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The Spirit of the Season - Pack Merits

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  • The Spirit of the Season - Pack Merits

    Spirits of Giving are feasting on the resonance of the season at the moment, and who am I to try and stop their meal?

    For the next three days I'll be posting 17 new Pack Merits for your enjoyment, discussion, or derision (you Forsaken fans are an ornery lot).

    For context around the material: I wrote these as a fan supplement after The Pack was finalised and working its way through the publication cycle. None of the them were cut from the book, and I wasn't contracted to write any of them. I had intended to have Stew post them as a dev blog at some point, but we've been without a developer for some time, so I'm sharing them for people to use or not as they like. While none of these merits are 'official', they're all written in the spirit of The Pack, with that book's balance and needs in mind. It's up to your group how much you do or don't want to use them.

    The first two focus on Kuruth. The books aren't 100% clear on whether Basu-Im werewolves are only immune to the rages of others in their pack, or all werewolves in the death rage. Here's one merit each for whichever way you want it to work.


    Kuruth — Linked Rage (••••)

    Effect: When warring packs descend into Kuruth to continue the fight the result is often devastating for both packs. No one is safe from the blood-drenched frenzy of violence, including nearby Wolf-Blooded and humans of either pack. With this Merit, the pack may choose to conceal itself from the enemy’s rage.
    Any of the pack’s Uratha who are in Basu-Im are ignored as targets by the rival pack’s frenzying werewolves, just as if they were also members of that pack. The characters essentially become part of their rival pack and will fight alongside them as long as Kuruth endures. No one else is safe from the characters, and packmates not in Basu-Im are acceptable targets. As part of this Merit, Uratha may allow the fire of their opponent’s frenzy kindle their Rage as well. Upon sensing a member of the other pack fall into Basu-Im, the character may link her Rage and enter Basu-Im as if the other werewolf were a member of her own pack.

    Drawback: The characters concealing themselves within Rage cannot later choose to attack their adoptive pack while they’re still in Kuruth. Once linked, the immunity and shared hatred lasts until both packs naturally exhaust their Rage. This may result in characters coming to their senses deep within enemy territory.


    Kuruth — Us Against Them (•••)

    Effect: Despite the best planning and tactical deployment, fights between packs often descend into the whirling death-frenzy of Kuruth. When the Basu-Im takes hold, the Uratha of both packs inevitably break off their animosity towards each other and destroy everything else around them. Packs with this Merit can still discern friend from foe even within the throes of Kuruth. Werewolves of the pack with this Merit may choose to attack (non-pack) Uratha also in Basu-Im.

    Drawback: Attacking those who believe themselves your allies removes the pack’s immunity from hostility. The turn after any Basu-Im suffering member of the pack attacks a rival in Basu-Im, the rival’s pack also gains the ability to identify the attacking pack as the enemy. The violence and bloodshed displayed in such Kuruth-fueled pack-against-pack is truly terrifying to witness.


    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

  • #2
    Next, I'll post Merits that look at how packmates draw strength from each other.


    Bone, Blood, and Belonging (•••)

    Effect: A character’s Anchors reaffirm her sense of identity and provide inner strength by confirming who she believes herself to be. Within the pack, disparate personalities come together to make something bigger than individuals. As individuals strengthen their inner resolve, the pack gains strength. When a packmate gains Willpower — whether it comes from Blood, Bone, Virtue or Vice — other members of the pack may also regain a point of Willpower if they can see or otherwise directly sense their packmate’s renewed sense of purpose. A character may only benefit from this once per session, and she may only gain a single point of Willpower regardless of how many her packmate regained.

    Extended Effort (•••)

    Effect: Though every pack knows how to work together, packs with this merit have refined cooperation to an art form. Packmates can wring the last drop of effort from each other, pushing their fellows beyond limits of endurance and despite diminishing returns. When working towards a teamwork extended action, secondary actors may forgo their dice roll to give the primary actor one additional roll beyond her limit. Though her chances of success drop off as packmates exhaust themselves, the additional time may be all she requires for success.
    Last edited by Bunyip; 12-21-2017, 09:15 PM.


    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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    • #3
      (I tried editing this one into the previous post, but it doesn't seem to be working. Apologies if it appears twice.)


      Extended Effort (•••)

      Effect: Though every pack knows how to work together, packs with this merit have refined cooperation to an art form. Packmates can wring the last drop of effort from each other, pushing their fellows beyond limits of endurance and despite diminishing returns. When working towards a teamwork extended action, secondary actors may forgo their dice roll to give the primary actor one additional roll beyond her limit. Though her chances of success drop off as packmates exhaust themselves, the additional time may be all she requires for success.


      Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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      • #4
        And lastly for today, something for the Pack to draw on its extended membership.


        Crowd Support (•••)

        Effect: Too many werewolves overlook the utility of the broader pack. They focus on the Uratha, and perhaps the Wolf-Blooded with useful Tells, but ignore the humans. Not so packs with this Merit, who draw on every member of the pack for support. Once per session, the pack may absolutely depend on packmate support. The pack defines one task that must either be able to be completed within a Scene, or reach a specific milestone. Examples include killing all rivals in a firefight (which could be achieved within the Scene), or brokering a temporary truce to cross a rival pack’s territory while pursuing the Siskur-Dah (which is a milestone for the Sacred Hunt to continue unmolested). As long as members of the extended pack could conceivably assist and are available to do so, players may add three dice to rolls related to that goal until the end of the Scene.


        Friends of Friends (•, •• or •••)

        Effect: The pack works to build contacts and allies within and outside its territory, working outwards from the people the pack knows to their ‘friends-of-friends’ network. Once per session, packmates can tap into their existing social networks to reach out to others with the skills or knowledge needed by the pack. Roll the dots in this merit as a dice pool, adding one die for each character with dots in Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Retainer, or Staff. (Storytellers may decide that other Social Merits are also suitable to be added to this roll.)

        Dramatic Failure: The pack insults the wrong people and everyone suffers massive blows to their reputations. No packmate can use any Human Merit that draws on social connections for the remainder of the session.
        Failure: The pack can’t find anyone else to help them, nor can any of their friends. The pack may covert Failure to Dramatic Failure and take a Pack Beat.
        Success: The pack’s social network finds someone who is willing to help the pack. Divide the number of successes between Allies, Contacts, Retainer or Staff, at one success per dot. No single Merit may be higher than the number of dots the pack has in Friends of Friends, nor can the pack gain more than twice the number of dots they have in this Merit. These additional Social Merits disappear either at the end of the scene in which they are used, or at the end of the session.
        The pack (or individual packmates) can spend Pack Experiences on making these people ongoing members of the pack’s existence, at the usual Merit cost.
        Exceptional Success: As per Success, but the pack can build Merits up to twice their dots in Friends of Friends; these Merits linger two sessions if not used, but still expire at the end of the scene in which they are used.



        Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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        • #5
          Nice! Really gives some more mechanical oomph to the extended pack. I especially like Crowd Support and Bone, Blood and Belonging.

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          • #6
            I definitely like how they explore those connections in unique ways without being overwhelming. Each one adds twists and turns to things that are already in the game in awesome ways!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bunyip View Post
              Kuruth — Linked Rage (••••)

              Effect: When warring packs descend into Kuruth to continue the fight the result is often devastating for both packs. No one is safe from the blood-drenched frenzy of violence, including nearby Wolf-Blooded and humans of either pack. With this Merit, the pack may choose to conceal itself from the enemy’s rage.
              Any of the pack’s Uratha who are in Basu-Im are ignored as targets by the rival pack’s frenzying werewolves, just as if they were also members of that pack. The characters essentially become part of their rival pack and will fight alongside them as long as Kuruth endures. No one else is safe from the characters, and packmates not in Basu-Im are acceptable targets. As part of this Merit, Uratha may allow the fire of their opponent’s frenzy kindle their Rage as well. Upon sensing a member of the other pack fall into Basu-Im, the character may link her Rage and enter Basu-Im as if the other werewolf were a member of her own pack.

              Drawback: The characters concealing themselves within Rage cannot later choose to attack their adoptive pack while they’re still in Kuruth. Once linked, the immunity and shared hatred lasts until both packs naturally exhaust their Rage. This may result in characters coming to their senses deep within enemy territory.
              Kuruth — Us Against Them (•••)

              Effect: Despite the best planning and tactical deployment, fights between packs often descend into the whirling death-frenzy of Kuruth. When the Basu-Im takes hold, the Uratha of both packs inevitably break off their animosity towards each other and destroy everything else around them. Packs with this Merit can still discern friend from foe even within the throes of Kuruth. Werewolves of the pack with this Merit may choose to attack (non-pack) Uratha also in Basu-Im.

              Drawback: Attacking those who believe themselves your allies removes the pack’s immunity from hostility. The turn after any Basu-Im suffering member of the pack attacks a rival in Basu-Im, the rival’s pack also gains the ability to identify the attacking pack as the enemy. The violence and bloodshed displayed in such Kuruth-fueled pack-against-pack is truly terrifying to witness.
              Maybe it's my English as Second Language - but I cannot understand difference between those mechanics. Could you shown, I don't know, maybe on examples working of those Merits? Let's assume we have Pack A and B - and one Uratha in Pack A start to go Basu-Im - so what happens on those scenarios?
              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 12-22-2017, 03:30 PM.


              My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
              LGBT+ in CoD games

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              • #8
                Also, if I remember correctly from The Pack book, Pack Merits works that each member is assumed to have it when Pack - as general - buy those Merits, yes? So any member of Pack can activate any 'power' the Pack is having on to it?


                My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
                LGBT+ in CoD games

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                • #9
                  What do I have for you today? Five Pack Merits, so we can round out the 17 with six tomorrow.

                  First, a couple of merits for the ritemasters out there.


                  Combined Rites (•••••)

                  Effect: Most rites occur in isolation as the magic of the spirit world rejects combination. Something about packs with this Merit overcomes this limitation.
                  When performing rites, the pack may attempt multiple rites at once — this can include multiple performances of the same rite, resulting in several iterations of the rite’s effect. Every rite must have a separate ritemaster who builds successes towards her required total. Secondary performers must follow the dice pools of one of the rites being performed, but their successes enhance the dice pools of all ritemasters.

                  Combining rites in this manner isn’t simple. The successes required to perform each rite increase by 5 per additional rite. Similarly, the available time doesn’t increase — the ritemaster with the lowest Attribute + Skill + Specialty total determines the group’s maximum number of rolls. Finally, performers of rites requiring fewer successes than others can’t simply stop when that rite has sufficient successes. The ritemaster for that rite becomes another secondary performer for the other ritemasters.

                  When the rite requiring the greatest number of successes achieves its goal, the effect of each rite triggers. If any individual rite fails to reach its target — regardless of whether other rites have successfully reached their goals — all rites fail and every ritemaster suffers the Shadowlash Condition.



                  Fast Rites (• to •••••)

                  Effect: Through raw talent, practice, or some supernatural blessing, your pack performs rites more quickly than others. The symbolism falls into place and the energies coalesce in ways that make other packs jealous. The ritemaster subtracts one from the target number of successes for each dot the pack has in this Merit, to a minimum of one. Creatures opposing the rite in a contested roll gain the same benefit as the pack, reducing their target successes by the same amount.

                  Drawback: Performing rites can be flexible, but the magic is unforgiving. If the ritemaster fails to achieve any successes on a roll, the rite falls apart and she suffers the effects of a Dramatic Failure.


                  Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                  • #10
                    Part two - something for the furry spirit cops.


                    Court Familiarity (••)

                    Effect: Territory extends both sides of the Gauntlet, and the pack must understand the threats and opportunities in both the Hisil and the physical world. With this Merit, the pack knows the spirit denizens well. Either through painstaking effort or instinctive understanding, the pack understands the spiritual hierarchy and the factional politics within. Members of the pack gain a 2 dice bonus to rolls interacting with spirits of their territory — this doesn’t apply to combat rolls — and improve Social maneuvering first impressions one step when dealing with spirits that consider the territory home.


                    Totem Court (• to •••••)

                    Effect: Most totems leave behind their place in the Shadow when they take on a pack bond. Your pack’s totem has maintained its position and rules a court of lesser spirits. The dot rating represents both the number of umia or ilthum the totem has influence over, but also the degree to which its commands are obeyed. The players and Storyteller should work together to broadly define the spirit groups in the court, but they should either consist of umia similar to the totem, or ilthum inhabiting the territory’s Hisil. No spirit servant can be of higher Rank than the totem, and no more than one group should be of equivalent Rank, unless the totem is itself Rank 1.
                    At one dot the totem can expect small favors or the use of simple Influence. At three dots the spirits will engage in riskier behavior for their ruler, while at five dots the spirits will risk their existence if so commanded.

                    Drawback: Nothing is ever free in spirit hierarchies. Everything must be paid for, and even a court ruler pays its servants in protection, favors, or access to essence. In each lunar month, the totem must devote one day per dot tending to its court. The pack may be present for this, but if they have other business, the totem cannot join them until the next day. Additionally, the totem will ask for the pack’s assistance in providing its payment to the court. If the court provides services for the pack, the totem will expect them to pay in kind or risk its displeasure.



                    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                    • #11
                      Last one for today... the season encourages us to reflect on how important pack is.


                      Pack is All (•••)

                      Effect: The pack provides assistance in the hunt, companionship along a difficult existence, and protection against foes who would seek to make Uratha their prey. Some packs even go beyond this and serve as an anchor for the Uratha soul; helping to balance the werewolf nature against itself. Packs with this Merit have an additional Touchstone (Werewolf: The Forsaken p. 87) that always tries to keep them from losing the balance. Once per session, each packmate may gain +2 to resist Harmony changes that would move them further from Harmony 5, as long as the Breaking Point occurred in service to the pack. For non-Uratha, this benefit may be applied to resist any breaking point in service to the pack, but only once per session.


                      Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                        Maybe it's my English as Second Language - but I cannot understand difference between those mechanics. Could you shown, I don't know, maybe on examples working of those Merits? Let's assume we have Pack A and B - and one Uratha in Pack A start to go Basu-Im - so what happens on those scenarios?
                        From the core book. 'When in Basu-Im, a werewolf suffers rage as though in Gauru, but everyone is a victim except other werewolves in Basu-Im.' What this can imply is that if Werewolf A and Werewolf B are fighting, and Werewolf A goes into Basu-Im, if Werewolf B goes into Basu-Im too, they will stop fighting each other and instead attack something else that isn't in Basu-Im.

                        Since among packs, Basu-Im is sort of contagious, this can mean that werewolf-on-werewolf battles can be ended by someone on both sides going into Basu-Im. As more werewolves go into Basu-Im, you have less targets, until you have a horde of raging werewolves attacking anything but each other.

                        With Linked Rage.
                        1. The Contagion (where you sense a packmate in Basu-Im and fall into Basu-Im) can stretch beyond packs. So if an enemy goes Basu-Im, you can go Basu-Im in return, ending the conflict between you two.
                        2. You can't decide to go and attack them once you've joined them, at least while you're still raging. You basically become a single, raging mob.

                        With Us Against Them.
                        1. When in Basu-Im, you can still attack non-packmembers in Basu-Im.
                        2. Enemies in Basu-Im, if attacked, will consider you an applicable opponent. So if you go into Basu-Im, you can't just attack them and have them not attack you just because they don't have the Merit.

                        It's nice ways to work with the system, I think.

                        Bunyip These totem merits are really nice, even as someone who doesn't play spirit cop, I do like having a totem who isn't 'on the outs' with the locals.
                        Last edited by nofather; 12-23-2017, 01:20 AM.

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                        • #13
                          The ‘spirit cop’ thing was a joke towards 1st edition

                          Glad you like them. More to come tomorrow


                          Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                          • #14
                            Christmas Eve, and what do we have for you today? How about something for your territory?


                            Eyes Everywhere (•••, •••• or •••••)

                            Effect: Within the pack’s territory, even the people and spirits not bound to the pack know to keep their eyes open, and who to tell when they notice something strange. At three dots, intruders to the territory must succeed on a Wits + Stealth or Streetwise (depending on rural or urban territory) roll when they enter or something notices them and warns the pack. This doesn’t apply to intruders using supernatural powers to hide their presence. At four dots, all mundane attempts at concealment or blending with the population suffer a three-dice penalty. At five dots, the dice penalty and test when entering the territory also apply to creatures concealed by supernatural means. This Merit works on both sides of the Gauntlet — intruders in the Hisil are just as likely to be detected.


                            Territory Feature (• to •••)

                            Effect: The territory has a location that is specifically useful to pack. A library with helpful staff may be invaluable when the pack researches its prey. A clinic where the doctors look the other way in return for protection may keep the non-Uratha members healthy after a fight. A trendy bar where assistants to the rich and powerful congregate could provide introductions and favors for the pack.

                            When taking this Merit, the pack defines the location and chooses an associated Skill per dot. Each dot applies to a single Skill, but multiple dots may add to the same Skill. When in the location, pack members may add one die per dot to dice pools involving these Skills.

                            This Merit may be taken multiple times, each time representing a different location.

                            Drawback: Locations of importance to the pack tend to draw attention. People investigating the pack are more likely to find these locations before others, gaining +1 to relevant dice pools per Territory Feature.


                            Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                            • #15
                              Is "Territory Feature" basically just a slightly reframed Library or Staff Merit?

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