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Boons/Prestation/The Myth of the Hippy Vampire

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Boons/Prestation/The Myth of the Hippy Vampire

Post  Storyteller on Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:56 am

As you all may have noticed by now, I have this obsession with maintaining a "realistic" setting of a vampiric society. So REMEMBER THAT VAMPIRES AREN'T NICE AND THEY DON'T DO FAVORS OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF THEIR LITTLE SHRIVELED UP HEARTS (no matter how lovey dovey and icky sweet you see your PC). So given that, any little favor or deed done is a potential boon that requires that the vampire owing be nice to your face. If you think of real life, when someone does you a favor (better paying job, hooks you up with a new customer or contact which provides a sale, gets you those tickets to the hottest concert in town, etc.), you usually feel the need to reciprocate. Well, with vampires this feeling of needing to payback is magnified more than tenfold. Vampires see the world as a cold world of scarcity, not a world of abundance as with mortals. They see resources as scarce and finite, whereas mortals tend to see the world as a rich bounty ripe for harvest. After all, no one dies regularly, so when a child is created, there is no family inheritance to pass on. Everything from the Kindred perspective is already spoken for. Prestation is a vehicle for them to get more. Therefore, they keep track of their boons meticulously. If anyone doesn't understand this we will be happy to explain it at length because it is extremely crucial...we don't wanna see any happy-shiny-lovey-dovey-peacepipe-smoking-hippie vampires out there (unless it's part of some diabolical plot..and yes, we do realize that we all have façades.) Whether your PC is nice or not, most vamps that you associate with aren't. Just remember that in your interactions.

That being said, boons are not only essential to the vampire culture, but they're great for RP. Don't be afraid to owe other characters boons, just know the consequences and act appropriately. You are expected to act the role of the owed and the owee to the vampires you are indebted to or are indebted to you (after all you want to always RP the good and the bad...don't make a reputation for yourself as a poor sport or a cheesy RPer).

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Re: Boons/Prestation/The Myth of the Hippy Vampire

Post  Storyteller on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:31 pm

More on Boons:

What are boons?

Boons are, simply put, the mode of currency in the world vampires. To undead beings that have an eternity to amass all the wealth they could possibly want, cold hard cash doesn’t carry significant weight. A boon is essentially a debt. Simple, in theory, but as with all things involving Kindred, prestation – the technical term for system of boons and favors among vampires – can become very complicated… and sometimes deliberately convoluted.

Boons can be accrued in a number of different ways. They can be offered in exchange for services rendered, or a considerable favor granted, or perhaps in the interests of Kindred politics, or in order to “apologize” for a slight to an elder or Kindred of higher status – and far more.

It’s important to realize that boons aren’t simply official due to someone deciding to declare it. In some cases, timing is critical. In other cases, a favor might be so insignificant as to not require a boon to be paid. In the end, it is the Harpies (as well as the more substantially influential Kindred in a city) that decide the validity of a boon, its level of worth, and sometimes even whether it’s officially paid off or not.

Furthermore, all boons must be reported to a city’s Harpies. If a boon isn’t formally acknowledged and recorded by the Harpies, then it can’t be reinforced, and therefore doesn’t exist – period. Please also realize that the owner of the boon decides when he desires to cash it in, not the one in debt. Some boons are called in quickly; others may sit in wait for centuries.

Lastly, reneging on a boon is a massive social faux pas. Doing so broadcasts to all of Kindred society that a Kindred is untrustworthy, an oath-breaker, and that their word is meaningless. Those that renege on the boons they owe soon discover that those boons owed to them are no longer counted as valid. The social order expects boons to be honored – period, again.

Boons are categorized by level of worth. The level of the boon is directly related to the reason the boon is owed. Quite simply, the lesser importance or risk involved, the lesser the boon, and the lesser the payment required; the higher importance or risk involved, the higher the boon, and the higher the payment required.

Trivial Boon


This is a small boon, the real-life equivalent of someone buying lunch for another person if they’re strapped for cash. How many times have you said to a friend, “Hey, get me this time, and I’ll get you next?” Nothing of huge importance and no one was inconvenienced. In time, when the person you owe needs to cash it in, it doesn't take much to pay it back, hence the word ‘trivial.’

Minor Boon


A minor boon is a bit more considerable and is appropriate when someone has deliberately inconvenienced themselves on your behalf, possibly to the point of giving up part of a limited resource. Let’s say your cable bill is due and you can’t raise the cash in time before it is cut off, so you ask someone for a loan – that’s essentially a minor. It’s not a huge deal if you can’t check your Facebook for a couple of days, but it’s damned inconvenient, so you borrow the money. This may inconvenience your loaner a bit – they might not be able to go out that weekend – but they can afford it, even if it leaves them poorer for the time being. Once more, hence the word ‘minor.’

Major Boon


Major boons are when you hit the “big leagues.” When a person sacrifices greatly of their time or their resources, and if they placed themselves in a certain amount of risk, that’s grounds for a major boon. Rent is due, for instance, and you’re broke. If you can’t pay it, you’re getting evicted. You turn to your friend again and ask to borrow the money. The problem is, they have rent due as well, but they aren’t behind like you are, so giving you the money makes their rent late, whereas you’re at risk at being homeless. This is a major favor you’re asking of them, since you’re asking them to do something that could potentially endanger them in some way. It may not be life threatening, but they have to worry about their landlord now, or maybe their credit rating, to help you out. But they did it – and now you’d owe them a ‘major’ favor in return.

Blood Boon


A blood boon is only appropriate when the collector of the boon risked his assets or friends for you, or put himself in a real, direct path of significant, if not existential, risk. Let’s return to the rent analogy. Your rent is due, you have children, and you have no money. You will be evicted and you have nowhere to go. Your good ol’ friend can help, but if they give you the money, they too will be evicted – but maybe they don’t have children and they can stay with their parents. They give you the money and they are the ones that ended up evicted and camping out in their parent’s basement, but now maybe their family is upset with them, they have to go to court, their credit is shot, and now they’ll have a tough time renting elsewhere because now it’s on their record. This sort of situation is the equivalent of a blood boon. The person did something that did not directly endanger their life, but did risk their health, well-being, and standing.

Life Boon


A life boon is self-explanatory and is appropriate when someone directly places his or her own life on the line for you. When there is a really good potential you could die for intervening for someone, you have every right and expectation of getting a life boon.

------------

The above is a guideline for the boon system at work in Rhode Island. It's not a perfect explanation, as repaying the Ventrue Primogen for paying off some debt may not have cost him very much in the long haul, but if you offer a trivial boon for his services, he will probably be incensed at being snubbed. So be careful to keep that in mind when choosing your repayment plan.

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Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning.
-Chris Cavanaugh

"Every time I try to talk to someone it's 'sorry this' and 'forgive me that' and 'I'm not worthy'..."
-God, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
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