Patricia DeMontfort - History and Re-evaluation

I've been playing Patricia for five or six years now - I've finally lost count. All I remember is that she is the first live-action character that I created, and I've been playing her since shortly after the first release of White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theatre.

Even without much attention from me, she has changed quite a lot.

In the first year of play, she was your typical giggling-Malkavian. She could be a bit heartless at times, but she was far more annoying than threatening. I had a difficult time presenting her derangement - sadism - within the context of the game, because of a lack of knowledge about sadism and a general fear that acting that out would have gotten my squooshy Malkavian killed.

Trish was not much more than a spoiled brat who could throw more severe tantrums than most. Entertaining, sometimes. Noisy, almost always. And of almost no value to the plot at all. That's not to say I didn't have fun, but it was a very transitory kind of fun, not lasting at all.

Around late 1993, I belatedly remembered the theme of Vampire is supposed to be that of personal horror. The angst meter promptly went off the scale as Trish indulged in an extended period of self pity. The giggling decreased, but she was still annoying. See Get Over It for an example. She promptly did - the majority of credit for that is due to that one encounter cited - and while she may have been very irritating, at least it got me thinking about how Trish feels about what she is.

A recurrent problem in her presentation was that I had not found a focus, nor underlying reason for Patricia's sadism. I had vague notions of Patricia having had a very driven life - constantly pushed by family and friends as a wunderkinder and some anger derived from that, and that usually sufficed for the shallow needs of the game.

Also, the character development I was doing was very haphazard. Development was usually in reaction to my discovering a new favorite fad or genre - which is why most of Trish's relations with her Sire were variations on power-struggle themes and rather homogenous. Some time later, I got into BDSM (see below) and that had an effect on several of my characters.

At the time, I enjoyed writing the pieces concerning Patricia and her sire (if you're curious, they can be found here), but, looking back, they could have been a lot better. Again, the quality of the character development was suffering because I had not clearly defined the foundations of the character and I made it up as I went along. It was like trying to build on quicksand.

In mid-1994, while Patricia was being an admittedly dangerous dominatrix, I met a real dominatrix and started to learn about BDSM and consensual sado-masochistic activity. At this point, I was able to confirm that, yes, indeed, what Patricia was doing was all wrong and, in fact, not that satisfying for the character. I also felt like I was setting a bad example about the scene, so Patricia swapped her whips back for scalpels in late 1994. However, this period was useful because I started learning how to tell the difference between a 'safe' sadist and a criminal danger.

As time passed from late 1994 to 1996, the nature of Patricia's host-chronicle - Children Of The Gates - changed from being a donnybrook of an Anarch game to a small, much more intrigue-oriented Anarch assemblage. Patricia's own motives and actions had to be changed to suit the group. Unfortunately, the activity within that chronicle dropped during this time also, and it became difficult to focus attention upon an infrequently played character.

During 1997, I once again let my attention to Patricia's driving flaws - sadism and drug addiction - slide as I strove to change her goals and her perception of vampires. Following events too dreary to relate here, Patricia became more overtly power-hungry and ruthless. She still craved attention, but wanted something more lasting than the attention garnered by doing a Daffy Duck turn. She learned the value of public discretion and waded into politics and power-schemes. She also began to seriously doubt the validity of the Anarch Cause.

This isn't to say that she behaved perfectly. Her sadism was more likely to manifest in moments of player-boredom. They were usually frivolous and not in keeping with the stone-cold image that I was trying to build for Patricia. I'm my own worse enemy, really.

During this period, Patricia tangled with a Settite, Gammon - which you can read of in Never Trust A Snake - and coming up against another evil person with a strong ego gave Patricia something to react to - and work against. Their encounters forced me to think about her sadism some more, because I knew there were things that Gammon would do, that Trisha never would, and I had to define them quickly!

A big transition occurred near the end of 1998 when I moved Patricia from the now-defunct Children of The Gates to Diablo's Children. Diablo's Children is a large Anarch chronicle and in a state of serious flux.

Patricia is still power-hungry, and she slid back into her old theatrical ways. Showing up in court wearing casual business garb, a labcoat and knee-high dominatrix boots makes it hard to be taken seriously. Again, this was another case of player-boredom and the urge to dress up on my part. I've since decided it was a mistake (no matter how much I love those boots) and have resolved to put Trish back into more acceptable garb.

Another hindrance to roleplaying has been my tendency to enjoy the occasional (oh alright, frequent) glass of wine during game. It's hard to be the stone-cold killer while slurring words and forgetting what one was saying in the middle of a sentence...Learn from my mistakes, dear reader!

And that brings me to now.

After some further reading on the nature of the criminal mind and common motives of serial killers, I have realized that it is time to put the frivolous side of Patrica's nature firmly aside and start crafting her into a much more deliberate, more chilling persona - while she is struggling with those few scraps of humanity that still lurk in her soul.

Trish's motives behind her sadistic acts are a need for power - the power of life and death, of course. Trish's need for power is a reaction to what she perceived as a powerless childhood and the early part of her adult life. In many respects, the first fully independent action she took was when she attempted suicide - an act that ended in her Embrace.

She is extremely egotistical, she believes herself to be far more intelligent and more evolved that her fellow man - or even her fellow vampires - and thus above the laws of either group. Her sense of survival is well developed enough that she hasn't punted the Masquerade yet - but that's only because she has nothing but withering contempt for the pack of overgrown teenagers that she perceives the Sabbat to be.

She is still undecided about the validity of the Anarch cause and I believe that, given time, she will come down in favor of the Camarilla - if for no other reason than it has a distinct structure and that definition makes it much easier to climb.

She is psychopathic in the proper sense - she knows what she does is wrong, but she doesn't care. She has her moments of remorse, which may not be entirely realistic, but I need moments of contrast for the character. I am also endeavoring to get her past her drug addiction as I think the fuzziness demanded by heroin addiction is dulling a potentially sharp edge to her character. Needless to say, she's going to be a bit edgy and short tempered for the next few months - have pity on hapless Diablo's Children players!

What I would like to present is a character that reflects some of the dark selfishness within all of us. She's that little voice that insists that you should be the center of attention, that you should be the one in charge, that your opinion in the most important - and it's all said with a sharp knife in hand. She will occasionally act in a reprehensible manner, but her justifications will be comprehensible to a person who can be candid with themselves...

Let's see how it goes, shall we?

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