MES/Camarilla Introductions

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MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:16 pm

Hi!

I'm Jillian Christensen, and I have been asked by your storytellers to hop on the forum and answer any and all questions you might have about the MES/Camarilla.  I've been an active officer in the club since 1998, and am currently the DST (Domain Storyteller) for Rochester - your neighbor to the East.  

I've had the chance to skim a few threads, and can give you some information about the club you've asked for: about the Prestige system, what being in the MES is like, and what would change in your chronicle should you decide to join.

A short version of the Prestige System is that the MES rewards its members for serving the club.  STs, Coordinators, Donators of Items or Services, Charity Workers and Helpful Players all receive an honorarium of prestige for what they do for the club.  If you help out in any way, you can claim Prestige for what you did.  Prestige comes in three varieties - General, Regional and National, and the rewards echo the amount of time and how many people your contribution benefits.

As your Prestige adds up, you gain Member Class.  All members have an MC ranked 1-14.  Each time a member goes up in MC, they gain rewards that they can immediately use on all their PCs in the chronicle.  I'll post some links at the bottom of this post to illustrate.

Being in the MES, especially in a far-flung city like Buffalo (and Rochester) can be a little lonely sometimes.  While visitors may sometimes be scarce in the winter, there are several ways to connect with games going on all across the country.  We have IRC venues that run regularly, a constant stream of email list RP, and once you make connections with characters from the nationwide game, Skype, Google +, and textchat provide RP as much (or as little) as you care to.

What changes in your chronicle?  The amount of XP on your sheets, and the rank your PC is allowed to START at.  As a new member in the MES, you're given 5XP for being MC1, and an extra 8 that you can earn for doing a short questionnaire about your PC and his/her place in the game.  You can earn up to 6XP a month, and since the game is only 2 months old at this point, none of you are behind the curve in any way.  

While you must start as a Cliath (or a Cub), there is no limit on how high you can rise in the Nation.  I have played a character from Cub to Elder, two chronicles ago, and it was a highlight.  Most of the PCs in the National Game are Cliath and Fostern, as it takes Regional Approval and MC 12 to create a starting Adren.  I'll repeat, because this is important, none of you are behind the curve.

Your caern's history and your character's backstory are your own.  The MES has a few restrictions on what you can play, and I'll include the link to the addendum (our ruleset) at the bottom.  Our regional staff will work extensively with your storytellers to bring this game into harmony with our new chronicle, and I can promise that we don't say "no" lightly.  We're an open, honest, friendly group of mature roleplayers with a long history of fantastic story.  Some of us roll hard and like chops.  Some of us role hard and like narration.  All of us are in it for the love of RP.

I will answer any questions you have about the club you might have.  I'll promise to do so frankly and honestly.  Thanks for your time and in advance for your questions.

Jillian Christensen
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Since I can't post Links for a week, go to mindseyesociety dot org and search for "New Handbook", "June 2013 Prestige Guidlines" and "Addenda"  The first two will be in the header under "Information: Helpful Documents."  The third is under "Information:  Addenda."

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:09 am

So I may of read this wrong, but I wanted to know if you cvan clarify as I am doing all this from an XBox that hates me.

So with Prestige, you gain 5 XP for each rank of Prestige that I can assign to a character.  Now, is this a one time thing.  If I have a werewolf character and a vampire character, do I have to pick one or does it come onto all characters I create?  If not, when the Org resets, do I get that XP back, or do I save so I can big and powerful for one Chronicle?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:12 am

If I understand, speaking only for Garou, and our visitor can correct me. 

 Your starting xp = MC rating x5 + 8 + Free lores.    Then whenever you gain rating, you gain the 5 xp you would have had at character gen.  It's just a question of evening things out.

XP doesn't carry over past resets, but MC rating does.

Personally, I'm not a fan of MC rating, it seems silly and doesn't help bring in new players (or, for instance, when you're trying to convince the hundred or so LARPers in our community that this is a good idea), but I see how they've made it work.  If you catch up in rating, so does your toon.  I assume it also makes the resets more palatable.

- B

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Patch on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:16 am

to what degree does CF/membership level determine what types of characters can be played?

ahroun lupus stargazer gives strong mechanical advantage with 5 in WP, Rage and Gnosis, but should be very rare.

Are such characters? (or other "rare" concepts) controlled by membership level?

what about ongoing XP awards, not just starting xp grant?

what is the full extent of priviliges provided by the behaviors/tests involved with membership levels?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:18 am

Free lores?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:20 am

I posted a link to the rules addendum for Garou, Jillian reposted it in her first post.  Most of these questions are answered there.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Mischa Ivanoff on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:48 am

So, the bit about trying to avoid starting the whole "Cubs and Cliaths trying to run a Caern" thing is apparently out. Sigh.

I have zero desire to play in a game full of Cliaths.

John

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Wishbone on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:56 am

Not really, John.  What we'll be looking at is "Cubs and cliaths in a caern run by elder NPCs."  Which, frankly, has been desperately needed for a long time now, and IMO is a vast improvement over "One athro and a handful of adrens trying to run a caern in which half the offices are held by cliaths and fosterns."

There's a reason we've been going through an Alpha every two months, on average.

I, for one, am infinitely happier with the idea of Sept offices being held by NPCs of rank than I am with the idea of Sept offices being held by massively-underqualified (or totally unqualified) PCs.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Patch on Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:11 am

I agree with ben on a preference for NPC elders especially over low-rank-and-XP characters with little IC knowledge failing and flailing to accomplish what they lack the power to do effectively.   Over time, however, it leads me to a concern that the membership level approach makes it more likely that individuals will end up elder and ST at the same time,   or get the inside track on elder because they write newsletters rather than maintaining stable, effective characters.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:13 am

Ed,

I can say that will never happen as long as Bucky and I have control of this game, and I think our track record bears that out.

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*yawn*

Post  Samuel Timmons on Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:29 am

 Is it time to wake up.....

Ok I have been following this and doing a bit of reading....  I know every few years I feal like restarting a game because it has gotten stale and in many cases over powered so this new Org has a mechanic for that.

It appears that when you do a restart you can use your prestige which is an artificial but necessary means of determining who has earned the right to play specials.   The fact that you would have to have a huge amount of presitge, and the approval of you Storytellers and the Org to start as an Adren is fine.   I always disliked the part of a brand new character comming into any LARP and Saying can I play an Assamite, a Bali, a Nuwisha or any of the neat specials that should be rare.  Here that even extends to LUPUS.....   what I am trying to say is there appears to be rules to limit what starting characters can play and they have to earn and prove their ability to play something non standard a good thing in my Eyes.

My one major objection to starting over is I find myself as I slowly creep up on the age of 50 to be less and less enthused by the Idea of playing a 16 year old Cliath.  Lets be honest its been so long since I was 16 I think Ive forgotten what it was like....   *Hey memory is the 2nd thing to go with old age can anyone remember what the first was*

So what it comes down to is does the game interest me... the reason Im playing in the Garou Game and not any of the Vampire Larps is I do one Larp a month and with 3+ Vampire in Buffalo Games running its same old same old to me.   So If the Game sounds interesting and the people I share Table Top Games With Pat, Ben, Rathman, Randy and others are interested I'll play game mechanics and Org are just things you do to play with the people you like having fun with.   I have had fun playing with lots of people in this Larp and Ive accepted the rules like I do for most games.   So what ever the ST decide with the players I will go along with as long as Im having fun.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Guards the Home on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:35 am

I don't like prestige. Just because someone gives to a blood drives etc, for example; It does not make them a better roleplayer. Someone could do all those nice OOC things and be a an awful roleplayer that has been given an elder Garou. At the same time someone who is an excellent roleplayer will lose out if they don't have the OOC time to do all these things outside game.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Wishbone on Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:28 am

...except, of course, that that can't happen.  At most, someone can start with an Adren, and doing that requires approval.  As for "better roleplayer" and "worse roleplayer," I've met some pretty poor roleplayers with very large sheets in OWBN.  Showing up for eight years in a row to collect experience points also does not make one a good roleplayer--but the players who have been in the game the longest have an insurmountable advantage in OWBN, and always will.  They're the ones with the political connections to get R&U concepts easily approved; they're the ones who have characters so powerful as to be virtually untouchable.  As far as I can tell, the only differences in MES are that:


1. People get rewarded, not just for longevity, but for actively doing things to make the game better.
2. The gaps between have and have not are nowhere near as big.

Now, I'm going to be perfectly honest: I like these ideas.  In every LARP, ours included, there are people who bust their butts to help make it better, and frequently do so without their efforts even being noticed.  The same people in FW shell out money to donate refreshments every month, or spend time in the kitchen baking or cooking.  At the end of the game, you'll usually see the same five or so players sticking around to police rooms and make sure all our crap is picked up, so that people don't complain to the university about what slobs we are and maybe cost us the site.  That's important.  On a larger level, you get people like Charles, who did a huge amount of behind the scenes work to ensure that the Allegany event happened.  He contacted the site, he put up the deposit, he personally transported multiple people to the game, he stayed at the end to clean up.

Is anyone seriously going to suggest that he doesn't merit some sort of recognition for that?  That it's somehow unfair to the player who shows up for two hours, collects his XP, and then leaves? 

As someone who's been LARPing for (God help me) almost 25 years now, I can say that, in my experience, games that don't reward players for service are an exception, not the norm.  Most boffer LARP groups that I've been involved with award bennies for NPCing, helping with the site, and donations.  A few make service mandatory; you're required to do a shift as an NPC, or at logistics, or what-have-you.

I don't think we should start requiring service, but I do think it's high time we stopped taking it for granted.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Guards the Home on Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:34 am

I am up there in years myself only slightly behind you and Charles in LARPing. Let's see since 1995...18 years.

You are right collecting XP does not make you a better roleplayer either.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Wishbone on Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:53 am

Sure.  I think anyone who's been LARPing for any length of time has seen that.  So we're left with two questions:

1. If we're not going to have an "Everybody starts with a baseline character" game, how do we determine who gets to play the more exotic/more experienced characters?

2. Do those who bust their butts to make the game better OOC deserve any kind of recognition for doing so?  If so, what should that look like?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Ashmoore on Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:10 pm

Not to derail discussion but isn't this thread about asking the MES rep our questions? We are discussing things that could easily be discussed in other topics both new or previously started. Stay on target... =)

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:44 pm

....So about those free lores....

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:45 pm

Read the rules addendum Wes!  Gawd! :p

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Aisling Beleran on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:50 pm

Hey Jillian,

Thanks for popping over to answer our questions. I'm the HST of our Anarch/Independent game, and AST for our Sabbat game, and I have about a billion questions about the Vampire side of MES. Especially regarding the weirdness scale... 

Cheers,
Kaela

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:55 pm

Can't blame me for trying.  Time to find your link as XBox has no C&P.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:58 pm


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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:01 pm

Can't download file.  Curse you, XBox.  Curse you.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Firewall on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:26 pm

Question how does the probationary period work?
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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:24 am

We've got a game down in Oneonta that's undergoing the probationary period right now. I think "probation" is a bad word for it.  They're trying out the system, making characters, finding connections with other games in the region, and learning the coordination system.  After 90 days, the staff is elected by the domain, and it exists, officially.  No other changes are made that I am aware of.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:46 am

Kaela,

The weirdness scale was introduced to keep the game in a more "traditional" setting:  rare stuff should be rare, and spread out.  7th Generation Daughters of Cacophony with Advanced Obeah are mechanically possible; but it doesn't mean they're suitable for the chronicle as a whole.  Players tally up the "Weirdness" of the character they're portraying.  Most common things are 0% Weirdness.  Most uncommon things are ~15-25% Weirdness. It goes up from there.  

A player can have a PC with up to 100% Weirdness.  That PC would be pretty uncommon.  A 9th generation Camarilla-Affiliated Daughter of Cacophony with Basic Dementation as an Out-Of-Clan is 75% Weird.  There shouldn't be too many of them in the chronicle.  An 11th Generation Camarilla-Affiliated Brujah with Intermediate Protean (Wolf Claws)?  15% Weird.  Who hasn't seen one of them floating about?  

It is different from the Approval System, gives a lot of power to your local STs (which I'm in favor of) and I think it'll provide more balanced and diverse gameplay.  It's, like everything, a beta system - the new chronicle started in June - and we'll see if it works over time.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Wishbone on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:48 am

Thanks for fielding questions, Jillian.

Concerning prestige:

1. If I'm reading the rules correctly, prestige has very little to do with which concepts you can and cannot play.  A high-approval concept remains a high-approval concept regardless of your MC level, and prestige simply means you'd have a few more experience points, and (perhaps) a higher starting rank.  Am I understanding correctly?

2. As far as donations go, do they have to be donations to the org at large, or do donations to the local game merit prestige awards?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:40 pm

Wishbone wrote:Thanks for fielding questions, Jillian.

Concerning prestige:

1. If I'm reading the rules correctly, prestige has very little to do with which concepts you can and cannot play.  A high-approval concept remains a high-approval concept regardless of your MC level, and prestige simply means you'd have a few more experience points, and (perhaps) a higher starting rank.  Am I understanding correctly?

That is entirely correct.

2. As far as donations go, do they have to be donations to the org at large, or do donations to the local game merit prestige awards?

Little, everyday things such as cleaning up your game site, bringing refreshments, running chops for an overworked ST, and mentoring new players in your game all count as prestige-worthy.  You don't have to volunteer at anything more than your local game to get your MC.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:03 pm

Concerning prestige:

1. If I'm reading the rules correctly, prestige has very little to do with which concepts you can and cannot play.  A high-approval concept remains a high-approval concept regardless of your MC level, and prestige simply means you'd have a few more experience points, and (perhaps) a higher starting rank.  Am I understanding correctly?

That is entirely correct.

---


This should make a lot of people feel better!

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Mischa Ivanoff on Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:59 pm

Is that really completely true though? I assume the person doing the approval takes many things into account, including MC. If, say, a MC1 submits a character for approval that is awesome in every way, isn't it possible it'll still be denied because the person approving it feels that an MC1 hasn't proven themselves to the organization?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Alexander Drake on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:25 pm

Are there any merits or flaws that exist that are banned in MES for the various game that appear common?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:37 pm

@ John

All approvals start local.  So the first assessment with be from local staff.  As with OWBN, that's where most of the winnowing is going to take place in the wild.

@ Wes

The big thing is that cross genre merits/flaws are blocked.  As are taking thing from other tribe books, for instance.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:32 pm

"Proven themselves to the organization."  

We're not the Mafia.  The only thing you need to prove in applying for a character is that you're a consistent, capable roleplayer with knowledge of the system and the setting, and how that character fits into both.  Especially with Apocalypse, as that's the venue in the region that has the smallest following, the regional ST staff has zero reason to play politics.  As a whole, the club serves the players.  If the players aren't having fun, they won't play, which negates the reason for a club.  

Some people might feel trepidation applying for special things.  I didn't apply for my first special approval (a single level of Wraith Lore on my Silent Strider) for years.  My friend was applying for White Howler Lore on day 3.  He staunchly maintained it fit his concept, and that he should have it.  Three chronicles later, I still don't put in many applications.  He's playing a vampire with a bloodline, forbidden knowledge of a secret Coil, membership in a society that eats human souls, and the ability to take one less damage from fire and sun for the simple price of a wandering soul. (This is all NWoD.)

TLDR; MC is not taken into account when applying for a special PC.

Brian is right that the approval process starts with your local ST, and it ends there if he doesn't feel the concept is right for his game.  If, and only if, the concept meets his approval does it pass to the Mid and High STs.  The Low Approval (local ST level) is where most of the vetting is done.  The Mid and Regional STs can't know your game as well as your Low ST, so we put a lot of trust in them to only pass up what they feel enriches the entirety of the Chronicle.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Firewall on Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:18 pm

Ok next question for you Smile after reading the addendum 8 or 9 or 20 times so far it lists the books used but then goes on to talk about rules and what not from books not listed like book of auspices and caerens so what is the actual list of books allowed to be used?
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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:24 pm

The addendum lists the sanctioned books.

If the rules from Caerns and Book of Auspices are there, those specific rules are sanctioned.  The rest of the book, for whatever reason, is not used.

I can get a clarification on this from the ARST if you'd like, but I think that it's because the main crunch of the rules comes from the MET books, and only the MET books.  Except for the Tribe Books, which have no MET analog - if we didn't include them I think that would be a disservice to the game.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Firewall on Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:28 pm

thank you for clearing that up for me Smile
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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Stbrian on Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:33 pm

From speaking to Garou folks, they are in the process of converting books that are not currently sanctioned.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Aisling Beleran on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:11 pm

Jillian Christensen wrote:Kaela,

The weirdness scale was introduced to keep the game in a more "traditional" setting:  rare stuff should be rare, and spread out.  7th Generation Daughters of Cacophony with Advanced Obeah are mechanically possible; but it doesn't mean they're suitable for the chronicle as a whole.  Players tally up the "Weirdness" of the character they're portraying.  Most common things are 0% Weirdness.  Most uncommon things are ~15-25% Weirdness. It goes up from there.  

A player can have a PC with up to 100% Weirdness.  That PC would be pretty uncommon.  A 9th generation Camarilla-Affiliated Daughter of Cacophony with Basic Dementation as an Out-Of-Clan is 75% Weird.  There shouldn't be too many of them in the chronicle.  An 11th Generation Camarilla-Affiliated Brujah with Intermediate Protean (Wolf Claws)?  15% Weird.  Who hasn't seen one of them floating about?  

It is different from the Approval System, gives a lot of power to your local STs (which I'm in favor of) and I think it'll provide more balanced and diverse gameplay.  It's, like everything, a beta system - the new chronicle started in June - and we'll see if it works over time.
Sorry it took so long for the response. I was out of state until last night.

So is the weirdness scale only for initial character creation, or does it apply for the life of a character?

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:26 pm

Apologies for the delay, the long weekend threw everything off, and I'm playing catchup.

As far as I'm aware, it applied to the entire life of the character.  It makes you really balance your weird out.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Aisling Beleran on Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Thank you for the helpful answers. I have a lot in this same vein. I run an anarch/independent game, and as far as I can tell there's no scale for independents as far as genre. They seem lumped into cam/anarch which is incredibly unfortunate.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Jillian Christensen on Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:07 pm

At least in the Northeast, the Cam/Anarch venue is small and diverse enough that you may get some play out of the all Anarch/Independent frontier city.  However, as I am neither a frequent C/A player nor an official for the venue, I'll have to refer you to the RST staff for that.

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Re: MES/Camarilla Introductions

Post  Aisling Beleran on Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:38 am

Sorry to hammer you with all the questions about a different genre. Could you PM me the details for the RST staff or one of the genre officials? I've been trying to poke around for that a bit these past couple weeks.

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