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Introduction
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.

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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.

LogoClanGangrel

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.

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchen

Summary

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.

Introduction

So, we had another play in München, which means that another blog post has to be written about my character. As always I would like to start off with a small introduction to explain what has happened so far, feedback I’ve been collecting and my general view on everything.

First things first, I’m getting slightly annoyed with the constant OT (Out time) bashing on my character’s behavior and the animal features he has collected so far. To put it simply: If you don’t like it, resolve it IT (In Time), in almost every situation there’s enough options to prevent the Frenzy from happening, but so far nobody took note to that. Only exception was a downtime with another Gangrel, where I actively chose to go into the Frenzy.

I understand that a new Vampire with 3 features, sounds like an awful lot, but when looking at the overall story of Oliver, they make sense and are properly justified. He’s a Childe with absolutely no control yet over his inner beast. He’s learning stuff as it goes, and the control is slowly getting there, which in 2 months is already extremely fast. Mental control over something foreign, is not something you learn like 1,2,3.

Enough about that. The second point is how small non-important features turn out to be amazing plot devices. The example here is the blood flask presented by a Tremere, which was brought along to the Gangrel Thing, and turned out to be again the center of attention for various players, as well as the little bell that Oliver is wearing. These small things on their own do not mean much, but they seem to be annoying so many people both IT and OT that it simply becomes funny not to pursue them further.

As for the stories that follow below, they are divided into 2 parts. The first section tells the story of Oliver’s Fortitude training he received from Marius a few days prior to the meeting invitation from House Tremere. The second part explains the story and the various events that happened during the night of the invitation.

Happy Reading

LogoClanGangrel

Discipline Training: Fortitude

Several days prior to the invitation of House Tremere, Oliver was waking up as the night started to set. Unaware of the events that were about to play out today, he made his way to the Kitchen of the house he was staying at, Klara’s house.

Still not getting used to the whole rhythm of living during the night, Oliver opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of blood that was standing there. He was hungry, but learned to control the slight urges he had when the hunger was starting to pick up every morning. Not soon after, Klara also entered the kitchen and greeted him.

They both talked a bit about the past events and what plans they had when someone ringed at the door. Klara answered the call, and called out for Oliver to come to the front door. Approaching the front door, a smile appeared on Oliver’s face when he saw that Marius was standing there. Without given much of an explanation, Marius told him to get into the car that was standing in front of the house. Not having to be told twice, Oliver grabbed his sweater and jumped into the car.

Marius and Oliver drove through München, randomly driving in one street after another, making Oliver lose all sense of direction. After driving for about one hour, Oliver was told by Marius to blindfold himself with the black bandage that was lying at his feet. Looking strangely at Marius, Oliver didn’t question him and started to blindfold himself, while Marius kept driving the car.

After driving another 30 minutes with the car, Oliver felt that Marius pulled over, and told him to get out of the car while still wearing the blindfold. Seeking and searching for anything with his hands feeling in front of him, Oliver jumped up when Marius grabbed him and led him around and down several stairs. When they entered a room, Oliver was made to sit down on a chair in the middle of the room and his left hand was being cuffed to the chair so he could not escape. Then the blindfold was removed from this head.

Taking a brief moment to adjust his eyes to the sudden flash of light, Oliver looked around the room. It was a medium room with no windows, more or less cleaned. Several counters were on the sides of the room with medical equipment, as well as an operating table near the center of the room with some stained blood on the sides. Marius was standing in front of Oliver, holding a large curved knife and looked down on him while dragging the knife over his right arm, drawing blood. The sweet scent filled Oliver’s nose, who licked his lips.

As Marius stands before him, he explains how Oliver has been making mistakes in the past months, and needs to learn what it means to live inside the Camarilla. What it means to be a Gangrel, and most importantly what it means to learn more about the Beast and properly control it. Using his large knife, he places it on Oliver’s left leg and asks him the simple question: “Who are you?“.

Oliver, taking  a moment to think about this answers with his name, but realizes this was not the right answer the as the blade is being pushed through his leg. The pain is blinding, and Oliver growls at Marius but does not scream. At this point Marius repeats the question, with the knife on his right leg this time. Again the answer was wrong. Better, but still incomplete according to Marius, who drove the knife through his right leg this time.
At this point Marius explained the first Tradition and the proper form of introduction, while dragging the knife across Oliver’s back. At the end he asked the question again, where Oliver replied: “Oliver Soran, Childe of Clan Gangrel, Mündel of Marius, Primogene of Clan Gangrel.”  (Mündel is a German word that is used for a person who is not of age and is placed under the custody of a Guardian)

At this point, Marius instructed Oliver on the power of the blood he had in his body, the power to actually heal wounds and forced him to heal the wounds on his left leg, while putting pressure on the wounds of his right leg using his fingers. Pushing through the excruciating pain, Oliver managed after 10 minutes of focusing to actually close the wounds on his left leg, preventing the blood from draining.

This little game continued for more than an hour, where Marius questioned Oliver about every tradition of the Camarilla, what it means and how it affected him. Every wrong answer resulted in a cut on his body. Near the end of the little instruction, Marius pierced Oliver’s right shoulder, driving the knife deep in his body, damaging his right lung. Again Oliver was instructed to heal the wound using his blood’s power. At this point however, the reserve in his body was getting so low, that Oliver had trouble staying focused because of the blood smell in the room. Marius who had a wound on his arm from a past event, kept it under Oliver’s nose, luring out the beast that was hungering for blood to build up his reserves again. At first Oliver could resist the urge, but was forced to heal another wound, which drained his blood points down to 3.

At this point he could not longer control the inner Beast and tried to sink his teeth in the arm of Marius. Having anticipated this, Marius placed a stake through Oliver’s hearth, immobilizing him while he explained that he would be back shortly. Not much time had passed when Marius came back in the room, this time with a human beside him. Oliver had never seen this man before, and it was also not important. Marius slowly walked behind Oliver, and removed the stake from his hearth. The low blood supply, the inner beast craving for blood, the open wounds. All this was enough to keep the hunger going he had been trying to supress and so, the poor human never stood a chance. In a matter of seconds, Oliver was on top of the human, sinking his teeth in the arm of the Human, draining the blood.

At first the Human tried to struggle, beating on Oliver’s stomach, but Oliver overpowered him and quickly drained the blood through the bite marks he had made. Marius just stood on the side, watching, until Oliver was sated and the Human was nothing more than an empty shell on the floor, drained of all the blood. As Oliver came back to his senses, he saw the human lying at his feet. At this point, Marius started to talk into him, how we had killed the poor soul in cold blood, simply draining him, not holding back and what consequences this had. Oliver was handed the knife and told to dispose of the body in a specific way using the bags next to him. However the shock of having killed a human, with the body still at his feet was so great, that Oliver did not move the entire time until Marius came back.

At this point, Marius took the knife and explained that he would dispose of the body. However, he made Oliver watch every little step he took until the work was done.

House Tremere: Making a clan own yours.

The evening started normally like every evening does. Marius has been tending to Oliver’s needs like blood and a place to sleep for the 2 days between his Fortitude training and today. As they were making their way to the Prinz-Regenten-Platz in München, they were accompanied along the way by Staubkind and Tom, both part of Clan Gangrel as well. They met up in the small park near the Place where they talked about past events and what happened so far.

One of the topics that Tom wanted to discuss with Marius was the training of Oliver, more particularly the feeding from Humans. Both Marius and Oliver busted out in laughter when this was asked, but Marius said it was fine if Tom wanted to try and teach something to Oliver.

When they entered the building that was appointed as the location for the evening, the first thing that was to be done, was introduce themselves to the host of the evening. As they were waiting for their turn to address the host, Marius reminded Oliver of the Traditions and how to properly introduce himself, but was interrupted when the Ancilla of clan Malkavian approached and they had to make room.

Marius was the first to introduce himself, while Oliver was staying with the rest of the Gangrel pack that gathered by then. Not immediately following with Marius, Oliver stayed with Klara until Marius signaled that he should come over and introduce himself to the host that night: Ludmilla Riakova, Primogene of Clan Tremere.

As Oliver was introduced by Marius, the host asked the question who the Sire of Oliver was. At this point Marius explained that he has Primogene was responsible for the little whelp, and that his Sire was something to worked out later, invoking the ancient rights of Clan Gangrel to sire Children on their own whim.

The night itself turned out to be similar to pretty much every other invitation that occurs throughout the year. Several familiar faces, several familiar problems and a few new people that showed up during the night. Not much sooner after the introductions were done, Herr Spatz showed up at the invitation, tossing his bag at Oliver, ordering him to take of it. Oliver grabbing the bag with both his hands swore to himself that nobody would be touching this bag until Herr Spatz came taking it back.

A big problem with the Location that evening was the openness. There was a big glass window that allowed people to look inside and see what was going on. Salome, worried about the masquerade, made it clear to Oliver that he could what he wanted inside, but every time he wanted to go out, he had to wrap her scarf around his face to hide his cat nose, so nobody could see anything. The ears could be hidden by his sweater.

Trying his best not to forget, Oliver had conversations with several people, and also wore the scarf every time he went outside the building. A few of the more interesting conversations turned out to be one with the Torreador, where Oliver learned more about the disciplines that this clan possesses. Two of them he had experienced first hand while he was still a Ghoul under Zoe Thorn, the speed and persuasive nature of the Clan.

Because the whole of Clan Gangrel was given the mission to find out why a Tremere had the blood of Oliver in a bottle, they all took turns in talking with the Tremere Trester, who had provided the flask to Salome. However, every time they had this conversation, Trested claimed he had taken down 3 hunters in the domaine, found the flask, handed it over and had done nothing wrong. Some of the Gangrel believed him, some did not. In the end however, Herr Spatz took over after asking Oliver his opinion, and succeeded in making Clan Tremere own something to Clan Gangrel. What comes out of this, yet remains to be seen.

The evening became more interesting when Oliver was standing outside and a Ghoul came to him, asking him to join in a conversation with his master Emma. having a previous experience with Emma in Regensburg, Oliver told the ghoul he would come, but first made his way towards Marius, explaining the situation. Marius, who was in a conversation with Frau Duval, was excused and joined the little whelp to the table where Emma was sitting. Agreeing to the conversation, Emma asked the question to Oliver: “What does it feel like, to die?

Taken back by the direct question, Oliver had to gather his thoughts for a minute, but in the end could not really answer the question. He explained that he was knocked unconsciousness during his Embrace, and therefor could not really explain what it felt like, since he did not actively experience it himself. At this point, Marius was taking away by Salome, and Oliver was left alone with Emma and her ghoul. The conversation lasted a bit longer where more questions were asked, and Oliver tried to explain the ghoul the same explanation he was given when he was a ghoul: You cannot image what it means to die and give up everything in life for being a Vampire.

Not much later, they overheard Stein talking to Ancilla Von Rosenberg about Oliver and what the traditions say about creating Children and obtaining the permission for them. Stein had issues with Oliver, and also made this really clear during the entire evening by bumping into him, using Potence to throw someone else against Oliver and being rude in general against the Childe.

However, an unexpected turn of events happened when Ancilla Von Rosenberg answered the complaints of Stein by addressing Oliver: “Perhaps the Childe of Clan Gangrel can explain us the ancient rights of his Clan?” At this point, Oliver was taken a bit by surprise. He got up from his chair, turned around and looked Stein right in the eye. Here he explained how Clan Gangrel had the ancient rights to Sire children as they saw fit, but were also responsible for them in that their education and destruction belonged to Clan Gangrel. As the Ancilla smiled and asked if Stein was pleased with the response, after asking Staubkind if anything was missing, Stein said he knew enough for now and backed off.

Whether or not this was intended, Oliver felt that he had claimed a political victory here in that he defended himself on political level against one of his enemies. Whether this would have further consequences, remains to be seen.

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchen

Conclusion

With all that has happened so far, Oliver currently possesses the following skills and properties:

  • Animalism: *
  • Fortitude: * (1 point from the training with Marius)
  • Humanity: 5 (dropped by 1 for killing a human.)
  • Blood Band:
    • 1 with his Sire (Unknown)
    • 1 with Salome
  • Animal Features
    • Ears
    • Growling
    • Cat Nose

Again, I really enjoyed the evening and I’m really looking forward to what the big play in May is going to bring.

Introduction

So Oliver managed to survive his first Thing, and is now an official member of Clan Gangrel in the Domain of München. There’s still a lot of things that he has no clue about, or simply does not understand yet what they entail for someone who’s not alive, and doomed to live forever.

The above is something I’ve been discussing with someone from our SL (Spiel Leitung), and in the end we pretty much agreed on the same thing: These experiences is something that every new young Vampire has to deal with. This ranges from being confronted with the fact that you’re nothing else but a Monster and learning to live with it, to the fact that being in clan Gangrel brings along another nice surprise: You’re turning more into an animal every time you lose control.

My character is about 2 months old now when counting the Vampire time. He’s considered and treated like a child in the society, and the problem with this is, that every other Vampire either tries to (ab)use you into suiting his needs, or he’s actually trying to educate you, which brings us to the next problem: They all have their own view on what a “good” Vampire should be, making the whole education process dangerous and troublesome.

Something I’m playing with at the moment, is the latest “feature” that my character received for going in a Frenzy at the thing. A cat’s nose. On it’s own the concept is rather simple, in that my nose resembles that of a Cat. I’ve been getting some help from a friend who drew a cat’s nose on my face resembling something like picture 3 below. Personally I would like to make something more like the first picture, but someone recommended going for a latex prop instead.

Cat Nose

 

Right now I’m also working out an idea that will involve several players of our group. The concept is as follows:
My character is new, and has yet come to terms with what he actually is. He also needs to learn what it means to actually hunt and kill a human being as Vampire. As mentioned before this is something that every vampire has to go through at some point, and I think to play this out would be amazing.

The concept would be that it takes place in a park, where some of our players just play normal human beings taking a walk. My character would also be there with his mentor(s), and they will give him the assignment to actually hunt a human and drink the blood. Because my character has no control yet over his urge to drink blood, the idea would be to play the hunt, catch the human and kill it by drinking all the blood in the body. The lesson here is to control the urge, which takes time to master. The second lesson will be the shock and realization afterwards for my character that he actually killed his first human being.

But anyway, enough rambling as introduction. I’ve said enough, and still need to write the recap of the play in Nürnberg.

Verzauberung unter dem Meer

Oliver got his hands on the official invitation for a casual night in Nürnberg. Still dabbling in the communications sector, getting his hands on this message was a rather trivial task. The real challenge would be getting in Nürnberg without suspicion, since his nose had changed in the days after the Gangrel thing. Oliver was quite shocked to discover this new feature, but he had not really wrapped his head around it yet, since he hadn’t seen a reflection of himself yet.

The other challenge was getting permission again to actually go there and finding someone to baby-sit him while he was in Nürnberg. As usually both his mom Klara, Marius and Salome could not attend the evening. Oliver knew Charon would be in Nürnberg, so he wrote a small email asking if he would be willing to look after Oliver, which Charon accepted.

Arriving in Nürnberg, Oliver met up with Charon and they spent some time outside first updating each other about what happened in the time spanning their last visit. Here Oliver got pointed out by Charon for wearing the little bell around his neck, to which Oliver had to confess that he was being punished by Klara for the trouble he made the last time. This was repeated when Sofia approached them after the introduction to the Host and he had to repeat the explanation. Charon however was happily ringing the little bell, but Sofia said she didn’t dare to touch it.

During the evening, Oliver got introduced to various other Vampire from different clans and actually got into a few conversations with them. One particular conversation was quite interesting in where Oliver talked with a Torreador called Schneider and a local Gangrel about why he did not talk to the Tremere from München that was present. Without revealing anything to the Torreador, Oliver tried to explain that certain recent clan problems prevented him from actually talking with the Tremere at the moment. Although the Torreador did not really seem to understand, the local Gangrel seemed to be quite supportive of Oliver’s cause and understood the problem.

A bigger issue appeared later on the night when Oliver and Charon were approached by Baader, the Primogen of Clan Nosferatu. Striking a conversation with both Gangrels, Oliver was asked a question, but had real trouble understanding what was asked and had to ask for a repeat of the question. Apparently this had offended Baader and he instructed Charon to teach Oliver some manners. The explanation that the music was overwhelming for Oliver due his ears did not seem to catch any results with Baader.

This prompted Charon to actually explain Oliver about the traditions that were in place, and how he should do his best to actually treat people with the respect their position deserves. How it could save his life if he approached the wrong person like this, and how he should at least feign interest when someone is talking to him.
Not much later however, Baader came back to Oliver and sat down next to him at the table. Continuing the lecture about the traditions, Baader took quite some time to ask questions to Oliver about the traditions in the Camarilla, their origins and their meanings. For Oliver this was quite difficult, as he could not even remember certain events that took only a week ago, and answering these questions took a lot of effort.

Charon however was sitting at the table a bit further and was actually listening on the conversation. Oliver caught him smiling now and then based on the answers Oliver had given to Baader. Without knowing how much time was passing, for Oliver it felt as if he had spent his entire evening at school, learning the very basics about the Camarilla and it’s traditions.

Summary

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchen

All in all, the evening was pretty relaxed and just a casual gathering. I’m really happy that my character actually got the basics introduced to him from another player on how the traditions work. This really feels like going to school again on one side, but play potential is soo much more now that he has learned something.

I know it’s in my character’s best interest to actually memorize them and get the hang of them, but as I actually struggled OT to remember what I did last weekend when I was asked, I think I will build on this feature more in time, and make my character a bit of a “hard learner”.

Really looking forward to our next play, and the play where we can turn my idea/concept into something fun for more people.

Introduction

Being in Clan Gangrel means that you also have to attend what is called a “Thing”. These are special meetings unique to clan Gangrel to get up to date on the internal workings of the clan as well as earn your hierachy spot inside the clan. In the past month, Oliver has been going through the phases from a freshly created Childe to a Kaitiff and now he is attending the Thing organized by Herr Spatz.

I’ve also been talking with our SL a bit more about what I want exactly with my character, and this is not fully defined yet, but with the information I received so far, a few paths lie open at the moment. I’m still going for the feral concept with my character, and have set out some basic steps as goals that I want to achieve. These range from finding out my sire to becoming an Ancilla for our clan in our Domain.

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Gangrel Thing

A Thing had been called by Herr Spatz, to be taken place in Oliver’s home area of München. This made traveling to the location and meeting a lot easier, as he could just tag along with his “mother”. Oliver had heard about these “Things” before, what they entailed and what could be expected on these meetings for the Clan.

Before they set off to the meeting, Oliver was handed a small gift from his “mother”. Whether it could be called a gift was something totally different, but he received a small bell with a green & violet ribbon that he was supposed to be wearing at all times. The explanation he received was that it would prevent him from sneaking out. The effect did not stay out really long, because with every wild step, jump or leap that Oliver took, the little bell would be happily chiming along, preventing him from being silent.

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At the location, it took a while for the first Gangrel to show up. The first one to show up was Tom, followed by Salome and Staubkind. Herr Spatz arrived shortly after, with Marius not far behind. Oliver watched as they took place around him and the campfire that was burning in the middle. Spatz himself did not seem to be paying much attention to Oliver.

Once all the Gangrel where there, Spatz opened the Thing by welcoming everyone, and proceeding with the order of business. The first thing that was to be taken care off during the Thing was the hunt of Staubkind. If he succeeded in surviving this, he would be a fullfledged member of Clan Gangrel, and no longer a Childe. Sufficient to say, Oliver saw the start of the hunt, but was not allowed to participate; not that he really felt like it anyway.

As the hunt was progressing, only Marius and Spatz remained at the campfire. Not much attention was given to Oliver while the other where hunting. Spatz however was walking around the area, and was grabbing for something in the air. All of a sudden he falls over, and stops moving. Oliver confused, sees Marius running towards Spatz. Trying to awaken him again, Oliver gets questioned by Marius about what happened, and repeats the explanation every time another Gangrel comes back from the hunt. Eventually Spatz regains consciousness, but Oliver is still puzzled by what has happened, and no suitable explanation was given.

To conclude the hunt, Staubkind had to fight Spatz in order to obtain his dagger and prove that he was a worthy member of the Clan. After struggling and fighting, he finally succeeded in obtaining the dagger, and earning his place in the pack. Oliver was watching the entire fight, but was quickly ordered back to his spot at the fire when the next topic on the plan was brought up for discussion: himself.

Clara opened the discussion about him, asking what should be done with Oliver, since he was labeled Kaitiff by Spatz. Marius explained that if Spatz called him a Kaitiff, he was one. Spatz enforced this once more, by explaning that a Kaitiff had joined one of the most holy rituals of the Clan, and that a Kaitiff would not leave this place.

Spatz continued his explanation as to why he would not Sire a ghoul that was working for him, and asked several questions to the other Gangrel to find out their oppinions on the entire topic. In the end, he addressed Oliver directly and asked him the question: “Why should I let you live, and not shred you to pieces right here?“.For Oliver, answering this question proved to be extremely difficult. He tried to throw off Spatz by saying that the right of destruction belonged only to the Fuhrst, but got countered saying it did not apply in this meeting. A final answer was given when Spatz was standing in front of him, that Oliver could contribute to the Clan and would like to have a chance to prove this.

At this point, Spatz was standing next to Oliver, with his claws visible. He attacked Oliver by slashing at his face, triggering a frenzy in Oliver. In the meanwhile all the present Gangrel had moved away from Oliver and Spatz, anticipating that he was planning on killing Oliver, making sure enough room was between them and Oliver + Spatz.
As soon as Oliver entered the frenzy, all breaks went off and his only desire was his survival. Whether Spatz was holding back or not was not clear to Oliver, but it only took him a matter of seconds to overpower Spatz in his frenzy, and plant his teeth in the neck of Spatz, drawing and sucking out some blood, causing Spatz to yield at that point, and Oliver going out of the Frenzy.

Spatz withdrew, and Oliver was given time to recover from his Frenzy. At this point Spatz explained what it ment to be Gangrel, how the inner animal can overcome great odds, and makes one stronger when being controled. At this point he also welcomed Oliver into the clan of Gangrel, revoking his Kaitiff status. Immediatly afterwards, Spatz commenced by telling a story about how he had a Ghoul, and how that ghoul became a fledgling vampire. In the end, he was telling the entire history of Oliver for the pack, and how the Gangrel that decided to embrace him had made the right choice. But he also gave Oliver and the pack a quest: To find out the sire, and prevent accusations against Oliver till this was resolved.

The evening continued with story telling and some internal political talk, until Salome started talking about the Tremere and how they claimed to have handed her a flask with Gangrel blood. Being sceptical about the entire flask, Oliver was the “lucky” chosen one to open the Flask while the rest was keeping their distance. As soon as Oliver had opened the flask, he sniffed the contents and proclaimed it smelled like blood. The other vampires passed the Flask around, but Marius pushed Oliver against a wall and struck his shoulder with his claws, drawing some blood.

After smelling the flask and the blood from Oliver, it was concluded the scents were identical. How this was possible, Oliver could not explain as he had no recollection of any encounter with the Tremere, until Spatz explained what they are capable of. Clan Gangrel at this point organized their plans to obtain the required information from the involved Tremere, on how they got this blood, but Oliver had other plans in mind for the involved Tremere at the next meeting.

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Conclusion

With all that has happened so far, Oliver currently posseses the following skills and properties:

  • Animalism: * (1 point from his ghoul life)
  • Humanity: 6 (dropped by 1 for attacking and injuring Spatz)
  • Blood Band 1 with Salome (Flask event)
  • Animal Features (3 frenzies so far)
    • Ears
    • Growling
    • Cat Nose

Introduction

March, a new month and a new adventure. In the past entries, Oliver has been through several ordeals already, and this time it’s not going to be anything different. The best part so far, is that I’ve been collecting a lot of feedback about my playstyle and character from both players and our SL, which made me think about the progress path and come up with the following:

The first three, perhaps four, frenzies will not really add anything new to my character, but rather justify the current behavior. I’m trying to cut back a bit on the animal-like behavior during plays, as the feedback was that it was happening too fast. So the upcoming frenzies will be used to add the following features:

  • Sniffing
  • Teeth
  • Scratching

At the moment, the only behavior that Oliver will keep is the growling at people when they annoy/anger him. This frenzy was received in Nürnberg (more about this down below). Another point I picked up after talking with some of our SL, was the opportunities during plays. I don’t want to sound like a complete ass when writing this, but I really need to get away from some people in order to experience more play. I know this sounds wrong, but it’s ment with good intentions. I feel that I’m being overprotected with my character, and I have to be a bit more of a “rebel” and explore during these plays. In the play from March, I missed out on a huge play element, and after hearing about it, I’m really sad that I didn’t participate in it.

But enough about that, time to tell two stories today: The first story will be a recap of the events that occured right after Nürnberg with a Gangrel called Lynn, and the second story will be about the gathering in München, organized by the clan of Scholars.
Again, apologies if names are written inccorrectly, but until I learn the spelling in our plays, I write them how I think they are written.

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Rumbling in Nürnberg

Oliver was on his way back to München after visiting the gathering in Nürnberg. It was quite some distance to cover, and would probably take the whole night, based on his current travel speed. Somewhere during the night, Oliver was traveling through the woods when he picked up the scent of blood, fresh blood. The smell alone urged him to look for the source, as it had been a while since he drank blood and the hunger in him was actually growing.

Following the scent of blood, Oliver arrived at a clearing in the woods, where several corpses, or rather parts of corpses, from forest hares where scattered about, the blood still dripping from the various parts, soaking the entire ground of the clearing. The smell of blood was so overwhelming, that Oliver had trouble keeping his senses, and oversee the area. No immediate danger could be found in and around the clearing, so Oliver slowly stepped into the clearing, stopping at the edge of the tree line. Across the clearing, a still living hare could be seen, trapped in a small contraption that was preventing the animal from escaping.

Slowly, but surely, Oliver made his was towards the trapped hare. Smart enough to cross the clearing, Oliver stayed near the tree line, and walked around the perimeter, constantly looking for any signs of danger or another presence, but nothing could be found. When he finally approached the trapped animal, he used his Animalism discipline to calm the creature, so he could remove it from the trap. Picking it up in his arms, he carresed the creature by stroking it on the back. Then all of a sudden he bit it in the neck and started sucking out the blood, savoring the sweet taste of fresh, warm blood, being oblivious to his surroundings during the feeding.

At this point, he felt a presence, a dark and evil presence at his left side. Turning around, he saw someone sitting there. A huge bird on the shoulder, and crouched over, ready to attack. Oliver needed a few seconds to recognize that it was Lynn, as she was wearing different clothing this time, and the huge bird on her shoulder took more attention then actually Lynn. Remembering what happened in Nürnberg, Oliver bent down on his knees, and offered the hare he was feeding from to Lynn. When he looked up, he saw Lynn jumping at him, and before he knew it, she was on top of him again, pressing him against the ground.

Asking why she was doing this, but not getting the reply he wanted, he got angry. Still in control, he growled at Lynn, which only caused her to belittle him and throwing him across the clearing. At this point, Oliver lost control and his inner animal took over, causing him to enter a frenzy. Although younger and weaker then Lynn, the frenzy provided him with the means to at least keep up with Lynn and actually go for her without thinking about any consequences. What seemed like a long fight, was actually over in a matter of minutes. Both Oliver and Lynn went at each other, trying to hit, kick, claw each other, but in the end Lynn was the stronger one and the fight ended again with Oliver laying on the ground with Lynn on top of him. At the end though, she reached out her hand to help him up after his inner animal recognized it’s place with Lynn being superior.

With a smile she said that the “whelp” had learned something, and just left him without further attention, so he could make his way home.

Reliving the 20/30′s in München

Oliver intercepted a transmission from someone called John Stein, talking about a meeting in the center of München at the Hard Rock Café. As always his curiosity took over, and Oliver was trying to obtain permission from his mother in order to go. The invitation talked about reliving the 20′s & 30′s, but this was beyond Oliver. He was not even alive in this time period, let alone that he would have time to look into it. Searching for his mother, he could not find her anywhere. It’s not the first time that this happened, but this time however, Russ came to him with a message from Clara, that he was to take Oliver with him to this invitation and look out for him. So there was no need this time to contact Marius or Salome in order to find permission.

Arriving at the center of München, Oliver was greeted by Russ along the way, as well as Staubkind. Together they arrived at the location, and not soon after Konstantin also arrived, greeting everyone and pulling off Oliver’s cap, revealing his ears. Somehow Konstanting didn’t seem to be surprised at all. The other Gangrel remaind outside for a while, letting most of the other guests enter the building. Once the last Torreador entered the building, the group decided to enter the building as well, but quickly went outside again as some arguments broke out already and the scent of blood was in the air.

While waiting outside, Herr Spatz also appeared. As soon as he approached the group, he immediatly recognized Oliver and started sniffing him, asking why he smelled different. He looked at Staubkind, who explained that Oliver could probably explain himself what happened. Turning his attention on Oliver, Spatz stood in front of him, asking for an explanation. At this point Oliver revealed his ears to Spatz by removing his cap again. This turned out completely different then Oliver expected, as Spatz called him a Kaitiff, and threathned him to stay away from him.

As the night progressed, several points where on the agenda, such as the Primogen meeting. However, as the meeting was about to take place, both Salome and Zoe were acting strangley, Oliver not really understanding what was going on, stayed inside with Staubkind and Russ while the rest of them went outside. Only later would Oliver learn what actually happened there and the consequences of it.
In the meanwhile, Spatz was starting the primogen meeting with those still remaining at the location. During this however, he noticed that Oliver was sitting next to Staubkind, too close to the Primogen table, and at that point he hit Oliver with his umbella and ordered him to leave. Oliver not wanting to cause more trouble, quietly left the room and spent his time outside, until the meeting was over.

Later that night, the people who went outside returned from wherever they went, however this time they brought back the Elder, Katharina Von Hapsburg with them, Elder of Clan Torreador. The whole room fell to it’s knees when she entered. Oliver only caught a glimps of her, but when he did, he could not keep his eyes off her. She was simply that beautifull, and she also radiated power.
At this moment, she called forth Spatz and asked him the definition of Primogen, what it ment to be one. After receiving the explanation and introduction, she made  a sheer remark about how these represented the “fine and first selection” of the prince. Oliver could understand the jape she made, as he knew about her history of imprisonment and the “party” that set out to rescue her apparently. But he was not sure if the others in the room would actually understand the remark she made.

After she had left the building, the night continued it normal pace. The last incident that occured this night was when a Malkavian came to Oliver, who introduced herself as Amens of Clan Malkavian. Oliver was a bit bewilderd by her presence, and immediatly kneeled in front of her, thinking she was a high ranking Officer of the Camarilla. However as he did this, she said this was the second mistake he made, and revealed she was only a Neonate. Salome sitting next to him, told her to not toy with Oliver.
At this point however she mentioned that Oliver was the Child of Clan Gangrel, and because of this, she tried to pull out a gun and claimed she would take what was rightfully hers. Luckly for Oliver, Salome also saw this and immediatly stopped her, saying she could not claim Oliver for what happened with her Ghoul. Oliver being oblivious to his fact, was just staring back and forth at them, not understanding what was going on. Then Emma also appeared, constantly poking at his neck wound, asking what happened and why he was bleeding. Then she whispered to Amens something, and it was revealed that the both of them wanted to take Oliver with them for two weeks as compensation for whatever happened in the past.After discussing this with Salome outside, the agreement was made that Oliver would NOT join them, and they had to come up with a different request, whatever it was, Oliver had no idea. Oliver also took the time inform Salome about what had happened in Nürnberg and how he got his neck wound.

Near the end of the Night, Oliver was sitting together with Zoe Thorn, talking about small things and life as a Vampire. At this point Spatz also came to them, tapping Oliver with his umbrella again, and informing Zoe that she was talking with a Kaitiff and should be wary. The following conversation ofcourse switched to this topic and the consequences of it. Somehow Oliver seemed to be able to still talk with Zoe without too much trouble.

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Conclusion

The night itself for Oliver was interesting enough, in that he experienced a completely different side of the Vampire world, in what it means to be without Sire, and how other vampires react to this. Being a Kaitiff means that you’re without Sire, and pretty much free game as you do not officially belong to any Clan. How the Gangrel will react to this is yet to be seen, but other Vampires are now aware of this as well, and this makes traveling alone far more dangerous.

As player however, I have to get a better overviewe of events happening during the plays. As I mentioned in the introduction, I will be exploring a lot more during the plays and actually get into the interesting stuff from now on, regardless what the others (my babysitters) might say. Oliver’s inner animal is a cat, curious by nature, so getting myself into trouble should not be too much of a thing. If whoever is responsible for my character doesn’t like it, he has to do something about it.

As for setting goals with my character, I think I will stick to the following chronological list at the moment:

  1. Finding out who’s the Sire of Oliver
  2. Obtaining Neonate status
  3. Obtaining a Loan for myself
  4. Obtaining Ancilla status

The last point is a rather big one, and will probably take quite some time, but it’s at least a big goal to aim for at the moment. There’s also the personal goal of “obtaining a family” inside Clan Gangrel, but that will grow hopefully over time.

Introduction

At this point in time, Oliver is a three week old Gangrel-whelp. Although he’s been in the World of Darkness for some time now, there are still so many unknowns for him and things that need to be learned in order to survive the world on his own. I often get asked why my character visits all these locations. Logically speaking, it makes no sense that a three week old Childe goes on about alone. However, story wise there’s enough room to manouvre around this problem:

  • Oliver is a Gangrel, and a loner by nature. So it’s easy to justify that he rather spends time in the woods then in the City.
  • Oliver’s inner animal is a Snow Leopard. You know what they say about curiosity and the cat…
  • Oliver’ behavior and doing are all instinct driven. Due his background, he has a very feral nature.

Visting Nürnberg

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Oliver received the invitation by email like he usually does. As soon as he read the invitation, his wild curiosity took over. However so did his worry, as the same problem posed again as it did for Regensburg: Who’s going to babysit a three week old Gangrel whelp? Immediatly Oliver ran to Klara, his “mother” for the time being, asking permission to attend the Nürnberg invitation. The same answer as before: She cannot attend, but he’s allowed to go if he can find a baby-sit.

Oliver first tried to contact Jones again, but this time Jones was not able to go to Nürnberg with him. So Oliver had to resort to someone else. Using his new contacts he acquired in Regensburg, Oliver sent an email to Chaaron and Flip, asking if one of the would be able to look out for him while he was in Nürnberg. Chaaron was the first to reply and said that Oliver was more than welcome to attend the invitation in Nürnberg. Informing his “father” Marius as well about the arrangement, Oliver set off to Nürnberg.

Not so friendly company

Chaaron proposed to meet in the local park of Nürnberg prior to going to the event. However Chaaron was not alone that evening. Another Gangrel called Lyn was with him. Oliver had never seen her before, but to his surprised she was also sporting several Leopard motives on her face. Oliver introduced him casually to her, but was not aware of the further issues that would ensue that night.

Arriving at the location, there was a human taking notes of all the people who arrived. The group did not really pay attention to him, as he was just a human, and they had to be at the meeting. It turned out that this human was spying on the location for someone, and this was revealed as soon as Frau Fanchez entered the room and asked the host to actually come outside because there was a problem. This human was nicknamed “battery” pretty fast by the host and Vampires present, but the night turned sour when that human escaped into the city.

From the notes left behind, it became obvious that he was spying on the entire location, taking note of who entered, what they looked like and what they were doing. A search was organized by the Gangrel to track him down, but they lost the trail in the circle of stones at the Nürnberg park. Chaaron gave Oliver a history lesson, explaining what happend at these stones and why they were so important. After scouring the entire area, the group went back to the location to update the rest and plan what needed to be done.

During the night, Lyn had special plans with Oliver. Several times she tried to take away the dagger received from Jones, but Oliver wouldn’t let her. Eventually, she commanded Oliver to come outside with her, and confronted him about his behavior and why he did not hand over the dagger. Oliver said it was his, and that she could not have it. This angered her apparently, and she started a fight. Powerless against her strength, Oliver was lying on the floor pretty fast while Lyn was leaning above him, pushing him down with one hand. Both growled at each other, but Lyn said he should learn his place, and then went back inside.

Near the end of the meeting, Oliver learned another important lesson: One does not drink the blood of another Vampire.
Arend was playing a game of “Truth of Dare” with other Vampires, and at one point was challenged to shoot himself with a gun. Taking up the challenge, he shot himself in the shoulder, causing him to bleed. Since Oliver had been given blood, the urge to jump on top of Arend was great, but not irresistable (SL decision). Chaaron saw the behavior of Oliver and asked Arend permision to use him for a lesson. Grabbing Oliver in a tight grip, he brought him really close to the wound on Arend’s shoulder, but prevent him from drinking the blood. Whispering  in his ear, he made it really clear, Gangrel Style, that Oliver was not allowed to drink this kind of blood. Afterwards Oliver drank some of blood at the feast to control his urge.

Summary

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Nürnberg was actually pretty fun. The mind games organised by the SL there turned out pretty fun, and my character learned valuable lessons:

  • You don’t drink the blood of another Vampire
  • Elder Gangrel are not valid fight targets at the moment
  • Breaking the masquerade goes faster then one can expect.

I also caught myself making a few mistakes again. Talking afterwards with the people there and collecting their feedback brought me some valuable information again.

  • Some people expected “more”. I understand now what they expected, and will work on it.
  • Someone called my character a dog. I did not react on it, whereas I should have at least gotten angry with that person, missed chance on play.
  • Still need to stop “thinking” about things. It went better in Nürnberg, but we’re not quite there yet.

Introduction

So, introduction first. From the previous entries, we know that Oliver is now a week old Vampire, a Childe, and must re-learn everything he ever knew about the world of Darkness.  The curse associated with Clan Gangrel has also taken form, in that Oliver now walks around with a pair of cat-like ears instead of his normal ears.

Again the sections to follow are based around the live-play of Vampire the Masquerade and some background information is required in order to understand the whole concept.

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Obtaining permission

As soon as Oliver learned about the invitation in Regensburg, he wanted to attend. It was on short notice, and he was not entirely sure who would actually be attending there from the pack in München. Going alone to Regensburg, or even spending time alone there was out of the question, that much Oliver already learned in his first week.

Seeing as he was not entirely sure whom to ask, Oliver asked first his mentor Klara. She however would not be attending the invitiation in Regensburg, and both Marius and Salome would not attend either. All three explained that they could not let him be there by himself, as the risks were simply too great, but that he was allowed to go if someone was willing to look after him, baby-sit him.

Oliver only knew Jones in Regensburg from his time as Ghoul under Herr Spatz, proposing the idea to his “parents” and mentor, they all agreed it would be a good solution if Jones agreed to take responsibility, and look after Oliver when he would arrive at Regensburg. Klara took the initiative and contacted Jones, explaining the situation and asking if Jones would take responsibility when Oliver would come to Regensburg. Much to the joy of Oliver, Jones agreed.

Encounters of the Malkavian Kind

Oliver left the domain of München as soon as the sun was set behind the Horizon, and he was awake. Oliver was an “early bird”, usually minutes awake after the sun had set. Despite living in the woods most of his time, or in the domain of Klara, Oliver still had access to a car, and used this to make his trip to Regensburg shorter.

Oliver parked his car a small distance away from the location, so he still had time to walk through the woods surrounding the location. This would help him clear his mind, and relax a bit before the actual invitation meeting took place. At least that was the plan, but fate had something else in mind.

Oliver noticed something in the scent of the forest that he was not alone, a smell of death was near him. His curiosity took over, and Oliver approached the location where the smell was coming from, to find a Malkavian standing there, watching him. Oliver knew this person, had seen her before several times, even “played” with her. It was Emma.

Warry of he presence, Oliver approached her, keeping a few meters between themselves. Conversations with Malkavians are never easy, and the whole conversation was a back and forth of questions and senseless phrases. At several points in the discussion, Oliver went down on all fours, growling at Emma, with his ears flat against his head, clearly showing signs of aggression, but they would be replaced by curiosity and confusion as the conversation progressed.

The conversation ended when more Vampire were approaching and the meeting was about to happen. Oliver left Emma alone in the woods, and made his way to the nearby building.

((OT: I cannot reveal everything in this section, as it would take away the atmosphere of the conversation that took place prior to the play.))

Making new friends

In Regensburg, Oliver only knew Jones, so he was the first person Oliver approached. The classic scene took place again, Jones walking around Oliver, inspecting him, trying him out and finally welcoming him into the fold. Not shortly after, Oliver was introduced to the other Gangrel present as he made his introduction to Flip, the host of the evening.

The evening itself was a rather casual meeting amongst friends, for as far as they all could consider each other friends. Stories were shared, information exchanged and questions asked that would prove to be interesting situations that Oliver had to overcome.

An example of such a situation was when a Torreador came to Oliver, asking him out about Ancilla Orsini. Oliver being well aware of the power and status that an Ancilla can have, experienced the entire situation as a test, and avoided the question altogether by answering: “She’s an ancilla, is that not enough?”. Oliver would definitly be wary of this character, as it was not the first time these kind of questions were asked.

The night took an interesting turn when Oliver was asked to join a small “game”. Having no clue what it was about, he said he did not know how to play it. Reassurance was given when they told him that the explanation would be given during the game. As Oliver made his way, Thomas snapped with his fingers, getting the attention of Oliver, saying he was not allowed to play in the game.

Later on, Oliver received an explanation from Jones what the game was actually about, a Mlkavian game, and why he was not allowed to play.

Summary

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchenOverall the evening was rather relaxing and no serious incidents took place outside the Malkavian encounter. Oliver still has to learn a lot about the World of Darkness, and how to properly interact with other Vampires.

As a player, I feel that I still “think” too much about potential situations. When an opportunity comes to mind, I’m already going over all possible scenario’s in my head, and in most cases I “play” out what I think looks the safest. This is something I really would like to get rid off, during the upcoming plays, I’ll set it as my goal to really react on instinct, and not so much think about what might happen.

Something else that I need to look into is the behavior patterns of a Snow Leopard, as I’ve chosen this to be my “inner animal”. Currently I assume cat-like behaviors with an increased hunting experience, but I’m guessing there’s more to it.

And something I definitly need to do at the next plays:

  • Lose control when blood is in the room
  • Get closer in contact with the Gangrel from Berlin, she was what I want to achieve
  • Get this social thing working, even though my character doesn’t like it.

Vampire The Masquerade : The Embrace

Introduction

Before starting with the actual article, I’d like to point out a few things. First of all, there’s no pictures. The reason behind this, is that our group decided to keep all pictures internal to prevent people from getting into trouble when they are public. Secondly, the names in this article are all fictional names of our characters; any resemblence to living people is purely coincidal.

The Embrace

As explained in my previous blog post, I play Vampire The Masquerade as LARP event on a regular basis with a group in München. Part of the entire life as Vampire is the Embrace. On this special occasion, a human/ghoul is turned into a Vampire for reasons only known to the Sire that embraces the “victim”. From this point on we will talk about the Childe and the Sirerespectively.

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The Story

Oliver was working one of his shifts in the field, as another pylon near the Residenz in München had broken down and required repairs. The night would turn out to be an exhausting night, as Oliver was informed by phone from his mentor Konstantin, that there would be a special event tonight in the Residenz regarding clan Toreador.

This would turn out to be an easy assignment, as the repairs were nearly completed. Finishing his work, Oliver was already preparing his mind for the upcoming event, where he would walk alongside the side of Konstanting, learning more about the entire World of Darkness surrounding this world. Fate however had other plans….

As soon as Oliver closed the lid on the electricity box of the cable, he feld two hands grab him from behind and pull him down. Before he could even say a word, 2 sharp teeth sank into his neck and started draining the blood from his body. Like any Vampire bite, the feeling was enthralling, sweet and heavenly at the same time. His mind screamed that he should struggle free, his heart however persuaded him to remain still and subcumb to the sweet embrace of the bite.

In the last moments of his life, Oliver experienced that his sight was getting blurry, his body numb and the feeling dissapearing from his body along with his remaining strength. Without having the ability to fight what was happening to him, Oliver closed his eyes a final time and lost consciousness. Oliver Soran was no more and had died at the hands of an unknown Vampire.

An unknown time had passed when Oliver opened his eyes again. His head hurt, overwhelmed by sensations. Slowly getting to his knees, Oliver looked around, trying to remember what had happened. Slowly the shock came to him: He was not breathing, nor was his heart beating any blood through his body.

Looking around anxious, there was this feeling of hunger building up inside him. Despite the fact that the entire world felt more clearer, cleaner, more present, something inside him was screaming for food. No information about what would sate his inner hunger, Oliver knew by instinct that he required blood. Blood of a living thing to sate his thirst. As the hunger inside him grew, Oliver lost all sanity and interest of the world around him. Searching for a source of blood like a savage create, he got to his feet and stumbled across the park.

Not far nearby was a deer between the trees, grazing for grass. Oliver could hear the heart beat the blood through the veins of the deer. He could hear the valves pump the blood further with every breath the deer took. Stumbling closer, Oliver had but one thing in mind: Blood.
Before realizing what was happening, the deer had Oliver at his side, teeth in it’s neck. Oliver was drinking the blood from the bite mark, while clawing at the fur of the animal in order to get to the blood that was coursing through it’s body. Nothing was going to keep him from his source of food, and his source would not be given a chance to escape.

It took a matter of minutes for Oliver to devour the blood of the creature, so great was his hunger. There was blood all over him as well as all over the ground surrounding the feast scene. Once the hunger was stilled with the fresh taste of blood, Oliver regained his senses. Not quite clear what had transpired, Oliver started stumbling around the park he found himself in. Due his heightet senses, he could hear voices nearby; familiar voices.

Arriving at the source of the sound, Oliver stumbled to his knees, right in front of 3 Gangrel Vampires, sitting in a circles, discussing whatever it is that Vampires of Clan Gangrel might be discussing. 2 of them were known faces to Oliver, and he felt a form of relief in that he recognized them. Wary at first they approached Oliver in the thought that he was still the Ghoul they knew.

A big surprised when furry, pointy ears were once normal ears had resided. For them it was clear what had happened, but they still asked the question: “What happened?”.
Unable to answer the question, Oliver replied with a confused look to them: “What are you talking about?”.
Pointing to his ears, Oliver felt at the sides of his head. The curse of clan Gangrel had taken shape and given him the ears of a snow leopard, after he went into a Frenzy for blood. The wish had finally been granted; he passed the test and had become a Vampire.

Background Information

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchen

In the previous post I explained that my character was still human. This however is now no longer true. My character is now a Vampire, and one from Clan Gangrel no less. The implications for this are, that whenever Oliver enters a frenzy, be it for killing, feeding or fleeing; he will gain what’s called an “animalistic feature”. In the first case these were the ears of the Snow Leopard, his inner animal that takes over when going in a Frenzy.

Does that mean he will look like the above picture? Eventually yes. The more frenzies occur, the more he will start looking like the animal inside him. Does every “feature” have to be a visible one? No. It can also occur that the behavior of Oliver changes, or that he gains what people call a “tic”. Showing his tongue now and then, looking up when hearing a sound, running behind a ball or laser pointer. The options can be numerous.

Vampire The Masquerade: Life of a Ghoul

Vampire The Masquerade,

Some people will know this from the White Wolf books, other will know this from the video games, others know it from LARP and Pen&Paper. I personally know it from playing the LARP event, or as we rather call it in our group, Improvisation theathre.

I’m not going to spend too much time explaining all the terms in detail. If you’ve never heard of Vampire The Masquerade (VtM for short), then this blog article might not be for you today. If you have, then I encourage you to read on, as it might help you in dealing with Ghouls and their issues.

What is a Ghoul?

A Ghoul is a human being that has been drinking the blood of a Vampire. This has a few consequences for the person that drinks the blood:

  • They become stronger then a normal human.
  • They do not age for as long as they drink the blood. In order to keep this effect, they need to drink the blood once per moon cycle.
  • After drinking three different times, they become bound to the Vampire that gave his blood three times.
  • They become addicted to the blood.

Without going too much into the details, it becomes rather clear that there’s a few benefits to being a Ghoul, but there’s also a large list of disadvantages. The disadvantages that Ghouls experience are not limited to physical or mential issues that appear from drinking the blood, but also their position in the Vampire society.

Ghouls are considered the lowest standing possible in the Vampire world. They’re often open left to abuse by their Master and other Vampires. If you’re playing a Ghoul, get the following imprinted in your head as soon as possible: You are worth absolutely nothing.

And yet the above statement is not entirely true. Ghouls are also considered the most important characters for a Vampire. While being treated poorly, they are also the most trusted person by a Vampire. Why you ask? Ghouls are often tasked by guarding the lair of their masters when they are asleep during the day. They are included in the most secret of meetings to support their Master and they run errands for their Master during the day. This makes them invaluable as they are able to perform tasks that a Vampire is not able to do.

My Ghoul: Oliver Soran

LogoClanGangrel

I’ve been playing a Ghoul since Oktober 2013. He’s called Oliver Soran, and he’s the Ghoul from Herr Spatz, Ancilla of Clan Gangrel in München. The mere fact that I play the Ghoul of an Ancilla has both benefits and downsides.

The “benefits”Note that I surround the word benefits with quotes, because these benefits are really limited and narrow. For example, the other members of Clan Gangrel look out after me. You might think this is a good thing. Let me tell you it’s not what it looks like.
Yes, they look out for me when a Vampire that is not Clan Gangrel does something against me. Do they look out for me because I’m part of their Clan? NO! Well in a sense yes, but they look out for me because I have the blood in my body belonging to their Ancilla Herr Spatz.

Being the Ghoul of an Ancilla has some protection to it, in that most Neonate Vampires will not try to mess with you, because they fear that the Ancilla might retaliate for breaking his property. That’s right you’re considered nothing but property. Actually a quote I received during one of my plays: “A chair is more valuable then you are, the chair has a purpose and a use. You’re just food.”

The downsides

  • You’re worth nothing to other Vampires
  • You’re open to abuse by other Vampires due the entire politcal play
  • You’re food, learn to live with that fact
  • Ghouls have potence, making you stronger then most Neonates during a play, but it’s advices to be on your best behavior
  • You’re open to abuse from your master. Why? Because he can.
  • You have no free will.
  • You’re addicted to your master’s blood

Background

Oliver was taken as ghoul for the services he could perform. Working in the Telekom industry, Oliver’s original tasks consist of securing Gangrel communications and disrupting the communications of enemies. Having been on various tasks, Oliver learned about other Ghouls, and what happens to them when their use has exceeded.

After learning this truth, Oliver took up his courage and confronted his master with the question of becoming a Vampire himself. His master, taken in by the courage said that he’d put Oliver to the test to see if he was worthy. The “test” has been going on for months now, and still no end is in sight. Oliver has been with Clan Torreador because he was handed over as a present. He’s been with Clan Nosferatur, trying to obtain information on how to impress the Gangrel, he’s been with clan Gangrel; learning their secrets and how to fit in properly.

Despite being a Ghoul, the Gangrel pack has been rather “nice” towards Oliver. Whether it’s because they actually see potential in him, or just because he has their Ancilla’s blood running through him is still a mysterie. Not all experiences have been bad for Oliver. He’s been able to talk to various other Ancilla, where some have commended him for his behavior and knowledge. Others have tried to kill him or suck out his blood, simply because they know he’s a Ghoul.

Lately, Oliver has lost his house because he can no longer pay the rent. Working for the Vampires made him neglect his normal work. The result of this, is that Oliver now lives in the woods surrounding München. One “advantage” is that Oliver posses the skill “Animalism“, which allows him to give commands to other animals. Now he lives in a Haven, surrounded by bigger animals such as a fox etc to keep him company. The downside? No social contact, making the integration in the Camarilla society not any easier. But then again, who needs human skills in a world of monsters?

((This a short version of my character’s background, explaining his behavior and history up until the point this article has been written.))

Clarification

Most people however have the following impression when I tell them about my character:

Gangrel_by_schwarzeskaetzchen

Just to be clear, my character still looks human, and is human. Only my behavior represents that of an animal, and only in specific situations. You can consider the behavior of my character as someone who has been abused and traumatized, and the only social aspect he knows is that what’s found in a pack of wolves.

Tips and Tricks

In this section, I’d like to give out some tips for people playing a Ghoul. These situations are based on the practical experience that I’ve gained from our local plays as well as some inter-regional plays across Germany. Please be aware that these are based on personal experience, and might not always work in your play.

1. Always be humble and respectfull to anyone in the room. Almost anyone in the room/area you’re playing will have a higher standing then you have.

2. If you receive a mission or assignment, try to carry it out to the best of your abilities. You’re going to have to deal with monsters that have lived for hundreds of years, having way more experience then you have in a political game of life and death. But if you want to impress other Vampires, you’re going to have to deal with it.

3. This tip is a double-edged sword: Try to stand out! By standing out, you will gain attention from Vampires. However this can go both ways: Either you draw the correct attention in that Vampires will recognize you and become impressed by your abilities, eventually leading to the “Embrace”. On the other side, if you draw the wrong kind of attention, it’s going to be really simple: You will die.

4. Respect the Etikette. This is how you deal with Vampires above you. It protects you from them when talking to them in such a way that you’re respecting them:

  • Child: Bow for them.
  • Neonate: Bow really deep for them.
  • Ancilla: Fall to your knees
  • Elder: Don’t even approach them, unless they come talking to you (but why would they?). If they do, fall to your knees and only speak when spoken to.

5. This one might be a form of “game breaker”, but don’t try to look another Vampire in the eyes. There’s 2 reasons for this: If he’s a Gangrel, you’re pretty much going to piss him off with that behavior. If he turns out to be a Torreador or Ventrue, he will probably just dominate you, forcing you to do things you’d never do. From OT perspective, undergoing a Dominate can be hilarious and brings awesome play elements as well.

6. You’re a ghoul, and nobody really cares about you. This allows you to actually run around the room and evedrop on conversation. Because most Vampires think: “It’s just a ghoul”. This situation allows you to collect so much information by just listening. If you’re smart you sell this information for favors to with other Vampires. Remember, intrigue and politics make up the core of this game.

7. This more a bit of a general play tip: DO! I’ve made the mistake myself a few times that I was too passive because of my Ghoul position. But a revelation I had myself during our last play: go there and do stuff. There’s a lot of fun to be had as well as unique experiences. I was really scared in talking to one of the more powerfull Gangrel of the evening, but another Vampire just dragged me along and introduced me. It was one of the best talks ever :)

Okay,

Time for a new entry in the diary of adventurer Olivar Yuuki. This time we were sent to explore the Halatali dungeons. These ancient dungeons were originally a hold ground for the Lalafell (my race), but where turned later into training pits. These days they’re nothing more then a monster infested cavern that has become too dangerous to explore.

As soon as we entered the dungeon, it became apparent that in order to proceed we had to operate the ancient mechanisms controlling the doors:
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After crawling through various tunnels, we finally encountered the boss we were looking for. A giant lizard imbued with thunder magic. Ofcourse we were not going to let this beasty get the best of us, and we decided to turn the tables and make fight in our advantage.
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So instead of fighting this create where it was standing, in the water, we decided to lure it out of it’s lair and fight us on equal terms, the solid ground. The logic behind this was to eliminate the electrical capabilities of our foe:
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After a long and gruesome battle, we finally emerged victorious. We decided to keep exploring the caverns in the hope of finding some neat treasure we could take home. Unfortunatly the local inhabitants had different plans for us. We entered a large circular room where a treasure chest was waiting for us. Not sooner after we approached the treasure chest we ran into a small ambush by one of the local inhabitants:
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Sufficient to say, we dispatched the beasty quickly and took all his plunder along with us. That will teach him for ambushing us.
It was getting time to leave, so we decided to explore the last room of the dungeon. Turns out some nasty was waiting for us here. We engaged him in battle, but turned out he had several tricks up his sleaves:
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After a long journey and some dangerous dungeons, Olivar managed to get his hands on most of the plunder from that trip. Here’s a selfy with carby on what he looks like now:

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