Open Monday: What About the Boy?

Here’s a classic: youth, memories, and eternal lifedeath. Most of you probably know what I think already, but let’s give it a roll, shall we? I’ll recap.

Creatures of Theme

“Damnation is doing the same thing over and over, and getting the same results.”

— J. Carlton, Nosferatu Harpy of Baltimore

In vampire media, the damned are not just long-lived, but eternally similar. Nick Knight obsesses over right and wrong. Spike engages in bloody devastation for women who barely know he’s there. Louis… has some daddy issues. What drives them to good and evil deeds remains the same, decade after decade. In order to capture this, Vampire posits that the Kindred are more eternal than even they would like to admit.

Vampire: The Masquerade

Vampire: The Masquiem

Vampires aren’t so much creatures of habit as they are creatures of theme. Being a vampire isn’t about living and growing for another century. Being a vampire is about still being the same person a century later. As young as you are, as old as you are, just as you are.

Does that mean vampires are immune to character development? Not at all. What it means is that a character’s life defines her unlife. Her circumstances change, her ideas change, and the world she deals with changes, but the feelings in her gut remain the same. The crusader becomes the activist, the mother becomes the leader, the junkie becomes the preacher, but she continues to view her world through the lens of emotional experiences as a mortal.

As a player, this can help you ground your character. As the intrigues of the Danse Macabre surround him, as the Beast roars for release, as years of torpor distort the facts of mortal life, it can be hard to connect with your character on a human level. The eternal nature of the Kindred, however, ensures that their strange horrors and alien hungers never separate them entirely from the people they were — people like us.

The Kids Aren’t Alright

On the other hand, not everyone’s Embraced in youth or middle age. Some vampires are born near the end of their natural lifespan… and others, an accursed few, return from the grave much earlier. What happens to a child who can never grow up?

World of Darkness books have dealt with the subject before, but I’m curious what you think. What themes of gothic childhood and innocence entrap these unfortunates? What’s happened in your games?

First one to mention Hard Candy gets shot in the leg.

3 thoughts on “Open Monday: What About the Boy?”

  1. I’m an ST for a Masquerade LARP. As of this past session, we have a child character – the first in several years. He’s well-played. At first glance, he’s confident and over-formal, like a bright child of, say, ten or eleven, who has spent a lot of time around adults and been carefully taught good manners. Underneath that, he’s a manipulative little bastard – like a very bright child who knows he is surrounded by adults not quite as bright as he. Most of the city finds him creepy, and some find him an outright abomination. I’m interested to see where this is going.

  2. We had a lovely NPC puppetmaster villain once, based on the Pete Postlethwaite character in “The Usual Suspects”. We only saw a polite old man who claimed to speak for his master, a Ventrue Invictus who was known for supreme secrecy. He’d give the PCs various missions, and eventually the PCs started to get curious about taking orders from a ghoul, and eventually they turned on him (as was expected). They killed the ghoul to draw out the Master, and eventually they found out that the vampire was a 4 year old girl embraced into the Malocusian bloodline, and he was her father, and she went into a permanent Fugue state coma when that happened.

    As I recall there was some lovely custom house rule business with the man’s possession, wherein the Possessor was allowed to maintain the personality of the Possessed and therefore behave like an adult instead of a little child. It was a nice solution.

  3. Our (only) child character turned out a lot like that little beast of Anee Rices’.
    Slowly becoming aware of adulthood but forever trapped in a childs body… and the fact that she turned more than jsut a little Lolita-like did not really help.
    In the end the whole thing got so creepy that we killed the character and burned the sheet… only to find it completly whole a few days later…
    Might have been just a copy, but those exact same coffee spots sure were suspicious.

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