Rebuilding Vampire: Caveat and Self-Deprecation

It’s midterms this week so I’m taking a break from game design thinking. You can follow the posts in this series so far by checking out the tag “Rebuilding Vampire.”

In lieu of more design, I’d like to quickly address a couple of things, just to be clear to myself mostly, though others may find this useful as well.

First the caveat.

I think I already said this in a previous post, but it bears repeating to be 100% crystal clear:

I love Vampire: The Masquerade to undeath. Really, to little tiny bits. Thus, this game that’s emerging as I write along is *not* me saying “VtM Sucks!” Not even by a long shot. This *is* me saying, “VtM had some things that I felt got lost in the shuffle and here’s me trying to bring them back to the spotlight in my own way.” The latter does not detract from the former. If I wanted to be more dramatic in my answer, I’d say that this game is both my reply, and love letter, to VtM, my way of saying, “You made me think about these things, here’s what I thought of them; thanks so much, and enjoy the gift.”

Now the self-deprecation.

I am not a great game designer. I am a passably good system hacker, but I am not the kind that comes up revolutionary game systems that redefine the way things are done and set forth a new road for all to travel. I don’t care about that either. I admire the hell out of people who are that kind of game designer, and I do my best to learn from them and apply those lessons to what I do.

This is all to say that whatever this vampire game turns out to be, it will 99.9% likely have nothing amazing about it’s design, just a collection of parts that I have enjoyed and been influenced by from other games arranged in a way that makes sense for this theme. Main inspirations for me at the moment are VtM/VtR, FATE, Lady Blackbird/The Shadow of Yesterday, Don’t Rest Your Head and Sorcerer. I’m seeing how these games did certain things and bringing those applications to my idea.

When I say I’m being self-deprecating, in a way it’s me keeping my inner creative monkeys in check. If I don’t, they may get the idea that the only way this game can be ever done is if I set forth a new way to roleplay that brings heavenly light upon my book and all who gaze upon it immediately throw out their entire collections in favor of my one true game. It’s bullcrap, I know, but that’s who my mind sometimes works, and why I some(many)times do not finish projects which I start.

Besides, I have a very explicit goal that this be a game that my non-gamer wife can play without wanting to throw cutlery at me for its complexity, so that also helps keep things in check.

So, I love VtM, this is my love letter game to it, and it’s gonna be new applications of proven game designs. Let’s carry on, then.


  1. I would say not to sell yourself short. You may never know what may be revolutionary in your approach. At the same time, I get where you are coming from. The focus is very narrow and I would say this is more fine tuning than anything; you are bringing focus to the elements that you felt were lost along the way. Cool.
    .-= JJ´s last blog… Elric Explored – Part 5: Magic =-.


  2. I want you to publish this. File all the serial numbers off, do deep into your own interpretation of things, and publish it.

    I also want you to know that I do read your blog regularly, I just don’t comment often enough.
    .-= Berin Kinsman´s last blog… staring at goats =-.


  3. @Berin Kinsman
    I’m not mentioning publication yet so I don’t add any pressure upon myself, but yeah, that’s where it’ll eventually be headed.

    And like I said in your blog, I wasn’t calling you on anything. I know how your time is very well parsed, and I humbly appreciate the time you (and my other readers) take to read my babblings. 🙂


  4. I’ve always felt one of the strengths of VtM (and R) is its flexibility and toolkittishness, so I don’t think anyone who truly loves it can object to a reimagining like this.


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