As the representatives of an ancient Kingdom, and agents of the Light, the Hopeful may forge themselves and people who look to them as an example into an organized body, dedicated to a common purpose. These are commonly called the Nations. As they rise in a Nation, the members’ wish to achieve its purpose opens their hearts to the Light, and they learn ways to draw on it, even if they have no other link to the Light’s magic.
From tiny acorns grow great oaks. A Nation begins when a group of people, led by one touched by the Light, swear a vow by powers of good to perform a lifelong work. To the Hopeful and their Shikigami, the technique to give such vows effect is fairly obvious; once she forms the intention to gather a team for some important goal, a Princess will eventually realize how to bind them together as a Nation. Beacons and Sworn have a considerably harder time figuring it out. A Beacon on his own might lead his friends into swearing a proper oath without knowing it and create a Nation by accident; but in general Beacons or Sworn can found Nations only with help from someone with stronger ties to the Light than theirs. (For this reason Nations were vanishingly rare before the Release.)
A PC who wants to create a new Nation during play must do three things. She has to choose an Aspiration or Vocation to “create a Nation dedicated to X”, with X being the Vocation of the Nation-to-be, and maintain that Aspiration over the course of a story. (As with other Aspirations the player and Storyteller should include events related to this during the story in question.) She must also convince other characters (at least two) to join her Nation and labor for its Vocation. Finally, at the end of the story, the PC and her compatriots buy dots of the Nation Officer Merit. Someone must buy a full 5 dots, thus becoming the first custodian of the Nation’s occult secrets; usually the PC with the Aspiration takes the role, though this is not required. The other characters participating must buy at least 10 dots (a total of 15 over all characters) for the vows to take effect and the Nation to form. If the PC has persuaded enough people to join her Nation, she resolves her Aspiration before buying the Merit dots.
As explained in the rules for Nation Officer, every Nation is organized around a Vocation, and all characters with Nation Officer •+ gain that Vocation and may earn Luminous Experiences by working toward it. The drawback of this benefit is a Ban, an action the officers are not allowed to take; any character with Nation Officer •+ who violates the Ban promptly loses all Merits depending on their membership.
Nations as OrganizationsEdit
If you are using the organization rules in this book, all Nations have the Mystery Cult Benefit to support their Nation Officer Merit. Merits that depend on Nation Officer are represented by Endowment Benefits. Also, the Nation’s Vocation acts as a fourth Aspiration for it, allowing it to regain Morale when it makes significant progress towards it, and it is completely incapable of taking any action which would break its Ban.
An existing organization can be raised into a Nation if the founding character is already an integral part of its operations. Normally such standing in the organization will be represented by dots of Status on the character’s sheet, the character’s being an Asset for the organization, or both. If a PC has the necessary standing, then instead of finding other individuals to join her she may induce the organization to restructure itself, adding the Mystery Cult Benefit. She must still sustain an Aspiration for a story, and buy all five dots of Nation Officer when the restructuring succeeds.
Storytellers should note that getting an organization to do anything takes considerable time and effort, and changing the way an organization operates is both time-consuming and risky. A PC trying to turn an organization into a Nation should, at minimum, succeed in a social maneuver with that goal - and because a restructure action normally causes a breaking point, any such maneuver starts with two additional Doors.
As organizations vowed to a sacred purpose and infused by the Light, Nations may teach further abilities beyond what its officers gain just from their standing. These are represented as supernatural Merits, which all have at least one dot in Nation Officer as a prerequisite. Nations do not automatically offer all of these Merits; part of developing a Nation is deciding which Merits are available. It’s fine for a Nation to confer these Merits as benefits of its Nation Officer Merit, if that fits the Nation’s character and Vocation.
The character has learned a ritual that calls on the Nation’s mystical bond to release a supernatural effect. When enacted, the ritual activates a Charm (set when the Merit is purchased) under the same rules as the Bequest Merit; the Merit’s cost equals that of an equivalent Bequest. However, the ritual will only work if a successful activation will serve the Nation’s Vocation in some way. This Merit may be taken multiple times, each for a different Bequest, but only from those Bequests the Nation provides.
Working for the Nation’s goal becomes a Calling for all the officers. A mundane character with this Merit may add his dots in it when attempting a mundane task (within the scope of one Skill Specialty) that is relevant to the Nation’s Vocation. If a character has a pool of Wisps, tasks falling within the Mandate may also act as a Call of Duty roll. Nobles may take both this Merit and a personal Mandate.
Moral Anchor (•-•••)Edit
The Nation sustains its members in the face of adversity. At one dot, when the character reaches a breaking point while trying to accomplish the Nation’s Vocation, he applies 9-again to the breaking point roll. At two dots, he applies 8-again. At 3 dots, he applies no quality but gets an exceptional success on three successes instead of five.
Drawback: Officers recognize opposing their Nation as a transgression. Violating the Nation’s Ban becomes a breaking point for the character, with a base penalty equal to his Nation Officer dots, and the Merit does not apply to the roll.
Transformed Attribute (•••)Edit
The Light infuses the bodies and minds of the Nation’s members, and inspires them to periods of excellence. The character has one transformed Attribute dot by virtue of belonging to the Nation. Characters may take this Merit once for each Attribute, but only for those Attributes the Nation offers. Moreover, transformed dots cannot raise anyone’s traits above the maximum for their template.
If the character is mundane, he spends 1 point of Willpower as a reflexive action to use all his transformed dots for 1 scene. Alternately, if he is currently on the Nation’s business, he may roll his Integrity as an instant action, gaining the use of the transformed dots for the scene if successful. Mundane characters can’t remain at the peak of their abilities indefinitely; if they have used transformed dots in the previous scene, they must spend a point of Willpower to continue using them in the current scene, even if they are carrying out the Nation’s duty.
A character who can transform on her own applies the transformed dots from this Merit to her transformed state, like the ones she buys herself. However, such dots do not count against her global cap on transformed dots.
Transformed Skill (•)Edit
The character has one transformed Skill dot by virtue of belonging to the Nation. Characters may take this Merit twice for each Skill, but only for those Skills the Nation offers. Otherwise transformed Skill dots follow the same rules as transformed Attribute dots.
Troupe Magic (•)Edit
The Nation’s mystical bond makes it easy for its members to support each other’s magic. The character gets the benefit of the Troupe Magic Merit with other members of the Nation who have this Merit.