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How best to get vampire characters involved in story arcs

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  • How best to get vampire characters involved in story arcs

    Werewolves hunt spirits, Sin Eaters deal with ghosts, Changelings defend themselves against the Fae, fantasy adventurers explore dungeons and fight monsters, 1920s investigators investigate mysteries and die horribly at the hands of Mythos monsters. It's fairly easy to come up with story arcs that such characters will naturally be drawn to. Vampires are proving to be a whole other story. In my game I have a doctor, a bar owner, and zookeeper. I'm struggling to come up with story arcs that suit their skills and abilities, and would be things they'd actually get involved with. I keep coming up with stories that require investigation, stealth, combat, etc, but why would a doctor, bar owner, and zookeeper get involved in, say, a series of murders, or the political rivalry of two elders, etc. They aren't cops, detectives, ex-soldiers trying to live civilian lives, politicians, or anyone who would naturally be drawn to such story arcs. So, how do you get your characters involved in all the crazy events that come up during the course of your chronicle, or how do you come up with story arcs that such characters would be drawn to? i have a few long reaching story arcs that are part of the overall chronicle, but I also want to do a lot of smaller arcs, side arcs, and personal arcs, I'm just struggling to come up with them.

  • #2
    The bar owner is arguably the easiest one to throw headfirst into kindred politics. Drunk humans are easy prey for vampires. Kindred offer favors for feeding privileges. But if too many customers are assaulted or become ill (from blood loss, memory loss, STDs) after a night at the bar, business may start to suffer. So then it comes down to regulating who and how often kindred feed. Or another bar could open up nearby and cut into the owner’s receipts. Or they have become business competition to a harpy or other rack manager.

    The zookeeper’s zoo gets a shit reputation because any endangered species they are licensed to care for and breed end up dead within 6 months. (But the city’s Gangrel dynasty can shapeshift into the most exotic species of any domain within 500 miles.) The zoo bureaucracy burns the last of their social capital to secure a pair of snow leopards. If they screw this up, the zoo will be closed as grants and funds dry up or are withdrawn in favor of supporting other zoos and wildlife programs that are actually successful. The leopard pair arrives just as the Gangrel dynasty’s newest bratling neonate learned Protean 4. Is the zookeeper going to let their livelihood get shut down, try to convince the Gangrel dynasty to choose another animal (which opens up dabbling into animal smuggling or boosting the zoo’s success) or get a city official higher up the food chain to prohibit them from messing with the zoo?

    The doctor is kind of dependent on what sort of doctor they are. Do they see trauma patients or work in the morgue? Well then they’re probably going to come across some obvious Masquerade breach style assaults from time to time. Do they help cover them up, charging favors to either cover them up or to not report them to the kindred sheriff. Maybe they offer concierge services to kindred herds and ghouls to keep regular doctors from asking too many questions about the 65 year old ghoul who still looks like they’re 32. Maybe they provide psychiatric services to kindred or ghouls. Or write prescriptions for various medications to either help or exacerbate vitae addictions.


    • #3
      These are neonates, yes?
      Given their disparate professions (living professions? Are they actually still on the job?), I would think a good starting place is to sit down with the players and work out some points of tangency -- pre- or post-mortem. Also, have a conversation about what they want to do, and what you would like to do, and come to a consensus about what the game is going to be about. It's okay if they are ill-equipped for the combat you throw at them, so long as the players are cool with it. But if a Gangrel's player really really want to talk with animals (for example) and all the scenes are in Elysium, that player is going to be unhappy.

      It shouldn't be incumbent on you to do all the lifting here.


      • #4
        Start a session in media-res with one of the characters having drained someone (with a volunteer). Have them work thru the hoops of concealing the body. Trust me, the less you handwave the manslaughter, aside from mere humanity roll, the better.


        • #5
          I don't know which version you are playing and I'm still familiarizing myself with 2e so take my answer with a grain of salt in that regard.
          That aside, short answer:

          Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
          Werewolves hunt spirits, Sin Eaters deal with ghosts, Changelings defend themselves against the Fae, fantasy adventurers explore dungeons and fight monsters, 1920s investigators investigate mysteries and die horribly at the hands of Mythos monsters.
          Vampires hunt humans, and that leads to a whole lot of problems, conflict, drama.

          The long answer:
          The above answers are already pretty good, in addition:
          The bar owner, can he even lay claim to his bar as his domain, maybe it is within the domain of another Vampire already? Closing hour, there is a dead body in one of the toilets, what to do? Or drunk people can be aggressive, how to deal with that (Frenzy: Destruction of important property −1; Insulted by an inferior −2)
          What else, your zookeeper, probably can't work as one anymore, what does she do now, still need money?
          Your doctor, still working as one on night shifts in the ER? Lots of things that provoke frenzy, wounds, drunk aggressive patients. Maybe someone starts to investigate why so many blood packs vanish suddenly.
          Why did their Siers choose their childer in the first place (your players should at least give you something there). From there, what is the relationship to their Siers.
          Not involved in politics? They need to feed, they need to hunt. They better don't do so in someones domain without being allowed to. Now they owe someone, politics right there. It actually takes a lot of effort to not be involved in a citys politics in Vampire. Also do they start play as members of a Covenant? Then that's Politics right there.
          Go ahead and actually play through the night to night lives of your players. How they hunt how they approach their old relations etc. in short how they survive. I personally love that stile of play for oneshots or multishots and a chronicle can easily grow out of the plot hooks that develop during those first sessions. ( Masquerade breaches, feedings gone wrong, the need for a secure heaven

          Also don't be afraid to have them do things they are not good in. Memorable stories come to pass that way( probably nor a good idea for players who approach P&P as games they have to win, but than 1. VtR might be the wrong game 2. they probably wouldn't have created the characters they have)
          You might tell them to spread their skill point in two ways, first to reflect their characters as mortals then to reflect skills they had to develop as kindred. Alternatively be generous with exp(yup full exp not just beats for 2e) you give them in the first sessions that they can only spend on skills they had to use and in which the are very bad at( 0 or maybe 1 point in) to reflect the necessity to rapidly develop new skills to survive under the conditions their new existence forces upon them.

          And last of all ask them what interests them in playing the game and how they would like to explore that with their characters. Think/Talk about, with your players, why you want to play Vampire in the first place.
          Or tell them what kind of chronicle you want to run, if they are interested in that sort of chronicle and then create characters with them that would suit the chronicle better. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries for your players and telling them: this is the kind of chronicle I want to run, please create character for that.

          So lengthy answer, hope something in there can help you^^