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DA:V20 Gehenna Chronicle of Ages

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  • #16
    Hey everyone, it has been a while but I figured it was time to include an update to this topic! I am pleased to say the game is still running, though my players are not as dedicated as I would like at times; new to WoD, but not very interested in learning for the most part. But for the most part they have managed to do all right by themselves. I'm going to start with a summary of what has happened since my last update, then follow up with some discussion of what I have planned down the road.

    Session 4

    My above concerns about the players ignoring the chance to read the MacGuffin for themselves were fortunately put to rest when the Malkavian player set themselves to the task of translating the Tablets. My Nosferatu player begins summoning local wildlife to persuade them to serve as lookouts for obvious potential threats like torch-bearing mobs. After some hunting, my Tzimisce player begins working with the Nos to figure out how they will divide up the responsibilities of feeding their newly-acquired ghouls; each player ends up picking a particular ghoul that they wish to try and Blood Bond for themselves (not realizing all of the ghouls are already Bound to other Domitors). They go out on another hunting trip, even grabbing a cow for the Malkavian (who has not revealed his clan or the reason for his tendency to avoid human blood).

    By morning, the Malk has finished translating the Tablets, and discusses their contents with his coterie. Funnily enough, he theorizes that the author may potentially be a(nother) Malkavian with delusions of grandeur. They finish the session by making the decision to send a letter to Radu, including mention of the Tablets, the golden Translation Disk, that they translated the Tablets, and that they want further instructions.

    Session 5

    At this point, my players are still waiting for the return of some of their ghoul guards that were wounded in the ambush by Mitru and company before sending men out to begin preparing for construction of the tower, as well as awaiting the arrival of Zelios. My Tzimisce player decides to get better acquainted with the guards that they have been assigned in order to choose one to be his personal servant, only to find that his preferred candidate (a fellow Romanian) is among the wounded who have yet to return. Meanwhile, my Nos forest-witch has gone off into the mountain forests looking for somewhere to set up a pagan shrine and a haven away from the tower site, which will eventually become much more populated. Meanwhile, the Malk is struck by a bout of paranoia and spends the night examining his coterie and their servants with Auspex; I reveal that his fellow vampires "don't really have a plan" (little to nothing beneath the surface, mostly just rolling with events as they happen), while the ghouls "want to be somewhere else" (a hint at their Bonds).

    The coterie arises the next evening to be greeted by a response letter from Radu, who is on his way to retrieve his prize from the coterie, likely arriving some time that night. Thus the coterie begins scrambling to prepare for this unexpected visit from their patron.

    Session 6

    Preparations for Radu's arrival commence! Our unfortunate Malkavian learns the difficulties of dealing with a Tzimisce's bloodthirsty ghouled warhorse without any training in Animalism or Animal Ken via getting kicked in the chest; thus the forest-witch Nosferatu rides off alone in search of a "meal" for Radu. An hour and a half or so away, she comes across a farm, where she waits in ambush for someone who needs to leave the safety of their house for some reason. After a decent wait, she manages to catch someone off guard, but she is spotted by another of the residents who comes out in response to the struggle; she manages to Intimidate the poor fellow into letting her escape with her prize, but he swears vengeance! Back at the ruined tower, my Tzimisce and Malk players prepare for Radu by setting up one of the wagons that transported them as quarters for him, along with tidying and preparing for his retainers.

    Radu arrives around midnight, being entertained for a short while until the Nos returns with his "refreshments." Ever the courteous diplomat, Radu shares with his agents, though the Malk refuses to take part. Radu is mostly friendly and polite, but he quickly insists on taking all of the notes that the Malkavian took during his translation in addition to the Tablets and the Disk. Before departing, Radu takes his fellow Tzimisce aside and lectures him about the amount of trust he put in his compatriots regarding the contents of the Tablets, outing the Malkavian player's clan unintentionally in the process.

    Before the dawn, the Polish Nossie starts learning to speak Romanian so she can actually converse with her fellow Cainites; she also comes up with the idea of luring in vessels via deceptive mail. Meanwhile, the Malk works on rewriting as much of his notes as he can from memory, while our poor Tzimisce ponders the scolding he received. Next evening, the three wounded ghouls have finally returned, and our Tzimisce introduces himself to his chosen ghoul and formally takes him into his service. Meanwhile the Malkavian hunts game in the forest, with limited success. Our Nosferatu finds a site for her forest grove, and begins preparing the location. Meanwhile, our Tzimisce is surprised to encounter a torch-wielding militia as he goes out in search of vitae, and returns to warn his coterie.

    The next evening, workers have begun to arrive on the site of the tower, causing the Nosferatu to seek out extra help from the ghouls in preparing her forest haven. The Tzimisce meanwhile has an unfortunate run-in with a night-watchman, and ended up being chased out of town rather than risking the attention a violent response might bring. The next evening, he chooses to hunt an animal instead of risking more trouble with the locals. That night, Zelios arrives, and negotiations for his services begin!

    Session 7

    Not willing to accept the plot-railroad-demanded boon for the service of Zelios, my players instead opt to "spend extra" for his services (I am using a crude homebrew to actually manage the players' resources, with whether or not they succeed or fail depending largely on it). Attempts to get out of feeding their guest also fail, but at least they already had a place for him to stay set up, due to Radu never using the wagon they prepared for his visit.

    At this point, I start trying to speed things up a bit by running things week-to-week, though it still ends up a bit of a drudge at times. During the end of May, my Nosferatu managed to get her forest haven set up, along with a basic fluency with Romanian (though she's still illiterate). My Tzimisce spends time learning about his new ghoul servant, while beginning to train his Dominate Discipline (from being a Basarab Revenant pre-Embrace). Our Malkavian, meanwhile, continues working on his second-hand notes on the Tablets while learning what he can from Zelios. But some misfortune with his hunting trips meant that he needed help from his coterie to get blood when the next week started.

    Knowing that they will need to tax some of the surrounding villages down the road to help cover the costs of the fortress, the coterie sends out some of their ghouls to inform them in advance so they can be prepared when the tax collectors come knocking. While most of the villages receive their announcement relatively well, one village complains of "night-creatures" attacking people ;P As the week proceeds, our Nosferatu begins learning to read and write, exploring the wilderness surrounding them further, and training her Animal Ken skill; she also sends a ghoul to try and gather information in a couple of nearby villages. Around this time, the Tzimisce player's Herd finally manages to join their master at his new home, while he continues training his Dominate Discipline and feeds extra vitae to his ghoul warrior in (vain) hope of forming a Blood Bond.

    Session 8

    Going into the second week of June, our Malkavian has mostly been spending his nights hanging out with Zelios, learning what he can about the region from the older Cainite who has been traveling there. But this comes back to bite him a bit when Zelios decides to ask him about his feeding habits, which causes him to "set boundaries" with the other vampire. The Nosferatu has continued learning to read and write, along with exploring their wilderness surroundings further. She also checks in with the ghoul that she previously sent out to spy on the nearest villages; one of them is grumbling a fair bit about the upcoming taxation, but the one that complained of monsters has been preparing defences. Meanwhile, the Tzimisce spent his week training his Dominate further, and began to copy the Malk's practice of talking with Zelios in the hopes of uncovering useful info.

    Session 9

    During the third week of June, someone in the coterie (I forgot to note who) came up with the idea of asking the various lords of Transylvania to transfer prisoners into their custody (as a way of quickly building a disposable Herd). Being the most familiar with the locals, the Tzimisce was chosen as the envoy for this mission. Having very little in the way of actual diplomacy skills, our poor Basarab failed pretty hard with all three Cainite Princes he attempted to persuade. He did manage to train his Dominate Discipline a little bit more. Meanwhile, our Nosferatu decided to spend some time spying on the workforce constructing the fortress, but inadvertently ended up convincing them that some kind of ghost or spirit was haunting the site due to a critical fail. She also continued training her Animal Ken skill further. The Malkavian decided to begin training his Brawl skills, recognizing a distinct lack of combat skills in a pretty hairy part of Europe. Finally, I conclude the session with hints of something else menacing the mortals to the east...

    Things have been fairly fun so far, though there have definitely been some frustrations. While I don't think any of the players have ever even bothered to read the summarized version of the rules I put together for them, the Nosferatu player has a tendency to argue with me about dice pools and modifiers when they think it's appropriate. Meanwhile, the Malkavian player has been somewhat disengaged overall, which leads to an annoying tendency for them to complain about how little there is for their urban-oriented character to do in this wilderness setting, but then opt out of traveling with the Tzimisce on their trip to the Siebenburgen even though they have the best diplomacy skills in the coterie... The Tzimisce player is the only one I really feel is trying to engage with the setting, likely because they are the one with the most tabletop experience; it was only recently that I managed to persuade the other two players to come up with a reason for their characters to remain in the coterie past the first scenario -_-;

    Things have been a bit bland up until now, but I have a couple of minor plot hooks to throw at my players, and it's finally time for them to come into play:

    The first is a marauding Tzimisce coming raiding from the east, hinted at above. The Fiend in question is one of the less impressive creations of an Elder Tzimisce known as Noriz, who is known to live in the regions east of the Carpathians and has a reputation for churning out childer like Zerglings. While his stats are (relatively) weak, he's still a Sixth Gen Tzimisce with Zulo shape. Basically, he's a "boss monster" that is likely to bloody the coterie pretty hard if they don't try and find a way to even the odds (I'm actually more than a bit worried that he's a potential party-wipe if they don't play things very smart...).

    The second is the machinations of a kupala spirit that has decided to plague their worksite. Not interested in picking a fight with the Cainites (necessarily), the evil spirit is instead messing with the workers, even killing them occasionally, basically being the explanation behind a supernatural run of "bad luck" that will haunt their entire endeavour if they don't realize it and do something about it.

    The essential idea is that these are potential hurdles that the players will, ideally, overcome before events reach a "critical mass" that results in significant delays or increases in cost for the construction of the fortress. As-written, successfully completing the fortress requires the acceptance of help from Myca Vykos, but I don't want to force my players into that choice if they "earn" a victory. So I'm giving them one obvious threat and one subtle one; the former serves as a bit of diablerie-bait, because I'm curious to see what my little party of monsters might do with that; the other is meant to provide a hook into the larger Kupala plotline before Octavio comes storming into their haven a century from now yelling "WTF?!"

    What do people think, so far?
    Last edited by Kharnov; 10-18-2020, 02:31 PM.