Guide to the Night and Spilled Blood Update [Vampire: The Requiem]

Vampire: The Requiem

Vampire: The Requiem, Second Edition coverHey everyone! Danielle here. It’s been a hot minute since the last time we’ve talked about Requiem. I’ve been deep in the word mines of editing and getting two books moving along. Both Guide to the Night and Spilled Blood are advancing as you can see in the Monday Meeting notes, but I figured I’d come in and tell you some about both these books.

First is Guide to the Night, a joint players and storyteller’s guide. The whole book is designed to give an advanced level of play to your normal Requiem games. We give lots of alternative rules to play with or add into your game however you like. We also have some tips and tools on character, coterie, and chronicle building. I think I’m most happy with the chapter on alternative settings for Requiem 2e, all of which I’m eager to play in. We also give a new mechanic for social combat that mirrors physical combat. If you want to get into a battle of wits with a particularly nasty Harpy, this is your go to system. We’ve previewed the basics for it below.

Then we have Spilled Blood. This is another Night Horrors book, and it’s a nice mix of vampires as antagonists and non-vampire things that antagonize vampires. We’ll have some bloodlines, lost clans, weird non-vampire vampire things, and some antagonistic covenants. I’ll probably do another update when that book is further along to give a preview of the new updated to Belial’s Brood.

I can’t say much about what comes after Spilled Blood, mostly because I have some ideas, but I haven’t pitched them fully to the team yet, so I don’t want to get my own hopes up.

Anyway, enjoy this preview of Lingua Bellum.

Anatomy of Lingua Bellum

A full Lingua Bellum is called an exchange, and any number of Kindred or mortals can take part in it, and some vampires in fact are known to bring their friends into the court for the sole purpose of backing them up in their social struggles. To successfully win an exchange a character must Maneuver to position herself in the stage to better undermine her targets’ Dominance. Different Kindred do it in different ways, but the goal is always the same: to leave their rival’s public persona beaten bloody on the ballroom floor.

A vampire who allows her Dominance to be broken loses the exchange and pays the price of her hubris, the size of the Audience determining just how dangerous it is to fall prey to fellow Kindred in Lingua Bellum. Exchanges are never without stakes, and are as much about controlling your opponent as controlling the Audience, to come out on top. Below are the steps of Lingua Bellum, in greater detail.

The Audience

Social exchanges can be a heated meeting in a hallway, or public spats the Damned love to watch, but the bigger the audience, the higher the stakes. Before Lingua Bellum begins, the Storyteller determines the Size and Intensity of the Audience Environmental Condition (p. XX). Audiences greatly influence the exchange, raise the stakes and are a weapon to be wielded by skilled vampires who know how to sway them and use the spotlight in their favor.

An Audience has a Size and an Intensity, and those can change as the exchange gets more heated. The Size of an Audience is determined by how many people are watching and putting pressure on the characters involved in the exchange. The more witnesses to their spat, the more weight their words hold and the more brutal the defeat. Intensity is how invested the crowd is in the exchange. A domineering vampire might control the Audience and make it quieter, while a socially savvy crowd pleaser sways it until his allies are an extension of his voice.

An Audience may be swayed by characters through Maneuvers.

Example: Megara knew she would meet her rival again but did not expect for it to happen so soon, or so suddenly. The eyes of the Elysium turn toward the two and the room shivers in anticipation. As Megara declares she is not running away, the Storyteller decides the exchange will be under the effects of the Crowded Audience (Invested) Condition. This means all Dominance damage is increased by 2, and the Guile of all participants is reduced by the same amount.

The Stage

When a vampire leaves her haven to feed, it is the instincts of the Beast that guide her. One lesson any neonate learns early is that, when hunting, the hunting ground is as important as picking the right, most vulnerable, prey. This instinct is as valid when engaging in ferocious verbal altercations as it is when seeking to bury one’s fangs into soft flesh to feed.

When setting up the scene, the Storyteller must take into consideration whether or not the encounter is spontaneous or premeditated. Some vampires know how to pick the best battlegrounds when engaging their rivals, making sure they have some sort of advantage. This is a game of cat and mouse better left for roleplay, but if desired it can also be resolved by a contested roll.

Dice Pool: Manipulation + Subterfuge vs. Wits + Socialize

Dramatic Failure: The vampire has made her intentions obvious. The character’s rivals gain +2 on their Timing rolls.

Failure: The character can’t lure her rival to the desired place.

Success: The Kindred sets the stage to her advantage by making sure the exchange happens in a place of her choosing. The character gains a pool of dice equal to her dots in a relevant Merit (such as Staff, Haven, Hunting Grounds, etc.) to spend whenever she wants in the exchange.

Exceptional Success: Gain +2 on Timing in addition to the Merit dice.

These bonuses are not the only advantages Merits can confer to Lingua Bellum (p. XX) but symbolize how a strategic vampire can make use of them for greater effect. A Haven might not be useful to social interactions when it comes to most Kindred, but a smart predator knows how to make her home enhance her best characteristics, such as making her more menacing or more influential.

Example: Astrid knew Megara would be too aloof to realize this was coming. Her player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge versus Megara’s Wits + Socialize to make sure that when they finally come face to face, they do so surrounded by Astrid’s cronies, represented by Staff. With that Merit rated at 4, Astrid now has four dice to ‘spend’ over the course of the exchange, as her crew does its best to make the vampire’s attacks more effective with taunts and laughter directed at Megara.

Maneuvering

In each turn of the exchange, characters resolve their Maneuvers according to the Timing order. The objective of Lingua Bellum is to reduce your rival’s Dominance to zero.

A Maneuver is a social trick or strategy employed by your character, wittingly or not, to gain leverage over one or more targets during Lingua Bellum. Each Maneuver is detailed below, and each has a different outcome and mechanics.

When a player scores an exceptional success on her Maneuver she may choose to use that momentum to sway the audience instead of other exceptional success benefits. She may sway the audience in a number of ways:

  • Increase or reduce the Audience’s Intensity by one (changing it from Indifferent to Invested, for example).
  • Gain the Rising Star Condition.
  • Gain the Crowd Darling Condition, or remove it from the character who has it.
  • Regain one point of Dominance.

Example: Having scored the highest Timing, Megara acts first, deciding to use the Undermine Maneuver. She rolls her dice, after subtracting Astrid’s Guile, and removes her target’s Ego from her successes. Being left with 2 successes, Megara damages Astrid’s Dominance in 4 points (2 for her successes and 2 for the Audience Condition).

On her turn, Astrid picks the Measure Maneuver, deciding to build up a dice pool for the next turn. Both players roleplay their actions out, with Megara launching a derisive comment towards Astrid while the other woman grins and sizes Megara up in silence.

Resolution

Any character who has their Dominance reduced to zero loses Lingua Bellum. The vampire who dealt the final blow to their rival’s Dominance gains The Edge Condition. The loser loses all her Guile for the night, feeling deflated, upset or appropriately distressed. Her head is ‘out of the game.’ Losing Lingua Bellum inflicts the Repressed Condition on the losing party, plus a consequence determined by the Audience Condition. The defeated vampire may spend a Willpower to avoid the Repressed Condition, but in that case the winner takes a Beat.

At the end of the resolution stage, characters who are still in the exchange may continue Maneuvering against each other.

Example: Although Astrid suffered quite the blow to her Dominance, she isn’t out of the fight just yet, and decides to go on. Megara does the same, and they continue Maneuvering against each other until all Dominance is lost.

The dispute goes on until one of the vampires loses the exchange upon having her Dominance brought down to zero. The loser takes the Repressed Condition and, given the Crowded Audience Condition, loses a dot of City Status. The winner takes The Edge Condition.

Advantages

Timing

Timing is everything when it comes to social interactions; it is a derisive smile before your sparring partner even says anything, or the interjection of a quick phrase between bouts of screaming in the crowd. Time in Lingua Bellum is tracked in turns just like in normal combat, and Timing acts as the initiative for such.

At the start of Lingua Bellum, determine your character’s Timing by rolling a single die and adding Presence + Manipulation. Characters act in order of highest scores to lowest, with the character with higher Timing going first and the one with lowest going last.

Dominance

When monsters clash they do so for Dominance, and the more jabs a Kindred takes, the more her ego gets bruised while the All Night Society watches in rapt fascination. Dominance is Lingua Bellum’s Health, and when it reaches zero, the vampire cannot make an impact in the scene anymore. She is done for. She may have avoided her attacker’s gaze, choked, got her ideas demolished by her rival, anything.

A character’s Dominance is determined as Composure + Socialize + the character’s highest Status.

Guile

The daft seldom survive in the All Night Society. A Kindred must be aware of the posture and language of fellow Kindred, always ready for when they might strike with even the subtlest jabs. Guile is an Advantage which, much like Defense, reduces the attacker’s dice pool by its rating from any Maneuver. It may be improved by Willpower for a turn in the same way as Defense.

A character’s Guile is determined as the lower of her Wits or Composure + Empathy. For every character involved in Lingua Bellum after the first, reduce each character’s Guile by 1. Constantly watching for the moves of multiple participants makes a Kindred vulnerable.

Ego

Although they are born of violence, Kindred are social creatures by virtue of their own humanity. This need to connect, to feed off each other’s status and integrity, is best represented by the Beast, a presence that unfurls from the deepest reaches of the vampire’s soul and extends outwards, ever pervasive and unwilling to give up the one housing it.

The Beast is a dangerous partner. It sabotages the Kindred to feed its own lusts and desires, but is wickedly protective of the vampire attached to it. At the start of the exchange, and just once until it is over, the character rolls her Socialize + Blood Potency to measure the presence of the Beast once it feels the Kindred in danger; this is her Ego. Successes scored subtract from the successes of all attackers until Lingua Bellum is over, acting like an armor against social attacks.

The downsides of rousing the Beast are that with it so close to the surface, the cracks show easier. Any attempts to ride the wave, stifle frenzy, or act against one’s Dirge lose an amount of dice equal to her current Ego.

  7 comments for “Guide to the Night and Spilled Blood Update [Vampire: The Requiem]

  1. Niko
    September 4, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Can’t wait for these books!

    I’m most hoping for alternate rules for feeding and blood to replace the blood pool gas tank.

    After that, I’d most like new takes on Bloodlines that are less beholden to the traditional Masquerade approach.

    Thanks for all you do!

  2. Poseur
    September 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Can’t wait either for these books. And finally, we(the Requiem fans) get some love again on this blog. I love the work you put into the books, and I love that you take some extra time to show and tell us about the projects. I understand that different authors choose different approaches toward the community when it comes to showing off and open-development etc. and I respect whatever choice you make, but make no mistake, choosing to show us is amazing.

    So with that said, I can’t wait to see more of these new social combat rules. They seem in this abstract form to fill a much needed niche in Requiem, so much are about politics and who’s in and who’s out, and yet we have very few rules about this. So this is most welcome, I hope it turns out great. So far it seems like it.

    Also, i noticed Coterie rules, will these take inspiration and such from like Pack creation and Krewe creation from the different splats? I just recently promised more coterie rules and engagement to my players so this looks promising even without more knowledge.

    Thanks!

  3. Atavist
    September 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I like this system.

    Really eager to see Belial’s Brood, too, my favorite sect from first edition.

  4. Maxime Lemaire
    September 5, 2018 at 3:57 am

    I’m torn because on one hand Spilled Blood sounds awesome, but on the other hand I was hoping it would have more player orientated bloodlines. I really hope we get a bunch of iconic bloodlines revised for 2nd edition at some point, I feel like they are part of what makes Requiem unique. Thanks for the good work anyway!

  5. Sean
    September 6, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Super excited for Guide!

  6. Mosli
    September 6, 2018 at 4:19 am

    I am glad to see the steady flow of books in the Requiem line. I so enjoyed Thousand Years of Night and Half-Damned. Thousand Years of Night is in my opinion one of the best and most useful books in the franchise so far.

    I am a little worried that your focus is too heavily focused on rules and strange creatures. Both of which are not to my taste or the tastes of my group. We prefer the down to earth and personal game with a good portion of politics. Too me Requiem is already moving too much in the wrong direction. You should stay focused on the personal and immersive instead of monster manuals and that sort.

    Of course this is just my opinion, but the more you move in that direction, the more I will move towards Masquerade, which in the new edition at least is staying close to the personal and intrigue. But I still have high hopes and deep respect for the 2nd ed. Requiem line

  7. Phil H
    September 6, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Spilled Blood is the CofD book I’m most looking forward to at the moment. I love creepy “others” to add to my game. The Wicked Dead is also my absolute favourite 1st Edition Requiem book and I’m hoping this works as a companion volume to that.

Comments are closed.