Easter weekend, third weekend of the month which means another play in Regensburg. In the week between the last play in München from last week and the play this weekend, I’ve been going over various ideas and concepts that I wanted to add to my Character Oliver, based on the everything he has experienced so far.
Concept 1: An animal Ghoul
This idea actually came to mind after having some discussions with people about the Discipline “Animalism”. This Discipline gives members of Clan Gangrel the abilities needed to understand more about the Beast inside of them as well as gain control over it and other animals around them.
One of the points we had in this discussion, is that it’s pretty hard to play out this ability since it often involves animals, and only a few of its core abilities can be played out properly against other people. I’ve been trying to find a way around this based on the stories I heard from a few people as well as the abilities that come with this Discipline.
So I decided that my character Oliver broke into a pet-shop in München, stole a precious golden Gecko and actually fed the little animal some of blood. The reasoning behind this, is that Oliver was a Ghoul himself, he understood the process out of experience, that if you feed a Human some Vampire Blood, he becomes enthralled by it and is actually a servant to the Vampire Master. Out of curiosity, he tried this with the Gecko and noticed that the animal did not fear him anymore. Using his Animalism 1 ability, he could actually give commands easier to the Gecko without having to overcome the fear.
The Gecko is a plushy I bought on Amazon, and looks like a real Lizard. It’s around 30 cm in length, and has been altered to contain some Velcro at his belly so it can stick to my clothing. At first I was a bit skeptical whether this would bring something, but you can read in the actual story further below how people interacted with the Gecko.
Concept 2: Fear of the Inner Beast
This idea is based on the information I’ve been talking about in my previous blogs, that humans who have been turned into Vampires, need to realize the fact that they are monsters. (see: previous post) The combination of the foltering that Oliver experienced, the fact that he lost control and killed a human is enough at the moment for him to fear his inner beast. Or rather what actually happens when he loses control.
To emphasize this in the learnings so far, Oliver has a new…..feature. Anger (or the beast) slowly builds up over time in Oliver. He can keep control for as long as he has access to blood. This is also the reason why he always carries around his own bottle of blood to keep “in control”.
This means when he is agitated, he can drink blood to calm down again. The exception here are the frenzy-triggers of course that have been defined for Oliver. The emptier the bottle of blood becomes, the more nervous Oliver becomes as his source of control is disappearing. Once the bottle is empty, or the blood source gone, and Oliver is pushed again into a higher state of agitation, he will not be able to keep control over his inner beast.
Now before anyone jumps on this as being another frenzy-path, this is a temporary system in place until Oliver has learned to properly control his inner beast, which is most likely to happen when he becomes Neonate. Until then it will be a great play element that allows people to actually play into the Frenzy of my character. Want to see an angry fur ball rampaging through the room, take away the bottle.
Again the details on how this blood plays out in the actual plays, you can read below in the actual story.
The one true story
The invitation of München was not cold, or another invitation slipped it’s way into the hands of Oliver. The Monday night after the weekend, a notice from Claire Friedrichs was being read by Oliver, inviting them to come to Regensburg for an evening to reminisce about the mortality of everything around us in the world.
As the evening would take place in Regensburg, a place that Oliver liked visiting, he quickly ran to Klara, asking if he could actually go. To his surprise, Klara not only agreed that he was allowed to go to the invitation, but that she would be coming along as well. Pleased with this information, Oliver wrote an email back to Claire, informing that both him and Klara would be attending the invitation in Regensburg.
The night of the invitation, Klara and Oliver set off to Regensburg, driving the largest part of the way, holding stop shortly outside the Domain of Regensburg, and walking the final stretch on foot. Oliver was wearing his usually raggy sweater and pants, along with his red bandanna. Because they walked the last part on foot through the woods, the likely hood of encountering people was a lot lower.
Arriving at the location in Regensburg, Oliver and Klara entered the building, and introduced themselves to Claire, confirming that Oliver had send the letter letting her know they would both be there. The only mistake Oliver made, was that he had not informed Jones when Claire asked. Claire kindly informed them that they should at least tell Jones to be in line with the traditions of the Camarilla. They both received a red ribbon around their wrists, part of a game that would be played that evening.
As more and more of the guests arrived at the location, Jones and Flip informed all Gangrel present that they should meet outside in the nearby woods to discuss something relevant to the evening. It only took a few minutes for everyone to gather outside and discuss the plans of the evening. Jones and Mike explained quite rude that the other Gangrel were weak, and should prove themselves during the evening.
Klara did not agree to the plan, and ended up in an argument with Jones, which ended up in her losing the fight. This however meant that everyone agreed to the plan, and would play the little game that was explained, including the Whelp Oliver: The little game they were going to play, was to piss on the traditions that evening and try to get under the skin of the Ancilla that were present that night. The idea behind this was to make clear that the title Ancilla was nothing just some fancy rank you could hide behind.
The first chance for this was when they tried to entered the building again and where greeted by Augustus von Scharnhorst, Ancilla of clan Ventrue from Leipzig. Klara immediately took the initiative after the introduction, touching a sensitive snare with the whole discussion about the Anarch situation between Leipzig and München.
Once inside the building, the little game was being explained by Claire, how it function and what the rules were. In short the game entailed that people would be bounded together by a small red robe, and that the bound could only be broken if they owed something to Claire who would then break the bond, or they would agree to owe each other by breaking the bond themselves. Little Oliver was allowed to participate in the game from Klara as it would be a good learning experience.
In the first round of the game, Oliver actually got paired to Claire. At the end of the round, both of them sat together in the room, but did not really talk much. Oliver was more occupied with the red ribbon around his wrist, robbing him of his freedom, slowly annoying him because he could not go where he pleased. At the end of the first round however, Claire used his bond as example how they could be broken, freeing Oliver from his tormented situation.
Oliver also had brought his newly created Ghoul with him, the gecko he stole from a local pet-shop. Either the gecko was sitting on his arm, not moving much safe from some adjustments to not fall off when Oliver moved about, or he was sitting against Oliver’s chest, held in place by the closed sweater, not moving at all due the cold seeping from Oliver’s own body. Several of the guests present, including Jones and Jarvis, asked where Oliver got it from. Every time during the evening Oliver gave the same reply: Found him, fed him, no he does not move, no I do not feel what he feels, no he does not talk, no he does not have a name.
Before the second round started however, Oliver was hanging next to Klara who was reading a letter she got. At this point, he got grabbed from behind by Emma, a Malkavian, searching and asking if Oliver had a tail that someone pulled on since he was in such a bad mood. This “attack” on him, caused him to immediately snap back and growl at Emma, who was being pulled back while Klara leaned over Oliver asking what she was doing. Oliver being pressed down by Klara was still growling at Emma, and had the intent to kill in his eyes. Luckily Emma was taken away by Orsini von Rosenberg, Ancilla of Clan Ventrue of München. This gave Oliver the opportunity to drink blood and calm down again for the next round.
When the second round of the game took place, Oliver was bounded to Herr Baader, the Primogene of Clan Nosferatu from München. They briefly talked to each other, but did not share much words. It was clear however that both were not pleased with the game. As the second round passed, Oliver was now coupled to Baader, who was part of a larger group of Vampires bounded together. The quantity of people in the group made Oliver feel extremely uneasy. Luckily he could sit in the middle of the group on the ground, having some sort of island of quietness while the others sat on boxes around him, mostly ignoring him. The only advantage here for keeping him calm, was the presence of Jones and Flip in the same group.
The third round proved to be the most challenging as the group expanded to pretty much half of the guests. Oliver was extremely agitated now. The whole exercise of the group going outside and back in again did not really help improve the situation. This time, Oliver was sitting next to Flip and Baader, but it was obvious from his thumping foot that keeping control remained to be hard.
The situation took a turn when he got coupled to Klara. They were now sitting at the edge of the group, and Emma approached Oliver again, grabbing him from behind while signing. At this point Oliver got extremely annoyed and told her not so kindly to get lost (“Verpiss dich” in German). This caused Emma to go into a rage and attack Oliver, asking what he said. On his turn Oliver growled back and threatened Emma that she should back down and leave him alone. This took perhaps a few seconds before both of them were broken apart by the rest of the group. Klara at this point cut the bonds and went to get some blood for Oliver so he could cool down again.
As the third round progressed however, Oliver got connected again to Flip. At this point however the game took a different turn as Oliver was then being coupled normally to Augustus. However to put some strain on the game, both Oliver and Flip went outside before the bound could be established. Unfortunately Claire had anticipated something like this. Some unknown force was driving Oliver back inside. Unable to explain why, but he just had this urge to get back inside and seek out Claire (Presence 4).
During the various rounds, Oliver also got the hang of it. At some point someone else was being coupled to Augustus. Seeing as they were on the other side of the room, they had to move towards Augustus so the bond could be established. At this point Oliver refused to move. Everyone tried to persuade him, but all they got was a simple “no”. In the end the Ancilla Augustus offered to “owe” something Oliver if he actually agreed to move so the bound could be established. Oliver however sold his favor again near the end of the game to have the bonds cut between them so he could be free again, as the red ribbon was agitating him, robbing him of his freedom.
When the night was drawing to an end, Flip also got annoyed by the game and made a counter-invitation, inviting everyone who dropped the red ribbon was welcome to his party outside. Oliver and Klara immediately removed their red ribbon, but still went to Claire first, apologizing and saying goodbye. Outside the Gangrel pretty much gathered at once and briefly discussed about the situation in München, involving the old Gangrel traditions and rules. They even tried to pry out some answers from Orsini, but settled in the end that the best way was to actually just test out these old agreements rather then discussing about them.
Again a big article for a rather small evening. Lots of information that I had to share. Although the game itself that was being played had not a good effect on my character, it was interesting. It’s interesting to see how a lot of people actually toned down their normal behavior to play it “safe” based on who they were connected to. The game was basically nothing more the hooking several predators together on a small leash.
Oliver also managed to suppress a Frenzy, although it took pretty much of all his power and concentration to do. The lessons implanted by Marius seem to be paying off. The only mistake I made as Oliver was NOT going into a frenzy when Sina’s character actually petted Oliver on the top of his head trying to calm him down. Regardless of position/person/time or place, I should have frenzied at this point, as being treated like a pet, what happened in this situation, is a clear frenzy trigger for Oliver.
Outside that, I really had fun, and playing a more…..rude approach actually was quite fun :) Using my Humanity of 5, this is something I would really like to play out more now.