We're all here to exercise our imaginations and have a great time creating characters and stories, but the rules are the vehicle that we use to do so. In planning Gotham by Night, we storytellers wanted to retain the complex and interesting lore of the original Vampire: the Masquerade; we weren't big fans of the Requiem reboot, but we did read through it, and many things are much more streamlined for play in the new version. The result is that, through a lot of love and all-night arguments over the best way to handle every possible situation, Gotham by Night will be a bit of a mixed bag, featuring the lore and politics of the old world with some of the simplified rules of the new.
Of course, we don't want anybody to be confused. So here's a basic rundown. There are very few house rules that are completely invented by the storytellers; most of this information can be easily found in the old Laws of the Night and the new Mind's Eye Theater: Requiem books.
1) We will be using the attribute system from Requiem instead of the unwieldy trait system from Masquerade. That means that most challenges will be resolved more quickly, without the endless retests and keeping track of traits.
2) We will also be using the card-draw method of resolving challenges instead of the old system of rock-paper-scissors (though nostalgia will probably see us accidentally try that more than a few times!).
3) All lore will be from the old World of Darkness. That means that the thirteen clans, their bloodlines, and all the other creatures from Masquerade, Apocalypse, Oblivion and so forth are alive and well, and that the familiar Camarilla/Sabbat/Anarch political system is still thriving. You may not know all the lore in character, but trust us. It's there.
4) We will be using the Masquerade system of Generation rather than the Requiem system of Blood Potency. Where contested draws would normally add a vampire's Blood Potency, they will instead add a number equal to thirteen minus the vampire's Generation (so, for a tenth Generation vampire, the number would be three).
5) Backgrounds, Influences, and Status will also all conform to the Masquerade rules for handling them, unless expressly stated otherwise.
6) In order to allow for greater flexibility and more interesting shades of grey, morality paths will be measured on a ten-dot scale instead of the traditional five-dot LARP scale.
1) To determine how much blood your character begins with at each game, subtract ten from your total pool and then add a card draw. (For example, Jane has a blood pool of 13. She subtracts 10, leaving her 3, and then draws a 7, giving her a total of 10 blood for that night's game.)
2) If you do not have the Retainers background, then you do not have ghouls, drivers, or personal assistants. If you do not have the Herd background, you do not have easy access to feeding and must hunt for it. Both backgrounds may be purchased at the same price as influences (but we want to hear how you're getting them!).
Experience point costs for Gotham by Night are as follows:
Attributes: Dot x 5 (Jane's third dot of Resolve costs 15 XP.)
Abilities: Dot x 3 (Jane's third dot of Larceny costs 9 XP.)
In-Clan Disciplines: Dot x 5 (Jane's third dot of Celerity costs 15 XP.)
Out-of-Clan Disciplines: Dot x 7 (Jane's third dot of Obfuscate costs 21 XP.)
Rituals: Dot x 2 (Jane's level 3 Ritual of the Unearthed Fetter costs 6 XP.)
Influences: Dot x 2 (Jane's third dot of Police influence costs 6 XP.)
Any experience purchases not covered in this list should be discussed with a storyteller. Keep in mind that, when buying new influences, rituals, or other dependent items, we may require you to give us a justification as to how you are accomplishing this feat. We love people who think carefully about their character's evolution!
But wait! There's more. Just as it takes a while to learn new skills in life, so, too, does it take a while to learn new skills once you're dead. The following table details exactly how long it takes to learn a given skill (note that if you have a teacher with at least one more dot in the skill than you have, you may cut this time in half):
|Attributes||Abilities||Influences||Rituals||Disciplines (in-clan)||Disciplines (out-of-clan)|
|First Dot||-||One week||One week||One week||One week||Two weeks|
|Second Dot||One week||Two weeks||Two weeks||Two weeks||Two weeks||One month|
|Third Dot||Two weeks||One month||One month||One month||One month||Two months||Fourth Dot||One month||Two months||See an ST||Two months||Two months||Four months|
|Fifth Dot||Two months||Four months||See an ST||Four months||Four months||Eight months|
Experience is earned in Gotham by Night in the following ways:
Attendance: Every player who attends a game receives up to 4 XP, depending on how much they play on a given date. Someone who arrived on time and left when the storytellers did would receive all 4; someone who arrived an hour late and left an hour early might only earn 2. Storytellers will make a judgment call, but we like you guys, so it'll probably be in your favor.
Roleplaying: Players who demonstrate exceptional role-playing of their characters may earn up to 2 XP per game. Costuming may be taken into account (and we encourage it!), but it's not mandatory; someone with mad role-playing skills could earn just as much in jeans and a t-shirt.
Character Information Sheet: Players may complete a CIS after each game to earn an additional 2 XP. The CIS is located on the website, and is a way for players to let the storytellers know what their characters are up to, what their goals are, and what they'd like to see in the game. Please note that you will have to actually put some thought and effort into your CIS for it to count; those who submit one-line answers will not be seeing the extra XP in their total.
Auxiliary Roleplaying: Players may earn up to 2 XP every two weeks for role-playing their characters on the Gotham by Night messageboard. The in-character sections of the forums are a great opportunity to keep up with your character and to connect with others in between games, and we like to reward role-playing (we totally do!). If you'd like role-play PMs to be included for consideration, email them to the storytellers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Character Background: A one-time bonus of 4 XP is available for players that create and submit a detailed backstory for their character. Details on the specifics on requirements for the backstory will be posted on the forums.
Donations: Yes, it's true. We can be bought. It takes a lot of resources to run the LARP, even when we keep it as bare-bones as possible, so a small XP reward is available for those willing to donate printer paper, ink, or other necessaries to the cause. No one should feel obligated to do this, by any means.
It is not necessarily easy to earn XP in some of these ways; it is very unlikely that you will get every point of XP every time. But that doesn't mean that you can't, and it certainly doesn't mean that you shouldn't try!
The single greatest change to the game is the change to disciplines, but it's not as much of a change as it might seem at first glance. We'll be using the Requiem disciplines rather than the Masquerade ones; most of the disciplines are functionally the same, but it might be helpful to read up on them in the Requiem book just to refresh yourselves. All clans will retain the same in-clan set of disciplines that they had in Masquerade; for example, a Ventrue would have Dominate, Majesty (Presence), and Fortitude (Resilience), instead of having the Requiem setup of Animalism, Dominate and Resilience. Additionally, any character may learn any of the three physical Disciplines (Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence) without a teacher, though they will still need to pay out-of-clan cost if they do not have that Discipline in-clan. Specific discipline changes and house rules follow:
Celerity. This discipline's effects have been increased; a character using Celerity subtracts a number equal to his or her dots in Celerity from the pool of any attacker attempting to affect him or her physically. The character may also add his or her dots in Celerity to his or her initiative. However, if two characters with active Celerity both attempt to affect one another physically, their dots in Celerity will cancel one another out; for example, a character with three Celerity would have the effects of one dot of Celerity when attacking a character with two Celerity.
Dementation. This discipline's effects and levels are described on the Malkavian-only messageboard on the forums.
Dominate. This discipline may be used on anyone, regardless of relative Generation. However, those with a lower Generation will typically be much better equipped to resist its effects.
Fortitude. This discipline will function the same way as the Resilience discipline from the Requiem book; however, we will still be referring to it by its original name, Fortitude, to avoid confusion. This discipline's effects have been increased; a character using Fortitude may increase his or her Stamina by two for every dot in the discipline that he or she possesses. The character may also downgrade a number of points of aggravated damage to lethal, equal to his or her dots in Fortitude, multiplied by two. (For example, a character with three dots of Fortitude can convert six aggravated damage into six lethal damage.)
Majesty. All clans and characters that would have had the discipline Presence in Masquerade now have the discipline Majesty from Requiem. Most of the discipline is functionally the same, but it should be read up on to avoid confusion.
Nightmare. This discipline will not be in-clan for any player characters; it can be purchased with experience by Nosferatu or Malkavian characters only as an out-of-clan discipline. Other vampires may not learn this discipline without a teacher.
Obfuscate: Mask of Tranquility. Level two Obfuscate will not function as described in Requiem's rules; we will not be including the Requiem concept of the Predator's Taint. Instead, this power makes the vampire's aura appear the same as a mortal's to any other vampire using Auspex. Please note that this power only makes the aura look mortal; it will not mask emotions or hide diablerie streaks.
Potence. This discipline will function the same way as the Vigor discipline from the Requiem book; however, we will still be referring to it by its original name, Potence, to avoid confusion. This discipline's effects have been increased; a character using Potence may increase his or her Strength by two for every dot in the discipline that he or she possesses.
Protean: Aspect of the Predator. Level one Protean will not function as described in Requiem's rules, again because of the concept of the Predator's Taint. Instead, the vampire may invoke Aspect of the Predator in order to transform his or her eyes into glowing red coals, giving him or her infrared vision and bat-like sonar. This power requires no draw and may be invoked at any time at no cost.
Thaumaturgy. This discipline's effects and paths are described on the Tremere-only messageboard on the forums.
We're still tweaking and fine-tuning; expect more rules for specific situations to become available as we progress through the prequel games!