Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Vampire 30-Day Challenge : Favorite Background
My good friend Jay Dugger got to answer this question far sooner than I did, and it probably is the only question we actually matched when it came to the answer. The answer would be HERD.
Vampire (both Masquerade and Dark Ages) had players portraying monsters that preyed upon the living for their eternal existence. The very act of hunting and feeding were both actions that held so much story potential and allowed a good deal of story exploration. Simply feeding on that vagabond in the dark alley was an action that could cost you some of your dwindling humanitas. Or perhaps challenged you to find ways to accomplish it without either killing your target, or getting noticed by others.
The Herd background offered players a respite from having to come up with ways to feed, which was important when one considered the fact that a vampire lost one Blood Point per night. To ensure you had enough vitae in your system to fuel your Disciplines and recover from natural and supernatural injuries was paramount to extending one's unlife. With Herd, you merely needed to come up with one reason a bunch of people were willing to let you feed, and this reason became an easy explanation to how you'd "fuel up" for the next game session.
But more than that, the Herd background meant the player had to consider what manner of preparations, lies or techniques he had embraced to create this little motley of people that were willing to let some monster drink their blood. Were they groupies totally in love with the vampire who would fail to notice the blood loss during bouts of rough sex? Were they religious nutcases who were misled to believe feeding from them was an act of absolving them of their sins? Were there members of an extended family that had sworn to help the vampire for the acts of kindness the Cainite had show during the years of their great grandparents? Herd just opened the doors to even more avenues to narrative potential and story development.