GM message of the day 13/9

NOTE: There will be no deaths during this LARP, unless specifically agreed upon with the GM’s and the player of the character that is to be killed.
What harms a vampire?
Well, pretty much the same things that harm a human. The difference is that vampires are sturdier and can use their powers to heal and/or regenerate extremely quickly. The drawback is that they will need to replenish that blood fairly soon, or risk losing control to feed on whomever is in the vicinity.
The more you’re harmed, the harder it is for you to act and fight back, simply because you’re too injured to do so. If you’re harmed enough, you will enter an incapacitated state, sort of like being unconscious. Injuries to the head are, perhaps not surprisingly, especially dangerous, and might lead to the death of the vampire.
Being punched, kicked or hit by a blunt object is not a huge deal for a vampire. Getting punched, kicked or hit by a blunt object many times in a row, can be.
Getting injured with a slashing or piercing object (i.e. drawing blood) is considerably worse, although rarely lethal.
Getting injured by another vampire’s teeth or claws, or by some supernatural powers, being burned by fire or acid, or being hit by sunrays is truly dangerous. This is the type of damage that can quickly become deadly, even for very resilient vampires. That is why most vampires tend to avoid these things like, well… fire. If confronted with fire or sunrays in particular, the Beast might seize control of the vampire and force it to flee in panic (remember, Rötschreck?).
Then of course we have the unique case of being staked in the heart by a wooden stake. Should that happen, the staked vampire becomes immediately paralyzed, and completely at the mercy of their enemies, until the stake is removed.
Now, staking isn’t a particularly easy thing to do. You have to be fast, strong, know how to handle a weapon, and have some rudimentary knowledge of medicine. In other words, it’s not something you just do when you feel like it. Should you want to do this, consider whether or not your character would actually be able to, and then discuss it with the player of your opponent. Who knows, that character might be able to kick your ass 😉

GM Message of the Day, 31/8

LARPing is a collaborative effort – everyone involved has an equal responsibility to create an environment where each and every player feels safe and comfortable. That being said, participants who play characters that are attributed a high status need to be a little extra attentive.

Just like in real life, power and influence enable you to achieve and demand things you normally couldn’t, while those who enjoy none of those things are forced by cultural and social expectations (amongst many other things) to reconcile the fact that they have to comply with whatever those in power say and do, or risk some form of backlash.

In a game such as this, where status and power are at the forefront of the gameplay, these truths demand that high status character players are both attentive and responsive to low status character players. It is far too easy to get carried away and overstep boundaries you didn’t even know existed, and as such, you should always check and double check that your co-players are enjoying the game as much as you are.

To summarize: when interacting with other characters, in particular low status ones (the lower the status, the more attentive one should be), always be on the lookout for signs or safety words that conveys the other player’s needs and condition. If we all devote ourselves to doing so, we’ll all leave this LARP feeling enriched, rather than unsafe, and that’s what we’re all about, am I right? 🙂

GM message of the day, 20/8

Today, we’ll talk about how we settle social, mental and physical conflicts during the larp!
Before we begin, we would like to emphasize that any conflict or confrontation must always be played with the players’ well-being in mind!
Many vampire larps determine the outcome of conflicts by doing a simple Rock-Paper-Scissors, with some modifications depending on how the character sheets look. More or less ALL skills and powers are measured on a scale from 0 to 5, where 0 means you know nothing about the skill/power, and 5 means you are exceptionally, frighteningly skilled in it.
While Stockholm by Night does use this method as well, it is avoided as much as possible, and only utilized if there is no other way to determine the outcome of a conflict.
Instead, we listen to Elsa in Frozen, and ”let it go”. That means, that if someone uses a power (a discipline) against you, you play along. You allow your opponent to succeed in what they’re doing, as long as it doesn’t greatly contradict your character’s principles, opinions or values. The reason is of course to achieve a better and more interesting gameplay.
Example: if character A uses the discipline Dominate (forcibly make someone obey exactly what you say) on me, I will play along with their command. My character will justify this obedience mentally, thinking something along the lines of: ”well, it was reasonable at the time”.
Example: if character B uses his supernatural strength (Potence) to punch me or throw me across the floor, I try to play along in a way that showcases and emphasizes their strength. That could mean that I help them along by throwing myself across the floor, or perhaps crying out in terrible pain, cowering before them.
Some of these powers have signs that can be used, so as to easily introduce them into play without breaking the flow of the game. You can see many of them here:
Others don’t have a sign, and for those, we simply communicate. To use my Potence, I have to tell my opponent that I’m doing just that, for them to know that they should play along (unless they have Potence themselves, and can withstand mine).
Example: character B grips the arms of character A. Player B tells player A: ”Using Potence 3”, and then proceeds to try to shove player A across the floor.
Example: character C wants to use Thaumaturgy (magic) on character D. Player C tells player D: ”Using Thaumaturgy. The effect is that you levitate off the floor, and so can’t move from the spot”.

GM message of the day, 12/8

Hi all!

Today, we’re going to talk about coteries, packs, and age.

Age often plays a major role when it comes to what status you have. In the Camarilla, a newly created vampire is called a ”fledgling”, and is the complete responsibility of its sire. The Sabbat doesn’t have fledglings, as its most common way of creating new vampires is to literally hit them over the head, bury them, and see if they manage to dig their way out.

When a fledgling is considered able to make it on its own, they’re released, and becomes neonates (which is what all of you will be playing). You’re a neonate until give or take 100 years old.

When you’ve reached the right age, and is considered cool enough by the older vampires, you’re decreed an ancilla. An ancilla is more powerful and have higher status than a neonate, and is usually between 120-300 years old.

Lastly, we have elders. Elders can be from 200 to thousands of years old, and they are unfathomably powerful, and are treated with extreme respect and obedience. All of you follow ancillas, who in turn follow elders (prince Christian, her grace di Borgia, don Giovanni, don Alejandro, pontifex McHammond, and silsila Sarfati).

A coterie is an (often loose) alliance of kindred who share the same interests or goals. They can in theory be enemies, that have come together to reach a specific result, but more common is that they’re at least on friendly terms. Coteries are common in the Camarilla, but not anywhere else.

In the Sabbat, vampires gather in packs. A pack is your family, your brothers and sisters, and through blood rituals, you create an artificial loyalty even between those of you who might not like each other. Being in a pack is in no way a right to be expected. Most packs demand that you prove yourself as a true, strong Sabbat, to be allowed into the pack. There are many varieties of packs, who aim for different things, but one thing they all have in common – you’ve got each other’s backs.

GM message of the day 10/8 – about currency

You’ve probably heard the saying ”Your word is your bond”. In vampire society, that is literally so. A given promise, or an agreed upon transaction, is a huge deal, and failure to keep your word will brand you an ”oath breaker”, but more on that later.

The most common currency in vampire society is called a boon. It is more or less a commitment from one person to another, promising to fulfill a task, as payment for something.

Boons come in different sizes: 
– small boon. Minor tasks or favors, can be anything from asking about easily available information, to getting you a refill on your drink. 
– medium boon. Getting information that’s more obscure, doing an actual job for someone (for example, transporting goods with your truck) or asking someone to stalk vampire A, to find out what they do every Thursday night. 
– large boon. Large favors, such as teaching someone a new skill, putting yourself in harm’s way, or humiliating yourself publicly. 
– blood boon. Worth approximately a blood bond (remember, blood bonds are a BIG deal!). That can mean risking serious damage, insulting an elder, or taking the blame for a major mistake. 
– life boon. Worth your life. If someone literally saves you from death, you owe them a life. That can mean you taking a killing blow for them.

3 boons of one size is upgraded to the next, i.e. 3 small boons are upgraded to 1 medium boon.

If I ask Vampire A for a haircut, they might agree, and ask for a small boon as payment. If Vampire A then asks me to do their laundry for them, I will, as I agree that doing laundry and getting a haircut is worth approximately the same.

Failing to fulfill a boon that’s asked of me (assuming it’s considered to be of equal value to what I was offered) will mean you are branded an oath breaker. If this happens, you have more or less burnt all bridges in vampire society. You will be shunned and regarded with great suspicion, no one will do business with you (because you’re untrustworthy), and people will talk about you behind your back, or straight up kick the shit out of you.

GM message of the day 9/8

Hello everyone! Today, it’s time to talk about… THE BEAST!

A vampire is no longer just a human (which might seem obvious). While it looks like one, and shares many of humanity’s emotions and needs, it is really a sort of symbiotic being, or a hybrid. It’s part human, and part animal.

The animalistic part inside a vampire is named the Beast. The Beast has its own wants and needs, which go along the lines of ”food-fight-flee”, and it does its very best to take over the conscious, reasonable part of the vampire.

Often, the Beast manages to seize control if the vampire gets scared for their life, blindingly furious, or if it’s starving. When this happened, it’s said that the vampire enters ”frenzy” (if angry), ”hunger frenzy” (if starved), or ”rötschrek” (if terrified). The Beast wants the vampire – its host – to survive at all cost.

When frenzy happens, the vampire generally experiences a sort of black-out; the Beast makes all the decisions, and will either kill, eat, or run away from whatever scared or infuriated them, or is a readily available meal. This is an extremely dangerous state, as the vampire ignores all pain or injury, and attacks the target closest to them, regardless of that person is the cause for the frenzy or not. That can also include loved ones and allies.

In the Camarilla, the frenzy is avoided at all cost. It’s seen as a sign that they vampire is losing all humanity, and is slowly turning into the very animal that ”lives” inside it.

In the Sabbat, the frenzy is viewed very differently. Humanity isn’t valued particularly high, so frenzy isn’t as taboo as in the Camarilla. Some members have even learnt how to ”ride” the frenzy, maintaining some sort of conscious control.

The Assamite and the Giovanni tend – like the Camarilla – to avoid frenzy if at all possible.

GM Message of the Day, 5/8

(Everyone should have been invited to an FB group for their specific coterie/pack/clan/group. If you’ve registered, but not been invited, yell!)

Hello everyone! Today, we’ll be talking about the sects!

The Camarilla is generally viewed as The Good Guys™. This does not in any way mean that they actually are very good – after all, they’re still undead monsters who feed on humans to survive.

They adhere to six strict rules (The Traditions), which includes 
– not killing another vampire
– never betraying the existence of vampires to humans
– respecting the ruler in the domain you’re in
– showing hospitality for visitors
– never creating new vampires without permission
– taking full responsibility for your childe’s actions

To the Camarilla, humans and humanity are prized, and the latter is something to attain and strive towards. The less empathic and humane you are, the worse others consider you. The sect is ruled by the oldest and most powerful vampires, and younger vampires rarely have their voices heard.

The Sabbat is the wilder, crazier cousin of the Camarilla, and is generally seen as their evil counterpart, i.e. The Bad Guys™. Of course, nothing is as simple as that, but you’re either with them, or against them.

The Sabbat embrace their inhumane nature rather than suppress it. They take no shame in what they are, but rather celebrate their strength and courage, emphasizing freedom and loyalty to the sect instead of obedience and humanity.

The sect considers vampires to be a higher form of life than humanity due to their immortality and supernatural prowess, and honor this by engaging in a wide variety of rituals and ceremonies.

The Assamites and the Giovanni are both what’s called Independent, clans that have something to offer (or are powerful enough) that’s sufficiently unique enough for them to be able to stake out on their own.