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House Rule: Merit: Retainer

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House Rule: Merit: Retainer

In an effort to both maintain game balance and provide a logical, graduated progression of Merit benefits for the graduated cost, the following Retainer rules system will replace the previous Retainer Merit, immediately AND retroactively. See an ST for any help or clarifications in converting any existing retainers to this system.

Each dot of the Retainer merit will now allow the creation of a character sheet with very specific and progressive creation rules. Adding dots to the Merit will allow you to upgrade the retainer to the next level of points, as described below.

Every mortal Retainer receives one dot in all attributes as normal. Additional dots for primary, secondary, and tertiary selections for attributes and skills are listed below for each level of Retainer. The number of merit dots that each Retainer receives is also listed below. Remember: Purchasing the 5th-dot of any attribute, skill, or merit costs 2-dots; this applies to Retainers just as player characters.

Please note that restrictions have been placed on how many dots may be assigned to a Retainer’s attributes, skills or merits. The more dots you have in the Retainer merit, the greater quantity of dots you may assign to any one attribute, skill or merit on the Retainer.

Each PC may possess up to five separate Retainers.

Merit restrictions on ALL Retainers: No Retainer may possess more than 2-dots of the Resources merit. No Retainer may possess the Allies, Contacts, Fame, Mentor, or Retainer merits. No Retainer may possess vampire (or other supernatural) merits.

Retainers use Morality and start at 7, unless ghouled (see below). You can choose to have your Retainer start at a lower Morality.

Ghoul Retainers: Each NPC ghoul Retainer receives a single dot of a physical discipline (appropriate to his regnant’s clan or bloodline – Celerity, Resilience or Vigor only). A ghouled Retainer at 2-dot rating or better receives one additional Discipline dot from the original regnant’s clan or bloodline. This second Discipline dot does not have to be from a physical Discipline. A ghoul cannot learn a unique bloodline discipline. Although their regnants use Humanity, ghouls still use Morality. Ghoul Morality starts at 6. Your character begins each game session down one vitae (and one willpower unless spent by the ghoul) for each ghoul Retainer he possesses.

Retainer 1-dot
Attributes: 4/3/2 (Two attributes may exceed 2-dots; none may exceed 3-dots)
Skills: 9/5/3 (Two skills may exceed 2-dots; none may exceed 3-dots)
Skill Specializations: 1
Merits: 4 (None may exceed 2-dots)
Equipment: 4 + small home (No equipment may exceed 2-dot Resources requirement)

Retainer 2-dots
Attributes: 4/4/3 (One attribute may exceed 3-dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Skills: 10/7/4 (One skill may exceed 3-dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Skill Specializations: 2
Merits: 6 (None may exceed 3-dots)
Equipment: 5 + small home (No equipment may exceed 3-dot Resources requirement)

Retainer 3-dots
Attributes: 5/5/3 (Two attributes may exceed 3-dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Skills: 11/8/6 (Two skills may exceed 3-dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Skill Specializations: 3
Merits: 8 (One merit may exceed 3-dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Equipment: 6 + small home (No equipment may exceed 3-dot Resources requirement)

Retainer 4-dots
Attributes: 6/5/4 (No attribute may exceed 4-dots)
Skills: 12/10/7 (One skill may exceed 4-dots)
Skill Specializations: 4
Merits: 10 (Two merits may exceed 3 dots; none may exceed 4-dots)
Equipment: 7 + small home (No equipment may exceed 4-dot Resources requirement)

Retainer 5-dots
Attributes: 7/6/5 (One attribute may exceed 4-dots)
Skills: 13/11/8 (Two skills may exceed 4-dots)
Skill Specializations: 5
Merits: 12 (One merit may exceed 4-dots)
Equipment: 8 + small home (No equipment may exceed 4-dot Resources requirement)
Disciplines: A 5-dot Retainer who is a ghoul may exchange one attribute dot for a third Discipline dot. This third Discipline dot may be in the physical Discipline already known to the ghoul or a dot of any clan or bloodline Discipline of his regnant (except a unique Discipline).

Upgrading Your Retainer: Additional dots of the Retainer merit may be purchased subsequent to the original purchase of the Retainer merit. (Note: The Retainer merit may not exceed 5-dots total.) These additional dots allow you to upgrade the Retainer to which they are applied. Simply add the difference between the two retainer levels to the Retainer’s attributes, skills, merits, etc. For example, if you previously purchased a 1-dot Retainer five months ago and now wish to upgrade him to 3-dot Retainer, you may spend 10 experience points to do so. This will allow you to add 1 dot to his primary attributes, 2 dots to his secondary attributes, 1 dot to his tertiary attributes, 2 dots to his primary skills, 3 dots to his secondary skills, 3 dots to his tertiary skills, 2 skill specializations, 4 dots of merits, and 2 dots of equipment (and an additional Discipline dot if a ghoul). All these dots must be applied at the time the Retainer is upgraded and must follow the restrictions for the new level of the Retainer merit. You may not save attribute/skill/merit dots or equipment level points to apply later with further purchases of the Retainer merit.

General Retainer Rules: Each Retainer may perform a single downtime action at the direction of/on behalf of his master. Retainers are limited by their abilities on what they may accomplish for their master using their downtime action.

If you do not have a character sheet at the game for your Retainer, then the Retainer automatically relents to all challenges and cannot make use of equipment from their character sheet. A Retainer character sheet does not have to be a full character sheet like a player-character would have; an abbreviated character sheet is fine, as long as it has all the pertinent details.

Retainer Character Sheet Example:
Retainer 2-dot – Paul Jacobson (Bodyguard/Driver)
VIRTUE: Fortitude, VICE: Wrath
ATTRIBUTES: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 2, Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Presence 2, Manipulation 1, Composure 3
SKILLS: Crafts 2 (Automobiles), Investigation 2, Drive 3 (Performance Cars), Firearms 4, Weaponry 3, Empathy 1, Intimidation 3, Streetwise 3
MERITS: Danger Sense, Fast Reflexes 2, Quick Draw (Firearms), Quick Draw (Melee)
EQUIPMENT: Performance Mid-Size Vehicle (Durability 3, Size 12, Structure 15, Acceleration 28, Safe Speed 117, Max Speed 227, Handling 4, Occupants 1+3, Cost 3), Shotgun (Damage 4 [9-again], Range 20/40/80, Clip 5+1, Strength 3, Size 2, Cost 2)

(*ST NOTE*: PLEASE DON'T FORGET VIRTUE AND VICE! These are still people with feelings and personalities. Virtue and Vice are essential in helping the ST staff understand how your retainers might perceive a situation.
Also, if you plan to use an animal retainer, please get with an ST for the appropriate stats. You may then use the rules above to determine the minimum level of Retainer Merit needed, per these rules, to purchase that animal as a Retainer.)

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