Monday, December 29, 2008

Six Half-Baked Vampire Chronicles

Vampire Rockstar
The PC coterie is based on mutual membership in a local band. Maybe they hooked up after their embrace, more likely their band is important to local politics (or their music has mystical significance) and their sires took an interest in them on that account. Perks include groupies to feed on, music and dance based devotions/disciplines, and the quest for the Ultimate Groove. On the other hand, they have to contend with that werewolf band that's beating them to all the best gigs, "creative differences" within the band, guys trying to steal their artifact instruments, and The Man.

Lawyers, Guns & Money
Three words: Vampire lobbying firm. Designed to both advance vampire political interests directly, and rack up favors from members of the business community who have heard of their almost unnatural ability to seal the deal. The PCs start out at the bottom, kept busy mostly scaring punks away from their K Street property and shaking down "the competition." As they earn a little more trust from upper management, they start getting tapped to "entertain" clients. And there are always the jobs they do on the side, either for groups they belong to or for their own self interest.

Vampire Surfers
Elysium is the best local beaches, and the Prince rules the waves. In addition to all the usual things vampires have to do to maintain rank, the PCs have to show their stuff on the water. Alternatively, they're a bunch of surf punks, with more than just good surfing to defend in their "territory."

World of Darkness 2020
Cyberpunk + Vampires = Awesome. This one would take a little rejiggering of the rules, some adjustments to the skill set and a new equipment list at the very least, but it could work. The moods, particularly, mesh pretty well, the whole "our world, but darker, controlled by forces beyond our control" thing being a feature of both genres.

City of the Damned
Set in a real fantasy world -- none of this "our world, but darker" nonsense. Most of the world is overrun by monsters and cultists and generally unpleasant critters. The vampire rulers of the city defend it from those menaces, but at a terrible price. The players are new to the "city defense force," drafted to replace a few veterans who died under very mysterious circumstances. Should they, as they've been instructed, ignore that mystery and get on with their monster hunting duties? The attendant life of luxury they live during their off hours argues most persuasively in favor of looking the other way, but then there's the question of where exactly all those monsters are coming from, and just how benevolent the elders in charge of the city really are.

Vampires in Spaaaaace!
They are probably also pirates. Vampire space pirates. Yeah, that's the ticket. Pretty much just steal the system generation and space travel rules from Traveller, then let the PCs figure out how to feed while stuck in warp. On the bright side, there's no sun in deep space. No, I don't have any excuse for this.


  1. I have come across a Cyberpunk WoD conversion in White Wolf Magazine, waaaay back.

  2. I actually really like the City of the Damned idea. Not just the mystery/city aspect to it, but just, dark fantasy world with vampires (and other WoD creatures?) instead of elves and dwarves and the like.

  3. Mad Brew: I was pretty sure I wasn't the first one to come up with that idea. I might have to track that down, though I'm pretty confident I could fake my way through most of the actual work. That's what I did for my first campaign, which ended about a month before d20 Future came out and featured robot main characters, neural interfaces, and force fields.

    Qwertyuiopasd: Ooh. That hadn't fully occurred to me, but that would be kind of cool. Not like I need another Mad Huge Setting to build, but it'd be kind of different. Might be a fun way to run a crossover game, too. Sort of a weird, WoD flavored reflection of D&D.

  4. o_O!!

    Vampire lawyers... now that is a truly horrifying thought. Yet, it fits nicely in the nWoD, including the possibilities for lots inter-group disagreement. What if one lawyer went by the wayside and joined up with the Carthian movement? Not to mention sabotage, pressure from the Prince, and the rep. destroying powers of the city Harpy. This is genius!

    In regards to Vampire fantasy:

    I've always loved this idea. Although its not high fantasy (which would be super cool), if you want some flavor for a gritty fantasy Vampire game, there is an oWoD product called Vampire: the Dark Ages, which could be easily modified to your hearts delight:

    with lots of support goodies

    I'm sure you can find them on eBay or something for cheaper, but Drive-Thru RPG is phenomenal for PDFs of just about any RPG product a gamer could ever want.

    Some of these ideas are a total trip. You should make "one-shots" out of them to run when you just want to run a single game that would introduce all the rules and be a total blast.

    Although, I'm not so sure about the surf vamps, what with all the problems with daylight and what not :D.


  5. These pretty much all sound amazing. Although I tend to lean towards the odder ones, such as the band!vampires or the spacepirate!vampires.

  6. These are great, but I think you are still limiting yourself by staying inside the "party of PCs united against a common threat" box. Ask your group to consider how characters are aligned on different sides of various conflicts in their favorite novels and TV shows, and how much internecine drama they want to play.

    Alternatively, if the group wants a roleplaying challenge, you could play the first three (or more) chronicles at once with multiple groups of characters in parallel stories ala "Sin City style."

  7. John: They'd be frighteningly good at it, wouldn't they? And setting it in D.C. lets me use all the city's great weird architecture and layout. There's Masonic stuff all over the place, and lots of museums for creepy late night encounters.

    I should look into PDFs more than I have, I know there's lots of great stuff available. Not quite as good as holding an actual book, but still.

    Oh, and there is night surfing. It's more dangerous, but vampires. Give the whole thing sort of a weird vibe.

    Maggie: Band is the one I'd be most likely to run, though if I got a group who was really into the backstabbing and double dealing I'd probably do lawyers. The band idea has the advantage of giving everyone a good reason to stick around even if they don't necessarily like each other -- "Think about the band, man," as Qwerty put it.

    Space Vampires, on the other hand, would make a very good crazy one-shot.

    Tim: A good point on intra-group conflict, that's an aspect of the genre I haven't put a whole lot of thought into. Likely something that (if any of this ever sees the light of play) I'd leave up to the players particular inclinations.

    I like the idea of rotating chronicles -- might be a good combination with rotating STs, if I could ever get a couple people as crazy as me together.

  8. Also, don't forget: Vampire comes pre-loaded with one of the most intense and intriguing story premises in roleplaying games, and it's a shame that so many groups choose to skip it: the Becoming. My advice would be to start with mortal PCs and play through the story of them becoming undead, inside of your chosen chronicle concept.

    The second most fertile ground for Vampire drama are the relationships between the PCs and their friends, SOs and families. Don't let anyone play a single orphan loner! Those husbands, wives, parents, children and best friends are going to be the most fun NPCs for the GM to play both before and after the Embrace.

    I wouldn't even worry too much about the Covenants at first...there will be plenty of time for that later. Unless your players are particularly anxious to get involved in the elders' politics, you could literally play for years before reaching that point.