Social Contracts

I recently got to play Vampire: the Masquerade for the first time since 2011/12 and, at the end of the first session, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue playing or not.

It was a fun game, and I enjoyed playing a Nosferatu for the first time, but I spent time over a few days coming up with a character and roleplaying ideas based on what one of the other players had told me about the game (I was joining the second session) – and then, when confronted with my ideas, the GM gave a straight no, and filled in some of the gaps that I hadn’t been told.
So basically, my roleplay ideas were out, some of my character as built didn’t quite fit the setting, and I was left feeling a bit miffed that I hadn’t known ahead of time what I was getting into, and that the social contract I was used to playing with wasn’t really there.

So, I play D&D with a couple of the guys, so have an idea of how they play and behave with roleplaying, and I’ve played a lot of Vampire previously so I know how the game behaves and so on.
It was maybe the style was so jarring, and a straight up ‘nope’ to my character concept without a chance to reshuffle stats. Adding to that, I had the character sheet mostly filled in before I was added to the group message on Facebook, which would have been most useful a day earlier when I accepted an invite to join.

Now, I’ve never had to actually write out a social contract for a game group or had that much of an issue quickly picking the outlines of one up from a new group. Some groups are better at these things than others, and I have been in groups where people have left when their reading of a game and how it actually unfolds haven’t aligned.

I suppose my problem now is, I want to give it another try, see if I can move my character at least a little towards where I had thought I’d start over the next session, but if that’s not going to happen then I might be out – which would be a shame as VtM is one of my favourite kinds of games to play in.

In case people have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a couple of videos.


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