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  • #16
    Originally posted by Thoth View Post
    ​A Mage based series sounds interesting at first, until you try to adapt the mechanics in mage to something that can be understood on a tv show. A lot of Mage mechanics boil down to very granular rules and dice rolls, which means they wouldn't adapt well to a tv series because you either bog down the entire series with exposition to explain it all or you leave the setting "rules light" and that leaves the audience often feeling like rules are based on the needs of the episode.
    I disagree. The granular rules and dice rolling are game mechanics, not narrative devices. If it were a show, all those abstractions would naturally be done away with, in favor of the Mage characters just doing magick according to their Focus. A Hermetic will chant in a circle, an Akashic will meditate and engage in martial arts, an Etherite will build and fire a frickin' laser beam, and a Syndicate rep will act smooth as hell.

    Moreover, unlike in the game where every character is expected to do everything their Spheres say they can do, your average mage character will be more focused and specialized than that. They're liable to have a few select tricks they use to solve most problems, because it's just easier to perform the magick they're comfortable with and have the tools on hand for. So most characters in a TV show would have their gimmicks, and only deviate, improvise, or research specific workarounds when they needed to. The latter basically just coming down to "Technobabble like in Star Trek", except changing "Technobabble" to "Magibabble" where appropriate. The POINT of the show would be in what the characters were using their magick for, and how the plot and character arcs evolved from that.

    On another point, while Mage would naturally be a pretty SFX-heavy show, it has a built-in limiter on that: Paradox. Mage characters would avoid pulling out the really flashy (read: expensive) shots until they really needed them (read: when it's dramatically appropriate). Some of the smaller stuff can be done with simple editing and practical effects (the wizard lights candles with a wave of his hands, which is done with some simple trick candles that barely count as SFX). Hell, the Digital Web, being a world of VR, could get away with more obviously cheap effects, since the sectors can either just be regular location shots (with cheap visual effects to imply fakeness), or with deliberately noticeable green screen shots. No one will complain if the Digital Web looks artificial, and indeed the show runners may be inclined to make it MORE cheesy and unrealistic for the purposes of tone and nodding to 90s genre conventions.

    Lastly, I disagree with the idea that specific, granular aspects of the setting can't be engaging unto themselves. It's just a matter of how it's framed.

    My idea is to have different aspects of Mage each getting covered by its own episode. Paradox gets an episode, if it's not just a running theme throughout. Another episode could explore the concept of Quiet, and how it affects mages on a character level. Another episode could see a mage getting tied up and deprived of her tools, forcing her to resolve the situation by exerting the raw force of Will to pull an escape off without Instruments. Other episodes could be devoted to particular Traditions, Conventions, or Crafts.

    We're not talking about a movie, but a serialized work. Which means we could afford to draw out the particulars of Mage's universe, and explore them bit by bit. And do so by making them important from plot or character perspectives. Thinking that a show would get too boring because it had to explain things is backwards. Rather, you GET to make compelling narratives by stretching things out and letting them breath. It's only US, the players/storytellers, who can get overwhelmed by Mage's rules and details, because we generally need to understand all of it before we play the game. An audience for a TV show only needs to have established for them that we're in an urban fantasy setting, and maybe that Mages are people whose belief can work miracles. The rest can play itself out over the succeeding series.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by Thoth View Post

      A ​V:tM based series has a few issues to overcome. First is the series set from the mortal point of view or the vampire point of view primarily. If you make it about mortals learning about the world of darkness, then it quickly becomes either a buffy clone or an x-files sort of thing. If it is from the vampire point of view it either becomes melrose place with fangs because its the same old relationship BS with a supernatural twist or it becomes a redemption arch sort of storyline like what the old Forever Knight series. Let's face it, having a sabbat focused series where the path of humanity is no where to be found would be a bit too much horror for most audiences.
      .
      I will say again, I could easily do something like John Wick with vampires. A gangrel who tries to pull himself out of the local game gets pulled back in, he used to be The Scourge, but he tried to grow out of it. He's pulled back in, he has boons, favors, and is very angry at someone. You have a nice mix of violence, politicing and keeping shit hidden from the mortals.

      Honestly you are thinking too much like older episodic series. An 8 episode series with a focused arc wouldn't hit most of the issues you seem to bring up.

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      • #18
        Bluecho
        Despite the length of your post, you completely missed my point about mage mechanics granularity. I am not talking about props like hermetics with runes or akashics doing katas. I am talking about the fact that the magic system of mage has inherent failure mechanics in it. The possibility of a failure roll or worse a botch. In most cases these sorts of systems are just removed from the storytelling and the universe. If the are in place generally it only applies when a mage is first learning about their power or learning a new spell. It is really hard for audiences to accept master wizards screwing up a spell, mostly because that is almost always a plot contrivance rather than a function of the mechanics.

        ​So you have two options if you are going to make a video adaptation of a game mechanic. The first option is you keep things vague, sort of like what they did with the Constantine series that crossed over with Arrow, but this makes the sorcerers look under powered and hard to differentiate from say a hedge wizard or Tremere. The second option is to leave that random chance danger of magic in place to create that immersive feel, but that means you will start getting Game of Thrones levels of character deaths due to random magic issues, rather than plot points.

        ​Any form of adaptation is inherently difficult to get right, but it is even more so when you have to deal with the fact that chance to fail mechanics and personal choice are a huge part of the experience. This is why we have so many horrible movies that were adaptations of video games.

        ​@Lian Vampire John Wick sounds kind of boring to me. We already have John Wick, just adding face paint and fangs doesn't make it a V:tM movie or series. When making a oWoD series, be it short form or long form, the focus has to be on world building. What makes the oWoD setting work is the same thing that makes say the DaVinci Code movie work, the way real world history and mythology with a twist get interwoven. Something like John Wick is a badass movie about a simple premise with lots of style, but it has remarkably little world building. If we sacrifice the world building in something like V:tM, then we would end up with the Bloodrayne movie or if we get lucky we get something like The Vampire Journals by Full Moon Pictures (i'm not talking about the vampire diaries) or perhaps the Blade tv series house of Cthon.

        ​Don't get me wrong, some of the movies and tv shows I mentioned were enjoyable, but they didn't last and were B grade at best.

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        • #19
          Ideally, I'd like a VtM series that largely focused on the Camarilla vs Anarchs vs Independents. Throught, the Sabbat, Inconnu, Lupines, Mages, (H)hunters, etc... might show up, both as world building and to introduce possible spin offs, story archs, etc...

          The focus would be on the Domain and various players and not on any particular individuals, like the Prince or Baron, but throughout there could be a good amount of Forever Knight/Highlander style flashbacks to add background. Not every episode, but on occasion.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Beckett View Post
            but throughout there could be a good amount of Forever Knight/Highlander style flashbacks to add background.
            ​Did you by chance catch the 2014 tv series Forever?

            ​Obviously not a vampire series, but it hits many of the same story points as the traditional undead series. Also one of the best examples of "having existed for a long time" having practical meaning.

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            • #21
              I think Hunter is the best jumping off point for a series honestly. Buffy mixed with True Blood

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                ​Did you by chance catch the 2014 tv series Forever?

                ​Obviously not a vampire series, but it hits many of the same story points as the traditional undead series. Also one of the best examples of "having existed for a long time" having practical meaning.
                New Amsterdam, a 2008 series about an immortal living among us, is, IMO, the better version of this more recent Forever series.

                As for the topic itself, a story *just* about Vampires in the style of Vampire: the Masquerade could be cheap enough for effects, as long as flashy effects like Thaumaturgy and Protean are used sparingly. There's not necessarily any flashy visible effects at all to Dominate, Auspex, Presence, Animalism or Obfuscate, unless the show-runner wants to add them (letting the audience see what the vampire is seeing with Auspex, etc.). Filming at night or inside, and the use of trained animals in some scenes (for Animalism and / or Protean transformed characters) would be some of the costly bits, over a standard TV series, but even shows like Supernatural or Buffy or Charmed could afford the occasional bit of fast-movement or telekinetic throwing stuff around.

                Werewolf, Mage, Wraith and Changeling would be, IMO, way harder to do on a budget, and might be better in animation anyway (since, to pick Werewolf out of the batch, CGI fur looks all sorts of terrible, IMO, and Wraith, to pick another example, would be almost all CGI backgrounds for any scene set in the Shadowlands).



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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                  ​A werewolf based series lives or dies on its war form and dire wolf production levels, see the underworld and twilight movies for how much that can fluctuate in quality.
                  There are no dire wolves there. Dire wolves were a sister species of coyote that died out 12 kya, lived only in the Americas, and were only about the size of a moderately large dog, with shorter limbs and stronger, hyena-like jaws. Hispo is a giant wolf the size of a horse, that resembles a nightmare wolf the size of a horse and not a simple canid trying hard to be a hyaenid.

                  ​A Hunter series..... just watch the first four seasons of Supernatural before it went all meta on fan girl pandering.
                  Hopefully it wouldn't be nearly so generic. Also, if we're talking Imbued, that would necessitate the "normal person thrown into the deep end" plot.

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                  • #24
                    The thing with a VtM TV series. Or any WoD TV series. Is the hook. You have to have something to draw in the people who like vampires but aren't going to jibe on the more esoteric aspects. The Camarilla is the most ideal focus, with the main character being a neonate childer being brought into the vampire society shortly after their Embrace. Within that, you get both your 1. real-world focus and 2. your easily-grok'able Game of Thrones-esque politicking and such things that would be familiar to casual viewers. Have the Anarchs be peripheral, the Sabbat a scary unknowable enemy. Focus on the core 7 Camarilla clans, with an 'introduction episode' for each where the Main Character gets to know the Clan by doing something/teaming up with an Ancillae or Neonate of that Clan, to work in your ensemble cast. Here and there, have an Independent show up; the creepy-ass Giovanni, the suave-and-debonair Setite that'll steal your teeth from you and make you happy, the occasional Caitiff who is a laughing stock but hasn't ACTUALLY broken any rules to get murderfaced. Ultimately, any WoD TV series has to grab the general public, and playing up the familiar angles (This is like Underworld or Vampire Diaries or The Originals, plus Game of Thrones politics and squabbling? Easy sell, I think).

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Thoth View Post

                      ​@Lian Vampire John Wick sounds kind of boring to me. We already have John Wick, just adding face paint and fangs doesn't make it a V:tM movie or series. When making a oWoD series, be it short form or long form, the focus has to be on world building. What makes the oWoD setting work is the same thing that makes say the DaVinci Code movie work, the way real world history and mythology with a twist get interwoven. Something like John Wick is a badass movie about a simple premise with lots of style, but it has remarkably little world building. If we sacrifice the world building in something like V:tM, then we would end up with the Bloodrayne movie or if we get lucky we get something like The Vampire Journals by Full Moon Pictures (i'm not talking about the vampire diaries) or perhaps the Blade tv series house of Cthon.
                      We must have watched two very different movies, in both of the John Wick movies in 4 hours we cover boons, an elaborate secret society of killers, much of their rules and structures. How they hide in the real world from normal people.. all very applicable. The world is built without someone who is blind to it but rather we come to understand it by his actions.

                      Honestly there are all sorts of ways a vampire who "used to be a badass" returns to a domain can be built up, that way we can start with him being a player in the game not some neonate who has to have the traditions fed to him, but someone who knows shit somoene who knows who to call to clean up exasanguated bodies, someone who trades in boons and has some sort of goal. We see the world built up by someone's actions than silly exposition.

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                      • #26
                        I know that several people may object to this, but I feel that for a VTM tv series to reach a broader audience we may want to move a little bit away (toned-down a little) the edgy, gothic, punk theme and reach for a more neutral theme, unless the series is set in the 80's I guess that could work too, it would make it easier (masquerade vs technology-wise). I was wondering what you guys think of a model similar to American Horror Story, keep the horror element that is still core to the game. And each season could potentially follow a different set of characters in the world of darkness. If not, then I think the serie could follow a Sheriff, while he/she investigate possible breaches of the masquerade and patrol in the domain for Sabbat incursion.

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                        • #27
                          Honestly I feel the Kindred the Embraced series wasn't that bad. It was very 90s though. I think on Netflix if you stuck with the gritty elements and didn't shy away from them you could easily do a series that would normally appeal to the R audience. Underworld with less leather and more classical gothic horror. Set it in modern times in a Camarilla city and have other supernatural entities be one offs for episodic or season arcs.

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                          • #28
                            I mostly like KtE, but in many ways it is a better Requiem show than Masquerade.

                            It has 4 of the 5 Requiem Clans, the Invictis, a bit of the Circle of the Crone, and Brujah could be the Carthians.

                            It would still be watered down, but less so with a Requiem base, in my opinion.


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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Beckett View Post
                              I mostly like KtE, but in many ways it is a better Requiem show than Masquerade.

                              It has 4 of the 5 Requiem Clans, the Invictis, a bit of the Circle of the Crone, and Brujah could be the Carthians.

                              It would still be watered down, but less so with a Requiem base, in my opinion.

                              Fair point, but I don't think Requiem was even out yet. It was more about adapting the clans to work on the television medium and the typical 'conservation of characters' that normally happens when literary mediums are translated into film and television.

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                              • #30
                                From what I remember, KtE was based off the same notes that brought V:tM to life, instead of being based directly off V:tM so a lot of the themes work, but mechanics are different (like the Nosferatu Alchemist and NO TREMERE!)

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