P L A Y E R;
PLAYER JOURNAL: biichan
OTHER CHARACTERS PLAYED: n/a
C H A R A C T E R;
NAME: Charlene “Thorne” Durante
CANON: Vampire the Masquerade (specifically, Zero's Wormwood campaign)
POINT IN CANON: After she was gunned down at the end of Chapter Six: Suicide by Cop
AGE: 25 (physically 23)
APPEARANCE: Thorne's the top middle in this picture. She's of middling height for a woman, solidly built, and prior to her Embrace had fairly tan skin. The lack of sunlight for the last eight months has faded it slightly. She's of Hispanic heritage, which her features reflect, and she's pretty enough, but not beautiful—or at least she would be, if she didn't have a sort of squirrelly expression on her face as a sort of default for her. Thorne has short black hair with pink-dyed tips, which she sometimes sticks under wigs for her cosplays. Her daily wear is mostly jeans, Doc Martens, and nerdy tee shirts, with either a lab coat, a hoodie or a puffy jacket, depending on the temperature, but when she's cosplaying anything goes.
CANON HISTORY: Before we start, I should note that from an OOC perspective there are two separate continuities for the World of Darkness: the New World of Darkness set of gamelines and the Classic World of Darkness set. Which one you're playing in determines a lot about how the various supernatural creatures, well, work. For instance, NWOD has Vampire: the Requiem, where you have five vampire clans and five vampire factions which are mostly equivalent in power and basically any faction could have people from any clan in it. CWOD has Vampire: the Masquerade, which has thirteen clans and three factions with clear power differentials and which clan you're in greatly influences which one you end up in. Also, CWOD had an overarching meta-plot that all the game lines fed into, which NWOD treats its gamelines as sandbox tools for the storyteller (WOD's term for gamemaster.)
This matters, because while the campaign Thorne originally comes from was a Vampire: the Masquerade (Twentieth Anniversary Edition) campaign and in fact the whole overaching meta-plot was an important part of said campaign, the storyteller also liked to incorporate things he liked from Vampire: the Requiem into the the campaign/backstory, which is how Wormwood ended up with the strix and with some of the Requiem factions alongside the Masquerade ones. The factions in question chiefly being the Ordo Dracul (mad science vampires) and the Lancea Sanctem (religious vampires), although the Carthian Movement of V:tR has been sort of merged with the Anarchs of V:tM.
Okay, so now that that's all been mentioned, let's get on with the actual history stuff.
So! The World of Darkness is a world a lot like our own, except, well, darker. Cities are dirtier, crime is a lot higher, and things in general are super goddamn creepy and atmospheric. Also, it's jam-packed with a heckton of supernatural creatures, most of which have elaborate backstories for their kind and have been secretly influencing history since time out of mind. And for no supernatural creature is that more true than the vampires, known to themselves as the Kindred.
So, okay, most people in the Western World have heard the story of Cain and Abel, right? Two brothers, both make sacrifices to big-G God, and God only really likes Abel's sacrifice, so Cain goes and kills Abel because he's a jealous prick and God punishes him, but then also marks him so that nobody can hurt him and this is called the mark of Cain.
In the World of Darkness, the story of Cain wasn't just a myth. It happened, at least in some context. And after a bunch of bullshit involving angels that we really don't need to go into detail about because it doesn't matter in the long run, Cain ended up becoming the first vampire. He also added an 'e' to the end of his name, possibly to represent his increased gothicness, so from now on we'll just call him Caine.
Anyway, after becoming a vampire, Caine sets himself up in a city called the First City (presumably in Nod) and sires a trio of baby vampires and they sire some more vampires and those third generation vampires are basically the founders of most, but not all, of the vampire clans. They also decide it's a great idea to rebel against their sires, at which point Caine is all “FUCK YOU ALL,” curses them, and proceeds to ollie out, with the idea that when he does come home it's gonna be the fucking end of the goddamn world.
This is Important.
Fast forward to the present day. Vampires now live in cities, which are ruled over by Vampire Princes, and there are two main factions of vampires: the Camarilla (which bosses everyone around and wants everyone to keep vampires a secret aka uphold the MASQUERADE) and the Sabbat (who are basically the vampire equivalent to Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.) And the Vampire Apocalypse is approaching.
Meanwhile, about twenty-five years ago, a girl named Charlene Durante was born in San Diego, a late-in-life surprise baby. (Her older brother, Steven, had come about as planned ten years earlier.) Her parents moved up to Santa Carla (basically this world's equivalent of Santa Cruz) and she had a fairly ordinary, if extremely nerdy childhood, which was followed by a similarly nerdy stint at CSU Seaside where she majored in English and took a lot of Japanese classes and compsci classes but didn't manage to get a minor in either of them. She returned home after graduation and had a hell of a time finding a job for the next few months, until she answered an add in the local weekly for a guy wanting a lab assistant with an open mind.
That guy turned out to be one Dr Felix Bombastus (not his original name) and he turned out to be a vampire mad scientist. Not that Charlene knew that for the first month she worked for him—don't ask us what she thought he was doing with the periodic blood samples he asked her for. After that first month, however, he decided to keep her as his assistant and at that point he fed her some of his blood, making her his ghoul (vampire's bonded servant) and filled her in all the sweet vampire info.
Charlene got herself a cheap little apartment downtown, renamed herself Thorne (with an 'e') because it was cooler than her real name, and settled in for a pretty enjoyable life all around. Being a mad scientist's assistant appealed to her geeky nature and being in on the secret about vampires made her feel special. Then, about a year ago for her, Dr Bombastus decided that he needed to get the fuck out of dodge, claiming that a mysterious League of Prometheus was after him.
At this point, we should probably take a moment to speak about vampire clans. You inherit your clan from your sire and each vampire clan has something linking them all together. Snooty pretentious vampires, vampire gangsters, super fucking ugly vampires... each clan's particular hat is different. Dr Bombastus was a Malkavian and their particular hat is twofold: they're all mentally unstable to some degree and a bunch of them are also prophets. This is Important.
Anyway, Dr B decided that the particular fuck out of dodge he was getting to would be New York City, where he had some friends. So with Thorne there to drive them cross-country, the two of them managed to make their way to Brooklyn, where Dr B set up a mad science lab underneath a parking garage. Thorne made herself useful in various ways and even got herself a gaming group. And Dr B started work on a lab van with a lot of Useful Buttons.
Then, back in April, Dr Bombastus decided it was of Utmost Importance that he Embrace (vampirize) Thorne Right That Second. Which he did, only he didn't bother to get permission from the Prince of New York to do it. He tried to pretend he did it back in California where he was pretty much the only vampire in Santa Carla, but it eventually came out and landed both Thorne and Dr B in trouble with the Prince. Which lead her to putting Thorne on a coterie group of expendable young vampires (nicknamed OOCly as the Vampire Suicide squad) whose job it was get shit the Prince needed done for her while remaining people she could easily hang out out to dry if people got pissed off.
A detailed summary various adventures of the Vampire Suicide Squad can be found in the Wormwood section of this link, with the chapters up to six being the important ones for Thorne. Among other things, they torched a Giovanni (vampire mob) facility, visited a Gobin market, freaked out about evil owls, did vampire science, went to a fancy vampire party where they stopped the Prince from getting assassinated, rode in a scary haunted elevator, and did a bunch of oddjobs for the Prince.
Thanks to a creepy old dude living underneath the New York Public Library, Thorne and her friends learned a little bit about the prophecized Vampire Apocalypse, which lead to Thorne's particular Malkavian brand of personal crazy to manifest itself. You see, spurred on by the particular importance Dr. Bombastus put on her being embraced, Thorne's madness ended up being... well, there's no easier way to say it: she think she's the Chosen One and has powers to alter the past through writing. Since learning about apocalyptic prophecies, she's decided she must be the woman marked by the moon from the old vampire scriptures and in response started to get very much obsessed with the vampiric mysticism. She was well on her way to becoming a regular End Times Prophet when she died.
Unfortunately, about six weeks after joining the Vampire Suicide Squad, one of the coterie's oddjobs for the Prince ended up going very wrong and the police ended up getting involved—and one of Thorne's coterie-mates ended up pushing some buttons Dr B had put on the getaway van that engaged the van's secret machine guns.
Yeah. That happened.
Cops died. Someone needed to be made an example of. So the Prince and her goons executed Thorne and the button-pusher—but not before Thorne screamed at her that EVERYONE WAS GONNA BE FUCKED WHEN CAINE COMES HOME, before dying in a hail of bullets. Which kind of made up for how pathetically Thorne had been stuttering and freaking out during her interrogation directly beforehand.
CANON PERSONALITY: Wow, what a giant nerd.
I joke, but honestly, being a nerd is an important facet of Thorne's personality. She loves getting down into the minutiae of things, she truly enjoys researching, and she's got a distinct tendency to hyperfocus when it comes to working on projects. She gets fannish about things she enjoys, like manga, anime, tabletop gaming and visual novels. And even though she wasn't a science major, she really does enjoy all the mad science she'd been doing with Dr. Bombastus, even if sometimes the results or methods were questionable.
Of course, part of this is that after working under Dr. Bombastus for years and then being a vampire for the last half-year, some of her her sense of morality and normality... has become a bit skewed. She's become a lot more casual about corpses and doesn't see anything wrong or weird about turning the head of the guy her best friend accidentally murdered into part of a spider-shaped robot. Murder, too, is one of those things that she's fairly blasé about and in fact she kind of considers herself above mortal law—although not above immortal law. She also has no compunction about feeding on people without their consent or knowledge if she feels she can get away with it.
She's a friendly girl and fairly, well, nice for a vampire. Actually, she's pretty nice for a human being. She likes people and somehow that quality managed to translate from her life into her unlife. She's got a fairly even temper, which helps with that, and honestly, she just wants to be liked. Thorne has a tendency to make a lot of friendly acquaintances, although she likes to call them just 'friends.' But the truth is that most of these 'friendships' are shallow things based on shared interests and causes and the people who she actually lets herself get closed to are few and far between.
Probably the most important person in her life is her sire and mentor, Dr Bombastus, if only because as his former ghoul, Thorne is blood bound to him. Thorne would say that the blood bond doesn't matter, because she'd be doing all she could to help him anyway, but the truth is that it's left her somewhat obsessive about him. Which is, in fact, the whole purpose of blood-bonding someone to you, to make them obsessively love and worship you. Which, in fact, Thorne does when it comes to Dr. B. He's the most important person to her, a combination of father, brother, and lover. It's coercive as heck, not that Thorne's particularly able to think too hard on the fact.
The other important person to her at the time of her death was one Derek Sterling, the Ventrue member of her coterie and the one true friend she managed to make in New York City. (A summing up on Thorne's feelings about her coterie can be found here, by the way.) Her friendship with Derek sort of snuck up her. They ended up paired together on a mission for the Prince to visit this Gangrel guy out on Long Island about a week after meeting and ended up bonding hard on the drive there and back, especially since the drive back involved getting the fuck away from some evil owls. Thorne was also the only member of the coterie who cared enough to try to figure out why Derek's own sanity seemed to go in cycles and ended up realizing that it was linked to the phases of the moon. When Derek was unable to go back to his apartment in Staten Island thanks to vampire rioting, she let him stay with her, and when everyone went to the fancy vampire party, she and Derek were friend dates. She helped Derek have fun and he gave her someone she could rely upon.
Honestly, if she hadn't been blood bound to Dr. Bombastus, she might have been pretty close to falling in love with Derek.
She's a playful sort of person, which not uncommon in Malkavians. She's very defensive of her clan and shittalking Malkavians are one of the few ways you can piss her off. (She considers herself allowed to make her own jokes about the clan, however.)
She's got an absolute terror of the Prince of New York, which manifested itself as her trying to hide whenever possible in her presence and was probably justified in the end, considering how she died. She's not actually that brave of a person and prefers to stay out of combat if at all possible. She'd much rather sneak around and observe for people or to provide support to the actual fighters. (However, her belief in her chosen one status has lead her to be a little more reckless than she used to be before her embrace.)
She swears casually and unthinkingly and is one of those ridiculous people who uses memespeak in real life. Even worse, she has a terrible tendency to talk to herself out loud when there's no one else around. She really ought to stop that.
POINT OF DEPARTURE: As noted all over this app, I'm taking Thorne immediately from her death, which will lead her to immediately assuming that Liminal Space is some kind of weird-ass afterlife that as a vampire she wasn't sure if she was going to ever get. Once she gets filled in on the whole traveler thing, she's still not going to be sure if the whole thing isn't just some weird kind of afterlife, although the presence of people who didn't die would probably argue that this is something else altogether.
Given that in the campaign she comes from, Dr. Bombastus was tracked down and killed by more of the Prince's thugs for the crime of creating the death van shortly after Thorne's execution, I'm going to play Thorne as having lost her blood bond to him in the process of becoming a Traveler. The loss of the bond will leave her a little bit off-kilter at first and in the long run she'll be doing a lot of thinking about how much of her feelings about him were natural and how much were due to the blood bond... and possibly being disturbed by the results of this thinking.
I'm very sorry to say that when Investigating she's going to be treating the entire thing as one prolonged LARP, except with actual real life consequences. Infiltrating, she's probably likely to view as being High Intensity Method Acting LARPing.
I'm so sorry for her everything.
ABILITIES: Well, first there's the general World of Darkness vampire stuff, that I'm just going to link instead of retype most of it. However, being a VtM vampire, Thorne has access to disciplines, which are basically l33t v4mp1r3 sk1llz. The ones she'd accumulated by the time of her death are as follows:
- HEIGHTENED SENSES: The vampire's senses are all heightened, increasing the range of sight, hearing and smell. This increases as the vampire progresses in the discipline.
- AURA PERCEPTION: The vampire can perceive an individual's psychic aura, the swirling halo of color that surrounds mortals and supernatural creatures alike. (This page has a chart of what the various colors etc mean.)
- THE SPIRIT'S TOUCH: Someone who handles an object for a prolonged period of time can leave a psychic impression on it. Using this level of auspex, a vampire can get a “read” on that object, learning things like who handled the item, when they last handled it, and what was done with it recently.
- PASSION: The vampire stirs a subject's emotions, either amplifying it to a fever pitch or dulling the emotion down until the subject is numb. This last for a variable amount of time, as short as a few moments, or as long as a few months (dependant on her success roll.)
- CLOAK OF SHADOWS: By remaining completely silent, still, and under some sort of a cover and away from direct lighting, the vampire can fade away into the background, going unnoticed by others.
- UNSEEN PRESENCE: A vampire can move around without being seen. People automatically avert their gazes when they pass by and shadows seem to move to cover them. They can go undetected indefinitely until someone seeks them out or they inadvertently draw attention to themselves.
- Mildly enhanced strength. (Each level of Potence adds a dot of strength to one's dice pool.)
With two exceptions (Potence and the Heightened Senses part of Auspex), Thorne has to purposely choose to use these disciplines for them to work. These disciplines run on vitae, the mystical transmutation of blood that runs through vampire veins, which results from their feeding. Speaking of which, Thorne needs to feed on a fairly regular basis (at least once or twice a week) from human blood or at least the blood of other mammals. Human blood is preferred, however, since animal blood tastes gross. She does that the usual vampire way of biting, a process which is enjoyable for both her and the person she's eating, and afterwards can use her spit to heal the bites.
The more she uses her disciplines the more she needs to feed. If she doesn't feed on a regular basis and gets very low on vitae, she's liable to be set off into a frenzy in which she loses her inability for rational thought and acts purely by instinct. No one wants this to happen. (Luckily, she's fairly responsible about making sure she doesn't get low and is not too proud not to eat animals to keep her blood pool high.)
Besides these supernatural abilities, Thorne is good with computers (and knows some programming), excellent at bullshitting term papers, and great with researching things. She's got a good grounding in science and the WoD-verse occult, can drive stick, and is capable of crafting fairly impressive cosplays. Her fiction is readable and enjoyable, but by no means great literature. She's got a fairly intuitive sense of the passing of time and when she puts her mind to concentrate on a task is able to ignore distractions to accomplish it.
Finally, Thorne is also the only person in her coterie with any common sense whatsoever, despite being a vampire from the Crazy Vampire Clan, which says a lot about the people she hangs out with. (Ssssh, this is totally an ability in World of Darkness. There's a Merit for it and everything.)
INVENTORY; Normally, Thorne had a tendency to keep her overstuffed messenger bag on her at all times, but when she was summoned to the Prince's office for her interrogation and execution, she managed to leave that in the van. So when she'll show up she'll just have the clothes off her back and the stuff that she had in her pockets. This includes
--Purple Dock Martens
--Cotton underwear and bra (mismatched)
--Brightly colored socks
--One nerdy tee shirt with a joke about binary on it
--A lab coat decorated with patches tied around her waist
--A black hoodie with a white design on the back
--Choker, earrings, and nose stud
--An e-reader with a bunch of books on it, including PDFs of The Book of Nod and other such vampire esoterica as well as lots of novels (mainly speculative fiction) and digital manga
--A small drawstring bag of ten polyhedral dice (1d4, 4d6, 1d8, 2d10, 1d12, 1d20) “for emergencies”
--Two notepads in different pockets, one labelled LAB NOTES and the other labelled PLOT NOTES
--Her wallet (with various ID, credit and membership cards and $23 in cash)
--Her cellphone + usb charger
--Pink 3DS with various games downloaded onto it
--Two mechanical pencils
--Three pens (red, black, green)
--Keys to the lab van of accidental murder
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? Thorne is a huge, huge nerd, particularly when it comes to anime and webcomics. In the interest of not fourth-walling anybody, however, I'll be handwaving that she doesn't have any knowledge of any of the canons of her fellow travelers.
S A M P L E S;
ACTIONSPAM SAMPLE: I've got two threads from one of Route's fourth wall events, if that works? If you want something from this game's test drive, this is almost long enough.
“Okay,” Thorne says, taking a look around. “It turns out we do get an afterlife. I wasn't at all sure about that.”
It's not the afterlife. It's Liminal Space. But as far as Thorne knows, it's the afterlife and it's a pretty fucking weird afterlife, if you ask her. Mostly, because the whole thing is made out of paper. She's heard of the Fields of Asphodel, yeah, but this probably isn't that field. “Why paper?” she asks out loud, not really to anybody. Nobody answers, because as far as she can tell she's alone here.
She's dead. And the vampire afterlife is paper.
Thorn abruptly sits down--
--and springs back up because you really don't want to sit down on paper grass if you can help it. Ow.
“Note to self: everything will give you papercuts here. If I was going to an abstractly fucked up afterlife, can't I just go to that one where everyone has super-long forks and the level of cooperation you display, like, dictates whether you're in heaven or hell?”
She brushes her hair back from her face. She feels... off. Adrift. Purposeless. “Well, of course you feel purposeless,” she tells herself. “If you're dead you can't save anyone. Everyone's going to be fucked now that Caine's coming home. And—and it's not like you can help Dr. B anymore either if you're dead.”
Maybe that's it. Helping Dr. B doesn't have the urgency it used to have. Before it used to feel like her well-being was directly linked to his—and she knows that was because of the blood bond—and it doesn't anymore. She'd made him the focal point of her life and she's dead and he's not there and she doesn't ache like she thought she would upon being finally separated from him.
It's gone. The blood bond is gone. No wonder she feels adrift.