The City


District Traits
Similar to characters, Districts have traits. These describe how safe, how popular, how bright, how unruly the neighborhood is, sketching out the place’s character. But unlike a character’s traits, a District’s traits aren’t measured in dots. Since Districts don’t take actions of their own, their traits are rated as dice pool modifiers, from –5 to +5, just like equipment or other settings.
These are broad-stroke descriptions. A District may have an Access rating of +3 dice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the residents leave the doors unlocked in that neighborhood. These traits are guides — default places to start conceptualizing the place. You’ll find no strict system for determining the traits of a District, though. They are not built like characters, with experience points and fixed starting dots to spend.
Districts are part of the game world — the World of Darkness — and the world isn’t fair. Each District is a tool for atmosphere and gameplay. Each should be carefully selected or constructed by the Storyteller to serve the needs of the chronicle and its stories. Realism and game balance are unnecessary in a game that runs on conflicts to create drama and action. If you can achieve realism or balance, and find that they enrich your gameplay, that’s great, but don’t go off the reservation chasing after them.
Avoid the habit of pigeon-holing any particular combination of traits into a single meaning. Consider all the factors at play in the District and then assign the trait a modifier that describes the overall situation there. For a guideline, look at p. 124 of the World of Darkness Rulebook.
Your city needs a grim, lawless wasteland of burn-out row houses and abandoned cars rotting in the street where insane vagrants and bestial vampires prowl the streets looking for victims to rob of cash and blood — a shitty, hellish pit in which all the city’s filth pools. Such a hole is best described with negative ratings in every trait.
Balancing this neighborhood’s traits doesn’t accomplish the gameplay goal of creating a scary, harrowing urban wilderness of raw primal peril. Neither does it accomplish the dramaturgical goal of describing the place’s grim nastiness in game terms. Artificially skewing the neighborhood’s traits for fairness (or the illusion of it) doesn’t make your game any better.
Some places really are way off the scale of awfulness. Some neighborhoods really are better off than the next one in almost every way. The heart that pumps the blood of every story is conflict. The city isn’t fair.

The traits used to describe Districts aren’t as specific as characters’ Attributes, but are similarly arranged. Unlike character Attributes, which fall into Power, Finesse and Resistance categories, District traits fall into two, less rigid categories: Interactive and Reactive.

These traits are, very roughly, the traits that characters reach out and touch. Visitors to a District actively travel there, evoking Access modifiers. Investigators asking questions or doing research in the area are actively poking around, turning over the proverbial rocks, thereby invoking Information modifiers. Characters who try to fit into the neighborhood, or name-drop it somewhere else to get a bit of street cred, are actively interacting with the place’s reputation, and are therefore subject to its Prestige, good or bad.

These traits are, very roughly, the traits with which the District resists or responds to characters. Characters who want to break down doors or throw their weight around a District must contend with its Safety modifiers. Characters trying to lay low or sneak through must consider the place’s Awareness. Characters who get out of line or push the locals too far will find retribution modified by the neighborhood’s Stability.

The intersection of these two traits gives a sense of a neighborhood’s physical character. A District with good Access but poor Safety might be fine during the day but trouble at night, or might be a collection of storefronts and apartments at the end of a subway line you wouldn’t want to ride alone. A District with poor Access but a good Safety rating could be a backwater neighborhood or cul-du-sac quarter; the District might also be a commercial or industrial zone where getting in is easy if you’re a semi-trailer coming in off the highway, but not any other way.

Access: This trait describes how easy it is to get into or out of the District, or to move around within it. Positive modifiers describe a neighborhood with ample cabs, a working subway or elevated train, bus lines, easy-to-navigate roads, reasonable traffic and street signs. Negative modifiers describe a neighborhood with no sidewalks, no passing cabs, no local subway station (or a lousy one), inconsistent buses, bad or broken roads, constant
construction, missing signage and the like.

Safety: This trait describes the likelihood of getting hurt within the District — whether you’re a stranger or a local. A District with positive Safety modifiers has locks on the doors, maybe bars on the windows, a reasonable expectation that the police will come if called, streetlights and so forth. A District with Safety penalties may be ramshackle, low-rent, behind the times or otherwise vulnerable; or it could simply be rife with thugs, drug-seekers, maniacs, wild dogs, bloodthirsty monsters and other dangerous creatures who believe they can hurt people
and get away with it in this part of town. Consider how the Safety and Stability traits can interact, too: a highly stable neighborhood might not lock its doors, because it doesn’t fear its neighbors, while a block caught in the middle of a gang war might be heavily patrolled by police (for a positive Safety rating) but still ready to explode (due to its negative Stability).

The combination of Information and Awareness describe the amount of communication going on in the neighborhood, as well as giving a general idea of how well informed and self-aware the community is in general. For a living character, these traits might ordinarily be filed in the Social category, but these modifiers interact primarily with the Mental traits of characters taking action within the District, whether those characters are visitors or locals. A neighborhood with a positive Information modifier and a negative Awareness modifier might be full of flyers, kiosks, signage, newspaper machines,
ATMs and WiFi hotspots, but have almost no living eyes around at night to keep an eye on it all (similar to a lot of downtown high-rise districts). A District that skews the other way might lack street signs or a local newspaper and be populated with people unwilling to talk about their neighbors, but could at the same time be well lit and teeming with residents who look out their windows and call the cops when they hear a noise.

Information: The Information trait describes the volume or quality of information that can be gotten about the District from within the District. A neighborhood with a good Information rating has a local newspaper, kiosks with pinned-up flyers, posters for local events, community representatives, talkative passersby, a website, ATMs and/or public Internet access. If the locals are in touch with each other and have a strong sense of what’s happening in the community, the place has a positive Information trait — though they may still be unwilling to talk with outsiders if they have a poor Stability or Safety trait. A neighborhood with a lousy Information modifier is barren and dead to the eyes and ears: street signs may
be missing, stores have signs that say only GAS or CHECKS CASHED, people avoid asking each other questions and they certainly don’t give out information to strangers who come nosing around.

Awareness: Awareness is tied to Information, but is not dependant on it. Although a District theoretically needs good Awareness to be well-informed, that’s not necessarily the case. Information is the trait that benefits from Town Hall meetings, while Awareness is the trait that benefits from streetlights and a good view. Dark, crowded Districts littered with junk, where stained windows, long shadows and the drone of constant highway traffic overhead make it hard to see or hear, have big Awareness penalties. In those places, the locals might want to call the cops on the
blood-seeking freak creeping around in the alley behind their garages, but they can’t if they don’t know he’s there. Districts with quality streetlights, motion-sensitive bulbs, good sight-lines and a quiet ambience have positive Awareness ratings. The people is these places are likely to notice
someone climbing up the fire escape across the street, though they may not be involved enough to call the cops.

These Social traits describe a District’s self-respect, integrity and internal allegiance, as well as, to a limited extent, the way the District looks to the city at large. As with each pair of District traits, the intersection of these two traits is much more informative than either one is by itself. A neighborhood known for good nightclubs and great late-night greasy spoons might have a good Prestige modifier even though its Stability penalty means the place is prone to fights, drunken vagrants and harassment. A quiet stretch of peaceful houses and apartment buildings, where everybody knows the name of the local grocer and would notice if Mrs. Wallace went unseen for a day, might have a high Stability bonus, even though people two
streets over think of it as a dead stretch of grownups.

Prestige: This trait may be tricky to understand, if only because it is not actually concerned with Prestige, per se. Rather, this trait describes how well regarded a neighborhood is, even if it is not actually prestigious. A District that is well-known, but reviled, has a high negative modifier in this trait. A neighborhood that “you know, seems okay, but I don’t know what it’s called,” has a very low but positive modifier in this trait. The higher the number, the greater the impact on people who are told about the place or taken there — the greater the draw and the further away its known. Positive numbers attract people, negative numbers keep them away. Consider how this trait is separate from Information,

Safety and Stability: A place may be unsafe, unruly and poorly documented and still attract people to it. Maybe they come for the cheap drugs or the pussy, maybe they come for the novelty or the nightclubs, maybe they come for some last great restaurant holding out in the ruins of a once-great neighborhood. The point is, they come.

Stability: Stability describes the feeling of community in the District, how likely locals are to come to each other’s aid or turn their backs on the suffering going on outside their windows. A District with a positive Stability modifier gives a shit about its neighbors, calls the police when it hears gunshots or comes running when there’s a fire. A District with a negative Stability modifier is eerily still and quiet and stays that way even while some
kid is bleeding to death in the street from the bullet in his gut. Consider the ways this trait interacts with Safety. A neighborhood may be unsafe but defiantly maintaining its identity and camaraderie in the face of a drug war. A neighborhood may be well patrolled and generally lawabiding, but populated with coldly removed residents who figure it’s none of their business why the people next door are squeezing off automatic weapons. In a
neighborhood that’s unsafe but stable, homeowners might shoot you themselves if you fuck with the block. In a neighborhood that’s unsafe and unstable, the neighbor who rushes to your side after you’re shot might just be there to loot your shit.

Haven Qualities
What kind of havens can a vampire find in the area? This is vital for determining the quality of a domain by the standards that really matter to Kindred. The absentee landlord who won’t even lair in his own domain does not earn much trust from his vassals. The lord whose domain is better suited for the havens of the Damned attracts more desirable Kindred to his territory.
The haven qualities trait of a District describes the traits limits for the Haven Merit within that District. This is, of course, a rough guideline. Storytellers can craft more or less desirable variations on the Districts here simply by tweaking the neighborhood’s haven qualities. Before you make adjustments, you should understand how the qualities are rated.
The possible value of each Haven Merit — Location, Security and Size — are rated with a base value and/or a plain-language description. A particular Merit might be have an upper limit within the District (for example, “up to 4” or “2 maximum”), in which case no haven in the District can have a rating
above the limit in that Merit. The neighborhood might be too crowded for a Haven Size higher than 3, or it might be so high-profile that no site suitable for a Haven Size 4 or 5 could be inhabited without risking the Masquerade.
A particular Merit may also have a minimum value to be appropriate for the District (for example, “at least 2,” or “3 or more”), in which case a character cannot have a haven in that District unless all three of its Haven Merit ratings line up with the minimum values. Some neighborhoods are too dangerous for any haven without at least Haven Security 2 to really be considered a haven at all.
Some neighborhoods are so well situated that a haven in the area can’t be properly described as part of the area unless it has Haven Location 3 or higher. Haven quality requirements can also be dictated by the lord of the domain, as described in the Barony chapter


Sites are not platonic measures of all buildings of their type. They’re like characters. Just as you could generate general game statistics for “a police officer” or for “Sgt. Danielle Lowe” in particular, you can do the same for Sites. The sample convenience store later in this chapter is a particular, individual store in the city. Every entry that follows depicts a particular Site for you to play with.
Also like characters, Sites are described with certain categories of information. Most of them are self-explanatory, but here’s what you’ll be looking at:

Type: A general descriptor for the kind of place the Site is, meant to help you match up Sites with Districts. This is a rough guideline only; it has no impact on game mechanics.

Description: What does the place look like? Smell like? Feel like? What purpose does it serve dramatically? Mood comes across naturally from description, but this section also offers up some thematic considerations for the Site.

History: The history of the Site or the people who make it distinctive. Understanding what a place was like yesterday helps make sense of it today.

Activity: What are background characters doing here? What goes on at this place?

Significant Storyteller Characters: Look in this section for a broad sketch of the Storyteller characters (and potential Subjects or Assets) that can be found at this Site.

Extras: Background characters that might come and go but aren’t really an integral part of the place. Use these to add dimension to a Site’s description over time. On one visit, the place may be empty. On the next, a family of tourists might be crowding into the place.

Hostile Encounters: How might the place go bad? Where is the potential for conflict and violence?

Locations: What spaces can be found within the Site? This isn’t a definitive list, but a collection of quick options for Storytellers staging chases, fights, investigations or any other scene here. The locations within a Site, like a shower or walk-in freezer, also serve
as inspirations for equipment modifiers to actions at the Site.

Stories: Look in this entry for story ideas that can arise organically out of the Site, or conflicts that could impose themselves here — all good fodder for drama.

Site Traits
Like characters, Sites are described in game terms with simple traits. Most of these are related to other traits with which you’re already familiar, but for the sake of clarity they are described again here.

Location, Security, Size: These ratings are more or less equivalent to those used for the Haven Merits with the same names. This lets you translate a Site (or a ruined counterpart) into a haven with ease. See Vampire: The Requiem, pp. 100-102 for details on each trait.

Advantages: Sites are essentially equipment. A Site provides bonuses to actions involving certain Skills that jibe with the Site’s function. A popular nightclub grants a bonus to Socialize actions, a veterinary clinic grants a bonus to Medicine and Animal Ken rolls, a dark alley is a good place to hide (using Stealth). The potential benefits of a Site are pretty broad (see Chapter Three: Barony),
but they all have one thing in common: The characters must be at the Site to gain the benefit.

Status: Some places have a reputation of their own. When they do, mentioning them in the right circumstances can provoke awe, envy or ire. A Site’s Status represents how well known it is — and how well regarded, overall. A character that owns a Site gains its Status bonus to dice pools the Storyteller deems suitable. Two kinds of Status cannot be applied to a single roll, however. Nobody is impressed that the Prince (City Status 5) has a bar located near the ballpark (Site Status 2); they’re impressed that he’s the Prince. Remember, though, that not everyone responds to Status in the same way. Normally, a character shouldn’t be penalized for having a good rating in a trait like Status, but consider the audience. The owner of a rival nightclub might not be impressed by the owner of a more popular nightclub. Certainly, the more popular club can’t be ignored, and the rival is sure to feel the pressure of Status, but his reaction drifts closer to jealousy than envy.

Durability and Structure: These are very rough guides to the construction and sturdiness of the Site. (Durability and Structure are explained in the World of Darkness Rulebook, pp. 135-138.) Durability describes the kind of materials the place is made of. The higher the Durability, the more solid the building (e.g., concrete walls or steel frame). Structure is a rough measure of the building’s ability to retain its functionality. Reducing a Site to zero Structure doesn’t necessarily leave it razed or up in smoke. Rather, a Site with no Structure no longer qualifies as a Site; it’s damaged to the point of being inoperable. These traits are included in case a werewolf drives a truck into the Site or some vampire-hunter starts blowing his five dots of Resources on the biggest toys in World of Darkness: Armory and comes looking for revenge.


Subjects are read like any other sample character in a World of Darkness book. Most of the entries you’ll find below are both self-explanatory and familiar. Here’s a quick rundown of the things that are new or different: Virtue and Vice: Virtues and Vices go a long way toward describing the ways a character can be manipulated. Push someone far enough, and they’re likely to fulfill their Vice in the hopes of gaining back some confidence or calm (in the form of a Willpower point). Because the whole purpose of a Subject is to be manipulated, these are important traits to know.

Conflict (Trait Rating): A Subject’s conflict what makes him vulnerable to coercion and manipulation by the Kindred. Part story hook and part sample action, conflicts describe what a character must do to gain a subject as an Asset, and thereby win control over whatever Site the Subject is associated with. Conflicts are described in detail in the Barony chapter.

Dice Pool: Like other non-combatant characters, the abilities of these Subjects are described in plain language and sample dice pools. Since Subjects are built with such a specific function in mind — the dramatization of a vampire’s insidious influence — their dice pools are more specific as well.

Justin Achilli, Russell Bailey, Stephen DiPesa, Ray Fawkes, Will Hindmarch, Howard David Ingham, Robin Laws, Robert Vaughn, and Chuck Wendig. Damnation City. N.p.: White Wolf 2007

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