Character Guide

Character Creation Guide

If you follow these steps, filling in the information on the sheet as you go, you shouldn't have too many problems.
After the sheet, you'll find a place to record your expenditure of creation dots and freebie points. You may continue this section after creation to make a record of your XP earned and spent.
A chart below details how freebies are spent. A chart in the char sheet details how normal XP is spent.
Any questions, please refer to the ST.

Step One: Character Concept

Concept is the birthing chamber for who a character will become. It need only be a general idea - brute; slick mobster;
manic Malkavian kidnapper - but it should be enough to ignite your imagination. If you choose, a concept may be quite
complex - "My character is a streetwise Tremere, Embraced as a child but with a precocious level of maturity. Being a
Kindred scares him, but he knows that the alternative is Final Death and he's not ready for that yet." This stage involves the
selection of the character's concept, clan, Nature and Demeanor.

Concept

A character's concept refers to who the character was before becoming a vampire. Many Kindred cling desperately to any
salvageable aspects of their former selves - their self-image, their occupation, how they lived, what was unique about them.
In their new nocturnal world, echoes of their mortal lives are all that stand between many Kindred and madness.

Concept is important because it helps a vampire relate to the world. It's not a numerical Trait, and it has very little
mechanical effect on the game. Its benefit is that it allows you to formulate a personality for your character, and it provides
an anchor for a vampire who wishes to preserve her dwindling Humanity - or to rail against it.
Some sample concepts are presented on p. 103. If you don't see a concept you like, make one up! Who are we to tell you who
you can or can't be?

Clan

A character's clan is her vampire "family," the undead legacy into which she was Embraced. Vampires are always of the
same clan as their sires, the vampires who Embrace them. Go back to Chapter Two, look at the templates, and decide which
clan you'd like your character to be. As previously mentioned, the Storyteller may disallow members of certain clans based
on the sect the chronicle involves. Many beginning chronicles, for example, allow only vampires from the seven Camarilla
clans.

If a player wishes, she need not choose a clan at all. Many vampires in these modern nights have blood so diluted that they
can truly claim no clan. Unwanted and scorned, these clanless "Caitiff' are increasingly common. If you wish to play such a
character, simply write "Caitiff under the Clan heading on the character sheet.

For this game, Clan is one of a randomly determined number of options. See the ST.

Nature and Demeanor (Archetypes)

After choosing concept and clan, a player should choose her character's Nature and Demeanor. These behavioral Traits,
known as Archetypes, help players understand what kind of people their characters are. Nature and Demeanor are not
required to play Vampire: The Masquerade, but they sometimes help players pin down their characters in their minds.

Demeanor is the way a character presents herself to the outside world. It is the "mask" she wears to protect her inner self. A
character's Demeanor often differs from her Nature, though it might not. Also, Demeanor refers to the attitude a character
adopts most often - people change Demeanors as often as they change their minds. Demeanor has no effect on any rules.

Nature is the character's "real" self, the person she truly is. The Archetype a player chooses reflects that character's deeprooted
feelings about herself, others and the world. Nature need not be the only aspect of a character's true personality,
merely the most dominant. Nature is also used to determine a character's ability to regain Willpower points (see p. 136).

For a complete list of Archetypes from which to select Nature and Demeanor, see pp. 112-115. An abbreviated list is below:

Architect - You build a better future.
Autocrat - You need control.
Bon Vivant - Unlife is for pleasure.
Bravo - Strength is all that matters.
Caregiver - Everyone needs nurturing.
Celebrant - You exist for your passion.
Child - Won't somebody be there for you?
Competitor - You must be the best.
Conformist - You follow and assist.
Conniver - Others exist for your benefit.
Curmudgeon - Nothing is worthwhile.
Deviant - You exist for no one's pleasure but your own.
Director - You oversee what must be done.
Fanatic - The cause is all that matters.
Gallant - You're not the showstopper, you're the show!
Judge - The truth is out there.
Loner - You make your own way.
Martyr - You suffer for the greater good.
Masochist - You test your limits every night.
Monster - You're Damned, so act like it!
Pedagogue - You save others through knowledge.
Penitent - Unlife is a curse to atone, far.
Perfectionist - Nothing is good enough.
Rebel - You follow no one's rules.
Rogue - Those who can, win. Those who can't, lose. You can.
Survivor - Nothing can keep you down.
Thrill-Seeker - The rush is all that matters.
Traditionalist - As it has always been, so it shall be.
Trickster - Laughter dims the pain.
Visionary - There is something beyond all this.

Step Two: Select Attributes

Players must now assign numbers. The first step in determining a character's numeric Traits is to prioritize his Attributes.
Attributes are the natural abilities and raw "stuff" a character is made of. How strong is a character? How attractive? How
quick? How smart? Attributes take all these questions and more into account. All Vampire characters have nine Attributes,
which are divided into three categories: Physical (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina), Social (Charisma, Manipulation,
Appearance) and Mental (Perception, Intelligence, Wits).

First, the player must select which group of Attributes is his character's strong suit (primary). The player then selects the
group in which the character is average (secondary). Finally, the remaining group is designated as the character's weak point
(tertiary). Is your character tough but antisocial, or gorgeous but a complete airhead? Character concept and clan may
suggest certain ranks for these priorities, but feel free to decide upon any scheme you please. Nothing's worse than playing a
boring stereotype. Playing an interesting stereotype, though…

All Vampire characters start with one dot in each Attribute, reflecting the basic capabilities of the mortals from which
they're drawn. (The exception is the Nosferatu, who have zero dots in their Appearance Attribute.) A character's priorities
determine how many dots the player may allocate to that cluster of Attributes. A player may distribute seven additional dots
to his character's primary group, five additional dots to the second- ary group and three dots to the tertiary group. For
example, a tough, athletic character will likely allocate seven dots to his Physical category, while a clever, wise character
will place seven dots in her Mental category.

o Poor
oo Average
ooo Good
oooo Exceptional (choose a specialty)
ooooo Outstanding

Specialties

Some characters are especially good at particular applications of their Traits. For example, a painter might be
particularly good at portraits, a baseball player might be adept at catching fly balls, and a brawler might be
infamous for his low blows. To represent this, characters with scores of 4 or higher in Attributes or Abilities
may choose specialties for those Traits.

A specialty is a particular subcategory of an Attribute or Ability - thus, a character with a Strength 5 might
choose to be especially adept in "deadlifting," while a character with Investigation 4 might be a whiz at
"ballistics." Whenever a player makes a die roll involving an activity in which her character has specialized,
she may take any die that comes up "10," tally the success normally, then reroll that die in an attempt to
accumulate extra successes. If the rerolled die also comes up "10," she may continue to reroll for still further
successes. This process continues until no further "10s" are rolled.

Step Three: Select Abilities

Abilities are also divided into three categories: Talents, Skills and Knowledges. Talents are intuitive Abilities that are
inherent or learned "in the field." Skills are Abilities learned through rigorous training or determination. They may be
learned with careful practice, but can also be studied or learned through training. Knowledges are just that - "book learning"
and the like. Knowledges are typically mental pursuits or studies learned through schooling or books.

Like Attributes, Ability groups are also prioritized during character creation. Players should select primary, secondary and
tertiary groups for their Abilities. The primary group receives 13 dots, the secondary group gets nine and the tertiary group
receives five. Note that, unlike Attributes, characters do not begin the game with automatic dots in any Ability. Note further
that no Ability may be purchased above three dots during this stage of character creation - even among the undead, experts
in a field don't grow on trees. You may raise Abilities higher with freebie points, but that comes later.

o Novice
oo Practiced
ooo Competent
oooo Expert (choose a specialty)
ooooo Master

Step Four: Select Advantages

Now comes the part of character generation during which the vampire truly becomes unique. Advantages are Traits that
make the vampire a contender in the hierarchy of the night. Advantages are not prioritized; a set number of dots may be
allocated to each category. Though this number is fixed, additional Advantage dots may be purchased with freebie points.

Disciplines

When vampires are Embraced, their sires teach them certain blood-based mystical powers, known as Disciplines. Each
character begins with three dots of Disciplines, which may be allocated as the player chooses. For example, she may spend
all three dots on one Discipline or spend a dot each on three Disciplines. Disciplines purchased with Advantage dots must be
from the three clan Disciplines all clans possess. Each clan description in Chapter Two lists the Disciplines practiced by that
clan, along with bloodline variations, if any. If the character is a clanless Caitiff, she may purchase whatever Disciplines she
wants, subject to Storyteller approval. (Note: Disciplines purchased with freebie points need not be clan Disciplines.)

Backgrounds

A beginning character has five dots worth of Backgrounds, which may be distributed at the player's discretion. Background
Traits should fit the character concept - a destitute Gangrel street preacher isn't likely to have Resources, for example -
though the Storyteller may disallow, or encourage players to take, certain Backgrounds for their characters.

Allies - Human confederates, usually family or friends.
Contacts - The number of information sources the character possesses.
Fame - How well-known the character is among mortals.
Generation - How far removed from Caine the character is. (determined by a random roll, see ST)
Herd - The vessels to which the character has free and safe access.
Influence - The character's political power within mortal society.
Mentor - The Kindred patron who advises and supports the character.
Resources - Wealth, belongings and monthly income.
Retainers - Followers, guards arid servants.
Status - The character's standing in undead society.

Virtues

Virtues are very important to Vampire characters, for they provide the moral backbone for the characters and determine
how readily they resist the temptations of the Beast. A character's emotional responses are very closely tied to her Virtues;
these Traits define how well the character resists frenzy and how keenly she feels remorse. Virtues are essential in resisting
the urges of the Beast and the Hunger, and most vampires lose points in their Virtues as they grow older and more callous.

A Vampire character has three Virtues. Conscience governs a character's sense of right and wrong, while Self-Control
determines how readily she maintains her composure and contains her Hunger. Courage measures the character's gumption
and ability to withstand the proximity of fire, sunlight and other things that vampires dread.

Every character starts out with one dot in each Virtue, and the player may then distribute seven additional dots among the
Virtues as she sees fit. These Virtues play instrumental roles in determining a character's starting Humanity and Willpower
levels, so be careful how you spend the points.

Step Five: Last Touches

At this stage, the player may spend 15 freebie points to personalize his character. First, however, a bit of bookkeeping needs
to be done.

Humanity

A character's starting Humanity score equals the sum other Conscience + Self-Control Traits, yielding a score between 5 and
10. Players are also encouraged to increase their Humanity scores with freebie points, as too low a score indicates that the
Beast lies in close proximity.

Note: Characters on Paths other than Humanity may use different Virtues to determine their initial Path scores. Consult the
Appendix (p. 286) to determine which Paths use which Virtues.

Willpower

A character's beginning Willpower score equals her Courage rating, and thus ranges from 1 to 5. Players are encouraged to
raise their starting Willpower scores with freebie points, as the Trait is critical to dealing with a Kindred's dangerous
emotional situations. Willpower is also used to resist frenzy (p. 228), undertake especially daunting tasks and power certain
Discipline effects.

Bloodpool

The crowning touch to character creation is determining the vampire's starting blood pool. This part is simple - roll a 10-
sided die. The number is the number of blood points a character has in his system at the beginning of the game. This is the
only die roll that is made during character creation.

Freebie Points

The player may now spend 15 freebie points to purchase additional dots in Traits. These points may be spent however the
player chooses - thus the term "freebie." Each dot has a variable freebie-point cost based on which type of Trait it is -
consult the chart on p. 104 for freebie-point costs of Traits. Remember that Disciplines purchased with freebie points need
not come from the character's clan Disciplines (although purchase of some Disciplines may require explanation about how
she acquired them).

In addition to the standard 15 freebie points, more may be awarded based on a random roll, see the ST.

Trait - Cost
Attribute - 5 per dot
Ability - 2 per dot
Discipline - 7 per dot
Background - 1 per dot
Virtue - 2 per dot
Humanity - 1 per dot
Willpower - 1 per dot

Spark of Life

If you go through the motions above, you will have a character - at least in the purely technical sense. All the dots are on the
paper; you can interact your piece of paper with the mechanics of the game, and roll all the right combinations of dice at the
appropriate times.

Frankly, though, for your trouble, you might as well play checkers, because at this point your character's not much more
detailed than a featureless piece on a gameboard. Now's the time to take the skeleton you've mechanically built with the
rules and flesh it out into a living, breathing (well, formerly living and breathing) person. Take a good long look at your
Traits and numbers. Why are they there? How will they come across in the story? What parts of the character don't you
know yet? Like a novelist building a literary figure, decide on all the physical, psychological and background details that
make your character one of a kind, even among the undead.

Sure, your character has an Appearance of 3 - but what does that mean? Does she have a smile that could launch a thousand
ships, or does she simply exude a challenging self-confidence? What color are her eyes and hair? If she's skilled in
Performance, or Etiquette, or Firearms, how did she acquire her skill? Did she always want to be a movie star? Is her
polished veneer a reaction against growing up in a trailer park? Did she just, for whatever bizarre reason, walk onto a firing
range and discover a natural aptitude for plugging holes in targets? Is her Ally actually her ex-lover, who works for the FBI
and with whom she maintains an uneasy, tension-laced friendship? Does he suspect what she's become, but help her out for
now in an effort to observe her more closely?

This last phase of character creation, while the least "necessary," is the most important. Otherwise, your Brujah with the
Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 will be just like all the other Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 - and believe
us, there are a lot of such cardboard "characters" out there. And that's a shame, because characters - especially vampires -
should be unique, fascinating, passionate and memorable.

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