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  • Malkovian Malkavia

    Hello friends!

    I did a google search just to see if this had been discussed before, and I found nothing. If it has been discussed at exhausting length, please link me to the former discussion.

    IF NOT, let's chat about it right now.

    How do you handle The M, the disease Malkavia, and the existence of the Malkovian bloodline? Both were obviously inspired by the Malkavians from VtM. As far as I see, there are a couple of ways to run it.

    1) Malkavia originated from the Malkovians.
    2) Malkavia has nothing to do with the Malkovians whatsoever. They are both callbacks to the Malkavians in VtM, but they are different enough in concept that they are simply unrelated.
    3) We're just gonna pretend that the Malkovians don't exist. They were a weird, weird decision back in 2004 when VtR had no idea what direction it was going in. Malkavia is clearly the "real" descendant of the Malkavians.
    4) Other

    Which do you usually do?

  • #2
    3 with a splash of 4. The 4 being that my version of Malkavia is effectively a contagious bloodline.


    Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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    • #3
      1 and 4. The first Malkovian manifested a contagious mental disorder that, when passed on to a Ventrue without a bloodline, inducts him into the bloodline. Unqualified vampires and humans just get the disorders, without the ability to take advantage of it.

      And I'm sure I got this idea from a homebrew or something. Can't remember which, though.


      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
        3 with a splash of 4. The 4 being that my version of Malkavia is effectively a contagious bloodline.
        Malkavia (from the clan book) is already effectively a contagious bloodline by design. The only difference is that it doesn't fill a character's "bloodline slot". It's also not clan exclusive, but that's not unique to Malkavia.
        Anyway, that's how I'd run it as well if I were to ST Vampire. I'd probably rework Dementation to better fit with 2E. Maybe make it a series of Devotions where the first is granted at "induction". I'd have to think more about it.
        Malkovians could still be useful as a false lead if someone were to try to find the origin of Malkavia, but it would not be the true origin.


        Bloodline: The Stygians
        Ordo Dracul Mystery: Coil of Smoke

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
          Malkavia (from the clan book) is already effectively a contagious bloodline by design. The only difference is that it doesn't fill a character's "bloodline slot". It's also not clan exclusive, but that's not unique to Malkavia.
          Yeah, my version is meant to capture the clanbook version fairly faithfully. It does take up your Bloodline "slot" in my version though.

          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
          Anyway, that's how I'd run it as well if I were to ST Vampire. I'd probably rework Dementation to better fit with 2E. Maybe make it a series of Devotions where the first is granted at "induction". I'd have to think more about it.
          Oh yeah, I would (and do) completely scrap Dementation as a Discipline. The Malkavian Bloodline Gift in my version is more comparable to the Neglatu Gift, in that it's kind of a collection of things Malkavians can just do. Only while their symptoms are active, though. While the drawback is in remission, they lose access to the Gift.

          A draft of it is on the Homebrew Hub, though I have since made some tweaks to it, and I can no longer access that google doc.


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          • #6
            At this point? To be honest, I feel like new!Nightmare with bits of Auspex captures the ideals of old Dementation in the first place. Maybe some tweaks, but I'm actually less comfortable using a vampire-madness-disease-as-bloodline now. Especially since it revolves around triggering "derangements" that we don't even have in the first place. The Delusional Condition fits that niche nicely, and its just a 3rd dot ability. I don't really think there's anything that's in Dementation that's worth keeping as a separate ability at this point. And that means there's really no benefit for it. "Mad Insight" into having some skill they shouldn't is easily represented by the Steadfast Condition, which is easy to get, especially with Lay Open the Mind or exceptional rolls on anything.


            Not that Malk madness can't be a thing, but as a bloodline, I just don't feel it. I just don't feel like there is any benefit, and it undermines the horror of a disease / poison spreading. So, in my case, I just ignore the bloodline thing altogether. Both the original "but we can do what Masquerade did!" bloodline in the old core, and as a pseudo-one in the clan book. Malkavia is a disease vector that can infect vampires and twist them. Its a concern for unhealthy feeding practices and bad living. Something I'd do more along the lines of Morbus than anyone else.


            Speaking of the Morbus, I feel like there should be some kind of devotion or ability that all vampires have access to that deals with disease to some extent. *ponders some Animalism devotions to that effect?* Or maybe Cruac / Theban. Its definitely more fitting for divine punishment... sorry, I'll stop now.
            Last edited by MCN; 03-18-2017, 07:16 AM.

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            • #7
              4. Malkovians exist, but the Malkavia disease does not. Malkovians have a bloodline gift that replicates some aspects of Dementation. And frequenly a codependent relationship with the Morotrophians.
              Last edited by SunlessNick; 03-21-2017, 04:32 PM.

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              • #8
                2. When the existence of his Bloodline came to public attention, some wit simply noted the similarities between 'Malkavia' and 'Malkov', merged the two, and thus named the lineage with a truly awful pun. Malkov's opinion on the matter is unknown, but the namer of the line vanished shortly thereafter (but then, she was a Mekhet, so who can say?).

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                • #9
                  3. Not a fan of a lot of the legacy stuff from Masquerade but having it as a disease is interesting enough to warrant putting in.

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                  • #10
                    It actually varies depending on the game I'm running. I mostly ignored the Malkovians even before Malkavia was a thing, and once it was I used it pretty much exclusively. Over time though I've found aspects of the Malkovians I like and have started using them more. I was/am a big player of Malkavians in VtM, and so like a lot of people I found the Malkovians very watered down and was much pleased when a more recognizable version appeared in the Ventrue clanbook. A lot of that is because I started playing VtM in Revised though, and that prototype of Malkavians is actually a somewhat different animal from the prototype they had in earlier editions. After having played a couple of more "old school" Malkavians I got a better understanding of the niche they operated in which in turn gave me better insight into what the real angle of the Malkovians was.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Caitiff Primogen View Post
                      A lot of that is because I started playing VtM in Revised though, and that prototype of Malkavians is actually a somewhat different animal from the prototype they had in earlier editions. After having played a couple of more "old school" Malkavians I got a better understanding of the niche they operated in which in turn gave me better insight into what the real angle of the Malkovians was.
                      I actually really love this explanation, pointing out how Malkovians are more like the Dominate Malkavians and Malkavia is more like the Dementation Malkavians. That's so awesome!!!

                      I'm actually playing a (really Demented, but I'm trying to be true-to-form and not Fish) Malkavian right now in my local Masquerade LARP, and there are definitely two different beasts between the "Dominate" family and the "Dementation" family.

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                      • #12
                        I have such a love/hate realtionship with Malkavians/Malkovians/Malkavia/etc. I love the idea of a Discipline or other supernatural power that functions like a disease. Hate the idea of a contagious mental illness. Love the idea of a Clan or Bloodline of seers, who's insight causes them to view the world differently and are often treated as "mad" because of it. Hate the idea of a Clan or Bloodline of "crazy people". And these already conflicted feelings are only made more complicated by the fact that they're ultimately just Masquerade baggage.

                        I think my ideal take on the whole thing would be in my hypothetical magical Christmasland Masquerade reboot setting. Malkavians would be a Clan of seers with Auspex, Obfuscate, and Dominate, with a weakness that had nothing to do with Derangements, and the madness thing would just be a stereotype based on their weird way of looking at the world. Dementation would be a disease, much like Requiem's Malkavia, that could be contracted by any vampire, one side-effect of which would be hallucinations. Antitribu Malkavians would have a reputation for intentionally exposing themselves to the disease so as to weaponize it.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                          I have such a love/hate realtionship with Malkavians/Malkovians/Malkavia/etc. I love the idea of a Discipline or other supernatural power that functions like a disease. Hate the idea of a contagious mental illness. Love the idea of a Clan or Bloodline of seers, who's insight causes them to view the world differently and are often treated as "mad" because of it. Hate the idea of a Clan or Bloodline of "crazy people". And these already conflicted feelings are only made more complicated by the fact that they're ultimately just Masquerade baggage.
                          Fwiw, I've never seen the Malkavians as actually "crazy." I've only ever played V20/V20 Dark Ages, but it's made pretty clear in both that the Malkavians' "mental illness" is not actually a "mental illness" at all (medication nor therapy will solve it) but the result of a shard of an ancient god being embedded in their minds. The sexy twenty-something's persona is totally overpowered by the ancient blood god, resulting in a three-way war between the neonate, their own Beast, and Malkav himself. Not to mention, every other Malkavian who is or was has a shard of this ancient blood god in their mind as well, and the shards are stretching out towards each other in an attempt to become whole again.

                          The result? The vampire hears voices. The vampire suddenly knows things they shouldn't know. The vampire sees weird, chaotic "hallucinations" that they can only explain in the most bizarre terms. The vampire is extremely paranoid that something is coming after him because some Malkavian, somewhere, really is in danger. So other vampires, and even the Malkavians themselves who don't quite understand it, just say "the Malkavians are totally off the wall nuts." But it's not that simple at all.

                          It's possible that I might run Malkavia as being similar - a sentient virus that is overriding the influence of The Blood - or perhaps is merely a mutation of The Blood - and seeking to reproduce itself. But the difference between WoD and CofD is that the Malkavian thing above is fact, and the Malkavia option I just suggested is merely a possibility. ...which is why I generally prefer CofD to WoD, but some people like having strict canon and that's cool.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                            Fwiw, I've never seen the Malkavians as actually "crazy." I've only ever played V20/V20 Dark Ages, but it's made pretty clear in both that the Malkavians' "mental illness" is not actually a "mental illness" at all (medication nor therapy will solve it) but the result of a shard of an ancient god being embedded in their minds. The sexy twenty-something's persona is totally overpowered by the ancient blood god, resulting in a three-way war between the neonate, their own Beast, and Malkav himself. Not to mention, every other Malkavian who is or was has a shard of this ancient blood god in their mind as well, and the shards are stretching out towards each other in an attempt to become whole again.

                            The result? The vampire hears voices. The vampire suddenly knows things they shouldn't know. The vampire sees weird, chaotic "hallucinations" that they can only explain in the most bizarre terms. The vampire is extremely paranoid that something is coming after him because some Malkavian, somewhere, really is in danger. So other vampires, and even the Malkavians themselves who don't quite understand it, just say "the Malkavians are totally off the wall nuts." But it's not that simple at all.
                            Their portrayal seems to vary a lot from one edition to the next. The 20th Annoversary Editions really do their best to address the more problematic aspects of WoD, including Malkavians' madness. Making it simply an emergent property of the madness network is a decent band-aid. It's actually pretty similar to how I would portray them in my hypothetical reboot, but there are definitely example characters from earlier books who's Derangements really can't be explained by the madness network. Like the guy from Alien Hunger who literally thinks he's Jimmy Hendrix. Ultimately as long as their weakness is "you have a Derrangement" and Derangements are based on mental illnesses, no amount of hand-waving can really fix that underlying issue, in my opinion.

                            Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                            It's possible that I might run Malkavia as being similar - a sentient virus that is overriding the influence of The Blood - or perhaps is merely a mutation of The Blood - and seeking to reproduce itself. But the difference between WoD and CofD is that the Malkavian thing above is fact, and the Malkavia option I just suggested is merely a possibility. ...which is why I generally prefer CofD to WoD, but some people like having strict canon and that's cool.
                            Indeed. More mystery is another important thing I would want to include in a Masquerade reboot.


                            Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                            My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                              Ultimately as long as their weakness is "you have a Derrangement" and Derangements are based on mental illnesses, no amount of hand-waving can really fix that underlying issue, in my opinion.
                              You're not wrong. A big part of the problem is that Derangements are not now and have never been a well executed game element in any iteration of the WoD. Some of them are attempting to portray real mental illnesses, others more sensational forms of madness from media and literature, others are specific supernatural conditions, and none of them have consistent mechanical or role-play representation. Something that I have tried to emphasize when I use Malkavians (in either Masquerade or Requiem) is that madness =/= mental illness. I'm only one person though, and that isn't going to stop others from conflating the concepts. Nor does it remove the DNA they still have from their earliest inception in which the two were obviously and clearly conflated by the authors both in terms of story and rules. Nor does it remove the prominent and awkward role that "madness" plays in the gothic literature that informs Vampire and the cultural moment that birthed it. Nor indeed does it stop a lot of so-called "good" Malkavian players from using fish-wielding cartoon characters as their only metric of comparison against their own behavior and continuing to fetishize mental illness through roleplay they persistently believe to be somehow elevated.

                              That rant being said, I still love Malkavians.

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