Vampire Backgrounds

Communal Haven

This Background is for Anarch and Sabbat characters only.

Elders are often too selfish to consider the benefits of “cohabitation”; centuries of betrayal naturally generate a certain suspicious nature as it pertains to other vampires. Anarch gangs and Sabbat packs that have learned the value of mutual cooperation and enlightened self-interest, however, sometimes establish Communal Havens for mutual security and comfort.

A Communal Haven is a secure location controlled and owned by the coterie. This is a place a vampire who invests Background dots in it can lie low, train, and plan her next move. A Communal Haven could be as simple as an unfurnished apartment, as flashy as a mafioso’s penthouse, or as complex as a military base.

Of course, social conventions for the shared space might be complex or simple, depending on the personalities of the Kindred involved. Vampires sharing a Communal Haven can easily come into conflict unless some custom exists. Is it cool for Licks sharing the Communal Haven to offer it as crash space for others? Is it okay to bring blood dolls there? If something goes wrong, who’s in charge of disposing of the bodies or cleaning up the mess? Who takes care of keeping the location secret in the event that someone opens her goddamn mouth?

Note that this Background is different from the Domain and Resources Backgrounds. Typically, Domain is “turf,” while this is an actual Haven (which may well stand on contested domain…).


Domain is physical territory to which your character controls access for the purpose of feeding. Some Kindred refer to their domain as hunting grounds, and most jealously guard their domains, even invoking the Tradition of the same name to protect their claims. As part of this Background, the character’s claim to the domain is recognized by the Prince or some other Kindred authority in the city where it is located.

The Kindred who claims the domain can’t keep the living inhabitants from going about their business, nor does she exercise any direct influence over them, but she can keep watch herself and mind their comings and goings. She can also have Allies or Retainers specifically look for unfamiliar vampires and alert her when they find some.

Domain refers specifically to the geography (in most cases a neighborhood or street) and properties on it, as opposed to the people who may dwell there (which is the emphasis of Herd). Domain plays an important part in Kindred society — vampires who lack significant Domain seldom earn respect — but it isn’t an automatic entitlement to status among the Damned.



You have built a group of mortals from whom you can feed without fear. A herd may take many forms, from circles of kinky clubgoers to actual cults built around you as a god-figure. In addition to providing nourishment, your herd might come in handy for minor tasks, though they are typically not very controllable, closely connected to you, or particularly skilled (for more effective pawns, purchase Allies or Retainers).

Alternatively, this could represent any particularly easy and safe access to a readily available source of blood, such as a blood bank managed by your ghoul.


Information Exchange

Young vampires (especially Anarchs, if only because Camarilla fledglings are too harshly discouraged by their Sires and Sabbat fledglings too busy getting hit by shovels) have learned to coordinate their efforts, owing largely to the technological advantages of computers and social networking with which they are proficient. Most of them are aware of the dangers of being electronically eavesdropped on, and as such, have developed an online subculture that ranges from something as complex as blockchain formulas to memes and emojis. If you’re not in the know, much of it often looks like silly nonsense. By contrast, more ‘traditional’ vampires typically rely on Mentors, Retainers and Contacts to know things for them.

Such a decentralized network of fledgling vampires has nothing on the decades of obsessively maintained databases that the Nosferatu Clan has managed to accumulate with SchreckNET. But it also might in the end, prove more resilient to being compromised (the prospect of which has given Nosferatu computer techs many sleepless days.)

Characters with this Background may use this network to contact others in order to learn information about specific vampires, local secrets, domain politics, or general rumors about the movements of other sects. This isn’t a simple process – it can take many nights and require parsing and putting together quite a bit on your own. This Background helps show just how much effort you have put into establishing yourself as a presence in this sub-culture.

Each dot of this Background allows you to ask a single question once per week and expect a reasonable response. The Director determines what amount and quality of information the Exchange can offer at a given time. In some cases, the Kindred who make up the Information Exchange may not possess a given bit of information, or may not know it immediately. For example: the Exchange might know about the Prince of a domain, a number of rumors about her past, and even how to contact her, but it’s unlikely to have a detailed schematic of her haven.

Extremely rare tidbits of lore or information might be known by a member of the Exchange, but could be considered to be too valuable to simply share. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and brotherhood and reputation can take you only so far. Under such circumstances, vampires may attempt various social rolls or bribes to mediate a deal for desired information. Alternatively, the Director may allow you to spend two of your per-week usages of this Background for such rare or sensitive information.

Types of information that can be found via the Information Exchange include:

• General information or rumors about a Kindred, such as contact information, general age, known clan and notable lineage, how long said Kindred has dwelled in a city, political affiliations, general reputation, and generation (or a general estimate, such as neonate, ancilla, or elder).
• Information about specific topics, such as basic and brief overviews on a subject relating to Kindred (What is Thaumaturgy? Who are the Setites? What happens when you diablerize? What does a black crescent moon mean?) or personal characteristics of certain Kindred (Why does Regent Strauss never take his gloves off?).
• Significant status or events in sect politics (What’s happening with the Movement in in San Jose? What is the Sabbat interest in Tijuana? What are the Giovanni doing in Las Vegas? Who has the Prince of San Diego placed under blood hunt?)

RESTRICTED: This Background is restricted to young vampires (typically Anarchs born later than 1980) and Nosferatu. At the Director’s discretion, young Camarilla characters with unusual nightlives their Sires would disapprove of, a Harpy or a Keeper might qualify for a dot or two, depending. In the case of the Nosferatu, it represents SchreckNET. In the case of Harpies or a Keeper, it represents how many Kindred NPCs spend time seeking them out in purely social, offline situations, and the gossip they’re subsequently immersed in.


This Background represents your Generation: the purity of your blood, and your proximity to the First Vampire. A high Generation rating may represent a powerful sire or a decidedly dangerous taste for diablerie. If you don’t take any dots in this Trait, you begin play as a Thirteenth Generation vampire.

• Twelfth Generation: 11 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
•• Eleventh Generation: 12 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
••• Tenth Generation: 13 blood pool, can spend 1 blood point per turn
•••• Ninth Generation: 14 blood pool, can spend 2 blood points per turn
••••• Eighth Generation: 15 blood pool, can spend 3 blood points per turn

The cost of Generation during character creation has been House Ruled here.

Rare Vampire Backgrounds

Black Hand Membership

This Background is for Sabbat characters only.

You are a member of the feared Black Hand, the body of soldiers and assassins that serves the Sabbat fervently. Having this Background indicates that you are a full-fledged member of the organization, and you have all the responsibilities and benefits that accompany membership

Blasphemous Shrine

This Background is for Setite characters only.

Lector Priests must have desecrated the corpse of someone buried according to traditional ancient Egyptian practice. These corpses are kept as offerings to Set and are the means by which these sorcerers channel his power into the world. As such,
they are usually placed in shrines dedicated to Set and adorned with his iconography. Within this Blasphemous Shrine, the Lector Priest can perform powerful Akhu rituals, amplified by the proximity to the source of their power.

The more dots in the background, the greater the connection the desecrated corpse has to Set. Mechanically, this background grants a number of bonus dice to the casting of Akhu rituals equal to the number points in Blasphemous Shrine. However, this only applies to rituals cast in the shrine itself.

Memento de Morte

This Background is for Giovanni and specially approved necromancer characters only.

Death leaves its mark on the world around it. Cold spots, places where the light seems too pale, the colors washed out and faded. Sometimes, something seeps into the items surrounding a death in such a way that it taints them forever. The fainting couch in a Victorian serial killer’s parlor, or the portrait that hung on the wall of his abattoir, for example. The blackened wood floorboards at uncle Vittorio’s estate, reclaimed from a plague ship lit aflame to cleanse its still-living passengers. Books wrapped in the flesh of the monk who inscribed them, carved from his still living body, and bound by him in his last moments of life. But the most common mementos of death are murder weapons. The scalpels of serial killers and the sabers of war criminals. Bludgeons and .38 Bulldogs, nooses and punchbowls. The more death that has drenched the item, the more power it absorbs.

This Background gives you one or more of these mementos of death, allowing you to benefit from the ambient energies when using Necromancy. You must have the relic (or relics) with you to receive the bonus. Many necromancers have a special sanctum set aside for their ritual work for this reason.

• You have one minor relic. +1 bonus die to Necromancy rolls.
•• You have a relic of middling power or two minor ones. +2 bonus dice to Necromancy rolls.
••• You have a few reasonably powerful relics. +3 bonus dice to Necromancy rolls.
•••• You have a very powerful relic, or a couple of less powerful items. +4 bonus dice to Necromancy rolls.
••••• You have an incredibly powerful relic, or a couple of powerful items. +5 bonus dice to Necromancy rolls.


This Background is for Sabbat characters only.

You know the ritae and rituals of the Sabbat, and you can enact many of them. This Background is vital to being a Pack Priest — without this Background, ritae will not function. This Background is actually a supernatural investment, drawing on the magic of the eldest Tzimisce sorcerers. Sabbat vampires who are not their pack‘s priests should have an outstanding reason for acquiring this Background, as Pack Priests are loath to share their secrets with more secular members of the Sect.

Spirit Slaves

This Background is for Giovanni and specially approved necromancer characters only.

This trait represents a hold you have over a ghost, or several ghosts. Usually this hold is in the form of catene, or fetters — either something that the ghost valued highly in life, or possibly a random object or place to which the spirito has been attached via a necromantic ritual. Regardless, you have a hold over the spirit and can bully it by threatening its fetter. Alternatively, you might have information about the spirit’s goals and can control it by aiding or impeding it.

All Spirit Slaves are assumed to have statistics similar to a recently deceased ghost (V20, p. 385). However, higher levels of this Background might reflect more powerful spirits at the Director’s discretion.

• You have a hold on one weak spirito.
•• You have influence over two minor ghosts, or one of greater power.
••• You’re the boss of three lesser ghosts, or fewer who can do more.
•••• Four ghosts are under your sway, or fewer who are stronger.
••••• You have mastered five weak ghosts, or fewer who are more talented.