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[Victorian Age] Experience with the setting?

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  • [Victorian Age] Experience with the setting?

    I got a sudden itch for the Victorian Age and so put a bunch of games into my computer from Steam, dragged out books on the subject and got hold of Victorian Age for VtM. But when using the search function I couldn't find much discussion about this gameline. There were some to be sure but not that much. Thus I opened this thread to hear if people had ran Victorian Age games that they would be interested in telling abou, or just discuss the setting in generalt.

    The great benefits for me when looking at the setting and why I think that it could be interesting to run a game in it are themes like; modernity vs tradition, hypocrisy gone rampagent, familiar but alien, greater opertunity for Kindred to travel and survive the experrience given the spread of Western presence through colonization, new takes on known vampire ideas, a world of immense contrasts and the abiility to essentially milk all those gothic stories for all they are worth. As well as that its a period that we know fairly well and thus research if pretty easy from an Anglophone perspective (I'm not a native speaker but restricted to English as I only know two languages )

  • #2
    I will try and bump this thread since I also want to hear more about this! I am slowly moving towards a game titled London By Gaslight, where I will make a sheet for everything in the city and let the PCs play as Elders only just beneath the Prince, Harpy etc. in terms of social status, battling eachother using their control of the penny dreadfuls and the coppers and whores and thieves etc.

    I have a strong idea of the KIND of game I want to play, but the Victorian specifics elude me ;-)

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    • #3
      There's a lot of other Victorian gaming material out there, namely decades of Cthulhu content that would be trivial to repurpose. If you want media inspiration, the BBC series Ripper Street is an incredible Victorian police procedural.


      Call me Regina or Lex.

      Female pronouns for me, please.

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      • #4
        I'll second Ripper Street and add penny dreadful and Sweeney Todd if anything to know how the city looked.

        For additional reading I would suggest a book called Dirty Old London, it's about the century long battle against filth in the city. It covers the sewers, trash collection, chimney sweeps, industrial pollution, grave yard regulation and public toilets and baths.

        As for practical experience the biggest thing I noticed was the technology shock and the etiquette of the time.
        Last edited by BurritoMage; 06-02-2017, 11:18 PM.

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        • #5
          Victorian England is a good setting due to its stylistics, but unfortunately all of the Victorian Age oWoD books are absolutely worthless. So read some Dracula, google what life was like, and go for it.

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          • #6
            As I read the Victorian Age corebook the more I realize that I'll need to change and improvise to get it right. The part about the Kindred of Stockholm for example left me with a bit of a nerd rage to be honest. So that will have to be changed, among many other things.

            Thanks all for the TV recommendations. I'll try to see if I can't have a look at those.

            Cthulhu is naturally a good source for Victorian material which I will look into more to see if I can find the information there that I would use.

            The more I read on Victorian era I find that while the timespan is fairly short on the period, a bit less than a hundred years or so, the span of chronicles can really go across the globe and with stark contrasts ready and close to home which I think is an advantage to even the Modern Nights setting. I'm already thinking about expeditions across the seas to distant lands.

            As well as a small pet project of mine, and that's a conflict between the old nobility Ventrue and the new business Ventrue, and how they are pursuing different agendas and generally steeping on each other's toes, which would fit marvelous in the Victoria setting and much better than either Dark Ages or the Moder Nights.

            EDITED: But it seems that few have actually played games in this setting. Which I think is both a shame and a boon. A shame that there's no previous experience to draw on, and a boon in that the field seems to be pretty clear for me to move in as I wish.
            Last edited by Gurkhal; 06-04-2017, 04:43 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
              Victorian England is a good setting due to its stylistics, but unfortunately all of the Victorian Age oWoD books are absolutely worthless. So read some Dracula, google what life was like, and go for it.
              I really have to disagree with this. I think all of the Victorian Age books are brilliant and so inspirational. Take the whole chapter of how to create a gothic story step-by-step as an example, so helpful! The characters presented are so good that you can easy create a whole scenario around them. Don't get me started on the geography part in both the core book and in the companion book, such a great read that triggers the mind with ideas and a feel for the victorian vampire world. I absolutely love it.
              The only victorian game I've been in is the part of Giovanni Chronicles where you're in London during that time period. Loved it!
              Yes like the others have pointed out, Penny Dreadful and Dracula are both great for inspiration.

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              • #8
                Indeed, I found the chapter on Gothic literature so compelling, I felt inspired to write a fanfic about it. A ghost story where three Kindred get led into an apparently abandoned house, only for them to start...seeing things. (It would have turned out to be a Ravnos, combining illusions with controlled animals and a little blood sorcery to create all the freaky effects, while traveling around the house's secret passages).

                I ended up not writing that story, but it was fun to think about. Taking creatures that normally think themselves the supernatural apex, and throw them in situations where their rationality breaks down.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                  Indeed, I found the chapter on Gothic literature so compelling, I felt inspired to write a fanfic about it. A ghost story where three Kindred get led into an apparently abandoned house, only for them to start...seeing things. (It would have turned out to be a Ravnos, combining illusions with controlled animals and a little blood sorcery to create all the freaky effects, while traveling around the house's secret passages).

                  I ended up not writing that story, but it was fun to think about. Taking creatures that normally think themselves the supernatural apex, and throw them in situations where their rationality breaks down.
                  Exactly, I know no other Vampire the Masquerade book that triggers your imagination like the Victorian ones. I had the same experience.
                  Great idea by the way, love how it goes with the theme of unknown horrors that the Victorian era holds.

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                  • #10
                    Speaking of Gothic lit, by the way, any game of Victorian Age Vampire can benefit from reading the genre. Dracula is an obvious one, but Gothic lit of all kinds can serve as inspiration.

                    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be helpful for a Malkavian character suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Or as a general thematic parallel to every Cainite's struggle against an atavistic, amoral Beast.

                    Frankenstein could obviously serve as a monster narrative - a coterie investigating the creation of a Tzimisce fleshcrafter, Tremere Biothaumaturge (which might also be in violation of the Montmartre Pact, if your game uses it), some precursor to Pentex's Fomori research, or a Mage (either an Electrodyne Engineer, or a Solificati's homunculus). Alternatively, the dynamic of a tragic monster left behind by a negligent creator could apply well to a Kindred abandoned by their sire. Especially if that Kindred happens to be a Gargoyle, since they suffer amnesia of their breathing days by default, and one of the most visibly inhuman of Caine's get.

                    The Call of Cthulhu was mentioned earlier, and I think it's apt. Not because of exact setting - unless you're using some of the Victorian era sourcebooks - but because of tone and themes. I've thought for a while now that HP Lovecraft - documented antiquarian and anglophile - was in many ways a writer of Neo-Gothic literature just as much of SF. He may have used newer ideas of the cosmos in his writing, but the core mood and themes are spot-on Gothic. Gloom, degeneration, isolated places where evil can fester, and forces that stymie mankind's attempts at rationality. Instead of a curse on the land, it's a Colour Out Of Space. Instead of ghosts, it might be invisible psychic parasites from another dimension. While the family may have hereditary madness because of some earlier generation's sin, in this case that sin my involve interbreeding with some cosmic horror or terror from the primordial deep. That kind of thing.


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                    • #11
                      The Victorian era certainly have the advantage of much great literature for inspiration from Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde to Bram Stoker and Lovecraft (even if that's stretching the timeline I think that Bluecho made a good point about the Gothic virtues of Lovecraft's works), and that's just the Anglophone ones! Not to mention that many interesting characters from literature can be almost adopted directly from the page into a Victorian vampire story.

                      The more I read this thread the more convined I am that a Victorian vampire game can be great entertainment.

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                      • #12
                        I actually play in a Victorian Age game that's on the channel in my sig. The ST, Quin, is very familiar with English history and the layout of London. I am digging the game so far tbh.


                        For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
                        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
                        https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
                        If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ChristopherZacher View Post
                          I actually play in a Victorian Age game that's on the channel in my sig. The ST, Quin, is very familiar with English history and the layout of London. I am digging the game so far tbh.
                          Thanks for sharing! I'll try to take a look even if I can't promise that I'll go through all the hours as my attention span isn't what it used to be and I prefer to read above listen to stuff. But I'll make a go at it, I can say that.

                          EDITED: Removed a part I realize was rather pointless.
                          Last edited by Gurkhal; 06-07-2017, 08:40 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gurkhal View Post

                            Thanks for sharing! I'll try to take a look even if I can't promise that I'll go through all the hours as my attention span isn't what it used to be and I prefer to read above listen to stuff. But I'll make a go at it, I can say that.

                            EDITED: Removed a part I realize was rather pointless.
                            No problem, and thanks for checking it out. We have a few other White Wolf games on the channel too.


                            For different game play videos of White Wolf Games from my play group
                            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBU...IhwsM3kHK56SRA
                            https://soundcloud.com/twin-cities-by-night
                            If you want to find White Wolf game play media or subject matter media
                            https://www.facebook.com/groups/862703457198327/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Victorian age vampire is an excellent setting, though I am a style over realism sort of ST so keep that in mind. The only other VTM setting I have gotten more mileage out of is Dark Ages.
                              ​I would recommend looking into the Victorian age companion. It is great as well and offers a bit more depth to the setting. The section on using gothic storytelling conventions and the section on secret societies are both excellent and full of plot hooks that I still use to this day. The setting as a whole offers a sweet spot between the looseness of the dark ages and the more restrictive modern night and works very well in contrast to both other settings, if you want to run a longer chronicle. The ventrue chronicles are rarely mentioned, but worthy of recommendation as it is a decent introductory set of scenarios that span the dark ages, Victorian era, and modern nights, though they are not on par with the Giovanni chronicles or even the Transylvania chronicles, they make a good springboard if you are having trouble with ideas.
                              ​As for personal experience, I have run a particularly interesting anarchs game centered on Victorian London that drew on the seedy underbelly of London and the poor working class. It also dealt with the ideas of Karl Marx, which the coterie tried to spread and incite revolution amongst both the kindred and kine, drawing the attention of the burgeoning sabbat and camarilla as a result. It also utilized the Young Men's Christian Anarchist League from the Victorian age companion. It was an excellent chronicle and dealt very heavily with some of the themes you mentioned above. It's a really great setting with a lot of potential and very evocative.

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