Monday, 12 October 2015

Vampire the Masquerade idea: The Real Play

[On filming an actor without his giving permission to be filmed]
Robert K. Bowfinger: Did you know Tom Cruise had no idea he was in that vampire movie till two years later?        Bowfinger (1999)

  A Real Play is when a vampire directs other Kindred to create a semi-improvised story in real time, similar to a story you would see in cinema or at the theater, with one or many mortals as unwitting participants. The public will be composed of vampires hidden via Obfuscate, either by their own power or by vampires with the Discipline high enough to mask the spectators.

  The Real Play genres can be varied and can last from a single night session to weeks or even months of story. It is often frowned upon by the Camarilla as being risky, which draws many rebellious neonates to it, but even they will make sure their Real Plays do not endanger the Masquerade. They are nevertheless very cruel plays. A romantic-themed Real Play might involve a handsome Toreador courting a mortal woman for months, helping her in her life through countless difficulties (many which will have been arranged by the Director) and finally ending like many romantic stories would end, with popular choices being a promise of moving in together or matrimony. That is normally considered the end of the story, and then the Director, Actors and Obfuscators move on to their next project for the enjoyment and entertainment of the Kindred Spectators. The fact that the mortal woman's life actually continues with her wondering what happened to her beloved fiance just isn't a concern for most of the cruel vampires who participate in this 'art form'.
  It could have been worse for this theoretical mortal though. As you're about to read, the Sabbat handles it a bit differently.

  Sabbat vampires, as is to be expected, are much more extreme in their Real Plays. Vamprie Disciplines can, for example, re-create very easily a Haunted House scenario. The Obteneration Discipline of the Lasombra can prove particularly interesting for those. A vampire with good Fortitude and Potence can play the role of a Slasher to perfection. Technically, as long as they don't reveal themselves to be vampires and don't expose any actual Kindred weaknesses, they're not breaking the Masquerade, so while Camarilla elders would fall down hard on the participants of such a Real Play, the Sabbat elders will probably overlook it.

  In any case, while a Camarilla Real Play might end with the vampires leaving the mortals to their lives (Sometimes leaving the door open for a 'sequel' with the same 'protagonists'), Sabbat ones will often celebrate the end of a Real Play by feeding on the protagonists, so even in the event of a risky Play outright breaking the Masquerade, it changes little in the end.

  If the mortals behave in such a way that it leads to an unsatisfying or anti-thematic ending, the Director and/or Actors can lose face, either for having chosen the wrong mortals to involve or for not having done their job properly. Everyone's a critic, a no one likes to critic more than a Kindred at the Elysium.


Friday, 2 October 2015

Vampire The Masquerade - Generation House Rule

  The news of a fourth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade coming in 2016 has me pretty excited. So excited that I grabbed my 20th anniversary edition and started re-reading it, and it really put me in the mood for playing it again. (Especially now that we're in October!)

  That said, one thing that cannot be denied is that the rules for a vampire's Generation at character creation are broken. There's no reason not to max out that background, as it makes you so much more powerful. I remember reading one of the books in the early 2000's that discussed this, and the argument that the book had was that someone who put all his points in Generation would have no allies, no contacts, etc. That they would be sorely missing in other backgrounds. And I remember thinking how false that rang with the existence of bonus points.

  Vampire: The Requiem has fixed the problem since then by using Blood Potency instead of Generation. But we're talking about Vampire: The Masquerade here, where Generation is a strong story element. Changing Generation basically changes the very lore of the setting.

  Making Generation cost more points could be the simplest solution, but that's boring, let's make the solution more interesting here. (And all the while keeping an 8th Generation vampire just as accessible as it would normally be during character creation!) A player who chooses that background has to take a supernatural Flaw for every dot he puts in it, without getting any bonus points from those Flaws. You want to put three dots in Generation? O.k, but your vampire won't be able to cross running water, will be vulnerable to silver and will cast no reflection in a mirror. (Just a quick example, the book has plenty of other flaws which make this house rule very viable, it wouldn't run the risk becoming repetitive anytime soon.) Or to make things more interesting, the Storyteller could choose them, or they could be picked at random. (While of course dismissing choices that would break a character concept.)

  I wouldn't apply that rule to Generation lowered from Diablerie since that comes with its own drawbacks, the first of which is that you actually have to manage to do it to another vampire.

  Expect more Vampire posts during the month of October and as always feel free to leave some feedback!