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boulet
01-04-2008, 03:18 PM
I have a question for WoD story tellers. Some merits are very fragile in nature like status or haven. Anything could happen : a PC could be accused of misbehavior and loose his prestige resulting in a loss of status in a covenant for example. Or his haven may be discovered by an angered elder who is trying to make him run away from the city and sends minions to set the haven ablaze.

How do you, as a story teller, consider the very different nature of a player spending experience to get better in skills or disciplines on one hand, which is a safe investment since there's no obvious reasons why the PC should lose these dots, and merits representing resources and social status on the other hand which are much more volatile ? Do you make any difference in the way you treat them in the rewarding system which is experience ?

TAROT
01-05-2008, 01:36 AM
It depends on the situation. If the character is abandoning the merit, i.e. decides to quit the covenant, tells a contact to "Go to hell!" etc., then the dots are lost.

Otherwise, some form of refund is usually arranged. The less control that the character had over the situation, the greater the refund.


PC could be accused of misbehavior and lose his prestige resulting in a loss of status in a covenant for example.

Well, an accusation alone is unlikely to affect status, but, assuming proof was presented before the accuser could be disappeared, the character might end up with a dot in city or clan status just for being notable enough to have an enemy. (If the evidence was manufactured, then I'd certainly give the player something in exchange.)


Or his haven may be discovered by an angered elder who is trying to make him run away from the city and sends minions to set the haven ablaze.

I might let the player redistribute haven dots here. He had a small space near the rack, now he has a large space with some motion detectors. Or another elder offers to mentor the character in secret.

For the most part, social merits aren't bought with experience, either. If we spend a half hour on a hunt/seduction, the character might get a dot of herd in addition to session XP. After negotiating with a skilled NPC, the character that made the best connection might make a contact. If they want to set up a CCTV system in their haven, then they can have a dot in security. If a character is campaigning to be an augurer for the Crone, then they'll have any requisite covenant status by the time they get the job. If a character wants to arrange a back-up haven in an abandoned subway tunnel, fine.

In general, I try to keep things logical and reasonable. If a player decides to spend XP in these areas, I consider the expenditure fairly sacrosanct, as it is then important to the player, rather than the character. I feel less guilt when I monkeywrench stuff they got for "free."

boulet
01-05-2008, 12:14 PM
I think I get your position. And I agree with the idea that experience points earned and spent by players are kind of sacred. If a ST starts to mess with what a player is entitled to consider his goods then it may righteously feel like this ST is unfair or even sadistic.

My position (not a definitive one though) would be to consider these merits as out of the experience point system : you earn status from consequences of your actions. Or I would role play, in accelerated time, a character research/improvement of a haven, and then try and make the dots on his sheet match the place he's been preparing.

TAROT
01-05-2008, 07:25 PM
My position (not a definitive one though) would be to consider these merits as out of the experience point system : you earn status from consequences of your actions.

Pretty much. You have to do something more than save up a bunch of XP and say, "OK, I have Resources five now."

It's often more gradual than I may have inferred. In a session, I'd be more likely to give one or two XP towards the next dot of a merit like Status or Herd. OTOH, a character with money can tell his ghoul to buy a house in the suburbs, wait two months and have the equivalent of four or five dots in Haven.

If one story ends, and the next will continue after a few months of down time, then a player might top up a merit to the next dot with free XP. If, in the middle of a story, a character is one short of the next dot after a session, then fine, spend the point. But otherwise, I try to keep these merits reflective of in-game events.

MortonStromgal
01-17-2008, 01:13 PM
I think its ok to take them away if

1. Player did something stupid to put them in the situation to loose them
2. You let them move the dots to other things
or
3. You have a player contract at the beginning stating that anything they put into merits can be lost.

boulet
01-17-2008, 07:37 PM
I think its ok to take them away if

1. Player did something stupid to put them in the situation to loose them
2. You let them move the dots to other things
or
3. You have a player contract at the beginning stating that anything they put into merits can be lost.

Solution 2 is kind of fair, but the realism of it ? hmpf

Point 1 and 3 are kind of the same...

When I'm a player if I know it's going to be "at the ST disposition" I'm very reluctant to invest in those social stuff, except maybe contacts which are more vague and thus less fragile. Identifying with players, when I'm the ST, I like PCs to have these merits, roleplaying wise, and I prefer to set these merits apart so to encourage it.

MortonStromgal
01-17-2008, 08:57 PM
you could also give them back the XP I suppose