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[Mature] [Serious] [Modded] Roleplaying a vampire in 2020

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  • [Mature] [Serious] [Modded] Roleplaying a vampire in 2020

    Hey folks,

    I'm doing another one of my Top Ten essays on Feeding. However, I got distracted from the subject of feeding by what sort of complications would arise during quarantine and the current crises. I then paused and stopped to question whether anyone really wants to deal with that during their games.

    Is it in bad taste? I dunno, I've actually had Covid-19 and certainly seen the devastation. I also know that V:TM is an escape for a lot of us from the real world's complexities. Certainly, if I had lost someone close to me during it I might have exceptionally strong feelings about the subject. However, I talked it over with my group and they actually wanted to address the subject, at least in the abstract. Being a vampire during a time when all of the bars, nightclubs, gyms, and so on are shut down is going to have a direct impact on your unlife.

    So, I am opening up a thread to discuss how you might want to handle the subject of being undead during the past year as well as how it might impact games. Just note by the three brackets I put before the title that this is a serious subject and meant to be treated with the utmost respect.

    Thoughts?


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

  • #2
    Ten Chronicles Inspired by Real Life in 2020

    The year 2020 has been a pretty bad one for a lot of people across the globe. It has utterly upended the lives of the majority of the populace, claimed far too many lives, caused international outrage over police brutality, undermined confidence in institutions, and also led to massive weight gain due to my new diet of junk food. It is a year that very few people would actually want to roleplay through.

    However, roleplaying games are an outlet for a lot of us. We do the things we would never do and be the people we could never be. It is also an effective stress reliever for those who need to vent their anger or darker side on fictional characters that catch our ire. Vampire: The Masquerade has certainly been a comfort to me during the past year and I admit to having let loose my inner Sabbat a few times. I've also had my characters play saintly heroic vamps more than I've ever done before.

    Having experienced first hand Covid-19 and worried for relatives who have it, this list is not meant to undermine or diminish the real life suffering that it has brought about. It also doesn't attempt to trivialize any of the events that have marked a real pear of a year. Instead, if your players are comfortable with it, it is a list of adventure hooks for people who want to possibly explore some of the ramifications of real life events in-game.

    If your players don't want to get reality in their game or it hits too close to home, don't feel bad. Throughout the year, the last thing I wanted was to get reminders of how bad things had gotten or real-life suffering I could nothing about in my undead power fantasy. However, as it approaches its end, I've been curious about exploring how some of my player characters would have dealt with the past year's events.

    Here's a list of ten adventure hooks and ideas that Storytellers might be interested in drawing from for their Vampire: The Masquerade chronicles.

    1. Feuding over Domain

    Vampires are social predators and their traditional feeding grounds are bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, brothels, and other anonymous gathering places. It should go without saying how badly a lot of these places were hit by quarantine. Many vampires who once had prime feeding territory find themselves not only bereft of business but also lacking a place to hunt safely. Undead with less traditional hunting places like gas stations, rest stops, essential businesses, hospitals, hospices, retirement communities, and apartment buildings will find their value increasing considerably. Player characters who previously might have had "worthless" territory may soon find themselves overwhelmed with poachers or those determined to seize it from them.

    2. Breaking and Biting

    One of the obvious solutions to the problem of feeding is for vampires to simply go after their food directly in their homes. Unfortunately, this has the potential to go catastrophically wrong if you aren't up on your Security or Stealth skills. Those with Obfuscate will have a much easier time carrying it out but even they might not be well-versed in the finer habit of getting into a home without alerting the residents. Player characters may soon find out that their home city is deluged with a sudden spike in feedings gone wrong, Masquerade violations, or accidental murders. Hard choices may have to be made whether to help cover up these Dracula-esque assaults or deal with the clumsy vampires unused to having prey that resists.

    3. Mad Science and Magic Fixes Everything

    The dangers of Covid-19 may result in Banu Haqim, Tremere, Tzimisce, and scientifically minded Kindred seeking a supernatural solution to their problem. Experiments in creating animal blood that can nourish lower generation Kindred, cloned blood, or causing test subjects to produce far more excessive amounts of vitae are all valid experiments for the sufficiently determined Kindred. Animalism may become a Discipline many Kindred wish to learn from Gangrel and Nosferatu in order to make the blood of lesser beings more palatable. Others might seek out the legendary Children of Osiris and see if the mythical power of Bardo holds the key to survival.

    Alternatively, Kindred may actively seek to cure Covid-19 for their own selfish desires. Perhaps the slightest bit of vitae is enough to strengthen the immune system to drive out the disease. Others may throw large amounts of resources into a fool's errand to cure the disease rapidly with a mix of the scientific and supernatural. Players may find "scientific trials" are actually a decent cover for extracting blood for Baggers as well.

    4. Enough is Enough

    An act of police brutality in the player character's home city results in massive protests and demands to reform the police. This proves problematic for the local Kindred because the police are particularly scummy and corrupt because of undead influence. The police have knowledge of the local vampire hangouts, criminal organizations, and quite a few murders committed by their public identities. They don't know their patrons are vampires (don't be ridiculous) but they know they're rich criminals with connections to one another.

    The crooked cops expect their patrons' aid in shutting down any public demand for change and charges against its officers. They also make the mistake of implying they have a great deal of leverage they could turn over to the FBI Special Affairs Division (or similar institution). This poses a threat to the Masquerade from both sides. Worse, the protestors have attracted the attention of a group of idealistic Anarchs who have decided to take down the corrupt police structure in the city both to strike at the Camarilla as well as a desire to "do something good" with their powers.

    5. The Blood Trade

    Blood is more expensive than wine. The shortage of blood is something that hits a lot of Kindred hard in 2020 and those who are willing to provide it find themselves with an abundance of influence. With so many Kindred businesses destroyed, money may be more valuable than favors, though. For many Kindred, the best way to provide blood is a very old institution of slavery. People who can be readily disappeared are and are sold to vampires to be fed off of in safety. Less ruthless is "renting" people for the evening with door-to-door service like prostitution, except with an even higher chance of being killed by a predator. Farms like the scene in Blade 2 where brain dead subjects are kept hooked up to IVs are other possibilities as are isolated cults or dungeons. Can the PCs step in to shut their local version down? Will it end up making things worse?

    6. Prince of Fools

    The player characters are roped into visiting a neighboring city's Prince or Baron to deliver a message. Almost immediately, they find the place in dissarray as the city has exceptionally nasty numbers of flu deaths as well as simmering social anxiety. For once, the mortals are scarcely at fault because the ruling vampire used all of his influence to force things open and a return to "normalcy" in order to keep his failing businesses open. Dominate, Presence, ghouldom, and exceptional amounts of cash have been expended to cover up the disaster that is leading to the exposure of numerous Kindred herds as well as businesses to infection. The players soon find themselves involuntary "guests" as the Sheriff, police, and others refuse to let them leave. The Prince and Baron wants to make sure that they share only a rosy picture of perfection and are not easily convinced the players will.

    7. The Red Conspiracy

    An Anarch has co-opted the message boards of a popular social media site to begin spreading rumors and piggy-backing on more famous conspiracy theories to create horrifying Satanic stories of blood-drinking as well as weird occultism with the Camarilla's Elders. This is a pretty solid violation of the Masquerade and will result in at least some of their accusations leading to vampires being discovered. Unfortunately, what follows is a blood path as already unstable individuals start killing Blood Dolls, hanging Goths, and going on shooting sprees at Hot Topics. The Camarilla and Anarchs both want this conspiracy "leaker" shut down with extreme prejudice and the entire movement discredited. However, how does one discredit lunacy?

    8. The Plague Bearer

    For once, Thin Bloods actually pose a serious threat to Kindred Society. It turns out that Embracing a Thin Blood with Covid-19 can result in them rising from the dead with the virus still in their system. Worse, it's a particularly virulent form that has an even higher fatality rate than the original. The only reason it hasn't spread farther is it kills faster. The CDC has a very large interest in the sudden deaths and apparent mutation of the vrius. The PCs need to track down this plague bearer and cure or destroy them. It doesn't help the Thin Blood has passed his condition onto other members of their lineage.

    9. Alternative Facts

    All Kindred are liars but some lies are better than others. The player characters run into this when a disaster strikes close to home with the death of several Kindred and perhaps a mortal Touchstone. The player characters have a vested interest in finding out what happened but every single witness has a different story, all of them mutually contradictory, with even those who know the truth actively denying even the most basic of details happened. Who is covering up what? Who is just lying out of habit? Does the truth even matter when everyone agrees what happened didn't?

    10. The Bail Out

    The economic devastation of the pandemic has seriously compromised the Camarilla. To prove their continued relevance, the Camarilla's leadership arranges for a federal bailout to all of their businesses regardless of whether any of them have any essential status or need [Note: Sadly, this is just flat out true]. This includes several businesses that exist only on paper but will receive tens of millions of dollars in Federal funds. The player characters catch wind of this and the fact that at least some Second Inquisition forces are also investigating it. They can attempt to stop the Inquisitors, sabotage the bailout to hurt the Camarilla, or divert the massive amounts of funds to themselves.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-07-2020, 09:24 PM.


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

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    • #3
      Here are my ideas for Austria

      1. The tightentend lockdown
      While Vienna whas already under great surveilance before, Corona had made it even more dangerous. With even less people on the street and a curfew in practice it is even getting more dangerous to run arround and get your fix. While there are still bars that do not follow the rules, those are extremely overcrowded so you have to be carefull to drink not visitable. To make it even worse, there is a need to give your identity and adress and while the innkeeper may not follow them, the police will enforce them so you have to get in one hour between sunset and curfew to find a bar with no ruleenforcement and to get some drinking to get out before locale enforcers get watching.

      2. Garou are on the rise
      With the destruction of Vienna and Covid on the rise Garou are now even more active then ever. While it is nearly all homid because of being more and unuspicious in death they are now with the lockdown in place hunting all those plagues comming up with the anxiety in lockdown and hunting all those scattered abominations because with the massive SI presence there, the monsters run and are alone.

      3. The fall of the corruption
      With Ibiza last year, there is now an increased watchout for corruption so it get even harder to find any crooked persons. You have now to be more charming and less financial wealthy to look like an innocent and get passed unnoticed or get something done because your argument is reasonable or you are such a nice person that they want doing you a favour.

      4. Zombiebusiness
      The gouvernment declared, that shops are during covid not broke until fall when they can then not anymore pay their loans. Because of this theire is now some unrest in the market which leads that players can harder get to money or that if they plan to invest into something, it is unclear how it will develop so until fall or spring next all tries to get increased finances are left in the dark.
      Some cainites may make profit out of it creating a buisiness which is actually a scam and when they have to take responsibility they are already far away with the profit.

      5. No tourism
      With Austria on lockdown tourism is actually dead so unless you can blend in or being young and local (for example being original from germany) it is harder to get covered in the mass because you leave more visitable tracks.

      I hope this is to your satisfaction.


      As I am from Austria I need to clarify two things.
      First my native language is german and so please point out if the english I write is broken so I can improve.
      Second I do not own VTMV nor any line after M20 because it is not out there and I wait for the translation.

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      • #4
        Awesome write-up, Koronus! That's very effective for a perspective on your region and definitely makes things more interesting for hunting there.


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

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        • #5
          Two good writeups.

          Also to add that as social circles are broken by social distancing requirements, using Contacts, Influence and other social Backgrounds and various social Merits is exceedingly difficult. Humans and vampires aren't as able to meet with each other. Those Brujah with anarchistic tendencies are probably riling up people to stop social distancing and still gathering at night.

          Vampires aiming to play political games can attack politicians for not doing enough to stop the spread of Covid-19 or taking measures which cause too much harm. Vampires may not wish to recall Governors for the stated reasons, but dislodging a rival's pawn is a lot easier in a chaotic time than a normal time.

          Vampires seeking to make money through various criminal methods, particularly scams, have a lot easier time with those anonymous scams. People are stuck at home and desperate. . .

          As for other supernatural beings, they'll all be reacting to this major crisis in their own ways. I could speculate on that, but then we'd be going a little off-topic.

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          • #6
            Bad Blood

            One idea I have is the fact that someone, somewhere, has created a variant of Covid-19 that permanently renders the blood of people infected with it "sour." The subject's vitae tastes foul and Kindred can derive no sustinance from it ever after. This is obviously unnatural and the work of some techno-mage, Glass Walker, Pentex researcher, or other outside party who thinks they've done a miracle by "vaccinating" humanity against the undead. Unfortunately, there are multiple issues here similar to the STARGATE: ATLANTIS episode I stole this from.

            https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...isoningTheWell

            The first issue being that this treatment actually makes Covid-19 even more lethal than before and kills lots of the people it infects. The second is the fact that this FREAKS THE CAMARILLA OUT and they proceed to come up with a very simple plan of killing everyone who has it to contain it. The player characters, for both humanity's sake, and the sake of their own survival need to destroy this virus' samples and either find a "cure" for the survivors or show that it cannot spread any further.

            There's also an adventure in the old SUCCUBUS CLUB supplement that has a similar plot to this.


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

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            • #7
              It's important to note that Covid is not transmited through blood, it's a respiratory virus. A vampire should have no worries about feeding from a victim and spreading the disease. I want to scream internally when I see notions of vampires having special problems with the infection itself. At best It just seems cheesy/like something that'll be dated really badly. Social problems should be the focus for vampires.

              Sloppy break-ins abound from desperate cainites who aren't used to that style of feeding.

              To Adapt to the pandemic many Toreador cassanovas (chief among others) bereaved of their nightclub haunts switch to apps to find hookups to feed from. Naturally someone figures this out and sets up ambushes for the vulnerable toreador. Many Toreador go missing

              A new Ventrue discovers his feeding type is Coronavirus sufferers. (optional:People who have recovered from the disease no longer count). Thus he begins his mad plan to propagate the disease in perpetuity.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                It's important to note that Covid is not transmited through blood, it's a respiratory virus.
                I'm aware. Hence why it's magical. Presumably the changes to the blood happen via the altered lungs.

                Sloppy break-ins abound from desperate cainites who aren't used to that style of feeding.

                To Adapt to the pandemic many Toreador cassanovas (chief among others) bereaved of their nightclub haunts switch to apps to find hookups to feed from. Naturally someone figures this out and sets up ambushes for the vulnerable toreador. Many Toreador go missing

                A new Ventrue discovers his feeding type is Coronavirus sufferers. (optional:People who have recovered from the disease no longer count). Thus he begins his mad plan to propagate the disease in perpetuity.
                Cool ideas!


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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                  I'm aware. Hence why it's magical. Presumably the changes to the blood happen via the altered lungs.
                  That still has the uncomfortable air of a tone-deaf attempt to be topical.


                  So
                  You could have an Infernalist cabal using the path of pestilance which goes unnoticed due to the much larger pandemic. That'd work fine I think.


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

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                  • #10
                    all I can say is: magic anti-vampire pandemics are bad, don't do it


                    -

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pleiades View Post
                      all I can say is: magic anti-vampire pandemics are bad, don't do it
                      Probably, even if it's a pandemic in a pandemic, there's much more interesting stuff to do with it as treated as a serious tragedy.


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You could also have the older vampires feeling they have a need to kill younger vampires.

                        Most Ancilae have gone through a few serious sicknesses in their time. They have modest capabilties in adapting to such circumstances. But Young vampires cause masquerade risks doing things they're shit at. They have a lot of once-shit territories which, as CTPhipps has pointed out, has gone up substantially in value. You'd best try and kill a lot of them as a preemptive measure.


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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Some minor potential encounters

                          1. The player characters witness the police chase down and murder a man. They have the potential to intervene and save the man's life or deal with the stains. The irony being the police may attempt to intimidate them if they think they're involved or outright murder them.

                          2. An associate of theirs is dying of Covid-19 and is on a ventilator without much chance of him making it through. Embracing him would be out of the question but his or her spouse knows enough, too much in fact, that they want to have the player make their loved one a ghoul. This comes with its own responsibilities.

                          3. A particularly scummy vampire is using the Covid-19 crisis to kill as many humans as they like, knowing it will be attributed to the virus. They're rapidly descending to wightdom as they can't control their Hunger know that they've fully indulged it. This is apparently a somewhat common trick of vampires during influenza outbreaks of old.

                          4. The player characters get pulled off by a police officer who, frankly, just seems to be determined to give them a hard time. It escalates rapidly until the point the PCs are forced to defend themselves. Was this the result of an enemy sending the cop against them, prejudice, or just a bad night? It's caught on the police car's camera.

                          5. Covid-19 parties in the area are actually being organized by vampires to get access to the precious vitae that they would otherwise be denied. Unfortunately, these things are so irritating that a video of them is being widely distributed with a number of Kindred faces on it. How bad is this and how far will it spread on the net?

                          6. The player characters' or an associate of theirs has a ghoul who had a child before their bonding. Said child was in the protests and they went to pick them up, only to get arrested for "rioting" and are being railroaded by the cops. Can they get them out of the system without drawing attention from the Second Inquisition? Before they need their next fix (and they were due for their next not too far from their rest)?

                          7. An Elysium gathering of judges, crooked politicians, and businessmen with the Ventrue results in an outbreak of Covid-19 that kills several of them as well as leaves others disabled. At least one Elder's entire network collapses and he becomes vulnerable. The player characters can help him try to rebuild it or take advantage of the imminent Blood Hunt to get some Elder vitae. They may also help his enemies or acquire the vacated influence sphere themselves.

                          8. An asshole Malkavian has decided to go around town spreading misinformation, using Dementation, and rousing the crowds against the local government as well as restrictions. Buildings have been broken into, police precincts burned down, protestors run over, doctors threatened, and more. The governor is about to send in the National Guard but this is probably part of his plan to make things even worse. Why? Because it's fun.

                          9. The Ventrue owner of an ailing Magadon pharmaceutical subsidiary has decided to up its stock to the millions by pretending their livestock vaccine is the cure for coronavirus. He's used vitae to help cure numerous people and is risking the Masquerade to reverse his fortunes that were devastated in 2008. Unfortunately, the CDC examined it and now the city is crawling with the Second Inquisition. He's now even ready to make a deal with them to keep touting his snake oil as he'd rather be a traitor than broke.

                          10. A very weird situation emerges as a large number of theaters, bars, and restaurants come to the local Kindred for money to get them through the situation. They believe them more to be mobsters than vampires or at least shady businessmen but it's preferable to losing everything (or so they think). This is a great opportunity for them to expand their influence across the pandemic but potentially going to bite them in the ass if it keeps going. After all, what would a vampire do with a cruise ship?


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

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                          • #14
                            The usual thing's going on: Vampires are using civil unrest to shit on their rivals. Whether BLM, Belarus, Hong Kong, some forgotten place in the middle east, it doesn't matter: This is a great time to murder ghouls, destroy herds, fight on the streets, crack down on dissidents,make people disappear, gun for the prince, destroy property, set shit on fire, steal nice things, use the fact that everyone's got their attention on violence, death and disease to try get some really nasty bills through parliaments and get some big white-collar crime done. Perhaps what could have been a genuinely peaceful protest goes to shit as kindred and their servants aggravate the situation. it doesn't matter if there's different sects or not; shit goes down .


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

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                            • #15
                              Since my chronicle is set in Mexico City, and I began running it before covid-19, I'm quite eager to actually use covid-19 once the campaign timeline catches up, because covid-19 IRL has caused a crisis in the cocaine distribution chain that intensified the cartel violence in Mexico - and that is a concept I simply have to use.

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