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Understanding Storytelling that Goes with Vampire: The Requiem

The act of getting together with a group of friends to play Vampire: The Requiem, where you tell tales about vampires, is called Storytelling. Storytelling is an interactive form of entertainment over which no one player has complete control. No one knows just how your collective story will turn out. As a group you decide how you, as a collective and as individuals, respond based on events that arise as the story unfolds.

Knowing what you need to play

Before you begin playing Vampire: The Requiem, you need to gather a few items together.

  • Your character, which you create with your imagination. (Don't forget your imagination!)
  • A piece of paper called a character sheet that records all the information about your alter ego, a pencil to keep record of what happens to your persona, and your imagination. We provide a blank character sheet at the back of this book.
  • Some 10-sided dice, which are available at most hobby shops in your town, or at game departments in large bookstores. You need as many as 10 of those dice for each player.
  • World of Darkness Rulebook by White Wolf, which provides the fundamental rules on which all the games are based.

If you want to mix things up a little, you can play or face off against ghosts, werewolves, wizards, or other fantastic creatures, all of which exist in the World of Darkness, created by White Wolf. Your local hobby shop or bookstore carries other games called Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening, both by White Wolf. These books are just like Vampire; they provide all the information and rules you need to play different kinds of modern monsters.

You absolutely need the World of Darkness Rulebook. It provides the fundamental rules on which all the games are based. If your character runs after an enemy, no matter whether you play a vampire, werewolf, or mage, the rules for deciding whether you catch him are in the World of Darkness Rulebook. Everything starts with this book, and you should, too.

Introducing the Storyteller

One person in your group assumes more responsibility than the rest. He or she is called the Storyteller. The Storyteller learns most of the rules of the game and devises basic plots that occur to your group's characters. He doesn't have tyrannical control of your characters or what happens to them; their fate is still a shared phenomenon. Rather, the Storyteller decides in advance a basic series of events that can happen to your vampires, and the players react to those situations based on their characters' personalities.

For example, your vampires may learn that other cursed beings in the city have been turned out from their hiding places during the day and turned to ash. The local undead community is terrified. Maybe a monster-hunter has discovered vampires' existence and seeks to destroy them all. When the characters' repose is interrupted abruptly one day, how do they react when strangers pull them from their hiding places to be exposed to daylight? Do they attack the intruders? Try to discover who's behind it all? Talk to the intruders? Use terrifying powers to hide before being captured? Only you as a player get to decide, while the Storyteller knows what can happen next in the story based on your reactions.

A collective story is told when action and reaction create a chain of events. That chain could have one intended end to a range of possible finales. Maybe it turns out your characters survive the first effort to destroy them, and they learn that one of the local undead is actually behind it all. Now this betrayer must be found and confronted, but what's his secret and why would he dare go so far as to undo his own kind? That's for all the players and the Storyteller to decide.

The Storyteller, then, is like a ringmaster at a circus. He constantly introduces new acts and events to which everyone else responds. While each player creates and portrays only one character, the Storyteller creates and portrays everyone else whom your character meets. It's a big responsibility, but it's also lots of fun.

There is no winner or loser in a Storytelling game. The goal is for everyone to enjoy him or herself. Players should not be personally antagonistic toward each other, or toward the Storyteller, any more than they would in a game of Monopoly or Hearts. Everyone is in it to have a good time and tell a story. That doesn't necessarily mean that all your vampires always get along. They can squabble and feud or be the closest of allies. No matter what, though, players always need to respect each other and their characters so a good time is had by all.

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