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Runing the Chicago Chronicles as Contemporary or Period?

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  • Runing the Chicago Chronicles as Contemporary or Period?

    Ok looks like I may be running a Chicago Chronicles campaign for Vampire, I'm wondering should I run it as a contemporary (late 201X's) or go full on period early 90's using the books as they are.

    I was with my first Vampire Storyteller when he got Chicago by Night and inherited a first printing of the book years later from an other friend when his (now Ex-) wife convinced him to get rid of most of his books.

    I'm just wondering because half the prospective players where around when this period piece was contemporary, and the other half weren't born yet, though it should be easy to deal with most of the Tech issues some aspects of how the world has changed (fashion & subcultures) may cause troubles to change around, or alternatively making the younger players except that that's how things really where back in the day.

  • #2
    Well, i would suggest going with full on period, because it let's you get more milleage out of all NPCs while doing far less "what NPC X has been doing in the last 20+" update work before you even start, as it could become quite a chore when one thinks of the whole cast of the books (Not that you won't have to do some updating, as all their stats are 1st/2nd ed, but that's just dots & abilities).

    Starting the chronicle in the late 80s/early 90s also gives you a "time buffer" of 20+ years for a bit of time skip here & there, toy with historic events, fashion tendencies & other bits since the Chicago books came out, not to mention do it in a more hands-on/in character way, as the PCs actions and their consequences affect things, blend into other events (real or metaplot-ish) and help shape the changes in Chicago between the early 90's and contemporary (late 2010s) times.

    For example, when does Lodin die in your game, Ashes to Ashes, Under a Blood Red Moon or neither (still around in torpor, or active but fighting to keep/recover his throne)? Things change a bit depending on what books your are mostly working with.

    As an aside, there are some chicago-related threads in the forums you might get some milleage of in suggestions and useful bits. and not to forget, this awesome one from other places.

    PS: finding some of those old topics again was much harder than i expected to. Anyways, hope you can mine some stuff to add and have fun with throwing in your PCs' path or using as inspiration or a springboard for weird ideas and plots of your own.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 02-09-2017, 11:19 AM.

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    • #3
      If I was going to go contemporary all the dates where going to be left as is for backgrounds, except for the newly embraced vampires or events that had happened not so long ago in game time they where to be adjusted to fit from the "Now", I think I'd beadle to get away with it given the "Eternal Night" of the Kindred who tend to notice things only in the immediate time frame or in the terms of decades, 30 years is like just a few years that have run together due to the mundanity of them to mortals.

      But I'm kind of leaning to Period anyway.

      My other idea was to do a Tim Burton/ Bruce Timm & Paul Dini Batman and try to create a timeless psudo-now with timeless styling fashion & architecture as a facade of a mix of old & new tech to meet the needs of the story.

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      • #4
        This is tempting me to throw out what I have planned going forwards, to flash back to 90's Chicago, and let the players roll up new characters.

        Either that, or the Brujah Prince is about to blood hunt the party out of town. Maybe I can work in some clues to success if I dust off Chicago By Night with these 4 new players.

        If it was me, I'd go full 90's period piece on this. Explain the fashion trends and so forth as if they are cutting edge, maybe. Gotta spread out the info between the younger and older players!

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        • #5
          Well, as i said previously going with 90's let's you play things as is in the book with minimal tweaking - as even if one "i'll just bump everything and act like nothing changed except for a very few" you's still have to decide which kindred would be those few, not to mention Chicago has a not insignificant number of kindred in the 10-50 years old range - and the less hassle before the game starts and the PCs add their own twists (and they most certainly will) the better.

          Plus, it lets you as ST toy with different play styles and imagery using each decade as a theme/era of sorts. 90s, 2000s, 2010s, that's already offers 3 periods each with its own fashion bits, pop culture references and technology differences for the coterie to explore/be challenged with in game, not to mention toying with 20+ years of historical events & stuff not around back then. And that without going into stuff from the 80s, 70s, that would also be quite valid periods for PCs active in the early 90s to have been embraced at.

          For a example of period pop culture influencing Masquerade, just take a look at Taxi Driver, the Death Wish series and other vigilante movies of the 70s & early 80s and look out for a glimpse of Sabbat-ruled New York. Chicago itself offers a very interesting list of potential references to mine for visuals, tone or incidental imagery.

          Anyway, different decades allow for you as ST to play with different cities so to speak, by changing style of play, narrative scale, focus of interests and such, with the different editions of the game possibly counting as "eras" of their own, if one thinks about it.

          And just as importantly, playing it all first person, one bit at a time, allow for it all to be better paced, savored and tweaked to the table's tastes without being overhelmed by an excess of material. At least that's how i see it.

          My thoughts so far, hope it feels useful or at least good to read.
          Last edited by Baaldam; Yesterday, 12:11 AM.

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          • #6
            I used a number of Chicago By Night 1st edition NPCs (with new names) and some Chicago Chronicles plotlines in my recent V20 game set in a non-specific City in a non-specific present-ish period, split off from real history or geography. It works as the archetypal Vampire: The Masquerade setting, not closely connected to real-world Chicago if you remove characters like Capone.


            Craig Oxbrow
            The Trinity Continuum freelancer

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            • #7
              Little bit of thread necromancy, but speaking of Chicago's extended casting, might Johann Weltman not be inspired a little upon this guy?
              I know, it's something of a wild shot in the dark that, but i kind of liked the idea after seeing some stuff on him.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                and not to forget, this awesome one from other places.
                Seconding this. That RPGnet thread contains some awesome insights into the book's NPCs, no matter what era you choose to run Chicago during.


                Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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