Chicago by Night
Vampire Social Contract
The Vampire Game
I’m writing this with the intent to be as clear and upfront about the themes, rules, and expectations of this game up front so that everyone can get the most out of this game that we can.
This game will be a by-the-book Camarilla game. You will play Ancillae who have been formed into a coterie to serve as deputies to the Sheriff of Chicago. Chicago is too big to have one Kindred as Sherriff. In addition, you also serve as Scourge when need be. This will mean that you will be in combat more often than the average vampire.
That being said, this is still a Vampire game. You’re going to need to discover, keep, and protect secrets for your own personal gain. You’re not a werewolf pack. You work together, and you may even be friends, but you don’t trust each other.
The supernatural creatures you encounter in this will primarily be vampires. However, this will still be a full WoD game. To encounter other creatures, you need to go looking for them, or do something that brings them to you. Mages don’t live around the corner, they have a hidden node somewhere and may reveal themselves if comfortable. Glasswalkers, if you even know what one is, will come after vampires that overstep their bounds, but otherwise they have bigger fish to fry. Demons, wraiths (or Orpheus), mummies, hunters (old fashioned, not orange book), and any races that deal with Christian hierarchy or death and resurrection will fit best in this world, and may pop up from time to time. Fae will be the rarest, unless there is a GOOD reason. In the same vein, Lores are important and hard-earned.
Game pace will be at Vampire pace, which means your characters will be looking at the US Congress and wonder how they get things done so quickly. I will facilitate this in game by downtime of days to weeks taking place between game sessions. During this time, your characters will get downtime actions. I’ll go over those later in this document.
Character Creation and Advancement
Please use the V20 Character Sheet. We’ll be using the (hopefully) streamlined and optimized skills established in the new book.
As mentioned earlier, you are Ancillae with 50-100 years of conscious unlife. You will be making a standard character, and then you will add the following items for what your character would have learned after Embrace:
1. Unless you are dead-set on it, please choose something outside of your normal clan choice.
2. This will be counterintuitive, but do not put ANY dots in the background that is most important to your character. We will work that out through pregame sessions, and you will not be disappointed.
3. No lower than 10th Gen
4. No higher than 7 Willpower at base character creation (can be bought up with Ancillae XP) unless earned through starting virtues. Having a higher willpower than that negates the struggles and horrors of being a vampire.
5. Ancillae have 75 experience
6. You gain two dots of in-clan disciplines or one dot of out-of-clan discipline that you have justified through backstory.
7. Add 3 additional background points, also justified through story.
You will all receive different XP based on your play, which be awarded by email in the downtime exchange. Experience will be awarded as follows:
1. 1-3 for advancing plot
2. 0-2 Playing in character
3. 0-3 Advancing individual character goals
4. 0-3 Unique Solutions
5. 0-2 for discovering secrets
I will average 4-7 unless you have an exemplary night.
Buying any skills, traits, or disciplines must be worked on before you buy them. On your character sheet, you can list a maximum of 3 items that you are attempting to learn at any given time. You also need to update how long you’ve been working on them with each session.
Backgrounds need to be earned through gameplay. Most often these will cost you maneuvering in downtime and careful planning.
Lastly, you may run across connections or items that allow you access to otherwise inaccessible lores and skills. I’ll let you know when you acquire these, and while I will try to keep track, it is your responsibility to do so.
A note for character backstory: Black Hand is the Sabbat elite group. DSotBH does not exist.
I expect your characters to have their own goals and desires, and I’d like to know what they are ahead of time, to the best of your ability, so that I can include all the tools and parts for those goals in the sandbox from the get-go. There will be a main plotline, but your goals will be cogs in the grand machine if possible.
Below are some questions I need answered as a basic set for your character:
1. Why have you stayed with the Cam? (duty, loyalty, comfort, bond, fear, etc.)
2. Describe your sire, their position in the Cam, and your relationship with them.
3. List one personal goal (reachable in a campaign of 2-4 game years) regarding your rank, status, or ambitions within the Cam. Also, explain your desired path to achieving this goal.
4. Regarding magicks, disciplines, and lores, what does your character wish to learn and why? Where has your character heard of these? Do you have a plan to seek them out?
5. What does your character do in their spare time?
6. What lofty personal, political, or magical goals (a certain rank, hidden relics, ancient archaeological sites, freedom from undeath, Golconda, etc.) does your character seek?
7. Through the many nights that have already passed for you, certain events, acts, and secrets have come pass that you terrified will come out into the light. List at least two events that your character would do anything to cover up (Amaranth, mortal murders, masquerading as a Camarilla clan, false identity, etc.). Go into detail about what happened. To the best of your character’s knowledge, who knows? Out of character, is there someone who knows that is holding the information for later?
8. What cool secret does your character have? This may overlap with the previous question.
In addition, if you choose to answer the good ol’ Hundred Questions, I will reward your character with backgrounds, merits, access to lores or disciplines, or actual dots in disciplines based on number and completeness of answers.
We are using V20 rules unless otherwise noted.
1. Disciplines that are ineffective against lower generations work, but add +1 difficulty for every generation lower. Minimum difficulty is 8.
2. Celerity, Potence, and Fortitude can be learned from a mentor/trainer within the Cam for people holding office, such as yourselves. Normal clan XP rules apply.
3. Removed due to V20 fixing it. Thaumaturgy works per V20 rules.
4. 10s Rule: 10s count as 2 success with a specialization, and don’t explode. Applies to specializations with skills, too. If you have specializations in Attribute and Skill, 10s explode as well. 10s count as 2 successes on any roll where you can’t have a specialization, such as damage, willpower, virtues, etc.
5. 1s Rule: 1s still subtract, but you can’t botch if you have a success. (will re-examine if success is hard to come by, but I seek balance. 2 successes guaranteed is better than rerolling.)
6. I found no definitive description either way, but we are going with 2nd Ed rules for final death. You rot to your body’s age when you die. No ashing unless you are several hundred years old.
Downtime between game sessions will represent significant amounts of time, from days to months. This is a drop in the hat in a vampire’s life, but during this time significant things can be accomplished. You will get a minimum of 3 actions in downtime, or more if you have more time or in certain circumstances. These actions may still require rolls, and will be handled by email or phone in the time between sessions. If you choose not to contact me, it is assumed you are not taking any downtime actions. These are a work in progress, and I’d like your feedback on making them more concrete.
Below are sample actions:
1. Feed – Taking Feed as an action allows you to start game at full blood points. If you choose not to feed, you start at half blood points. Having a Herd of 2 or higher allows you to feed without using a downtime action
2. Errand/Task – Anywhere from buying milk to ordering the sale of several million dollars in stock. For every dot you have in Retainers, you may have your thralls and servants do these tasks for you without using a downtime action. However, complex tasks require the skill and authority to do so, and I reserve the right to limit free actions
3. Complex string of tasks/campaign – Arranging the sale of a company, starting rumors, etc.
4. Research – Research may be for some immediate use, such as tracking down a person, or it may be the justification for spending XP. Lores are acquired this way.
Lores cannot be bought. They must be earned and researched. You will be given a rating for each of the lores. To streamline, there is one for each supernatural race. Your rating determines how much you potentially know.
The other half of Lores is your rating in Occult. When using your Lores, you will roll your Occult rating along with the appropriate Mental attribute for the situation, most often Intelligence. You will never know more than your rating.
I will give you the opportunity in our initial session to establish what your character has pursued in his or her unlife prior to game. To establish levels:
0. You know as much as a Caitiff just after embrace, and you go by pop culture.
1. The basics of how vampirism works, and the basic lore of Caine. You know your sect’s basics, and you’ve heard of all main clans and sects.
2. You know the basic history of how the sects came to be, who belonged when(ish), you can name the antedeluvians (even if you don’t think they exist), and you can pull some famous Kindred names out of your research
3. You know more than the average Kindred, and probably as much as most elders. You can track elders through history, and can start to differentiate legend from fact. Hidden secrets start to piece themselves together.
4, You know who was when and where. You have pieced together facts hidden by sect propaganda. You know where to find someone to teach you hidden or lost disciplines.
5. The True Hand and the Inconnu exist. You talk to the from time to time.
0. Werewolves are dreamy and fairies fight pirates with flying, unaging children
1. You know the basic blurb at the back of the Vampire book about this race, plus maybe a few more basics. Knowledge based on your region of origin and preferred habitat will come easier (city dwellers might know Bone Gnawers or Glasswalkers exist, etc.)
2. You can name their basic tribes/traditions/etc.
3. You know current and past players in those communities. You also know alternate forms of those races (hedge mages, changing breeds,
4. You start to know their histories and legends as fact, not crazy stories. You’ve heard part of the silver record, you know how Magick works, etc.
5. You have access to all knowledge potentially. A successful roll will let you know that the Bunyip are alive again, the Technocracy are responsible for horrible atrocities, the location of the fading Arcadia gateway.
Secrets is a skill/rating introduced used heavily in Chicago by Night. It is how much you know about the goings on in Chicago and essentially is Chicago Lore. It handles basic knowledge of the city that we can’t handle roleplaying out. If you want to know something that isn’t a plot point, you’ll roll this to see if you have discovered that yet.
I will treat this functionally as I treat Lores, but you will roll whatever skill applies to how you’re trying to accomplish it. Politics, investigation, or some other skill might apply given each unique roll.
Adventure Log and the Mission Format
Obsidian Portal comes complete with an Adventure Log system. It even allows back and future dating of posts, so we’ll be able to post them via the game timeline.
You’re used to the term “End of Story”. Since we are structuring this like a slow-reveal sci-fi mystery, I’m going to treat each of your Hound assignments as one episode, or Mission. I’ll mark the beginning and end of the mission on the Adventure Log.
I am also responsible for posting major events that were part of game sessions. I will provide a summary of that event with pertinent details. You, as characters, are responsible for adding details, and your own individual character events on the log. I need you to do this, and I’ll go as far as to say that if it’s not on the log, secret or otherwise, it didn’t happen. You can make a blank post with a journal entry or just a detail in the “Secrets” area. You can do these between games.
In exchange, I’ll provide XP per mission as listed below:
3 XP per mission: Provide details to my summaries, add your own individual events
6 XP per mission: As above, but also do some narrative or a short journal as well
9 XP per mission: As above, but in a long, in-character journal