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How do you treat your ghouls?

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  • #16
    Ghouls get treated like the disposable, easily replaced blood addicts that they are. At least if that's how the character I'm playing views them.

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    • #17
      As construction materials, art supplies and lab experiments.

      *ahem*

      I meant to say that vampires should treat their retainers reasonably well. A ghoul should be your most loyal and valuable servant. A resentful, untrustworthy, unstable and/or overly ambitious ghoul who isn't having their needs managed is a threat. You want them functional and, if they can't be happy in your service, at the very least content to serve. A power imbalance is meant to put the more advantaged in control, but it's a mistake to believe harm can never go in the other direction. It's hard for most to imagine and rarely happens but there can and will be opportunities for a thrall to screw over a careless master.

      A ghoul is an investment. It takes up your valuable time and even more valuable vitae. They're addicts hooked on something a million times worse than heroin, and addiction is a destructive thing for both the addict and those around them. Their fix is your blood, they love your blood more than they'll ever love anything, including you (assuming they like you at all as opposed to despising you) and they'll do whatever they can to keep access to their supply. They're quite risky. To be useful you generally need them to be involved with the more vulnerable sides of your life, and they're all the threats of a neonate with a significant advantage called "being primarily diurnal". They need to be worth it.

      You can also just use and dispose of them when you've ruined their lives past functionality, but that's not a very sustainable management model. Start burning through retainers and you're leaving behind either a trail of corpses or of extremely desperate and noisy messes on the hunt for their next fix. They might go to your enemies, they might end up vampire hunting for it, they might start breaking the Masquerade...

      Ideally (and preferably) you should not have ghouls at all, but many vampires find them too convenient to pass on. Personally if I really needed fucked-up pseudo-vampiric servants who could function in daylight I would either go for revenants or just create a staff of orphaned 16th generations and pay them in shelter and protection, or just swaddle some 15th gens in thick clothing and sunscreen lotion if need be. It's only bashing damage, they'll live.

      ...or experiment on neurons with vicissitude until you find the way to brainwash people by rewiring the brain? Hmmmm.
      Last edited by Rhywbeth; 11-28-2022, 10:58 AM.

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      • #18
        I've ran the full gamut, really. I've played games where ghoul management was almost central and games where they're servants that don't need attention. I've played kind, distant, abusive. I've offered it as a consensual deal and I've done things secret.

        Your ST dictates a lot really. Some love the drama that the ghouls bring, often to the point of it being a bit too much (you gain a ghoul, they play the ghoul, you work out difficulties but eventually your ST gets attached to your ghoul and she becomes the axis of your campaign.)

        One time I killed my own ghoul because she eventually went too far. My ST was upset I didn't try even more to fix her. I think it all made sense given the character perspectives, but in hindsight she had become something of a SPC and I really ought to make ghouls that are less relatable.

        Discounting the effect of ordinary social skills or environmental manipulation, I'd say the following tools are in preferential order for getting help.
        1-Backgrounds
        2-Dominate
        3-Blood
        4-Entrance (presence)

        unless they've got the keys to the batcave and need a monumental amount of trust or you need to turn a die-hard enemy into a friend it's always better to get help through money and connections than it is to ghoul.


        Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
        There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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        • #19
          I can add a little from a game I played where I got to experience the other side of the stick, playing the ghoul.

          An ex-army Brujah had made a ghoul of their brother in arms, and they had a "I'd die for you" relationship. The blood's power manifested as undying loyalty and bro-dom.
          This ghoul really liked being a ghoul. He and his bro would live forever, he was hella strong, but didn't get any downsides of being vampire. He could still eat, get drunk, get laid, be out in the sun... all the benefits, no problems.
          Ofc, he was completely f**d in the head by the vitae, and would probably have loved to live his own life at some point. But he ended up stuck in time with his domitor, unable to shake that they were still at war and could only rely on each other.


          Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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          • #20
            This turned into a great and infomative thread.


            What in the name of Set is going on here?

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            • #21
              My other character that I play who is a Malkavian is a big believer in good help is hard to find and uses an amalgam ability to impart some of his Fortitude to trusted ghouls and the odd freelancer that doesn't know what he is really when he wants them to find out dangerous lore that he can't do himself due to time constraints and does try to compenstate them for jobs well done.

              Do any of you else do that from time to time?


              What in the name of Set is going on here?

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              • #22
                Compensate the "help" or boost them with your disciplines?

                Don't think I've done the latter, but generally many of my characters would want to make sure nobody's interfering with the effectiveness of their "employees," for varying motivations ranging from something adjacent to altruism over to "don't touch my things." I've got one or two who do their best to be good bosses. Yes, he's a criminal. A monster. A villain. But he is a villain with standards and his childer, contacts, allies, herd and ghouls will be well paid and have life and health insurance while they work for him. (No pension plan though.)

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                • #23
                  Just because you are a monster doesn't mean you can't be reasonable and appreciative of your staff skill sets as they make your unlike easier.


                  What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                  • #24
                    I treat mine well - they get fresh cedar chips every day.

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                    • #25
                      I remember reading in Ghouls; Fatal Addiction that Lasombra were the cruelest (possibly apart from the Tzimisce) to ghouls. Actively cruel, like they hated the ghouls' very existence and abused them for it.

                      Been wondering how that's aged since they've "joined" the "good guys."

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
                        I remember reading in Ghouls; Fatal Addiction that Lasombra were the cruelest (possibly apart from the Tzimisce) to ghouls. Actively cruel, like they hated the ghouls' very existence and abused them for it.

                        Been wondering how that's aged since they've "joined" the "good guys."
                        well there are no laws in the camarilla that punish vampires who abuse their ghouls I'm sure there would be some vampires (most likely neonates) who will kick up a fuss about the treatment of ghouls but on the whole most kindred won't care what one vampire does to their ghouls as long it doesn't violate the masquerade.
                        Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 12-03-2022, 10:34 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Lysander View Post
                          I had as one of our players plays a Tremere who has a younger brother that she ghouled to keep her ties to humanity strong and does her best to protect him from the worst elements of Kindred society. He mostly maintains her haven and helps her aquire blood for her
                          I know this is slightly off topic but did no one in your game PCs or NPCs point out to to the character that turning her brother into a blood slave is kind of evil, how did she morally justified that?


                          Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 12-03-2022, 10:47 AM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by The smiling gun-knight View Post

                            I know this is slightly off topic but did no one in your game PCs or NPCs point out to to the character that turning her brother into a blood slave is kind of evil, how did she morally justified that?

                            Actually no we didn't in general. Her justification was that he was the only living link to her family she had left and didn't want to lose that tie and feel lost in later centuries. Remember we are not playing saints at all, but very selfish creatures in general.

                            Even my Brujah & Malkavian characters are aware enough of there hypocritical nature of being Kindred and needing ghouls in there orbit to help them out and trying not to be cruel there ghouls for the sake of it.
                            Last edited by Lysander; 12-03-2022, 01:23 PM.


                            What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Father Enoch View Post
                              I remember reading in Ghouls; Fatal Addiction that Lasombra were the cruelest (possibly apart from the Tzimisce) to ghouls. Actively cruel, like they hated the ghouls' very existence and abused them for it.

                              Been wondering how that's aged since they've "joined" the "good guys."

                              I don't think it has changed much in that regard as the Camarilla view Ghouls as inferior and wouldn't care unless it endangers the Masquerade. Also as CT said it depends on the Kindred in general and I'm sure that there were Lasombra elders who didn't go down that route and tried not to be mindlessly cruel.


                              What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                              • #30
                                My main character has a co-dependent relationship with his main ghoul where she's like a doting mother (despite being centuries younger than he is) who handles all his upkeep, down to cutting his hair and shaving his beard every evening. She has a lot of Addams Family-style weirdness from being a revenant, but it's not as if that bothers him.

                                Other than her, he tends to save ghouling for animals (like the illegally purchased pet tigers that have free run of his haven—anyone ever hear of Siegfried & Roy having to worry about break-ins?) and relies on more stable methods like generous salaries to ensure henchman loyalty.

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