Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Character Creation: Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Ed

I made the decision a while back to make multiple characters if I have multiple editions of a game. That cuts both ways; it does mean that I get to do a couple of versions of the World of Darkness, but it also means I'm not quite done with D&D. C'est la vie.

So today, I want to do a character and I have the beginnings of a concept, so here we are.

The Game: Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition
The Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: Quite a bit; I'm running it at present, and I did a bit of consulting about the new version of the game (but didn't write for it...yet).
Books Required: Just the core, which is presently called Blood and Smoke, but is going to get rereleased with the proper title soon. I may grab some of my 1st ed books as necessary.

So, here's the thing about Requiem. It's a lot of fun, but the changes between it and Vampire: The Masquerade are, in a lot of places, too subtle. Plus, it suffers from something that a lot of the NWoD lines do; the powers are sort of boring. Maybe not boring if you were coming to Vampire as your first horror game, but they don't really break any ground; they're largely the same powers as from Masquerade, with some cleaned-up mechanics. There are some exceptions; I humbly think that the Coils of the Dragon are pretty cool (I'm biased, I wrote them), and I like the Nightmare Discipline and Theban Sorcery.

In Blood and Smoke, the writing team (which included +David Hill+Stew Wilson+Filamena Young, and +Dave Brookshaw) changed this up a bit. The Disciplines don't work the way they have since the 90s. The assumptions of the game have changed a bit. And that's good. I'm finding, as I'm running it, that I'm having to look stuff up, because it doesn't work the way it did for the last 20 years, and a lot of things just come standard for vampires these days. Not to mention that the game puts focus on vampires' relating to people, which was something that the previous versions of the game always talked about but never put into mechanics. Overall, I think it's an improvement.

I have a concept, too!

I really love this song. I think it's sexy as hell. And since I've started listening to Hozier, this song has really screamed Requiem to me (other things that do that: Fright Night, Only Lovers Left Alive). I want to make a character who is utterly and completely bound to another vampire. The focus of his affection would probably be an NPC, but I'm not choosy.


Step One: Character Concept. I picture this guy being relatively young, probably mid-30s, when he was Embraced. Let's make it hard on myself - he was married, had two kids, a job which I'll think about later, and was pretty much happy. Then he went out to a bar with some friends, and met her. She bewitched him (Majesty), but that was just the beginning. She must have felt something for him, too, because she showed him magic. She showed him eternal life and the sweet, red, sticky, agony of vampirism. And he's never looked back.

The scary thing about him is that he should still be conflicted. He should still remember his mortal life. He doesn't. Rather, he does, vaguely, but he doesn't much care. He loves and worships his sire with a zealous devotion, and would cheerfully laid down his unlife for her.

I should name her, huh? Let's call her Satine.

So, his concept is "Avid Worshipper." At this stage I also need three Aspirations, two short-term and one long-term. Hmm. Well, my long-term goal is "Prove my love to Satine." One short-term can be "Become injured protecting Satine." And another can be "Bring Satine a special vessel" (that is, some mortal that she'll be especially happy to feed on).

I kind of like that he's hyper-focused on Satine and pleasing her. It would make him super easy to manipulate.

OK, now Step Two: Attributes. Usual split, 5/4/3. I think we'll go Social as primary, then Physical, then Mental.

Social, I'll dump 3 into Presence and one each into Manipulation and Composure.

Physical, I'll put two into Strength and one each into Dexterity and Stamina.

And, Mental, I'll put two into Wits, one into Intelligence, leaving Resolve at 1, which is perhaps unwise for a vampire, but eh.

Step Three: Skills. Same drill, 11/7/4. Hmm. Now I have to think about who he was in life and what he was skilled at.

I think I'll put Mental last again; that'll be the remnants of his mortal-life Skills. I'll put Physical primary and Social secondary.

For Physical, I want three in Brawl (to protect Satine), three in Stealth (lurking), two in Firearms, one in Drive. I'll stick the other two in Athletics, because always take Athletics.

For Social, I'll put three in Intimidation, two in Persuasion, one in Expression, and one in Streetwise.

And Mental is pretty easy. One in Computer, two in Occult, one in Academics. He had a job involving files and archives, he thinks. It probably wasn't important. It couldn't have been, she wasn't there.

Step Four: Skill Specialties. I'll specialize Brawl in Bodyguard, so I can get between Satine and a threat. I'll specialized Firearms in Called Shots for the same reason. Finally, I suppose I should make some attempt to call back to the mortal this guy once was, so I'll specialize Academics in Psychology. Was he a clinical psych? Behavior profiler? Who cares? (The Storyteller might, but I'd leave that to her.)

Step Five: Add Kindred Template. And then, the Embrace happened. So what clan should my character, and therefore Satine, be?

The obvious choice is Daeva. So that's what I'll do, because it makes too much sense. That lets me add a dot to either Dexterity or Manipulation. Easy choice. I'll take Dexterity.

I know I want to put him in the Circle of the Crone, so that's covenant taken care of.

Now, Mask and Dirge. These replace Virtue and Vice for vampires. Mask is how you hide amongst people, Dirge is the monster you really are. Hmm. I think his Mask is Follower; publicly, he belongs to Satine and he doesn't care who knows it. He actually wants people to know it; that's part of the thrill. But his Dirge is Junkie. The dark, sticky secret is that he's addicted to Satine, fully and utterly, with all the problems that implies.

And then a Touchstone, which is a person, place, or thing that keeps me grounded and in touch with humanity. But he's forgotten most of what grounds him in humanity, and I don't want to take any of his mortal family as Touchstones. Instead, I'll take the club where he met Satine. He was still human there. That's the last place he ever drew breath. We'll call it LuAnn's Bar. He still goes there sometimes, but has to dodge his former friends. Or maybe he's just killed them, who knows.

Disciplines! Two have to be in-clan (Majesty, Celerity, Vigor) and the third can be whatever, including Cruac. Lessee now. I do want a dot of Cruac to represent what Satine has taught him. And then the question is, two Celerity or two Vigor? Hmm. Celerity has some benefits, including being able to interrupt someone else's action, but Vigor is better for doing damage. I...think I'll do one of each, actually.

As for my Cruac ritual, they don't really get good until level 2 (seriously, the level 1 rituals in Circle of the Crone are kind of meh), so I'll take Rigor Mortis, 'cause that's fun.

And, of course, 1 Blood Potency.

Step Six: Add Merits. I get 10 dots of Merits, as it should be. And there are a bunch in here.

But you know what, I'm gonna bite the bullet and spend 5 and raise my Blood Potency by 1. That'll let me activate Vigor and Celerity in the same turn, which is good. That does eat 5 Merit dots, sadly, so let's see what's left. I apparently don't get a free do in Covenant Status anymore, so I should take one. I like Acute Senses, and that's just one, so that's good. My character doesn't have Kiss of the Succubus, though clearly Satine does.

Boy, some of the Merits feel unnecessary. Unnatural Affinity, for example. Why does that need to be a Merit? If something has blood, you can feed on it. I can see a Merit allowing you to take "blood" from ghosts...except there's a whole Discipline about that (called Essentiaphagia; I know because I wrote it). Anyway.

I like Anonymity. I'll back-burner that, though, because I want to look at fighting style Merits. Ok, I want Close Quarters Combat (or Fighting Style: Burn Notice, take your pick), which requires me getting out God-Machine Chronicle, but I'm OK with that. I'll take two dots there. And for my last dot, I would take Anonymity, but it's more effective at higher levels. I'll take a dot of Mentor, though, for Satine. I choose three Skills (or two Skills and Resources); these are things she can do for me.

Now, interestingly, the lower the dot rating, the less your commitment to your Mentor, but the effect is still much the same. The Mentor has successes on the Skills in questions (if they'd make a roll for you) equal to the dot rating, but surely that's only useful at 1 dot and five dots, for the most part? Huh. Shoulda thought that through a bit more (I mean, I didn't write it, but it pops up in God-Machine Chronicle which means I vetted it). Well, it works in my favor like whoa, so I'll choose Resources, Investigation, and Subterfuge as my Skills, how 'bout. As for what she wants from me, well...probably a lot less than I'm giving her anyway (drain the whole sea, get something shiny).

Derived traits are easy; Humanity 7, Defense 5, Willpower 3 (ugh), Health 7, Size 5, Speed 11, Initiative 5. Just need a name, then. I think Satine calls him Amon. He's forgotten his mortal name.

I picture Amon as a young Antonio Banderas, actually. Wears blacks and reds, maybe some onyx jewelry. Carries a pistol in a back holster. Wishes he could get her name tattooed on him somewhere.

And that's it!