Shadows over the South

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This thread contains house rules for the WoD system as a whole.

Martial Arts:
Hard martial arts and soft martial arts are no longer differentiated, and no longer require separate expenditures or separate Martial arts skills.  All martial arts are considered both hard and soft, and players may choose maneuvers as they wish.

Otherwise martial arts rules are as per the Mage 20th edition core rules.

Snake Step:
  • Snake Step may only be used in hand-to-hand combat (NOT against projectiles, especially anything moving at the speed of a bullet), and at a difficulty of six.
  • There are no martial arts that can assist you with dodging bullets. This is explicitly the realm of the supernatural. Dodging bullets requires superhuman speed, either with a Dexterity rating of 6 and above, or the use of an ability such as Celerity or Manipulate Acceleration. Even then, Snake Step can still only be used in hand-to-hand combat.
Multiple Action Penalties:

In order to unify how multiple actions work among all systems we're using our own set of multiple action penalties, as follows:
  • The first action a character takes in a turn is made at no penalty.  Each action after the first suffers an increasing dice penalty.  Starting with -2 dice and increasing by 1 die for every action thereafter.
  • The exception to this rule is defensive rolls.  The first defensive roll made in a turn is reflexive, made at no penalty.  Each roll after the first is made with a penalty, starting a -2 dice and increasing by 1 die thereafter.
  • The amount of how often you can split your dice for multiple actions equals your character's Wits rating. Extra actions gained through Rage, supernatural Dexterity, etc. happen at the end of the round, at full dice pool, and cannot be split.
General Character Creation Rules:

  • Technology is a Skill, in all system types.
  • Research is a Knowledge, in all system types.
  • Limit yourself to Merits and Flaws of your own venue. Exceptions will be approved case-to-case and very rarely. We will be using M20: Book of Secrets as our go-to source for all non-splat-specific Merits and Flaws.
  • The Property Merit (M20: Book of Secrets) was cut-out. We use resources as "enough justification" to own property.
Lores:

The cross-systems knowledge Occult is used for strictly Mundane/Human occult issues. For specialized knowledge on the various supernaturals running the world, a character need the Knowledge ability Lore. Every faction has its own dedicated Lore. A member of that faction gains the first dot of its own faction for free.
This simulates general knowledge of "what am I?", but do note that most supernaturals aren't experts in their own existence. Just like most humans don't' really know how the various organs work, the many various belief systems and paradigms around the world, so do most supernaturals are ignorant to their own kind.
That is, while a werewolf will very generally know that there are other shape-shifters, he won't know to name and point them all, he know the tribes, but only very generally.
If a character continusly demonstarte specialized knowledge in-game, we will require the player to invest XP in the appropriate Lore.
Yes, EVEN WHEN LEARNED IC.
That being said, we don't want to penalise social characters. Talk freely to each other, but take into account you don't remember most of it without some XP invested. If you really put in IC effort, submit regular journals about you learning from other characters, and with ST approval, you can get an XP discount for gaining Lore. This is reserved to quality role-play, not copy-pasting the rule books.

I will give you a RL example: I am a university graduate student. Our lunch tables are one big long data dump. Everyone is eager to speak about his own field. I never remember even 0.5% of it, If I did, I'd need some XP dropped on it.

Types of Lores used in site:
  • Lore: The Undead: Covering Vampires, Kuei-jin, Laibon and other undead. This includes gargoyles, ghouls and the power of Vitae.
  • Lore: Shape-changers: Covering Garou, Fera, Hengeyokai and other innate shape-changers. This includes the BSD and Skin dancers.
  • Lore: Reborn: Covering Amenti, Wu-Ti'an, Teomallki and others who innately reborn.
  • Lore: Awakened: Covering Tradition Mages, Enlightened Technocrats, Disparate Crafts and other awakened will-workers. This includes Nephandi and Marauders.
  • Lore: Gallain: Covering the Fae, Changling, Nunnehi, Menehune, Hsien and the Inanimae. This includes the Dauntain, Autumn People, Thallain and Dark Kin.
  • Lore: Spirits: Covering Wraiths, nature spirits, some realms, Fomori and what a dedicated shaman or necromancer would know. This lore is not splat-specific, as everything interacts and can enter the umbra, and as such can be taken with less justification than the others.
Occult is basically Lore: Mortals. It covers such things as True Faith, Numina, Sorcerers, static magic, Demons and Hunters, etc. It has very very rare and few titbits regarding the various supernaturals. For Mechanics purpose, assume Occult is limited to the 1st level of each Lore, and requires 3 more successes to gain the same level of knowledge. So only once you're hitting Occult 4 can you start knowing other supernaturals.
Naturally, some Lores overlap. A student of the the Lore:Mage would naturally also gain *some* understanding of sorcerers and the dreaded vampiric magic of Thaumaturgy and necromancy, as can Lore: Spirits overlap a lot with Shifters lore and Occult. This is always up to ST discretion. The knowledge of Demons and Hunters requires specialized knowledge. All rolls in these topics are at +2 difficulties, and require 1 more successes.

Q&A:
(Here a list of topics that we made a previous ruling as to where they fit. When in doubt - contact an ST)
1. Religion is not Occult. END OF DISCUSSION. Religions are, in their very nature, not hidden and secretive. Religions have occult parts, which are covered by Occult. But the study of religions themselves is covered by Academics Knowledge or the Secondary Knowledge Belief Systems.
2. Fomori are covered by Lore: Spirits, just like wraiths. These are not shape-changers, these are possesed humans, twisted by the Wyrm.
3. The Four Celestials (Gaia, Wyld, Weaver, Wyrm) - Human Occultists, Mages and Shape-changers all study these enigmatic cosmic forces. As such, Occult, Lore: Spirits, Lore: Awakened and Lore: Shape-changers all cover these topics, all bit coloured by the group's particular take on them.
3.1. Lore: Gallain also includes study of the Wyld, the celestial who is the birther of the Dreaming.
4. Demons and Hunters, as well as the other splats who do not have their dedicated lore start with either a free dot in their lore of choice (with a bit of justification) or a dot in occult (yes, this, AND ONLY THIS, can push you to 4 on char creation on an ability, as you have not only studied that aspect, but also experienced it)
5. The Secondary Knowledge 'RD Data' is a sort of catch-all for all of the above, but heavily tainted by Technocratic propaganda and sanitized to be Consensus-friendly. You will never have the 'full story' with this.
Equipment Owned and Carried:

Your character owns and carries whatever it is reasonable it does. I don't punish players for forgetting to specifically mention their character brings a knife, or owns a car. But it's good to have a general list of equipment, especially if you want her to have something which her Resources isn't trivial for. So with Resources 2, say, owning a edge-level gaming computer should be listed, but a chef knife? assumed.
The cross-systems nature of this setting brings about a key question: Can the various supernaturals employ each other's "energy"? The rules already hint that a Garou Caern and a Mage Node are one and the same, but what about the rest of it? Here lies the rules we use:

Inter-system Energy works:
  1. Being the material from which the very fabric of the universe is made of, Quintessence is only usable by those with Arete, the ability to see into said fabric. Only mages with Prime 1 can draw quintessence from a node, or use it.
  2. While Tass is interchangeable, it is *not* Quintessence itself. It is solidified, patterned, "settled" Quintessence. Lifeforce, Gnosis, Glamour and Vitae are a kind of highly-specialized Tass. The following equivalence table applies:
    • Lifeforce (Sekhem/Chi/Waka): 1 dot of Lifeforce is worth 3 dots of Quintessence
    • Gnosis: 1 dot of Gnosis is worth 2 dots of Quintessence
    • Glamour: 1 dot of Glamour is worth 1 dot of Quintessence
    • Vitae: 3 dots of Vitae are worth 1 point of Quintessence.
    • Faith: 1 dot of Temporary Faith is worth 1 point of Quintessence.
    • Mana: 1 dot of Mana is worth 1 points of Quintessence.
  3. Mages can't just use the 5 materials above like any other Tass, they need specialized knowledge to do so, it is also not trivial. They must have Prime 3 (to use Tass), the appropriate Lore and the appropriate sphere knowledge:
    • Lifeforce: Lore: Reborn 1, Life 1, Entropy 1 and Spirit 1.
    • Gnosis: Lore: Shape-changers 1, Life 1, Spirit 1.
    • Glamour: Lore: Gallain 1, Life 1, Mind 1.
    • Vitae: Lore: Undead 1, Life 1, Matter 1.
    • Faith: Occult 3, Life 1, Spirit 1, Prime 2.
  4. To use these materials as Tass, a mage rolls two rolls: Lore and Arete. This is considered a single action (no split action dice pool penalties):
    1. Intelligence + Appropriate Lore, diff 6. Successes in this roles reduce the difficulty of the Arete roll. Failure means your knowledge simply doesn't help, but does not hinder. Botching this roll raises difficulties of the Arete roll by 1 per '1' rolled. If difficulty rises above 9, it becomes a threshold, as per usual rules.
    2. Arete, diff 6 (this is a Prime 3 effect). This is always coincidental. Failure means the material becomes unusable as Tass, as its pattern hardens and his specialized nature becomes even more anchored. The appropriate supernatural can still use that material (So a hardened Sekhem can still be used by mummies). A botch means the material is destroyed and its energy is violently released. It inflicts 1 point of soakable bashing damage on the mage, *in addition* to the 1 point of paradox accrued.
    3. If the Arete roll succeeds, the mage adds the appropriate amount of quintessence to his person, just like the Prime 3 effect of absorbing quintessence. Please make a special note of said Quintessence and it's origin.
  5. Said Tass/Quintessence carries a huge resonance. Magick cast or Wonders crafted with it carry that resonance with them. E.g. a sword crafted with Gnosis has a green shine to it, it makes one feel a bit more spiritual, and it will vibrate in anger if used against Gnosis using supernaturals. These effects are mostly flavour, but if enough such Tass is used, STs may claim a mechanics effect to it.
    A Gnosis fuelled sword can refuse to harm Garou, but draw extra blood from vampires. A Sekhem fuelled armour may soak aggravated, but become cumbersome when you break justice. These effects are *balanced* pros and cons, always.
  6. With the appropriate Lore and sphere magick, a mage can create a deliberate resonance-appropriate benefit to wonders crafted. Details will be worked out with an ST.

Reborn Energy works:
  1. As per house rules, the reborn can purchase the node background. They are limited to 2 points. A node produces 2 points of Quintessence a week for every dot of background. This is, as noted above, unusable by the reborn. When weekly XP gain happens, for every dot of Quintessence unused in the node it accumulates 0.5 dot of Lifeforce (Sekhem/Chi/Waka) instead of Tass. Which means that unless a mages drain it, a Node produces 1 Lifeforce per dot per week. I know, it's a trickle, but this is the reality of living outside the web of faith.
  2. A mage who can use Lifeforce as Tass (see above), can also fuel said life-fountain. By meditating in said node for an hour, he can do the reverse of the process described in (4) above: Roll Lore, followed by Arete. A mage can generate 1 Lifeforce for every 3 successes, costing 3 quintessence. Failure in said Arete roll simply has no effects, and can be retried (diff+1 and one more hour for each retry). Botching this Arete roll means the quintessence in the mage's soul rejects its new nature and is violently released. For every '1' rolled, the mage losses 1 point of quintessence which inflicts 1 point of soakable bashing damage on everyone present, *in addition* to the 1 point of paradox accrued.
  3. The effect above can use the mage's personal quintessence, or any Tass he brings. One exception exists: Reborn nodes can't be fuelled with Quintessence gained from Vitae.
  4. Sekehem/Chi/Wakka are freely inter-changeable. While gained through different means, they are metaphysically the same: Life force.
Gnosis Energy works:
  1. As mentioned in M20, a node is equivalent to a Caern half its rating. A caern is essentially a Gaia-dedicated node, which thus holds Gnosis instead of Tass.
  2. A mage who can use Gnosis as Tass (see above), can use a Caern just like a node twice its rating. Quintessence drained this way carries a particular resonance, which all Garou can innately sense. Thus Garou can always sense a mage who drew from a Caern.
  3. A mage who can use Gnosis as Tass (see above), can also fuel the Caern. By meditating in it for an hour, he can do the reverse of the process described in (4) above: Roll Lore, followed by Arete. A mage can generate 1 Gnosis for every 2 successes, costing 2 quintessence. Failure in said Arete roll simply has no effects, and can be retried (diff+1 and one more hour for each retry). Botching this Arete roll means the quintessence in the mage's soul rejects its new nature and is violently released. For every '1' rolled, the mage losses 1 point of quintessence which inflicts 1 point of soakable bashing damage on everyone present, *in addition* to the 1 point of paradox accrued.
  4. The effect above can use the mage's personal quintessence, or any Tass he brings. One exception exists: Garou caerns can't be fuelled with Quintessence gained from Vitae.
Glamour Energy works:
  1. A holding is no more then a node located in the near dreaming. It's a font of Glamour, a specialized form of Quintessence.
  2. A mage who can use Glamour as Tass (see above), can use a Holding just like a node its rating. Quintessence drained this way carries a particular resonance, which all Changeling can innately sense. Thus Changeling can always sense a mage who drew from a holding, but unlike Garou are not necessarily biased against it. Unseelie Changeling especially have no qualm about it.
  3. A mage who can use Glamour as Tass (see above), can also fuel the Holding. By meditating in it for an hour, he can do the reverse of the process described in (4) above: Roll Lore, followed by Arete. A mage can generate 1 Glamour for every success scored, costing 1 quintessence. Failure in said Arete roll simply has no effects, and can be retried (diff+1 and one more hour for each retry). Botching this Arete roll means the quintessence in the mage's soul rejects its new nature and is violently released. For every '1' rolled, the mage losses 1 point of quintessence which inflicts 1 point of soakable bashing damage on everyone present, *in addition* to the 1 point of paradox accrued.
  4. The effect above can use the mage's personal quintessence, or any Tass he brings.
  5. As changeling can freely give Glamour to one another, they can also give it to a mage. But, just like a mage's avatar quintessence can't be drained, so can't a mage forcibly drain Glamour from a Changeling.
  6. Dross, the materialized version of Glamour can be used just like Tass, for mages who can use Glamour as Tass.
  7. A mage who can use Glamour as Tass can also directly fuel a Changeling's soul, just like the Fae can freely trade it.
  8. A mage who can use glamour as Tass can also forge chimera. This must be learned from a Nocker, and is extremely unlikely. All forge difficulties are at +3, this is a Prime3/Mind 3 effect (so base difficulty is 9!).
Violent Energy works:
  1. As said above, a mage can't simply draw energy from other creatures, much like he can't draw a mage's avatar quintessence. However, Violence can be used by supernaturals with the right knowledge to drain each other.
  2. A mage can deal damage to the very fabric of creation, the very pattern of the one in front of him. By using Prime 5 with the appropriate additional spheres, A mage can drain quintessence directly from another supernatural. This is a Vulgar effect.
    • Lifeforce (Sekhem/Chi/Waka): Roll Arete (Prime 3/Life 3/Spirit 4): For every 2 successes deal 1 aggravated unsoakable damage. The target looses 1 point of Lifeforce, and you gain 3 dots of Quintessence.
    • Gnosis: 1 dot of Gnosis is worth 2 dots of Quintessence
    • Glamour: 1 dot of Glamour is worth 1 dot of Quintessence
    • Vitae: 3 dots of Vitae are worth 1 point of Quintessence.
  3. Such violent assault carries the taint of Jhor. This quintessence needs to be market as "Gained through magickal violence".
    If this Quintessence is ever used as a part of a magickal Effect intended to harm another being, the mage gains an Entropic Resonance Trait for the duration of the Effect. If the Effect kills another being, the trait becomes permanent. Paradox backlashes that result from use of such Quintessence usually manifest as Jhor episodes.
  4. Any effect (wonder, gift, etc) which drains Gnosis, Glamour or Vitae can be used, with appropriate Lore and increased difficulties (usually a +2), to drain any other form of energy. This ALWAYs taints the target. So a Garou who drew glamour as gosis has a distinct Wyld to him, and any effects used with said Gnosis gain that flavour.
  5. A Changeling who drains vitae as Glamour gains 1 point of temporary banality for each point of Vitae drawn.
Faith Energy works:
  1. Faith comes directly from humans. It cannot be gathered at a node, Caern, etc. Fallen at such a place will, however, feel that the ambient Faith in the area is abnormally high. All penalties from the presence of non-believers in such an area are negated.
  2. Temporary Faith can be used to power Wonders as a substitute for Quintessence, but a Fallen will have to 'force' it. Wonders do not accept Faith willingly. Particularly powerful Wonders can 'reject' Faith.
  3. Magick fueled by Quintessence used in the presence of Fallen feels 'wrong.' Rather than manipulating the laws of the universe for their own ends, Magick as practiced by Mages outright breaks those laws. To a Demon, it would feel as if Faith is being burned like fuel, rather than channeled.
  4. Faith can only be utilized by other types of supernaturals if and only if they are in an active Pact with a Fallen.
Sepcializations

  1. For Art, Crafts and Performance you gain a specialization from your first dot
  2. For Academics and Science you gain a specialization from your second dot
  3. For any other ability you gain a specialization from your fourth dot
Extra Actions

  1. There are many ways to gain extra actions, the result is all the same: Extra Actions are taken in the end of round, as a sort of "extra round".
  2. If two characters have an extra action, they take it by initiative order.
PvP and using dice on other players:

We generally separate dice-rolling against other players into two categories: Non-Hostile, and Hostile. What is the difference?

Non-Hostile Dice-Rolling: We define this as any dice-rolling that cannot cause harm to the character. Using a non-hostile roll on a player character is fair game in nearly all situations. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Awareness checks.
  • Social rolls, including Lying, Empathy, Intimidation, etc. Seduction against a player character must be played out, not rolled. Otherwise that's just asking for trouble.
  • Reading auras.
  • Scrying.
Non-hostile dice-rolls against another character are allowed in nearly all situations. An ST's presence will only ever be necessary if it becomes hostile. This means that they are perfectly fair-game in social scenes, in which an ST's presence is not required and usually absent.

Hostile Dice-Rolling: These are the rolls whose primary purpose is to intentionally harm another character. This includes mind-control effects, such as Dominate, as it robs a player of agency over their character, and thus requires an ST to adjudicate. This is considered PVP by default. PVP in what are supposed to be social scenes is highly discouraged. We handle PVP thusly:
  • It must be made clear to all parties involved if a scene whose intended purpose is PVP carries a risk of permanent harm or death to one or more characters involved. Tricking players into entering scenes in order to kill their character is bad form. If such an attempt at tricking a player is made, the scene will be retconned.
  • We will not allow players to abuse the rule above in order to provide a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card for a player to avoid in-character consequences for their character's actions. If your character has been violating the Balance, breaking the Masquerade and the Litany, cavorting with infernalists, poisoning the water supply, kicking puppies, and listening to Nickelback, your character will have to face the consequences eventually. Whether its PVP or an NPC, your character's actions will catch up with them. As such, the "too dumb to live" exception exists: If your character does something to bring it upon themselves, and not just committing the crime of existing, characters pursuing your character can enter any scene without warning, within reason. Don't start what you can't finish!
  • Any time PVP breaks out in any scene, no matter the degree or risk to characters involved, one or more STs must be present to play referee to ensure fairness. The ST(s) must be familiar with the splats involved, and made aware of the context (including all plot-related details) in which the PVP is occuring. If no ST is available, the scene will be paused until one or more is available. This is non-negotiable and no exceptions will be made. Proceeding with the scene without an ST, especially with the intent to harm another character, will result in the scene being retconned and possible disciplinary action if malicious intent can be identified.
To be perfectly clear, if the violence against the character is your own fault and the result of your own actions, these rules cannot and will not save you. Violating the Masquerade in front of the Sheriff, murdering innocent people for shits and giggles in front of more virtuous player characters, wandering into the middle of the Sept wearing an "I <3 The Wyrm" shirt, or trying to convert that Imbued or Celestial Chorus mage to infernalism and then whining to an Admin about how it's a social scene when the fangs and claws come out will earn you zero sympathy.

In short, don't be an idiot.

Social PVP:
Social PVP is defined as PVP by means other than direct physical violence. Starting (false) rumors designed to destroy another character's reputation, having the City Council vote to demolish a vampire's haven at noon on a sunny day, having somebody's assets frozen, or getting mortal law enforcement to think that the guy with a bunch of guns in his house is planning a terrorist attack are all examples of Social PVP. Just because there is no risk of dying does not make something not PVP. The following rules are enforced for Social PVP:
  • An ST must be kept appraised of what is happening in order to ensure fairness.
  • Any attempt at Social PVP involving NPCs requires dice rolls. Difficulty will be decided by the presiding ST, who must be made aware of factors such as the loyalty of the NPCs involved, different laws involved, etc.
  • Some examples of Social PVP are just not possible to defend against. If, for example, the method of the Social PVP involved irrefutable evidence that the targeted character is a traitor and is conspiring with the enemy, well, they're screwed, and good luck talking their way out of that one. But if it's a false rumor presented without evidence, it will be far less difficult to convince relevant parties of your innocence. Be smart about this, and be careful; starting rumors nobody will believe about a character in good standing might just blow up in your face.
Infernalism, Demonology and Demon: the Fallen

  1. What is the true nature of hell and heaven? who really are the fallen? No one knows.
  2. What we do know is the so-called demons summoned by the Infernalism blood magic is NOT the Fallen Demons described in DtF.
  3. In any system in which the word "demon" is mention, the meaning is a hell-spirit, a kind of lesser to greater twisted entity of the dark umbra.
  4. The being described in Demon the Fallen aught to be refereed to as "Fallen", they are not those aforementioned demons.
  5. Rules for summoning and binding Fallen presented in DtF, pg 256 work on both Fallen and Demons.
  6. The powers of thralling and faith-shaping described in DtF, pg 253 can only be done by a *free* Fallen affecting his thrall. The Fallen can't do that for someone who hasn't been thralled by him.
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