Shawn (inscrutable) wrote in roleplayers,
Shawn
inscrutable
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[Actual Play] Vampire the Requiem Solo Chronicle

Last night was one of the most enjoyable games I've GMed for in a long time, and I figured this chronicle ought to be, um, chronicled in an Actual Play thread. As the title suggests, I've started a solo Vampire the Requiem game, where I'm the ST and my girlfriend is the only player.

This is her first time playing any sort of roleplaying game. A year ago I got her hooked on World of Warcraft, which was her first video game. What can I say? I'm corrupting her.

Anyways, she's never gamed, but she has a stack of Anne Rice books, other vampire books, not to mention all 7 seasons of Buffy. So recently we decided to make a Vampire character and play her at least once.

***

A week ago she created Emma, a Carthian Daeva in Austin. Here's her character sheet:

Emma Rein
Concept: Environmental Lobbyist
Virtue: Hope
Vice: Wrath
Clan: Daeva
Covenant: Carthian
Attributes:
Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 2
Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Presence 2, Manipulation 5, Composure 2
Skills:
Academics 1, Computer 1, Investigation 2, Politics 2 (secret deals), Science 1
Athletics 1, Stealth 1, Survival 2 (Navigation)
Empathy 2, Expression 1, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 3, Socialize 1, Subterfuge 3 (misdirection)
Merits:
Common Sense, Contacts 2 (police, city hall), Allies 1 (university), Resources 2
Disciplines:
Majesty 2, Celerity 1
Health 7
Willpower 2
Blood Potency 1
Humanity 7
Size 5
Defense 3
Initiative 5
Speed 9
Armor 0

(I used the house rule from the Chronicler's Guide that Common Sense costs 2 points in a solo game instead of 4. Which is a great idea and I don't think I would have thought about it.)

I thought her Vice was interesting, because usually you see big burly combat monkeys with Wrath, and Emma is useless in a fight. Then I realized (and mentioned to my girlfriend) that Emma lashes out in anger in a Mean Girls fashion, not in a beat people up fashion.

***

I'll be running a larger Requiem game using the same setting later this year, and I realized as I was playing the solo game last night, that some of my goals for the solo chronicle include:

Familiarizing myself with the Requiem rules to the point where I either don't need to look up stuff like the Vinculum, or I remember where to flip to in the book exactly. (Back in the day, I had damn near every pertinent page number in VtMRev memorized.)

Flesh out the setting and npcs in Austin to the point that the city is really alive (er, undead) by the time the larger TT game starts.

And of course, have fun running a game and getting to spend time doing something entertaining and engaging with my girlfriend.

She decided during character creation that Emma was Embraced about a month ago. Recently enough that she is still adjusting to being a bloodsucking creature of the night, as well as finding her place among the Damned of Austin; but long enough ago that she's already hunted for the first time and learned the Traditions and been told about the other Clans and Covenants and whatnot. We decided that her sire was Garret, her old college boyfriend who disappeared a few years ago after they'd broken up.

***

We ran the first session as a prelude of sorts. Starting with her driving through the city on Friday the 13th, nervously checking her rear view mirror, we played through a series of flashbacks.

A month ago: Emma was up late working, trying to save a rare species of mole from being destroyed due to development in the hill country east of Austin. Things started off in a fairly light mood, with us joking about Save the Moles, and her making a few dice rolls to get used to it. Intelligence+Investigation brought up some bit of paperwork the developers hadn't filed, which might be used to block the construction, and Wits+Composure noticed someone walking around outside the apartment. Looking out the windows, she didn't see anyone creeping around, but when she opened the front door, there was Garret, showing up in her life after 3 years.

I don't know if you've ever had that strange day where an old flame randomly enters your life, and the mix of "um, hi" and "the hell?" and "wow, you look better than you did when we dated...", but it was one of those nights. Garret came in, and they talked for a few hours, just catching up on their lives and talking. She could tell he was different somehow, more attractive perhaps, charming and funny. Around 4 am he left, she brushed off his attempt at a good bye hug. They agreed to meet up in a few days for coffee, Garret pushing their afternoon date back to evening. (That bit was pretty funny, as out of character she knew he was a Vampire, but Emma had no idea. So she first offered to meet him again over lunch...)

Pick up a couple of nights later. Things don't go as well. Garret is late, and he just seems frustrated, pushy and rude. After an hour or so, she blows him off, saying "Look, I have to go. I have to wash my hair. For a hot date, tomorrow night. Goodbye." As she leaves, walking back to her car, Garret races up behind her, she ducks away as he tries to grab her, yelling at him "what the hell do you think you're doing?!" He lashes out again, grabbing her and pushing her up against the wall of the nearby alley. He bites down, and feeds.

She blacks out, coming to some time later, in Garrets haven, drinking his blood. Needless to say, she is not happy with her sire.

***

The next night, Garret says that she is too weak to hunt on her own, and she should drink of his blood. The third night when he says this, she refuses. Because of Emma's politics and investigation, she knows that one of the land developers is a frequent strip club patron, and she decides to track him down for her first meal. They find him that night, and with her insanely good Manipulation+Subterfuge, she seduces him easily, and in the dimly lit strip club she feeds for the first time. Fortunately, she resists frenzying. (She wasn't low enough on blood to warrant a Frenzy check normally, but your first time is always special.) After taking two points of Vitae, she licks the wound, looks up at her victim and begins laughing uncontrollably. Leaving the man confused and more than a little freaked out, she leaves the strip club with Garret.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks later, Garret takes her to Elysium for the first time. (There are 5 Elysiums in Austin, one maintained by each Covenant. The Carthians have the habit of changing their Elysium on a fairly regular basis, the current "Cartel" is an leftist bookstore near campus.)

It's a nightmare, she spends most of the night on edge, as a sudden shock of horror and primal fear hits her every time she meets another one of the Damned. (We didn't make fear Frenzy rolls for Predator's Taint, I just described the chill up her spine and the instinctual fear of other vampires.) Back at the Haven, Garret is upset, and tells her that because of her rebelliousness, she will have to drink from him again. She refuses, and flees across town to her own apartment, sun-proofing the bathroom, and piling blankets and pillows into the bathtub.

***

The next night, she rises and feeds, and heads to the only place she can think of, the Carthian Elysium. Picking out the few Kindred there, she talks to Samuel, the Carthian Keeper of Elysium. He explains to her that if she drinks another vampire's blood 3 times, she'll become his eternal slave, heart mind and soul. Emma does not take this well.

She spends most of the night in the bookstore, and returns home to find her front door has been bashed in, and muddy footprints racing across her yard and parking lot, away from the apartment. (She got 8 successes on her Wits+Investigation roll! So she realized that in all likelihood the attacker was already gone.) Inside, she found the place had been ransacked. Nothing was stolen, and she knew exactly who did it. She thought at first about calling the cops, but then realized that would be a bad idea. Blockading the door with her couch, she slept in the bathroom again.

***

The next night, she goes to Garret's haven, waiting for him to leave before breaking in and trashing the place. Taking care to destroy his bed, his clothes and anything else he values. Then she returned to Elysium.

She overheard some talk about the Sheriff and some mysterious vampire who'd attacked one of Austin's Kindred over on the east side of town. Figuring this is out of her league, she wisely doesn't race off to solve this mystery. Also, Garret comes into the Elysium, looking for her. She puts her one dot in Stealth to good use, and manages to remain hidden among the bookshelves. She listens to Garret and Samuel, Garret not wanting to admit that his childe has fled, asking if anyone interesting has been in tonight. Samuel doesn't mention Emma.

After her sire leaves, Emma speaks Samuel again, and asks if this bookstore has any books on the occult. He tells her if she's interested in learning about the occult, she should head to the Ordo Dracul's Elysium. All Garret had told her about the Ordo Dracul was that they're creepy occultist types, but she sucked it up and went to talk to them. A young man named Carter Landry seemed very helpful, answering her questions and explaining to her that because she fled before she was released, her sire had failed at the Second Tradition.

Because of her allies in the University, she knew of someone who had paid off their apartment for the summer, but wasn't living there. Emma spends the next few days squatting there so Garret can't find her.

***

Flash forward to a few nights later, Garret is punished by the Primogen council passes a judgment that makes neither Garret nor Emma happy. The Sheriff explains that because Garret has violated the 2nd Tradition, he's stripped of all status within the city, and Emma must return with him until she is released. Unhappy, she returns to his haven.

Deciding on a different tactic, she spends the next week being very friendly and polite to her sire, convincing him that his life would be easier once she was out on her own and they'd both be better off if he released her. He finally agrees, and she races off to the bookstore to tell Samuel and Carter the good news. Leaving the Carthian Elysium, she crosses paths with another vampire, one she's never met before. Old, powerful, a severe looking man, embraced in his 50s it looks, grizzled and imposing. She fails her Predator's Taint roll (fortunately, he succeeds) and immediately runs off down the street.

We finished the session with her driving across Austin to speak to the Ordo Dracul, checking her rearview mirror to make sure this frightening elder vampire isn't following her.

***

At the end of the session, she picked up 3 Experience Points, and used them to buy the first dot of Brawl, as she was upset with how easily Garret overcame her when he attacked her, and she figured she'll probably have to grab or subdue people, being an bloodsucking predator now.

And there you go, a bit of horror, some drama and the hints of Kindred politicking. I was constantly pleasantly surprised by how well she played Emma. Her inventiveness impressed me, and I was surprised at how mean and bitchy Emma could be if she set out to crush someone's spirit. (She'd make a fine Harpy one day.) After the game, she admitted that Emma has a bit of a crush on Samuel now, which I thought was pretty cool.

Not sure when we'll play again, but since we live together it's a bit easier to play at random times.
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