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  • #31
    A video game set in a TTRPG world that doesn't get any direct plot sequels doesn't have to worry about the metaplot in any serious way (as opposed to new games with improved play and graphics in a different part of the setting with new characters). People being introduced to the game setting via the game have no way to differentiate between what's background setting history, and what's metaplot. They just get the setting they're presented with. Metaplot is only something you deal with over multiple interactions with the setting over time through books that adapt the setting as time moves forward.

    Simplicity is important, but the important thing here is introducing players to things in a sequence they can digest and follow. A video game that takes ~30 hrs to beat can rely a huge amount of information about the setting without feeling like it by pacing it right.

    Bloodlines 1 works well because it starts you off with the bare bones of the setting (and a NPC tutor that makes it clear he's giving you the quickest version possible) and then gives you time to explore each faction or rare character with a few options regarding pace (like if you want to spend a lot of time doing Anarch side quests and then learn more about them, or you can basically ignore a lot about them and just do enough for the main quest line). V5 has no distinct disadvantage here.

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    • #32
      Oh yes, sure, you can explain what the hell is going on during V5 over a 30 hour game. But is that actually desirable? If you're taking steps to explain the before and after of the Tremere explosion, you're not taking steps to explain the intricacies of local politics or local history and you're not driving forward the personal story of the Player character who is growing increasingly irrelevant given the expansive scope of the story. A big, sweeping metanarrative muddies the local waters far too much, and makes the story less about the PC and their immediate surroundings.

      and from a designer point of view, without metaplot, they have the maximum amount of freedom in crafting their cities. They can give themselves a longrunning narrative without worrying about what bullshit metaplot will storm in and fuck up their story. They can comfortably write VTM: Atlanta I, VTM: Atlanta II, and VTM: Atlanta III without having their story completely raped because some jerk decided that their pivotal Ravnos should be week of nightmare'd, their Tremere schemes getting upended by a schism, or their Ventrue should be walking into the sun en masse for being too patriarchal. On the otherhand there's nothing actually good that they get from the metaplot: They don't need the SI to have a significant hunter problem in the city, they can just write a local hunter faction in. They don't need to bullshit to get the Brujah out of the local cam or the Lasombra in, that could've just been something their prince or primogen decided. Metaplot is a fucking aneurysm for writers. It's virtually all bad, nothing good. The biggest overarching narrative in modern vampire should only go as far as the city state. Or it should be the kind of metaplot that isn't obtrusive and only exists to increase options for local games (assamite schism/Augustus giovanni getting chomped allowing for some families to break away and become flexible tools for the writers) but these are really the only two good ideas (both ruined by other ideas, like the Assamites replacing the Gangrel or the Giovanni becoming the Hecata ) in the 30 years vampire has had metaplot. It might've been good for sales, but Metaplot has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on the story.
      Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 04-12-2022, 09:25 AM.


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      • #33
        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        This is outright conspiracy theory that an indie publisher is attempting to covertly defend an abuser. I know 5 Zaks in my social circle.

        I feel this entire line of theory is in poor taste and am going to ask everyone to drop the "Zak" theory.
        Not arguing. Just saying that of all the names they could have chosen for the protagonist of a VtM game, giving him the same name as the asshole that got fired from VtM is not a great look. Doesn't matter why that name was chosen, it's just a shame that it got published because there are people out there that will assume the reference was very much intended.

        But I'll drop from the thread.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post


          Bloodlines 1 was fun, but it was crazy and didn't take itself seriously at all. You don't think to yourself "this is stupid" because you know it's stupid, it knows it's stupid, and you've just killed 93 katana wielding chinese gangsters who bursted out of paper walls to prove it.
          The only way to deal with the V5 metaplot is also to acknowledge how absolutely stupid it is.

          But like, if you want a more serious tone for your game, players are going to turn their brains on, and so ultimately you shouldn't use metaplot. And as stupid as revised is, it doesn't hold a candle to V5.
          Revised also has the problem of the world ending, but that's something you can ommit or delay and not cause yourself too much of a headache. V5 sets about the near irreversible demise of the vampire race.

          Most importantly, for newcomers, metaplot is intimidating and complicated bullshit that's offputting and distracting. Simplicity is king.

          (also like, the OG 7 clans are the best picks for new players and the OG cam is the best starting sect for people new to the series so like, yeah, almost every bit of metaplot makes the game worse for newcomers to the series)
          By contrast, I buy a V:TM game to play V:TM not a generic vampire game. I say include all the craziness if you can.


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

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          • #35
            Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

            Not arguing. Just saying that of all the names they could have chosen for the protagonist of a VtM game, giving him the same name as the asshole that got fired from VtM is not a great look. Doesn't matter why that name was chosen, it's just a shame that it got published because there are people out there that will assume the reference was very much intended.

            But I'll drop from the thread.
            This is kind of the defintion of arguing. The point was not to kick anyone out of the thread, the point was to end the line of discussion.


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

            Forum Terms of Use
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            • #36
              Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
              Oh yes, sure, you can explain what the hell is going on during V5 over a 30 hour gam. But is that actually desirable?
              I think explaining the setting's key beats in an engaging way is eminently desirable. Bloodlines has brought innumerable people into WoD over the years (myself included). If the goal is for there to be a modern WoD revival then it needs its lore, metaplot, and brand to be well represented to players.

              If you're taking steps to explain the before and after of the Tremere explosion, you're not taking steps to explain the intricacies of local politics or local history
              Why wouldn't you do both? Surely the local politics were indelibly tied to a change that affects the entire clan.

              you're not driving forward the personal story of the Player character who is growing increasingly irrelevant given the expansive scope of the story.
              Alternatively, you can make that metaplot meaningful to the player, such that they need to engage with it. E.g. the Tremere Schism. The PC is a newly embraced fledgling, they're embraced by a Pyramid Loyalist and receive their teachings and seem perfectly loyal. One night hunting they meet a schismatic, who presents a different narrative to them. Who do they believe? If one side asks them to do something against the other who do they side with? Does one side try to use personal connections to sway them? Perhaps the other threatens recrimination, etc.

              Now the big narrative is personal and significant to the player in question.

              A big, sweeping metanarrative muddies the local waters far too much, and makes the story less about the PC and their immediate surroundings.
              Only if you use the metaplot to beat the players with how 'awesome' your big ideas, characters, and events are. If used properly you can use the events to add more to your local scene. What do the local Brujah think of Theo Bell killing Hardestadt? How has the graffiti of the local city changed to warn Kindred of areas watched by the SI? How does the arrival of the Banu-Haqim impact on you as a Tremere when they offer competing Blood Sorcery?

              designer point of view, without metaplot, they have the maximum amount of freedom in crafting their cities. They can give themselves a longrunning narrative without worrying about what bullshit metaplot will storm in and fuck up their story. They can comfortably write VTM: Atlanta I, VTM: Atlanta II, and VTM: Atlanta III without having their story completely raped because some jerk decided that their pivotal Ravnos should be week of nightmare'd, their Tremere schemes getting upended by a schism, or their Ventrue should be walking into the sun en masse for being too patriarchal.
              If maximum freedom is what you're looking for, why bother writing for an established property? If you want to make a TTRPG about vampires and not worry about the broader metaplot why not make your own?

              Alternatively, why not think about how your plot can grapple with the prompts of the metaplot in an interesting way? E.g. how did the Ravnos survive the Week of Nightmares? (Were they in torpor, did their servants stake them, did they have some other mystical protection.) What happened to the Tremere schemes when the schism emerged? (Did the Tremere still stick together without the bonds serving their self-interest, was their scheme betrayed, did the plotters alter their scheme to use schismatics as catspaws?)

              On the otherhand there's nothing actually good that they get from the metaplot: They don't need the SI to have a significant hunter problem in the city, they can just write a local hunter faction in. They don't need to bullshit to get the Brujah out of the local cam or the Lasombra in, that could've just been something their prince or primogen decided.
              Respectfully have to disagree, WoD is a storytelling game at its core, the majority of the appeal and intrigue from the setting comes from the extended metaplot, ideas and stories that are there. Storyteller's can pick and choose which bits of the metaplot they want to use as can the players. Not to mention it provides the broader touch-points of discussion that the community can rally around.

              You can make the finest homebrew city in the world, but I'll know nothing about it. If by contrast we both play the Giovanni Chronicles or we both play in games focussed on the Convention of Prague, we might get different games but have common touchpoints that we can disucss. (How did your ST depict this elder? How did you overcome that blackmail? Which sect did you side with?)

              Metaplot is a fucking aneurysm for writers. It's virtually all bad, nothing good.
              If you don't want to grapple with the complexities of an intricate world, go and write your own setting. If you don't want to do that and want to work with an existing world, then think about how to integrate your story in with what's there. It will be harder to do, but that's the cost of utilising an existing world with an in-depth plot and being able to draw on any of the existing threads to augment your own narrative.

              You might struggle to come up with how the Tremere reacted to the incidents in Vienna. By contrast, when you need to imply a threatening sinister force is stalking the Primogen council, you can drop hints that allude to the Black Hand. Hints that players will pick up on because they've seen the Black Hand depicted elsewhere and know of their activities. Then if the Shakar turns up and says, 'I was at Thorns' or 'I escaped The Feast of Folly' or something else it means something to the players, without you needing to do any extra setup. (Not to mention your players can then discuss the events in way that is more meaningful to other WoD fans. 'We fought and barely got away from Owen Marks' means something to my players but not most groups. 'We fought and barely got away from Lucita De Aragon' will mean something to far more.)

              The biggest overarching narrative in modern vampire should only go as far as the city state. Or it should be the kind of metaplot that isn't obtrusive and only exists to increase options for local games
              Why though? We've got well established international factions and groups, why would you restrict any development to the local level? Even if you limit things to the local level, if Atlanta is conquered by the Sabbat that's that. Doesn't matter that it only takes place at the city level, if I want to conform to the metaplot I need to account for that. Likewise making a metaplot that isn't in any way 'obtrusive' is impossible. The schism amongst the Banu-Haqim will be great for many players but some will loathe it because it will cause them issues, the same being true of what happened with Augustus.

              Ultimately metaplot will be slightly restrictive. But it also provides inspiration and a common touchpoint for players and ST's across the community. Besides if there's anything a group doesn't want to use they can just throw it out.


              STV Author - Guide to the Sabbat
              Current Project(s): Tales from the Fronts - A Guide to the Gehenna War

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              • #37
                There's a diffference between lore and metaplot. If it contains the 13 clans, the sects and the discilines and mechanics then it's distinctly VtM rather than just any vampire setting. It's the World of Darkness regardless of if you include the extinction of the Ravnos or whatever other developments. Night Road was fun, but Beckoning existing still makes me grumpy, and the "Final Nights" as a literal description of what's to come does detract from the enjoyment of Bloodlines, as far as I'm concerned. Yes, here's your fledgling. Playing them is actually a waste of time, because they're going to die very soon (at least they didn't let you build backgrounds or longterm power plans or anything). The paranoia of Gehenna is fun, but stuff like the Time of Judgement or the Beckoning is not (for me).

                [I'm not against games using metaplot, but I don't agree that a game would be less VtM or a generic vampire game for totally ignoring it]
                ---

                I have to admit I'm a bit disapointed that the characters are premade. 99% of the time I'm storyteller, so video games are near enough my only opportunity to be the player. When I heard isometric my brain actually went straight to "Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment*, but World of Darkness." (*Premade pc aside)

                While the Princes of Darkness mod is great, it's still unignorably CK with a WoD flavou mod slapped on and I do tend to prefer the Modern Nights. So I'd still be interested to see a Paradox roleplaying strategy actually tailored for playing VtM.
                Last edited by Rhywbeth; 04-12-2022, 08:24 AM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post


                  Bloodlines 1 was fun, but it was crazy and didn't take itself seriously at all. You don't think to yourself "this is stupid" because you know it's stupid, it knows it's stupid, and you've just killed 93 katana wielding chinese gangsters who bursted out of paper walls to prove it.
                  The only way to deal with the V5 metaplot is also to acknowledge how absolutely stupid it is.

                  But like, if you want a more serious tone for your game, players are going to turn their brains on, and so ultimately you shouldn't use metaplot. And as stupid as revised is, it doesn't hold a candle to V5.
                  Revised also has the problem of the world ending, but that's something you can ommit or delay and not cause yourself too much of a headache. V5 sets about the near irreversible demise of the vampire race.


                  Most importantly, for newcomers, metaplot is intimidating and complicated bullshit that's offputting and distracting. Simplicity is king.

                  (also like, the OG 7 clans are the best picks for new players and the OG cam is the best starting sect for people new to the series so like, yeah, almost every bit of metaplot makes the game worse for newcomers to the series)
                  First off Bloodlines 1 was the gateway to VtM and the WoD for a lot of people over the years and as pointed out, it was chalk full of Metaplot.

                  Second, the V5 Metaplot isn't nearly as scary and overwhelming as people claim it is. Nor is some apocalyptic situation for Kindred. Like the Giovanni took a beating as a Clan, to the point that the Rulebook put them alongside the Ravnos but they've actually bounced back and some would argue are stronger for it since becoming the Hecata. People see to look at the SI and it's big successes as some sign that the nights of the Kindred race are doomed but that hasn't really been the case. For all their success, the SI's ignorance on vampires continues to be a weakness for them. Like when they took out the Prime Chantry in Vienna they thought they were taking out a Headquarters for the leadership of all vampires. Nor has it's destruction destroyed the Tremere. Kindred have adapted to the changing world.

                  As pointed out, every VtM game (though they are mostly just Visual Novels and the like at the moment) that has come out the last couple of years has involved the V5 Metaplot. Even that gonzo Battle Royale game Blood Hunt has the V5 Metaplot involved in it. They've handled it just fine.

                  Also just because the Brujah and Gangrel Clans left the Cam doesn't mean that every Brujah and Gangrel left the Cam. There are still plenty within the Sect. So the idea of being a Cam Brujah or Gangrel is not some farfetched notion. Hell, there are now officially Tzimisce in Cam when prior to V20, your only options were Sabbat or Independent.

                  Frankly there is nothing that makes the V5 Metaplot as this unapproachable thing for newcomers and I say this as someone with not just mixed feelings on the V5 Metaplot but on 5E entirely. Accessibility for newcomers is not one of my complaints about V5.


                  Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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                  • #39
                    Yeah, much as I like many bits of V5's metaplot (and dislike other aspects) my recent decision to stop collecting it and backgrade to V20 was for other factors (mainly that V20 has everything I need to run in one book, not five plus supplements. Getting prospective players to read the darn core rulebook is hard enough).

                    The hardest bits of metaplot to implement are probably the Baby Haqim and Tremere schisms. But if you're not familiar with the tabletop game you likely don't know enough to do 'wait, the Tremere were literally all bound in a pyramid', while if you're into the tabletop game you're likely already aware of the developments. The Beckoning can be mostly ignored until it actually comes up, but can be introduced relatively easily if it becomes relevent (the Prince leaving the city at the end of Act 1, for example). The trick is to introduce metaplot elements that'll become important over the first half or so of the game and ignore those that won't matter.


                    Blue is sarcasm.

                    If I suggestion I make contradicts in-setting metaphysics please ignore me, I probably brought in scientific ideas.

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                    • #40
                      What metaplot did VTMB actually have, y'know, that was world influencing on the scale of V5? Gehenna fear isn't metaplot. A historian showing up isn't "metaplot" .The closest to "metaplot" VTMB had was local history. Sweet, juicy, confined to LA history.

                      Imagine going from VTMB to VTMB2 and having to have it explained to you that Tremere aren't at all how you remembered them and the Camarilla so well represented in the last game by everyone but the Ventrue Prince have become miraculously incompetent in the last ten years because everyone with intelligence decided to travel to Syria for a big party, and this is a worldwide thing...


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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                        What metaplot did VTMB actually have, y'know, that was world influencing on the scale of V5? Gehenna fear isn't metaplot. A historian showing up isn't "metaplot" .The closest to "metaplot" VTMB had was local history. Sweet, juicy, confined to LA history.
                        * Anarch Free States falling to the Kuei Jin
                        * Anarch free States in general
                        * Anarch free States vs. Camarilla
                        * The Camarilla's attempted invasion of LA that has been building since Los Angeles by Night
                        * The Time of Thin Blood and appearance of Thin Bloods
                        * The entire Gehenna plotline as a thing that wasn't an old legend but happening now

                        But please, MWIS, explain what WOULD be required to be "metaplot" in Bloodlines for it to qualify in your view. I am curious where the goal line is.




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

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                        • #42
                          Honestly, the big thing to note about 5th Edition was that it seemed based around REDUCING metaplot while incorporating at least a little back into things. The metaplor is designed around making everything very easy to understand and straight forward.

                          Sabbat=Bad
                          Second Inquisition=Hunters with guns
                          Camarilla=Snooty clans
                          Anarchs=Poor Clans
                          Camarilla and Anarchs=Enemie


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

                          Forum Terms of Use
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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                            Honestly, the big thing to note about 5th Edition was that it seemed based around REDUCING metaplot while incorporating at least a little back into things. The metaplor is designed around making everything very easy to understand and straight forward.

                            Sabbat=Bad
                            Second Inquisition=Hunters with guns
                            Camarilla=Snooty clans
                            Anarchs=Poor Clans
                            Camarilla and Anarchs=Enemie
                            Being simplistic doesn't make things easier when these simplistic groups actually have to function like real ones.


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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                              Honestly, the big thing to note about 5th Edition was that it seemed based around REDUCING metaplot while incorporating at least a little back into things. The metaplor is designed around making everything very easy to understand and straight forward.

                              Sabbat=Bad
                              Second Inquisition=Hunters with guns
                              Camarilla=Snooty clans
                              Anarchs=Poor Clans
                              Camarilla and Anarchs=Enemie

                              This is one of the things, if not the main thing, that keeps me away from V5, oversimplyfing everything in the worst way possible, completely removing all the complexities of every sect and group just because, Instead of just removing the 90's from the base material and keep things a little more grounded like in requiem, they decided to turn all the sects and groups into catoonishly evil assholes, stripping all the moral complexity from the camarilla, the anarchs and even the sabbat and the inquisition, instead falling on what are basically caricatures of what they were and lets not get into them turning vampires into ticking bombs ready to rip your head off at the slightest hint of provocation.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                                Imagine going from VTMB to VTMB2 and having to have it explained to you that Tremere aren't at all how you remembered them and the Camarilla so well represented in the last game by everyone but the Ventrue Prince have become miraculously incompetent in the last ten years because everyone with intelligence decided to travel to Syria for a big party, and this is a worldwide thing...
                                There's sod all to remember about the Tremere or Camarilla from VTMB. The Tremere was Strauss and a player character who could either ignore the pyramid or get a sweet haven. The Camarilla was:
                                • Lacroix
                                • Lacroix's sheriff AKA "the sheriff"
                                • Lacroix's Ventrue goons
                                • Mercurio, Lacroix's ghoul
                                • Strauss again, notably opposed to Lacroix
                                • Gary, who has no stake in the Camarilla/Anarch conflict
                                • Grout, a recluse
                                • Tung
                                • Tung's ghoul
                                • Other goons
                                So if the Camarilla was competent except for Lacroix, we're talking about Strauss, Bertram Tung and maybe Knox. And I suppose that the sheriff was good at what he did.

                                What this demonstrates is that the developers of secondary VtM products only need to include as much detail as pertains to their story. If they don't want to deal with the SI or Haqimite schismatics, then the SI and schismatics won't appear in the game. If they do, they have a plot hook.

                                The player characters of this upcoming game are a kine and, I believe, the childe of a Toreador primogen. The Sabbat are at least among the antagonists. So the only relevant aspect of the V5 metaplot is what the Sabbat get up to these nights. Which is a lot more hunting ancient vampires than it used to be, but not exclusively.
                                Last edited by Spencer from The Hills; 04-12-2022, 11:26 AM.

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