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Mav

Ancilla creation

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So, I am planning a game where the players will all be ancilla, rather than the mixed power levels they have in existing characters I want them to make new ones, however the rules for creating Ancilla are poor IMHO.

I want them to have a degree of flexability in creation with respectable stats but nothing excessive.

I was planning on something between the standard neonate stats and elder stats but they seem to weak to me.

I am leaning towards this but am unsure.

Starting Gen 12

Att 20

Abi 33

Disiplines 6 (4 must be in clan - can only have 1 other without merits)

Backgrounds 10

Virtues 6

FB 20

note - rather than using 7/5/3 or whatever I go for 18 dots to be spent on Attributes as they wish (as long as it makes some sense)

I will also add other backgrounds to make the PC's reflect what is required for the game (staus and boon plus mentor) and I will grant these gratis.

Have I missed anything? do you feel any of this is excessive?

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Curator

Ancillae,being probably the eldest Kindred in their area, should have Backgrounds commensurate with their standing and Status. So focus their attention on those: Allies, Contacts, Herd. Particularly Herd. Even the weaker neonates are finding it very hard to keep their activities a secret these days; how much moreso a centuried old crone with a face like alabaster and strength enough to rip up a tank as if it were an RSVP to a particularly tiresome event?

Resources should be absurdly high, mostly because Kindred only need to spend on clothing and the like, rather than food. The less ossified Kindred are perfectly capable of getting into taxis, or suborning a taxi firm in their domains and creating ghoul taxi drivers to ferry them about (chauffeurs and limos are often too ostentatious, even for Princes, but who's going to notice a cabbie driving around the streets?)

Boons are a bloody awful background to use. They are so easily used by rogue STs as blackmail fodder to railroad player characters into doing things they really don't want to do. The penalty for improper use of Boons in a game is an offended player baring his teeth and ripping up his character sheet rather than have a ST, or another player, have power over them.

Where your characters should really shine, however, is in Virtues and Humanity. They are in the unique position of being the rarest of the rare - Ancillae who have risen to where they are without sacrificing what they were; without too much compromising and giving away of what moral core they once had just to get by in the long, cold nights. No matter their external Demeanor - Fanatic, Monster, Deviant, whatever - make sure their Natures are of the more stable, even compassionate types - Pedagogue, Eye of the Storm, Guru, Enigma.

Most of all, make sure they have a lot of history. If they are in the 100+ y.o. category, everybody they ever knew from their breathing days is dead. For that reason, the campaign has to begin on the night after the funeral of the youngest Ancilla's oldest breathing relative.

Think about it. The coterie, for years, may have spent their nights looking after the interests of all of their breathing kith and kin, watching as one by one they all went gladly to the Reaper. They'd all mourned, including the youngest of the coterie; and eventually, just this one last relative was left, and the coterie would have pitched in to make sure her last days were spent in as much comfort as possible, until her passing at the age of 101 in the nursing home, surrounded by some very young people from a family the ancilla has never known.

That is the point that a neonate becomes an ancilla - when the last living being she ever knew, dies. And at that point, all the others in the coterie should look at one another, and sigh wistfully because their last neonate is now one of them. No more virgins left in the harem.

At that stage, if the players realise what you're laying out before them, they should begin to realise that from this time forward all they have is each other. If that happens, the dots on the page won't matter so much as how they use them.

I'd also like to throw in a look at the Backgrounds in a little more detail, as in what you can include and what you must exclude.

Backgrounds

• Allies — Mortal confederates. These will come and go over the years; a staunch Ally from your neonate days might still be around in some form, a senile old retired copper reminiscing about his life in a nursing home. The ancilla player should be well aware that these could be the third or fourth generation of Allies, and none of them may be aware of who this person was.

• Alternate Identity — A false identity, complete with documentation. Pretty much a given. Carmilla, from J Sheridan LeFanu's famous novel, pretty much rewrote her own history and name every twenty years or so. Your ancillae should be used to ripping up their oldlives on a regular basis by now, perhaps even setting up an alternate identity as a ripcord option and keeping it in reserve for when, not if, it is needed.

• Contacts — The information sources the character possesses. Same deal as for Allies, but even more so. Your ancilla should be like the mysterious voice on the end of the audio only chat window, requesting information in the dead of night, and leaving money and favours behind in dead letter drops.

• Domain — Feeding grounds acknowledged by Kindred society. This, Resources, Haven and Herd should be pretty much solid for your characters. They should not need to hunt in the streets any more.

• Fame — How well-known the character is among mortals. Forget this. Imagine if your characters were trying to seduce a new ghoul or Ally, and they really can't get over how much you look like that Heath Ledger chap. And Gods help the poor bastard who looks like Oliver Hardy - who'd ever take him seriously as the Prince?

Leaving out Generation. It's a power stat, a mere mechanic. It just defines what your character can do. Not who your character is.

• Herd — The vessels to which the character has free and safe access. Absolutely essential.

• Influence — The character’s political power within mortal society. Again, essential. The people being Influenced might no longer be the same people you once commanded, but these will fight and die for your character just as fanatically as their ancestors once did.

• Mentor — The Kindred patron who advises and supports the character. You can drop this one; chances are, your characters will be the Mentors of neonates, even neonates and Childer foisted upon them by the higher echelons of local Kindred society to "beat them into shape a bit."

• Resources — Wealth, belongings, and income. Should be obscenely high. Once you get to being an Elder, you get so used to dozens of people rushing to obey your slightest whims that the trappings of mortal wealth will seem ephemeral. Ancillae are the last kind of Kindred to recognise the power that comes with money - and the stratum best placed to use it strategically.

• Retainers — Followers, guards, and servants. Pretty much a given, moreso as characters edge closer to the rank of Elder.

• Status — The character’s standing in undead society. Should be high, but never too high to threaten the Prince. Perhaps the characters have held down several jobs during their reign - Hound, Sheriff, Hound again, Master of Elysium, Seneschal, then Sheriff again - and chances are they may be in a regular position of power as some of the oldest members of their Clan, if not the oldest.

Hope that helps.

Edited by Libra

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Att 20

...

note - rather than using 7/5/3 or whatever I go for 18 dots to be spent on Attributes as they wish (as long as it makes some sense)

This seems high to me. The typical 7/5/3 breakdown gives you 15 dots. Over many games and PCs, I usually see people use freebies to start their character with an extra couple Attr dots, and seldom do they raise during play. This may be just my group's attitude, but I see Attributes are somewhat defining of a character and far less prone to change than other traits like disciplines and abilities.

20 dots, plus extra freebies, will generate characters that have lots of 4s and 5s. Given a 4 is masterful, and 5 tends towards the pinnacle of human achievement, that feels more like what an elder, rather than ancilla should have. A cadre of characters who are that innately amazing at that many things feels a little dull. Give them around 16 or 17 dots and let each person have an area they shine at, rather than being masters of all. They can always put points in Abilities to get higher pools where they need it.

Your other point spreads seem reasonable to me.

I'll issue a word of caution (not discouragement!) on the five extra freebies. For my current campaign* I gave players a similar point boost in character creation. I was rather taken back by the power level this resulted in. I did a combination of increasing the power level of some NPCs, and just letting the PCs overpower others. They're commanding higher status within their domain than originally anticipated, and one may even make Bishop if he plays things right. This shifted the tone away from my original thoughts about the small-scale struggles of an individual pack caught up in a crusade, and grew to place the PCs more centrally within political events of our large, multi-domain metro area. If that level of power is what you want (though obviously the Camarilla analogue), then go for it.

* You can read the actual play write-up here: http://forums.white-...g=posts&t=55639

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Donor

Demon Cat, don't forget that they are playing Ancillae - they've already a few centuries to perfect what they were skillful at in their mortal lives.

And Libra, I'd say Mentor is as important for an Ancilla as a Neonate. You're the new mover-and-shaker on the block and any combined ally/guide/"friend" will be extremely valuable. And Generation - when you step up high enough in the political arena those with high generation are usually being excluded or heckled. It's the flip side of status and shouldn't be underestimated as an in-game tool either.

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I am going to make up a char or 3 using this selection then with slightly adjusted as suggested, as for staus? I am going to be play testing a system of my own.

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