Geist: The Sin Eaters
There is an extensive list of Merits available for CoD. I have included a weblink here: http://www.thesubnet.com/portal/cod/cod/CreationMeL.html Which has all Mental, Physical, and Social Merits available and also the list below is for the ‘bound’ only.
In addition to the various Merits available to all humans, explained in the World of Darkness Rulebook, Sin-Eaters have access to a small range of Merits that represent their special connections to the Underworld. Sin-Eaters can and often do retain their connections to living society, represented via their Merits such as Allies, Contacts, and Resources. Those cunning (or demented) Sin-Eaters who pursue knowledge of the Great Below gain access to Merits that provide a unique connection to the Underworld and its powers.
One option available to Sin-Eaters is to purchase the Twilight Network as one of their Contacts. This obviously represents the ability to glean information from obituary listings, cemetery graffiti and other such sources, or to put out a call for information and have it answered, rather than a face-to-face meeting with one particular person. In such a case, the player may substitute Occult for Streetwise when rolling to gather information from the Network.
The Merits included below provide distinctive benefits for the Bound alone. While a mortal might stumble across a cenote or a wizard might capture a memento, these items are useless to anyone who does not have an attendant geist. Unless otherwise noted, these Merits may be purchased either during character creation or afterward, at the usual costs explained in the New World of Darkness. These Merits may also be lost, though, in the event of the destruction of an important place or item.
Description: Gain Number of Ceremonies Based on Number of Dots Held
Cost: •• to •••••
Description: Gain a one or two die bonus to non-hostile rolls to interact with ghosts in the Underworld; for an additional merit dot this applies to ghosts anywhere.
Description: Item with various bonuses
Specific examples of mementos, and of the particular benefits they provide to their owners, can be found starting on page 192 of Geist: The Sin-Eaters.
1 Charm (one Threshold)
2 Vanitas (one Threshold, Willpower refresh)
3 Fetter (one Threshold, one Key, one Numen)
4 Deathmask (one Threshold, one Key, skill bonuses, plasm reservoir)
5 Memorabilia (one Threshold, one Key, equipment bonuses, social bonuses)
Prerequisite: Medium; Death Sight Merit
Similar to Dowsing (see p. 38 of Second Sight), a Gateseeker is a medium who, by concentrating, may be drawn to an Avernian Gate. Once it is found, the character does not necessarily have any idea how to actually open the gate unless they have previously researched it or have been told how to do so by a Sin-Eater or ghost. The procedure is similar to dowsing. The medium must concentrate and enter a trance, wherein they wander blindly, drawn to the Gate. Some mediums use props, such as a dowsing rod made of bone, while others simply roll their eyes back in their head and lose themselves in the trance. To use this Merit, the character must spend one Willpower point and roll Wits + Occult as an extended action. The Storyteller determines the number of successes required, based on how well-hidden or distant the Avernian Gate is. A Gate hidden in a cemetery might require three successes, while one hidden in the boiler room of an old mall might require 10 or more. Each roll represents 30 minutes of seeking.
Dramatic Failure: The medium is led on a wild goose chase far from his desired goal. He also loses all accumulated successes.
Failure: The current seeking attempt is unsuccessful, but more rolls may be made.
Success: When the player has accumulated the number of successes required, the attempt succeeds.
Exceptional Success: The medium might gain some insight into how to open the Avernian Gate.
Your medium can see dead people. The psychic may perceive and communicate with any ghost she encounters. The power allows only perception of and communication with ghosts in Twilight — ghosts tied to the material world and not to any otherworldly spirit world. The power affords no ability to contact spirits from the Shadow Realm that have entered the material world and that exist in Twilight. This Merit does not permit the psychic to aid ghosts in manifesting in the physical world. Most ghosts instinctively realize when a mortal can perceive them, and psychics who possess this power are often inundated by requests from desperate beings seeking help to resolve their earthly affairs. The character does not have to pay a cost to sense the presence of ghosts, but must pay one Willpower to initiate communication with them and roll Wits + Composure as a reflexive action. (This Merit is identical to the one found on p. 44 of Second Sight.)
Alternative Option: With Storyteller’s permission, the medium’s ability to see the dead is always active. The stress of constantly being surrounded by spectral beings inflicts a mild derangement such as Depression, Phobia, Irrationality or Avoidance. The player must still roll Wits + Composure in order to communicate with ghosts, but with this option, such rolls gain a +3 bonus.
Dramatic Failure: The Medium is unable to use this Merit for the rest of the scene. Alternately, she may suffer horrific visions of some hellish underworld, inflicting a -2 penalty on all actions for the remainder of the scene.
Failure: The attempt to activate Death Sight is unsuccessful.
Success: Your character can perceive and communicate with any ghost in her vicinity for the remainder of the scene. Such ghosts remain intangible to her, however.
Exceptional Success: The medium may gain a +2 bonus on all rolls made in dealing with ghosts during the scene.
Prominently figuring in the death-legends of many cultures are caves, tunnels, cisterns, and doorways that lead into the depths of the Great Below. Sin-Eaters know all too well that such places contain the residue of darkness, stillness, and cold that comes with exposure to death. The lingering remnants of ghostly passage, or the association with death and the dead, can give some places a very real connection to the Underworld in truth. The Mayan term for such a place is a cenote, which refers to an underground cavern with a black pool whose frigid, accepting waters lead to the Underworld beneath. Experienced Sin-Eaters know, however, that these passages to the Great Below can and do occur in all manner of silent places; in addition to the usual suspects, cenotes can form in closets, basements, underground storage chambers, crawlspaces, or even in the industrial depths of an abandoned factory. More generally, the Bound refer to these places as low places or Avernian Gates. Those that have been claimed by a krewe or a Sin-Eater, though, are called Haunts. Sin-Eaters who have special access to a Haunt can rely on the power of the place to fuel their plasmic needs, and use it as a soft point to cross into the Underworld.
Haunts come in wide variety. One might be a tiny room with a secret hatch, barely large enough to fit a person, home to a child who became trapped and died down there; another could be a haunted manor with a grisly subterranean chapel devoted to some Slavic death-god. The utility of a Haunt lies not in its size nor in its opulence, but rather in the power of its connection to the Great Below and in its ease of use. To this end, each cenote has a rating in three different factors: its utility, its fluidity, and its residue. Each factor provides a benefit to the Sin-Eater who has access to the Haunt in question. Each factor is also considered a separate Merit to purchase, with each Haunt having ratings in all three categories, although a Sin-Eater need not necessarily purchase scores in all categories immediately.
A Haunt is a useful tool, but it has a strong drawback. Sin-Eaters who sleep in cenotes find themselves haunted by ghostly visions and dreams of death, much like the nightmares that afflict users of memorabilia mementos. Sleeping at the heart of a Haunt prevents a Sin-Eater from regaining Willpower from a night’s sleep, as the rest directly at the focus of the cenote is far from refreshing.
A Haunt’s utility represents just how much use it can serve apart from its supernatural focus. It generally accords to the size, accessibility, general security, and helpful mundane accouterments that the location has to offer. A cenote with no dots in Haunt Utility might be a small sub-basement that the krewe can access but does not own, unable to provide any benefits beyond its supernatural power. Three dots in Haunt Utility could represent a solid but slightly decrepit haunted house, not legally owned by the krewe but generally unwanted by others. Five dots might represent a small museum complete with library, or a plantation house in the swamp, able to provide room and board for an entire krewe, or host a magnificent Flesh Fair. Haunt features such as libraries that might assist certain rolls add a +2 bonus where applicable, if bought through Utility.
A cenote’s fluidity represents the strength of its connection to the Underworld. Every Haunt is potentially an Avernian Gate to the Great Below, but some have a particular affinity for such travel. The more that a cenote follows mythic archetypes — whether it has a limpid pool of black water, a stone archway, or a piece of funerary statuary — the stronger its connection tends to grow. For this reason, Sin-Eaters often decorate Haunts with such morbid representations. Each dot of Haunt Fluidity grants a +1 bonus to all attempts to cross into (or out of) the Underworld at its location, and an additional die toward any ceremonies performed within its boundaries. Note that this bonus is only useful to the Sin-Eater who possesses the appropriate dots; perhaps the Sin-Eater performs tiny rituals there to make a connection with the cenote, or owns several of the pieces of decorative artwork that create the funereal motif. This bonus does stack with the benefit granted by using mementos while crossing into the Underworld.
Finally, Haunt residue provides a Sin-Eater with access to additional plasm. While a Sin-Eater can gain plasm by dealing with ghosts or, in desperation, murder (see p. 82), cenotes tend to leak ectoplasm into the material world. Ectoplasm that forms at a Haunt almost always does so at night, usually near the “witching hour” of midnight, and generally takes the form of a clear or yellowish sticky or slimy residue, with a tendency to give off wavering vapors. A Sin-Eater can inhale these vapors to refuel her stores of plasm. Left by itself, plasm quickly dissipates, but powerful cenotes will continue to generate new residue. Each dot of Haunt Residue indicates one point of plasm that the cenote generates each night.
Each cenote has separate ratings in Utility, Fluidity, and Residue. Further, a Sin-Eater may well have knowledge of multiple Haunts; in such a case, each cenote’s set of Merits is purchased and tracked separately.
Special: A krewe of Sin-Eaters may share a Haunt, and indeed many krewes rely on cenotes as meeting places, locations to stash letters for the rest of the krewe, and centers for the performance of great ceremonies. The krewe may keep a Haunt’s location hidden from other Bound, or they may choose to flaunt their power by hosting Flesh Fairs there.
When a krewe purchases a Haunt Merit communally, each Sin-Eater adds his or her dots in the appropriate Merits
- Haunt Utility, Fluidity, and Residue-to the total value of the cenote. The entire krewe then benefits from the improved value of these Merits. For instance, a pair of Sin Eaters could each donate one dot in each Haunt Merit, thereby granting their krewe a cenote with effectively two dots in each of Haunt Utility, Fluidity, and Residue. A shared Haunt like this is usable by anyone who has spent dots for the cenote’s purchase, as well as anyone who is part of a ceremonially-bound krewe with such a purchaser. Of course, this means that some krewes will have shiftless layabouts who contribute little to the upkeep of a cenote’s usefulness — a source of strife in more than one krewe.
Should a krewe expel a member from its ranks, all of that member’s shared dots contributed to the Haunt are lost by the krewe; the discord of their ceremonial bond disrupts the flow of energies temporarily. The expelled Sin-Eater retains the Merit dots for his own use, perhaps representing a back-up location or a new place to set up shop, but each Haunt Merit has its rating reduced by one dot. (If the Sin-Eater only contributed one dot in the first place, then that dot is lost.) In the event that a krewe breaks up and each member goes their separate ways, all of the dots of the shared Haunt are refunded to their previous contributors, less one dot each, representing the need to find new locations, cost of moving personal effects, hurdles of gaining new access, and so on. Should a Sin-Eater die, all of her contributed dots vanish from the shared Merits of her krewe.
Shared Haunts do not rise in value above 5 dots in any category, even if the krewe contributes more total dots; excess dots are superfluous, but might prevent the cenote from losing potency if the krewe suffers a sudden loss.
A Sin-Eater may also have personal access to a private cenote while contributing to the krewe’s shared Haunt. In such a case, the character simply possesses multiple versions of each Merit. The shared Haunt Utility for the group’s cenote, for instance, would be tracked and purchased separately from the Sin-Eater’s own personal Haunt.