Vampire: The Requiem: Half-Damned by Hattie Masters
IntroductionOriginal SA post FATAL AND FRIENDS:
Chapter 0: Introduction
I love Vampire: The Requiem. The original corebook was one of the first RPG books I ever owned, and despite having never got a chance to truly play it, I remain up to date with all of the releases it has. Which brings us to today’s subject: Half Damned. One of the more recent releases for nWoD Vampire (I know, Chronicles of Darkness but this is my personal little bit of groggery), Half Damned deals with those on the fringes of Vampire society: The Dhampir, The Revenants, and The Ghouls. (These are, in order: The offpring of a vampire and a human, not-full vampires that often form from corpses and humans fed vampire blood like the weirdest form of blood doping, giving them superpowers).
So, in a nice change of pace for a World of Darkness book, the moment we’re past the table of contents we aren’t plunged into a fiction segment, but a brief overview of the components of the book, as well as a discussion of the themes relevant to each. For Dhampir, it’s about family, which manifests either in “Ooooh let’s go all in on spooky vampire shit” or “FUCK YOU VAMPIRE DAD!” with a side helping of being an oracle. For the Revenants, it’s about pining about becoming a Real Vampire, being angry because you can’t control your emotions brought about by being a vampire, and trying to find a place in Vampire Society (so that you can become a real vampire). For ghouls, it’s about being an eternal servant, about being a blood addict, and about trying to climb that final rung to become a Real Vampire.
Next it talks about inspirational media and is mostly pretty boilerplate. It goes through the ones for each segment of the book, and is weird about its formatting: Some things are Bolded like this whereas others are “just put in quotation marks” with no real rhyme or reason that I can see.
See what I mean?
That's actually a fairly standard style for citing works - bolded means it's a book, while quotes is a movie or TV show. Citation of the two differs, y'see.
As Mors pointed out here, it's actually a form of citation that I was unfamiliar with! Whoops!
Nothing particularly interesting in the inspirational materials list beyond recommending the Anita Blake books, which from what I’ve heard are not something anyone sensible should be reading, and the fact that it highlights a First Edition VtR book for Dhampir, but not the one for Ghouls. This book serves as somewhat of an update for both of them, and so it’s funny that only one is mentioned here.
As a final point, these are probably going to be coming out thick and fast, as I am currently unemployed and have very, very little better to do with my time, and this is an interesting book for a number of reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get another segment out today, also because this segment is short as hell and there’s not that much to say about it.
Next time: “FUCK YOU VAMPIRE DAD” Part 1
Dhampir, Part 1Original SA post
Dhampir, Part 1
This is where we get our first hit of White Wolf Fiction, which isn’t very interesting and involves a vampire throwing a hissy fit at a Dhampir, who does something that isn’t well explained that spooks him.
So, Dhampir. The chapter proper starts with a particular eye-rolling paragraph saying that they aren’t just a watered down vampire, they are “whatever [they] say [they are], and fuck you for thinking you know better.” This tells me nothing at all about what they actually are, so I’m left feeling pretty cold.
Thankfully, this is immediately followed by asking an interesting question: Why would a Vampire create a Dhampir? It notes that accidental Dhampir are basically impossible, as creating one requires both means and motivation. The motivations are varied, the examples given range from the earnestly wanting a family, to “fuck you, you can’t leave me we’re gonna have a kid”, to having a useful pawn in Vampire Politics, to “Fuck it I’m sure I can use this for Vampire Science!”. So far, so Vampire.
There’s also rules for a roll to prevent yourself becoming attached to your new half-vampire baby in between the Means and Motive. The only interesting thing is that an Exceptional Success on this roll causes an immediate crisis of conscience, whereas the regular success doesn’t.
So, we know why they would make a Dhampir, but how do they do so?
Content Warning: Here be Sex stuff, as well as discussion of things that can cause miscarriages. Nothing that immediately makes me go “oh god that’s awful” but if you don’t wanna read about Sex and Pregnancy Stuff, skip the rest of this post.
Honestly, the first time I read this section back in 2017 I said to myself “I need other people to know about this because this is both incredibly dumb and really funny to me.”
The first method described is just simple plain Missionary Sex For The Purpose of Procreation. Sometimes it works. It’s very rare though. The second is embracing a woman who is pregnant, and it explicitly says the later you do so, the better the chances of the baby surviving.
The next bit discusses the reverse situation. Supposedly, if a man impregnates a woman and then is turned into a vampire, it can cause his sperm to retroactively become vampire sperm and the baby to be a Dhampir. This was the bit that made me have to stop reading for a bit because the idea of Retroactively Magical Vampire Baby Batter made me laugh enough to draw me out of things. Apparently, ghouling the mother or just injecting the father’s vampire blood into the foetus can help this too.
The following paragraph then immediately contradicts the first one, saying that no you can’t just have regular sex with a Vampire, you have to do weird stuff. This is partially a prelude to introducing Cruac and Theban Sorcery rules for creating a Dhampir, but it just seems odd to me that you have the text contradicting itself on the same page.
So, thoughts. A lot of this is very interesting from a reader’s point of view, but it begs the question: Why? Maybe this is my own personal biases coming through, but I find the idea of saying at the gaming table “Yes I want to have vampire sex for the purpose of procreation for [insert reason xyz], now gimme dice I gotta cast my sex magic.” If I was going to be playing a Dhampir, I wouldn’t need to know the methods used to birth me. The motivations bit is far more reasonable, as it can inform player backstory and relations with the setting, but the rest just seems a tad gratuitous, especially since it contradicts itself. I’d say this is one of the weaker parts of the Dhampir section, but from what I remember, it gets better from hereon out.
Next time: Fuck You Vampire Dad Part 2: Covenant and Clan opinions
Dhampir, Part 2Original SA post
I’m hungover, I’m tired and I want to talk about Vampires. So let’s resurrect this sucker.
So, when we last left off we discussed how Dhampir are actually made. Now we get onto more of the fluff aspect of the section, discussing where and how the dhampir fit into vampire society.
Each covenant gets its own little spiel on how they view dhampir, how the dhampir are used by them, and why it can sometimes kinda suck. They are as follows:
Carthians: Carthians like dhampir. Sorta. They like them as they can be useful, and there are some straight up Dhampir Supremacist elements apparently, and there are others that don’t like them so much they go on secret raids and make kangaroo courts.
The Circle of the Crone: The Circle of the Crone, being big into generic witchy stuff, really like Dhampir and have their own rituals for causing it, which even includes occasionally just having a vampire baby for no reason other than to satisfy a ritual and create dhampir orphans.
The Invictus: To be an Dhampir in the Invictus is to have a really, really bad life. The book outright states this, in almost those exact words. They are treated as slaves and property, and in the covenant all about ladder climbing, you aren’t even allowed to touch the ladder. There’s also a mention of a “half-blood director” who might be pulling strings but it doesn’t really give anything more than a vague “this might be a thing”
The Lancea et Sanctum: The Vampire Catholics raise Dhampir to be vampire killers, and apparently some of the vampire kiddos end up getting really into the dogma and become travelling preachers, preaching fire and brimstone. One of the more interesting approaches in the book, to be sure.
The Ordo Dracul:Chances are you’re gonna be a guinea pig for your vampire parent’s weird experiments, but you can get in and be treated as a proper member. But because you can never actually learn the Coils of the Dragon, you’re never gonna be in the inner circles of the covenant.
The following section is on how the clan of the vampire parent affects the child and to be honest it is not especially imaginative. Take the basic stereotype of the clan and apply it to child raising and personality. Surprise, the Daeva’s kids tend to be hedonists and are raised by narccisists. Surprise, the Gangrel’s kid is flighty and violent. The actually interesting bit is the coda: How the other supernaturals interact with the Dhampir.
Werewolves are… mostly okay with Dhampir. They know that they can be dangerous and a mess, but apparently mostly stay out of each other’s way.
Mages like using them as catss-paws (sic) against the forces of the Abyss, and apparently Daeva Dhampir and Thyrsus get on like a house on fire.
Changelings and Dhampir are noted as geting along very well indeed as their backstories (assuming the Dhampir is on the run from Vampire Daddy) are not entirely dissimilar.
Demons and Dhampir was not only the most disappointing D&D rip-off, but the most interesting of these little write ups, as apparently Dhampir cause Demons to get very uncomfortable. Why? Because, to quote the book
To look at a dhampir is like an uncanny valley effect, almost but not quite Unchained, and so very wrong. Demonic instincts misfire and misjudge them, subconsciously assessing them like fellow Unchained, leading inexperienced demons to feel out of control. Unsafe. And if there’s one thing they hate,it’s feeling unsafe — off-balance and vulnerable.
Next time: Are you there God? It’s me, Half Vampire Margaret or Growing up as a Dhampir