New Player Character Creation Guide

This is for players completely new to Vampire. Once again, if you have played Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition before and are comfortable with the ruleset, this is NOT FOR YOU.

† If you are completely new to Vampire, please start here!


Prep: Materials

This guide going to walk you through how to make your very first vampire character. If you would rather start as a mortal, that will be covered at the end. Please only follow this guide if this is the first time you are playing Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition.

Start by opening up your character sheet. We recommend using this character sheet made specifically for LA in Anarchy.

Having a copy of V20 open is fine, though we recommend using the information on this guide alone as to not overwhelm yourself. Refer to the book when it asks, but don't to do to much reading ahead just yet.

Step 1: Make a human concept


This is important first step of any character. All vampires were once human and, unless you’re playing an elder that is centuries old, it’s unlikely they’ve changed enough to no longer carry a few or more notable traits from their human lives. Please consider the following questions to form this character when they were human:

  • Place of birth, where do they live today, where have they lived and why?
  • Do they have living family? Are they close to them? Why?
  • Are they religious? What religion? How religious? (mass on Sundays, pray every meal, tithe regularly and donate time, etc.)
  • What is their place in the world from your character's point of view? Where would you like it to be?
  • What little things are important to them?
  • What weighs heavy on their soul? What sins have they committed, or if they don't believe in such things, why?
  • What habits do they have? Not just smoking, drinking, but also do they read the paper every morning, have a routine, etc.?
  • What matters to them?

This should give you a decently fleshed out idea to start with. Here, determine other important bits about them such as their age (18+), sex, their background pre-embrace, and so on. Here, I would also begin to consider their general personality and goals. For further assistance, check out this guide to fleshing your character out.

Archetypes

People have two ways they present themselves. The first is how they act in public and how they’re commonly viewed on a shallow level. This is your character’s Demeanor. It has no mechanical effect on the character, though it should make sense.

The other side to this is how the character acts behind closed doors, with those close to them, and when they believe no one is watching. This is your characters Nature. When a character acts towards their nature during play (such as a caregiver successful nurturing someone else) they will regain one willpower point.

Your nature and your demeanor cannot be the same.

A full list of available archetypes and what they mean can be found on the wiki. Keep in mind that the character is still human when picking these out, so options like Monster as a Nature wouldn’t make sense unless they were an utterly awful human being.

Step 2: Embrace


So, you finally got your character embraced. They should be between 13th and 10th generation, and have been a vampire for no longer than 5-10 years, though less is fine and sometimes encouraged for new players.

Clan

Now it is time to select the clan your character will belong to. This determines where they fall in terms of politics, why they were embraced, their abilities, and more. Here is a list of the clans available to completely new players and why they would embrace an individual. Deviating from these explanations is possible, but not recommended for someone new to Vampire.

Try and really focus on why they would be embraced as an individual and not just on what powers they get from it. This will allow you to make a much more well developed and enjoyable character. If you are aware what disciplines each clan have at this point, ignore them when making a selection. Putting everything into a character's disciplines doesn't make a character, it makes disciplines personified.

New players are restricted to this list below to make getting acclimated to the setting and system as easy as possible.

Brujah

Difficulty: Easy
As creatures of passion, Brujah often Embrace without really thinking much about it, and their childer tend to be a disparate lot. Sometimes, the Rabble Embrace those who share a similar outlook or enthusiasm for a cause as the prospective sire. Other times, they inflict the Embrace on those of opposite ideology, cursing a rival with vampirism as punishment.

Gangrel

Difficulty: Moderate
Gangrel sire childer like they seek prey: after long hunts during which the prospective childe doesn’t even know she’s being followed. Creating a fledgling means sharing limited resources, so each sire childe relationship is unique and significant. Outlanders Embrace because they choose an individual, not out of whim or recklessness. Those who earn their attention are hardy, whether physically or emotionally.

Nosferatu

Difficulty: Hard
The Sewer Rats mostly fit into one of two categories. Some Nosferatu Embrace the damaged, flawed, outcast, or vile, feeling some degree of kinship with them. Other Embrace spitefully, dragging the beautiful or privileged into an immortal hell of disfigurement and monstrosity.

Toreador

Difficulty: Easy
Many Toreador hail from high-society or “bohemian” backgrounds. Indeed, many are themselves artists or influential among local art scenes or other subcultures. Actors, singers, musicians, sculptors, poets, playwrights, authors, and creative folk of any stripe may well find a home in the Clan, as do those who serve as patrons to (or travel in the entourages of) those artistic types.

Ventrue

Difficulty: Moderate
Anyone who has “made something of herself” may attract the attention of the Ventrue, who judge their childer based on their prominence and success even before they start to groom them for the Embrace. Socialites, moneyed family, corporate wunderkinds, military leaders, and even untested newcomers who show great promise are keenly valued among the Blue Bloods.

Sire

All vampires have a sire, the Kindred who decided to embrace them. While you can just get away with slapping down a name, it’s highly encouraged to come up with their specific motivation for embracing your character, as it isn’t something that can just happen by pure accident. Some level of conscious decisions was put into the act, whether they were thinking rationally or not. Later on, they can be incredibly useful for character development, subplots, and more if well put together.

Step 3: Attributes


Now we can begin filling out the rest of the sheet. First thing to do is to establish your character’s attributes, their primary traits. Unlike in other games, no dice are rolled in the main process. Instead you spend a number of points allotted to each category.

Prioritize the three categories (Physical, Social, and Mental) for your character. For example, if we were making a boxer, it's likely they would be Physical, Social, Mental, versus a grad-student who might be Mental, Social, Physical. With those decided, you have 7 points to distribute within the three attributes in the first category, 5 within the second, and 3 within the third. If we were making that Grad Student, this is a possible example of what that spread could look like:

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Make sure to keep what each dot means in general in mind when allotting them:

Attributes
• Poor. Unexercised, unpracticed, or inept.
•• Average. The result of occasional effort or application.
••• Good. Regular practice or effort, or naturally talented.
•••• Exceptional. Frequently applied, tested, and honed.
••••• Outstanding. The peak of normal human capacity, continually exercised.

For any attributes that are at 4 dots or more, make sure to apply a specialty. There are examples listed on pages 96-100 beneath the descriptions of each attribute, but feel free to create one if you believe it works better.

Specific information on what all of the attributes mean in Vampire can be found on our attributes page.

Step 4: Abilities


After filling out your attributes, its time to move onto their secondary traits. Like before, they’re sorted into three categories (Talents, Skills, and Knowledges) that you need to prioritize. For the boxer, he would most likely be Talents, then Skills, then Knowledges. You have 13 points within the first category, 9 points in the second, and 5 points in the third. All characters start with the first dot of Drive and Computers for free.

Here is a guideline for abilities:

Abilities
• Novice. Basic knowledge and/or techniques.
•• Practitioner. Solid working knowledge and/or techniques.
••• Professional. Broad, detailed knowledge and/or techniques.
•••• Expert. Exceptional depth of knowledge and/or techniques.
••••• Master. Unsurpassed depth of knowledge and/or techniques. A leader in the field.

At this stage in character creation, nothing can be over three dots. However, any abilities at three dots must be well justified.


Before starting to spread these out, take some time to read what each dot level means on our abilities page.

Having difficulty placing dots? Think less about what they primarily do but things on the side. If they enjoy being around animals, a dot of animal ken wouldn’t be a stretch. If they have a degree from a college in an academic field, a dot or two in academics wouldn’t hurt either. Really think about them as a complete person to spend these realistically instead of just maximizing what they’re “supposed to be good at.”

There are abilities that require you to select specialties early, they are:

  • Expression
  • Crafts
  • Performance
  • Academics
  • Law
  • Science
  • Technology

Step 5: Disciplines


Every clan has 3 disciplines that they’re able to use innately. Here’s what they are from the clans you have access to:

Animalism - Supernatural affinity with and control of animals
Auspex - Extrasensory perception, awareness, and premonitions
Celerity - Supernatural quickness and reflexes
Dominate - Mind control practiced through the piercing gaze
Fortitude - Unearthly toughness, even to the point of resisting fire and sunlight.
Obfuscate — The ability to remain obscure and unseen, even in crowds.
Potence — The Discipline of physical vigor and strength.
Presence — The ability to attract, sway and control crowds.
Protean — Shapechanging, from growing claws to melding with the earth.

The disciplines the clans have are listed below. Fill them out on your sheet accordingly:

Brujah - Celerity, Potence, Presence
Gangrel - Animalism, Fortitude, Protean
Nosferatu - Animalism, Obfuscate, Potence
Toreador - Auspex, Celerity, Presence
Ventrue - Dominate, Fortitude, Presence

During character creation, you get 3 dots to put between the three disciplines in anyway you like. If your character is old enough to have used disciplines in the past, think about which they would’ve preferred over the other and apply the dots that way. If you aren’t sure or they’re too young to really have tried them out yet, then it’s recommended to put one dot in each so you have a nice base to start with.

Step 6: Background


Backgrounds are your characters things, in a way. The different backgrounds that we allow are as follows:

Allies — Mortal confederates, usually family or friends.
Alternate Identity — A false identity, complete with documentation.
Contacts — The information sources the character possesses.
Domain — Feeding grounds acknowledged by Kindred society.
Fame — How well-known the character is among mortals.
Generation — How far removed from Caine the character is.
Herd — The vessels to which the character has free and safe access.
Influence — The character’s political power within mortal society.
Mentor — The Kindred patron who advises and supports the character.
Resources — Wealth, belongings, and income.
Retainers — Followers, guards, and servants.
Status — The character’s standing in undead society.

All characters have 5 background dots to allot. To start, the Generation background must be taken if they’re lower than the 13th Generation. You are only allowed to lower it to 10th (3 dots) if you would, but there's no real mechanical difference.

With what dots you have left, try and imagine what they would’ve accomplished in their time as a vampire or what they would’ve gained. A helpful sire could be a 1 or 2 dot mentor, their graveyard shift as a Walmart cashier could be 1 dots of resources, or the tender at a bar they used to frequent could be a 1 dot contact. Try and use these to develop and expand the character themselves and the bubble around them.

Read up on backgrounds and what the dots mean on our background page.

Step 7: Virtues


All characters have 3 virtues that make up who they are in a subconscious way. Their Conscience, Self-Control, and Courage. With 7 dots to spread around these three traits, try and think about how they would act on a daily basis. Do they have a strong sense of what they believe is right or wrong? Do they struggle to refrain from indulging in their vices? Tailor these to reflect their true selves and not how they present to others.

Step 8: Finishing Touches


There are a few traits that are derived from others, that’s what we’ll fill out now.

Humanity

Humanity is a measure of how humane your character is. When a character commits a “Sin” that is at or below their rating of humanity on the hierarchy of sins, they need to roll for degeneration (a conscience roll at a difficulty set by a Storyteller.) If a character passes, they feel guilty for their actions. If they don’t, they justify it to themselves and lose that point of humanity. In really severe cases (the roll is botched) they lose a dot of humanity, conscience, and gain a derangement/flaw that is selected by the Storyteller (though they can take suggestions!)

Hierarchy of Sin — Humanity
Humanity Moral Guideline
10 Selfish thoughts
9 Minor selfish acts
8 Injury to another (accidental or otherwise)
7 Theft
6 Accidental violation (drinking a vessel dry out of starvation)
5 Intentional property damage
4 Impassioned violation (manslaughter, killing a vessel in frenzy)
3 Planned violation (outright murder, savored exsanguination)
2 Casual violation (thoughtless killing, feeding past satiation)
1 Utter perversion or heinous acts

A character’s starting humanity value is their Conscience + Self-Control.

Willpower

Willpower is what it says on the tin, a measure of a character’s mental ability to persevere. This can be applied to rolls (at ST discretion) and grants 1 automatic success that can’t be negated by any means.

A character’s starting willpower is equal to their courage.

• Spineless
•• Weak
••• Unassertive
•••• Diffident
••••• Certain
•••••• Confident
••••••• Determined
•••••••• Controlled
••••••••• Iron-Willed
•••••••••• Unshakeable

Weakness

Aside from their disciplines, all clans have one thing that make them a collective group: their clan weakness. They’re listed below:

Brujah - The same passions that inspire Brujah to greatness or depravity, left unchecked, can send them into incandescent rages: The difficulties of rolls to resist or guide frenzy (p. 298) are two higher than normal. Additionally, a Brujah may never spend Willpower to avoid frenzy, though he may spend a point of Willpower to end a frenzy that has already begun.

Gangrel - Every time a Gangrel frenzies, she acquires a temporary animal characteristic (which may replace an existing temporary one). A patch of fur, a brief torpor after feeding, or skittishness around crowds — all of these may mar an Outlander after frenzy. Characteristics acquired in Gangrel frenzies need not only be physical – they can be behavioral as well. Players should work with the Storyteller to determine what new animal trait is acquired (whether the frenzy involved the fight-or-flight impulse may be relevant). Over time, or in an exceptional situation, a particular animal feature may become permanent, with the next frenzy adding a new feature. A good guideline is to require each frenzy-gained trait to have some effect grounded in system terms (such as the temporary reduction of Social Attribute dots or a permanent loss of Humanity), though some Storytellers may allow narrative-only traits that can shape the story

Nosferatu - All Nosferatu have an Appearance score of zero, and they may never improve it. Cross it off the character sheet. Dice pools that use the Appearance Trait are inherently difficult for these hideous Kindred. (All dots put into the Appearance attribute before now are lost and not refunded.)

Toreador - When a Toreador experiences something truly remarkable — a person, an objet d’art, a lovely sunrise — the player must make a Self-Control or Instincts roll (difficulty 6). Failure means that the Kindred finds herself enthralled by the experience. The dazzled Toreador cannot act for the duration of the scene aside from commenting on or continuing their involvement with whatever has captured their attention. If the experience no longer affects her (whether by moving, being destroyed, or whatever is appropriate to the situation), the captivation ends. Enraptured Toreador may not even defend themselves if attacked, though being wounded allows them to make another Self-Control or Instincts roll.

Ventrue - The Ventrue have rarified tastes, and they find only one specific type of mortal blood palatable and vital for them. When a player creates a Ventrue character, he should decide with the Storyteller what specific type of blood suits the character, and this choice is permanent. Blood of other types (even animals) simply offers the vampire no blood pool increase, no matter how much he consumes — he simply vomits it back up. This refined palate may be very narrow or very broad — say, the blood of younger sisters, or the blood of gamblers. Vampiric blood is exempt from this restriction.

Bloodpool

The starting value can be set to 5, and generations 13th-10th can use 1 bloodpoint a turn.

Experience

If your character has been a vampire for a year or more, they can take 1 xp per year of unlife, up to 10 years. Just write this in for now, don’t spend it.

Step 9: Freebies


Freebies are a set of free points that are given to all characters at character creation to enhance their character, and to buy merits and flaws. They are spent like experience points, but are worth more. By default, you start with 15 freebies to spend based on the chart below:

Freebies

Trait Cost
Attribute 5 per Dot
Ability 2 per Dot
Discipline 7 per Dot
Background 1 per Dot
Virtue 2 per dot
Humanity/Path 2 per Dot
Willpower 1 per Dot

Its highly recommended that you spend them on the following first:

  • Humanity increase to 7, as more humane characters are easier to portray accurately. Don't go over seven though, or it becomes harder to portray.
  • Willpower to 5 or 6. An average human normally has 4, though a little higher is strongly recommend, and you regain 1 willpower each day that is rested (as long as the sleep could be considered restful.) Feel free to increase it to where you would like it, though be prepared to justify willpower at 7 or more.

Remember to make a receipt of what you spend them on!

Merits and Flaws

This step is optional when creating a character, but highly recommended. The Merits and Flaws system in the World of Darkness allows for characters to be developed a little bit more than just through their base stats by being able to purchase benefits and weaknesses that fit them. They can be instrumental in shaping a character to their fullest extent.

While you can take as many merits as you can afford, you can only take up to 7 points of flaws, mainly because for each flaw point, you are given an extra freebie point, to give you a maximum of 21 freebies to use instead of just 15. Some are mechanical changes, but a lot of them are just for roleplay purposes. Its strongly encouraged to take roleplay-focused merits/flaws as long as you are going to play them properly, as they can really add something if done well.

Check out our massive list of over 400 merits and flaws to see what's banned, restricted, or in-play.

Making a Mortal

To make a mortal, all you really need is the first and last few steps. The key part is to ignore all vampire specific traits and faith when constructing them. Grab our mortal sheet here.

Ending Thoughts

Hopefully this guide helped you in some way. If you need any help, please feel free to message a Storyteller with your questions and they'll get back to you as fast as possible. Once you finish, the file as well as a separate file for the character's backstory can be submitted to #character-submission.

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