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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Secret Spaces: Vampire the Masquerade: Madame Borsa's Pleasure Machine

I continue my series of Secret Spaces! They are tiny setting ideas for you and your campaigns. They can be horrifying, wondrous, epic, or lovely depending on how I am feeling :).This time with an entry for one of my favourite games: Vampire the Masquerade. Warning: this entry isn't PG-13. 

Madame Borsa's Pleasure Machine
For: Vampire the Masquerade

The Pleasure Machine was a thought experiment against hedonism in the 1970's, that is what I assumed till I visited Madame Borsa's parlor.

To avoid angering my most gracious host, Madame Borsa, I will only transcribe to these pages what this machine is and the words on the invitation that she had so masterly penned onto her invitation, "For all who visit, it is therefore agreed, that you'll take a trip through my Pleasure Machine."

The Pleasure Machine stood 10 ft tall and was about half as broad. The outside of the machine was an obsidian-black wood, the colour you would only ascribe to a coffin. The only hint of colour that grazed this obsidian behemoth was a gilded, golden handle used to open the machine.

By accepting Madame Borsa's invitation to visit her manse, I had agreed to enter the machine, and decided I would be the first to go in. Not one to sit idly by while others were having fun, and driven by the insatiable need to know what was inside the machine, I entered it with little hesitation.

Immediately, I was engulfed by a wall of warm flesh. For someone who is undead, the warm yielding flesh felt foreign yet pleasurable against my skin, while I am very sure this machine was designed to murder any living thing that set foot within it. The sensation of feeling warmth against me made me laugh, laugh in wonderment and as sound rose from my chest I felt the machine laughing with me. I attempted to take a few steps forward.

The flesh parted around me and allowed me to continue. I entered into the center of the machine, all around it was totally dark and I could no longer feel the fleshy walls. I called out, "Is this all?" My words were dampened and lost as quickly as they left my mouth, then something grabbed my hand. Instinctively, I pulled away, but before my hand was totally loose I allowed whatever it was a touch, a feel.

I realized that what had grabbed out for me was a hand. The hand was rough and coarse, the type of hand that has seen too much work in its life. As the hand grasped mine, I could feel a scar of knitted flesh on the inner palm. I knew this hand - it was Christophé.

"Christophé?" I questioned, but again my words were met with silence. I felt the hand pulling me closer and then another hand placed itself on my shoulder. Everything felt so familiar, so right. Finally, I felt the brush of his beard against my chin and his mouth pushing mine apart. For moments, horrible, nagging, gaping moments, I forgot where I was...

* * *

The Pleasure Machine was created by Madame Borsa, a Tzimisce, who sought to make something so 'beautiful' and utterly hedonistic that no one would ever want to leave it. What the machine actually is, is her flesh crafted sire and their lover, and the bodies they manage to acquire.

People who enter the Pleasure Machine are considered under constant effects of the Kiss:
"Indeed, the ecstasy caused by the vampire's bite is called the Kiss... While kindred consider the Kiss pleasurable, they can resist it more readily than mortals can. Any Kindred, regardless of Willpower, may may a Self-Control/Instinct roll (difficulty 8) to avoid succumbing to the Kiss." 20th Anniversary Edition: Vampire the Masquerade, pg. 269.

Additionally, breaking free from the kiss is not enough, but players must first succumb to the machine and then realize something is wrong. Only with a violent reaction to the machine will it succumb and allow the person to be free.  

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