I’ve been playing a local Vampire LARP for a solid two and half years (I played a bunch during college, too), and even though it is sometimes draining (I just stepped down as a storyteller), I mostly enjoy it. After stepping down, I put together a new character based off of West Wing that worked with a character that Manthing created based off of West Wing as well. We’re surprised that nobody has mentioned the characters being based on West Wing.
Anyway, when I play a character, whether it be for online RP, live action RP, or tabletop RP I usually don’t put together a detailed backstory. I typically put together a few details, and then the backstory comes to me as I get deeper into the character and develop the missing pieces based on how the character acts. This time, however, it was different. There were events that Manthing and I had to sync up for our characters to relate and work together, so I wrote out a pretty detailed backstory.
I’m assuming if anybody from my LARP group stumbles on this, they won’t metagame (*stares and points at game rules*), so I wanted to share what I put together for her backstory. “But why, Chestnut?” Well, because I’m proud of what I put together. This is a different way for me to approach characters (and a clan I’ve never played, to boot). And it’s some of the only real creative writing I’ve done in a long time. So without further ado, here’s Donnatella Moss as a Ventrue.
Donnatella Moss was born in Connecticut in 1865 to parents Paul and Margaret Moss. At a young age, Donna found herself to be a natural leader amongst her peers, which unlocked a desire early in life to dive into the world of powerful men in some way.
Donna found this more difficult to come by than she imagined. While she excelled in her academic studies as a child and young teenager, she was denied any form of higher education. Donna took it upon herself to spend time making connections using her “feminine wiles” with the gentlemen around town to learn all she could about various subjects, and obtain books about any topic she could find.
Somehow, despite Donna’s constant flirtations, she was never ostracized around town. Rather, folks found it endearing, and many of the older gentlemen in town took an interest in providing her with educational materials.
In 1885, Donna found herself enamored with a local politician in Hartford, Samuel Miller. Against his better judgement, and warnings from his peers about including a woman he was courting in politics, he invited Donna into his life as both his fiancé and his personal secretary. Soon after, Miller had moved into a new position within Washington, D.C.
The couple was enjoying their new home in Washington D.C., and looking forward to their upcoming nuptials. Tragically, however, three weeks before Donna and Samuel were to be married, he drowned in James Creek on his way home from drinking with friends.
Donna threw herself into her work to push away her grief, and in 1890 she was transferred to be a secretary in the office of Joshua Lyman, specifically to work as Malcolm Henry’s personal secretary and aide. Donna worked harder than she ever had before to prove herself to Mr. Henry—working long hours into the night, and proved to be very talented and competent when given the opportunity to work on her own.
It was during this time she realized that while she mourned Samuel, she had more political acumen than he’d had, and that being able to make decisions on her own for the benefit of Mr. Henry gave her a newfound confidence. This confidence helped her to move past her former fiancé’s death, and she soon found herself enamored with Malcolm, working even harder than she thought possible to prove herself to be a valuable asset to him.
Not long after, Malcolm pulled her aside and shared secrets with her that she’d never, in her wildest imagination, thought to be true. Stories of creatures in the night, like him, that manipulated and ran human politics and other aspects of society to their own ends and benefits. Puppet masters. Kings and Queens of the night. It was then that Malcolm offered Donna a place in his world. Without hesitation she accepted and became his ghoul.
In 1910, when it became necessary to explain her proper lack of aging, Malcolm arranged a series of favors to the then-Prince of Washington, D.C., and immediately cashed in his boons to receive permission to grant Donna the Embrace.
Again, Donna readily accepted, knowing that she was to spend her Unlife with Malcolm, and see to it that she helped him to rule as Kings and Queens of the night. It was at this time that Donna started pushing beyond her typical secretarial duties. She found that she depended upon a few handfuls of dirt from the park in which she was Embraced to ensure she was in peak condition.
With more access to academia, as Kindred society was much more accepting of women in powerful positions than Kine, she began studying beyond her duties, and working to gain allies within the community. Donna began learning Latin so that she could converse more privately with Malcolm, and also took up an unusual hobby in swordsmanship. The sounds and the sensations of the way blades felt against various materials was of specific interest to her, and she worked hard to master using blades to their best ability, along with learning anything she could about the history and art of swordsmanship itself.
When Malcolm shifted positions and moved to the Justice department, Donna moved with him, continuing as his assistant and lover. She found that while she was readily remembered by those she interacted with often, she was often forgotten by those she only briefly interacted with. While it was occasionally aggravating, it came with more benefits than detriments, and allowed Donna to move through circles she may not have otherwise prior to her Embrace.
One night, after many years (and aliases) at the Justice department, Malcolm pulled Donna aside and let her know he’d found out about a plan the humans had to hit the Camarilla hard, and where it hurt. She went with Malcolm to Mr. Lyman, but Mr. Lyman refused to believe the both of them, assuming they were both lying to him. Malcolm, and by extension Donna, were ordered from Lyman’s presence, and most likely soon to be the city as well.
It was then that Malcolm and Donna went underground, and were spared the worst of what happened, though they both knew that things were not going well for the Kindred in the city. Malcolm spent countless hours using human agents to gather intelligence, and he realized that the Camarilla of Washington, D.C. had been destroyed.
Malcolm decided to take his Sire’s name to claim his dignitas and resources, confiding in Donna that Malcolm Henry needed to appear “dead” and that she was to refer to him from now on as Joshua Lyman, her “adopted” Sire. This ruse needed to be kept up at all times due to “Josh’s” new retainer, Ryan Pierce, not knowing anything about Malcolm, and knowing Malcolm only as Josh.
The three relocated to Atlanta in order to hide from anyone who may have remembered Malcolm or Donna. Donna knows it is coming time for when she will be released from Josh (Malcolm), but longs to remain at his side through her Unlife to do what she can to help him rebuild and become the puppet behind the King’s throne.