Persistent Conditions


“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels too.”
~Tennessee Williams

Liabilities that plague a character at the most inopportune moments, Persistent Conditions offer additional opportunities for characters to earn Experience by facing dramatic setbacks. Once per game session, a player can gain a Beat when a Persistent Condition adversely impacts his character’s life, as spelled out under the Condition’s “Beat” criteria. Characters also take a Beat when they resolve a Persistent Condition and make it permanently go away.

Example: The Ward Persistent Condition grants a Beat whenever a character’s enemies threaten someone whose welfare the character is responsible for. If the character has a clingy kid brother who relies on her for protection, the character takes a Beat every time she is forced to come to his rescue or assistance. Once the character’s brother no longer needs her to defend him (whether because he dies or learns to stand up for himself), the Condition resolves and the character takes a Beat.

Persistent Conditions replace the Flaws and Derangement systems of the Classic World of Darkness by adopting a “pay-as-you-go” approach that makes them inherently self-balancing. Conditions do not grant additional Experience during character creation, but instead offer a continual stream of Beats that may be earned whenever they adversely impact a character’s life. Thus, dramatic setbacks and complications become something for players to look forward to.

Mental Conditions

Addicted You are dependent upon a certain substance or activity.
Absent-Minded You have trouble remembering things.
Amnesia You’re missing portions of your memory.
Big Mouth You talk too much, and it gets you in trouble.
Black and White You see things in absolutes.
Bulimia You indulge in a binge-and-purge feeding cycle.
Can’t Drive You do not know how to operate a car.
Code You adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Compulsion You have a psychological compulsion such as perfection, bragging, stealing, etc.
Compulsive Liar You can’t resist telling lies.
Compulsive Bias You harbor an irrational dislike for certain types of people.
Coward You are craven.
Curiosity You are too curious for your own good.
Delusional You believe something that simply isn’t true.
Dependent-Personality Disorder You are completely dependent upon someone else.
Depression You suffer from bouts of emptiness and melancholy.
Disconcerting You creep people out.
Duplicitous You are known for being underhanded.
False Memories You remember things that never happened.
Fugue You suffer random blackouts.
Hysteria You suffer severe mood swings.
Illiterate You are unable to read or write.
Isolated Upbringing You have little exposure to the world at large.
Megalomania You are obsessed with accumulating power.
Multiple Personalities Your mind is fractured into multiple independent personas.
Naive You readily accept others as kind and caring.
Narcissism You are extremely self-centered.
Nervous Tic You have a habit that gives away your identity.
Obsession You relentlessly pursue a single interest.
Obsessive-Compulsive You engage in repetitive behaviors to relieve anxiety.
Pacifist You adamantly refuse to use violence against anything.
Panic Disorder You suffer from panic attacks.
Medicated You are on medication to treat your panic disorder.
Paranoia You believe enemies are conspiring against you.
Phobia You are irrationally afraid of something.
Power Object Fixation You can’t use your vampiric powers without an object.
Problem with Authority You don’t respond well to authority figures.
Self-Annihilation Impulse You have a subconscious death wish.
Short Fuse You are easily angered.
Speech Impediment You are unable to communicate understandably.
Squeamish Violence makes you ill.
Unskilled (Mental Skill) You are spectacularly bad at something.

Physical Conditions

Albino You are an albino.
Allergic You are allergic to a particular food or substance.
Asthma You suffer from asthma.
Blind You are unable to see.
Child You were Embraced as a young child.
Color Blindness You can only see in black and white.
Defective Vision You suffer from vision problems.
Deformity You are crippled in some way.
Disabled You cannot walk on your own.
Disease Carrier Your blood carries a lethal and contagious disease.
Distinguishing Characteristic You have a physical feature that greatly stands out.
Hard of Hearing Your hearing is defective.
Hemophiliac You will not stop bleeding without medical help.
Mute You cannot speak.
One Eye You are missing an eye.
Seizures You suffer from uncontrollable convulsions.
Short You are well below average height.
Unskilled (Physical Skill) You are spectacularly bad at something.

Social Conditions

Beholden You owe someone a favor.
Blackmailed You are being blackmailed by someone.
Dark Secret You harbor a secret that could embarrass you (or worse) if it got out.
Illegal Immigrant You do not have legal permission to be in your country of residence.
Destitute You are completely penniless.
Enemies Someone is out to get you.
Bad Breakup You are on poor terms with an ex.
Demon Hounded A demon has taken an interest in your soul.
Fugitive You are wanted by the authorities.
Haunted You are haunted by a vengeful ghost.
Stalker Someone has an unhealthy obsession with your character.
Traitor You defected from an insular group or organization, and its members haven’t forgotten.
Extremist You belong to a radical political or religious organization.
Inconvenient Alliance You regularly associate with someone who is troublesome to be seen with.
Infatuated You’ve fallen for someone.
Mental Patient You have run afoul of the mental health authorities.
Minor You are under the age of majority.
Mistaken Identity You look like someone notorious.
Pawn You’re being used as a dupe in someone else’s schemes.
Parole You are serving the remainder of a prison sentence on parole.
Revoked Driver’s License Your driver’s license has been revoked.
Special Responsibility You perform a duty no one appreciates you for.
Unskilled (Mental Skill) You are spectacularly bad at something.
Awful Liar You can’t tell a lie to save your life.
Ward You are responsible for the welfare of someone else.
Children You care for one or more children, whether your own or adopted.
Harbored Fugitive You are hiding a wanted fugitive.
Ne’er-do-well You have a friend or relative who’s in constant trouble.

Supernatural Conditions

Bard’s Tongue You speak uncomfortable truths.
Cursed You labor under a supernatural curse.
Fortune’s Folly You are naturally unlucky.
Magic Susceptibility You are easily affected by blood magic.
Spiritually Noticeable Ghosts are drawn to you.

Mage: The Ascension Conditions

Phylactery Your Avatar is invested in a place, person, or physical object.
Shattered Avatar Your Avatar is broken into pieces..

Mental Conditions

Your character is addicted to something, whether drugs, gambling or other destructive behaviors. Some addictions are more dangerous than others, but the nature of addiction is that it slowly takes over your life, impeding functionality. If you are addicted, you need to indulge your addiction regularly to keep it under control. A specific addiction should be chosen upon taking this Condition; characters can take this Condition multiple times for different addictions. If your character is unable to feed her addiction when faced with an opportunity to do so, she takes a cumulative -1 penalty to Stamina, Resolve and Composure rolls until she gets her fix.

Possible Sources: Alcoholism, gambling, substance abuse, vampire blood, diablerie.

Resolution: Gain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.

Beat: Your character fails a roll or chooses to get a fix rather than fulfill an obligation.

Your character is missing a portion of her memory. An entire period of her life is just gone. This can cause massive difficulties with friends and loved ones.

Possible Sources: Physical or psychological trauma, the Dominate Discipline.

Resolution: You regain your memory and learn the truth. Depending on the circumstances, this may constitute a breaking point.

Beat: Something problematic arises, such as a forgotten arrest warrant or old enemy.

Your character does not know how to operate motor vehicles—a minor inconvenience if she can walk to her destination or get a lift from a friend, but a considerable inconvenience if she can’t. Your character must make Drive rolls even for mundane actions that do not normally warrant them, such as parking or backing out of a garage. If your character drives a car under circumstances where a Drive roll would be called for, such as trying to ourace another vehicle or perform a flashy stunt, any failures are treated as botches. If you purchase dots in Drive, you are still considered to have no dots in the Skill when operating a car.

This Merit is surprisingly common among older vampires, many of whom predate the invention of the automobile.

Resolution: Your character learns how to drive.

Beat: You fail or botch a roll due to this Condition, or being unable to drive causes a difficulty or inconvenience for you.

Your character lives by a code of ethics that forbids or requires him to engage in certain behaviors. He loses a point of Willpower whenever he violates his code.

Possible Sources: Never telling lies, abstaining from sexual activity, always fighting fair (never attacking an opponent with their guard down, using poison, etc.), never refusing to aid a woman in distress.

Resolution: You abandon your code.

Beat: You adhere to your code when it’s inconvenient or difficult to do so.

Your character irrationally associates a certain distinctive “type” of person with undesirable qualities, and cannot overcome his bias through normal rational or logical means. He assumes that all individuals of the chosen type embody the qualities he focuses on, and likewise assumes that any behavior typifying those qualities must be credited to individuals of that type. He takes –2 on Social rolls against individuals of the chosen type and must spend a point of Willpower not to act out in ways that alienate them when a convenient opportunity presents itself.

Possible Sources: Race, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, vampire clan, any other general umbrella attribute.

Resolution: You overcome your prejudice.

Beat: You cause a problem for yourself by reacting with with fear, contempt or revulsion towards an individual of your chosen type, or you fail a roll due to this Condition.

The way you remember things doesn’t match up with how they happened. You might remember a son who didn’t exist, your alcoholic father abusing you despite being raised an orphan, or never getting married. You believe your memories to be true no matter what; even conclusive proof has a hard time getting through to you. Being faced with proof that your memory is fake is a breaking point for you.

Resolution: Face proof that your memory is false and succeed at the breaking point.

Beat: Your character trusts someone or takes a risky action based on his faked memories alone.

Your character has some sort of repetitive motion she makes in times of stress, and it’s a dead giveaway as to her identity. Examples include a nervous cough, constantly wringing her hands, cracking her knuckles, and so on. She can spend a point of Willpower to refrain from engaging in her tic during a scene.

Resolution: Gain a dot of Willpower or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.

Beat: Your tic gives your identity away at an inopportune time.

You are prone to sudden episodes of extreme anxiety. Establish with the GM what triggers your panic attacks. When faced with a triggering stimulus, roll Resolve + Composure with variable penalty (depending on how traumatic the stimulus is). On a failure, you take -3 on all rolls and must spend a point of Willpower every turn you wish to take an action besides fleeing or hyperventilating. On a botch, you fall unconscious, potentially embarrassing at best, or fatal at worst, depending on what activity you are engaged in when the attack strikes (such as driving a car).

Supernatural creatures prone to loss of control, including vampires and werewolves, must instead roll to avoid frenzy.

Resolution: Gain a dot of Integrity, lose another dot of Integrity, or achieve an exceptional success on a breaking point.

Beat: You succumb to a panic attack at an inconvenient time.

Prerequisite: Mortal or ghoul, Panic Disorder

You are on an anti-anxiety medication to treat panic attacks. Whenever you fail a Resolve + Composure roll prompted by your Panic Attacks Condition, you may take medication to reroll the result with a +1 bonus per pill taken (up to a maximum of +5). For every pill taken, however, you suffer a -1 penalty on Dexterity and Mental-based rolls for the rest of the scene as the medication’s side effects kick in. You also take an equal penalty on your next Resolve + Composure roll to avoid a panic attack if you do not supplement that roll with anti-anxiety medication. Finally, such medication is addictive: you must succeed on a Resolve + Composure roll (with a -1 penalty per pill taken) to avoid developing the Addicted Condition.

Resolution: You resolve the Panic Attacks Condition.

Beat: You fail a roll due to this Condition or taking medication causes some other difficulty or inconvenience for you.

Your character is naturally bad at something. Choose a single Skill or Skill Specialty, such as Expression (Singing) or Subterfuge (Lying). Your character always rolls a chance die on rolls with this Skill or Skill Specialty, no matter how high a dice pool his Attributes would normally entitle him to. This Condition can be paired with the Delusional Condition to make a character wildly overestimate his abilities and believe he is an expert at something he’s terrible at.

Resolution: Your character works to overcome his deficiency and purchases a Skill dot or Specialty for the relevant Skill.

Beat: You fail a roll for the Skill or Specialty you are deficient at.

GM’s Notes: This Condition is intended to model characters who are bad at something but have high enough Attributes to compensate for it. In one Vampire: The Masquerade setting book, there was an elder Toreador who was a poseur and a catastrophically terrible artist. His superhuman Presence and Dexterity dot ratings meant he was still better at the arts than most mortals, even factoring in the -1 untrained penalty for no dots in Expression.

Physical Conditions

Your character has asthma. She doesn’t necessarily need to take meds every day, but if she exerts herself, she’d better have her inhaler handy. If the character becomes exposed to significant allergens or airborne pollutants or has to make a number of Strength– or Stamina–based rolls equal to her Stamina score within the same scene, she starts to suffocate. Suffocating inflicts 1 point of bashing damage per turn until the character spends an instant action to use her inhaler. Another character can also administer first aid with a Dexterity + Medicine roll, requiring successes equal to the total damage suffered.

Resolution: You cure your asthma through mundane or supernatural means.

Beat: You take bashing damage from suffocating or use your inhaler at an inconvenient moment.

Your character suffers from serious vision problems. Without the use of contacts or glasses, she cannot read, takes a -2 penalty to Defense, and a -3 penalty to dice rolls that rely on sight.

Resolution: Your character heals her vision.

Beat: You lose your corrective eyewear at an inconvenient time or fail a roll due to this Condition.

Social Conditions

Your character harbors some sort of secret that, if uncovered, would be of immense embarrassment or inconvenience to her (and possibly result in gaining the Notoriety Condition).

Possible Sources: Committing an murder or other major crime, belonging to an unscrupulous organization, being a drug addict, cheating on a spouse, betraying a friend. People can have all kinds of skeletons in their closets.

Resolution: Your secret is made public knowledge.

Beat: Someone blackmails you over your secret, or you go to costly lengths to cover the secret up.


Your character lacks proper lawful permission to be in the country in which she currently lives. She does not have a legitimate ID and are likely to be deported to her nation of origin if she is placed under arrest. She cannot hold a job unless it pays under the table.

Resolution: Your character becomes a naturalized citizen or other legal resident, or permanently leaves the country.

Beat: You encounter trouble with the police, get exploited by an employer, or run into some other difficulty as a result of your illegal status.

Prerequisite: Cannot have any dots in Resources

Your character is penniless and cannot spend money on anything, including basic essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter. He must track every meal he eats and may have to resort to theft or Survival rolls to feed himself. See page 175-176 of the 1st edition World of Darkness Rulebook for rules on starvation and deprivation. This Condition is frequently paired with the Homeless Condition.

Resolution: You gain a stable source of income or otherwise become able to meet your basic survival needs.

Beat: Being financially destitute causes a problem or inconvenience for you.

Your character has an enemy, or perhaps a group of enemies, who seeks to harm her. The more powerful the enemy, the more regularly you gain Beats from this Condition.

Possible Sources: An estranged family member, a vengeful ex, a betrayed friend, a supernatural monster, any of the characters from the Personae list.

Resolution: Your character defeats or makes peace with her enemy.

Beat: The enemy does something to cause problems for you.

You had a long-term relationship with someone, but for whatever reason, one of you chose to end things. Unfortunately, your ex did not take the termination of the relationship well. They might take every opportunity to meddle in your life, or perhaps you’re still forced to deal with them in a professional capacity and your personal history makes things complicated. Either way, your ex is bad news.

Resolution: You make peace with your ex or permanently remove them from your life.

Beat: Your ex causes trouble for you.

A vengeful ghost haunts you, for any variety of reasons: perhaps you took the ghost’s life, perhaps it is the shade of a departed enemy with unfinished business, or perhaps it simply sees you as a convenient target for its ire. Sometimes it strikes at you directly, but most of the time it chooses to make your life miserable by frightening your friends, moving your furniture, and making loud noises while you are trying to rest.

Resolution: You lay the ghost to rest or permanently banish it to the Underworld.

Prerequisite: Ghoul or mortal

Someone has an unhealthy obsession with your character. Despite repeated calls to the police and several restraining orders, she continues to follow and occasionally harass him. Your Storyteller should create game stats for the stalker. Any time your character heads out on the town, the Storyteller can make a Perception roll on your character’s behalf, contested by the stalker’s Dexterity + Stealth. If it fails or botches, the stalker has managed to tail your character throughout the night and might put in an appearance when it’s least helpful.

Resolution: Your character gets the stalker to stop harassing him.

Beat: The stalker shows up at an inconvenient moment.

You have connections to a political or religious organization that most people view with suspicion or fear, such as the Nation of Islam, the KKK, an insular compound of religious cultists. You are an active member of the group (likely represented by the Status Merit) and local law enforcement has an open dossier on you. Although you do not necessarily have a criminal record or engage in illegal activity, the local police view you as a trouble-maker and suspicious character. At any given time, you might be the target of undercover observation prompted by the activities of your organization.

Resolution: You leave the organization or get law enforcement to believe that you have done so.

Beat: Your membership in the group causes you a difficulty or inconvenience.

You are under the age of majority in your country. You cannot legally engage in certain activities (drinking, gambling, smoking, etc.), while others may only be legal under certain restrictions (driving, holding a job, engaging in sexual activity, etc.). Unless you have successfully petitioned a court for emancipation, you are required to live under the supervision of a legal guardian who is empowered to make numerous significant decisions on your behalf. Adults are also less inclined to take you seriously and listen to your opinions.

Characters with this Condition should not be any younger than their early teens. Preadolescent characters use the rules for children described in World of Darkness: Innocents.

Resolution: You turn 18.

Beat: You encounter a difficulty or inconvenience that a legal adult would not face.

You are currently serving the remainder of a prison sentence on parole. You have to meet with a case officer on a regular basis and are subject to random drug tests and searches of your home and person for guns, alcohol, and evidence of other illegal activities. You must also commit—or seem to commit—yourself to becoming a good citizen: maintaining a job, keeping current with debt, and other aspects of responsible life that entanglements with the supernatural make challenging.

Resolution: You serve out your sentence or are discharged from parole early for good behavior.

Beat: Your parole officer causes a problem or inconvenience for you.

You have lost your driver’s license due to a poor driving record. If you are pulled over for any reason or are otherwise caught driving, you will be arrested immediately and your car will be impounded.

Resolution: You regain your driver’s license.

Beat: You can’t drive at an inconvenient time or get in trouble with the authorities for driving when you aren’t supposed to.

Mortals: You are responsible for someone else’s welfare. This character may be a friend or relative, or simply someone you consider important and have taken it upon yourself to look after. Wards have a way of getting caught up in the action of stories, and are frequent targets of a character’s enemies.

Vampires & Ghouls: You are devoted to the protection of a mortal. This character may be a friend or relative from before when you were Embraced or ghouled, or simply a mortal you admire and consider important. Wards have a way of getting caught up in the action of stories, and are frequent targets of a character’s enemies.

Possible Sources: Children, elderly parents, younger siblings, distant descendants.

Resolution: The Ward dies or becomes able to stand on their own feet.

Beat: Your character’s enemies threaten the Ward.

Beat: The ghost haunts you at an inconvenient time or otherwise causes problems.

Mage: The Ascension Conditions

Historically, a phylactery referred to a special arm wrapping with a prayer box that contained sutras, divine power and a portion of the wearer’s soul. Mages refer to a phylactery as a container for the power to perform magick. Your mage’s Avatar exists in the physical plane, invested into an object or place, or possibly imbued into some creature or person (such as his familiar or ally) or even a part of his body. On rare occasions, it may be invested into some nebulous concept, like a bloodline, secret society or a religion. The good news is that this object or creature has a Connected sympathy link towards you, and is treated as part of your Pattern. This means you can sense it wherever it is, unless it’s shrouded by warding. Teleporting your phylactery ring off your finger or making you drop your phylactery sword is as difficult a feat as teleporting your finger off your hand or forcing you to chop off your own arm. The bad news is that you must be in actual physical contact with your phylactery in order to work magick—even if that physical contact is long distance, like a Virtual Adept linked via modem to the mainframe in his bedroom. Moreover, you need to be very obvious about what it is you’re using to perform your arts. If your mage’s phylactery is his staff, your mage must wave it grandly during all invocations; if his phylactery is a crown, he must hold his head high and wear the crown everywhere he intends to do magick.

If your mage’s phylactery speaks to him as his Avatar, you should also take the Manifest Avatar Merit. If the phylactery is an object, you should probably take the Unique Focus Merit. As with any unique focus, a phylactery can be repaired or retrieved if it is damaged, destroyed or stolen.

If your mage is separated from his phylactery, you may make a Perception roll to sense the surroundings of where it is, depending on how the phylactery might perceive such things. If your mage’s phylactery is animate (as with a cat or horse or severed-but-still-living hand) it will also do its best to find its way back to you, having the same homing sense.

Similarly, if your mage’s Avatar is invested into a place, such as the Royal Forest of Dean or San Francisco, transporting him away from it, at least by magickal means, is about as difficult as teleporting a city block to Istanbul. If he is removed from his phylactery by mundane means, his homing sense will lead him back. In cases where a phylactery is a place, the Avatar fuses with the City Father of that area. That is to say, your Avatar becomes one with the totem spirit of that particular region—Emperor Norton in San Francisco, Scarlet O’Hara in Atlanta, a certain highly trademarked mouse in Disneyland. You should take an Avatar rating on par with the importance of your character’s bailiwick. Wild places such as forests, deserts, rivers and even oceans can be linked with the same way, although your character must be in them or on them to work his magick. The Pacific Ocean is huge, but if that’s your mage’s phylactery, his connection to it ends once he sets foot on dry land. Generally speaking, it’s not the size of an area that’s important so much as the identity. The Queen of Angels may control most of Los Angeles, but there’s a different identity to Hollywood and Malibu.

If your character’s phylactery is a place, your Storyteller may also allow your character’s magick to work in other places somehow linked to it. A mage with Hashberry for her Avatar could probably work her magick in other parts of San Francisco with raised difficulties the further she got from the Haight, and more powerful Avatars could probably work their magick in foreign lands tied to their spirit.

Finally, if your mage’s phylactery is a concept with a physical or temporal manifestation, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Iteration X, the witch’s Sabbath or the season of Christmas, you may work magick as long as your character is an accepted part of that institution. The symbols and tools representing it can be destroyed, of course, stripping your mage of his magick temporarily, but they can be replaced.

In cases of identity phylacteries, your mage loses his connection to his Avatar if he is disowned, banished, defrocked, excommunicated or otherwise kicked out. As such, members with this Condition are intensely loyal. If the organization or other concept is destroyed, the Avatar is destroyed, but an organization cannot be destroyed until all members either die or truly renounce their loyalties. When a concept is your mage’s phylactery, his Avatar is the protector or mascot of that concept.

If a mage with a phylactery ever dies, the Avatar may or may not go free, at the Storyteller’s option. If it does not go free, the phylactery remains as it is, awaiting the mage to reclaim it in his next incarnation.

Resolution: You find a way to free your Avatar from your phylactery.

Beat: You lose your phylactery, go to great effort to prevent your phylactery’s loss, or are unable to perform magick at an inconvenient time because of your dependence on your phylactery.

Although not necessarily weak, your character’s Avatar has been broken to pieces. She has one splinter—her first Gnosis dot—and the other pieces are scattered elsewhere. However, what has been broken can be put back together, at least in this case. In order to purchase further Gnosis dots after character creation, your character must track down the other pieces of her Avatar. These soul-shards may be scattered about the cosmos, secreted in extra-dimensional hidey-holes with spinxes and other creatures guarding them, or they may be part of a phylactery, of which your character has one or more pieces. For instance, perhaps her Avatar is invested in 10 mighty rings, three of which she has (and a corresponding Gnosis rating of 3), but she must go and retrieve the others from those who have them. Or perhaps there are other mages who share your character’s Avatar, and whenever your mage kills one, her Gnosi dots grows by their Gnosis dots. Unfortunately, the other mages who have this Avatar are out to kill her as well. Design the nature of your character’s shattering with your Storyteller and decide beforehand what your character must do to regain a piece of his broken spirit.

Resolution: You retrieve the nine remaining pieces of your character’s Avatar.

Beat: You face a difficulty in finding one of your Avatar fragments.

Persistent Conditions

Witiko Falls: Disillusion Parasomniac Parasomniac