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  • Help with a Vampire Character

    Hey all, as the title says I think I'll need some help designing my very first VtR character. I'm playing as a Tremere (DM's permission). Because we've played sessions before that petered out (we've never gotten out of the 'neophyte' stage of the game, with all of us just entering into our fullblown mystical natures) she's given us 35 experience points to spend. I know didn't really have a Bloodline for Tremere with VtR so I piggybacked on the Ventrue and picked Dragolescu, I felt it fit with the idea that the Tremere now devour souls with the update in Awakening.

    After looking at my sheet I'm wondering if I made some mistakes when picking my disciplines and such... as I have no Devotions, and I'm wondering if I've built a character that is a bit less vampire than I want.

    My experience was spent on:

    2 extra dots of Thaumaturgy, taking it up to 5 dots.
    2 dots in Essentiaphagia for the soul devouring aspect.
    4 dots in Coil of the Wyrm to bring out the Ordo Dracul aspect.
    Then 2 dots to bump my Blood Potency up to level 3.

    My merits, if it helps, are:

    Resources 2
    Safe Place
    Haven 3
    Feeding Grounds 2

    My skills:

    Academics 1
    Computers 2
    Medicine 1
    Occult (Thaumaturgy) 3
    Science 1

    Athletics (Running) 2
    Brawl 1
    Drive 5
    Firearms (Pistols) 3
    Weaponry 1

    Intimidation 1
    Persuasion 2
    Socialize 1

    My Attributes:

    Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 2
    Strength 2, Dexterify 3, Stamina 2
    Presence 3, Manipulation 1, Composure 2

    Everything else is standard, I don't have a generational point for the character (I was reading the pdf on mobile so it was a little difficult to search), he was turned fairly recently - within the last 10 years of his life. His Mask is Night School (he works as a TA at our local uni and also takes classes) and his Dirge is Survival of the Fittest (slotting into the Ordo Dracul of transcending the vampiric form even further).

    I'm mostly wondering if my Disciplines are off with that sort of focus (I like the Thaumaturgy and Essentiaphagia... but I feel like maybe I shouldn't have dropped so many points into Coil?). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    How did your character get 4 dots in Coil of the Wyrm without a single dot of Ordo Dracul covenant status or the Independant Study merit? Nor does the character have a Mentor in order to learn the Mysteries that high.

    As far as more nitpicky things: If I were your ST, I would not allow a neonate character to have completely mastered a discipline, nearly master an Ordo Dracul mystery with 0 covenant status and jack their Blood Potency up to three in less than 10 years game time without being detectable as a serial diablerist. They would in all likelihood be a vitae addict at that point as well as a diablerie addict.

    Your character is a teaching assistant with a negligible to nonexistent Academics and Science ratings in the Mental skills categories. Zero specialties in anything resembling a legitimate course of study in college. No Expression ability paired with Social Attributes as the garbage stats. That means the character can't bullshit their way sufficiently to be convincing as a teaching assistant.

    Without knowing what kind of character you're trying to develop, at the absolute minimum I would suggest redoing your skills and merits to align your character as a mystery cultist with the attendant merit purchases. Or change your skill and merit layout to be more believable as a teaching assistant.

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    • #3
      I don’t know much about Thaumaturgy and Essentiaphagi so take this with a grain of salt but if your ST doesn’t object to you home brewing a bloodline I would use Mekhet as the clan since secrets and mystical knowledge is kind of their thing and add Dominate as the Bloodline discipline, for bloodline boon blood sorceries cost 3 xp per dot and for the bloodline bane they skip the first stage of a blood bond. Ignore the Tremere from Mage since unless you’re doing a crossover they don’t matter and if you are doing a crossover rename your bloodline and decide how much overlap you want to be involved in their history.
      This gives you two of the in clan disciplines and the ability to buy blood sorcery at in clan price as well as a good proximity of the clan weakness but since you seem to be going Ordo you might not be happy with the bloodline boon depending on how much you value optimisation.
      I’m not sure night school is an appropriate Mask, it seems more of a touchstone to me.

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      • #4
        I personally would homebrew Thaumaturgy as a new Discipline, which then also gives you access to Thaumaturgic rituals, much in the same way as how Theban Sorcery rituals and Crúac rituals work. Just look at V20 and V5 for some inspiration for the types of rituals you could cast with Thaumaturgy.
        Last edited by Tomorrow's Nobody; 06-10-2019, 01:15 PM.

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        • #5
          Well, my first question is - what exactly are the Tremere you are cooking up in the first place? What is the bloodline like, what sources you are mixing up, what are you ditching and how does that impact (or not) into the character's backstory, interests and/or personality?

          Essentiaphagia is curious but, if memory tricks me not, relates more to stealing ectoplasm from ghosts than devouring the souls of living mortals (or supernaturals), so i would suggest you take a look at the "apocryphal coil" of the Way of the Locust, pages 176-177 of the Ordo Dracul book. No idea if it got a 2e update (or even needs one) but certainly relevant to the subject.

          Also possibly of interest or use could be MtAw books with info on the "heirs" of the bloodline, the Tremere Liches legacy. But if you want something closer to VtM's Tremere clan instead, with a esoteric secret society framework, world-wide pyramid expansion plans and a form of blood magic their own, i would suggest checking the Architects of the Monolith, from Bloodlines: the Hidden.

          Anyway, find out what you want your character to be like, tinker it up along with your ST, define how typical or unusual a member of the 'line the PC is, how big a deal is its relation with it - or the bloodline itself within the city, covenant, world, for that matter - and have fun with whatever weirdness comes out.
          Last edited by Baaldam; 06-15-2019, 02:34 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
            Well, my first question is - what exactly are the Tremere you are cooking up in the first place? What is the bloodline like, what sources you are mixing up, what are you ditching and how does that impact (or not) into the character's backstory, interests and/or personality?

            Essentiaphagia is curious but, if memory tricks me not, relates more to stealing ectoplasm from ghosts than devouring the souls of living mortals (or supernaturals), so i would suggest you take a look at the "apocryphal coil" of the Way of the Locust, pages 176-177 of the Ordo Dracul book. No idea if it got a 2e update (or even needs one) but certainly relevant to the subject.

            Also possibly of interest or use could be MtAw books with info on the "heirs" of the bloodline, the Tremere Liches legacy. But if you want something closer to VtM's Tremere clan instead, with a esoteric secret society framework, world-wide pyramid expansion plans and a form of blood magic their own, i would suggest checking the Architects of the Monolith, from Bloodlines: the Hidden.

            Anyway, find out what you want your character to be like, tinker it up along with your ST, define how typical or unusual a member of the 'line the PC is, how big a deal is its relation with it - or the bloodline itself within the city, covenant, world, for that matter - and have fun with whatever weirdness comes out.

            So, I've actually gone back and reworked the character a bit more before coming back to this thread. We're doing a mixed genre game with the ST typically relying on us, the players, to help inform her and monitor ourselves. Her husband also has a decent idea for the different books and can confirm if she doubts what we're saying - basically, she doesn't know much about the different genres besides the broad basics (she's a bit more informed on VtM as she played in the LARP way back, but hasn't been keeping up to date).

            So, mechanics-wise, I got rid of essentiaphagia and went into the Lancea Sanctum and the Khaibit bloodline from the Mekhet.

            For lore purposes I'm thinking I might work it where these Tremere are sort of the European-ized sect of the Khaibit, coming north through trade routes and the like before settling in France and dealing with a mixture of both French and Muslim cultures. The character is, himself, going to be a lax-practiced Muslim. For the most part he's fairly typical, though he has a streak that would make him more at home as a Ventrue or Daeva being fairly brash and headstrong and fairly honourable when it comes down to it. This is more to say that he's inclined toward using outright combat as a second option (and a fairly close one at that) rather than staying back and striking more tactically and subtly (this isn't to say he's going to summon a rain of blood in the middle of a crowd, but he wouldn't be opposed to using theft of vitae or cauldron of blood against a group of two-three mortal opponents as long as he knows he can take them all out).

            I also kinda decided to utilize Thaumaturgy in place of Obtenebration, to stick to the old ideas of the Tremere and also to not give him two fairly strong disciplines.

            But beyond that I reworked his merits so he has Clan Status 2, Covenant Status 2, and Mentor 2 (his mentor being his sire in this instance). Besides Thaumaturgy I have no blood magic atm, but will probably be putting points into Theban Sorcery once we start playing and earning experience.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by thehallow1 View Post
              For lore purposes I'm thinking I might work it where these Tremere are sort of the European-ized sect of the Khaibit, coming north through trade routes and the like before settling in France and dealing with a mixture of both French and Muslim cultures.
              Must admit i'm drawing a blank here. The Khaibit, from what i remember of them in 1e VtR, are an ancient Mekhet cult of Set worshippers/shadow wielders/devil-hunters that as the eras and events distanced them of their roots & lore, changed in a bloodline of shadow-manipulating undead bodyguards, butlers & spies. "European-ized sect" tells me at most that your group might have an organization and/or lore of their own, while going into specifics. Don't remember any particular connections to muslim culture either, but from that and other bits i'm guessing the game is set in France and your Tremere somewhat involved with the local muslim community. Feel free to correct me if missed or misunderstood anything.

              Originally posted by thehallow1 View Post
              The character is, himself, going to be a lax-practiced Muslim. For the most part he's fairly typical, though he has a streak that would make him more at home as a Ventrue or Daeva being fairly brash and headstrong and fairly honourable when it comes down to it. This is more to say that he's inclined toward using outright combat as a second option (and a fairly close one at that) rather than staying back and striking more tactically and subtly (this isn't to say he's going to summon a rain of blood in the middle of a crowd, but he wouldn't be opposed to using theft of vitae or cauldron of blood against a group of two-three mortal opponents as long as he knows he can take them all out).
              Well, that is not exactly counter to "Khaibit as devil-hunter/bodyguard/shadow-wielding ninja" per se, specially an young one. Guess it depends on what the "Tremere as eccentric Khaibit branch" are like.

              Originally posted by thehallow1 View Post
              I also kinda decided to utilize Thaumaturgy in place of Obtenebration, to stick to the old ideas of the Tremere and also to not give him two fairly strong disciplines. But beyond that I reworked his merits so he has Clan Status 2, Covenant Status 2, and Mentor 2 (his mentor being his sire in this instance). Besides Thaumaturgy I have no blood magic atm, but will probably be putting points into Theban Sorcery once we start playing and earning experience.
              Again, what are you aiming for - if he won't have Obtenebration, what is he a Khaibit for, any particular bit of their lore defines either the character or the "Tremere branch"?
              Also, what exactly is Thaumaturgy supposed to be, what has it in common with Cruac or Theban Sorcery, what makes it different - and how those things impact upon the Tremere as a lineage/sect? Have you considered, as a sample alternative, ditching Thaumaturgy to explore spirit-manipulation/summoning through Obtenebration devotions perhaps?

              Originally posted by thehallow1 View Post
              But beyond that I reworked his merits so he has Clan Status 2, Covenant Status 2, and Mentor 2 (his mentor being his sire in this instance). Besides Thaumaturgy I have no blood magic atm, but will probably be putting points into Theban Sorcery once we start playing and earning experience.
              On the backgrounds - ok, his mentor/sire is at least an ancilla, most probably an elder and that's pretty ok (incidentally, male, female or dubious as Doe, Frances sire in the Mekhet clanbook? age, background & personality are fun), but what has the PC itself done exactly that he scored status 2 with his clan and covenant? How old is he as a vampire in fact? Honestly i wouldn't worry about Theban Sorcery at all if your bloodline/sect has a bloodline magic form of its own, except if the desire to learn both serves some sort of narrative purpose for the character.

              Just my musings of the moment - not really sure if they help you with anything, as for the present i'm not really certain of where you want to take your character exactly, but would like to read more on it and help if i can.
              Last edited by Baaldam; 06-18-2019, 08:12 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                Must admit i'm drawing a blank here. The Khaibit, from what i remember of them in 1e VtR, are an ancient Mekhet cult of Set worshippers/shadow wielders/devil-hunters that as the eras and events distanced them of their roots & lore, changed in a bloodline of shadow-manipulating undead bodyguards, butlers & spies. "European-ized sect" tells me at most that your group might have an organization and/or lore of their own, while going into specifics. Don't remember any particular connections to muslim culture either, but from that and other bits i'm guessing the game is set in France and your Tremere somewhat involved with the local muslim community. Feel free to correct me if missed or misunderstood anything.
                It's taking place in our real life town in America. What I wrote up for homebrew lore was that the Khaibit fractured during the Muslim conquests in the 600s with a fear that they might be wiped out, so a group fled north to Europe to hide out and see how things shook out while also trying to find a place to call their own. This lead to them eventually coming across the early Tremere (prior to vampire-hood) and striking a deal during the Hundred Years War (I imagine magic was a bit less policed in medieval times and the idea of sorcerers on the battlefield would make some sense). The Khaibit and the mages together worked out the theorem of Thaumaturgy (as it was from VtM) as a means of combating English mages who wouldn't exactly have a prepared defense.

                This was taught to future inductees which slowly saw a lessening of the Discipline of Obtenebration being apparent and an increase in the Discipline of Thaumaturgy.

                The former mages hungered for more and fractured the burgeoning sect again, this leads into the Tremere as they're known in MtA and the Khaibit who had formed the group being known as the Tremere amongst themselves (not all the new inductees sided against the older vampires, so they kept the name to remember the few fond memories they had), but the Khaibit or Mekhet to others. They found places in the European courts and among the Lancea Sanctum thanks to their natural gifts for blood magic and the fact their devotion to Set slowly shifted to a more broad Abrahamic devotion until many of them became practicing Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                Well, that is not exactly counter to "Khaibit as devil-hunter/bodyguard/shadow-wielding ninja" per se, specially an young one. Guess it depends on what the "Tremere as eccentric Khaibit branch" are like.
                So the idea for these Tremere is that they were a bit more prone to subtlety, not that they aren't fighters but that they prefer to work from the shadows (considering the Khaibit roots). He'll use vulgar (borrowing the term from Mage) magic more readily than he would use subtle methods.

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                Again, what are you aiming for - if he won't have Obtenebration, what is he a Khaibit for, any particular bit of their lore defines either the character or the "Tremere branch"?
                So, the character is supposed to be a fairly occult leaning character. He had an interest in anthropology, particularly religions, and was using his studies to help work alongside his parents in designing arcologies. I'm wanting this to translate into this bloodline in that, because of their mixed ancestry of mage and vampire, and the older leanings of the Khaibit, they have this drive to learn occult methods (which is what tends to bring them into line with the Lancea Sanctum) but also a push from the Khaibit of being able to fight the enemy. Think of the Tremere and the Khaibit as being on a very similar path until it comes to method with the Khaibit being the badass shadow-assassins and the Tremere being sorcerer-priests (and probably more inclined to hunting down vampiric practitioners of diablerie and infernal summoning than the demons themselves).

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                Also, what exactly is Thaumaturgy supposed to be, what has it in common with Cruac or Theban Sorcery, what makes it different - and how those things impact upon the Tremere as a lineage/sect? Have you considered, as a sample alternative, ditching Thaumaturgy to explore spirit-manipulation/summoning through Obtenebration devotions perhaps?
                So, from looking at Theban Sorcery with the little review I did (I admit I haven't looked much into Cruac), the idea of Thaumaturgy feels like an art created to combat enemy Kindred (specifically diablerists) and mortals without always being overly vulgar. Sure, Theft of Vitae - as written - can be terrifying and obvious. But Cauldron of Blood can just be fairly subtle and the caster might not necessarily be known if it's a simple brush as they walk past. Theban Sorcery felt more like it was built around ways of overcoming the curse in some ways (the ability to make vampires fertile) but never really felt entirely "battle-magic" like Thaumaturgy does.

                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                On the backgrounds - ok, his mentor/sire is at least an ancilla, most probably an elder and that's pretty ok (incidentally, male, female or dubious as Doe, Frances sire in the Mekhet clanbook? age, background & personality are fun), but what has the PC itself done exactly that he scored status 2 with his clan and covenant? How old is he as a vampire in fact? Honestly i wouldn't worry about Theban Sorcery at all if your bloodline/sect has a bloodline magic form of its own, except if the desire to learn both serves some sort of narrative purpose for the character.
                His mentor is an Elder - also his sire, she found him when he was dying after a brutal gang attack and decided to save him. She was embraced during the late Middle Ages and became a defacto leader when her own sire (the leader of the Khaibit splinter) died. So she's around... 700 years old, give or take. She's very protective of her clan and her children (my character isn't going to be her only childe, but he is her only childe in America) so she will be working to reign him in if he goes too far at all. The clan status comes from his sire, and that the clan in our town is going to be relatively small - maybe 5 at most. The Covenant status is reflected on his advancement through Thaumaturgy and his active learning of other Disciplines. Basically, since he was turned, he was working tirelessly to actually learn what it means to be Kindred, Tremere, and Lancea.

                I'm not immediately bothering with Theban Sorcery, I'm just opening that door for now. The narrative drive for it is that he has a huge fascination with the occult and he wants to learn all he can from the elders. He's basically a vampiric bookworm.

                Forgot to mention that he's about 3 years (not 5) old at this point, but has been (by ST fiat) considered Experienced and well-versed in Kindred society by this time, similar to the rest in their groups in our mixed genre game.
                Last edited by thehallow1; 06-18-2019, 09:10 PM.

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