Background: A character background is entirely optional. If you want to flesh it out, do so by filling out the various Beat Sheets that apply to your character. You even get bonus beats for doing that!
Bloodline: 'Can I play a Bloodline?' I hear you ask? Why yes. Yes, you can. However, that comes with several caveats:
- Blood & Smoke has changed a variety of things, including the schema for how Disciplines work. We are slowly revising the various Bloodlines, but it is a time-consuming process. If there's a Bloodline you want to play, let us know and we'll prioritize the revision for that one. The theme of a Bloodline will always remain the same, but the mechanics may change.
- If you play a Bloodline labeled as Anathema or Criminal, you must play Hardcore. Taking such a Bloodline automatically makes you eligible for serious consequences, which includes the potential of character death.. You will receive the persistent Embarrassing Secret Condition when you come into play. If your secret comes out that will turn into the Notoriety Condition, and give you penalties to social interactions with anyone who knows of your lineage. Casual players may take Bloodlines, but only those of Bad reputation or higher.
- Bloodlines are supposed to be rare. Unfortunately, from a player perspective, there's no bonus to playing Pure Clan. Bloodlines come with an extra weakness, yes, but they also come with a fourth in-Clan Discipline, some nifty conceptual stuff, and frequently a unique Discipline. So why would you ever play Pure Clan? Because you get 15 extra Beats if you play Pure Clan. If you later join a Bloodline you will need to pay back these Beats.
Status: All characters receive two extra Merit dots at character creation, which must be assigned to Status (including Clan Status and Covenant Status) or Cult membership. A character may come into play with a maximum of Status 2 in either Clan or Covenant. Subsequent dots must be both earned through roleplay and paid for with XP. City Status is earned purely through RP, and never costs XP. Characters never start with City Status.
Playstyle: This is likely not something you've seen in character generation before. It's effectively a 'difficulty level' for play.
Political is the political game - vying for city positions and status, seizing territory, ferreting out the weaknesses of other Kindred and exploiting them for your own gain in glorious back-stabbing PvP which occasionally might get physical or even fatal but is usually focused on social standing and influence. Political play is a privilege, not a right. Players at this level are expected to maintain a certain level of weekly activity, to know the rules of the various groups to which they belong, to take responsibility for the group in which they are a keystone member (be that Clan, Covenant, or City governance), and to promote a pleasant OOC atmosphere. Political players are up for anything the storytellers or other players throw at their: their consent is never required. A given player may only have one Political character. APPLY FOR POLITICAL.
Support dips a toe into the political game without diving in. Support players may hold territory, engage in PvP shenanigans, and pursue plot freely, but are allowed OOC input for major events (such as the character becoming bloodbound) and are given the benefit of the doubt if they trip up over the intricacies of in-character rules. They may be involved in IC politics, but will usually be members of a coterie rather than the leader. Most ghouls are Support characters. APPLY FOR SUPPORT.
Civilian players can opt out of plot or interactions, maintaining the right to give or withhold consent for what happens to their character. They are uninvolved with IC politics, will not be targeted with plot, and are expected to require little attention from storytellers. Civilian play is primarily social, and designed for people who just want to play with their friends without having to memorize a bunch of rules. There is no additional application required to be a Civilian.
Players may apply to change their playstyle at any time. Switching to a playstyle of greater responsibility requires an additional application, as linked above. Switching to a playstyle that allows greater OOC control will be approved only if the character is unthreatened on the PvP level. It will not be approved as a way to avoid the consequences that have been consented to with the more intense version of play.
NPC Ties: It's always nice to have character ties, and we thoroughly encourage new players to work out ties with existing characters and/or develop them through RP. It is not necessary to reflect these relationships on your character sheet. NPC ties, on the other hand, must be paid for with XP. Depending on the relationship the merits Mentor • to •••••, True Friend • to •••••, or Family Ties • to ••• might be appropriate.
Virtue and Vice, Mask and Dirge: Humans and ghouls choose a virtue and a vice. Vampires choose a mask and a dirge (though we suggest looking at the list of virtues and vices to determine what your character was before their Embrace). In the unlikely event that one of these doesn't fit your character, you may suggest a custom virtue, vice, mask, or dirge.
Costs: At character creation you have a fixed number of dots to spend in each area: 5/4/3 for Attributes, 11/7/5 for Skills, 9 or 12 for Merits (depending on whether you're a human, ghoul, or vampire), 2 or 3 for Disciplines (depending on whether you're a ghoul or vampire), and a favored attribute dot (if you're a vampire). Yes, vampires get all the cool toys. It's a spectacularly unfair world. After character creation, though, anything you want is bought with Beats, which are the local version of xp/exp/experience points/candy.
Want extra beats to spend? Fill out a Beat Sheet! These are entirely optional details about your character which give lustre to your roleplaying and provide us with additional hooks that help us to involve your character in plot or write personalized plots for you.