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Design: (1e) Virtue & Vice vs. (2e) Mask & Dirge

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  • #16
    Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post

    Oh that makes it a lot clearer. It's kind of stupid, but I think I (and others) probably overthought it because it didn't literally say requiem/masquerade on the tin, and because some of the example masks/dirges generally fit one category a little better than the other.

    The origin/background dichotomy definitely makes a lot of sense when applied to mask/dirge.
    We originally wrote the chapter with "masquerade" and "requiem," but the rules became really hard to follow because of the prominence of the terms elsewhere.


    Cavaliers of Mars Creator
    Retired CofD Lead

    Check out my guides to Vampire and my indie games!

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Draconis View Post
      Honestly, I think Mask and Dirge were a mistake. They're just the old Nature/Demeanor system from Masquerade, but with new names applied.

      Virtues and Vices (once you unbind them from the deadly sins and all that, which is what CofD core did), to me, are much more interesting: they give you character motivations rather than a cardboard cutout of how your character should act. Even if they both represent the same character, "my Virtue is a twisted form of Justice, which I define myself around and will sacrifice any other ideal for" is (to me) a lot more interesting to roleplay than "I act like the archetypal Authoritarian from the book".

      One homebrew option I've seen people use is "this is the ideal that drives my Humanity" versus "this is the ideal that drives my Beast", which is cool and I'd like to see explored further, but I've never actually played with that one. It's somewhat similar to Forsaken 2e's Blood/Bone system, but keyed to Vampire's downward slide rather than Werewolf's attempt to balance the two. (They'd also need cool names…)

      I don't see it that way. Mask and Dirge aren't hollow stereotypes or archetypes you play, but two fundamental parts that are true about your character. The Mask is the face you wear when going outside, the face you show to everyone else because that's how you want to be seen, that's the face you're comfortable with. The Dirge is the truth behind the mask, it's a facet of your personality you deem important, but aren't comfortable showing to the wider world, it's the reason why you wear your mask in the first place.

      To me, this is super relatable, because we all have a Mask and Dirge in real-life as well! All of us, we all wears a mask every day, and we all have our dirge which we might or might not try to hide. I feel this duality, this very humane part of us, plays a much larger role in our lives and modern-day society than our virtues and vices. For vampires, whose entire existence is hidden behind a masquerade and who have even more trust issues and more insecurities, this is even more the case.

      Besides, you don't have to choose Mask or Dirge archetypes from the book. The ones in the book are just examples, feel free to homebrew your own to fit your character!
      Last edited by Tomorrow's Nobody; 06-07-2019, 02:30 PM.

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      • #18
        To me, this is super relatable, because we all have a Mask and Dirge in real-life as well!
        So this seems more akin to the Nature/Demeanor dichotomy from VTM, rather than what what seems to have been intended.


        The way I'm interpreting it now is this:

        By the time you were embraced, you had built a life for yourself. You were socialized, educated, got connections, got a job, made friends, had people who loved you, and dreams for the future with associated plans. You related to all these things in some way, and they came to expect you to act in characteristic ways.

        Then you died. And all those things were inturrupted. Your job and plans all involved the sun. But the people didn't go anywhere. That life has ossified around you; you fill the lacuna but it no longer fully tracks your experience. All the old patterns and connections are there, and it's easy to slip into them, like a well fitting mask.

        But when your life ended, your skills and interests didn't die with your body. There's a whole new society for you to integrate into. New uses for your skills, new reasons to reach out to the people you know. A new purpose towards which you can apply yourself. It's the dirge to which you shuffle along.

        In younger vampires, your mask is probably your old life, and it's likely that your dirge won't diverge far. But as you get older, you'll change. Your new experiences will weigh on you, but you can't explain to your old work buddies why you always sit with your back to the wall, or to your mother why you don't like your breath reeks like a murder scene. Make an excuse, or offhand lie, but the mask doesn't fit so well as it did before.

        Eventually that life you'd built will crumble away. Everyone you knew will have died and your old job is being done by robots. But you've still got your sense of humor. And more importantly, you've still got your deepseated need for approval. So you flirt with the security guard, or ask a contact to grab a few drinks. You find someone's life and you burrow your way in. Colonize their friends and their friends' friends. When they notice you're good with a knife for someone who always eats out, you say your parents taught you to hunt, or you worked as a prep cook during college - - where you studied art history, yes, that's why you have so many paintings....

        Anyway, I forget where this was going, but I'm sure I had a point. I'm on mobile, so maybe I'll edit when I can actually read what I wrote.

        EDIT: I think it makes a fair bit of sense, that you're incentivized with willpower to perform your role in either or both societies, but I do think it would be nice if there were more... I dunno... Thematic integration? I mean, you get all your willpower back for behaving in line with you Anchor in a way that causes your character complications, so the existence of the anchor kind of tilts things towards going wrong in a particular way in line with the particular Anchor you chose. But I guess I would want the Anchors to conflict a bit more directly? Maybe it's because you can live out your Dirge or Mask exclusively, without mechanical consequence, that it seems kind of impotent. But then again, it allows the freedom to have fledglings who don't have an established Dirge, and Ancillae who have lost their Mask.
        Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 06-07-2019, 05:26 PM.

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        • #19
          The core idea was that Mask is who you are when you're dealing with humans, Dirge is who you are as a vampire. Neither's more truly you than the other, but Mask is harder to keep up.

          One of the things that runs through several of the nWoD games is the idea that if you put up a facade, it's still part of you. A mask is still a face.

          So they're both anchors, they both ground you, they're both roles that reaffirm your identity and therefore your Willpower.

          I'm working on a revised version of them for my own purposes, and I'll keep this thread in mind!


          Cavaliers of Mars Creator
          Retired CofD Lead

          Check out my guides to Vampire and my indie games!

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          • #20
            Something i've considered doing was replacing the more personnality/archetypical aspect of mask and dirge with roles.
            An exemple for the mask could be university student and dirge would be archivist for the lancea sanctum.


            Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les Légendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 2year old daughter anf a 1 year old son.

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            • #21
              Sounds more like jobs. I think that goes pretty far from the point of Anchors. Being an archivist might just be how a sanctified has chosen to pass the time rather than anything that informs any part of their personality.


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
              Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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              • #22
                For me the goal of making it a job is to emphasize the importance of having a place in kindred society.
                (tho i'm doing this to make things more aligned with how i've seen my group approach playing Requiem and i don't think this is a change that would work for everybody)


                Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les Légendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 2year old daughter anf a 1 year old son.

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                • #23
                  If it works for your PCs, then go for it. Just have in mind that it might not work for NPCs unless you've had all of them having found their calling, so to speak.


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                  Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
                    The core idea was that Mask is who you are when you're dealing with humans, Dirge is who you are as a vampire. Neither's more truly you than the other, but Mask is harder to keep up.

                    One of the things that runs through several of the nWoD games is the idea that if you put up a facade, it's still part of you. A mask is still a face.

                    So they're both anchors, they both ground you, they're both roles that reaffirm your identity and therefore your Willpower.

                    My biggest problem with this is that it works for certain other splats, but it doesn't always work in Vampire. I can think of dozens of examples where a Mask and Dirge would end up being exactly the same because the character/npc acts the same with humans as they do with vampires. Vice and Virtue, and most other splat variations, work because EVERYONE has them without exception, and they absolutely have to be different from each other. You don't get this with Mask and Dirge at all. Relating Mask and Dirge to Humanity and Beast, in a similar way as say Werewolf handles Bone and Blood, makes a LOT more sense than relating them to behaviour in human society vs behaviour in vampire society.

                    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
                    I'm working on a revised version of them for my own purposes, and I'll keep this thread in mind!
                    Is this revised version of Requiem just a labour of love that you'll (hopefully?) be sharing with the community at large? Or is this an official thing where we'll finally get an official Vampire the Requiem v2.5? Either way I would LOVE to see a revised version of Requiem. As amazing as I think Requiem 2e is, I think a revision is something we've desperately needed for a long time.
                    Last edited by Shadowdragon; 06-11-2019, 10:18 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                      If it works for your PCs, then go for it. Just have in mind that it might not work for NPCs unless you've had all of them having found their calling, so to speak.
                      It doesn't need to be their job, per se. No matter the situation, what you do is in some way an expression of your character. If someone hasn't found their "calling" and works a job they hate, then why don't they quit it? Maybe because they fear risking failure by pursuing something better; maybe they feel lost; maybe they are biding their time; maybe they are being coerced and this is the best way they can deal.

                      People do things for reasons, and that's what the Mask/Dirge/Willpower loop seems to be about - - which reasons weigh on the person, and how is their character expressed through their relations within a given context? What do you do when surrounded by friends and family and food you can never be honest with? What do you do when you are surrounded by undead gaslighting dickbags who think you're a threat to their material security?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                        If someone hasn't found their "calling" and works a job they hate, then why don't they quit it?
                        Most commonly because of the need for a salary. Vampires are probably going to feel forced to it by other means, such as getting hunting ground rights, keeping up favour with a superior, pressured to it by the Sire, etc. And even if you don't hate it, it's still very unlikely to be something they actually burn for. It generally isn't for humans and vampires have even worse opportunities of landing such a position. (Not to mention that combining work and pleasure can actually end up sucking the pleasure out of the job.)

                        My point is that it's not uncommon for people to do stuff for reasons that are tangentially related to what they're doing. Lets say the archivist only does it to build status within the church. Why would acting like an archivist in other contexts reaffirm their personal strength and grant them WP? It's not who they are as a person; it's just their job for the time being.


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
                          I can think of dozens of examples where a Mask and Dirge would end up being exactly the same because the character/npc acts the same with humans as they do with vampires.
                          That seems... questionable to me as a practical matter.

                          Vice and Virtue, and most other splat variations, work because EVERYONE has them without exception, and they absolutely have to be different from each other.
                          Every vampire has them without exception, and in many cases there's nothing actually stopping them from being the same in characterization even if the rules wouldn't allow it. There's not conceptual reason why a Virtue and a Vice can't be the same in 2e.

                          Relating Mask and Dirge to Humanity and Beast, in a similar way as say Werewolf handles Bone and Blood, makes a LOT more sense than relating them to behaviour in human society vs behaviour in vampire society.
                          I think this glosses over exactly how much this is a distinction without a difference. How a vampire relates to Humanity is entirely based on how they interact with humans socially. How they relate to the Beast is tempered by their roles in vampire society.

                          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                          My point is that it's not uncommon for people to do stuff for reasons that are tangentially related to what they're doing. Lets say the archivist only does it to build status within the church. Why would acting like an archivist in other contexts reaffirm their personal strength and grant them WP? It's not who they are as a person; it's just their job for the time being.
                          To add an additional wrinkle to this hypothetical.

                          If you take a public school teacher that's emotionally affirmed by the act of instructing students... should they still get WP for doing all the administrative work teachers are expected to do outside of their time instructing students? Do they get WP for going to school board meetings, voting on union matters, doing yearly budgets, submitting for routine background checks, and all sorts of matters that are important to the system but don't really emotionally resonate with the experience of being in the classroom?

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
                            Is this revised version of Requiem just a labour of love that you'll (hopefully?) be sharing with the community at large? Or is this an official thing where we'll finally get an official Vampire the Requiem v2.5? Either way I would LOVE to see a revised version of Requiem. As amazing as I think Requiem 2e is, I think a revision is something we've desperately needed for a long time.
                            This is something unofficial I'm making for my own use, compiling the best ideas I've played with over the years and smoothing out some of the rough edges. If people want to see it, I'll put it up here or on STV.

                            From a personal standpoint, I'm coming back to horror in a big way. I took a year mostly off from it, and now I've got multiple projects going and I'm super excited!


                            Cavaliers of Mars Creator
                            Retired CofD Lead

                            Check out my guides to Vampire and my indie games!

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                            • #29

                              I think I didn't make my position entirely clear and I'm not sure we're arguing against each other. I'm not arguing against you in favor of replacing Mask/Dirge with job. I'm arguing that Mask/Dirge could be seen as representing the way your personality is expressed in a given context, and this could be interpreted as being "your role", depending on how narrowly you want to interpret the word "role".

                              Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                              Most commonly because of the need for a salary.
                              So right here we can make a useful distinction. I may have a desire to earn a salary, but that desire might be contingent on a higher order desire for material stability (or any number of other reasons). The pertinent question for this Anchor isn't how I spend my time, but what I get out of the way I spend my time.

                              Why do you need a salary? Plenty of homeless people exist. I need it to live a comfortable life. So how do you act at your job? I do the bare minimum, and fantasize about vacations; given the chance I'll take a better paying option in a heartbeat.

                              Vampires are probably going to feel forced to it by other means... My point is that it's not uncommon for people to do stuff for reasons that are tangentially related to what they're doing. Lets say the archivist only does it to build status within the church. Why would acting like an archivist in other contexts reaffirm their personal strength and grant them WP? It's not who they are as a person; it's just their job for the time being.
                              Again, I'm not saying to use a job directly. I'm saying to use the reason for doing the job.

                              You're an archivist and you are building status. What you get out of archiving is status. Do you want status status in general or as an archivist? Maybe Social Climber should be your Anchor; maybe Competitor. Maybe you want status because what you want is power. So maybe Authoritarian should be your Anchor.

                              The way you relate, in a given context, expresses character. Your M/D are likely to change as your context does. So maybe you started off as a Social Climber archivist. You networked, made friends, worked hard, and are now you are a respected member of the Sanctified. Now, you don't need to gain status. You need to protect it. So you switch to Authoritarian. Or maybe you have status, and you can finally revel in it. Switch to Courtesan.

                              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                              If you take a public school teacher that's emotionally affirmed by the act of instructing students... should they still get WP for doing all the administrative work teachers are expected to do outside of their time instructing students? Do they get WP for going to school board meetings, voting on union matters, doing yearly budgets, submitting for routine background checks, and all sorts of matters that are important to the system but don't really emotionally resonate with the experience of being in the classroom?
                              As I say above, I think the Anchor is about what you get out of the role. So if the teacher is emotionally affirmed by instructing students...

                              I would say that anything substantially furthering the goal of educating would refill WP. So maybe not most paperwork, but definitely finishing the paperwork to get your teacher's licence. Maybe not voting on procedural school board matters, but definitely voting on a significant change in policy that makes a positive change. Maybe breaking a strike refills all willpower.

                              Maybe quitting the job because it's become a bureaucratic mess, and becoming an SAT tutor.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                                Maybe Social Climber should be your Anchor; maybe Competitor. Maybe you want status because what you want is power. So maybe Authoritarian should be your Anchor.

                                The way you relate, in a given context, expresses character. Your M/D are likely to change as your context does. So maybe you started off as a Social Climber archivist. You networked, made friends, worked hard, and are now you are a respected member of the Sanctified. Now, you don't need to gain status. You need to protect it. So you switch to Authoritarian. Or maybe you have status, and you can finally revel in it. Switch to Courtesan.
                                Now you've switched back to Mask/Dirge archetypes, the very thing that Roles were supposed to replace.


                                Bloodline: The Stygians
                                Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                                Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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