This is intended as a guide for both beginners and experienced players. The order has been arranged to allow the easiest possible character creation, but it’s not fixed. For example, a character could be created with a background and a history in mind then the character sheet put together, or vice-versa.
For additional character creation options, or anything not covered by these rules, please speak to a Storyteller who will have additional rules for these options in the Advanced Players Guide
Having a copy of the character sheet to hand when creating the character will help!
Basic Character Creation
Character concept defines a character's core defining role. The concept has no mechanical effect on play; but it just allows the player to firm up the character’s main outlook on life. Concept could be job-based (Tinker, Tailor, etc.) attitude based (Puppeteer, Intellectual) or any short character defining sentence (Wannabe mobster, Da Vinci’s reincarnation).
A character’s Nature is their inner self, the archetypal personality trait that defines them, selected from the following list of archetypes:
- Bon Vivant
- Creep Show
- Eye of the Storm
Whilst not the sum total of a character's personality, their nature represents its dominant aspect. Mechanically, a character's nature dictates how Willpower is regained, as detailed on page 23.
Clan / Bloodline
Clan defines the vampiric bloodline a character is descended from. Those that make up the Camarilla can be drawn from the following:
A Vampire's clan or bloodline defines which supernatural powers they can innately adept at drawing upon, as well as disadvantages tied to their bloodline.
The Brujah are rebels, sometimes thugs and bullies, or skilled politicians supporting the underdog.
Disciplines: Celerity, Potence, Presence
Disadvantage: Once a Brujah has resisted frenzy by spending Willpower on any given night, the cost to resist frenzy again increases to two Willpower, until they frenzy.
Members of this clan are insane, but from great madness may come great wisdom and hidden truths.
Disciplines: Auspex, Dementation, Obfuscate
Disadvantage: Malkavians start with the Derangement flaw. This can never be bought off.
These hideously deformed creatures skulk and spy. They are often loners by nature but band together for the trade of information which they then sell to others..
Disciplines: Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence
Disadvantage: Hideous to behold, members of clan Nosferatu bid a maximum of 3 social traits in non-intimidatory social challenges they initiate, including disciplines, unless their true visage is supernaturally hidden.
Members of this clan are thought of as artists and degenerates. They often gravitate to the higher echelons of politics.
Disciplines: Auspex, Celerity, Presence
Disadvantage: When a Toreador encounters something remarkable (as decided by a Storyteller, but typically a person, performance or artistic object) they become enthralled by the experience and cannot act beyond discussing or interacting with the subject of their enthralment for at least ten minutes, unless they spend a Willpower to resist the compulsion for fifteen minutes. Continually resisting grows harder as a night goes on and, on any given night, the cost to resist increases by a Willpower each after time they do so (so 1 the first time, 2 the second time and so on).
This close-knit ‘House and Clan’ were once Mages, and is known to have many arcane and magical skills.
Disciplines: Auspex, Dominate, Thaumaturgy
Disadvantage: Tremere only need drink twice from another Kindred to become bound to them, going straight from 1/3 bound to fully bound. Upon the embrace, most members of the clan are bound to its hierarchy, gaining ⅓ blood bond to any member of the clan of a higher rank.
The most old- fashioned of the vampires, the sophisticates who move in the highest social and political circles.
Disciplines: Dominate, Fortitude, Presence
Disadvantage: The Ventrue have a rarefied taste, and gain no benefit from drinking the blood of any mortal, other than their specific preference e.g. blondes, men, people of a certain ethnicity, people of a certain social class. This preference must be agreed at character creation with their storyteller. Their starting blood pool is reduced to 6. Ventrue can drink Kindred vitae without impediment.
Trait Pool / Attribute Traits
Characters possess attribute traits, a measure of the their raw capability. A character's total number of traits is known as their ‘Trait Pool’.
Every time a character increases their Trait Pool, they gain an Attribute Trait in one of three attribute spheres; Physical, Mental, and Social.
The rating in any particular attribute is referred to as a number of ‘traits’, which are lost when a character attempts to achieve something involving an element of risk and fails.
- Physical Traits are mainly used to resolve confrontations of a physical nature.
- Mental Traits are mainly used to resolve confrontations of an intellectual nature.
- Social Traits are mainly used to resolve confrontations of a social nature.
A character starts with 15 traits in their Trait Pool. This pool can have a maximum of 42 traits in their Trait Pool. After this is done the traits in the character's Trait pool are split between their three attribute spheres. They must place a minimum of one trait into each sphere.
Once a character increases any individual trait to 13, they must decide which of the three Attribute Spheres will be the character’s Primary focus, which will be his Secondary, and which his Tertiary. This will determine the maximum number of traits that can be assigned to that sphere. 15 for the Primary, 14 for the Secondary and 13 for the Tertiary.
Vampires have a myth that Caine (as in Caine and Abel) was the first vampire. Those that he sired were the second generation, and those that the second generation sired were the third, and so on. Regardless of the truth behind this myth, the power of the blood gradually weakens as it is passed from sire to childe.
As the game takes place amongst the courts of the Camarilla, famed for the strength of its bloodlines, a character defaults to having a sire of the 7th generation, which means their generation is 8th.
A character can take flaws, limiting their generation. A player portraying the childe of an existing character should take an appropriate generational flaw so that their generation is one higher than their sire.
Generation determines a character’s maximum Blood Pool, how quickly they can heal wounds, their resistance to the Dominate path and other generational factors. See the Generation Table on page 61 and the Generation flaw on page 89 for more information.
Maximum Blood Pool
Each vampire is able to hold a limited amount of blood in their body, which can be used to heal wounds, to increase physical attributes and to power certain disciplines. Maximum blood pool is determined by generation as per the table on page 61.
Starting Blood Pool
Not every vampire can feed to capacity every evening. A vampire's default starting blood pool at a court gathering is 8.
Willpower is used to heal aggravated wounds, to resist frenzy, to recover Attribute Traits, to increase the chances of succeeding on tests and to power some disciplines. It is a valuable resource, and each character begins with 3 Willpower points.
Abilities represent a character’s training and knowledge beyond the raw talent outlined by their Attributes. They are a combination of what they have learned and what they can do. Abilities let a character perform specialised tasks that are only possible with these skills. These abilities can be taken multiple times to show higher skill. A character starts with one ability rated at 3, two abilities rated at 2 and four abilities rated at 1. One of these abilities must be Linguistics in their native language. The others are chosen from the following list:
- Academics (specify)
- Animal Ken
- Crafts (specify)
- Performance (specify)
- Science (specify)
The abilities Academics, Crafts, Linguistics, Melee, Performance, Ranged, & Science abilities grant specialities in their fields. For every level taken in one of those abilities, the character has a speciality. For example, a character who took Melee 3, could have Melee (Axes, Swords, Spears)*3. For more details on specialities see page 26
A character's ability maximums are determined by their generation, as detailed on the Generation Table on page 61.
These ‘magical’ powers are partly what make vampires more powerful than humans. They are divided into paths, and each clan has three paths inherent to their bloodline. A character starts with three Disciplines chosen from their Clan’s three paths. These must be purchased in order; i.e. to have level two Auspex, they must have already assigned one ‘allocation’ to the first level, and so on.
Backgrounds represent a character’s ability to manipulate the mortal world, resources at their disposal or inherent advantages. A character starts with one background at level 4, one background at level 3, two backgrounds at level 2 and two backgrounds at level 1, chosen from the following list:
- Ally (Specify: Sphere)
- Contacts (Specify: Sphere)
- Influence (Specify: Sphere)
- Merit Pool
- Resources (Specify: Sphere)
- Retainer (Specify: Ability)
Allies, Contacts, Resources and Influence all have to be assigned the sphere they operate in, from the following list: Bureaucracy, Church, Finance, Health, Herd, High Society, Industry, Legal, Media, Occult, Police, Political, Street, Transportation, Underworld, University
Retainers have to specify which ability they are competent in, from the abilities list above.
Downtime actions indicate how active a character can be between games. A character starts with 3 downtime actions.
Merits are advantages characters have that aren’t represented by traits, abilities or influence. A character who purchases points in the ‘Merit Pool’ background can have Merits totalling twice the points invested in their Merit Pool.
Flaws are disadvantages characters have that aren't represented by traits, abilities or influence. Flaws grant extra experience points, equal to the value of the flaw. A character may take a maximum of two flaws, unless the flaw specifies it does not count towards this limit.
Humanity is a measure of a Vampire's morality, how far a vampire has fallen from their mortal nature. As their humanity erodes, a Vampire becomes more inhuman and more prone to giving in to the beast, a state known as frenzy. Humanity ranges from 10-0
A vampire starts with a humanity of 7. Every humanity slot has a stimuli that drives a Vampire to frenzy, called a 'Beast Trigger'. A player may choose for their character to start with a humanity lower than 7, representing a more monstrous character, taking the appropriate additional beast triggers/derangements.
All vampires are vulnerable to being taken over by their bestial side, a state known as frenzy, when exposed to certain stimuli. Sunlight and fire drive a vampire to flee in terror, whilst being low on blood will cause them to feed indiscriminately. Each is in two parts: the trigger and the response. The responses must be ‘Rage Frenzy’, ‘Bloodlust Frenzy’ or ‘Fear Frenzy’
At humanity 7, all vampires will have two triggers common to their kind & at least two personal stimuli that can drive them over the edge.
A vampire's 10 humanity slot is always occupied by: Blood being spilled whilst on 3 or lower blood: Bloodlust A vampire's 9 humanity slot is always occupied by: Sunlight or fire (at least campfire size): Fear A vampire's 8 humanity slot is always occupied by: Personal Trigger: Rage A vampire's 7 humanity slot is always occupied by: Personal Trigger: Any
The trigger that occupies a vampire's humanity 8 slot is personal to them, but will always drive their beast to a rage frenzy. The trigger that occupies their humanity 7 slot is also personal to them, but can take any form. As a vampire degenerates and loses their humanity they will gain further beast triggers or, worse still, go mad. For more information on humanity see pg 64.
The player of a Malkavian character must select a form of mental illness that the character suffers from. Other characters may choose to be similarly afflicted, as detailed in the flaws section. Character may also gain Derangements as they degenerate to the beast, and may fill up three of their beast trait slots with derangements instead. Derangements must be chosen from the list on pg 66.
Experience Earned / Spent
A character starts with 10 experience. They then add additional experience equal to the value of their flaws. Experience must be spent in line with the normal experience expenditure rules, but may all be spent at once, representing the character’s accumulated knowledge and training up to the point of their first appearance at court. For details on Retirement, please see the Advanced Players Rulebook.
An account of the characters existence before their first appearance. It is a necessary part of the character, both for the player and the Storyteller. It expands the character beyond just being a set of numbers on a character sheet, and it helps the Storyteller to create plotlines for the character.
The first thing is to decide where and when the character was born, and where and when they were embraced. .
Next it’s important to decide what a character was doing in mortal life. Look at the Abilities and Influences they have got. How did they develop these?
Points to consider:
Where, how, and why was this done, and by whom? Sometimes the Embrace is actually role-played by the people involved, which can make for a fantastic ‘indoctrination’ event.
If a character has just been turned into a vampire, how have they concealed this from family, friends and colleagues? If they have been a vampire for some time, what have they been doing in the meantime? Perhaps a character’s Influences are all that is left of a once-powerful business they ran in mortal life? Why have they come to this domain? (They cannot have been hiding here, unless they were in Torpor with a Storyteller’s permission). What Vampire enemies and friends have they made in this time? Do they have a potential Mentor in mind? Where are their new daytime haven & feeding area? Be careful here... Backgrounds must be given to a Storyteller for approval and must not be written in some way as to grant unfair advantages.
The ‘Inigo Montoya Clause’
No player may play two or more characters related to, allied with, or otherwise possessing knowledge of each other at creation. This clause is intended to cut down on players sharing plots, knowledge and property from character to character, and is also meant to prevent players from bringing in characters whose goals are to avenge their last character's death. (‘You keeled my father! Prepare to die!’). No player may have two characters of the same clan at the same time.
Note that characters may eventually gain knowledge of each other, but players should never be allowed to turn their multiple characters into a tag team. A player may never have more than two player characters at the same time. If a player does run two characters, they should only play one of them at any given game unless there are extenuating circumstances and they have checked with an ST that it is OK to do so.