Clarifications: Social Merits
The World of Darkness system uses Merits to determine social clout, influence, and recognition. Three Merits in particular determine the degree of fame or importance a character may have: Fame, Renown, and Status. Their descriptions may hint at areas of general overlap, and this Clarification page aims to delineate how the Merits differ and when they apply.
The measure of how well-known or recognizable you are to the Sleeper community. You can influence Sleepers who would be impressed by your celebrity or eager to socialize with you. As a result of your connection to the Sleeping World, it can be difficult for other mages to target you with spells.
Limits: This Merit does not affect your standing in the Awakened world.
Benefits: Each dot adds a +1 modifier to your character’s Socialize (or Persuasion, where applicable) rolls among those who are impressed by his celebrity status. Each dot adds a +1 modifier per dot to a general Wits + Composure roll to see if he is recognized by anyone on the street.
Supernatural Effects: Subtract the target’s Fame Merit dots from your spellcasting roll. This penalty applies to only spells that directly affect a target, not to indirect spells such as scrying or sending out a telepathic message (one that doesn’t compel the target in any way). Nor does this penalty apply to spells cast at sensory range. (MtA p. 115)
The measure of power you can exert within an established institution or organization. Power is obtained through actual title, credentials, authority or reverence. Increased status indicates a higher position within this organization, which brings perks and responsibilities. Your position may be a matter of perceived rather than actual power, and might indicate respect or fear rather than popularity.
- Sleepers: Status for Sleeper organizations measures the leverage and privileges you can pull via official channels. Recognition via licensing or actual authority may be necessary to access certain areas, such as law enforcement, city government, and the Church.
- Awakened: With reference to Awakened society, this Merit determines your actual position in your Order or Consilium: you hold sufficient authority to act on the Royal Society’s behalf, or the Order recognizes you for deeds done and services performed.
Benefits: Get things done within your organization with a Manipulation + Intimidation, Persuasion, or Socialize + Status roll. Consilium or Order members may add their Status dots to a Social roll when acting in an official capacity in the appropriate formal setting, such as a caucus or Consilium meeting.
The breadth and depth of one’s legendary status within Awakened society as a whole, functioning as reputation or infamy. Renown comes only from committing surpassing deeds sufficient to amaze even mages, the great acts that feed legends, myths, and rumours. This Merit is not fame and does not denote any formal position or authority; it measures the praise, fear, awe or respect that follows your name among the Wise.
Limits: Most mages lack a score in Renown. Famous Awakened may be of low Status within their Orders.
Benefits: Each dot adds a +1 modifier to a general Intelligence roll for mages who first encounter you. On a success, you gain a +1 bonus per dot to Socialize rolls against him. You also gain a bonus to Persuasion (if known in a positive light) or Intimidation (if your fame slides towards infamy). This adds to any bonuses from your Status merits if the target would be impressed by the status as well.
At A Glance|
- Fame: Your recognition or celebrity in Sleeper society.
- Renown: Your reputation for legendary exploits among Awakened society.
- Status: Your power within a Sleeper organization or Awakened institution (e.g., Order).