By Mike Vides (email@example.com)
Also, while it may annoy those players who enjoy killing thoughtlessly (because having more of it can actually be a hindrance in certain circumstances), Humanity is a wonderful role-playing tool. So while I was revising the Virtue system, I figured I'd add some perks for vampires with high Humanity. Other character types might enjoy different benefits; werewolves might resist frenzy more easily, or wraiths might find it easier to utilize Embody. The specifics are up to the Storyteller.
And for the record, Humanity can be fun, even for those killing machine PCs. Having a low humanity score has become a sort of status badge for a couple of players in my chronicle (Government Assassins, you know the type).
Conscience represents a character's ability to come to terms with his actions. The character will feel remorse for his wrongdoings, but will realize the errors of his ways and resolve himself in this realization. After all, seeing the problem is the first step in repairing it. Those with Low conscience scores will often find the line between right and wrong to be blurred.
Conviction, like conscience, helps a character cope with the ramifications of his wrongdoings. However, he seeks to justify his actions out of necessity to some greater cause, be it his own survival or his duty to a higher power. Those with low conviction scores often doubt themselves, asking if their mission or moral code is the "right one."
Integrity resembles Conviction in that the character seeks to justify his actions. However, while those with Conviction seek only to find a certifiable reason which will please himself, those with Integrity try to prove, not only to themselves, but to others as well, that their actions were the right ones with respects to their own values. Those with high integrity find it easier to lie, but also find less to lie about. In any situation in which the truth of the character's statements is called into question, the character may roll his integrity in additional dice. If successful, the character is able to at least appear as if he is telling the truth. If unsuccessful, however, the character loses a point of temporary Willpower. If botched, a point of integrity is also lost.
Callousness, at first glance, does not seem like a virtue at all. It represents a character's ability to ignore, shrug off, or block out the moral ramifications of her actions. While this may not seem very virtuous, remember that some characters will find themselves in a position where their morals or values are actually hindrances to the greater good. For instance, a Vampire Slayer who comes upon an Embraced Child. while his duty dictates that he must destroy the creature, if even for its own good, his humanity might still prevent such a heinous act, unless he is sufficiently shut off from his emotions. Callousness does not figure into a character's Humanity. indeed, it lowers the character's maximum humanity rating by one for every point in the virtue. It does, however, prevent further humanity loss as any other soul virtue. Callousness may add to rolls made to resist Emotion controlling magics or disciplines.
Self-Control allows a character to keep the reins on his anger and strong emotions. While he still feels these emotions, he's much less likely to act upon them. Self-Control is also used to resist hunger frenzies. Those with low self control often fly off the handle quite easily.
|*****||Totally Self Mastered|
A character's Wisdom score allows her to remain calm and composed in stressful situations, much like Self-Control. The difference is that a Wise character's calm comes from experience, common sense and a deep understanding of the world around him, rather than from strict regulation of one's emotions. The character resists frenzy because he understands the beast and himself. Wisdom can also be used in any situation where common sense might be important. Wisdom figures into the player's Humanity.
Honour replaces Self-Control as a virtue. It is similar to that virtue in that it helps the character avoid outbursts of anger. The difference is that those who employ the Honour virtue resist Anger and Hunger frenzies due to a deep spiritual strength of will, and their own personal code that forbids them to be claimed by such weaknesses. Honour may also be used to resist mind control or Rötschreck in situations where her honour is at stake. Should the character botch an honour roll, she immediately loses a point of Honour. This virtue is used to calculate the character's Humanity or Willpower score (player's choice).
Characters with instinct are in touch with their primal natures. They seek not to shut out their Beast, but to openly embrace it. While other stability virtues allow a character to prevent themselves from entering the throes of frenzy, Instinct instead allows the character to "ride the wave" so to speak, taking control of the frenzy rather than falling victim to it. On a more basic level, Instinct represents a character's gut feelings, hunches and "intuition." In any situation where a gut instinct would play a key role, Instinct may be added to this roll. For instance, a character fleeing from a Blood Hunt has the option of heading down one of two alleyways. The alley to the right leads to a quick and unhindered retreat, while the alley to the left contains a Nosferatu Archon waiting patiently in the shadows. A successful roll of Wits + Instinct would tell the character that the right just seems like the "better choice." Instinct does not figure into humanity.
Courage represents a character's ability to stare down his fears. The character can resist fleeing in the face of danger, or freezing up in the line of fire. This is a gradual process, as Courage takes time to build up. If the character doesn't roll 5 successes outright on a Courage roll, he should make a second Courage roll a number of turns later equal to the number of successes he rolled. If the successes from the first roll + the successes from the second roll equal or exceed 5, the player has overcome his fear. If they do not, then the character must make another roll as many turns later as successes rolled, and must continue this pattern until 5 successes are rolled or a roll is botched. If the first roll fails, then the character enters Rötschreck, or flees, or whatever else the Storyteller decides. If one of the later rolls is botched, then the character loses all successes and succumbs to his fear. If the first roll is botched, then the character enters Rötschreck no mater what the roll called for (unless there are other rules to the contrary). Courage figures into the character's Willpower.
Morale functions as Courage, but those with Morale tend to rely more on the strengths of others than on their own abilities. Members of lupine packs and gang members alike will have this virtue. With respects to basic system, treat Morale as Courage. However, for each other character in the character's group who succeeds on a Bravery Virtue roll in the same turn, or the turn preceeding the character's Morale roll, add 1 die to the roll. For each who failed, subtract 1 die. The Maximum dice that a character may roll is twice his original score (so if his morale is 2, he may only ever have up to 4 dice to roll). The minimum amount of dice is 1. Morale determines the character's starting Willpower.
Fearlessness works in a similar fashion to Courage. The difference between the Courageous and the Fearless is that the former understands the danger she faces, and while she may still be afraid, she realizes that she must overcome her fear in order to succeed. The latter can shrug off fear because she simply doesn't care enough about it to be scared. Characters who choose Fearlessness as their third Virtue are true daredevils. They either do not understand the danger before them (and thus, are not afraid of it) or get off on the thrill that life threatening situations gives them. This virtue is common among those Sabbat who would rather trust themselves than their packmates (and have correspondingly weak Viniculum ratings with the rest of the pack). Where as Courage allows a character to gradually overcome their fears, Fearlessness allows them to simply bypass the entire fear reaction. Instead of rolling the trait constantly, the character simply rolls upon initially facing the object of their fright. The storyteller determines the number of successes required, though one may be enough. If the roll succeeds, then the character is exempt from Rötschreck by that particular source for the remainder of the scene. If the roll fails, then the character enters Rötschreck immediately. Fearlessness is used to calculate a character's Willpower score.
Confidence replaces the Courage virtue. Just as with Courage, Confidence allows a character to stand up to their fears. This is done, however, though the character's firm belief in her own capabilities. All Confidence rolls are made in place of Courage rolls. However, each failed Confidence roll temporarily lowers the character's Willpower pool by 1 point. The points are gone for the remainder of the story until the character has a chance to regain Willpower. This is a two way street: Once per story the character may roll Confidence against a difficulty of 8. Each success restores 1 Willpower point. If the character decides to spend a Willpower point for automatic success on a simple task, then she may instead opt to roll Confidence against a difficulty of 8. If successful, the character gains the benefits of the automatic success, but the Willpower is not actually spent. Confidence is employed when calculating a character's Willpower score.
Zealousness replaces the Courage virtue. Just as Confidence grants the character a strong belief in her own capabilities, Zeal imbues the character with an unshakable trust in some power, cause or organization. The utter devotion afforded to this cause by the character in turn gives her the strength to confront her greatest of fears without so much as a gasp. When confronted with a threat to or an opposing force of the character's chosen cause, the difficulty of any Zeal rolls may be reduced by anywhere from 1 to 3. Zealousness is employed when calculating a character's Willpower score.
Humanity can be calculated by adding a Soul and Stability virtue together. The exceptions to this rule are Callousness, Honour and Instincts. Callousness, by its very nature is not conducive to Humanity (though, strangely enough, it does prevent the character from slipping farther down into the beast). Honour can either be used to raise a character's Humanity, but is most often used for the character's Willpower score. Instincts is a character's connection to her Beast, and thus does not form a basis for a character's Humanity.
If a character does not have any justifiable way of calculating his Humanity score, then he must purchase dots in humanity with Freebie points.
6 - Regain the Mortal Pallor
The vampire's skin becomes flush with colour, harkening back to the days of her mortality. To casual inspection, she appears to be as any other mortal.
System: No rolls need be made. The vampire spends a blood point which supplies the vampire's skin with a warm, life-like radiance. The skin is still rather cold to the touch, however, but not nearly so much as a corpse.
7 - Lively Facade
With this amount of Humanitas restored, the vampire learns to recreate subtle, but nonetheless important, functions of living tissue, such as growing hair or fingernails, or raising body temperature (Useful when being viewed through infra-red equipment). Additionally, sweat-glands and tear-dots may be altered so that the vampire no longer weeps or sweats blood. Note that this is a good way to rid ones' self of blood-turned water through the thaumaturgy path Neptune's might. As a final ability, the vampire may, at this level, add her Self-Control rating to any rolls requiring the vampire to pretend to breath.
System: The vampire spends one blood point. No rolls need be made, unless the storyteller desires. When weeping or sweating non-blood liquids, no blood need be spent; only a Conscience roll is needed (Difficulty of 10 - the character's own Humanity. Those with Humanity 9 or higher need not roll).
8 - Internal Vitality
The vampire may now flood her internal organs with life-rich Vitæ, effectively regenerating her insides. The Stomach may be regenerated, allowing the vampire to hold down food (albeit suspended in Vit&ae; in place of stomach acids) followed by the intestines (in order to digest the food), or perhaps the Heart may be caused to beat. This is especially useful when receiving a medical examination. Additionally, Blood may be made to flow and bleed throughout the vampires dry veins.
System: The player spends a blood point per organ to be regenerated (though paired organs such as lungs and kidneys count as only one organ) and rolls Stamina + Medicine, difficulty 7. Each success equals the amount of successes required to detect an abnormality through medical means. Even one success indicates that the desired effect is reached.
9 - Return to Mortal Vanity
The vampire who attains this level in Humanity is taunted by her former humanity. She may briefly flirt with the life that she knew before her embrace. Her heart beats, she may eat food, defecate, and enjoy all of the earthly pleasures. Most importantly however, the vampires may procreate. The resulting child of a vampire's escapades is considered a Dhampir. If the vampire is slain in this form, she enters torpor immediately and will awaken when her Humanity dictates, though if the damage is from an aggravated source, she will die the Final Death.
System: When Humanity 9 is reached, the vampire can almost feel her human soul flooding back into her lifeless body. She gains the merits Eat Food, Babyface and Sanguine Humour.
10 - Fooling the Mind's Eye
Upon attaining a Humanity rating of 10, the vampire may affect his undead form on the spiritual level. Daylight will no longer harm her, and she is effectively mortal for the purposes of aura reading, Those attempting to read her aura will discover a bright, luminous mantle like that of a mortal.
System: The vampire spends a willpower point, and rolls Humanity, difficulty 8. For the rest of the scene, any attempt to read her aura must gain more successes than those of the vampire, or the character's aura will appear to be lively and bright. Additionally, So long as her blood pool is full, the vampire may enjoy the daylight without fear of harm for one hour per success on a Humanity roll (difficulty 9). This costs 1 Willpower, and counteracts the effects of the fatigue brought about by daylight.