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  • Short question on the idea of Malkavian bloodlines

    Here's a short question of something I wish to seek some other perspectives on.

    I've got some ideas for Malkavian bloodlines based on the idea that they all share the same, or similar set of, disorder(s). But would this potentially be to restrictive, and if it is, what others ways can one build a theme for bloodlines of a Clan which is kind of defined by a weakness that change with every individual? Just giving them a new set of Disciplines feels like its not really building a theme by itself.

  • #2
    It depends what the precise derangement shared is, and whether you really need multiple vampires displaying that derangement to achieve the narrative goal you're going for.

    For example, if the theme you want to communicate is "everyone is afraid of something", then a bloodline whose members all have an intense, but different, phobia would be useful. Having only one Malkavain who is terrified of crowds won't have the same impact as all the Malks in town (ideally including a few who seem fearless or fearsome when first encountered) being terrified of something would.

    It might be a fun story if the Malks of the phobic line start dying off in ways that made their phobias seem not so insane. A Malk who is afraid of fire burns to death, a Malk who is afraid of planes dies when a plane crashes into her haven, and a Malk who is afraid of heights falls from a 23rd floor balcony. What happens when one of the pcs starts developing a fear of something? Is it prescience or coincidence? This is a story that could not be told without multiple Malks with the same derangement. Here, you need a bloodline.

    OTOH, if the theme you're going for is "being a vampire is, realistically, a sad and lonely journey toward the second grave", you don't really need ten different Malks all showing signs of depression to portray it. Indeed, having multiple depressives chewing the scenery could easily shift from a compelling, existential story into a table full of very annoyed players. One or two Malks, who seem to have everything going for them, but nonetheless seem distant and forlorn may work better.

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    • #3
      There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea. It all depends on what you intend to do with it. In your game, does it add more to the setting? Does it make the setting evocative or interesting for the players? Create more opportunities for fun stuff? Then do it.

      And simply creating lineages of Malkavians which do have a theme for their curse does not mean every Malkavian lineage needs to do so.

      If you are an ST and wondering if it is too restrictive for your players, then you need to talk it with them. But you can always test drive the concept by introducing one Malkavian lineage in the game, roleplay it out, and see how your players react.

      In the chronicles I ST, it is not unusual for me to introduce certain themes in certain lineages of vampires. Most of my NPC Nosferatu were of the traditional "Rat/Orlock" kind, but I also had a more monstrous "Grendel" line, and even rarer types like a "bat" kind. I often had Ventrue lineages with similar blood restrictions. Gangrel often turned into very specific animals due to their curse (although most were wolves). And many lineages (regardless of clans) had common Flaws or Merits to distinguish them. I had one Toreador lineage which had the Flaw of don't cast reflections. Besides the Lasombra rumors (although they had an impeccable Toreador pedigree), I had a good time telling a story of one of their childer who did not have the Flaw, and how it created envy and resentment from the others. It lead to some fun things for the PCs. But I didn't do it for every single lineage - too much work and I also think once you add too much spice, it overrides the other kinds of taste.

      So if you have an interesting concept that adds to the game, go ahead and do it. But don't feel like you have to do it for every single Malkavian.

      I use lineage instead of Bloodline, because Bloodlines should exist for chronicle metaplot reasons - you want to tell a specific story about them. But lineages are standard.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gurkhal View Post
        Here's a short question of something I wish to seek some other perspectives on.

        I've got some ideas for Malkavian bloodlines based on the idea that they all share the same, or similar set of, disorder(s). But would this potentially be to restrictive, and if it is, what others ways can one build a theme for bloodlines of a Clan which is kind of defined by a weakness that change with every individual? Just giving them a new set of Disciplines feels like its not really building a theme by itself.
        It's definitely not unusual for childer to have the same derangement as their sire, but I'm not sure how common it is in canon. I think a story teller could go either way, making it the norm or making it rare.

        I don't think it's restrictive. After all when you make a Malkavian character you have to make a derangement. Having her sire and grandsire, etc have the same or a similar derangment would just be baked into the concept.

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        • #5
          I admit, I've toyed with the idea of standardizing the fact all Malkavians share the same derangement:

          VOICES -

          Malkavians constantly hear voices all the time, whispering sweet nothings and dark secrets. It's perpetually distracting and results in them possessing a +1 difficulty to all social rolls (to a maximum difficulty of 10). They perpetually seem distracted, irritated, and often blurt out information they couldn't possibly know. They, furthermore, botch more easily when frenzying with a 2 counting as a 1 whenever they roll. This means they suffer derangements more easily than other Kindred.


          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys! I'm chewing through this and as usual you deliver good stuff. The idea of, to my understanding, lineages who are not as divergent from the main Clan as to be a bloodline in their own right but still different is interesting. Lots of food for thought in these posts.

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            • #7
              Uhm, the idea of a bloodline sharing the same derangement seems to me kind of distant from the Malkavian.
              I mean, I made a bloodline of Ventrue that share the same derangement and I think that's fine, but the Malkavian trope is not as much that they are crazy, but that you don't know what to expect from them.
              You can have the bunny-dressed guy that makes his nights making innocent jokes with passerby near the police station, and you can have the bunny-dressed girl that pass her nights scraping a cleaver against the window of a child, just long enough to awake him, but then vanishing.
              Both are bunny-dressed Malks that do mischiefs, but they are entirely different.
              Of course this was an extreme example

              What I could see instead than a common derangement for a Malk bloodline, is a common theme for derangements.
              Take for example "insect", a sire can actually think he is some sort of insect's mutation (blood-eating insect aren't that uncommon) while her childe may have fear of every insect, a second childe can't feed if first she didn't gorged her mouth with some kind of insect and the childe of the latter is paranoically sure insect are highly intelligent beings that are spying on her.

              This would a hell of a bloodline...


              Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes

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              • #8
                I think that I shall provide an example from what I'm thinking about in order to make the discussion less abstract and more concrete.

                Thus I present to you the concept for a Malkavian bloodline called the Dominii (sing. Dominus) and nicknamed as Domesticators. The concept draw inspiration from mad Roman Emperors to domestic tyrants, like that guy in Austria who kept his daughter locked into the basement for years on end, and so on. This is mostly imagined to be NPCs and that they are a kind of expression of the irrationality of feelings of superiority on the social side and, in my view, the madness and inherent weakness of absolute power held by a single person on the political.

                I imagine that they will mostly be having small communities under their arbitrary thumb whom they torment in order to keep themselves up and going strong. Either under the pretense of the common good or just ruling over it through force and fear. And yes, Sire-Childer relations will be intensely unhealthy and strained given both's desire to domainte and control the other.

                I could have made them into Ventrue but I feel that making them Malkavians drive home some of the problems with selfish leadership and concentration of power.

                Option 1 - Make them into a proper bloodline with their own weakness and set of disciplines

                Weakness: Psycopathic Disorder (for now, the best I could find)
                Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Potence

                Option 2 - Make them into a bloodline with a theme for their disorder weakness
                Disorder theme: Domination
                Disciplines: Auspex, Domainte, Potence

                Option 3 - Make them into a lineage with a theme but the same set of disciplines as the standard Clan
                Weakness theme: Domination
                Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate

                I hope this will help the discussion somewhat.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SalamanDer View Post
                  Uhm, the idea of a bloodline sharing the same derangement seems to me kind of distant from the Malkavian.

                  I mean, I made a bloodline of Ventrue that share the same derangement and I think that's fine, but the Malkavian trope is not as much that they are crazy, but that you don't know what to expect from them.

                  You can have the bunny-dressed guy that makes his nights making innocent jokes with passerby near the police station, and you can have the bunny-dressed girl that pass her nights scraping a cleaver against the window of a child, just long enough to awake him, but then vanishing.

                  Both are bunny-dressed Malks that do mischiefs, but they are entirely different.

                  Of course this was an extreme example

                  What I could see instead than a common derangement for a Malk bloodline, is a common theme for derangements.
                  Sire and childer with the same derangement is not unheard of.

                  Jacob/Esau is a 5th generation Malkavian with mutliple personalities that hate each other.

                  He is the sire of Theresa/Jeanette Voerman who has multiple personalities that hate each other.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alucard View Post
                    Sire and childer with the same derangement is not unheard of.

                    Jacob/Esau is a 5th generation Malkavian with mutliple personalities that hate each other.

                    He is the sire of Theresa/Jeanette Voerman who has multiple personalities that hate each other.
                    Of course, I was just saying that making a bloodline with a standardized typical derangement is kind of boring, for the Malks


                    Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gurkhal View Post
                      ...

                      Option 1 - Make them into a proper bloodline with their own weakness and set of disciplines

                      Weakness: Psycopathic Disorder (for now, the best I could find)
                      Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Potence

                      Option 2 - Make them into a bloodline with a theme for their disorder weakness
                      Disorder theme: Domination
                      Disciplines: Auspex, Domainte, Potence

                      Option 3 - Make them into a lineage with a theme but the same set of disciplines as the standard Clan
                      Weakness theme: Domination
                      Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate

                      ...
                      I like it a great deal. It would make good antagonists in a story, but could also make for an interesting inner conflict for pcs who want to maintain Humanity, but are driven by a power fixation. A resource you might find useful is some work that's been done on a proposed personality disorder related to power strivings. It might help you write up actual mechanics for the shared derangement.

                      I'm not sure how options 1 and 2 differ, but I like all three. Have you considered dropping Auspex for Potence, leaving you with Dominate, Obfuscate, and Potence? I've always associated Auspex with groups that "get it", in their inner motivations, outer phenomena, or both. People with increased power strivings often have an unrealistic view of themselves and others, which may run counter to the Auspex associations. Plus, Obfuscate makes for a much creepier villain.

                      I would be careful about allowing this for vampires in the Sabbat or on certain Paths (Power and Inner Voice, especially) as it could become a weaksauce weakness.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

                        I like it a great deal. It would make good antagonists in a story, but could also make for an interesting inner conflict for pcs who want to maintain Humanity, but are driven by a power fixation. A resource you might find useful is some work that's been done on a proposed personality disorder related to power strivings. It might help you write up actual mechanics for the shared derangement.

                        I'm not sure how options 1 and 2 differ, but I like all three. Have you considered dropping Auspex for Potence, leaving you with Dominate, Obfuscate, and Potence? I've always associated Auspex with groups that "get it", in their inner motivations, outer phenomena, or both. People with increased power strivings often have an unrealistic view of themselves and others, which may run counter to the Auspex associations. Plus, Obfuscate makes for a much creepier villain.

                        I would be careful about allowing this for vampires in the Sabbat or on certain Paths (Power and Inner Voice, especially) as it could become a weaksauce weakness.
                        Thanks for the link, that was gold and just what I was looking for.

                        In regards to Discipline I did consider giving them Obfuscate instead of Auspex but decided that I see them as not subtle people who are better in seeing oppertunities, and victims, than hiding themselves. But you make some pretty good arguments in regard to them having Obfuscate. I'll chew on that one for further thought. But I suspect that you may be right that Obfuscate may be better in that they should be more about deceptions than understanding, so I'll change the Discipline set.

                        As for the difference between versions 1 and 2, the difference is that in 1 they get a fixed derangement and in 2 they can pick any they want but it should be done according to the theme of domination.

                        You are totally right in that this Bloodline would be watered down with a Path focused on power and its aquisition so that's a good reason to keep them in the Masquerade-aligned vampire community. And also because in the Sabbat, they could easily become, essentially, Lasombra-without-Obteneration.

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                        • #13
                          Depending on what you want as an end result, you could have a group of Malkavians that come together for assistance dealing with similar derangement. Not a bloodline or lineage, more a club or support group of Phobics or Multiple personality disorders, etc.

                          It could a a good reason to have them all in one city, where a lineage might slip across the globe.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                            Depending on what you want as an end result, you could have a group of Malkavians that come together for assistance dealing with similar derangement. Not a bloodline or lineage, more a club or support group of Phobics or Multiple personality disorders, etc.

                            It could a a good reason to have them all in one city, where a lineage might slip across the globe.
                            That could also work but I've got a few extra ideas for that. One of them is that the Bloodline is primary made fo the Victorian Age setting and thus one idea I have is that the Bloodline will heighten uneven power in relations, in this case in particular between Sires and Childer but also that the Bloodline, very symbolically, is at strength in the cities of London, Berlin, Vienna and S:t Petersburg, four cities that to me symbolize power and domination but without wisdom or some great sense if duty to come with that power. Or at least that's how I view it at current and if someone more informed than me would like to point out that I am wrong, I will be happy to change this aspect of the Bloodline.

                            EDITED: Added Vienna to the cities mentioned.
                            Last edited by Gurkhal; 09-23-2018, 05:10 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                              Depending on what you want as an end result, you could have a group of Malkavians that come together for assistance dealing with similar derangement. Not a bloodline or lineage, more a club or support group of Phobics or Multiple personality disorders, etc.

                              It could a a good reason to have them all in one city, where a lineage might slip across the globe.
                              But at a meeting for Malkavians with multiple-personality disorder wouldn't you spend the whole meeting taking roll-call? (sound effect)

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