Here's the description of the Esoteric Armory Merit:

Esoteric Armory (• to •••••)

Effect: Your character is the go-to guy when one needs a knife carved from the bone of a martyred saint, a hawthorn stake, rock salt shotgun shells, the powdered remains of cremated suicides or any number of other things. No matter how strange the need, you’ve got it covered. After successfully researching an ephemeral entity’s Bane, compare your dots in this Merit to the entity’s Rank. If the merit is equal to or greater than Rank, you’ve got what you need in your Armory. You should decide along with your Storyteller where the Armory is, though; a one-dot Esoteric Armory can fit in a large bag, but a four- or five-dot one will fill a house.

So you have to research the entity's bane/ban.

Most deliberate interactions with entities — summoning, exorcising and abjuration — rely on as much knowledge of the entity in question as the mortal can get. Research rolls to determine bans and banes are handled as extended Intelligence + Occult rolls for the most part, but many entities in the World of Darkness are protected by deliberate secrecy, obscurity, or don’t often take interest in human affairs and so haven’t had their details recorded. The target number of successes for a research roll is determined by the entity’s type and Rank, as follows: […]

How does this work when Rank isn't defined? The book mentions other similar ephemeral entities and Rank, but doesn't really clarify how best to calculate a Rank. Also it sounds in some ways like it should also work on non ephemeral entities (got a wooden stake?).

For example (my question is not limited to this), I have created a Potency 5 Strix. With the following Banes:

  • Sunlight and Fire
  • Abjuration ( Exorcism, wards and such )
  • Material Bane ( Salt )

Now, sunlight and fire are gained at level 1, and an additional bane every other level. In some ways it seems odd that a researcher couldn't discover the sunlight and fire banes without going to the full 5 dots of potency (is it appropriate to equate potency with rank?).

To summarize my question, what is a good way to determine Rank for non Ranked types, and should I apply any different if multiple levels of ban(e)s exist?


2 Answers 2


Better answers than this appreciated.

Without finding some formal rules, or better guidelines. I think it is appropriate to do the following things

  1. PC's pre-identify what kind of monster prior to research its bane's
  2. All things are basically Rank 1 but you should add more requirements based on the next rule. This is based on the Idea that it's no harder to figure out that a Vampire gets crispy in sunlight if they're potency 1 or potency 5. (actually it's easier for potency 5, but not via research alone)
  3. Increase difficulty of research based on commonness of creature, ie promethean's are extremely rare and probably make the roll +5 to difficulty.
  4. Consider increasing difficulty to rule out falsehoods, e.g. vampires don't like garlic.
  5. Consider increasing Rank by 1 based on difficulty of retrieving materials (or perhaps what the players are asking for) silver bullets are harder to come by than gasoline and a bic lighter (I wouldn't increase to much though as the point of this merit is to have harder to find things).
  6. As their can be partial success, and bane's can be gained with Potency, bane's are given up by using Potency for the Rank they were gained. In other words Sunlight and Fire would be measured at Rank 1 because it's gained at Potency 1, but Rank 3 if they also want Abjuration.

Use Different Ranks for each part of the roll

  1. prevent research roll until the PC's have determined the type of monster
    • how can your research a bane if you don't know what you're dealing with.
  2. for research use the Potency level that the bane was added at
    • common banes are easier to figure out, less common ones are harder.
  3. use the desired items Cost compared against the merit rank
    • example, you find out fire is a weakness
      1. Ask characters what they think they might use
      2. at merit rank one, you might decide that gasoline and a lighter are something that you keep lying around, but at 4 it might be more like like a flamethrower.
    • You're more likely to have a gasoline can and a bic lighter than a Flamethrower.
    • Not all banes require weird items
  • \$\begingroup\$ as a comment I'm probably going with this as apposed to what else I came up with, due to simplicity. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 21:32

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