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A Riddle Wrapped In A Mystery Inside An Enigma: Kindred Personal Secrets

by: Mitch A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

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In Chicago By Night, White Wolf introduced a trait called City Secrets. Storyteller characters have a grade in this trait (A to F) indicating how much they know about what's really going on in Kindred society. This was a good idea and I expanded it for my Storyteller characters.

The game's title includes an allusion to a conspiracy, the Masquerade. Secrets are an integral part of the genre. So City Secrets isn't all a Storyteller should consider. Kindred seem more real to me if they have secrets of their own to hide.

For every Storyteller character I write up one or more Personal Secrets. Merits & Flaws are a good place to look to start inventing new Personal Secrets. This must be something the character doesn't want anyone else to know about.

Personal Secrets are a great tool to represent the paranoia and horror of the game. Some are mundane, some supernatural. They can be political, social or physical. Here is a list of some Personal Secrets I came up with.

The character...

  • has powers outside her clan.
  • poses as a lower-generation than she really is.
  • acts like a different clan than she really is.
  • was Embraced by an opposing sect.
  • deals with an opposing sect or enemy group (like Lupines).
  • studies an opposing sect or enemy group.
  • is Blood Bound.
  • has broken a Blood Bond.
  • actively conspires against a major character or an entire clan.
  • idolizes another Kindred.
  • wishes to sire progeny, or already has against the Prince's will.
  • plots to become Prince.
  • is hunted by someone powerful.
  • accidentally learned another character's personal secret.
  • knows about sect secrets she shouldn't.
  • runs a blood cult.
  • hates members of the opposite sex.
  • is in love with a mortal or another Kindred.
  • still tries to have sex, eat food or maintain a mortal existence.
  • feeds on other Kindred's retainers.
  • steals from other Kindred.
  • is a carrier of a disease.
  • has a derangement.
  • has committed Diablerie or wishes to try it.
  • has destroyed an elder.
  • is an infernalist.
  • voluntarily Frenzies whenever she can.
  • is losing control (Humanity is falling).
  • is becoming soft (Humanity is rising).
  • is contemplating suicide.
  • hates being undead or a vampire.
  • feels out of touch with the modern age.
  • is very unlucky.
  • is a failure, or thinks she is.
  • is terrified of her own Sire.

Personal Secrets are simple until you start using them and designing them to fit your characters. Don't just pick one from the list; invent one for each character.
Here's an example:

I had an angst-ridden Gangrel named Franco running with the more macho Gangrel in the city. Definitely a follower, I needed something secret to flesh him out. I decided the character hunts in wolf form, and wolves don't wound - they kill. So when Franco switches to wolf form, he hunts down prey, kills it, and drinks its blood. Occasionally that prey is a human and he feels guilty over it, but rationalizes it as his other side doing it, sort of like a split personality.

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