages, and Vampires of Ancient Constantinople."

Previously I had spoken about how with Lore, your mileage may vary between game and DT. I wanted to get a little more specific with Lore in general, and to start I want to be clear, your mileage may ALWAYS vary.

Lets begin with the basics. To a degree, you "know what you are". Meaning, if you're a Tremere, you know a great deal about the Tremere, and these are things that a non-Tremere would likely be required to have Lore to know about. You know about the ranking structure of the Tremere, who your Pontifex may be, the Chantry system. These are small "s" secrets. Non-Tremere would definitely require Lore to know them. But for big S "Secrets", even as a Tremere, you would need Tremere lore. Examples of this would be the specific history of the creation of the clan, the situation with Goratrix and the Inner Council, what happened to the antitribu, and almost everything about Tremere himself other than his name and that he's "the boss". Nothing about being a Tremere gives you knowledge of clan history other than the most general, basic concept.

Now lets talk about specificity and Lore. The more broad your Lore is, the most ground covered but also the most superficial a result. Camarilla Lore does not get you any detailed knowledge about a Ventrue Vampire. It gets you a broad net to get very generic information. Lets say that you want to learn about a Ventrue you heard about named Vassler, using Camarilla Lore. This could get you just the known status of this person, or a domain they have resided in. Not much, but maybe something useful to you if it works on a large number of NPCs or PCs. Your result will be different with Lore: Ventrue. And it might be a lot different with Lore: Camarilla Ventrue. But as you know, you have a limited amount of slots, and how specific you get narrows out a lot of other ground you may want to cover.

Moving on to being TOO specific. There are certain types of Lores where you have reached a level of specificity that is too granular. Think Lore; Antediluvians. Now, this Lore can be useful in some situations in the game, as in finding a stella depicting an Antediluvian, or the idea of one. But you will never be able to use Lore Antediluvian to find out what Set is doing. Or a FACT about things Set has done. The best you will ever get is stories that you cannot trust. This applies to all very rare, very specific, very small groups of powerful entities in the WoD.

This takes us to another interesting dimension of Lore, and that is time. Remember, lore is legend. Its stories Vampires pass to one another, through oral tradition or texts. The more recent an event, the LESS Lore there will be about it. Something from last week will have virtually nothing. Something from last year would have very little. Something from ten years ago may have a fair amount. Something from a century or more should have a great deal.

And lastly, not all Lore is created equal. Some creatures, clans, events, etc have more Lore dedicated to them than others. Some groups have been more significant in Vampiric history; some more organized, some more mysterious. That's just thematically the reality of the WoD.

So as we can see, Lore is perhaps one of the most complex skills in the game, and it varies from situation to situation, and is heavily dependent on the ST's evaluation of the Lore and the matter being researched. I have no illusions that it isn't confusing, and I don't know that the nature of this post makes it less so. But what I hope the post DOES do is let you, the player know that we've given the matter a lot of thought.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


Morality, and Beast traits (07/17/19)

From Alex:
I wanted to talk to you about Morality, and Beast traits!

As many of you know, and as we've discussed before, we're making a concerted effort to highlight elements of Vampiric morality in this game.

One of the most interesting stories available in Vampire, in my opinion, is the struggle between a Vampire and their Beast. Within each Kindred is an entity that desires nothing less than the annihilation of a Vampire's soul and mind, so that it can assume control.

One of the ways we are doing this is having Beast traits entirely interact with the actual game, and be irrelevant to DTs. Now, why do we do this?

The Morality system is intended to create a choice for players that thematically reflects the choice their characters face. That choice is quite simple. Do I do terrible things, or do I resist the urge to do terrible things?

Let's face it; everyone is going to do terrible things at some point. But the difference between tearing the head off of your political rival in the moment of seizing power and being a psychopath tearing through a half dozen people for the fun of it are different things. The system of Beast traits reflects that difference by discussing intent and consequence.

In Endgame, we're must less interested in providing ways to "game the system". Gaming the system is anti-thematic, really, because it doesn't fit within the ethical framework of decision making.

We are very interested in encouraging some other things. Role play, story arcs, and consequences. The reason the ST doesn't need to tell a player what they can or can't do is that the morality system is a tax on actions that are antithetical to the setting of the Camarilla for players who are not on Paths of Enlightenment. Players can make their own choices about whether they want to be murderers, knowing that the ST defines what a Heinous or Inhuman act is. Players put their Humanity on the line. Be it for necessity or thrill seeking, that is ultimately their choice.

But the Beast traits earned in DT will be applied at the subsequent game. Beast Traits earned at the very end of one game will be applied to the subsequent game. And the reason we do this is to create a system of Morality with some heft to it.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


Resolution of outcomes in the game: STs are the only ultimate arbiter of rules. (05/20/19)


From Alex Shylder - Lead ST

I'd like to talk to you about the resolution of outcomes in the game. As a player, if something happens in a scene that you disagree with, you have many options. You may politely inform the ST of things you believe they might not know; such as the requirement for a power not being satisfied in your opinion (Gaze and focus, LOS, familiarity, etc). You may ask if you and the ST can refer to the book for details about a power. You may politely ask the ST a question about a ruling they have made. After the resolution of the scene, if you feel very strongly that an error has been made (Not, mind you, an interpretation that you disagree with, unless it is very extreme), you may contact me to discuss it.

But what you cannot do, under any circumstances, at any time in this game, is be impolite to members of the staff or refuse to abide by the ruling of a member of the staff. Let me stress that last part. It doesn't matter if the staff member is even wrong: that can be resolved after the scene, and we can try to remedy the situation. The answer "No" in response to a mechanic being resolved is unacceptable. As STs, our responsibility is to serve as an interface for players to resolve mechanics and interact with the environment. And in this area, our authority is absolute. If you feel uncomfortable for the resolution of mechanics for PERSONAL OC reasons, that's a different story and you may ask the ST for a private conversation to explain why, for personal reasons, a mechanic outcome is problematic. A player's well being is more important than mechanics. But a character's is not.

Your concern for the health, well being, or public image of your character is never one of those reasons.

The reason we in staff do not play characters is to maintain our impartiality in the game. This is why we are the arbiters of the rules. As players, it isn't reasonable to consider yourselves to be impartial observers in outcomes relating to your characters. It is natural for you to see the rules in ways that benefit the interests of your character. This is the perspective, after all, in which you are reading the rules. The staff is human, and capable of making mistakes. But you, as the player, are also human, and in addition to your capacity for mistakes, you have the burden of interests in outcomes, which we do not. If we make an error, we will do our best to fix it. But a game cannot function without an ultimate arbiter of the rules.

So please take this into consideration. STs are the only ultimate arbiter of rules. Following the rules is an essential part of the game. DOS has one guiding principle when it comes to player conduct, "Don't be a fuck". This is definitely a situation that meets that condition. Going forward, if someone is insulting to staff or refuses to abide by their rules call, I' have authorized John and Neil to ask that player to leave the game, with their future participation in DOS dependent on a review by me. This is the "one warning" on the subject.

Thank you for reading this lengthy post.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


Humanity and the Beast (03/21/19)

Let us discuss the Beast.

Or to put it less dramatically, lets discuss the mechanics around Humanity!

For those of you who would like to read along, we start on page 299.

"Humanity measures a vampire’s innate empathy. As she degenerates, the vampire loses the ability to form meaningful, emotional connections with others. Her control over the Beast diminishes as it encourages indulgence in twisted pleasures. Perversion, cold-blooded murder, mutilation, and wickedness for its own sake are all signs of a vampire whose control is slipping. A vampire with a low rating in Humanity begins to reflect her Beast in her outward appearance."

As Vampires of the Camarilla, most of you cling to some semblance of the world you knew before. You hold recognizable ideas of "right" or "wrong". Your behaviors mimic the living. This is even more true if you are an Anarch, for your views are decidedly more modern than the Camarilla's, and thus even more recognizable as mortal inspired.

Why do we use words like 'mimic' or 'cling'? Because at the heart of every Vampire is a Beast, a force for destruction and vice, yearning to take control. It is a voice that urges violence, cowardice, and greed. It encourages Vampires to exert dominance over one another, and glories in the harm they do to living and undead beings. This translates, mechanically, to "Beast Traits".

On page 300 we see a list of sins for those on Humanity. They are:

1 Harm Another: You’ve significantly harmed another individual physically, mentally, or financially in a way that will take weeks for the victim to recover. For example, you may have broken a mortal’s arm, inflicted a point of aggravated damage on a vampire, or severely damaged a mortal’s livelihood.

2 Permanent Injury: You’ve harmed another individual in a way that will take the victim years to overcome (if ever). For example, you may have ripped a mortal’s leg off, left a vampire staked and buried, or driven someone permanently insane.

3 Killing: You’ve killed another individual.

4 Multiple Murders: You’ve killed more than one individual.

5 Heinous Acts: You’ve committed inhuman acts that cannot be excused. For example, you may have brutally tortured your victim or committed diablerie.

Everyone starts with 5 points of Humanity and zero beast traits. Merits and flaws may alter these numbers, but that's our default setting. Beast Traits for those following Humanity are gained by the list above. Depending on what level of sin you commit, you gain that number of Beast traits. Shoot a Vampire with an incendiary round? You gain one Beast trait. Mutilate a person in a horrific series of torture sessions? You gain five beast traits. You may attempt a degeneration challenge which lowers the amount of Beast traits gained by 1. The challenge is Mental+Willpower vs. 10+1 for each level of Sin.

When you gain five beast traits, you lose a point of Humanity. Go below Humanity one and your character becomes a NPC!

Also, as your Beast grows stronger, your ability to avoid Frenzy becomes weaker, which seriously risks your life. Once you have 1 Beast trait, for example, you risk Rage Frenzy from taking a blow that deals 4 or more damage to you. This means that you must attack the source of that damage, and render them unconscious or place them in torpor. At 3 Beast traits, you risk Frenzy from taking 2 damage! I don't know about you, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster!

There is another way. Paths of Enlightenment create alternate ladders of sin that allow Vampires to live in accordance with the monsters they truly are. The cost, of course, is that such Vampires are barely able to pretend to be people. So alien are they that they are unable to hide their natures. Physical changes begin to warp them, and though these changes may be hidden with Mask of a Thousand faces or Vicissitude, the aura of their alien natures cannot be hidden.

("Vampires who follow Paths of Enlightenment, rather than Humanity, cannot spend Blood for this purpose, and they are incapable of appearing mortal even for short periods of time. Supernatural disguises (like Obfuscate) can mask the physical marks of following a path, but no disguise can suppress the subtle terror that surrounds a vampire who’s forsaken her Humanity in favor of a Path of Enlightenment. Page 294)

So, what does all of this mean? This mechanic in some way reinforces the setting of our game. Sometimes players want to do crazy things. We've all been in a game before where we found ourselves doing something nuts because we're bored, or looking for some action! Well, Beast traits and the degradation of Humanity are the price of such random acts of violence. Vampires incapable of restraining themselves find that they are at greater risk of falling to the Beast. Those who adopt philosophies more in line with the reality of their natures find themselves under the Lesser Status Ban of a Camarilla that encourages more humanistic behvaiour, for the sake of the Masquerade if nothing else.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


DoS Endgame AMA #1 (04/30/19)


view the AMA on the DoS Facebook group


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


DoS Endgame AMA #2 (04/30/19)

View the facebook group for the full AMA


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


DoS Endgame AMA #3 (05/20/19)

visit the DoS group for another AMA


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


IC/OC space online (04/30/19)

So a discussion has popped up about IC/OC space online, and it ties into a discussion had between some players before we started game. I'm going to give my two cents on the subject.

Everyone plays for different reasons and at different speeds. In DoS Endgame we don't intend to tell you what to do with your time between games. If your friends and you want to chat in character, go ahead! If you want to wait until game before you portray your character, it is your right! I think ultimately players pool into groups that share the same interest in how often they participate in the game.

What about addressing not just your friends, but everyone?

Now this is where it gets tricky. My desire for DoS: Endgame is that in the framework of our game, in mood, in story, in all the things that we control as staff, we reflect the story of the World of Darkness. So as Vampires, what does that mean?

It means that you as a character are adrift in a world of predators. Politically, socially, physically, there are either Kindred who would see you broken on the ground before them or dead. Beneath the gilded edifice of Camarilla life is a jungle where power is the currency of the realm, and any person you meet may be seeking it at your expense. BEYOND the Camarilla, or the Anarchs or IA, is a world of mystery and horror, a murky fog in which eldritch terrors hunt the lone traveler.

If that is a frame to start in, who are your characters? Well, that's completely up to you. You can be part of what wheel of rising and falling fortunes, grounding down the innocent and guilty alike under the weight of your ambition or desire. You can be a person who rejects the wages of sin and seeks to rise above the horror and sorrow around you, to be a person of conscience struggling to save your soul. You can be a bemused observer, or a bon vivant, or a law giver who seeks to strike a balance, or any thousand other concepts.

But at all times you are mindful. And never more so than when you arrive at Gathering. In DoS: Endgame remember; Gatherings had been ended for years. April 6th represents the first one in a long while. And Gathering has the air of a celebration or cocktail party to be sure; because remember, the Camarilla is a gilded cage. We go through great lengths to represent the gilding of it. But while some see a celebration, others will see a prison yard. A place where might makes right; a bit of open air where the Beast may exercise itself. A place of dominance and danger, constant threat.

Indeed; many of the people who see it as a celebration MAY ALSO see it as a prison yard, and revel in it. Last game, we saw a group of Kindred murder a Fledgling as his Neonate sister watched in horror.

Vampires are monsters. Your story as a character is how you struggle against that nature, hide it, or embrace it. And this being so, you are always mindful of how dangerous, how scary, how risky it is to interact with large numbers of your kind. You possess the gift of agelessness, a possibility of immortality. You don't jeopardize it because you want to, you only risk it when you must.

And so Gathering is something special. Its when the demands of your leaders combine with your need to know what is happening to keep yourself safe the rest of the time. For this reason, it isn't realistic for there to be a forum where all Vampires gather in between games. That shared space is what makes Gathering special and unique. No online resource would capture what it is: Dangerous and essential. Kindred wouldn't congregate in large numbers for characters to address. In my posts as the Prince, I make deliberate effort to note that these are letters left for people on their arrival at Gathering, or left for them at Elysium.

You have that same function on the Website! If your character wishes to make a proclamation, you have that resource in the messenger function through Elysium. Pick who you send it to and a mass message goes out! Ask a character for a one on one meeting! Or try to organize a group meeting. These are all realistic ways for Vampires to communicate between games. And when you think of it that way, its another reason why Gathering is important. Access to the people you need to see to get your goals done. And maybe turn that wheel, despite the screams coming beneath it....


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


DoS Endgame AMA #4 (07/07/19)



Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


As evening fell on April 18th (04/30/19)


IC: As evening fell on April 18th, retainers in service to Elysium spread across the city. At various predesignated spots, they left markings for the Kindred population of the city, alerting them that they have a message awaiting them at Elysium. When they can, Vampires of the domain arrive to collect their message. Those who do not have them delivered to them as they enter Gathering on April 20th.

It is a simple letter, signed by the Prince.

"It is my sad duty to announce another Gangrel gone missing in the line of duty. My newly appointed Scourge Bruno Nelson was lost in razing of the heretic temples of the Setites false gods. For your service and sacrifice, clan Gangrel, you have my thanks.

In light of this, I will not risk a gap in the enforcement of the Traditions or my will in this domain. The Nosferatu have shown a lust for bloodshed as of late, and the Ragman especially seems eager for the task. Ancient monster, you have the watch. I name the Elder known as the Ragman as the Scourge of this domain."

--Prince Eric Falkenhayn 
Sovereign of the domain of Las Vegas


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


Game 1 premise (04/30/19)


The letters begin arriving shortly after nightfall on April 4th. In pre-determined drop sites, dozens of servants of Elysium leave notifications for the Vampires of the domain throughout the valley. The Prince has called for the Kindred of the city to gather on Saturday, April 6th for the first time in over a year.

The reason?

Prince Falkenhayn is to make an important announcement, one which will be of significance to all denizens of the city. The letter goes on to announce that the traditional schedule of Gathering is to be restored; on the first and third Saturdays of each month, the Kindred are instructed to assemble at a place to be decided by the Court. In this instance, a home owned by the Master Harpy Bellamy.

Furthermore, the message informs you that the Court has experienced two vacancies. Tremere Elder Heinrich Graf, who has served as the Seneschal to Prince Falkenhayn for more than two years, has announced his regrettable retirement from politics due to obligations that demand his return to Germany. The other vacancy is not so benign. The Scourge, a Gangrel by the name of Fynn, has not been seen by any member of the domain for two weeks. The needs of the domain requiring the work of this office, the Prince has decided that the position must be filled again. He has offered a Minor boon to the Kindred who is able to find Fynn and return him to the Court for an explanation of this dereliction of duty.

As a sign of the Prince's enduring respect to his people, he has asked the Primogen council, the representatives of his subjects, to nominate a candidate for Seneschal and a candidate for Scourge. He is confident that they will not fail in their choice of potential office holder.

The letter is signed by Prince Eric Falkenhayn, the Harpy Chirac Bellamy, and Maximilian, the Keeper of Elysium.


Alright guys game 1 is finally here! If you're not helping with set up, please arrive closer to 8 pm because that's when doors will open. I'm hoping that with so many people helping (Heroes, all of you!) we'll be able to finish setting up very quickly but I can't know for sure. Because we have so many moving pieces and some new concepts I want to talk a little bit about our first two games.

So for the beginning of our first game, we're going to have a brief housekeeping. I'm going to point out who our 1st and 2nd Narrators are. Then we're going to have a brief Narration. Then we're going to start game with you guys assembled in clans to select your Primogen as I've outlined in another post. (Don't worry, I'll bump). For narrative purposes this event will have happened BEFORE Gathering at any point in the last 6 months. When your Primogen have been chosen, they will go to see the Keeper of Elysium to receive some letters that have been awaiting for them, then will have 10 minutes to join the other Primogen at the council table.

The Prince will be arriving at 10:30 to bring the Court into session, and after some protocols of his domain, make his announcement. We plan to end game at 12 AM.

On Game 2 we plan on introducing a round of Clan Objectives! These are plot elements to be distributed by your newly minted Primogen! We tell you this so you can plan accordingly to experience the dynamic of our game fully.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ


What is the geographical space of Falkenhayn's domain? (04/30/19)

I've been asked for the geographical space of Falkenhayn's domain and I think that's best made common knowledge.

Physically, the Las Vegas domain is very large, but mostly empty. The reason for this is that Eric Falkenhayn, as an Old World Prince, is mindful of the disruptive possibilities of "Prince's of the couch" being within easy travel distance of his city. And so the northern boundary of his domain is the Great Basin Highway. To the west, his domain ends at Death Valley and Baker. To the east, the Utah border. And to the south, Lake Havasu City.


Back to Questions or Back to main FAQ