Ties & Depravity
You have 10 points to split between Ties and Depravity. Every Point put into Ties can either represent a new Tie, or increasing the intimacy of a Tie you already possess. Every Point put into Depravity increases the level of disassociation between your character and the havoc he wreaks on those around him — it is not a list, like Ties are. It is a value, where the low-end (0) represents an empathy with humanity that will impair your ability to commit random acts of violence, and the high-end (10, let’s say) represents the complete divorce between the actor and the action.

For fun, let’s say “Tie 1” will typically be the middle-ground for typical objects, and the low-end for feelings and relationships (so your Car won’t be a lot more than Tie 1, and your fledgling crush will start here and soar). “Tie 5” will be the upper-limit for objects of monetary value, the middle-ground for objects of sentimental value, the middle-ground for feelings, and the low-end for obsessions, life goals, and the most important relationships (so the collector car will stop here, but the car you built with pa right before he died can have more Points; your girlfriend may sit here snugly, while your dreams of being an architect only begin here). Ties can exist beyond 5 Points, but not at character creation, let’s say. Ties are not important, usually, because of what they are — they’re important because of what they represent; because of the feelings they trudge up deep inside your heart. A car may be important to you, but really it’s the promise of the open road that it represents… a watch could be important, but it’s actually the perfection of timing and its reflection of a God-crafted universe. Go beyond the obvious. Figure out why your character would protect these things.

At Character Creation, you may place all of your Points into Ties and none of them into Depravity if you wish! However, no single Tie may have more than 5 Points. In fact, while we’re on the subject: you cannot begin play with a Depravity greater than 2… so you’d better spend some time on thinking about your Ties. Make them really good! Write them down! Give them names! DEFINE THEM. They do not start and end with whatever pithy phrase you concoct to encapsulate them. If they’re people, make sure the Narrator knows so he’s bringing them in as NPCs. If they’re things — let the Narrator know so he’s bringing them into play! The Ties are the real point of play here.

For every Point invested in them, you’re going to define one hard-and-fast fact about the Tie that everyone at the table will respect. You can feel free to count whatever facts are implied by the name of your Tie as “free” (ie, you don’t have to waste a fact clarifying that “Tie 5: Ma” is, in fact, your Ma). They’re the NPCs and plot points you care about — you want to look at them in the game world and you want to ask questions like ‘is this thing worth violence?’ and you want to see what happens when the dice tell you, this time, yes.

Also… be sure to pick a Vendetta.

A Vendetta in this case is going to be one Tie from another player’s character, that your character intensely disagrees with or disapproves of or has some sort of bone to pick about. That brother drinks too much… that brother needs to lay off the dope… that brother could do way better than that girl… and don’t get me started on Pop “leaving you” his motorcycle. Every player should have at least one Vendetta chosen; if you want to, hell choose more (but they have to come off of a different brother each time, until there is no one left who hasn’t been picked on by you — then you can continue to choose, following this rule). I’d love to hear about a group that goes ahead and plays this half-constructed game and has everyone picking a fight with everyone else about everything.

Vendettas are begging you to amp up the drama of the game — because Vendettas invert what I told you earlier about Ties… remember how your Tie is something you’re willing to pick a fight over? Well, Vendettas are that too — but in order to take them, stop them, destroy them, own them or something similar enough that any positive motivation doesn’t really shine through; jealousy and over-protectiveness are fine motivations. And a Vendetta automatically has a number of Points invested in it equal to the Tie it is linked with. When brothers come into conflict over this Tie, they’ll be on even footing — until other factors come into play (like who is willing to throw the first punch). And brothers most certainly will come into conflict over Vendettas. Especially since when you have a Vendetta, you define a number of facts relevant to the Vendetta’s subject — just like the owner did when they took it as a Tie. However, one of these does have to be “I don’t like X.”

ie, Joey Ribasso has 3 Points in his “Tie: Ladyfriend Elise.” She’s obviously Joey’s “Ladyfriend” and her name is “Elise,” but what else? Joey’s player defines three more facts: Elise is Joey’s Dealer, She’s a Niece to some Irish jerk, Joey’s Ma loves her!

Antony Ribasso — Joey’s Brother — takes his Vendetta with Joey and has “Vendetta: Joey’s Ladyfriend Elise.” This automatically has 3 Points in it, and Antony must create three facts. Antony’s player decides on: I don’t like Elise, She doesn’t know I don’t, She’s been stealing small amounts of money from Joey.

Since it’s a Tie, Joey is willing to get in a fight over Elise. Since it’s a Vendetta, Antony is willing to pick a fight over Elise. Not necessarily Depravity mind you — he can argue with Joey just fine without it turning into violence; any actions taken against Elise herself will count as Depravity however. Someone will get hurt somehow, and your character does it for himself and no. one. else.

Be sure to pick at your brothers for the Vendetta you have whenever it seems appropriate. You’re deciding right here, right now in character making that — yeah, it would be fun to have an issue with that. So, if that’s the case, then play it up. You want to control that Tie for your own good, and so does he. Go for it. If a character ever manages to succeed in a Conflict meant to resolve their Vendetta and decide it’s fate, the winning character gets whatever intention they declared at the start of the Conflict — and their Vendetta is now replaced by a new Tie worth the same number of Points as the lost Vendetta. This Tie must make sense as an extension of the Vendetta, and holds all the same facts the Vendetta did, plus more to reflect the context of the new Tie! The number is equal to the Points in the Tie, as before. The character who failed the Conflict does the same listed here, but reversed; their Tie now becomes a Vendetta.

The brothers finally explode over Joey’s relationship with Elise. The rest of the crew is willing to let Joey go on sleeping with her — even if they don’t approve — but not Antony. No no, not Antony. It’s his way or the highway. That’s just how he is. They get into a Conflict (and why not? It’s a Vendetta, and Antony is in position to get himself a new Tie out of it!): Joey’s Intention is ‘Get Antony off my back so I can enjoy my damn night,’ while Antony’s is ‘Get my brother to give up that no-good blood-sucker!”

Elise is Joey’s 3 Point Tie, so that makes her Antony’s 3 Point Vendetta. Since Elise is not actually the object of the intentions, each brother gets half their Points (rounded-up) in dice. They each have 2 dice to try and succeed with, unless they take greater measures. Let’s assume they do not come to blows — they do not Fight, they do not Commit Ultraviolence. If Antony wins, he will replace “Vendetta 3: Joey’s Ladyfriend Elise” with something else… maybe “Tie 3: My Squatter, Elise” with three new facts: “Turns out Elise has no place of her own — that’s why she was staying with Joey,” “No job means no money — means taking singles out of Joey’s wallet when he wasn’t looking,” and “She’s starting to get obsessed with me.”

Joey similarly transforms his Tie into a Vendetta and likewise adds three new facts. It is likely that the facts paint Antony in a very unflattering picture as a ladyfriend-stealing scumsucker. Whoops.

Stay tuned for Part 3