CofD Elder Ruleset
Playing an Elder PC
- Elders are not in the game solely for their own enjoyment. Elders are expected to facilitate enjoyment of other player’s characters, and should not be looking to take positions of power, as their scope is larger than a single City. Elders exist to involve other players in games.
- Elders should be looking at Patriarch/Matriarch of Dynasties or be strongly associated with a group/family if not directly related. This is because most players already have set history or are associated with a family/group before the new Elder came into play.
- Expect to play a passive, Reactionary game. For you, it is a game of sitting in mostly one spot, pulling the strings to get events to unfurl. Orders and desires will be filtered through a whole chain of minions and lineage descendants. It is a game of chess, and you are the player. Play actively against other Elders through minions, Play actively with Elder Plot as supplies by GST
- The Elder is playing a different game to those of City and Praxis. When you move across the board, Everyone Notices, including enemy factions.
- If you want to solve things with your fists, turn up to fights, be the Prince or get personally involved in every plot that comes along, then play a Ancilla/Neonate character.
- However, If attacked, Directly Provoked or they are within your Dynasty they become open to you for free play.
Playing the Elder Game:
- The play style of an Elder is different from all other characters in the game. Survival is the most important thing to you. Avoiding risk becomes your way of life. There are others out there, as old, as powerful, as risk averse as you. Self-interest and self-preservation drives you all to work towards similar ends.
- “Public” Elders are likely to be more personally active in their social / political interactions with the court than their Sires and Grandsires, however, even they prefer to move through cats-paws and pawns.
- Your Disciplines, Merits and Abilities are important tools you’ve honed over the centuries, use them rarely with Finesse and Class, or dribbled out as rewards
- If you are uncertain that your actions with Disciplines fit into the above, please feel free to consult the Storytelling team
- You are a leader, just not in charge. Princes and Priscus should look to you for advice. If you are forced into taking charge it is a failure of the Ancilla, and you need to express this to them.
In game, Elders will largely abide by several commitments:
- DO involve other players in the game – this is what minions are for;
- DO share everything you learn – but obviously skew it to your own advantage;
- DO cultivate a following of childer and agents to do your bidding – use them and their networks;
- DO encourage use of the polite non insulting behavior - through examples of reward and punishment.
- DO Mentor your Clan and Covenant members
- DON'T take a position in a Court – unless for a finite and definite purpose;
- DON'T take a position at Conclave unless it is an “Honoured Position”. This Will bring you into the spotlight and into the of those ‘Bad Things’
- DON'T solve problems with Disciplines – unless for a very good reason. This is an admission that you have been bested Use your minions and networks;
- DON'T get involved in fights – risk averse is a way of life, and fair escape is your friend. If unavoidable finish it as quickly as possible;
- DON'T teach Disciplines, devotions, rituals, or merits unless it is your advantage as rewards – why teach a Discipline yourself? Have a minion do it;
- DON'T live in absolutes – For Survival rules can be bent. If you bend one of these rules, it is for a limited, specific and finite purpose. Such actions are scalpels, not sledgehammers..
- Elders have much to fear. They’ve seen it all, and it scared them. Elders are encouraged to take Knowledge that details such threats.
- They survived, and sometimes they wish they hadn’t.
- They’re old, they’ve forgotten more than most can even remember and dreamed things that never was.
- Elder play focuses on the themes of paranoia, survival, the long-con, disappointment, and often pain.
- An Old Enemy is Valued. Seek not their Death, but acknowledgement of your besting them.
- Let’s be clear: : The ability to play an Elder character, regardless of your MC, is a privilege, not a right. You DO have the right to request the opportunity to play this concept from your Low, Mid, or High Approval ST and, should that ST deny you, you have a right that the reasons be explained to you.
- By portraying an Elder concept, you are taking on a massive In-Character responsibility not only to use the powers that are inherent in the concept responsibly, but to ensure that the chronicle as a whole runs smoothly and according to the local, regional, national, and global settings.
- You are responsible for helping the chronicle show the inherent danger and darkness that permeates the World of Darkness at an Elders' level.
- When that danger and darkness impacts your Elder character, you are responsible for responding with aplomb, grace, and maturity, regardless of the outcome.
- Your character has the capability of drastically affecting the course of a single local game and the path of the games around you.
- Get used to discussing your IC plans with your VST. Become accustomed to following your VST's guidance, advice, and directions in your larger plans.
- If you have reached the point to where you have been entrusted with the privilege of creating an Elder character concept, then you have reached a point in the organization where you are more than just a member.
- Even if you choose not to take on a role as a volunteer officer, you are still a leader and newer members will look to you for guidance and model themselves on what is permissible within the organization. Elder Characters will be given Plot to disperse and Seed, Opinions (Within Character) to express. You are an unofficial aVST.
- The newer members will learn from your playing style; you will be responsible for setting a good example.
- More than ever, Elder players will be expected to take this responsibility seriously and remain conscious of their effect on the chronicle.
- Elder characters have lived longer and experienced more than almost all other characters. This is commonly represented within the skill specialties the player chooses for their character. Consider antiquated specialties to represent a life that is out-of-sync with the modern world. Some potential options to consider are:
- Firearms (a specialization in modern composites would be inappropriate)
- Crafts (In some sort of archaic form, weaving or iron smithing)
- Intimidation (Medieval insults)
- Medicine (Herbalism such as plants, fungi, minerals)
- Language (In old or disused languages: e.g. Latin, Old Norse)
- Survival (tracking, camping, dowsing)
- The human mind is not designed to witness centuries of time.
- Because of the hundreds of years spent awake and the horrible things they must interact with, it is likely that an elder will possess at least their clan bane, and their Elder bane. A third bane is expected for characters starting at BP4 or BP5
- These do not have to be debilitating necessarily - however Elders have become much less human than their younger kindred counterparts.
- There are extra banes in the Thousand Years of Night book that are designed specifically for Elders.
- It is not uncommon that Elders may have had relationships, interactions, and punishments that resulted in partial bonds to and from other characters.
- This is NOT a requirement of Elders.
- Players are recommended to consider having one or two blood bonds to or from another character.
- Bonds with other player characters should ONLY be accepted if both players are comfortable with having such a close tie to each other.
- This will not impact whether or not you are approved, and is only spoken of as a suggestion for play.
- It is possible that previous Bonds have passed and worn off. Feel free to populate your Background with these
Enemies and Allies:
- It is impossible to move through your Requiem without creating a rival or two, nor is it possible to survive without aligning yourself with allies of either convenience or circumstance.
- Elders, by their nature, create vendetta simply by their very existence.
- Elder characters should detail allies AND rivals, as the World of Darkness does not always lend itself to long standing “friends”.
- Characters should have no less than 2 long-standing rivalries and also have at least 2 allies.
- Rivals are not always enemies they wish dead. Elders are slow-moving creatures, who have millenia to act out their plans and exact revenge. They will remain long after all others are dead. (At least one PC rival in play should be well known with a few examples, Eg Elder Bob attempts to poach from Elder Bill's family once every few decades or so)
- All Elders receive a Free Boost of 2 to 5 for Blood Potency.
- All Elders receive two bonus Skill Specs for a total of 5 starting
- All Elders receive twice as many Touchstones but only ever receive a +1 bonus from them
Elder Approval Requirements
So you want an Elder:
When thinking of creating an elder, ask yourself the following questions.
- Can your concept be younger?
- Do you want to directly get involved in combat, plot or politics?
- Do you want to have any position in a city or within the covenant?
- This includes Prince, Harpy, Regent (Canberra), Priscus, Bishop, Primus, etc).
- This does not mean your PC cannot be unofficial clan or covenant head, but Elders act through minions. They do not paint a target on their own backs.
- This includes Prince, Harpy, Regent (Canberra), Priscus, Bishop, Primus, etc).
- Do you ever want to be head of your clan or covenant? (Feel free to add them in your past)
- Do you want to be a combat-based character?
If any of the answers are yes, perhaps you shouldn’t be playing an elder. This isn’t to say you are a bad player, it just means that your idea is better as a younger character, or you may not be ready to be an Elder.
Speak with your VST, DST, and GST to determine if another option is right for you.
I answered No! Oh boy! I really want to be an Elder and I think I am suitable:
Good! Because it’s a very long and involved process. You really need to want it and have a character that fits.
This means that you need to put in a lot of work with both your application and throughout the duration of your characters chronicle. You will need to put a lot of thought into your character.
For your Elder application to be processed at the GST level you need to provide the GST with the following documents (at a minimum):
- A decade by decade history of the characters travels, life, embrace, and actions, before during and after this time.
- A document outlining how your character will contribute to the national game and why you are better suited to the role than anyone else, including how your playstyle will benefit the club.
- At least 1 player character or CPC tie per 150 years of life.
- This does not mean that each 1 year block must have a tie, only that a 500 year old kindred needs at least 4 ties.
- However the more spread out, the better. Elders often know each other.
- More ties are looked more favorably upon. Frivolous, “met once and never again” ties, while cool and you should have some of those, will not be enough to satisfy these requirements.
- A well written CDD
- A well written Background
- The completed approval form
- A paragraph on why your character deserves to be an Elder above ALL others. This is not a ‘I know X wants an Elder but I am better’, this is a ‘My character would be an excellent Elder because they...’. Remembering all the important Elder play-notes in this document and advice listed above.
- ANY and ALL other relevant documentation to answer any remaining questions the GST has regarding the application.
Other Notes of approval:
- All Elder approvals are conditional on the player character conforming to the ‘Playing an Elder’ play rules provided above.
- THE GST OFFICE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DESANCTION A CHARACTER THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THESE REQUIREMENTS AT ANY TIME.
- If the GST feels you are not following the above playstyle in minor ways, you will likely be contacted and given a warning.
- Avoiding the GST’s correspondence or failure to adhere to this warning will result in the character being desanctioned.
- Major breaches of the playstyle, without organising it for a plot reason with the GST previously, will result in desanctioning of the character.
- You need patience, understanding and be prepared to Compromise.
Michael Atwell GST 2.0 Requiem
Sara Hastings with input from Corey Markham (many thanks for your Masquerade guide) and the assistant GST Team. You guys are legends.