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  • [2E] Alternative to Mask & Dirge

    I generally like changes in 2E Requiem. What I really hate are how Mask and Dirge are defined as Anchors. They just seem to me like from VtM, not VtR.

    I am thinking about some alternative Anchors instead of this for my games. Now I have this ideas:

    Man - This anchor defines vampires once mortal nature or hers 'rational' mind. It can be seen also as higher self. Virtue equivalent.

    Beast - Monster part of Kindred's personality. Base instincts and wicked desires. Vice equivalent.

    More lower on Humanity, then more vampire is directed by his Beast over Man in him.

    Would this work with Requiem'ssetting?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 10-11-2016, 11:18 AM.


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  • #2
    I don't think there's a huge amount of stuff tied to the mask/dirge system, so it seems reasonably easy to mod. I could see the human and Beast aspects earning a different amount of Willpower depending on your humanity.

    For example :
    10-9 humanity gets you 3 willpower when you satisfy the human and 0 when you satisfy the beast
    8-6 humanity gets you 2 willpower when you satisfy the human and 1 when you satisfy the beast
    5-3 humanity gets you 1 willpower when you satisfy the human and 2 when you satisfy the beast
    2-1 humanity gets you 0 willpower when you satisfy the human and 3 when you satisfy the beast

    That kind of stuff.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
      I don't think there's a huge amount of stuff tied to the mask/dirge system, so it seems reasonably easy to mod. I could see the human and Beast aspects earning a different amount of Willpower depending on your humanity.

      For example :
      10-9 humanity gets you 3 willpower when you satisfy the human and 0 when you satisfy the beast
      8-6 humanity gets you 2 willpower when you satisfy the human and 1 when you satisfy the beast
      5-3 humanity gets you 1 willpower when you satisfy the human and 2 when you satisfy the beast
      2-1 humanity gets you 0 willpower when you satisfy the human and 3 when you satisfy the beast

      That kind of stuff.
      I really like this, but feel this compulsion gnawing at the back of my brain from 20 years of storytelling in the storytelling system, to divide things by 5.

      10-9 humanity gets you 5 willpower when you satisfy the human and 1 when you satisfy the beast
      8-7 humanity gets you 4 willpower when you satisfy the human and 2 when you satisfy the beast
      6-5 humanity gets you 3 willpower when you satisfy the human and 3 when you satisfy the beast
      4-3 humanity gets you 2 willpower when you satisfy the human and 4 when you satisfy the beast
      2-1 humanity gets you 1 willpower when you satisfy the human and 5 when you satisfy the beast


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      • #4
        Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
        I don't think there's a huge amount of stuff tied to the mask/dirge system, so it seems reasonably easy to mod. I could see the human and Beast aspects earning a different amount of Willpower depending on your humanity.

        For example :
        10-9 humanity gets you 3 willpower when you satisfy the human and 0 when you satisfy the beast
        8-6 humanity gets you 2 willpower when you satisfy the human and 1 when you satisfy the beast
        5-3 humanity gets you 1 willpower when you satisfy the human and 2 when you satisfy the beast
        2-1 humanity gets you 0 willpower when you satisfy the human and 3 when you satisfy the beast

        That kind of stuff.


        This implies that there are 2 very different people living inside of you. That is what it says to me anyway. Then you have to start thinking of 2 different personality arcs. what satisfies the human and what satisfies the beast? If it works for you though, go for it.

        to the Original Poster:

        If you do not like them defined as anchors, change the way that you look at it. What works for my groups is to look at the Mask as what you show to other people. You are different when you are with your boss, your friends, or in public. It's not a "I am a jester so I better crack a joke to get willpower" situation, but It's more of everyone knows you crack jokes because it's who you are to them. You tell jokes at inappropriate times to alleviate the heaviness. It just becomes part of you.

        The dirge is more like who you are when no one is looking, who you are when you are free to be yourself. Like a junkie. You try to hide it, you try not to let people know, but you cant help yourself. The dirge is when you let a little of that mask slip to show who you really are.

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        • #5
          Good idea, S. Brechen and Pale_Crusader ! Will jive with my basic ideas on those Anchors.

          And so, here are examples of Man and Beast Anchors...

          Example Man - Most of Archetypes in Vampire: Requiem 2E corebook.

          Example Beasts:
          • Predator - You live to hunt and playing with mortals is your game.
          • Hungry - Blood is all that matters - need to have maximum Vitea all the time. Get's Willpower when refilling Vitea in same scene.
          • Monster - Monster exists to torment, frighten, and destroy. She loathes existence, and spreads that loathing wherever she goes.
          • Deviant - Deviant lives to flout norms and break traditional expectations. She isn’t concerned with rebellion; she’s concerned with crime, sin, and debauchery.
          • Puppeteer - Blood is powerful bond. By chaining others to you, you regain you sense of control.
          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 10-11-2016, 11:45 AM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Vitalis View Post
            If you do not like them defined as anchors, change the way that you look at it. What works for my groups is to look at the Mask as what you show to other people. You are different when you are with your boss, your friends, or in public. It's not a "I am a jester so I better crack a joke to get willpower" situation, but It's more of everyone knows you crack jokes because it's who you are to them. You tell jokes at inappropriate times to alleviate the heaviness. It just becomes part of you.

            The dirge is more like who you are when no one is looking, who you are when you are free to be yourself. Like a junkie. You try to hide it, you try not to let people know, but you cant help yourself. The dirge is when you let a little of that mask slip to show who you really are.
            I understand as this how it should work. The problem is that it not working for me - it didn't in VtM plays ( with similar Anchors ideas ), it did not when I run VtR 2E two sessions. Having 'hidden archetype' just is wasting of archetype slot, in my POV. Don't worry, I have the same problem with Mask & Mien in Changeling 2E playtest - I just do not like those 'I have secret persona underneath that is not role played 90% of time' Archetypes concepts.

            I much more liked straight forward Virtue & Vice systems ( one of reasons why I liked 1E Requiem over Masquerade ) and would use them in VtR 2E - if I did not see this Man-Beast duality as more important to running Vampire game.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

              I understand as this how it should work. The problem is that it not working for me - it didn't in VtM plays ( with similar Anchors ideas ), it did not when I run VtR 2E two sessions. Having 'hidden archetype' just is wasting of archetype slot, in my POV. Don't worry, I have the same problem with Mask & Mien in Changeling 2E playtest - I just do not like those 'I have secret persona underneath that is not role played 90% of time' Archetypes concepts.

              I much more liked straight forward Virtue & Vice systems ( one of reasons why I liked 1E Requiem over Masquerade ) and would use them in VtR 2E - if I did not see this Man-Beast duality as more important to running Vampire game.

              I dont look at it as a secret persona, something that has to be kept secret or that isnt roleplayed. I think of it more as a fundamental character trait. A personality trait that is ALWAYS there. for example... I am addicted to my phone. Totally texting and checking emails and facebook all the time or whatever. Even though I know I shouldnt be. (case in point.. right now) My dirge would be junkie. It's just part of who I am, my best friends know it. the people who spend time with me know it, but the dude down the street doesnt know that. It's not something I would need to point out in game like "I am going to check my phone because I need to hit my dirge and get will power" but in the little things. The prince is giving a super important speech, I pull out my phone and facebook about it. or we are driving to the important mission thing and a text comes in so I have to pull over and check it. I waste time getting to the objective because I stopped to tell my mom I was cruising with friends. Think of the mask and dirge as a vice and a virtue, just a little bit more specific of vices and virtues. Your virtue is jester, everyone comes to appreciate your humor. Your vice is authoritarian, you just have to be on top no matter what. Even a vice, like Monster. You dont have to keep kicking the guy when he is down, but you like to, you want to. It's just part of who you are.

              I dont see them as any less of who you are as your eye color. It is just something that is part of you. I am just trying to help understand where you're coming from to give advice for alternatives. I am not sure thinking of yourself as two different people is going to solve your problem. That might actually be worse because then you have to play the vampire, then you have to play the beast. suddenly you are trying to play two different creatures... I think vampires are far more entwined than that.

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              • #8
                Err... If you don't like Mask and Dirge, by all means, house rule them. But Dirge is not meant to be a "hidden persona that isn't role played 90% of the time" any more than Vice is.

                Personally, I prefer to look at Mask and Dirge less as "who you are with humans/other people" and "who you are when you're alone", and more as "how you express your Masquerade" and "how you express your Requiem." Those were, after all, the anchors names for most of development, and got changed shortly before the final release to avoid ambiguity with other concepts in the game that use the same terms (as I expect will likely happen with Maque and Mein in Changeling as well). The Mask is the facade of humanity you wear, among humans, among vampires, and even when you're alone. It's who you tell yourself and others you are so you can keep up the illusion that you're not a walking corpse possessed by an inhuman Beast. The Dirge, the Requiem, is what you do with your immortality. Like Vice, it's an indulgence that you may be ashamed of, but nonetheless fulfills you. It's your answer to "what do I do now that I'm a vampire?"


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                  The Mask is the facade of humanity you wear, among humans, among vampires, and even when you're alone. It's who you tell yourself and others you are so you can keep up the illusion that you're not a walking corpse possessed by an inhuman Beast. The Dirge, the Requiem, is what you do with your immortality. Like Vice, it's an indulgence that you may be ashamed of, but nonetheless fulfills you. It's your answer to "what do I do now that I'm a vampire?"
                  And 90% of game time it's 'I'm my Mask' because you show it on the outside - with mortals, with vampires, even your coterie guys. Dirge come as 'And my masterplan is... ' moments by your own definition - and this asymmetry is very disturbing in play. Not to mention it put's aside Man-Beast dichotomy of setting.

                  As to Virute & Vice balance - maybe in Vampire it does not work that way, but in Mage games run by me V&V are more or less equal in screen time from players. Well, maybe Vice a bit higher chance to show up - it is World of (Chronicles of) Darkness in the end.
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 10-11-2016, 01:57 PM.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    And 90% of game time it's 'I'm my Mask' because you show it on the outside - with mortals, with vampires, even your coterie guys.
                    No, 100% of the time it should be both. Your Dirge isn't a secret, it's just what you do with your Requiem.

                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    Dirge come as 'And my masterplan is... ' moments by your own definition - and this asymmetry is very disturbing in play. Not to mention it put's aside Man-Beast dichotomy of setting.
                    No, it's not your master plan or your secret ambition. It's just where you fit into vampire society. Have you read Danse Macabre? Look at the Masquerade and Requiem Merits from that book. They're like vampire-specific versions of Professional Training, and they're the concepts that eventually became Mask and Dirge in second edition. It's not "who you pretend to be" and "who you really are", it's "what you do to maintain the appearance of humanity" and "what you do to enjoy being a vampire". Neither of those things need to be kept hidden, and neither of them are more or less your true self. They're both just expressions of how you live your unlife.

                    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                    As to Virute & Vice balance - maybe in Vampire it does not work that way, but in Mage games run by me V&V are more or less equal in screen time from players. Well, maybe Vice a bit higher chance to show up - it is World of (Chronicles of) Darkness in the end.
                    As should Mask and Dirge.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

                      And 90% of game time it's 'I'm my Mask' because you show it on the outside - with mortals, with vampires, even your coterie guys. Dirge come as 'And my masterplan is... ' moments by your own definition - and this asymmetry is very disturbing in play. Not to mention it put's aside Man-Beast dichotomy of setting.

                      As to Virute & Vice balance - maybe in Vampire it does not work that way, but in Mage games run by me V&V are more or less equal in screen time from players. Well, maybe Vice a bit higher chance to show up - it is World of (Chronicles of) Darkness in the end.

                      I am right there with Charlaquinn. We are very similar on what works for us and I assume, our groups. I have not had trouble getting my vices /dirges out there for "screen time". I am not saying this is your case, I am just saying that sometimes it happens, and that sometimes on the forums is a lot.. People come looking for help on changing things, but they do not fully understand on how to use the things as written. I think how much time your masks and dirges, or masquerades and requiems or ever you want to call it, gets as much screen time as the player wants it to have.

                      I had a vampire who had Monster.. and he was always trying to tick people off and goad them into fighting so he could kick the crap out of them and call it self defense.
                      I have a player currently who has Child and is constantly doing childish things just to get reactions out of people. He dominates people and tells them they love some other person just so he can see them hit on the other person and giggle about it in the corner. Or tells people to sleep on the job, then calls the boss to get them in trouble. Ect..
                      Another player has junkie ( sex ) and is always off looking for the next score... even when we should be doing something important, like saving the world.

                      Though in the same game, I have a player with Deviant as a dirge and is constantly saying " I need to get willpower back, If I do this does deviant count?" most often it doesn't because he doesn't quite grasp what it's meant to be. Or it is just ridiculous stuff that frustrates the other players because it makes no sense. It is so far out of character, but he is just trying to get that willpower back it doesn't matter to him.

                      If anyone has played dnd 3.5 there was a list of character traits you could roll for randomly. I thought it was great for building a character, especially for those who didn't know how to add depth to their paper. While not exactly the same. I do feel that mask/dirge is very very close to that. They are ultimately just tools to help flesh out your character and if calling them a mask and a dirge doesn't work for you, call them something else. If the list doesnt work for you add new things to the list.

                      But I don't recommend having something that your player wants and something your beast wants.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, and don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to tell you not to change Mask and Dirge if they're not working for your group. By all means, do. I just want to point out that the reasons you give for having trouble with Mask and Dirge aren't consistent with my understanding of what Mask and Dirge represent, so maybe your issues can be resolved without needing to house rule.


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                        • #13
                          I read what is in 2E corebook, not 1E line, as we using 2E rules. In corebook, Mask & Dirge are literally defined as this:

                          Mask
                          Mask is the bearing Kindred present to the world. It’s the façade, the pretty lie. It’s the excuse for why he can’t stay for breakfast in the morning. It’s the reason she gives the cab driver for dropping her off near an abandoned warehouse at odd hours of the night. It’s his excuse for barely touching his dinner.


                          Dirge
                          The Dirge is the truth behind the lies. It’s the vampire’s secret self; it’s who he is when the lights are off and nobody is present to witness his dirtiest moments. It’s his dark indulgence. It’s the self-loathing she will never admit. It’s his desire for an end. It’s her need for companionship.


                          It reads 'façade' and 'secret self', literally. I do not know what is in 1E gameline alternative, but by 2E rules, they sound as '90% gameplay' and 'Masterplan/Drama scenes'.

                          It's still off topic - Subject for this discussion is hammering some good alternatives to original Anchors. From my reading of some 1E books and 2E Requiem corebook, Beast is a bit absent as character trait. Corebook says about 'alien person' on it, but beside lowering Humanity Trait, there is not concrete idea on that. With Beast as Anchor, we can easily explore it in narrative of 2E games, just like Torment is Anchor in 2E Promethean.


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                          • #14
                            Ok, if you insist on a literal interpretation that doesn't work for you and requires you to house rule instead of a more nuanced interpretation that might resolve your issues without having to change anything, that's your perogative. I'll leave you to it.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                              I read what is in 2E corebook, not 1E line, as we using 2E rules. In corebook, Mask & Dirge are literally defined as this:

                              Mask
                              Mask is the bearing Kindred present to the world. It’s the façade, the pretty lie. It’s the excuse for why he can’t stay for breakfast in the morning. It’s the reason she gives the cab driver for dropping her off near an abandoned warehouse at odd hours of the night. It’s his excuse for barely touching his dinner.


                              Dirge
                              The Dirge is the truth behind the lies. It’s the vampire’s secret self; it’s who he is when the lights are off and nobody is present to witness his dirtiest moments. It’s his dark indulgence. It’s the self-loathing she will never admit. It’s his desire for an end. It’s her need for companionship.


                              It reads 'façade' and 'secret self', literally. I do not know what is in 1E gameline alternative, but by 2E rules, they sound as '90% gameplay' and 'Masterplan/Drama scenes'.

                              It's still off topic - Subject for this discussion is hammering some good alternatives to original Anchors. From my reading of some 1E books and 2E Requiem corebook, Beast is a bit absent as character trait. Corebook says about 'alien person' on it, but beside lowering Humanity Trait, there is not concrete idea on that. With Beast as Anchor, we can easily explore it in narrative of 2E games, just like Torment is Anchor in 2E Promethean.
                              Check out what it says on pp 80-81, though:

                              Choose a Mask and a Dirge for your character. Whereas a mortal character has a Virtue and a Vice, Kindred characters have Masks and Dirges.

                              Kindred wear Masks in public. A Mask is the persona she shows the prey. The Mask is the pretty lie, the identity that keeps her walking among the flock as an insider, even though she’s nothing of the sort. It reflects how she deals with human society.

                              The Dirge is who she is behind closed doors, and when dealing with other Kindred. A Dirge is the harsh truth to which she clings. It’s the grounding point to which she always returns. When she walks the halls of Elysium, and works within her covenant, she presents her Dirge.

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