Bloodlust: The Hunger

With the upcoming 5th edition of Vampire: the Masquerade, this truly is O5R!

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Vampire RPGs, all the various Masquerade editions and Requiem. Skimming through the pre-alpha V5 playtest packet, I was inspired to fashion my own personal rules hack.

My intention was to write a system-neutral scenario that can be used with multiple versions of the game... a miscellaneous hack combining bits and pieces from the original 1991 softcover all the way to the digital pre-alpha playtest version, but twisted - Vengerized into something that I would run, the Kort'thalis Publishing version of Vampire.

I repeat, that was my intention. Now, however, I no longer want this design to have any connection to what White Wolf is doing. This will explain why. Over the next couple of days, I'll slowly be expunging the White Wolf content from my design while filling in the gaps with original gaming material.

The following ideas are not fully developed. This page will serve as a dumping ground, if you'll excuse the expression, for raw concepts as they come to me. In no particular order, here they are...

Bloodlust: The Hunger

* Instead of using d6 (used by Crimson Dragon Slayer, The Outer Presence, and Alpha Blue) this game will use d10 because of nostalgia. I mean, a vampire RPG needs d10s. It's iconic!

* Using the three core attributes - Physical, Mental, and Social. One gets advantage (3d10), one gets disadvantage (1d10), and the other is considered average (2d10).

* Applicable skills grant you an extra 2d10 to your dice pool (multiple skills cannot be used to stack bonus dice). If you have a particular skill, then you have it. If you don't, you don't.

* Average difficulty for a d10 dice pool is 7. 5 is rather easy, 6 quite manageable, 8 is hard, and 9 is damn near impossible.

* 10's count as two successes.

* 1's cancel out successes on a one to one basis (that means if you rolled a dice pool of 2d10 and got both a 1 and a 10, you'd have only a single success - because the 10 result counts as two). If you have no successes and one or more 1 results, that's a critical failure or botch.

* If your dice pool results in only one or two success, you just barely overcame the obstacle or accomplished your goal. Three or four successes count as a standard or average achievement. Five or six successes translates into a critical success, unmitigated victory... you came, you saw, you conquered!

* Vampires with a Blood Potency of 1 (either 8th - 13th generation or less than a century old) have a Blood Pool of 10, may use only 1 point of blood per turn, and can drink from vampires, humans, and even animals.

Blood Potency 2 (either 5th - 7th generation or between 100 - 500 years old) have a Blood Pool of 15, may use 2 points of blood per turn, and can drink from vampires and humans.

Blood Potency 3 (either 1st - 3rd generation or older than 500 years) have a Blood Pool of 20, may use 3 points of blood per turn, and can only drink the blood of vampires... or possibly other supernatural creatures.

* The Hunger - the less blood vampires have within them, the more their lust for blood overtakes them. When a vampire is down to a Blood Pool of 5, he adds a Bloodlust die to all his dice pools (keep Bloodlust dice distinctive by using only red d10s). If his Blood Pool is down to 3, he adds two Bloodlust dice to all his dice pools. If a vampire goes down to a Blood Pool of 1, he rolls three Bloodlust dice with every dice pool.

* When a Bloodlust die comes up 1, his unnatural hunger causes him to see red, lose control, sending the vampire into a destructive frenzy... unless a point of Willpower is spent (a point of Willpower must be spent for every red-die 1 in order to keep the beast in check).

* When a Bloodlust die comes up 10, the vampire can either choose to ignore the result or accept these two successes as the vampire does something especially wicked, cruel, depraved, or otherwise evil. Giving into such temptation causes the vampire to lose a point of humanity (bringing him closer to the beast).

* There's only 1 type of damage, rather than 2 or 3. Vampires and other supernatural creatures can't be harmed by punches, kicks, or bludgeoning attacks. However, being shot with bullets and arrows, being stabbed with a knives and swords, and getting bitten and clawed hurt vampires normally. Part of this is due to blood lost when the flesh is pierced, hacked, or ripped asunder.

* Attack rolls consist of dice pools based on a relevant attribute plus skill (such as physical and brawl) versus the defender's relevant attribute plus skill (physical and dodge - if the defender isn't aware of the attack, disregard any skill in dodge), as well as, any fortitude discipline. If the attacker gets more successes than the defender, damage is dealt. If the attacker gets the same amount or less successes than the defender, no damage is dealt.

* Only one "box" of Health can be dealt to a vampire per attacker per turn. That means if three vampires ganged up on one, and all three attacks were successful, the victim would lose or "fill in" exactly three Health "boxes," no more or less.

* Spending a point of Willpower allows a character to re-roll a dice pool, automatically grants him a single success, stop him from "seeing red," resist the influence of other vampires and supernatural creatures, or sire a new vampire. Maximum Willpower is 10.

* When a vampire goes down to zero Blood Pool, he falls into a deathlike sleep, requiring blood to awaken.

* The blood from a vampire's Blood Pool can be used to heal wounds, activate a Discipline (which lasts for the entirety of the scene), and rising at nightfall. It can also be used to heal other vampires, bestow temporary powers to a mortal, creating/enforcing a blood bond, and siring a new vampire.

* When a vampire descends to Humanity of 1, he becomes an unfeeling monster, devoid of conscience, love, pity, empathy, and remorse. At that point, he has been enveloped by the beast. Max Humanity is 10 - "All life is sacred."

* In order to regain Humanity, a vampire is required to perform good deeds, showing kindness, mercy, and love. He may have to atone for his evil acts. The less Humanity he has, the more isolated he will be within vampire society.

* Vampires begin the game with three of the following backgrounds: Allies, Contacts, Fame, Generation/Age, Herd, Influence, Mentor, Resources, Retainer, and Status.

* Vampires choose 5 abilities (from the combined list of talents, skills, and knowledge). This may seem stingy, but the less ability individual vampires have, the more they need to rely on their fellow Kindred.

* Disciplines don't have a 5-dot rating; you either have it or you don't. Each Discipline has its own sphere of influence and cannot automatically be invoked - it requires the expenditure of blood. Guidance will be provided, but not specific game mechanics in order to preserve a sense of mystery.

* Each vampire chooses three Disciplines before the game starts.

* Celerity allows a vampire to move faster. Potence allow a vampire to become stronger. Obfuscation allow a vampire to hide. Presence allows a vampire to appear as something he is not. Auspex allows a vampire to heighten his senses. Animalism allows a vampire to control animals. Thaumaturgy allows a vampire to practice sorcery. Protean allows a vampire to change his shape. Dominate allows a vampire to force others to do his will.

* Clans are little more than vampiric social clubs sharing similar interests, though they are an important part of vampire culture, Kindred dividing themselves into factions or tribes in order to elevate or ostracize those who step into the spotlight. Choose one of the following: Nosferatu, Tremere, Ventrue, Gangrel, Toreador, Brujah, Malkavian, and Caitiff (clanless).

* Experience is acquired by accomplishing goals, surviving defeat, and simply "living life." XP can be spent to improve Willpower. However, if significant effort is put into learning a new ability for three consecutive game sessions, a vampire may acquire that ability.

* A tiny animal, like a rat, contains 1 point of blood. A small animal, like a dog or chicken, contains 3 points of blood (1 can be drained safely, keeping the animal alive). A large animal, like a cow, pig, horse, or tiger, contains 5 points of blood (2 points can be drained safely, keeping the animal alive). A human contains 7 points of blood (3 points can be drained safely, keeping the person alive).

Well, that's what I've got so far. Basically, my aim (read: design goal) is to harken back to when Vampire: The Masquerade debuted, back in 1991. My best friend and I were obsessed with vampires. Over the next couple years, our play-style was informed by not only the vague open-ended feel of the game's first edition, but all the vampire literature, movies, TV shows, and comic books we soaked up on a nightly basis.

I remember purchasing the softcover at GenCon in 1991 (when it was still held in Milwaukee). This guy dressed like a vampire sold me on the game. Plus, flipping through it blew my mind (RPG production values and overall aesthetics seemed to be at a low-point back then). I signed up for a demo of V:tM near the White Wolf booth. Mark Rein-Hagen ran the game for myself, another friends who was into vampires, and 4 or 5 others. Unfortunately, we only got to create characters and play for a little while as my parents were picking us up at a predetermined time (I was about 16 and this was before cellphones). Still, though, it was amazing!

After the con, it was a truly awesome time creating dark, haunted, and conflicted antiheroes stalking the decayed urban sprawl at night, drinking blood, getting into fights, and socializing with mortal and Kindred alike. We gamed in rooms lit with candles, listening to Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Danzig.

If you have a comment, question, or something to share, please do.


Authored by Venger Satanis


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