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  • bellarellaella
    started a topic Vampire Metaplot Thread

    Vampire Metaplot Thread

    Hey folks.
    I’ve had the thought of compiling all my thoughts regarding a VtM metaplot in a single thread or mega-thread for a while now. Basically, I find a lot of the sourcebooks for VtM/WoD pretty outdated and deliberately open-ended in their description of Vampire origins, the origins of the universe, etc., which is fine if such questions don’t really interest you, but it can be pretty overwhelming for those who want something on a larger scale or a campaign with a longer duration. Some just may want to play a game of Vampire politicking and in-fighting, but may want to pepper allusions of the true nature of the Vampire condition throughout their campaign as fluff pieces.
    Regardless, I would like to open up a discussion about expanding the VtM and further WoD mythos for any potential storytellers or writers or whomever. I’d like to set out a set of key elements of the plot in my setting:
    1. Vampires are damned: The “Mark of Caine” is considered a curse for a reason, even with all the cool perks of being a Vampire. Kindred essentially shed any chance of true spiritual enlightenment, unlike regular humans, who all have that capacity, or other supernatural creatures within the WoD mythos, like the Garou, who can commune with spirits and traverse the spirit world with relative ease. Sourcebooks describe spirits reacting violently to the presence of Vampires in the Umbra, which I interpret as most spirits being able to observe the Mark, instinctually, and as a part of some ancient compact or conditioning, view the Kindred as beyond redemption, which may explain the lack of mechanics for Astral Travel in Vampire sourcebooks; Vampires can access the spirit world, but they can never truly grasp it (the disciplines of Necromancy or Spiritus perhaps being exceptions).
    2. Humans are the product of intelligent design: This isn’t an endorsement of the more "hokey" interpretation of the Genesis Narrative, but the reality is the WoD seems to imply the idea that humans possess some unique property that places them apart from other organisms, which I interpret as a fraction of divine providence imparted far before “the Fall of Man”, or some other cataclysmic event. Mage sourcebooks refer to Gnosticism, which is useful; humanity existing in a fallen state, the realm of the material being flawed and warped in some way. Vampires exist in contrast to this, humans who have forsaken that divine part of themselves for eternal life in this “fallen state”.
    3. Vampires have won…or so it seems: The Kindred, more specifically the Camarilla, have integrated themselves into society so successfully, the vast majority of humanity discount not only their existence but also the existence of most supernatural creatures. The inner circle considers the enforcement of the Masquerade paramount and has gone on without major compromise for a very long time. The history of the Masquerade and the reasoning for why it is so important is explained well in the V5 “Camarilla” sourcebook; in order to remain assured with their own existence after the Burning Times, Vampires had to collaborate and create a new reality for human society, a world without bloodsuckers, witches, and hobgoblins; gods and devils. In my interpretation, Vampires have an almost “Technocratic” control of the human “Consensus”, largely without the use of terms such as “Consensual Reality”, “Anthropic Fields”, and “Reality Deviation” (the Technocratic Union is absent from my metaplot, as I hope to explain). Of course, inconveniences exist…
    4. The World is not 8000 years old: Antediluvians exist within my metaplot, despite the protest of the Camarilla. But the use of this term is not to vindicate the Biblical interpretation of the world. The truth is, the Universe and the Antediluvians are far older than a few thousand years. They are remnants, castaways perhaps, from a previous world, survivors of the “Flood”, a metaphysical cataclysm. Essentially, our universe is what came after, the next link in a cosmic chain; separate but not completely unfettered from it.
    5. Caine is the origin of sin and evil: In this previous universe, a tragedy would occur that would tarnish creation forever. This applies to our Universe, which is also part of creation. Noddists have a partial understanding of this, and attribute this to Caine. Some of the Fallen (Demons) have borne witness to it. The Cain narrative is somewhat unique to the Abrahamic faiths, with some arguing there are similarities with Greco-Roman or other Pagan myths like the story of Pandora’s Box. There is no real analogue of a brother murdering brother and bringing evil into the world in similarly ancient faiths like Zoroastrianism or Jainism. The “Caine” narrative diverges quite significantly and is interpreted from similarly aged religious texts appropriated by Kindred over the years and coalesced into its own religious tradition among Vampires around the same time as the spread of Christianity. But the Caine narrative has been obfuscated since the Flood and have only been gleaned through insights and discovery, wreathed in metaphor and symbolism. “Caine” might not even be named Caine, but the reality of my metaplot is that it was man who brought sin and suffering into the universe. Assigning this responsibility to a single man gives Caine a special significance in a world far darker and filled with more evil than our own.
    I wrote these out as narrative throughlines to keep in mind when composing my metaplot. I plan to post more. Hopefully, I will be going how other WoD game lines fit into my setting next (i.e. Werewolves, Mages, etc.).

  • CajunKhan
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    When trying to figure out how EVERYTHING works, I actually had the Malkavian Antediluvian talk to the player characters. Well, THEY thought it was the Malkavian Antediluvian. It was equally possible to be a 4th or 5th generation vampire of several thousand years old.

    To summarize, she said something akin to this:

    "You're trying to find answers and truth but the problem is that they are fundamentally self-contradictory notions. I remember when I found Enoch and it was a city of vast towers, hundreds of thousands of people, dragons, magic, and people doing battle with gods while blood sacrifices were carried out to demons in the basement. This could have happened. It also could have been dreams I had during my long sleeps."

    "I've also met other supernaturals in my long life and seen how powerful they could be. Atlantis existed once but that was because a sorcerer was so powerful that he altered time so that it always existed and then when he died, it became nothing but a dream that never existed. God cursed Caine 13,000 years ago and we all descend from him but I don't know if that was always the case and if the Hebrew God existed five thousand years ago when I was still ancient. Are the werewolves really the chosen of the Earthmother or cavemen who put on skins of animals and created a religion around it?"

    "The truth is not we are islands in a sea of chaos and the only answers you will ever get are you exist now but may not tomorrow or yesterday."
    Reminds me of when the Fantastic Four go to heaven and God is Jack Kirby. That sort of being meta to the point of being a borderline 4rth wall break. Of course Malkav would be able to pull a Deadpool.

    Leave a comment:


  • bellarellaella
    replied
    Hey guys. Bit of a departure from what I originally wanted to write. I wrote some stuff out fleshing out the origins of the Universe and shit.

    To start off, we have to go back to the beginning. But was there a beginning? To look at the history of the universe through that lens may seem fallacious; surely, the fact of the existence of Caine, a biblical figure, surely vindicates the idea that the Universe had a start, or temporal finitism. But this is not necessarily the case. What if Caine existed in a separate realm, one with its own physical laws and cosmology, who through some inextricable force, manages to influence the occurrences within our world or universe? Does this realm still exist, suspended within the Deep Umbra, or the centre of the Universe like some mad Lovecraftian entity?

    I only suggest these ideas as inspiration or “splat” for other storytellers; you may like some of these ideas or have some of your own. The long and short of MY chronicle is that the universe, or perhaps the meta-universe, assumes an “infinite temporal regress” model; the Universe came into existence following the destruction of the preceding one. And in a classic demonstration of the universality of cause and effect, the events of the preceding Universe have played a role in the formation of the next. When referring to the origin myths pervasive in many religions and folklore, they are not all strictly speaking products of ignorance or lies, but insight into a world or universe that preceded there's, one with different physical laws and perceptions of time.

    To illustrate, the Elohim or Demons describe the unusual nature of “their” reality, which I interpret as the previous universe. In that world, an object, such as a cup of coffee, can exist as multiple things simultaneously, “as a song or an aesthetic idea or even a sentient and helpful creature”. They also describe something remarkably to the philosophical idea of Eternalism, where the creation of Adam and Eve could simultaneously take seven days on one level, but also millions of years on another. Of course, we don’t have to take the words of Demon as gospel, but it offers an alternative to a strictly materialist interpretation of the nature of the universe, one that may be able to offer more than one answer.

    So, there is more than one universe, and I don’t mean there are parallel universes as those mentioned in some of the Mage and Werewolf sourcebooks; our Universe is one in a number of Vedic Cycles. So that must mean there is an entity above it all, right, separate but parallel to this cosmic chain? Well, perhaps, or perhaps this entity was himself, herself, or themselves a remnant of yet another Universe, BEFORE the one before. This may mean the description of “the Creator” may be misleading, as the Creator is often described as some temporally finite universe. Nonetheless, the Creator did and does play an incredibly important role within the metaplot. The Elohim speak of aiding in the creation of “the Firmament, the Fundament, the Spheres” and, of course, humanity.

    In contrast to the Creator, there was “Nothing”, or “the Abyss”. It’s easy to view the existence of these two absolutes through the lens of Dualism, two opposing and irreducible concepts. The Werewolves have the Triat, or the Wyld, the Wyrm, and the Weaver, but what of the Abyss, which is mentioned in passing within the Werewolf metaplot and frequently within Wraith? It is clear to me that Oblivion is its very own Beast within the World of Darkness; where the Wyrm corrupts, the Abyss seeks to unmanifest everything, returning everything to an “idyllic state”, like some force of entropy. But it is so much more than that as the Abyss clearly has some form of sentience, rather than just some gibbering nothingness undercutting reality. In my view, the Creator and the Abyss are feuding enemies, whose rivalry spans across entire Vedic Cycles.

    So, after the formation of this prior Universe, the Creator eventually won out, and of course laid the groundwork for his grand plan. To aid in this, he created the Elohim (who we now refer to as Demons) who managed their respective “layers” of reality. We don’t have to get to much into the cosmology of this Universe, which we will refer to as “Eden” for the time being, but it is quite different to our own World or Universe. However, I like to think that whatever occurred within Eden acted as a blueprint or DNA for everything/most things/a lot of things that exist within our Universe. A good analogy is the “Platonic World of Forms”; in this idealised world separate from our own, an ideal form of every object or concept known to us exists and is upstream from them.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gryffon15
    replied
    I like what you have here BellaRellaElla, this is pretty similar to my own personal takes on metaplot and I like seeing how you’ve got it all written out like this.

    1. I really like this idea for the spiritual significance of ‘The Mark’. I already try to play it that humans are put off by vampires in some subconscious fashion, if the vampire isn’t actively cloaking itself. This additional spirit idea makes sense to me. I like it!

    2. This tracks with my understanding of the WoD too. While I don’t think one has too definitively state it one way or another, IMO the WoD is an anthropocentric setting, as opposed to Chronicles which I’d say is more Gnostic (although not as much as something like Call of Cthulhu). I also roll with humanity as having some sort of central significance and a spiritual quality (a Soul Mystery kind of deal). I’ve mentioned elsewhere my thoughts about Multi-Resonance Layered Reality & Consensual Reality and I usually tie this in with that.

    3. I’m largely in agreement here as well. Vampiric conspiracies are deeply interwoven into human social/political infrastructure, particularly ever since the establishment of The Masquerade as a central doctrine. I do usually run games where groups like the Technocratic Union also exist however, so humanity is under the sway of several supernatural conspiracies to influence them as well as their own internal drives.

    4. I also do something like this, although tied fairly heavily into the Multi-Resonance Layered Reality & Consensual Gardens ideas above.

    5. I would definitely consider this route for a purely vampire game and I do have a somewhat similar view of it. I tend to run Caine/The First as an archetypal figure shrouded in mystery and a quasi-mythologized origin fraught with sin/taboo. I do agree though and I like the thematic significance of having The First be someone who was a mundane human being but who earned their fallen state through envy, wrath, pride, and the invention of murder.

    Leave a comment:


  • CajunKhan
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    (IE a new Caine will arise from the thinbloods, or something)
    Wouldn't it be something if the fear of thinbloods turned out to be correct afterall? Maybe the curse is like a phoenix: it is reborn whenever it is just about to die out. And the actual Gehenna is the newest iteration of Caine and his childer devouring the previous iteration.
    Last edited by CajunKhan; 04-08-2022, 05:51 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    There's also the fact that there's actually some fairly decent evidence in the World of Darkness Metaplot that God is dead. It's just not the kind of death that you normally think of for a deity but Pandeism.

    Basically, the World of Darkness' God created humans.

    Then the World of Darkness God commits suicide.

    However, the God fragments himself and proceeds to put a piece of himself in all of the newly evolved humans.

    These humans gain the power of God in a limited form (true magick).

    Ascension/Golconda/Transcendence has the God-Fragments go off to become gods of their own realities or reunite with new perspective.

    The demons and angels who served God before this are COMPLETELY FLUMMOXED by this.

    Edit:

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PiecesOfGod
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-08-2022, 08:57 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • MyWifeIsScary
    replied
    I came in this thread wanting to curse all metaplot but I'm glad to see a theological discussion.

    No.1 conflicts with no.2 in my opinion, or at the very least my understanding of gnosticism is very different from yours.
    You should really look up gnosticism and rethink how it applies to vampires I think. Caine, or the the hypothetical first vampire, is an emanation, a divine being descending from outside reality who offers humanity a rope to help them climb out of the prison that is reality. Vampires have been damned, as in they've been cursed by the mundane world for having an outsider origin, but they haven't lost their chance for enlightenment. It's actually really amazing how generation ties into the gnostic idea of generation; that is, the vampire curse is something that starts divine (3rd gens are transendently powerful) and gets more and more mundane as it stays in reality (latter gens suck) but Gnostics also believe that after the emanation falls to it's most mundane state it will rise in divinity and carry us out of the prison of reality (IE a new Caine will arise from the thinbloods, or something)

    No.5, if we're going gnostic/Gothic punk, then God's our jailor, the cause of all suffering, and Caine's the rebel who's helping us out. Sure, his mission has been perverted as a result of vampires being on earth too long/God's interference, but nothing's more punk than the final boss being "god".

    Oh, in gnosticism, there's two things we refer to as "God". The Demiurge, the jailor of our reality, and the One*, which is the supreme being of the universe/actually all the universe because we're all fragments of the greater whole.

    *there's lots of names and interpretations you could use instead of "the one".

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    When trying to figure out how EVERYTHING works, I actually had the Malkavian Antediluvian talk to the player characters. Well, THEY thought it was the Malkavian Antediluvian. It was equally possible to be a 4th or 5th generation vampire of several thousand years old.

    To summarize, she said something akin to this:

    "You're trying to find answers and truth but the problem is that they are fundamentally self-contradictory notions. I remember when I found Enoch and it was a city of vast towers, hundreds of thousands of people, dragons, magic, and people doing battle with gods while blood sacrifices were carried out to demons in the basement. This could have happened. It also could have been dreams I had during my long sleeps."

    "I've also met other supernaturals in my long life and seen how powerful they could be. Atlantis existed once but that was because a sorcerer was so powerful that he altered time so that it always existed and then when he died, it became nothing but a dream that never existed. God cursed Caine 13,000 years ago and we all descend from him but I don't know if that was always the case and if the Hebrew God existed five thousand years ago when I was still ancient. Are the werewolves really the chosen of the Earthmother or cavemen who put on skins of animals and created a religion around it?"

    "The truth is not we are islands in a sea of chaos and the only answers you will ever get are you exist now but may not tomorrow or yesterday."

    Leave a comment:

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