From WoD GothamExperience, that it's there for life and inviolate. Incorrect. This article discusses trait upkeep.
Any trait on your character's sheet can be subject to erosion at any time. Some more than others.
Attributes are the least commonly volatile Traits. Vampires and Werewolves due to the supernatural toughness of their bodies and unique physiology do not have to maintain their physiques like magi and mortals who are trapped in their mortal coil.
Mortals and magi, must spend some of their downtime working out or using magick (in the case of magi) to maintain their physical Attributes if those Attributes are over the average (Rating of 3 or more). If after 3 months, there's been no activity, the body begins to lose its fine tuned qualities. STs will warn players and they will have to add the activity to their downtime within a month's time. This activity can be fairly low and dependent on rating. For example, a 5 to 10% of available downtime over 3 months would be an average requirement to maintain Attributes at 3 while 15 to 20% may be more appropriate for level 4. Afterwards, it's up to the ST to enforce any rating loss if you're a player that hands in downtime. This way casual players, who just don't have that sort of time, won't be pressured into handing in superfluous downtime tickets.
Mental and Social Attributes (with the exception of Appearance) aren't subject to the same sort of deterioration and Attributes in general don't commonly erode off your sheet so they are a fairly safe investment for your experience regardless of if you are a casual, semi-hardcore, or hard core player.
Above average Appearance ratings might be subject to low levels of maintenance. Grooming, skin care, hair care, keeping in fashion, etc are all part of keeping a character looking their best. This may be a 5% investment every three months or so if the character isn't already working at maintaining their physical Appearance.
The exception would be if your character fell prey to an accident or supernatural power that permanently impaired him.
Abilities are another safe investment for experience no matter your level of involvement in the chronicle.
They are subject to neglect, however, but erode at a slower rate of decay than Attributes. Typically for active players, this would be some downtime allocated at the very least annually for Attributes over 2. This represents a character's effort to keep from getting rusty or to keep current with the times as most professions, skills, talents, and knowledges require practice, on-going training, etc.
This upkeep applies to all character types as Abilities aren't inherent. They are learned. However, just as with Attributes, Casual players are exempted from the requirement as they don't generate downtime.
Other than utter neglect, the only way to have Abilities eroded permanently is via some sort of injury or supernatural power.
Backgrounds contain the most volatile traits and some of the most inviolate. This is mostly subject to common sense. For instance, Avatar, Generation, Pure Breed, or Rites are things that never fade with neglect. The only way to lose such Backgrounds is through some supernatural power over the course of a storyline or in PvP.
Other Backgrounds come in constant need of maintenance and can be the subject of attack by outside forces that are either supernatural or mundane or both. For the purposes of the charts below, Backgrounds that can be eroded from outside forces are noted as being subject to exposures. These exposures are independent to upkeep. That is, a Background can come under attack or be a victim to an outside force beyond the control of the player character and the upkeep of that background may or may not be a factor in the success or failure of that attack or outside influence upon the Background.
Because Backgrounds are so fluid, their Experience costs are low. Once you've lost a rating in a Background, you've lost it. It means that you need to meet the criteria required by the ST through RP, downtime, and/or journals before you can spend Experience raising the Trait again.
On the charts below, you will notice all the various Backgrounds listed and their upkeep requirements. Upkeep requires a variable amount of downtime investment based on the background's volatility and risk of exposure to outside forces:
- Very Low: 2% downtime activity once annually.
- Low: 5% downtime activity once annually or semi-anually.
- Moderate: 5 to 10% every 3 months.
- High: 10 to 20% every other month.
- Very High: 20% or more every month.
- Special: See notes in the table corresponding to the background.
Please note that all player characters regardless of play style of the player (Casual, Semi-Hardcore, Hardcore), will have their Backgrounds at risk of exposure and so they are subject to the maintenance policies for Backgrounds even if they are casual players. The upkeep requirements for each Background varies and be mindful of that level of required upkeep when considering your play style. Avoid Backgrounds you won't have time to maintain.
See: Fluctuating Traits
Fluctuating Traits such as Willpower, Gnosis, Rage, Blood Pool, Quintessence, etc. do not require much maintenance. Permanent ratings will not be subject to upkeep as a general rule, but may be lost as part of a story or through supernatural means in PvP. Temporary ratings will fluctuate greatly and may be tended to in downtime in some cases, or via the automated system already coded into the chat.
Merits and Flaws
Some Merits and Flaws are subject to upkeep, or in the case of Flaws, it may require management. The rate of and type of upkeep required varies substantially. For example, to manage a Deformity may require quite a different set of actions from keeping in touch with a Best Friend. Check with your ST to find out what might be required to maintain your Merits and Flaws
Character Concept, Play Style and Trait Upkeep
Players who have a lot of offline demands on their time or just aren't able to participate in World of Darkness: Gotham as much as they would like, should choose character concepts that match their offline requirements. For example, a player wouldn't want to play a Nosferatu information broker if the only time they can play is once a month or every other month. This is because any information they gain will likely be time sensitive and they don't have the availability for the required follow ups or maintenance of networks of contacts and such.
Therefore, players should take a look at the various levels of commitment that the Traits require as posted here in this article and use it as a guide when they send in their character sheet for sanctioning.