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Another Stab at Narrativist Vampires

Started by lumpley, January 31, 2002, 08:58:00 PM

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Okay Ron, I'll bite.  (Ha ha ho.  I slay me.)

We use violence to protect ourselves from intimacy.

Make up a vampire.  I'd go with text about how old you are, what sorts of powers you have very generally, what you look like, what your habits are.  Maybe stats too or instead.  Whatever.

When an NPC meets you, she gets three stats:
-Attraction, equal to some level (1-6 I'd think) arrived at via your actions and the text on your character sheet.
-Pain, equal to zero.
-Horror, equal to zero.
and you and she share a stat:
-Intimacy, equal to zero.

Play starts with such a meeting.

Whenever you and the NPC come together, roll dice equal to the NPC's Attraction, minus her Horror.  On a success, the NPC comes on to you.  If you respond, it goes from there and you get +1 Intimacy.

When (later on) her Horror outweighs her Attraction, reverse the math, and on a success she cuts off contact (or, knowing vampires, dies in the process) and your Intimacy with her goes back to 0.

(A little Intimacy chart may be called for, ranging from "1-making out" to "6-sharing living space" or something.  Or maybe not.)

When you drink an NPC's blood, it's satisfying proportional to your Intimacy with that NPC.  I'm thinking you won't have to drink blood again for, say, Intimacyx2 nights, or maybe Intimacy^2 nights.

The bad news is, every time you and the NPC are apart, roll dice equal to your Intimacy, minus the NPC's Pain.  On a success, the NPC has a sudden terrible realization about you and gets +1 Horror.

So Pain, which would include confusion, betrayal, fear, and actual injuries, interferes with her ability to understand your nature.

Her Pain is what you make it.


It's not fun to be a PC vampire, but I think it's interesting.  does it count if the moral question is 'can I actually play any more of this appalling game?'



QuoteIt's not fun to be a PC vampire, but I think it's interesting. does it count if the moral question is 'can I actually play any more of this appalling game?'



Mike Holmes

QuoteWe use violence to protect ourselves from intimacy.

I'd restate it as "Is it worth risking Intimacy for power?" just to satisfy Ron's form requirement, but you may have something there.

Also, some more counterbalancing towards making vampires hurtful, like using the blood pool concept. As characters drain people they get points to do nasty vampire tricks (which can also be used on or near the NPC and generate Pain). This is the draw towards the violence end. Otherwise you don't really have a dilemma for the characters (other than the unstated effect of not feeding).

Also, leave the charts out of it. Alow players to narrate the outcomes of their rolls. Gained and Intimacy point? The player has to describe the moment. Lost an NPCs Intimacy due to horror? Narrate how it happened and the NPCs particular reaction.

If you can, make the attraction mechanic selectable, and have both positive and negative effects on both ends. Perhaps a high attraction will make things go too fast, or make breaking up more difficult. Low attraction doesn't have that problem, but makes the hunt more difficult. Something like that.

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Ron Edwards


Oh, details of design might follow, tweakings, whatever. Precision can always be increased. But the accuracy's right on target.


Tim Denee


Just finished watching "Shadow of the Vampire". Fantastic stuff! You should model your vampires in a Nosferatu fashion; so much more tragic and disgusting. You pity the horrid thing, but you loathe it.

It would also make the intimacy thing kinda interesting; when you look like a monster, intimacy is a problem. Perhaps simply stalking the target, stealing their belongings, smelling them, can gain you intimacy. But this piece-meal relationship will ultimately bring frustration (at the lack of real contact) and humiliation (that you, a creature hundreds of years old, descended from kings, must hide and scamper in the shadows).


But then we run back into "no way in hell I play this game" territory.  

But then, I like more than degredation in a game.


QuoteYou should model your vampires in a Nosferatu fashion...when you look like a monster, intimacy is a problem.
Sounds like a character concept to me.  Nice.

QuoteBut then we run back into "no way in hell I play this game" territory.
It's a problem with PC vampires, I think.  You have to cut them off from their nature to make them any fun.  (Hence clans and elders and masquerades and what-all.)  That's why they're different from sword-wielders and magicians, if you ask me.  Vampires are Not Nice People.

If you haven't, check out Scott Knipe's game">Man's Worst Friend for a more sympathetic, but still horrific, take on a favorite monster.

Actually, rather than blood pools, which leave me kind of cold, I'd make it Really Really Bad to need to drink blood and not.  Like in order to use your powers you have to roll a d6 over how many nights you've been hungry, and in order to do anything effective at all you have to roll a d10 over.  (Since that would include being Attractive -- ouch.)

Vampires here have two areas of Effectiveness: creating Pain and creating Attraction.  I'd focus on the latter, in adding or tweaking the mechanics, and leave the former almost entirely in the hands of the player.

(I think there's room for other areas of Effectiveness in a vampire's other relationships -- but more on that later.)

Quote...details of design might follow...
It's true.  They might.  Despite my good sense, best intentions, and generally kind heart.




Quote from: Bailywolf
But then, I like more than degredation in a game.

You and me. Some of my players got tired of my dark cyberpunk forays into the shadowy sickness of the near future ubermetropolis - but me, I never tired of it!
Paul Elliott

Zozer Game Designs: Home to ultra-lite game The Ladder, ZENOBIA the fantasy Roman RPG, and Japanese cyberpunk game ZAIBATSU, Cthulhu add-ons, ancient Greeks and more -  //


I'd put my money on not one single solitary one of you has been holding your breath waiting to see where I go with I Really Really Suck: Narrativist Vampire Roleplaying, but just in case you were, you might as well breathe.