Prestation is the currency of the Kindred economy. Here is all you need to know about Prestation, and then some.
- All Kindred involved in the deal must be amenable to the boon, and any stipulations or clauses carried on the boon must be stated when it is recorded.
- The vampire who owes a boon is typically referred to as the debtor. The vampire who owns the boon is known as the creditor or sometimes the grantor.
- Regardless of the standing of the creditor, if the debtor ignores a major or life boon, she always loses status.
- All stipulations must be recorded by the Harpy and are enforced by said office.
- A blood hunt cancels all boons owed and owned by a vampire. Should a vampire manage to cleanse her name and have the blood hunt removed, she regains all of her previous prestation.
A trivial boon is a simple favor owed for receiving a minor service, political consideration, or forgiving a social faux pas. This type of boon should be freely offered and accepted, much like a business card. Payment of a trivial boon should involve simple one-time favors or services that take no more than a single game session or a night to complete.
Example Scenarios Involving Trivial Boons: Making a formal social introduction to an important Kindred, covering a potentially embarrassing social faux pas in front of the Harpy, warning someone about a potential danger to them, supporting a political or social agenda that doesn’t undermine your own position, assisting with a task for the evening, such as working security for a salon, leveraging one of your disciplines to aid your creditor’s cause.
A Trivial Boon can compel an NPC to vote their conscience on a minor issue (eg. level 1-3 status raise, support for a minor city position).
A minor boon represents a favor that requires a significant amount of time or effort, but low risk. Payment of a minor boon should involve simple one-time favors or services that take less than a few weeks to complete.
Example Scenarios Involving Minor Boons: Helping someone find safe passage through a hostile city, leveraging backgrounds and influences on someone’s behalf, revealing crucial information, disposing of a threat without risking life or blood, teaching low levels of clan disciplines.
A Minor Boon can compel an NPC to vote a certain way for a minor issue and vote their conscience on a major issue (eg. voting for Prince, level 4-5 status raise, essentially voting for Priscus).
A major boon represents a large debt that requires a good deal of time or resources to pay, which may involve risking your personal political or social capital. Payment of a major boon should involve one-time favors or services that take no more than six game sessions or three months (whichever is longer) to complete.
Example Scenarios Involving Major Boons: Leveraging your backgrounds and influences to someone else’s agenda, teaching the creditor advanced levels of a clan discipline or a rare devotion, revealing a major secret that is potentially very damaging, purchasing a major business, building, or land, aligning yourself with a political or social agenda that potentially harms your own position with your clan and allies, such as supporting someone’s bid for praxis.
A Major Boon can compel an NPC to vote a certain way for a major issue (eg. voting for Prince, level 4-5 status raise, essentially voting for Priscus) even if it goes against their own interests.
A life boon is granted only in the most extreme cases — usually when a Kindred saves the existence of another without having any formal obligation to do so. Allies don’t owe each other life boons; such a debt is owed only under exceptional circumstances. A life boon cannot usually be repaid through multiple lesser boons.
Example Scenarios Involving Life Boons: Coming to another’s aid and suffering grievous injury, betraying clan secrets or teaching proprietary disciplines, knowing that you will be labeled a traitor if discovered, assisting in a praxis seizure via force, and killing allies to see it done, holding off a fearsome enemy so that the creditor can flee, murdering a rival or an enemy knowing that you might be blood hunted if you are caught, protecting a fugitive on behalf of your creditor, protecting your creditor from the Prince’s justice to the bitter end, hiding a terrible crime, such as diablerie, saving the life of another vampire from an enemy at significant risk to your own life.
Advanced Boon Strategies
Each boon has a “Pedigree” based on the power and status of the Debtor. Like shares of stock in different companies, the value of these Pedigrees can vary and change as the Debtor’s standing rises and falls. Thus while a particular boon may never be renegotiated into a different Denomination or transferred to a different Debtor, due to Pedigree, the real value of that boon can change over time. A Trivial Boon owed by a Neonate Debtor has a different value than one of an Elder Prince Debtor. A Trivial Boon provided to a Neonate Debtor who then ages into an Elder (while still owing the debt of prestation) has gained in value. although it is still a Trivial Boon in terms of its Denomination.
Pedigree also changes in regard to court offices which affect the Status of the officer. A boon granted to a back-seat political climber who later becomes his clan’s Whip, then Primogen, and then finally Prince, is an investment well made. Conversely, a prestation owed by a Prince who soon loses her throne rapidly diminishes in value. Pedigree is also important when exchanging prestation with another kindred. A Major Boon from a positionless influential Elder whose patrons are four Justicars is not worth the same amount as one from an Elder Prince of a small city who has a patron who is his Primogen despite their positions and standing. A single Major boon from the Elder Prince may only be worth a Minor boon or two from the positionless Elder depending on whom you are trading with and the circumstances of such.
This is usually held in the provenance of a Harpy, Prince, Elder or other influential Kindred. Just as monetary policy by a national central bank can be loose (releasing large amounts of currency to reduce the value of it) or tight (removing currency from the system to increase value), so too can an individual Kindred’s interpretation of boons and prestations create a tight or loose boon policy in their domains. Traditionalist Elders, especially those most likely to hold many prestations in reserve such as a Prince, are most likely to encourage a “tight” boon policy amongst Harpies. This is done by encouraging others (and practicing through example) to require larger Denominations for the same services or goods that might normally require the Debtor to take on a prestation of a smaller Denomination. On the flip side, they can support settlements of less-than-normal prestation for a specific Denomination. Younger Kindred, or those with Carthian sympathies, often seek to loosen boon policy by encouraging smaller Denominations for services and goods and thus smaller claims of prestation in their domains.
It is recommended that the Harpy include an update on the current Boon Policy in their monthly Harpy report. The Harpy may:
- Set a rule. (ie. A minor boon must always equal a week of work. If you don't follow this the transaction will be rejected.)
- Give their own opinion. (ie. If you're paying a Major for the Barrens, you're paying too much.)
- Remark on a transaction that has taken place. (ie. A Daeva Primogen used a minor to buy the Prince's vote. Or, the Ventrue Whip's minor boon was exchanged for two Trivials of an Unnamed Ancilla).
- Remark on a trend. (ie. Two Elders have just become Grantors to a Mekhet neonate. Are they investing in a promising young star? Does this mean you should get in on it too?)
- Rebuke someone for violating the recommended practice.
- Remark on anything else they see fit.
The Harpy may omit names and identity at their own discretion. It is not necessary for Harpies to make boon transactions public – the price of secrecy is that public opinion cannot be swayed and the exchange standard cannot be manipulated.
Medium of Exchange and Deferred Payment – The most common strategy of using a boon.
Life Insurance – Young Kindred may owe boons to very powerful or dangerous Kindred, to act as deterrent for murder. In the event of their death, their killer will end up owing prestation to the very powerful Kindred.
Investment – Elders will seek promising Neonates or Ancillae to offer their services so that they may become the Grantor of a boon.
Collecting – Prestation Collectors are interested in the Pedigree and history of a debt. Some collectors like to collect “Sets”: Major Prestations owed. Some Collectors are interested in a “Clan Set”, where they are simultaneously Grantors for Major Boons to a Neonate, an Ancilla and an Elder of the same Clan. A “Grand Set” is when one has acquired a “Clan Slam” for all the five Clans, and a “Royal Set” is a Major Prestation or larger from the Priscus of each Clan.
Exchange – Boons can be traded one for one, or a single large Denomination prestation with a strong Pedigree for many smaller prestations. Harpies or independent “honest” brokers may act as Boon Exchangers to mediate the exchange.
Accumulator - Some Kindred just want to have “more” than other Kindred.
Clemency – Elders or Princes may ask for a Major, Blood or Life boon in exchange for clemency. It has the purpose of providing an “out” while still maintaining the severity of the punishment.
Plea Bargain – If a Debtor is caught committing a crime because of prestation, “the boon made me do it” is a valid defense in some domains. The Debtor may be able to escape punishment and not be held accountable for his actions.... or he may not. It all depends on the mood of the Prince.
(Mind's Eye Theater: Vampire the Requiem pg. 294 - 295)
(Mind's Eye Theater: Vampire the Masquerade pg 395-397)
(mindseyesociety.org Boons and Prestation Strategic Guide)