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Offline Lumi Kløvstad

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Vampire: the Requiem
« on: August 09, 2021, 04:14:17 AM »
Honestly, diving into the lore of VtR has helped keep me sane given the dearth of Castlevania-related stuff in the last few years. Scratches the vampire itch.

The original Masquerade canon is simply too.... dense if that makes any sense. Masquerade has 30 years of history and it FEELS like it. For a new player to punch in, there's a LOT to keep track of, and I was found wanting in my many, MANY attempts from my high school years onward.

But VtR is a reboot that actually WORKS.  Being a reboot, it's younger and less established. It was made with the benefit of hindsight and was able to incorporate a lot of what worked in the old setting, and streamlined what didn't -- a lot of fat was cut and I'm happy to see it go. Nearly all of the clans were cut (there's only five in the Modern Nights setting of VtR), though the more iconic ones had their elements divvied up into some of the newer clans (a lot of LaSombra influence in the Mekhet, for instance), or they were just downgraded to a "Bloodline" of a preexisting clan. And honestly? This works perfectly well. Bloodlines allow the game and storytellers to mix things up as much as they want and STILL not go over the Five Clan Limit. Some of those lines get WEIRD too. That being said, Nosferatu, Ventrue, and Gangrel are still present.

Also there's like... five vampires all claiming to be Dracula, but the catch is each can do A Thing that ONLY Dracula was ever known to be able to do. So that's neat.

The factions are pretty cool (Ordo Dracul and Lancea Et Sanctum, REPRESENT), and the fact that this is a reboot means the whole interconnected universe thing works CONSIDERABLY better than it did in Old World of Darkness. Like, you can relatively easily have a Werewolf, a Vampire, and a Mage in the same story together because the core rules are finally shared between gamelines to cut down on the amount of rulebook sellotape you needed previously.

And VAMPIRE HUNTERS get their own gameline! And what fascinating characters they are, as they fight the darkness knowing that eventually, the hatred will overtake them and they'll become no better than their prey. There's a whole ode to slasher movies, with vampire hunters who go off the deep end eventually becoming Jigsaw or Jason-like serial killers that other hunters have to put down.

And that brings us to TONE: the reboot allowed White Wolf to establish a consistent tone across each game line, and it shows. Each game is dripping in horror, just out of the corner of your eye, usually. And while Lovecraftian Horror is present (God Machine. It's a loooong story), the horror is far more often of a personal nature, unique to each character. Because Vampires are CURSED, and the game makes you feel it at every moment. No matter what amazing talents a vampire picks up, no matter what success it buys them, it will never balance that particular checkbook. Those who become vampires live to regret it, or they die before they figure out how screwed they actually are. All they can do is to throw themselves into a supernatural rat race and hope they can claw a reason to live out of it. It's dour, it's dark, it's depressing, and I FUCKING LOVE IT.

The Chronicles of Darkness game lines (of which VtR is a part) started in 2005, so it's new-ish, but established enough to have some excellent reading. And that's been the thing that has kept me sane amidst this dark, evil period in which frankly Vampires are out of season in general.

Highly recommend.
How not to be a dark lord: the answer to that is a terribly interesting answer that involves an almost Jedi-like adherence to keeping oneself under control and finding ways to be true to yourself in a way that doesn't encourage the worst parts of you to become dangerously exaggerated and instead feeds your better nature. Also, protip: don't fuck with Alchemy or strike up any deals with ancient Japanese Shinigami gods no matter how tempting the deal or how suavely dressed the Shinigami is.