Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Handling who NPC vamps notice

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Handling who NPC vamps notice

    I have a subjective question, but it's bothering me and I'd appreciate additional points of view:

    You have vampire NPCs who are about, doing their thing (eating, tending their domain, pursuing pet projects). Now assume there are other actors, mortal and supernatural, with whom they bump into in the normal course of implementing their concerns. There are no clear breaches of the Masquerade (which would demand immediate action).

    To what extent would vampires tend to investigate and/or meddling with said other actors, versus focusing on their own business?

    The obvious and unhelpful answer is "it depends". What I'm really wrestling with is, I suppose, "how busy are your vamps to notice and respond to things that are not clear, predatory threats?"

    I can think of several factors that weigh into an individual vamp's decision-making:
    1. Has this actor been a factor in events before?
    2. Has this actor been positive or negative, in general?
    3. Has this actor demonstrated or hinted at supernatural influences?
    4. Has this actor shown mortal influence or is entangled with mortal influences that make messing with it more complicated?
    5. Am I bored?

    The reason this becomes an issue of consideration is that if you're playing at the table whatever the Storyteller brings up is automatically important. Generally the action taking places is deemed extraordinary to the requiem of the vamps, and everyone is paying attention. But! Most of the time a vamp is going to tending store--on guard, perhaps, but in that dull way that ensures their interests don't spontaneously combust. They're thinking about lots of things: "how Tommy sent goons into her street again, and the questions raised in last week's Testament study in the basement of the run-down 5-and-dime. It smelled like black mold. You know, like that stuff that seizes the lungs up and crap? Maybe it sticks to clothes and she should launder everything before seeing Billy again... wouldn't want him to die and he's in his 80s anymore. I'm hungry...."

    Etc. etc. This is the stream of mental consciousness and inputs we're all subjected to. Noticing and connecting that police officer you've seen three times in the last year, and he's back at work awfully fast after the beating so-and-so gave him a few months ago? Well that's easy at the table, but otherwise?

    Your take would be helpful. How do your NPCs respond?

    --Khanwulf

  • #2
    I think a major point of interest would be 'can I use this to my advantage.'

    In Danse Macabre, for instance, you had Earth who was on good terms with a werewolf pack. At one point he asks them to help getting rid of a body on behalf of a higher-ranked vampire. Not just burying it in some shallow grave either but making sure it is never found again. A vampire stumbling upon ghouls or ghoulish werewolves would probably see a huge advantage in that kind of thing, helping them cover up their own errors as well as potentially being useful for others with the same problem.

    Comment


    • #3
      Aside from "are they a potential threat?" I see two main reasons a Vampire would take interest in an NPC:

      1. Are they a potential tool?
      2. Do they have some kind of sentimental value?

      Number one includes people with sway or useful skills. It might include socialites and politicians and bureaucrats who can pull strings or forge documents on the Vampire's behalf, or it might include morticians or cops or gangsters who might help the Vampire get access to illicit goods or help cover-up botched feedings. The librarian or occult researcher who knows things the vampire does not also fits here.

      Number two is a bit more nebulous. It could include family member or friends from their mortal lives. It could also include people who remind the vampire of individuals long gone. It might also include blood dolls, ghouls and ghoul-candidates. If the vampire is a fan of art, it might be an up-and-coming artist that the vampire wants to keep an eye on or maybe become a patron of. Basically, people who aren't useful or dangerous but has the vampire seeking them out for more personal or social reasons.

      Of course, these can overlap. Could be as simple as "I think they're cute, and I suspect they could eventually be useful if I invest some time and resources into them." Seems like a good way to while away a decade would be helping an idealistic rookie cop become Chief of Police. Bonus: you now have the Chief of Police indebted to you for getting them there. More difficult than just blood bonding the existing Chief, but vampires have to entertain themselves somehow.

      Of course, each Clan will look at this a bit differently. Ventrue might be more focused on number one than number two, with their distance from Touchstones and preference for control and using people as tools (Dominate). Gangrel and Nosferatu might not pay much mind to either category, being not terribly social and having skills and abilities that favor other means to their ends. Daeva, by contrast, might constantly seek out both obsessively because that's what they do, while a Mekhet enjoys finding people with interesting secrets to either blackmail (number one) or just for the sake of knowing the secrets and finding the individual interesting because of them (number two).

      Comment


      • #4
        Quick answer/question would be "does it concern some other kindred's interests, be it political, esoteric, ideological, romantic or other?" It's good to remember, not every kindred is some optimized influence-collecting machine, personalities, ideals, beliefs and such can color their concerns and should add much in the way of personality, character and interest for them.

        The PCs do not exist in a vacuum - associations are key.

        The first kindred to care/worry about them and possibly notice their actions would be those already familiar with them like sires, childer, broodmates, allies, neighbors/rivals and such.
        Then come the associations, friendly or inimical, of those same kindred, who might look at the PCs as potential allies, pawns, chinks on rivals' armor and a number of other things depending on events, actions or circunstances.

        Specification helps. Define some locals, kindred, ghoul, mortal contacts, hunters, other supernaturals, whatever catches your fancy, who might be close by - either physically (same or neighboring districts) or socially/emotionally (relations, allies, rivals, lovers, etc) - their motivations and interests and the story will pretty much write itself. Doesn't have to be much as long as it helps you evoke a good image of that NPC in your mind to run and improvise with.
        Last edited by Baaldam; 10-31-2017, 08:33 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think it comes down to what are their intrests (both in the take an intrest in sense and the have an intrest in one) are and how much free time they have.
          Examples.
          Mary the Mechet is a neonate with no real covenant affiliations, she regularly investigate anything that takes her interest and her clan have started to take note.
          Victoria the Ventrue is working her way up in the Invictus, if something could get her an edge she wants to know about it but she only has so much free time and so must outsource most investigations.
          Nathan the Nosferatu is Vicktoria's go to guy, he priorities finding out what she has asked for or things that will affect her interests but does follow up investigations when he has time and sometimes likes to get to know someone without them learning of his intrest.
          Danny the Dragon never got on with coffee or energy drinks when alive but now his mantra is "Torper's for the timid." He's struck a deal with the Prince for the cash he needs to keep himself equipped in return for being her eyes and ears by day. He follows up on anything that might imply a move in Kindred politics, endanger the Masquerade, gain him control of a Dragons nest or give him an in with another type of supernatural.
          Having thought this through a lot of what someone will learn depends on what assets they can bring to the investigation and how much they can stop their information leaking to groups they don't want knowing stuff, if you can have the police look into things but can't stop due process then you will know lots about crime and disappearances but can't look into a rival for fear of the masquerade suffering.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, the key is understanding your vamps and what their interests and interactions are--getting into their head-space long enough to determine if they're paying attention.

            I can see three phases of interaction with vampires:

            1. Notice (the main focus of this thread)
            2. Assessment
            3. Action

            In actuality, "Notice" involves a quick and dirty pass through all three points as minor stages: awareness (do you physically perceive the subject, easily done with a die roll), "prey/threat/toy" measurement, and "meh/not-meh" reaction. The entire process takes a moment and we do it all the time as humans using our own experience-based heuristics (the dirty word for this is "profiling").

            It's handling these later two stages of Notice that I'm struggling with, and your comments are already appreciated.

            Profiling NPCs could work, assuming you're stocking a city/area:
            A- Mary the Mekhet is a neonate with a barely-stable network of contacts and feeding instructions... you could hardly call it a Domain, but whatever works. She's constantly on the look out for the right prey in the right place and constantly on the look out for an "edge" to set her Beast at ease and cool her nerves; it's also fun to have the awesome senses of a vamp... let alone a Mekhet. If you wander in front of her undivided gaze and are anything but dead-ordinary she'll Notice you.

            B- Victoria the Ventrue is an experienced social leadership professional, accustomed to making snap personnel decisions and not accustomed to walking them back, later. She's dressing and maneuvering to kill, and has little time for distractions. If you get Noticed its because you look like prey or a useful tool, and because she's already searching for such at the moment. Or, you're dumb enough to penetrate her schedule or get in her face--but she has people for that.

            C- Nathan the Nosferatu may or may not be on mission. If so, he's not got time for you; don't flip the script and don't harsh his flow. If he's twiddling his undead thumbs (how would you know, anyway?), then he's looking for an intellectually-stimulating subject to analyze and it can quickly be you--either at random or because you're anything above room-temperature ordinary. But honestly, you won't know if you have his attention, or how long you keep it. And he can take a break from rearranging your furniture at night and still find you in the closet, anyway.

            D- Danny the Dragon is the pitiable figure you can see in the shadowed corner of the coffee shop, hunched in the back of the city council meeting, and squeezing past patrons of the used book store on the way to its grimy meeting rooms. He looks like he could use a nap, and he's struggling to focus on his lead without letting the implications of his environment and surrounding people slip past him. It makes him edgy and it's hard to tell if he'll fixate on you long enough to register something, before he drags his attention back to whatever is at hand. There is always something at hand. If you force an encounter or create enough of a disturbance to affect his work, he'll flip the page in that cryptically-notationed little beige book, and jot down a new time and date for you.

            [That was fun. Ok.]

            On a usage note... the situations where what I'm talking about come up are things like:
            * Your PCs are mortals and you're playing through the early stages of falling into the Darkness without a clear objective of clan/covenant.
            * Your PCs are being good citizens and pretending to be mortals in a Domain that doesn't know them, or know them well enough on sight.
            * Your PCs are being very bad citizens in a Domain they don't want to be found in.
            * Your PCs are some other splat and are inadvertently in the vicinity of vampires. (Or others these principles apply to.)

            --Khanwulf

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's something mechanically I just threw together to address my own problem.... It uses the Mythic Game Master Emulator chart with a d100 check.

              Getting Noticed
              Vamps are supernaturally aware and attuned to others wielding weird powers or jacking with their interests. They’re also busy people often rushing to get everything done and back to safety before the sun rises. They have people to do, things to see and all the distractions of their Beast to deal with. The can skip you. Maybe. Or sort you into “food” for action sooner or later.

              “Does that vamp notice you?” Mythic GME factors:
              Positive:
              • You just stood in front of him and did something extra-ordinary. Like fight him and not get killed in response.
              • You display connection, knowledge of or affiliation with the Darkness of the WoD. (Such as showing up at the monthly Elysium mingle. Or Daeva debauch.)
              • You just jacked with his feeding access/favorite prey knowingly or un-knowingly
              • You just messed with his pet project/person/place (positively or negatively)
              • You’re not where you belong or fail to blend in socially/physically
              • You’ve acted particularly competently in front of him
              • You bled in front of him
              • He’s hungry
              • He’s feeling vulnerable (socially or with regards to a safe space) and trolling for help
              • He’s bored, or generally unoccupied and stable (a guest being provided hospitality, for example)
              Negative:
              • He’s dealing with other supernaturals at the moment, including “friendly” ones
              • Someone else is messing with his pet project/person/place
              • Things are moving way too fast
              • You blend in well/are socially famous
              • You’re subject to significant attention by others
              • You behave ordinarily
              • He’s hungry—and you are not bleeding
              • He’s scrambling to put the essentials into place (safe space, Kindred protection, feeding rights, etc.)
              • He’s operating under orders that require execution, or is otherwise mentally preoccupied with a problem
              • He’s subject to the Tempted condition, or otherwise on the verge of frenzy
              Starting from a "50/50" chance, Chaos 5, move the check up and down by one for each factor you can note as applying. If a given factor is extremely important to the vampire, apply it twice.
              A yes result on the question means the vamp can recognize the character and may follow up with/on them as soon as their most pressing matters are resolved. This could be immediately if the vamp is unoccupied or hungry.

              Note that being “followed up on” by a vamp does not necessarily mean they will come hang around your bed, obfuscated (it could, however). It does mean that the vamp will take steps to determine if you are going to be a problem and/or solution, and act accordingly based on how urgently you rank among the other pressing matters on their plate.

              Whether the vamp sorts you into “problem”, “solution”, “interesting toy” or “food” category depends on the vamp, your continued interactions and/or capabilities shown, and how risky he views your association w.r.t. other vamps especially, impact on masquerade, and etc.

              --Khanwulf

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
                A- Mary the Mekhet is a neonate with a barely-stable network of contacts and feeding instructions... you could hardly call it a Domain, but whatever works. She's constantly on the look out for the right prey in the right place and constantly on the look out for an "edge" to set her Beast at ease and cool her nerves; it's also fun to have the awesome senses of a vamp... let alone a Mekhet. If you wander in front of her undivided gaze and are anything but dead-ordinary she'll Notice you.

                B- Victoria the Ventrue is an experienced social leadership professional, accustomed to making snap personnel decisions and not accustomed to walking them back, later. She's dressing and maneuvering to kill, and has little time for distractions. If you get Noticed its because you look like prey or a useful tool, and because she's already searching for such at the moment. Or, you're dumb enough to penetrate her schedule or get in her face--but she has people for that.

                C- Nathan the Nosferatu may or may not be on mission. If so, he's not got time for you; don't flip the script and don't harsh his flow. If he's twiddling his undead thumbs (how would you know, anyway?), then he's looking for an intellectually-stimulating subject to analyze and it can quickly be you--either at random or because you're anything above room-temperature ordinary. But honestly, you won't know if you have his attention, or how long you keep it. And he can take a break from rearranging your furniture at night and still find you in the closet, anyway.

                D- Danny the Dragon is the pitiable figure you can see in the shadowed corner of the coffee shop, hunched in the back of the city council meeting, and squeezing past patrons of the used book store on the way to its grimy meeting rooms. He looks like he could use a nap, and he's struggling to focus on his lead without letting the implications of his environment and surrounding people slip past him. It makes him edgy and it's hard to tell if he'll fixate on you long enough to register something, before he drags his attention back to whatever is at hand. There is always something at hand. If you force an encounter or create enough of a disturbance to affect his work, he'll flip the page in that cryptically-notationed little beige book, and jot down a new time and date for you.

                [That was fun. Ok.]
                Glad you enjoyed yourself, it's interesting to see how the cast came out when someone else imagined them, you got Victoria exactly how I saw her, Nathan was very close, with Mary you focused more on how hard feeding is and ignored the bit about her investigations impressing her clan and Danny went from a highly mobile parlour/biker guy to shuffling around with a notebook.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Live Bait View Post

                  Glad you enjoyed yourself, it's interesting to see how the cast came out when someone else imagined them, you got Victoria exactly how I saw her, Nathan was very close, with Mary you focused more on how hard feeding is and ignored the bit about her investigations impressing her clan and Danny went from a highly mobile parlour/biker guy to shuffling around with a notebook.
                  Yeah the flip comes from looking less at how they investigate (assess stages during contact, and not my focus so much) and more at how they notice things. Also, how they might look to outsiders who don't know them and don't know to approach/avoid them.

                  Mary is busy. Or not. If busy she's investigating and trying real hard to figure all this weird stuff out. Of not then she'll be quick to take notice. Most of the time she's busy; keep it up and she'll be a kind of Viktoria in 50 years.

                  Danny gets around when he should be sleeping, and makes bank by appearing harmless enough people tolerate or overlook him long enough for him to do his job for the Prince. Plus, if he doesn't look harmless some of his contacts might literally take him apart to see how he ticks. Catch him at night in a salon waiting his turn with the city bag-man and he'll be a cool and collected monster. But why are the not-noticed subjects of this thread visiting a vamp salon voluntarily???

                  --Khanwulf

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X