Expanded Endowments

By SunlessNick

Endowments are a diverse collection of Merits, ranging from inborn powers of the blood to rituals to mystic artifacts to high-tech weapons. In the game, they are limited to membership in a third tier conspiracy - but there are other ways to acquire unusual tools and abilities than such backing. Conversely, while all the canon conspiracies offer such things, it is not impossible that one may not, yet still be old, widespread, informed, and powerful enough to deserve a place on the third tier.

Endowments Without Conspiracies

At Tier 1: A first tier hunter is an ordinary woman; she might work in the antiques trade and discover an item of power, she might wake from confused nightmares to find Hell burning beneath her skin, or she might study and develop her faith until finding her prayers rewarded with a more concrete answer. However she comes by her Endowment, she must first take a 2 dot Merit (I'm taking a leaf from GURPS and calling it Unusual Background). Any new Endowment gained after character generation requires the R&D rules to obtain - the hunter must study ancient manuscripts, bargain with fell entities, or scour the antiquities trade.

At Tier 2: A second tier hunter must follow the same rules as a first tier one; also, her Unusual Background Merit must be bought separately from her Status denoting membership. If the compact knows of the hunter's ability, it will have recruited her because of it or in spite of it, but it will never be irrelevant - either will mean she is watched, and discouraged from reaching the higher echelons of the group - as such, she must spend 50% more experience to increase Status after character generation. Alternatively, she could keep the Endowment secret, but that creates its own pattern of suspicious behaviour, again making it harder to rise through the ranks - thus the effect on experience is the same. Finally, because the Endowment is outside the compact's SOP, the hunter must spend her own experience to improve her unusual resources; Practical Experience is not usable.

Specifics

As well as the general guidelines above, specific Endowments may have additional requirements.

Advanced Armoury: High-tech devices need a lot of electronics and physics know-how to even begin to design; most with excellence in this area lack the equally vital occult knowledge. The hunter must take the Scientist or Engineer Profession and some level of Professional Training at character generation (her third Asset Skill when she reaches that level must be Occult).

Benedictions: These require both learning and faith; while the names in the book imply Catholic or Orthodox Christianity, parallel rites could be developed for other sects and religions. The hunter must take the Religious Leader or Occultist Profession.

Castigation: Castigation entails the blood of demons running through the hunter's veins; without the context and support provided by the Lucifuge, it can prove destructive to her identity. As such, she may not take a Profession or levels in the Professional Training Merit.

Elixirs: These require lots and lots of book learning. The hunter must take the Academic or Occultist Profession; her third Asset Skill must be Science, reflecting the necessary chemical knowledge.

Goetic Rites: Likewise, these require lots and lots of book learning. If its narrative role is presented simply as magics that evoke Goetic demons like those in Mage, then the hunter must take the Academic or Occultist Profession. If the whole Knights of St George mythology is used, then the burden of it makes it hard for her to maintain a connection to the world; she may not take a Profession or levels in Professional Training.

Relics: Relics are the easiest route. The hunter can start with any Profession, though if it is not relevant to relic-hunting, her third Asset Skill must be.

Rites du Cheval: The Rites of Denial are an unusual case, in that both the Endowment and Status in Les Mystères are granted by the spirits. As such, in game terms, the Rites are not available without membership in the Conspiracy - though in story terms, it's the other way round - possession of the Rites grants the Status by default. On the plus side, the hunter does not need any specific requirements.

Rites of Denial: It's an understatement to say that the Cainite Heresy do not share - as such, nobody else can learn the Rites of Denial from them. However, it suggested that they acquired the Rites from another group - and in this case, they may be available from elsewhere - even then, the hunter will not have access to the blood storage vessels given by the Sources, and must power the rites more harshly - costing her 1 lethal damage per thimble a Cainite would need (though on the plus side, she won't need partners to help her refill). In any case, the hunter must start with the Academic or Occultist Profession.

Teleinformatics: VASCU's Teleinformatics are created via a specific biochemical treatment, but could be used to model psychic abilities gained through other means. In this case, the character need not start with any specific Profession, though if her Profession is not relevant to the acquisition of mental powers, her third Asset Skill must be. Without the backing of a group like VASCU, the character must advance through the abilities of each path in order.

Thaumatechnology: Thaumatechnology is too unusual; it's not available outside the Cheiron Group.

Compacts With Endowments

A compact with Endowments will be just starting out with them - they will be rare and prized. Membership allows access to the Endowments, but only as many as total the hunter's dots in Status. If she wants more, she must participate in the group's development or acquisition - ie, use R&D rules.

In the case of Benedictions, the Benediction trait can reach up to 5, but the character can only learn as many rites as she has Status.

The same system can be used for conspiracies that acquire Endowments other than their core type: eg Relics in the keeping of the Malleus Maleficarum or Lucifuge.

Conspiracies Without Endowments

Apart from Endowments, the defining aspects of third tier conspiracies tend to be age, a global distribution, considerable knowledge of the supernatural, a centralised leadership, and great wealth and mundane resource - an organisation that scores high in most or all of these can deserve the title of conspiracy even without access to any unusual tools and powers. Such a group can provide training, information, or access to contacts and resources - this sort of thing can also be represented as Endowment, in order to keep things consistent - three possibilities are provided below.

Training Endowment

This represents access to instruction, training, and reference - in game terms, it provides a cost break on learning Mental Skills (or more rarely, Physical ones). Each dot in the Endowment applies to one Skill - this Skill can then be increased at a rate of new dots x2 rather than x3 - also, Specialties can be acquired for two experience points rather than three.

This Endowment is by definition provided by membership of an organisation, and so is not available for an individual - it can be taken for a compact, or as a subsidiary Endowment for a conspiracy - in this case, increasing it beyond the hunter's Status limit via "R&D" requires her to participate in training others herself.

Resource Endowment

This is similar to the above, but applies to the development of networks, agents, and resources - members can draw on the existing assets of their superiors to help them establish their own. In game terms, each dot in the Endowment allows the improvement of a single relevant Merit for half the experience cost; available merits are: Allies (venue), Contacts, Resources, and Safe House.

This Endowment is by definition provided by membership of an organisation, and so is not available for an individual - it can be taken for a compact, or as a subsidiary Endowment for a conspiracy - in this case, increasing it beyond the hunter's Status limit via "R&D" requires her to actively assist others in developing their networks.

Influence Endowment

Influence is more potent and active, representing the capacity to draw on an entrenched network of agents; essentially it is a beefed up version of Allies and Contacts.

Influence is structured like Benediction, with the basic 1-5 dots representing how well the hunter can draw on her assets (those areas where she can pull strings); typically, it is used with Intelligence or Manipulation. At character generation, the hunter chooses assets with ratings totalling her dots in Influence: city-wide assets are rated 1, region-wide assets are rated 2, nationwide assets are rated 3, and international assets are rated 4; after character generation, she can add new assets for (respectively) 5, 10, 15, and 20 experience points. The hunter can draw on her assets for information automatically (though it may not be instantaneous). Making things happen an Influence roll, needing as many successes as she would need dots in Allies for the same end.

Influence does not depend on membership in a group; a character could theoretically develop such a network on her own. Several conspiracies are likely to have it as a subsidiary Endowment (though perhaps not one that's readily available to front-line agents): the Malleus Maleficarum, Task Force VALKYRIE, and the Cheiron Group all operate in spheres where such dealings are a matter of course.

Second Sight As Endowments

The psychic and thaumaturgical Merits in Second Sight are available to mortals, which means they could also be available to hunters.

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturgy is presented as a template, which means it needs some adjustment to fit in with Hunter's character generation. The hunter must choose her tradition, which if the Endowment is gained through a conspiracy or compact is likely to be mandated by the nature of the group.

  • The baseline Endowment is called Adept, and is rated 1-5.
  • At character generation, the hunter receives rituals with levels totaling her dots in Adept; afterwards, she can learn rituals of a level equal to or less than her Adept dots.
  • The 4-dot ritual that Second Sight traditions give for free is not free for a hunter.
  • The paired bonus/penalty is eliminated.

A hunter who is not in a conspiracy must take the Religious Leader or Occultist Profession in order to be able to take this Endowment.

Psychic Abilities

Psychic abilities are simply merits, which is much easier to work into the Endowment system.

  • The baseline Endowment is called Psychic, and is rated 1-5.
  • At character generation, the hunter receives powers with levels totaling her dots in Psychic; afterwards, she can learn pwers of a level equal to or less than her Psychic dots.

A hunter who is not in a conspiracy need not take any specific Profession to have this Endowment, but as with Relics, if her Profession is not relevant to the development of mental powers, she must choose a third Asset Skill that is.