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Sabbat encounter: the talker

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  • Sabbat encounter: the talker

    One prepared encounter I had was a sabbat shovelhead who was supposed to be a social encounter. She could perfectly masquerade as a human. The intent was to lead them to a trap.

    The trap was unoriginal, just more shoveheads trying to ambush.

    Without others, the talker is useless unless I can come up with more creative traps.

  • #2
    The talker could:
    Act as a scout, gathering information for her pack to use at a later date.
    Act as sentry, leading cammies astray from their target, or sending warning ahead to whomever they're chasing.
    Act as a spy, befriending someone's herd and sabotaging it.

    Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.


    • #3
      Let the shovelhead spout the propaganda, why the Sabbat is good; and right (without it knowing the bad/hypocrisy . Have the characters have a reason to question the Camarilla.


      • #4
        "Perfectly masquerade" you say?

        If the shovelhead has Obfuscate 3 (V20), their mission could be to "accidentally" get picked as a vessel on three occasions, thereby creating a Blood Bond.

        She could also work her way into one of the pc's backgrounds. Maybe, she's a cop that seems ripe for ghouling. Maybe, she's a financial advisor who runs their portfolio. Maybe, she even owns a nightclub in an old church downtown, and is willing to cut the pcs in on the action if they do a little favor for her...

        She then, of course, goes on to manipulate the pcs into dangerous situations for the benefit of the Sabbat, bilks the pcs out of everything they have, or just blackmails them with the fact that they have been working with a Sabbat agent.

        She may never act against the pcs, instead working herself into their circle to get intel for the Sabbat. How much would a financial adviser or attorney know about their clients, and their clients associates?


        • #5
          Hmmm. I think my problem is guessing the reaction of the players. I don’t bother to have them deal with their minions. If an NPC opens their mouth they go on defense. Maybe I had too much experience with murder hobos.


          • #6
            Sounds like it


            • #7

              Mistrust of npcs is often a habit that goes back decades in older players and STs alike, and can be hard to break.

              I have found some STs (let's face it, some DMs) can see the game as a competitive endeavor in which the ST tries to "win" by making the players "lose". This opposition model of play can work, if everyone agrees to it and enjoys it. The problem, though, is that if the ST isn't careful they can overplay their hand. In-world, STs are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. No pc is going to "win" against that. If a chronicle seems like it is rigged against them, few players will enjoy the game.

              It doesn't help that STs receive positive conditioning each time an npc betrays the pcs, the pcs dispose of the npc, and the players receive some sort of reward. While the players feel the most obvious sense of accomplishment, the ST also gets to present an interesting character or scenario (something STs presumably enjoy doing) without the long-term work of adding to an increasingly bloated cast of npcs.

              Imagine if you play weekly, and each week the players meet one new npc. If the ST doesn't clean house once in a while, there will be 52 npcs in the cast by year's end, in addition to all the npcs players bring with them from their backgrounds, origin stories, etc. This is, bluntly put, an impossible situation for an ST. Leave aside portraying that many npcs with any sort of depth or empathy, few people could simply keep track of that many names and roles.

              If you want your players to be willing to trust npcs enough to really engage with them, may I suggest changing the encounters from a binary "should we trust this person or not" dilemma, to a multivariate "which of these people should we trust" dilemma. If they receive a positive outcome from the interaction often enough (50/50 should work), it becomes a rational choice on the part of the players to engage with npcs rather than "murder hobo" everyone they see.

              In other words, don't make them choose whether to trust someone, make them choose which person to trust.

              Some examples:

              Scenario Goal: get a macguffin.
              ST Option 1: Bob has the macguffin. Go to him, demand it, if he refuses, dispose of him, and take it.
              ST Option 2: Bob has the location of the macguffin. It is in an abandoned bank vault. Bob knows how to blow the safe without destroying the contents, but needs demolition materials to do so. Bob doesn't care about the macguffin, but the safe also holds important documents he needs for his personal goals. The players can get Bob some explosives, and everybody wins.

              Scenario Goal: convince the local kindred to grant you a small domain where your herd can reside without poaching.
              ST Option 1: Alice offers to introduce the pcs around at Elysium and support their request for a domain, in exchange for supporting her bid to be the new sheriff. If they trust her, she may betray them. They could also dispose of her and take her domain.
              ST Option 2: Alice, Bob, Carol, and Dave all have large domains and want to be the new sheriff. The Prince, hoping the sheriff will have some popular legitimacy, agrees to an election at Elysium to decide among his nominees. There are four pcs and four other kindred in town besides the nominees, so if the pcs vote as a bloc they will likely be choosing the next sheriff. Who do they trust to pay them back with part of their domain? The pcs could just refuse to trust anyone, and not vote or split their vote. This will not gain them anything, though. They need to pick someone to trust.

              Scenario Goal: fifteen minutes to sunrise, find shelter for the day.
              ST Option 1: Carol, an npc fledgling, is known to have a Haven in that building across the street. She is a known diablerist, with several very loyal ghouls. Carol offers the pcs shelter. The pcs know they could just dispose of Carol and her ghouls, and take ownership of a new Haven, or they could trust her.
              ST Option 2: The pcs are within running distance of two possible Havens. The first is Carol's, the second is a rickety old shack with unsound lightproofing, but lots of construction materials. The ST says it will require a Wits+Crafts roll, at high difficulty to make it safe. Should the pcs trust Carol, or their own construction skills?