Site hosted by Build your free website today!
I made this page when I finally realized, Malkavians are hard for many people to play. This despite the fact that one out of four of us have some sort of mental illness. You would think insanity would be easier to grasp knowing that. Everyone knows someone insane, heck odds are you're that person, or at least one of your personalities is.
Playing Malkavians: Players Biggest Mistake
Malkav's Quiz:What kind of Malkavian do you play?
Guide to Playing Derangements
Character Concepts
Back to Mount Pleasant by Night Main Page
Playing Malkvavians: Players Biggest Mistake

I have seen many people play a great Tremere, or Brujah, and many experienced role players take on a Malkavian character and completely mess it up. This was for a very simple reason, they played "fluffy" characters. They mistakenly assumed that Malkavians were a "comic relief" clan in the World of Darkness. Their characters did odd, stupid, and sometimes downright silly things. I saw a coterie of Malkavians who wanted to ghoul an elephant. Why? Because Malkavians are crazy and that is what crazy vampires would do.

That struck me as a really bad explanation. Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, and Hannibal Lector were crazy. Could you see any of them becoming vampires and ghouling an elephant? Edgar Allen Poe was definitely not mentally stable, but had he become a Vampire, he certainly wouldn't have ghouled an elephant. Another thing people forget, insane doesn't mean stupid, or even bizarre. Most insane people are above average intelligence even, often geniuses. Their minds do not work the same as normal people's, they tend to look at problems differently, see the world from a different perspective, but they see it clearer too. That is what made Hannibal Lector so frightening. If you want to know if your Malkavian is fluffy take this simple quiz.

Malkav's Quiz
1. You are upset with an elder or ancilla you get even by...
A. Giving him a wedgie.
B. Telling the Harpy some of his "dirty" secrets.
C. Throwing his favorite Childer out the window.
D. You do nothing, but make him think you have a horrible plan in action
already. The fear of what you are planning will scare him more than
anything you could plan.
2. During your first meeting with the Prince you....
A. Tell dirty jokes, claim Saulot was your Sire.
B. Introduce yourself, your clan, adhering to all traditions, and etiquette.
C. Act a little unusual, but nothing that would worry him. Shake hands with
a joy buzzer though.
D. Introduce yourself. Walk out. (Remember you can ignore status once per night with no penalty.)
3. When in a battle you....
A. Throw pies, then run in fear.
B. Dominate people into sleeping.
C. Throw the nearest Brujah at your enemy because you have
primary physical traits.
D. Obfuscate, then Possess your most powerful enemy. If you don't have possession see B.
4. When the Prince disappears you....
A. Declare yourself Prince, and declare a Salubri (pointing to nearest Tremere)
as Seneschal. Then Blood Hunt yourself, and a carpet.
B. Get your clan together via the Madness Network, and work out a plan to
increase your powerbase by supporting the next "Prince".
C. Get your clan together, declare one of you Prince. Then kill the Brujah, and
any one else you says you can't be the Prince because you bought
up Puissance last week.
D. You do nothing. It's the Prince, you really think he died and no one
noticed? He's watching to see who he can trust, and get his most powerful
enemies to start fighting over who'll be the next Prince. Remember you are
crazy, not stupid.
5. When interacting with other Kindred in the city....
A. You tell Tremere jokes.
B. You act normal, being sure you play out your derangement a little, and use
subterfuge to find people's flaws.
C. Lure people outside, diablerize them, and blame it on your other personality.
D. Sit and listen. Offering help when asked, but not asking for payment. Yet...
Scoring: Give yourself no points for an A, one point for a B, subtract one
 point for every C, and two points for every D.
8-10  You are Malkav himself. You broke your mirror years ago.
5-7    You can pass for an insane Tremere any day. 
1-4    You have the idea down, you just need to get it out better.
0       You need to reread what I just wrote. 
-1/-5  What the Hell are you playing? Brujah are violent, not insane. Maybe 
that clan is for you.

Malkavian Concepts
Double-Agent Times Three:
This concept is of a Malkavian with multiple personalities. Each personality assuming that it is a member of a different faction sent to spy on whatever group the Malkavian is a part of. This concept works well with a conspiracy theorist concept too.

Derangements: Multiple Personality, Paranoid, Angelism (he's convinced he is 007) be careful you don't become too fluffy and comic with this role though. Remember, the character feels his life is in danger at all times, he is surrounded by his enemies.

Merits/Flaws: Acting aptitude, Acute senses (any), Eidetic memory, danger sense

Disciplines: Auspex at least two levels, Obfuscate

Dark Prophet
You've seen Gehenna, worse yet, you know you're the only one who can stop it. However, if your enemies find out what you're planning they'll try to stop you. Secrecy is a must, no one must know what you know.

Derangements: Paranoid of Ancients, Paranoid, possibly Angelism (you are Jesus reborn in time for the Last Battle)

Merits/Flaws: Higher Purpose, Omens, Bard's Tongue (from Changeling the Shining Host), Destiny, Occult Library /Nightmares, Driving Goal (destroy the Antediluvians, Dark Fate
Disciplines: Dominate level two at least, Obfuscate preferable level two.
Touched Artist
In life you were a starving artist, mildly interested in the occult, and in love with Edgar Allen Poe's works. However, you had no true talent yourself. While dabbling in the occult you discovered the Toreador clan. You became a blood doll, begging each and all to Embrace you, to teach you art. You became obsessed, and even crashed a Toreador party once after stalking the Primogen of their clan for over a week.

The Toreador mocked you as "talentless rubbish", then threw you out. You went to an alley, planning to kill yourself. Even slit your wrists, and waited to die. Then a woman in a beautiful gown approached you. She said she'd seen your talent (you assumed she was referring to your art), she was impressed. She Embraced you that night in the alley and disappeared, asking only that continue to show the Toreador clan you art despite all adversity. Derangements: Obsession with art or a particular Toreador artist.

Merits/Flaws: Low Self-Esteem linked to you artistic ability, Clan Enmity (Toreador)

Disciplines: Auspex three levels (preferable) Obfuscate one level to continue stalking your role models.

Role Playing Tips: You believe you are a Toreador now. The rest of the clan despises you, but your talent is growing slowly. Constantly doodle, or paint, write poetry. Become severely depressed if you work is ridiculed by a Toreador, then get even with the Toreador who ridiculed it. Remember Malkav and Toreador were brother and sister. Express your madness through art.
Guide to Playing Derangements
A part of playing Malkavians that I have noticed to my chagrin that often gets no attention is the Derangements. Each Malkavian has one (usually more), but most players and storytellers seem to ignore them. A Malkavian's derangement is often the major focus of a character. Yet, I have noticed that they rarely seem to come into play, or the derangement is played in a manor inconsistent with the madness it is meant to be. A great example is a character with Multiple Personality Disorder. Players often just give their character a second Nature and Demeanor, and I feel that robs the derangement of a lot of potential for role-playing. Something that I've found that works better is to have the Storyteller actually write up the second personality. Give it a different Nature and Demeanor, but also different traits and abilities, even different disciplines (including some out of clan ones the core personality doesn't know). Give the new personality its own motivations and ideas, figure out if it lets the core know that it exists even, is it hostile to the core, friendly, or even aware of the core? Watch the movie Cybil if you need to see a few examples of Multiple Personality Disorder at work.

A second hint is for the Storyteller to remember he has a Malkavian in the game. Don't expect him to always do all the work with his derangement. If a character has Angelism and believes he is Jesus Christ, tell him what he's seeing in his world. Should that character decide to embrace someone, don't say "You bend down over the body you've just drained of blood, cut your wrist and allow a drop to flow into their pale blue lips...she coughs and slowly opens her eyes again...eyes no longer shining with light, but tinged with an internal damnation and growing madness." Describe the scene through the Malkavian's madness, something like this "You walk up to the corpse, you can't tell how she died, but she's definitely gone from this world. You approach her body, and lay your hands upon her brow. You beseech your Father in Heaven, and are answered when your hands begin to glow with a pale holy white light. Her pale blue eyes open, looking up at you with love and devotion. A miracle has occurred, you have returned a soul from Heaven, all according to your Father's great plan." If other characters are present though, make sure they see what is actually happening too though.

Another fun thing is to occasionally remind players that Malkavians while mad, have at times a clearer almost uncanny sense of what is really happening. Should you have a character suffering from Paranoia, who is always convinced someone is following them or watching him, come up to him and begin to tell him that he's getting weird vibes. During the story continue to drop hints that he's being followed, continue along by giving hints of what is following him too. Hints of a lupine, or mage, or something that the group really can't handle if it surprises them. Most of the players will ignore the Kook, "He's just having a fit again." Then later in the game, drop that lupine on the party. Make sure it surprises the characters, with the sole exception of the Malkavian who knew it was there all along. If you want to get really sick, later in another game do the same thing, but this time don't have a lupine or mage pop up. This time it really was just the Kook having a fit, but the players will be on edge the entire night, remembering the last time.

Back to Mount Pleasant by Night Main Page