Mistake by the Lake
OK, so I’ve said that good goals are vital to getting the most out of the Vampire the Masquerade experience. But how do you create good goals for your PC. Here’s some suggestions.
ORIGINS: Obviously this is a big part of what makes the game. The who what, when were and why’s of your Embrace are the starting points for any vampire story. Bear in mind that while we might do some Prelude of Flashback scenes, this campaign is not really about “becoming” a vampire as much as it is about “being” a vampire. Spend a little time thinking about this, but not too much.
DESIRES: OK, back in the Overview section, we talked about the main themes of the game. Think about how your character either meets, or disagrees with these themes.
TURF: Where do you live? What is your Haven like? How do you protect your home? Where do you hunt? Who do you prey on?
HORROR: What scares you? Who are you afraid of? What should make you afraid, but doesn’t? What unnatural things have you seen? What terrible things have you done? What hideous things are you willing to do? What monstrous things do you want to do? What’s it like when you Frenzy?
LIES: What lies have you told? Why did you lie? How far have you had to go to cover up your lies? Who has been lying to you?
BETRAYAL: Have you ever betrayed a friend? What did you get out of your betrayal? Is the bretrayed party still part of your life? Who has bretrayed you? Why did they do it? How did you react? What would compel you to betray a friend now?
HUNGER: There are all different kinds of blood. What kind do you like? Will you bite anything you can, or are you a picky eater? Do you love the feel of warm living blood sliding down your throat, or are you a “humane” vampire that only feeds on animals and bagged blood from the blood bank? What else do you crave? Do you want to Sire Childer? Want to be rich? Want to become the next Prince?
VIOLENCE: How do you handle violence? Is feeding a brutal, bloody mess for you, or are you neat and tidy? When you fight, is it all about teeth and claws, or are you a gangbanger holding your Glock sideways? Maybe you were a medieval knight before your Embrace, and you still prefer to fight with a longsword? Are you controlled in combat? Or do you let the Beast come out to destroy your enemies?
SEX: What kind of attitude do you have towards sex? Have your risen above such base urges now that you are Kindred? Do you use your unnatural beauty to lure in prey? What opinions do you hold on gender roles and equality between the sexes? Are you an old-school ancient vampire who thinks women are property? Are you a man-hating lesbian? Like it or not, sex and gender are THE largest motivating force in the lives of mortals. Your ideas about sex will continue to affect you as a vampire.
BLOOD: Is blood just food to you? Do you give it no more thought than you would a value meal from McDonalds? Or is Vitae more like a fine wine? Do you crave different “vintages?” Does blood from a willing donor taste as sweet as that ripped from an unwilling victim’s throat? Are you squeamish at the sight of blood? Would you rather not look during the Kiss? Are you a savage who loves blood above all else? Would you bathe in it if you could?
Lastly, keep a few of these tips in mind as you create goals for your character
Keep it simple, but not too simple: “Have 10 ghouls as servants.” is a good goal. “Have 10 ghouled models dressed in lingerie” is a better one.
Don’t be predictable: No one wants to hear another rip-off of Lestat, or the Crow, or Harry Dresden. Be original. Steal the ideas, but not the specifics. Rockstar vampire works fine. Just don’t mimic everything Lestat did.
Go for depth: Your goals should not all be things you can finish in one night. Becoming Prince is a good long-term goal. But what happens when you achieve it? Do you then want to take over more cities? Give your goals long-term depth.
Be connected: Make sure your goals involve other people. If you biggest goal is owning a 57 Chevy, who cares? There’s no conflict or drama there. Get the money and go buy it. Goal finished, and no one ever took part in it. Boring. If you goal is to own the Prince’s prize 57 Chevy, now we’re getting somewhere!
Don’t let one failed goal ruin your game: Rest assured, you will eventually get screwed out of at least one of your goals. Have a plan for when this happens. Have enough other goals that if one crashes, you still have things to pursue. Nobody gets everything they want. Deal with it.