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Splat is a generic term for factions or groups in White Wolf games, e.g. clans, tribes, factions and kiths. A more official term sometimes used, especially for games in the Chronicles of Darkness, is "character axis".

History and origin Edit

Back in the days of early dot-matrix printers, the asterisk resembled a squished insect, with six legs splayed out. As a result, it was often referred to as a "splat" by programmers who wished to save time (something like calling the "exclamation point" a "bang"). In later computer usage, it was often used as a wildcard character in searches to represent any or all results; e.g. searching a directory for "*.bat" would display all files that ended with the .bat extension.

As a result, on USENET when discussing the clanbooks (and tribebooks, tradition-books, etc.), many people began referring to them as "*books." This evolved into the term "splatbook." Naturally, it followed that a clan, tribe or other faction would therefore be a splat.

Splat axis Edit

Each new World of Darkness game has two "axes" of (usually) five splats: one inherent and supernatural, and one chosen by the character, which may be social, political or philosophical. (There is often a sixth choice representing no alignment on this second axis, with several additional splats presented as options for Storyteller characters.) This arrangement is generally referred to as the "5x5" system. Each game also has an additional minor splat type (like Kindred bloodlines) that are unavailable at character creation, but may be joined later; examples of these are presented in each core book, with more presented in later supplements.

Some earlier games used similar inherent/social divisions of splats, notably Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Wraith: The Oblivion, Demon: The Fallen, and the Dark Ages: Vampire revision of the Dark Medieval setting.

Fatsplats, secondary splats, and tiers Edit

Exalted has much larger hardcover supplements, nicknamed "fatsplats", which tend to cover an entire type of Exalted (such as the Lunars or Alchemicals). This term was later applied to the various Chronicles of Darkness game lines (Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening et al), which are all arguably fatsplats of the main CofD: World of Darkness: Storytelling System Rulebook Bullet-pdf Bullet-nip.

In many games, some splats have minor or secondary splats that function as a subtype of a particular parent splat. The most prominent examples of these secondary splats (or "sub-splats") are bloodlines, which are a subset of the clans in both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem. Likewise, several games feature factions as a subsplat of a social splat.

Hunter: The Vigil introduced the concept of organizing splats by tiers of influence. Tier 1 "splats" are small-scale, and exist only on the equivalent level of the player characters' troupe. Tier 2 splats function on a city- or region-wide level, while tier 3 splats are global in scope. Danse Macabre introduced the concept of tiers to Vampire: The Requiem, establishing the extant social splats (the covenants) as existing at tier 2. Imperial Mysteries introduced the notion of tier 4 splats in Mage: The Awakening; these splats function on a cosmic level of play.

Splat types Edit

Ars Magica Edit

Ars Magica introduced the concept of splats, although the term did not emerge until after the game had left White Wolf's hands. The splats in Ars Magica are the Houses of the Order of Hermes, some of which would be retained when the Order was reinvented by Mage: The Ascension.

Classic World of Darkness Edit

While multiple splat types existed in Classic World of Darkness games, the majority had only one main type. These "main splat types" are bold in the following entries.

Trinity Universe games Edit

It is notable that Aberrant is perhaps the only major White Wolf game that does not have splats; every Nova is considered unique. The closest characters in Aberrant have to a splat is their allegiance, which has no mechanical bearing on the character and which may change organically over the course of play.

Exalted Edit

Chronicles of Darkness Edit

Most Chronicles of Darkness ("New" World of Darkness) games use the "5x5" axis system, as described above. In this list, the inherent splat is given first, and the social splat is second. Minor splats and exceptions are described after these two main axes.

Scion Edit

The "splats" used in Scion are the scion's parent god, and the pantheon to which that divine parent belongs.

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