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Brainstorm for Custom Merit

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  • DubiousRuffian
    started a topic Brainstorm for Custom Merit

    Brainstorm for Custom Merit

    I'm working on a merit for one of my players called "Asshole Family". The character is a Daeva who works in close proximity to her many sisters, and they all steal from each other constantly. The idea is that you can gain temporary dots by stealing your sister's merits. So far, this is what I have:

    Asshole Family :
    Description: Your sisters have an unofficial "What's mine is yours" policy.
    Effect: Once per session, you may target a family member and roll a d10. Match the result to the table below. You may "borrow" this merit from your family member. Count a 1 as a failure. If you choose to Dramatically Fail, your family member has "broken" your merit. This is subject to the Sanctity of Merits.
    Drawback: "What's yours is mine". Everyone in the family has this merit. Don't worry, you won't even notice it's missing. Unless you roll a 1. Take a beat and the ST chooses which one of your merits you no longer have access to this session. You may choose to Dramatically Fail for a second beat, in which case your missing merit is "broken". The "broken" merit is subject to the Sanctity of Merits.
    The ideas I have for the table are things like "The targeted sister is out of town, and you are supposed to be housesitting. Gain a temporary dot in Safe Place," or "You get a group text. It's just a string of numbers. Sure looks like a credit card number... Gain a temporary dot in Resources."


    What do you think of the current idea? Is it too overpowered? What would you have on your table? If you don't think a table is a good idea, how would you work it?
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 02-23-2019, 05:36 PM.

  • Ventrue Life
    replied
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post

    Thank you, this basically hits all of the notes that I am looking for.

    My only nitpicks are:
    • I think I want to restrict the merits to Resources, Retainer, Herd -- as Draconis mentioned, I think it would be best to avoid stepping on my Carthian's toes.
    • I feel like violence isn't going to happen unless the family member's impression goes down to hostile.

    Finally -- and this is actually my only real problem -- I dislike having consequences as ST Fiat. Can you think of any way to tie the Drawback to your use of the merit? I'm really not sure how to...


    You're welcome. Here's a revision addressing your feedback:

    Sharing is Caring (• to •••••)
    Prerequisites: at least one dot of Status in the group this Merit applies to
    Your clan, family or clique has a tendency to use each other's resources, often without asking. Manipulating your sister's ghoul into doing your bidding, blackmailing your brother's childe to get access to his vault, or feeding from your cousin's herd, are all par for the course. Of course that doesn't mean your siblings will be happy about it when they find out. And since you used their resources, it goes without saying they are allowed to use yours as well, right?
    Effect: Once per chapter, you can borrow an amount of dots in Resources, Retainer or Herd, equal to the amount of dots in this Merit. Specify which family member you borrow these Merits from. After doing so, roll a Manipulation + Stealth - Merit dots borrowed. On a success, you borrow the Merits without consequences. On a failure, you still borrow the Merits, but your family finds out. On top of other potential consequences, the aggrieved family member will block access to your Resources, Retainer, or Herd Merits. Next chapter, you will temporarily lose access to an amount of dots in these Merits equal to your aggrieved family member's Status. If her Status exceeds your amount of dots in these Merits, your family member's impression level goes down by one tier. If this reduces her impression to Hostile, the family member will become violent. This might lead to a frenzied encounter the next time you meet your family member.
    Drawback: After using this Merit, the Storyteller can choose to block access to some of your Merits as a result of your family using them without your permission. When this happens, you can roll a Wits + Investigation to find out who in your family is the culprit. When you find out who in your family used your Merits, you can demand a one-time usage of this Merit without consequences. The Storyteller can only do this once after every usage of this Merit.

    Leave a comment:


  • tsusasi
    replied
    You could say three uses of this merit automatically results in it being used on your character by someone with the character's temporarily inaccessible merits being determined by the ST.

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post
    Here's how I'd do it:

    Sharing is Caring (• to •••••)
    Prerequisites: at least one dot of Status in the group this Merit applies to
    Your clan, family or clique has a tendency to use each other's resources, often without asking. Manipulating your sister's ghoul into doing your bidding, blackmailing your brother's childe to get access to his vault, or convincing your cousin's contact to give up that valuable piece of information, are all par for the course. Of course that doesn't mean your siblings will be happy about it when they find out. And since you used their resources, it goes without saying they are allowed to use yours as well, right?
    Effect: Once per chapter, you can borrow an amount of dots in Resources, Retainer, Allies or Contacts, equal to the amount of dots in this Merit. Specify which family member you borrow these Merits from. After doing so, roll a Manipulation + Stealth - Merit dots borrowed. On a success, you borrow the Merits without consequences. On a failure, you still borrow the Merits, but your family finds out. On top of other potential consequences, the aggrieved family member will block access to your Resources, Retainer, Allies or Contacts Merits. Next chapter, you will temporarily lose access to an amount of dots in these Merits equal to your aggrieved family member's Status. If her Status exceeds your amount of dots in these Merits, she will inflict a number of bashing damage (equal to her Status + 1) instead and additionally, your family member's impression level goes down by one tier. If this reduces her impression to Hostile, the inflicted damage is lethal instead.
    Drawback: The Storyteller can occasionally choose to block access to some of your Merits as a result of your family using them without your permission. When this happens, you can roll a Wits + Investigation to find out who in your family is the culprit. When you find out who in your family used your Merits, you can demand a one-time usage of this Merit without consequences.
    Thank you, this basically hits all of the notes that I am looking for.

    My only nitpicks are:
    • I think I want to restrict the merits to Resources, Retainer, Herd -- as Draconis mentioned, I think it would be best to avoid stepping on my Carthian's toes.
    • I feel like violence isn't going to happen unless the family member's impression goes down to hostile.

    Finally -- and this is actually my only real problem -- I dislike having consequences as ST Fiat. Can you think of any way to tie the Drawback to your use of the merit? I'm really not sure how to...

    Leave a comment:


  • Ventrue Life
    replied
    Here's how I'd do it:

    Sharing is Caring (• to •••••)
    Prerequisites: at least one dot of Status in the group this Merit applies to
    Your clan, family or clique has a tendency to use each other's resources, often without asking. Manipulating your sister's ghoul into doing your bidding, blackmailing your brother's childe to get access to his vault, or convincing your cousin's contact to give up that valuable piece of information, are all par for the course. Of course that doesn't mean your siblings will be happy about it when they find out. And since you used their resources, it goes without saying they are allowed to use yours as well, right?
    Effect: Once per chapter, you can borrow an amount of dots in Resources, Retainer, Allies or Contacts, equal to the amount of dots in this Merit. Specify which family member you borrow these Merits from. After doing so, roll a Manipulation + Stealth - Merit dots borrowed. On a success, you borrow the Merits without consequences. On a failure, you still borrow the Merits, but your family finds out. On top of other potential consequences, the aggrieved family member will block access to your Resources, Retainer, Allies or Contacts Merits. Next chapter, you will temporarily lose access to an amount of dots in these Merits equal to your aggrieved family member's Status. If her Status exceeds your amount of dots in these Merits, she will inflict a number of bashing damage (equal to her Status + 1) instead and additionally, your family member's impression level goes down by one tier. If this reduces her impression to Hostile, the inflicted damage is lethal instead.
    Drawback: The Storyteller can occasionally choose to block access to some of your Merits as a result of your family using them without your permission. When this happens, you can roll a Wits + Investigation to find out who in your family is the culprit. When you find out who in your family used your Merits, you can demand a one-time usage of this Merit without consequences.
    Last edited by Ventrue Life; 02-26-2019, 08:47 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
    Your Family with Benefits merit is more along the lines of something I would allow.

    How long are these "stolen" merits retained?

    Is this merit only applicable between kindred who share a blood sympathy within x number of steps to each other or a living familial relationship, and if so how close?
    I am thinking that it would last for just a session. My intention with the merit is for it to be about this particular group of vampires and their dynamic. I would probably allow it for members of a coterie or any group where the characters can't abandon/get away from each other but are constantly backbiting.

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Sorry for double posting.

    Originally posted by Live Bait View Post
    You know your group best. This could be lots of fun but as said above it is exploitable, I would be inclined to have a clan status requirement and have those with more status get more out of it in some way. Personally I feel it needs work.
    I definitely think you're right. And honestly, most of the benefits that I was thinking of originally could be handled as in-character rping. How about setting it up as a flashback mechanic? The character is highly manipulative (like, four or five dots) and pretty intelligent. So something like

    Evil Genius
    Description: You're strapped for cash or in need in some other way. But you saw this coming and planned accordingly.
    Effect: Once per session/week/month, pick a Social Merit and target a sister. Describe how you planned to get the Merit from your sister and spend a Willpower. Roll (Intelligence + Manipulation) - the sister's Impression (0 for Perfect to 4 for Hostile).
    Success: Initiate a short flashback and narrate how you got the merit from your sister. A complication must be included (an owed favor, her impression drops, a dip in your Clan Status, etc). Some rolls may apply within the flashback, but at the end of the sequence you will have the merit dots.
    Exceptional Success: narrate a short flashback about how you got the merit, with no complications. Gain a Willpower
    Failure: you were unsuccessful and couldn't get the merit. Narrate how your plan was foiled.
    Dramatic Failure: You were caught in the act, and your sister demands satisfaction. Give her a temporary dot of one of your Social Merits.
    This way, it's a bit more flexible, slightly less endlessly exploitable, and is geared towards creating drama by incentivizing being used on the people who like the character. I like this, but I feel like it's still clunky....

    Khanwulf, I'm not sure I understand. So you'd have a pool of "family merits" that can be accessed by any family member. When the player chooses a merit to boost and rolls a chance die. On a 10 their own merit goes up by a dot, on any other number their own merit reduces to 1 or 0 for the scene. Is that correct?

    I like how it would play out between pcs and create tension there. But I'm not sure how I like it for npcs.
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 02-25-2019, 04:01 PM.

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  • tsusasi
    replied
    Your Family with Benefits merit is more along the lines of something I would allow.

    How long are these "stolen" merits retained?

    Is this merit only applicable between kindred who share a blood sympathy within x number of steps to each other or a living familial relationship, and if so how close?

    Leave a comment:


  • DubiousRuffian
    replied
    Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
    I wouldn’t let this one as written in any of my games because it disincentivizes players from purchasing whatever merits you have listed and it’s an effortless xp farm. Just roll to get a free merit or free xp.
    You're right about it being a bit disincentivizing. I guess my goal is to create a way to model this sort of back-and-forth within her family. So maybe, taking inspiration from Crowdsourcing (and from Draconis), how about this:

    Family with Benefits
    Your family has an unofficial "What's yours is mine" policy, which you enforce whether they like it or not. Spend a Willpower and roll Manipulation + Persuasion or Dexterity + Stealth to temporarily "borrow" dots in Retainer, Herd, or Resources from your family member, up to your City Status. On a failure, you may still get the dots you want, but must trade them one-to-one for your own dots in Retainer, Herd, or Resources.
    Obviously the title is a work in progress. I am restricting benefits to Retainer, Herd and Resources to reflect the character of her family (materialistic and objectifying). I want to keep the possibility of getting the dots for nothing because the idea is that the player isn't trading her merits by default, but "stealing" them. I'm using City Status as the limiter to model social cache and how much her family will let her get away with. What do y'all think?

    Leave a comment:


  • Khanwulf
    replied
    You know your table and which merits are likely to come into play.

    My suggestion is mechanical: make it a mandatory chance die throw on using any of a set of merits that the "family" has. A success (10) borrows a dot of effectiveness for the scene and lowers it for all other family members. A dramatic failure (1) lowers the selected Merit to one or zero (if it was already at one) for that activation and the remainder of the scene/night. The character may take a dramatic failure on this roll as normal.

    Unlike Covenant merits this one could be used by mortals and the like.

    --Khanwulf

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  • Live Bait
    replied
    You know your group best. This could be lots of fun but as said above it is exploitable, I would be inclined to have a clan status requirement and have those with more status get more out of it in some way. Personally I feel it needs work.

    Leave a comment:


  • Draconis
    replied
    In fairness, the Invictus Crowdsourcing merit isn't that great, mechanically. I would model this on Carthian Pull.

    Family Ties (• - •••••)
    You and your family share your connections, and are willing to help out in a pinch. With a few phone calls to the right places, you can access dots of Allies, Contacts, Haven, or Herd in any combination equal to your dots in Family ties.
    Drawback: favors have to be repaid. You can use Family Ties once per month "for free"; after that, your family will ask for a favor in return for each use.
    My only caution would be, don't step on the Carthians' toes. If someone's got a Carthian built around having the right Allies for every situation, don't suddenly give the Daeva a new way to upstage them.

    Leave a comment:


  • tsusasi
    replied
    Invictus already has a merit sharing ability and game mechanics allow you to obstruct others’ access to certain merits. I wouldn’t let this one as written in any of my games because it disincentivizes players from purchasing whatever merits you have listed and it’s an effortless xp farm. Just roll to get a free merit or free xp.

    Leave a comment:

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