[Interest Check] Original vampire-based supernatural MU*

  • I stay bored at work. So I theorycraft.
    I wonder what the interest would be in an original supernatural MU*, not pulling from WoD or Dresden or anything like that. I had been theorycrafting some things just because, well, boredom but... I think I like what I ended up pondering on, and wondering if there might be a market for it.

    My thoughts are as follows:

    • Original theme, focusing on a vampire society originating from, and based on Roman hierarchy. Inspiration drawn heavily from the Spartacus TV show with a heavy dose of the theatrical and mythological
    • Modern world set in a big city like NYC, with vampire society being very Roman-esque with shades of the Nobility and their 'decadence unto the end' from Vampire Hunter D, divided into houses/families/lines of descent (standard Roman stuff, but also cribbing from the Houses in GoT), with some set up as default antagonist groups
    • Other supernaturals exist (standards like witches and weres, but also weirder shit like Crow-analogues and true mythological creatures that exist in the modern world, ala Percy Jackson), but are on the periphery -- and might be at war with the vampires, or in loose alliances (think The Originals and how New Orleans is set up), or just saying 'Get the fuck offa my lawn, or Imma stab you with my minotaur horns'.
    • A game skewing more Blade/Underworld/Buffy, with a more high action feel in addition to the societal stuff that is a common trope of the 'aristocratic vampire' trope.
    • A game starting out more heavily CvE but moving towards a heavy CvC (like, say, along the lines of Robert's Rebellion from GoT/ASoIaF)
    • Less 'tabletop systems on a MUSH' and more 'automated systems for many things, particularly combat code with lots of options for PCs, as well as methods for general non-combat +rolls that function as one would expect from TT'. If you've played at a Transformers game, that type of conflict resolution for fights would be what I would be aiming for/setting up.
    • Cribbing and stealing liberally from the things that work (like power arrangements from WoD to convert into cool stuff, or the visuals of Grimm's Wesen for Bygones, for example)
    • Allowances for player-based fluffing of things (like, an ability that controls shadows to attack, would be 'this is a Level 4 weapon' and give examples of fluff, such as shadow-forged weapons, tentacles, or stabbing someone in their shadow to deal damage to their body)
    • Drawing heavily on Roman and Greek mythological tropes for the backstory and history of vampires (cursed by the gods Diana and Apollo in particular).
    • Drawing on cool stuff from other sources to give neat stuff for people to do, interact with and to be inspiration.

    I will probably expand on some of this just because, well, I like to write stuff up. But I think it's a sound premise and a good alternate to the standard WoD (which is what I think tripped me up with the OWoD game, using an unfamiliar system with something hyper-familiar to everyone who would be interested in it).

  • Pitcrew

    I don't want to play, but I think this could be a really fun thing, and I encourage you to develop it further/give it a try. I do think there's a pool of people who would be very interested.

  • I'd be interested.

  • I'm always down for the supernatural, yo.

    Question: would you require everyone to play something supernatural, or have people play "mortals" or what?

    I'm reminded of an old AOL game that was a fairly fun supernatural setting, but everyone had to start with a mortal and then alt-in a supernatural (or get changed into something supernatural) -- and that was a bit annoying because most people wanted to be supernaturals, though there was a rather perma-mortal and proud group.

  • @GirlCalledBlu
    The core concept would have all players playing as vampires and possibly servii (half-vampire servants, think Renfield).

    I am always iffy on playing mortals on games like this, because it leads to a lot of superfluousness IMO. It's like playing Jim the Hot Dog Vendor in Metropolis on a superhero MUSH, in my opinion. You can have fun but you'll never be able to encounter the 'core' of the game.

  • Right-o. I tend to just find mortals as the boring step required to play something cooler. I'd much rather be Spike than Xander (that's right, gauntlet, thrown).

    Is the desire not to have other supernatural types available for application to avoid the WOD sphere "issues"?

  • @GirlCalledBlu
    I always find issues of mixed-theme games to lack focus; you can look at the threads about the Reach and other games ending up not having focus, and that focus something I'd rather have. It lends itself well to a good environment,. Plus having them as unplayable, means more mystery and capability to use those as CvE antagonists.

    What if the vampires of NYC are at war with the Witches? What if the Bygones approach House Axius in order to get information on some legendary Bygone that is threatening everything in the city? What if the Traitor Houses fuck with the Arisen and push an undying, truly immortal, superpowered Engine of Vengeance against the vampires of NYC?

    That gives options to play around with. Plus i don't want to have to design the cultures, backstory, history and things for all of the 'cool monsters in the night' ideas I have.

  • @Bobotron Okay, neat. I'll be interested to see what you come up with!

  • @GirlCalledBlu
    Thanks. If I can get some good notations of interest, I think it'll go well. I think one of the biggest hurdles I'm going to hit is, I want there to be a variety of powers to take, not just Potence 1 to 5 equivalent. Like, the shadow-control power might have the 'basic attack' but also a 'drain Life Points' and a 'inflict a status effect like an evasion debuff' type, all at the same ranks; or the superstrength power might have a knockdown debuff, an ability that acts as Armor Piercing, and such...

    So I'll probably crowdsource some abilities, mostly because my typical method with automated combat is more along the lines of how TF MU*s build attacks and weapons.

    ETA: Additionally, it won't be JUST combat powers. There will be non-combat powers and applications; familiar stuff like 'order another person around' or 'I am supernaturallly purty' or 'read auras' and 'telepathy' and such will be there, along with things like 'telekinetic blast' or 'transform your blood into a weapon' or 'I scare you so bad you take damage'.

  • So.
    Because I was already working on this anyway, and had a bunch of stuff I could copy/paste because, again, bored.

    http://www.hotbmush.com/blog/ has my development notes so far (or most of them).

    Feel free to make an account on the blog and comment (or comment here, whatever). More will be posted there, but things i have on the docket for further theory:

    • The Houses: Nine in all for PC houses, I'm trying to give them something 'unique' that makes them cool and fun to play, like House Axius, who call themselves The Bookmen, who are essentially a vampire house dedicated to the recording of vampiric history.
    • Powers: Compusion, the ability to manipulate minds of others. Magnetism, the supernatural force of personality. Mentalism, the expansion of the mind. Bloodworking, the ability to manipulate your (and others) blood. Glamour, making people see things. Mobility, the alterations to movement such as FLIGHT! All kinds of cool shit.
    • Stats: These are, thankfully, pretty much done.
      And much more...

  • Pitcrew

    @GirlCalledBlu Are you talking about Black Bayou?

  • @Trevler I am!

  • So, I figured I might transcribe my dev-stuff here.
    If anyone is interested in chit-chatting with me about the game and development, feel free to message me here.

     ***Post 1: The Basics***

    Statement of Purpose
    To provide an originally created setting and experience, drawing from a number of historical and historical-inspired sources, as well as vampire media, to offer an alternative to the standard World of Darkness MU*. Using the sources we are drawing inspiration from (below), we plan to present a setting that focuses on a Roman-inspired sociopolitical landscape in the modern era.

    Our goal is to provide a game that leans a little more towards the aesthetics of Blade or Underworld, providing ample opportunity for action and adventure, as well as the more expected mystery, investigation and supernatural horror that is the hallmark of supernatural media. The game would provide a combination of automated code to adjudicate combat and a few other things, as well as a dice-based system for non-combat resolution such as investigation, knowledge and lore, and such.

    Sources of Inspiration
    We take inspiration and information from the following sources, molding the inspiration to fit our vision of a modern vampire game.

    • Spartacus (Roman societal setup and political intrigue)
    • The Vampire Chronicles (social setup, vampiric abilities and arrangements, modern ‘look’ for vampires)
    • Game of Thrones (vampire family arrangements/setup, political intrigue)
    • Roman and Greek mythology (cursed by the gods)
    • Other modern vampire media such as the World of Darkness’ Vampire games (vampiric powers)
    • Underworld, Blade, X-Men (modern look for vampires, vampiric abilities, ‘gonzo’ combat allowances)
      Dark Shadows, Twin Peaks, X-Files (horror and mystery)

    Basic Premise
    The supernatural exists. Perhaps not in the same vein that many supernatural myths and legends, and certainly not supernatural authors, would have you believe. But they exist. Among them are vampires, though the vampires of Houses of the Blood certainly are not what one would expect from myths and legends (though many that are in the Blood agree that their extraordinary life and conditions are what inspired many of the myths). They have existed at least since the 6th century BC, though their legendry stretches back a few hundred more years than that; until the founding of the Roman Republic, they were disparate tribes with no centralized organization, and much oral record has been lost in the intervening time.

    But myth and oral tradition are handed down and, while not verifiable, is the most commonly-accepted ‘origin’ of the blood drinker, the vampire. Their myths and legends state that they were tricked by the Roman deity Orcus, cursed by the twin deities Apollo and Diana, and blessed by Pluto in recompense, they are immortal beings, and not undead like many of the legends of the world, but their immortality is sustained by life: the life of other beings, life through the Blood.

    The gens sanguinis believe they can roughly trace their lineages and history back to the 6th century BC, where a Roman named Titus Albinus Flavius, a young man in the prime of his youth, had fallen hopelessly — and haplessly — in love with a priestess of Diana who he had encountered, Licenia Macra. As Licenia was a priestess of Diana, she was required to remain chaste, and though she was not adverse to Titus’ advances, she could not reciprocate his love. Despite this, the two did fall in love.

    Though I’m not done with the setup, the basics behind the vampire myth is for Titus to be tricked into pissing off Apollo and Diana by Orcus in his manipulation of the lovers, and cursed to burn in the sun or with the touch of silver, then cursed when he tries to take vengeance on Orcus to burn badly from fire; then given immortality by Pluto in pity for the tricks on the verge of death, and finally absconding with Licenia and turning her into a vampire. Licena and Titus eventually created vampiric children by siring, mixing of blood, twelve lineages in all.

    Eventually, the gens sanguinis were spread throughout the Roman Republic and, during the height of the Republic, formed amongst themselves the Houses of the Blood — organizations along family lines — and created for themselves a government, the Pactum Sanguinis (or Blood Covenant), establishing laws amongst themselves. However, a brutal war was fought between the lineages; three broke off and followed a disaffected Licenia away, vowing the destroy all that the Houses of the Blood had built, though none knew why Licenia vowed this destruction. Soon after, Titus disappeared into the night, his grief too great… Still, nine remained as the Houses, securing the republic and spreading across the world.

    The Republic of Blood has survived into the modern nights, spread across the world, having representation in many major cities across the world, united under the senex. Eventually, various vampire covens created alliances and ‘nod nod hush hush’ deals with various aspects of humanity (and even other supernaturals), particularly in some supernatural heavy cities like London, Tokyo, New Orleans, New York or Paris. Though they aren’t public, they do have clout through favors and influence, as well as the application of vampiric powers such as Compulsion.

    I have decided on New York City in the year 2016 as the setting for the game, giving an interesting setup to a wholly modern American city, large enough for many vampires, as well as large enough to provide a sensible backdrop for the more Underworld-style feel that we want to put into place on the game. Essentially the ‘modern world’ against the backdrop of a vampiric society based around Roman ethos, with the vampires sharing the city (and likely actively at war with) other supernatural types (see below).

    The grid itself will be developed into districts representing major NYC metropolitan areas, with three to four room ‘area’ sections. Right now we’re looking at 9 areas and 3-4 rooms per area.

    The game will not be using an existing system whole cloth, and we will be adapting mechanics from a couple of systems for ease of use. In particular, we are adapting parts of other systems, and creating something new, rather than using something like the WoD or FAE because of the desire to automate a number of systems, particularly combat. At the core, there will be a dice-based system, utilizing a familiar stat + skill mechanic, and then going from there. More will be posted later about the system design later.

  • Vampire Society
    The Republic of Blood is a bit of an oddity, particularly in what it is in the modern era, compared to what it was during the formation. It has grown from a ‘Republic within a Republic,’ focusing on a law and structure that somewhat mimicked the Roman Republic, that has survived and evolved over the centuries. In the modern nights, each city is effectively its own city-state, with a local government (the senate of princeps and the consul at the top, with various positions below that such as praetor and others) above them, and then the Senatus Sanguinem above that, dealing with vampiric matters on a larger scale.

    • Consul: The highest office within a large city, the consul serves as the ‘ultimate authority’ in a city-state. Elected by the princeps (below), they are granted a term of 50 years by default, though may serve many consecutive terms (particularly if not ousted or opposed by the princeps). Consuls are, in addition to the ultimate authority in a city, in effect the senators for a city in regards to the the Senatus Sanguinem. The Consul gains a number of Positional Status, including Authority, Commander and Eminent.
    • Princeps: The heads of the Houses within a given city, they are generally determined internally by House politics. Generally, they are the oldest vampire among the patrician class, though the princeps can be from any class, as long as their appointment is agreed upon by their House. The Princeps gains the Positional Status Noble and Established.
    • Dictator: A position only brought up in times of great need such as a heavy war, the Dictator is a temporary magistrate with extraordinary powers, nominated by the consul on the recommendation and confirmation of the princeps. The Dictator gains all the powers and Positional Status of the Consul, plus the additional status Empowered.
    • Praetor: The praetor handles the legal disputes, contracts and agreements between vampires in a given city; anything not recognized by the praetor, if disputed, has no legal standing within the Republic of Blood. Debts, in particular, are recorded by the praetor for future reference, in order to maintain stability of the Republic. The praetor gains the Positional Status Prominent and Privileged.
    • Legatus: The legatus handles the civil defense of the Republic’s holdings from night to night, commanding the Legio Sanguinum or other warriors under his command. The legatus gains the Positional Status Enforcer and Guardian.
    • Aedile: The vampire who holds the position of aedile is responsible for the ‘public works’ of the vampiric world, keeping things like the arenas, baths, fora/meeting houses and other projects that are specific to the vampire world running. The aedile is often a coveted position, as it is one that, performed correctly, shows to the patricians and the princeps that the vampire in the position is viable for further political uplifting and trust. The aedile gains the Positional Status of Noble and Guardian.

    Vampire society and hierarchy is also divided up into three distinct ranks:

    • Patrician: The name patrician is a bit of a hold over from the times of Rome, but it ultimately boils down to the same meaning: the fathers of the Blood Drinkers, those of great merit, age, power, or all three. Blood drinkers who have comported themselves in such a way as to impress the city hierarchy and/or their House’s hierarchy, can be named a patrician. Typically, a vampire cannot quality for patrician status until they have attained 250 years in the Blood, or have undergone some extraordinary service for the Republic. Patricians gain the Innate Status Confirmed, Established and Privileged.
    • Plebeian: The common folk of the Houses of the Blood, these make up the largest majority of vampires. While they may hold offices, they are ones who have not distinguished themselves in some manner. Plebeians have no Innate Status other than Acknowledged as a valid member of society and a member of a House.
    • Peregrini: Those who either a)have disgraced themselves and have been punished by being cast out from the main line of society, but have not been named Pariah by the Consul or the Senate; or b) are vampires but are not able to prove/claim lineage to one of the Nine Houses. Peregrini are afforded some loose rights but not many, and are forced to live on the fringes. However, those who are peregrini can recover their status or become recognized, but it is a long and arduous road.
    • Pariah: A term used to represent those who have been cast out and afforded no protections, with an accompanying execution orders or other summary justice. Being named a Pariah is a death sentence for a vampire.

    Status and Vampire Society
    One of the major things that I want to do with this game, in addition to giving an outlet for supernatural action in developing a somewhat-more-open CvC and CvE action setup, is to allow for political play. In a single-venue game, particularly one based around a society where status, recognition and propriety were extremely important, I would feel remiss in not dealing with this.

    In many Vampire RPGs, status is rated simply as a ‘rating’ and perhaps with a benefit, but is very rarely something that is extremely important and has actual effects on the world and society. Status on Houses of the Blood is planned to be different; rather than simply a numerical ranking, Status represents a recognition for a character that has weight behind it. Much like a Queen in medieval England wielded their Sovereignty, Status is something a recognized vampire can wield in order to get things done. Status comes in four forms:

    • Positional Status: Positional Status is granted by holding some position in the Republic and the city hierarchy, and this Positional Status is the weight that characters in those positions can ‘pull’ to get things done, both passively and actively, to laud others and to punish others. The consul, the princeps, and the legatus are all positions that grant different Positional Status to do their jobs.
    • Innate Status: Innate Status represents some trait from a vampire’s recognition or birth, such as being the descendant of some famous vampire or recognized as a patrician. Innate Status is social recognition separate from the hierarchy of a city.
    • Fleeting Status: Fleeting Status represents temporary recognition, granting a vampire a specific benefit under the auspices of a patron. Typically Fleeting Status is social recognition, but once the weight is pulled for it, the ‘weight’ is gone.
    • Negative Status: Negative Status is used as a punishment, a declaration to all that the vampire in question has been punished and a method for those in the hierarchy to ensure the punishment does not go unfulfilled.

  • Other Supernaturals
    Other supernatural creatures and organizations exist in the world; often in Pax Noctis or other unofficial arrangements with the Houses of the Blood. Many wars have been fought among the vampires and other supernatural (and even humanity, and among the various supernaturals themselves) because of breaches of the Pax Noctis or other accords. Or lack of such accords in general.

    • Witches: Humans that are capable of accessing ambient energy in the world, and accessing magic in a variety of forms. Males and females are equally magical. Overseen by the Grand Conclave, who monitors types of magic and magical actions and keeps organization of the witches worldwide. The second most numerous of all types of supernatural (after Therians), and the most organized, on par with the Houses of the Blood in their Republic of the Night.
      Inspirations: The Craft, Charmed, The Secret Circle
    • Bygones: Mythical creatures that have existed into modern times, believed to be a creation (or in many instances, the offspring) of Incarna. Mythological creatures such as Manticores, Minotaurs,Gorgons, and others fall into this; in the modern nights, these are mostly able to take human form, and those that can’t lend to urban legends such as the Mothman or Sasquatch. They are not really ruled by a higher-up organization, as they (along with the Arisen) are the least populous of the supernatural world; they often have Councils within a city, but have no organization from location to location, banding together in small communities for mutual safety if they’re not at war internally. What they lack in numbers, however, they make up for in sheer power.
      Inspirations: Grimm, Lost Girl, Gargoyles
    • Fae: Dreamstuff and story given life by humanity’s collective unconscious, brought into the world and given form, they are related, loosely, to Bygones. Everything from Celtic lore like Wisps and Sidhe to Japanese youkai like tengu and kitsune fall into the Fae moniker; inhuman in nature, they are able to manipulate their forms to look human (though those who 'see' the world, such as the insane, see their true forms). They are linked by Courts: Light (going by other names in many countries such as Seelie, Summer, or West, ultimately the beneficent, if aloof and punishing, fae) and Dark (Unseelie, Winter, or East, the dark and self-absorbed, and those who are mischief-makers to outright destructive). Fae are the most numerous of supernatural types, but also the most closed-off.
      Inspirations: Lost Girl, Supernatural, Changeling the Dreaming, Ushio and Tora
    • Therians: Humans that have the ability to transform into animals and animal-human crossbreeds; vampires have little knowledge of why they are this way. They often have internal accords, and certain Therians have affinity for each other, but typically only mix if necessary; otherwise, they are as xenophobic among type as they are among outsiders. Therians have had the most antagonistic relationships and open battles with other supernaturals outside their race as a whole.
      Inspirations: Bitten, True Blood, Underworld
    • Arisen: The restless dead exist, in the form of ghosts and magically-raised zombies of varying types. The Arisen are different from those, a true, thinking undead being, the result of a human who died with too much regret and duties unfulfilled. Their spirits are unable to rest, and their bodies rise, and they reanimate: stronger, faster and more powerful in order to exact their vengeance and unfinished business. Some bring back a taint of the Afterlife with them, the vampires refer to as the Curse of Orcus, granting them greater power -- for great price to their bodies and sanity. Arisen are the smallest of the known supernatural world, and have no great society; many are solitary or mobile, living out their lives. The only cities known to have enough Arisen to make accords with are old cities rife with death (in the US, one of those is New Orleans).
      Inspirations: The Crow, Hellraiser
    • Incarna: Beings created by the power of human belief; in the same manner as Fae but much more powerful. Typically they represent themselves as deities, demigods, demons and angels. Vampires believe that they were created by the curses and ability to affect the fabric of the world, of three Incarna. Major Incarna do not act in the modern world; minor Incarna have been reported to do so, claiming to be demigods, angels and demons. Incarna can empower humans as their servitors.
      Inspirations: Scion, Supernatural, Charmed

    Human Organizations and Other
    On the flip side, there are human groups that are enemies to all of the supernatural world, often at war with or investigating the various supernaturals:

    • Order of the Silver Cross: Believing they are chosen by a higher power to defend humanity, the Order is an offshoot of the old Inquisition from the Dark Ages, dedicated to the elimination of the supernatural. They have developed processes and the ability to make weapons and equipment that effect supernaturals in the same manner as their banes, and their agents are called Exorcists.
    • Thousand Nights Brotherhood: An organization of vampire-worshipers, though they have mysterious goals regarding vampires, as they have been known to kidnap weaker plebian and sometimes even stronger plebian and patrician vampires. No one knows for what purpose, though the Brotherhood often shows some access to vampire powers and strengths in their raids, so obviously some experimentation is going on. One rumor from House Axius’ historical records and theorycrafting states that they are an apocalypse cult, trying to end the world and bring about their ‘thousand nights’ namesake.
    • Section 7: A group within the United States government that handles the government's oversight of all supernatural in the US. They are both an oversight and military organization, and have divisions that work with the alphabet groups of the US Government. Secretive, they have had very little open warfare with the supernaturals. Though that doesn't stop them from wielding the US military against supernaturals when necessary. Every city that has at least one major group of supernaturals has a branch of Section 7.

  • The Houses: Basic Thoughts
    This is one area I’m still working more heavily on, mostly to give each House something unique and cool, a distinctiveness that will make all the available options fun and worthwhile and intriguing. This file will be ever-evolving as I develop the detail of the Houses.

    The nine Houses are descended from nine of the first 12 vampires that Licenia and Titus sired; these individuals laid the foundation for the vampire families to follow. On the MUSH, your House and your lineage and your name are extremely important in society. Using an altered version of the ancient Roman naming conventions, the gens sanguinis use a combination of the following:

    Praenomen – The name of the human before the are brought Into the Blood. IE: Nathaniel Essex, Riley Graham, Hermelia Alvarez

    Nomen – The family name (gens), representing which original vampiric line they claim descent from, combined with an e notation after the praenomen/given name; all in all, based on the lines of descent, there are 9 gens sanguinis that will be available as PCs (depending on how I can spin the Traitors as playable). The masculine form of the nomen is listed first, the feminine form listed second. Branches within the larger clan/family (cognomen) are the larger availability and are open for players to make up:

    • Aurelius/Aurelia: House Aurelius believes that they are the most suited to rule; they draw much of their membership from high society, people with political connections and clout.
    • Claudius/Claudia
    • Julius/Julia
    • Octavius/Octavia
    • Vitellius/Vitellia
    • Decimus/Decima
    • Petronius/Petronia
    • Axius/Axia: House Axius believes that, without the study of history, one is doomed to repeat it. They draw from the ranks of scholars, and mark themselves as the historians of the gens sanguinis.
    • Gaius/Gaia: The House founded by a Legatus, House Gaius believes in the strength of the physical, drawing from those with strong physique and strong convictions, such as modern military and other organizations.

    And the three traitor families, who are attempting to destroy the remainder:

    • Laelius/Laelia
    • Asinius/Asinia
    • Fabius/Fabia
      All three of these sired by Licenia and are referred to as the Traitor Houses, as they follow Licenia’s desire to destroy the other Houses; they may or may not be PC options, I have not yet decided, but they are definite antagonists.

    Cognomen – Groupings within the gens, essentially sire lines from the founders’ sirings. This is where the open nature comes in. Any Cognomen is viable, though we will probably give some suggested ones to tie into the families that have major Patrician NPCs. Cognomen are the ‘descent lines’ from the various founders' offspring.

    The old style of Roman nomens has evolved over the centuries in order to accommodate the spread of the Republic of the Night and the drawing in of many other cultures’ and individuals into the gens sanguinis. Examples of a full gens sanguinis naming convention for formal declarations of names include:

    • Gavin Rhodes e Claudius Euphemius (Gavin Rhodes, of House Claudius, of the Euphemius line)
    • Nathalie Hawthorne e Aurelia Jaeger
    • Kyoko Hasegawa e Vitellia Habita
    • Nathaniel Essex e Octavius Bernhardt

  • This is probably going to be the most interesting thing, I think, that people will find. Because Our Vampires Are Different. :)

    What is a Vampire?

    The vampires of Houses of the Blood are… well, being frank, different from the vampires you see in popular media. They aren’t dead, but they aren’t truly alive.

    Vampires of the Houses of the Blood, or The Blooded or Blood Drinkers as they call themselves, are different from the vampires of most folklore and popular culture (though they freely admit and theorize that they inspired much of the legendry). Granted their status and longevity by Pluto, god of the underworld, in pity for the predations of Orcus and the curses of Diana and Apollo, the Blooded are…

    • Created from humans by sharing blood; a Blooded gifts their blood to a human to transform them into one of the Blooded (a process called siring, or bringing Into the Blood) through an elaborate ritual.
    • They are living, not dead or undead. They exist in a state of immortality and, as long as they drink life (primarily through the blood), they will live forever. They will never age and never die of disease.
    • Some of their biological capabilities are no longer functioning (they have no true ‘life’ to give to offspring, so they can’t get each other, or humans, pregnant).
    • Their ‘life’ is imperfect, though, and while a blessing because it is true immortality and bestows a variety of supernatural abilities, their ‘life’ is always stolen, the last, cruel trick of Orcus, twisting his brother Pluto’s blessing (or at least that’s how the legend tells it).
    • If they don't drink blood (or another source of 'life')? They wither away, slowly fading away, aging towards their true age quite quickly. This is the only 'natural' way that a Blooded can die; otherwise, they have to be killed by physical trauma.
    • Otherwise, their bodies are human — they have body temperature, biological functions (some of these may die away if someone is too callous or sometimes with age as you ‘forget’ to do these things, though), and are in most other ways human. They show up on cameras and in mirrors, they can eat and drink and have sex, and… well, do all the fun things humans can. Except get a suntan.
    • Cursed by Diana to burn at the touch of silver for Titus’ slight; cursed to burn in the sun by Apollo in his anger at Titus for stealing his priestess; and cursed by Orcus to have a harder time recovering from fire than other wounds. The damage from these three sources is more harmful than normal swords and gunshots.
    • Otherwise their bodies are resilient; in addition to supernatural powers, the Blooded heal on their own very quickly. Gunshots and sword slashes knit in a fraction of the time of a normal human.

  • Character Basics: Statistics, Part 1

    Stats, Skills and Assets
    Set up for both the coded and non-automated portions of the game, stats and skills are standard on many games and RPGs.

    Stats are extremely simplified compared to many games, representing four key aspects of the character:

    • Physical: This Stat measures a vampire’s physical prowess: raw strength, agility and stamina. This Stat is used to resolve all tasks involving physical actions such as fighting, lifting things and running.
    • Mental: This Stat measures a vampire’s mental acuity: intelligence, reasoning capacity, wits and cunning. This Stat is used to resolve all tasks concerned with trying to notice something or to puzzle out a clue, or thinking quickly. This Stat is often used for the invocation of powers that rely on the strength of the mind.
    • Social: This Stat measures a vampire’s social acumen: charisma, attractiveness and presence. This Stat is used to resolve all tasks concerned with trying to coerce, seduce, convince or con someone into doing something. This Stat is also used for activating powers based on the force of personality or ‘presence’ of the character.
    • Willpower: This Stat measures a vampire’s inner strength: resolve, discipline and self-mastery. Willpower is used to resolve all tasks concerned with resisting intimidation, fear, temptation and mind control, among others.

    Vampires have a higher stat maximum capacity than humans, based on their age and the strength of their blood. Looking at 5 as the human maximum, with vampires having an increased maximum. Starting stats, rather than a point distribution, are being tested as starting flat rates, assigned as a 4, two 3s, and one two (giving one above average, two average, and one below-average stat).

    Skills are where the breadth is.

    There are 21 basic skills that will be purchasable on the MUSH. Academics, Athletics, Awareness, Brawl, Computer, Dodge, Drive, Empathy, Firearms, Intimidation, Investigation, Leadership, Medicine, Persuasion, Occult, Security, Stealth, Streetwise, Subterfuge, Survival, and Weaponry are the basic skills. Crafts, Performance and Science are all bought as separate skills, bringing the list to 24 total. Skills are rated 1-5 normally, but certain Advantages (or particular vampiric Potency) can increase the maximum.

    Different Abilities key off of different skills; the Compulsion powers utilize Leadership, while Mentalism uses Investigation, Terror uses Intimidation, and Glamour uses Subterfuge. This is in addition to the non-combat +test methods which are more standard fare that you'd expect in a tabletop RPG.

    Assets are any access or resources that a character has, such as connections, allies, people who work for you, money, special equipment, special training. Some assets, particularly in the vein of Combat Training, will add things to your +sheet/combat. These are typically rated up to 5 ranks, unless otherwise noted. A sample list is as follows:

    • Wealth – MONEY
    • Allies – People who do stuff for you
    • Alternate ID – You aren’t you
    • Fame – Mortal Fame
    • Patron – Another vampire who vouches for you and you can get backing from
    • Contacts – People you know that will give you info
    • Library – An occult library; ranked 1-5, each rank granting a specific subject that is accessible (Blood History, Houses, Fae, etc.). Grants bonuses to the Occult pool for non-combat purposes when appropriate, and also can be modified by the Loremaster Advantage.
    • Linguistics – Represents languages; each rank gives fluency in a language, and can be modified by Advantages such as Natural Linguist.
    • Influence <Elite> – Control/connections in the legal realm to ‘get shit done’
    • Influence <Underworld> – Control/connections in the illegal realm to ‘get shit done’
    • Combat Training – multiple types, granting various bonuses or extra ‘attacks’ to the combat options (will NOT be as broken and crazy as WoD Fighting Styles). This one is currently on the 'iffy' stage.
    • Artifact – magical items or otherwise enchanted objects, can be purchased multiple times but are typically ‘found’ in play.
    • Vessel – Methods of feeding that are reliable and easy to access; could be humans, blood banks, or others.
    • Follower – A servus (slave), which is typically a human in the thrall of the vampire, in a state of half-vampirism; or other attendant, such as enchanted animals or magical creations such as golems or animated statues, or even just hired help such as fully human bodyguards. Can be bought multiple times. Has a simplified character sheet based on 'specializations' rather than full stats.
    • Refuge – A safe place, typically somewhere a vampire can be safe during the day when they are most affected by Apollo’s Curse. Has specific bonuses you can take at each rank such as Guards, Staff and others.

  • Character Basics: Statistics, Part 2

    And we are going to talk a little more about stats here, this time with Advantages and Drawbacks, and Abilities.

    Advantages and Drawbacks
    Advantages and Drawbacks are limited bonuses that are ‘these are the really cool things, mechanically, about my character’. They are typically supernatural or special traits or training, and unless otherwise specified, can only be purchased once. Additionally, you only have a limited number of slots for Advantages; so you have to make careful choices about what you want (though you CAN change them out, you just lose the first and XP spent on it, and can buy the new one in place of it). Advantages grant bonuses; Drawbacks impose penalties of some sort, as well as a benefit of some extra XP. The list is not completed, but a few examples or Advantages are...

    • Loremaster: You gain 2 categories for each rank in the Library Asset, rather than 1.
    • Skill Aptitude: Increases the maximum of a Skill to 6; can be purchased multiple times, for a different skill each time.
    • Rugged: Increase your HP multiplier.

    Abilities are vampiric special powers, drawing from a number of sources, but primarily cribbing from WoD and Anne Rice. Powers have a Basic/Intermediate/Advanced/Master scheme, with each power being an advancement of the overall ‘theme’ of the power, with an attempt at multiple abilities at each rank. An incomplete example is:

    • Mentalism: The ever-expanding power of the mind, ranging from the ability to get visions from touching an object to moving objects with your mind, and using your mind as a weapon.
    • Test Pool: Mental + Awareness
      • Basic - Psychometry: The ability to pick up psychic residue left on objects, places, and people. Things exposed to strong emotional signatures hold flashes of information that a psychometric can 'read' by touch. When using Psychometry, the player's successes indicate the level of detail achieved.
      • Intermediate - Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with your mind. When used as an attack, uses the player’s Mental Attribute + Awareness vs. Physical + Dodge, as a telekinetic blast (combat maneuver added to +sheet/combat when purchased). Non-combat, can lift 100lb. per rating of Mentalism, and can make a Mental Attribute + Mentalism check to increase that rating, increasing the rating by 50lb per success on the check.
      • Advanced - Telepathy: You are able to connect your mind to others, up to a number of people equal to your Awareness skill. For targets that do not want to relent to you getting in, you must test using Mental + Awareness vs. Willpower + Awareness.
      • Master - Psychic Assault: An advancement of telepathy, using the invasion of their mind to injure them from the inside out. Uses the players Mental Attribute + Awareness vs. Willpower + Awareness.

    Each ability is bought in the order of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced/Master. Often will add things to +sheet/combat for attacks/offensive maneuvers, such as Telekinesis and Psychic Assault (Mentalism), Animate Nightmare (Glamour), Eviscerate (Shapeshift), Animal Swarm (Beckoning), Relentless Dead (Necromancy), Umbral Assault (Shadowcraft), Sanguine Strike (Bloodworking), Delusion (Lunacy) or otherwise adjust combat rolls such as Glimpse the Future (Omens, takes the better of two defense rolls),

    All vampires gain access to the following abilities, called Innata

    Aesthesia - Enhanced senses
    Mobility - Additional mobility options: walk on walls, flight, etc. (Physical)
    And the rest are purchasable by all vampires (though I may go the WoD route and make some unique to some Houses, or go the CofD route and give a unique power to each house).

    • Compulsion - Power to command the mind's of others (Mental), Leadership
    • Glamour - Making people see things, illusions and a form of invisibility (Mental), Subterfuge
    • Mentalism - Powers of the mind, psychic powers, telepathy, telekinesis (Mental), Awareness
    • Shadowcraft - Manipulate raw darkness in the form of animate shadow (Mental)
    • Omens - Visions of the future, prophecy (Mental), Investigation
    • Magnetism - Supernatural presence and emotional manipulation (Social), Persuasion
    • Beckoning - Control animals (Social), Intimidation
    • Lunacy - Induces madness (Social), Empathy
    • Necromancy - Control of the dead and ghosts (Social), Occult
    • Terrify - The power of fear (Social), Intimidation
    • Intensity - Supernatural strength (Physical)
    • Resilience - Supernatural toughness (Physical)
    • Swiftness - Supernatural speed (Physical)
    • Shapeshift - Changing form: animal forms, mist (Physical)
    • Bloodworking - Control of blood in the vampire's body (Physical)

    I'm also open to suggestions for cool additional abilities.

  • I am very much keeping an eye on this. It looks grand.

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