Colin's Giovanni Chronicles
Character Creation Notes
Characters begin as mortals and have their Preludes in which they become vampires during the course of the first story, They may choose any of the 12 clans other than Cappadocian/Giovanni, but only one of each clan may be chosen, so you’ll want to discuss ahead of time and make sure there is no overlap.
“Like most other mortals, the characters know little of vampires, but would most likely believe that they exist – along with chimera and sea serpents” (p. 5). You may assign freebie points now, but may not use such bolstered Traits until after your character is Embraced. You can choose to wait until after your character becomes a vampire to spend your freebie points.
“You may create a mortal character from any medieval background you choose. Sample character backgrounds include: peasant, noble, clergy (nun, priest, or zealous lay person eager to drum up men and resources for another Crusade), crusader (Christian or Moslem), weary deserter from the Hundred Years’ War, foreign mercenary, Gypsy, prosperous trader, trailblazing merchant, itinerant peddler, Jewish moneylender (Christians are prohibited from lending money at interest during this time), innkeeper, scholar, courtesan, troubadour, revolutionary, doctor/barber. " (p. 85)
“If everyone is in agreement, your character may know one or more of the other characters before the game begins, or they may begin the game as strangers to one another. The only common feature is that all the characters have to begin the game in Northern Romania, at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, and they must all speak Italian. If your character is not a native of the area, you must create a rationale for them being there. She may be a sightseeing noble, a traveling merchant or scholar, a runaway serf or even a refugee fleeing lands to the south, where Turks are successfully beseiging Christian cities” (p. 85).
" . . . keep in mind the link between your character and your clan (or in this case, clan-to-be). You are not required to make an obvious connection, but some connection helps. This still leaves a wide range. For example, a character of Clan Brujah may be anything from a rebellious peasant youth to a firebrand cleric in the still-nascent Reformation. A Nosferatu can be anything from an unwanted immigrant fleeing the wars to a leper from the holy lands. A Malkavian might be the village idiot or a painfully inbred member of a royal family. A Ventrue can include a noblewoman, a silk merchant, or an enterprising poacher."
You can use standard Vampire character sheets with minor modification. Drive becomes Ride, Firearms becomes Archery, Computer becomes Theology. Finally, you have to spend a point on Linguistics in order to be able to read/write your native language.
“You know that your character is destined to become a vampire during the story, but he does not. You are required to keep this information separate from your character and not have him act on this basis. This can be a real challenge: for example, your character would know nothing of the politics or clans of vampires” (p.86).
Playing Medieval Characters
“The world was a very different place in 1444. Customs, manners, and personal habits were quite different from today, though the fears and hopes were much the same. The players do not have to be Medieveal Studies majors to do a credible job of roleplaying someone from this era if they keep a few key elements in mind:”
- Inflexible Social Positions – “Upward social mobility was not common in the Middle Ages. Some merchants gained great wealth, and the clergy or military service sometimes offered enterprising youths a chance for advancement, but there were the exception. Most people lived their lives in service to an acknowledged master and behaved respectfully even if they hated him. Deferential behavior toward one’s acknowledged ‘betters’ was common and considered vital to survival.” Unless you take 5 dots of Influence, the vampire NPCs at the beginning of the story will be of a higher social class. For your character to behave any way but respectfully (and perhaps with a bit of awe) would be a shocking breach of protocol. Nevertheless, there is an undercurrent in 1444 of rebellious, anti-authority thinking among some in the underclass . . . that erupted in peasant uprisings and sometimes brought down kings. Characters with this sort of background would be the exception, however.
- Rigid Sex Roles – “Though there were notable exceptions, women had few opportunities to gain economic power or education and hence had very low status. Female characters chosen from the general population would be expected to be demure, reserved, and submissive. This limits the pool of female character background somewhat. However, audacious mistresses, domineering wives, and bold widows were often able to buck the system and behave independently. Creative players can put together fascinating female characters, from the rare (but very real) female warriors to rebellious peasants to educated women disguised as high-ranking clergymen”
- Fear of Travel
- Deeply Ingrained Superstitions – “reason and scientific thinking are on the rise” in 1444, but most people believed in the supernatural quite strongly.