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 Themes of Vampire

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Join date : 2010-08-10

PostSubject: Themes of Vampire   Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:59 pm

The following is a snippet from the new V20 book, with my notes. It may help if you find yourself unsure of what to do with your kindred-self, plans in game, etc.

Theme and Mood
Over the course of playing a Vampire chronicle, you will explore a wide variety of story situations, interesting characters, and challenges. In almost every case, these interactions will illustrate the theme of the chronicle that the Storyteller wishes to convey, and will involve the mood of impending reckoning. That generalization leaves room for creative interpretation, however, and each of your stories will be the truly unique result of theme, mood, and storytelling.

Some themes are inherently part of the Vampire experience, and the Storyteller will either expand on those or introduce his own into the mix. Here are the core themes of the game, to better illustrate the setting.

A Beast I Am, Lest a Beast I Become:
Vampire lets you play the monster and makes you morally accountable for it. All of the protagonists are vampires: blood-drinking monsters who dwell in the shadows at the edge of society and subculture. Vampires have tremendous power, but that power comes paired with the Curse of Caine, which carries a Biblical gravity. Players have an emotional stake in these characters, and when we play the game, we see their dark side and watch them wrestle with morality. This timeless riddle implies that all vampires must fall eventually, but when and under what circumstances? These questions are at the root of the chronicles that we play.
ST NOTE: You are dead. And yet not. Maybe you believed in God in life, maybe you were always depraved. But everyone feels fear, even that of a beast fighting for its life, when the end comes. Ghouls definitely have a different view of things, never seeing a minute of change in their age, senses heightened, mind pulled tight like a tether or broken loose from too many bad trips. Question yourself, what does your character think and feel about death, undeath, feasting on the living, etc.

The Masquerade:
It’s the very foundation of Vampire. Once the character is Embraced, they are drawn behind the curtain, and everything they know is changed. The Kindred try to keep the curtain closed, convincing their prey that monsters do not, in fact, hide among them. Inevitably, cracks appear in the façade and the Damned are revealed for who they are. What happens when this occurs?
ST NOTE: Just because you are a Sabbat member, doesn't mean the masquerade isn't important! If too many people know what you are, they know a terrible truth. And even the most depraved mortal will fight to save themselves from the wolf at the door. And saying you are caitiff is NO excuse.

The Sins of the Father:
People rarely choose to become vampires. In most cases, a sire Embraces
them without much regard for whether or not the individual wants to commit to an unlife of predation, scheming, and horror. Likewise, the childe acquires the sire’s Clan, and thus his powers, weaknesses, and often predilections. This is all a great allegory for the Biblical idea of Original Sin, and deeply tied to the prevailing religious origin than many vampires attribute to the state
of vampirism. God cursed Caine for murdering Abel and, as descendants of that first vampire, all Kindred bear the stain of that primeval sin. This accountability, decided for each Cainite by the actions of her sire, pervades the vampire condition.

ST NOTE: You may or may not know your sire. Could have been an accidental embrace, or plotted through the years. Some sires breed and train a mortal family, or a found little protege.

A War of Ages:
Elder Kindred hate younger vampires because they fear new generations will
take away the domains they’ve fought for decades or even centuries to establish. Younger Kindred resent their elders for the ways they selfishly lord over their domains and refuse to allow the young to make a place for themselves. It’s like waiting for a promotion that will never come because the
person in the position above you is never going to die or retire — and you need your job to stay alive. Kindred history is characterized by the haves versus the have-nots, most often in the form of the elders versus the neonates. The Anarch Revolt and the subsequent Inquisition were the apex of this struggle in history, but it plays out every night on more localized scales of Kindred community and influences the way all vampires interact in the World of Darkness.

ST NOTE: What is driving your character? Fame? Rising above the other neonates? Claiming more than your sire? Complete some old grudge? What brings you into the Sabbat and Camarilla war? Just in the neighborhood, or staking a claim through deaths and crimes committed, battles won?

Inherent Conflict:
Sect versus Sect. Clan versus Clan. Rebels versus the status quo. The Man
versus the Beast. Everybody’s against everybody in the World of Darkness, and there’s never enough to go around. These conflicts color the other themes of the game, and what your sire has made you — in terms of Kindred, Clan, Sect, and outlook — automatically buys you a panoply of enemies.

ST NOTE: What do you hate? Love? Fight for or against? Have an enemy? Are you your worst enemy? What do you think of the wars and clans? Everyone has an opinion, even if you keep it to yourself.

Wheels turn within wheels. The Kindred as a race are skilled manipulators and
deceivers, the better to enact their schemes while maintaining a veneer of deniability. A neonate striking out against a hated elder might actually do so at the behest of that elder’s rival, who incited the turbulent vampire with a clever ruse. Indeed, some Kindred wonder if the whole of the Jyhad is the machination of the Antediluvians, and whether any vampire truly has free will.

ST NOTE: What do you believe? It might be completely wrong, or so close to right it's frightening. Typically elders concern themselves with the question of the progenitor Antediluvians. But some neonates do seek out the mysteries of the children of Caine, the beginning and end, the Book of Nod, and other supernaturals. There's so much more to this world than what mortals see, and you know this as you are a member!

These are the End Times. The judgment of the Kindred, Gehenna, is coming. We don’t know when, we don’t know how, and we don’t even know what it’ll be, but all of the grim portents of our kind indicate that we’re careening toward our reckoning. Do we rage against the dying of the light, or do we fiddle while our contemporary Gothic-Punk Rome burns? Are all these elders really so vituperative over petty politics with the Biblical Rapture at the threshold? What will happen to the mortal world when the Kindred judgment is nigh?

ST NOTE: You finally have found the truth of the world, or some new truth to it. Your life has ended and begun again. But damn the timing! For this is the end times, when the world has so fallen to the wyrm, to the corruption twisting within itself, that it has tipped the edge and plummets to its doom. And your unlife may just hasten it. But who knows what will truly happen at the very end!
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