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In the Beginning - An Antediluvian Story

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  • In the Beginning - An Antediluvian Story

    Howdy folks, first time poster hereand I was looking for a couple of seasoned opinions with a new game that I have been setting up for 2019.
    I have been a VTM Story Teller for the past 5 years and role playing for a long time before that - using the V20 system my players and I built up quite a world with weekly games over the past five year. Some players dropped out, others dropped in - at one point I had so many players that I had to split the party into two teams and play games every Tuesday and Thursday.
    But all good things come to an end and my players faced Gehenna Last Week.... and I am starting up a completely new game:
    From the Beginning. The very beginning.

    Caine has been cursed and cast out, he has found Lillith and learned his Dark Disciplines, and he has found the First city of Ubar, Embraced Enoch, Irad and Zillah, and renamed the city Enoch.
    And that is where the players come in - No Crone, as yet. Not Lovers, as yet. No other real 3rd Generation Characters,,,,as yet.
    The players will get to pick their own characters and perhaps start to come up with ideas for their own particular bloodlines - these, along with their disciplines and curses (when they come about) would be shaped by their convictions and character flaws.
    They could play as one of the Antediluvians that we already know OR they could play someone new - one of the Lost Antediluvians. OR they could take an already established character and run them in a completely different direction - turning the tides of the conflict, saving the Second Generation from destruction, or even siding with Caine. THe point is that the possibilities are limitless - though their powers are not. They will start off with High Humanity and low Blood Potency - this Potency and their Disciplines will emerge and "thicken" as the years go on, unlocking more of their powers as they go - so they DON'T start of as Immortal unstoppable powerhouses....but they could end up that way.

    The system itself is a combination of 5th and V20 - I love the new Hunger system, I don't much like that d10s are now effectively just coin flips, however, and I really didn't like the Art or the Setting for V5 - hence the step away from Second Inquisition and back, waaaaay back, into the heart and origins of the Vampire.

    Some of you may think this is a terrible idea - or at least very fundamentally flawed, and I would love to hear your criticisms and ideas - because though I have played for a while I still am nowhere near an expert. Has something like this been done before? Are there any resources for a game set in 6000BC? I have made up a whole new set of skills just for this Era and God only knows if they will work out (3 points in agriculture, anyone?)
    But yeah, I would mainly love some feedback or advice because if I start this game, I'll be in it for the long haul - and it would be great to catch any major issues before they arise....

  • #2
    Because V:tM was designed to have a very ambiguous past, there isn't much in the way of supplements to show what vampire life was like pre-dark ages. This is much like the real world, where history past a certain point is purely speculation because of a lack of writing.

    Much of what we know is from stories passed down in the clans and from the Book of Nod supplement. And those can be taken with a grain of salt, even according to the actual authors.

    You're essentially free to do what you want with that far back in history.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Shevek View Post
      Howdy folks, first time poster hereand I was looking for a couple of seasoned opinions with a new game that I have been setting up for 2019.

      Caine has been cursed and cast out, he has found Lillith and learned his Dark Disciplines, and he has found the First city of Ubar, Embraced Enoch, Irad and Zillah, and renamed the city Enoch.
      (...)
      They could play as one of the Antediluvians that we already know OR they could play someone new - one of the Lost Antediluvians. (...)
      Some of you may think this is a terrible idea - or at least very fundamentally flawed, and I would love to hear your criticisms and ideas - because though I have played for a while I still am nowhere near an expert. Has something like this been done before? Are there any resources for a game set in 6000BC? I have made up a whole new set of skills just for this Era and God only knows if they will work out (3 points in agriculture, anyone?)
      But yeah, I would mainly love some feedback or advice because if I start this game, I'll be in it for the long haul - and it would be great to catch any major issues before they arise....
      I think you will have to decide what to do in regard to mundane humans - as in, whether any of them ( other than possible candidates for the Embrace ) will be persons with who Vampires ( the 3rd Generation player characters, and other Vampires ) will be interacting to any important / notable extent. The direction in regard to this will change a lot about your chronicle. If there will be actual important or meaningful interaction with mundane humans, it could end up being closer ( though still very different ) to regular V:tM. But if mundane humans and their matters will be practically ignored because of focusing exclusively on Vampires - which is certainly appropriate for this time period and circumstances - then the sessions might be very different.

      Consider what you want to do with morality, Humanity. Will Humanity be different, to represent outlooks and attitudes of the period ? Do you plan including some equivalent to Roads or Paths of Enlightenment ; perhaps early Roads ?

      Until what years - and at what time intervals - will the chronicle take place ?
      Can you post the new set of Abilities / Skills that you made for this time period ?

      In regard to sources of inspiration for this chronicle, I have two recommendations of PC games, if you have the time ( and the funds ) to check them out - the Civilization series and Age of Empires 1. The Civilization series are turn-based empire management games. Civilization IV is the one which I would recommend ; I think it is excellent for envisioning the circumstances, and the interplay of factors, during the ancient times ( the game starts at 4000 BCE ) . Settling of cities at favorable locations, advances of technology, management of limited resources, exploration and territorial expansion, and diplomacy between nations are elements which are at the forefront, and I think that the game series - and Civilization IV especially - envisions these elements from a macro perspective in a way that does give an good idea of how different the BCE time period was. There is a definite sense of both achievement, and distinct challenges. The technology tree - which has many different pathways of advancements, that interconnect - is worth a look definitely, even if you don't want to check the game out.

      Age of Empires 1 is an RTS that has campaigns that go from 1760 BCE - 612 BCE, 2000 BCE - 334 BCE, and 210 BCE - 740 CE. While the later missions are from years that might be very far away from the years of your chronicle, I think the game is excellent for inspiration because it is a very tangible and distinct interpretation of events and circumstances. Mission geography, storylines, music, game mechanics, and graphics all combine to create a characterfulness that I think can serve as an excellent inspiration for consideration and envisioning of the BCE time period. Naval travel and warfare is a major element in many of the missions. If you don't want to play through all the missions, you can use cheat codes to take a look at the geography and factions set-ups of each mission.

      I think you chose one of most interesting and intriguing time periods for V:tM ( and WoD ) chronicles. There is also the additional benefit of getting to know more about, and immersing yourself and the players, in regard to the BCE time period. I hope that you will succeed in your planning and preparation of this chronicle, and that the sessions will be great.
      Last edited by Muad'Dib; 01-11-2019, 05:31 PM.

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      • #4
        Another possibility is go full Conan, it's fantasy prehistory and all of those vampires are blood gods doing whatever they want. Turn the First City into something that isn't History, but more like some mythical age with far more magic.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your input and ideas, folks! We had Session 0 last night (where I had to become a history lecturer and tell them of nomadic tribes, the origins of humanity and the first few chapters of Genesis (and the Jewish apocrypha surrounding it), but we got there in the end. Six players seems a good amount for this sort of game and two have already decided to be some sort of blood orgy fertility godesses - for backing music we had the civilization sound track and I do think that game will be very useful in later sessions when the players try to build up their power base. The setting for the first few games are them presenting themselves to the THREE and petitioning them for the Embrace. They will start off, however, as basic licks - one dot in each of the three disciplines they pick, but with the potential to unlock powers all the way up to 9 as their blood "thickens" and gains blood potence over time.
          Their humanity will start on 7, but they will have to choose a path before too long - one cannot be, say, a blood orgy fertility goddess for long and retain their humanity.

          As for humans - each character has their touch stones (parents, lovers, even children, old wise women and village chieftans) and they will interact with the "chosen ones" (ghouls) and some of the mortal city dwellers but otherwise they will probably quickly rise to the sort of power where basic farmers and workers are little more than food/ants to them. (Apart from a few notable exceptions, of course).

          Originally posted by Kalendeer View Post
          Another possibility is go full Conan, it's fantasy prehistory and all of those vampires are blood gods doing whatever they want. Turn the First City into something that isn't History, but more like some mythical age with far more magic.
          Ooh, I do love the idea of making it a bit more mythic, where the magick is still raw and untamed, where giant beasts still roam the land and creatures such as werewolves have yet to learn any form of restraint. (I mean, we had mammoths before the Great Deluge, who is to say we didn't have unicorns, dragons, and more too?)

          As for the sats, I have made up my own character sheet (Based on V5) here:

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          • #6
            I recommend reading the ST VAULT BOOK Analects of the 3rd Garden for Enoch games. It raises some interesting questions about the early days, and also is my favorite portrayal of the 2nd gen.

            The Talmaherah book explains the original city was Ghemal, and I believe Ubar was the 2nd City founded on the ruins of Enoch.

            I would have it Caine isn’t a master of all disciplines. I’d have him have physical disciplines stronger then all Vampire, Dominate, Auspex for prophetic dreams, Obfuscate and some protean and Sorcery. But I would say he developed Presence after the Crone as he needed her magic to enslave Zillahs heart.


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shevek View Post
              Thanks for your input and ideas, folks! We had Session 0 last night (...)
              Did anyone choose interesting Merits, or unique / rare Backgrounds etc. for her / his player character ?
              Do the PCs know ( or will know soon ) each other to a greater extent than they know other Vampires ? What are ( or will be ) their initial attitudes towards each other ?

              Originally posted by Shevek View Post
              for backing music we had the civilization sound track and I do think that game will be very useful in later sessions when the players try to build up their power base.
              From which of the Civilization series is the sound track ? I only played Civilization IV extensively, and the music playing during the 4000-1000 BCE years ( maybe it plays for longer, I never paid attention to when it changes ) is great for all the exploration, humble but meaningful developments, and early dilemma.

              I thought about Age of Mythology . I have a vague sense of extreme nostalgia towards the game. First, it has to be said that it is an interpretation and retelling of mythologies of a few civilizations, done very well in the form of game mechanics and graphics ; and I think they really did a good job with this, and with incorporating mythology and supernatural elements into Age of Empires RTS gameplay. While I think that the campaign gameplay is mediocre ( it is too easy even on the hardest difficulty, and most of the missions are very straightforward because there is only a single main enemy ) , the missions sequence, and the storyline presentation are great in my opinion. How the plot goes from Greece to Egypt and then to ( I assume ) Scandinavia, really puts across the idea of greater than usual possibilities, challenges, and achievements.


              Originally posted by Shevek View Post
              Ooh, I do love the idea of making it a bit more mythic, where the magick is still raw and untamed, where giant beasts still roam the land and creatures such as werewolves have yet to learn any form of restraint. (I mean, we had mammoths before the Great Deluge, who is to say we didn't have unicorns, dragons, and more too?
              Yes this can be done . Remember it doesn't have to be supernatural animals and humanoids ; it can also be phenomena, items, and places.
              You could go all the way and incorporate Mages from M:tA as possible persons to meet and interact with ( or to interact without meeting them ; at least not at first ) . This includes the possibility of very young and inexperienced - even a bit foolish and naive - Mages, who could easily be manipulated . Not that other Mages can't be manipulated, of course.

              Originally posted by Shevek View Post
              As for the sats, I have made up my own character sheet (Based on V5) here:
              I just see a little icon of a file. Is this a problem with this attachment, or I can't see it because of an issue from my side ?

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              • #8
                I played a First City, pre-Flood game once, it was pretty fun. I was the Ventrue Antediluvian and the Ravnos Antediluvian.

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                • #9
                  Eldagusto, Ubar was the original name of the First city before Caine renamed it to Enoch. The second city was never given a name.

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                  • #10
                    I just thought that you could use any game from the Civilization series if you wanted to generate some lands and settlements without any bias ; and with the option to have only part of it revealed at a time. The cities could count as smaller villages or towns.

                    Did you consider what to do in regard to travelling to more far-away areas ? It is certainly an option for a 3rd Generation Vampire ; and that some of them travelled is mentioned in the books. Any results in far-away areas could be simulated with some sort of mini-game and dice rolls, if directly roleplaying them would take too long or detract from the rest of the chronicle.

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                    • #11
                      I have some more questions in regard to this chronicle.

                      What is the overall level of technology, learning, knowledge, and civic organization of mundane humans during this time ?

                      Are there any limits for the player characters in regard to choosing their Disciplines ?

                      How large is the First City in terms of size, and the number of mundane humans in it ?

                      Do you have a list of events and developments that will happen for certain, or almost for certain ? If yes, is this in regard to Vampires, or in regard to societies of mundane humans also ?

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                      • #12
                        Some more questions, I hope you don't mind.

                        Do you have any limits on how far can mundane humans advance in technology, assuming that the player characters ( or NPCs ) will be helping them a lot ?

                        How much the PCs know about the supernatural at the start ? For example do they know that special / mystical animals exist ( assuming they do exist in your setting ) , or that spellcasting ( whether Blood Magic, Magick, or Sorcery ) is possible ?

                        Based on what did you decide in regard to the climate and the geography for the region(s) that the chronicle will take place in ?

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                        • #13
                          According to the tales, they knew who Caine was when he arrived. Which is why they let him rule. So they had an understanding of the supernatural. The vampires openly ruled the people back then.

                          Caine also had been wandering a very long time and encountered other civilizations, bringing various things with him to help Enoch prosper more (the wheel from Sumer, being a major technology).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                            What is the overall level of technology, learning, knowledge, and civic organization of mundane humans during this time ?

                            Are there any limits for the player characters in regard to choosing their Disciplines ?

                            How large is the First City in terms of size, and the number of mundane humans in it ?

                            Do you have a list of events and developments that will happen for certain, or almost for certain ? If yes, is this in regard to Vampires, or in regard to societies of mundane humans also ?

                            Some more questions, I hope you don't mind.

                            Do you have any limits on how far can mundane humans advance in technology, assuming that the player characters ( or NPCs ) will be helping them a lot ?

                            How much the PCs know about the supernatural at the start ? For example do they know that special / mystical animals exist ( assuming they do exist in your setting ) , or that spellcasting ( whether Blood Magic, Magick, or Sorcery ) is possible ?

                            Based on what did you decide in regard to the climate and the geography for the region(s) that the chronicle will take place in ?
                            Hey folks sorry for the silence; anyway covering questions! I realise that my home made character sheet hasnt uploaded properly (something to do with the forum i guess?) I'll put a link to it later. Anyway,

                            Technology of that time involved rudimentary tools made of wood, bone, and stone (with some metals and jewels used for jewellery) BUT the books to tell of Caine introducing advanced agriculture to the City of Enoch including using his blood painted on the floor to provide a seasonal calendar of sorts. Skills have been adjusted to include things like agriculture, tracking, geography, cosmology, and hearth magic.
                            Jericho was a real city built of mud and stone at around 7000BCE, so we know that they had religion, social structures, tools and even burial rites.

                            Caine and the second generation were hailed as Gods, and so acted like Gods. A few "chosen ones" were ghouled and kept as personal slaves and even chefs (who would feed criminals combinations of herbs and spices to make the blood taste richer) and they would have blood letting ritualistic feasts.

                            Limits to disciplines:
                            None, really. Though they will start off with only one point in each of the three disciplines they choose. They can pick any of the ones already made for v20, including some of the outraged ones if they like. We will, together, outline the skills as they advance. Though some like the gargoyles skill Visceratika will have some serious drawbacks and I have asked the to avoid the time travel skills of True Bruia.

                            The first city was quite large for its time, and when the players start it will number about 5000 in population, including the farmlands beyond the main city, most of which is underground. Even the above ground buildings have small do after windows and a bee hive town layout - no streets just buildings built directly next to each other for access and defence.

                            CERTAIN EVENTS:
                            The fate of humankind is not vampires alone to decide. Certain events such as the great deluge and the birth of Christ, along with the maelstroms and technological advancements (normally inspired by otherworldly muses) will still occur, though the path of history may change a little humanity as a whole will remain largely unchanged... if only so later time periods can still remain recognisable.

                            TECH ADVANCES:
                            Caine did what he could to teach mortals, but writing would not come about for some time, and large reset events like the great deluge would put humanity back to square one. Besides, the players all start off as mortals - some very smart or wise or beautiful mortals, but still without preternatural knowledge of writing or metallurgy.

                            SUPERNATURAL KNOWLEDGE:
                            The Three are Gods in physical form, this is accepted. Werewolves and mesofauna are also found across the wilderness; magic such as fortune telling and even religious rites such as human sacrifice were commonly accepted at the time. Animals were enormous even though they were dying out, and even the fae were more prevalent then in the mortal realm.

                            LOCATION:
                            According to research in the book of Nod and actual human history the Land of Nod is commonly accepted to be northeast of what would come to be known as Egypt. The Saharan at the time (10000BCE-8000BCE) was quite fertile though large swathes of the Land known now as Iraq were quite arid apart from the fertile basin areas. Jericho the first real city was found near the coast to the north just south of Turkey and the first temple (dated 10 000BCE) was found in the mountains on the southern border of Turkey. For sorry purposes i have made that the temple of Lillith where she teaches Caine the Dark Magick and Ubar (now Enoch) is along the river that was home to the Sumerian civilization.

                            As for interesting backgrounds:
                            Some of the players were struggling so for concept, I suggested they look into ancient Gods and they are loving it - we have some very bloodthirsty gods from those times, especially from Egypt, Babylon and even the Aztec pantheons. We have lion goddesses, fertility goddesses that eat hearts, Gods of Death and Gods for the lost. I think it'll be very interesting no matter the outcome. I'll post more after our next session on Saturday.

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                            • #15
                              Also, the character sheets I am using look like this:
                              They aren't great and the layout is a little wonky I know, but it works best for what we are doing so far.
                              (Someone has already pointed out that "skin colour" may be seen as racist or offensive in some way, but the point of it is to, on a play by play basis, remind the players that their characters are not caucasian - they will be hailing from central africa, the middle east, or at most the Indus Valley. This will help them remember that they are in a time before "being white" was even a thing.)



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