A City Thrice Damned
On top of the Vampire: The Requiem / Requiem for Rome rules, I want to add a layer of mechanics adulterated from the following RPGs: The Dresden Files, Trail of Cthulu and some heist RPG based off of a tv show that I don’t watch. At a later point, I may also integrate the company rules from Reign.
Please note, these are experimental; I’ve never used these rules before, so let me know if they’re fun or convoluted, etc. It could be that they just don’t work and are dropped.
Think of aspects like virtues or vices, but more specific with a bit more utility.
“Aspects cover a wide range of elements and define what makes your character unique—basi- cally, they describe the core of your character’s identity. (By contrast, skills, stunts, and super- natural abilities could be said to paint a similar picture of what your character can do, rather than who he is.) Aspects can be:
- Relationships (Mama’s boy, Apprentice to to Ancient Mai)
- Beliefs (The Lord is My Shepherd, Nothing lasts forever)
- Catchphrases (Can’t keep my mouth shut, it’s not my fault)
- Descriptors (Wiseass Wizard, Rugged as the Road)
- Items (Sword of the Cross, My Mother’s Pentacle)
- Or pretty much anything else that can paint a picture of the character (Big man on campus, anger is my constant companion, chivalry isn’t dead – just on life support)."
(Source: The Dresden Files RPG – Your Story)
I’ll discuss how we derive aspects in Character Creation. However, because we’re playing Vampire: The Requiem instead of Fate, the mechanics need to be tweaked.
In play, an aspect can be invoked for potential mechanical advantage, restoration of will power, or in some cases a flash-back token.
- A player may request, or an ST can suggest that an aspect is related to a task at hand and warrants a bonus to the roll. (In some cases, the ST may even grant automatic success.)
- Like a virtue or vice, a player can get willpower back if adherence to an aspect puts their character in hot water. The ST will determine the amount of WP depending on the situation.
- At the ST’s discretion, a player may invoke an aspect to make a declaration about the story. For instance, a player whose character has the aspect “Deserter of the Roman Legion” may find themselves spying on a Persian diplomat. The player suggests that maybe one of the diplomat’s body guards is actually a member of his former unit.
- Likewise, the ST may build upon these suggestions. To continue the previous example, three nights later, when the same persian envoy is found dead in his bed, it’s the disgraced Captain of the deserted legion who is heading up the investigation; his reunion with the bodyguard is not a pleasant affair.
Every player has one flashback token per Story that they can spend on either their character, or another player’s character (with permission).
A flashback token is used literally to suggest an action or conversation that happened in the past, either for utility or dramatic. As an example, think of the traditional heist movie or show (Ocean’s 11, Hustle, etc.). The characters find themselves facing a seemingly impossible barrier; the scene then cuts to a flashback scene where one of the protagonists sucks it up and seduces a freakishly old man for the keycode; or they dressed up as a building inspector and left a bunch of rope in the exact spot they KNEW they’d need to have it; or taking the air out of the potential pursuit’s tires.
Another use of a flashback scene is to develop past relations that may have been hinted at, yet are as of yet unveiled.
I feel that this could be a powerful dramatic tool for a game such as vampire, harkening back to scenes with one’s sire, or memories from before the embrace, or clandestine meetings of political back-dealings.
Flashbacks can not erase the past, however – only add to it. Also, be reasonable. It’s one thing to pull one over a known alcoholic who is knee deep in wine. It’s another thing to redeem Longinus or convert a zealot. Secret dealings or agreements are not usually one-sided.
All flashbacks are subject to ST discretion, and may be rejected or modified due to plot conflicts, absurdity or similar reasons.
Players may get additional flashback tokens at ST discretion; for instance, an ST may give a player a flashback token if said player’s flashback was heavily edited and the player let it pass, even if it wasn’t the most advantageous.