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  • Advice for a struggling new player.

    Hi,

    I've recently joined a Vampire: The Masquerade game with my friends. They are replaying a campaign they had already finished and invited me to join. I'd played a bit of World of Darkness and nothing of Vampire, the rules themselves are not my issue as the ST is very good at helping with rules etc.

    The issue I'm having is competing with other players, these are experienced VTM players who already know not only the world, lore and rules but also most of the campaign (though they try not to, I can see a little bit of meta in their gaming) the ST is changing some of it as he is aware of them meta gaming whether it be accidental on their part or on purpose.

    I'm playing a Humanity 8 Toreador, she is a non violent, talk things over rather than punch, abide by the laws kind of character, far from what I normally play, Brujah would suit my normal sort of characters but I wanted a change. The character had been turned 1 hour before the campaign began and had no idea on Vampires, so it allowed me to learn the world and lore with her. The ST REALLY loves talking and political characters and his campaigns and have very little combat if done correctly. My character has recently taken over a part of Brooklyn which was unclaimed, the previous occupant a Malkavian was killed by the Ventrue Primogen after one of the other characters, the childer of the Malkavian messed up big time. My character has sided with one of the other Ventrue players and we have taken this area. The Camarilla have said we must hold it for 3 months before they will help us hold it. It is a Ventrue area now as the other character (more experienced than mine) has taken and granted me a good portion to hunt in, his character will handle the admin side.

    Now one of the issues is that the Malkavian character, has joined the Sabbat in secret and has now got an army of Sabbat in order to take our lands, and will offer the Ventrue the chance to join as well (The Ventrue was once rich and through gameplay has lost everything, hence my character trying to help him make something of himself in Brooklyn). Now I HATE PVP, I am well aware its a big part of gaming but I loathe it, I grew up where you were allies in RPGs, you worked together to achieve a goal, yes you had disputes and arguments but you never did anything detrimental to the others, this group especially the Malkavian do PvP a lot and they are good at it. I am a complete newbie to it, my character has worked hard in achieving goals and its all about to go downhill again for my character. The Ventrue will be offered the sabbat, I don't think my character will as my character is all for the Camarilla (they've been nice to her while the sabbat haven't) I do not know this in character, I do not know about the army coming to claim it however I do know that people will be after my land and I need to protect it somehow. My character is tempted to forge her own domain in some other area of Brooklyn anyway, she was interested in helping out the Ventrue character. It is potential she can get a loan off another vampire to claim some area of Brooklyn (providing I improve the area and make it nicer for kindred and mortals). My character is on very good terms with the Toreador primogen, good (for a neonate) probably okay overall with the Ventrue primogen, and decent terms with the Brujah prince.

    Does anyone have advice on getting power and position? And how would I go about defending my territory? My character is none violent and the prospect of her killing someone is unthinkable. If forced into combat, she is more likely to try and flee. I hate PvP and the Malkavian knows it and I think is pushing it with me as they are better, not happy with it but I'm determined to deal with it. I need some help in order to try win it cleverly and surprise the character and the player as they won't expect me to have any plan.

    The second issue. My character is being hunted by Vampire vampire hunters, they function by listing all vampires and demanding money off them as well as names of other vampires so they can list them and demand money off them and names and so forth. They have taken my characters parents and destroyed her life (I am loving this out of character, I think its such a challenge) they are formerly a branch of government, they chase the vampire as long as it is financially viable, if it cost too many lives or money then they would abandon it. My character is thinking of finding info and blackmailing them back and maybe get some media influence to start bringing them into wider world notice (without breaking the masquerade) however once again my inexperience is getting the better of me. I'm not sure how best to deal with it. Does anyone have any ideas or similar stories and how they dealt with it for inspiration? The Ventrue Primogen has said to bring the leader to him and he will kill him for me, but apparently the hunters in force would easily kill him and my character would prefer fair means. Our ventrue character is currently paying them off but they've demanded more and more money each month and now has run out of resources (hence the brooklyn area claimed above)

    I really appreciate taking the time to read this. Any advice is greatly appreciated, I'd rather not have people commenting on either poor roleplay or anything, just advice please. These are my friends despite how they are playing. I am so new to this game and I really want to keep playing but if I get pushed about as a player and a character then I'm going to find my interest in the game waning but its so much fun.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Read it a couple of times so I"m going to have to ask afew questions:

    1. IS engagement in PVP with the Malkavian completely out? Either politically or "Guess who has multiple actions in clan who doesn't?" You have some readily available options there.

    2. You have presence and the ability to put a magically addictive serum in people(blood and it doesn't taste like blood) I would suggest talking to the "hunters" and trying to get a better deal, perhaps even offering to sell out to them and ultimately coopting the organization.

    Comment


    • #3
      My advice is to raise your concerns with the group. Make everyone aware that you're not really interested in progressing a story that invites a large portion of conflict between the players and want more cooperation between the players since you're so new to the system and want the chance to learn like anyone else.

      This might mean playing a new story you can all be a part of, or it might mean the problem player making a new character that fits with the rest of the group. That's between you guys. This is an out of character problem and should be handled between you all like mature folks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Lian View Post
        Read it a couple of times so I"m going to have to ask afew questions:

        1. IS engagement in PVP with the Malkavian completely out? Either politically or "Guess who has multiple actions in clan who doesn't?" You have some readily available options there.

        2. You have presence and the ability to put a magically addictive serum in people(blood and it doesn't taste like blood) I would suggest talking to the "hunters" and trying to get a better deal, perhaps even offering to sell out to them and ultimately coopting the organization.
        Non violent PvP is okay for me, my character is not happy doing anything violent. I want to compete in PvP, I hate it but its a part of gaming and I'm going to have to get used to it really.

        As for the hunters, the Ventrue is currently selling out by giving names but he's running out of names so cooperating with them is having an issue. For the blood idea, do you mean getting them to drink it? Would that ghoul them and make them unable to hurt me? If it would work, it sounds an idea!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PazuzuAxelf View Post
          My advice is to raise your concerns with the group. Make everyone aware that you're not really interested in progressing a story that invites a large portion of conflict between the players and want more cooperation between the players since you're so new to the system and want the chance to learn like anyone else.

          This might mean playing a new story you can all be a part of, or it might mean the problem player making a new character that fits with the rest of the group. That's between you guys. This is an out of character problem and should be handled between you all like mature folks.

          I've voiced my concerns, they know my dislike of PvP already, in other games this has not been an issue. It just seems an issue in this campaign, my intention is to compete with them in this game, I'm not experienced at PvP so they know how to do it while I don't and I'd like to be able to beat them at their own game really. We are friends and this issue is not affecting our friendship at all, it remains in the game at all times. I'd just like to even the playing field a little. Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            PVP is NOT a part of gaming, it is an optionnal part of gaming and you shouldn't be forced into it if you don't want to. You should discuss this with your ST and fellow players.

            Another way to deal with PVP is to actually talk it out with a fellow player and decide what the outcome will be. Sometimes one of the player is okay with his character not succeeding, or you can settle who win and who loses what. Depends on the player though, but a friend and I have been using that, always asking each other "what makes the most interesting story for our characters? do we both get interesting roleplay from the outcome of the fight? are we both okay with what the characters will gain and lose?".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by EG2594 View Post

              Non violent PvP is okay for me, my character is not happy doing anything violent. I want to compete in PvP, I hate it but its a part of gaming and I'm going to have to get used to it really.
              Many other people are giving you rather wise suggestions on how to handle this oocly. And yes Vampire does try to promote a certain "every man for himself attitude" but.. its a short and self destructive path. The power of groups rising up against lone elders is a story that goes back to the First city in the setting, apparently each generation keeps forgetting this but its a rather simple one. A united Coterie is much more powerful than the sum of its parts and is much more capable of engaging with the world that is trying to destroy it, so playing a vampire who's united with their coterie and not looking to fuck everyone over in pvp is perfectly acceptable and powerful game play in Vampire.

              That being said sometimes we accept certain aspects of a game because we like other aspects of the game, and we decide to engage in aspects we like less because of this.

              That being said since you don't want to just beat him to death(which you could easily get a full how to run the system for this here). My suggestion is go to your primogen worried about how the Malkavian bragged about having gotten away with diablerie(expand the story as best you can) now as the Malkavian is already on the shit list with the prince. This should get him called in for questioning at the very least.. and possibly just straight to blood Hunt.

              Either way his secret is getting blown here, its a little meta but honestly politicing to get him banished/blood hunted seems your best ic bet. Without his secret connections the upfront Sabbat seige changes things so that you should be getting support quicker as Sabbat is everyone's problem.





              As for the hunters, the Ventrue is currently selling out by giving names but he's running out of names so cooperating with them is having an issue. For the blood idea, do you mean getting them to drink it? Would that ghoul them and make them unable to hurt me? If it would work, it sounds an idea!
              Have you or the Ventrue tried using Presence or Dominate on the hunters? If so what happened? If you both know icly about the problem compare notes. The situation is pretty dangerous for you as if the Cam finds out.. you are pretty much dead so you need to coopt them. So Dominate and presence along with ghouling should be the plan.

              Comment


              • #8
                Honest discussion with fellow players is the best ooc way to deal with a situation like this.

                For ic solutions, which usually are the best way to help build a good story, I have a few questions.
                1. What personal resources does your character bring to the table? What disciplines and how many dots? What backgrounds? What are their highest attributes and abilities? Whether they have an eight dice pool in Dex+Firearms and two levels of Celerity, or eight dice in Manipulation+Subterfuge and two levels of Presence, will necessarily dictate your options. Does the character have any notable weaknesses, like deep sleeper or a family member they take care of? What's their nature and demeanor?
                2. What is your character's actual long-term goal? Where do they see themselves in fifty years? Does pure physical safety matter most, even if life is boring and unengaged? Do they crave a small group of supportive friends they can spend decades enjoying? Do they want to make significant changes to the vampiric status quo through either revolution or politicking? Do they want to spend their time enjoying a particular mortal community, like artists, their mortal family, or an ethnic enclave?
                3. Quick problem inventory. Forget the looming threat of invasion. What is the character's most immediate problem right now, tonight, that they know of? Are they often low on blood? Is their haven uncomfortable, insecure, or unsafe? Are they lonely and craving relationships? Are they low on cash? Did the last game session end with them lost in the Borough Hall station, not sure which train to take back to their haven? Solving one or two small, immediate problems may help you learn strategies your character can use to work on bigger problems later.
                4. There are things we'd rather not do, and things we absolutely can't bring ourselves to do. What is your character completely unwilling or too afraid to do? You say you "hate" player v player physical combat, but don't mind politics. How does your character feel about that? Are they actually willing to die to avoid combat? How about betraying friends? Would they sacrifice mortal's lives to save themselves? Would they ruin families? Ruin communities? Does the character actually care whether they are Sabbat or Camarilla? How important is that 8 Humanity?
                5. A little more about the setting, rather than table dynamics would be helpful. Which neighborhood in Brooklyn is the Domain? Brownsville and Carroll Gardens may only be a 30 minute train ride away from one another, but they are different worlds. What is the balance of power between the sects? Is the Camarilla likely to be in control in ten years? How does the ST run the Sabbat... as evil blood nazis, or as extremists using questionable methods to confront a real threat? Are there powerful third parties, like the Giovanni, Anarchs, or Setites involved? Who are the adversaries of your adversaries? (I'm guessing the hunter wouldn't mind knowing where the Sabbat sleep for the day!) Help can come from the strangest places if you think around the corner.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My advise (and it's a general advise for VtM characters) is that have the other characters think your character is either too dangerous or too useful to be attacked.

                  It's ideal to find a good balance between both!
                  -useful but not dangerous=> you are disposable for bigger asset
                  -too dangerous=> they might go after you if they have a chance just to avoid you coming after them

                  Also the best way to win this kind of things is information, using auspex, blood bond, presence, contacts...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would really disagree with any notion that you should beg your storyteller to dial all the players back. That's the worst thing. I'd rather have everyone give everyone final death than neuter the game and setting.
                    Importantly; Does your character know what's going on, or is this just you getting meta?
                    Do what your character would do, forget the party, (unless there's an option that satisfies both parties) never do something your character wouldn't do just for other players.
                    If you do know what's going on, then trust your elders, and tell them everything you know. I mean, don't literally trust your elders, but as you've got no real ambition (don't lie, 8 humanity means no ambition) then your only reason to fear them is that... well elders have a habbit of being elders. Sabbat armies are mostly fodder and really don't mean much to the machinations of these fellows

                    You should always be using and cultivating backgrounds to use when shit hits the fan. Having a few extra places to hide, someone who'll get their hands dirty for you, money, a way out of the city. So on and so forth.


                    Be correct.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PewPew View Post
                      I would really disagree with any notion that you should beg your storyteller to dial all the players back. That's the worst thing. I'd rather have everyone give everyone final death than neuter the game and setting.
                      Importantly; Does your character know what's going on, or is this just you getting meta?
                      Do what your character would do, forget the party, (unless there's an option that satisfies both parties) never do something your character wouldn't do just for other players.
                      If you do know what's going on, then trust your elders, and tell them everything you know. I mean, don't literally trust your elders, but as you've got no real ambition (don't lie, 8 humanity means no ambition) then your only reason to fear them is that... well elders have a habbit of being elders. Sabbat armies are mostly fodder and really don't mean much to the machinations of these fellows

                      You should always be using and cultivating backgrounds to use when shit hits the fan. Having a few extra places to hide, someone who'll get their hands dirty for you, money, a way out of the city. So on and so forth.
                      I can agree with everything, but the part about Humanity 8 means no ambition.

                      A high Humanity restrains your options, sure. But that doesn't mean jack, you can strive for even higher Humanity, or for winning without having to resort to lies and force or something other still.

                      In a meta sense it is not logical to have high Humanity and high ambitions.
                      But how does high Humanity translate into having no ambitions?


                      So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Investigate everyone's backgrounds/connections/coteries/secrets. You don't need to resort to violence to be intimidating. They just need to think you could cause them trouble. Christopher walken is a prime example.

                        Exploit your knowledge of your opponents to gain influence. The vampire hunters are already showing you how it's done. They find you and exploit you to jump to the next mark. Also they'll find their ability to move around restricted cause they're influence isn't protecting them anymore.

                        You can undermine your opponents power by enthralling (entrance, blood bond, etc) their ghouls/human retainers without their knowledge. If you can keep it a secret it's an ace in your sleeve when they confront you and their people turn on them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PewPew View Post
                          I would really disagree with any notion that you should beg your storyteller to dial all the players back. That's the worst thing. I'd rather have everyone give everyone final death than neuter the game and setting.
                          Nothing about the game or the setting mandates pvp. A united coterie will more readily defeat enemies. This is hammered into the setting both on a mythic level(with the First and Second city) but also as foundational bits of the current kindred social structure, from the Tremere who's unity allowed them to fight 3 other clans who weren't capable of bringing such together, to the Anarch Rebellion and the Foundation of the Sabbat.

                          Betrayal of your allies generally only leads to destruction in the long term.

                          And its a game if the Op isn't having fun saying "I'm not having fun" is a reasonable setup.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Honestly, your greatest strength at this point is being a loyal member of the Camarilla. Your second greatest strength is that you didn't actually cause any of this trouble. Your third greatest strength is that everybody KNOWS that you don't know what's going on.

                            So here's what you do. Hide from the Hunters (and your Ventrue buddy). Warn your (Toreador) primogen that you discovered your Ventrue friend has been approached by hunters and that he might be paying them and leading them to other Kindred. There you go. You've helped protect the Masquerade. Good job.

                            Moreover, ask the Toreador primogen to help you hide until the Hunters are dealt with. You're a neonate and clearly can't deal with Hunters yourself.. asking for help is a sign of weakness, but the elders expect you to be weak, now show them that you're smart enough to know when to ask for help. You might even show them how compassionate you are by asking them to check in on some of your friends.. *sly wink*

                            Okay.. so honestly my plan has the flaw of expecting elders to behave reasonably. If, for some reason, the elders start to suggest that killing you may get the Hunters off their track, or that they might just be able to hide and let things blow over, remind them they may already be under surveillance and, even if they aren't, the Hunters likely are already tracking other Kindred in the city. Killing you or hiding wouldn't actually solve the problem.

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                            • #15
                              Firstly, my suggestion is to speak to the ST and other Players. It is difficult to tell if it is a Character, (in character) issue or a Player (playstyle/expectations) issue, and depending on which, I would suggest doing so in or out of game. It SOUNDS like a Character issue, but could be the other, or both. For instance, if it is a Character issue, do it in character, explaining and even showing in play what is important to you, how you can add to the group, and why it is important, bit keep in mind that they might have opinions, too, and it may not be an instant change.

                              What about trying to focus on building your...

                              And half my post got eaten.

                              Ill try again shortly.


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