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  • Please critique this story telling script

    THE PRINCE’S PRESENTATION

    You begin your journey through a turnstile of the World Trade Center. Armed men escort you with suits and wires connecting to their ears and ridiculous yellow tinted glasses. There you get on a service elevator which seems very ornate and mirrored. An electronic keypad is in place of a regular button panel. One of the guardsman swipes the screen with a black keycard and ankh appears. You arrive at a very high floor you estimate considering the panel does not give you information as a normal elevator would. None of the men around you speak. You can smell the palpable fear and sweat from at least one of them. The door opens to reveal with a wisp of cold air. A terrifying Nosferatu ordained in old European ragged style clothing acknowledges your presence and walks away with expectation you follow him. The mortals do not follow, a bit of respectful fear holds them inside the false safety of their tiny box. He speaks as you walk with him, in a sinister and raspy voice:
    “I am the one of the deputies to the Sheriff Abdul Charzin. You may address me as Fabius Nasib. You SHALL speak with the Seneschal before entering and then await your announcement; there the Prince will interview you. If you are worthy of him you shall be allowed to stay. If not, then…” An evil giggle churns from his chest, unnerving you.

    You follow to a large business style meeting room. Luxurious leather seats line up the room. At its entrance stands an exceptionally tall sharp dressed man with an elongated nose housing dark rim glasses. He stares you down, never blinking. Your legs feel like jelly and your gut twists and softens upon approaching him. He speaks in a monotone voice, never breaking eye contact, distinctly addressing himself:
    “I am the Senschal, Barach Hugo. How shall I announce you to the Prince, Alexander Duncan?”

    You respond in turn.

    At the head of the table sits a creature familiar in his element. The Prince you know as Alexander Duncan sits reading some papers. He glances at you and the papers back and forth as you enter, seemingly giving acknowledgement that they and you are related. Also at the table sits a member of your clan. They sit uncomfortably as if needles are on the seat cushion. As the Seneschal introduces you the Prince places the papers back into a folder and slides it purposefully towards your clan member. Remaining in front of him are two sharpened pencils which he precariously lines up in front of him.

    The Prince addresses you and requests politely that you sit, taking a seat between him and your clan member. He makes his official announcement in an invigorating voice:
    “Good evening my fellow Kindred. Your colleague here vouches for you as a member of good standing. I am glad to hear this. Please state for us your business and your intended length of stay, in an official manner of course. This is for the record.”

    He awaits your reply. You notice from your peripheral that the Seneschal writes down your words onto an official looking ledger.

    “Good. Now as a formality I require you to recite the Traditions and brief myself on how you intend to uphold the Masquerade.”

    He patiently waits your response. After replying he nods in a thankful manner then looks towards the Seneschal who gives him a stoic but affirming nod before looking back to you. Suddenly you notice a figure that wasn’t there before, standing behind you, walking towards the Prince. Had he been there the whole time? The person is adorned in all black, with a burqa obscuring their facial features. Housed at their hip is a sheathed scimitar. In their hand they press a remote button.

    “The rite of creation you have stated earlier for me I clarify as thus. With respect to our currently population I must scrutinize the siring and or bonding ghouls of future recipients. They must be properly vetted to ensure their indoctrination goes well. Of course understand that your stay here is at my discretion and blessing. You repay my kindness by observing the standards of conduct that the Camarilla has structured here. Now please direct your attention to the monitor over here.“ A display screen appears. “Tourism and entertainment within this city are the forefront of its success. Here within these regions highlighted you shall take note that these are domains I have given authority to other kindred. You shall respect their rule within their premises. They support the success of the city, and in turn you shall support them. Take note that the confines of my realm extend past the county borders. Further then these you shall be cautious as they are unclaimed by the Camarilla.

    Here within this slideshow you should take note of this dossier of notable kine leaders. They are protected figure heads supporting the Camarilla, some knowingly, and others not. Assume the latter.

    You are given free rein to partake in the feeding of any tourist you find within the city. All permanent residents however may be under scrutiny of ownership from other Kindred. Be cautious and observant to this fact before you partake in your evening’s delights. Regardless to such, you should know that I forbid the explicit murder of kine except under the most egregious of circumstances. Animals of the avian species and rodent types are forbidden to be harmed or fed upon in any manner by kindred. Some members of our community also house pets of various kinds. I should expect you to respect their property. This of course extends to any employee of any previously mentioned domains, whether they are aware or not of their leader’s true nature.

    While the details of this meeting may be inundating to you at this time please reassure yourself that this information is retained equally in accuracy by your clans Harpy. To which I arbiter that each clan possess one in order to ensure transaction of boons are exchanged fairly.”

    All members of the room stand ceremoniously as the Prince stands and walks towards you. In addition to a firm hand shake he presents you with a keycard, similar to the one you witnessed earlier on the security guards. It has no label other than “VIP”.

  • #2
    The basic concept seems sound.

    What sort of critique are you looking for? Usability for running a game? Characterization, style, and plotting? Errors of setting detail? Would you like a straight-up, blue pencil proofreading for typos, grammar, and spellcheck?

    There's no reason whatsoever to think it isn't, but is English your mother tongue?

    Comment


    • #3
      characterization, Style, plotting. This is for my campaign I've been using.

      I was bouncing this off of guide to Camarilla and the story tellers guide to make sure it flowed normally. Some things are unique. And I wanted to make sure it would be entertaining and mood setting at the very least.

      I can check for grammar. My wife is an English teacher, she can bust my chops if I don't get the simple stuff right.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        THE PRINCE’S PRESENTATION

        You begin your journey through a turnstile of the World Trade Center. Armed men escort you with suits and wires connecting to their ears and ridiculous yellow tinted glasses. There you get on a service elevator which seems very ornate and mirrored. An electronic keypad is in place of a regular button panel. One of the guardsman swipes the screen with a black keycard and ankh appears. You arrive at a very high floor you estimate considering the panel does not give you information as a normal elevator would. None of the men around you speak. You can smell the palpable fear and sweat from at least one of them.
        Are you sure you mean turnstile? Maybe you meant metal detector or revolving door?

        I wouldn't spend time describing what most elevators have. Just explain the guards wave an ID badge in front of a video screen and the elevator starts moving.

        I'm not sure where this is set. "World Trade Center" is a generic term, like "stock exchange". What city is this? Maybe mention a local paper on the newstand or a transit center with a local station's name. Is it early in the night or late? Is it cold or hot? Wet or dry? Maybe they notice the men are flushed from the cold, or have wet trouser cuffs. It's a trade center at night. What does that sound like? Do their footsteps echo across a vast terrazzo floor, or is it a small, space, with carpets and ferns? Is there a janitor mopping up? Can they smell cleaning fluids? Does the building turn off the heat at night? You only have five senses to communicate with your audience; use 'em all. Giving a sense of place is important in a lead paragraph.

        It might be a good idea to give the players the sensory info, and let them suss out the details. So, don't draw the conclusion of going to a high floor for them. Just tell them how long they've been riding, and maybe that they feel the air pressure dropping. Or point out they're taken through a backroom, past the janitors' break room to an ornate elevator. Let them discover it's a secret lift. They'll figure it out, and knowing they need to think a little to interpret your setting will both keep them listening and give them a sense of accomplishment when they do figure it out. Show, don't tell.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        The door opens to reveal with a wisp of cold air.
        I literally don't know what this sentence means.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        A terrifying Nosferatu ordained in old European ragged style clothing acknowledges your presence
        I think you mean "adorned". "Old...clothing", strangely has little actual detail, but is still too wordy. It sounds like the people in the oldest parts of Europe used to enjoy fashion which was intentionally ragged. Is the outfit 1960s London Mod, or Charlemagne era robes? Compare your phrasing to: "ragged 18th century livery". It is more concise, and carries more info. Pretend every word costs a dollar, and you'll tighten your style.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        and walks away with expectation you follow him.
        May I tag out to Mrs. Pnizzle on this one?

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        The mortals do not follow, a bit of respectful fear holds them inside the false safety of their tiny box. He speaks as you walk with him, in a sinister and raspy voice:
        A bit florid, but good job giving even minor npcs some characterization. Try re-ordering your paragraph a little. Give all the info about the guards first. Then, when the players leave the elevator, move to the Nosferatu. Going back and forth can get confusing, and has less impact. Maintain focus.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        “I am the one of the deputies to the Sheriff Abdul Charzin. You may address me as Fabius Nasib. You SHALL speak with the Seneschal before entering and then await your announcement; there the Prince will interview you. If you are worthy of him you shall be allowed to stay. If not, then…” An evil giggle churns from his chest, unnerving you.
        "am the one of"? The one of which what? Again, pass to Mrs. Pnizzle. One helpful trick to catch these little syntax errors is to read your text aloud. You know what natural language sounds like when you hear it. Don't be shy! No mumbling aloud/allowed. Really recite it- like you're addressing parliament - and your writing's rhythm, flow, and syntax will improve.

        Small quibble, will they call him by his full name each time? Seems awkward, but if that's what he prefers... Consider: "I am Fabius Nasib, deputy to Sheriff Abdul Charzin." More concise, and sounds more natural. Plus, the players will have to figure out how to address him on their own. Isn't that why they Etiquette and Politics?

        "Shall"? Okay, maybe that word means exactly what you intended. Maybe not. Be certain. It's not just a fancier version of will. It's a little tricky, actually.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        You follow to a large business style meeting room. Luxurious leather seats line up the room. At its entrance stands an exceptionally tall sharp dressed man with an elongated nose housing dark rim glasses. He stares you down, never blinking. Your legs feel like jelly and your gut twists and softens upon approaching him. He speaks in a monotone voice, never breaking eye contact, distinctly addressing himself:
        “I am the Senschal, Barach Hugo. How shall I announce you to the Prince, Alexander Duncan?”
        Try "conference room". Remember, keep telling yourself, "a dollar per word".

        I would have them smell the old leather. Every sense!

        If his eyes are actually "housing" the glasses, that must have been a horrible accident. Sounds both gruesome and painful.

        You'll be reading this aloud to the players, right? No need to tell them it's monotone, just make a note to yourself as a stage direction.

        Are you certain he is addressing himself, and not the characters? How do they know this? Is there a mirror nearby which he is addressing?

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        You respond in turn.
        Railroaded in four words. In fairness, you are being concise.

        Try: "Hugo removes his horn rim glasses and wipes them with his pocket square." If they don't realize he asked them a question, they weren't paying attention to you. Now would be a good time to remind them of the "No Cell Phones" rule at your table. Then, "The only sound is the air register by the window. Your eye drifts to a silent plane in the distance, brightly up-lit by the city lights stretched out below. Mr. Hugo, clears his throat, raises an eyebrow, and awaits your answer."

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        At the head of the table sits a creature familiar in his element. The Prince you know as Alexander Duncan sits reading some papers. He glances at you and the papers back and forth as you enter, seemingly giving acknowledgement that they and you are related. Also at the table sits a member of your clan. They sit uncomfortably as if needles are on the seat cushion. As the Seneschal introduces you the Prince places the papers back into a folder and slides it purposefully towards your clan member. Remaining in front of him are two sharpened pencils which he precariously lines up in front of him.
        Wait. Was the Prince here the whole time? Did Hugo lead us to another room? I'm confused.

        In any case, just say, "Prince Alexander Duncan". That will be four dollars saved.

        What do you mean, "towards your clan member"? Member is vague. I hope.

        Remember, "shall"? All that, again, except with "precariously".

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        The Prince addresses you and requests politely that you sit, taking a seat between him and your clan member. He makes his official announcement in an invigorating voice:
        Sit+taking your seat=four bucks. "sit between"=priceless.

        Okay, check your grammar, terminology, and sentence structure. Given the multiple meanings of "member", this could be sliding into light porn territory. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        “Good evening my fellow Kindred. Your colleague here vouches for you as a member of good standing. I am glad to hear this. Please state for us your business and your intended length of stay, in an official manner of course. This is for the record.”

        He awaits your reply. You notice from your peripheral that the Seneschal writes down your words onto an official looking ledger.

        “Good. Now as a formality I require you to recite the Traditions and brief myself on how you intend to uphold the Masquerade.”
        I might have the Traditions first, to establish bona fides. Also, the tone has shifted, again. I liked when the Prince seemed to be mildly annoyed at the trifling interruption, but willing to be business-like. If you need florid court-speak, give it to the Seneschal. He's the Prince; he doesn't have to be polite.

        Who is the colleague, who is the fellow kindred, and who is "us". In a crowd scene, sometimes names are helpful.

        Peripheral is an adjective, not a noun... except in computing, and there it's just a lazy way of saying "peripheral device". Are the pcs standing on their printers when they notice the seneschal?

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        He patiently waits your response. After replying he nods in a thankful manner then looks towards the Seneschal who gives him a stoic but affirming nod before looking back to you. Suddenly you notice a figure that wasn’t there before, standing behind you, walking towards the Prince. Had he been there the whole time? The person is adorned in all black, with a burqa obscuring their facial features. Housed at their hip is a sheathed scimitar. In their hand they press a remote button.
        That would be "awaits". Plus, "patiently awaits" is nearly always ironic. If someone were truly patient, no one might realize they're waiting. Either make him impatient, or have him get distracted by other matters as if he doesn't really care. He's a Prince, for goodness sake, not a waitress waiting for you to decide if you want fries with that.

        Nods? Too much like a bow, unless this Prince is being characterized as having no sense of superiority at all.

        "Towards"? Show that to Mrs. Pnizzle. It is mostly a matter of style, but know that with an "s" it is a more modern expression, and possibly not right if the Prince is an elder. Unless he's from the Commonwealth.

        "Stoic", noun, a word similar to "shall" and "precariously", in that you should look it up.

        Burqa, see stoic, shall, and precariously. Men don't wear burqas. And, in a burqa it's hard to see the hip. Kind of the point of a burqa, actually. Maybe you mean a thawb?


        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        “The rite of creation you have stated earlier for me I clarify as thus. With respect to our currently population I must scrutinize the siring and or bonding ghouls of future recipients. They must be properly vetted to ensure their indoctrination goes well. Of course understand that your stay here is at my discretion and blessing. You repay my kindness by observing the standards of conduct that the Camarilla has structured here. Now please direct your attention to the monitor over here.“ A display screen appears. “Tourism and entertainment within this city are the forefront of its success. Here within these regions highlighted you shall take note that these are domains I have given authority to other kindred. You shall respect their rule within their premises. They support the success of the city, and in turn you shall support them. Take note that the confines of my realm extend past the county borders. Further then these you shall be cautious as they are unclaimed by the Camarilla.
        So far, I have really liked this piece of writing. I'm guessing this is where the coffee ran out.

        Rite of Creation is a Sabbat ritual. Right of Creation is a prerogative of a Camarilla Prince. Just saying.

        Okay, this paragraph really needs for you to read it aloud. You'll see why before "currently", and certainly no later than ""bonding ghouls of future recipients".

        Oh, and "premises" are usually a single building, plus its immediate surrounding yard, not a whole neighborhood.

        Just joking around, but someone who's taken philosophy, and is familiar with deontology, will laugh their asses off at "You shall respect their rule within their premises."

        Re-write this whole paragraph before you show it to Mrs. Pnizzle. It's not fair to make her think of something supportive to say about this paragraph.

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        Here within this slideshow you should take note of this dossier of notable kine leaders. They are protected figure heads supporting the Camarilla, some knowingly, and others not. Assume the latter.
        Stupid yellow sunglasses and now power point? That's it. I'm joining the Sabbat!

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        You are given free rein to partake in the feeding of any tourist you find within the city.
        Odd rule. So, you're allowed to take tourists out for some pizza and beer, maybe some ice cream if they promise to take a spin class. Cool. But may you feed upon the tourists?

        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        All permanent residents however may be under scrutiny of ownership from other Kindred. Be cautious and observant to this fact before you partake in your evening’s delights. Regardless to such, you should know that I forbid the explicit murder of kine except under the most egregious of circumstances. Animals of the avian species and rodent types are forbidden to be harmed or fed upon in any manner by kindred. Some members of our community also house pets of various kinds. I should expect you to respect their property. This of course extends to any employee of any previously mentioned domains, whether they are aware or not of their leader’s true nature.
        What is "scrutiny of ownership"? It sounds like vampires here do a lot of title searches.

        "Regardless to such"?

        Wait... do birds and rodents own property in this city? Or, are they property? Does this clause mean you can't call a basic exterminator for your haven? Also, take a look at your pcs. Some Nosferatu and Gangrel can pretty much only feed on animals. This seriously screws those players.


        Originally posted by Pnizzle View Post
        While the details of this meeting may be inundating to you at this time please reassure yourself that this information is retained equally in accuracy by your clans Harpy. To which I arbiter that each clan possess one in order to ensure transaction of boons are exchanged fairly.”

        All members of the room stand ceremoniously as the Prince stands and walks towards you. In addition to a firm hand shake he presents you with a keycard, similar to the one you witnessed earlier on the security guards. It has no label other than “VIP”.
        Add "arbiter" to the list of words to look up. Hint: it's a noun.

        One tip, when writing in the voice of a character who is of higher status than the index characters, don't just use big words and pointlessly complex sentence structures to convey their haughtiness. At best, it implies the speaker is unsure of their status and compensating. At worst, it just becomes unintelligible to the reader. You're straying into the latter.

        "Witnessed" implies there is a crime or tragedy occurring, and someone will later question them about it. They "saw earlier". It's both simpler, and more accurate.

        Over-all, the story idea and plot development is good. I like the escorts on the elevator, as they add a nice transition from people on the edge of power to people closer to the seat of power.

        Have you considered having the seneschal and the deputy be one person? You would save ink by introducing just one character, and having both serves no obvious narrative purpose.

        In general, just cut, cut, then cut some more. There's an old saying, from the heteropatriarchal bad old days... "Any piece of writing should be like a woman's skirt. Long to cover what needs to be covered, but short enough to be interesting."

        Excuse me while I go send a contrite twenty bucks to NOW.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks. To answer your questions, the purpose of the write up is to be a generic write up. I could throw each character individually in to set the tone. The characters introduced in their manner was supposed to be purposeful. The deputy is supposed to be scary. If i could upload attachments to the site i'd show you pictures to describe them(keep getting errors). The seneschal is supposed to be waiting outside the conference room. He's supposed to be an imposing, curt, and extremely formal individual. Yes he is stoic as he never expresses emotions and its supposed to unsettle people. I always have trouble showing his Christopher Walken style intimidation(its not that he looks like he can be intimidating, but somehow he socially is intimidating). The sheriff was supposed to be standing behind the player obfuscated the whole time till he revealed himself. It was supposed to be a subtle jump scare. The "generic member of your clan" is a placeholder for whomever the player has as a sire/mentor/contact/ally/primogen.

          The tempo is supposed to be that the nosferatu is physically terrifying, the seneschal is psychologically terrifying, the sheriff is surprisingly terrifying, and the prince is supposed to be oddly terrifying(why is this guy so chummy and nice? he's clearly lulling me in a false sense of security).

          To clarify the feeding restricitions. Any human resident who lives here may be property of another kindred and must be checked first. Tourists are open season. All birds are claimed by gangrel clan as a whole. All rodents are claimed by nosferatu clan as a whole. Some NPCs have animals and pet shops too. Its a side plot later.

          You're right about rite of creation. I mixed that up. More caffeine required or start earlier in the day.

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