Friday, October 18, 2013

Vampire 30-Day Challenge: How I Got Started?

Vampire 30-Day Challenge: How I Got Started?
While I've already posted here the story about how I got started in the Role-playing game hobby, I haven't really shared yet the beginnings of my gaming life with White Wolf Gaming Studios' Vampire: the Masquerade.

Way back in the 1990s, my friends and I were playing role-playing games practically every weekend. If we were not spelunking dungeons and saving kingdoms in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, we were balancing heatsinks and struggling with wrong facing in mecha combat. Our occasional jaunts included TOP Secret spy work, Marvel Superheroes heroics, science fiction awesomeness in Star Frontiers and a healthy host of Palladium games. One fateful evening, our then game master Ryan came up to us with a giddy smile. He had heard of this awesome thing called the Storyteller System and learned that the game was Vampire: The Masquerade! But we didn't really have a means to buy the book back then. You see, here in the Philippines most of the gaming related items one can find were either Dungeons and Dragons related, or were directly ordered stuff. At my young age then, I didn't quite have the option of ordering books then, so we had access to the next best thing:


Jyhad was the original name of what most know to be Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, the collectible card game based on Vampire: The Masquerade. The card game was beautiful. While most of the world was celebrating Magic: The Gathering, I was adoring this game which allowed one to create Powerbases, Equip weapon, find Allies, call for Political Votes, Attack opponents, or indirectly strike at opponent's using various means such as Hacking, causing riots and other things. The game was unbelievably dense, and included systems to Influence more Cainites to service, sneak into opponent's Graveyards to destroy torpid vampires, or even form alliances with other Antedeluvians in the game while the Edge isn't held by someone else.

It was just beautiful. And even more awesome, many of the cards were directly inspired by the game. Discipline Cards allowed one to give Vampires new powers. Various cards allowed players to make use of these Disciplines, and in some cases even allowed players to create new Childer or acquire the services of Mages or Werewolves and Fair Folk to serve their purposes.

So without access to the actual books, our group had one last hope of feeling what a vampire game might be like: We homebrewed a game using the cards as our foundation and Palladium's system as the crunch. It sounds crazy, I know, but it worked for a good number of fun games. It was crazy though. Like having Celerity branched out to so many variants of the power to use for stealth, or dancing, or attacks, or defenses.. or how Potence can allow some vampires to throw things as deadly projectiles, or allow others to rip things free and use them as clubs.

But man, that was our first taste of what Vampire could be like. It was crazy, it was inaccurate, but it was glorious! We had debates with Anson and Democritus. We would attempt to seduce Camille Devereux who was our femme fatale in the game. We would freak out when Dr. Jest would show up, and we would trust on Bianca to cover our backs.

Eventually, Ryan would find a copy of Vampire: The Masquerade and we would discover how far off we were in the actual game, but there was no forgetting how much fun we had rolling d100s to determine if we could use Blood Rage when we tapped Thaumaturgy, or to project Govern the Unaligned when we focused on Dominate.

But yes, in summary, it was Ryan who got me bitten and Blood Bonded to the World of Darkness. And it was Vampire: The Masquerade that made a Blood Doll out of me.

And I definitely have NO regrets whatsoever.

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