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Backgrounds represent miscellaneous aspects about the character that confer a certain advantage, such as social capital and wealth. A starting character has five dots worth of Backgrounds, which may be distributed at the player's discretion in order to flesh out their concept better. For example, a destitute street preacher might invest in a bunch of dots of Contacts and Allies to represent those who follow her, and a CEO might invest in Resources and Influence.

Background Rating Experience Points
0 -> 1 3
1 -> 2 3
2 -> 3 6
3 -> 4 9
4 -> 5 12

Raising Backgrounds

All Backgrounds must be explicitly purchased with XP, even if you RPed your way into owning them with a staffer or PRP runner.

Several games do let you skip the costs of things you RPed your way into, but we don't make that exception in order to provide a more fair playing field between casuals and power-users and in order to incentivize our PRP runners to report what's going on in some detail by sending in XP allocation requests.

A player should not be eclipsed by another player for no other reason than who their RP partners happen to be (and thus whether their friends have the time and inclination to write a story about you getting that slick job or a kick-ass ghoul bodyguard). Making everybody pay the same XP for the same thing is only fair. That said, you indeed should be rewarded for plot participation, and that reward is XP, not waived expenditure thereof. In addition to the pose, +rec, ST and vote XP, PRP runners can and very well should fund your IC growth in their plots.

If you do not have the XP at the time that you acquire a background on screen, but you have more than 0 XP, you can purchase the background and simply incur a negative XP balance. If you have a negative XP balance when you acquire a background on screen, you will need to purchase the background until you have a positive XP balance and can incur a negative balance again. Staff can help you come up with whatever narrative is necessary to explain why you don't have the background yet.

Sanctity Of Backgrounds Vs Value

Some games have a policy about the idea of “sanctity of background dots” which means that your backgrounds, having been paid for in XP, can never be taken away from you.

By contrast, on Modern Nights, you can indeed lose backgrounds even if you paid XP for them as part of the narrative. You can lose your house. Your source of income can be attacked. Your faithful servant can be killed in combat. Bad actors could be out to ruin you in all manner of ways.

When this happens, you are refunded the XP. A background can be either eliminated or reduced in value. For example, you could lose your dream job and settle for something blue collar, dropping from Resources 4 to Resources 2. In that case, 15 XP would be given to you (as it takes 15 XP to buy Resources from 2 to 4). Your 4 dot retainer who you sent off on a mission could be murdered in a firefight. In that case, 21 XP would be refunded to you.

You may use this refunded XP to re-purchase the lost background if you so desire. For example, you lost your privileged position at SuperCorp, but your industry connections land you a job at another corporation and you're back to being a cocaine snorting CEO in a matter of weeks. However, some IC circumstances might not allow for the immediate or exact replacement of a lost background due to not making sense from a narrative perspective. For example, if a particularly unique Wonder gets destroyed or stolen, that Wonder will need to be reproduced by somebody with the time and ability to create its replacement. For another example, perhaps you have invested in a Retainer whose certain set of skills are highly specialized and he dies in a firefight. Finding someone with those skills (or cultivating those skills in a lesser-experienced retainer) may take time.

Omitted Backgrounds

We do NOT offer the following Backgrounds:

  • Backup
  • Certification
  • Rank
  • Requisitions
  • Secret Weapons
  • Spies

Differentiated Backgrounds

The following backgrounds can be taken an unlimited amount of multiple times, up to a rating of 5 each: