Mind's Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade FAQ
Last Updated: 11/28/15
How to Use this Document
The following list provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the rules published in Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade from By Night Studios. These answers offer clarification and guidance regarding the material found in that book. For a current list of corrections and changes to the printed rules, please see the most current version of the Errata.
- Question: Will you look at our house rules?
- Answer: We can’t comment on house rules for legal reasons.
Chapter Three: Character Creation
- Question: What happened to the Mentor background?
- Answer: The Mentor background can diminish roleplay opportunities in a LARP environment— we encourage players to participate with each other for the benefits typically provided by this background. For more information, see “Writing Plots Suited for the LARP Experience: The Economy of Cool,” on p. 341 of Chapter 8: Storytelling in MET: VTM.
- Question: Are the attribute bonuses provided by the Generation background actually added to the rating, or do they only increase the potential maximum?
- Answer: Attribute bonus points from the Generation background only increase the potential maximum for the attribute where they are assigned. You must still spend experience points to purchase attributes up to the new maximum.
Chapter Four: Disciplines
- Question: How does Majesty’s Appearance focus work once I attack another character with Majesty?
- Answer: Majesty’s Appearance focus allows you to ignore the Majesty of other characters while your Majesty is active. If you choose to attack someone, your Majesty breaks for that character, but your Majesty is still considered active, allowing you to continue taking advantage of its Appearance focus.
- Question: Page 216 states: “Tyrant’s Gaze can be used to lock down a discipline power, elder power, technique, or ritual.” As written, the Countermagic merit is none of the above. Can Tyrant’s Gaze prevent its use?
- Answer: Some merits, specifically merits that require the expenditure of Blood points, are considered powers, but they are not considered “discipline powers,” since they are not part of a discipline. With that in mind, Tyrant’s Gaze is unable to affect a merit power.
- Question: Is the technique Animal Swarm a transformative power? Can it be combined with the Gangrel Clan Merit Shape of the Beast’s Wrath?
- Answer: Animal Swarm modifies the Protean discipline Shape of the Beast, giving you the option to turn into several smaller animals. Since Animal Swarm only modifies Shape of the Beast, and Shape is clearly a transformative power, you wouldn’t be able to combine Animal Swarm with Shape of the Beast’s Wrath.
- Question: How long can you maintain a telepathic link with an unwilling target before the link breaks and you have to make another Mental challenge?
- Answer: From Telepathy on MET: VTM page 120: “If you succeed, your character can send one image or a brief message (something you could say in less than 10 seconds) to the target.”
- Question: Can you sense an electronic device that is concealed by Obfuscate with Technomancy?
- Answer: You can sense an electronic device in the general area, but you can’t locate it until you have a way to pierce the Obfuscate.
- Question: Can you sense an Obfuscated person in the building with Visceratika?
- Answer: Visceratika does not directly pierce the Obfuscation effect, but it does allow you to know the number of creatures in the building and their general location, even if they are Obfuscated.
- Question: Do incendiary rounds, fire, or fire-based attacks work in Shroud of Night?
- Answer: Yes, they do. Shroud of Night does not inhibit the damaging effect of fire or incendiary rounds. However, it does obscure the light of these attacks within it.
- Question: Do Feral Claws stack with Shape of the Beast and/or Shape of Beast’s Wrath? Specifically, does the +1 Brawl pool from the Feral Claws Wits focus stack?
- Answer: Yes.
- Question: In MET: VTM, page 153, there is a list of several consequences of what happens when people fail a social test to break to break Majesty. This page also lists penalties for when a Majesty user attacks someone, breaking their Majesty. However, there is no information about how long Majesty remains broken for people who succeed in a social test to break it. Can you provide clarification for this? Do people need to test against Majesty for every attack? Does it break for an hour, as it does when the user breaks it? Is it 10 minutes?
- Answer: Breaking Majesty has the same effect no matter how it is broken. When Majesty is broken, either by an individual who is able to succeed in a social test to break it or by the Majesty user, individuals are rendered immune to the user’s Majesty for the next hour. Whoever breaks Majesty can treat you as she would normally, even attacking you, as she sees fit.
- Question: Silence of Death vs Melpominee: Giving a 1-dot discipline the power to shut down a whole rare discipline set is a little much. Can you explain why you made this choice?
- Answer: Silence of Death prevents you from being targeted by Death of the Drum (at least, not more than once). We did consciously allow Silence of Death to foil Death of the Drum to better balance the game. Death of the Drum is the only Social vs. Social attack in the game, and with it, you can damage someone who has already been hit by two physical attacks in the round. Furthermore, it does more aggravated damage than Horrid Reality. Its downside is that it has an Achilles Heel in Silence of Death.Death of the Drum uses sound waves like a bullet. Plugging your ears will not keep the sound waves from hitting you, but using a discipline that kills sound waves effectively swats the bullet out of the air.This is distinct from Thaumaturgy because Thaumaturgy requires you to say words and make mystical gestures. The fact that I can’t hear your words is no more damaging to your use of Thaumaturgy than if I turn out the lights so that I can’t see the mystic symbols you’re making with your hands.
- Question: If a Retainer is not a ghoul (e.g., a Giovanni wraith), are they still bound by the single Discipline rule? This does not seem to be the case for the sample wraiths.
- Answer: Other than the free powers they get based on type, yes, they are still bound by the single Discipline rule.
- Question: If a Retainer is a ghoul, must I have a higher level of a Discipline than the ghoul for the ghoul to fully specialize in that discipline? Take, for example, a Brujah with 1 Celerity who buys a 3-point ghoul Retainer. Can that ghoul have 3 Celerity?
- Answer: No, your character does not need to have a higher level of a Discipline than her ghoul. Your ghoul can learn one Discipline by itself as long as it has blood that’s capable of manifesting that Discipline. Therefore, in your example, the Brujah’s ghoul can have 3 Celerity even though its domitor only has 1 Celerity.
- Question: When using the Necromantic ritual, The Servant Undying, does the Retainer rise as a common 2/3-point zombie with a special purpose, or it become a zombie Retainer with the equivalent level of NPC level as it had in life?
- Answer: The Servant Undying says nothing about changing the level of your retainer, only transforming it into a zombie. This is a special exception to the standard 2/3 point Zombies created by The Bone Path: Shambling Hordes.
- Question: The Necromancy and Thaumaturgy sidebar on page 112 says: “To purchase a path of Thaumaturgy or Necromancy, your character must possess a specific merit that allows her to do so…” Is this ever optional?
- Answer: No. Under no circumstances may you buy a path of Thaumaturgy or Necromancy without a merit.
- Question: Can you explain how you intended Monologue, which appears on page 229, to work? Depending how you read the Technique, it either lasts a maximum of 15 seconds (assuming 5 dots in Subterfuge), or it lasts as long as you keep talking.
- Answer: The second line in the power’s description says that “Monologue lasts for one full turn for each dot of the Subterfuge skill you possess or until you stop talking.” Later in the description it says “…as long as you continue talking, or until you reach the maximum duration allowed by your Subterfuge skill.” You may use Monologue for as long as you keep talking, to the maximum duration allowed by your Subterfuge skill. Therefore, if you have Subterfuge 5, you may use Monologue for a full five turns, or you may choose to cease using it before those five turns are up. However, Monologue cannot indefinitely postpone further action as long as you keep talking.
- Question: Can a wraith pierce a Vampire’s Obfuscate from the Shadowlands? Was your intent to limit a wraith’s ability to affect the physical plane exclusively to Dementation? When a vampire uses Obfuscate in the physical world, does it impact wraiths’ ability to view the vampire from the Shadowlands?
- Answer: The description of wraiths on page 500 says that “With the exception of the first 2 dots of Dementation, which can be targeted and take affect ‘across the Shroud,’ wraiths cannot attack or use powers on individuals in the real world unless the wraith manifests.”Later in the description it says, “Wraiths may purchase specializations in Dementation, Dominate, Chimerstry, Potence, Presence, Obfuscate, Obtenebration, and Thaumaturgy: Movement of the Mind.”A wraith cannot pierce a vampire’s Obfuscate across the Shroud because it cannot use powers (other than Dementation) without manifesting and because Wraiths do not have access to Auspex. If a Wraith observed a vampire as she attempted to use Obfuscate, it could employ mundane investigation to continue to her, since that doesn’t involve the use of a power.In general, we designed Wraiths to have a very limited ability to mess with vampires unless they manifest. This helps us avoid situations in which a simple retainer could easily own most Player Characters.
- Question: When using the ritual Engaging the Vessel of Transference, which appears on page 203, what is the smallest and largest size that the Vessel may be in metric units?
- Answer: Converting the rule into the metric system, you are allowed to make a Vessel between 240 Milliliters and 4 Liters.
- Question: What level of blood bond counts as being “blood bound” for powers like Summon or Crimson Fury?
- Answer: Both Crimson Fury and the Manipulation focus of Summon function on a character who is at least one point bound to you. A level one blood bond is enough to trigger a power that requires a blood bond unless the text specifies a higher level requirement.
- Question: Are powers that modify other powers, such as Vanish modifying Unseen Presence, active when in a situation where you can only use level one and two powers, such as Astral Projection or Possession?
- Answer: Yes.
- Question: Do separate sources of damage stack together when delivered at the same time or with the same attack for the purpose of being reduced by Fortitude (e.g., Flesh of the Fiery Touch and Personal Armor, or Grapple using Force and Necrosis)?
- Answer: If the damage is simultaneous (i.e., it results from the same action), it is considered to be one instance of taking damage.If you spent a standard action to punch someone and that person had Flesh of Fiery Touch and Personal Armor active, you would suffer both sources of damage at the same time and your Fortitude would only be applied once.If I used my standard action to punch you, used my simple action to activate a power that increases the damage, and used my standard action in the next round to punch you again with that power activated, you would apply your Fortitude to each damage source.
Chapter Five: Merits
- Question: Am I really limited to only 7 points of merits?
- Answer: Yes. The merit system is designed to allow every character to be unique by forcing players to make choices about their characters’ special qualities. The merit limitation allows for wide character diversity and prevents power creep in long-term chronicles.
- Question: Do I really need to buy a merit to learn Thaumaturgy/Necromancy?
- Answer: Yes. This requirement is an important aspect of the game’s design. Blood magic is potentially unbalancing, and the merit cost forces players to make hard choices about their characters, rather than simply collect powers.
- Question: When a merit offers “…an additional Thaumaturgy/Necromancy path of your choice,” does that simply mean a character can learn the path? Does the character still need a teacher? Do you purchase the path at in-clan or out-of-clan costs?
- Answer: Yes, the character can learn the path without a teacher. The costs are listed in the merit’s description. For example, Necromantic Expertise and Thaumaturgic Expertise allow a character to learn an additional path of blood magic at in-clan costs.
- Question: I am playing a Samedi. Can I purchase the Necromantic Expertise merit?
- Answer: Yes. A character of a bloodline has the ability to purchase any merit from the parent clan, unless expressly forbidden.
- Question: Can I achieve an exceptional success with Aura of Command?
- Answer: Aura of Command grants a Ventrue an automatic success against mortals. Should the player want to try for an exceptional success, she may elect to engage in the appropriate challenge as normal. However, this introduces the possibility of failure, as with any normal test.
Chapter Six: Core Systems
- Question: Assist Defender: If I have been subject to two physical attacks during mass combat, can I use the assist defender action to completely negate a physical attack on someone else, because I am not a valid target?
- Answer: If you choose to accept an attack from another attacker, exceeding the normal two physical attack limit, then you can be damaged.
Chapter Seven: Dramatic Systems
- Question: In the description of Rage Frenzy that appears on MET: VTM page 301, it states that you attack the thing that made you angry. Does this include insults being thrown at you? The Frenzy Triggers table on MET: VTM page 302 states that, with 4 Current Beast Traits, “takes any damage” is a trigger for rage frenzy. Can insults trigger a beast trait?
- Answer: You are only forced to make rage frenzy tests according to the conditions on the Frenzy Triggers table, but you are free to ask for a rage test if some roleplay event occurs that pushes your character’s buttons (like certain insults). We didn’t codify insults as conditions that trigger rage frenzies
- Question: Can a vampire fuse blood with wine and food?
- Answer: Yes. Pages 294 and 295 have rules for storing blood and feeding from lesser blood. You can use this to represent blood infused in food or drink. because they are too subjective.
- Question: Can you explain the design behind your Humanity system?
- Answer: Several people have commented on the Morality system, so here’s an in-depth explanation of its design:
Theme and Roleplay
Previous Morality systems (both in LARP and in tabletop) attempted to represent two separate ideas: the struggle between a vampire and her Beast, and whether or not the vampire is a good or bad person. While both of these elements are important, it is difficult to represent both of these ideas with the same mechanic. After considering the most important aspects for mechanical design, we decided to focus almost entirely on representing the vampire’s struggle to keep the Beast at bay and allowing players to self-determine whether their characters are “good or evil.” After all, the fight against a vampire’s Beast is not a true indicator of good and evil; a good person can be forced to do bad things (feeding the Beast each time), and an evil person can use intermediaries or find political methods to enact her schemes without directly strengthening her Beast.
This struggle is one of the central themes of Vampire: The Masquerade. We centered on the effort against the Beast, because it is an abstract concept: this semi-self-willed creature acts outside of the character (player’s) intention. Conversely, the concept of being a good or bad person is something we can all easily understand and is entirely in the control of the player.
In previous systems, plateaus existed where the mechanics of the struggle against the Beast no longer mattered; a character’s actions no longer provoked the Beast, and the player could all but ignore the danger of wassail. The system mechanically encouraged a character to drop to Humanity 2, where she would no longer have to deal with this aspect of the vampiric condition. In our design team’s opinion, there should be no such plateaus. A vampire’s struggle with her Beast should always be a major consideration of her existence, and we chose to reflect this ideal in the MET: VTM Morality mechanics.
Reducing Random Chance
In order to heighten drama and provide tangible risks (and consequences), most systems provide for a certain amount of random determination within their mechanical designs. However, hinging huge, persona-changing (and possibly ultimately destructive) moments on a single test can make a game feel arbitrary, and losses seem anticlimactic. Instead, we built a system where a character must deal with Morality and the Beast in a form of give-and-take, letting the character risk herself and feed the Beast in small ways, but knowing when to slow down or stop before risking permanent Morality loss. This further encourages a player to act out the Beast’s current strength as it grows stronger over the course of a night, lending to better all-night roleplay.
When a vampire commits a sin, she makes her Beast stronger, rousing it from dormancy. An awake and alert Beast has better capacity to take control of a vampire’s actions. Before a character commits sins, her Beast is asleep and there is no chance the vampire will frenzy. Every time the vampire sins within a single night, her Beast gets more powerful. A character’s odds of frenzy go up, and she gets closer to a permanent loss of Morality. Vampires can feel their Beasts rousing, and they know how strong it is within them due to their actions. This means that a vampire must carefully plan out her sins, avoiding those that will cause a permanent loss and actively working to restrain the Beast’s rage over the course of a night.
Gaining Beast traits can cause a character to change her desired actions during a game. The character may have to avoid killing a hated enemy —tonight — because she already has Beast traits and does not wish to risk losing Morality. On the other hand, the vampire can make long-term plans to kill her enemy on a night when she is not inflicted with Beast traits (or has prepared some way to soothe the Beast despite the killing). These Beast management strategies are part of vampiric life; they are a fundamental consideration for a character living night-to-night with a ravening, hungry, enraged spirit permanently infecting her soul.
- Question: Do I automatically receive negative status when I break the rules?
- Answer: Generally speaking, status isn’t magic. If you violate the rules, you’ll gain negative status when your deeds become common knowledge, either through direct observation or when your actions are described by an important vampire (like a Harpy).
Chapter Nine: The Camarilla
- Question: What is a moniker, and where is it defined?
- Answer: There seems to be a line that was accidentally cut from the text. A moniker is a social class that a character possesses that grants them status or negative status. Status may be expended as usual, but returns at the same rate as Abiding Status. Negative status granted from a moniker may not be removed as long as the moniker exists.
- Question: Can I use Favored to get rid of Boonbreaker?
- Answer: No, because Boonbreaker isn’t a Negative Status. It’s a moniker that carries the negative status Disgraced. (see MET: VTM, page 397.)
- Question: Can I use Favored to get rid of Bloodhunted? The following line from MET: VTM (see MET: VTM, 389) suggests that I can: “The target of a blood hunt receives the negative status trait Bloodhunted, which confers the following penalties:”
- Answer: No, the status Favored cannot remove the moniker Bloodhunted. That’s an error in the text. Bloodhunted is a moniker that grants the negative status Forsaken. Negative status granted from a moniker may not be removed as long as the moniker exists.
Chapter Ten: The Sabbat
- Question: Some text suggests that non-faction members can cast ritate, if the ritae expressly says so, but none of the ritae expressly say so. Was this a teaser or error?
- Answer: Some ritae require the expenditure of a status to enact. You’ll notice that such status is only given to individuals with certain titles. For example, Blood Feast states: “You must have the Sabbat status Sacrosanct to initiate this ritus,” and the Wild Hunt requires Sacrosanct or Glorious status. Sacrosanct is held only by the Regent, Cardinals, and Prisci. Glorious is only held by Cardinals and Archbishops. Therefore, the individuals who can enact those rituals must hold those titles (and spend the correct status).
- Question: Do you have to be a member of a faction in order to benefit from that faction’s ritae, or do you just have to participate in a successful casting of that ritae?
- Answer: By default, Faction Ritae do not benefit individuals of another faction. Some Faction Ritae’s descriptions specify that they are exempted from this rule.
- Question: Is it possible for a character to have genuine beliefs in the tenets of two factions (say a Loyalist who believes in the Orthodox push for more spirituality and faith in the sect), or is it an all-or-nothing situation (for gaining a ritae’s benefits, let alone casting it)?
- Answer: It is possible for an individual to have personal beliefs that cross faction. However, an individual cannot be a member of more than one political faction at a time. Belonging to a political faction includes formally joining that political group, publicly declaring loyalty, and being confirmed as a member of the faction by its members (including swearing any oaths the faction may require, such as the Ultra Conservative’s Oath of the Renunciation). This process requires that the character cannot be a member of any other faction when she joins. A Sabbat member trying to join two factions would be considered a traitor to both (much like trying to join two packs).
- Question: Is it possible for packs (depending on their faith and uniformity of beliefs) to have Ignoblis Ritae with effects similar to the Faction Ritae? Or is an Ignoblis Ritae’s power determined by the faction’s size, limiting a pack’s Ignoblis Ritae benefit to a +1 wild card bonus?
- Answer: Yes. The power of a Faction Ritae results from the faction’s size and overall belief; Ignoblis Ritae benefits are limited to the +1 wild card bonus.
- Question: Can the Orthodox Faction Ritae overcome a Pander’s inability to teach a discipline?
- Answer: The Panders’ inability to teach disciplines is based on the general thinness of their blood, which is what makes the vampire a Pander. This quality specifically means the Pander doesn’t have clan strengths (including disciplines) or weaknesses — therefore, there’s no “clan flaw” to remove. The inability to teach disciplines would not be alleviated by Atra Sacramentum
- Question: How did the Volgirre use the Severed Hand ritual to sever their ties to the Sabbat, as described on page 413
- Answer: There are two rituals named Severed Hand in White Wolf canon. A previous version of the Severed Hand (the Thaumaturgy ritual in MET: VTM on page 209) can be found in Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy, on page 98. The ritual referenced in the Volgirre description can be found in Archons and Templars, on page 147.
Chapter Eleven: The Anarch Movement
- Question: Can a Baron declare a new Elysium?
- Answer: No.
- Question: Can Dhampirs buy disciplines beyond their starting dots?
- Answer: No. Dhampir cannot buy any more dots of disciplines. Ever. Just like ghouls cannot buy any more dots of disciplines. Ever. Dhampir can allocate their 7 dots in any discipline, but cannot allocate those dots above the 3rd dot of any single discipline.
- Question: How do Dhampir get Blood points, and how often do they refresh?
- Answer: Just like ghouls who also do not feed, a Dhampir’s Blood points come back through healing and resting. However, Dhamphir Blood points automatically refresh in the form of 5 vampire Blood and 5 mortal Blood, whereas a ghoul on her own only refreshes mortal Blood (without drinking from a vampire again). Dhampir have fangs and may drink mortal blood like a vampire (with a maximum blood pool of five). Additionally, when a Dhampir is low on blood it’s body will naturally generate one point of vitae per 24 hours until it’s blood pool is full.
- Question: For the purpose of determining if a power effects a Dhampir, do they count as ghouls or vampires?
- Answer: They count as ghouls.
- Question: What does a Dhampir’s aura show for creature type?
- Answer: It is recognizably a Dhampir. However, a character who does not know what a Dhampir is might think it is a strange ghoul aura (like a revenant’s).
- Question: The rules on page 485 say that a character can only take the Dhampir merit if she has no dots in generation, but on page 100, it says that a character with no dots in generation is not a vampire. What’s the deal?
- Answer: A Dhampir, which is the offspring of a mortal and a vampire, is “in a half-state between life and undeath” and is neither a vampire nor a ghoul. As a non-vampire, it has no clan.
- Question: A Dhampir is treated as a ghoul without a blood bond and lacks a domitor. However, does that imply they will continue to need access to Kindred vitae? Subsequently, do they have to worry about becoming a vampire’s thrall?
- Answer: Dhampir have fangs and may drink mortal blood like a vampire (with a maximum blood pool of five). Additionally, when a Dhampir is low on blood, its body will naturally generate one point of vitae per 24 hours until its blood pool is full.
Chapter Thirteen: Influences and Equipment
- Question: Can the weapon quality Brutal be placed on weighted gloves if the attacker uses both hands?
- Answer: No. The rule says that “Items with this quality require both hands to wield.” Gloves do not require two hands to wield them.
- Question: If someone is using armor that has the Ballistic or Hardened qualities and her opponent’s weapon has the quality Armor Piercing, does the Armor Piercing quality negate the bonus conferred by the Ballistic or Hardened qualities to defend against that attack?
- Answer: Yes, the Armor Piercing quality negates the bonus conferred by these qualities. On page 516, the rule for the Armor Piercing quality states that “This weapon ignores the bonuses and special abilities of protective gear.” Therefore, Armor Piercing negates the bonuses of Hardened and Ballistic armor.
- Question: Can Miscellaneous Gear augment Discipline use?
- Answer: The rules for Miscellaneous Gear, which appear on page 520, state that “Bonuses provided by miscellaneous gear cannot be used in any sort of combat challenge.”The words “any sort” and the fact that combat is used with a small “c” are designed to prevent these rules from working in most situations that involve one player doing something to another. If both players involved agree that the challenge is not “any sort of combat,” then go for it, but we suspect that this won’t happen very often.
- Question: When armor has the qualities Ballistic and Hardened, do their bonuses stack from 3/1 and 1/3 to 3/3 or to 4/4?
- Answer: The Ballistic and Hardened qualities for armor stack to 4/4.
- Question: Can items double up on qualities? Could you create armor that was Ballistic and Ballistic, or a gun that was Accurate and Accurate? Would you see a benefit from both?
- Answer: Generally speaking, you can’t buy anything twice unless the rules specifically say that you can. In this case, the items in your examples cannot double up on these qualities. However, we recognize that the equipment rules should say that more explicitly, and we’ll add that to our list. Thanks.
- Question: Do the Ballistic and Hardened armor qualities that you gain from the power Armor of Terra, which appears on pg 171 of MET: VTM stack with qualities of the armor you’re wearing?
- Answer: No, armor qualities do not stack.