This section documents changes from the core Vampire 20th Anniversary book.
Specialties apply only to Abilities in this venue. They add +1 to a dice pool rather than rerolling of 10s.
- Every character receives 3 specialties to place in any Ability with at least 1 dot.
- Additional specialties may be purchased for 2 freebies or 3 XP.
- Abilities may have multiple specialties.
- Choose a free specialty for Crafts (like Architecture). Crafts rolls not related to that specialty are at -2.
Some Abilities simply have no parallel in antiquity. Firearms, computers, stock markets or motor vehicles are modern inventions. Science is barely understood outside select scholars.
Replacements to five Abilities are noted below.
- Archery: Replaces Firearms. This Skill represents familiarity with identifying and operating a variety of crossbows and bows. Creating bows, fletching arrows, and repairing weapons are the province of the Crafts skill.
- Specialties: Bow, Crossbow, Long Shot, Trick Shot
- Ride: Replaces Drive. This Skill allows you to control a mount under stressful or difficult conditions. The skill is not necessary to have competency at basic riding (horses or ponies). You have the training or experience to ride through dangerous environments without injuring your mount, and to push the mount to its limits.
- Specialties: Forest, Jumping, Pursuit, Stealth, Stunts
- Commerce: Replaces Finance. This Knowledge represents experience with evaluating goods and bringing them to market. It includes appraisal, negotiation of prices, and knowledge of trade routes and sources for the field of expertise.
- Specialties: Clothing, Foodstuffs, Livestock, Slaves, Wine
- Religion: Replaces Science. This Knowledge covers a body of widely-known practices and lore about the many faiths and cults in the Roman world. You understand nuanced tales of religion and can perform mundane religious rituals in their proper setting.
- Specialties: Christianity, Mithridatism, Omens, Pantheon (Roman, Egyptian, Phoenician)
- Technology: This Knowledge includes advanced engineering and architecture, along with the daughter lore needed to perform them. You understand how to construct an aqueduct and the ideal ratios to create cement.
- Specialties: Aqueducts, Architecture, Sewers, Steamworks
- Warfare: Replaces Computer. This Knowledge covers an understanding for large-scale tactical maneuvers and battle planning. You can read the flow of events on the battlefield, and take objectives while minimizing your side's losses.
- Specialties: Ambushes, Supply Lines, Terrain, Troop Movements
- Contacts: Replaces V20 background. Contacts provide you with information. Each dot in this Background represents a different sphere or organization information may be gleaned from. Contacts do not perform services; that would be Allies or Retainers. Gathering information in this way requires a Manipulation + Social Ability roll, depending on the method used. A legion officer may use Leadership to find out scouting reports for his troops, while a Subura thug relies on Intimidation and a nobile wife her Subterfuge.
- Destiny: With this Background, you are ear-marked for great or terrible things in the future. Prophecies and omens may reveal hints of what is to come. Knowledge of your fated purpose grants you resilience and determination during duress. You begin each story with one dice per Destiny Background dot. These bonus dice may be added to one or more rolls for any Attribute, Ability, Discipline or Virtue roll. They cannot be used to modify Merit rolls, soak, damage, Willpower or degeneration checks. You can choose to split them. Once used, the Destiny bonus dice are exhausted until the next story. Unused dice are lost. The Storyteller makes the final decision whether a roll qualifies for this Background.
- Example: A cultist attempts to immolate Lucius Aemilius, who has Destiny 3. He gets three bonus dice. Lucius adds a +1 bonus to his dodge (Dexterity + Athletics) roll, and another +1 dice to his Intelligence + Religion roll to identify the captured cultist's holy symbol. This leaves him one Destiny die to use at another time.
- Dignitas: You are more than just a noble of some bearing. You belong to one of Rome's five Gentes Maiores, the great houses, carrying the name through birth, adoption or your clan's tight association. In Rome, your very blood commands respect, status, and the physical or social resources of the house. The below benefits are yours to command as long as you remain respected and accepted by your relations. The mortal paterfamilias (head of the gens) can always resist your attempts to gain further points beyond the first in this Trait with a contested Charisma + Leadership + <House Standing> roll.
- Prerequisite: Must be a member in good standing. You can only buy this Trait for the family you officially belong to.
- 1 dot: Take two dots of Contacts appropriate to the family. These are separate from any other Contacts your character might have.
- 2 dots: Each gens is famed for skills it historically emphasizes and favours. When making a roll with the gens' Focus Abilities, treat as though you have a specialty (+1 to the roll). This bonus does stack if you have an existing specialty.
- 3 dots: Your high position allows you to wield considerable social emphasis. Gain three dots to spread among Influences of your choice, though these must be suitable to your gens.
- 4 dots: You have access to considerable mentorship and assistance from among your relations. Gain a free Ability point in one of your gens' Focus Abilities.
- 5 dots: With such an extensive command over the talents which your line is known for, you rarely fail in their namesake traits. A Cornelii's talent for warfare or an Aemelii's gift for leadership rarely fails. You can avoid failures on a mundane roll of one of your gens' Focus Abilities. Spend a Willpower point, and you can reroll any failed dice on the first roll.
- Example: Lucius Aemilius is trying to command a mob to not rampage. Leadership is one of the two Focus Abilities for his family. So he goes to roll Charisma + Leadership, DC 8. His total pool is 7. He spends a Willpower point. When he gets 2 successes, he gets to reroll the other 5 against DC 8 and add any successes. 3 more successes follow. Now he's got 5, and the crowd is calmed enough not to riot.
- Omen: Available to Tribunal of Auspices, priests, and Vestal Virgins only. You can cast and read omens with this Background. Performing the divinations takes at least one hour. You gain insight regarding a question or topic from signs and strange patterns. Once per chapter, roll your Omen Background dots against difficulty 8. For each success, you receive one or more clues shrouded in allegory and symbolism.
- Retainers: This Background is purchased separately for each Retainer. Define a concept for your retainer, and then assign them a primary role (Physical, Social or Mental). Each dot in this background suggests a higher level of competency within the retainer's purview. For example, a 1-dot Retainer might know basic household or field medicine, whereas a 5-dot Retainer is an Alexandrian doctor.
- Retainers may be Ghouled, but gain no additional benefits. They do not impose a penalty.
- Retainers may be animals, but must have a specific focus or role, such as performance, guarding or warfare. A domesticated animal is not combat trained without at least a 3-dot background.
- Staff: This Background represents the mundane individuals who serve you in a personal, commercial or spiritual capacity. For every dot in this Background, select one type of assistant and assign one Ability to them. Staff may take actions using their Ability and score one success, freeing up a vampire to pursue other activities. A character may have a staff without this Background, but they gain no mechanical advantages.
- Staff may be Ghouled, but gain no additional benefits.
- Example Types: Couriers, Farmers, Gardeners, Kitchen Staff, Physician Assistants, Performers, Scribes, Security, Slaves, Trainers, Work Crew
Bloodlines & Clans
Not every clan or bloodline exists in the nights of Antiquity, and others remain almost unknown to the Eternal City. A restricted option will be pre-screened on a case by case basis by the Storytelling staff.
- Children of Osiris
- True Brujah
- Non-Existent: Ahrimanes, Anda, Blood Brothers, Daughters of Cacophony, Gargoyles, Giovanni, Harbingers, Kiasyd, Nagaraja, Samedi, Tremere
- Followers of Set
- Lamia (must be affiliated with a Cappadocian PC)
- A vampire can technically "teach" himself Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence without a teacher. As such, you have access to six disciplines without a teacher: your 3 in-clan disciplines, and the aforementioned 3.
- Combination Disciplines are not used in this venue.
- Restrictions: Disciplines belonging to restricted clans may be learned only from a PC. Banned disciplines are considered fables among the Kindred if starred below, and will not be available to learn.
- Banned: Assamite Sorcery, Bardo, Daimoinon*, Flight, Koldunic Sorcery, Melpominee, Mytherceria, Ogham, Sanguinis, Spiritus, Temporis*, Thaumaturgy, Thanatosis, Valeren, Vicissitude, Visceratika
- Restricted: Chimerstry, Necromancy, Obeah, Protean, Serpentis
- Transformation powers do not stack. For example, Obtenebration 5 and Serpentis 4 cannot be used together.
The number of times you may roll an extended roll is capped at base Attribute + Ability.
New Merits & Flaws
Eternal City uses the following measures for time:
- Turn: 6 seconds
- Scene: 4 hours
- Session: 1 day
- Chapter: 1 week
- Story: 1 month