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The Curse of Vampirism!

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  • The Curse of Vampirism!

    Hey guys,

    Once again I need your genius as this site has people with really awesome ideas!

    My group love playing Vampires, being immortal creatures of the night is awesome for us, we love it. But somehow, the curse is sort of an afterthought, yeah we need blood and yeah we don't like fire but the pros are awesome and lets focus on that. So I want to throw a curveball for my next campaign, lets emphasize that Vampirism is a curse, you are feasting on the blood of innocent people to sustain yourself, you cannot take part in the feasts of the nobility without vomiting, you are a walking corpse, animals fear you and fire is your fear.

    So I'm due to be running a game set in 1348 England, for those who are knowledgeable in their history, it is the time that the great plague came to England, the Black Death. Now during this time, due to the burying of people in mass graves, these graves were often dug back up again to put more people in it and such Vampirism was feared a lot because the skin retracted so it appeared that nails and hair kept growing, the blood also pooled in bellies so it looked as if they were feasting on the blood of people. So already we are going to have Vampire Hunters creeping about on the hunt for anyone acting like a Vampire, there is a whole host of disease going round in the blood of the people and good luck riding a horse to where you need to go, its going nowhere near you as well as the dogs going bat shit crazy when you enter the hall and while you are feeding on this innocent person, this person who tills the fields to create a life for his family and looks after his young kids and fire torches are the only method of light so that'll accompany you. The Lord wants you to accompany him hunting during the day and you need an heir for your title, good luck producing a child.

    My coterie like a challenge and I feel this will be a great challenge coping with their Vampirism in this time. My question, is there anything else I could involve that people can think of? My setting of this campaign is the curse of Vampirism, the characters must cope with this while going about their daily lives and human and vampire politics going on around them.

    My characters are:

    A Ventrue noble who was recently believed to be dead in a battle but has returned (sired) to his village, unsure of his blood type yet but has a wife and no children and a younger brother his heir eager for his inheritance and definitely doesn't want him to have any children.

    Another Ventrue, a second son who wasn't going to inherit, skilled at politics and the running of estates but poor at the likes of war who has the blood type of the clergy.

    A Brujah Knight who recently fought in the Brujah-Ventrue war which broke out in the local area, war is now over and people are "friends" again though the coterie are friends.

    A Lamia who had failed in her task to defend her Cappadocian and seeks atonement for her failure before returning to defending the Cappadocians.

    I'm hoping to get some sort of individual challenges for the characters as well, especially with the clan flaws. My Brujah may struggle in training if he takes a heavy hit from his sparring partner and he has to resist frenzying on him. The Ventrue who feeds on the clergy, in a village, there is only one priest and one can't feed on him every day. The Lamia has a diseased bite which furthers the spread of the great plague, one will doom another to death simply to sustain their own life.

    So yeah guys, I'd love some ideas. Does anyone know exactly how a Vampire feels? Obviously no-one knows what its like to walk as a corpse but surely it must feel odd, do they always feel cold but unable to warm themselves. Do they feel nothing for the people around them? If the nobles wife tries to bear him a child, he'll feel nothing throughout the experience and obviously have to spend blood to perform and be rewarded with nothing.

    How do people deal with feeding? Do you have a random encounter table to roleplay the feeding? If anyone has an encounter table they would be willing to share, I would be very interested!

    Anything you guys can think of would be great, I will juggle these curses along with the story as to not detract too much from the story but ultimately this campaign is more focused on the fact Vampirism is a curse.

    Thanks guys!

  • #2
    This is a good time to focus on the cost of feeding; Even if they don't catch the Plague, most of the possible vessels are overworked and unhealthy, taking even one point of vitae could risk their life; feeding from the sick will likely kill them and feeding from the healthy will make them vulnerable to getting sick. Even a lot of Animals are being Culled because people think they're the cause, so feeding on them is difficult too.

    Producing an Heir - Well, there is very little burden of proof that a child is the father's. If Ventrue 1 is pressured, he could say that his manhood was damaged in the war, and quote (or purposely misquote) the bible to convince her to sleep with his brother. Tell the brother that "in all but name" he can have the inheritance. (Ghoul him, of course) Fake your death at some point, and then you've already got inheritance sorted after death - Win.

    If the Lamia (only female?) needs an heir, it's easy enough for her to be "In Confinement" while a skullery Maid or any other Mistress of the lord produces the heir.

    The most difficult thing for Vampires is the increased security at the gates, being locked at sunset, only open at sunrise - even more people than usual at home for curfews, if they're not guards.


    • #3
      I made cards that I shuffle to set the difficulty randomly from 2 through 9. Then I shuffle in random cards to pop up random plot devices, side plots, or consequences from bad decisions(like a hunter showing up as a result of a masquerade breach).

      Also they can only gain 2 blood before each additional blood point is causing lethal damage to humans. This is a risk for high humanity vampires.

      Also in regards to the ventrue. If he has dominate 3 he can solve that heir issue easy. Force his brother and wife to consummate then wipe their minds. Of course this would lead to moral issues and some heavy heavy drama. Which if he is smart can use to his advantage.

      Look up anhedonia. Then secretly read the description to them as part of the scene to narrate their experience. Give them xp if they figure it out.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        Look up anhedonia. Then secretly read the description to them as part of the scene to narrate their experience. Give them xp if they figure it out.
        If Mortals don't work it out and start using the word until 1890, they've dot no chance in 1348


        • #5
          Vampirism can be a curse in any setting, but you've made one that really can hammer it home. Kudos to that.

          I always like to go the "careful what you wish for, lest you recieve it" route. Make them realize all the things they THOUGHT were good things about being vampires are actually bad. Kick'em from both directions.

          Agelessness? Begin by showing them an elder, so detatched they don't even know the plague has come. Emphasize the elders loneliness and isolation, unable to move with the world. Then, throughout the game, make sure to mention that the NPCs are showing grey hairs, or start walking with a cane. Their castles crumble. They will remain, all alone, in a kingdom time forgot.

          Monstrous strength and speed? Slip in mention of characters accidentally breaking things or hurting people. Unknowingly, they have become callous and hard to the world.

          Dominate and other mind control? As they use these powers more and more, slowly raise the difficulty or other social rolls. The powers become a crutch they forget how to walk without.

          And most importantly, accompany these revelations with Humanity rolls. Not for evil actions, but to ask the question "what have I become?"

          Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.


          • #6
            I think that calling being a Vampire in V:tM a ' curse ' is too much ; but I agree that the differences and the disadvantages that come with being a Vampire can be a theme that can be explored in V:tM sessions.

            You can confront the player characters with the fact that with the uncertain and poor state of living conditions in medieval times, a person being influenced, harmed, or killed by a Vampire could inconvenience or bring tragedy to many persons - to a single family, or maybe to a whole village if it occurs often enough or at the wrong times. Persons being controlled by a Vampire with Presence, Dominate, or through mundane means, or persons made a Ghoul, can result in a needed person going missing or not performing their usual duties. In regard to the nobility and the clergy - if they come under the influence of a Vampire or are harmed by one, then this could have even more detrimental and tragic effects on many persons in a given community, and beyond it. This can include the community suffering in some way; and also possibly the persons in the community taking revenge on any members of nobility, clergy, and also on persons working directly for members of these two groups. I am not sure in regard to the clergy being important to the functioning of a medieval community ; but it is certainly going to have a detrimental effect for moods of mundane humans if a member of the clergy starts behaving totally inappropriately. If multiple Vampires are in one location, then the chances of any of the above happening become ( much ) greater.

            As sense of community and culture of mundane humans revolved around shared ordinary activities during medieval times, a Vampire is at a risk of being completely separated from community and culture of mundane humans in her or his life.
            Last edited by Muad'Dib; 11-06-2018, 08:35 AM.


            • #7
              To emphazise tee Curse aspect of Vampirism you should also be very strict about following Frenzy and Rötchreck rolls and rules. That is demand rolls when insulted, humiliated, hungry and Rötchreck when ever there is a sudden encounter involving fire, servant turn the corner walking with a candle or a guard bringing the torch closer to see your face better Etc. The Beast is a huge part of the Curse side of things afterall.

              And do remember that even after a succesful roll to resist the Beast you still need to roll a few times more to gather the 5 necessarily successes to avoid succumbing to either condition.
              Last edited by Possessed; 11-06-2018, 01:15 PM. Reason: Autocorrect inflicted typos, added a final paragraph.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                If Mortals don't work it out and start using the word until 1890, they've dot no chance in 1348
                ??? This is meant for the real human players when the story teller describes their lack of joy in the world. Doing normal things no longer gives them pleasure.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
                  ??? This is meant for the real human players when the story teller describes their lack of joy in the world. Doing normal things no longer gives them pleasure.

                  Your intention was really unclear to begin. With the further explanation that's a fair point. The inability to feel pleasure but the burning need to. Of course there is always pleasing the Beast


                  • #10

                    Some random brainstorming.

                    Ventrue 1:
                    1. Mention to the player that blood will allow spousal relations to be simulated.
                    2. Make the Ventrue's feeding limitation "Adulterers" for no obvious reason.
                    3. The wife is found to be pregnant.
                    This starts things off with a mystery to unravel. A fledgling likely is not clear on vampire biology, and even if he is, given the Ventrue was just embraced they may have conceived before the embrace. OTOH, there are many other possibilities ranging from the mundane to the fantastic. Remember, knowledge of obstetrics and gynecology were... vague... in the pre-modern era.

                    Ventrue 2: It's easy to say a younger son has no inheritance, but there is a plague about. Sometimes whole families were wiped out. I would have the inheritance come to him. All he has to do is state his claim and attend a feudal investiture ritual with the bishop and the neighboring lords. No biggie. It's to be held at noon on Monday. Do not allow the player to just Dominate and blood bond their way around this. If necessary, give the bishop a low level of True Faith to make the player earn this the old fashioned way.

                    Brujah Knight: The war is over. Yeah. Umm, what if a Brujah elder didn't get the memo? The elder comes around to recruit the knight for a new round of fighting. The elder says (claims?) the Ventrue have broken the peace accord multiple times, including killing the elder's favored childe. Surely, a knight wouldn't refuse to come to the aid of a clan-mate? Except, there's no actual evidence, and a renewal of fighting could make things very awkward within the coterie. (Whichever Ventrue clears up their issue first should get the same sort of recruiting pitch from a Ventrue elder. In fact, nearly identical. So similar it looks a little like an outside power may be instigating a war.)

                    Lamia: What exactly was the failure? Is it at all possible to make it so the "failure" was, in fact, not her fault or wasn't a failure at all? (eg: everyone thinks she failed to protect an elder who was lost to the sun, but he actually faked his own death) If the Lamia figured out she was set-up, it would put her in a very difficult position. Ideally, she would admit her error and do her penance. If she knows it wasn't her fault, though, doing so would be a lie. Should she repair her reputation or preserve her conscience?