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NPC/Antagonist idea

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  • NPC/Antagonist idea

    Building a story for 5e and want to have a Malkavian who honestly believes he is fairly young, when in fact this is a split personality of a much older kindred. How easy/difficult would this be to pull off? Would his true nature be easy to detect or would his truly believing in this and possible other personalities mask his true nature?

  • #2
    Originally posted by GhostVolta View Post
    Building a story for 5e and want to have a Malkavian who honestly believes he is fairly young, when in fact this is a split personality of a much older kindred. How easy/difficult would this be to pull off? Would his true nature be easy to detect or would his truly believing in this and possible other personalities mask his true nature?
    Sounds pretty good.

    You could have him use Obfuscate to hide his original identity.

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


    • #3
      Young as in he looks and acts like a child or young as in he thinks he was embraced yesterday?

      For the first, You could rule that Mask if a thousand faces for him projects the visage of a generic child and it be the same child each time he uses it as a personification unique to this kindred due to his affliction. Those with heightened senses would detect him possibly though. There is a Merit in LARP that you could adapt for him to not automatically trigger Auspex’s passive trigger to Obfuscate however if you wish. It is called the hidden and is a merit that the Nosferatu have but could just be something special with this Malkavian.

      There are a lot more unexplained phenomena in V5, so these special traits could just be a part of the lore of this character and you could even create a loresheet that the players can access latter on if they wish to learn his/her secrets.


      • #4
        The part that makes or breaks a malkavian like this is how well the person portraying it can pull it off. As an ST it becomes an issue of making sure you know who you are currently speaking as and making sure the Players know as well, just that alone will tip them off. Alternatively if you are a player running this sort of character it comes down to doing tons of book keeping to keep all the different aspects of the personalities unjumbled.

        A player in a game from many years back pulled this off with a malkavian that had like 7 or 8 different personalities in the one malkavian. He made individual sub-character sheets for each personality to track who could do what things or had what knowledge. The nine year old piano prodigy didn't know a thing about guns, but the retired soldier personality could field strip his weapons of choice blind folded, just as an example. Each personality had its own xp score and grew organically through game play as it was used. The Player also managed to strike a balance of body language styles for each personality rather than trying to only do different voices and accents.

        Pulling off something like this can be incredibly taxing, but very rewarding. Though I feel I should put forth the warning that once you start seeing players or STs use this level of effort to add dimension to Malkavians…… you quickly lose patience for "fish malks" or players who think that acting quirky some of the time is the same as a constant mental derangement.


        • #5
          GhostVolta, how are you running the mechanical end of the Malkavian clan bane? There's surprisingly little fluff in the V5 version of the Malk flaw. The way it's set up, the Malk takes a penalty, equal to their Bane Severity, to one category of dice pools - physical, social, or mental. When the npc has a Compulsion or Bestial Failure, how will the penalty work? Will you have the multiple personality derangement active at all times, or only when the clan flaw is triggered?

          One immediate difficulty you may face is V5's Blood Potency and Humanity rules. There are a range of side-effects to higher or lower scores in these stats, both of which tend to correlate with a kindred's age. If your npc has a Blood Potency of 8, but the younger persona has a BP of 2, observant kindred might figure things out.

          Same with Humanity, only more visible, and weirder. Let's say the Elder persona has a Humanity of 4, and the Younger persona has a Humanity of 9. How does that work? If Younger activates Blush of Life and eats something, then Elder takes over... is the food vomited up? What happens if the npc loses three humanity? Is the Younger at 6, and the Elder a wight?

          Overall, I would suggest all personalities using the same character sheet to avoid unforeseen mechanical bugs. Maybe, just maybe, different Convictions or psychologically-based traits, like Illiterate or Archaic.

          As an aside, I once played in a one-shot in which it turned out at the end that all the pcs were living in the same Malk's body. We spent half the session trying to all meet up in the same place at the same time before we figured out why we kept missing one another.


          • #6
            So I’m still new to 5e, and was more or less just in the initial phases of building the campaign to start off. So here’s my idea thus far:
            St. Louis by Night
            The city was overtaken by the Anarchs during the Ferguson riots about 4 years ago. Using the unrest in the streets to mask a take over of the city from the Camarilla who were already suffering when their prince mysteriously vanished (it’s called the Calling right?). The PC Coterie was pivotal in helping the current baron take over and have been treated as close allies to him. His advisor/seer of sorts is a Malkavian named Caspar.
            Unknown to Caspar however who believes himself to have been embraced roughly 10 years ago, he is actually a much older kindred who’s split personality has been more or less in control for the better part of the last decade. How old he actually is I haven’t determined yet.
            The plot will revolve around the Coterie trying to solve who murdered the baron, and the plot to usurp power in the aftermath. All while Caspar, who truly believes he is helping them, is secretly the antagonist all along just unaware of it.


            • #7
              More details:



              • #8
                I think the idea has plenty of merit. If nothing else, it can be a source of hilarity, when you remember one thing: just because the Malkavian thinks he's a Neonate does not make him a Neonate.

                By which I mean, old Kindred are out of touch with humanity at the best of times, let alone what modern humanity is like or how they think. Having multiple personalities doesn't change what the character knows, or their lived experiences. Their knowledge base is the same, and likely terribly out of date. Unconsciously or not, the Malkavian's young personality does not act like a recently Embraced Kindred. They are what an Ancillae or Elder THINKS recently Embraced Kindred act like.

                Basically, it's the vampire equivalent of the "How do you do, fellow kids?" meme.


                • #9
                  Do if you get a chance to follow my reddit thread I’m thinking of flipping the script and having Caspar (the younger personality) be the genuine “dominate” persona while Hastur The Yellow King being a split personality that is asserting itself and attempting to both take control as the main persona while also attempting to take control of the city. Caspar himself will not be freshly embraced I’m still considering how old he actually is, 15, 20 years sense he was embraced maybe?


                  • #10
                    Just throwing it out their I intend Caspar to be a tragic character not comical, not saying funny moments can’t happen, but I want the players to see he is struggling with unlife as well as mental instability.


                    • #11
                      Though most elders do not keep up with the times your elder might have. He did live throughout this history and though he may not have consciously paid attention subconsciously he did. When his personality splits he could pull it off. The powers that would possibly give away the secret are pretty few so I don’t think you will have a problem with pulling off the story without a hitch. If you want to add in some achnonistic quirks to give it away you can but it is not necessary and very believable from a fluff standpoint. The reverse is much harder to believe as you have not lived through those time periods and have to go off of historical accounts which are imperfect and the fluff has many tales of Vampire that have fooled others into believing they are older than what they are.


                      • #12
                        Having read over your Reddit post, I have to say I like your idea a lot. Nice use of bringing the Mythos in there and I am guessing the Hastur personality isn't all that pleasant of a fellow. What I would focus on is what was the inciting incident that caused Hastur to go away and Caspar to emerge? Why Caspar/the Caspar personality? Does the Caspar personality care about staying around or will it wilt away with the gradual emergence of the Yellow King? What does the Yellow King want? Given that this is an one shot I think all of these questions are more important than mechanical concerns. This character would be a struggle as a long term PC given the way mechanics would have to work and what not, but as a NPC is perfect. You will have to come back and let us all know how this goes.


                        • #13
                          Thank you for all the feed back, thanks to grabbing up a stable player base this is now going to be a more drawn out slow paced story where the Coterie deals with this as the first major story arc, as a backdrop to other things going on that are tied into it. I will keep anyone interested posted as we begin play! Thanks again


                          • #14
                            Don't know how much has your history progressed or not, but instead of Babylon, you might consider relating it medieval France and the Albigensian Crusade:

                            - Carcosa probably derives its name from the medieval city of Carcassonne.
                            - The Hastur/Yellow King cycle has a bunch of subtle and unsubtle references to both Poe's Masque of Red Death and the bretonian myth of the drowned city of Ys.
                            - Catharism was a branch of christianism that, among other things, had a vision of the visible, physical world as a illusion, a trap created by the devil/false god to make humanity suffer away from the true, greater reality, something that can go amazingly well - or badly, depending on point of view - with Malkavian insanity, their understanding of madness as greater awareness/enlightnement, weird powers the combination of Auspex, Dementation &/or Obfuscate might spawn and lovecraftian themes in general (also, there's a path of the Sabbat that references it, in a twisted way).

                            Just some rambling thoughts that might or not be of use to you, at least i hope so. See ya.
                            Last edited by Baaldam; 09-12-2019, 11:22 PM.


                            • #15
                              So a little update,
                              Gameplay has begun! 3 pcs (Caitiff, Gangrel and Banu) work for the Baron of St. Louis. The political issues within St. Louis county is a little complicated (as vampire politics tend to be) and is there for backdrop and later story hooks. The Coterie has been tasked with investigating recent murders of children. Washed up on the bank of the Mississippi River the children have been drained of blood with no visible wounds. The baron is worried about the breach of Masquerade this creates.
                              So step one was obtaining some evidence from one of the recent victims for Caspar to use premonition on. That leads them to the info that another child has been taken and has 3 days left to live. Also visions of a large white van.
                              The Coterie contacts their “man on the inside” at the police to find out details about the latest missing child. They then head out to obtain info in the neighborhood. They end up getting a little info from onlookers that it was a large white man, bald, long red beard. The Banu Haqim character breaks into a local beauty supply and hacks their security system to get footage of the van in the area, the license plate is blurry.
                              Now the Coterie (has nothing to do with me) decided that their front is a security company, they install high end security systems and provide security for high end clientele. So they end up using their computer systems to clear the photo up enough to get a plate number.
                              And that’s where we left off, obvi I left our little details and just hit the bullet points.