Desert of Shadows
  Frequently Asked Questions  
05/06/19    Character Creation  
05/22/19    Characters: General  
05/23/19    Chronicle Setting  
10/06/19    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  
07/21/19    DoS Endgame AMA #5  
08/04/19    DoS Endgame AMA #6  
08/10/19    DoS Endgame AMA #6.5 Soft RP and Influence/Downtimes  
09/23/19    DoS Endgame AMA #7 (roll call and the sunglasses icon)  
10/06/19    AMA #8 Feeding difficulty and downtimes  
04/30/19    As evening fell on April 18th  
10/02/19    Rollcall clarifications and displaying clan  
10/01/19    What is Elysium, and what it means.  
04/30/19    Game 1 premise  
08/01/19    Objectives, locations, etc. 8/1/19  
04/30/19    What is the geographical space of Falkenhayn's domain?  
 



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Clarifications on Alternate Identity (03/11/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2371470909530421/

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.

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2377051112305734/

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.

 
 


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More on Lore (05/01/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2461086720568839/

 

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.

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2598520870158756/

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.

 
 


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

 

From Alex Shylder - Lead ST
https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2493170797360431/

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.

 
 


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Humanity and the Beast (03/21/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2396489467028565/

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.

 
 


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

 

view the AMA on the DoS Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2422757674401744/

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2445178538826324/

View the facebook group for the full AMA

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2491571090853735/

visit the DoS group for another AMA

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2441684875842357/

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....

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2580577588619751/

 

 
 


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DoS Endgame AMA #5 (07/21/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2605968216080688/

 

 
 


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DoS Endgame AMA #6 (08/04/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2632151226795720/

Hey guys, great game last night! This is our regularly scheduled Vampire AMA, which I will be answering until 11:59 tonight and then taking a Vampire break for one week.

Let's talk about Objectives. I advise everyone to check the Objective, listed specifically under the name of the person who sent it. In the future, we're not going to be giving latitude on these things. The reason is that it isn't fair to players who make an effort to complete the Objective and get XP to do this, while other players resist doing the minimum required. If any part of an Objective is unmet by the deadline, that Objective will not yield XP. I know that life gets in the way or people misread things or get distracted. But that's ok, it's just a game. Extra XP isn't worth getting upset about.

No one has to participate in this part of the game. But if you do, and want to benefit from it, you need to complete the Objective.

If you don't have your card, don't have your Objective done, etc etc, it's just not going to work out going forward. It's important that there be a complete and even playing field here, and every "exception" we're asked to give undermines fairness for everyone else.

Also due to the way some of these cards are being used, we're going to say that all Objective cards NEED TO BE ASSIGNED the same game they're given out. If I don't see a name on a card, NO ST is going to allow you to work on it. That includes in DT. So if your Primogen hasn't assigned cards, they need to do it immediately, and next game they're distributed, any card that is not assigned by the end of that game is considered burned.

Second, I've been told that players are using powers on each other between game. Let's not make any mistake: NO POWER can be used without a DT. No player will be compelled by staff for any result that occurs in downtime that doesn't have a DT by all parties. This includes Mask of 1000 Faces and Obfuscate, and this will apply to all clans.

Alright that's all I can think of off hand!

EDIT: One more thing! Majesty! This isn't in the book, but was a clarification given to me by BNS regarding an oversight. When you break someone's Majesty, it is broken for 10 minutes. It does not matter if they reactivate Majesty, it is broken for you for 10 minutes. Also, if you attempt to break Majesty while in Obfuscate, your Obfuscate is broken no matter what the result.

 
 


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DoS Endgame AMA #6.5 Soft RP and Influence/Downtimes (08/10/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2643006865710156/

Couple of things everyone,

In the AMA we had an energetic discussion about the use of powers between games against other players. Happily it seems we have a consensus on the topic; In Soft RP, there is no need to use powers against one another. No powers will be enforced by staff in these scenes, and no one is under any obligation to engage in scenes that involve the use of powers they consider problematic for RP. All powers should be for RP purposes only (Using MoM to float a book to you from the bookshelf, Masking as your known identity to talk to others, using Hand of Flame to light a fire in the fireplace, etc etc).

Powers used this way do not require a DT.

Also, Symon asked a great question that I hadn't had a chance to get to until now. He asked:

I'm playing a character who is based around influence. Are influence actions in addition DTs? Where can I find a written resource (other than the book) for how, specifically, DTs are designed to work? I'm a very new player who is slowly becoming familiar with the book, but I'm confused as to the relationship between the two."

I wanted to talk about this specifically because Symon isn't the only one confused about DTs.

First the direct question: Influences and DTs are separate. Under the Character tab on the website, directly under Downtimes, is a Influence tab. That tab is where you'll go to use Influence actions. You get an Influence action for each dot of Influence you have, divided between your Elite and Underworld. So if you have 3 dots of Elite and 4 dots of Underworld, you have three Elite actions and four Underworld actions. These do not count towards your Downtime actions.

Now about how DTs work. In a Downtime, you briefly describe what you want to do, and how you will do it. So let's say you want to "Investigate the Harpy Bellamy". Well, we need to know how you'll do that. So you would say, "I want to use my Lore: Toreador to look into the Harpy Bellamy". You may want to try to find out where someone is who has gone missing. Well, there are multiple ways to try that. Let's assume they're a mortal retainer. You would submit a DT saying "I would like to try to find this retainer of mine", and then explain how you're doing it, "I want to use my Contacts at Verizon to tell me the last area his cell phone was working."

At that point the ST would give you a location to go to, and they might ask for a follow up. Let's say it was a PT's. You would say, "I would like to try to hack the surveillance system for this PT's using Technomancy, to look for the date of the call and see if he met someone" or "I would like to Spirit's Touch the door" or anything you can think of to continue the pursuit.

If the ST doesn't give you anything to follow up with, you can continue in the hunt in a future DT cycle.

Influences work slightly differently. Remember that Influences, like most backgrounds, are about your ability to interact with the Mortal world. Influences, Allies, and Contacts are mortal world elements; they don't know that you're a Vampire. They are your sphere of influence. As such, if they DO interact with the Supernatural world, they do so unknowingly.

So you'll never be able to use your Underworld Influence to "Find Archon Dave" because they don't know what that means. But if you were to know Archon Dave would be on a particular flight, you COULD use your Influence to redirect that flight, or cancel it. There are Targetted and Indirect actions under Influence, which are outlined in the book, and work very differently, starting on page 510.

 
 


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DoS Endgame AMA #7 (roll call and the sunglasses icon) (09/23/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2725156227495219/

 

 Can you explain for us how the sunglasses thing works on the Roll Call on the webpage, and how the ic explanation corresponds with the sunglasses icon.

 This icon means your clan is hidden. New character's clans are, by default, hidden. Clicking this icon will reveal your clan and apply any Abiding Camarilla status. If you have an alternate identity background in a different clan, contact the Web Admin via the website messaging system to make sure the alternate identity has been properly added to your sheet before clicking this link.


   If you are known to be a particular clan, and it's circulated general knowledge, your clan may be revealed after a certain period of time by the Admins.
If your character has been Acknowledged (Camarilla) by the Prince of Las Vegas or have been Recognized (non-Camarilla) as a guest of the Prince of Las Vegas, you should click the  icon.

From Alex Shydler, Lead Storyteller:
As Brett can attest, I've been of two minds on this element of character creation. The purpose of the Sunglasses is to allow players who wish to buy Alternate Identity time to make their character before finalizing it with Alt ID, and thus prevent public knowledge of their true identity. So say you are a Brujah who wants to pretend to be a Toreador. There is a time lapse between when you would create your character and when we could make sure that your clan was changed to public view, Without the sunglasses, there would be some time when people could see your true identity, making the Alt ID pointless. Ultimately we kept it because someone rolling into game shouldn't have wasted XP. 

There are no IC sunglasses, just as there is no IC rollcall. Instead, the IC element is a hidden society that is mindful of its membership. The game is populated with ancient and incredible creatures, as well as unimaginably powerful, influential, and even famous figures. The arrival of each is an event. A 500 year old Gangrel reveals himself to the city, he has a legacy, a history that spans crucial sea changes of politics or war or art or anything else. . Because this person arriving has a relevance to each Kindred's survival. Is he more dangerous than others? Is he more powerful? Is he soft, and to be manipulated? Is he wise with Prestation? Is he connected to someone outside of the city? 

What arises from keeping your sunglasses on is that the clan of the character remains hidden. But that's problematic if you don't have Alternate Identity, because you shouldn't benefit from obscuring or hiding your clan without that background. Sunglasses represent this obfuscation of who you are. 

This is how I've always considered the soft story understanding of the rollcall. It's a small, closed society. A group of elites, meeting regularly. Everyone is a threat, or an opportunity. It is important for Vampires to know each other. 

Now you ask why the player should do this, and not the staff. Well, I would say because of player agency. A player might want to roll the dice and hide their clan if they were a Baali or Salubri, for example, without buying Alt ID. Or they might take a chance that no one notices or cares while they get the XP to buy Alt ID. It hasn't been an issue until last game, so maybe people simply forgot, or didn't think about. But what applies here applies to many aspects of the web page. Players register their own boons instead of requiring the Harpy player to do it, they participate in the Academy instead of having staff do that, and update their own sheets with XP spends. 

Ultimately the game is interactive. There are many elements of the DoS website that require player interactivity. The boon system, the roll call, the Academy, the Haven system. These are done by players for efficiency and speed. We think that the priority for ST staff should be on story elements and RP and throwing tests, and devolving some of the record keeping to the players allows us to focus on these other priorities. I'll be mentioning something reminding people about this as we get closer to game, and make an announcement at game itself just so everyone is up to speed in case they miss these replies.

 

 
 


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AMA #8 Feeding difficulty and downtimes (10/06/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2753838824626959/

Welcome to the Vampire AMA! Here you can ask questions about game, mechanics, the setting, or the WoD in general.

And wow! What events! First of all congratulations to everyone: That was the first game I've been to held on Elysium where Elysium was not ruined by the end of game! You should all be applauded for being so true to your Vampiric characters! Great commitment to RP guys!

With the revelation of the Traitor Prince, a new praxis has risen! Will it endure beyond the boundaries of Elysium? Only time will tell!

The Siege of the Sword was lifted! And the Crusade moves on its winding Path to parts unknown. A combination of events gave rise to this outcome, so many claims to credit!

Fires raged across the city as violence and breaches of the Masquerade spiraled out of control! Using influence and allies, the Kindred of the domain neutralized three of these events! Four, however, remain ongoing. The feeding penalty for our game rises to four! The fallout from these acts can still be addressed, but not in time for this DT cycle.

This means that you must spend 4 DTs, or the difference of DTs between your dots of Herd and 4, to avoid entering next game with half blood. I will give you a warning about traveling to feed. There is the potential for PC death in any DT to travel for this purpose. This city has been revealed to have had a Prince of the Sabbat. Members of this domain will need time to free themselves of suspicion. Other domains are unlikely to grant characters from this city acknowledgement for the short term. So feeding is likely to be done illegally. Beware the wrath of the Scourge abroad.

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2439839869360191/

 

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

 
 


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Rollcall clarifications and displaying clan (10/02/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2746074952070013/

Lets talk about Sunglasses  . I've been asked to explain my thinking on this issue and so I shall. First, let me explain what we're talking about with the Sunglasses.

When you create your character, and you buy the Background Alt ID, there is a gap of time when your character is on the roll call and an admin on the website can make sure that the Alt ID clan is changed on the list. To avoid people being able to see a player's clan during this gap, "sunglasses" are on the roll call where the clan would normally show for all players, hiding the clan. In the cases of Alt ID, once the admin has made the correction, the player may then click on the sunglasses to remove them. As may all players who don't have Alt ID after they go live on the website. As of this moment, there are currently 10 players with their clan obscured this way.

Now, we get to a more complex space when we talk about entering play. We're going to do a deep dive into some topics here, and we'll come out the other side talking about the sunglasses again and the roll call.

To start, lets look at the book on page 310 where it talks about status. The book says:

"A vampire instinctively spends her time monitoring and measuring her place in society, comparing her station against others. Like a wolf, she knows her rank in the pack and is keenly aware of any social ascent or decline. Status is the game mechanic used by Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade to express this alien behavior and translate it into out-of-game terms. "

It also says:

"All status traits associated with a vampire are innately known and understood by all Accepted members of that vampire’s sect. "

Skipping ahead a bit it says:

"A vampire can only be Accepted by one sect at a time. Willingly being Accepted by a second sect erases the vampire’s current acceptance, automatically casting her out of the previous sect. The only exception to this rule is a character who possesses the Alternate Identity background"

No this is an important distinction. Vampires define themselves by measuring their place in society. Life a wolf, they know their rank in a pack/group, and are keenly aware of any social ascent or decline. All status associated with Vampires are innately known, and understood. Meaning that this is a mystical as well as an intellectual process. The Beast and the individual both are aware, and know, status held by others. And finally, if you become accepted by another sect, you are CAST OUT of the Sect you belonged to. Since status is a mechanic representing a Vampire's reputation, as I've discussed before (I'll bump), what this represents is Vampires learning that you have joined a Sect. Unless you have Alt ID, your reputation is known.

Now when we hear this, it sounds impossible. But we're thinking in terms of billions of human beings. But when it comes to Vampires, we're talking about a small fraction of human numbers.

This is a secret society. A conspiracy. A network of subversive groups. And what's more, they've been around for decades, or centuries, or even millennia. You are a part of the power elite which secretly rule the world. Anonymity isn't a quality people can assume and access that kind of power.

When a thousand year old Malkavian comes to your city, it's an event. You know about him. If he has a public bio, that's what you start off knowing. If not that, if he is acknowledged and doesn't have Alt ID, then you know a thousand year Malkavian named so-and-so has arrived. It's important, because you measure YOURSELF against him, and know his status. People talk about him. In our game, players might not do this because they don't know the player, and have their own things to do. But CHARACTERS would discuss this arrival, because of how we know status works. Status is a codification of actions meant to control the Beast. It is a life and death issue. This 1000 year old Malkavian could be your ally, or your enemy. But you need to understand he exists to decide which.

When we look at page 400 in the book, it says:

"To be considered an elder of the Camarilla, a vampire must be of a potent generation (Pretender Elder, Master Elder, or Luminary Elder) and have been known to be active for at least 300 years."

This is another example of how Vampires need to be known in order for the function of status. So when we craft our game, we need to consider how to approach these elements. How do we represent the importance of Vampires in relation to each other, and thus provide the framework of status? How do we meet these standards of innate knowledge and understanding Vampires have of each other?

Well, the Roll Call is a good way. There is no list of Vampires available for people to look at of course, because of the Masquerade. Instead, your characters are innately capable of remembering who is here, and what their status is. The roll call is for players, but the effect is characters are able to say, "I've never met Matthias, but I do know that he is/did (Public Bio) and thus (Status) of (Clan). I know this because he lives in Las Vegas, my domain, and I am mindful of his presence here because it is a variable in my survival and success. His reputation is known."

You are wolves. And the city is your pack. You know your rank in relation to others. And to do that, you must know them.

Which is where we come to the Sunglasses. When the Sunglasses are up, your clan and status is hidden. But this is at odds with the premise of being known. There are any number of reasons a player may choose to do this, but the conflict comes from players not knowing about it and doing it accidentally.

Jamie Homampour had a great idea for how to address this challenge. Players in the Court and the Primogen, when acknowledging a new character to the city, would help a great deal by reminding the player to remove their sunglasses. We're currently working on some resources for new players that will also mention this. But in the meantime, if everyone can do their part to raise awareness, that would be great!

Also if you don't understand where this is or how to remove the Sunglasses, you can post here or message me or Brett and ask for us to remove them.

 
 


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What is Elysium, and what it means. (10/01/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2744151158929059/

This post is the long awaited discussion of Elysium.

First, let us discuss what Elysium is. If you'd like to follow along in the book, pages of note are 379 and 384-6.

Elysium is a sacred place among Vampires. A sanctuary for ANY Vampire in good standing by the opinion of the Keeper. Diablerists and other supernaturals are not in good standing. Ultimately everyone else is the decision of the Keeper of Elysium.

Long ago, in the Ancient night, before Sects, Vampires recognized that there needed to be a place where they could meet in person to talk without fear of each other. This could only be done if everyone understood that such a place was sacrosanct. This ancient tradition survived into the modern night, and although the Camarilla is the primary party invested in Elysium, all Vampires respect it. Even autarkis. Even the Sabbat. Without Elysium, there can never be peace, for there can never be trust.

Elysium can only exist as an inviolate absolute. When it comes to its integrity, there is no space for compromise. All must adhere to it, and any who would stray from strict adherence must suffer the greatest penalties.

What does this mean for you? Everything.

These are the rules of Elysium:

NO WEAPONS.

• Elysium is considered neutral, sanctified ground separate from sect or politics.

• Violence of any kind is strictly forbidden upon Elysium grounds. (In some cities, the Courtesies extend this protection to include passage to or from Elysium.) This rule includes forcefully using disciplines, even gentle ones such as Dominate or Presence, upon other guests. Some Elysiums discourage the use of any disciplines, except to protect the Masquerade. (Note that the Nosferatu are often exempt from this rule in order to disguise their true appearance. Even when there is no danger to the Masquerade, they are encouraged to continue using Obfuscate to avoid disturbing the other guests.)

• The presence of Moon-beasts (werewolves), Wild Ones (fae), or those who have drunk the heart’s blood (diablerists) are forbidden.

• None may destroy art located within Elysium. (The definition of “art” has been expanded to include the artist on occasion, making the vampires of Clan Toreador some of the greatest proponents of Elysium.)

• All hunting is prohibited in the area surrounding an Elysium.

• The Elysium and its contents are sacrosanct and shall not be damaged.

• The Keeper’s word is law on these grounds, and she can traditionally punish or execute anyone who violates Elyisum.

Do not use powers on each other other than those that would risk the Masquerade, such as using Mask to hide monstrosity. This Mask must be your known identity, not another's. Using a discipline on another character, and being discovered, will likely lead to a profound change in your PC's story, which can include anything from some very high boons that essentially make you a servant of Elysium, to permanent Flaws, to even character death, depending on what was done.

The Keeper has made clear that NO power should be used other than those that would protect the Masquerade. Unless the Keeper can be persuaded to change this maxim, use powers at your peril.

It is highly inadvisable to engage in violence. At the very best, your character will emerge from such violence in heavy boon debt and subject to permanent maiming, but very likely you will be executed by the Keeper.

The Keeper of Elysium will be played by Matthew Montalto at next game. In essence, the Keeper is more like the Prince in this location than any other character.

A Keeper of Elysium’s authority includes:

• Removing weapons from Kindred on Elysium

• Using any force necessary to defend Elysium

• Exiling the undesirable from the Elysium

• Commanding all mortals (including Retainers) within Elysium

• Holding immunity from prosecution from the Prince or Harpy when in defense of Elysium

• Holding status jurisdiction in the Elysiums within her Prince’s physical domain

The Keeper is above the Prince in authority while within Elysium. That means that he doesn't require the Prince's permission for any act that maintains or protects Elysium's sacred integrity. The Keeper is IMMUNE to the authority of the Prince while acting in defense of Elysium. This to me means that the Keeper cannot be removed by the Prince during the presence of Kindred on this sacred space.

If you wish to use a power on another Vampire, or use a power that is obvious, visually, please notify a ST. If you want to attack another Vampire, please notify a ST. If you wish to LEAVE Elysium, please notify a ST. Our entire game space will be Elysium at next game, There is no where for a player to go to be outside of it without notifying a ST that they are leaving.

Game play will occur in the lobby of the Smith's center (Which will be the store) , and the theater (The alley), for the purpose of our story. Upper levels are restricted. If you wish to explore an upper level, please notify a ST.

"Can't use powers on Elysium, can't attack people, isn't it going to be boring?" Someone might say.

I would say, no. Our next game might be the most dangerous, potentially lethal game we've had to date. This city faces a profound crisis, and the stakes have never been higher. Saturday night will be about conversation. But those conversations will change the course of the city's history. Those who take part in them will have the chance to guide that course.

 
 


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Game 1 premise (04/30/19)

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2419628948047950/

IC:

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.

OC:

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!

 
 


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Objectives, locations, etc. 8/1/19 (08/01/19)

 

Alex post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2626721340672042/
Couple of housekeeping items.

First, when attempting to address an Objective, please pay attention to the name on the card when seeking information or attempting to perform an action.

Second, remember guys that even though the game draws largely from the modern world, it IS NOT the real one. It is the World of Darkness. There may be a building that is perfectly fine, in the real world. In our game it can be a shooting gallery for heroin addicts. Areas that are relatively crime free in the real world can be overrun by gangs in this one. It is a fictional world, it isn't a 1 to 1 replica of the real one. Buildings that are gone IRL can be standing in our game. Buildings that are standing IRL can be demolished. Keep that in mind.

Lastly! This coming game will feature what some people call "personal objectives". These are few in number. IF you have received a personal objective in the past and are unwilling, or unable, to achieve it and wish to turn it in so that you may return to the general Objective pool, this game will be your chance. You need to return the card to the Keeper of Elysium and pay him a Minor boon. If you have, god forbid, LOST the Objective card, you may go to the Keeper of Elysium and pay him two Minor boons to return to the Objective pool.

You may not do this with Personal Objectives received during next game, and the opportunity will not be available again until the next "personal" Objective cycle arrives.

 

Most may not have noticed this, but in our setting document, rather than "Intrigue" or "Violence" or "Politics" we have established something unusual as our Mood and Theme: Mystery and Revelation. Most people have not yet received these "Personal" Objectives, and we wanted to wait until players asked some public questions before talking about them. 

Our game has many secret elements. Many of you are exploring some of those right now. But some of them remain untouched. There are several mysteries happening in game right now in different corners. "Personal" Objectives often relate to these mysteries, and will have varying levels of risk for both the player that explores it and the players who they might impact on. 

The "Personal" Objectives can be identified because they have a chess piece on the back of them, and they have no expiration date. 

If you hang on to the Objective past this cycle, yes, you will miss out on another round of general Objectives if you do not complete it before then. 

They do have the same values. There are 3 sets of 3/5/7s. 

You may not make the case for why it should be worth more XP. We have a formula by which the cards are assigned value, and that formula is not about difficulty in the case of these Objectives. Objectives are about the Jyhad, which is a major part of the story of the game. Each card is a bribe of boons, status, money, artifacts, etc etc that manifest as XP. If it were safe or easy, the sender of the Objective would do it themselves. :p 

We do have a list of everyone we gave Personal Objective cards. 

 How do you get involved in personal objectives?
This is a great question! Here's the neat thing about the "Personal" Objectives. Unlike normal ones, where the Primogen decides who gets what, the person who RECEIVES the Objective can invite another player, of any clan, to share the XP with them and help them achieve the goal. The Objectives are originally sent to characters from outside of the city.

 
 


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

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/352006878143511/permalink/2458569157487262/

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.

 
 


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