These backgrounds are divided up for your ease of locating them, but don't only consider the ones specifically for your class, as those in 'General' apply to everyone. Also, 'Special' should be glanced over if you can't find exactly what you're looking for.
Allies are people who support and help you – family, friends or even a mortal organization that owes you some loyalty. Though allies aid you willingly, without coaxing or coercion, they are not always available to offer assistance; they have their own concerns and can do only so much in the name of friendship. However, they might have some useful Background traits of their own, and might provide you with indirect access to their contacts, influence or resources.
Allies are typically persons of influence and power within your home city. They can be of almost any sort pending ST permission; you may have friends in the precinct morgue, or perhaps even the mayor’s ear, depending on how many dots you spend in this trait. Your allies are generally trustworthy, though they probably don’t know of any supernatural nature you may possess. However, nothing comes for free; if you wind up drawing favors from your friends, they’ll probably ask you to return the favor sometime in the future. This often leads to the beginning of a story…
1 One Ally of moderate influence and power.
2 Two Allies, both of moderate power.
3 Three Allies, one of whom is quite influential.
4 Four Allies, one of whom is very influential.
5 Five Allies, one of whom is extremely influential.
You maintain an alternate identity outside your own, complete with papers, birth certificates or any other documentation you desire. Only a few man know your real name or identity. Your alternate persona may be highly involved in organized crime, a member of an opposing sect, a con artist who uses alternate identities for her game or you may gather information about your enemies as a spy. Indeed, some members of your sect may know you as one individual while other members believe you to be someone else entirely.
1- You are new to this identity game. Sometimes you slip and forget your other persona.
2- You are well grounded in your alternate identity. You are convincing enough to play the part of a doctor, lawyer, funeral salesman, drug-smuggler or a capable spy.
3- You have a fair reputation as your alternate persona and get name-recognition in the area where you have infiltrated.
4- Your alternate identity has respect and trust within your area of infiltration.
5- You command respect in your area of infiltration and you may even have accumulated a bit of Status. You have the trust (or at least the recognition) of many powerful individuals within your area.
You know people all over the city. When you start making phone calls around your network, the amount of information you can dig up is almost terrifying. Contacts are largely people whom you can bribe, manipulate or coerce into offering information, but you also have a few major contacts – friends whom you can rely on to give you accurate information in their fields of expertise. You should describe each major contact in some detail before the game begins.
In addition to your major contacts, you also have a number of minor contacts spread throughout the city; your major contact might be in the district attorney’s office, while your minor contacts might include beat cops, DMV clerks, club bouncers or even hot-dog vendors. You need not detail these various “passing acquaintances” before play; instead, to successfully get in touch with a minor contact, you should roll your Contacts rating (dif. 7). You can reach one minor contact for each success; of course, you still have to coerce them into telling you what you need to hear.
1- One major contact
2- Two major contacts
3- Three major contacts
4- Four major contacts
5- Five major contacts
You enjoy widespread recognition in mortal society, perhaps as an entertainer, writer or athlete. People may enjoy just being seen with you. This gives you all manner of privileges when moving in mortal society, but can also attract an unwanted amount of attention now that you’re no longer alive. The greatest weapon fame has to offer is the ability to sway public opinion – as modern media constantly proves.’
This Background is obviously a mixed blessing. You can certainly enjoy the privileges of your prestige – getting the best seats, being invited to events you’d otherwise miss, getting appointments with the elite – but you’re also often recognized when you’d rather not be. However, your enemies can’t just make you disappear without causing an undue stir, and you find it much easier to hunt in populated areas as people flock to you (reduce the difficulties of hunting rolls by one for each dot in Fame). Additionally, your Storyteller might permit you to reduce difficulties of Social rolls against particularly star-struck or impressionable people.
1- You’re known to a select subculture of the city – local club-goers or the Park Avenue set, for instance.
2- A majority of the populace recognizes your face; you’re a local celebrity such as a news anchor.
3- You have statewide renown; perhaps you’re a state senator or a minor star of local interest.
4- Nationally famous; everybody knows something about you.
5- You’re an internationally famous media icon.
You have pull in the mortal community, whether through wealth, prestige, political office, blackmail or supernatural manipulation. Kindred with high Influence can sway, and in rare cases even control, the political and social processes of human society. Influence represents the sum of your political power in your community, particularly among the police and bureaucracy.
Some rolls may require you to use Influence in place of an Ability, particularly when attempting to sway minor bureaucrats. It is, of course, always easier to institute sweeping changes on a local level than a worldwide scale (e.g., having an “abandoned” building demolished is relatively easy, while starting a war is a bit more difficult).
1- Moderately influential; a factor in city politics
2- Well-connected; a force in state politics
3- Position of influence; a factor in regional politics
4- Broad personal power; a force in national politics
5- Vastly influential; a factor in global politics
Research is an integral part of magical practices. You must learn about the mundane world if you are to command the Otherworld as well. No magician worth the name shuns an opportunity to learn, and an extensive library reflects the facts you keep within arm’s reach. This private archive includes several rare and possibly mystical works in addition to a host of normal books. Naturally, this Backgrounds assumes you have someplace to store a library; with modern technology, however, this isn’t as hard as it once was.
Such resources aren’t always books. Scrolls, databases, and even friends who know a lot of folklore can be considered libraries if you can study continuously, access the information at will, and find what you’re looking for.
A library comes in handy when you’re spending experience points. By rolling your Library rating (diff 7) while learning a new Knowledge or Path, you can save one experience point for every success you win (minimum cost: one experience points). You may roll only once for each learned skill, and must spend at least a week in heavy research to do so.
Magicians sharing a common sanctuary may pool their archives together for mutual use. Thus, this Background can be pooled so long as the means allow it and the characters stay together.
1 - A collection of New-Age paperbacks.
2 - A few notable works and lots of superficial stuff.
3 - A handful of rare and ancient books, and vast mundane resources.
4 - An impressive collection of occult and mortal lore.
5 - A horde of lost secrets, a sea of common wisdom.
This trait represents an elder – or possibly even more than one – who looks out for you, offering guidance or aid once in a while. A mentor may be powerful, but his power need not be direct. Depending on the number of dots in this Background, your mentor might be nothing more than a vampire with a remarkable information network, or might be a centuries-old creature with tremendous influence and supernatural power. He may offer advice, speak to the prince (or archbishop) on your behalf, steer other elders clear of you or warn you when you’re walking into situations you don’t understand.
Most often your mentor is your sire, but it could well be any Cainite with a passing interest in your well-being. A high Mentor rating could even represent a group of like-minded vampires, such as elders of the city’s Tremere chantry.
Bear in mind that this trait isn’t a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card; your mentor won’t arrive like the cavalry whenever you’re endangered. What’s more, she might occasionally expect something in return for her patronage (which can lead to a number of interested stories). A mentor typically remains aloof, giving you useful information or advice out of camaraderie, but will abandon you without a thought if you prove an unworthy or troublesome “apprentice.”
1- Mentor is an ancilla of little influence
2- Mentor is respected; an elder, for instance
3- Mentor is heavily influential, such as a member of the primogen
4- Mentor has a great deal of power over the city; a prince or archbishop, for example.
5- Mentor is extraordinarily powerful, perhaps even a justicar or Inconnu
This trait describes your personal financial resources, or your access to such. A high Resources rating doesn’t necessarily reflect your liquid assets; this Background describes your standard of “living,” your possessions and your buying power. No dots in Resources is just that: You have no permanent haven and no possessions save a few clothes and possibly a weapon or a pocketful of coins.
You receive a basic allowance each month based on your rating; be certain to detail exactly where this money comes from, be it a job, trust fund or dividends. After all, your fortune may well run out over the course of the chronicle, depending on how well you maintain it. You can also sell your less liquid resources if you need the cash, but this can take weeks or even months, depending on what exactly you’re trying to sell. Art buyers don’t just pop out of the woodwork, after all.
1- Small savings: a small apartment and maybe a motorcycle. If liquidated, you would have about $1000 in cash. Allowance of $500 a month.
2- Middle class: an apartment or condominium. If liquidated, you would have at least $8000 in cash. Allowance of $1200 a month.
3- Large savings: a homeowner or someone with some equity. If liquidated, you would have at least $50,000 in cash. Allowance of $3000 a month.
4- Well-off: a member of the upper class. You own a very large house, or perhaps a dilapidated mansion. If liquidated, you would have at least $500,000 in cash. Allowance of $9,000 a month.
5- Ridiculously affluent: a multimillionaire. Your haven is limited by little save your imagination. If liquidated, you would have at least $5,000,000 in cash. Allowance of $30,000 a month.
Not precisely allies or contacts, your retainers are servants, assistants or other people who are loyal and steadfast companions. Many vampires’ servants are ghouls – their supernatural powers and blood bond-enforced loyalty make them the servants of choice. Retainers may also be people whom you’ve repeatedly Dominated until they have no free will left, or followers so enthralled with your Presence that their loyalty borders on blind fanaticism. Some vampires, particularly those with the Animalism Discipline, use “hellhounds” (ghouled dogs) or other an animal ghouls as retainers.
You must maintain some control over your retainers, whether through a salary, the gift of your vitae or the use of Disciplines. Retainers are never “blindly loyal no matter what” – if you treat them too poorly without exercising strict control, they might well turn on you.
Retainers may be useful, but they should never be flawless. A physically powerful ghoul might be rebellious, inconveniently dull-witted or lacking in practical skills. A loyal manservant might be physically weak or possess no real personal initiative or creativity. This Background isn’t an excuse to craft an unstoppable bodyguard or pet assassin – it’s a method to bring more fully developed characters into the chronicle, as well as to reflect the Renfieldesque followers for which the Kindred are notorious. Don’t abuse it.
1- One retainer
2- Two retainers
3- Three retainers
4- Four retainers
5- Five retainers