First up for today, it’s the Merit Listing – outside of a few specialized Merits which are included in the relevant sections – from the World of Darkness General Point-Buy Rules. If you want a better-formatted version, or the complete rules, look there.
Generic Merits (All ! to !!!!!)
Acculturation: You know the language, traditions, laws, customs, and history of another culture. At (!) you know a few basics, at (!!!) you can blend in like a native. Add +(!) to blend into extremely exotic cultures, +(!!) to blend in with other species.
Adept. You have an exceptional natural talent for something, and may raise it to one over the usual Arcana-based limit. (!) for a single skill or specific Merit, (!!) for an individual Attribute, (!!!) for a particular Path and its Path Abilities, for a Skill Group (Physical, Social, or Mental), of for a small group (about 3) of related Merits, (!!!!) for an Attribute Group (Physical, Social, Mental, Power, Finesse, Resistance), and (!!!!!) for a small group (about 3) of Related Paths and Path Abilities or for a particular Influence and its Rotes. No single character may have a total of more than 5 dots in Adept.
Allies. There’s a group that supports you. The higher the level, the more they’re willing to do for you (Minor/Notable/Major/Very Dubious/Very Dangerous activities at L1-L5). Allies from an opposing group will be a level or two more expensive. Traditional allies may be cheaper. In any case, who are they?
Arcane Metabolism: Your body runs on magic, not on chemical energy. At (!) you can go without eating, drinking, or breathing for much longer than usual. Each level after that select two items from the following list: need not eat, need not drink, need not breathe, immune/poison, immune/disease, resistant to vacuum, resistant to high pressure, does not bleed, cannot go unconscious from bashing damage. Other items may be available. Arcane metabolisms can always be disrupted somehow, sending the character into a coma, do not help against supernatural toxins or diseases, and do not override the effects of other powers. If the character wants to be affected by something he or she may spend a Mana point to make the effect of whatever-it-is supernatural.
Arcane Reserve. You may store more Mana than usual. Your limit is upgraded by 1 per level of this merit or by 10% per level of this merit, whichever is more.
Arcane Well. At (!) you gain one free Mana point per week, drawn from inner reserves. At higher levels you gain (Level -1) free Mana points per day. Characters with the Source limitation on their Arcana cannot take this merit above (!). Specific situations or requirements are commonly taken as drawbacks.
Artifact. You have a magical item. It may be enhanced by permanent magic, contain a spirit, be linked with another realm, or whatever. As a rule, even weak Artifacts are difficult to destroy or to get rid of in any permanent fashion – and it gets worse as they become more powerful. Spend (2 x Level) dots on Powers (Minor to Legendary. The GM should consider how useful this is, how often it comes up, and the level of the effect), Mana Reserves (4 per dot), and Mana Recovery (1 per dot). General powers require a roll to activate, specific stuff simply works. Characters may buy multiple artifacts and may create them by spending their CP. Likely Drawbacks on Artifacts include Legendary (draws a lot of attention, -1), Expendable (limited Uses, -2), and being actively Dangerous to use or own (-1-2).
Blessed. You gain a pool of bonus dice you can use once each in each session to boost any desired non-chance roll. You normally get one die per level, but if there’s a Ban – a situation in which your number of bonus dice become a dice-pool penalty – you get two dice per level. Dice from the True Faith variant CAN be added to chance rolls, or even used for rolls where no dice are normally allowed (for example, normally you don’t get to roll to have your holy symbol sear a vampire with holy flames – or for your touch to cure a heroin addict). The number of successes required depends on the scale: blasting an individual vampire with holy fire might take one, blasting Sodom calls for five or more. Unfortunately, you can only roll for things which make sense according to your beliefs and must make great efforts to live up to your them or the GM is entitled to take dice out of your pool for each lapse. Many people have faith, but don’t live up to it well enough to get miracles.
Body Hardening. (!) +1/0 Armor, (!!) +1/1 Armor, (!!!) +2/1 Armor, (!!!!) +2/2 Armor, can easily handle hot objects, corrosives, and other problematic items, (!!!!!) +3/2 Armor, +(!!) to reduce firearms damage to bashing damage (this may be added to a base of 0).
Bonus Dice: You get +1 per level on some type of check in some specific situation, such as detecting ambushes, lifting and carrying heavy weights, trying to remember things, when resisting fatigue or injuries, versus disease, on survival checks, versus toxins, when your believers are witnessing your magical spells, when you’re resisting psychic powers, or when you’re dealing with people who are impressed by your fame. You get two dice per level if they only work to offset unusual penalties, such as trying to use Medicine without appropriate tools, the penalty for quick-drawing a particular weapon, looking for contacts in a strange city, or ignoring penalties to going into a trance. You only get one die for every two levels for relatively common situations, such as resisting magical effects or social rolls with those affected by your good looks. In any case, you can’t add bonus dice to a chance roll.
Companions. You have a good friend, wise mentor, loyal retainer, cheeky sidekick, groupie, or similar companion. Allocate (2 x Level) dots between Reliability, Power, Availability and Numbers (each +2 dots doubles the number). If you want to have pets, ignore Availability – and Reliability is usually fairly low.
Documentation. Each dot provides you with one established alternate ID, set of special permits, or other collection of major legal paperwork along with appropriate supporting evidence.
Enhancement. This covers personal enhancements derived from possessing spirits, cyberware, exotic martial arts, drugs and herbs, religious imbuements, beings from beyond, demonic investments, and other exotic sources. In general, the character gets (Level)x(Level) “points” to expend on specific systems/ talents, none of which may cost more then (Level) points. Sadly, anything past trivial enhancements (1-2 points) causes problems. The specific problems depend on the nature of the enhancement, but their total value must equal (Enhancement Rating – 1). Possible problems include:
Detectibility; Your enhancements can be detected with a medical exam (-1), from your “aura”/signature/whatever when it’s actively probed (-2), or are obvious/broadcast something detectable (-3).
Psychological Effects; Your enhancements cause mental problems – often costing points from or limiting your Sanity score. Minor/ Major/Overwhelming problems are worth -1/-2/-3 points.
Overstress Effects; Your enhancements cause pain and fatigue (-1), drains your life energy and reduces your lifespan (-2), or causes physical overloads (Pulled muscles, heart attacks, etcetera. Such effects can be partially resisted with stamina checks).
Social Penalties; Your enhancements inhibit your social life. It may do so in a Minor (Occasional problems, -1), Major (Continuos – if fairly minor – limitations, or severe ones that only come up once in a while, -2), or Severe (Major limitations, all the time, -3) fashion.
Special Regimen Required; You have to keep up with a special training program, perform odd rituals, or undertake some other task to keep your powers. Minor/Major/Absurd time and resource requirements are worth -1/-2/-3.
Energy Cost; Using your enhancements costs you some of your personal energies, usually in the form of Willpower or Mana. -1 for minor costs, -2 for major.
Personal Limitations; There are things your enhancements simply keep you from doing. You may have so much metal in your body that you can’t swim, attract lightning bolts, and set off metal detectors within 20 feet. You may be unable to set foot on holy ground. Regardless, Minor/Major/Absurd limitations are worth -1/-2/-3.
As an example, some Killer Cyborgs that hunt various supernatural beings have Enhancement 3 (nine enhancement points), that have been spent on Armor 2 (2), Pop-Out Claws (1), Countermagical construction II (3), and a built-in Machine Gun (3). Their drawbacks are being easily detectable via medical checks or relevant magics and being grossly obvious as inhuman killing machines when they go into action (both worth -1).
Equipment. You don’t have to pay points for stuff you can buy or steal, although you may have to have some allies to represent appropriate contacts for exotic or restricted items. Most equipment provides dice bonuses – usually +1-2 for ordinary stuff, +3-4 for general shops or highly specialized gear, and +5-6 for facilities, restricted, or extremely high-quality stuff. Sadly, armor generally halves these values. You may buy enhanced equipment though: 1 dot per +2 Structure/Durability/Size or +1 bonus. Drawbacks, such as armor being bulky and heavy, may reduce +1 costs to 0 though.
Favors: You’re owed favors, have bargaining chips with, or have blackmail material on, all kinds of people. Each dot gives you one die per session to roll when you need a favor from someone: if you succeed, you get one.
Haven. You have a home base. You may share it with others (who may also contribute dots), but you must allocate (2xLevel) dots between Location, Size, Security, and any Special Facilities (such as laboratories, mystical vaults, and super-computer systems) that you want it to have.
Honorarium. You may take 5-10 minutes to conduct a brief ritual in honor of (!) any one specimen of a general type of spirit, (!!) any one spirit you like, or (!!!) a group of up to (Pre + 1) spirits. Roll (Presence + Occult). On a success the spirits receive their choice of a point of essence or willpower. Such rites normally require a minor sacrifice, such as a bottle of rum, chicken, or a good meal, but this can be reduced to things like incense sticks or drawings of appropriate goods for +(!). No single character may honor the spirits in this way more than three times per day. Worse, honoring one set of spirits occasionally (if rarely) offends others. This potential problem can be bypassed with another +(!).
Immunity. You are immune to the effects of some Uncommon (!), Common (!!), or Very Common (!!!) effect through level 1-3 (+0), 4-7 (+!), or even 8-10 (+!!). For example, you might be immune to possession, radiation, the addictive and binding effects of drinking vampire blood, mind control, divination, old age, and many other effects. As usual, the GM must approve.
Innate Spell. You have some natural magical power. In general the cost is equal to the level of the spell if it’s slow and cumbersome to use, add +(!) if its fast or constant and add another +(!) if it’s subtle.
Insight. You’re entitled to one free clue or bit of information per level per session. This usually takes time, reduce the effective level by two if you simply get to ask on the spot.
Iron Will. At (!) you gain one free Willpower point per week, drawn from inner reserves. At higher levels you gain (Level -1) free Willpower points per game session. If you like, you can take a Nemesis as a -2 Drawback: you only get the points when they get involved – or when you trace a current problem back to them. Other drawbacks can represent things like True Love, being driven to battle particular opponents, and so on.
Jonah. You penalize the dice pools of those nearby with regard to some type of action. You may NEVER undertake that type of action yourself. Generally -1 die per level, at L5 it amounts to a complete block, reducing your victims to a chance roll to use their powers. Note that blocking something like “vampire disciplines” is a good way to get yourself killed. They don’t like it.
Linguist. You speak and read another language adequately (!), like a native (!!), or near-perfectly (!!!). Each additional dot doubles the number of languages you know.
Luck. You get one reroll per session per level. These don’t add to your old roll, they simple replace it. This is often specialized via drawbacks to represent exotic resistances or advantages.
Martial Art. You’re really skilled in a particular combat style. You get one special maneuver (clear them with the GM) per level. Adding a skill instead of doubling your defense when dodging is a classic one to start off with. Disarming and Finesse (use Dex instead of Str with a particular weapon) are popular at L2.
Memory. You have a head full of obscure memories and skills. You may roll this to try and remember bits about various “past lives” or – given a minute or two – allot the dots to a skill (up to a maximum of 5). This lasts for a full scene, but each dot may be so allotted only once per session. Optionally, if you actually name and describe the sources of your memories and the skills they make available, you may purchase this Merit multiple times.
Mystic Sense. You have some extra or improved sense that other’s don’t. The cost depends on how useful this is. You may be able to sense true north (!), smell like a bloodhound (!!), see in the dark, sense the presence of a particular type of supernatural activity, or mystically analyze blood (!!!), sense when a proposed course of action is idiotic or the presence of any kind of supernatural activity (!!!!), or simply have greatly-improved senses all around (!!!!!).
Mystic Veil. Your mere unveiled presence induces irrational reactions. At (!) witnesses will be very confused about what they saw later on. At (!!) photos and other records will be regarded as hoaxes. At (!!!) people will be very confused at the time and will tend to forget about you later. At (!!!!) they’ll have powerful emotional reactions (of a nature chosen when you buy this merit) at the time. At (!!!!!) they’ll have overwhelming reactions at the time and L4 reactions if reminded later on. +(!) to be able to turn this on and off. If you need a roll use (Mystic Veil + Arcana + Presence) versus Willpower.
Natural Advantage. One or more of your innate Advantages is heightened somehow. In general add 1-for-1 to Initiative and Speed, 1 for 2 (round up) to Defense and Health, 1 for 2 (round down) to Perception, 1 extra Vice for 3 (round off), 1 for 4 (round down) to Size, and 1 extra Virtue or point of Willpower per 5 (round down). Each type of bonus is purchased independently.
Nexus. You have access to a Place of Power. For (!) it’s minor (L1-2, +1 to magical actions), for (!!) it’s major (L3-4, +2 to magical actions), and for (!!!) it’s grand (L5, +3 to magical actions). Nexi usually produce (2 x Level) total Mana per day. For +(!) it has some magical feature, is defended, is mystically hidden, or is at least 50% yours alone. For +(!!) it crystalizes any untapped mana or belongs to you alone.
Obscured. Mystical forces conceal you. People trying to magically locate, analyze, or detect you, those using indirect physical means (i.e. detective work instead of direct spying), and those using long-range magic against you, suffer a penalty equal to your Obscured dots.
Rebirth. You get to come back after being “killed”. At (!) you get to keep most of your memories, but your point total is reduced to whatever the GM allows for a “replacement” character and the process may take quite some time and/or some adventures in spirit realms to complete. At (!!) your point total is still reduced, but the returning process only takes a few days, if that. At (!!!) it only costs you 50 XP (or less if that would take you below the replacement character allotment) to return. At (!!!!) this is reduced to a maximum of 30 XP and you enjoy a greatly extended lifespan before you need to return unless you die of unnatural causes. At (!!!!!) the cost is reduced to 20 XP and you gain an indefinite lifespan. Unfortunately, even at L5, there’s always some way of killing you for good, even if it’s pretty obscure. Add +(!) if you want to include minor metamorphosis and/or a bit of a character rewrite in your rebirth.
Regeneration. You heal much more quickly than normal. At (!) you simply recover with a minimum of pain and scarring. At (!!) you recover a level of bashing damage every ten minutes, one level of lethal damage per day, and one level of aggravated damage every three days. At (!!!) you recover a level of bashing damage every five minutes, a level of lethal damage each day, and a level of aggravated damage every two days. You may also spend 3 Mana to recover a level of lethal or bashing damage immediately. At (!!!!) you recover a level of bashing damage every minute, a level of lethal damage every 12 hours, and a level of aggravated damage every two days. You may spend one Mana to recover two levels of bashing damage or a level of lethal damage immediately. You may also spend 5 Mana and 1 Willpower to recover a level of aggravated damage immediately. Finally, at (!!!!!), you recover a level of bashing damage each round, a level of lethal damage every 15 minutes, and a level of aggravated damage every two days. You may spend a point of mana to recover 4 levels of bashing or one level of lethal damage immediately or 3 Mana and a point of Willpower to recover a level of aggravated damage.
Once again, Regeneration is simply an innate spell – but it’s popular enough to get its own listing.
Resources. You have wealth. The more dots, the more money. If you wish you may divide (2xLevel) dots among Income, Holdings, and Special Resources (such as controlling a business).
Shapeshifting. At L1 you can change details of your form, at L2 you have a single alternate form which may slightly modify your abilities, at L3 you have a set of up to five thematically-linked alternate forms, at L4 you may take a wide variety of forms (such as: any animal), at L5 you can take almost any form. +(!) to allow notable changes in mass and attributes, +(!!) to allow major enhancements. Unconscious characters normally revert to whatever their base form is. It usually requires a roll of (Stamina + Survival + Arcana) to shift or a point of Mana to do it instantly.
While this is technically just an innate spell, it’s popular enough to deserve its own listing.
Status. You’re an influential (and probably respected) member of some group. Characters with Status in an enemy group will find it reduced by one or two effective levels, although a net status of 0 suffices for acceptance. Which group?
Veiled. You’re highly resistant to the supernatural. You can roll your Veiled rating to disrupt any supernatural effects you see, add it to resistance checks against magical powers, and add it to any attempt to get your life back to “normal” if your routine has been disrupted by supernatural creatures. You may even roll it to get marauding supernatural types to bother someone else. On the downside, you may NEVER possess supernatural powers, must roll to disrupt any attempt to help you magically, and must FAIL a roll to accurately see, or later remember, supernatural events.
Most of the standard WOD settings presume that some sort of mystical censorship prevails: most humans somehow remain blissfully oblivious of the blatant supernatural stuff going on all around them. It’s not clear as to whether this is a power (Mystic Veil) or drawback of the creatures, a (weird) natural law, a human disadvantage, or some sort of defensive human power. This option presumes that it’s a defensive power – and one sufficiently strong to keep history on track despite all the supernatural interference.
Sample Specific Merits:
Arcane Heart (!!!!). You may spend a willpower point to negate up to three successes on a Backlash check or to allow you to tap a source that does not entirely fulfill your Source requirement.
Arcane Mastery (!! to !!!!). You may spend up to (Level -1) extra points of mana per turn.
Bonus Action (!!!). You can roll for something (select what) without it counting as your action under specific circumstances, albeit at a -1 penalty. You may be able to drive while doing other things, use pistols in both hands at once (this doesn’t negate the -2 offhand penalty. Buy that separately), use a sword and dagger, or cast spells while holding up your end of an ongoing conversation.
Enchanted (! to !!!!!). You exist simultaneously in two aspects of reality. To you both are real – although the physical side takes precedence. Being “killed” in a spirit-plane is temporary, if traumatic (it disrupts the link for a time and often causes some amnesia). Being physically killed is generally more or less permanent. Merits that only function on a spirit-plane, such as spirit-world gear or allies, suffer from a drawback of at least -1.
! You may sense and manipulate the other aspect, and may be sensed and manipulated from it. You gain “Chimerical Health” equal to your normal health for tracking spirit-plane damage. It heals normally, or you can heal a level in a few minutes by spending a Mana point.
!! You may appear drastically different in the alternate world, and may have entirely different clothing, adornment, and gear there. You magic works in both worlds, albeit only one at a time unless you spend an extra Mana point..
!!! You may cast spells which only affect the alternate world for one less Mana than usual (0 minimum).
!!!! You age at half the normal rate and may allow the other aspect to take precedence. For example, you may cross a bridge which only exists in the spirit realm. Disbelieving humans observing such an stunt may shunt the character fully into the spirit world if they win a (Willpower) roll against the character’s (Willpower + Arcana).
!!!!! Your otherworldly aspect may survive your physical death UNLESS you’re slain in a particular fashion (Cold Iron vrs the Fey is the most well known) and may even reincarnate eventually. You may also spend a point of Mana to temporarily manifest your spiritual form, and any equipment or companion-spirits, in the physical world.
Experienced (No Cost). You’ve had some prior adventures. While this has some benefits, it also means that old problems may pop up at any point. The GM is entitled to roll on the following table at the start of each session:
1: Bad Blood. Someone you’ll have to deal with, and talk into something, this time out knows you – and is pissed at you.
2: Debts. Someone calls in a favor, forcing you to go on a mission, spare a foe, exert influence, provide information or resources, or otherwise go well out of your way.
3: Enigmas. You get a puzzle-clue or -directive from a cryptic mentor, weird old foe, or rival.
4: Family. A child, lover, parent, or good friend of yours has gotten entangled in current events. Can you deal with it?
5: Legalities. Everybody breaks the rules – and whoever enforces this one has finally caught up with you.
6: Nemesis. An old foe drops by or sends some minions to take a shot at you – if possible while you’re fully occupied.
7: Prize. Something you want badly, but failed to claim, is back – but is it bait for a trap?
8: Recognized. Someone may see through your disguise, your reputation catches up with you, or your foes seem to know a lot about your powers and abilities. Perhaps some dark truth about your past (or true identity) will be revealed.
9: Rival. Yes, they’re here to show you up, seduce your lover, or steal your thunder. Don’t have a stroke.
10: Unfinished Business. Something you didn’t finish is back to haunt you. Deal with it.
The player should be prepared to provide some details on the character’s prior adventures, and to offer some possible interpretations of rolls on the chart above. For example, if a “Nemesis” comes up, you should be able to give the GM a few possibilities for who it might be and what kind of minions he, she, or it, may have available.
On the upside the character gains either 35 XP or a 10% bonus on his or her starting XP total (whichever is better) and may take extra flaws and drawbacks for 5-15 bonus XP each (the value is set by the GM) to up to double this value. Since such flaws have already provided bonus XP, the GM is under no obligation to provide any more when they come up in play – although he or she may opt to do so.
Epic and Legendary (!!! or !!!!!). Epic and Legendary characters succeed on rolls of 7+ and 6+ respectively. Unfortunately, they also find most situations less challenging, and so gain 1 or 2 fewer XP each time the GM hands them out. To partially make up for this, if the GM limits the number of flaws a character can possess, Epic characters can have two extra ones while Legendary characters can have four extras.
Fast Healer (!!!!). You heal all damage, including aggravated damage, in only one-half the normal time. Any magical healing you receive, including Regeneration, is similarly doubled.
Fresh Start (!). You may skip an action this turn to change your initiative to whatever you want for succeeding turns.
Inspiring (!!!! or !!!!!). Roll (Presence+Persuasion) once per day. All allies and helpful types in earshot get back a will point on a success. At L5 they also get back three Mana points.
Library (! to !!!). You have a personal collection of reference works on some particular topic. You can make research rolls on that topic in a mere 10 minutes with a +(Rating-1) bonus on them. Researching a ritual in a library provides a +(Rating) bonus when performing said ritual. You can take Library multiple times: each time it covers another topic.
Linked (!! to !!!!!). You are mystically linked to something or some individual with a bond that crosses Space (!!), Space and Realms (!!!), or even Space, Realms, and Time (!!!!). You can communicate with it if it’s sentient and are effectively touching it (and hence can use a variety of powers on it) at all times. For an additional +(!) you may spend Mana to heal or repair whatever-it-is and may even spend 10 Mana to simply re-create a destroyed item.
Polymorphic (!!!) (Shapeshifters Only). Your shapeshifting extends to the deep cellular level. In general, this means that DNA analysis (along with looking at your hair, fingerprints, and other details that shapeshifting normally warps) is useless. It also means that you can accept (or give) transfusions to anyone, won’t suffer from allergies, and that no one can exploit bits of your tissue as sympathetic links.
Yes, this one is awfully specific: that’s the point. If you want some oddity, run it by the GM.
Power Link (!!! or !!!!!). You are linked to an external source of Mana, usually directly to one of the spiritual planes. At level (!!!) you are:
<An obvious power source. You have a weird aura, attract predatory supernatural beings, and are a probable target for anyone who’s looking for sources of magical energy.
<Inherently Enchanted at L1. You may see, be harassed by, and take chimerical damage from, entities of the plane you’re liked to. This won’t help you buy “Enchanted” later (if you ever want to).
<Considered a “relative” – and an agent – by the entities of the plane you’re linked to. You will have to deal with seriously weird visitors, relatives, and requests. Still, they’re usually fairly polite – at least at first.
<A magnet for general weirdness. Worse, if you’re a member of an NPC organization, they’ll expect you to use your enhanced powers to deal with all kinds of problems.
<Especially vulnerable to some type of attack related to your source-dimension, taking aggravated damage at -2 levels from it. Luckily, you gain that same (-2 level) protection from any special sources of aggravated damage you’re already subject to.
<Inherently empowered, reducing the Mana cost of using Paths and Influences by 1 point (0 minimum) and gaining a +2 bonus on ritualistic effects.
<Well-practiced. You get two minor (L1) path powers as a bonus.
At level (!!!!!) you automatically regain one point of Mana per hour spent resting or meditating. Unfortunately, your energy level is so high that you cannot tap any other source of Mana unless you spend a point of permanent willpower to do so. All of the inherent ill effects of a basic Power Link (1-4) will be greatly exaggerated. Worse, the energy you radiate is actively disruptive of something (annoying those using whatever-it-is in the area) and can cause spontaneous weird effects on creatures and items nearby.
Power Link is the difference between the mystical Ebonfire, Master of Fire Magic and the superhero Firelord, Celestial Avatar. In a short fight there isn’t much difference. Over an extended series of battles a character with Power Link will have a major advantage. Of course, characters with Power Link also tend to attract major series of battles.
Secrets (!!). You have access to extraordinary knowledge. You might know a Score of True Names, the answers to Ten Ancient Riddles, how to reach the Secret Chamber of the Sphinx, the Key to Summoning the Lost Legions of Azoth, or the Final Resting Place of the Holy Grail. Each such bit of information has an auxiliary cost however – usually 1-3 XP depending on its obscurity and importance. You can buy more information after character creation, although the GM may rule that some bits simply aren’t available, or at least aren’t available without describing how you’re obtaining them.
The XP cost only applies to bits of information that you want to add to the game or “research”. The GM should give you several “freebies” to start off with (a.k.a “plot hooks”) and may opt to hand out more at any time.
Spirit Companion (!!! to !!!!!). The character is accompanied by a spirit of rank 1 (!!!) or 2 (!!!!) (rank corresponds to its Arcana score). For an additional +(!) it can be given a physical form. Otherwise it hangs about in either Twilight or Shadow, wandering about as instructed (if it feels like obeying) or as it pleases.
Whether Fetch, Familiar, Ancestor Spirit, Patron, Ally, or Totem, spirit companions all use the same basic template and are mystically linked with their mortals. They may feel each others emotions (damaging and manipulating effects do not transfer), share senses, and communicate. They may gain Mana by drawing it from something with the appropriate resonance or by donation from their mortal associate. Each has a Ban, chosen by the GM.
Disembodied Spirits have only 3 attributes (Power, Finesse, and Resistance. 3/3/2 points at L1, 4/3/2 points at L2), a choice of 4 Trivial OR 3 Lesser OR 2 Greater OR 1 Grandiose Influence dots, 1 (L1) or 2 (L2) Numen, a Virtue, a Vice, and calculated advantages (Willpower = Power+Resistance, Initiative = Finesse+Resistance, Defense = Highest of Power and Finesse, Speed = Power+Finesse +Species Factor [as per species], Size: 5 or less [as per species], and Corpus = Resistance + Size).
If in Twilight it must spend 1 point of Mana per day to remain awake, falling into slumber if it has none left. On the other hand, it can freely share its Mana reserve with its companion and can “touch” him or her and use its powers on him or her without having to manifest (which they may do as per ghosts).
If in Shadow it cannot share Mana (although the mortal involved may donate some to it), but need not spend any per day anyway. They may manifest under the usual spirit rules.
Spirits with physical forms need not spend Mana at all, gain an extra Numen (usually Innocuous, but larger forms may call for other Numen), use the standard attributes (5/4/3 at L1, 7/5/3 at L2), Skills (9/6/3 at L1, 12/8/4 at L2), and calculated advantages. Their size and speed modifiers depend on the species of the body.
Spirits may be improved by spending XP on them. Their mortal companion can spend his or her own at 1-to-1. Other mortals may contribute XP as well, but must spend 3 XP to give the spirit one.
XP may be spent to upgrade an embodied spirits attributes and skills normally, and to buy additional Arcana, Influences, and Paths as usual. Additional Numen cost 3 points each. Upgrading Spirit Attributes costs (2 x New Dots) XP and is subject to the usual upper limits.
It’s also possible to allow a spirit to act as a conduit for forces from the Shadow. A spirit may act as a patron for an individual or group, bestowing (subject to the usual maximums):
<Attribute Bonuses: To an entire group (18 XP per +1), to any one individual in a group at a time (10 XP per +1), or on a uses-per-session basis (3 XP per +1. These last for one scene).
<Path Abilities: To an entire group (10 XP per Level), to any one individual in a group at a time (5 XP per Level), or on a uses-per-session basis (3 XP per Level). Users must qualify for the power granted to use it.
<Skill Bonuses: To an entire group (5 XP per +1), to any one individual in a group at a time (3 XP per +1), or on a uses-per-session basis (2 XP per +1. These last for one scene). Granting a Speciality to an entire group costs 2 XP.
<Willpower Points: 1 per XP, to a maximum of 5. These are a pool made available to the group each session.
<Mana Points: The spirit makes available a pool of 2 Mana per XP spent per session.
The Game Master may opt to limit patron spirit enhancements to Werewolves, who are inherently attuned to the spirit world, or to require a special merit to allow characters to attune themselves to the spirit in question.
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