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LARPing an interesting Sabbat

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  • LARPing an interesting Sabbat

    So, we've been playing our Camarilla LARP for the last six years, and there's a chance that the Princedom may fall to Sabbat due to invasion, fifth columns and manchurian candidates.

    This may lead to a transformation of the Chronicle in a Sabbat LARP, with the surviving Cammie PCs (either cowardly courtiers or Anarch rabble) playing their adjustment to Sabbat life along with new PCs coming from the invaders' rank.

    The current chronicle has always been centred on politics and esotherical threats, such as Nephandi, demons, abyssal creatures, a Wormwood-like illness etc. Live sessions would be meeting in Elysium, but most of the action would take place between sessions, in small scenes.

    This has maintained an high engagement but it has also drained LARP sessions, making thrm very slow, cautious and politics-oriented.

    To involve players more, we borrowed some ideas from Nordic LARPs, and created different game environments: focus of the chronicle is the same, but now is easier to bring stories inside the session.

    In case we shift to Sabbat, we'd keep this game format, but change the focus: which themes and situations could be interesting to bring into play?

    I'd much interested in roleplaying Sabbat paths, and their journey towards enlightenement, as a crucial focus: I like the idea of Sabbat as religious zealots.

    How could we bring this into gameplay, what do you think ?

  • #2
    I've played Sabbat LARP off and on again for 20 years. It's easily my favorite venue for the game. Ignoring rule-set and it's effects on the narrative, Ritae is a key component for such games. From the sacred nature of the vaulderie to the gamed earnestness of the monomacy, it's all great and an easy hook for players. Paths are also great - roleplaying them is tricky and fun while the experience of leaving humanity behind is one of the best experiences LARPing I've ever had.

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    • #3
      I'd keep, and possibly play up, the outside threats. Perhaps the Sabbat didn't take the city just for its 'normal' resources but a group of Noddist scholars want to study all the strange things going on there?


      Craig Oxbrow
      The Trinity Continuum freelancer

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      • #4
        I've been LARPing on and off for thirteen years, having both played and ST'd large Sabbat games

        I would say if you want to focus on Paths, limit their availability to two or three total Paths (beyond Humanity). This keeps the field from getting too diluted and encourages Paths to become a point around which characters gather and organize. Path RP really comes into its own when its bouncing off other Pathists. It helps establish shared norms of orthodoxy (and where there are irreconcilable interpretations conflicts of dogma) as well as helping Paths to define themselves not just in how they are apart from Humanity but in how they are apart from other Paths.

        Ritae are both the social glue of the sect and a lot of fun to LARP, but use them sparingly and wisely. If you start doing them just to do them and people are only going through the motions, its going to show. A more specific note: city-wide Vaulderie always sounds like a great idea but literally never is. Seriously, its going to grind whatever action was happening to a halt and create a bookkeeping nightmare.

        For Tzimisce characters: Ignore the rule that says the first time someone sees Horrid Form they have to test for Rotshreck. Its a disaster in play, always leads to debate and arguments, and prolongs mass combats. Just chuck it and your life will be an order of magnitude easier.

        For Tzimisce characters part two: Be prepared to field a lot of requests for weird Vicissitude modifications. Maybe you want to come up with a house rule system for handling them, or maybe you just want to wing it. Either is fine, but its easy for them to get out of control.

        Pack games are always a fun way to pass a slow night, and help reinforce the basic social unit of the sect. Encourage packs to develop a distinct identity and try to avoid characters shifting between them too much.

        Remember, the Bishop isn't the Prince. They generally have more status than your average Ductus, so their word carries more weight, but their role isn't really to issue orders or dictats. They handle disputes, whether by letting Ducti negotiate in neutral territory with an impartial arbiter or by sanctifying and overseeing a monomacy, and they can remove the Initiation of Cainites who get too out of line.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nunboi View Post
          I've played Sabbat LARP off and on again for 20 years. It's easily my favorite venue for the game. Ignoring rule-set and it's effects on the narrative, Ritae is a key component for such games. From the sacred nature of the vaulderie to the gamed earnestness of the monomacy, it's all great and an easy hook for players. Paths are also great - roleplaying them is tricky and fun while the experience of leaving humanity behind is one of the best experiences LARPing I've ever had.
          Thank you ! How did you handle these very intimate situations and plots in a collective environment ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Craig Oxbrow View Post
            I'd keep, and possibly play up, the outside threats. Perhaps the Sabbat didn't take the city just for its 'normal' resources but a group of Noddist scholars want to study all the strange things going on there?
            This would be logical, but due to the presence of infiltrators and possible cammie survivor, they would already have faced a huge number of external threats :-D also, we found out that external threats are less game-engaging than internal usually...

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            • #7
              Really interesting, thak you Caitiff Primogen !

              How did you manage Sabbat politics and daily life of packs ? This may be interesting because we are playing in Italy, and the domain would include a number of small towns, diluted in a large territory and with very low crime rates.

              So, Sabbat revolutionaries would be forced to adjust their lifestyle to a more Camarillish point of view, which by itself could cause great tensions

              Originally posted by Caitiff Primogen View Post
              I've been LARPing on and off for thirteen years, having both played and ST'd large Sabbat games

              I would say if you want to focus on Paths, limit their availability to two or three total Paths (beyond Humanity). This keeps the field from getting too diluted and encourages Paths to become a point around which characters gather and organize. Path RP really comes into its own when its bouncing off other Pathists. It helps establish shared norms of orthodoxy (and where there are irreconcilable interpretations conflicts of dogma) as well as helping Paths to define themselves not just in how they are apart from Humanity but in how they are apart from other Paths.

              Ritae are both the social glue of the sect and a lot of fun to LARP, but use them sparingly and wisely. If you start doing them just to do them and people are only going through the motions, its going to show. A more specific note: city-wide Vaulderie always sounds like a great idea but literally never is. Seriously, its going to grind whatever action was happening to a halt and create a bookkeeping nightmare.

              For Tzimisce characters: Ignore the rule that says the first time someone sees Horrid Form they have to test for Rotshreck. Its a disaster in play, always leads to debate and arguments, and prolongs mass combats. Just chuck it and your life will be an order of magnitude easier.

              For Tzimisce characters part two: Be prepared to field a lot of requests for weird Vicissitude modifications. Maybe you want to come up with a house rule system for handling them, or maybe you just want to wing it. Either is fine, but its easy for them to get out of control.

              Pack games are always a fun way to pass a slow night, and help reinforce the basic social unit of the sect. Encourage packs to develop a distinct identity and try to avoid characters shifting between them too much.

              Remember, the Bishop isn't the Prince. They generally have more status than your average Ductus, so their word carries more weight, but their role isn't really to issue orders or dictats. They handle disputes, whether by letting Ducti negotiate in neutral territory with an impartial arbiter or by sanctifying and overseeing a monomacy, and they can remove the Initiation of Cainites who get too out of line.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Manfr View Post

                Thank you ! How did you handle these very intimate situations and plots in a collective environment ?
                Back in the day, we just rolled with it. These days the game has a warning that it isn't for new players, and that mature themes are in play. It seems to work. At the end of the day, it's really up to the players to push things along.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Manfr View Post
                  Really interesting, thak you Caitiff Primogen !

                  How did you manage Sabbat politics and daily life of packs ? This may be interesting because we are playing in Italy, and the domain would include a number of small towns, diluted in a large territory and with very low crime rates.

                  So, Sabbat revolutionaries would be forced to adjust their lifestyle to a more Camarillish point of view, which by itself could cause great tensions

                  The main thing to remember there is the rule of consequences. The Sabbat doesn't observe the Masquerade, but that doesn't mean its members get a free pass. They won't execute someone for revealing themselves to the kine or for being a sloppy eater, but if hunters suddenly come knocking it doesn't take a genius to figure out who the loose end is and deal with them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Caitiff Primogen View Post
                    The main thing to remember there is the rule of consequences. The Sabbat doesn't observe the Masquerade, but that doesn't mean its members get a free pass. They won't execute someone for revealing themselves to the kine or for being a sloppy eater, but if hunters suddenly come knocking it doesn't take a genius to figure out who the loose end is and deal with them.
                    I disagree. The Sabbat does observe the Masquerade...grudgingly, and with looser rigor than the Camarilla. And with much more murder. After all, if the eyewitnesses get killed, who's to say it was vampires, and not just gang violence? And if a pack just happens to end up attracting a group of Hunters and can't handle them on their own, they were obviously poor Cainites who deserved to be culled.

                    I also suspect that the Sabbat is unknowingly covered for by the Technocracy, wherever the Sabbat holds territory. They might have no idea just how many times a full break of the Masquerade was averted, in spite of their efforts.


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