Prestation & Boons

Prestation is the formal exchange of favors, which are called boons. The granting of a boon in vampire society is a formal way of acknowledging or paying a debt to someone who has done you a favor. In this cut-throat political world it is almost unknown for one vampire to help another purely out of altruism, and the use of boons as bargaining chips is very well accepted even amongst the elders. Some would say especially amongst the elders for they have the most to lose should the younger vampires choose to ignore the rules of 'the status game', and prestation is to a great degree the status game itself.

Boons are measured in two ways: the amount of benefit given to the debtor, and the amount of trouble to which the creditor must go. The balance between these is difficult to pin down in technical terms, and is often the source of much bargaining.

Types of Boons

  1. Trivial: This type of boon might be granted in exchange for useful information, using influence, or some other favour that did not require any great exertion for the creditor from her usual routine. They are most often paid off quickly and in kind.
  2. Minor Boon: The creditor has gone out of her way, and put herself to no small inconvenience in order to help the debtor, or it was something of some import to the debtor. This might include covering up a Masquerade break so that the Prince doesn't find out, or using influence to acquire a club for the debtor to use as a haven.
  3. Major Boon: The creditor has gone to great efforts or put herself at some risk in order to help the debtor. This might include being willing to spill her own blood on the debtor's behalf. Major boons also include saving debtors from great injury, embarrassment, or shame.
  4. Life Boon: The rarest and most potent of boons, Life Boons are tremendous debts that fundamentally shape the way two vampires relate. Almost all Life Boons involve the saving of the debtor's life, although from time to time Life Boons have been granted where the creditor has put themselves at great risk of Final Death in order to secure something of great import for another vampire.

Consequences of Prestation

While one vampire owes a boon to another, even one of lower station or status, the debtor is typically not allowed to "pull rank" on the creditor, either through status or standing. As a result, lower status vampires will often try to put off a debt being paid to them for as long as possible.

It is usual to pay a boon in kind - ie. a major boon that you owe could be paid by exchanging another major boon that is owed to you by someone of similar status and standing. But it is just as acceptable to exchange multiple smaller favors over the course of time, bringing major to minor, and minor to none. Refusing to honor a boon when it is called in is a sure way of losing status, particularly if it becomes widely known.

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ covers the "hows and wheres" of prestation and how the system works. Hopefully it will answer some questions that people have had, but ultimately prestation will be ICly defined, and controlled/enforced by high status Camarilla PCs and NPCs. This is simply a guide for the perplexed.

Q: What happens when someone grants a boon to someone else?
A: When prestation is exchanged, it is required for the boon to be made public. This might involve rumors or an announcement in the main Elysium. Typically this will state for what the boon is given and the extent of the boon - although it is not necessary to give details. The announcement is usually made by the boon giver. At this point, the Harpies & other Camarilla vampires with an interest in status games will take an interest in the proceedings. Status may be gained or lost as a result of this interest.

If it's not made public, it's not a boon. It might be a favor owed, but it's not a boon. '+boon/list <name>' is considered IC info for anyone who wishes to investigate the debt status of another vampire.

Q: My character is a Camarilla vampire who is interested in status. How do I act/react?
A: Take an interest in the boon announcements. Talk about them. Gossip. Use your own judgment to decide if you think the boon is reasonable. If you think it isn't then USE THOSE STATUS VOTES! (See: Status), and don't forget to contribute to the rumormill! ;-)

Q: How should I act towards someone to whom I owe a boon?
A: Vampire society expects you to acknowledge that you are in their debt until such a time as you are able to repay the boon. This does not mean that you have to grovel (unless you are a neonate and they are an elder, in which case groveling is advisable anyway), but you are expected to be polite. Also you cannot pull status on them - there is no social advantage for status against someone whom you owe a boon.

Q: An anarch owes me a boon. Can I enforce it?
A: You can certainly try. The prestation system is heavily dependent on status voting. A boon held to or from someone with status 0 is virtually unenforceable, though even zero status vampires like to have reputations for keeping promises. Eternity is a long time to live down a rep as a welch. In all things, remember face the music.

Q: I'm a Brujah! So what if I mouth off at someone to whom I owe a boon?
A: Oh, you're a Brujah. Or a Gangrel. Or a Loner. That's nice. Vampires are expected to understand that and will bear it in mind before denouncing you. ("He's so uncouth, but then again… he's only a Brujah.") This does not absolve you, however, from being able to apologise afterwards.

Q: Yes, but how am I supposed to know if the boon I am offering is reasonable?
A: That's the real trick, isn't it? Younger vampires, or those who have not been heavily exposed to the inner workings of the Camarilla, are almost expected to make mistakes. There is always the possibility of asking someone who has higher Camarilla Lore than you do for their opinion. Anyone with Camarilla Lore at 3 or higher is expected to be familiar with the more subtle workings of prestation (so feel free to ask theme staff for an opinion if you really can't decide). Ultimately, though, it's a question of judgement.

Q: I owe someone a boon and they have asked me to do something to pay it back, but I think they are asking too much…
A: You may never demand of anyone that they repay a boon in a specific way of your choosing, save for boon transfers. You may present the debtor with an opportunity to repay the boon, but they are not required to take it. If they choose to remain in your debt, that is their choice. If the demand was reasonable… smear their name for their temerity. Similarly, one cannot demand that a debt be revoked for a particular service rendered. Proper discharge of prestation should be given public airing. A well handled prestation exchange can result in both the giver and receiver gaining status (subject to the whim of the rest of the Camarilla) Remember: if it's not public, it's not prestation and you can't rely on the opinions of others to help you.

Q: What if someone dominates or threatens me until I give them a boon?
A: This is considered to be unconscionable, and any vampire who is found to be indulging in this sort of errant behaviour may just find themselves ostracized by the Camarilla. Prestation is that important.
No-one may ever be forced into offering a boon. If you have seriously put yourself out to help another vampire, and they don't honor that debt with prestation, you are free to publicize the fact and let the status denounces fall where they will. If you are in trouble with a higher ranking vampire it is perfectly acceptable to offer a boon in lieu of punishment (eg. if you have annoyed a Primogen) - this is not a threat. Beating someone up and demanding a boon in return for their lives IS a threat. (However, there's a reason that blackmail has survived this long. Sometimes threats work. Your character will just have to choose what to do.)

Q: OK, so I owe someone a boon. Wouldn't it be sad if they met with an unfortunate accident…
A: If you owe someone a boon, you should be spending your time trying to think of ways to pay it off, not ways in which you can take 'revenge' on them. Again, if something like this happens and is made public, the vampire responsible may expect to be ostracized, or worse. (Still, if you're clever and/or careful enough…)

Q: Can I swap a boon with someone else?
A: The short answer is yes. There are circumstances in which boons may be 'swapped'. As with all other aspects of prestation, when this happens it is required to be publicly announced. More on the next page.

Q: J owes me a major boon, and I owe C a major boon. C has suggested that he would be willing to consider our debt settled if I transfer the boon owed me by J to him. Can I do that?
A: Yes. In fact, if the boon he wants is from someone who is of comparable (or less) status and standing as yourself, then you are all but required to make this trade. Boons can be traded by those who "own" them. These trades must be publicly announced, however. If they are not… well, you know the drill.

Q: My character is going to retire. Can I turn over boons that people owe me to my friends before I go?
A: No. Don't be an ass. We expect you to keep IC and OOC allegiances separate. Please also refer to our guidelines on character retirement.

Q: N owes me a minor boon, and goes out of his way to do me a favor. He asks me for a minor boon in turn. Should I grant it?
A: No. The correct way to deal with this is to release him from the minor boon he owes you. Prestation is a zero sum game, you can't both be in debt to one another.

Q: What if N just saved my unlife? I should give him a life boon, shouldn't I?
A: As far as the harpies and elders are concerned, this is acceptable and expected. However, as part of this you must also absolve A of the lower level boon he owes you. Depending on circumstances and spin control, this may or may not lower the life boon down to major boon status, or even minor boon status. But in this case if you owe him your unlife, it might well be considered that the time you helped him get into that Oscars party is nothing by comparison. The main thing is, again, that two parties can never owe any levels of boon to each other at the same time.

Q: Well, how about if N is my best buddy/greatest ally/true love? Can't we exchange boons as a sign of our mutual trust and cooperation?
A: So, you've found that rarity of rarities in the vampiric world, a steadfast partner. Ready to stick by you through thick and thin, or at least work towards mutual benefit. Good show for you and them, but don't even think of using Prestation to acknowledge it.
Prestation is not about love, or honor, or camaraderie. It is about power, plain and simple. It is about those who Owe, and those who Are Owed. Vampires under the weight of even a minor boon to another should never feel comfortable. Even if they completely trust the vampire who they owe (and really, they shouldn't), who's to say that the holder of the boon won't get themselves in debt at some point and be forced to transfer your boon to another who you may find not so pleasant to be indebted to? Remember, boon transfer requests are the one way a debt of Prestation can be demanded to be repaid, with no choice on the part of the debtor (except, of course, the choice to have their status cast into ruin). So your "friend" really has no choice but to castrate themselves in Camarilla society, or turn your boon over to someone who could be your direst enemy. Now that show of friendship doesn't seem like such a good idea anymore, but it's too late, and if the harpies even got a hint that you had offered a boon over so "light" a thing (remember, these are ruthless creatures of the night we're talking here), you would be a laughingstock. It's not even necessarily malice on the harpies' and elders part. It's that Prestation is an old and deadly serious practice, that none of them can afford to see used frivolously.

Even a minor boon can become a nightmare in certain circumstances, and there's no room for learning curve where the harpies are concerned. Don't refuse a boon that you should owe, but similarly, don't ever grant one without realizing what you're potentially getting yourself into.

Prestation Commands

These commands help you to manage your character's interests in Prestation. See '+news systems/prestation' and '+news faq/prestation' to learn all about Prestation.

Commands Function
+boon/grant <person>=<type> In order to record that you owe someone a boon, you use +boon/grant=<type>. The four valid boon types are Trivial, Minor, Major, and Life.
+boon/release If you are owed a boon, you can release the boon with +boon/release.
+boon/list +boon/list will show you what you are owed and what you owe to others.
+boon/list <person> +boon/list <person> will show you the boons owed and held by <person> -if- you have the necessary lores.
+boon/transfer <person who owes you> to <other person> You can also transfer boons currently owed to you to other Vampires with +boon/transfer.

You can owe boons to any number of people, but only one per person. You can, however, upgrade what you owe someone. In other words you can +boon/grant a major boon to someone to whom you currently owe a minor or trivial boon.


+boon/grant Rachael=life
+boon/grant William=trivial
+boon/list <person>
+boon/release Woger
+boon/transfer Benedict to Lida

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