Friday, 22 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 22: Feeding And The Hunt

And here it is - the thing that makes Vampire, Vampire.

And it’s so easy to skip over.

... now could I drink hot blood, 
And do such bitter business as the day 
Would quake to look on. 
William Shakespeare, Hamlet 

I can entirely understand how it happens - Kindred need a healthy adult’s worth of blood every week, and that’s a lot of hunting. It can be easy to make the standard hunts a matter of rolling dice. So think about ways to avoid this.

Running with a failure or botch is the obvious way to do this - it certainly discourages pure-dice hunting if the only time it gets any attention is when it goes wrong. But since players put points into things like Herd, it seems fair to give that some positive spotlight time too. A big success can mean gaining a recurring vessel, or some other coup.

Look at the PCs’ feeding habits and think about things that might happen around the hunt whether they succeed or fail.

Hunting at the Rack? So is someone else. Someone you might be able to share a meal with, or have to fight for. Or they’re hunting someone you’d rather they didn’t. (Prey Exclusion isn’t just a bonus Freebie Point!) 

Catching drunks asleep in shop doorways? Maybe the smell of blood coming from a dark alley is the result of a mugging. An easy meal. Too easy...

Using a nice reliable Herd? Why does one of them seem pale and drawn already? 

V20 suggests never letting the horror fall away by having the Kindred see flashes of their victims’ memories for every Blood Point they drain. That might be too oppressive (and hard to keep up) for every hunting scene, even with authorial distance, but it would certainly nudge players to look for other ways for their characters to feed.

Something as simple as naming and describing the victim can make all the difference. The players will react differently to “a girl in a club” than they will to “Stacey Burton, out celebrating getting that internship and waiting for her friends to arrive...”

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