Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What about Merits gained through narrative?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What about Merits gained through narrative?

    Some of my players posed me a problem: what about Merits gained through narrative?

    Merits should be bought with Xp, we know that. But what about the police contact my player found in-game, or the criminal gang another player dominated and bonded?

    As much as I searched I found no rule about merits obtained without paying xp, thanks to the events that happens in play.

    How would you rule this kind of situations?


  • #2
    At my table, you don't get the merits themselves for free. The 'contacts' you make may be a narrative convenience, but if you want to be able to rely on them regularly and give them some basic level of narrative 'protection', you buy them as a merit. The narrative provides justifications for merit purchases, not the merits themselves.

    That doesn't mean that people you meet in the narrative can't occasionally have 'contact-like' effects, but you don't get to rely on them like the merit until you have it.

    Comment


    • #3
      The standard way seems to be XP debt.

      I tend to not bother with merits like contacts/allies to represent in-game interactions too much.

      The gang example I find a bit more complex. I'd probably require XP investment to stabilise the gang.


      Comment


      • #4
        Another way might be to have an "easy-come, easy-go" attitude about unbought merits, and think of bought merits as being protected under a warranty. Mix-and-match above as the table needs, their ideas are great!

        Comment


        • #5
          Conditions are another way to manage this, a la Connected.


          Resident Lore-Hound
          Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

          Comment


          • #6
            And what about those mystical powers whose logical consequence is the acquisition of a merits? If someone dominate a gang, or blood bond the above mentioned police contact,or if the use loyalty upon them, what do you do?

            Comment


            • #7
              I prefer using Conditions as Satchel said. One of the benefits of this is that resolving them gives you Beats which then goes to turning something like the Connected Condition into Contacts. Another benefit of using Conditions (even the same one repeatedly) is that it gives you a chance to build up a better image of an NPC (esp. one that might have been a throwaway NPC if the player(s) hadn't taken an interest in them), as it takes a few resolutions of Conditions around that NPC before they become a Merit based one. Though combining this with XP debt (aka let the players spend into negative when it really makes sense for them to have something but don't have the XP for it yet) can be useful for more expensive things.

              Though IME with the CofD, most groups get at least 1 XP per player by the end of a session, so buying up a new Merit dot because they want to improve their mechanical relationship with an NPC is hardly onerous.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
                And what about those mystical powers whose logical consequence is the acquisition of a merits? If someone dominate a gang, or blood bond the above mentioned police contact,or if the use loyalty upon them, what do you do?
                Unless you specifically want to engage the specific mechanics listed in a Merit, it doesn't really come into play.

                A blood bonded police contact isn't going to be an Ally. There are specific mechanics that govern how allies work vs how blood bonded people work. Merits are specific mechanical vehicles, not meant to be the absolute representation of all similar phenomena. You can have allies without having Allies, a retainer without having a Retainer, etc.

                Generally speaking, supernatural powers that are meant to give you actual merits say so.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
                  And what about those mystical powers whose logical consequence is the acquisition of a merits? If someone dominate a gang, or blood bond the above mentioned police contact,or if the use loyalty upon them, what do you do?
                  Dominating someone doesn't make them a Contact, or give you Allies in an area, or make someone a Retainer (at least not instantly). Those are relationships that take time and energy to establish. Dominate is a magical power that goes around Merits to just get results anyway.

                  If you want to use Dominate on a cop repeatedly to get information of him, he never "has" to become a Contact. He's a normal non-Merit NPC you use Dominate on a lot. He's a Contact when you want to stop relying on Dominate and form an actual relationship with him that lasts longer than the duration of the powers you're using. Same goes with Blood Bonds. Until you do more than use it to boost your social rolls to get him to tell you things he otherwise wouldn't, he's not a Merit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    I prefer using Conditions as Satchel said. One of the benefits of this is that resolving them gives you Beats which then goes to turning something like the Connected Condition into Contacts. Another benefit of using Conditions (even the same one repeatedly) is that it gives you a chance to build up a better image of an NPC (esp. one that might have been a throwaway NPC if the player(s) hadn't taken an interest in them), as it takes a few resolutions of Conditions around that NPC before they become a Merit based one. Though combining this with XP debt (aka let the players spend into negative when it really makes sense for them to have something but don't have the XP for it yet) can be useful for more expensive things.

                    Though IME with the CofD, most groups get at least 1 XP per player by the end of a session, so buying up a new Merit dot because they want to improve their mechanical relationship with an NPC is hardly onerous.

                    Mmmh I don't know. I'm quite confused also because in Awakening (but also in Werewolf) you can get free merits by using magic :Social Networking (Mind •••••) let you create permanent Allies, Contacts and Status out of the blue, Quicken Corpse (Death •••) Eidolon (Prime •••••),and Golem (Matter ••••) let you create Retainers, Shifting the Odds (Fate ••) let you get temporary mentor, allies, resources,contacts or retainers.


                    Maybe I could use the idea of negative Xp as you said, or not granting Sanctity of Merits on this kind of merits.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Social Networking doesn't say they're permanent, so they only have the duration you give them (and it's a Potency primary spell). You magically create the relationship between yourself an the Merit dot governed NPCs, but when the magic fades, so does that relationship and those people then drift from you and don't keep doing those things for you unless... you spend XP on them to keep them (or keep casting/go through the effort to make it indefinite and such complications, but you don't have to spend XP on them then but they'll go away if your spell is destroyed and all that, etc.).

                      Quick Corpse, Eidolon, and Golem uses Retainers as a mechanical metric for how many dice to roll when your constructs try to do something, they're not true Retainers. And like Social Networking, they're all subject to duration meaning they end when the spell ends.

                      None of these should get Sanctity of Merits applied at all; which is in the book. You don't apply that to magically created Merits... or you could just farm them for XP because you'd get XP for the spell ending.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
                        not granting Sanctity of Merits on this kind of merits.
                        These are explicitly not protected by SoM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Blood bonds as an example, do not give you Retainers or any other merits. Blood bonding someone does not make them a slave to you by itself. Blood bonding gives you bonuses to convince people to do stuff for you. There's no reason your blood bonded person needs to be a Retainer.
                          At my table a blood bonded Retainer won't ask questions too much, you tell him to do stuff, and he does, because he's a Retainer.
                          A blood bonded non-Retainer, will need to be convinced, and that's where Blood Bond kicks in.
                          Blood Bond is still useful in Retainers as it's gonna be harder to make them betray you, or in more questionable matters where they care to object, convince them to do it anyways.


                          My Bloodline conversions
                          My House rules

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I take narratively obtained Merits/Skills/what-have-you away at the end of the Chapter or Story, depending.


                            "Nihhina kalekal-zidu kal masun, kal manudanadu. Nihhina kalekal-zidu nukal shaghu-desasudu — nihhina kalekal-zidu kal innu-desasudu udhkal samm." Arthur Ashe
                            Check out my tumblr for Chronicles of Darkness-related musings
                            He/him pronouns, please

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would not make them an official Merit in the character sheet unless players paid for them.

                              So lets say you have a vampire mentor, or a spirit guide, a master mage or what have you teach some tricks. This mentor is not openly hostile to the character by default, but is less inclined to go out of their way to help them. So if the characters need to use their HQ or services for anything non-trivial, they need to provide compensation via resources, services, favors or political alliances. Even then, they might manipulate you to suit their agenda.

                              So if you buy the Merit, you get all the mechanical benefits that come with it. Otherwise, you need to constantly juggle the favor economy or have such a meaningful interaction that you just earn it out of roleplaying excellence.

                              But for things like a fighting style or physical Merits, the only way to unlock it is with XP.

                              For supernatural Merits, you can provide some one time use ones to represent a boon.
                              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 04-29-2019, 08:37 PM.


                              New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X