Every Vampire character has Attributes; they represent the basic potential of every person in the world, as well as most other living (and unliving) things.
Most people have Attribute scores between 1 (poor) and 3 (good), though exceptionally gifted individuals may have scores of 4 (excellent) or even 5 (peak human capacity). Some vampire elders, those of strong Blood, are rumored to have scores higher still.
Some characters are especially good at particular applications of their Traits. For example, a painter might be particularly good at portraits, a baseball player might be adept at catching fly balls, and a brawler might be infamous for his low blows. To represent this, characters with scores of 4 or higher in Attributes or Abilities may choose specialties for those Traits.
A specialty is a particular subcategory of an Attribute or Ability - thus, a character with a Strength 5 might choose to be especially adept in "deadlifting," while a character with Investigation 4 might be a whiz at "ballistics." Whenever a player makes a die roll involving an activity in which her character has specialized, she may take any die that comes up "10," tally the success normally, then reroll that die in an attempt to accumulate extra successes. If the rerolled die also comes up "10," she may continue to reroll for still further successes. This process continues until no further "10s" are rolled.
Physical Attributes define the condition of a character's body. They indicate how strong, agile and resilient a character is. Physical Attributes should be taken as the primary category for an action-oriented character.
Simon winced as blow after blow landed on the other side ofthe hotel door. His sire was right: The war packs of the Sabbat were terribly tenacious. Unless he managed to keep the door held against them while Josephine called the police, Simon was as good as gone. Envisioning himself and Josephine torn to ribbons under the Sabbat's talons, Simon braced himself against the door for another hail of blows.
Strength is the raw, brute power of a character. It governs how much weight a character can lift, how much he can physically push and how hard he can hit another character or object. The Strength Trait is added to a character's damage dice pool when he hits his opponent in hand-to-hand combat. It is also used when a character wishes to break, lift or carry something, as well as when a character tries to jump a distance.
Specialties: Iron Grip, Powerful Arms, Reserves of Strength, Fists Like Anvils
Poor: You can lift 40 lbs.
Average: You can lift 100 lbs.
Good: You can lift 250 lbs.
Exceptional: You can lift 400 lbs.
Outstanding: You can lift 650 lbs. and crush skulls like grapes.
A sheer layer of blood-sweat glistened on Serina's forehead. Her prey knew he was being followed, so her ability to strike quickly and with surprise was paramount. Serina managed to climb the fire escape almost silently, knowing that the man would seek refuge in this alley. Ah, there he was! Baring her fangs andclaws, Serina erupted from her ill-lit perch as her prey panted for what would soon be his last breath.
The Dexterity Attribute measures a character's general physical prowess. It encompasses the character's speed, agility and overall quickness, as well as indicating the character's ability to manipulate objects with control and precision. Also included under Dexterity's heading are hand-eye coordination, reflexes and bodily grace.
Specialties: Lithe, Swift, Feline Grace, Lightning Reflexes
Poor: You are clumsy and awkward. Put that gun down before you hurt yourself.
Average: You're no clod, but you're no ballerina, either.
Good: You possess some degree of athletic potential
Exceptional: You could be an acrobat if you wished.
Outstanding: Your movements are liquid and hypnotic - almost superhuman.
Simon awoke to find himself bound to a chair with heavy chains, the prince's enforcer looming over him.
"It seems your little Sabbat friends left you high and dry, no?"
"They're not my friends. They came after me and Josephine," Simon spat through tattered lips.
"Why would you lie to me, Simon?" crooned his captor. "Just tell me the truth, and this will all be over…." The brute pushed up his sleeve and hammered Simon in the face, cracking bone and spattering blood.
Hang in there, Simon thought to himself. They can't beat it out of you if you don't let them.
The Stamina Trait reflects a character's health, toughness and resilience. It indicates how long a character can exert herself and how much punishment she can withstand before suffering physical trauma. Stamina also includes a bit of psychic fortitude, indicating a character's grit and tenacity not to give up.
Specialties: Tireless, Determined, Tough as Nails, Resolute
Poor: You bruise in a stiff wind.
Average: You are moderately healthy and can take a punch or two.
Good: You are in good shape and rarely fall ill.
Exceptional: You can run - and perhaps win - any marathon you choose.
Outstanding: Your constitution is truly Herculean.
Despite their solitary predilections, vampires use human society like building blocks to advance their schemes. Social Attributes delineate a character's appearance, charm and ability to interact with society. These Traits are paramount in determining a character's first impressions, personal dynamics and relations with other individuals.
The prince pushed the curtain aside and walked out before the assembled council of the city's primogen. Their petty side conversations and guarded whispers stopped as the prince took his place at the head of the table, smiling at them with the look of a predator. Despite their differences of opinion, personal vendettas and centuries-oid hatreds, they still accepted the prince as their superior. None could contest the ancient vampire's overwhelming force of personality.
"See how they love me, even in their hate?" commented the prince to his childe, who stood behind the chair next to him. "Let them know who's in charge, and you'll have them drinking out of your hand."
Charisma is a character's ability to entice and please others through her personality. Charisma comes into question when a character tries to win another character's sympathies or encourage others to trust her. Charisma does not indicate necessarily a silver tongue or a skill with bullying. Rather, it is the simple power of a character's charm and influence. Charisma delineates a character's ability at convincing others to see her point of view.
Specialties: Smooth Talker, Genteel, Urbane, Witty, Eloquent Speaker, Graceful
Poor: Stop picking your nose.
Average: You are generally likable and have several friends.
Good: People trust you implicitly.
Exceptional: You have significant personal magnetism.
Outstanding: Entire cultures could follow your lead.
Daphne looked at Lucasz as if he were the only Kindred in the city who could heIp her. He already trusted her, the foot, and now alt she had to do was convince him that he needed to go talk to that bastard Barzeski.
"Lucasz, you're the only one who can do it. I'm on such bad terms with them that Barzeski won't even listen to me anymore. Plus, if you start leaning on them now, they'll be too intimidated to come after you later."
Lucasz' face softened a bit - she had him! Now, with any luck, he and Barzeski would kill each other while they were at the table, and she'd be rid of two thorns in her side.
Manipulation measures a character's ability for self-expression in the interests of getting others to share her outlook or follow her whims. In short, it's getting others to do what she wants. Manipulation comes into play when a character tries to influence or subtly guide another's behavior. Manipulation is used to trick, bluff, fast-talk and railroad other characters. Whether or not the characters in question actually like the manipulator is irrelevant (this is why Manipulation differs from Charisma); a skilled motivator can even employ the talents of people who hate her.
Manipulation is a dangerous affair, especially among the Kindred (though it is their coin of the realm). Failed attempts at manipulation often earn the ire of the would-be patsy. Botching a Manipulation roll may add a name to the character's list of enemies.
People are manipulated every day, and typically ignore it. ("Would you run to the store for me?") If the fact is brought to their attention, however, most people get quite defensive. Manipulation can be the most powerful tool in a Kindred's repertoire, but failure can be disastrous. Characters with high Manipulation ratings are often distrusted by those around them.
Specialties: Persuasive, "Damn I'm Smooth," Seductive, Well-Reasoned
Poor: A person of few (often ineffectual) words.
Average: You can fool some of the people some of the time, just like anybody else.
Good: You never pay full price.
Exceptional: You could be a politician or cult leader.
Outstanding: "Of course I'll tell the prince it was I who tried to stake him!"
"Well, Harrick, let's see who the Toreador have pulled from the bottom of their collective shoe to discuss this matter with us, shall we?" Jervis Graves pulled a fat Cuban cigar from his desk drawer and struck a match, flinching instinctively from the tiny flame. "Bring them in!" Graves bellowed at his attendant, ashes tumbling from the cigar's tip.
The cigar hit the table at the same time Graves' jaw hit the floor. In walked the ugliest woman ]ervis had ever seen - and he'd even seen some of the Nosferatu.
"Caine's blood, creature, that face could send me into torpor."
"Yes, sir, " replied the Kindred calmly. "And now shouldn't we discuss the matter of…"
"No, not at all, " Graves cut her off. "Tell the 'artistes' that if they want to do business with Jervis Graves, they need to send someone who still looks human."
The Appearance Attribute is a measure of a character's attractiveness. More than simple looks, however, Appearance is the sum of a character's visible grace, beauty and the indefinable je ne sais quoi that makes people desirable.
Appearance is both more and less than words - it appeals to the lower levels of the psyche, so it shapes first impressions and the nature of memories thereafter. No matter how open-minded a person is, no matter how vehemently he claims, "Her personality is more important than her looks," a person still thinks of another in relation to the subject's appearance.
This Trait is used for more than getting potential vessels to heed your beckon across a crowded dance floor. In situations in which first impressions are paramount, or that involve people who view Appearance as very important, a character may have no more dice in a Social dice pool than her Appearance score. Thus, it is critically important to either look your best or get to know people before you start trying to convince them to firebomb the justicar's haven.
Poor: Ugly as a mud fence.
Average: You don't stand out in a crowd, for better or for worse.
Good: Strangers offer to buy you drinks at bars.
Exceptional: You are appealing enough to be a model, and people often go out of their way to tell you so.
Outstanding: People react to you with either insane jealousy or beatific awe.
Mental Attributes define a character's cerebral capacities, including such aspects as memory, intelligence, awareness of one's surroundings and the ability to think, learn and react.
Lucasz sat on the leather divan, jacket unbuttoned, hands in his lap, waiting for his odd host to enter the room. Above the musky scent of the leather, Lucas? caught a whiff of.. .poppies?… and heard the clink of glass on glass.
A stooped man with a beaklike nose - probably Barpeski's ghoul servant - limped into the room, a fluted glass on a service in his hand. "An aperitif while the lord dresses, sweet guest?" the ghoul rasped.
"If it's all the same toyou, I prefer my vitae without laudanum," answered Lucasz.
The ghout blanched.
Perception measures a character's ability to observe his environment. This may involve a conscious effort, such as searching an area, but it is more often intuitive, as the character's keen senses notice something out of the ordinary. Perception is a sensitivity to the character's surroundings, and is seldom present in the cynical or jaded (who have seen it all before).
Perception is used to determine whether or not a character understands a given situation or detects an environmental stimulus. It can warn a character of ambushes, help a character identify a metaphor, distinguish a clue from a pile of refuse or uncover any other hidden or overlookable detail, whether physical or otherwise.
Specialties: Attentive, Insightful, Careful, Discerning, Experienced
Poor: Perhaps you are absurdly self-absorbed, perhaps merely an airhead; in any event, even the most obvious details elude you.
Average: You are oblivious to the very subtle, but aware of the bigger picture.
Good: You perceive moods, textures and minuscule changes in your environment.
Exceptional: Almost nothing evades your notice.
Outstanding: You instantly observe things almost imperceptible to human senses.
Aisling stared at the fragile manuscript, wondering why it refused to make sense. The symbols were all in order, the invocations were clearly defined, and the motions were even illustrated correctly. Why wouldn't the damn thing work, then? It was as if whatever backward magician had scrawled this thing had left out some basic but vital element.
Aisting toughed oioud as she heid the book before a mirror. There were the symbols. Working through the alphabet in reverse, she transcribed the proper verses from the page, and practiced the motions in opposite order. She had broken the primitive code.
The Intelligence Attribute refers to a character's grasp of facts and knowledge. More importantly, however, it governs a character's ability to reason, solve problems and evaluate situations. Intelligence is almost a misnomer, as the Attribute also includes critical thinking and flexibility of thought.
Intelligence does not include savvy, wisdom or common sense, as those are properties of the character's personality, not Traits. Even the smartest character may be too foolish to keep her mouth shut or too daft to assume the thugs who want her car keys are up to no good.
Characters with low Intelligence aren't necessarily stupid (though they might be), they are just uneducated or simple thinkers. Likewise, characters with high Intelligence aren't all Einsteins; they may be better at rote memorization or have particularly keen judgment.
Specialties: Book Knowledge, Creative, Analytical, Problem Solver, Subject Authority
Poor: Not the sharpest knife in the drawer (IQ 80).
Average: Smart enough to realize you're normal (IQ 100).
Good: More enlightened than the masses (IQ 120).
Exceptional: You're not just bright, you're downright brilliant (IQ 140).
Outstanding: Certified genius (IQ 160+).
Lucasz leaped from the divan as the first waves of hot smoke wisped through the floorboards. First poison, and now this!
Looking to the door, Lucasz figured it must be bracedfrom the outside. The window overlooked the bay, and using that exit would mean a fall of a few hundred feet. The ventilation ducts were far too small for Kindred to crawl through.
Lucasz looked up. The crawlspace. The Fiend surely couldn't have compartmentalized the thin gap between the floors. Simply crawl up there, burst back through above the hallway, and bolt out the front door.
Lucasz turned the divan on its side, climbed atop and hammered his way through the plaster ceiling with his fists. Now it was only a question of what remained outside.
The Wits Trait measures the character's ability to think on her feet and react quickly to a certain situation. It also reflects a character's general cleverness. Characters with low Wits scores are thick and mentally lethargic, or maybe gullible and unsophisticated. By contrast, characters with high Wits Traits almost always have a plan immediately and adapt to their surroundings with striking expedience. Characters with high Wits also manage to keep their cool in stressful situations.
Specialties: Getting the Jump on Others, Snappy Patter, Changes in Strategy, Ambushes
Poor: Pull my finger.
Average: You know when to bet or fold in poker.
Good: You are seldom surprised or left speechless.
Exceptional: You're one of the people who make others think, "Ooh, I should have said…" the next day.
Outstanding: You think and respond almost more quickly than you can act.