All about Aspects: Vampires and a common frame of reference

Little-vampire.svgI recently put up an All About Aspects post concerning representing monstrous nature as an aspect where I suggested that monsters could (in part) be represented using aspects, invokes and compels. Markus suggested in the comments section that there are lots of different types of monsters and that, to make it work, the GM and players would need a common frame of reference.

This is a very good point, and it doesn’t just apply for monsters, if you have the following aspect:

I’m a tough, grizzled FBI agent who gets the job done.

This will be fine as long as both yourself and the GM have a similar idea of what jurisdiction, powers and training members of the FBI have; with real-world organisation you can normally find this out on the internet with fairly little problem, when it’s something with various mythological sources like vampires then it can prove a bit more problematic.

It is important that you define the limits and abilities of such entities before the game begins to prevent arguments late. In this article I’m going to look at the perennial favourite supernatural the vampire and suggest how aspects might be compelled/invoked for different types of vampire.


 

Common Abilities

There are certain common abilities and weaknesses that different types of vampires tend to possess, some of these suggestions are listed below, however, don’t feel that you need to be limited by these:

When to invoke When to compel
Displaying monstrous strength, toughness, when attacking or running. When given the opportunity to feed, when being repelled by religious icons or confronted by the sun.

 

The following part of the post lists some additional suggestions for specific types of archtypal vampire:

Monstrous Vampire

These vampires tend to look more like ghouls and are exemplerised in the Murnau film Nosferatu, often appearing bald or oddly proportioned, they tend to be the least human and focussed on their hungers and drives far more than some other vampires.

When to invoke When to compel
Intimidating with your foul appearance, disguising yourself as a corpse. Appearance makes the character obviously inhuman, difficult to socialise with humans.

Punk Vampire

These are the young, hip vampires popularised in films such as Lost Boys and many others, they appear superficially human although vampiric characteristics (red eyes, fangs) often show when they are emotional or hungry. They often have a carefree attitude and act as the henchmen for a more senior, master vampire.

When to invoke When to compel
Flight, feats of superhuman speed, entrancing mortals with your presence. When given the opportunity to take a risk or flaunt your vampiric superiority over mortals, when you have the opportunity to scare or intimidate mortals.

Suave Social Vampire

The suave vampire is a social immortal, moving through society using and discarding humans, entrancing them with it’s presence and then throwing them away like trash once their usefulness has ceased. Social vampires tend to have a lot of resources and keep themselves in a fine fashion.

When to invoke When to compel
When money or wealth can be used to influence a situation, when making a resources roll. Enthralling mortals with your presence. When your character is given an opportunity to emotionally hurt a mortal in their thrall that may cause them complications in the future, to have a jealous former thrall begin to cause trouble for the player. Suave social vampires tend to have well-known public personas so a compel could be used to have them recognised at an inconvenient time.

Demon in Human Form

This vampire is literally a demonic spirit or evil entity that has animated a human corpse, it may have some vestiges of the original bodies memories but the soul of the person has passed on.

When to invoke When to compel
When making occult knowledge or lore rolls, when dealing socially with other demonic beings or when attempting to use infernal magics. When holy relics or other religious knowledge is used against your character, when a more powerful infernal presence attempts to bend you to it's will. Compels could also be used to have elements of your demonic nature (smell of brimstone, red eyes) bleed through into your human form when emotional or at inconvenient times.

The suggestions above are just a smattering of potential vampire sub-types, we’ve not even touched on the Greek Callicantzaro that spends most of it’s time in the underworld, emerging only on the 12 nights between Christmas and the Epiphany or the Malaysian Penanggalan that resembles a normal woman during the day whose head detached in the evening and seeks out prey. All of the sub-types above have their differences though and what affects one may not have such an effect on the other, it’s possible to use one or more of these creature types in the same game, but it is very important that you establish what powers and weaknesses such creatures have at the start of the game.

Coming Next for All about Aspects: Star Wars Fate

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Vampire picture from Wikimedia Commons, the free media depository.

 

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