Posted on October 9, 2011 by Flames
The Vampire Retrospective continues with an essay from Morgan A. Oviatt. Morgan tells us about his first character and making friends with “a guy in a beret playing an Assamite” which certainly sounds cool to me.
Vampire with Moon
My initial forays into the World of Darkness was a boy in my NASA-funded school in Texas nicknamed “Satan”. He was a goth, had sharpened nails and carried the Vampire Player’s guide everywhere but played with nobody. He struck me as a bit of a git, and so I was initially hesitant to consider Vampire as a real game.
Later as I joined college in Akron Ohio, my need to game led me to surrender to go to the Student Center for “Vampire with Moon” which was a game run by a guy actually last-named Moon. The game left me hesitant as I was talked into playing a Tremere in the session right after all the Tremere of the city were killed. Needless to say, Vampire was already running a difficult slope in convincing me of it’s viability as a game.
But my first friend was a guy in a beret playing an Assamite. As bad as the game was, the Assamite, whose name I no longer remember, was my first semi-friend at the school. He, through Vampire, taught me about logical character writing. He helped me prepare for combat by leading me into other LARPs, like the ongoing game of Daggerhair. He provided me my first in-game joke that I tell often, but not here. And Vampire made me learn to doubt my grip on religion.
At this time, the Kindred TV show was coming onto the air and the religious right of my school tried to protest both the show on the air, and the game at the Student Center. They told of its evils and how I was doomed. But I didn’t see doom. I saw a group of quacks and started my foray from the world of myth to the world of knowledge, much like Plato’s cave. But college was not yet for me, so I joined the Army.
When I graduated from Basic Training in the US Army, I had a pitiful room to live in. My favorite storyteller, Wayne Pennington, ran my first tabletop game of Vampire/Werewolf in my tiny barracks room for the cost of snacks and drinks. Not once did he ever pick up a shield or a set of dice and yet not one of the four players felt he was cheating in telling the story. It is a skill I tried to learn and have yet to succeed. But that doesn’t mean I have stopped trying.
When I moved to Germany, nobody was playing any game, dice or otherwise. I figured with the paltry selection of books I bought for the Pennington game, it was time to either “put up or shut up”. I began a game of the classic Transylvania Chronicles adventures and had ten people show up, four of whom were scheduled and they all brought friends. Although I ended up not using the last three books, I ended the series with six of the original ten. Of those players, one became my wife and one became a groom for whom I flew to be a best man.
When I returned home from the army, I learned that my best friend from high school, who was almost my first when I was going through that “sexually ambiguous” point in my life, had become the (Regional?) storyteller for the Houston area LARPs. I tried to reconnect with him, but Wes and I had grown apart. I still see him on Facebook and wish him well.
Roughly every three years, I retry the Transylvania game, since I bought the books. I never get to use half the books and the character growth and plots never end up anywhere close to the expectations at the start, but every time has at least some new player call me a curse word. When that moment happens, I know that my game skills have gotten a little better at writing the script and the player has just become a lifelong friend.
Vampire has been with me since 1994 in one opinion or another. Disgust, acceptance, friendship, love, and resolution; all of these are parts of my life and parts of my relationship with others through the game of Vampire the Masquerade.
Morgan A. Oviatt – 2011
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