So I got my hands on a copy of Vampire. It's, um, well, it's a pretty decent read. It takes 86 pages to get to anything resembling a game, but I can forgive. The system looks kind of spiffy, and I need to get a hold of the core book so I can take a closer look at that. And it's got some amusing stuff about the usual behavior of young vampires. They pretty much all act like PCs -- questioning the government, treating Disciplines as superpowers, "getting off on being a dark creature of the night," and breaking stuff for no good reason -- which, of course, they are.
But I just can't seem to wrap my head around how I'd actually run the dang thing. I don't have a good sense of what a typical session would look like, or what a really good session would look like. The book tends to go on about "moral choices" and "themes" and "Man vs. Beast" but I can't imagine running a game that gets too seriously into that stuff. Most of my games, though they're not necessarily combat heavy, tend to err on the adventure-y side of things. Crashing weddings, jumping out of helicopters, questing for lost swords, setting off volcanoes, that kind of thing.
Which should, theoretically, be doable with Vampire--people are always complaining about it being used for "dark superheroes" which sounds like it would work, but I can't really get a good sense for what that would look like. The game has a pretty obvious starting point, the whole "you've just been turned, now what do you do?" thing, but I'm not completely solid on where I would go after that.
And I have absolutely no clue what to do with a "standard" game, which otherwise I'd think might be interesting to try. What is it that Vampire PCs spend most of their time doing? Clawing their way up the power structure? Messing with other vampires? Trying to connect with mortals?
My suspicion is that my problems will be solved once I can just get a hold of some players. Get some characters, some actual goals, a couple extra sources of ideas, and I should be able to get a better handle on what exactly this Vampire thing is supposed to look like. Or I could just run some Traveller or something. We'll see.
Also, you could contact your local chapter of the Camarilla (international fan club for LARPing) and watch a live-action session. If you're out of chr and just observing, feel free to go up and question people incessantly :PReplyDelete
I've had similar issues with Mage, one of the other World of Darkness games.ReplyDelete
Got the book (and the core game book) loved reading the backstory and all the narrative parts in the books, but just can't think of any way to actually use it in a way that's enjoyable for folks. I don't think there is any way that I'll DM a world of darkness game in the near future.
Same here. Got the book some time ago and really enjoyed reading through the crunchier parts, but I can't imagine running a game.ReplyDelete
The very thought of my tank-player talking about his emotions makes me chuckle every time.
It occurred to me after I wrote this that, hey, I could just ask the GM I know who's had the books forever without getting a chance to play to run a game. She, I'd presume, would have a better idea than me how to get the thing off the ground.ReplyDelete
I don't know a whole lot about it, but Mage seems like it'd be easier for me to handle, if it really can be described as "magical Indiana Jones," as I've heard. But if it's full of the same moral and social restrictions that Vampire seems peppered with, I'd probably have a similarly hard time wrapping my head around it.
It did occur to me that maybe something similar to Gary Gygax's Castle Greyhawk could be fun with WoD rules, but I'm not too sure.ReplyDelete
Something like a party of supernatural beings being sent into a gigantic magical castle to hunt down a rogue vampire/mage/werewolf/whatever. Fill the castle with challenging NPCs who will provide the moral challenges and it could work :/
It occurs to me that there is no "proper" way to play any RPG. Play it the way you and your players find fun. And like you said "... my problems will be solved once I can just get a hold of some players."ReplyDelete
But for inspiration watch some "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel", "Forver Knight", if your more of a reader I think Vampire the Masquerade is more or less inspired by Ann Rice novels.
You may want to checkReplyDelete
"How to run Vampire: the Masquerade"
"How to run Vampire: the Requiem"
both by Matthew McFarland.
Pardon the long post, but you got my creative juices flowing. Now I think I want to run a Vampire sandbox....ReplyDelete
For inspiration, I'd add the Godfather, L.A. Confidential, and Wise Guys (or the film version, Goodfellas). All of these show secretive organizations struggling for power, which in my experience is a good model for a Vampire city.
If you like story or mission-based campaigns, I'd suggest creating a patron who gives the PCs tasks in return for financial and political backing. (This patron is very likely just an agent of more powerful vampires whose webs of alliances and rivalries generate the bulk of the conflict in the campaign.) Such tasks might include starting or stopping a crime spree in a given neighborhood (to manipulate real estate values), protecting or breaking up various illicit activities (such as bordellos, gambling dens, chop shops, or anything else that generates money), etc. There are of course no end of potential missions, whether you prefer social engineering or more adventure-y adventures.
Since the patron's rivals will undoubtedly be recruiting other fledgelings for similar purposes, the PCs will eventually almost certainly wind up breaking one law or another of vampire society, making the protection of their patron doubly important (and also meaning he's got blackmail on 'em, so he doesn't feel compelled to be nice to them anymore). Conflicts escalate, powers behind thrones are revealed, and the whole city is thrown into turmoil. If you like.
For a more sandbox-style campaign, there are two good ways to go. One is to create a lot of interesting personalities united into a number of political factions that are at a stalemate until the PCs start shaking thins up. The key is to have personalities that are interesting enough for the players to care enough to become involved.
The other approach is to aware the PCs their own territory to control, defend, and exploit as they will, and populate it with as many interesting Things To Do as you can - sort of an outdoor megadungeon. Throw in samples of every urban vice you can stand and let the players ignore 'em, fight 'em, or take control of 'em as they wish. Put in some honest (or corrupt) cops who don't know what the PCs are, but may soon peg them as new players in the local underworld. Put some monsters in the sewers if you like, or some sorcerous cult, a pack of werewolves, whatever seems like fun. Sketch out of couple of families in the neighborhood, and pin some to local troubles you've already created, give others some dark secrets (in a David Lynch way, I'm thinking), and make sure there are at least a few completely innocent individuals that will appeal to whatever shreds of decency these vampires retain. Or not.
And to cap it off, make sure some elder is watching them for the protection of the other kindred. After all, if the PCs don't uphold the traditions, if they endanger the secrecy of vampire society, or if they cause (or allow) enough mayhem to draw attention, their territorial rights may get taken away. Then add in some rivals who want to annex the territory. Will they start moving their own minions in, or will they just promote enough anarchy to make the PCs look bad?
now that I think of it, the Grand Theft Auto games might be a good resource for a Vampire sandbox. Anything in those games gets turned to eleven as soon as vampires get involved.
If you're coming from a strong D&D background, then yes, getting into the WoD setting may take some getting used to.
The focus in any of these systems is more role playing oriented than a typical dungeon-type adventure. In most cases, there isn't a specific "get to the goal and win XP". It's about story and character development.
I started with the old WoD, Werewolf: The Apocalypse. And don't worry, I wasn't able to wrap my head around the Kindred (Vampires) until the release of Requiem.
If you or anyone else is interested in seeing the possibilities of what a good WoD game can be, I'd like to invite you all to stop by Escaping Reality and browse through our forums.
Our main focus is on creative writing, but the foundation of the game online for us is in the White Wolf systems (mainly Forsaken and Requiem).
I've run both table top and LARP as well for both of these games for many years and won't even consider going back to D&D.
Of all of the system, Mage and Changeling are the most complex. But if you're going to start with a WoD game, the Forsaken (werewolves) are by far the easiest to get your feet wet.
"How to run Vampire: the Requiem"ReplyDelete
both by Matthew McFarland.
Oh, of course. "Adventure game, but with Decisions!" That works.
Now that I think of it, the Grand Theft Auto games might be a good resource for a Vampire sandbox. Anything in those games gets turned to eleven as soon as vampires get involved.ReplyDelete
Love it. And your description of a territorial sandbox. "Grand Theft: Vampire" sounds like it could be fun. I like PCs to be more or less free agents -- they can go looking for people who'll pay them to do things, but if they want to go off and do their own thing for a while, that's cool, too.
The focus in any of these systems is more role playing oriented than a typical dungeon-type adventure. In most cases, there isn't a specific "get to the goal and win XP". It's about story and character development.ReplyDelete
Strong D&D background, yes. But the roleplaying isn't what's tripping me up. I've run plenty of D&D (and d20) games that were more about revenge, love, and the ongoing struggle of the characters to get what the want than straight up dungeon crawling. But D&D does provide the rather handy feature of "dungeon as default activity," the solid foundation that supports the more high flying stuff.
@Odyssey:Good point. I think not having a default setting is difficult to get used to for a lot of people.ReplyDelete
That's why many WoD fans didn't like the new system when it came out. The old system had the pending doom of the Apocalypse or Gehanna (for the Kindred) tying it all together. The new system invites players to create their own epic concept.
The way I usually start a game is by picking a city, or a town. There's always a bar (bars and taverns are always great starting points for any chronicle or campaign)where the new characters meet for the first time.
The suggestions of video games are good ones, and that boils down to a city with a few major NPCs holding different areas.
I know that White Wolf has started selling game modules in PDF form and there are a few designed to get everyone, the GM included, used to the system. You can also download a demo game for free for any of the factions.
Oh, of course. "Adventure game, but with Decisions!" That works.
If that's what your group wants to play the most, then yes.
The old system had the pending doom of the Apocalypse or Gehanna (for the Kindred) tying it all together. The new system invites players to create their own epic concept.ReplyDelete
That's handy, too. I've been going through the book a little more, and I'm starting to get that all the "Mystery! No one knows the dark truth!" stuff is really "Hey, ST, go make up something cool for your players to chase."
And I'm totally with you on the bar idea. I've started a lot of campaigns outside of it but the tradition is a good one."
If that's what your group wants to play the most, then yes.ReplyDelete
With the right group, I could see doing something a little more low key, but I've had success in the past with using a basic adventure-y premise and layering Drama! on top of it. The adventure part gives the players who aren't in on the Drama! part something to do, and something for the ones who do get seriously into their characters to angst about.