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This article discusses the standards STs apply with respect to trait ratings.


Trait Ratings

As most all of you already know each character sheet has two main areas of mundane stats no matter the venue. These areas are: Attributes and Abilities.

These two areas are used together to make up most dice pools used in WoDG.

Attributes represent raw potential. Abilities represent what your character has learned to tap into that potential.

These traits operate on a scale of 0 to 5 and are typically capped at 5, but they can be raised above 5 through various means temporarily depending on venue. Each rating number represents a level of competency with zero being not at all competent and five being human perfection.

In WoDG, STs use these levels as one of many factors to assign difficulty to any given task. If your character has a low rating in an Attribute or Ability which is needed for an action, the difficulty of that action may be raised and a threshold be assigned to represent the fact that what your character is trying to do is beyond his expertise and potential. In some cases, the ST may even deny the possibility of a roll if the action is impossible given your character's trait ratings.

For example, a character with 2 in Medicine who elects to perform brain surgery is going to find performing such a task nearly impossible no matter how brilliant. Although he has the potential to perform brilliantly or perhaps has extremely steady hands and the Dexterity and Intelligence to pull it off, he's not trained up to that level to be able to manage the task with any confidence.

Please refer to the chart on this page to gauge your character's potential and training in a given area.


When an Attribute or Ability reaches a rating of 4, a player can choose a specialty for it. Specialties work so that if you have a specialty and roll a 10 it counts as two successes rather than one. Our Dice Roller does this automatically when the specialty box is checked.

RP and Trait Ratings

Players are expected to RP their trait ratings at all times. This is especially the case if you are forgoing the use of supporting rolls in a scene to keep the tempo going.

Trait Ratings Chart
Rating Attributes Abilities
0 Abysmal: All rolls with the attribute at 0 fail. For example, Nosferatu fail all rolls involving appearance. Untrained: All rolls involving skills that the character has at 0 are automatically at +1 diff at a minimum. The character may not roll at all if the roll requires a knowledge that the character does not possess.
1 Poor: Your character can perform tasks that require below average raw talent. Novice: Your character can perform basic tasks without penalty that most rudimentary students can complete.
2 Average: Your character has an average level of potential that is common to the majority of humans. Practiced: Your character can perform at an average level of skill for the ability in question. He's got a basic working knowledge over a given subject or skill set.
3 Good: Your character has an above average level of potential that makes him stand out from the rest of the crowd. Competent: Your character can perform at an above level of skill for the ability in question. Your character is a practiced professional who has developed more than a passing interest in a subject or skill set which he can leverage into a career or teach others with confidence.
4 Exceptional: Your character has an exceptional level of potential that's quite readily apparent. Others take notice of him easily. Expert: Your character can perform at the expert level for the ability in question. Your character is a specialist or expert in the field and has devoted a lot of time and energy to the subject or skill set and continues to do so. He is considered an expert by his peers and an authority on his subject.
5 Outstanding: Your character has a level of raw potential that few humans have ever achieved even within a span of generations. Others take notice of him and he may draw envy and admiration for his prowess Master: Your character has reached the limits of human potential for the ability in question. If the area is a knowledge, he's one of a handful of the world's legendary experts in that field that have ever existed. If the ability is a talent or skill he's one of the world's top performers in that area. Einstein and Mozart are examples of this level of mastery.

For example, if your character is being untruthful and has zero to low subterfuge, you should not RP the scene as if he were a smooth talker. In the emote you should put how he is able to manage himself according to his rating.

The below is an example of a player not playing his subterfuge 0 and playing his subterfuge 0.

Incorrect: *Tom smiles confidently..his smooth elocution rolls flawlessly off his tongue as he waits casually for the police officer to return his license and registration to him.* No officer, I haven't been drinking.
Correct: *Tom smiles nervously and takes a few calming breaths before answering* No officer, I haven't been drinking...er..Why?

RPing Fluctuating Trait Ratings

Fluctuating Traits also need to be RPed. These are Traits such as Willpower, Blood Pool, Rage, Gnosis, etc. and their levels change quite frequently in game. Needless to say, players should play their Current Trait Ratings and not their Permanent Trait Rating. This is because the Permanent Rating represents your character's potential while your Current Rating is representative of your character's current state.

For example, when a vampire is low on blood they should not RP as if they were at their Permanent Rating because that's not reflective of his current state which would be hungry and on edge as the Beast urges him to feed.

If your character is low on Willpower then that means that he's mentally and emotionally spent. He should be RPed as such.

RPing Knowledges

Knowledges are a little less clear for some folks especially especially in scenes which surround socializing, mixing, typical conversations, etc. We don't normally roll knowledge pools over the course of RP. To do so would slow down scenes a lot. However, that does not give players free license to tap their own IRL knowledge pools and insert them into conversations over the course of RP.

That's IC/OOC crossing which is a form of metagaming.

No player should use their own IRL knowledge IC for their character if the character has no dots to represent such knowledge.

Rating 0 - So to be clear, if you have 0 dots in a Knowledge you have no means of conversing on subjects governed by that Knowledge with any sort of competency. You will flub your character's conversations, come off as not knowledgeable, stumble over the conversation, demonstrate little grasp of even a core concept, and otherwise demonstrate that your character literally is clueless on the topic.

Rating 1 - At the first dot in a Knowledge, your character has a basic understanding of core concepts within an area of study, discipline, field. He may be able to define a core concept and carry a light and superficial conversation about the topic to not make a total ass out of himself. This is the equivalent knowledge and understanding a high school kid can demonstrate.

Rating 2 - At the second dot in a Knowledge, your character can hold his own at a cocktail party of otherwise educated laypeople and even can impress some of those in the conversation with a bit of jargon and his understanding of predominant theories, trends, etc within that discipline. This is the equivalent of a college student, likely taking some upper division courses.

Rating 3 - At the third dot in a Knowledge, your character can go to a mixer hosted by professionals within the field or go to an industry convention and mingle with others within that industry with ease. This is definitely upper division territory or graduate student level knowledge.

Rating 4 - At the fourth dot in a Knowledge, your character can go to a symposium hosted by the field's leading expert and hold his own in discussions with other experts and even speak with enough authority to be respected among other experts in attendance. This is like having a PhD in a given area of study, field, discipline, etc.

Rating 5 - At the fifth dot in a Knowledge, your character can dominate a conversation of world renowned experts in a field. He could make Einstein shut up and take notes. Literally like an Einstein or virtuoso.

Google This!

If you choose to be a smart ass and say your character Googled the topic, then you must RP out being that asshole in the discussion that totally broke out the smartphone (or other appropriate device) and was referencing it over the course of conversation or take appropriate steps to try and conceal that your character is doing just that (like rolling for the appropriate traits) and then giving others the opportunity to catch you trying to get away with it (they get an opposed roll). Otherwise it would be obvious your character was referencing the information from a source. This is even if your character was in a text conversation or on voice (because the information isn't in his own words). Also, you cannot say that your character anticipated the conversation and therefore did his research ahead of time. That's what dots are supposed to represent - retention of knowledge. Don't Cheese out!

0 Occult Knowledge: Bigfoot? Isn't that that ape thing?

1 Occult Knowledge: Bigfoot is an imaginary creature most commonly sighted within the Pacific Northwest who is commonly theorized to be an undiscovered great ape or a lost human ancestor.

2 Occult Knowledge: Bigfoot is a cryptid most commonly found within the Pacific Northwest, but legends of such primates are found around the globe and include such names as Yowie, Yeti, Abomidable Snowman, and Sasquatch. Many folktales and legends arise from Native American stories. Most Theories surrounding Bigfoot point to a lost primate possibly a great ape or a lost line of humans. Most recently researchers have pointed to promising sightings and are hopeful that any new evidence will finally yeild proof as technology has advanced enough to more effectively analyze samples.

3 Occult Knowledge: Bigfoot is a cryptid reported to appear as a bipedal creature resembling a great ape or early human. It is most sighted in the Pacific Northwest, but has been known to range all over the North American continent. Legends, tales, and folk lore of such creatures are commonly found among Native American cultures. Creatures resembling Bigfoot have been found world wide, giving rise to many names such as Sasquatch, Yowie, Yeti, Yeren, Mande, and Abomidable Snowman to name but a few. Though the existence of Bigfoot or Sasquatch has not been confirmed, many advances in forensics and DNA sampling have given cryptozoologists renewed enthusiasm for the search. Recently, there has been talk about finding physical samples in the wild such as scat and hair which can be tested against known species.

4 Occult Knowledge: So Larry, did you see Dr. Nick Broner's latest findings on the Sasquatch scat that was collected last season over in the Willamette Valley? He's got some samples that the lab wasn't able to absolutely identify, but says that they came back with some interesting results; namely that the samples were primate in origin, but not belonging to any known primate.

5 Occult Knowledge: I spent a year in the field living among a Sasquatch colony and.....

Jack of All Trades

Jack of All Trades is a Merit which allows players to bypass the penalties for 0 Rating Skills and gives them the opportunity to make rolls on Knowledges that their character does not possess with a +2 penalty to Difficulty, bypassing the restriction of not being able to roll on a Knowledge at all if the character has a 0 Rating. For RP purposes, that bonus represents less than a basic knowledge. This is a scant level of familiarity with a subject and for the purposes of RPing conversations out with that subject matter, it means that a character with Jack of All Trades can at least know the definition of common concepts within a discipline, field, area of study, etc.

So for the purposes of the examples above it would be more like: 

Rating 0 + Jack of All Trades: Your character can't speak on the topic without difficulty. He understands basic concepts and their broad definitions in a wide range of topics, but anything beyond that is beyond his capabilities.

0 Occult Knowledge with Jack of All Trades: Bigfoot? Yeah that's that made up ape thing that lives in the woods or mountains. I heard of it.

Enforcing the RP and Trait Ratings

We understand that players sometimes forget to RP their ratings. There's an awful lot to keep track of when RPing in some of the more complex venues. So STs will take you aside and give you an informal warning and try to clarify the confusion and do some informal course correction with you to start. The secondary offense will result in a forfeiture of Activity Bonus for the month. If we see the issue continuing or becoming habitual we will escalate the issue and handle it accordingly.

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