Monica Valentinelli is an author and game designer who lurks in the dark. Find out more about Monica’s stories and games by visiting her website at: http://www.mlvwrites.com
Paranormal romance is filled with tales of vampires falling in love with humans. There’s something about a creature of the night that makes our pulse quicken and our hearts pound. Steamy passion is guaranteed in the works of many authors ranging from Anne Rice to Charlaine Harris. But what about love? Can a monster who’s not only dead — but feeds on the living to survive — love?
That was one of the questions I set out to answer when I wrote my portion for Strange, Dead Love, a paranormal romance RPG sourcebook for Vampire: the Requiem by White Wolf Publishing. The first chapter in the book dives deeply into intimacy, themes in paranormal romance, and props or devices used to tell a story. By the time I started talking about intimacy, I realized that I had to separate my thoughts about love and affection — literally.
In the new World of Darkness, vampires are still monsters battling the Beast within. Try as they might, they will never know what love is. Intimacy is about getting up close and personal, sure, but vampires can be intimate with a mortal (or each other) without feeling love as a human might. Vampires in this setting experience the illusion of love and passionate moments help them do that. Unfortunately, that’s part of what makes being a vampire so tragic. They’re no longer human. Everything these Kindred experience is a shadow of what once was. Sex, which can and does still feel good to them, pales in comparison next to the Kiss. The only thing that truly gives a vampire pleasure here is hot, sweet, nourishing blood.
Other settings forced me to treat this question very differently. To accommodate tales from the mid-eighteenth century up until present day, I obsessed over choosing appropriate themes by diving back into literary history. Even though the vampire myth is found in almost every culture the world over, paranormal romance traces back to Gothic fiction where you’ll find Carmilla (1872), Dracula (1897), and other stories and poems featuring a dead lover returning from the grave. Fast forward give or take a hundred years and you find books like Twilight, Guilty Pleasures, True Blood, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Interview With a Vampire and many, many more.
What I found was that romantic themes were directly affected by two things: how society treats vampires and to what degree the vampire is monstrous. If you have a secret vampire society, then you have a recipe for forbidden or tragic romance. If the vampire is horrifying to even look at, then love may redeem this creature and calm his vampiric nature. In that last case, I’d argue that “Yes!” a vampire can love because that emotion is so powerful it changes her nature. Without that specific lover, she’ll go right on drinking blood from anyone and killing without remorse.
The question of whether or not a vampire can truly, deeply love a living human being can only be answered on a book-by-book basis. In some stories, vampires and humans make the perfect couple. In others? No matter how hard they try, vampires can’t (and shouldn’t) fall head over heels for someone.
The way Strange, Dead Love was designed, we were able to move heaven and earth to accommodate many different types of settings. I hope you’ll do me the honor of learning more about this paranormal romance RPG sourcebook written by Jess Hartley, Filamena Young, and myself.
To celebrate the release of Strange, Dead Love, White Wolf Publishing has authorized a contest for a free digital version from DriveThruRPG! This sourcebook will be available very shortly on the site in digital and print. Whoever wins this contest will get a coupon to receive a free copy of the PDF the day it debuts! Make sure you leave a valid e-mail address in the comments below! (no need to paste in body of message, just add in form) Good luck!!!! (Winner to be announced here on January 3rd.)
Web Site: http://www.mlvwrites.com
Would love a copy of this book. Especially since it explores an aspect of Vampire that needed coverage
I think this is a very good question which brings up two totally different questions if this one can be answered in the affirmative.
I agree the answer to whether a vampire can love is a resounding YES! Dracula himself was pushed across the oceans by love to find Mina. Lestat was looking for love where ever he could find it not realizing he had to love himself before he could love another.
So then, if a traditional vamp can love, and I clarify with traditional because many of the contemporary vamp versions have so many wonder characteristics and mythos, does this mean a vampire can no longer be considered “soulless”?
Additionally if a traditional vamp can love, can s/he still be considered a God forsaken monster? Is s/he an evil being?
Is a komoto dragon a God forsaken monster just because it kills with one bite and then follows its victim around for a day or two watching as it slowly dies a painful death?
Hmmmm, interesting questions all.
I’d love to win a copy of Strange, Dead Love.
Thanks for the interview!
I think that vampires could still love.
Honestly I think it is what it is. That’s just how life is. Based on today’s version of a vampire most would appear to have souls.
Definitely looking forward to this book. Requiem can be a little grimdark for my tastes sometimes, so exploring other aspects of the setting is exciting to me.
Looking forward to the book… I know my fiancee is going to love it hehe… Girls and their romance. :-P
Ok ok, I’ll love it too. There! Are you happy now?
I’m quite interested in this books as it seems it’s very likely to achieve what it proposes: making vampire romance sexy and scary despite recent overexploited appearances in modern media.
Can I have a copy? :)
I think a book like this was needed.
Will I be the lucky one? :)
I’ve always wondered about this myself. I’d love to see your take on the matter.
I’m not sure if a vampire can really love at all. If love is taken as some sort of idealized status, isn’t it beyond a damned one grasp? And if it’s more like a simple electrochemical reaction in the person’s brain, can a supernatural dead body still produce such kind of reaction?
Maybe it’s more about roleplaying the feeling. Cheating oneself into a make-believe romance. And still, in introspective nights, discover and deny that there wasn’t and won’t be a true feeling… at least not love.
Thanks for a much needed resources. I’ve seen way too many systems dodge that question even though so many chronicles go there.
Oh man, I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Requiem definitely needed to touch on this trope, and I can’t wait to see what ideas they have in store for us.
I plan to buy it, but I’ll take a free copy too. :)
Love is such a ripe source of conflict, both internal and external, that it almost doesn’t matter if the vampires in a game can genuinely feel the emotion or not. Others around them will feel it and the undead will have to deal with the results. But to rule it out for vampires simply because of what they are has always seemed hasty to me, and I really look forward to reading White Wolf’s exploration of it.
This book is long overdue, and I’m happy to see it’s finally here. Thank you!
Sounds like a unique book that I would enjoy reading!
books4me67 at ymail dot com
Sounds like a very interesting book that I want to read.
Looking forward to reading this beauty! You guys always do great work!
I think this is pretty overdue from White Wolf, considering the popularity of the subject in mainstream media, at the moment. We have explored this to some extent in my personal games. I’m anxious to see the writer’s take on the subject matter!
I’d actually been looking forward to this book for quite awhile. We get plenty of books with stats and ideas for odd bloodlines, and so on, but what we don’t often get are books that are about the nuts and bolts of telling a story.
Honestly, romance is a massive genre, and a core idea that most people have interest in or at the very least an opinion about. Whether it’s vampires or werewolves, or just plain old ordinary people, the emotions that drive us are of fundamental importance to stories. And love is one of the most notable and potent of those emotions. It just makes sense to have a supplement that takes on this topic.
I think that this book will answer a lot of interesting questions that are often brought up regarding the nature of undead love and their obsessions. I’m definitely interested!
Would like to read this book!
the book sounds awesome and i can hardly wait to read it.
thank you for the chance at such a great giveaaway.
i hope that you and your family have a very Happy Holiday Season.
I’m now reading “Never been Bit” by Lydia Dare ,this is the 6th in the series. I have finish the other five . Keep on reading and Happy Holiday.
I’d be interested to see your take on this. I like True Blood and the complicated mixing of humans, vampires and other mythic creatures, but please no shiny happy daytime walking around vampires unless they are Blade. :-)
I like to read vampire romances, so I have to believe in the HEA.
Have been a fan of paranormal romance for years, but am just recently found my love of RPG’s. This seems like the ultimate combination! *wonders if my gaming group would be up for paranormal romance RPG????*
These are the sorts of stories that make Vampire unique in the gaming world. While, yeah, you could tell stories about tragic romances in any genre I feel like Vampire lends itself to such yarns.
Sign me up!
Great interview, Im really looking forward to this release. I definitely plan on creating a chronicle revolving around the themes presented in this supplement.
I always thought of it as Vampires cannot feel true love. Nor any emotion. Instead it is a memory that they are trying to recapture and in that sense is what makes them true monsters.
I really want to read this book when it comes out to see how love/romance can be handled in the world of the requiem. After all how can love be seen among Longinus’s children, in the studies of the Dragons, or the rituals of the Crone?
I believe in HEA, so why should Vampires don’t get one.
I stands to reason that, if vampires can feel eternal sorrow, they should likewise be capable of feeling love. After all, what could possibly be so unbearable than an eternity with a broken heart?
Your book sounds very interesting. I do think vampires could still love.
Imitation breeds Intimacy, but familiarity breeds contempt. This idea seems very much a vampire concept. Vampires, by default mimic the behavior of human beings. But you know that you can only imitate a society for so long before you start to become like that society. Vampires cannot completely abandon human society (for they will be without their source of power), nor can they completely accept human society (for they will be unable to control their urges). A Vampire must find a comfortable place in between where he can behave like a human without pridefully placing himself above humans.
That is an interesting question. Thanks for the discussion.
This sounds like the most interesting supplement for vampire in quite a while.
very interesting. I like the thought of Vampires being able to overcome the “deadness” inside and find the ability to love. Love as a word is so overused by our society, easily said about anything we really like. Love as emotion is often times confused with lust, like, desire. As shown by the divorce rate romantic love is also easily thrown aside.
Love, true love, is a very hard feeling to keep and grow. It takes alot of work, sacrifice and commitment.
Here’s hoping that vampires can learn to feel the emotion of love..another depth to the long long lives
Hi friends, I’d love to know WHEN is this book going to be available and in which bookstore to order my copy right away. The wait is been long, because this was supposed to be available on November, and I want to include it in a chronicle I’m developing. Thanks friends!!!
I love reading about vampires all kinds never get sick of them because everyones vampires are different in away! Im late posting just wanted to stop by! Happy Holidays to you!
LOVE is in the air, cant wait!
I do beleive vampires can love .Sounds great cant wait to get my hands on this one
Y. Rogue: The book will be available through DriveThruRPG in both digital and print. As far as I know, it will not be accessible through regular distribution. It will most likely be out in January.
The reason why the book isn’t out yet? It’s a full color format and the proof process takes time to ensure it has a quality look and feel.
This book intrigues me. It’s different, and I like the fact that they’re going for a section that you wouldn’t normally consider for the WoD.
I have been waiting for a book like this for some time. I am getting pretty excited about it. :)
Pssst… Strange, Dead Love just got released today!
Vampires are my fave paranormal creature. Every author writes unique series so there is always something different to them.