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Starting a New Vampire Game


I am going to start running a new edition Vampire game and wanted to ask some questions. I had some really great ideas for an overarching campaign but had some troubles on how to start it off. Are most vampire games run as newly made vampires? If not, how do you introduce a city they have supposedly been living in for a decade or more? They would seemingly know the NPCs and the hierarchy and have no need for introductions correct? My idea seems to only work if they are around for about 10 years as a vampire. How would you start a game where they are vampires and somewhat experienced? It just seems weird to have a game and then explain the NPCs they would already know.

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
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A lot of Vampire games go for new and inexperienced characters who are still close to their human lives and have little or no power in the vampire political structures, and Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition in particular generally encourages it with human Touchstones among other things, but it provides options for characters who have been vampires a bit longer.

For older vampires, they might be residents of a fairly small city, or one that recently had a political conflict seeing in a new leadership, so you only have to introduce a smaller number of established NPCs.

If you want them to be experienced but not to know the locals, they could be new arrivals to the setting city (such as refugees from a city attacked by a rival sect or the Second Inquisition) or they might be long-term residents dealing with an influx of new arrivals.

As an example, the V5 streaming series L.A. By Night has a mix of established PCs and one brand-new one they introduce the setting to, as well as a smallish group of local NPCs that the PCs already know and various strangers bringing conflict with them.

Mr Blobby

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From my experience as a player, the 'standard creation' [aka the one in the book] is of a neonate [some 5 - 20 years undead], and usually with at least a basic level of understanding of what they are [which is why they have Disciplines etc]. This is an advantage for RP terms for it means you can in effect skip the 'training level' in which the PC learns what Kindred actually are etc. [Though doing it like that is a good way to teach player 'how to play VtM' if they're completely new to it.] In this case, that would be called a 'fledgeling chronicle'.

Every game I've played so far had my character as a new arrival to the city. With a couple of exceptions, they've all been 'standard creation' - so youngish neonates [embraced between 1995 and 2010]. However, I did manage to once persuade an ST to allow me to play a character embraced in 1968 by a good backstory; the PC not only had been in torpor for twenty years but was in his mid-teens physically [the Flaws boosting his sheet and the argument he'd missed some of his 'XP earning' in life and so could have a longer unlife]. If you are so willing [as ST], players may do similar; for example, one character may be older but they 'lost almost everything from an attack' [aka lack of Backgrounds] which also explains why they've come to the new city. It's this which is one of the reasons Backstories are important.

However, if you want the PC's to be local, there's ways around that too. You can issue each player a 'what you know about [City]' blurb, giving details of NPC's etc. If you give each character the merit 'Common Sense' for free, you can slip notes regarding things as they play. This is where play-by-post has an edge over tabletop; much easier to do this over a screen.

From my own experience, getting characters to the city is actually much easier than to get them to work as a coterie. Normally, the characters made are so disparate in background/habits/etc that they'd never associate with each other unless forced to. That's where you [as ST] come in; you need to make a coterie form but without making it stupidly heavy-handed. That's where your work in creation comes in; trying to balance the party so every character has 'something to bring to the table' and to create a situation where combining is vital to survival, or at least 'a damn good idea'. Careful studying of Goals / Personality of each PC is needed here; no 'paranoid loners', 'scholarly hermits' or 'wild beastmasters' - otherwise you'll be constantly fighting to stop those character from simply wandering away from the first whiff of trouble and trying to keep them engaged in the plot.


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Generally speaking almost every game descended from White Wolf runs under the assumption that the character has been doing their thing long enough to understand how their powers work, but not knowledgeable or connected enough to understand the wider power structures of the setting. Essentially starting characters in White Wolf games have just gotten past the "Apprentice" stage of character development. This is more or less true for most (all?) the World of Darkness, the Aeon games, Exalted, etc...
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