Hey Game Fans, we’re back with another look at building a character for the Storyteller system that forms the basis of the World of Darkness setting. Today we’re going to build a vampire character for the new 5th edition of Vampire the Masquerade. Now there are a few different versions of the Vampire Rules set (namely V20, Chronicles of Darkness, and Vampire the Requiem to name a few) but for today’s article, we are going to take a look specifically at V5. Buckle in and prepare to get yourself embroiled in some pathos and tragedy. This is Vampire: The Masquerade, 5th Edition.
One of the first things you need to do when getting ready to make a character for V5 is to have a chat with the Storyteller and the other players. This will save you a lot of irritation and frustration later for two reasons. First it gives you the chance to ask the Storyteller what kind of a chronicle they are running and can help you get some ideas for a concept that fits. Second, it gives you a chance to get a read on what the other players want to build for their characters. Both are important questions that can help you set yourself up for success and fun at the game table later on.
Knowing what kind of a chronicle you are going to end up playing is probably the most important information you can have as a player. If you know that you are playing a high court intrigue drama in the heart of a Camarilla metropolis, you can build a character for that environment. Knowing what kind of a chronicle you are bouncing into can help you find your spot in the chronicle and that will let you enjoy the game you are playing. Remember, games are supposed to be fun.
Knowing what the rest of the players are building can also make your game experience a lot more enjoyable. Primarily this is so you don’t end up making the same character as another player. Now there are certain situations where a group of similar characters work really well together (like a group of musicians forming a band, or a small time crew of criminals). However, those groups usually come together because of good planning on the part of the players and communicating between them.
Characters that have diverse skill sets as a group often have a better chance of succeeding at the challenges that the chronicle will present them with. Characters that double up on matching skills may succeed at some challenges easier than others, but you are going to struggle with the things your group lacks. Having a character that is different from the other players also gives everyone time in the spotlight.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets take a look at building your first vampire. First, crack your book open to the character creation summary on page 136. We’re going to make some decisions about the game based off of feedback from an imaginary storyteller. The game we’re going to play is set in the modern nights of a Camarilla city (haven’t picked one yet, but for the sake of argument, assume it’s a metropolis in the US). This character is a fledgling, just embraced some time in the last few years. For the sake of familiarity, we’re going to assume it’s a Camarilla sect game.
So what kind of a core concept would be fun to play in this environment? Well after spending a few hours thinking about it, a fresh faced scientist who worked for a defense contractor before their embrace. So if we were going to put a name to this concept, its “Idealistic Dreamer.” He (or she, haven’t decided yet), believes that science is the solution to all problems and that anything in nature can be understood with enough research.
Clan and Sire
Now what Clan would want to grab a hold of this character? Well there are a couple of choices that immediately jump out. Tremere fascination with scholarly pursuits seems like a good fit. The corporate environment that hired this Dreamer also could go Ventrue. After mulling it over, our precious character comes up a Ventrue this time. We decide the sire is named Oswald, and that our character is 12th generation. We jot those notes down on our character sheet and move on to attributes.
Our relationship map is a little complicated at this moment, but we know that Oswald is a junior manager at a much larger defense contractor. Yulie, another Ventrue has a different sire but they are often assigned to the same work groups to accomplish a Ventrue plot. Oswald isn’t happy about it, but Gideon, a brujah rabble rouser/troublemaker/party girl has made our Ventrue a pet project.
Now using the standard distribution, we have one attribute at four dots, three at three dots, four at two dots, and one at one dot. Looking over our concept, Intelligence seems to be the obvious four dot, so we choose that easily. Our character is quick witted, so three dots go to Wits. The character is also firm in their opinions, so a Resolve of three dots also makes sense. Looking at the other side of things, this character is pretty average physically, so two dots across the board makes sense.
That leaves us with a three dot, a two dot, and a one dot available for social attributes. This character has an infectious charm, so the three dot goes into charisma. They aren’t good at manipulating people (mostly due to a lack of guile or practice) so the one dot goes into manipulation. That leaves the last two dot for composure.
That looks like Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Charisma 3, Manipulation 1, Composure 2, Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 3. We record those on our character sheet and move on to the next step in the process.
Now that attributes are done, we do some skill selecting. First, let’s take a look at the professional skills our scientist had. We have two skills at three dots and two skills at two dots for this. Looking at our pool of choices, Science and Technology are easy choices for three dots. They are career defining skills for our defense contractor. Investigation also makes sense (for finding defects in a production prototype) and Academics as an all around skill to tie in the concept. So we have Science and Technology at three dots each, and Academics and Investigation at two dots.
Now the major life event our character experienced was an affair with a professor in college. They had to learn the ins and outs of the higher society the professor was from (explained with two dots in etiquette) and finally they figured out that the professor was using them for their academic talents to advance their own career (three dots in Insight). The relationship ended on bad terms, something that still haunts the character to this day.
For Leisure skills, we decide that our character is a terrible piano player ( one dot in Performance), spent time at the firing range (one dot in Firearms) and enjoys the open road (one dot in Drive).
Finally, we take the Specialist option and pick Craft at four dots. The rationale behind this is that this character is designed as a fabricator and designer of equipment for dozens of different applications (most of them military in nature).
The characters gets free specializations in Craft (Design), Academics (Teaching), Science (Engineering), and Technology (Coding).
Now this looks like a good place to take a break in the character creation process for this week. We’ll be back next week to finish up the design and put in some other essential details, (like a name).
Be sure to check out our example character sheet here.
Vampire 5th edition is currently being managed by Modiphius Entertainment and you can find their section of content here. You can also find the World of Darkness site here. Paradox continues to direct the IP in new and interesting directions.
We'll be back next week to put together the rest of the details on our odd little vampire, so check back then and we'll see you then. Game on, Game Fans.