The Hollow Crown
Caveat – Subject to heavy review once we try this out
Basic bluebook rules stand Blue Booking -
Right – I’m working through this – and open to discussion.
GM update Sept 2014 – open to suggestions on how to amend this. I wanted a way to quickly set up a venue for characters to operate from and develop the backgrounds from play (given ww never set anything up that would let you do this) but not sure it worked
Holdings (new background/ Merit) – put simply a holding is one of the following backgrounds ‘turned up to 11’
What it allows you to do is through the expenditure of blue book points use & some extended roles & a; bluebook (for no other reward) develop an existing background to generate a source of extra backgrounds.
Each holding is unique – so its a separate background each time – and requires you to have one of these four background to work from. The critical point here is that there isn’t the same ‘emotional’ or defining characteristic to the character. Holdings offers the chance to get access to a wider range of backgrounds – but also is a higher risk approach – as you can potentially lose all of them in a single attack…
To use resources as an example of the difference between a holding & normal background.
Andrew wants to raise Imaad’s resources to 3 with blue book points.
Non-holdings route: Andrew would spend two blue book points, increasing his resources to 3. In his bluebook post, he explains that Imaad is doing larger events, generating increased revenue. Due to these being larger, he is unable to deliver the personal contact with the students, so isn’t able to generate herd/ contacts etc.
Holdings Route: This time, Andrew opts to declare holdings. He spends the 2 pts as before. He centres the holding on his herd. Within the blue book he indicates that the holding is attempting to establish a permanent centre in arches/ warehouses under the T train system. As a consequence he gains additional resource, herd and a retainer. The centre will now become the focus for Imaad’s activites.
Holdings can be combined between coterie members – with you agreeing how to divvy up the associated points – but I’d suggest that’s probably a bad idea – remember a holdings for unlife not just for Christmas… and I’m not writing up legal fecking contracts…
A Holding requires you to have at least one dot in any of the following backgrounds:
- Potential new rule the point of background should have some link to the background you are trying to create. So for example you might try and use the fact you have an ally in the police force to develop some wider contacts in the force.
These points cannot be from an existing holding You designate an existing contact to be the focus for the holding. NB please note you can potentially lose this point if you mess up rolls.
A holding costs a minimum of 2 blue book points. These are spent in the creation process – and do not necessarily result in any new backgrounds being acquired.
The two points produce ‘10’ holding points.
For each additional blue book point spent, or existing background point committed, you can generate a further 10 holding points.
Holding points can be allocated to allow for rolls as follows:
- Retainer – 10 holding points
- Resources/ Ally/ Herd – Up to level 3 – 5 holding points – 10 pts if you are going above resources 3
- Contacts – 5 holding points
- Influence 10 pts
- Other factors – Variable to discuss with GM. This is a catch-all, but for example setting up an occult bookshop doesn’t mean that you can expect access to troves of forbidden lore and having every mage/ tremere and other supernatural creature in town drop by… You want something like that I’m liking to require 20pts or more…
This allows you to role to acquire a single dot in that background. These will be extended roles explaining the high success needed. So for example wanting a holding to generate level 2 resources would need 10 holding points.
- Two successive rolls with no successes doubles the time required to achieve the goal
- three successive with no successes requires a willpower point to continue
- a fourth successive fails counts as a botch
- If at any time the number of sucesses goes negative you lose the original point of background committed to give an example of this. You have contacts in the criminal underworld, you seek to expand your control, looking to take over an operation by encouraging your contact to try and take out a rival. The rolls botch, resulting in your contact either being killed or having to flee the city.
- Points lost from the original background can be bought back, but require bluebooking (with no points explaining how you achive this) and will cost *3 current level, not *2 . As an example, Imaad intends to gain influence through a mosque. He offers to organise a fundraising event where hes forced to expend signficant cash of his own to acquire a suitable location and auction items. He liquidates some assets through mortgaging some property. The cost to clear the mortgage and free up the cost requires significant more cash to manage.
- You also can’t continue with the process – and lose all backgrounds gained through the holding
- The difficulty for all rolls is 7 – although the individual dice-pool being rolled will be determined based on the holding idea. (eg buying a blood bank will be int+finance/medicine, building a meditation group more likely cha+expression)
- You can’t have a level in the holding greater than half your two highest relevant backgrounds/ 2 – so for example if you have resources 5 + herd 3 – the highest rating in any holding background would be 4. (rounded up)
- no merits/ flaws or specialisms apply to these rolls.
- a holding requires a minimum of 2 pts across the 5 backgrounds to remain viable.
Level of background desired/ No of Successes needed/ time required
1 / 10 / 1 week
2 / 25 / 1 month
3 / 50 / 3 months
4 / 75/ 6 months
5 / 100 / 1 year
Being realistic I think the following minimum would be required to successfully control the following types of holding:
- Bar/ Bookshop – Resources 1/2, retainer 1 (day manager – only essential if feeding), contacts 1/2 (suppliers etc).
- Nightclub – Resources 2/3, retainer 2 (day manager/ head bouncer), contacts 1/2.
- Dude Ranch – resources 3/4, retainer 2-3 (security/ manager/ vet), Contacts 2/3, allies 1/2
The larger the scale of the operation – the more regular intervention by mortal authorities – the more background points you will need. For example in the case of the dude ranch the issues would be:
- Animal health (someone will do regular inspections) so you need a vet to cover up your feeding…
- Land acqusition – this is not cheap by any means – conservatively you’re looking at several million to just get the land…
- Sale of animals – the IRS etc will start getting interested in any location that isn’t routinely seen to be selling on livestock etc looking for money laundering essentially
- You need someone to run interference when other employees start asking why your only about in the evening – essentially the retainers are ‘in on the secret’ and are acting as your front.
Not all of these are needed at stage one of the operation – for example I think businesses have up to two years to file an account with the IRS & other authorities (although this will decrease as the body is in operation for longer). You probably don’t need to control the Vet right away, but will do by the time you start getting animal health checks etc.
Subsequent increases to the holding can be purchased as normal – however they will be at -1 level cost (minimum of 1 pt) to acquire from the holding. This allows you to explain start up times. So in the case of acquiring a bookshop – you might be running at break even or a loss – whilst you pay off the cost to acquire the building & acquire a stock holding. But to start it up – you’d need at least contacts 1 (suppliers) and retainer 1 (manager).
Happy to work it through.