This was written for a character from a 'Vampire: the Masquerade[TM]' game. Desiree was supposed to be the older 'mentalist,' to balance a group of very physical young characters. Unfortunately I apparently accidentally intimidated the GM in my efforts to play Desiree as well as possible, since she was good at what she did... so for the sake of the game, my friend the GM, and the other players' enjoyment, I politely dropped out. Unfortunately the game did not last long past my departure... a pity, since my friend was an energetic and entertaining GM.
Notes on Desiree Dominique du Molay, for Alex's Vampire Game
Bob and I were ruminating upon 'Vampire: the Masquerade[TM],' and came up with some interesting hypotheses. These were amusing enough that I thought it might be fun to share them with you.
The Necessity of Moving
As the years pass and you do not age, developing a new circle of acquaintances, or make-up can be used to delay discovery of your unchanging looks. However, in a world where you must hide your immortality, moving your residence becomes a fact of life. The modern world with its swifter communication will make moving far enough a bit of a problem, but the increasing desire for a more youthful look (amongst mortals) will make it easier to stay in one place longer.Possible Responses
To move "cold" to a new city is a frightening thing. This would be exacerbated for an immortal. Being caught in the sunlight is final death; thus one must successfully make arrangements (in a diurnally arranged business world) for a night move.
It is possible that the Clans of vampires exist mostly to aid individuals to move smoothly from one city to another. As an example, vampire A has been in Chicago for about 50 years or so, and vampire B has lived an equal amount of time in Milwaukee. Each of them will begin periodically visiting the other for short periods of time. Each time, the visitor will be the new, "young" person, and the host will be the "old" person. This will establish in the minds of any contacts the host may have that the vampire that is new to the city is a friend of the hosting vampire. When the "old" person "dies" and wills everything to the young person, no one will be surprised. Thus a smooth transfer to a new city is accomplished for both vampires. It is possible to do this for centuries, and the young mortal friends of a vampire will probably all be dead by the time she returns again to a city.
A group would not have to be clan members only to accomplish this; strong friendships as well as enmities must grow up over the years. Thus several vampires could live in several cities, moving about under various pretexts, such as bringing home a new bride, coming to the University, or going to a sanitarium.
As clans might help individuals, so might the Princes help the larger class of vampires as a whole. This is especially important as vampires start traveling to both new cities and new continents. For example, say there is a disaster in some city or country. The haven is destroyed, but some of the individuals have survived. They will flee immediately to a nearby city, and once there, turn to the Prince. She is important because she already has all the necessary contacts in the city. Thus, she will know who to turn to for temporary, secure lodging, who to pawn valuables to, who can purchase a house for you, etc.
There is one thing all Princes must do. They must have a way to "inherit" their own property and drastically change their looks and behavior patterns (very risky), or have a reciprocal Prince or ruling group in another city who will exchange cities periodically. This last possibility would be rare, but feasible for two very close friends or a ruling group consisting of a large number of vampires who share similar opinions.
Vampires in Today's World
It occurs to me that there are very few things that a vampire cannot recover from. Consequently the final death probably happens fairly infrequently. Indeed, in today's world a cautious and clever vampire would not have much to fear.Political Power
With this in mind, it seems logical that the population of vampires is probably growing. It would only take one vampire to embrace a huge number of neonates, and the vampire population would explode. Vampiric population pressure probably is not pretty. Add to this that all the neonates are subordinate to the creating vampire, and a frighteningly effective shock troops is possible. Can you imagine Hitler as a vampire? Why has no country been taken over by vampires?Financial Power
In our own society it can be seen that wealth is mostly in the hands of older people. Given enough time, it would seem appropriate that any vampire could accumulate wealth. After all, the foolish vampire dies. Consequently it would follow that, over an extended amount of time, wealth would slowly end up only in the hands of vampires. One would think that such a society would show some signs of their influence. Are there any societies where the normal diurnal business day has been superseded by a more biurnal style? Anywhere certain businesses are drastically aggrandized, or are perhaps illegal; like biogenetics, or research having to do with blood?
Possible Background for Desiree
With all this in mind, I spent some time trying to come up with some interesting things for you concerning Desiree. I've tried to present several possibilities so that you can pick the one that allows for the most interesting gaming.
Desiree's Mortal Life
Desiree's childhood upbringing was a proper one for her class and time period. She was strongly influenced by the elegant and well-bred people that surrounded her in her adolescence. A quick look at her mortal environment will help to understand her current psychology.The Mortal Family
Desiree's father, the second son of the Vicomte du Molay, was a wealthy Frenchman. He married an affluent American dilettante who was on one of her European tours. They settled in France, where their only child, Desiree, was born. However, her father strongly believed in noblesse oblige. When his country tapped him in 1918 to be an ambassador to the United States, he went gladly.
In Washington, Desiree's mother re-established all her old friendships to help her husband in his job as diplomat. He also kept his European contacts alive, and was considered to be an excellent example of Old World hospitality. Desiree, then a 3 year old, spent the rest of her mortal life in a refined and sophisticated circle of acquaintances.
Desiree continued to grow and do all the things considered proper for a young girl of that time. She went on the requisite world tours, and in time she became a refined and romantic young woman.The Immortal Sire
One of her acquaintances was an old friend of the family: the Count Gabriel Dominik du Bois (pronounced du BWAH). Indeed, Desiree's father believed that he was honoring the previous Count du Bois (whom he had known as a child) when Desiree received Dominique as her middle name. Unbeknownst to Monsieur du Molay, du Bois was a European vampire.
The Comte du Bois was an old and canny vampire. He realized that money rather than breeding would be the new source of power in this brave new world. This was shown by the almost giddy mood that existed on the stock market in the late '20's and early '30's. Therefore it seemed odd and worrisome to him that Desiree's father was divesting himself of stocks and putting his money into hard currency. It took some gentle prying by the Comte to discover the name of du Molay's monetary advisor. However, in time the secret was revealed: Desiree was behind du Molay's financial dealings. Monsieur du Molay simply had not wanted to destroy his daughter's chances at a good marriage by labeling her as being unfeminine or unbecomingly (for a woman) interested in money.
Desiree's Immortal Life
Desiree is a result of her childhood upbringing. She continues to seek out elegant and well-bred people to help keep her entertained. She is a bit of a dilettante, due to her wealth and status.The "Embrace"
As far as the actual embrace, here are two easy possibilities for how this happened. I've listed them in order of how well I think they fit into the game.
The Deliberate Choice
Desiree's advice on the stock market was shockingly born out by Black Friday's crash. Thus the Comte, saved from financial ruin, took an interest in her. Since the Comte was a trustworthy friend of the family he would make an excellent chaperone, of unquestionable morals, on one of Desiree's European tours. While in Europe he introduced her to some of the most dazzling and sophisticated people the young girl had ever met. After being exposed to their brilliance and power, he offered her the ability to join them. When she said yes, he "embraced" her. She was too overawed to say no, and has never regretted her decision since.
The Opportunistic Choice
In time the Comte married Desiree. This was seen by her father as an excellent match, and by the Comte as a chance to continue to protect and cherish her beauty and intelligence. Thus she moved back to France with him and took up residence in Paris, in his palatial townhouse. There he introduced her to some of the most dazzling and sophisticated people the young girl had ever met.
All would have been well were it not for the Comte's penchant for solitary night walks. One night, a drunken group of street toughs decided to rob the seemingly helpless old man. Their first action was to fire a shot at him, which they believed missed. Unbeknownst to them, it hit him in the head, a jarringly painful and incapacitating wound. After robbing him, they beat him severely. When they realized he had no heartbeat, they took to their heels with their ill-gotten loot.
Some time later the Comte recovered enough to kill a passerby in a frenzy. Then, still in pain, he staggered home, where Desiree waited. It seemed the most natural thing in the world to feed on her. After all, she'd always been there for him. He recovered his sanity in time to realize that he was rapidly draining Desiree's life. In a panic that he might have killed her, he "embraced" her.Current Affairs
Desiree was embraced in 1933, at the age of eighteen. She uses makeup to look somewhat older. She moved from Washington about four years ago, where she had an excellent reputation as both a hostess and a person any vampire could turn to when in need. She is currently established in the Bay Area, due to correspondence with friends out here, and many acquaintances also moving to the Bay Area. Her familiarity with the Prince of San Francisco could be explained by his being one of her corespondents.
Jarrod (a fellow PC)
Approximately four years ago, Desiree walked into 'Nightstalkers' (the bar) to get out of the rain. Since she was new to the city, she took some time to talk to the bouncer, whom she recognized as a vampire. He offered to show her around the city, and she accepted his suggestion with pleasure.
Their acquaintance could never be said to be 'heated.' Still, they slowly became friends, so when she asked him to take care of a problem for her, he agreed. Her problem consisted of a mortal from Washington (who knew who and what she was, and would not let her near him or into his house) attempting to blackmail her. Unfortunately, he did not realize that there was more than one vampire, and so Jarrod found it relatively easy to kill him. Once the blackmailing mortal was dead Desiree had no difficulty in destroying his "evidence" of her existence.
Obviously you have many contacts for the players and PCs already. However at one point you expressed a desire for us to come up with contacts a la 'Shadowrun[TM].' If you like the ideas behind any of them, please feel free to use them.
These are a few people from day to day life (night to night unlife? ;-) she might know in the Bay Area.The Stockbroker
Desiree could call long distance to some bank that is still open, but a local person is much better. Thus she has hired Douglas Wheeler to handle all the daylight financial transactions for her. He can't ethically give advice to others based on Desiree's decisions, but he is somewhat in awe of her monetary canniness. Also, he does not know that she is a vampire. He does know that he very much enjoys her company at any cultural events he can persuade her to attend with him. The Palo Alto firm Doug works for considers his off-work behavior to be his own business as long as the customer is satisfied.The Ladies of the Local Arts Appreciation Group
These are several women of like temperament that Desiree has met. They include a financial and racial cross-section of women who share a high regard for the cultural arts. There are three that Desiree is rather fond of. They are Lucinda Evans, Katherine Robertson, and Opal Knight.
Lucinda works for a local hospital, and is a member of the Arts Appreciation Group mostly because her husband loves Gilbert and Sullivan. She is often somewhat tired looking, due to the stress of her job. She is a slender, competent looking Hispanic, whose long, curly, black hair is always escaping the bun she has made by putting a pencil in her hair.
Kate is a tall, Rubinesque (not chubby!), blonde, unmarried computer consultant. She will cheerfully, and at the drop of a hat, bemoan the proliferation of "nerds" in her profession, as she is "looking for Mr. Right in black jeans." She is articulate, intelligent, and does not suffer fools gladly.
Opal is a talented Oriental woman who plays first violin in the San Francisco Orchestra. She is very pretty, intense, shy, and the pride of her husband. Their marriage was arranged by their families, but she is coming to love him in return.The Bar Owner
Since Jarrod's help with her "problem," Desiree has looked up the owner of 'Nightstalkers,' Kurt Lawrence. Much to her pleasure, he was in a financial slump, and she was able to solve a pressing lack of business funds for him. In payment she became a silent partner in 'Nightstalkers'; her only stipulation is that Jarrod never know and never be fired. She has explained this to Kurt by saying that Jarrod is the "too-proud-to-turn-to-family" son of her deceased older sister, and she is watching out for her wild nephew.
Kurt is a man with more ambition than polish. He desperately wants Desiree's assistance in moving him into the polite society she obviously comes from. He hasn't figured out how yet, and he's not so foolish as to propose. He's thinking of asking Jarrod to help.The Occultist
Rosemarie Morningstar owns an occult bookstore. She is diminutive, wears her long dark hair loose, and wears a lot of hand-made jewelry. She moves like quicksilver, and finds Desiree fascinating to talk to. To her, Desiree is one of those treasured customers that is always polite, interested, and knowledgeable. Like Desiree, she feels mostly pity for what she calls "poor deluded souls" that buy some of her more lurid books. She is somewhat curious about Desiree's odd schedule, since she is often closed when Desiree comes by. However, she values Desiree's friendship too much to pry, and simply lets Desiree in the back, where they often sit with cups of tea and dusty old books and talk for hours.The Grounds Keeper
In Woodside there is a very cheerful, very laid back young Rastaman who drives around in a very rattletrap old pickup. His name is "Bobmon," and he does groundwork and lawn-mowing for many of the houses in Woodside. He keeps the grounds surrounding Desiree's house at just the right amount of overgrownness. He considers her taste in slightly wild looking lawns somewhat odd for Woodside, but esthetically pleasing. He's sure she has sharp, pointy metal pieces on her rather large fences because she likes her privacy. However, he hasn't realized the somewhat corroded looking metal sculpture all over the house and grounds is actually silver. He does know she pays promptly, doesn't nag about nap-time or loud music, and doesn't hang over his shoulder while he works. What more could you want in an employer, mon?
Desiree probably knows many more vampires than mortals on a first name basis. However, you seem to be covering that particular group of people quite nicely. Therefore, I have only a few suggestions that you might find entertaining.The Horse Breeder
Charles Patrick Lewellyn III was a clever mortal businessman who used his horse breeding farm as a tax break. He became a vampire about three years ago. Desiree was introduced to him as someone who could help him smoothly make the business transition to vampiric existence. However, based on rumors of him having a terminal illness, an unfriendly takeover of his assets was attempted. With her help he successfully fought off the corporate raiders. To aid him she bought one of his Woodside houses about two and a half years ago, and now uses it as her home address. He is very attracted to her competence, and grateful concerning her financial savvy, having an almost pathological fear of being "poor." However, all she asked of him in repayment was to be allowed to occasionally visit his nearby stables and go riding on the Woodside trails. Whenever possible, he likes to accompany her on her rides.The Art Dealer
There is not much of her previous life that Desiree misses. The one thing she would change if she could would be her vampiric sensitivity to sunlight. As a consequence, she has amassed a small collection of fine prints and paintings done of people in daylight, or of sun-rise and -set. She is especially fond of the pointillist style of Suriout. Her exclusive representative is a small, nervous, affected vampire named Arthur Chester Humphries. Arthur is one of those unusual art brokers in that he actually loves the art he trades in. He does not understand her obsession, but does understand money. He is terrified that she will put someone else on retainer to be her agent, and therefore actually does an excellent job. He is also hopelessly infatuated with her. However, he is so sure that she could never see him in anything but a professional capacity that he has successfully hidden the extent of his feelings from her.
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Last Updated: Thurs Dec 31 1998