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Playing the Prince: A Guide for Storytellers

Written by Kate Manchester

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This is an article in two parts: The first section covered the history of vampires to help an individual create a realistic Prince of the City. The second is for the Storytellers; offering tips on creating and portraying an effective Prince for your Chronicle.

The first part of the article was published under the article titled "Out of Legend and Into Fiction: The Origins of the Vampire". So for you Storytellers, here is the second part.

As a Vampire Storyteller, you have to wear many hats. It is up to you to create and portray all of the NPCs that may inhabit your city. Out of all this cast of characters, none is perhaps more important than the Prince of your city. For in your city, the Prince has the ultimate power.

When creating the Prince, first keep in mind that there are a number of by Night supplements. Most of them have an established Prince, along with their stats. You can either use them as is, or you could change their name and perhaps move the stats around.

But, if you are like me and would rather create your own Prince, then you can simply use the stats in the by Night books simply as a guideline as to the abilities and disciplines of a more typical Prince. You can also use the following guidelines:

  • As you choose your city's Prince, consider the city's character and history. A more 'artsy' city such as San Francisco or Carmel, California would be more likely to be held by a Toreador. A gritty steel town like Pittsburgh, might be held by either a Brujah Labor Union leader or by a Ventrue and a town like Salem, MA, famed for it's witch trials, might have a Tremere Prince.
  • Remember also, the history of the country you are using. In America, the East Coast cities are much older than those of the West. It is not unusual to have 6th Generation and lower vampires in power in the East, where a Western city might be more likely to have 6th to 9th Generation vampires that followed the kine settlers in hopes of establishing a new power base.
  • The city's vampiric 'affiliation' also plays a major role in choosing a Prince. Who holds the city? The Anarchs? The Camarilla? Someone else? It is important to keep that in mind. After all, it is highly unlikely that a Camarilla city would be ruled by a Sabbat or an Independent Kindred. (Unless the Kindred in question was very VERY clever)
While we are on the subject of Clans, do not overlook the possibility of other Clans besides Ventrue as candidates for Prince. Tremere are after all, one of the Ventrue's greatest rivals, and they are known to hold the position. So too, with the Toreador. But within the Camarilla exist other possibilities. The hideous Nosferatu hold many secrets, and probably have enough dirt on the other Kindred to allow them to stay in power. Although the Malkavians are crazy, there is wisdom in madness. While Brujah are known for their tempers, their Presence makes them equally qualified to hold the position as Prince. And while the independents are very unpopular choices for Prince, it is not outside the realm of possibility. Caitiff have been known to serve as Prince; as have the Giovanni.

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