Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How It Feels To Be A Vampire

Human or Vampire - one just seems (and is) more deadly.
Let's say that you are Embraced and to begin with the virus makes you feel more alive on a physical level.  I mean, you no longer deal with life's little irritations of dead legs, aching muscles, soreness from sleeping at a bad angle, or tense muscles from sitting at a desk.  All of those little pains ... gone.  Even the bigger pains just don't seem so important without blood loss and the threat of death from bleeding out or infection.  That's the first thing you notice and it doesn't seem so bad.

It's only later on when you're dealing with other people that you really start picking out the downsides.  When you meet your sire, your Beast doesn't rebel against the first contact but it does try to compel you to attack / compete or get the hell out of dodge.  Only the Beast isn't a physical entity.  It's not your heart hammering against your ribs although some kindred find it easier to define it and delineate its boundaries as though it were something so coherent.  Oh no, its an irritation beneath the skin.  An agitation within the mind.  An instinct or drive for fight or flight that is similar to the low-level anxiety of being in a bad conversation and either wanting to leave or wanting to idly smack them in the nose to make them stop talking.

Imagine that?  Imagine being so irritable that almost every kindred you meet gets the same kind of response that you, as a human being, might get from being stuck in a lift with an annoying person for way too long.  I'm surprised they're not more eager to hang out with Mekhet who've hidden their Beast as that would quiet the sensation of the Beast - at least quiet it in terms of one's reactions to the Mekhet.

It kind of explains the Danse Macarbe somewhat, even if you take immortality and a circle of predators out of the equation.  Grudge matches are necessary simply to kill off some of that tension by redirecting it towards ones enemies.

Then you've got humans where even if you're not hungry you're idly eyeing them off like a satiated person eyes off their favourite pudding that they're not meant to eat.  Sure you can have a conversation around that pudding but every so often a thought will intrude.  Can I fit it?  Do I have room?  Should I ask for a slice?  The moment you're no longer full, the thoughts become a little more intrusive as the Beast is a predator that leaves little margin for error.  At a certain point, the thoughts become so intrusive that they are unbearable.  They tear at the kindred's mind like a human being gasping for oxygen or whose throat burns for water.  What would you do for relief?

The trouble is that if a kindred lets control for an instance, the instincts take over and the kindred is like a Geiger Alien - all drives but without the cunning.  Eat, kill, flee.  That's all they understand.  Suddenly that friend is no longer a person but a decanter full of the good stuff.  That irritation is now an enemy that must be destroyed.  That roaring fireplace is now something that cannot be faced.  When you come to yourself, you're not where you were before and you only have vague impressions of what you've done - which may be more a part of a person's coping mechanisms (dissociation) than any element of the Beast.

So we've spoken about people and the difficulties of having a good conversation with someone.  There are plus sides, still.  You might have magical powers that allow you to read minds and convince other people to like you.  You might just be able to win in an arm wrestle or any foot chase against a mere mortal.  So not only are the people you deal with irritating, but you get to feel a bit smug because on some levels you're better than them.  The Beast exarcebates this (especially if you're higher Blood Potency) but even without that, you need to be convinced that the upsides are better than the downsides.  Especially as your Humanity drops and humans start instinctively shying away from you.

Otherwise, if you truly let the crippling self-doubts in to make you wonder why you're still existing, well, you probably won't exist for long.  So those that roll with the superiority to make themselves feel better are naturally going to be the ones that survive which means that Nature Favors the Power Hungry and the Smug.  At least until the power hunger or smugness leads to acts of stupidity.

Oh, and let's not forget the difficulties of sun proofing a home.  Imagine knowing the world was toxic for approximately 12 hours out of every 24 unless you put yourself in an almost air tight container.  It's not easy to ensure that no sunlight enters.  I mean, we're not talking direct sunlight.  We're talking any sunlight.  If your eyes can adjust to vaguely make out silhouettes then that's still enough sunlight to likely cause an aggravated damage over the course of the night.  True, you still don't have to make it quite air-tight but that's a poor consolation.

Now when you're walking down the street and someone lights up, you get the urge to take a couple steps away.  Those homeless guys standing around a flaming bin are actually somewhat protected against you unless you're really keen on approaching and can swallow the fear.  Just be grateful its not the time of yesteryear where you not only were up only at night but your own light sources were starlight or ... firelight.  It must've been a pain trying to do your studies by gaslight or firelight.

Anywho, if you want more articles on vampires you can take a look at my vampire campaign over here.

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