Trait Upkeep

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Most players figure that if they have a Trait on their sheet at a certain level that they've had since character creation or purchased with Experience, that it's there for life and inviolate. Incorrect. This article discusses trait upkeep.

Contents

Trait Upkeep

Any trait on your character's sheet can be subject to erosion at any time. Some more than others.

Maintaining Attributes

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.

Maintaining Abilities

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.

Maintaining Backgrounds

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.

Background Upkeep Chart – Mortals and All Venues

Background
Needs Upkeep
Upkeep Required
Subject to Exposures
Notes
Allies
Yes
High
Yes
Allies are a two way street and can and will ask for assistance from time to time.
Alternate ID
Yes
Low
Yes
Upkeep is minimal, but supporting documents do expire from time to time. Once a cover is blown, it can lead to the attack of all other backgrounds that are stacked with it if any.
Certification
Yes
Low Yes
Most Certifications require ongoing education or renewals. They can also be subject to revocation for professional misconduct.
Contacts
Yes
High
Yes
Contacts are a two way street and can and will ask for assistance from time to time.
Fame
Yes
Very High
Yes
Fame is highly volatile especially the higher the level and it requires constant upkeep. Characters will be under a lot of pressure to maintain their platform. It's also very vulnerable to attack.
Followers
Yes
Moderate to High
Yes
The nature of the followers associated with a PC will dictate their level of required upkeep. Some fanbases might not need much upkeep, while a group of employees might require much more.
Haven
Yes
Very Low
Yes
Typically they don't require any upkeep except for routine property maintenance. 
Influence
Yes
Very High
Yes
See our Influence system for further reading.
Mentor
Yes
Special
Yes
Upkeep demands are dictated by the Mentor Rating. Typically higher rated Mentors are more demanding of their apprentices and place more performance expectations on them.
Rank
No
N/A
Yes
Rank in various mundane organizations can come under fire usually based on not meeting with performance goals.
Resources
Yes
Special
Yes
Players can have at most the equivalent of Resources 2 as pure investment income ($4k a month) which requires no  upkeep. Thereafter they must maintain their lifestyle with monthly rolls to be set up with their ST or they can elect to live within the means of one dot lower level of Resources without need of upkeep.
Retainers
Yes
High to Very High
Yes
Ghouls require a monthly feeding to be maintained.
Status
Yes
Special
Yes
See Mage Status and Vampire Status

Background Upkeep Chart - Mage Venue

Background
Needs Upkeep
Upkeep Required
Subject to Exposures
Notes
Arcane
Yes
Special
Yes
Arcane requires more upkeep at higher levels and is less tolerant of connections with the mundane. The stronger the bonds to Sleepers and the Consensus the easier it is for Arcane to erode.
Avatar
No
N/A
Yes
Subject to supernatural exposures.
Blessing
No
N/A
No
None
Chantry
Yes
Special
Yes
The type of upkeep required and the amount is contingent upon what type of property is represented by this background.
Cult
Yes
Special
Yes
The type of upkeep required and the amount is contingent upon what types of cult members are represented by this background.
Demesne
Yes
Low
Yes
Subject to supernatural exposures. It also needs regular visits for the dream world to be maintained.
Destiny
No
N/A
No None
Dream
No
N/A
No None
Familiar
Yes
Special
Yes
Familiars require a regular supply of Quintessence based on the trait rating.
Library
Yes
Very Low
Yes
Libraries of all types need to be organized and preserved or backed up.
Past Lives
No
N/A
No
None
Sanctum
Yes
Very Low
Yes
Sancta can come under all manner of attack if they are discovered.
Wonder
Variable Special
Yes
The type of upkeep required and the amount is contingent upon what type of wonder is represented by this background. Some Wonders might be subject to a variety of exposures as well.

Background Upkeep Chart - Werewolf Venue

Background
Needs Upkeep
Upkeep Required
Subject to Exposures
Notes
Ancestors
No
N/A
No
None
Fetish
No
N/A
Yes Fetishes can be lost and destroyed (usually by supernatural means). They can also be maintained with certain rites which is optional.
Kinfolk
Yes
Special
Yes
The type of upkeep required and the amount is contingent upon tribe and family represented by this background.
Pure Breed
No
N/A
No
None
Rites
No
N/A
No
None
Spirit Heritage
Yes
Low
No
Garou with Spirit Heritage must spend a little time with the spirit type they are attuned to.
Spirit Network Yes Moderate Yes This background is only available to Theurges who must maintain their relationships to their network of spirits with regular offers of chiminage and other social interaction.
Totem
Yes
Special
Yes
The kind of chiminage and types of upkeep required varies from totem to totem. Largely if a pack is fulfilling its purpose, bringing glory to the totem, and observing the spirit's ban, then little to no upkeep is required.


Background Upkeep Chart - Vampire Venue

Background
Needs Upkeep
Upkeep Required
Subject to Exposures
Notes
Domain Yes
Very High
Yes
Domain is only given out as part of a SL. Thereafter it will require constant vigilance to maintain.
Domitor
Yes
Special
Yes
Ghouls can expect to require feeding each month by their Domitor.
Generation
No
N/A
No
None
Herd
Yes
Special
Yes
Herds vary in composition with each individual vampire. Some require more upkeep than others. Some are also more highly valued than others.
Nosferatu Information Network
Yes
Moderate to High
Yes
Available to Nosferatu Only. Nosferatu are expected to feed juicy tid bits of information into the network so as to gain some measure of prestige and to contribute to the whole.
Occult Library Yes Very Low Yes Available to Tremere only. Libraries of all types need to be organized and preserved or backed up.

Fluctuating Traits

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.

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