Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

VTM: Why the Masquerade will last.

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • VTM: Why the Masquerade will last.

    The Masquerade is strong, really strong. Like so strong your cockhead players couldn't blow it if they sired A US president on live television. A lot of people don't seem to realise this, so I'll explain why.

    Ignoring the possibility of an unprecedented sequence of astonishing interdependent freak occurrences (you may only guess as to what I am refering too) At least until we move into an era of cyberpunk, the masquerade will last. Unless thermal imaging devices become extroadinarily common place, and vampires don't come up with countermeasures (unlikely, but those might not become widespread) The masquerade should last till Gehenna or till the Technocracy finally commits to a pogrom.

    1: Vampires don't need to resort to Dominate to control the top of society.
    Vampires are charismatic, Vampires are rich, Vampires can offer illicit pleasures. Vampires can be the best friend of any senator, mayor, police chief, media tycoon, union boss or otherwise anyone worth influencing.
    Consider this; Why is the USA always at war? Because the people who make bombs and planes pay politicians millions to vote for war and so that the government will spend billions. While the young rabble vampires most players play aren't multi-millionaires, Vampires that live long rarely don't meet a great standard of wealth; At the very least the "poor" neonates can come together and pool considerable sums, to say nothing of Elders. Wealthy vampires or groups continuously put money into politics and make friends in high places in order to shape their environment to suit them; Ensuring that the chosen elite get low taxes, planning permission for that project, that the law looks the other way, and that certain troublesome institutions stay underfunded; A big gap between rich and poor, lack of education, high crime rate and low trust in law enforcement all combine to create safe, easy feeding grounds. Vampires will finance campaigns so that their Yes-men are far more likely to get into offices and do their best to ensure that troublesome opponents don't get power. Beyond all that, vampires can supply expensive gifts, drugs, sex to those they want to be in good with, and they can blackmail should things deteriorate. Only a few of many vampires need to take this approach, the young don't want to acknowledge it, but they're reaping the benefits of elder machinations without lifting a finger.

    2. Nobody important cares
    Look at the entire investigations can just go missing and be forgotten about or the case of this high profile star. who really wasn't all that good at keeping a secret; and Britain is supposed to be a relatively nice country with little corruption. If elites are content to work with and protect pedophiles, why would they go against vampires? Racism? Racism on the level of violence is for the poor. Rich people need to protect the rich and control the working classes; doesn't matter who it is or what they've done. The wealthy can never be at the mercy of the poor. If one elite goes down, his friends get investigated, then their friends are investigated; They can't have that. That's the real world; In the World of Darkness the problems here are only stronger. Going with the Vampire is all carrot, going against the vampire is all stick. The rich might move against the vampires should the masquerade break and public outcry demands it, but until then, people move only for benefits.

    3. Nobody smart is doing anything about it. Only sore losers go after vampires.
    "Going with the vampire is all carrot, going against the vampire is all stick"
    Even if (and you probably are) ignorant of a vampire's true nature, anyone with 2 or more points in intelligence and some degree of life experience will know what's best left alone. Vampires offer a lot of good things. Going against a vampire is suicidal. At the very least you will lose your job, your chance of getting another job and your reputation. You may be visited by the Mob and/or end up in jail. Knowing more and you will put your family at risk, your life at risk. You might one day find yourself holding a gun and shooting your way around the office; and for what? To persecute a single vampire? How much more of them are there? Does anyone else know? Why haven't people already done something about this?
    And then it dawns on you; You really, really should just pretend you don't know anything.
    Of course, if you've got nothing to lose, or you're an idiot, knock yourself out. But the closer people are to a possition where they can really do some damage to vampires, the more they have to lose. This is why most hunters are yokels and isolated victims that're easy to deal with.

    3.1 Just because I know it's a point of contention.
    Hunters aren't free to do as they please. The Society of Leopold work because they're a disconnected bunch of survival cultists who put their bases in the middle of nowhere, aren't likely to cause serious damage because of the disconnect they use to protect themselves. The Arcanum work because they don't actually do anything. Big government is worth discussing:
    The heads of large government organizations are publicly known figures. They, like anyone of importance, receive great generosity from vampires. While on a very small scale, some goverment agents may fight vampires, they are doing so against their organization. The more personnel involved, the more funding, sources and material they use, the more likely they're going to be caught. They have absolutely no chance of organizing anything large scale with other goverment agencies due to the fear of being caught and both parties maintaining secrecy from everyone. These people work against vampires out of greivances or because they want a challenge or because they "wanted to do good"; evidently they're not the best of their organizations. Unlike the off-grid crazies of the Society of Leopold, these people are employees that can be held accountable for their actions and they are supervised by people who do not want them to do what they're doing. Since we'd like to believe that those who work in the government are intelligent (those that got in by nepotism aren't likely to swim against the current) hunters will be few, and all of them will come to believe that human ignorance is what protects humanity (or at the very least these agent-hunters can't attempt to expose vampires without exposing themselves)

    4. Humans don't believe, don't want to believe, and have all the excuses in the world.
    "wow, CGI is getting really good nowadays" "fake footage" "Is this viral marketing?" "Did you steal this story from a manga?"
    Imagine you saw a large man get their throat ripped out by the mouth of a much smaller woman. First off; You'd be in shock. How would you explain what you saw to others? No doubt, everyone would doubt you, so how could not doubt yourself? Most people rationalize it as something else at this point. Memories are mutable they say. It was the shock. Definitely the shock. If the large man was personally close to you and you knew him and you're unwilling to let it go, you probably don't even know where to start, and if you do; you're probably going to get a visitor sometime in the near future.


    5. Oh yeah, and vampires have Disciplines.

    That should be all I need to write; your imaginations should be abound with sleeper-agent Dominates and the like, but there's more; According to Hermetic understanding (that thing that makes Tremere Thaumaturgy work): Vampire blood magic should keep up with technology. For everything real that exists, magic should exist for it (As above, so below) . Security cameras? Wiretaps? Bugs? Drones? Internet bots? Cookies? Clickbait? So long as it's worth doing someone'll make a ritual for it. V20's Rites of the Blood painted a colourful vision for the future of vampiric sorcery. Sorcery will proliferate, the Tech-Magic arms race has already begun. Anything anti-vampire on the internet will disappear; the poster none the wiser till the knock on the door.


    6. The Camarilla largely uses Masquerade breaches to assert power over neonates. What the Sabbat do is largely fine.
    Executions to eliminate political rivals, mercy to gain favours, terror to keep neonates obedient. The Masquerade is the perfect 'just cause' for any Prince. Like a well trained dog, humans will quash most potential problems before they become worthy of a master's attention. It's rare that vampires need to react, and even then it's usually just a phone call. The humans at the top will protect their interests. A few vampires that care enough to foster this environment is usually enough to make up for the vampires that don't (You may thank the Ventrue for their Noblesse oblige or the Lasombra for being control freaks)

    7: The World of Darkness is worse than our world, but it doesn't need to be for the Masquerade to work.

    Hope this was useful. Thanks for reading.


    Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
    There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

  • #2
    3. Nobody smart is doing anything about it. Only sore losers go after vampires.

    Except:

    * The NSA
    * The FBI
    * The Arcanum
    * The CDC depending on edition

    And if you are a World of Darkness

    * Werewolves
    * Mages

    Seriously, you really don't seem to want organized vampire hunter groups [some with lots of resources] to exist in your game, do you? That's cool but it's headcanon.


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

    Comment


    • #3
      Beware the incoming generic wishy washy answer of bland neutrality but questions like this really are ultimately dependent on the storyteller, table, writer, and needs of the chronicle and story. Sure there's a baseline of the setting that we use to provide some guidance, but ultimately, built into the foundation of the system with the Golden Rule, it's very much a 'do as thou will' sorta thing.

      Now that said, I'll also throw in the generic and admittedly kind of smart-ass answer that the Masquerade won't ultimately break because the setting is built upon the conceit that the Masquerade won't break. At the end of the day it's Vampire the Masquerade not Vampire the 'True-Blood-ing' or Vampire the Revealing. Which isn't to say that Broken Masquerade stories and alternate settings aren't fun or interesting, they totally are. Heck the idea of the Masquerade falling and what comes after fascinates me, but I'm also a sucker for Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism, and the like.

      That said, from a baseline perspective, I think the game is best served by having the Masquerade be strong yet fragile. It's kinda like a diamond or certain kinds of metal. It can resist a shocking amount of punishment but if you hit it from the right angle it can still crack.

      In my opinion the Masquerade serves well both for establishing moods and themes and provide easy tension and plot hooks (the classic Masquerade breach that needs to be repaired) but the relative fragility also adds extra layers of nuance.

      How does the vampire relate to their friends and family post-embrace? What can and can't they do because of this social construct? If vampires become too arrogant, humanity could annihilate them like they did in the Inquisition, so they must restrain their natural tendencies towards hubris and condescension.

      Plus, particularly after a long story of vampiric cruelties to both humanity and each other, I find few things are so cathartic as a well prepared gathering of humans coming together and taking back a piece of the night.

      Comment


      • #4
        The paradox is, if the Masquerade is truly impenetrable, what makes the Masquerade necessary at all?

        But I think we already know the Masquerade isn't impenetrable and the vampires aren't invulnerable. If they were, ironically, the Convention of Thorns would never have happened, and the Masquerade never would have been instituted in the first place.

        That said, the way the Camarilla uses the Masquerade to enforce its hegemony is well worth exploring.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree. As time has gone by and I've learned more about how corrupt some of the real world powerful institutions are, the more plausible the Masquerade seems. They don't even need to keep a lid on it perfectly. As long as people who claim vampires are real are seen as nuts and videos or whatever that leak are either quashed by the media or "exposed" as fraudulent.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mortal leadership has always been corrupt and self-interested. Doesn't make them harmless. Not least because humans aren't ultimately rational or predictable in their behavior. History is built of moments of truth in which people didn't do the obvious thing.

            Also, the idea that mortals don't want to believe in the supernatural doesn't work if you know anything about actual humans (unless WoD humans are significantly different from those in the real world), as most people do believe in the supernatural, and real skepticism is relatively rare. It's just that most people's belief in the supernatural is pretty vague and fuzzy in the details. Those who really commit to it are not especially influential, outside of organized religious institutions. But I don't buy that the average person wouldn't love to learn about real vampires.

            But it's true the Masquerade is more resilient than, say, keeping anyone from knowing anything (or keeping any relevant stuff off of Youtube). I rather like the way Requiem formulates it: the Masquerade isn't about keeping people from believing in vampires, it's about keeping people from knowing any specifics about individual vampires and the institutions they belong to. If we're honest, that's how V:tM has always worked in practice, as Kindred have been bending the Traditions to have large mortal support structures, herds, etc., since time immemorial. Yeah, the ones close to you are ghouls, but vampire society takes for granted that a certain portion of humanity knows about them and that this in itself isn't a problem.

            The problem is the wrong people knowing about them, and for anyone not under their thumb to know too many specifics. Better that people remain confused by contradictory entertainment media than know what the Kindred's real weaknesses are. Better that rumors of vampire conspiracies remain vague and misleading than that people know the exact ways they influence the mortal world. Better people have a vague belief that some people might be vampires than that they have a list of names and addresses. If people who shouldn't have this information stumble on it, it's time to do some "cleanup" before it becomes a problem.

            But it can be a problem. In fact, the more the elite elders try to stick their tendrils into mortal institutions, the greater the danger, as humans are just not ever going to be predictable and controllable enough in the long run for the Kindred to ever be as secure as they think they are.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
              ...your cockhead players couldn't blow it if they sired A US president on live television.
              At the moment, this isn't saying much.

              A live embrace into vampirism wouldn't even trend on google. It would get lost in the vast, vast sea of of sea-ey vastness of this administration.

              I'm just... too tired to care.

              Hey, maybe that's the best reason the Masqurade won't break. Or, if it did no one would notice.

              Comment


              • #8
                One thing that's always puzzled me: fixable Masquerade breaches are probably inevitable and constant. So when is a Masquerade breach considered something you are presumed to be in the routine process of cleaning up, and when is it something that gets you executed while someone else cleans up your mess as you are dragged to the chopping block? It's a bit like "vulgar without witnessess" in its ambiguity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                  One thing that's always puzzled me: fixable Masquerade breaches are probably inevitable and constant. So when is a Masquerade breach considered something you are presumed to be in the routine process of cleaning up, and when is it something that gets you executed while someone else cleans up your mess as you are dragged to the chopping block? It's a bit like "vulgar without witnessess" in its ambiguity.
                  It's better than vulgar magick, because that involves some sort of objective truth, which doesn't make sense really. In the case of Masquerade breeches, it comes down to how the authorities, most likely the prince or sheriff locally, decide to treat it. In theory, a prince could decide to kill a vampire in his city for almost anything and a Masquerade breech is just a good excuse. If the prince wants to spare you, then he can make you cover it up or can do so himself and ask for a boon in return. It all comes down to politics - who gains from punishing a Masquerade breech harshly, who gains from leniency?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                    One thing that's always puzzled me: fixable Masquerade breaches are probably inevitable and constant. So when is a Masquerade breach considered something you are presumed to be in the routine process of cleaning up, and when is it something that gets you executed while someone else cleans up your mess as you are dragged to the chopping block? It's a bit like "vulgar without witnessess" in its ambiguity.
                    It depends entirely on whose interests a given position favors. Basically, politics.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, Gehenna flat out shows a situation where the Masquerade is broken and the world becomes like True Blood.

                      So we have the circumstances where it can happen in-canon.


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gehenna is Gehenna. I'm discussing business as usual, where fixing a masquerade breach is routine. Not when Lasombra covers the sky and Vicissitude gives all the wildlife their own Zulo Form.


                        One thing I forgot to mention (I posted pretty late)

                        Humans want to believe in bullshit. And that's a good thing for the masquerade. People believe in Ghosts, Alien UFOs, Lizard people, The Bemuda triangle, The Illuminati, Satanic cults, fake moonlandings, the world being round... Every one of these things distracts from vampires. You see a vampire attack; Are you sure it's a vampire? If you're invested in lizard people, you'll report lizard people, because confirmation bias is very real.

                        And the best bit? The rest of the population can dismiss this stuff as wishful thinking. to finding out that vampires are controlling the government (in exaggerated extremes like "the president is a vampire) is downright juicy. Wouldn't it be nice if we could blame all the world's problems on vampires? That's the trap; It's too good to be true. Hearing about vampires corrupting the government is like reading that there are horny singles in your area. Only an idiot would click on that link.
                        Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 05-20-2020, 04:17 AM.


                        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                        There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We have people who believes that the earth is flat and the moon is a 2D projection. Everything is possible.

                          Also, vampires (and other supernaturals) could have been responsible for these fake conspiracies. Filling the internet with more and more lies to deceive, distract. Like in Men in Black

                          Try to google "who's behind the power" and you will find reptilians, masonry, aliens, demons, vampires, and so on. Maybe one of the tricks for keeping up the masquerade is exasperating people with more and more theories so everithing is unbelievable.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                            One thing that's always puzzled me: fixable Masquerade breaches are probably inevitable and constant. So when is a Masquerade breach considered something you are presumed to be in the routine process of cleaning up, and when is it something that gets you executed while someone else cleans up your mess as you are dragged to the chopping block?
                            I think the main question is, are you doing something that isn’t considered normal, respectable behavior by the elite Kindred of the domain, and/or is someone in power out to get you? If neither of those is true, it makes more sense for the Prince et al. to help you fix your mistake and leave you grateful for it. Threats of final death etc, are for those whose recklessness is likely to escalate and/or those the Prince wants to be rid of anyway.

                            I think everybody knows little slips happen from night to night, and the Camarilla establishment in a city derives a lot of its clout from being able to smooth things over. Also, if you forgive someone for screwing up, that person has learned a lesson and will think twice next time. If you kill them for it, no lesson is learned, and next time you’re dealing with a fresh idiot who doesn’t owe you a favor.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Masquerade I think is a bit like psychohistory in the Isaac Asimov Foundation novels. It works really well and consistently because of human nature and the fact habit and a tendency towards the status quo are a thing. And even when there are potential disruptions you may have outside elements that can address some disruptive elements. But if something really disruptive and outside your control comes along, then it all goes to hell (and probably quite fast.) And while there are always varying segments of humanity that will believe anything and have a built in desire to try to rationalize ambiguity even if the answer is wrong, there is still limits to that.

                              So it ultimately comes down to what others said, it's going to be a headcanon/Storyteller decision that will be handled on a case by case basis because it's always a matter of degree ('how' sufficiently disruptive to break the Masquerade, and how naive/gullible the 'sheeple' are.) The setting is open ended enough to allow for both ends of the spectrum to exist reasonably well.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X