Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vampire 30 Day Challenge Day 3 Favorite Non-Camarilla Clan

This is probably the one topic I was dreading the most, so I suppose it’s good that I get it out of the way early. Here’s the thing, when it comes to Non-Camarilla (or more specifically, “non core seven”) I can’t say that I have a favorite. In fact, I really don’t care for any of them at all.

Now, I certainly have used them in my games as NPC’s, and they've generally worked well. And I've played in games where other people played one of these guys, and they were decent. I mean, I don’t actively hate any of them; it’s just that in general the “other guys” leave me without any particularly strong feeling at all.

I think it comes down to the origin of the “other guys.” The Camarilla Clans were the first, and were intended to fill in the niches of not only the archetypical vampires from fiction/TV/movies/myth, but also to provide a nice playable spread of “types.” You had your sneaky guys, your warrior types, your “faces”, and even your “magic users.” They were different enough to reward multiple different Chronicles, while also allowing plenty of room to customize and make each character unique.

The other guys, eh, not so much. Most of them came about due to a cool discipline they needed to build a clan around or a “plot roll” that needed to be filled (for example, the Assamites as vampire assassins for hire). As such, they tend to fall into the “cliché stereotype” realm rather easily. This isn't a problem when you have a one off NPC or even a PC, because, you know, it’s just the one character. But when you see numerous “ex-special forces bad ass turned Assamite assassin” it just gets tiresome. Heck, Quietus isn't even all that interesting of a power to me in any case.

And yes, I’ll concede that later editions did their level best to break these guys of the two-dimensional mode that dictated their creation. And I've had friends who LOVE Assamites (or Setites, or Giovanni, or Tzimisce, etc.) and have a true passion for these Clans. But no matter how much revision was done on the Clans in later works, and no matter how many impassioned rants I hear from friends, these other guys always leave me cold.

The exception are those Clans that practice Necromancy. Maybe it’s a legacy from my D&D days (or my Catholic upbringing, hearing about the Witch of Endor), but I've always found that form of “magic” to be particularly fascinating and intriguing. The Giovanni don’t really wow me as a clan, but I've always had a soft spot for a relatively obscure bloodline called the “Samedi.”

Now, I know that they are really nothing more than a walking “voodoo cliché” and that my knowledge of “voodoo” is based on pure, vague pop-culture. And yes, they don’t have “Necromancy” but instead have “Thanatosis.” And yes, they’re a “bloodline,” not a proper Clan. To all this I say:

Shut up. I never promised I’d be consistent and this whole “challenge” thing is an excuse to write long winded posts about a game I love.

Any-who, so, the Samedi. I've never seen them in a game, either as a PC or an NPC. But something about being a walking, talking corpse is a fascinating take on the normal Vampire. Also, they have a cool power—I mean, spreading disease and decay? That’s just nifty and horrifying all at once. Finally, it’s how they’re described—to quote the Wiki “Many Samedi find employment among kindred society in the form of assassins or bodyguards.” Something about that simple sentence really intrigues me.  I mean, who would hire these guys? If you want an assassin, there are people much sneakier than a walking corpse with Obfuscate—I mean, an Assamite or a Malkavian would probably be better. And as a body guard? Man, any bad ass would work as that, particularly if that one had some useful method of sensing danger—like, maybe, ANY of the clans that have Auspex?

Of course, when I first found these guys, they had Necromancy, not Thanatosis as a power. And the idea of sneaky, cunning, mercenary necromancer who travels to various cities as “trouble shooter” just sounded like a lot of fun to play.  Basically, I saw these guys and wanted to play Johannes Cabal before that book even existed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d certainly be willing to try and play one of these non-Samedi, non-Camarilla clans. Despite my distaste of the Giovanni, for example, I can see how a “family” game could be really interesting, but in general they get a powerful shrug of the shoulders to me.

The Vampire Primer

Vampire is a role-playing game in which the players take on the role of vampires in the modern world (Masquerade) or the medieval one (Dar...