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  • First chronicle help

    Does anyone have any pointers about how to conducting "your first chronicle"?

    Do I need to have scenes prepped and layed out or do I just need to give my players a problem and let them make the endgame?

    Thanks for reading

  • #2
    It really depends on your style, the story you want to tell and what the group wants. They might be looking for a tightly directed story with clear goals and obvious ways to reach them or a more sandboxy approach might be preferred with lots of player freedom and the burden of figuring out what's going on and how to accomplish what they want being on the players.

    Either way, build your setting. Figure out the key people and places, like where's Elysium that court's held at, who claims what areas as their domain. What does everyone have their fingers in? Who influences what parts of the local law enforcement and organized crime? When building out the characters, think about their motivations and what they want to accomplish. The NPCs trying to accomplish their goals can work as plot hooks or move the story along. If you're going for a more tightly controlled story, and they're not going to encounter organized crime, obviously it's not worth fleshing that out.

    Make note of all the powers your players have and try to keep them in mind when building scenes. If somebody can just analyze the past of an item with Auspex, it might thwart some of the mystery you had planned.

    Be prepared for things to go off the rails. Maybe they want to murder an NPC that's important or go off on some tangent on their own thing rather than focus on the story. Like if they kill an NPC, maybe there's some notes or documents with the info they needed or some other avenue to get to where they need to be. Having your own NPC hanging around with the group can help keep them on track and offer advice if they're stuck or going to do something incredibly stupid. Just make sure they're not a Mary Sue type character, so the group has to really do the work themselves. Don't be afraid to kill your darlings, either.

    Check out some of the old Storyteller's Handbooks. Those have a lot of great tips for running a game.

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    • #3
      Have a general idea of the greater setting, but start small. You don't want to create detail your PCs won't engage in (unless you love that stuff and have loads of free time, but usually time is limited). Just have enough detail in mind you can wing it if necessary in that game session. You can always expand your prep for the next game.

      I'd only prepare a certain amount that you think will be needed for that game session. It's an easy mistake to be overly ambitious running the game for the first time. I think it's better to gain experience with shorter, more focused plots. Then once you've mastered that, you can work on longer plots.

      One of the most important things to the game is player agency. Players like to make their own choices, and have those choices be significant. So don't lay out a chain of events that will force the players to follow. You may have an idea of the likely chain of events to occur, but never force the players down that path. Be flexible enough to allow alternate paths of success (or failure).

      Besides the ST plot the night, I also think it's important to think about each PC and the personal elements of their backstory and backgrounds that they may want to explore. The game should be more than the plot you created for that game session. Allow them to explore the setting and their backstory on their own terms (this does not mean you should allow them to hijack the game session or the chronicle).

      The players will likely show you what they are interested and engaged in. Expand on that. Be prepared to drop back those setting elements the PCs don't engage with, and concentrate on those they do. Very often you can change things around so you can still push your main plot.

      Concentrate on what is fun for you and your players. Minimize the time spent on those things they don't find interesting.

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      • #4
        Oh, I also forgot. Having a list of random names appropriate to the setting handy is a must. This is for when they decide to talk to some random person you hadn't anticipated.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Toa_Kiril View Post
          Does anyone have any pointers about how to conducting "your first chronicle"?

          Do I need to have scenes prepped and layed out or do I just need to give my players a problem and let them make the endgame?

          Thanks for reading

          How much experience do you have running games in General? Are you a veteran GM from another rule set, or is Vampire your very first time running any kind of game?

          Edit: Okay, I saw your other post on the topic and your concerns there and where you're coming from..

          Okay so first off... you CAN kill who ever you want. Your PC's can still do that to effect the story. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. Of course just keep in mind their are consequences to their actions. If they kill someone who had important friends there's going to be an investigation, there could be entire sessions about them trying to hide the evidence of their murder, and turn people to their side.

          Next, they can hang out in the "Tavern" for hours if they want to as well. It's called "Elysium" it's just the Vampire Tavern. It's where they can meet all the other Vampire NPCs and Ghouls in your setting and get to know them. So keep those parts in mind and you should be easy enough importing some of the things they liked doing in D&D...

          Build a Sandbox for them.... Choose a setting, make up some Vampire NPCs that you want them to meet. Make sure you know what those Vampire NPCs want and have them act accordingly... then pull in background stuff from your players and turn them loose.
          Last edited by Orphan81; 08-11-2020, 08:30 PM.

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          • #6
            As a disclaimer this is advice for a novice running their first chronicle.

            Keep the plot simple and straightforward, give the players ample space to "be" in character, don't introduce too many NPC's using the (Introduced only if they matter to the plot golden rule). Avoid mixing in other WOD elements (mages, werewolves etc..), Don't make up any rules (use them as written), learn them well. Take extra time with character creation and don't let anyone make a character sheet until their characters are done, use the source material (aka Chicago By Night or London) so you can pick rather then create, read.. read.. and read some more, don't sweat the small stuff, ignore the big stuff and never be a character in a game your running (aka, don't pick someone you identify with and treat them as your own character in the game).

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