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  • Toa_Kiril
    started a topic Chronicle Help

    Chronicle Help

    I am a novice ST,

    I have only done 1 one shot in VTM and butchered it XD

    I have been learning the rules of the game and have most of the general mechanics under my belt, but here is the crux of my issue.

    Chronicle Planning.

    1) How to make a Chronicle
    2) How to make a Chapter (is it something predetermined in terms of plot or is it just the name for a session of play?)
    3) What to do if players don't follow the plot
    4) How much writing or prep to do for the chapters, overall chronicle and SPC's
    5) What to do if your PC's like killing things (everything and everyone)
    6) Is VTM an explorable game? like how in DnD your able to search forests, caves and towns. Is that sort of thing possible in VTM considering most of it is set in a modern timeline?
    7) Is VTM a "only follow the plot" game?
    8) What to do if the Cotorie encounter, lets say 6 humans with Baseball bats, do i need to make a character sheet for each of them or 1 generic one for all 6?



    the Core book answered none of my questions (probably didnt see the answers XD) and youtube videos didn't help.

    Any and all help explanations, tips, tricks, advice, guidelines in making me a good storyteller would be greatly appreciated.

    I have lots of ideas for chronicles but i have no idea how to write or structure them

    thanks

  • RadioFreeDeath
    replied
    I would add to this, that looking at good examples of published set up campaigns and stories can really help formulate mentally how to do it. V5 Chicago as a campaign and Let the Streets Run Red for example adventures will kind of help you get an idea for what you might want to do.

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  • cobweb
    replied
    1) I usually don't plot everything out, because the chonicle will always deviate from my plans. Players will almost always surprise me with solutions I did not anticipate or ideas that are different than what I had in mind. The key is to be flexible, but still have some basic elements that players will find interesting and want to interact with. As a result, I usually design characters (SPCs) and think about how the player characters can bump against them and how they will react. My general method is as follows:
    First, I think of what elements i want to have in the chronicle, usually after talking with my players to find out what they are interested in. This can be clans, ideas, locations, or whatever is interesting to me and my group.
    Second, I create one or two SPCs for each element, focusing on what the SPCs want, how they intend to get it, what would make them interesting to the players, and how they relate to the other SPCs and the player characters (namely who their enemies are). If you set a bunch of characters against eachother or make them all want to same thing, you have a conflict that player characters can get involved with. The goal in this step is to make it so that no matter what the PCs do the SPCs will react in an interesting or challenging way. and that no matter what the SPCs do the PCs will have to react in an interesting or challenging way. Think of it like a web, and the PCs are stuck in the middle of it. No matter which way they pull or push, an SPC will feel it and react.
    Thirdly, I plan scenes where PCs have to make choices and have those choices effect the world and other characters. If they feed, what happens if they accedentally feed from an SPCs ghoul? If they are given blackmail about an SPC, what will they do with it? If an SPC gives them a task and offers them a reward, will the PCs do it? The possibilites are endless. The goal in this step is just to set up these situations, let the PCs make their moves however they want, and have the world and other characters react.
    Lastly, I run the chronicle with my players and see how things go, sometimes designing things as i go if the players go off course. Before the next session the process is repeated, sometimes changing or adding things for the next session, but the main goal is that the PCs are still the core and the world I design reacts to them and their choices.

    2) I usually don't design chapters. I usually keep things at a scene by scene level unless I am running a one shot. If I am running a one shot, I make sure I have several end states in mind and make sure that, whichever end state the players push towards through their actions come to pass. For example, let's say I am running a game where the PCs are trying to escape the second inquisition. My end states would be as follows: the player characters get out of the city, the player characters ally with a faction that can keep them safe, the player characters die, or the player characters take the fight to the inquisition. The one shot ends when any of those things happen. How the characters get to the end, and which end they get to depends on the choices the players make.

    3) If the players don't follow the plot, follow the players and build things around them as they go. This might sound hard, and sometimes it is, but it is also fun. To give an example, let's say you have designed a really cool mystery plot, but the PCs kill a major SPC before he can give them the clue you set up. This can be frustrating, but it happens. Use the PCs actions to decide where to go next. Maybe the SPC they killed had friends who are now on the hunt for the PCs. Maybe the SPC had enemies that now view the PCs favorably. Maybe there was a witness to the PC's crime and now the PCs are being investigated. Be as flexible as you can. If players don't follow the plot it's not the end of the world. Some of the best games I have run were the result of players not following my plot. When in doubt, just roll with it and make up interesting stuff. You can do it.

    4) Most of my prepping goes into designing SPCs and locations/situations for the player characters. I find that if you know what the SPCs will do in a given situation and what goal they are pushing towards you can adjust things around the player character's actions. I tend not to plot things in a "event 1 must happen, followed by event 2, followed by event 3,.." sort of way, but instead focus on what the different SPCs want and how the PCs can make enemies or allies of them. I sometimes set up a basic scenario and then just let the players take it wherever it goes ("The prince is killed in front of you, what do you do?", "a contact/ally/mortal you care about has gone missing, what do you do?", "You wake up in an unfamiliar place, what do you do?", etc.)

    5) There are 2 possible answers to this one.
    The first option is you could just give the players what they want and slowly feed in other elements. An example of this is to just have an elder send them on a mission to kill an enemy, but add in some kind of twist. Maybe the enemy is too strong to be defeated alone, so the PCs need help. Maybe the enemy is not actually their enemy, and the PCs realize they've been duped or that killing the enemy will have even worse consequences. Maybe they get there only to find out that someone has already done it. Give them combat, but turn it into something else (horror, mystery, etc.) and let the players deal with that twist.
    The second option is to put them in a situation where violence is not an option, and showing them that games without combat can be fun. My go-to example of this is to have all the player characters start off in a room with an elder telling them that one of them is an infiltrator (sabbat, camarilla, anarchs, whatever is "the enemy"). If they can figure out who (enough to convince the elder) they can go free, but if they can't the sun will eventually come through the windows and kill them. The room is also full of evidence about each character's past, all of which can make them look suspicious to the others. So their options are either team up and try to escape or try to find out who the traitor is (since killing would make them seem like the infiltrator). You, as an ST, can make one of them the infiltrator in secret or you can not make any of them an infiltrator and just watch (maybe the elder was lying, playing some cruel game, or is an infiltrator themselves). The goal with the second approach is to put them in a situation where fighting would be a very bad idea. If they choose to fight in a situation where it is either impossible or a really bad idea, show them the consequences of that choice even if it means killing a character. There are other versions of this too. You could set up a mystery or put them in a situation where fighting their way out is impossible (using blood bonds so they can't directly harm an enemy despite really really wanting to, for example).
    The main point is, you can either go with their inclinations or you can break them out of old habits and show them that games can be fun without combat. I would usually recommend the latter, but if you and your group want to play a combat focused game there is nothing wrong with that.

    6) You can make a game out of that, sure. Having the player characters go to a city under the orders of an authority (their sires, the prince, etc.) not knowing what kindred of the city are like and having to figure that out (and stay alive) could be an entire chronicle. You could make a game out of player characters just trying to get from one place to the other, having to find shelter before dawn so they don't die. Your chronicle can be anything you want it to be.

    7) It does not have to be a "just follow the plot" kind of game. You can run it that way (or any way that works for you), but I never have. For me it's always about characters and difficult/interesting situations.

    8) I usually use one stat for all the characters in a group if they are all similar.



    Hope that helps a little bit. Good luck.

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