Rebuilding Vampire: Humanity
In thinking of what would I do to re-arrange Vampire’s mechanics to reflect the type of game I believe is intended (as opposed to presented), it always has been obvious that Humanity is the one central stat around which everything else must orbit. After all, the game is about the loss of this essential trait and the descent into the unbridled bestiality of the vampire (which, of course, presupposes that you want to stave this loss off as much as possible; otherwise you’d be an NPC).
So we have our main trait, Humanity. I’ll keep this on a 1-10 scale because it provides for a good amount of gradation in the middle, with 10 being fully Human, and 1 being inhuman (inhumane?). This stat determines how Human you are, serves as the fuel for your vampire powers, and determines how many dice you roll to avoid losing/regaining Humanity. When Humanity reaches 1, you have lost all connection to what it means to be a human, and your character is removed from the game.
I am thinking also of there being a parallel trait called Beast (Vampirality? Vampireness? Vampirosity?) that goes from 10-1, with 1 being a very basic vampire, and 10 being the epitome of vampire-dom. This stat determines how powerful a vampire you are, how many dice you roll to do vampire-y stuff and is in direct opposition to Humanity, to the point that we could say that this stat’s goal is to eat away your Humanity. When Beast reaches 10, you are of too alien a mind and fully a beast, and your character is removed from the game.
There are two issues I am faced with at this point:
- Are these two separate stats or two ends of a spectrum?
- At what points do normal humans begin?
These are related. If I say normal humans start at 10 Humanity, I’m saying all humans are paragons of the species and this isn’t the case. Some people, normal people, will have lower Humanity scores, and some will be right at the bottom of that scale without being vampires. I’m thinking normal humans start at 7 – not too high but not middle of the road either. This leaves a score that can be improved in play and cannibalized in character generation to create a more powerful vampire than the basic kind.
I see the act of having become one as having taken away part of your Humanity, so becoming a vampire takes away 1 Humanity and turns it into 1 Beast, where all vampires start off.
Now, if Beast becomes an opposing force to Humanity, do I make it that it increases only when Humanity decreases? Or can a vampire continue to increase in powers (which I am clearly equating with giving in to the Beast that turns it into an inhuman monster) while retaining a sense of its Humanity, or is it strictly a gain one-lose the other situation?
My gut feeling is that Humanity and Beast are inversely related: when Humanity goes down, Beast goes up and viceversa. In this paradigm a vampire is only as human as her restraint from being a more powerful vampire.
This model says the following about the game: “You will only remain human if you forego your new nature as a vampire.”
The other conceit that will be built into the game via in-play mechanics is: “You cannot forego your nature as a vampire.”
I think this is a good basic pillar upon which to construct the rest, but I could use some feedback. Up to now, what do you think?