View Full Version : Newcomer to WoD

07-27-2009, 12:35 PM
Just a quick shot in the dark before I head in to work...

I've been playing pen and paper games for a little while now (D&D and Shadowrun, mostly), but have never until now touched the World of Darkness. I recently dropped the Ravenloft game that I DM down to a bi-weekly session so that I would have more time to prepare for it, and a friend of mine stepped up to fill the open time on the alternating weeks with a Vampire: The Dark Ages game.

Is this a good forum to gain insight on for this system? I owe a debt of gratitude for the community at Dumpshock for getting me acclimated to the Shadowrun system when I first began to play, and I am looking for a similar e-haven for WoD to get insight and share experiences with.

If anyone is interested in helping a new player out, feel free to PM me - or, I'll try to post more details when I get back from work in ~9 hrs.

You have my thanks in advance,

07-28-2009, 01:41 PM
I'd be happy to help however I can. Remember you will need the Core World of Darkness book + whatever splat line you want (Vampire, Werewolf, etc). My suggestion for people coming from D&D is go Werewolf. Its easiest of the lines I feel for people used to playing D&D to get into. I suggest leaving combat merits out for new people, while they can add a lot of flavor they can add a layer of complication that frankly isn't helpful when your breaking in a system.

07-28-2009, 02:12 PM
Actually it looks like they are play Dark Ages Vampire, which means it is Old World of Darkness. So the core WoD book isn't part of the set.

As for suggestions maybe everyone should sit down together and hash out some particulars about the game: Like where it takes place and what clans are appropriate for the game to what should the players expect from each other and the Story teller when they play. Will there be a need for a character journal and the like to not only keep track of little fact but to also jot down you character's thoughts about the other characters or certain NPCs.

The game itself is both simplistic and complex, but it all depends on what everyone wishes to bring to the table. Also this game is not always about being best friends and buddies there is also enough inter player mind games that can and should happen, as long as you all realize that what happens in game stays in game you'll all be fine, but don't be surprised when someone gets one over someone else in game and people leave hurt. It happens, but as long as you can try to talk about it or have the ST talk about it in a positive way it should be only a little bit of anger with a large bit of I'm going to get you back.

So make sure that everyone knows the game can and should be at times cut throat.

07-28-2009, 02:32 PM
Thanks for the response, Morton. The Storyteller for the upcoming game has already designated that we will be playing Vampire, and I've gotten my hands on the books for that system. I've always been more partial to Lycanthropes than I have to Vampires, but... we'll see how it goes.

For my first character in the system, I decided to try something completely off the beaten path. I'm playing a Malkavian neonate with Amnesia, who woke up naked in a field on the night of the full moon, covered in blood and standing over the corpse of a fresh kill. Due to the loss of all of his memories before that point in time, he is under the impression that he is, in fact, a Lupine (which is reinforced by the fact that I spent 14 of his 15 freebie points on Protean II to give him Talons of the Beast).

To further reinforce his derangement, I've selected what I deem to be appropriate merits (Blush of Health, Inoffensive to Animals I [canines]) and flaws (Prey Exclusion (Lupines/canines), Replused by Silver/Wolfsbane - both of which were suggested to me as modifications of existing flaws that would further round out the character - and are made possible due to the Curse of Malkav and the flaws being purely psychological in nature).

I've already read through the Malkavian Clanbook and the character creation section of Vampire: The Dark Ages, and am now working my way through the rest of that book to try to further understand the particulars of that setting.

I am hopeful that this character will work well in the new system; since it's my first time working with it, I decided to go with a combat-oriented character and use the rich Curse of Malkav to round him out in the role-playing aspect.. we'll see how it goes.

Character Breakdown:

Physical: (7)
Strength: X| X X
Dexterity: X| X X X
Stamina: X| X X

Social Attributes: (3)
Charisma: X|
Manipulation: X| X X
Appearance: X| X

Mental Attributes: (5)
Perception: X| X X
Intelligence: X| X
Wits: X| X X

Talents: (13)
Acting: X X
Alertness: X X X
Athletics: X
Dodge: X X X
Larceny: X X
Subterfuge: X X

Skills: (9)
Animal Ken: X
Etiquette: X
Melee: X X X
Stealth: X X
Survival: X X

Knowledges: (5)
Linguistics: X
Occult: X X
Seneschal: X X

Disciplines: (4, +2 from expenditure of freebie points)
Auspex: X
Obfuscation: X X X
Protean: X X

Backgrounds: (5)
Generation: X X X
Herd: X
Resources: X

Virtues: (7)
Conscience/Conviction: X| X
Self-Control/Instinct: X| X X
Courage: X| X X X X

Road: Road to Humanity (Enforced by Storyteller as starting road), 5

Willpower: X X X X X| X (expenditure of 1 freebie point)

Blush of Health (2pt)
Ambidextrous (1pt)
Inoffensive to Animals (1pt)
Unbondable (3pt)

Amnesia (2pt)
Prey Exclusion (Canines/Lupine) (1pt)
Touch of Frost (1pt)
Cast no Reflection (1pt)
Repulsed by Silver (1pt)
Repulsed by Wolfsbane (1pt)

07-29-2009, 01:47 PM
Ahhh, now I see where you are coming from. Dark Ages Vampire is actually my favorite RPG (Not quite the same as Vampire the Dark Ages but close). I recommend buying some books about the life of people around the 3rd crusades IIRC there are several recomended in the book that are fairly good. The Life in a Midevil X serries is one of those pretty good ones. Malkavians can be a lot of fun, especially in the dark ages where the line between profit and crazy is blurred. For a combat monkey focus on dex, melee, and celerity (I dont believe its a clan discipline but its worth having a dot or 2 if your storyteller will allow it)

07-29-2009, 08:07 PM
Well, If you are not so much into politics, perhaps a Gangrel would be the easiest to play.

07-30-2009, 04:54 AM
Your character sounds interesting, and has a level of complexity that I think is rare for someone jumping from D&D to the Storyteller system.

The lupine angle is pretty cool, and something I haven't seen before, and since the Malkavians are not only insane, but insightful, and known for their prophecy, it might be cool for you to work something like that in. It would help explain some of your supernatural merits (blush of health and inoffensive to animals). Perhaps something involving a vampire who is more wolf than beast (since prophecy is always vague and confusing), I think most players who heard something like that would expect a Gangrel, not a Malkavian.

Or maybe your character is Garou kinfolk, i.e. carries the recessive werewolf gene, but isn't a werewolf. That would be a more mainstream, but just as cool route for you to go.

A word of advice on the Malkavians. As a long time WoD player with most of the splats, the biggest pet peeve I have, and that many others share, are FishMalks. The term allegedly comes from an illustration in the Vampire the Dark Ages rulebook where a Knight in his underwear is bleeding into a chalice, while another man nuzzles a fish. What it describes is a certain type of player/character who plays a kooky, wacky, humorous pastiche of the Malkavian clan because he or she is under the impression that insanity is funny.

It's not.

Even the mental illnesses that sound like they have the potential to be humorous Tourette's, a schizophrenic hearing Mr. Magoo, a phobia of green beans, or whatever, are terribly frightening to the person who suffers from the malady.

When playing a Malkavian it is important to remember a few things about insanity:

1.) It usually comes with other symptoms, schizophrenics don't just hear voices, or see things, they get irritable, they have trouble sleeping, their emotional responses can become dull, etc. etc. It's a good idea to research your illness.

2.) Malkavians aren't crazy ALL the time. Like all people who suffer from mental disease, Malkavians are prone to bits of lucidity. This is one of the things that makes them scary. What is a completely normal, boring, ordinary man one minute, can be a bloodthirsty monster ranting about devils the next.

3.) Insanity is flipping scary. The insane have no control over their illness, they can't tell when they're going to see the illusion of someone being murdered, they can't HELP but go to the bathroom and throw up after meals. Very few people WANT their insanity, they just can't fix it. The unpredictable nature of it is frightening to many other people, the thought of "Catching" the disease is probably a real fear for some, as are the stories we have of mentally ill people.

Anyway, you say you come from a background of Ravenloft and Shadowrun, which are dark, brooding, paranoid, scary games (or they can be) so you shouldn't have any problem adapting. Just be aware of FishMalkery as it severely detracts from the game.

And most importantly, have fun. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have or offer ideas and advice. Break a leg.

07-30-2009, 06:58 AM
Aye, from what I've read of the setting, Dark Ages Vampire should be interesting. However, I thought it and Vampire: the Dark Ages were the same thing? O.o Pardon my ignorance, but what are the differences?

As far as Malkavians go, I loved what I read in the clanbook and am trying to figure out an angle on how to work in the prophetic qualities. I think I already have a good handle on the madness, though.. Also, as far as Dex goes for the combat: I asked my storyteller about it. According to the him, Strength is the physical attribute that I add to my brawl roll whenever attacking with my claws, but I thought that it was Dex from what I thought I read... not sure, however, because it's 5am here and I'm too tired to look it up at the moment. I may try to pick up celerity further on down the road, however.

Gangrel might be easier to play, but the concept I worked out for this character as a Malkavian just leapt out at me, and I like it too much to be a Gangrel. Plus, the first session was tonight, so it's a little bit late for changing now...

The idea of him being the fulfillment of some vague prophecy (if I interpreted your post correctly) could be pretty cool... I'll have to get with my ST and see what we can work out. Originally, since I took three points in Generation as a background, I thought I would play it off as having Diablerized a Gangrel... but the more I read, the more I determined that that would be a BAD idea. ^.^

As far as the Blush of Health and whatnot, I thought it would make sense because it would help with the suspension of disbelief over the fact that I'm playing a vampire who really, truly believes that he is a Lupine.

Which leads on to my next point. I skimmed some other forums as well as this one before I made the character, and stumbled across the concept which you described as FishMalks, as well as the stereotype of a Malkavian who wanders the world with a dagger and a ragdoll. This is something that I'm trying to avoid at all costs.

When I originally heard of the Malkavians, I was turned off because I didn't want to play a character that would run around gibbering and screaming "look at me, I'M INSANE!!!!!" But then, I read more on them and read the clanbook, and became intrigued in the way that some were portrayed as people who, at a casual glance, appear to be completely normal - but then you talk to them and realize that they really, REALLY aren't.

The cold, calculating, creepy type of insane is what I'm going for. The kind who really believes that he's the one who sees the truth that none other can. If you have any insight into how to bring that to the table, please let me know.

If you're interested in reading more about where I'm coming from on the past and motivations of my character, read below.
What I'm working with so far, is that in life my character was a ranger assigned to one of the forests near Sheffield, in England (hence his Seneschal knowledge). He was in charge of chasing away the poachers who would hunt the King's deer, and keeping the roads safe from any dangerous predators that would post a threat to travellers.

After his embrace (and subsequent descent into madness, which is what eventually triggered his amnesia), he woke up one night in the middle of a field, under a full moon, covered in blood and hunched over a fresh kill. At first, he recoiled from what he had done and was terrified. Seeing as he was an unlearned ranger (and that the common knowledge of actual facts on Lupines is, I would imagine, virtually nonexistent), he rationalized it the only way that he could: he determined that he had been cursed to walk the earth as a Werewolf.

A few scattered memories from the time before his amnesia set in still remained (the teachings of his sire on the ways of (un)life), which he attributed to mere survival instinct.

The way that I've tried to work it in so far is through little quirks and mannerisms. Our coterie (I'll skip the complicated story of how our ST brought us all together) were being escorted by a Gangrel we had just met, who was to guide us to where we were to stay for the night (as part of a larger assembly of the clans). Along the way, we were ambushed by some human brigands who thought that a party of (seemingly) unarmed nobles and their servants would be easy pickings.

During the ensuing combat, my character gave in to his primal urges and began the hunt. The brigands realized they were in over their heads and turned to run; if it runs, it is prey. So, after he chased down one of the survivors and fed off of the corpse, he turned and saw the Gangrel standing over another would-be-robber and retracting his own claws. So, Alexander (my character) walked up, greeted him as a brother, and apologized for hunting on his territory.

Well, it's now 6am and the sun is up, so it's time for me to get some sleep (thank God for a day off of work. :D)

Thanks to all who have responded so far!

07-30-2009, 11:38 AM
The difference is a few rule changes and that Dark Ages Vampire is set later in history.

You roll Dex + Skill to hit then if you hit you roll Strength + Weapon for damage. Dex+Dodge is also your defensive roll so Dex is a huge part of combat although you just need enough dice to hit or not be hit. Dark Ages Vampire had any extra successes from your to hit roll spill into your damage dice pool. The latest edition of Vampire uses Strength+Brawl or Melee + Weapon for a damage roll and removes the to hit roll. Which is what I have currently houseruled into my DA:V games.

08-05-2009, 05:10 AM
It sounds like you've got a really good handle on the clan, which is good to see! They're potentially one of the coolest clans out there, but they're difficult, and people who play them well, like you seem to be doing, are rare.

If I were STing, I would say that plenty of Gangrel would be willing to share their knowledge of the vampiric condition. They're loners, yes, but as a whole, they don't covet power or secrets the way the Ventrue and the Tremere do. But we won't get started on cross-clan Thaumaturgy.

Another thing I would talk to your ST about is maybe... flashes and glimpses of memory, instead of just a gap. A certain smell, a certain sound could bring back the flash of a memory, not enough to build on... maybe he thinks they're visions or omens? Or, better yet, he gets a sense that he should remember that song... or that voice... but he just can't.

Haha. As you can see, I like your character too.

08-09-2009, 03:13 PM
One suggestion I would have is that if you are going off of the I think I am a werewolf I would try to distinguish yourself from the actual werewolf character splat. Go for the human that stalks the woods on the full moon, turns inot a beast and all that. A vampire thinking they are one of gaia's chosen would be difficult to play and unrealistic since the first time you came across a real werewolf their first instinct would be to kill the wyrm tainted vampire. Plus if you are under the delusion that you are a werewolf there is no real reason for you to know anything about real werewolf society and lifestyle.