The Concord of Ashes
(modified from Wolves of the Sea, p. 70 & Vampire the Masquerade, 3rd ed. p. 180)
Your reputation has spread through the halls of the nobility, the cloisters of the clergy, and the hovels of the peasantry. Alternatively, your character may be a famous Crusader, diplomat or entertainer, recongised by a disproportionately large amount of people but only in a restricted field. For whatever reason, you are recognised and respected by those beyond your immediate reach, and this has several advantages and disadvantages.
Firstly, your reputation might gain you a certain degree of acceptance outside the pillar of medieval society to which you belong. A famous peasant might find himself invited to court to entertain a powerful noble with tales of his deeds, or a count might find that his peasants respect and admire him rather than simply fear him. On any occasion where the Fame of a character might be considered to be of import, the ST may grant that character a bonus die per point of Fame to all Charisma rolls relating to particularly solicitous or impressionable people.
Secondly, as in the modern nights, Fame is magnetic. People who recognise them will be flock to the famous for various reasons; perhaps to live vicariously through their deeds or perhaps out of sexual attraction. Whatever the case, under the right circumstances the famous character will gain a bonus die on Hunting rolls for each dot in this background.
Thirdly, those who garner a certain amount of Fame can find it inconvenient at times. Whenever confronted by a social setting where an overwhelming number of people present would recognise them, the Famous character suffers +1 difficulty to all attempts at Stealth or any other skill or ability requiring a degree of physical subtlety.
Lastly, this Background requires constant upkeep. Unlike the modern nights, there is no Mass Media to fuel and prolong Fame, and it quickly erodes along with the memory, mortality and circumstances of the people.
- Level One: You have a certain degree of fame in your local district, county or perhaps a town of some size, such as one of the Siebenburgen. Alternatively, you might be known farther abroad by many from a certain class of people, such as the clergy, or you may be remembered for having fought with distinction in a great battle. Example: Karl Dressler edler von Lüneburg.
- Level Two: You are famous locally, and some men from far away might have heard of you. Alternatively, you are known by a certain class of people throughout an entire region. Example: Klaus von Osterholt, the Bishop of the Siebenburgen.
- Level Three: You are famous regionally, and those who travel often have probably heard of you, though the tales they may hear may be grossly distorted. Alternatively, you might be known nation-wide by a certain class of people. Example: Louis, Count of Blois and Clermont-en-Beauvaisis.
- Level Four: You are known nation-wide, and most scholars and bards beyond your borders have heard of you and know of your deeds. Alternatively, you might be known throughout an entire geographical region (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Byzantine Empire etc) by a certain class of people. Example: King John I of England, Phillip II of France, Phillip of Swabia or Otto of Brunswick (the rival claimants to the Holy Roman Empire).
- Level Five: You are a legend in your own (un)lifetime. Every man and woman in your entire geographical region has heard of you, and your deeds have grown in the telling. Alternatively, people of a certain class across the known world have at least heard your name. Few people indeed in the Dark Medieval world can claim such a place. Example: the late Richard the Lionheart, or his late enemy, Saladin.
- Level Six: Your legendary fame is such that nearly everyone, everywhere in the known world has heard of you. Perhaps your fame even extends off the map, to the equally legendary realms of India, China and Prester John…