Friday, June 6, 2014

Jaquaying the Vampire, Part 1

With apologies to Justin Alexander

I’m about to join a new Play-by-Post Vampire game, and I am incredibly excited about it. Vampire: The Masquerade is one of my favorite games of all time; and, while I still run it on a fairly regular basis, I almost never get to play in it. So, finally being able to try the fangs out for myself will be a treat!

I was able to get a preview of some of the action on it (Located at Bound By Night, hopefully I won’t get in trouble for mentioning it)  and I was immediately impressed by the talent and passion of the writers/gamers who are already involved. I don’t have a lot of experience with Play by Post games, and most
of the ones I have done have focused more on “frequent brief posts” than anything else. Bound By Night seems more like a collaborative novel than emulating the table top experience--which sound ideal for Vampire. Though I will admit, I feel a tad intimidated by the volume, creativity, and talent they already have display. Hm, maybe I’d be better off playing a mute character?

So, I have a cool opportunity to join what looks like a very neat game, all I need is a character. And this is where I’m stumped. I have NO idea of what I want to play. Sure, I've run and played Vampire for years, and I can come up with a bad ass anarch Brujah or a mysterious and cryptic Tremere at the drop of a hat. But this game seems far more character focused, so I want to play someone with a bit more personality and nuance.

Now, the way I normally create characters is by collaborating with the GM and other players. Asking about the game, it’s theme and concept, talking about what we all want to see and do in the game, etc. Then I filter this information through the various characters I like playing and/or types of characters I haven’t played yet but always wanted to. As the conversation progresses, I generally end up with a pretty decent idea of who I want to play and all that’s left is the math.

That kind of back and forth isn't REALLY an option, and that’s fine. I have a brief overview of the setting and the basics of some of the characters already in game. They are, in general, the beautiful, powerful, and fearsome Kindred which is awesome. Based on what I’ve seen, the players seem really dedicated to exploring the politics, social interactions, and sensuality and passion of the undead. But, part of my wants to play something a tad more monstrous.

Unfortunately, other than that, I have nothing. So, I want to do what I often do when I am looking for inspiration--I turn to random tables. They've rather fallen out of favor nowadays, but as an old school Vampire fan, I can site the 1st. Edition Storyteller’s Guide and Chicago By Night and say “SEE! Random tables ARE part of Vampire.”
This is a seriously awesome book!

Now, I was fortunate a few years ago to get my hands on some old copies of Jennell Jacquay’s “Central Casting” series--an AMAZING resource for generating characters. Specifically, the “Heroes NOW!” book (used copies available through Amazon here, it's Out of Print, and I think BEGGING for a Kickstarter/reprinting). This book will guide me through a character's life from birth and parents to “now,” right before the game begins. I’ll need to modify it quite a bit, naturally, as it wasn’t really designed to fit Vampire, and like any random tables, sometimes things won’t fit or be interesting. Of course, often trying to make incongruent things work together can be the best part of the process. So, the results are a guideline only as I try to come up with a new character.

Part II can be found here. Part III here.

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