General Kindred Merits
Acute Senses (•)
Effect: The vampire can see, smell, and hear at twice the distance and with twice the accuracy of an average, healthy mortal. The vampire’s senses of taste and touch are also twice as sensitive as those of the same hypothetical person. The vampire can perfectly identify any sensory stimulus she has experienced before; for example, the smell of a lover’s sweat, the texture of a rare fabric, or the sound of an individual’s scream. Add her Blood Potency to any roll to use her senses. This includes any rolls to remember and identify sensory details. Drawback: Her senses sometimes overwhelm her. Any time you roll an exceptional success on a roll relating to her senses, she gains the Obsession Condition for the stimulus, but instead of being Persistent, it lasts for a number of nights equal to your successes.
Prerequisites: Wits •••
Effect: Your character can discern the intricacies of blood by smelling it, as if he had tasted it. When using his Kindred senses to detect blood, to track by blood, or to pick out the details of blood, he only needs to smell a blood source.
Cacophony Savvy (• to •••)
Prerequisite: City Status •
Effect: You have your finger on the pulse of the Kindred underground. You’re adept with the codes and cants that allow Kindred culture to flourish despite the Masquerade. Each level of Cacophony Savvy builds on the previous. This Merit assumes the character can read and deliver Cacophony messages. Drawback: The Cacophony is not a spectator sport. You can’t just consume; you must create. If your character does not regularly contribute news and gossip to the Cacophony, she falls out of touch. To become an active part of the Cacophony again, she must add something of value.
Gettin’ Up (•): Your character can read the signs when she sees them. With an Intelligence + Streetwise roll, she can identify the intended message. She can identify further details, including the messenger’s clan, covenant, favored herd, and city of origin by taking a –1 die penalty for every detail she wishes to discern. Additional details come at Storyteller discretion. If the area surveyed is part of someone’s Feeding Grounds Merit, you can add their dot rating to your roll, and discern things the owner didn’t mean to communicate. For example, particularly pale junkies in the neighborhood might suggest that the owner feeds from addicts.
Backpacker (••): Your character is privy to all the personal ads, magazine codes, tracts, and tagging locations to find the latest Kindred news. Any time new Kindred come to town, your character knows their favored feeding grounds and their common aliases within a week. Using Gettin’ Up, she can discern more personal information about them from the grapevine.
Wearing a Hat (•••): Your character embodies honor among thieves. She’s a highly respected part of the Cacophony, and as a result, nothing happens without her knowledge. She’s a hub of local culture, and the first line of defense against vampire hunters by extension. Once per chapter, roll Wits + Politics. For each success, you can ask the Storyteller one of the following questions about the current state of affairs: • Who is on the way up? • Who is on the way out? • Where in the city is the Masquerade thinnest? • What mortal is closest to uncovering Kindred? • Where’s the best feeding in town? When acting on the answer, consider all rolls exceptional successes on three successes instead of five.
Close Family (•)
Effect: Your character feels blood sympathy more keenly than most of her kind. Add +1 to all blood sympathy bonuses, and apply the 8-again quality to all blood sympathy rolls. As well, treat all relations as one step closer for the purposes of sympathy distances. Drawback: When you feel sympathy, you feel it hard. Any time you succeed on a blood sympathy roll, your character loses the ability to spend Willpower for bonus dice for the remainder of the scene, due to the distraction.
Distinguished Palate (•)
Effect: Your character can discern the subtle nuances in blood and Vitae. Consider any Taste of Blood roll (see p. 91) an exceptional success with only a single success. Drawback: When taking this Merit, choose a preferred feature in a vessel that comprises no more than one-tenth of the population. This may be a hair color, a blood type, or even a drug in his system. When feeding from any other mortal source, ignore the first point of Vitae ingested in a given scene, as nothing sates your character like her preferred meal.
Dream Visions (•)
Prerequisites: Must be Mekhet
Effect: Your character’s Mekhet blood touches on a level of universal interconnectedness that her mind cannot truly grasp. However, sometimes it gives her fleeting glimpses of insight and intuition. During the day, she dreams of what’s to come in vague symbols. Once per night, when she meets someone new or visits a new place, make a Blood Potency roll. If successful, ask one question to the Storyteller or the character’s player. The question must fit with a yes/no/maybe answer. The answer reflects the last day’s dreams. Drawback: This Merit may only be used once per person (and only on first meeting), and once per night. So, if she meets multiple new people, you must choose who the dreams were of.
Dynasty Membership (• to •••)
Prerequisite: Clan Status •
Effect: Your character claims membership to a long-standing dynasty of Kindred. Her clan and city know her family’s exploits, and they often precede her. Each level of this Merit builds on the earlier abilities. Drawback: You must make your association known to take advantage of this Merit. Within certain crowds, throwing around a lineage could be more trouble than it’s worth. The dynasty must have at least three members.
New Kid (•): You’re recognized within the dynasty, but not in an influential position. Once per chapter, you may add the Clan Status of the dynasty’s most senior member to a Social dice pool instead of your own.
Exemplar (••): You’re afforded sway and respect within the dynasty. Against any who would respect or fear your dynasty, you may ignore the first Door in any Social engagement.
Patriarch/Matriarch (•••): You’re acknowledged as a head of your dynasty. Once per chapter, you may make a demand of a dynasty member. They gain the Tasked Condition. If they fulfill the demand, gain a Beat. The task must be something that would take a full night’s work, or put the recipient in danger.
Feeding Grounds (• to •••••)
Effect: Your character has fertile feeding grounds, whether officially granted or not. Dots in this Merit represent the ease of hunting in that territory. Add the dot rating to any hunting rolls, and to starting Vitae rolls (see p. 95). In addition, add the dot rating to any predatory aura conflicts on her territory. Drawback: Territory doesn’t maintain itself. Trespassers must not go uncontested, or your hold on the area falters.
Haven (• to •••••)
Prerequisite: Safe Place •
Effect: A good haven is not only safe from the sun, but also familiar and comforting. The dot rating reflects your character’s affinity for his home and its defenses against the sun’s intrusion. A low rating might mean an unreliable apartment with boarded windows. A high rating may mean an ancestral home with no windows and an extensive system of vaults. Add your Haven dots to any Humanity rolls to notice danger while sleeping, and any Stamina + Resolve rolls to remain awake. As well, add it to any Kindred senses (see p. 90) rolls within. Drawback: Losing a Haven is a breaking point at Humanity 8, minus its dot rating. A Haven must be tied to a Safe Place Merit (see p. 123). Like a Safe Place, a coterie may share a Haven Merit. Each member that wishes to benefit must invest Merit dots in both the Safe Place and the Haven.
Herd (• to •••••)
Effect: Your character cultivates cliques of mortals willing and eager for the Kiss. Each week, you can draw on a number of Vitae equal to twice the Merit’s dot rating. This requires no roll, only a quick interlude. Taking more than that amount requires normal hunting rolls. Drawback: Addicts need their fix. Sometimes, they demand attention. If neglected, they’ll withdraw. Your character must have at least minor interactions with her Herd before they’ll give blood freely.
Honey Trap (•)
Effect: Your character’s blood not only bonds, but it invigorates. When a vampire tastes your character’s Vitae, she regains a point of Willpower. If this results in a new bond, or steps up an existing bond, she also takes a Beat.
Within Kindred society, there exist three types of Status: City, Clan, and Covenant. Each functions as the Status Merit on p. 123, within its purview. City Status allows its advantages within the scope of the assigned city. Clan Status only functions within its designated clan, and Covenant Status similarly within the chosen covenant. City Status reflects a vampire’s sway in the city, whether official or unofficial. There’s no specific dot rating tied to a given position. For instance, a Prince may have three dots of City Status, if the city doesn’t respect his authority as much as the Sheriff with five dots. Clan Status reflects notoriety and recognition within the clan. Typically, a character with high Clan Status is iconic within the clan. A character with five dots of Ventrue Status is whom most Kindred think of when they speak of the clan Ventrue. Kindred recognize a low-Status character as a frequent collaborator within clan circles. A character may not gain Status in a clan to which she does not belong. Covenant Status is generally tied to positions and direct authority within covenant structure. A character with five dots of Covenant Status is a regional leader within the covenant, a character with one dot has minor responsibilities to their organization of choice. Additionally, each covenant has available Merits that scale depending on Covenant Status dots. A character could theoretically gain Status within multiple covenants. Most of the covenants will allow members to dabble in other organizations, so long as they don’t share secrets. The Ordo Dracul, for example, will not stop a member from attending Sanctified mass. But the moment she shares her knowledge of the Coils, she’ll find her Requiem cut abruptly short. Her combined dots in one type of Status (City, Clan, or Covenant) cannot exceed five, and she may never have as many dots in her affiliated group as she does to the group to which she belongs.
Kiss of the Succubus (•)
Prerequisite: Must be Daeva Effect: All Kindred can evoke lustful, passionate reactions with a bite. The Daeva’s bite is downright addicting. Her Kiss causes the Addicted Condition in mortals as well as the Swooning Condition (for Addicted, see p. 301; for Swooning, see p. 306). Drawback: This gift is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it keeps blood dolls coming back. On the other, they won’t stay away.
Prerequisite: Clan Status •
Effect: You come from strong stock. Your sire’s well known, and his influence bleeds onto your interactions. Once per chapter, this Merit can represent a single dot of one of the following Merits: Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Resources, or Status. The Merit must be one your sire may have possessed.
Drawback: Calling on your sire’s reputation taxes his social capital. He may ask for repayment for using his name.
Pack Alpha (•)
Prerequisite: Must be Gangrel
Effect: You’re pack-minded. Your blood draws to blood. You may designate a coterie of Kindred and ghouls as your pack. Every Gangrel has a different method for the designation. Some anoint with blood. Some have hazing rituals. When the pack takes teamwork actions, the supporting characters gain the 8-again quality on their rolls. The anchor character does not, but still adds dice equal to the others’ successes. Removing a pack member must be done by force. You must cause lethal damage in one of their last three Health boxes, then exile them from your presence for at least a week. Drawback: When a member of your pack defies you, you must make an example of them or lose a point of Willpower.
Unnatural Affinity (• to •••••)
Effect: Your character can take nourishment from the blood of some of the stranger creatures of the World of Darkness. Each dot of this Merit allows your character to gain sustenance from one type of supernatural creature. This may mean werewolves, ghosts, mummies, zombies, or stranger things still. This blood counts as Kindred Vitae for the purposes of feeding restrictions. Drawback: This advantage does not inherently mean the character is (more) able to feed from the chosen subject. For example, ghosts exist in an ethereal state, and don’t have physical blood. Werewolves are notoriously difficult to feed from for more practical reasons that often end in Final Death. If you take this Merit, work with your Storyteller to determine how your character might feed from these monsters.
Swarm Form (••)
Prerequisite: Protean ••••
Effect: When taking the Beast’s Skin, some Gangrel can instead become a swarm of small creatures: Size 0 or Size 1 animals. The character may perceive through any of the senses of any individual creature in the swarm, but the swarm acts as a single entity. The swarm may spread over five yards or meters per dot of Blood Potency. Creatures beyond that range die and rapidly decompose. The swarm moves at the vampire’s Speed, modified for the creatures’ Size, in any logical direction. The swarm limits visibility and hearing, and causes panic in all those present. Everyone within the swarm’s area suffers the persistent Distracted Condition (see p.302) until they get away. With Storyteller discretion, a swarm may have other features suited to the swarm animal. For example, rats should be better at biting through barricades. The swarm resists most harm. Roll attacks against the swarm as normal, but after factoring armor and other modifiers, the swarm only takes one point of damage of the appropriate type at most, or two points of damage with an exceptional success. Fire, sunlight, explosions, and other large-scale threats cause normal harm to the swarm, which is affected by banes as normal. To attack those within her swarm, roll Strength + Brawl, ignoring Defense. Divide the damage however you wish among those inside. Apply a victim’s armor to the damage normally. The damage is lethal (bashing to Kindred). Alternately, a success may instead allow the vampire to take one Vitae from a victim.
Undead Menses (••)
Effect: Throughout history, various cultures attributed mystical significance to the menstrual cycle. Many of these myths carried stigmas against menses, due to the unhealthy fears of men in power. With this Merit, your character still produces menstrual blood. Once per night, she can produce a viscous, dark blood. If she uses this blood in casting a Crúac ritual, she benefits from the 8-again quality. If she touches it to a person before affecting them with a Discipline, they suffer her Blood Potency as a penalty to his Resistance. Drawback: The character must identify as female. If she draws forth her Undead Menses multiple times in an evening, each beyond the first causes her a level of aggravated damage. As well, any attempts to identify her by her menstrual blood gain a +5 die bonus.
Unsettling Gaze (•)
Prerequisites: Must be Nosferatu
Effect: All Haunts have an unsettling effect. Your character’s Beast oozes with terror. When she evokes the monstrous Beast (see p. 91), she unsettles her target deeply and makes him question himself. Any time she infects a victim with the Bestial Condition and scores an exceptional success, she also forces a breaking point if the victim has a higher Humanity (or Integrity) than hers. Drawback: Forcing a breaking point in another is also a breaking point for your character if her Humanity is 3 or higher.
Predatory Aura Aspect Merits
Prerequisites: Cannot have the Cutthroat or Enticing Merits
Effect: Your character’s monstrous Beast dominates her personality. Her threats always ring true. Her very gaze inspires anger and fear. Any rolls to invoke the monstrous Beast gain the 8-again quality. Drawback: Your character does not get the 10-again quality on any rolls to invoke or resist the seductive or competitive Beasts.
Prerequisites: Cannot have the Atrocious or Enticing Merits
Effect: Your character’s competitive Beast flows in her every action. Her smug bearing forces a desire to dominate or submit. Any rolls to invoke the competitive Beast gain the 8-again quality. Drawback: Your character does not get the 10-again quality on any rolls to invoke or resist the monstrous or seductive Beasts.
Prerequisites: Cannot have the Atrocious or Cutthroat Merits
Effect: Your character’s seductive Beast oozes with ease and confidence. Her smoky looks tantalize the imagination. Every movement of her hands makes promises. Any rolls to invoke the seductive Beast gain the 8-again quality. Drawback: Your character does not get the 10-again quality on any rolls to invoke or resist the monstrous or competitive Beasts.
Carthian Pull (•)
Prerequisite: Carthian Status •
Effect: Carthians know people. Being the covenant arguably most in touch with humanity, they tend to have the most numerous connections. Membership in the Movement can mean leveraging those connections. Each month, you can access a number of dots of the Allies, Contacts, Haven, and Herd Merits equal to your Carthian Status. Drawback: These Merits are not yours. They’re very temporary, very superficial. You don’t get a house from Haven dots; you get crash space for a couple days. Each use is a favor, and the Movement expects members to repay their favors.
Night Doctor Surgery (•••)
Prerequisite: Carthian Status ••
Effect: Carthians have adapted a bit of real-world surgery and a little body horror into a series of morbid reconstruction techniques to help injured Kindred heal. Night Doctor Surgery helps bones reset, and speeds the knitting of flesh. With an hour of treatment, roll Intelligence + Medicine. Each success converts one point of lethal damage to bashing. Alternatively, three successes can convert one point of aggravated damage to lethal damage. Failure means the wounds remain; dramatic failure upgrades three points of bashing to lethal, or two lethal to aggravated. With Storyteller discretion, this Merit and Willpower expenditure may be used over time to make changes to facial appearance. Drawback: Knowledge of Night Doctor Surgery affords a great responsibility. If your identity is known, the Movement will call on your services frequently. For this reason, most Night Doctors use pseudonyms (usually a letter, like Doctor H), performing their services while masked. You cannot perform Night Doctor Surgery on yourself. You may only make one attempt to treat a given injury.
I Know a Guy (•)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status •
Effect: When Carthians make Allies (see p. 118), their covenant acts as a sort of support network that bolsters the efficiency of those allies. Once per story, a Carthian may access temporary Retainer dots equal to their Allies. These Retainers act in the Carthian’s interest, just like any other Retainers. (Since Allies gained with Carthian Pull don’t really belong to the character as a Merit, they don’t count for purposes of I Know A Guy.) Drawback: These Retainers represent the Allies group in question, and will serve its interests first and foremost. If the Carthian wants them to do something contrary to the group’s interest, she’ll need to manipulate, threaten, or otherwise risk her relationship with her Allies.
Carthian Law Merits stand as the Carthian Movement’s edge in Kindred society. Each affords the Carthian certain advantages pertaining to the recognized law of the city. In many cases, this law did not come from the Carthians, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use it to their advantage. Carthian Law gives Kindred law a sort of metaphysical weight which prevents a city’s residents from breaching protocol. Carthians have learned to leverage that, making them valuable to even cities without a Carthian government.
Lex Terrae (••)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status ••, Feeding Ground •
Effect: Territory is bond. Feeding ground is sacrosanct. Any blood poached from your character’s Feeding Ground is tainted for Kindred she has not specifically allowed. When next a poacher sleeps, the blood dissolves in his gullet. When he wakes, he violently retches, taking one bashing damage per Vitae lost. As well, his lips and mouth stain with black streaks that paint him as a poacher. These marks last for one week. Drawback: This Merit requires a clearly-defined and publicly announced feeding ground.
Mandate from the Masses (•••••)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status •••••
Effect: Carthians wield consensus the way a cop wields a baton. With the power of the Movement behind her, a ranking Carthian can call on the will of her people to strike weakness into the Movement’s opposition. With her words and the mandate, she strips a Kindred enemy’s blood down to nothingness. To enact this law, your character must make a clear and direct admonishment against one of the Movement’s enemies. Cross a dot of Willpower off the Carthian’s sheet. She must also garner the support of others of the Movement for a vote — from both Storyteller characters and players’ characters. If the vote favors the admonishment, add the total dots of Carthian Status in support (including the user’s five). For every five dots, reduce the victim’s Blood Potency by one dot. If this reduces him to zero dots, he effectively becomes a revenant (see p. 94 for rules on revenants). Drawback: The Willpower dot (belonging to the vampire who invoked the mandate) and Blood Potency (belonging to the victim) only come back if the victim flees the city or meets Final Death. If the Carthian meets Final Death, the victim immediately regains his lost Blood Potency. A single vampire may only be victim to one instance of this Merit at a time.
Right of Return (••)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status ••, City Status •
Effect: This somewhat rare Merit allows a Carthian to work within another covenant without fear of her covenant’s ostracism. After all, Carthians aim for human solutions, and nothing is more human than the ability to adapt and socialize. With this Merit, the character’s Carthian Status does not count toward her normal limitations on multiple Covenant Status Merits. She can have as many as five dots of the Covenant Status Merit, not counting her Carthian Status. While individual characters may oppose your character’s cosmopolitan membership practices, she’s adept at defending them. In any Social Maneuvering with members of a covenant she claims Status in, treat her impressions as one step better (see p. 173 for more on Social Actions). Drawback: Kindred remain ever paranoid, particularly with a Carthian in their midst. Every step she takes receives the utmost scrutiny. Your character loses the 10-again quality on rolls to hide suspicious behavior from members of her other covenants.
Strength of Resolution (•)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status •
Effect: A Carthian stands resolute in the face of that which would force her to violate the law. Add her Carthian Status to any dice pool to contest a Discipline or other supernatural power which would coax her to violate acknowledged city law.
Plausible Deniability (••••)
Prerequisites: Carthian Status •••
Effect: Carthians don’t break laws; they defy laws. Influential Carthians can throw law to the wind, then laugh it off with an argument about the definition of the word “is.” Any attempt to use a Discipline or other supernatural power to prove your character’s guilt in breach of city law or Tradition automatically fails. She cannot be forced to confess by any means, and attempts to detect her honesty through mundane means suffer her Carthian Status as a penalty. She exhibits no stains on her aura from diablerie. Drawback: It’s one thing to deny the truth. It’s another to deny the truth to witnesses. You lose the ability to use your City Status and Carthian Status dots in any Social rolls against anyone who knows for certain of your character’s guilt, and opposes her.
Circle of the Crone Merits
Prerequisites: Circle of the Crone Status •
Effect: Your character is attuned to a mystical, bloody altar. She may have crafted it herself, or a covenmate may have designed it. In the presence of the altar, Acolytes may use the teamwork rules (see p. 173) when using Crúac rituals. However, double the time necessary to make the roll, and determine the time per roll by the lowest Crúac dots of the collective group. This allows vampires uninitiated in the secrets of Crúac to participate in rituals. Characters do not need dots in Crúac to act as supporting performers with the Altar Merit, but double the time between rolls if any participants have no Crúac dots whatsoever. Drawback: Unlike most Merits, three or more characters must purchase this Merit to gain its benefits. Each character contributes a single Merit dot to the total cost. Additional characters may purchase dots in the Altar, but to use the teamwork advantages, they must contribute.
The Mother-Daughter Bond (•)
Prerequisites: Circle of the Crone Status •
Effect: The Circle exists through tribulation and mentorship. Without tight-knit bonds, the Circle would never have survived its tumultuous early years. When a member of the Circle with this Merit purchases the Mentor Merit, that Mentor is protected by the True Friend Merit (see p. 124). The vampire does not have to purchase True Friend to take this advantage. Drawback: Strong bonds go both ways. The mentor is likely to have stronger requirements than most teachers, and will require a substantial amount of the vampire’s time. More importantly, she’ll demand loyalty, if not monogamy.
Prerequisites: Invictus Status •
Effect: Normally, Retainers (see p. 123) serve a couple of functions, represented by dice pools. They don’t normally allow a character to access other things represented by Social Merits. However, Invictus vampires with this Merit have Retainers of a more thoroughly loyal breed. Each Retainer gains any combination of the following Merit dots equal to the vampire’s Invictus Status: Contacts, Resources, or Safe Place. Drawback: While the Invictus may access these Merits, it must be done through an intermediary. So it might take a bit of time, or require a bit of red tape navigation to access. At very least it will require a few inconvenient phone calls.
Friends in High Places •
Prerequisites: Invictus Status •
Effect: The Invictus have their fingers in a lot of pies…but any one vampire only has so many fingers. So the vampires of the First Estate do not just leverage their personal connections — they leverage each other’s. An Invictus member can always do a little horse trading. Each month, your character can automatically open a number of Doors equal to her status dots. The person being persuaded must be acting on behalf of an organization. You could persuade
the fire chief not to investigate a series of arsons at your rival’s havens, but couldn’t convince him to give you a personal loan. Drawback: The influence the character drew upon must come from a specific Invictus member…and your character now owes him a favor.
Prerequisite: Invictus Status •
Effect: In the Invictus, you get out what you put in. Through doing favors and making herself noticed, your character has gotten back plenty. Divide dots equal to your Invictus status in the Herd, Mentor, Resources, and Retainers Merits. You may distribute them as you like. These dots can be added to existing Merit dots, or added upon later. If she loses dots of Status, the dots granted by this Merit go away as well. Drawback: These advantages came from the covenant. They’re not only known, but they’re a matter of covenant scrutiny. Rivals may call whether your character deserves them into question.
Speaker for the Silent (•••)
Prerequisite: Dynasty Membership •, Invictus Status •
Effect: Any Kindred may be part of a dynastic house, but the Invictus take dynasty membership very seriously. Some members receive training to channel the minds of torpid dynasty members. With this Merit, the character can choose to act as a medium for a torpid elder’s consciousness. While possessed, the Speaker is aware of what occurs around him, but the torpid Kindred has control of his body, and can speak through him. The torpid Kindred retains no access to her Disciplines while possessing a Speaker. At any time, the Speaker can spend a point of Willpower to eject the torpid mind. The torpid Kindred can relinquish her control at will.
Where the Bodies Are Buried ••
Prerequisites: Invictus Status ••
Effect: The Conspiracy of Silence covers up a lot of secrets… and your character’s been quietly keeping track. A number of times equal to your Invictus Status per story, you can ask one of the following questions about another vampire whose name and covenant affiliation you know: • Who would this vampire run to if he were in trouble? • Who is this vampire’s most frequent vessel? • What is this vampire’s main source of income? • Who is this vampire’s closest living family member? • Has this vampire covered up the murder of a human? Drawback: Digging into this information attracts attention. At least one fellow member of the Invictus will know you were investigating the vampire.
Invictus Oaths are the First Estate’s ace in the hole, its way of establishing and maintaining a rigid and effective hierarchy. An Invictus Notary officiates Oaths; a character with the Notary Merit can preside over any Oath, so long as the participants meet the prerequisites for the Merit. Recognized and manumitted Invictus must have at least one active Oath. This is to say Invictus require the presence of a Notary for their induction. Each Oath is a two-way street, with two active participants: the liege and vassal. The vassal must purchase the Oath Merit to gain its advantages; the liege does not. When swearing an Oath, the participants must define terms in addition to the Oath’s effects. Usually, they swear for a finite time, often a year and a day. Terms include conditions for violation, which end the contract (and the Oath’s effects) immediately. Unless otherwise noted, the vassal does not have to be Invictus; in fact, most are not. In rare cases, ghouls or other mortals enter Oaths. Most Notaries refuse to preside over such agreements. Typically, Oaths are temporary. Merit dots revert when the Oath ends; see The Sanctity of Merits on p. 109.
Prerequisites: Invictus Status •••
Effect: The Invictus appointed your character a Notary, a scholar of Oaths. She presides over Oath agreements. Because of your standing as an arbiter of the status quo, Invictus may not use their Invictus Status in rolls against you. As well, each month, you may request access to a single dot of Allies, Contacts, Herd, Mentor, or Resources, granted by the covenant at large. Drawback: Invictus are deathly serious about the sanctity of Oaths. If you’re caught knowingly administering an unwilling Oath, or Oath a non-Invictus as liege in an agreement, the Invictus will remove you from the Estate. Usually, this removal comes through Final Death.
Oath of Action (••••)
Effect: With this Oath, a vassal swears to perform a service to his liege. The service must be a difficult task with definite criteria for accomplishment or failure. At the time of the swearing, both parties agree upon one of the liege’s Disciplines. The vassal gains access to that Discipline. The liege’s Blood Potency increases by one. This Oath stands as a rare exception to bloodline Disciplines: a vassal may temporarily access a liege’s bloodline gift. If the vassal accomplishes the task, the Oath ends and the liege suffers aggravated damage equal to the Discipline dots granted. If the vassal fails the task or a month passes, he suffers the damage instead. While not uncommon, some domains consider a liege’s interference in the task to be bad form. The liege does not lose access to the Disicpline. Drawback: A character may be part of only one Oath of Action at a time, as vassal or liege.
Oath of Fealty (•)
Prerequisites: Invictus Status •
Effect: This most basic Oath establishes a foundation of trust within the Invictus. The vassal may draw a number of Vitae from his liege equal to his Invictus Status in a given week. This Vitae transfers mystically over any distance, and replenishes the vassal’s pool without risk of Vitae addiction or blood bond. The liege always knows if the vassal lies to her, in voice or in writing. Drawback: A vassal may only owe fealty to one liege.
Oath of Penance (•••)
Effect: This Oath is a form of apology from a vassal to an aggrieved liege. For the agreed-upon term, the liege receives every tenth Vitae the vassal ingests. This Vitae comes over any distance, without risk of blood bond or addiction, and counts as Kindred Vitae. Some ancient Invictus use this Oath to skirt their need for Kindred blood, by establishing massive networks of “punished” vassals. During the same period, the vassal becomes immune to the liege’s Discipline effects. Drawback: While a vassal is paying penance, she may not gain the benefits of any other Oath. She retains their drawbacks.
Oath of Serfdom (••)
Effect: This Oath is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. In Invictus domains, Princes often use this Oath as the go-to for granting territory. Young Invictus refer to this practice as “castling.” Oath of Serfdom agreements typically involve “red rent,” a certain blood tithe given to the landlord regularly. While in her granted land or when defending her liege, the vassal gains access to a dot of Celerity, Resilience, or Vigor, chosen at the swearing of the Oath. She must still pay relevant activation costs. As well, she instinctively knows when another creature with the predatory aura enters her territory, and from what direction. If she knows the trespasser, she can identify him. The liege gains the vassal’s Feeding Ground Merit dots in any rolls against her. As well, he becomes immune to blood bonds from the vassal.
Lancea et Sanctum Merits
Prerequisites: Lancea et Sanctum Status •
Effect: Not all Sanctified are members of the clergy. Most are lay members. Those anointed under the damnation of Longinus wield his word like a firebrand. Once per chapter, roll Presence + Expression when preaching to a crowd. A small clique of listeners levies a –1 die penalty, a small crowd a –2, and a large crowd a –3. Listeners gain the Raptured Condition (see p. 305). Drawback: The character may not use this Merit on herself.
Prerequisites: Lancea et Sanctum Status •
Effect: The Spear is tasked with the acquisition and maintenance of history and mystical secrets. Most devoted members of the covenant establish and maintain libraries. Since most of this knowledge has to pass through mortal hands, the Sanctum also tends to attract those, likeminded, who wish to surround themselves with ancient secrets. When a member of the Lancea et Sanctum with this Merit buys the Library Merit (see p. 121), she also receives dots in the Retainers and Herd Merits, divided however she chooses. Drawback: The Retainers and Herd afforded by this Merit are drawn in by the lure of forbidden knowledge. To maintain these advantages, the vampire must be willing to let slip at least some of that information to her mortal retinue. Unfortunately, sometimes mortal librarians aren’t quite as zealous about defending their secrets.
Ordo Dracul Merits
Secret Society Junkie (•)
Prerequisites: Ordo Dracul Status •
Effect: The Ordo Dracul exist within one of the most secret of secret societies. But many of its members participate in other such organizations in mortal (or other) spheres. Members of such secret societies tend to draw toward the Dragon, like a moths to a flame. When the vampire takes Status or Mystery Cult Initiation (see p. 121) reflecting non-Kindred organizations, she also gains Herd dots equal to the Merit.
Prerequisites: Ordo Dracul Status •
Effect: Your character is not only a member of the Ordo Dracul, she’s sworn to serve one of its branches. When taking this Merit, choose to which faction she belongs (the Axe, the Dying Light, or Mysteries typically). She gains dots equal to her Covenant Status to split between the Mentor and Retainer Merits. These reflect teachers and wards within the faction. She can swap these Merits out between chapters, as she receives new assignments. Sworn of the Axe must defend the sanctity of the Order’s secrets. They’re the soldiers and assassins expected to clean up any leaks. If a Dragon leaks knowledge of the Coils, they can expect a visit from the Sworn of the Axe. Sworn of the Dying Light act as the research and development wing of the Ordo Dracul. The Sworn dedicate themselves to learning, teaching, and creating Coils. Sworn of the Mysteries are the guiding hands of the Order as a whole. They make sweeping decisions determining the covenant’s political and social directions. They’re expected to know the affairs of all local chapter houses. Drawback: Being Sworn is no easy task. It means being tied inexorably to the covenant, with deep and time-demanding responsibilities. Your character cannot go two full nights without devoting at least some time to covenant affairs, or she’ll be punished.