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Vampirism as a positive- subverting the core premise of VTM

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  • Vampirism as a positive- subverting the core premise of VTM

    I've been thinking a lot about how people actually play vtm a lot lately and the potential disconnect with play and core themes. i was reading another thread on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/vtm/comment...others_blaire/) and as I explored it and other similar threads on the subject I noticed the consistent a lot of PC characters seems to either enjoy the vampiric condition or enjoy interesting fulfilling lives rather than reveling in their own misery. With this in mind I'm wondering how many people play vtm as it's supposed to be played, now I'm not talking about simply exploring different aspect such a political games or say blade style streets battles, I mean "I really like being a vampire. I don't want to be human" full stop no "woe is me I labour under this terrible curse but lack conviction to walk into the sun" no "I'm so horribly messed up I'm unaware of my own desolation". Considering v5 tries to mechanically enforce existential horror and I'm still seeing this come up, i think it's certainly an ongoing issue which is worth considering even if we disregard mary sues or weird personal fantasies.


    -thoughts?
    Last edited by Ragged Robin; 07-20-2022, 07:20 AM.

  • #2
    I think vampirism should have horrifying moments but as a Storyteller, I've always encouraged the view that every vampire has some acceptance of their condition.

    And at least something they absolutely love about it.

    * Being able to pick up attractive partners.
    * The feeling of invulnerability.
    * The ability to abuse people who abused you in life.
    * Literal superpowers.
    * Immortality.
    * Immunity to disease.
    * The ability to appreciate things with super-senses.
    * People you care about in the afterlife like your coterie or progeny/sire. I do encourage vampires to fall in love.

    And of course the thing that motivates all vampires: blood.

    Its sex and drugs every night.


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

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    • #3
      I mean, I think about the things that give a human's life fulfillment. Meaningful long term relationships and a long term purpose that spans both day to day as well as over many years.

      Vampires are largely cut off from the former by virtue of their immorality, and many of the purposes humans derive fulfillment from are cut off from them via the Masquerade and inability to procreate.

      While I think it's entirely possible to experience a joyful, fulfilling existence as a Vampire, I think it's something the vampire must consciously choose every night.

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      • #4
        Requiem does something similar, it does have personal horror as one of the core aspects but it's outlook on vampirism is less "woe me I'm a loathsome creature of the night" and more like "Ok sugar, you are a blood sucking immortal with a sun allergy, a short but manageable temper, cool powers and infinite possibilities, what are you going to do about it?", it does point out that vampirism is a curse but doesn't dwell too much on it, the positives in general, far outweight the negatives and the beast is nowhere near the time bomb it is in masquerade (although it's definitely going to ruin your night if you give in too much).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
          I think vampirism should have horrifying moments but as a Storyteller, I've always encouraged the view that every vampire has some acceptance of their condition.

          And at least something they absolutely love about it.

          * Being able to pick up attractive partners.
          * The feeling of invulnerability.
          * The ability to abuse people who abused you in life.
          * Literal superpowers.
          * Immortality.
          * Immunity to disease.
          * The ability to appreciate things with super-senses.
          * People you care about in the afterlife like your coterie or progeny/sire. I do encourage vampires to fall in love.

          And of course the thing that motivates all vampires: blood.

          Its sex and drugs every night.

          On a sidenote, I really wish masquerade made up it's goddamn mind on the vamps "supersenses" because, aside from auspex and protean, vamps have the exact same sensory range as humans.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Newb95 View Post


            On a sidenote, I really wish masquerade made up it's goddamn mind on the vamps "supersenses" because, aside from auspex and protean, vamps have the exact same sensory range as humans.
            Yeah, that's always gotten on my nerves as well, especially the not being able to see in the dark as a default racial thing. They fixed it in Requiem, then went right back to it in V5. Vampires should not be stumbling around in the dark like Leslie Nelson's goofy comedy Dracula.

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            • #7
              Really, other than having to sleep during the day, having a Beast and having to drink blood, being a vampire isn't that bad. Especially when you factor in the immortality, magical powers and everything else. Sure, I get that it's supposed to be a curse and all that, but there's a lot of vampires who enjoy their condition.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                Really, other than having to sleep during the day, having a Beast and having to drink blood, being a vampire isn't that bad. Especially when you factor in the immortality, magical powers and everything else. Sure, I get that it's supposed to be a curse and all that, but there's a lot of vampires who enjoy their condition.

                What makes vampire's unlives shitty in masquerade (and to a lesser extent requiem) is the utterly abominable enviroment they live in, not only you are undead and in need of blood everyday but you also have to deal with a feudal society of immortal monsters who could crush you like an insect the second you prove to be an inconvenience to them, if vamps didn't need to deal with the Camarilla, the Anarchs and the Sabbat, their unlives would be MUCH easier.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                  Really, other than having to sleep during the day, having a Beast and having to drink blood, being a vampire isn't that bad. Especially when you factor in the immortality, magical powers and everything else. Sure, I get that it's supposed to be a curse and all that, but there's a lot of vampires who enjoy their condition.
                  That's because this is a fiction.

                  For example, when we go see a movie, it is a cathartic experience when the hero finally "oomps" the bad guy. It gives a sense of relief, justice served, and we derive pleasure from that tiny spot of sadism that we all posses inside our hearts but we keep repressed and pretend not to have it.

                  That's a fiction, a "controlled simulation" if you, in a safe environment.

                  I never had to kill anybody, thanks the heavens, Im not criminal, no police, no soldier, nor a stone age H sapiens fighting for my survival. I dont know exactly how it would feel having to look the face of desperation in somebody else's eyes, and then pulling the trigger. But Im sure it wouldnt be the same experience we get from the pleasure of seeing the villain getting killed in a movie.

                  Experiencing a sensation in our own skin is different from running mental simulations of hypothetical scenarios.

                  Being a vampire sounds awesome for all those reasons - feeling like an immortal super hero - but that's only because we "experience" it only as a mental simulation. Which is why we can make all those hypotheticals about how "awesome" it would be.

                  But in truth, it wouldnt be awesome, it would be terrible. First, you would be disconnected from the light. You may think that's trivial, but just you try living exclusively at night without even seeing the light of the day. That's a super depressive way to live - of that I do have some personal experience (which is gladly in the past).

                  Second, the total disconnection from the rest of the world. Now, some people are more reserved, even loners, and may think this is no big deal, but in fact it is. Because a vampire aint just disconnected from other normal people, they are disconnected from human condition. And there's only 2 ways a vampire can view humans after their embrace:
                  - Mortals are beneath me, Im so far beyond the fragile cattle;
                  Or
                  - Mortals are innocent sheep which I must tend to because they cand defend themselves

                  Thus, vampires will ALWAYS have a condescending view towards other humans, and a patronizing attitute. It's inevitable due to their condition.

                  That means that a vampire will be constantly be surrounded by creatures who no longer are of their kind, and who are just simply... Inferior. The cop stopping you in the traffic, he's either a petulant child who have no idea who he is dealing with, or a poor innocent child that has no idea the dangerous world he lives in.

                  All of a sudden, mortal considerations become utterly banal. You, after all, have more pressing matters to attend than the frivolous day to day struggles of the innocent sheep.

                  Immortality is also another curse. Even without all the sun allergy and blood drinking, immortality is still a heavy burden. Sure it may seem fun at the beggining. But just imagine, day in and day out, same old same old... Forever. Sure, let's break the routine a bit today. And tomorrow. And the day after... And after a while, "breaking the routine" becomes the new boring and emotionless routine.

                  No, vampirism is only "cool" when we consider it for a small entertainment game.

                  If vampirism was real, it would be a freaking nightmare.

                  Edit: and that's in my humble opinion is why so many people play VTM in the "cool aspects" of vampirism, and how awesome it is and what not, because we dont experience it, we experience only the mental simulations that design inside our heads, thus it's perfectly vallid to play in such a manner, but it wouldnt reflect reality, at least in the way I see it.
                  Last edited by Kakost; 07-20-2022, 11:04 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kakost View Post
                    But in truth, it wouldnt be awesome, it would be terrible.
                    Nope.

                    The truth still is this is fiction. The horror, the curse, the disconnect, they're tropes.

                    We don't know what being a vampire would be like. We don't know what being immortal would be like. We have genre assumptions and traditions, not data. Indeed, a lot of those assumptions have no basis or even contradicts what little actual science can extrapolate from our current knowledge on human Psychology and Neurology.

                    Sure, being cut from the light of day is horrible for a human, because it is horrible for a human brain. A vampire doe not have a human brain even if they have a human(-ish) mind, because vital or not to their anatomies, the organ is as dead and shriveled as every other in a vampire's internal body. Also, not everyone reacts to this in the same way, or under the same conditions.

                    Everything about vampires is fiction. And everything about RPGs is also fiction. The idea that playing them in a given way is more realistic is pure pretension, and the idea that realism is a superior mode of play in any way is pure snobbery. Not that anyone in particular is pretentious or snob just by thinking those very popular and repeated ideas are true.

                    But no. Just no.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                      Nope.

                      The truth still is this is fiction. The horror, the curse, the disconnect, they're tropes.

                      We don't know what being a vampire would be like. We don't know what being immortal would be like. We have genre assumptions and traditions, not data. Indeed, a lot of those assumptions have no basis or even contradicts what little actual science can extrapolate from our current knowledge on human Psychology and Neurology.

                      Sure, being cut from the light of day is horrible for a human, because it is horrible for a human brain. A vampire doe not have a human brain even if they have a human(-ish) mind, because vital or not to their anatomies, the organ is as dead and shriveled as every other in a vampire's internal body. Also, not everyone reacts to this in the same way, or under the same conditions.

                      Everything about vampires is fiction. And everything about RPGs is also fiction. The idea that playing them in a given way is more realistic is pure pretension, and the idea that realism is a superior mode of play in any way is pure snobbery. Not that anyone in particular is pretentious or snob just by thinking those very popular and repeated ideas are true.

                      But no. Just no.
                      You are right. Indeed such is the case. I stand corrected. Vampires are indeed (most probably?) a fiction, thus no "realistic" view is possible.

                      So, let me rephrase it all: in my opinion, the vampiric condition is a terrible curse; that's however just as subjective of an interpretation as any others

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                      • #12
                        Well the setting is one of horror of becoming slowly but surely becoming a monster that only has a passing resemblence to what you once were. So there is not much positives in the end and my character driving desire is making the best of a bad situation that he wouldn't wish upon his worst enemy.


                        What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                          Yeah, that's always gotten on my nerves as well, especially the not being able to see in the dark as a default racial thing. They fixed it in Requiem, then went right back to it in V5. Vampires should not be stumbling around in the dark like Leslie Nelson's goofy comedy Dracula.
                          Remember to move your coffin away from the chandelier, and beware of daymares.

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                          • #14
                            No vampire is ever further from suicide than the next sunrise. If their condition were genuinely intolerable, none of them would tolerate it.

                            In my headcanon, suicide is in fact the single biggest cause of Final Death among vampires under a hundred, despite the Second Inquisition's best efforts. With two flashpoints - immediately after the Embrace, and when the last person they knew in their mortal lives dies of old age.

                            I don't play it as a positive so much as a condition with horrific aspects which nonetheless has (for some) sufficient compensations to make it endurable.

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                            • #15
                              Most of my VtM characters have enjoyed the glamorous and romantic aspects of being a vampire.

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