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Chicago Reborn:
Making a Character

So, you want to make a character for our game, eh? Good! Here you will find the rules we're using to do so. If you want, you get a copy of the character creation rules (and the house rules) here. Or, you can just go ahead read them here. In any case, be aware that we've made a simple assumption in these character generation rules. We've assumed you know the basics of character creation for Laws of the Night: Revised, as we're trying to stick close to those rules, and have only made a few minor changes. If you aren't familiar with the character creation rules from Laws of the Night: Revised, contact us and we'll talk, okay?

Also, as a reminder, please remember that in order to get a character approved to play in our game, you must submit it to the storytellers by the Monday before the game, as we will not approve characters at the game itself. Additionally, we are attempting to keep a relatively balanced game, so you might want to see what sort of characters are already in play before thinking up your character concept. A small listing of what's out there in Chicago right now is available on the Clan Pages, if you're interested....

Anyway, with those notes out of the way, let's get on with the show, shall we?

Step One: Inspiration

Normally, character creation would begin with someone thinking up a concept, deciding their Nature and Demeanor, selecting a Clan and worrying about a Morality Path. Well, while that is important, there is one thing that needs to be discussed first, and it will probably affect your character's concept.

We are setting an age limitation on characters created for this game. We do not want thousand-year old Kindred in Chicago. Let's be honest, any Kindred older than Chicago itself (which was founded around 1775) probably has more important things to do than help rebuild some American city. So, to that end, we have created "age brackets" for characters. We are looking for characters between 50 to 150 years old, although we will accept younger characters and older characters (up to 300). How old (or young) your character is determines your starting Abilities, Traits, Disciplines, etcetera. We'll discuss this in further depth in Step Two, but keep it in mind when making a concept for your character. If you have "the perfect character concept," but it's older than 300 years, talk to the Storytellers and try to convince us. We might allow your concept, if you can "sell it" to us.

For this game, we are currently accepting characters from the main Camarilla clans. Just so you know, The Gangrel are still part of the Camarilla in this game - they have not left (and might not leave the Camarilla). Additionally, we will accept Caitiff characters as well, provided that they explain how/why they are in the Camarilla. If you wish to play a non-Camarilla clan or bloodline (e.g., Lasombra Antitribu, Giovanni, Ravnos, Samedi, etcetera), we ask that you refrain from making such a character for now. We might allow people to play those characters later in the game, after certain conditions have been met, but essentially, your first character must be from the Seven "basic" Clans or the Caitiff.

When it comes time to choose your character's Nature and Demeanor, realize that we are allowing the Natures and Demeanors from Laws of the Night: Camarilla Guide and Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide as well as those listed on pages 71 and 72 of Laws of the Night: Revised. Just realize we'll probably want a very good explanation for why your character might have some of the "Sabbat" Natures and Demeanor, such as Sadist, Stalker and Torturer.

Finally, all characters are assumed to be on the Morality Path of Humanity. If you really, really, really want to be on another Path, talk to the Storytellers and try to convince us. We might allow it - but we might not.

Step Two: Age, Attributes, Abilities and Disciplines

All characters are assumed to be between 50 to 150 years old, and are also assumed to have been active all that time. If you would like to play an older character, you will need to perform a simple test with the Storytellers. If you win the test, your character can be between 150 to 300 years old. If you tie, you are still between 50 and 150, and if you lose, you are under 50 years old. Again, it is assumed that your character has been active and doing things for all the time they've been around, okay? Of course, you can choose to be under 50 if you want - there are some perks to being young. If you have a character concept in mind that is older than 300 years old (or have a character concept that involves long periods of inactivity), talk to the Storytellers; if you can really convince us, we might allow you to play it and assign stats accordingly. (But please keep in mind that we're trying to have very few characters in the game that are older than 500 years old - having characters that predate the Camarilla or Sabbat causes too many problems.)

Now that we know how old your character can be, let's look at what that means, in terms of Abilities, Traits, Disciplines and all that, shall we?

Starting Attributes
Starting Abilities
Starting Lores
Starting Disciplines
Starting Generation
Starting Backgrounds
Starting Freebies
Under 50
50 - 150
150 - 300

Knowing your character's starting Attributes, prioritize your character's Physical, Social and Mental Attributes into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary areas of focus. Choose the actual Traits for your character's Attributes. The Primary Attribute gets the highest number of Traits (7, 8 or 9, depending on your age), and we're certain you can figure out the rest. The actual Traits, and what they're good for, are listed on pages 79 through 85 in Laws of the Night: Revised. Please Note: There are additional Traits listed in the Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide. We are not using those Traits in this game, okay?

Once your Attributes are out of the way, it's time to pick your character's Abilities! The majority of Abilities are listed on pages 86 through 93 in Laws of the Night: Revised. We are allowing characters to have Ability Specializations, by the way. There are additional Abilities listed in Laws of the Night: Camarilla Guide and Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide that you can choose. Just realize that we'll probably ask for good explanations for why your character has such Abilities as Torture and Fire Dancing. By the way, we've added two Abilities (Archery and Diplomacy), and we're doing Linguistics a little differently than in the book; check out our House Rules for more details.

Additionally, your character gets a number of free Lores at character creation. You might be wondering why we've made a Starting Lores Category. We suggest that you check out our House Rules for more details about this, but the quick and dirty story is simple. We've decided to be very strict about what characters know and are therefore limiting some knowledge; without certain lores, you simply don't know anything about certain things. However, to compensate for this, we are allowing characters to start off with some "free" Lores. Additional Lores, above and beyond what the free ones can be bought just like any other Ability. (By the way, I suggest that one of Lores people grab as a "free" Lore be Camarilla Lore, but that's my opinion - yours might differ.)

In any case, your Age determines the starting number of Abilities and Lores your character has, so choose wisely! Just remember that you cannot take any Ability or Lore higher than x5 when starting out. Remember that certain clans, such as the Malkavians, get some bonus Abilities - be certain to include those in your list of Abilities!

When it comes to Disciplines, pick and choose as you desire. The complete list of Disciplines takes up Chapter Four of Laws of the Night: Revised, so have fun reading! We just have a few guidelines, okay?

  • If your character is under 50 years old, we ask that you stick to Clan Disciplines only. Additionally, characters under 50 can only have one Intermediate Discipline and no Advanced Disciplines.
  • In general, we ask that you stick to Clan Disciplines, but you are allowed (if your character is over 50) to pick non-Clan Disciplines within reason. We will probably veto egregious abuses of this (e.g. a Brujah having Obtenebration, Thamaturgy and Serpentis will not be allowed), so use common sense.
  • Realize that we are altering some Disciplines for use in our game; check out our House Rules for more details.
  • If you are playing a Malkavian, you must make a choice. You can have either Dementation or Dominate as a Clan Discipline. You are not prevented from having both Disciplines, but only one can be a Clan Discipline. The other must be considered an out-of-clan Discipline. If you don't specify what your choice is, the Storytellers will make it for you.
  • If you are playing a Caitiff (and god bless you for doing so), you may choose three of the eight "common" Disciplines (Animalism, Auspex, Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, Obfuscate, Potence or Presence) to serve as their Clan Disciplines. These Disciplines must be chosen during character creation.
  • If your character has Necromancy or Thamaturgy, please be aware of the changes to those Disciplines in Laws of the Night: Revised regarding Paths and what levels of Paths a character can learn. Additionally, your character has some free Rituals given to them during character creation. Your character receives a "free" Ritual for each level of Thamaturgy or Necromancy they have (i.e., a character with two Basic levels of the Path of Blood receives two Basic Rituals) at character creation. After creation, Rituals can only be gained by either increasing your Primary Path (which gives you a free Ritual of the appropriate level) or by spending XP.

Step Four: Backgrounds

Backgrounds (Allies, Contacts, Fame, Generation, Herd, Influence, Mentor, Resources and Retainers) are fully listed in great detail on pages 93 through 105 in Laws of the Night: Revised, so feel free to read up on them. In addition, we are adding three Backgrounds for this game: Alternate Identity, Status and Haven.

  • Alternate Identity: This background represents the depth to which a character has prepared an alternative persona for purposes of "being undercover." Each background point spent on Alternate Identity indicates a level of "preparedness" in creating the faux background, readying answers and providing the paper trail in case of investigation. For example, a character with an Alternate Identity x1 might have only prepared the basics for a fake idenity (i.e., there a few relatively unimportant people willing to back up the character's second ID), while a character with Alternate Identity x5 will have plenty of supporting documentation for their persona (e.g., several Princes and an Archon are willing to support the character's claims, there is a physical paper trail documenting the persona, etcetera). This Background can be allotted between different backgrounds, if the player wants (e.g., a character with Alternate Identity x5 could have five other backgrounds at x1, or one at x5, or one at x2 and one at x3).

  • Status: Each background point you spend on Status is just that - a Status Trait for your character. All characters (except for Caitiff or "non-standard" Clans) start off with the Status Trait of Accepted, which means that at some point in their past, they were made a proper member of the Camarilla. Caitiff (and non-standard Clans) start off with no Status, but can buy Accepted, provided they explain it in their backgrounds. All new characters coming to Chicago are not Acknowledged within the city; they must have that Status granted to them by the Prince after they arrive. Please see our House Rules for more on Status (including what the hell this Accepted thing is, anyway).
  • Haven: This background reflects both the quantity and quality of the character's havens. All characters are assumed to have at least one relatively secure haven (considered Haven x0) at the start of the game, be it a very-well defended hotel room, a small apartment, or even a basement somewhere. For each background point you spend on Haven, you gain either another haven, or your existing havens become more secure. You can pick and choose how you want to allocate this background (e.g., a character with Haven x5 could have six separate havens, one impregnable haven, or a relatively secure haven and a very well-protected haven). A basic haven (i.e., the default Haven x0) has been modified somewhat to give a Kindred shelter from sunlight, basic protection from strangers, and maybe even an escape route in case of emergency, but not much else in terms of security or safety. There is also a variation of Haven, called Communal Haven this is a Haven that multiple people maintain (such as a Tremere Chantry or the collective warrens in the sewers favored by many Nosferatu). However, since it is assumed that few characters will be creating Communal Havens at the start of the game, it's not a Background that can be purchased at character creation (except in extreme circumstances). The technical rules covering Communal Havens are explained in depth later (in the House Rules here).

Realize that you can only spend up to five background traits on one background (e.g., you can only gain Generation x5, Herd x5 or Status x5) at the beginning of the game. These can increase during the game, through role-playing and experience, but they cannot begin any higher at the start of the game. The two exceptions to this x5 limit are the Generation background and the Influence Background. Generation is limited in only one specific way; simply put, we are not allowing any more characters of the Sixth Generation into the game. So, while a character in the 150 to 300 age bracket could be of the Sixth Generation (by gaining Generation x5), we are not allowing such characters into the game at this time; the lowest Generation such a character could be is Seventh Generation.

Influence is "limited" in a different manner, mainly due to the fact that there are many types of Influence in the game world (the main ones are listed in detail on pages 96 through 104 of Laws of the Night: Revised; see our Influence section in the House Rules for more ideas on Influences). Due to the wide variety of Influences available, a character could, in theory, have more than Influence x5 at the start of game. There are two limits to this, however. First of all, no character can start the game with any single Influence higher than x3 (including free Influences given at Character Creation due to Clan). Additionally, a character can only have a number of Influences equal to the sum of their Attribute Traits (i.e., a character with 7/5/3 can only have 15 Influences, and none of those Influences could be higher than x3 at the start of game). Remember that certain clans, such as the Ventrue, get some Backgrounds for free (such as Resources) during character creation - be certain to include those in your list of Backgrounds!

Also, we just wanted to point out that, although you cannot begin the game with any Background (aside of Influence) higher than x5, you can increase some of your Backgrounds beyond a x5 rating during the course of the game through role-playing and various other things. Just so you know, the highest any single background (aside of Influence) can rise to x10.

Step Five: Virtues, Humanity, Willpower and Blood

Characters on the Morality Path of Humanity have three Virtues that rule their relation to the dread Beast within that causes Kindred to rage and destroy. These three Virtues are Conscience, Self-Control and Courage. Conscience represents how well a character adheres to their morality, while Self-Control represents the ability to resist frenzies, and Courage represents how well a character can overcome the fear created by things that can destroy them. Characters have one free trait in each of those Virtues, and have seven more to distribute between them. No Virtue can have a rating higher than five, ever.

A character's Morality Traits (i.e., Humanity) are determined by adding up the character's Self-Control and Conscience and then dividing by two, rounding up.

A character's starting Willpower is equal to their Courage. The highest a character's Willpower can be is determined by their Generation (see the Generation Chart on page 95 of Laws of the Night: Revised). Additionally, a character's maximum Blood Pool is determined by Generation as well.

Step Six: Freebie Points

Since no two characters are the same, players are given Freebie Points to spend however they want to improve their characters. Your age determines the number of Freebie Points you have to spend.

You can gain more Freebie Points by selecting Negative Traits and Flaws. You may only take up to five Negative Traits, but you can only take up to three Negative Traits per Attribute category. You can also take up to seven traits worth of Flaws. There are additional Flaws listed in the Laws of the Night: Camarilla Guide and Laws of the Night: Sabbat Guide; these Flaws are permitted, sort of. While no Merits or Flaws are immediately banned from use, you should read our House Rules for more details on Merits and Flaws.

You can also gain two Freebie Points by giving your character a Derangement. You can only take one Derangement at character creation (aside of Malkavians, who must have a Derangement; they can take a second Derangement for two Free Traits, as the mandatory Derangement grants no free traits).

You can also gain two Freebie Points by "sacrificing" one of your Morality Traits. You can only do this once.

So, in theory, a character can gain up to 16 Freebie Points by taking five Negative Traits, Seven Flaws, adding a Derangement and sacrificing a Morality Trait. However, the Storytellers reserve the right reject characters, so think twice before you start trying to "min/max" your character.

Now that you know how to get more Freebie Points, how can you spend them? Look at the chart below to see, folks!

Desired Improvement

Free Trait Cost

Additional Attribute (up to Generation Max.)

One Free Trait

Additional Ability

One Free Trait

Ability Specialization

One Free Trait

Additional Background

One Free Trait

Basic Thamaturgic/Necromantic Ritual

One Free Trait

Additional Virtue Trait (which does affect Morality Rating)

Two Free Traits

Intermediate Thamaturgic/Necromantic Ritual

Two Free Traits

Additional Morality Trait

Three Free Traits

Additional Willpower Trait

Three Free Traits

Advanced Thamaturgic/Necromantic Ritual

Three Free Traits

Basic Discipline (including Out-Of-Clan Disciplines)

Three Free Traits

Intermediate Discipline (including Out-Of-Clan Disciplines)

Four Free Traits

Advanced Discipline (including Out-Of-Clan Disciplines)

Five Free Traits


Variable Cost, per the desired Merit

Step Seven: The Final Step

Now that you've gone through and crunched all the numbers, write up your character and send it to the Storytellers! Include your background, so we know where you're coming from with the character, okay? We will then contact you within a few days to approve the character (or suggest changes).

Yeah, I know it sounds complicated, but it's a lot easier that it looks. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us.