Taking the City

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Taking the City

Post by Chris Shaffer on Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:39 am

The city of Morgantown is going to be divided up into a number of zones with traits representing some of the benefits available for taking hold of a region. These traits will represent the ability to increase certain categories of Allies from your efforts in influencing companies and organizations and people in these places. Claiming or defending territory can also award Beats. In addition once word gets back to Charleston that the city is properly claimed, the territory held will be a major influence on determining whom Prince Justin puts in charge of the new vassal state.

The traits that can be found in these territories are: Business, Industrial, Media, Medical, Residential, Transportation, University.

'Residential' traits determine how high you can buy Feeding Grounds on a one-for-one basis; for instance, if you have Residential 3 among your various properties, you can buy your Feeding Grounds Merit up to 3. The maximum is still five.
Acquiring one territory with the Business trait lets you buy your Resources up to 4. Acquiring two lets you take it as high as 5.
Acquiring one 'instance' of the other listed traits lets you buy a related Allies Merit up to 4, as well. Two, again, lets you go up to 5. The related Merits will let you take advantage of the organizations and services in these areas. For example, Transportation can be used in smuggling or affect certain business concerns. Industrial gives you access to factories and warehouses. And so forth.

You will still need to buy the appropriate Merits, by the way. This only increases the caps. Some of the various zones will include bonuses above and beyond the benefits of higher Allies.

(If you wish to acquire Allies aside from what's described here, that will be handled later on in this document.)

The city is going to be divided up into the following zones with the related traits:


  • Evansdale (like the area around Van Voorhis and Patteson and Chestnut Ridge and all that) -- Business, Residential
  • Evansdale Campus -- University, Residential
  • Sunnyside -- Residential 2 (Sunnyside counts twice)
  • Beechurst (the area around Beechurst between downtown and Evansdale) -- Business, Industrial
  • Upper South Park (The part of South Park right up next to Downtown) -- Residential
  • Lower South Park (The part of South Park closer to Sabraton, like on Brockway and such) -- Residential
  • Downtown
  • Downtown Campus -- University, Media
  • Waterfront (This is the area along the river by Don Knotts Boulevard, with the hotels and shopping plazas and such) -- Business, Industrial, Transportation
  • Sabraton -- Industrial, Media
  • Granville (Including University Town Center) -- Business, Transportation
  • Star City -- Industrial
  • Westover (The area including the mall and much of the nearer half of Westover) -- Business, Residential
  • Westover Waterfront (The area across the river from Downtown) -- Industrial
  • Suncrest (Including the new plaza and home development) -- Business, Residential
  • Mileground (which will include the shopping plazas nearby) -- Business
  • Greenbag Road -- Industrial


Things that aren't full-blown neighborhoods but are being treated as 'zones' for this purpose:

  • Ruby Memorial Hospital -- Medical
  • Mon General Hospital -- Medical
  • Airport -- Transportation
  • WCLG Downtown -- Media
  • Clubs Downtown (See below)


Claiming a particular piece of turf will be an extended action. Each roll will take one week and take a Downtime Action. The exact test pool will vary depending on the area (each will have a couple of possible approaches), with the possibility of adding relevant Discipline ratings and certain Merits to the roll on a case-by-case basis. Some areas will require more successes than others, but the absolute minimum will be 10 successes. Merits that could help, such as relevant Allies, add to this roll as well as some potential circumstance bonuses. (These bonuses will also apply to the maximum number of rolls you can make, whereas Willpower will not.) Good Time Management does not apply to this roll, but Teamwork can apply (all participants will have to use Downtime Actions). Only the primary actor can 'claim' the zone, but there may be ways to compensate someone who's helped you (see below).

In a change from established extended roll procedure, there is no upper limit on the number of rolls a character can make to claim open territory. If the territory is already claimed, then normal limits apply.

Roll results:
Dramatic Failure:
As per normal extended action rules. You fail the roll, take a Condition, and suffer a -2 on the first roll to try again later.
Failure: As per normal extended action rules. Take a Condition or abandon the action.
Success: As per normal extended action rules. Successes accumulate normally.
Exceptional Success: You can either reduce the target number of successes by the Skill being used for the roll, as per normal, or completing the task gives you the Connected Persistent Condition for that territory. Reducing the time per roll isn't an option at this time. (Note that resolving the Connected Condition is described as 'burning bridges.' It won't necessarily affect any relevant Merit dots but ICly things will be awkward with the people there for a while.)

Just for the record, Downtown is listed as a zone mostly for paperwork's sake. As Downtown is going to be the 'Rack' area of Morgantown, no single vampire can completely claim it. There will be something below about claiming a bit of territory Downtown, but that won't factor in to claiming the city.


Reconnaissance: A character can spend a Downtime Action doing recon and scoping out a territory, making a roll to do so (the roll will be variable, based on your approach). Doing so gives you the Informed Condition which you can use as normal on a roll to acquire the territory (or to influence someone within the territory, if you're not trying to claim it). Alternately, you can take a Beat to pass the benefits off to someone who can then use the benefits but does not gain the Beat for resolving it. (Note that because Downtime Actions are weekly affairs, you can't pass the benefits of recon until after your action is finished. If there are two weeks between sessions and you spend the first doing recon and then want to pass the Condition to someone else, it only applies to their Downtime Action for the second week.)
In addition to boosting the roll to take the zone, recon can also provide previews of who already owns or is trying to claim the turf as well as any specific bonuses the zone might have besides the traits.
If you use the Informed Condition on a roll to take the city and turn a success into an exceptional success, in addition to the normal options for an exceptional success you can also change the number of successes achieved on that roll from the original result to '5.'


Loaning out traits:
You can basically 'loan' an instance of one of these traits to another player character. (Residential will be weird in this regard, I'll get to that in a moment.) While you've loaned it out, you still own the territory but you no longer gain the benefits of that trait. You can revoke the loan at any time.
Residential: Whatever your Feeding Grounds rating is, you have an amount of 'points' equal to that rating minus one that you can distribute among other characters. Anyone who's receiving these benefits can buy up Feeding Grounds to represent being allowed to feed in your territory. So if your Feeding Grounds rating is 4, you can 'loan' up to 3 points to other characters. Each of these points (I really wish I had a better word for that) lets them buy up their Feeding Grounds by 1.


Contested Territory:
If the zone is already owned, you can still attempt to take it over. Unless you've gone out of your way to telegraph to the target what you're doing, you'll usually get a free 'surprise' roll. But after that (or if they do have reason to know you're coming), the roll becomes a contested one. The defender rolls to keep his territory, just like he did to take it. His target number of successes will be equal to the attacker's initial dice pool as he tries to cut off the attack before it gets through to him. The defender's relevant Merits, including Allies, applies to this roll normally. Winner takes the territory.
If one character is trying to claim a zone and another unknowingly attempts to also get ahold of it while the first is in the midst of their extended action, both become aware of each other right away. At that point the latecomer can attempt to overtake the earlier vampire, although doing so doesn't undo any of the work the first vampire put in and the target number of successes will still be the base target number for the zone. Once the territory is claimed, then a whole new attempt can start from scratch with an attacker or defender as normal.


Losing Territory:
If your zone is taken (or a trait loan is revoked) and as a result your Merit maximums drop below what you have, your Merits don't vanish overnight. Each session one of your Merit dots above your maximum will vanish. As per the Sanctity of Merits rule you will get the relevant Experiences back, but having your territory taken does indeed impact your ability to buy certain Merits.

Identifying Landlords:
Unless someone goes out of their way to be public about it, there isn't exactly a directory of who owns what (mostly). Vampires can claim things in secret and not tell anyone. While I would encourage player characters to be up-front about their acquisitions to prevent misunderstandings, there are only two ways to find out who controls which territory. First off, spending a Downtime Action performing reconnaissance on a given territory will tell you who owns it and roughly what levels of Allies they'd be able to bring to the table to defend it. Alternately, at the end of the first roll to try and claim a given piece of territory the character will know if they're up against someone. (This is part of the 'surprise' roll, before the defender necessarily knows something is up. Only if the attacker presses on does the defender know the territory is being targeted.)

Also, theoretically, with the right Contacts or Skills a character might have an assortment of ways of finding out what's going on with a given vampire or in a given territory. And finally, members of a covenant will know what the other members of their covenant have just through the grapevine unless they take efforts to hide their acquisitions.




Related Things:

Areas of influence that aren't neighborhood specific:
Certain areas of influence that would be vital to control the city are just too dispersed to represent through control over the zones. In particular, these areas of influence are the City Government, Criminal Underworld, Police, and Financial (banks and such). Rather than tied to specific zones, there will be limited slots of relevant Allies above 2. There will be four slots available at 3 dots, two available at 4 dots, and one available at 5. Claiming a slot is just like claiming a zone, with an appropriate extended roll (which may be contested if all of the slots above you are tied up). In addition to the benefits of being able to buy up Allies in some very important and influential areas of the city, claiming a Financial slot provides the benefits of claiming a territory with the Business trait.

Clubs Downtown:
Many vampires like to control nightclubs, because the benefits (money and blood) are rather self-explanatory. While vampires in this game will never be able to completely control downtown, it is possible to acquire clubs and bars on and around High Street. Taking over or starting a club works mechanically like claiming a zone. I've got an idea as to how much can fit Downtown (also taking into account how many establishments are run by mortals and other things), so I'll let folks know if it's just too crowded, but for the most part there's plenty of room. Owning at least one club counts as having an instance of the Business Trait and each club owned increases Feeding Grounds by 1 (as per the Residential Trait).

Everything else
Any Allies not listed here aren't really limited and will simply require an extended roll to buy up to represent the effort that goes into it. If you really want to claim ultimate Legal influence and make sure no other vampire can ever use lawyers or the judicial system to their advantage, that's going to require more effort than an extended roll and some Experiences can represent.

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Re: Taking the City

Post by Chris Shaffer on Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:26 am

So just a tiny update. Since the game's transitioning to a proper tabletop game, I'm changing the system as follows (I'll update the text later): The rolls are now per day, but now I'm really sticking to the pitfalls of failing at the extended action, whereas I'd kind of handwaved it before.

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