Undertaking Designs

Vampiric Designs (stolen from BNS Werewolf: The Apocolypse Gamma Slice, Quests, and assumes some basic familiarity with it)

Vampiric conspiracies run throughout the World of Darkness; the machinations of the undead caught in the eternal Jyhad have shaped history since time immemorial.

Implementing these conspiracies in the mortal world is often a challenge, however, due to time constraints and limited Storyteller resources. A single Storyteller sitting at a kitchen table can weave secret societies and the machinations of the ancients for a small group without great difficulty; as the number of players increase, the chance that more will be left out or neglected grows as well. The intent of Vampiric Designs is to empower players to be able to participate in the higher order movements of the Jyhad, without monopolizing the Storyteller’s time and by encouraging players to work together- or, potentially, against each other.

Setting Forth a Design

A Design centers on a particular goal that the players want to achieve, and the parameters the Storyteller sets for accomplishing it.

Design Categories

  • A Simple Design is a short-term adventure, can be completed within a single game session, and is designed to have a low-level of impact. They should have easy-to-achieve outcomes.
  • A Grand Design is a conspiracy that requires several game sessions to come to fruition. A new component of the scenario is played each session until the design is completed or abandoned.
    Grand Designs typically involve a grander scope of impact to the setting, or allow for permanent alterations to a character sheet (such as gaining a Lore, buying off a flaw, or acquiring a merit)
  • A Monsterous Design is a conspiracy that is more complex and risky than a Grand Design, and can take as long as a year to complete. Monsterous Designs can serve as a focal point for a character’s efforts, and should be reserved for major impacts on the chronicle.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Designs can be used to force NPCs to take specific positions or actions. They cannot be used to so directly manipulate PCs. This is a dramatic conceit; live with it. Difficulty Ratings Each Design has a rating, from 1 to 5. The difficulty rating determines important parameters for completing the design.
  • For Simple Designs, each point of difficulty is a precondition the players must have to complete the Design.
  • For Complex Designs, each point of difficulty requires two preconditions. Additionally, a Complex Design requires a number of successful scenarios equal to the points of the difficulty rating.
    Until the Design is completed or abandoned, characters undertaking it have one fewer Downtime Action per game.
  • For Monsterous Designs, each point of difficulty requires three preconditions. Additionally, a Complex Design requires a number of successful scenarios equal to twice the points of the difficulty rating.
    Until the Design is completed or abandoned, characters undertaking it have one fewer Downtime Action per game, and have their maximum Willpower reduced by 1.

Simple Design Consequences

  • Gaining a Beast Trait
  • Causing a minor breech of the Masquerade (limited, not-credible witnesses; no hard evidence)
  • Echoes in the mortal world (characters with appropriate Contacts or Influence Actions may learn of the Design)
  • Lose 1 Willpower
  • Spend 3 Blood
  • Taking 2 points of Aggravated damage

Grand Design Consequences

  • Gaining two Beast Traits
  • Causing a modest breech of the Masquerade (limited hard evidence (photographs or fuzzy video); numerous, moderately credible witnesses)
  • Drawing the attention of an antagonistic group (mortal Hunters, servants of vampires of an opposing sect, a political enemy within the same sect)
  • Echoes in the mortal world (characters with appropriate Contacts or Influence Actions may learn of the Design)
  • Lose 2 Willpower
  • Spend 5 Blood
  • Taking 4 points of Aggravated damage
  • Loss of a Fleeting Status
  • Increase the number of successful scenarios by 1

Monsterous Design Consequences

  • Gaining three Beast Traits
  • Causing a major breech of the Masquerade (hard evidence, numerous credible witnesses)
  • Drawing the attention of a major antagonistic group (Imbued Hunters, Lupines, vampires of an opposing sect, etc)
  • Echoes in the mortal world (characters with appropriate Contacts or Influence Actions may learn of the Design)
  • Lose 2 Willpower
  • Spend 10 Blood
  • Taking 6 points of Aggravated damage
  • Loss of two Fleeting Status
  • Increase the number of successful scenarios by 2

Design Requirements

Aspect
This Design will require the support of an individual with some specific quality. Aspect Requirements are most common when manipulating NPCs.
Possible Aspect Requirements are things like: Clan, Sect Affiliation, or a specific Abiding Status or Position.

Skills
This Design will require the support of an individual with a specific skill, or specialization within a skill.
The support must come from a character with a number of dots in the skill equal to the difficulty rating.

Backgrounds
This Design will require the support of an individual with some specific Backgrounds.
In particular, Alternate Identity, Allies, Fame, Resources and Retainers are often needed, and may require multiple individuals with the Background working in accord; some backgrounds may also have a specialization requirement to meet.
The support must come from a character with a number of dots in the background equal to the difficulty rating.

Influence
Technically a Background, Influence is a sufficiently rich area that it bears special call out. Much as with Skills, a Design may require a specific specialization.
Influence requirements for Simple Designs are typically a single action with a rating equal to the difficulty.
Influence requirements for Grand Designs are typically two actions with a rating equal to the difficulty +2.
Influence requirements for Monsterous Designs are typically three actions with a rating equal to the difficulty +4.
As with Backgrounds, more than one Influence requirement may be needed.

Supernatural Ability
This Design will require the support of an individual with a specific Discipline or other supernatural power. The most common culprits here are Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate, Presence, and various Thaumaturgic and Necromantic rituals.
Sometimes, specific Merits may also be needed; for example, when trying to flush out a group of mortal hunters, support from someone with Whisper of Life or Personal Masquerade may be vital.

The Storyteller is the final arbiter on the scale, difficulty and preconditions of the Design, but they should listen to player input.

Undertake the Design

Once the Design’s preconditions are met, the leader of the Design makes a simple test with the Storyteller.

On a tie or loss, the leader choses a consequence which all members of the group suffer.
On a loss, in addition to the leader chosen consequence, each member of the group loses 1 Willpower.
If any member of the group is unable to meet the consequence, they are forced to withdraw.

After consequences have been applied, any members of the Design that wish to withdraw may do so. If the remaining group no longer meets the preconditions, or the leader withdraws, the design fails. Otherwise, the leader may try again or stall.

If they stall, no further progress can be made this month. However, no progress is lost, either. Vampires are immortal; their designs can span vast lengths of time.

Fluid Conspirators

Owing to the vagaries of ‘real life’ and vampiric politics, it may become neccesary to replace a conspirator after a Grand or Monsterous Design has begun. Each time this is done, it increases the number of succesful scenarios needed by 1.

Undertaking Designs

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