[Let’s Study] God-Machine Chronicle Rules Updates Part 1: Aspirations, Virtues and Vices and Integrity / Breaking Point systems

Posted: May 3, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness
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Hello everyone, today we’re taking a peek at the new mechanics that have been rolled out for the Storytelling system via the newly released God Machine Chronicle book. It’s a big update, and we’ll be tackling bits and pieces of it to get a better appreciation for the new changes.


The new Aspirations system is a means for the player to set “goals” for their characters. At the Final Touches stage of character creation, the player defines three goals that they want to achieve and play through.

These Aspirations can be short-term or long-term, though a mix is always good. Aspirations are positive, pro-active statements and are a way to tell the ST what you want out of the game. I find that this is valuable feedback as far as STing goes, as having players hand out their goals gives me something to work on.

Virtues and Vice

I’m starting to get a sense that the game is moving towards a more “indie” sort of mechanic. Rather than choosing from a list of virtues and vices, players are now free to define their virtues and vices on their own.

These are adjectives that describe dominant personality traits. Virtues are those that further self-actualization, while vices are short-term coping behaviors. This opens a whole slew of different descriptions for different players. Thankfully there’s also a list of sample Virtues and Vices to pick from as well for those who have a hard time coming up with their own.

when a character’s actions reflect their Vice, they gain 1 Willpower point. On the other hand, if the character acts in accordance to their Virtue while at risk, then they regain all their spent Willpower.


The Morality system of the Storytelling System was one that was met with all sorts of reactions, the most vocal of which have been rather negative. While I didn’t mind having the old method, I do like the Integrity rules that take over this particular job.

Each character starts with an Integrity score, and this represents how well a character can cope with traumatic and supernatural events. A character can lose Integrity when they experience a breaking point.

Breaking points occur when a character goes through a traumatic experience such as witnessing horrific violence, something utterly unnatural, or experiences something that violates their sense of self.

Determining a character’s Breaking Point is done by answering a list of 5 questions that help determine what limits there are for a given character. While this seems awfully subjective, the players and storyteller are meant to use this chance to negotiate and find out just where the character’s tolerances are for such things. This way each character is different in the face of atrocity.

When a character encounters a situation that counts as a Breaking Point, the player makes a Resolve + Composure roll, modified by circumstances that can help or hinder their attempt to keep their psyche intact. Depending on the result, the character could lose Integrity dots and gain various Conditions.

I feel that I like this system much better than the original, though they behave somewhat similarly. I feel that this also makes it easier to make decisions on when a character runs the risk of degrading their Integrity based of who they are.

I’ve been playing nWoD for a while now, and while I haven’t really finished a campaign (they’ve always petered out for some reason,) I think that there’s a lot of changes here that show a more mature ruleset that places a lot of trust on the players and the storyteller’s ability to talk things over between themselves.

Overall, I’m liking what I’ve read so far and I’m eager to see how the Merits have been retooled. We’ll also be looking at the Conditions system and Soul Loss, a condition that is near and dear to any Mage player.


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