The Riot-O-Meter is a literal meter that I’ve used in LARPs in the past – basically what it is is a way to tell, at a glance, something about the overall situation in a city. Breaches in the Masquerade that aren’t thoroughly covered up and violence in general will raise the level of the Meter. Laying low and/or Dominating influential people help reduce it.
As the Riot-O-Meter goes up, hunting becomes more difficult. People are more likely to hear a bump in the night and think ‘Oh fuck a vampire!’, because they keep hearing about exsanguinated corpses on the evening news.
The Riot-O-Meter in this game follows the same progression as the shitty Homeland Security Advisory System: green, blue, yellow, orange and red.
Green: No one imagines there might be something as foolish as monsters who stalk the night. -1 difficulty to hunting rolls.
Blue: Some weird things have happened, but hopefully it’ll die down soon. Standard difficulty for hunting rolls.
Yellow: Ok, something is going on. Those in the know will begin to take notice – those who are hunting for signs of vampires now have plenty to choose from. Standard difficulty for hunting rolls. Good chance someone is being Blood Hunted for causing this.
Orange: Things are really, really bad. A significant chunk of people definitely believe there are monsters stalking the night. +1 difficulty to hunting rolls, and vampire hunting now becomes a hobby for your average survivalist, gun-nut, religious fanatic and/or victim. Blood Hunts all around and the Scourge is given free reign. Elders go into their hidey-holes.
Red: The Masquerade is breached. Martial law and/or widespread violent riots are now the norm. Soldiers and SWAT teams are given specific tactical training in dealing with vampires, and the news has periodic updates on sightings and how to remain safe. +2 difficulty to hunting and the military is enforcing a curfew from sundown to sunup.