The Vampire character-creation system is designed around five basic precepts. Keep these in mind while generating the persona you will assume in the World of Darkness.

1. You may create a character of any age, from any culture and from any nation, subject to the Storyteller’s approval. However, generally speaking and depending on the type of game and story you are running, all characters are assumed to begin the game as neonate vampires who have only recently left the safety of their sires’ protection with no more than 25 years of experience as Kindred. They know relatively little of Kindred society, other than what their sires have told them. This allows characters to experience the World of Darkness as it unfolds before them in all its mystery, rather than having the lore of ages already under their belts. A character’s apparent age is the age at which she was Embraced and became one of the Kindred.

2. The character-creation system is intended more as a persona development device than as a strict mechanical system. Who wants more rules at the expense of an interesting character or a good story? The character cannot just exist as mere dots on a page — roleplaying is always just as important as numbers.

3. Players have a certain number of points to spend on Traits they would like their characters to have. Players also get “freebie points” at the end of character creation; they may spend these to round out their characters, add personality and further differentiate their characters from those of other players.

4. A Trait rating of 1 is poor, while a rating of 5 is excellent. Thus, a character with a single dot in a Trait is either not very good with that Trait or is a beginner. Don’t think that your character sucks because she’s only got one dot in Manipulation. The experience system presented allows characters to grow and improve their Traits. Traits are rated according to a human scale (except vampiric Traits like Advantages and blood pool, which are rated on a Kindred standard).

5. It is your responsibility to take on a role that’s not detrimental to the coterie, just like in any cooperative game. Vampires are solitary creatures, so there has to be some reason you’ve joined up with your Kindred companions (the other players’ characters). Despite the fact that the hostile World of Darkness forces coteries together, Kindred don’t tend to hang out just for the hell of it.


Storytellers may choose to allow players to create more experienced and knowledgeable characters. Indeed, players of Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition may prefer an “ancilla game” or an all-elders chronicle instead.

In this case, we recommend first building a neonate character and then granting players a number of experience points that allows them to increase their characters’ Traits to levels suitable to the chronicle and the age of their vampires. As a basic rule of thumb, “idle” Kindred should have a number of Discipline dots equal to the square root of her age.

Remember that players’ characters are rarely “idle” like Storyteller characters, so they’ll rapidly outpace this guideline. That’s fine; they’re out there in the world, having exciting encounters and earning more experience than passive Storyteller characters. Remember that the cost for raising a Trait which is already advanced can be very expensive.

Neonates should recieve 0-35 EXP. Ancillae should recieve 75-220 EXP. Elder should recieve 250-600. Methuselahs should recieve 1000+ EXP.

STEP ONE: Character concept.

CONCEPT: A character’s concept generally refers to who the character was before becoming a vampire. Many Kindred cling desperately to any salvageable aspects of their former selves — their self-image, their occupation, how they lived, what was unique about them. In their new nocturnal world, echoes of their mortal lives are all that stand between many Kindred and madness. Concept is important because it helps a vampire relate to the world. It’s not a numerical Trait, and it has no mechanical effect on the game. Its benefit is that it allows you to formulate a personality for your character, and it provides an anchor for a vampire who wishes to preserve her dwindling Humanity — or to rail against it. EXAMPLES: drag racing stripper, fash-bashing punk, lone wolf pickpocket, charming playboy.

CLAN: A character’s Clan is her vampire “family,” the undead legacy into which she was Embraced. Vampires are always of the same Clan as their sires, the vampires who Embrace them. Go back to Chapter Two, look at the templates, and decide which Clan you’d like your character to be. As previously mentioned, the Storyteller may disallow members of certain Clans based on the Sect the chronicle involves. Many chronicles, for example, allow only vampires from the Camarilla Clans, while games run at conventions or by organized play clubs sometimes stipulate specific “venue appropriate” criteria. If a player wishes, she need not choose a Clan at all. Many vampires in the modern nights have blood so diluted that they can truly claim no Clan. Unwanted 84 CHAPTER THREE: CHARACTER AND TRAITS and scorned, these Clanless “Caitiff” are increasingly common. If you wish to play such a character, simply write “Caitiff” under the Clan heading on the character sheet.

NATURE AND DEMEANOR: After choosing concept and Clan, a player should choose her character’s Nature and Demeanor. These behavioral Traits, known as Archetypes, help players understand their characters’ personalities. Demeanor is the way a character presents herself to the outside world. It is the “mask” she wears to protect her inner self. A character’s Demeanor often differs from her Nature, though it might not. Also, Demeanor refers to the attitude a character adopts most often — people change Demeanors as often as they change their minds. Demeanor has no effect on any rules. Nature is the character’s “real” self, the person she truly is. The Archetype a player chooses reflects that character’s deep-rooted feelings about herself, others, and the world. Nature should not be the only aspect of a character’s true personality, merely the most dominant. Nature is also used to determine a character’s ability to regain Willpower points.

STEP TWO: Select attributes.

ATTRIBUTES: prioritize the three categories: Physical, Social, Mental (7/5/3). Your character automatically has one dot in each Attribute. Rate Physical Traits: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina.

Rate Social Traits: Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance.

Rate Mental Traits: Perception, Intelligence, Wits.

Players now assign dots to their sheets. The first step in determining a character’s numeric Traits is to prioritize his Attributes. Attributes are the natural abilities and raw capabilities a character is made of. How strong is a character? How attractive? How quick? How smart? Attributes take all these questions and more into account. All Vampire characters have nine Attributes, which are divided into three categories: Physical (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina), Social (Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance), and Mental (Perception, Intelligence, Wits).

First, the player must select which group of Attributes is his character’s strong suit (primary). The player then selects the group in which the character is average (secondary). Finally, the remaining group is designated as the character’s weak point (tertiary).

Is your character tough but antisocial, or gorgeous but a complete airhead? Character concept and Clan may suggest certain ranks for these priorities or obvious ways to play against type, but feel free to decide upon any scheme you please. Your character is a person first and a vampire second.

All Vampire characters start with one dot in each Attribute, reflecting the basic capabilities of the mortals from which they’re drawn. (There are exceptions, such as the Nosferatu and the Samedi, who have zero dots in their Appearance Attribute.)

A character’s priorities determine how many dots the player may allocate to that cluster of Attributes. A player may distribute seven additional dots to his character’s primary group, five additional dots to the secondary group, and three dots to the tertiary group. For example, a tough, athletic character will likely allocate seven dots to his Physical category, while a clever, wise character will place seven dots in her Mental category

STEP THREE: Select abilities.

Prioritize the three categories: Talents, Skills, Knowledges (13/9/5). Choose Talents, Skills, Knowledges. No Ability higher than 3 at this stage.

Abilities are also divided into three categories: Talents, Skills, and Knowledges.

Talents are intuitive Abilities that are inherent or learned by honing raw aptitude. Skills are Abilities learned through rigorous training or determination. They may be improved with careful practice, but can also be studied or learned through training. Knowledges are just that — book learning and the like. Knowledges are typically mental pursuits or studies learned through schooling or research.

Like Attributes, Ability groups are also prioritized during character creation. Players should select primary, secondary, and tertiary groups for their Abilities.

The primary group receives 13 dots, the secondary group gets nine, and the tertiary group receives five.

Note that, unlike Attributes, characters do not begin the game with automatic dots in any Ability. Further, no Ability may be purchased above three dots during this stage of character creation — even among the undead, experts in a field don’t grow on trees. You may raise Abilities higher with freebie points later

STEP FOUR: Select advantages.

ADVANTAGES: Choose Disciplines (3), Backgrounds (5), and rate Virtues (7). Your character automatically has one dot in each Virtue

Now comes the part of character generation during which the vampire truly becomes unique. Advantages are Traits that make the vampire a contender in the hierarchy of the night. Advantages are not prioritized; a set number of dots are allocated to each category. Although this number is fixed, additional Advantage dots may be purchased with freebie points.

Disciplines: When vampires are Embraced, their sires pass on to them certain blood-based mystical powers, known as Disciplines. Each character begins with three dots of Disciplines, which may be allocated as the player chooses. For example, she may spend all three dots on one Discipline or spend a dot each on three Disciplines. Disciplines purchased with Advantage dots must be from the three Clan Disciplines all Clans possess. Each Clan description in Chapter Two lists the Disciplines practiced by that Clan (bloodline variations to the Clans can be found in Chapter Ten).

If the character is a Clanless Caitiff, she may purchase whatever Disciplines she wants, subject to Storyteller approval. (Note: Disciplines purchased with freebie points need not be Clan Disciplines.)

Backgrounds: A starting character has five dots worth of Backgrounds, which may be distributed at the player’s discretion.

Background Traits should fit the character concept — a destitute Gangrel street preacher isn’t likely to have Resources, for example — though the Storyteller may disallow or encourage players to take certain Backgrounds for their characters.

Virtues: Virtues are very important to Vampire characters. They provide the moral backbone for characters and determine how readily they resist the temptations of the Beast. A character’s emotional responses are very closely tied to her Virtues; these Traits define how well the character resists frenzy and how keenly she feels remorse. Virtues are essential in resisting the urges of the Beast and the Hunger, and most vampires lose points in their Virtues as they grow older and more callous.

A Vampire character has three Virtues. Conscience governs a character’s sense of right and wrong, while Self-Control determines how readily she maintains her composure and contains her Hunger. Courage measures the character’s gumption and ability to withstand the proximity of fire, sunlight, and other things that vampires dread.

Given that Vampire is fundamentally about coming to grips with one’s monstrous nature and, hopefully, overcoming it, Storytellers who want to emphasize Vampire’s core struggle of the Beast vs. Humanity can encourage their players to select the Virtues of Conscience and Self-Control for their characters.

However, certain Kindred, particularly the vampires of the Sabbat, adhere to different ethical outlooks. For these vampires, the Virtues of Conviction and Instinct may replace the Virtues of Conscience and Self-Control, respectively. (All vampires have the Courage Virtue.)

If you decide that your character is sufficiently inhuman to warrant these Virtues, and if the Storyteller permits you to take them, you may circle the appropriate Virtues on the character sheet. Be warned that in taking these Virtues, you have effectively designated your character a monster.

Every character starts out with one dot in Conscience and Self-Control, and zero dots in Conviction and Instinct. The player may then distribute seven additional dots among the Virtues as she sees fit. These Virtues play instrumental roles in determining a character’s starting Humanity (or Path) and Willpower levels, so be careful how you spend the points.

STEP FIVE: Final Touches.

At this stage, the player may spend 15 freebie points to personalize his character. First, however, a bit of bookkeeping needs to be done.

Humanity: A character’s starting Humanity rating equals the sum of her Conscience + Self-Control Traits, yielding a score between 5 and 9. Players can also increase their Humanity with freebie points, as too low a rating indicates that the Beast lies in close proximity.

Note: Characters on Paths other than Humanity may use different Virtues to determine their initial Path ratings. to determine which Paths use which Virtues.

Willpower: A character’s beginning Willpower rating equals her Courage dots, and thus ranges from 1 to 5. Players often raise their starting Willpower with freebie points, as the Trait is critical to dealing with a Kindred’s dangerous emotional situations. Willpower is also used to resist frenzy, undertake especially daunting tasks, and power certain Discipline effects.

Blood Pool: The next step in character creation is determining the vampire’s starting blood pool. This part is simple — roll a 10-sided die. The number is the number of blood points a character has in his system at the beginning of the game. This is the only die roll that is made during character creation.

Freebie Points: The player may now spend 15 freebie points to purchase additional dots in Traits. These points may be spent however the player chooses — thus the term “freebie” — though the Storyteller is the final arbiter of what she chooses to allow in the chronicle.

Disciplines purchased with freebie points need not come from the character’s Clan Disciplines (though purchase of some Disciplines may require explanation about how she acquired them, and the Storyteller may restrict access to certain Disciplines). Optionally, the Storyteller may allow the player to take up to seven points of Flaws to gain more freebie points, or use freebie points to purchase Merits.

Spark of Life If you go through the steps above, you will have a character — at least in the purely technical sense. All the dots are on the paper, all of your character’s capacities have their systems and values defined, and you can roll all the right combinations of dice at the appropriate times.

At this point, the onus is on you to breathe a bit of life into the your character’s Traits. If she exists only in game terms, your character’s not much more detailed than a featureless piece on a gameboard. Take a good long look at your Traits and numbers. Why are they there? How will they come across in the story? What parts of the character don’t you know yet? Like a novelist building a literary figure, decide on all the physical, psychological, and background details that make your character one of a kind, even among the undead.

Sure, your character has an Appearance of 3 — but what does that mean? Does she have a winning smile, does she exude a challenging self-confidence, or does she simply have a killer wardrobe? What color are her eyes and hair? If she’s skilled in Performance or Etiquette or Firearms, how did she acquire her skill? Did she always want to be a movie star? Is her polished veneer a reaction against growing up in an economically depressed household? Did she just, for whatever bizarre reason, walk onto a firing range and discover a natural aptitude for plugging holes in targets? Is her Ally actually her ex-lover, who works as an aide to some appalling governor and with whom she maintains an uneasy, tension-laced friendship? Does he suspect what she’s become, but helps her out for now because he thinks he still has a chance to make things right?

This last phase of character creation, while the least “necessary,” is nevertheless important. Otherwise, your Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 will be just like all the other Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 — and there are a lot of such undistinguished characters out there. And that’s a shame, because characters — especially vampires — should be unique, fascinating, passionate, and memorable.

The information on this page was collated and edited from the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition sourcebook.

This website was built by Miles, starting in July 2023. Some work on this site was written by me, and some was not. Individual pages have credits and attributions. Much of the writing on this site was sourced from the original White Wolf Wiki as well as the VTM v5 Paradox wiki. This site was made for personal use, but I hope you find some use in it. View at 80% zoom.