Something came up in the comments to my previous post, Rebuilding Vampire: Humanity, brought up by Mick Bradley about whether there should be the glimmer of hope/redemption for a vampire. He made this point after I had stated that, in my view of the vampire myth/game, the story of the vampire is one of an inevitable downward spiral towards transformation into a beast that will destroy all that he used to love, with the dramatic caveat being how long can that be staved off. Considering his feedback led me to consider the vampire myth and ask for other people’s opinions on Twitter (and I got good replies – see the comments for links).
The older vampire myth centers on this being a creature of darkness that embodies all the evils of mankind; it’s a morality figure meant to teach people what not to do. It is the “other,” a monster devoid of any human quality, something to be utterly destroyed, no questions asked. There is no concern for who the vampire is or was, only for what it is and what must be done to end its evil.
More modern interpretations of the myth put the vampire in the protagonist chair, and we start to look at who the vampire was before becoming undead, as well as the struggle of the vampiric life. The vampire becomes a hyper-human, a creature that’s more human than human. I don’t think it would be too pretentious to say that it becomes a metaphor for the human condition, a reflection of what excess can and will do.
It is in this latter form of the myth that Vampire: The Masquerade lies, with the vampires as the protagonists, exploring what it means to be a monster that is a pinnacle of humankind that is doomed to lose its Humanity. This is where the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles lie, where a movie like The Hunger lies, where a show like Forever Knight lies (and dare I say it, where the Twilight series lie as well). This is also the aspect of the myth that I am looking to explore and build a game around. [Note: the vampire-as-antagonist angle is already covered by the game Annalise.]
I write all that to ask the following question:
Does there need to be present a possibility of the vampire achieving hope/redemption from its nature for the game to work?
VtM had Golconda as a goal for vampires that wanted to find a way to overcome/find balance/make peace with their Beast. Yet, considering how rare it is described as being, and how as the editions go by it becomes less defined and more left to Storyteller interpretation, it always struck me as a concession to a segment of the population rather than a cohesive part of the myth.
So, if we put the monster as the protagonist of the game, does there need to be the hope of finding a way to achieve salvation/redemption from the new nature, or is it enough to have the tragedy of the inevitable fall and the struggle to stave it off for as long as possible?
Sound off, please.