Gamers' Corner


Playing the Prince: A Guide for Storytellers

Written by Kate Manchester

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Once you have chosen the Prince's Clan, the next step would be to consider the Prince's stats. No matter what Clan the Prince is, there will be many other Kindred who covet the position. If your Prince has been ruling the city for an extended period of time, they have had to be either clever enough, strong enough, or had enough loyal retainers and Kindred to be able to stay there.

That means that they will probably be an Elder, or at the very least, an Ancilla. A Neonate Prince is not going to last very long if surrounded by Kindred that are older and stronger than they are. They should also be armed with a suitable number of Disciplines. A Kindred that is around for a hundred years or more is not going to just have a dot in each of their Clan Disciplines.

In fact, they might even have one or more Non-Clan ones. Next you should look at the Prince's backgrounds. A prince should have a pretty good network of contacts. If you are running a LARP, they should definitely have a good number of influences, especially in the realms of Bureaucracy, Police, and Media. A Camarilla Prince is not going to last long if they can not cover up a Masquerade breach.

Now that you have completed the Prince's sheet, it is time to give your Prince some life. Write a history for your character. Describe what they wear. Does the Prince wear Armani or Donna Karan? Does the Prince have some sort of habit? Mine has a habit of twisting her ring, which I demonstrate using a prop ring. A Prince should be memorable, not some cardboard character. After all, they pull not only the strings of the city, but sometimes also those of the other Kindred. On the other hand, sometimes it is the other Kindred that pull the Prince's strings . . .

Now that you have your Prince, here is a few things you want to keep in mind while you portray them. First and perhaps foremost, a good Prince is neither stupid nor clueless. A Prince should have a pretty good network of contacts, especially in the areas of local politics, police, and media, and they would not be afraid to use them. If a Prince can not cover up a Masquerade breach, they are not going to hold the position for long. If they can not keep tabs on their Kindred enemies, the Prince's enemies will likely destroy him.

And if nothing else, a Prince should appear to be SOMEWHAT fair to all Clans and all Kindred. If the players screw up, you, as the Prince, need to make sure thay are punished. Mercy is not generally part of a Prince's vocabulary. If players are going around feeding indiscriminately or actively plotting against the Prince, the Prince could (and perhaps should) decide to call a bloodhunt or leave the offenders staked out for the sun. And as the Prince, you should never be afraid to use Disciplines when needed. Do not pull your punches just because you are dealing with your players instead of an NPC. Use those dots of Celerity, Dominate, or Presence when it is called for.

The Prince of a city is the most politically powerful Kindred. Unless someone else is pulling the Prince's strings behind the scenes, your Prince should convey that impression. Regardless of whether the city's Prince is your player's adversary or ally.

In conclusion, just as your choice of city is important in your campaign, so too is how you play the one who controls it.

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