(Hopefully) Short Hiatus

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I hate to break my nearly four year string of at-least-weekly posts, but between my new job eating my primary creative cycles, the Vampire game taking up what’s left, and prepping for a big move, I’m dangerously close to feeling like I’m phoning the blog in just to keep it updated every week. Hell, I haven’t really even seen very many new movies for SNFO. So I’m going to start pushing any ideas I have ahead a couple of months to try to build up a good pad for when I start back up again, hopefully including actually getting time to work on my (Kickstarter-addiction-fueled) backlog of systems to review.

In the meantime, you can keep track of what I’m doing on the Vampire game directly at Obsidian Portal (though, that too will slow down until next year once we’re out of character creation).

Alternate Vampire Backgrounds

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Yeah, it’s another Vampire post.

On starting to put together a game, I noticed that some of the backgrounds had explicit benefits, while others were entirely based on fiat (how useful is a dot of Retainer vs. a dot of Resources?). This is an attempt to make every background at least have some explicit system effect that can’t be produced from another source. I don’t know if they’re actually balanced against one another, but they should each generally give some kind of predictable mechanical benefit.

Three backgrounds are removed from the standard list because they are subsumed into group generation or other city systems (Allies, Generation, and Influence), and because Generation is too desirable of a buy to be left to a cheap background. Three others are newly added to address certain elements that lost their position as skills in my game (Linguistics) or were Merits not easily reproducible with Distinctions (Arcane and Touched). I also drastically reduced Resources, as being a millionaire always drastically changed the game too much for a very cheap buy.

  • Arcane: You have a subtle supernatural field that makes you hard to find, follow, or even remember. Your dots in this background are added to any Stealth rolls to blend into a crowd. They are a dice penalty to anyone attempting to track you or research information about you (trails and records go missing). Recordings of you tend to blur or have static and lose one identifying feature per dot. You cannot buy Fame if you have any dots in this background.
  • Contacts: You have contacts throughout the city not directly tied to your Influence structure that feed you information and help you out when possible. Once per night, you may ask a question and roll Contacts to find out information about it (the difficulty and required successes depend on the obscurity and relevance of the information). You can use Contacts to gain Influence favor points.
  • Fame: You are a local celebrity within the city. You can add your dots in this background to any social rolls against targets impressed by your renown and who recognize you. You can use Fame to gain Influence favor points. It is difficult for opponents to try to marginalize you or remove you secretly, and you can add your dots to your defense against Status loss.
  • Herd: You have a safe hunting area, dedicated blood dolls, access to a blood bank, or some other easy way of finding blood. Your dots are added as extra blood points to whatever number the GM tells you to start at for a session and added as bonus dice to any rolls to hunt in the city.
  • Linguistics: You fluently speak one additional language per dot in this background. You may roll the background (plus Charisma) to make yourself understood in related languages in which you are not fluent (difficulty depending on how closely related your fluent languages are). Dead languages are generally covered by Academics unless you want to be conversationally fluent in them.
  • Mentor: Your sire or another elder has decided to be especially helpful to your education and passage into Camarilla society. You can learn any traits your Mentor surpasses you at faster: your dots count as additional “weeks” each month that you can dedicate toward improving such traits. You may add your dots as a bonus to any social rolls against your mentor. If your mentor is present at a social gathering, you may add your dots to your defense against Status loss.
  • Resources: You have wealth and the capability to make more. You generally have your rating in this background squared times $100 in free cash at any given time (resetting the next week if spent). Similarly, your rating squared times $10,000 roughly indicates your yearly gross salary and general lifestyle. All numbers are in 2012 dollars. You can temporarily expend dots to make larger purchases by taking on credit or mortgages. You can use Resources to gain Influence favor points.
  • Retainers: You have several loyal mortal assistants: friends, employees, or ghouls. Each dot represents one relatively complicated (but not dangerous) errand you can have accomplished which would otherwise take your full attention (or require going out in daylight) and a significant fraction of your time. You can use Retainers to gain Influence favor points.
  • Status: You have a rank within a large organization (and this background can be purchased multiple times to represent different organizations). One dot indicates entry level, while five indicates the highest rank possible that is not in direct control of the organization (these titles vary from status to status). You can use your status in mortal organizations to improve your Influence. Status within the Camarilla cannot be purchased, but must be earned and defended in play, and indicates your social clout among Kindred in the city.
  • Touched:You have one or more strange abilities that are holdovers from your mortal life. Spend the dots in this background to select from the following abilities (and you cannot buy more than five points worth of abilities representing five dots in this background):
    • Magic Resistant (X): You increase your resistance pool to Thaumaturgy and mortal magic by the number of dots invested in this power. You cannot learn magic.
    • Medium (1): You can sense the presence of ghosts and communicate with them.
    • Prescient (2): You sometimes receive premonitions of the future and can enter a trance to deliberately invoke such a vision. You add +1 to your Initiative rolls and have a minimum of 1 success on Perception rolls to detect danger.
    • Lucky (2): You gain an additional Distinction, “Lucky,” that can be used on any task heavily controlled by chance.
    • Unbondable (3): You cannot be blood bound, no matter how much vitae you drink.
    • Neutral (4): You are mysteriously immune to Dominate or other direct mind-control effects. Presence still affects you normally.
    • True Faith (5): You can manifest your faith through a holy symbol to drive back or harm other Kindred. You can invoke minor miracles in especially appropriate situations. You are not harmed by the true faith of others.
    • Former Ghoul (5): You were granted the Embrace after service as a ghoul. You gain a dot of Potence but start play blood bound to your sire.

Serial Numbers Filed Off: Memory Problems

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D&D: Keepsake

“Have I told you about our party Curse? Soon after we started adventuring, we got in a fight with a lich who was way too powerful for us. Instead of just wiping us out, he cursed us. Every time we level we forget everything that happened since we were hit by the curse. We leave lots of notes for ourselves, and we keep trying to track him down and see if he can remove the curse… or at least make him pay for all the grief we’ve suffered.”

  • Game starts at maximum level on the adventure to finally defeat the lich.
  • Each time the party would hit an adventure milestone and level, instead remove a level.
  • Start them back at the previous milestone where new context starts forming.

“Gozreh’s Oath” the Trident of Azlant

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(Minor SPOILERS for Curse of the Crimson Throne)

Early on in my Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign, the random treasure generator spit up a +3 Holy, Axiomatic, Icy Burst, Cleaving, Keen Trident. It was treasure in the lair of a cult of undeath worshippers. What would a passel of Chaotic Evil Urgathoans be doing carrying a weapon that is terribly deadly to them while they infiltrated a city? What were they doing with a weapon that had so many carrier effects as to render it off the scale of costs for magic items? Clearly, it must be a paladin’s weapon. And why did they also find a Rod of Cancellation in the same hoard?

This gave me a chance to do some really fun meta world building.

The party eventually learned its name and spoke to some druids of Gozreh, who indicated that, of course, their True Neutral deity would never call paladins… well… there were some ancient rumors that he had called a few back in Azlant to fight against the aboleths.

And, meanwhile, the intellect within the trident was waking up, and sharing dreams with the wielder…

Gozreh’s Oath, Dream 1

A very attractive woman (in a gothy, evil way), dressed in well-made but nondescript traveling clothes, gestures toward you with the rod of cancellation, using it as a prop to accent her conversation. You see her against the walls of what you know to be her (and then Rolth’s) bedroom, talking to several of the Urgathoan priests that were tending the disease pit. Her voice is cultured and pleasantly forceful, breathy but with an undercurrent of menace. You expect she spent years practicing to get the sexy evil death cultist tones just right.

“The ritual is working. It’s quiescent. But I’m not convinced that it’s completely asleep yet, and I doubt this rod will actually work while it wakes. I can’t risk taking it with me by ship, obviously. So I’m trusting you to keep enacting the ritual until it’s finally completely suppressed. Get Rolth to check it every few days. As soon as it’s asleep, use this on it. Whether or not it works, find the deepest part of the undercity you can reach and bury the foul thing deep enough that no one will ever find it.”

Once the cultists indicate that they’ve understood the instructions, she sets the Rod on the dresser, gives you one last, wary glance, and then heads out of the room, the cultists picking up several bags and trunks and wandering out behind her.

Gozreh’s Oath, Dream 2

Light spills upon you. It’s been forever since even this simple caress of torchlight. You have no idea how long you’ve been in darkness.

The torch is wielded by a cruel-looking man, followed by a small and mean-looking one. They wear black adorned with sigils of undeath.

“It’s probably high time this thing was out of here,” the torchbearer explains. “See if we can finally destroy it, or at least put it to rest somewhere much further away. It’s still dangerous, but it’s not got any divine eye upon it any longer. Hasn’t in some time.”

“What about Gozreh?” asks the other.

“Best to keep it away from the sea and out of storms, you’re right, keep the temptation away from Him to meddle. But He can’t take any direct actions regarding it outside His domain, if the histories are correct. After all, He made an oath…”

A different place. Light. Memories of bright colors. The sound of the sea.

“You’ve taken your oaths and put your soul in the hands of Gozreh, today. But I’d be honored to put this in your own hands,” says the handsome, dark haired and bronze-skinned man, offering you a silk-swathed bundle. Long, thin, and bulky at one end. You stifle a remark about phallic gifts and another about forced metaphors. He’s always been much better at battlefield speeches than at talking to family.

And as you unwrap the magnificently worked trident, all thoughts of sibling rivalry evaporate. This will truly make you the envy of the other novitiates. On first touching it you feel a bond begin to form between you and the foundational spells on the weapon. This isn’t just a work of art, but an enchanter’s masterpiece. You can already tell that it will grow as your own power does, working in harmony with your training.

With no words, you simply embrace your big brother in thanks for the princely gift…

And feel hands muffled by cloth tight around you, not silks this time but spellwoven corpse blankets.

“I think we’ll drop it off with the Urgathoans. Destroying this thing would be something to crow about for them, most like, so they’ll be keen to do it. I expect they’ll set it up as a challenge for their up and comers. You might not be able to trust their motives, but you can certainly trust their power lust.

“Let’s get a trunk. I don’t like it this close to me. I can feel it thinking…

“But we’ll soon put a stop to that.”

Gozreh’s Oath, Dream 3

“It’s not a star… it’s a weapon.” Your brother’s face is lined with the days of work it took him to discover this horrifying fact. “They pulled it from the outer realms. Possibly beyond even this reality. It’s aimed at the heart of Azlant.”

“Do they hate us that much?” you ask, spinning your trident in a years-old nervous tic.

“Hate us and fear us. It was inevitable, but they’ve never had much in the way of foresight. For all their great powers and intelligence, they just don’t see the possibilities the way we do. Case in point… as far as I can tell, the coming cataclysm will be almost as bad for them as for us. They’ll shatter our land with enough force to drive it under the sea, and the force will warp the rest of the world under water and above.”

“Can we stop it?”

He gives you a look you’ve seen only a few times, but enough to know what it means: he’s thinking about giving you a comforting lie. But it’s not in his nature. “Not even the gods can stop it. I think they’ll be using all their powers to protect the Vault. To keep the impact from freeing the great beast.”

“And how sure are you that the aboleths will fall with us?”

“They’ve at least tried to protect themselves, as much as planning makes sense to them. They’ve made a few places that might be safe, to let them hide and rebuild.”

“Then I know what I’m doing with my last days. The Church has been preparing to take the fight to them for years, we just didn’t expect such an overwhelming attack. But, if we’re already doomed, there’s no reason not to give everything we have. If we can destroy these sanctuaries, maybe we can keep them from working their evil on whatever comes next.” The fear is big, but vague. Your resolve is a plan right in front of you, and that keeps the fear at bay. You stop spinning the trident and grip it firmly.

He thinks about trying to stop you. You can see it passing across his face. But you’ve also learned to tell when he already knew what you were going to do, and has resigned himself. You’ve always enjoyed making your own decisions, even if your big brother is enough of a genius that he could tell you what they’ll be. Instead, he just nods and holds out his hand in farewell.

And you surprise him, for the first time in your life, when you give him the trident instead of your hand. “Keep this. I’ve had it long enough, imprinted it well enough, that I think it’s on the verge of waking up. If anyone can survive this, it’ll be you. And it’s enough of me to keep you honest.”

Your biggest regret is always not getting to see your own raids on the aboleth sanctuaries.

Instead, you spend the last days of Azlant as an inanimate weapon in the lab, your brother working furiously, racing against time. Literally. You remember snippets of research, curses at the Runelords of Thassilon for their foolishness, and a simple-looking boat hiding equations meaningful only to the greatest scientist of the empire. If he’d had a young child or other loved one, he might have given his seat away. And the world would have been much poorer for it.

On the last day of Azlant, the Starstone brighter than the sun, he places you and a few other useful and cherished possessions in his ark and climbs aboard. He activates the device and you simply…

…skip the cataclysm. He cries a little the first few days, drifting on the roiling sea above his home. But then he gets down to business.

They’ll come to regard him as an immortal, but that’s not technically true. While he does manage much more than the brief human span common after the fall of the empire, for he is a master of many arts, few suspect that he is simply spending his days where they will do the most good. He sees a plan in the future, and uses his ark to save his mortal span for eras where he can make the best use of his time.

You’re never privy to the whole plan, but you never were in life either. Suffice it to say that five thousand years actually amount to a few busy decades. And then you get a front-row seat to the Starstone, the death of Azlant, being raised from the ocean floor. He makes it seem inevitable, almost effortless. Though it’s covered with the rocky remains of its impact, you can easily sense the powerful, otherworldly crystal hidden within. He wastes no time cutting a hole big enough to enter.

You float on the ark for hours until he walks out a god.

His first act with his newfound power surprises you. It’s been decades of time for him and millennia for Golarion. He has just made himself a god with the weapon that destroyed his race. Surely, there is a time-sensitive next step in a grand plan to fix everything that will be pivotal for the world.

So you’re shocked to find yourself, after a quick planar jaunt, standing in the halls of Gozreh’s fallen. It’s exactly like you were taught in seminary, presumably due to good descriptions from the resurrected.

Here, Gozreh needs no avatar, and exists in a state that you can barely perceive, much less comprehend. But you can make sense of your brother’s side of the conversation.

“You know who I’ve come for. I’m prepared to bargain.”

“Yes, a resurrection could have been obtained previously. It’s not enough. I want the rights to the soul, free and clear.”

“Of course. I’m well aware of the ‘glorious provenance.’ I’m also aware that paladins aren’t your usual style, and it was only to put the aboleths in their place that you called any. Look how well that turned out. Surely, a crusader in these halls is upsetting to the rest of your druids, fishermen, and pirates?”

“Just this: My patron cities shall all be built on the sea within your easy reach, and I pledge to never work specifically against you, or encourage my church to war with yours. All this for one soul. Do we have a bargain?”

“Excellent. Then I want your oath. You are ceding all rights to this soul to me. You are no longer the patron nor have any rights of destiny. You will trust that all events that proceed are according to my plan, and you will not interfere. Agreed?”

“So be it, and so witnessed by the item of power I carry.”

Strange though his requests are, you let them pass as you finally feel the arrival of yourself. Your soul, of which you have long been only a faint resonance in a magical weapon, is returning. With a negligent expenditure of power, you and he travel to what you can tell is the new core of his own divine realm, a perfect match to your childhood home. And when your soul returns, it appears as it did the day you took your oaths and were given the trident.

He smiles as he hands you back. “The trident was enough to keep me honest as a mortal, but I’m going to need a lot more help as a god. Will you let me share my powers with you, so you can serve as my herald?”

The shock of return is strange. You share what you can of the past aeons, and in turn get a sense of what that time was like for the rest of your soul. It only takes moments for you to understand what he is asking you. To understand what he has done for you. You hug your big brother for the first time in over five thousand years and whisper, “Of course.”

You can feel aeons of pain easing a little as he speaks the power of a god into you. “Then rise, Arazni, herald of Aroden.”

Gozreh’s Oath, Dream 4

The weight of your armor pulls against you, even here, the best that mortal smiths could forge suffused with divine essence. Your brother sits before you, his library overflowing with pages of figurings and charts, working methodically to trace the events of the world. To another he would seem engrossed, even dismissive, but you recognize that he is listening.

“I wish you’d reconsider. Tomorrow my knights will summon me forth to fight the Whispering Tyrant, and, on the surface, I could easily convince them to perform a similar summons for you. I’ve never understood the deal that prevents you from working directly at your whim, but surely that would satisfy it?”

He spares you a glance while he talks, “It’s not a deal with the other gods that prevents me from acting, though some of them may think it is such. What I do from here is like a chisel, sculpting a statue with care. Manifesting is like a sledgehammer: faster, but impossible to do detailed work.”

“Then should I refuse the summons?”

He stops writing and gives you his full attention, “You might choose not to, but not for the reason you think. Things are in motion. This crusade may require you to sacrifice yourself for a victory. But, if you do, your knights will triumph. Without you, they will certainly fail.”

“Are you expending me like a piece on your board? Shouldn’t this be more reason for you to help defeat this great evil yet again?”

He shakes his head sadly, “You are not a pawn. And it is your choice. It will be a terrible trial, but it may not be forever. And I will not be long behind you, in the grand scheme of things.”

“Wait… what?”

“There will come a time where I, too, must sacrifice myself. The statue, you see, is being sculpted in ways I cannot control whenever I am not looking. The others think they’re being clever, twisting the civilization that I have cultivated toward their own ends. When I am gone, they will cease to fear my involvement and their machinations will become more obvious. And then the rot can be flensed from the soul of humanity. If I’ve done this correctly, you will be put back into play after my enemies have long discounted us both.”

“How long?”

He stands up and just hugs you, the rare sign of brotherly affection the only answer you need.

“I’ll do it. But I’d better find that you’ve left an escape for yourself in this as well. I can’t save the world without you.”

Serial Numbers Filed Off: Meanwhile…

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Fading Suns: The Cauldron Born Legacy

Internal Memo
All Jakovian Department Heads
Strictest Confidence

With the growing inquisitorial and imperial interest in the recent Dryad Labs debacle, it is becoming prudent that we take steps to protect against further blowback. There is a high probability that House Decados proper will disavow us entirely if any more secret operations come to light.

Dr. Grigori’s experiments with shapeshifting metonym spies was promising, but his deliberate and foolhardy experimentation with other, obvious Changed types should have been curtailed earlier. While all the labs involved have been scrubbed, enough information leaked (including several of the experimental subjects) that we may not be able to completely disavow the projects.

We believe there might be enough included in the information that the Cauldron Born project is also implicated. Though it was not directly encountered by the group that exposed Dryad, there were enough research connections that the inquisition or Imperial Eye may eventually catch wind of it.

Therefore, despite the promise inherent in the project of preparing enhanced Decados spies for the coming war, we are canceling the project. All labs will be scrubbed. All non-essential personnel will be scrubbed.

Several of the project’s agents are currently in the field. Fortunately, this crop needs regular chemical supplements to maintain their Changed upgrades. As they report in, we will deal with them. Even if some catch wind of the shuttering of the program, they will be adrift in the Known Worlds, running out of time on their enhancements, and unable to act against us for fear of the inquisition.

Vlad

Vampire: Alternate Degeneration

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Yes, I’m still on a V:tM kick. This week: an alternate system for managing “Humanity.” It, like the influence system, is heavily inspired by the Mind’s Eye Theater rules.

For this hack, I’ve collapsed the Virtues into the Attributes to create something more similar to the nWoD power/finesse/resistance breakdown. That is:

  • Physical attributes remain the same, though Stamina gets involved in degeneration as seen below.
  • Social attributes compress Manipulation and Appearance into “Poise,” the social finesse stat. Charisma remains and becomes the power stat. The Self-Control virtue becomes “Composure” and represents social combat resistance as well as ability to hold out against anger.
  • Mental attributes drop Wits (its effects are spread between the other attributes). Intelligence is the power stat and Perception is the finesse stat. The Courage virtue becomes the mental resistance stat.

I’ve also simplified the Attack>Dodge>Damage>Soak mechanic universally such that Dodge is pre-subtracted from attack dice before rolling and Soak is pre-subtracted from damage dice before rolling. This should work about about the same statistically and speed up the oWoD combat round a bit.

If you prefer to use the rest of V:tM as written, you can sub in the Virtues for defensive uses below and slightly change the combat order to allow for rolling defenses rather than pre-subtracting them.

Beast Traits

A character’s humanity is measured in control over the Beast. As you commit monstrous acts, your Beast grows stronger and your Humanity fades… eventually it becomes easier to relent before the urgings of the Beast than to risk Frenzy and total loss of control. Each character begins with a single Beast Trait in one of three categories; the number of traits in a category is a bonus to the Beast’s attempts to drive the character to Frenzy in those situations. The more Beast Traits you have, the later you wake up after sunset (generally a quarter of an hour for each trait).

  • Rage: Invoked when hurt or otherwise provoked; resisted with Composure
  • Hunger: Invoked when spurred by hunger or greed; resisted with Stamina
  • Fear: Invoked when afraid or faced with fire or sunlight: resisted with Courage

Gaining Beast Traits

Beast Traits represent the strength of the beast within a Cainite. Even the most noble and ethical heart means little against a failure to reign in the Beast, while a near sociopath can still lead a blameless unlife if her violent urgings are kept in check. Thus, there is no real concept of a morality or hierarchy of sins, merely actions that cause the Beast to grow and gain more power over its host. You can be as moral or immoral as you like, as long as you maintain a leash on your inner monster.

The easiest way to gain Beast Traits is killing. While there is no hierarchy of sins, there is one of murder:

  1. True accidental deaths, killing in self defense (no quarter offered or given), killing an antagonistic supernatural
  2. Careless deaths (could have been prevented with some foresight but it was an accident), killing out of expediency (dangerous, untrustworthy, but inactive opponent)
  3. Killing a non-innocent during a Frenzy, killing a violent opponent (who was only threatening injury, not death), killing out of a sense of justice (the target wasn’t deadly but was mounting up small horrors over the long term)
  4. Killing an innocent during a Frenzy, killing a non-innocent in the heat of the moment out of anger, hunger, or fear
  5. Killing an innocent in the heat of the moment, premeditated murder on a non-innocent
  6. Premeditated murder of an innocent, cruel/unusual/torturous death, mass murder or serial killing

When your character kills, determine whether the motivation is out of rage, hunger, or fear (if it’s not obvious, as in a frenzy, the player chooses what makes the most sense). Find the type of kill on the chart and reduce the number by the number of current Beast Traits you have in that category (even the Beast gets jaded after a while). If the number is 0, you don’t gain an additional Beast Trait this time (though repeatedly performing the action may bump it up). If it is 1 or more, you gain another Beast Trait in that category.

While the Beast is less interested in actions that don’t involve death, a history of cruelty or otherwise unnecessary harm short of killing someone may eventually catch its attention. In these cases, the player will be warned after such an action that the Beast is waking and her character can feel that it will grow if the actions continue to be repeated.

Frenzy

Rather than making a simple check to avoid Frenzy, it is a drawn out series of attacks against the character’s mental fortitude (represented by an additional mental damage track). It does not generally take place in rounds, but the Beast attacks when provoked, slowly wearing down the character.

The Beast attacks whenever the character faces a trigger event:

  • Rage: The character is provoked or threatened and Fight reflexes would kick in
  • Hunger: The character spends down to one or zero blood or is faced with an obvious chance to feed when low on blood
  • Fear: The character is faced with fire, sunlight, or something else that would trigger Flight reflexes

Actions

Characters can take an action to respond to attacks by the Beast. If a trigger comes in combat rounds, defending against the Beast uses an action similarly to Dodging (either the whole round’s action, or splitting dice pools between acting and defending).

When the Beast attacks, the sequence is as follows:

  1. The Beast declares a dice pool based on the significance of the trigger.
    1. A very minor stressor might only be 1 die, while a major event might be 4.
    2. The character’s Beast Traits for that stressor are added to the total.
  2. The character can decide to relent and do what the Beast wants (attack, feed, or flee). If this is chosen, the Beast deals no damage because it got what it wanted.
  3. The character decides whether to use an action to defend. If she does:
    1. Subtract Perception from the attacker’s dice pool. Willpower can be spent to reduce it further.
    2. If there are no dice left, the attack simply misses.
  4. If the attacker still has dice, roll them against difficulty 6. If there are any successes, the attack hit.
  5. Add the successes on the attack to the appropriate Beast Trait.
  6. The defender Soaks, subtracting Composure (Rage), Stamina (Hunger), or Courage (Fear).
  7. Roll the remaining dice against difficulty 6. The successes are the damage taken by the target.

Wounds

As with physical damage, most characters have seven boxes of Frenzy Levels. Most damage is normal, but a mental wound might be counted as “Aggravated” if the Beast is somehow being stressed by an external supernatural force. As with physical damage, the wounds carry penalties (to mental actions related to thinking clearly and social actions to act like a human with other mortals).

When a character is “killed” mentally, she enters Frenzy and takes actions related to the last trigger (attacking until the provocation is destroyed, feeding until sated, or fleeing and fighting anything in the way). At that point, all mental damage is healed as the beast is quiescent (but the player probably has a new Beast Trait). If not “killed,” the mental damage heals slowly (similar to the mortal healing rate). On rising for the evening, a player can choose to heal one normal mental health level instead of receiving a point of Willpower (Aggravated damage can only be healed with time).