Merits and Flaws are optional Traits that a Storyteller may choose to include, or prohibit, in their chronicle. Properly used, Merits and Flaws help players create and individualize their characters. Merits are special abilities or advantages that are rare or unique in the general Kindred population, while Flaws are liabilities or disadvantages that pose challenges to a character's nightly existence. These Traits can provide player characters with added depth and personality, but Storytellers should be careful to ensure that any Traits chosen will not adversely influence the course of the chronicle or give one character an unfair advantage over the rest. Merits and Flaws can be selected only during character creation and are purchased using freebie points. Each Merit has its own point cost, while each Flaw has a point value which adds to the amount of freebie points a player can spend during the creation process. A character may take as many Merits as the player can afford, but no character may have more than seven points worth of Flaws (which would give a character a total of 37 freebie points to spend in other areas once full history is written). Merits and Flaws are divided into four categories: physical, mental, social and supernatural. The physical category describes Merits or Flaws that deal with a character's physical makeup or abilities, while the mental category addresses intellectual abilities or patterns of behavior. The social category comprises relationships and individual status in Kindred or mortal society, while supernatural Merits and Flaws concern the paranormal abilities of vampires and the way they interact with the physical world. Storytellers are encouraged to create their own Merits or Flaws, ones appropriate to their chronicles.
- Prestigious Sire
- Debt of Gratitude
- Dark Secret
- Infamous Sire
- Sires Resentment
- Dark Fate
Physical Merits and Flaws
Acute Sense (1-pt. Merit) One of your senses is exceptionally sharp, be it sight, hearing, smell, touch or taste. The difficulties for all tasks involving the use of this particular sense are reduced by two. This Merit can be combined with the Discipline Auspex to produce superhuman sensory acuity.
Ambidextrous (1-pt. Merit) You have a high degree of off-hand dexterity and can perform tasks with the "wrong" hand at no penalty. You must still use the rules for taking multiple actions, but will not suffer a difficulty penalty if, say, you use two weapons or are forced to use your off hand.
Eat Food (1-pt. Merit) You have the capacity to eat food and even savor its taste. While you cannot derive any nourishment from eating regular foods, this ability will serve you well in maintaining the Masquerade. Of course, you can't digest what you eat, and there will be some point during the evening when you must force yourself to heave it back up.
Catlike Balance (1-pt. Merit) You possess an innately perfect sense of balance. Characters with this Merit reduce difficulties of all balance-related rolls (e.g., Dexterity + Athletics to walk along a narrow ledge) by two.
Blush of Health (2-pt. Merit) You look more hale and healthy in appearance than other vampires, allowing you to blend with human society much more easily. You still retain the color of a living mortal, and your skin feels only slightly cool to the touch.
Enchanting Voice (2-pt. Merit) There is something about your voice that others cannot ignore. When you command, they are cowed. When you seduce, they swoon. Whether thunderous, gentle, persuading or simply talking, your voice commands attention. The difficulties of all die rolls involving the use of the voice to persuade, charm or command are reduced by two.
Daredevil (3-pt. Merit) You are good at taking risks, and even better at surviving them. When attempting exceptionally risky actions (such as leaping from one moving car to another), characters with this Merit add an additional three dice to their rolls, and negate a single botch die that may result from such a roll. Generally, such actions must be at least difficulty 8 and have the potential to inflict at least three health levels of damage if failed.
Efficient Digestion (3-pt. Merit) You are able to draw more than the usual amount of nourishment from blood. When feeding, you gain an additional point to your blood pool for every two points of blood you consume. This does not allow you to exceed your blood pool maximum.
Huge Size (4-pt. Merit) You are abnormally large in size, at least 6'10" and 300 pounds in weight. Aside from making you extremely noticeable in public, this extra mass bestows an additional Bruised health level. Characters with this Merit may also gain bonuses to push objects, open barred doors, avoid being knocked down, etc.
Smell of the Grave (1-pt. Flaw) You exude an odor of dampness and newly turned earth, which no amount of scents of perfumes will cover. Mortals in your immediate presence become uncomfortable, so the difficulties of all Social rolls to affect mortals increase by one.
Short (1-pt. Flaw) You are well below average height -- four and a half feet tall or less. You have difficulty reaching or manipulating objects designed for normal adult size, and your running speed is one-half that of a normally proportioned human.
Hard of Hearing (1-pt. Flaw) Your hearing is defective. The difficulties or any die rolls involving the use of hearing are increased by two.
14th Generation (2-pt. Flaw) You were created five or fewer years ago by a member of the 13th generation. Though you have 10 blood points in your body, only eight of them may be used to heal wounds, power Disciplines, raise Attributes, etc. Obviously, taking this Flaw precludes you from taking the Generation Background, and you may not start with Status, either. You are likely a clanless Caitiff, for your blood is probably too thin to pass down the distinguishing characteristics of a clan. Most 14th-generation vampires should also take the Thin Blood Flaw.
Bad Sight (1- or 3-pt. Flaw) Your sight is defective. The difficulties of any die rolls involving the use of your eyesight are increased by two. As a one-point Flaw, this condition can be corrected with glasses or contacts; as a three-point Flaw, the condition is too severe to be corrected.
One Eye (2-pt. Flaw) You have only one eye -- which eyes is missing is up to you. The difficulties of all Perception rolls involving eyesight are increased by two, and the difficulties of all die rolls requiring depth perception are increased by one (this includes ranged combat).
Disfigured (2-pt. Flaw) A hideous disfigurement makes your appearance disturbing and memorable. The difficulties of all die rolls relating to social interaction are increased by two. You may not have an Appearance rating greater than 2.
Child (3-pt. Flaw) This Flaw has Been Banned from Vampire Play.
Deformity (3-pt. Flaw) You have some kind of deformity -- a misshapen limb, hunchback, clubfoot, etc. -- which affects your physical abilities and interactions with others. A hunchback, for instance, would lower a character's Dexterity by two dots and increase the difficulty of die rolls relating to social skills by one. It is the responsibility of the Storyteller to determine the specific effects of the deformity chosen.
Lame (3-pt. Flaw) Your legs are damaged, which prevents you from running or walking easily. You are forced to walk with a cane or possibly leg braces, and have a pronounced limp to your stride. Your walking speed is one-quarter that of a normal human, and running is impossible.
Monstrous (3-pt. Flaw) You exude an odor of dampness and newly turned earth, which no amount of scents of perfumes will cover. Mortals in your immediate presence become uncomfortable, so the difficulties of all Social rolls to affect mortals increase by one.
Permanent Wound (3-pt. Flaw) You suffered injuries during your Embrace which your transformation somehow failed to repair. At the beginning of each night, you rise from sleep at the Wounded health level, though this may be healed by spending blood points.
Slow Healing (3-pt. Flaw) You have difficulty healing wounds. It requires two blood points to heal on health level of normal damage, and you heal one health level of aggravated damage every five days (plus the usual five blood points and Willpower expenditure).
Addiction (3-pt. Flaw) You suffer from an addiction to a substance, which must now be present in the blood you drink. This can be alcohol, nicotine, hard drugs or simply adrenaline. This substance always impairs you in some fashion (see "Poisons and Drugs," p. 231, for particulars).
Mute (4-pt. Flaw) You cannot speak. You may communicate with the Storyteller and describe your actions, but cannot talk to player or Storyteller characters unless everyone concerned uses Linguistics dogs to purchase a commonly understood sign language or you write down what you wish to say.
Thin Blood (4-pt. Flaw) Your blood is thin, weak and does not sustain you well. All blood costs are doubled (e.g., using blood-related Disciplines or healing damage), and you are unable to create a blood bond. Furthermore, efforts to sire other vampires succeed only 20% of the time.
Disease Carrier (4-pt. Flaw) Your blood carries a lethal and highly contagious disease. The disease can be anything from rabies to HIV, and Kindred who drink your blood have a 10 percent chance of becoming a carrier as well. You must spend an extra blood point each night on awakening, or you will begin manifesting symptoms of the disease (increased chance to frenzy for rabies, reduced soak rolls for HIV, etc.).
Deaf (4-pt. Flaw) You cannot hear. While you may ignore some applications of Dominate, you may not listen to electronic or vocal media, and the difficulties of many Alertness rolls are increased by three.
Flesh of the Corpse (5-pt. Flaw) Your flesh does not full regenerate itself once it is damage. While you are able to heal yourself to the point of regaining full functionality, your skin still retains the cuts, tears, bullet holes, etc., which you have incurred. Depending on the nature of the damage, this Flaw will make social dealings exceedingly difficult.
Blind (6-pt. Flaw) You cannot see. Characters can compensate for the loss of vision by becoming more sensitive to other sensory input, but visual cues and images are lost to them. Actions involving hand-eye coordination are very difficult to perform, especially under stressful conditions. Difficulties of all Dexterity-based rolls are increased by two. Oddly, vampires with Level Two Auspex (Aura Perception) are still able to use this ability, though the information is interpreted via the other senses.
Mental Merits and Flaws
Common Sense (1-pt. Merit) You have a significant amount of practical, everyday wisdom. Whenever the character is about to act in a way contrary to common sense, the Storyteller can make suggestions or warnings about the implications of said action. This is a very useful Merit to give the beginning players unfamiliar with the game.
Concentration (1-pt. Merit) You have the ability to focus your mind and shut out any distractions or annoyances. Characters with this Merit are unaffected by any penalties stemming from distracting circumstances (e.g., loud noises, strobe lights, hanging upside down).
Time Sense (1-pt. Merit) You have an innate sense of time and are able to estimate the passage of time accurately without using a watch or other mechanical device.
Code of Honor (2-pt. Merit) You have a personal code of ethics to which you adhere. The specifics or this code must be worked out with the Storyteller prior to play, and the character must follow it strictly. Characters with this Merit gain two additional dice to all Willpower and Virtue rolls when acting in accordance with their code (e.g., defending the helpless) or when attempting to avoid situations that might force them to violate their code.
Eidetic Memory (2-pt. Merit) You remember, with perfect detail, things seen and heard. Documents, photographs, conversations, etc., can be committed to memory with only minor concentration. Under stressful conditions involving numerous distractions, you must make a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 6) to summon enough concentration to absorb what your senses detect.
Light Sleeper (2-pt. Merit) You can awaken instantly at any sign of trouble or danger, and do so without any sleepiness or hesitation. You may ignore rules regarding how Humanity/Path restricts the number of dice available during the day.
Natural Linguist (2-pt. Merit) You have a flair for languages. You may add three dice to any dice pool involving written or spoken languages..
Calm Heart (3-pt. Merit) You are naturally calm and do not easily fly off the handle. You receive two extra dice when attempting to resist a frenzy. Brujah may not take this Trait.
Iron Will (3-pt. Merit) When you are determined and your mind is set, nothing can thwart you from your goals. When you are effected by a Dominate power, you may spend a point of Willpower to shake off the effects. In addition, you receive three extra dice to resist the effects of any mind-altering magic, spell or Thaumaturgy path. This Merit does not affect Presence or other powers dealing with the emotions.
Deep Sleeper (1-pt. Flaw) When you sleep, it is very difficult for you to awaken. The difficulty or any die roll to awaken during the day is increased by two.
Nightmares (1-pt. Flaw) You experience horrendous nightmares every time you sleep, and memories of them haunt you during your waking hours. Upon awakening, you must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 7) or lose a die on all actions for that night. A botched Willpower roll indicates that, even when awake, you still believe you are locked in a nightmare.
Phobia (1-pt. Flaw) You have an overpowering fear or something. Spiders, snakes, crowds and heights are examples of common phobias. You must make a Courage roll every time you encounter the object of your fear. The difficulty of the roll is determined by the Storyteller, and if you fail the roll you must retreat from the object.
Prey Exclusion (1-pt. Flaw) You refuse to hunt a certain class of prey. You might refuse to feed upon drug dealers, or policemen, or accountants, or rich people -- if you accidentally feed upon such an individual, you automatically frenzy and must make a roll to prevent Humanity loss (difficulty 7). Witnessing other Kindred feeding on the object of your exclusion might also provoke a frenzy, at the Storyteller's discretion. Ventrue, owing to the limitations imposed on their feeding by their clan weakness, may not take this Flaw.
Shy (1-pt. Flaw) You are distinctly ill at ease when dealing with people and try to avoid social situations whenever possible. Difficulties for all rolls involving social interaction with strangers are increased by two. If the character becomes the center of attention in a large group, difficulties are increased by three.
Soft-Hearted (1-pt. Flaw) You cannot stand to watch others suffer. You avoid any situation that involves causing someone physical or emotional pain, unless you make a Willpower roll (difficulty 8). You must have a Humanity rating of 7 or above to take this Flaw.
Speech Impediment (1-pt. Flaw) You have a stammer or other speech impediment that hampers verbal communication. The difficulties of all die rolls involving verbal communication are increased by two. You must roleplay this Flaw whenever possible.
Short Fuse (2-pt. Flaw) You are easily angered. Difficulties to avoid frenzy are two greater. Brujah vampires cannot take this Flaw, as they already suffer from a similar malady.
Territorial (2-pt. Flaw) You are extremely territorial, staking out a particular area as your hunting ground and reacting aggressively to trespassers. If another vampire enters your territory uninvited, you must make a frenzy roll. If you fail, you immediately attack the interloper and continue attacking until the intruder is dead or has left your hunting grounds. You are reluctant to leave your territory except in desperate circumstances.
Vengeful (2-pt. Flaw) You have a score to settle, incurred either during your mortal days or after the Embrace. You are obsessed with taking your revenge on an individual or group, and it is your overriding priority in any situation where you encounter the object of your revenge. You may temporarily resist your need for vengeance by spending a Willpower point.
Amnesia (2-pt. Flaw) You are unable to remember anything about your past, yourself or your family, though your past might well come back to haunt you. Your origins and the circumstances behind your amnesia are for the Storyteller to determine, and she is encouraged to make it as interesting as possible.
Lunacy (2-pt. Flaw) You are affected by the phases of the moon, increasing your chances to frenzy. Under the crescent moon, difficulties to avoid frenzy increase by one. Under the half or gibbous moon, difficulties rise by two. When the moon is full, difficulties increase by three.
Weak-Willed (3-pt. Flaw) You are highly susceptible to Dominate and intimidation by others; Dominate attempts automatically affect you unless the Discipline wielder is of a higher generation, and your difficulties to resist Social abilities such as Intimidation or Leadership, as well as mind-altering spells or magic, are increased by two. Your Willpower Trait may never rise above 4.
Conspicuous Consumption (4-pt. Flaw) It is not enough for you to draw nourishment from the blood of mortals-- you believe you must also consume your victim's heart, liver and other blood-rich tissue. Of course, this will necessitate the deaths of all of your victims (unless you are extremely creative), which might lead to numerous problems with the Masquerade and maintaining Humanity. Character with this Flaw must additionally purchase the Eat Food Merit.
Social Merits and Flaws
Prestigious Sire (1-pt. Merit) Your sire has or had great status in her sect or clan, and this has accorded you with a certain amount of prestige. Though your sire may no longer have any dealings with you, the simple fact of your ancestry has marked you forever. This prestige might aid you greatly in dealing with your elders or other neonates, or it might engender jealousy or contempt.
Natural Leader (1-pt. Merit) You are gifted with a certain magnetism to which others naturally defer. You receive two extra dice when making Leadership rolls. You must have a Charisma rating of 3 or greater to purchase this Merit.
Debt of Gratitude (1-3-pt. Merit) An elder owes you gratitude because of something either you or your sire did for her. The depth of the gratitude the elder owes depends on how many points the player wishes to spend. One point might mean the elder owes the character a favor; three points might mean that she owes the character her unlife.
Dark Secret (1-pt Flaw) You have some sort of secret that, if uncovered, would be of immense embarrassment to you and would make you a pariah in the local Kindred community. This could be anything from having murdered an elder to being a member of the Sabbat.
Infamous Sire (1-pt. Flaw) Your sire was, and perhaps still is, distrusted and disliked by many of the city's Kindred. As a result, you are distrusted and disliked as well.
Mistaken Identity (1-pt. Flaw) You look similar to descriptions of another Kindred, which cause cases of mistaken identity. This can prompt numerous awkward or even dangerous situations, especially if your "twin" has a terrible reputation or is wanted for some crime.
Sire's Resentment (1-pt. Flaw) Your sire dislikes you and wishes you ill. Given the smallest opportunity, she will actively seek to do you harm. Your sire's allies also work against you, and many elders may resent you.
Enemy (1-5-pt. Flaw) You have an enemy, or perhaps a group of enemies, who seek to harm you. The power of the enemy depends upon how many points the player wishes to spend (five points indicate the wrath of a Methuselah, archmage or other potent supernatural foe).
Hunted (4-pt. Flaw) You are pursued by a fanatical witch-hunter who believes (perhaps correctly) that you are a danger to humanity. All those with whom you associate, be they mortal or Kindred, may be hunted as well.
Probationary Sect Member (4-pt. Flaw) You are a defector. You turned traitor to the Camarilla, Sabbat, Followers of Set or other vampiric order, and you still have much to prove before you are accepted by the Kindred you have defected to. Elders, ancillae and even neonates treat you with distrust and even hostility, and your reputation might even sully those whom you regularly associate with.
Supernatural Merits and Flaws
Medium (2-pt. Merit) You possess the natural affinity to sense and hear spirits, ghosts, and shades. Though you cannot see them, you can sense them, speak to them and, through pleading or cajoling, draw them to your presence. You may call upon them for aid or advice, but there will always be a price.
Magic Resistance (2-pt. Merit) You have an inherent resistance to the rituals of the Tremere and the spells of the mages of other creeds and orders. The difficulty of all such magic, both malicious and beneficent, is two higher when directed at you. You may never learn the Discipline of Thaumaturgy.
Oracular Ability (3-pt. Merit) You can see and interpret signs and omens. You are able to draw advice from these omens, for their provide hints of the future and warnings of the present. When the Storyteller feels that you are in a position to see an omen, you will be required to make a Perception + Occult roll, with the difficulty relative to how well the omen is concealed. If successful you may then roll Intelligence + Occult to interpret what you have seen, the difficulty again relative to the complexity of the omen.
Spirit Mentor (3-pt. Merit) You have a ghostly companion and guide. The identity and exact powers of this spirit are up to the Storyteller, but it can be called upon in difficult situations for help and guidance.
Unbondable (3-pt. Merit) You are immune to being blood bound.
Lucky (3-pt. Merit) You were born lucky -- or else the Devil looks after his own. Either way, you may repeat any three failed rolls per story, including botches, but you may try only once per failed roll.
True Love (4-pt. Merit) You have discovered, perhaps too late, a true love. He or she is mortal, but is the center of your existence, and inspires you to keep going in a world of darkness and despair. Whenever you suffer, the thought of your true love gives you the strength to persevere. This Merit grants you one automatic success on all Willpower rolls, which can be negated only by a botch die. This can be a great gift and also a hindrance, for your true love may require protection and occasionally rescue.
Nine Lives (6-pt. Merit) Fate has granted you the opportunity to come as close to Final Death as anyone can get and still survive. When a roll occurs that would result in your death, the roll is made again. If the next roll succeeds, then you live -- and one of your nine lives is used up. If that subsequent roll fails, then another reroll is made, until either a successful roll occurs or your nine lives are used up. The Storyteller should keep careful count of how many lives the character has remaining.
True Faith (7-pt. Merit) You have a deep-seated faith in and love for God, or whatever name you choose to call the Almighty. You begin the game with one point of True Faith (see p. 272); this Trait adds one die per point to all Willpower and Virtue rolls. You must have a Humanity of 9 or higher to choose this Merit, and if you lose even a single point, all your Faith points are lost and may be regained only when the lost Humanity is recovered. Individuals with True Faith are capable of performing magical acts akin to miracles, but the exact nature of those acts is up to the Storyteller.
Touch of Frost (1-pt. Flaw) Plants wither as you approach and die at your touch. Your touch leeches heat from living beings, as though you are made of ice.
Repulsed by Garlic (1-pt. Flaw) You cannot abide garlic, and the smallest whiff of its scent will drive you from a room unless you make a successful Willpower roll (difficulty based on the strength of the odor).
Cursed (1-to-5-pt. Flaw) You are the recipient of a supernatural curse. The strength and pervasiveness of the curse depend upon how many points you wish to incur. Examples follow:
- If you pass on a secret you were entrusted with, your betrayal will come back to harm you in some way. (1 pt.)
- You stutter uncontrollably when you try to describe what you have seen or heard (2 pts.)
- Tools break or malfunction when you try to use them (3 pts.)
- You are doomed to make enemies of those whom you most love or admire. (4 pts.)
- Every one of your accomplishments or triumphs will eventually become soiled or fail in some way (5 pts.)
Cast No Reflection (1-pt. Flaw) You actually cast no reflection, just like the vampires of legend. This can have a very detrimental effect when trying to pass as a human. Vampires of Clan Lasombra automatically have this Flaw (and you may be mistaken for one of them if you possess this).
Eerie Presence (2-pt. Flaw) Mortals have an unconscious awareness of your undead nature, which makes them anxious and ill at ease in your presence. Because of this, difficulties of all die rolls relating to social interaction with mortals are increased by two.
Repelled by Crosses (3-pt. Flaw) You are repelled by the sight of ordinary crosses, believing them to be symbols of holy might. When confronted by a cross, you must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 9) or flee from the symbol for the duration of the scene. If you botch the roll, not only must you attempt to flee, but the touch of the cross can cause aggravated damage (one health level of damage per turn that the cross touches your skin). This damage cannot be soaked, even if the vampire possesses Fortitude.
Can't Cross Running Water (3-pt. Flaw) You believe in the old folkfore, and cannot cross running water unless you are at least 50 feet above it. Running water is considered to be any body of water at least two feet wide in any direction and not completely stagnant.
Haunted (3-pt. Flaw) You are haunted by an angry and tormented spirit, most likely one of your first victims. This spirit actively attempts to hinder you, especially when feeding, and does its utmost to vent its anguish upon you and anyone in your presence. The Storyteller determines the exact nature of the spirit, its powers, and whether or not it can eventually be laid to rest.
Grip of the Damned (4-pt. Flaw) There is not ecstasy in your Embrace -- only terror and pain. Mortals upon whom you feed struggle and shriek all the while as you attempt to feed, requiring you to grapple with them for as long as you wish to take their blood. For vampires with high Humanity, this experience may require a Humanity roll, at the discretion of the Storyteller.
Dark Fate (5-pt. Flaw) You are doomed to experience Final Death or, worse, suffer eternal agony. No matter what you do, you cannot avoid this terrible fate. At some point during the chronicle, your Dark Fate will come upon you. Even more ghastly is the fact that you occasionally have visions of this fate, and the malaise these images inspire requires an expenditure of a temporary Willpower point to avoid, or else you lose a die from all your actions for the remainder of the night. It is up to the Storyteller to determine the exact nature of this fate, and when it will occur. This is a difficult Flaw to roleplay; ironically, though, it may seem as though it removes all free will, the knowledge of one's death can be quite liberating.
Light-Sensitive (5-pt. Flaw) You are even more sensitive to sunlight than other vampires are. Sunlight causes double normal damage, and the light of the moon can cause lethal damage in a manner similar to the sun, though it must shine directly upon you. Even bright lights hurt your eyes, requiring the use of sunglasses.