I’m toying with the idea of allowing my players the option of a single conviction not tied to a single living/breathing touchstone.
This Conviction would have to be a character flaw, a coping mechanism.
Something that when indulged in would generally have negative repercussions, or be perceived as negative by the people around them (I know, I’m repeating myself). This coping mechanism would largely have only one benefit, and that is to help reduce stains on their humanity.
That said, these coping mechanisms would not be absent a Touchstone per se, but have one of a more general nature. Coping mechanisms would be tied to an potentially deleterious behavior or substance that the character MUST indulge in before the end of the session (or at least a reasonable amount of time after their humanity is stained). These could include a compulsive act, or addiction to drugs and alcohol (imbibed though the kiss of course).
I think a good example could be found in a Requiem game I ran years ago, for a touchstone one player selected an antique powder mirror box, when stressed she would find herself opening up the box and going through the ritual of making herself presentable, typically at very inopportune times. In this case the coping mechanism would be compulsively tidying herself, while the touchstone was the mirror. She has very easy access to her coping mechanism and she had a little leeway in when she had to indulge, but this is countered by the fact that the touchstone is discrete and could easily be lost or destroyed.
If the flaw is a behavior that lacks a discrete touchstone it may be more secure from tampering, but come with other restrictions. If it is just a compulsive act it may need to be indulged in immediately following the stain regardless the repercussions, while something more general, like indulging in sexual addiction allows for more time to indulge, but may be out of reach within a reasonable amount of time.
Overindulging or doing so at a particularly bad time could incur stains too, though as a storyteller, I try to avoid being punitive, I want to encourage role-play, not punish it. Of course, any time a player selects such a conviction they would have to discuss it with the storyteller, sorting out what it is, what’s the touchstone, how vulnerable it is to interference and observation, and how soon they must indulge to gain the benefits.
- Do you have an opinion/thoughts on such an option?
- Do you see potential problems, assuming players trust their storyteller?
- Have you done something similar in your V5 game? Or like me, in a V:tR game?
- Any ideas on refining this concept? (I apologize, I had to write it up in a hurry)