7.8.13

Do you have to be a snob to play V:tM?

Do you ever insist on doing something you suck at, over and over again? Have you ever had fun doing it, even though you knew your going to fail? Ever feel so challenged by an endeavor that you become determined to conquer it, like its a weak spot in that must be exercised out of you?

That's how I feel about real-time strategy games, like Warcraft (the RTS) and StarCraft. I haven't played these games in ages, although you never know... I just might get that nostalgia bug and pick them up again.
However, I also this way about Vampire: the Masquerade, sort of. StarCraft and RTS's in general are frustratingly fun, yes, but pay note: I said I haven't played them in years, and don't really intend to. I do intend to play V:tM.

V:tM, for me, has the same frustrating addictive nature as writing. While I suck at writing, I have every intention and every confidence that I will not suck, one day. In the near future, you will pass by my name on the bookshelves and see me on Amazon. However, you may never, probably never, see me win it big at a StarCraft tournament.

And just as I fully intent to become a great writer, I have every intention of becoming an awesome V:tM player. Am I bad at roleplaying? Fuggles no! But, compared to all the other games I have played in or ran, V:tM is the hardest for me, mostly because of book quotes like this...



"Not every chronicle needs to be The Godfather or Crime and Punishment. Every now and then, it's more fun to play Near Dark or Evil Dead or even - God help us - Blade." ~ Guide to the Sabbat, page 170

Picture your best V:tM game. Does it look like Blade...
(Movie Credit: New Line Cinema)
But I like Blade...

That quotation, the entire "Lone Wolf" section in the Vampire Player's Guide, pg. 52-59, and countless other bits of the V:tM books get me all kinds of tied up in knots. I LOVED the Blade movies (haven't seen the 4th yet): and ever time I watch them, I see that my favorite games that I have run have the same rhythm and pace that Blade does. I came into WOD from D and D, so I already have the mind that violence is not only a problem solver, but is a large part of my fun.


...or Interview with a Vampire?...
(Movie Credit: Paramount Pictures)
Thus, while WOD says over and over again (even in the above quote) that I can play how I want to, my initial, defensive, knee-jerk mental reaction to that above sentiment is this:

"The writers of WOD are a bunch of snobbish pricks who would burst into flames if you touched a copy of Twilight to their exposed skin, unable to digest anything that isn't a clone of Poe, Milton or Hemingway."


But I know better. I love V:tM, more than any other game, which is saying something because I never was really into Vampires. It is so filled with possibility, mystery, history, intrigue, awesome powers, complex plot compost, archetypes and allegories that it has become one of my writing reference books. Its a fun game, that can get very real, very literary, and yet, can still be Blade fanfic without skipping a beat.

I just feel as if the writers are looking at the beast that is WOD, proud of their creation, saying "Behold this rich world we give you! A living breathing creature, able to do anything! It's only limited by it's imagination!"

Then one chimes "So how are we going to stop it from being a pleb?"

So when I go to create a campaign for V:tM, I can get stuck sometimes, as that inner critic aligns itself with this made-up voice and carefully inspects my ideas for pop-culture influences and frowns when it doesn't see enough melodrama. This inner critic is trying to make sure I play V:tM THE RIGHT WAY.



...or Death of a Salesman? (Photo Credit: Keith Pattison)
So what does one do about this supposed voice that echoes through the text? Do I ignore that feeling, or am I really missing the point behind V:tM? How do I join the ranks of those who play V:tM the way it is meant to be played?

Playing RTS's and V:tM get similar in this vain: because I don't know strategy all that well, I lose at StarCraft. Because I don't know literary drama all that well I feel that I lose at running V:tM.

But enough whining. Here is my idea to fix this problem. I will try to play V:tM wrong.

Lemme explain. If I play V:tM in this extreme, pretentious, high-art way that I THINK the writers want me to play (which is not what those same writers intended for me to do), then perhaps I will find that special middling ground between D&D hack and slash and "Roleplaying the Georgia Review". I'll find what I like out of both camps, and make a fudged up Franken-baby version of a V:tM game that has just the right amount of gun play and tear jerking.

Then I could truly say I have I improved as a role player, and I'll finally win at V:tM. Then who knows, I might beat the all at StarCraft!

Please do comment on how you dealt with this problem, or whether or not anyone SHOULD have this problem
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