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  • Elder Chronicles/Chronicles that allow elder PCs

    Hello everyone, so I already know what many people's answers are going to be to this topic, and I assure you, I've heard most of them, so I'm going to list most them so you don't have to tell me again:

    I don't play elders for power gaming
    Elders can be played in many interesting ways that don't just involve sitting around and ordering others around
    Elders have many deep themes that can be addressed in chronicles
    Elders may be incredibly strong, but, depending on the system, they may be motivated to not recklessly use their advanced powers to not make themselves a target
    Elders can work very well in coteries, against popular(?) belief
    Elder themes can be very existential
    Elders work great with chronicles that involve intrigue, powerful enemies, chronicles that have a grander (even cosmic scope)

    Material for elder chronicle inspiration:

    Vampire: the Masquerade: Elysium (also called Elysium: The Elder Wars)
    Vampire: the Requiem: Thousand Years of Night

    The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
    The Vampire Genevieve by Jack Yeovil (Warhammer)
    Neferata by Josh Reynolds (Warhammer)
    Some consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer a good portrayal of elders


    I'm interested in playing an elder PC in either an all elder chronicle or in a chronicle that allows for elder PCs. Nearly every time I bring it up, many people take it upon themselves to tell me why I don't want that, even though I give them many reasons why I do, in fact, want to play a character. The only time I've actually gotten an elder group together (though it doesn't seem to look like it will last), my ST actually praised me on my character's story and concept.

    With that being said, what is the real issue? I've put out many ads in the past on many different forums and other media looking for a game, but it's as if people only want to play neonate or fledgling games. Sometimes you'll get lucky and see they allow ancillae, but I don't really have a good concept for one anyway. I think elder PCs can have the potential to add so much to a story and open up many new windows and avenues of gameplay we don't regularly get to see in your bog standard VtM game. One can only play neonates for so long (I have both a neonate and a fledgling) before it all becomes tedious (am I the elder?).

    I'm so interested in playing one, it's almost become an obsession at this point. Either in V5 or V20, the options are there, but nearly everyone seems to regard it as something completely hands-off, which is rather unhealthy for roleplaying and creativity. The only reason I can see people have true trepidation about allowing elders are those who abuse them and their advanced powers. Which, let's be honest, we almost never get to see because most people don't allow elders on principal.

    I mainly play on play-by-post servers or forums as my schedule probably doesn't allow for most voice or video games, and the only time I got to see a server that allowed elders was a dead one based on themes I was interested in playing.

    Am I the lone elder in the village?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Toreador View Post
    Hello everyone, so I already know what many people's answers are going to be to this topic, and I assure you, I've heard most of them, so I'm going to list most them so you don't have to tell me again:

    I don't play elders for power gaming
    Elders can be played in many interesting ways that don't just involve sitting around and ordering others around
    Elders have many deep themes that can be addressed in chronicles
    Elders may be incredibly strong, but, depending on the system, they may be motivated to not recklessly use their advanced powers to not make themselves a target
    Elders can work very well in coteries, against popular(?) belief
    Elder themes can be very existential
    Elders work great with chronicles that involve intrigue, powerful enemies, chronicles that have a grander (even cosmic scope)

    Material for elder chronicle inspiration:

    Vampire: the Masquerade: Elysium (also called Elysium: The Elder Wars)
    Vampire: the Requiem: Thousand Years of Night

    The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
    The Vampire Genevieve by Jack Yeovil (Warhammer)
    Neferata by Josh Reynolds (Warhammer)
    Some consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer a good portrayal of elders


    I'm interested in playing an elder PC in either an all elder chronicle or in a chronicle that allows for elder PCs. Nearly every time I bring it up, many people take it upon themselves to tell me why I don't want that, even though I give them many reasons why I do, in fact, want to play a character. The only time I've actually gotten an elder group together (though it doesn't seem to look like it will last), my ST actually praised me on my character's story and concept.

    With that being said, what is the real issue? I've put out many ads in the past on many different forums and other media looking for a game, but it's as if people only want to play neonate or fledgling games. Sometimes you'll get lucky and see they allow ancillae, but I don't really have a good concept for one anyway. I think elder PCs can have the potential to add so much to a story and open up many new windows and avenues of gameplay we don't regularly get to see in your bog standard VtM game. One can only play neonates for so long (I have both a neonate and a fledgling) before it all becomes tedious (am I the elder?).

    I'm so interested in playing one, it's almost become an obsession at this point. Either in V5 or V20, the options are there, but nearly everyone seems to regard it as something completely hands-off, which is rather unhealthy for roleplaying and creativity. The only reason I can see people have true trepidation about allowing elders are those who abuse them and their advanced powers. Which, let's be honest, we almost never get to see because most people don't allow elders on principal.

    I mainly play on play-by-post servers or forums as my schedule probably doesn't allow for most voice or video games, and the only time I got to see a server that allowed elders was a dead one based on themes I was interested in playing.

    Am I the lone elder in the village?

    Well, in fact there are a lot more Elder's games out there than you'd expect. I usually have elders on my tables, but then gain I'm the kind of very rare ST that usually storyteller long chronicles spamming many years (both in game and in real life) etc. So what happens is that, while most of the time I make my players start off as humans, then they become fledglings and neonates, then ancillae and so on. Organically, so to speak. I rarely ST on the very premise of the game being an "elder's game", but that's my personal taste nowadays, I do it for the same reason why I usually make my players start as humans, to build background, to make the characters feel more real, etc.

    I understand that many times, it can be a bit "intimidating" for new STs to deal with a table of elders and that alone is probably one of the main reason for why such games tend to be frowned upon, the more power a PC has the more he can screw up with a ST's story (it's in general, much easier to deal with fledglings and neonates), also one could argue that it could become "powerplay" (and it often does) and then as consequence the story tends to get shallower, etc. In any case, that's not necessarily true, but happens often.

    That being said, I have ST many of such games through my career as a Storyteller (since I was a child I've only being the ST, I almost never play), but it works very differently from a "normal game" with neonates etc. Some themes are harder to work and it kind of limits the options the ST has (just imagine if Frodo, instead of a basically defenseless Hobbit, was a seasoned swordsman...). But, all in all I have nothing against it, as stated, I just prefer to make it happens organically, I prefer the coterie to start as humans and then proceed through the stages, etc.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the books reco. I gonna read them

      Comment


      • #4
        I've always thought that it would be fun to run a one-on-one elder Vampire game with a Storyteller and one player, so you could really focus on the elder PC's themes and flavor and lean in to all of their resources and connections. I'm sure you can run an elder coterie game but I have a hard time imagining how you could do it well while really leaning in to all that playing an elder has to offer. I feel like it would naturally swerve towards feeling like a high-level D&D party.

        Comment


        • #5
          Main reasons you won’t find elders run by players I’d say are:

          1) The power gamers - Arguably the most damaging thing because the horror stories put people off. However, as you point out there aren’t that many elder games, so many of the horror stories I imagine are people’s theory-crafted hypotheticals.

          2) Difficulty for an ST - For Neonates or Ancillae, you can create an antagonist without too much trouble. A determined team of detectives, a Primogen with an axe to grind, a rival club owner, etc.

          You can give them some goons, a few low level powers, a hard to breach haven or office and you’ve got the outline of a good villain. Elder’s will deal with such problems with immense ease and it therefore takes more effort for an ST to prepare an engaging challenge that also won’t wreck the story.

          3) Narrative complexity - Elders have a lot of history, a lot of connections, complicated politics and personalities. That’s a lot of work and effort to develop and have be interesting, especially before a game starts.

          4) Increased Agency - Kind of links into the previous points. Elders can simply do more than lesser vampires, they have a greater say in their own destiny.

          If you don’t have a group of engaged self-motivated players, then there’s not much an ST can do to chivvy a group of elders into towing the line. (At least not without resorting to the big guns every time.)

          5) Trust & Investment - Given the influence and impact an elder can have, especially in a play-by-post server, allowing them requires an immense amount of trust.

          The PC running them not only has to avoid power-gaming, play an interesting character, and interact with the world; all whilst having fun themselves. But they’ve also got to consider the huge impact they have on the story and on other players enjoyment.

          This is especially true in play-by- post servers with characters of differing power levels. (A place where keeping elders rare is also important to preserve a modicum of ‘balance’.)



          This isn’t to say you can’t run an elder game you certainly can. The main reason they’re rare is because they take more hard work, the players and ST have to be much more engaged, the ST has to be happy with less narrative control, players have to be more self-directed and self-motivated.

          You’re turning the game to hard-mode and that’s a small self-selecting sample size.


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

          Comment


          • #6
            I've played in several elder games, and run several, and had a lot of fun with them. One of them was one of the longest running campaigns I've ever played in (went seven years, t'was an in person game).

            Your main problem as far as feeling like you have to defend yourself in advance for even having the idea is that, well, this is the internet, and the internet loves to tell you why everything you love is not just bad, but stupid, and not just stupid and bad, but in fact displays a deep character deficiency on your part to be interested in.

            So no, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play an elder game, they can be a lot of fun, and as rewarding and meaningful as any other way to play VtM. I'd jump at the chance to do another one, they let me engage in weaving narratives and characters into the scale and richness of history (and even the scale and richness of VtM's own setting lore) in the way that many big ol famous vampire stories that VtM supposedly bases itself on* do.

            Your main hitch is that in playing mostly online, and particularly play by post, you are going to run into the "gaming with groups of strangers who have never met before, and will never meet", problem. In such cases, most of the time the easiest way to bridge that gap, both of familiarity and trust, is path of least resistance, i.e. gaming mostly via the corebook+a few others without too many frills. Elder games involve a whole lot of frills.

            *(It's always one of the things that amuses me the most about both VtM and also the hate elder scale play sometimes gets. A solid chunk of the source material this game is based on and outright namechecks is about centuries old vampires. "Oh, can I play one then?" Devs across multiple editions: "How dare you. You trash. You cretin. You lackwit who hates everything that makes good gaming." It's kind of the same thing with superhero gaming when a player will roll along and ask if they can do thing X to feel like source material Y. I have seen some astounding replies in response to that kind of thing.)
            Last edited by MarkK; 05-18-2022, 04:23 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post


              Well, in fact there are a lot more Elder's games out there than you'd expect. I usually have elders on my tables, but then gain I'm the kind of very rare ST that usually storyteller long chronicles spamming many years (both in game and in real life) etc. So what happens is that, while most of the time I make my players start off as humans, then they become fledglings and neonates, then ancillae and so on. Organically, so to speak. I rarely ST on the very premise of the game being an "elder's game", but that's my personal taste nowadays, I do it for the same reason why I usually make my players start as humans, to build background, to make the characters feel more real, etc.

              I understand that many times, it can be a bit "intimidating" for new STs to deal with a table of elders and that alone is probably one of the main reason for why such games tend to be frowned upon, the more power a PC has the more he can screw up with a ST's story (it's in general, much easier to deal with fledglings and neonates), also one could argue that it could become "powerplay" (and it often does) and then as consequence the story tends to get shallower, etc. In any case, that's not necessarily true, but happens often.
              The only reason I actually ask for elder games is because that is the most likely scenario I will ever get to play an elder character. I feel like I, personally, have the maturity to be trusted to play an elder character, but most won't even entertain the idea. I might be dramatic saying this, but it can be quite soul-crushing to not be able to express this side of my own creativity. Essentially, I just feel I'm never given the chance to even prove that elder characters are good and can be valuable to a story.

              Originally posted by MarkK View Post
              I've played in several elder games, and run several, and had a lot of fun with them. One of them was one of the longest running campaigns I've ever played in (went seven years, t'was an in person game).

              Your main problem as far as feeling like you have to defend yourself in advance for even having the idea is that, well, this is the internet, and the internet loves to tell you why everything you love is not just bad, but stupid, and not just stupid and bad, but in fact displays a deep character deficiency on your part to be interested in.

              So no, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play an elder game, they can be a lot of fun, and as rewarding and meaningful as any other way to play VtM. I'd jump at the chance to do another one, they let me engage in weaving narratives and characters into the scale and richness of history (and even the scale and richness of VtM's own setting lore) in the way that many big ol famous vampire stories that VtM supposedly bases itself on* do.

              Your main hitch is that in playing mostly online, and particularly play by post, you are going to run into the "gaming with groups of strangers who have never met before, and will never meet", problem. In such cases, most of the time the easiest way to bridge that gap, both of familiarity and trust, is path of least resistance, i.e. gaming mostly via the corebook+a few others without too many frills. Elder games involve a whole lot of frills.

              *(It's always one of the things that amuses me the most about both VtM and also the hate elder scale play sometimes gets. A solid chunk of the source material this game is based on and outright namechecks is about centuries old vampires. "Oh, can I play one then?" Devs across multiple editions: "How dare you. You trash. You cretin. You lackwit who hates everything that makes good gaming." It's kind of the same thing with superhero gaming when a player will roll along and ask if they can do thing X to feel like source material Y. I have seen some astounding replies in response to that kind of thing.)
              This is precisely why I want to play an elder game so badly. I have spent a lot of time and thought on creating my elder character and I've really fallen for him, in all honesty, and I just want to play him. So, I have looked on at game listings, hoping that my character will be accepted, only for people to tell me they don't take elder characters, which is immensely disappointing.

              I understand that some pbp servers may want to limit the variety of characters playable so as to not have to deal with varying power levels, but at the same time, we're missing out on some of the most interesting characters the game itself has. As you said, almost all vampire characters in popular media are those who would be considered elders, and to not be able to play someone like that feels particularly disappointing.

              I must, if anyone here is open to an elder chronicle or one that would allow for elder characters, please keep me posted, at the very least. I'd at least love to share my character's concept with any potential STs. I even have a Spotify playlist I made just for him.

              Comment


              • #8
                I must, if anyone here is open to an elder chronicle or one that would allow for elder characters, please keep me posted, at the very least. I'd at least love to share my character's concept with any potential STs. I even have a Spotify playlist I made just for him.
                While I always ST Dark Ages games (and I suspect your character is probably a modern day one) and most of the time in person, I feel I can't help you, at least for the time being. I could see if it's possible to ST an online game, if so I'd surely remember about you and invite yo to play. Also, I'd love to see the character's concept anyway, if you want, pm me with the character's concept.
                By the way, how does this kind of game on forums work? That got me curious.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post

                  While I always ST Dark Ages games (and I suspect your character is probably a modern day one) and most of the time in person, I feel I can't help you, at least for the time being. I could see if it's possible to ST an online game, if so I'd surely remember about you and invite yo to play. Also, I'd love to see the character's concept anyway, if you want, pm me with the character's concept.
                  By the way, how does this kind of game on forums work? That got me curious.
                  Ironically, my elder was born in the 1300s (or 1500s, depending on the age limit for the game I'm playing), so playing in the Dark Ages would be quite fun, playing his early days as a fledgling or a neonate, though he's of 6th generation.

                  Playing a play by post game is actually far easier than I was expecting. I've only played them on Discord and I was quite impressed by how smooth and organized it can be, due to having multiple channels and dice bots as well as role-play coordination channels as well. Most exciting are some of the server wide events that happen. Some even have multiple STs as well, so one ST isn't overwhelmed.

                  Of course! I love sharing my concepts with people; I can PM his backstory to you (it's quite long).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Toreador View Post

                    Ironically, my elder was born in the 1300s (or 1500s, depending on the age limit for the game I'm playing), so playing in the Dark Ages would be quite fun, playing his early days as a fledgling or a neonate, though he's of 6th generation.

                    Playing a play by post game is actually far easier than I was expecting. I've only played them on Discord and I was quite impressed by how smooth and organized it can be, due to having multiple channels and dice bots as well as role-play coordination channels as well. Most exciting are some of the server wide events that happen. Some even have multiple STs as well, so one ST isn't overwhelmed.

                    Of course! I love sharing my concepts with people; I can PM his backstory to you (it's quite long).

                    Nice to know your character is from the Dark Ages, that makes things easier. With that being said, I have basically no experience ST online, but I have some friends in France that are always asking me to ST. I might try one day, in any case, I'm going to read the pms. Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have recently started STimg VtM in Discord (play by text) and I have come up with a sandbox style system that I think it could work really well for Elders.
                      The game is in my native Spanish language, but I am considering starting a new one in English while tweaking the sandbox rules to make it more strategical and a lot bof margin for PvP conflict.
                      The setting I am working on, though, is basically for Neonates, with a lot of young vampires and only a few Elders.
                      Anyway, I just wanted to say that I like the way the OP thinks and that I am interested in being part of this conversation

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For my two cents on the matter, I would say if you can ST or play in an Exalted Abyssal game, you can play an Elder Vampire game.

                        Both the players and the ST just have to change the scope of the game accordingly, that's all.

                        Rather than establishing a power block in a city, you take over a state or a nation. Rather than fighting other coteries, you fight factions. Rather than planning in terms of nights or weeks, you plan in terms of decades or centuries.

                        Technically this sort of change can be easier for some if you are newly made elders, freshly embraced 4th or 5th generations back in prehistory and then game all the way up to the current era. This is the most organic way of playing like an elder, in that you have explored almost everything you want to explore, completely understand the character, and your influence on the world is established.

                        If you want to play an elder without going through all of that, it can be done, it just really requires a mindset change from standard games and characters. Think of most vampires as teenagers who are trying to do things to make them stand out, gain prestige, or stroke their egos. An Elder worked through all that millennia ago, they have their minions, they have their havens, they have their support infrastructure. They spend their time either assisting their peers in grand schemes or just pursue their own hobbies.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post


                          Nice to know your character is from the Dark Ages, that makes things easier. With that being said, I have basically no experience ST online, but I have some friends in France that are always asking me to ST. I might try one day, in any case, I'm going to read the pms. Thanks!
                          Ironically, he's French as well and I almost never see chronicles set in France.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Toreador View Post
                            Of course! I love sharing my concepts with people; I can PM his backstory to you (it's quite long).
                            Given the nature of the thread, I think you could share both backstory and sheet here directly. Anyone disinterested will just not read it, but it does help to deliver your idea and may help others to evaluate the option of playing an Elder game.


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