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  • #16
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I guess... it just seems so limiting to have this tool to make countless vampire NPCs, and then just recycle the same group over and over with some light reskinning if you can't use them as-is.
    I agree, especially if you want to have some sense of a broader world connecting your chronicles, which isn't necessary, but is something that many STs like.

    But other than that, I just imagined how it would be to have a more globe-throttling game where the PCs find versions of the same people everywhere. It could be a funny comedic game for lighter game nights, or could be a Twilight-Zone kind of mystery if played straight.


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    • #17
      I have not used Canon SPCs before in my games. I really enjoy making characters and typically populate my games with former PCs I or my friends have played. I have re-skinned old Requiem characters that we played into v5 SPCs.

      That being said, I am about to start a chronicle that is starting in Paris and will end up taking the PCs to Istanbul. One of the foci of the game will be lineage... and I have set out to use quite a few canon SPCs mixed with some of my "signature" SPCs I have re-skinned. The Toreador Justicar in my games (he has shown up in a few Chronicles) is an original creation. In this new game I am having him be a grandchilde of Michael the Patriarch. One of my PCs is in Mithras' lineage. The other player is descended from Apacia Queen of Tombs. So Canon SPCs are definitely coming more into focus for me.


      "[Mankind] lives in a survived yet always uncertainly surviving world. All that is has survived where it might not have survived. Every world is and will always be a Noah's ark." -John Fowles, The Aristos

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        I guess... it just seems so limiting to have this tool to make countless vampire NPCs, and then just recycle the same group over and over with some light reskinning if you can't use them as-is.
        I think of it as the fact that I consider the Chicago NPCs some of the best written NPCs of any game system ever made. Also, the best way to use vampire NPCs is to cultivate longstanding intimate relationships.

        With all the people who talk about their original PCs, I'm wondering how long they last. I've had chronicles in the same area that have lasted over an actual decade of real time.

        The PCs get to know them deeply.

        It's why I use the same NPCs in the Forgotten Realms. They're deeply close friends in a way.


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

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        • #19
          If you take the time to create your characters in any game. You like to stay with them no matter what and even alter them to suit different games and I did that with one that I created in the 1990's for Rifts and numerous others. So it's not surprising to get attached to certain ones.


          What in the name of Set is going on here?

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          • #20
            I have used Mithras in most of my Chronicles, and a couple of others depending on the era of the setting and who would be available. Also as yet I have not had a need to use any stat blocks for such named NPC's, most of the NPC's I use are ones I have created to populate the setting

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            • #21
              In terms of signature characters, I think I've only ever used Lucita and Beckett.

              I have to admit as Englishman who studied history & classics I've got a soft-spot for the Gangrel Archaeologist and chronicler. Likewise, the Sabbat are my favourite sect and the Lasombra my favourite clan, so it's nice to have Lucita crop-up from time to time.

              I do use plenty of the canon NPC's where appropriate. My London chronicle featured plenty of characters: Mithras, Lady Scarlett, Valerius, Stephen Lenoir, etc.


              STV Author - Guide to the Sabbat
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              • #22
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                I think of it as the fact that I consider the Chicago NPCs some of the best written NPCs of any game system ever made.
                I can understand the personal attachment to an extent, but well written canon NPCs are practically limited by the fact that people playing the game have to run the characters.

                If your ST just doesn't connect with a canon NPC and runs them "poorly" all that great writing is wasted for that instance of the game. Or worse you get players that think you're playing Olaf "wrong" because that's not what the books say.

                Shakespeare might just be the greatest English playwright in history, but the best play manuscripts can't save a play from a bad troupe; and because Shakespeare is so well known the mistakes are more jarring. A local amateur improv group doing skits based on random things five year olds said might never move you to tears like a West End production can, but it's more than enough fun to keep you entertained for a few hours every week. And it's certainly a better use of your time than watching said amateurs do mediocre Shakespeare once a week instead.

                One of the things about being a ST/GM/etc is unlike pre-written scripts, is that I can make NPCs I know I can make entertaining for my players because I know what my skills as a ST are. Tully might be gold on the page, but if he's a turd in my hands I'm not doing my players any good.

                And then there's something so many STs/etc. have had to learn how to deal with: when your players adopt throwaway NPCs. You had some NPC, they might not even have a name in your notes, that existed solely to drop a plot point, or get the PCs from location A to location B, and the players suddenly ignore the big NPC you have five pages of notes on to see what's up with the guy that runs the ferry across the river. Again it doesn't matter how good that NPC you have all that work into might be... it matters what the players latch on to because that's where the fun is.

                Also, the best way to use vampire NPCs is to cultivate longstanding intimate relationships.
                OK? What makes you think those of us prefer bespoke NPCs would disagree with that? The PCs get to know the NPCs deeply over long games. That's how they work regardless of who writes the NPCs.

                With all the people who talk about their original PCs, I'm wondering how long they last.
                I've noticed no particular difference in game longevity between canon settings and custom settings. The longest running characters (both PCs and NPCs) I've run were in custom ones personally. I once ran a NPC on a 24/7 chat (so that's running said NPC multiple times a week,not just once a week, or less because they didn't show up every session) for 6 years. Which would be at least 18 years worth of weekly TT play (easily more) in terms of how much time and energy I put into that (I speak from experience running both styles there). My longest running PC was 8 years, also an original, also on a 24/7 chat (so that's playing nearly daily, not just once a week or so). Yeah, I'm confident to say that if everything else falls into place, I can keep a character going for over 2,500 sessions.

                Originally posted by Lysander View Post
                If you take the time to create your characters in any game. You like to stay with them no matter what and even alter them to suit different games and I did that with one that I created in the 1990's for Rifts and numerous others. So it's not surprising to get attached to certain ones.
                Some people do, some people don't. There's a whole "school" of gaming (not exactly WoD fans) that think PCs should be seen as more disposable and don't see getting attached to them for long is a good thing at all. I've played with a lot of people that are perfectly happy to retire a PC once they feel that PC is played out, and never touch that PC again, and others that keep going back to the same PC over and over. I would say, in general, it's more common for players to make new PCs for new games (instances of the same system, or new systems) than repeat the same thing each time. In my decades of RPGs, the players that always make the same basic concept get a reputation of "being that player" and thus are perceived as the unusual ones.

                New players also tend to latch on to "easier" concepts that they're more used to because it means they have more energy for other things, but most players then try different things once they know the game better IME.

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                • #23
                  That is true I do latch onto Detective, Bodyguard and Investigative Reporter types in my games Heavy Arms. As that is what feels natural towards me and I don't like to stray far from my comfort zone.


                  What in the name of Set is going on here?

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                  • #24
                    I’ll actually go a step further and say not only do I not use established characters, I actively overwrote the canonical vampires in Boston because, frankly, they were lame. There’s just so much history and culture in Boston that got completely ignored in favor of a Malkavian Prince who thinks he’s King Arthur and fights the upstate Sabbat.

                    So I actually do things with the trade triangle, Free Masons, the Boston Brahmin, Harvard and MIT, the oldest subway system in the US, Jane Toppin, the Patriarca mafia family, the Boston Marathon, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, the Curse of the Bambino, the Boston Busing Crisis, etc.

                    Way more than whatever managed to be mentioned in mid-90’s US and World History books happened in all the cities official VtM material has covered, but outside of Chicago you’d be really hard pressed to think so if just looking at the canonical NPCs for those locations.

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                    • #25
                      only three times over the course of a yearlong campaign (and none of the pcs had any idea who they were outside of their own interactions [largely because the campaign is focused on a more street level concept with the pcs all being thinbloods and caitiffs and not really having any idea of how vast vampire society actually is.])


                      they/them.

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                      • #26
                        never. But I use the PC templates char exemples in the end of each Clanbook

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
                          I’ll actually go a step further and say not only do I not use established characters, I actively overwrote the canonical vampires in Boston because, frankly, they were lame. There’s just so much history and culture in Boston that got completely ignored in favor of a Malkavian Prince who thinks he’s King Arthur and fights the upstate Sabbat.
                          This was the big weakness of almost all By Night books other than Chicago. The original Chicago By Night had a wealth of NPCs that were deeply embedded in the history of the city. Not only did NPCs do things that were behind the scenes of some events, you essentially got a history of Chicago by looking at the biographies of a lot of NPCs. That made those characters seem relevant to the city. They weren't generic characters who could appear anywhere. Not all NPCs were like that, but it was enough to flavor the city.

                          In contrast, very few NPCs in the other books had that sense of history for the city. For a lot of the books, the NPCs were just generic and could have been set anywhere. And a fair number of NPCs to me struck as very much as "I bet this one and these other characters were the original PCs of the writer and his friends in some chronicle they played."

                          I like the idea of Boston being a center of Malkavian power. That's an interesting seed to start with. But nothing about Quentin King and the Six Knights, or any other character in Dark Colony, really struck me as characters that had to be in Boston (or any other New England city). They could have been set anywhere.

                          (I remember someone's WoD webpage, in the early days of the internet, said HP Lovecraft was either the Prince of Providence, or a Tremere in a chantry there. That alone had tons more New England flavor than anything in Dark Colony.)

                          And if your NPCs don't reflect the setting, why even do a By Night book there? I knew many early fans who were early buyers of the By Night books. We were all looking to run our own chronicle with one of them as our first Vampire ST was running Chicago for us. But once it was obvious that White Wolf couldn't recapture the magic of the original Chicago By Night, there was no reason to continue to buy them. (And because of the killing of many original NPCs in Under a Blood Red Moon, and introducing many new characters to Chicago, the 2nd edition CbN fell into a lot of the same traps.)

                          With the passage of time, I wonder how much of the "magic" of the original Chicago By Night was simply the fact they stole so many characters from "The Jungle."

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                          • #28
                            I tend to use them often, but most of the time they aren't really in the spotlight, so to speak. My own NPC's roles are almost always more important to the story.
                            Also, I feel the need to mention that I always kind of make my own version of the characters presented in the books and just use what's written about them as a basis. There are many really well-developed characters in the books, e.g. Jürgen von Verden, Constancia, Marianna Giovanni, Goratrix, Anatole, Mithras, Becket, Veronique d'Orléans, etc, but also many bad ones like Gustav Breidenstein, Francisca dos Rodrigues, Ferox, Dieter Kotlar, Andeleon, Ur-Shulgi, etc . I must also state that I always change their traits, but that is just because many times it seems the folk that write the stories don't have a clue about giving traits to character, e.g. look at Mithras' official traits, just to give one example hahaha...

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                              This was the big weakness of almost all By Night books other than Chicago. The original Chicago By Night had a wealth of NPCs that were deeply embedded in the history of the city. Not only did NPCs do things that were behind the scenes of some events, you essentially got a history of Chicago by looking at the biographies of a lot of NPCs. That made those characters seem relevant to the city. They weren't generic characters who could appear anywhere. Not all NPCs were like that, but it was enough to flavor the city.

                              In contrast, very few NPCs in the other books had that sense of history for the city. For a lot of the books, the NPCs were just generic and could have been set anywhere. And a fair number of NPCs to me struck as very much as "I bet this one and these other characters were the original PCs of the writer and his friends in some chronicle they played."
                              It's one of those things that endlessly frustrated me with many a By Night, how the lesson they all seemed to learn from CbN was not "tell the city's history through a fantastic lens with its kindred" but "need MOAR web of random NPCs dancing on the strings of the web of methuselahs", with the chronicle's locale a mere afterthought at most.

                              My impression is that too many of those NPCs, in Dark Colony and many of the later By Night books reflect, in intent/spirit at least, Chicago's Primogen - and the CbN 2nd ed specific cast of NPCs - that was composed of long-lived somewhat globetrottling kindred for whom the game's city might be seen as simply a comfortable stop or new home in a long string of others.


                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                              I like the idea of Boston being a center of Malkavian power. That's an interesting seed to start with. But nothing about Quentin King and the Six Knights, or any other character in Dark Colony, really struck me as characters that had to be in Boston (or any other New England city). They could have been set anywhere.

                              (I remember someone's WoD webpage, in the early days of the internet, said HP Lovecraft was either the Prince of Providence, or a Tremere in a chantry there. That alone had tons more New England flavor than anything in Dark Colony.)
                              I once did go for something a little somewhere in the middle by making Quentin and his "knights" into Kuranes and other components of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
                              What could be considered as a forerunner of sorts for my gonzo "DA:V as a branch of the Cobweb/spirit realm that modern kindred may occasionally access by accident/bad luck or vice-versa" canon hack, i guess.


                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                              With the passage of time, I wonder how much of the "magic" of the original Chicago By Night was simply the fact they stole so many characters from "The Jungle."
                              The big magical question all of us 1st/2nd old fart fanboys ask ourselves sometimes, no?
                              Last edited by Baaldam; 05-20-2022, 09:42 AM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                                I once did go for something a little somewhere in the middle by making Quentin and his "knights" into Kuranes and other components of Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
                                What could be considered as a forerunner of sorts for my gonzo "DA:V as a branch of the Cobweb/spirit realm that modern kindred may occasionally access by accident/bad luck or vice-versa" canon hack, i guess.
                                That's a very interesting idea!

                                I had never thought that of using a Malkavian's dreams like that. While never a thing explored in Vampire, the other game lines used the concept of dreams and dream worlds a lot more. I always wanted to make Chimares (dream domains in the Penumbra) and the various dream Gifts of Garou more prominent in my Werewolf games. I always thought it had a lot of potential, but never really used it. I didn't know how to best exploit it. But I've recently done a lot of recent work on this subject to use it whenever I next run a Werewolf game. This gives me a lot of new ideas.

                                Chimares can achieve their own independent existence especially if multiple people dream about the same things. The idea of a shared collective madness by a group of Malkavians creating such a Chimare is a very intriguing one. It touches on a lot of the Malkavian themes. It might even exist independently of them, although the Malkavian dreamers themselves might enter it when they sleep during the day. Or possibly enter it via Astral Projection at night.

                                It'd be very interesting to have Garou PCs run into this seemingly powerful shared delusion that manifested as a Chimare. They might have lots of questions. Yet even if they encounter the Malkavian dreamers in such a Chimare, there might not be anything that connects them to vampires. Given the many powers of Malkavian vampires, they might be seen to have incredible psychic powers. It could be a long while before the PCs ever figure it out. In the meantime, they might even try to utilize the psychic abilities of their new "friends" or "acquaintances" to help them.

                                This now seems like such an obvious hook to me, I can't believe I never thought of it my own.

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