Backgrounds for All Races:
If Population follows the background, it will add to your total population.
- Allies - Population, gain 1 ability or influence (max 5 in any one influence) per point of Allies, may convert 1 trait at a time
- Alternate Identity - can mask 1 Downtime action/point, do not need to create an identity, cannot impersonate characters
- Contacts - Population, can gain information on 1 influence action/domain/influence/point used. Example: Maeve has Contacts x3. She uses 1 to look at the Court Influence in the Imperial Domain, 1 to look at Industry Influence in Aranta, and 1 to look at Political Influence in the Sultanate. Unless someone blocked their actions from being detected, she will get to see one use of each specified Influence (Court, Industry, and Political) in the specified domains (Imperial, Aranta, and Sultanate). If a PC uses these influences, we choose to reveal those first, and the most prominent use of the specified Influence in the domain chosen.
- Domain - Population, the general public of your domain, can be used to convert into other influences or population producing backgrounds.
- Domain Security - Population, this is your domain’s personal defence force and what is used for the “War” aspect of the game.
- Hoard - used to create magical items, it represents raw materials for trade
- Information Network - Population, can gain 1 piece of info on a person, place, or thing/point used
- Library - Used to reduce learning times
- Mentor - Used to reduce learning times and learn Abilities and powers from, you must be of the appropriate creature type to learn powers from them. Example: A Fae can teach a Kinain Mage Arts, but cannot teach a Vampire Arts.
- Resources - The maximum rating a character can have in Resources is 10. A character can buy temporary non-population producing backgrounds on a one for one basis. Temporary backgrounds must be used within the month they are gained. The non-population producing temporary backgrounds available to purchase are -
Alternate Identity (service), Hoard (good), Library (service or good), Mentor (service), and Trods (service).
Some people find items and magical services with influences, while others buy them from a market. To purchase a magical item or service costs permanent Resources at a rate of 2 Resources for every 1 point of the purchased background. This may be adjusted to 1:1, up to your level of Commerce ability (though merchants may negate your use of Commerce with their own, which will be determined by a random die roll).
These are the backgrounds you can purchase in such a manner -
Arsenal (good), Boosted Arsenal (service), Chimera (good), Treasure (good), Wonder (good), Blessing (service), Enhancement (service), Fetish (good), and Trinket (good). All of these follow the rules for such items presented here and none of them, unless stated in its description, can exceed a character’s Maximum Background Rating or their potential to purchase based upon their Resource Rating. Example: if you have 6 permanent Resources, you cannot purchase anything more powerful than a level 3 item, Blessing, or levels of Arsenal, etc.
Other uses of Resources, bribes for instance, may be possible, but must be done via RP.
- Retainers - your individual pawns, they can take one DT action each month as directed. Direct them how you see fit. Gaining a Retainer during gameplay can be done by expending an appropriate influence action (depending upon the description of the Retainer you desire) to find your new Retainer, and experience expended equal to the level of Retainer you wish to purchase. The number of influence spent will limit the initial level of the Retainer found and the experience you may spend to bring them into your service: Occult 6 spent will allow 6 exp to be spent to gain a level 6 Retainer, while 3 levels of Influence will cap at a level 3 Retainer and cost 3 exp. Regardless of the Influence and experience spent, you cannot purchase a Retainer higher than your Maximum Background Rating. Retainers acquired after character creation will be created by a storyteller (with input from you), based on the category of influence used to acquire them as a base character of their creature type, plus experience equal to 5 x their Retainer rating.
- Chimera - A magical item of power, the higher the rating, the more impressive the item is. It is solely made of Glamour and subject to banality.
- Companion - A chimerical creature or bygone that follows you. Its rating increases its power. All companions are made with a storyteller at character creation. Its rating determines the level of Art it may possess. Gaining a Companion during gameplay can be done by expending an appropriate influence action (depending upon the description of the Companion you desire) to find your new Companion and experience expended equal to the level of Companion you wish to purchase. You cannot purchase a Companion higher than your Maximum Background Rating.
- Dreamers - Population, regain Glamour on 1 for 1 basis 1/night
- Remembrance - use to retest Gremayre challenges, expend and win a Simple Test with an ST to gain useful knowledge of the Fae (nothing on specific characters)
- Holdings - Population, a Fae’s place of power, regain Glamour on 1 for 1 basis 1/night, Holdings represent the site of power and the household to take care of it, representing the population produced from it.
- Patron - a powerful noble in Dischordia favors you and is friendly towards you, you can request that this noble uses one of their backgrounds or influences on your behalf up to their rating each Downtime. However, they may ask favors of you as well to be carried out at court. A Patron can be purchased at character creation or gained in Gameplay solely at Storyteller discretion. Patrons are not generally public knowledge as others can become jealous of their patronage. Only Fae can purchase Patron at Character Creation.
- Political Connections - Population, use one Influence up to rating in a another domain
- Treasure - an item of magical power
- Trod - pathways known to you through the dreaming, may be dangerous, but faster to travel them when they are available.
Local Destination (places within your own personal domain);
Regional Destination (to places in your Sub-Domain from your personal domain);
National Destination (to places in your Overarching Domain from your personal domain);
Near Dreaming Destination (to anywhere in Dischordia from your personal Domain); Far
Dreaming Destination (to any Far Dreaming Realm (ST approval) from your personal domain);
Deep Dreaming Destination (to any Deep Dreaming Realm (ST approval) from your personal domain)
- 1) One local destination accessible one-fourth of the time (one season)
- 2) One local destination open all the time; two local destinations accessible half the time; or 3 local destinations accessible one-fourth the time
- 3) Three local destinations and one regional half the time; or 2 local, one regional, and one Near Dreaming accessible one-fourth of the time; or 3 local accessible all the time
- 4) Four local, two regional, one national (e.g., Concordia) and two Near Dreaming accessible half the time; or 4 local, two regional, one national, one Near Dreaming, one Far Dreaming, accessible one-fourth the time; or 3 local and one regional, all the time; or 3 local, one regional, and one Near Dreaming, half the time
- 5) Five local, three regional, two national, two Near Dreaming, one Deep Dreaming, half the time; or 5 local, 4 regional, four national, two Near Dreaming, two Far Dreaming, one Deep Dreaming, one-fourth the time; or 3 local, one regional and one Near Dreaming, all the time.
- Generation - determines the potency of your blood
- Herd - Population, regain Blood at a 1 for 1 rate once/game session
- Arcane - Arcane removes the memory of your face and name from a scene; used/scene, 1 for face, 1 for name, simple test vs. observers to work
- Avatar - Your mage can refresh Quintessence Traits equal to the Avatar rating automatically by spending time at a Node. You need only win a Mental Challenge using the Meditation Ability each game hour in order to refresh one Quintessence Trait until you reach an amount equal to the Arete Trait total. However, you do not gain anything if you already have equal or more Quintessence Traits than Avatar Traits. Quintessence gained in this fashion is considered personal Quintessence, and it cannot be stolen from you by anything short of an Archmage of Prime. You can spend Quintessence only up to a limit of your Avatar Trait rating each turn. If you have one Avatar Trait, you can spend only one Quintessence Trait each turn. If you do not have the Avatar Background, you cannot spend personal Quintessence at all. However, you can still use Prime to transfer it to other people or sources, or to use it from Tass. At the Storyteller’s discretion, your mage’s Avatar rating may affect his Seekings. A strong Avatar (many Traits in the Background) will almost certainly guide a Seeking more strongly and personally.
- Destiny - Once per game session per Trait of Destiny, you may make a Simple Test (win only). If you succeed, you gain one Willpower Trait. You know that you’re destined for some fate, and this knowledge helps you persevere even when the chips are down. However, a Storyteller can conversely declare that you have fulfilled your destiny if you accomplish some great (or ignominious) deed, and he may remove the Background. He can also determine that some terrible battle is the culmination of your destiny and deny the use of the Background at that time. Regaining Willpower Traits with Destiny is done at the beginning of your turn before you act. You can't spend Willpower, recoup it with Destiny, spend more and repeat the cycle. However, you don't have to use up all of your Destiny Traits at once.
- Dream - all converted at once for an Ability you do not possess
- Node - a Mage’s place of power, regain Quintessence up to your Avatar rating 1/night
- Wonder - An item of magical power, it has a cost equal to the level of Spheres required to make it work, doubled if it’s always on.
- Per level of Effect: +1
- Disposable charms (set of 10): -1
- Per 5 Quintessence held: + 1
- Per Trait of Arete held: +1
- Blessing - A Blessing functions just like a power in a Wonder, except that it’s part of you. It has a cost equal to the level of Spheres required to make it work, doubled if it’s always on.
- Cult - Population, adds Grades of Success in Ritual Casting on a 1 for 1 basis, can gain Tass equal to its rating once/session
- Chantry - only give ½ benefits that everyone can use of detailed backgrounds (Arcane, Destiny, Library, Wonder, Sanctum, Mentor, Allies, Retainers, or Cult), must be purchased at Character Creation and can be pooled by a group of players. New players buying Chantry can pool it with existing player’s Chantries.
- Demesne - Your Demesne represents the area and control you have over a dream-realm that you visit whenever you dream. With Mind magic, you can pull other people into that realm; with Spirit, you can use it as a jump-off point. Your Dream Realm typically has an area of effect based on the grades of success for area, with your number of levels as the grades. Thus, a one-Trait Demesne is a single room, but a five-Trait Demesne stretches across an entire Dream continent. You can also add your Demesne Traits to all challenge resolution against other dreamers who enter your Dream Realm. Within your Demesne, the reality bends to your will, but if you're not careful, it is possible to spawn elements that can harm you as well. In all other ways the Dreamscape is essentially similar to a Mindscape (see Laws of Ascension p. 176).
- Enhancement - You can choose to be cybernetically or biologically enhanced - one or the other.
Cyborg: cybernetic enhancements may cause Paradox depending upon the domain you are in. Each level of the Background grants one permanent Paradox Trait that counts for backlashes but never goes away if you are in a domain that rejects this paradigm. Each level allows you to purchase one additional Attribute Trait (which can take you above your normal maximum) or two Traits of implanted Devices. Naturally, you're still limited to Devices that can fit in your body, and no Devices above your Maximum Background Rating. Thus, you can have implanted armor or a plasma cannon, but not a car.
Biomod: Your biological modifications cause physiological disorders. Choose one Negative Trait for every level you take in the Enhancement. You gain one additional Attribute Trait (above normal human maximums) or two Traits of biological modifications (like a Blessing, but specifically related to the body and the Life Sphere).
- Familiar - A Familiar automatically serves as an arcane connection for you. Thus, you can affect with magic anything your Familiar touches, but the reverse is also true. The Familiar serves as part of a pact (perhaps unspoken) that requires your attention and perhaps some effort on your part; you can take elements of this pact as Flaws to reduce the cost of the Familiar (for instance, if your Familiar requires you to compose eccentric poetry to it and read it aloud at cabal meetings, this is probably an obnoxious one- or two-Trait Flaw) up to a maximum of 7 points at Character Creation, if at the time the pact is made during gameplay (if you have the flaw points to spare). Your Familiar can take on your own Paradox and suffer the backlash from it, although this typically requires some level of incentive. Finally, a Familiar requires a supply of Quintessence; generally this is one Quintessence Trait per week per level of the Familiar, or else it fades away, loses its powers or otherwise becomes inert until fed. If you purchase a Familiar at character creation, it can exceed your Maximum Background Rating, but no category of the familiar can exceed your maximum background rating. Example: if you choose Paradox Nullification and your Maximum Background Rating is 5, your Familiar cannot have more than 5 traits in this category. Gaining a Familiar during gameplay can be done by expending an appropriate influence action (depending upon the description of the Familiar you desire) to find your new Familiar and experience expended equal to the level of Familiar you wish to purchase. Creation of a Familiar during gameplay is the same as during character creation.
- For one Trait, the Familiar can talk; for two Traits, it can communicate with telepathy with anyone in sensory range, regardless of language.
- The Familiar can have countermagic Traits equal to the Traits you place into that capability, and you gain this while you are physically in contact with the Familiar.
- You can grant the Familiar special Lore on a one Trait for one Lore level basis.
- Your Familiar can nullify one Trait of Paradox per game session per Trait spent on Paradox nullification.
- For one Trait, your Familiar can be an unusual form of an otherwise natural creature, like a dog with a prehensile tail. For two Traits, it can be clearly unnatural, such as a multicolored, six-legged frog.
- For one Trait, your Familiar can have two extra health levels or two extra Physical Traits, each of these categories can be chosen only once.
- For one Trait, your Familiar can be larger than cat-sized, up horse-sized.
- Legend - Choose a specific Legend associated with your character. You might be a reincarnation of Jack the Ripper, or the home of all the legends associated with Achilles. When you behave according to your Legend, you generate Quintessence just like a Node. Someone else can tap this Quintessence by participating in your Legend. For instance, if you are a Legend of Jack the Ripper, you gain Quintessence by stalking and trying to kill prostitutes; the victim in question can gain Quintessence (if she survives) by playing out that role. If you are a Legend of Achilles, you would gain Quintessence for going on a mad rampage through an enemy fortification, especially if the enemies just defeated one of your friends. Treat Quintessence generated in this fashion (including limits per session) the same as you would a Node
- Past Life - gain 1 ability per, may convert 1 trait at a time
- Sanctum - Your magic is completely coincidental in a Sanctum. This trumps any other consideration: You can heal vulgar wounds, create elements, enchant weapons - anything you desire. You must still make all of the normal challenges and pay the normal costs. Magic that you send outside of your Sanctum, such as a ranged attack or enchanted item, is subject to Unbelief; the Paradox that you would normally gamer from such an Effect applies to the Effect instead of you, and probably weakens or warps it. Thus, you can't easily send screaming bolts of death halfway across the world to coincidentally kill your foe, but you can repair your damaged foci, heal yourself and conjure a few spirits for advice. The size of your Sanctum depends upon the level of the Background:
- One Trait - A circle, one pace across
- Two Traits - A small room, five paces
- Three Traits - A workshop, 10 paces
- Four Traits - A house, 30 paces
- Five Traits - A manor, one hundred paces
- Fae Blood - Fae Blood Merit, ST assigns Seeming, this determines the highest level of Arts you can attain (max 5 points) and the number of different Arts you can have (max 5 points),as well as the number of Fae Gifts you can have (max 5). pg. 149 Shining Host Players Guide
- Kenning - Fae Blood Merit, ST assigns Seeming, this is used to retest your arts and for your knowledge of them, pg. 151 Shining Host Players Guide -
- Purebreed (Garou) - Each Trait in Purebreed adds one Social Trait for tests against other Garou.
- Ancestors - gain 1 ability per, may convert 1 trait at a time
- Fetish - items of power imbued with spirits
- Rites - can be outside of rank but is taboo, by sept., taking this at character creation adds an amount of rites you know past 1 per each Rank you possess.
- Kinfolk (Ratkin cannot take this) - Population, gain 1 Gnosis/trait and breeding stock
- Totem - a spirit of power that aids a group of shifters collectively or individual. You cannot have more Totem than your Maximum Background Rating.
One Per three points to spend on Willpower, Rage,
One Totem can speak to the pack without the benefit of
the Gift: Spirit Speech.
One Totem can always find the pack members.
One Totem is nearly always with the pack members.
Two Totem is respected by other spirits.
Two Per Charm possessed.
Three Per extra pack member who can use a totem’s
power in the same turn.
Four Totem is mystically connected to all pack
members, allowing communication among them even at great distances (at Storyteller’s discretion).
Five Totem is feared by agents of the Wyrm (which
could mean that they run away or that they do their best to kill the pack).
Nuwisha, Corax, and Bastet Only
- Secrets (Corax or Bastet) - uncover dangerous truths about people, places, and things per each trait spent. These secrets are dangerous and can get you killed or worse if known or uttered to anyone else.
- Umbral Maps (Nuwisha or Corax) - Background. For each level of Umbral Maps that the Corax has, the character’s knowledge of the Near Umbra increases; while “maps” to the other areas of the Umbra also exist, they are notoriously unreliable due to the fluid nature of reality in such areas. Provided the character has a valid “map” of the area, each level of this Background reduces by one the difficulty of all tests related to traveling through the spirit world, finding shelter there, even attempting to speak with the native spirits. It may also cut Umbral travel times, at the Narrator’s discretion. It should be noted that this Background rarely represents actual physical maps, but rather the knowledge imparted by long lessons in Umbral byways and a certain intuitive grasp of Umbral travel.
- One Trait - One or two safe paths and a hidey-hole or two.
- Two Traits - Multiple routes to frequent destinations.
- Three Traits - Safe zones, routes practically anywhere, and where not to go.
- Four Traits - Multiple safe places and other hideouts, an encyclopedic knowledge of Umbral pathways and an awareness of what lives where.
- Five Traits - A near-perfect knowledge of the Near Umbra, where to go, and what to avoid.
- Den-Realm (Bastet) - a Bastet’s place of power, regain Gnosis on a 1 for 1 basis 1/night
- Jamak (Bastet) - a spirit of power that aids you individually, like a Totem, but it cannot be combined. You cannot have a Jamak greater than your Maximum Background Rating.
- Trinkets (Bastet) - items of power imbued with spirits for Bastet
Gurahl and Mokole Only
- Umbral Glade (Gurahl) - a Gurahl’s place of power, regain Gnosis on a 1 for 1 basis 1/night
- Mnesis (Mokole) - Mnesis is the instinctive memory of the Mokolk, containing memories as old as the age of dinosaurs. They can quest into their memories to retrieve lost knowledge or sage advice on how to counter a problem in the present. Each Trait represents an increased connection to the memories of the ages. Mnesis is often necessary to progress in studying Memory or in spiritual matters, and may occasionally be used in challenges to recall things from Memory.
- One Trait - Within the last century; numerous wars, the signs of the
- Two Traits - Back to the beginning of the second millennium; plagues
- Three Traits - Approximately 5,000 years ago; The Impergium, the
- Four Traits -Two million years ago; witness to the fall of the dinosaurs
- Five Traits - 250 million years ago; the time of the Kings.
- Wallow (Mokole) - a Mokole’s place of power, regain Gnosis on a 1 for 1 basis 1/night
- Colony - Population, like Kinfolk for a rat, a Metis Rat must take at least one point in Colony
- Freak Factor - This Background describes how truly demented your Ratkin is, how far away from the general perception of reality she is. Freaks - the Aspects of Twitchers, Engineers, Plague Lords and Munchmausen - are required to take this Trait at various levels, depending on their Aspect: Twitchers must buy Freak Factor x 1 and 2, Engineers and Plague Lords must buy Freak Factor x 4, and Munchmausen must buy Freak Factor x 5. Note that this Background does not work like other Backgrounds; each level is separate from the others, and they are not cumulative- they can be bought at different levels several times. For example, buying Freak Factor x 3 does not give access to the benefits of Freak Factor x 1 or 2, just 3. It is therefore possible to buy Freak Factor x 2 and 5 for a total of seven Background Traits. It is also possible to spend 15 points to receive the benefits and drawbacks of all five levels of Freak Factor, though that would lead to a truly bizarre Ratkin that would probably be quite difficult to play.
- One Trait - Unhinged. The Voices from your Birthing Plague never truly stopped, and you still occasionally hear messages from the Rat Goddess. At Narrator’s discretion, you can be blessed with insight or advice whenever you’re confused or uncertain about how to resolve your present situation. Although not a guarantee for aid, this can nevertheless be extremely useful to a Ratkin in need.
- Two Traits- Unstable. Your Rage has a bit too strong of a hold over you, and tend to fly off the handle at a moment’s notice. Whenever you gain a temporary Rage Trait, you can engage the Narrator in a Simple Test - if you succeed, you gain another Rage Trait. This can never bring your Rage Traits above your permanent maximum. However, you also suffer a two-Trait penalty on all challenges involving frenzy. All Twitchers are both Unhinged and Unstable.
- Three Traits - Unearthly. You’re constantly being followed by spirits who frequently send you messages and insight. Rat-spirits and other spirits in the service of the Rat Goddess find it easier to communicate with you than normal, and frequently enjoy doing so. Additionally, whenever an Unearthly Ratkin gains Gnosis, she makes a Simple Test; success means that she gains an additional Gnosis, however she must then immediately test for Rapture.
- Four Traits - Unbalanced. You understand one of the less popular members of the Triat almost intuitively; your fellow Ratkin often find this knowledge disturbing. Choose either the Weaver or the Wyrm. Plague Lords understand disease and corruption, and thus have an unnatural understanding of the Wyrm, while Engineers’ affinity for technology gives them insight into the Weaver. Unbalanced characters receive the Gift: Sense Weaver or Sense Wyrm, depending on which side of the Triat they choose. Plague Lords and Engineers must buy this Background at character creation.
- Five Traits - Unnatural. You’re not used to the physical world or its laws; you’re infinitely more familiar with the bizarre reality of the Deep Umbra, for whatever reason. Thus, many things about the physical world that others take for granted simply make no sense to you. Because of your affinity with the spiritual side of reality, the difficulty for you to step sideways is always reduced by two. At Narrator’s option, you may also have a bonus at interacting with chimerae and Dream Realms. All Munchmausen are required to buy this Background at character creation.
- Arcane - Arcane removes the memory of your face and name from a scene; used/scene, 1 for face, 1 for name, simple test vs. observers to work
- Ba - For every Trait of Ba, a mummy's normal 60 year lifespan extends for 10 years. These Traits also represent the number of retests you can call once your mummy has died. If you do not succeed in a resurrection challenge, then you must wait until the next game session to initiate this challenge.
Note: It takes five full sessions in the Underworld to gain the energy necessary to make a resurrection challenge. Each level of the Ba Background reduces this number by one. At five Ba, you can attempt the challenge one hour after death.
- Companion - The Companion is immaterial, but it can communicate with you. It may gift you with minor blessings, as these creatures are sacred to the gods, and the gods look favorably on those who walk with their favored creatures. Your Companion also accompanies you in the Underworld. It’s rating determines the level of power it possesses. Work with the Storyteller to hash out your Companion specifics. Gaining a Companion during gameplay can be done by expending an appropriate influence action (depending upon the description of the Companion you desire) to find your new Companion and experience expended equal to the level of Companion you wish to purchase. You cannot purchase a Companion higher than your Maximum Background Rating.
- Ka - The levels of Ka also grant it an equal number of extra Traits to use in bids against attempts to harm your khat (body). Likewise, those who would harm your khat are forced to bid the same number of extra Traits in challenges whenever they seek to injure your corpse or defile your tomb. So, three levels of Ka grants you three extra Traits to add when comparing on ties or to use in bidding, and it means that the local tomb raider, who was given a Static Mental Challenge against six Traits to figure out how to open the door, must add those on to the difficulty (for a grand total of a nine-Trait difficulty).
- Legacy - Once per game session, a mummy in the presence of their Legacy may call for a Simple Challenge. If successful, two Sekhem/Wakka are temporarily added to their pool for the night. If the challenge is tied or lost, only one Sekhem/Wakka is added.
- Memory - For every Trait in this category, you can attempt to recall a specific piece of information, such as locations of certain tombs or a mystical phrase to activate an artifact. The Storyteller determines the specific information you can obtain. Those Traits also, once per session, tap memories of forgotten Abilities, allowing you to initiate a challenge for a skill that your Amenti may not possess in her Second or Third Life. Capacocha automatically begin the game with Memory x5.
- Tomb - Each Trait in this Background represents the luxury and security of your Tomb. If you wish, your levels can represent multiple lesser tombs. A mummy in their Tomb can replenish Sekhem/Wakka at the rating of the Tomb once per session.
- Vessel - For every Trait in this category, one Trait of Sekhem may be stored in a Vessel. To activate a Vessel, you must concentrate for one turn as the Sekhem flows into you, which you can use like your own. To store Sekhem, you must concentrate for two full hours and spend one Trait of Sekhem, imbuing the Vessel with this Trait, up to its maximum capacity.
- Ayllu (Capacocha Only) - Population, required to be able to resurrect as Capacocha, can replenish Wakka at rating once per session.