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Kismet's Virtues and Vices 2.0

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Hollow by PaolaPieretti”Hollow” by PaolaPieretti (resized) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

 

 

What They Are

A Virtue is a trait or quality that represents the best a person can be, according to the culture they live in. Virtuous behavior is encouraged socially and in turn reinforces social ties to others who hold the same value system. Acting out a Virtue is personally rewarding (even if it isn't praised or rewarded by others) because it affirms your sense of who you should be in your community. Virtuous actions replenish self-esteem because they're done to build the best life possible. They aren't always carried out in public, but they necessarily involve interacting with other people. That’s because our values are largely determined and tested due to the actions of those around us.

A Vice, then, represents the worst a person can be and do, as determined by their culture. Vices are rooted in destructive impulses all humans have; giving into these urges is deemed a personal failing, while reveling in them is deemed monstrous. That’s because Vices are antisocial and unhealthy behaviors. Even when they’re carried out with others, Vices interfere with lasting, mutually beneficial social bonds because they act as an escape from the world and obligations to others. They invite people to be self-centered and careless. The forbidden quality of Vices makes them tempting and may also make them feel personally rewarding. After all, by indulging in a Vice, a person is defying their culture to have their own “good time.” They don’t have to wait for permission; they don’t have to worry about the next day. They’re able to live for themselves in the moment, rules and restrictions be damned.

Taken together, Virtues and Vices represent a range of behaviors that are noteworthy in a particular place and era. They’re the focus of social interactions and key concerns for groups; they shape discourse, norms, and laws. They’re also ways to understand how members of society act and react, what they value, what they enjoy, and what they struggle for and against the most. Whether they're embraced by individuals or groups, Virtues and Vices are socially influenced and can change over time. And whenever expectations and values shift, conflict won’t be far behind.

Ultimately, Virtues and Vices are ideals a community aims to embrace and reject for the purported good of the whole. This means they’re not absolute realities but socially mandated goals and taboos. They all exist in various forms and degress, and the community is constantly engaged in promoting and suppressing them. But human groups are never completely consistent. Some will reject the norms around them, and communities won't always follow through with their highest ideals or threatened consequences. Virtuous behavior isn’t always recognized or rewarded (there’s a reason why the saying “no good deed goes unpunished” exists). Debauchery might be ignored, downplayed, or embraced temporarily. There are many reasons for this, including how close-knit a community is and the power of those involved. But by understanding which primary Virtues and Vices are at work, you'll be able to understand why conflicts arise and how they shape your game.

How Players Can Use Them

The beauty of the Virtue and Vice mechanic in the World of Darkness is that it can easily apply to groups or individuals, which means it’s useful to players and Storytellers. On the one hand, it’s a method players can use to understand their characters’ key motivations. A character can act on any Virtue or Vice anytime, but there will be one Virtue and Vice that resonates with them the most. They’ll bend their lives and efforts around these two poles. They’ll feel the most satisfaction when serving these two drives. Once a player figures out their character’s best and worst drives, they can make decisions and take actions that reflect their character’s deepest values and flaws.

If you have a fairly clear character concept from the start, figuring out their primary Virtue and Vice might be easy for you, but it’s common to have trouble making these decisions. The thing to remember is that these traits are culturally determined but are personally internalized. Characters identify with a Virtue and Vice more than others, seeing them as their best and worst traits. They act them out (or fight against the urge to do so) regularly because of who they are and how they prefer to operate. Both traits represent long-standing patterns of behavior; they’re unlikely to change over the course of a chronicle because they’re intimately tied with the character’s deepest feelings about who they are and what they do.

If you find it difficult to choose a primary Virtue for a character, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do they value most?

  • What do they see as their best trait?

  • What will they struggle the hardest to attain?

Once you’ve settled on a Virtue for your character, a Vice might jump out at you as being particularly appropriate because of how it relates to their Virtue. At this point, you should also consider how you want to experience your character during play. If you want a lot of internal conflict, for instance, you could choose the polar opposite for the character’s Vice. If you want to set up a slippery slope, choose a Vice that’s similar to the character’s Virtue. That way, they might fall into Vice while believing they’re on the straight and narrow path. You might choose the same Vice as one of the character’s parents to explore generational struggles or use the same one as their sire to explain why they were chosen for the Embrace. You can also ask your Storyteller what the primary Virtue and Vice are for the chronicle or local area and make your choices accordingly. If you want to fight the social tide, you can choose opposing traits or create new ones that don’t mesh with the surrounding norms at all. If you want your character to manipulate their way to the top, you could give them the chronicle’s Vice as a kind of camouflage.

If you’re having trouble settling on a key Vice for a character, ask yourself these questions:

  • Which key trauma is the character trying to escape, and which Vice seems like the character’s most likely response to that situation?

  • Which method of escape will the character risk the most to experience, whether they realize how much they’re risking or not?

  • Which Vice do they have the least control over and have the easiest time rationalizing?

Once you’ve settled on your choices, it’s time to use them during gameplay. Mechanically, Virtue and Vice are a way to replenish spent Willpower points, but how much is restored depends on which path you choose.

The Mechanics

It’s not enough to act out a character’s primary Virtue once in private. You have to stay the course for one or more scenes during a chapter (one game session), with one or more characters present. This shows a willingness to struggle to be the best in a social setting and to act as an exemplar of your values. The scene(s) should also present some consequences for failure or social resistance. (Nothing ventured, nothing gained.) You should declare a desired outcome related to your character’s Virtue as soon as possible during the first scene so your Storyteller can follow your progress. If your character succeeds in your stated goal, even if they suffer social consequences, they regain all spent Willpower points. Pride in a job well done - and setting a good example - is its own reward.

On the flip side, whenever a character indulges their Vice during a scene and isn’t stopped, they gain one Willpower point. You should declare the particular kind of escape your character seeks early in the scene. If they’re punished for their transgression while it’s occurring and their escape is cut off, they don’t feel the relief required to call it a win. If, however, they’re able to continue acting out their Vice largely as they planned, the character regains one Willpower point.

Satisfying Virtue and Vice isn’t always done immediately through a character’s individual actions. For instance, a Kindred Prince might have a long-term plan to root out corruption in the local government (following her Virtue of Justice). Such a grand scheme will require the help of others over the course of months or years. However, Virtue and Vice as we’ve discussed here is a more immediate reward system. This means that the Prince will have to break her larger goal into smaller steps. She’ll have to decide how she pursues her agenda during each game session. She could aim to convince a particular politician to change his ways during a private meeting. After that’s resolved, the Prince can then decide who she wants to work on next. She could try to give an underling all the tools he needs to convince the politician to step down, instead of doing it herself. If the underling succeeds in the Prince’s stated goal, the Prince regains all spent Willpower.

The Choices

This system invites players to consider how they’re going to portray their characters and why. Players should consider how their characters usually regard and respond to their Virtues and Vices. How they feel about their drives comes from past experiences, new victories and failures, current goals, and social interactions. These feelings can range from pride to shame to horror to acceptance, and they influence what a character does about their urges. No one pursues a Virtue or Vice in every scene; there are other things to do. No one reveals their best or worst facets all the time, either. The worse a character feels about their Vice - and the more penalties they face for acting on their Virtue - the more likely it is that they’ll try to hide those parts of themselves. (If you’re a classic WoD gamer, this is where Virtue and Vice can be said to intersect with Nature and Demeanor.)

Here are some choices characters can make about their Virtue and Vice:

  • Deny: subconsciously rejecting the urge, any needs associated with it, and probably uncomfortable past experiences with it

  • Avoid: evading situations which will likely call for a Virtue or Vice to be acted upon

  • Suppress: actively and consciously trying to ignore the urge

  • Disguise: trying to display another Virtue or Vice, or trying to highlight a Virtue instead of a Vice (or vice versa)

  • Sublimate: seeking to satisfy the desire in a socially acceptable way

  • Displace: acting out the drive in an inappropriate context or fashion

  • Project: attacking others for having your Vice, whether or not they do

  • Enact: seeking to satisfy the desire in a context where such behavior is expected

  • Boast: showing off your Virtue or Vice in a loud, self-glorifying way

  • Sacrifice: giving up an immediate chance to enjoy a Vice in order to fulfill a Virtue (or vice versa)

You don’t have to worry about this in each scene; you can figure out how your character feels about their Virtue and Vice per game session, or after a major event might change their minds. What you will have to decide on a scene-by-scene basis is what your character’s goals are. Will your character seek a Virtue or Vice at that place and time? If so, how and why? Will their behavior further longer term goals, or are they living purely in the moment? This doesn’t have to take a long time to figure out; jotting down a simple statement of intent is best: “I’m going to act out my Virtue/Vice by [insert a quick course of action] because [state your goal or key motivation].” Your Storyteller may want you to tell them your goal privately or in front of the group. From that point on, however, you know what your character’s purpose is in that scene. If you’re seeking a Virtue or Vice, you’ve decided the terms of victory. You may not be able to carry out your mission in every instance, but your Storyteller should offer regular chances to give it your best shot.

If you’re playing 2e Chronicles of Darkness, Virtue and Vice might only be available to mortal characters. There are good reasons, however, for Storytellers to consider allowing any kind of character to choose these traits. Talk with your Storyteller if you really want to try out what’s explored here.

How Storytellers Can Use Them

Virtue and Vice aren’t just for players who want to establish their characters’ modi operandi or replenish their Willpower pools; the system offers useful options for Storytellers, too. First, it’s a great way to set up the unique feel and goals of a chronicle. A Storyteller should take some time to carefully consider the dominant cultures of their setting; it can help establish overarching moods and themes. Choosing Virtues and Vices can reveal the values of the time and place, as well as what’s most important in the chronicle. What do the NPCs tend to care about and discuss? What do they ignore, demean, or punish? How do they usually go about building up and tearing down people, places, and ideals? By deciding on larger scale Virtues and Vices for the chronicle, city, and major groups, a Storyteller sets up guideposts for everything else that follows. Even if players aren’t made aware of these traits, they’ll see them in play and learn what to expect from the chronicle.

This system can also be a handy way to outline the values and methods of NPCs, individually or in groups. Storytellers who create NPCs on the fly can use Virtue and Vice to quickly establish key aspects of characters they don’t know well. These choices can make it easier to portray NPCs and explain the actions they take. After all, Virtue and Vice drive all kinds of behavior, from reactions to plots to mistakes. Storytellers who craft NPCs beforehand can delve deeply into characters’ psyches by considering how Virtues and Vices interact. Does an NPC reflect or reject the values of their society (or the chronicle itself)? Are their ideals inherently at odds with the PCs? What have they done in the past to uphold their beliefs? What are they willing to do to create a future that falls in line with the way they think the world should be? The same kinds of questions can also be asked when creating organizations, regardless of how big or small they are.

Virtue and Vice can guide responses to player character actions in any scene. If the PCs are employing Virtues in line with the community, they’re likely to be lauded for doing so, especially by people and organizations that share their Virtue. They may encounter less resistance when seeking help and networking. On the other hand, if they’re acting out Virtues that are downgraded in the area’s hierarchy, they could be dismissed out of hand and find it difficult to convince others of their project’s importance. Acting out Vices in areas strongly associated with Virtues will probably lead to outrage and pushback from bystanders; authorities will probably show up quickly to suppress the problem. Carrying out a Vice in an area where it’s expected (or even encouraged) might not lead to pushback until property or people are threatened with grievous physical harm. PCs may have an easier time gathering shady Contacts, information, and supplies in locations that share their Vice.

Storytellers shouldn’t feel pressured to employ every method outlined above. Just paying a little more attention to how Virtue and Vice can influence game sessions can result in more realistic characters, engaging conflicts, and distinctive settings.

Creating Your Own Virtues & Vices

A number of sample Virtues and Vices are offered below and in books like Chronicles of Darkness. If they fit the mood and theme of your chronicle and the culture of your setting, by all means, use them; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you start a new game. If only some of them work out or none of them suit your taste, you should create your own. If a player has an idea for one of these traits and it jives with the setting, it’s worth hearing them out and working with them to craft something that satisfies everyone. You can do so for this system by following these guidelines:

  • A Virtue should reflect acting out a trait the character believes to be their best aspect in a social situation (even if only one other person is involved) for the ultimate good of the community (even if the character benefits from the outcome first).

  • A Vice should reflect the characterA Vice should reflect the character’

If you can find quotes and media from the era and place that support your vision, all the better. You may also want to include examples of the kinds of characters who are likely to embrace a Virtue or Vice.

Generic Virtues

For years now, I've offered a selection of general Virtues and Vices based on what's in the books. Since I've redefined the system, however, I've also rewritten these traits and reworked their mechanics. I hope they might be of use to you, in whole or in part. If you'd like to see my old writeup and assortment of Virtues and Vices, please download the 1.0 document linked above.

Celebration

A celebratory character revels because life is meant to be savored, no matter how dark things may seem. They don’t party recklessly, but they will put off some obligations to take a break. They don’t indulge out of despair, but partake in whatever helps them relish the fact that they’re alive. They orchestrate moments to smile, sing, and dance, even if they have to break some rules along the way.

Your character regains all spent Willpower when they successfully create or assist in a joyous occasion that comes to a peaceful conclusion.

Possessed by: Rave organizers, celebrant sin-eaters.

Charity

A charitable character shares what he has - whether it’s time, money, or possessions - for the sheer joy of giving and to improve the lives of others. He might hope for some good will in return but doesn’t expect or depend on it; the act of giving is its own reward and payment can’t provide the same satisfaction. By lifting others up, a good Samaritan feels as though he is improving the entire world, one person at a time.

Your character's Willpower pool is restored when he helps to measurably improve another person’s situation at a cost to himself.

Possessed by: Soup-kitchen workers, changeling fairy godparents.

Confidence

A confident character has faith in her own ability to make the right choice and to discover the best course of action. She doesn’t ignore opposition or evidence to the contrary; instead, she trusts in her strengths to see a plan through, even when challenges arise. She uses her own instincts and resourcefulness to rise to any occasion and prove that she’s the woman for the job.

Your character recoups all spent Willpower points when she successfully follows her own plan, relies on her own methods, and reaps a reward.

Possessed by: Entrepreneurs, werewolf pack leaders.

Hope

Staying optimistic in the World of Darkness is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. Following hope doesn’t mean ignoring how dire a situation is; it means continuing to act as though everything will turn out for the best, regardless. Even when it seems like real damage is certain or defeat is inevitable, hopeful characters move forward with the belief that the opposition won’t win and everything will turn out for the best.

Your character recovers all spent Willpower points by cultivating the best aspects of the current situation, despite signs or evidence to the contrary.

Possessed by: Clergy, vampires with high Humanity.

Industry

Idle hands are the Devil’s playground, but staying busy with valued work will keep you out of trouble. This is what an industrious character believes, to the point that he’ll enjoy being on the job more than what he earns for his efforts. He might move from task to task or take pride in juggling many activities at once, but he won’t stay put for long.

Your character earns back all spent Willpower points when he remains on task and sees his chosen job through to completion.

Possessed by: Doctors, mid-rank mages.

Justice

Balancing the scales and setting things right means everything to a just character. She’ll forgo her own safety and popularity to make sure everyone gets what they deserve according to the code she values (whether or not it’s in fashion). When wrongs go unpunished, everybody suffers for it and the whole system by which the character lives is threatened - and that isn’t something she can allow.

Your character reobtains all spent Willpower points when she creates the righteous outcome demanded by her code of ethics.

Possessed by: Police, devout mummies.

Self-Control

Mastery of the self involves knowing and tempering your weaknesses, whatever they may be. It also requires being able to resist distractions, bribes, and cravings in pursuit of a higher goal. A character with self-control strives for balance, even when the people around him are wildly out of control. He avoids complications and by delaying gratification, the end result is even more satisfying.

Your character secures all spent Willpower points when they resist temptation to indulge in excessive behavior and maintain a balanced approach to the situation at hand.

Possessed by: Fitness freaks, veteran hunters of the supernatural.

Generic Vices

“But there's no way that I could know what you've experienced, right? I couldn't possibly feel that need. Like a thousand hiding voices whispering ‘this is who you are’. And you fight the pressure, the growing need rising like a wave, prickling and teasing and prodding to be fed. But the whispering gets louder, until they're screaming ‘now!’ And it's the only voice you hear. The only voice you want to hear. And you belong to it. To this ... shadow self.”
-- Lila, Dexter

Avarice

Money, status, material possessions - an avaricious character can never feel satisfied as long as there’s more to grab for themselves. He might try to rationalize it any number of ways, but his hoarding isn’t about usefulness or preparedness. It’s all about the satisfaction of having more than anyone else, and finding ways to strike out at those who have more than he does.

Your character regains a point of Willpower when he acquires something of value at the expense of another.

Possessed by: Bonepicker geists, CEOs.

Carnality

Sins of the flesh come in many forms, from drugs to food to sex, but for the truly epicurean, consuming for pleasure is the point. Cravings are frequent and exciting for the carnal character, driving her toward her favorite delights. Anything will be pushed aside in favor of chasing the next high; anyone might be misused in the pursuit of instant gratification.

Your character gains a point of Willpower when satisfying sensual desires takes significant time or attention away from her obligations.

Possessed by: Rock stars, Tempter demons.

Corruption

There’s a special delight in deception and in tempting others to sin, and it’s that smug sensation a corrupt character relishes the most. Following the rules is for suckers and no one’s hands are clean; the only way to get ahead in this dog-eat-dog world is to use other people’s secrets against them before they can do the same to you.

Your character earns a point of Willpower when they successfully misuse their influence or resources over others on their own behalf or that of an interested party.

Possessed by: Osirian prometheans, politicians.

Despair

True despair isn’t passive pining. A despairing character believes his situation is hopeless and that he’s beyond forgiveness, and acts accordingly. He makes self-defeating choices and if others try to help, he refuses or sabotages their efforts. Because if he can never seem to make things better, what does it really matter if he makes them worse?

Your character obtains a point of Willpower when he acts against his own well-being based on his belief that the situation is hopeless, despite evidence to the contrary.

Possessed by: Privateer changelings, some relapsed alcoholics.

Sloth

It’s not that a slothful character doesn’t want to do anything; she just doesn’t want to do difficult jobs or have unpleasant conversations. The way she sees it, there’s no good reason to burden herself if she can get someone else to do it for her. Others are better suited to work, anyway, so she should stick to what she’s best at: enjoying the leisure others’ efforts afford her.

Your character secures a point of Willpower by arranging for others to perform difficult tasks in her stead and receiving the lion’s share of the rewards.

Possessed by: Ghost Wolves, pimps.

Vanity

All personal strengths are magnified and all failures are diminished in the mirror of vanity. With such superior qualities, a vain character can’t make a mistake; if something goes wrong, it’s because someone else screwed up. They see it as their right to take the lead and force others to follow their whims. After all, vain characters are the best and only want what’s best in life.

Your character wins a point of Willpower when they prevail in exerting their own desires (not needs) over others while seeking another goal.

Possessed by: Low Wisdom mages, celebrities.

Wrath

A wrathful character craves the rush of rage. It makes her feel strong, in charge, and right, even when she’s outgunned. Anger is honest and direct and solves problems quickly. It’s the law of the jungle, baby; eat or be eaten. Whether she feels like the world is against her or believes she’s better off striking first, a wrathful character is going to lash out sooner rather than later.

Your character reaps a point of Willpower when she resolves a situation by using immediate and/or excessive violence.

Possessed by: Domestic abusers, mummies that eschew Memory.

Virtues for a 1980s Urban American Chronicle

Below is a sampling of values based on what I saw and experienced as a child in the 1980s, with an eye toward running an 80s game in an American city. It’s only one interpretation of the decade but serves as an example of how these traits can be created to reflect an era and a Storyteller’s needs. These elements would fit a chronicle in which grasping for power or surviving the worst are key aims of the story. They aren’t made for lighter, happier games.

While some Virtues might seem too self-centered to qualify as good behavior, consider this: the 80s was steeped in the bootstrap myth of success and nationalism. By taking care of your own business, you weren’t a drain on society. By living the American Dream, you were an example of what all Americans should aspire to be. In seizing their own power, some would come to question the authority figures in their life, hence a deep streak of rebellion existed, often clad in leather and spikes and heard in heavy metal and rap music, which reached new heights. 

The 80s were dark and dangerous years for me and many others. The glittery media of the time helped me escape and experience some joy, but couldn’t fix all the things that were wrong, and even the brightest rainbow fantasies were full of menace. Really listen to what Jareth the Goblin King says and you’ll see what I mean. You don’t have to weave your own shadows into your World of Darkness games  - but it can pay off, if you do. 

Greed

“Greed...is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”
― Gordon Gecko in Wall Street (1987)

There’s no shame in wanting it all - quite the opposite. The wealth of the world is ripe for the taking, and you should want your slice of the pie, if you respect yourself at all. You should aim for the stars, but not just to say you got what you wanted. You can’t enjoy what you don’t have, and you can’t help anyone until you’ve helped yourself.

Your character earns all spent Willpower when he seeks and gains riches well above what he expects to receive.

Imagination

“Bastian: How many wishes do I get?
The Childlike Empress: As many as you want. And the more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.”
The NeverEnding Story (1984)

The real world can be so terribly mundane - or downright terrible - but why should you let that get you down? You can dream your way through anything and transform the everyday into the extraordinary. Through the power of art, you make the awful bearable. You create magic wherever you go to survive the nightmares closing in on every side.

Your character reclaims all expended Willpower when she acts according to her vision and convinces others to go along with her fantasy.

Loyalty

“Goonies never say die!”
― Mikey in The Goonies (1985)

Far from the madding crowd, there are a few golden souls you call your own, and for them, nothing is out of the question. You’ll gladly kill or die for them because they hold the keys to who you really are. They’ve earned your trust the hard way and remained true. You do all you can to keep them close and watch their backs because you know they’re doing the same for you.

Your character replenishes all Willpower points when they risk themself to protect their chosen family.

Lust

“What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion?
What's love got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”
― “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner (1984)

In an era beset by divorce, love and marriage are passé. The shining mirage in the desert now is pleasure - how to get it, who to get it from, and how to make it last. Dating isn’t about finding marriage material; it’s about fun. Sex isn’t about romance, it’s about ecstacy. Because the game of love costs too much to play, but the game of lust can be won time and time again.

Your character recoups all spent Willpower when she focuses on and revels in pleasure without owing anyone anything when the scene ends.

Self-Reliance

“‘Cause in this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld.
In this life, you’re on your own.”
― “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince (1984)

In the 80s, you don’t expect to be rescued. You can’t afford to wait for backup. You know salvation isn’t coming except from your own efforts. The ball is in your court; the gun is in your hand. You have to make the hard choices and deal with the consequences - but that just means that when all is said and done, the glory is all yours, and no one else can take it from you.

Your character restores his Willpower pool when he overcomes a significant obstacle due to his own planning and effort, without asking for help from anyone else.

Rebellion

“What do you want to do with your life?!”
I wanna rock!
― “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister (1984)

You talk back, no matter how powerful someone thinks they are. You break the rules whenever it suits you and shove it in their prissy little faces. Why should you play nice with a world that’s never done the same for you? There’s only so much others can do to hurt you, and then you’ll be free to do what you want. You live by your own rules so you don’t die by someone else’s. 

Your character reaps all spent Willpower points after openly defying an opponent and maintaining their stand despite the consequences.

Relentlessness


“No sleep till Brooklyn!”
― “No Sleep till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys (1987)

There’s too much to do and see in a human lifetime, so you just won’t quit until you’ve had your fill. You work hard all day so you can do what you want all night. Sleep is optional when your goals are on the line. Rest isn’t required when you’re toiling for your daily bread. But the rewards speak for themselves when your hard work pays off in spades.

Your character recovers his Willpower pool when he forgoes rest for a significant period in pursuit of a goal that he achieves.

1980s Vices

"They [serial killers] are products of our times and these are bloodthirsty times.”
― Richard Ramirez

Arrogance

“Maybe I'm just too demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother:
She's never satisfied.”
― “When Doves Cry” by Prince (1984)

You know what you want and how to get it. Anyone who objects is wrong, and you’ll prove it by steamrolling over their concerns. The ends justify the means and as long as you win, nothing else matters. Even in defeat, you’re not wrong - others just failed to believe in your vision and spoiled your perfect plans. You’ll make a comeback someday, and then they’ll be sorry. 

Your character gains one point of Willpower after going out of her way to crush an opponent just to humiliate them and justify herself.

Conspicuous Consumption

“You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl.”
― “Material Girl” by Madonna (1985)

It ain’t enough to be successful - you’ve gotta flaunt it! Everyone needs to see that what you’ve got is bigger and better; it’s the only way to earn respect. If you fall behind, go for broke - break out that credit card, take out that loan, do whatever it takes to live large. You can’t take it with you when you die, and you’re not really living if you’re on a budget.

Your character receives one point of Willpower after buying and showing off an item or service worth more than his current Resources score.

Misanthropy

“I'm tired of this back-slapping ‘Isn't humanity neat?’ bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are.”
― from Rant in E Minor by Bill Hicks

The world’s a fucked up place full of fucked up people doing fucked up things. That’s the way it’s always been and always will be. Once you realize that, you’ll be able to defend yourself. Call out people’s bullshit. Burst their bubbles. Laugh at their misfortunes. You’re doing everyone a favor by not pretending to love your fellow man. It’s about time they were told.

Your character reaps one Willpower point when they excoriate someone else for an extended period and upset them.

Obsession

“Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you.”
― “Every Breath You Take” by The Police (1983)


You aren’t just a fan; you’re a devotee. You buy all the merchandise and magazines, go on all the tours, and will do anything to get backstage. It doesn’t matter what or who you’re drawn to - you have to know everything and get closer to the object of your obsession. It also doesn’t matter if you love or hate your target - they’re the stars in your sky and guide the ship of your life.

Your character earns one Willpower point when she clearly and enthusiastically reveals her dedication for an object of his obsession.

Sensationalism

"Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody's pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry"
― "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley (1982)

Everyone has secrets, and there’s nothing like the thrill of digging up dirt. Rumors are everywhere, from tabloids to talk shows, and no one is immune. It doesn’t even matter if the stories are true; what matters is how juicy they are. Talking trash gives you the inside scoop, makes the everyday seem exciting, and cuts others down to size, which is just how you like it.

Your character gains one point of Willpower when one of the rumors he shares leads to further negative talk about the target in that conversation.

Zealotry

"It [Dungeons & Dragons] is not like Monopoly. There is no board. It is roleplaying, which is typically used for behavior modification. If you are using behavior modification and you are doing violent roles...continuously, these children not only begin to have violent dreams or violent thoughts or negative, depressing type things, they become very much a part of this character."
― Patricia Pulling on 60 Minutes (1985)

It’s not enough that you’ve found the truth and built your life around it - others must do the same. The world is out of control but your highest ideals will bring it back into line. Those who don’t believe as you do aren’t just misguided, they’re dangerous to you and yours. So you’re going to do everything in your power to make them see the light and obey.

Your character wins one point of Willpower when they successfully impose their chosen dogma and restrictions on others.

 

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