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  • Thoughts on Hunedoara

    Thoughts on Hunedoara 1/3

    Locking vampires into Hunedoara is dull.

    The background is the Inconnu Inner Circle was worried about mortal hunter, up-start groups like the Tremere and the Giovanni, and door to door salesmen. So they (the Inner Circle, not the sales men) made a badly thought out deal with a demon for protection. The 12 are protected from outside detection so long as they remain inside Hunedoara. They also die horribly if they try to leave Hunedoara.

    To distill my thoughts on NPCs, settings, and situations in a RPG down to a single sentence; if they are relevant to the game then they should be interesting and even volatile. By extension, they should only be dull and easily avoided in they are irrelevant.

    Locking the vampires of the Inconnu Inner Circle in magically invisible castle is dull. It renders them, the castle, and all the Inconnu shenanigans irrelevant.

    I don’t have a problem with the demonic deal. A reoccurring theme in the WoD is plans falling apart and going wrong. They did so for Tremere, Augustus, Cappadocious, and so forth. That the Inconnu Inner Circle’s plans went south is in keeping with that theme. The problem is that there is no (easy) reason to ever involved the PCs with Hunedoara.

    My thinking is the lock down is not absolute; one of the 12 may leave the castle for a period of a year. Which one may leave varies with the year. While out of the castle, they pursue various Inconnu goals, such as networking with monitors. They also attempt to recruit allies and start monitoring vampire likely to make a crisis, which includes the PCs. The Inner Circle members are also looking for ways to break (or at least modify) the deal binding them to the demon and the castle.

    Having an Inconnu Inner Circle out and about means they could run into the party as they are looking for allies and tools. This at least keeps Hunedoara and the Inner Circle potentially relevant to a game.

    More to come...

  • #2
    I was under the impression the 12 at Hunedoara are AN Inconnu group, not THE Inconnu.

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    • #3
      Grumpy RPG Reviews

      Funny synchronicity, but I read your post while watching that old movie, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" If you recall the movie, my point is that, a group of characters don't need to be mobile or interact with a lot of outside characters to be interesting. Sometimes locking a small group of interesting characters in a small space, and examining every possible interaction between them, allows more complex characterization to be explored. Twelve characters means 144 individual relationships to explore.

      True, they won't be bursting dramatically into Elysiums in Passaic or Manchester, but a good ST with good players should be able to get a dozen or more sessions of internal drama out of playing the residents of Hunedoara.

      It makes for a different sort of chronicle, and I've never had a chance to play it, but it could be engaging, if challenging.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
        The problem is that there is no (easy) reason to ever involved the PCs with Hunedoara.
        I'd have to disagree with this.

        An entire chapter of the book was devoted to plotlines, a.k.a. ways to involve PCs in the Twelves' activities. I found it especially helpful how there were separate sections detailing the defenses (and weak spots) of the castle, goals pursued by the Twelve, specific reasons the Twelve could seek out PCs/PCs could seek out them, and two mini-adventures with self-contained plotlines to draw PCs to Hunedora. The authors made it pretty easy to use the Twelve in games despite their imprisonment.

        What's even more impressive is how the authors also made a coterie of neonate PCs instrumental in deciding the fates of twelve-elders-cum-methuselahs. There was none of the railroading that Gehenna or Transylvania Chronicles had. Add the Twelve being awesome characters on top, and you have why Lair of the Hidden is one of my all-time favorite WoD books.


        Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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        • #5
          I am just wondering what the hell Saulot is doing there. Was he there from the start or join them later? Is he their founder/leader? If so, for what purpose did he create them? Or maybe he decided to chill there because he found some like minded vampires there. In that case he might just be a observer, who isnt involved in their politics. So many unanswered questions.

          Last edited by blackshade; 02-23-2019, 03:44 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HardestadtTheEvenYounger View Post
            I was under the impression the 12 at Hunedoara are AN Inconnu group, not THE Inconnu.
            The 12 are the overall leadership of the Inconnu.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
              Sometimes locking a small group of interesting characters in a small space...
              Which still presupposes the PCs are in the same space as the Inconnu Inner Cirlce; i.e. Hunedoara. And why should they even try to go to the castle in the first place to visit a gaggle of shut-ins?

              Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
              An entire chapter of the book was devoted to plotlines, a.k.a. ways to involve PCs in the Twelves' activities.
              I don't think any of those plots meaningfully overlap with any of the plots that are part of CbN V5.

              Originally posted by blackshade View Post
              I am just wondering what the hell Saulot is doing there.
              Cret knows how to make homemade thin mints, which is great 'cause Girl Scout Cookie season is winding down. And Mahtiel has an XBox she hardly ever uses. Aside from that, it is for reasons which make sense only to whatever version of Saulot is in the castle.

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              • #8
                Well the short version is that PCs should want to go for:

                1. Awesome esoteric lore
                2. The secrets of Golconda
                3. A way to escae the Jyhad
                4. The chance to commit some epic diablerie
                5. A desire to get these old farts involved in the Jyhad.


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Well the short version is that PCs should want to go for:

                  1. Awesome esoteric lore
                  2. The secrets of Golconda
                  3. A way to escae the Jyhad
                  4. The chance to commit some epic diablerie
                  5. A desire to get these old farts involved in the Jyhad.
                  Which are useful answers, but still presuppose the PCs know about the Inconnu, the Inner Circle, Castle H, and so forth. In term of the lore, Cret's home made thin mints are pretty great, but I'm not certain I would call the recipe awesome.

                  I will add some more thoughts tomorrow on individual members of the Inner Circle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews
                    I don't think any of those plots meaningfully overlap with any of the plots that are part of CbN V5.
                    They do though. The plots don't reference other ones for a supplement that was written fifteen years later, but they were intentionally designed to be generic and easily adaptable into a given chronicle's city.

                    "Dobos hires the PCs to procure the date of birth and Embrace for an ancilla who's not a life-long native to your chronicle's city. If you don't have a character in mind who fits that profile, here's a rough background for this guy..."

                    "Hill sends a seraph to assassinate a Sabbat bishop in your chronicle's city. With a little tweaking, here's how you can also use this plot in Camarilla city..."

                    (They also included lots of ways PCs could learn about the Twelve, Castle H, and so forth.)

                    By design, GMs need to make some tweaks if they want to use LotH in fifteen-years-later-Chicago. They authors wanted the book to be usable by groups playing in basically any setting.

                    Originally posted by HardestadtTheEvenYounger
                    I was under the impression the 12 at Hunedoara are AN Inconnu group, not THE Inconnu.
                    The Twelve originally appeared in A World of Darkness, one of Masquerade's first-ever books, where they were presented as the leaders of the Inconnu.

                    Lair of the Hidden was written ten-ish years later and disavows this. The authors keep the Twelve's basic concept, but say they do not intend to define the broader Inconnu or the Twelve's relation to them as anything but a mystery.

                    Originally posted by blackshade View Post
                    I am just wondering what the hell Saulot is doing there. Was he there from the start or join them later? Is he their founder/leader? If so, for what purpose did he create them? Or maybe he decided to chill there because he found some like minded vampires there. In that case he might just be a observer, who isnt involved in their politics. So many unanswered questions.
                    This is explained in Saulot's and the various other NPCs' histories, which assume a benign interpretation of the three-eyed Ante:

                    Saulot escaped Vienna with Tremere's body in Transylvania Chronicles IV, so his arrival in Hunedora is pretty recent. Most of the Twelve met him at various points in their unlives and learned at his feet, but he didn't organize them beyond that. They initially came together as a result of their shared interest in attaining Golconda and were forced more or less permanently together by the Tremere and Cret's demonic pact. Saulot is here now because he cares about the Twelve and wants to get them out of their spiritual funk. Whether that will involve redeeming themselves or literally going to hell is up to them (and the PCs): Saulot doesn't want to make that choice for them, only get them to finally make it before Ghenna arrives.
                    Last edited by False Epiphany; 02-23-2019, 11:09 PM.


                    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                      Which still presupposes the PCs are in the same space as the Inconnu Inner Cirlce; i.e. Hunedoara. And why should they even try to go to the castle in the first place to visit a gaggle of shut-ins?
                      Actually, I was presupposing the PCs are the Twelve. I think running a chronicle in which the players each take a role from among the Twelve might be an interesting and, if all went well, an emotionally wrenching chronicle. The Twelve are vastly powerful vampires, just a notch or two down from classic blood-gods. Yet, here they are, stuck with one another like survivors on a life boat.

                      There are a laundry list of petty conflicts among the Twelve, but the central conflict of their narrative is the tension between freedom and security. The Twelve sought safety in the castle, hiding from all the dangers of the world. The Twelve are potent beings, yet hide under their blankets, like children in a dark bedroom scared by unexplained noises in the next room.

                      The Twelve have sacrificed their freedom to roam the world, in exchange for a prison of their own making.

                      In some aspects of its narrative structure, the story of the Twelve presaged VtR, with its isolated cities full of powerful monsters too scared to visit the next city over.

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                      • #12
                        I think some of you have some very good ideas but I also think there's an attempt to make the Lair of the Hidden into something it's not. In a very real way, it's a short campaign setting that takes the player characters out of the usual dark side of the World of Darkness and puts them in an Agatha Christie novel.

                        The ideal presentation of Castle Hunedoara is that the player characters are the X Factor that is shoved into a very old static system, they are the game changers. To stay with my example, the player characters are Hercules Poroit and they are dumped into a collection of oddball old as fuck vampires that they can interact w/ for whatever reason.

                        The big appeal of LOTH is that they are among the only 12 Methuselahs in the world that will probably want to have a conversation with the player characters rather than just Dominate or Presence the fuck out of them. These guys, because of their Man CrushTM on Saulot can tell you about things in the campaign setting nobody else in the world will as Galadriel would say, "Because all those who remember are no more."

                        There's some obvious plot devices like the fact they may be doing this because they intend to sacrifice the PCs Aztec style to their demon but it's meant to be a closed setting where the PCs can't leave, the Meths can't leave, and no one wants them to be enslaved either. The "point" is to solve the mystery of "what the hell is going on in this castle, who are these people, and what are we going to do once we find out."

                        That's not necessarily a game for all player characters but it's a decent one for quite a few groups. They're in Dracula's Castle and for once aren't the vampires but are Jonathan Harker.
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-25-2019, 07:13 AM.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          They're in Dracula's Castle and for once aren't the vampires but are Jonathan Harker.
                          Okay, I REALLY like that statement. It's just really...


                          Last edited by Bluecho; 02-25-2019, 07:02 AM.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                            Which are useful answers, but still presuppose the PCs know about the Inconnu, the Inner Circle, Castle H, and so forth. In term of the lore, Cret's home made thin mints are pretty great, but I'm not certain I would call the recipe awesome.

                            I will add some more thoughts tomorrow on individual members of the Inner Circle.
                            I'm inclined to think this is a supplement which is made for character from the Giovanni Chronicles or Transylevania Chronicles more than the typical Neonates but you can do both. The whole point is that the player characters will probably want to go to meet with the Inconnu if they have the chance. Most players aren't going to turn down the adventure hook if it drops on their door even if you have to think a bit as to why they would want to go to a location every bit as eldritch as the Vienna Chantry.

                            In my game, I handled it like this.

                            1. The PCs are asked to accompany a Old as Fuck Elder that they have befriended in going there. In my game, I had them accompanying Rebekah (Khalid was another choice) to visit the Castle because something is wrong.

                            2. Alomg the way, the PCs got a history of the Inconnu and information about their activities.

                            3. I had Erichtho also accompany them.

                            4. They arrived at the castle and it was like stepping into another universe as the world was Old School Transylvania vampires. I basically said, "It's like you've gone from playing Vampire: The
                            Masquerade to suddenly being in Ravenloft."

                            5. From there, I had them as "unwilling guests" as the clock ticked down to the sacrifice they were planning, the murder of a vampire there, and trying to keep their friends alive.

                            A lot of the tension in the game was the fact that they were all normally powerful vampires but compared to the old monsters around them, they were utterly helpless.

                            Their only weapon was their words and whatever friendships they could make in a short time. I also made it a point that Tracy Graves/Erictho was the sacrifice so the players COULD if they wanted to--just walk away and let her die in their place.


                            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                            • #15
                              Thoughts on Hunedoara 2/3

                              My thinking is that at some point the contract with the demon shifted. There is someone behind this change – more on that later. In any case, for a year minus a day a member of the 12 may go on walk about. And they do, taking it in turns, and they usually seek victims for the ritual. If they do not return to the castle in time for the next ritual then they die. So, they go on walk about, attend to business, and bring people back to the castle.

                              Mostly I see the characters staying the same – with the three exceptions.

                              First, Danika Ruthven is Old Clan Tzimisce. Part of her disappointment in Anastazi is that he developed Vicissitude.

                              Second, Drenis is not Cappadocian. Drenis does not look like a Cappadocian; if she were a Cappadocian then at her age she should look like the Crypt Keeper, or at least Yzma. No, instead Drenis is New Clan Tzimisce. This adds some tension to the relationship with Danika. If not New Clan Tzimisce, then a Toreador.

                              Before I get to the third changed character; Mahtiel is interesting. Every day she is on walk about is a day she cannot find some solace in her dreams of her lost lover. I see her as being a bit like a Michelle Rodriguez character that just woke up, wants a damn cup of coffee, and is really sick of white people shit. So, basically, almost any Michelle Rodriguez character.

                              Anyway, the third character is Saulot.

                              There are two Saulots. Bad Saulot… and Much Worse Saulot. There is no Good Saulot. MW Saulot is the one that changed the deal with the demon to permit the walk about. He did it to lure in other characters into the misery trap that is the castle. He periodically resets the memories of those involved so as to deny them need to know information.

                              Saulot has a temperament like that of the God of the Old Testament; wrath and rage and pride. The God that enjoyed the scent of the burning of Soddom and Gamorah, that reveled in the wet screams of the dying during the flood. Saulot seeks the painful destruction of the entire vampire race, he just has to work at it.

                              Saulot is hate. But then so are all the other Antedeluvians.

                              Lair of the Hidden is a fine book, and Sarah Roark, Dean Shomshak, and Janet Trautvetter did the best they could with the subject. But the happy ending is too treacle for the WoD. Even if tragedy cannot be mandated at Castle H, a happy ending should be impossible.

                              Vampires are monsters and the light at the end of the tunnel is an on-coming train. Please remember that.
                              Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 02-26-2019, 12:44 AM. Reason: Mahtiel made me do it.

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