Vampire

This is the web page for the Vampire game which will be run under the auspices of the Oxford University Role Playing Society from Trinity Term 1999. Currently the site is being maintained by Corinne Berg. Keep an eye on this page for up-to-date information.

Also note that communications regarding the upcoming game will usually be passed through the Vampire mailing list, rpgsocv.
To subscribe please see the information section on the RPGSoc site.
Information regarding the recently finished Vampire game, Degeneration, still exists here.

Some rationale for what we’re doing with this game:
With Vampire becoming such a popular game, the number of Kindred characters is far too great for a small city like Oxford to support. Thus, we're working within a larger Kingdom, the Kingdom of Wessex, and we have added three new cities, which also introduces all manner of new political intrigues, and allows three Princes to play off against each other.

Meetings will take place in four major places - Winchester, Portsmouth, Southampton and Oxford.
The term's meetings will be as follows:

Sunday 3rd Week (24 October): Winchester (Lincoln Lower Lecture Room)
Saturday 4th Week (6 November): Portsmouth (Lincoln Lower Lecture Room)
Saturday 6th Week (20 November): Southampton (Lincoln Lower Lecture Room)
Friday 8th Week (3 December): Oxford (Lincoln Lower Lecture Room)

Please click on one of the links below for further information, or carry on reading down the page.


General information

Information on Clans

If you want to be disregarded and occasionally spat upon, there are also:

If you would like to be a bone of contention in Wessex, then you could be:


The GM Team


The Kingdom of Wessex

For more than a millennium Wessex has been ruled by the Kindred King Caradok. Containing the cities of Oxford, Bristol, Portsmouth and Southampton, all Kindred in the Kingdom must accept Caradok's ultimate rule. However, most day-to-day ruling of the Kindred is taken care of by the Princes of the Cities (although Bristol has not had a Prince in some fifty years), or the Royal Primogen, elders of such power and status they are answerable only to Caradok himself.

Wessex is a Camarilla Kingdom, King Caradok having been a great supporter of the Camarilla since its formation. However, it is believed that the great rivalry with the Kingdom of Mercia, to the North, and its ruling Queen, dates back far further than her declaration for the Sabbat at the time of its formation. Wessex and Mercia are the only Kingdoms to have survived from Saxon days, the rest of the country being ruled by local Princes in the usual Camarilla way, and led, in status at least, by the Prince of London, William of Normandy.

The vampire kingdom of Wessex covers the central part of southern England. Its northern border is marked by the Thames, and it stretches west as far as Devon, and east as far as the border with Sussex and Surrey (i.e., it consists of Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, and half of Oxfordshire). Its king, Caradok, is rumoured to be very old, and must be very powerful indeed to be able to hold such a large area for so long.

The king's capital, Winchester, is off-limits to all kindred except the king, except by specific invitation. Four other cities have significant kindred populations; Southampton, Portsmouth, Oxford and Bristol, the first three of which are ruled by Princes. Very nearly all kindred live in one of these four cities, as Wessex's other towns are too small to support kindred, and only the Gangrel can realistically survive in the countryside for long. Kindred are essentially city creatures, and although in Wessex it is safe to travel between cities, even here the wilds contain the strange and unexpected. Homeless kindred are often prepared to pay significantly, in one way or another, for the privilege of living under a Prince's rule, as the only realistic alternative is to fend for oneself in the chaos of Bristol. Even to visit a city requires its Prince's permission; only the king and the Royal Primogen may wander, and live, wherever they like.

The southern cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, enjoy a certain prestige by virtue of being close to the capital, and thus to the centre of political activity. There is a great deal of rivalry between them, both amongst the mortals, and by virtue of the ongoing feud of Wessex's Toreador family. The Toreador Royal Primogen has two female childer who seem to have hated each other more or less since their creation, and spend much of their time trying to promote themselves and embarrass their rival. Wanting to be close to the king, but refusing to live in the same city as their rival, the two elders have settled themselves in the southern cities, the younger in Southampton, the elder in Portsmouth, and most of their descendants have joined them there.

This is an excellent page of links on Southampton, Portsmouth, and the south in general.
This is a lovely page about Berkshire.

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Character Creation

This is the current information on character creation. The topic is currently under hot discussion amongst the GM team, so watch this space!

In order to have a realistic Kindred society in this game world, we need PCs that are a mixture of ages, clans, and levels of power. Rather than having all players generate any character they want, then trying desperately to fit them into some kind of social structure, we are going to organise character generation a little. In most modern Kindred societies, the young outnumber the old - this is also true in Wessex, so we will be restricting the number of older Kindred characters.

Now, some of you might be tempted to think that the older the Kindred you play, the more powerful you are, and so the more you can do and the more fun you can have. In Kindred society this is absolutely *not* the case. Major disadvantages come with age, and we will be playing these up as much as possible. To quote another reality:
"When I was young I had many choices, but no power. Now I have all the power I could ever want, but no choices at all." (- Londo)

The older a Kindred becomes the more enmeshed in Kindred politics they become, and the more care they must take with their every action. Added to this the passage of years changes the minds of Kindred - they become more stagnant, more caught in habit, less able to adapt to the changing years. Most Elders are by their nature specialists - they do a few things staggeringly well, but much else passes them by - they must employ, or manipulate, others to take care of other tasks for them.

As you may have heard, for the new Vampire game we are introducing a few new bits of system. Now, people react to system in many different ways - some bounce up and down excitedly, and want to know every figure and decimal point in order to 'optimise' their character, and others run away screaming, or become comatose with boredom. Personally I sympathise with all these reactions, apart from perhaps the first. Thus, this if the first of two handouts about the new system - this is a rough, and quick, guide so that you know roughly where the changes have occurred. The handout that follows tells you more about what you need to know to generate a character.

If you can only be arsed to read this one, fair enough, talk to a Ref to get full details when trying to create a character.

Character Generation points
You'll get told the number of points you have by your Ref. We aren't giving out any Background points, but have increased the number of Freebie points to compensate - this is to allow character creation to be a bit more flexible. Costs are as normal, apart from out of clan Disciplines which cost double to in-clan ones, and you'll need to clear it with a Ref - tell them where you learned the skill. Also, Willpower has become a lot more expensive:

Willpower
Willpower is now rated from one to five (with the possibility of going higher for Low Generation Kindred) and is independent of the Virtues. It is also far more expensive, as high levels of Willpower are very rare. As it's the basis of your Resistance stat (see below) it's also rather useful. Kindred interested in surviving in high powered Kindred politics may spend years and years attempting to train their minds to resist the powers of another - this investment in time is represented by the cost of buying high levels of Willpower.

Dominate and Presence
These are often the Disciplines that get used most in meetings, and it's a right pain to have to drag a Ref across the room every time you want to use one of them. Thus, for those who are into using a sneaky bit of dominate in the corner of the room, we've introduced a system for dominate and presence that players can mostly take care of themselves.

At the beginning of a meeting your Ref will give you a little piece of paper with four numbers on - your resistance to Dominate, your resistance to Presence, and your ability to do each of them. Any time someone uses one of these Disciplines on you you compare their skill to your resistance, and you'll know roughly what happens.
Eg. A Prince may stand up and, before giving a speech, say 'Presence 25'. You notice you have Resistance to Presence of only 15, and you realise you are experiencing the full effect of Majesty, therefore you shut up for the duration of his speech, hanging upon his every word.

Details on how to compare your resistance with another's skill will follow. Lower Generation no longer brings immunity to Dominate from one of Higher Gen, but may give a bonus to your ability to resist.

Fortitude and Potence
These have both been adjusted a little to make them a bit more useful. High Fortitude makes some people more or less immune to normal physical damage. Only those with Fortitude have any hope of Soaking aggravated damage, but it's still extremely dangerous to them.

Thaumaturgy
There are all new Thaumaturgy rules, making it more versatile and more interesting. However, only the Tremere know about it, or need to know about it.

Backgrounds
You must spend Freebie points on Generation if you want it - maximum Gen for a PC is 8th.

Buying status may be useful, as it will affect the way all the Kindred who play status games treat you. However, think about where you got it from, and how you are going to keep it - if you do something dumb in the first session and blow all your status as a result it's your loss.

If you buy influence, you must divide it up between which areas you have influence in. Details to follow.

Clans
Characters should be thinking in terms of creating a character from one of the major seven clans. Please check out our idea of the clans before you create a character based on your own ideas (everyone has a slightly different idea about Vampire). These are further on in this section.

Character Links
Most Kindred in the game will have been kicking around for decades and decades. They will have spent a great deal of time in the past talking to each other, arguing, bickering, scoring points of each other, making alliances, and generally doing all that good Kindred stuff. In order to represent this in a new game we are encouraging players as much as possible to get together and come up with shared pieces of background. Organise feuds, friendships, family relationships, and alliances. The Refs will do what they can to provide pieces of history to spark characters off against each other, but you can do far more than we can. Why not choose someone to hate, and someone else to love - or even make them the same person. Kindred spend centuries at a time arguing, and the more 'past' you create between your character and others, the richer the background will be.

Games Night
The Refs will be at the last two Games Nights of this term to talk about the new game, introduce more of the background and discuss character ideas with players. Please come and chat to us if you have time...

System
Notes on the system you should use to create a character follow on - usually it will be done in discussion with a Ref, however.

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The Princes

Wessex currently has three cities with Princes - Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton. The Princes are of Ancilla age, but have, at some time in the past, risen to the top of their local power structure. Background for how this occurred can be suggested by the player, and worked out with the Ref.

A Prince has a fair amount of power, but also responsibility. They may choose who lives in, and who may, visit their City, may call a Blood Hunt on a resident of their city (as long as it doesn't annoy the King), may have some say in who his/her Primogen are (although some local residents may be too important and influential to ignore), and basically in a day to day way has the most influence upon a city. King Caradok has a very hands off approach to governing the Kingdom - Princes can do pretty much what they like as long as they do not endanger or weaken the Kingdom, and do not challenge Caradok's rule.

What are the advantages of being Prince?

What are the disadvantages of being Prince?

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Ancillae

Ancillae are Kindred of between a hundred and five hundred years of age. They have far more experience than Neonates, but do not command the same power and influence as Elders. A Prince will often look to the Ancillae in his city to form his Primogen, as they are often too powerful for him to ignore their wishes and advice.

By the time a Kindred has gained the age of an Ancilla s/he will be deeply enmeshed in the politics of the Camarilla. Every Ancilla in the game will be tied to at least one, and often more than one, Elder. This means there is some political connection between them that means the Elder may call on the Ancilla for aid, or request the Ancilla to perform tasks on the Elder's behalf. The Ancilla may, of course, decline to work for the Elder, but depending on the exact nature of their relationship, and the tie between them, the Ancilla may experience difficulties as a result.

Part of becoming an Ancilla is to understand, and appreciate, the necessity of Camarilla politics. Most Ancillae will have an awareness of status and etiquette, and will be careful to behave within the many unwritten rules of Kindred society. They must judge their actions carefully, and always take account of the consequences of their actions - both direct consequences, and the alteration of their image and status. Ancillae are also old enough that their personalities may have begun to stagnate a little - they may no longer be as good at learning new skills as once they were, and are less adaptable to new situations. However, to counter this their great age means the skills they do possess will have reached a high level, and this combined with power in disciplines, and the influences they have built up over the years, will make the Ancillae potent forces in Wessex.

Why might you want to play an Ancilla?

Why might you not want to play an Ancilla?

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Neonates

Neonates are the youngest Kindred - they range from the newly embraced to those close to a century in age who are already beginning to make the political moves that will lead to them becoming Ancillae. Neonates usually have yet to become completely embroiled in the political games of the older Kindred, and this often means they have a much greater freedom to act. They are less likely to be tied to Elders, and so have more time to pursue their own interests, and basically have fun. Frequently it is Neonates who come up with new ideas, discover new phenomena and plots, and experiment in the world. This does not, unfortunately, mean they can afford to ignore the Elders - the Elders have authority over them, and much to the frustration of many modern Neonates, may wield it in any way they choose. A Neonate who angers an Elder may find their remaining existence brief and painful.

To be a Neonate is to still be young, to have the versatility of a young mind, and the ability to learn quickly and explore new ideas. They may not have the power, experience, and influence of the Elders, they may often be treated like troublesome children, but they are also not locked into power games that take up so much concentration and time.

Why might you want to play a Neonate?

Why might you not want to play a Neonate?

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Elders

All Elders in this game are either NPCs or DPCs (that is to say NPCs played by people other than the Refs - the player plays them in meetings for us, but the Refs decide their plots and overall actions).

There is no clear transition between Ancilla and Elder, it is just how you are perceived by others. Elders are the most powerful, and well respected, members of Kindred society. They are inevitably completely caught up in Kindred politics, and must spend a great deal of their time considering their actions, the actions of their enemies, and their current status.

Many Elders become somewhat anachronistic, no longer feeling the modern age of mortals to be particularly interesting or worth bothering with - when the Kindred world takes up so much of their concentration, they may be loath to invest time in finding out about things such as computers. Instead they employ people to take care of these things for them - or they have their pawns work them out on their behalf. Of course, like in every other part of life, there are exceptions, but Elders are frequently great specialists - what they do they do incredibly well, and with enormous power. However, they are often not versatile, and so must surround themselves with pawns to take care of the things they do not have the time, or inclination, to deal with themselves.

Just how powerful are Elders? Again it varies from individual to individual, but usually they are enormously strong. They not only have powerful blood, and years of experience with the use of disciplines, they have had the time to build up powerful organisations of pawns (both mortal and immortal), vast structures of influence and information gathering, ancient ghouls skilled in many areas, not to mention the experience and cunning that centuries bring. [Note: White Wolf has been universally dreadful at inventing high level Disciplines for Elders - we've adjusted for their oversights] Elders have weaknesses, certainly, but they've also had centuries to make plans to compensate for them.

Elders are always a force to be reckoned with, but they may not be as free, or content, as jealous younger Kindred might expect. The simple equation of Kindred life is this:
The older the are, the more power you have.
The more power you have, the less freedom you have to wield it.

Thus, in some situations a neonate may be able to bring to bear more power, and have a bigger effect, than an Elder. If they are smart... :)

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The Camarilla Clans

The Brujah

More information on the way we see Brujah.

If you would like to play a Brujah, please contact Steve.


The Gangrel

More information on the way we see Gangrel.

If you would like to play a Gangrel, please contact Corinne.


The Malkavians

If you would like to play a Malkavian, please contact Steve.


The Nosferatu

More information on the way we see Nosferatu.

If you would like to play a Nosferatu character, please contact Corinne.


The Toreador

More information on the way we see Toreador.

If you would like to play a Toreador, please contact Kate.


The Tremere

More information on the way we see Tremere.

If you would like to play a Tremere character, please contact Warlock.


The Ventrue

More information on the way we see Ventrue.

If you would like to play a Ventrue, please contact Warlock.


Anarchs

More information on the way we see Anarchs.

If you would like to play an Anarch please contact Warlock.


Caitiff

More information on the way we see Caitiff.

If you would like to play a Caitiff please contact Warlock.


Sabbat

If you would like to play a Sabbat character, please contact Warlock.


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