Merits

Allies ( 1 to 5 ) : Allies are people who are willing to help your character from time to time. They may be associates, friends of convenience or people who owe your character a favor. Each acquisition of this Merit is dedicated to one type of ally, whether in an organization, society or circle. Examples include the police, City Hall, criminals, unions, banks, university faculty and hospital staff. In order to have alliances in more than one venue, you need to purchase this Merit multiple times, each trait with its own dots. Thus, your character might have Allies (Police) ••, Allies (Criminals) ••• and Allies (City Hall) •, each acquired separately at character creation or during play.

Each dot that your character has indicates how deep his influence runs in that group. One dot might mean he can ask for minor favors, such as being spared a parking ticket if alliance is among police, or being allowed to see an article before it goes to press if alliance is among reporters. Three dots garner considerable favors, such as a building permit “going missing” at City Hall, or a strike resolution being wrapped up early among union leaders. Five dots allow for dangerous and even overtly criminal favors, such as a stock being sabotaged on Wall Street or the answers to an exam being shared by a university professor. The kinds of requests made of people in an organization typically have to relate to their sphere of influence. Asking a criminal to slow down the bureaucratic process at City Hall makes no sense, but asking him to pass along word of a drug buy does. Favors might be minor and within the bounds of a person’s job or role, such as processing some paperwork more quickly than usual, or could be significant or dangerous and outside what’s allowed or even legal, such as allowing a civilian access to the police evidence locker.

One additional favor a character can ask of her Allies is to block another character’s Allies, Contacts, Retainer, or Status (if the allies could conceivably do so). The character may specify how many dots worth of a block he would like to place on their target. For each dice of block, reduce that character’s effective dots in their merit by that amount.

Allies are not automatons, waiting for your character to ask for help. They have their own lives and needs. As a result, relying too heavily on your allies can strain your relationship or require you to do them a favour in return. The character may call upon favours equal to their ranks in Allies without worry. (For example, Allies 4 in City Hall might get them to have a building permit go missing (3 influence) and getting a quick appointment with someone (1 influence).) If they go beyond this, their allies will be expecting them to repay the favours in kind. An alliance is a two-way relationship. The Storyteller can use such debts as inspiration for future stories.

Alternate Identity ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character has established an alternate identity. The level of this Merit determines the amount of scrutiny it holds up to. At one dot, the identity is superficial and unofficial. It’s a name and persona she’s adopted and have shown themselves around town enough to have it recognized. She hasn’t established the necessary paperwork to even approach a bureaucratic background check, let alone pass one. At two dots, she’s supported her identity with paperwork and identification. It’s not liable to stand up to extensive research, but it’ll turn away private investigators and internet hobbyists. At three dots, the identity can pass a thorough inspection. The identity has been deeply entrenched in relevant databases, with subtle flourishes and details to make it seem real, even to trained professionals. Additionally, the Merit reflects time the character has spent honing her persona. At one or two dots, she gains +1 to all Subterfuge rolls to defend the identity. At three dots, she gains +2. This Merit can be purchased multiple times, each time representing an additional identity.

Ambidexteritous ( 1 ) : Your character does not suffer the -2 penalty for using his off hand in combat or to perform other actions.

Anonymity (1 or 3) : Your character lives off the grid. She makes purchases using cash or pre-loaded credit cards and gift cards. She eschews identification. She avoids any official authoritative influence in her affairs. At one point, the character has managed to eliminate their current records from known databases, but their records from their youth and such still lurk about. At three points, they have managed to eliminate any records they’ve ever existed.

Contacts ( 1 to 5 ) : Contacts provide your character information in a particular area of awareness. Each dot in this Merit represents one arena or circle in which your character has a web of connections and from which he may draw information. For example, if he has Contacts 3, his dots might be assigned to computer hackers, couriers and big business, respectively. Contacts can include individuals whom you or the Storyteller defines, but more likely they comprise an array of people from whom your character can draw information with a phone call, email or face-to-face query. Contacts is strictly information-gathering. Contacts do not come perform services for your character or rush to his aid. Those actions are the purview of other Merits such as Allies and Retainer.

Double Jointed ( 2 ) : Your character might have been a contortionist, or spent time practicing yoga. She can dislodge joints when need be. By suffering one point of bashing damage, she can automatically escape from any mundane bonds without a roll.

Dwarf ( 2 ) : Your character is diminutive. He’s not five feet, and it’s easy to walk into him without noticing. He’s Size 4, and thus has one fewer Health box. He gains +2 to any rolls to hide or go unnoticed, and this bonus might apply any time being smaller would be an advantage, such as crawling through smaller spaces. Available only at character creation, or when you have a reason your character might shrink.

Eidetic Memory ( 2 ) : Your character recalls events and details with pinpoint accuracy. You do not have to make rolls for your character to remember past experiences. When making Intelligence + Composure (or relevant Skill) rolls to recall minute facts from swaths of information, take a +2 bonus.

Fame ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character is recognized within a certain sphere, for a certain skill, or because of some past action or stroke of luck. This can mean favors and attention, it can also mean negative attention and scrutiny. When choosing the Merit, define what your character is known for. As a rule of thumb, one dot means local recognition, or reputation within a confined subculture. Two dots means regional recognition by a wide swath of people. Three dots means worldwide recognition to anyone that might have been exposed to the source of the fame. Each dot adds a die to any Social rolls among those who are impressed by your character’s celebrity. If your character also has the Alternate Identity merit, they may purchase this Fame for their Alternate Identity separately from their main identity.

Fast Reflexes ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character reacts quickly to sudden emergencies. When rolling initiative, gain +1 Initiative per dot of this merit.

Fleet of Foot ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character is remarkably quick, and runs far faster than his frame suggests. He gains +1 Speed per dot, and requires one less success when resolving a chase while he is on foot.

Giant ( 3 ) : Your character is massive. She’s well over six feet tall, and crowds part when she approaches. She’s Size 6, and gains +1 Health. Available only at character creation, or when you have found some other reason to grow.

Healthy As A Horse ( 1 to 2 ) : Your character rarely gets sick and tends to recover quickly even if they do. For each dot, get +2 to any dice pools to catch a disease or resist it’s effects.

Holistic Medicine ( 1 ) : Your character is skilled at healing through herb and natural remedies. Unless your patient suffers wound penalties from lethal or aggravated wounds, you do not need traditional medical equipment to stabilize and treat injuries. With access to woodlands, a greenhouse, or other source of diverse flora, a Wits + Survival roll allows your character to gather all necessary supplies.

Indomitable ( 2 ) : Your character possesses an iron will. The powers of the supernatural have little bearing on her behavior. She can stand up to a vampire’s mind control, a witch’s charms, or a ghost’s gifts of fright. Any time a supernatural creature uses a power to influence your character’s thoughts or emotions, add two dice to the dice pool to contest it. If the roll is resisted, instead subtract two dice from the monster’s dice pool. Note that this only affects mental influence and manipulation from a supernatural origin. A vampire with a remarkable Manipulation + Persuasion score is just as likely to convince your character to do something using mundane tricks.

Iron Stamina ( 1 to 2 ) : Your character has remarkable staying power and nothing seems to slow them down. Whenever suffering a penalty to a dice pool due to fatigue, hunger, suffocation, or pain, reduce the penalty suffered by their ranks in Iron Stamina.

Language ( 1 or 2 ) : Your character knows an additional language besides his own. One dot in this Merit means that he can read, write and speak an extra language well enough to be functional. Particularly esoteric words might escape him still, and nobody will mistake him for a native speaker, but he should be able to conduct every day conversations. Two dots means your character has total mastery of the language, and the only real difference between him and a native speaker may be accent.

Library ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character has access to a plethora of information about a given topic. When purchasing this Merit, choose a Mental Skill. The Library covers that purview. On any extended roll involving the Skill in question, add the dots in this Merit. This Merit can be purchased multiple times, to reflect different Skills. Additionally, its benefits can be shared by various characters, with permission.

Mentor ( 1 to 3 ) : Your character has a teacher or patron that provides them with guidance and assistance. At one dot, the mentor offers an open door to the character to come and speak with them when needed and help them talk through their problems or offer some advice. At two dots, the character can call upon their mentor once per story to do them a small favour, such as making an introduction to an important personage or allow them to borrow the car or a retainer for a while. At three dots, the mentor will once per story work side by side with the character in conducting a task. If it is a non-combat task, the mentor provides the character with the ability to treat dice rolls pertaining to a task (building an engine, researching a subject, ect.) as a rote action. If it is a combat task, the presence of their mentor is certainly benefit enough.

On The List ( 1 ) : Your character is in their natural environment when cruising the night scene. The bouncers let you in to even the most exclusive night clubs, bar crowds always accept you as a person who belongs there, and you are able to get reservations at the most in demand restaurants. Whenever your character is in such an establishment, they never need to make a Socialize roll to fit in.

Patient ( 1 ) : Your character knows how to pace herself and take the time to do the job right the first time. When taking an extended action, you may make two additional rolls, above what your Attribute + Skill allows.

Poison Resistance ( 1 to 2 ) : Possibly by birth or more probably through training, your character is resistant to poisons. When resisting a poison, get a +2 per dot to the roll.

Quick Draw ( 1 ) : Your character has trained enough that pulling a weapon is his first reflex. Drawing or holstering a weapon is considered a reflexive action, and can be done any time his Defense applies.

Relentless ( 1 ) : Your character will not give up a pursuit. In any chase your opponents must achieve two additional successes against yours to elude her.

Resources ( 1 to 5 ) : This Merit measures your character’s material resources, both possessions and wealth. All characters are assumed to have a job or a source of income (trust fund, parents) that is sufficient to cover their basic needs: food, shelter and transportation. Dots in this Merit represent disposable income — wealth and assets that can be liquidated for more money in case of emergency. The number of dots indicates your character’s general level of wealth.

Retainer ( 1 to 5 ) : Your character has an assistant, aide, indentured servant or fanatical follower on whom she can rely. You need to establish how this trusty companion was acquired. He may be paid exorbitant amounts of money that buy his unwavering loyalty. He might owe his life to your character (or to your character’s predecessors). Your character might blackmail this person or threaten his family with harm if services are not rendered. Or your character might have a supernatural hold over this poor person.

Regardless of the circumstances, this person is constantly loyal and follows almost any order without question. A retainer can be called upon to perform many duties without fail. A bodyguard might be willing to hurt other people on a mere command. A dedicated street kid might hang on your character’s every word and get her information or contacts without being asked. Unless your character has direct control over a retainer’s mind, however, this person can’t be made to perform any task. He might not risk his own life unduly or perform a task that violates his own morals. You or the Storyteller should detail your retainer with an identity, background and character sheet of his own. The Storyteller usually plays your character’s retainer.

Each acquisition of this Merit grants your character one follower. Dots spent in the trait indicate the training, capability or flexibility of the aide. One dot suggests a child, an automaton or a madman with limited capabilities and free
dom of thought. Two dots indicate an ordinary person over whom your character has sway. The servant is completely mundane and has no particular training above the human norm. Three dots represent a capable employee with a range of training at his disposal. Four dots represent a valued and irreplaceable assistant. Five dots indicate an extraordinary follower. He is exceptional in many ways or he may be capable of supernatural feats.

Status ( 1 to 5 ) : Your character has standing, membership, authority, control over, or respect from a group or organization. This can reflect official standing, or merely informal respect. No matter the source, your character enjoys certain privileges within that structure. Each instance of this Merit reflects standing in a different group or organization. Your character may have Status (The Luck Gang) 3, Status (Drag Racing Circuit) 2, and Status (Police) 1. Each affords its own unique benefits. As you increase dot ratings, your character rises in prominence in the relevant group. Status only allows advantages within the confines of the group reflected in the Merit. Status (Organized Crime) won’t help if your character wants an official concealed carry firearms permit, for example.

Status provides a number of advantages: First, your character can apply her Status to any Social roll with those over which she has authority or sway. Second, she has access to group facilities, resources, and funding. Depending on the group, this could be limited by red tape and requisitioning processes. It’s also dependent on the resources the particular group has available. Third, she has pull. If she knows a character’s Mentor, Resources, Retainer, Contacts, or Allies, she can block their usage. Once per chapter, she can stop a single Merit from being used, if it’s of a lower dot rating than her Status, and if it makes sense for her organization to obstruct that type of person’s behavior. In our Organized Crime example, if your character knows that the chief of police has Contacts (Criminal Informant), you may opt to block usage by threatening the informant into silence.

Striking Looks ( 2 or 4 ) : Your character is exceptionally attractive. At two dots, they are likely to turn heads, get appreciative looks, and find some people wanting to be extra nice to them. At four dots, their appearance is stunningly attractive. The kind of person who modelling agents stalk and causes people to walk into walls while checking them out. The character gains a bonus to dice pools where their looks might influence the person they are interacting with. +1 for characters with two dots, +2 for characters with 4 dots.

Tolerance for Biology ( 1 ) : Most people turn away at the sight of blood, other bodily fluids, or exotic biology. Your character has seen enough that nothing turns her stomach. When other characters must resist shock or physical repulsion from the disgusting and morbid, your character stands her ground. You do not need to make Composure, Stamina, or Resolve rolls to withstand the biologically strange. This doesn’t mean she’s immune to fear; she’s just used to nature in all its nasty forms.

Vice Ridden ( 2 ) : Your character is full of weaknesses and temptations. He has two Vices, although he may still only regain one Willpower per scene he indulges himself.

Virtuous ( 2 ) : Your character takes great satisfaction from seeing themselves as a good person. She has two Virtues. The limitations of how many times she may refresh Willpower using a Virtue remain the same, but it’s up to you which Virtue she uses each time.

Merits

Dice of the Dead Robotroy