Continued from last week…

Pathways Chart

The pathways chart for Camarillaville is here as a pdf.

The chart only goes to the Embrace (replacing the life changing event) and drops one step from the typical Smallville chart (as there’s less focus on the early teen years than in a TV show about teenagers). All increases should be similar to the Smallville values (with the notable addition of a couple more value increases to make up for using seven values instead of six).

Note that, since the chart only goes to the Embrace, you may wind up with few vampire connections and a lot of mundane connections, resulting in a game where the player characters became vampires but keep haunting their old life. This is a perfectly valid way to play, but, if you’d like to have a more Kindred-focused gameplay experience, you should encourage your players to add extras and locations that, in hindsight, turn out to have been part of the undead society that would eventually draw them in (e.g., “Mr. Stein, my father’s boss” turns out to be “Eckhardt Stein, Ventrue Elder”).

If you want to run chargen past the embrace, feel free to use the second page of the chart in Smallville verbatim or as a basis for expanded events that make sense for your game (i.e., there’s sufficient variation in Vampire chronicles post-Embrace that I couldn’t come up with a one-size-fits-all chart).

Pathway Descriptions

Note: Just like in normal Smallville, player characters should typically step directly down to the next level or to either side (wrapping at the edges), unless the GM agrees that your backstory makes sense to jump. For example, a Poor childhood may lead to a Bully’s youth and an Executive adulthood before finally receiving a Toreador embrace. Conversely, a Rich child is unlikely to become a Creative youth, a Creative youth likely won’t become a White Collar adult, and a White Collar adult isn’t often the kind to receive a Brujah’s embrace.

Childhood

Childhood represents the character’s origin and early years, ending at some point in school that marks a transition in the character’s personality.

  • Rich:
    • Your character was born comfortably upper class (possibly even very wealthy and connected) and you wanted for nothing. You might not have had the most attentive parents or enduring friendships, however.
    • Suggested Distinction: Connected, Cosmopolitan, Family Reputation, Manipulative, Wealthy
  • Cherished:
    • Your family was reasonably well off, and possibly wealthy, and doted on you. Likely you were attractive, showed an early skill at athletics, or were simply an only child. You never felt unloved… but were perhaps a good bit spoiled.
    • Suggested Distinction: Athletic, Attractive, Cosmopolitan, Likeable, Manipulative
  • Gifted:
    • You showed an early talent for the arts that defined your childhood. Your family was likely middle class, but gave you the resources necessary to try to improve your gift (whether or not you were as excited as your parents…).
    • Suggested Distinction: Agile, Attractive, Clever, Connected, Daring, Military Brat, Observant
  • Bright:
    • You were always very intelligent, and/or had a family that encouraged your intellectual growth from an early age. You were very likely branded a nerd soon after starting school.
    • Suggested Distinction: Backhanded, Clever, Genius, Mastermind, Military Brat, Not Born Yesterday, Occult Knowledge (replaces Extraterrestrial Knowledge)
  • Orphan:
    • You lost or were abandoned by your parents at an early age, and either entered the system or were pawned off on relatives that couldn’t bring themselves to care for you as real parents.
    • Suggested Distinction: Backhanded, Fast Talker, Guilty, Impulsive, Observant, Savage, Sneaky, Willful
  • Poor:
    • Your family was decidedly working class and often had trouble making ends meet or getting you the best education.
    • Suggested Distinction: Athletic, Big-Hearted, Daring, Fixer, Military Brat, On a Mission, Savage, Sneaky
  • Abused:
    • Your parents or guardians were jerks who physically and/or emotionally abused you. Perhaps they were trying to force you to fulfill their own dreams, or maybe they just were bad people unprepared to have a child.
    • Suggested Distinction: Agile, Athletic, Attractive, Family Reputation, Guilty, Military Brat, Observant, Savage, Sneaky, Vicious

Youth

Youth represents much of the character’s school age, outlining the process of becoming defined more by one’s peers than one’s background.

  • Wealthy:
    • With access to resources beyond those available to other children, you became known for dressing well and throwing parties. As time passed, you may have begun to wonder whether you had any friends that liked you for more than your money.
    • Suggested Distinction: Connected, Cosmopolitan, Family Reputation, Manipulative, Mastermind, Smartass, Wealthy
  • Popular:
    • Due to some combination of good looks, athletic skills, family background, and winning personality, you managed to float to the top of the school hierarchy. Even years later there may still be peers that remember you fondly.
    • Suggested Distinction: Agile, Athletic, Attractive, Backhanded, Big-Hearted, Connected, Cosmopolitan, Likeable, Manipulative, Right Place/Right Time, Shameless Flirt, Wealthy, Vicious
  • Creative:
    • The life of an arty kid is one forever in the middle of the social hierarchy. You likely spent most of your school years hoping that your talent would be one of the ones considered cool this year.
    • Suggested Distinction: Agile, Attractive, Big Sister, Clever, Connected, Daring, Gearhead, Hacker, Martial Artist, Observant
  • Smart:
    • There are very few schools where being a nerd or a geek isn’t a social death sentence. You were one of the kids whose genius destined her for great things… after enduring years of peer rejection.
    • Suggested Distinction: Backhanded, Big Sister, Clever, Genius, Hacker, Investigator, Mastermind, Not Born Yesterday, Observant, Occult Knowledge (replaces Extraterrestrial Knowledge), Smartass
  • Outcast:
    • You found your role in school to be highly indistinct: not wealthy or sociable enough to be popular and without the proclivities to fit into one of the other cliques. You spent a lot of time as a loner.
    • Suggested Distinction: Backhanded, Fast Talker, Guilty, Gearhead, Hacker, Impulsive, Investigator, Not Born Yesterday, Observant, Savage, Smartass, Sneaky, Willful
  • Tough:
    • You were one of the kids that was tough enough not to be messed with and possibly good at sports, but you missed popularity for some reason. You were a prime candidate for shop class or JROTC.
    • Suggested Distinction: Athletic, Daring, Fixer, Gearhead, Guilty, Impulsive, Marksman, Martial Artist, On a Mission, Smartass, Soldier
  • Bully:
    • You were one of the kids that maintained your own position by keeping others down. It’s a hard, socially Darwinistic road, but you wouldn’t have had it any other way.
    • Suggested Distinction: Athletic, Backhanded, Daring, Fixer, Guilty, Impulsive, Manipulative, Martial Artist, Right Place/Right Time, Savage, Sneaky, Vicious

Adulthood

Adulthood represents the time between school and the Embrace (and can, obviously, be a largely variable time depending on whether you were taken right out of college or late in your career). If you were quite young when Embraced, this might represent the career you had been planning for and now may never have.

  • Executive: Your career is one where you were on the fast track to money and connections: banking, finance, law, politics, upper management, etc.
  • Artist: You found yourself in a career where you actually make money doing something creative; either you’re actually making money as an independent artist or are a skilled collaborator at a bigger company.
  • Academic: You very likely never left college once you graduated, but simply started accumulating more degrees until finding yourself in a classroom. If you aren’t a professor, you do something closely related to research and education.
  • Scientist: The counterpart to the academic, you may actually be a research scientist or may, instead, be in a highly technical field such as medicine, engineering, or computer science.
  • White Collar: Your life is one of cubicles and office chairs: middle management, clerical, support, sales, or something else that requires a bit of an education and a deep desire for a steady paycheck and benefits.
  • Blue Collar: Your life is one of labor and service: to the line, to the site, or to your city or country. You might not have a leather chair or private office, but neither do you have the spreading rear end and stress levels to match.
  • Criminal: You’ve decided that the whole system is designed to keep you from your goals, and you’re working around it. Maybe you run with a gang, maybe you have a racket just you and a partner, or maybe you quietly skim money off of a white collar bank account.

Embrace

At some point a Camarilla vampire with permission to sire decided that you deserved immortality (or just that she wanted to own you forever…). Perhaps she was an old family friend that had been watching you for years. Perhaps she noticed your talent and couldn’t bear to see it fade with age. Or maybe you were just chanced into the right situation where she impulsively decided that you should live forever.

It’s assumed that the player characters will be embraced around the same time, but there may be some discrepancy if it’s necessary for certain backstories. Regardless, make sure that all relationships to other PCs are filled in at this stage, as all characters will quickly meet one another in the insular Kindred society. Whether they like one another enough to become a coterie is far less certain than in a traditional Vampire game…

Make sure to generate an interesting extra for your character’s Sire, and connect her back to other PCs or elements if at all possible: this relationship is likely to drive your early play in Camarillaville as you uncover the drives that convinced her to make you immortal and what that means for your role in the city as a whole.

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