Monday, 12 October 2015

Vampire the Masquerade idea: The Real Play


[On filming an actor without his giving permission to be filmed]
Robert K. Bowfinger: Did you know Tom Cruise had no idea he was in that vampire movie till two years later?        Bowfinger (1999)


  A Real Play is when a vampire directs other Kindred to create a semi-improvised story in real time, similar to a story you would see in cinema or at the theater, with one or many mortals as unwitting participants. The public will be composed of vampires hidden via Obfuscate, either by their own power or by vampires with the Discipline high enough to mask the spectators.

  The Real Play genres can be varied and can last from a single night session to weeks or even months of story. It is often frowned upon by the Camarilla as being risky, which draws many rebellious neonates to it, but even they will make sure their Real Plays do not endanger the Masquerade. They are nevertheless very cruel plays. A romantic-themed Real Play might involve a handsome Toreador courting a mortal woman for months, helping her in her life through countless difficulties (many which will have been arranged by the Director) and finally ending like many romantic stories would end, with popular choices being a promise of moving in together or matrimony. That is normally considered the end of the story, and then the Director, Actors and Obfuscators move on to their next project for the enjoyment and entertainment of the Kindred Spectators. The fact that the mortal woman's life actually continues with her wondering what happened to her beloved fiance just isn't a concern for most of the cruel vampires who participate in this 'art form'.
  It could have been worse for this theoretical mortal though. As you're about to read, the Sabbat handles it a bit differently.

  Sabbat vampires, as is to be expected, are much more extreme in their Real Plays. Vamprie Disciplines can, for example, re-create very easily a Haunted House scenario. The Obteneration Discipline of the Lasombra can prove particularly interesting for those. A vampire with good Fortitude and Potence can play the role of a Slasher to perfection. Technically, as long as they don't reveal themselves to be vampires and don't expose any actual Kindred weaknesses, they're not breaking the Masquerade, so while Camarilla elders would fall down hard on the participants of such a Real Play, the Sabbat elders will probably overlook it.

  In any case, while a Camarilla Real Play might end with the vampires leaving the mortals to their lives (Sometimes leaving the door open for a 'sequel' with the same 'protagonists'), Sabbat ones will often celebrate the end of a Real Play by feeding on the protagonists, so even in the event of a risky Play outright breaking the Masquerade, it changes little in the end.

  If the mortals behave in such a way that it leads to an unsatisfying or anti-thematic ending, the Director and/or Actors can lose face, either for having chosen the wrong mortals to involve or for not having done their job properly. Everyone's a critic, a no one likes to critic more than a Kindred at the Elysium.