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  • Neonate/Elder and Sire/Childe Romance

    What is everyone's opinion on these relationship dynamics? What if they are both at the same time?

    Many people will say that they are inherently abusive or predatory, which is something I definitely do not agree with, as it removes agency from characters and railroads them onto a sort of misery porn genre of storytelling, which gets very old, very quickly.

    I've discussed this before with other players, seeing as my own Toreador neonate is in love with his sire, who he is in a relationship with (the status of which varies between chronicles). His sire is a 700 or 500+ year old French nobleman who has certainly seen a lot over his years and is deeply embedded into vampire politics and culture and his viewpoint would be exceptionally different for a neonate embraced within the last 30 odd years, but I don't think this takes away from his capacity to love or be in a relationship.

    In fact, for elders in particular, there is a section describing how elders treat romance in Elysium: The Elder Wars, which makes many elders out to be quite the romantics. Some are quite lonely, such as Mithras or Lettow (from Night Road, whom you can have a romance with as a neonate, even). So it's definitely not out of the question.

    Beyond that, sire and childe relationships don't have to be uniquely awful either. Some fledglings and neonates may even think their sires saved their lives if they lived truly awful lives as mortals.

    I've never encountered this issue with a storyteller in any game I've played. In fact, many of them have played the relationship quite well. But I often see push back in VtM communities with players and other storytellers who are often the type of pus the misery porn storylines.

  • #2
    These things certanly could, should and are exist in WoD
    They give a nice flavor for a given story

    There is life, there is death and there is the bridge between the two. Xue recognized this truth when he romanced a ghost from the forests of Hing Fang. To be with her, he entered the Yin World. He was not welcome there, however; at length the Ebon Dragon breathed on him, and Xue turned to dust.
    "Would you swirl in my air forever and a day?" asked the Dragon.
    "If doing so would bring me closer to my love," Xue replied.
    "We have no use for love," the Ebon One sneered. His snort whisked the dust into the air. Xue scattered to the five directions and settled like fine ash. Behind the Dragon, Xue's lover waited, her eyes as cold as stones. Yet the ghost was not unmoved. A single tear slid down her cheek and spattered into the dust. Xue sprang full-formed from the spot of mud and the Dragon was enlightened.
    Love is eternal, undying, blind and foolish
    Fragile
    Precious
    Age, race, gender... sometimes species simply doesn't matter
    WoD an our word is full of stories how love is tripumphant, or stories or star-crossed lovers, relationships doomed from he start or frowned upon by both sided of a conflict...
    Its nice to have in a chornicle, gives a DM plenty of material to work with
    Last edited by Shadeprowler; 06-26-2022, 01:47 PM.

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    • #3
      i think it's hot. Not so hot as the forbidden romance of garou-on-garou (before w5 take it from us) but hot nonentless

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      • #4
        Incest lol

        I think it should be even more common. The relationship sire/child is a strong one. Sure, depending on the personalities it can be more like a parental love/relation, but for many cases it would be that of lovers.

        Lestat and Louis from Interview with Vampire, great example, love and hate, until breaking and... Ending.

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        • #5
          As for neonate elder, that's more uncommon, given how the 2 parts will be too far from each other, but not impossible if each sees something special on the other

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          • #6
            One thing to remember is that player characters are supposed to often be the exceptions to the general tendencies of the setting. True love may be almost unheard of amongst vampires, but you're the exception. The Garou may be a bunch of backwards savages who call their disabled "metis", but you're Garou is the exception. Mages may be a bunch of hubristic creatures destined to be blown up by their own arrogance, but your Mage is the exception. Etc, etc.

            I mean, there is literally a romance novel option on the list of Tenet examples. I think that not only did they intend for true love to be an option for player-characters, they intended it to be a fairly common focus for campaigns.

            "I have crossed oceans of time to find you"
            Last edited by CajunKhan; 06-26-2022, 03:03 PM.

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            • #7
              It wouldn't have anymore issues than vampires Normally have with things like consent.

              Any vampire on the street can use the kiss to force your body to betray you in a manner not too distant from grape with a silent g, and can magically compel you to love them to the point of destroying your own life for them.

              VTM actually brings this up frequently, vampires inherently can't have the consenting equal relationships required for love because A.) they have Way to much power over other's autonomy, and B.) they're immortal and People Change. Even a happily married couple with full-on soulmate status can end in disaster simply because they aren't the same people after 7 years. "eternal true love" is a myth humans perpetuate because human couples often Die before either party changes enough to make the relationship unrecoverable.

              This is one extent of the "Curse" aspect of vampirism, you're a lonely immortal vampire not because you're Immortal vampire(because an immortal human could move on), but because you're a immortal Vampire(a creature who has so much going against you already that the curse will catch up to you Eventually if necessary).

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              • #8
                There is even a greater degree of power dynamics involved than normal relationships, but it's nothing that's inherently abusive . I think Elder-neonate romances are fun, especially once you add blood bonds to the mix.

                Since you mentioned it, the Lettow romance really made me fan of these types of story. Mithras' relationship with De Camden is cute as well (as cute as a power couple of methuselahs can be)

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                • #9
                  I don't agree at all.
                  Vampires want to love, they want company, they want social contacts but they are also terrible predators and the Beast perverts their every feeling or instinct.
                  All their instincts are in fact exaggerated (see frenzy, red terror and Thirst) and their emotions are perverse (there is no affection, there is possessiveness).

                  Furthermore, Sire Infante relationships immediately start from a power gap: you have been transformed by your Sire (voluntarily or not) and you are forced to at least feel affection for him (for the Blood Bond), and there is always a clear hierarchy for obligations or social status that the Sire imposes (or is imposed on him) on the Infante. It's an unequal and toxic relationship, just like it has to be in Vampires.
                  Same thing applies for big gaps of generation or age, we are at the level of the billionaire with the doll or the toyboy. And I don't think it's a healthy and equal relationship.

                  Apart from this, true love can be, but very rare, between PCs of the same social level, and even there the Beast still pushes to paranoia, jealousy, suspicion and betrayal.

                  The World of Darkness is not a world where love is supposed to blossom, and it is soon crushed when it blossoms.

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                  • #10
                    For the most part, such relationships would be exploitative and abusive to some degree. The Beast ultimately is selfish and paranoid. No matter how it may start off, long term this is the trajectory. Now the vampires may very well be sincere that they do "love" the other. But for most it would be a very selfish kind of love, prone to jealousy and possessiveness. Or at best something that is transient - maybe full of passion when the relationship is novel and one's lover is novel, but quickly gone and the vampire moves on to his next "great love." Over time, the elders begin to forget what true, actual love is and only what the artificial feeling of the Blood Bond provides.

                    In so far that some relationships are not, it should be because the vampires having high Humanity, and thus able to remember what actual true love feels like. I have no problems with NPCs being these exceptions as well as the PCs. They should just be in the minority, and this is less likely to survive as the vampires become older. But this should be easier to attain than say, Golconda. And I would suspect many Golconda seekers start from this basis as having discovered true love first, and then wanting to save that.

                    I agree with the OP that it is easy to go over the top with "misery porn". Misery and depression is not the same as horror or the Gothic. The Gothic comes out of the Romance movement which is about emotion. Emotions do include fear, angst, disgust, depression, and other negative aspects. But love, hope, and romance are all there too. Usually that will be provided by the human characters in the setting, not the monsters. But it's OK to have some of the vampires experience that too, especially if they have high Humanity. This can make for great characters, scenes, and plots. It's completely valid as an element of the setting provided it is done well.

                    Ultimately though, true love should be a rejection of being a vampire. Vampires represent physical immortality, but a spiritual death. It is a triumph of the material over the transcendent, and thus built on ashes and vanity. A vampire embracing someone because he "loves" that person is murdering that person because of his "love". But such feelings are fine in a game of personal horror as long as it brings out what the character has lost by becoming a vampire, and enhances that character's struggle against the Beast.

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                    • #11
                      Oh, are we talking about true love and long term relationship? I thought we were talking about romance.

                      Yeah, no. True love is not for vampires, particularly for the long term. My colleages above already explained it better than I could the reasons why.

                      I actually did this in a game where we played 4th generations over the ages. I embraced my mortal wife and son. And yes, it was an abusive relation - even thou they were NPCs. I ended up parting ways since I lost interest on them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        For the most part, such relationships would be exploitative and abusive to some degree. The Beast ultimately is selfish and paranoid. No matter how it may start off, long term this is the trajectory. Now the vampires may very well be sincere that they do "love" the other. But for most it would be a very selfish kind of love, prone to jealousy and possessiveness. Or at best something that is transient - maybe full of passion when the relationship is novel and one's lover is novel, but quickly gone and the vampire moves on to his next "great love." Over time, the elders begin to forget what true, actual love is and only what the artificial feeling of the Blood Bond provides.

                        Ultimately though, true love should be a rejection of being a vampire. Vampires represent physical immortality, but a spiritual death. It is a triumph of the material over the transcendent, and thus built on ashes and vanity. A vampire embracing someone because he "loves" that person is murdering that person because of his "love". But such feelings are fine in a game of personal horror as long as it brings out what the character has lost by becoming a vampire, and enhances that character's struggle against the Beast.
                        I must disagree. The Beast is not something that constantly controls every vampire's actions, nor does it mean the vampire cannot love another of their own or a mortal with the Beast in the background. The Beast is like our Id, lower self, primal man, whatever you want to call it. It even exists in humans too, but is magnified in vampires. They're still capable of forming relationships; even regular vampires, besides our own PCs and NPCs.

                        Like I said before, it takes away agency from character. I love the struggle between the Beast and our own humanity/selves. I provides a perfect backdrop for a good gothic romance to play out. They don't even need to be completely tragic. There can be a light at the end of the tunnel. Elders in particular are a fascinating type of character to love because of their centuries upon centuries of existence and experience. Many have become numb to events and people around them; but imagine that one person (neonate/fledgling/ancilla) who breaks the ennui and causes something to stir with him? What does he see in that younger vampire? What caused him to believe in love again? This is a great starting point for a romance to blossom, and with the vast age and power imbalance, there's so much to explore from it. It doesn't have to be abusive or coercive, nor is it inherently, but it's unequal, yes. Does that make it impossible or "bad"? No.

                        I don't think true love should be a rejection of being a vampire either. Vampires are majestic, powerful, immortal beings who can experience a range of vast and deep emotions. They have souls and hearts still, even with some of them growing cold over the ages. Some mortals who have a horrible life may even feel as though they've been saved by their sires. However one takes that is strictly their own opinion. But vampires are more than just immortal monsters.

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                        • #13
                          My (long winded) take is that a vampire is a creature that is more aggressive, territorial and solitary than a human. That has a significant effect on vampires and their relationships but it doesn't make dramatic passionate love impossible, it makes it challenging. That's the fun. Angst, darkness and all this melodramatic shit isn't any fun without ambiguity. There's room for genuine, light-in-the-darkness, sappy melodramatic shit too. Where's the fun being a shitty person without the fact that you don't always have to be but are anyway and then make excuses for it?

                          The Elder/Neonate dynamic is a fascinating one to me. Abuse isn't inherent, but the potential is. The conflict is what drives the story, I suppose.
                          From the Elder's perspective, you've found a source of genuine warmth and light - a genuine connection in your long, lonely existence of paranoid backstabbing. A young, breakable, vulnerable connection. Vampires can't afford to show open affection, in my view, what they love they protect extremely carefully, be that by hiding the connection or putting the valuable under strict guard of some sort. Everything you love is in danger, because your enemies can hurt them to gain an advantage over you (or just hurt you out of pettiness). If you're an elder, and that precious thing is a neonate, then said precious thing is now at high risk of being murdered/tortured/enslaved by other, rival, elder vampires. By loving somebody you paint a target on them.
                          So how do you do this? Do you keep the relationship behind closed doors so that nobody realises there's any connection to exploit? Refuse to act on your feelings at all, but try (subtly) to help them and keep them safe and happy from a distance? But of course you could keep them by your side. Put them somewhere secure, where the outside world can't get to them to hurt them and you can keep them comfortable, and safe with their every need met, and happy (and possibly blood bound). I mean, you're not really hurting them... When you think about it...
                          (...or you could eat their memories and soul and really keep them forever...)

                          A vampire doensn't need to resort to brainwashing and the blood bond, and all the other easy-to-use vampiric abilities that violate privacy and free will, but they are always there and can be very, very tempting. It's the conflict between the will and desire for happiness and love, and a more beastial posessiveness (which is basically exactly like it is in humans, but vampires can act on their worst impulses better).

                          For the neonate, having an elder who loves you is an advantage and a curse. On the one hand you've got a powerful ally, and it's genuinely flattering to think you could touch the dead heart of a powerful, ancient creature. On the other hand, you are the fixation of a powerful, undead, ancient creature and that's fucking terrifying. Again, young, breakable, vulnerable. There is a massive power gap and no way around it. The Beast is present and it doesn't enjoy any signs of supposed insubordination or insult. Domestic disputes (or an attempt to break up) may end with a need for neonate vitae (and/or ash) to be washed off the rug, whether their lover meant to hurt them or not.
                          I suppose one could make some character arcs out of looking for ways to try and lessen that gap.

                          It's an interesting dynamic to explore. Even if you fight to keep it healthy, the pressures of vampiric unlife are frustrating.
                          Childe/Sire does not inherently interest me as much. Perhaps it's something I've seen too much. But no, their relationship doesn't have to be antagonistic or abusive.

                          As for "long term." Unless you've gone in for a mutual blood bond, a long-term relationship isn't going to feature the pair being together for 100% of their unlife, I think. I believe Elysium described long-lasting couples and having an on-off thing. You get together for a few years/decades, then spend time apart, then meet up again later to see if you're compatiable. This can actually happen in human lifetimes too. A couple may find themselves growing incompatiable, then years down the line grow into people who are compatiable once again. I mean vampires are immortal, they have nothing if not time to fall in and out of love. This century we're in the honeymoon period, next decade mortal enemies, hatefuck buddies, lovers, friends, estranged, run into each other again in 20th century California hit it off and get married for the rest of the century...

                          Is it likely to end well? Almost definitely not, but that's almost. It can, it's just rare. Also vampires are bitter and dislike having to face the fact that they bear responsibility for their shittyness, so "we're all cursed, love and joy is impossible" is a popular line from undead crab bucket mentality. "If I'm miserable and lonely, so help me, the rest of my kind are going to be too."

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                          • #14
                            Just expect a cycle of where you will undead going through all the stages of relationships of the good, the bad and the very ugly. Look at how Michael basically screwed up his relationships with Dracon and Antonious by wanting to be the center of attention.


                            What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                            • #15
                              I do believe two neonates can have healthy relationships because they still remember what it was like to be human and to have human feelings like love that elders almost exclusively lack or they mistaken their 'love' for possessiveness because they have been vampires longer then they were human so their outlook becomes vampiric.

                              I mean just imagine a dinner table scene where a 13th gen neonate who was only turned four and a half years ago trying to break up with a 7th gen elder who been around since William the conqueror, you think that elder is going to be 'yes I understand this is for the best for us both' or 'no we can work this out' if you do then you certainly more optimistic then I am.

                              edit

                              something else to keep in mind is vampires are unquestionably monsters they feed on humans and use them for their own ends while they might justify their actions with 'if I don't do this horrible thing then I will die or suffer a fate worse then death' but eventually the vampire won't bother with the moral justifications because they have become desensitised to the evil they do and it becomes a way of life for them.

                              the point being everything a vampire has or believes in will die or become corrupted beyond recognition.
                              Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 06-28-2022, 06:58 PM.

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