The floor of the ice cream parlor bothered me. It was black-and-white checkerboard tile, bigger than supermarket checkerboard. If I looked only at a white square, I would be all right, but it was hard to ignore the black squares that surrounded the white ones. The contrast got under my skin. I always felt itchy in the ice cream parlor. The floor meant Yes, No, This, That, Up, Down, Day, Night -- all the indecisions and opposites that were bad enough in life without having them spelled out for you on the floor.

This person is (pick one)

1. on a perilous journey from which we can learn much when he or she returns;
2. possessed by (pick one)
    a) the gods,
    b) God (that is the prophet),
    c) some bad spirits, demons, or devils,
    d) the Devil;
3. a witch;
4. betwitched (variants of 2);
5. bad, and must be isolated and punished;
6. ill, and must be isolated and treated by (pick one)
    a) purging and leeches,
    b) removing the uterus if the person has one;
    c) electric shock to the brain
    d) cold sheets wrapped tight around the body
    e) Thorazine and Stelazine;
7. ill, and must spend the next seven years talking about it;
8. a victim of society's low tolerance for deviant behavior;
9. sane in an insane world
10. on a perilous journey from which he or she may never return.

~Excerpt from "Girl, Interrupted" by Susanna Kaysen

So, You Wanna Make a Malk?

A Malkavian can be one of the most difficult clans to play. Can be a grueling process of balancing the character with a derangement, with a philosophy or outlook that falls under devient. You may think I'm lying to you. Chances are, if you think that malks are just goofy characters that carry around stuffed bunnies and play duck-duck-goose, you've already got a biased opinion (see "Are you playing a Gnawed"). It is estimated that 1 out of every 20 people have a derangement, look around you, this could be your neighbor, your coworkers, your boss, your spouse...and I'll bet you that none of them carry a stuffed bunny. Please please please do what you can to stomp the stereotype many gamers have of this clan by doing your very best to play your Malkavian in a frightening, and real way. This is the World of Darkness after all.

Creating a Malkavian - Some tips

Don't load up on flaws.

Its a cheap and easy way to get freebies at character generation, but in the long run, you pay for it. Remember, XP can be used to buy anything, but flaws are forever. Tip: IF your ST allows it, add flaws for free if you want to play them. The joy of playing a Malkavian is their flexibility. They are insane, after all. So maybe for the first month of play, you have this weird thing about being repelled by crosses. But the next time you play, its gone. When other characters wonder, just say "oh, I'm over that". Works well to confuse people, they think they've figured out a weakness, but they really havent. This only works if you didn't actually get freebies at character creation for your pseudo-flaws.

Don't put all your freebies in a single discipline.

These types of characters tend to be not well rounded, and you end up only having one "schtick" which quickly grows boring. Not to mention, players that put all their freebies into a single discipline for some reason will feel compelled to overuse that discipline.

Careful with that axe, Eugene

If you choose to play a malk who is psychotic, the best advice I can offer you is exploit the fear factor. Sure its easy to just hack your enemies to peices and blame it on a derangment, but its unlikely a character would survive long with that philosophy (or maybe you should have played a Brujah). Or, if you must hack your enemies to peices, at least terrorize them psychologically beforehand.

Research derangements

When choosing a derangement, check out some online sources, the derangements offered in the books are fine, but there is so much more you can play. Take the time to do a little research. Some Net resources on Mental Health

Playing a Malkavian

Remember, your character *has* a derangement. Your character is not *a* derangement. Too often malk characters tend to be so over the top with wackiness it makes RP with others nearly impossible. If your character has survived her post-embrace days, then her behavior probably can assimilate when need be. Jibbering idiots either don't survive or get stuck in the tank with the other Gnawed (see section on "Gnawed" Malkavians).

Be annoying in subtle ways, but not too annoying. Malks aren't that great at defending themselves, sucks when a Brujah knocks you into torpor with their mighty fist of rage. Don't play silly pranks constantly (well, once in a while is okay, everything in moderation) But always keep in the back of your mind the mother of all pranks, plotting and planning and figuring out your target and what is going to warp their subjective reality the most. A good Prank is one that is well thought out and has a clear purpose related to the target. A 5-star prank is one that affects the target and the target doesn't even know he's been gakked.

Always make lots or predictions. Doesn't matter if only 10 percent of them ever actually happen. But this follows a trick of the psychic hotlines. So-called Psychics appear to have the ability because they say so many things, the person listening tends to remember the things that the "psychic" got right, and forget the others. So, if some of your predictions actually come true, then everyone thinks you're some kind of Seer. This works especially well if you have Insight or Oracular Ability.

Malkavian Quotes

"Insanity on the other hand is an intellectual pattern. It may have biological causes but it has no physical or biological reality. No scientific instrument can be produced in court to show who is insane and who is sane. There's nothing about insanity that conforms to any scientific law of the universe. The scientific laws of the universe are invented by sanity. There's no way by which sanity, using the instruments of its own creation, can measure that which is outside of itself and its creations. Insanity isn't an "object" of observation. It's an alteration of observation itself. There is no such thing as a "disease" of patterns of intellect. There's only heresy. And that's what insanity really is." (Pirsig, 1991)


No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness. ~ Aristotle

The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one's designs to one's means. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you. ~Carl Jung

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't. ~Polonius, Shakespeare's Hamlet

For a while the reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securly on a fairy's wing. ~The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitxgerald

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad. ~Aldous Huxley

Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? I mean, all you get is that one trick--rational thinking--but when you're good and crazy, well, the sky's the limit! ~The Tick

The toughest anyone's when you have to kill a loved one just because they're the devil. ~Emo Phillips

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough. ~Niels Bohr

You say 'Sit down, you're rocking the boat!'; I say 'Are you afraid of getting wet?' ~niebert


Inspiring Links on the Nature of Insanity

The Sanctuary --"Curing Sane People Since 1999", Nice site about the nature of madness, very cool writings.

The Kook's Museum --Definitely a mind numbing trip into some of the weirdest: a "vast cornucopia of forgotten, discredited and extreme ideas, with all due consideration to social and cultural context. "

Malkavian Madness Network Webring Infinitely entertaining

Jim Rose Circus Sideshow -- Freakshow, love it!