October 30, 2013
A Look At The Fluff Of Vampire: The Requiem
The Kindred; forced to exist in a state of eternal night. Forever unchanging. Forever suffering. The Beast coils within their hearts, driving them to sate unspeakable lusts. In their hearts, these were once men and women, no different than any other. Now they have become both something far more and far less. Their hearts no longer beat within their chest, yet they feel all the same wants and desires as any other, only nothing to them feels quite the same since they drew their last human breaths. All is mute and dull, even the caress of a lover or the joy brought on through personal achievement. It is all nothing when compared to the absolute rapture that comes from feeding. ‘Tis true, great power is theirs. The ability to turn the minds of the weak, to run in the wilds with the form of a wolf, to possess the strength of a hundred men, it is all within their grasp, but envy them not. These foul creatures are dammed, not blessed. Pity them, but forever guard yourselves against them, for they will use that pity you show them to earn your trust, to get you to let them near to you, and then you will be naught but their evening meal, or worse, one of the dammed.
That is what it is to play Vampire: The Requiem.
While true that all of that could be used to describe Vampire: The Masquerade, as well, Requiem has always tried to maintain a feeling of hopelessness in its game, both for the mortals you hunt as one of the Kindred, as well as for the Kindred themselves. “A Storytelling Game of Gothic Horror” it proudly proclaims on the cover, complete with an all red image of a limp hand and falling rose petals, it helps to set the tone for the whole of the game. Lonely. Even within a coterie, a band of Kindred that makes up the player characters, the game feels lonely. It is almost as though every character within is trapped in their own personal hell, and you are as much a figment of their hell as they are of yours. The game does not idolize the mythos of the vampire as much as it humanizes it. It tries to remind us that these characters were once, and mostly still are, human. Considering that most games take place shortly after the Embrace, the transformation from human into vampire, it was not all that long ago that these characters were human. It is a failing of a lot of Vampire games I have been a part of, both Requiem and Masquerade, that the characters tend to forget that and are all too quick to accept their monstrous nature.
That said, much of the interaction in the game will take place between two distinct types of non-player characters; Kindred and kine, other vampires and human beings. These interactions are always handled differently, as there are always different elements in play. In the former, with Kindred, your characters being vampires is obvious as all vampires are able to recognize one another as their Beasts rise up in challenge, either fearsome when they feel that they are the greater, or frightful if they feel the presence of an even greater predator. This does not mean that characters are always baring their fangs and hissing like you might see in books and movies, but rather that because your nature is evident, you must be more conscious of keeping it reigned in. With humans, you must hide your nature from them completely. This can mean spending Blood to fuel your mask, making yourself seem more human; forcing your undead body to do things like blink, sweat, have a pulse, flush your skin, and other things generally not associated with walking corpses. You must also act human in order to complete the illusion, as you dare not risk humanity learning of the existence of vampires. Too many already do. Vampires cannot simply look at all mortals as food, however, as this is a world of humans.
So, if you are celebrating this Halloween season with some dice rolling, maybe think of picking up Vampire: The Requiem. After all, what better way is there to celebrate Halloween than to take on the mantle of a vampire?
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