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  • I want to get into this game

    I've played one session of oWoD Vampire and a handful of sessions of oWoD Hunter. The latest game was played half a decade ago. I've played and storytold Exalted for a decade. My second go-to game is Cyberpunk 2020. I do play other games occassionally, but rarely. Last year I had a short D&D period just to get some variation from the usual narrative-heavy campaigns.

    So now when WoD has become CoD, I want to make a serious attempt to delve into it. However, there's a lot of meat.

    I ask for three things with this thread:
    - What books should I buy and in what order?
    - What media should I consume to get a feel for the setting?
    - What community websites should I visit to get the most valuable support and additional content?


    Ekorren's Homebrew Hub - Last Update: September 20, 2017

  • #2
    Drive thru rpg is the place to buy the books, bare in mind that they often (always?) advertise the price for the PDF and if you like physical copies you should check the products page. Most splats (the term for a supernatural game line) have a stand alone core book that you can use to run it.
    The basic core can be found by clicking on the link about the it in that yellow box at the top of the page or http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/...rc=slider_view and Vampire is http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/...ath=8329_20642
    Good luck, welcome to the community and don't go into the basement.
    Where do you stand on the PDF Vs physical books side of things? A lot of recommendations will depend on that.
    Last edited by Live Bait; 02-18-2017, 05:57 AM.

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    • #3
      I've been buying books off DrivethruRPG for years so that's not really what I'm wondering about. As someone new to Chronicles of Darkness, I'm more curious how to best get the material I need and in what order I should get it. I understand that the corebook is a good start and as far as I know, it should be enough to play normal humans surrounded by the supernatural. I don't know much about the God-Machine Chronicle, so I can't really comment on that. With just that book, I could play games. I know as much.

      What I don't really know yet is where to go from there. I guess I could buy Vampire, Werewolf et cetera and eventually get to play those as well. However, since there are many books and my money is limited and I want to actually pay for my products, I want some suggestions on what path to take. Which books are pretty much required to be able to present a solid game with lots of variety. How does the older books hold up today, and is any errata necessary? Can I buy a several years old source book for Creature A and combine it with the source book for Creature B and everything will seamlessly flow together without mechanical annoyances and a long list of errata?

      And if I don't have any immediate inclinations towards a specific playable supernatural type and want to eventually get equally immersed in all of them, which ones should I get first? Which ones have the most influence in the setting? Since the game I'm most familiar with is Exalted, I'm going to make a comparison---I don't necessarily enjoy Dragon-Bloods and I don't necessarily want to play them, but I still start with the Dragon-Blood books (after the core) because of how much that splat influences the setting as a whole. In order to immerse myself further in the setting, I need to immerse myself in the splat that's most important to it, and that's why I get that book. Now, what is the Chronicles of Darkness equivalent that I just can't live without? What are the most obscure ones that I don't need to spend money on right now?

      I understand that the simple answer is probably: what floats your boat? The thing about me is that when I invest in a setting, I invest in a setting. I don't just intend to play Vampire. I want to increasingly add game info and source material to my repertoir until I have everything. Let's say I spend 100 dollars a month for a year (the physical copy + pdf versions). What should I have at the end of the year?


      Ekorren's Homebrew Hub - Last Update: September 20, 2017

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      • #4
        Hurt Locker is getting a lot of positive attention and provides some minor templates (think heroic mortals power level) and alternative rules for guns where you run out of ammo by making too many burst shots or failing your roll along with more weapons. Dark Ages is also fondly talked about but as I'm not planning to do anything set in the past I haven't looked into it.
        Remember that CofD is new and most lines don't have that much material yet and others have their first draft on a kickstarter site or the development blog so you can read them free and legally at least in part.
        I would recommend the CofD core and Hurt Locker in your first month and posting a "sell me on this game" in the sub forum for any line that interests you.

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        • #5
          I'm afraid CofD is written to be modular. You are meant to be able to run your game without having to learn all the others. More than that, the world is a mysterious place where nobody has all the answers. Together this means each game is an island. Scattered crossover material allows you to connect them, but there is no one setting. There are multiple compatible settings.

          It goes deeper. Different gamelines have different themes and feels. "Demon: the Descent" is a sci-fi espionage thriller, "Changeling: the Lost" is a twisted fairy tale and "Mummy: the Curse" combines pulp adventure with historical drama. Each specializes in different kinds of stories, so you and your players are kind of forced to choose.

          If you want a taste of everything you might consider reading Dark Eras and upcoming Dark Eras Companion. They provide historical settings for all the gamelines, with some crossover material baked in.
          Last edited by Teatime; 02-18-2017, 09:00 AM.


          Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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          • #6
            I understand. I put in an order for the sourcebook and Hurt Locker and will be reading them first. Then I'll see where we to go from there.


            Ekorren's Homebrew Hub - Last Update: September 20, 2017

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            • #7
              The best advice I can give for a limited budget is to start out buying the core books as PDFs. If you really get into a splat you can buy the physical book once you're sure it's one you want. Starting with PDFs gets you far more content for your dollar and doesn't take up shelf space, and then you can selectively support the lines that really grab you by purchasing the premium physical books.

              Right now Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Beast, Demon and Promethean are on second edition (Well, Beast and Demon began using second edition rules, the others have had a new edition published) and the remaining splats are currently being updated. Vampire, Werewolf and Mage are the "Big Three" and Beast is designed with crossover play in mind, so if your eventual goal is to run a setting with most or all of the splats I would look at those four core books to start. Beast +1 is an excellent way to dip your toe into crossover waters.

              The bad news is that while CoD lines are designed for crossover play they are not designed for seamless crossover play. The mechanics mostly work together, but you will find lots of strange edge cases where you need to decide on the outcome of a weird interaction between powers. This goes double if you're mixing first edition supplements into your game. The rules aren't too terribly difficult to adapt, but they aren't plug and play. You will almost certainly have to house rule some things.

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              • #8
                On consuming media, each book has a little section on what the writers and developers themselves consumed to use as reference material. Sometimes, getting a good hold of just one of them can reveal what the writers were trying to convey much better than reading just the game.


                MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                • #9
                  Okay, so it's not as easy as just having one player be a Vampire and then have another be a Mummy and hope that everything works fine? I need to headache a little as a ST to make things feel close to seamless? I suppose there are a lot of people playing mixed groups and making it work, so I'm sure I can find answers online how to best deal with that.

                  I think my best course of action would be to focus exclusively on the corebook in the beginning to familiarize myself with the basic system. Maybe do a short game to playtest. Then I'll see which splat seems the most interesting to me and my players, buy a splat or two and then carefully work it into the campaign as I learn what works and not. Try not to overwhelm myself with splats from the getgo.

                  My original idea was to "learn the setting" by having a group start as mortals and then have them "transform" in game. Is it viable to "slap a monster" onto a mortal character or are the splats more or less built exclusively as fully fletched starting characters. Have you dealt with this in game? Another question: I understand now that the various splats are tied to very different themes, like how you mention that Demons are very sci-fi thriller. What are people's experiences with mixed group games and transfering splats into completely different themes? Could I, for example, do a shard where I place World of Darkness in a retro cyberpunk setting or something else with a completely different theme and still have the splats feel meaningful and fun? Or should I only get Mummy if I absolutely want to go pulp adventure with historical drama?


                  Ekorren's Homebrew Hub - Last Update: September 20, 2017

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                  • #10
                    Transforming from Mortals in-game is 100% doable and even encouraged for some of the splats, you can defintiely "slap" the template onto existing mortal characters. It works really well for Vampire, Werewolf, Changeling and Mage as your characters can play out the transformation sequences into those splats; being turned by a vampire, being kidnapped by the fae etc.

                    It doesn't really fit Promethean, Mummy or Demon without some kind of meta-reason, you would need some kind of reason why your characters never realised they were the splat like "you thought you were a human but that was just a weird spell/hallucination/crazy dream, actually you were a Mummy all along." I've made this sound cheesy but you could make up some cool ideas from this. Maybe the mortal character is killed and the body parts became a Promethean, with the Promethean retaining the memories and the mortals game were those memories. Its not as smooth or a seamless transition but is still workable.

                    I have not run a mixed-splat so can't really comment on that, but I have run games which have downplayed or out-right ignored splat themes. It is totally fine, the games are modular within themselves. It is really easy to ignore specific rules you don't like because they don't mesh with the game you want to play and its even easier to ignore the lore. I've ran a short hack n slash, action game using Vampire and it was fine. I've also run a longer more mysterious, theme--heavy game. Players enjoyed both, the mechanics accommodate both, just ignore any rules that don't mesh. For the Hack n Slash, I ignored the humanity rules and focused on kewl vampire powers. It is really hard to break the rules and its pretty fun to play around them.

                    One final note, some of the splat games are more flexible than others in terms of rules and themes. Vampire, Mage and Changeling (1e) have mechanics you can easily divorce from the themes of the game. Its really easy to ignore the themes of each game and just play it how you like.

                    This is not the case for say Mummy, it is possible but requires more work since the rules of starting at maximum power and then falling, but gaining your memories as you lose power is pretty core to the game. It depends on how much work you want to do with the book and what you want from the game.

                    I think your idea of starting with the core book is a good one. I would also recommend Hunter. Hunter expands the options for playing a mortal tremendously and also has fleshed out rules to make quick and easy monsters for your game. I've never bought werewolf, but I did use Hunter's rules to stick a few in my vampire game as NPCs.

                    Thats all, have fun!

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                    • #11
                      There are some exceptions, but most splats are templates that transform standard mortals and can happen during a game without much headache. Vampire, Werewolf, Mage and Beast all have transformations where they become supernaturals (Either a full transformation or coming into a heritage, which is mechanically the same). Demon, Promethean and Mummy aren't as suitable for this purpose. Demons were never human, Prometheans aren't either although they're made of human parts (usually) and Mummies haven't been human for thousands of years.

                      Beast might be good if you want to explore the setting; one of the big themes of that line is finding family among disparate types of supernaturals. You can introduce new kinds of monsters as they interest you and sort of sample them as NPCs without having to know every little fiddly rule.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                        My original idea was to "learn the setting" by having a group start as mortals and then have them "transform" in game. Is it viable to "slap a monster" onto a mortal character or are the splats more or less built exclusively as fully fletched starting characters. Have you dealt with this in game? Another question: I understand now that the various splats are tied to very different themes, like how you mention that Demons are very sci-fi thriller. What are people's experiences with mixed group games and transfering splats into completely different themes? Could I, for example, do a shard where I place World of Darkness in a retro cyberpunk setting or something else with a completely different theme and still have the splats feel meaningful and fun? Or should I only get Mummy if I absolutely want to go pulp adventure with historical drama?
                        That's doable for Vampire or Changling (but not together) pushing believability for Mage and Werewolf.
                        You can easily run a game that isn't about the themes of the splat you're playing.
                        One thing to keep in mind is that the setting is the real world with added things that go bump in the night and beyond that each splat is it's own setting, by that I mean a pack of Werewolves in Manhattan and a group of Vampires in Manhattan would be two different things because the society that they would be part of are so different.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                          Okay, so it's not as easy as just having one player be a Vampire and then have another be a Mummy and hope that everything works fine? I need to headache a little as a ST to make things feel close to seamless? I suppose there are a lot of people playing mixed groups and making it work, so I'm sure I can find answers online how to best deal with that.
                          Know that each splat allows for large variety:

                          A canon Vampire character hails from ancient Egypt, is a cult-leader and claims to have been mummified.
                          Vampires can shape-shift into animals and a rare power can allow them to interact with animistic Spirits.
                          There are Vampiric societies with access to magic, that obsessively research occult strangeness.
                          ‚ÄčAnd so on...


                          Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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                          • #14
                            ANY splat can emulate any other - they just do this by various powers or 'special factions' that PCs can join ( like Bloodlines by vampires, Lodges for werewolves, Legacies for mages, etc. ). Just like Teatime wrote - grab one major theme for game and you can basically build any splat member for it.


                            Conquest of Paradise - Fan Dark Era about Portugal and Spain conquests in XVI century - Mage & Beast ( & Hunter )
                            My Hubs - MtAw 2E Legacies and System Hacks & WtF 2E Lodges and System Hacks
                            MtAw 2E - History of Awakened - (almost) canonical game timeline of events

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                              Okay, so it's not as easy as just having one player be a Vampire and then have another be a Mummy and hope that everything works fine? I need to headache a little as a ST to make things feel close to seamless?
                              It's definitely not as easy as that. Each splat is designed to be a complete game on its own, and while they all share a set of core mechanics, they each adapt those core mechanics in certain ways and layer their own specific mechanics on top of that. So each splat you add to a group of PCs adds a significant amount of complexity. New players often assume that because the various splats exist in a shared setting and use the same core mechanics that having a group with a vampire, a werewolf, a mage, and a Demon is like having a D&D party with a fighter, a rogue, a wizard, and a cleric. But really, apart from the shared setting, it's more like having a Planescape party with a Pathfinder character, a SWSE character, a D20 Modern character, and a 7th Sea character. They share a common language in the D20 system, but they each have their own variations on the core mechanics and their own unique subsystems, and are each balanced around different sets of assumptions.

                              Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                              I suppose there are a lot of people playing mixed groups and making it work, so I'm sure I can find answers online how to best deal with that.
                              It is doable, and some STs really like running mixed PC groups, but I wouldn't recommend it as a beginning ST. Instead, I would recommend having the PCs all be the same splat, and to use other splats as NPCs - allies, antagonists, sources of mystery, etc. A few splats lend themselves to this style of play very well. Mortals (potentially with some supernatural powers) are a great go-to cause they're the the simplest mechanically speaking. Hunters work as well, as sort of an extension of mortals (but keep in mind the Hunter 2e core book isn't out yet, so you'll have to do some converting if you want to run them in second edition). Mages are actually great for this kind of game, but they are the most complex to learn by a significant margin. Beast is apparently designed with crossover specifically in mind, though I haven't read it yet so I can't say from experience.

                              Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                              I think my best course of action would be to focus exclusively on the corebook in the beginning to familiarize myself with the basic system. Maybe do a short game to playtest. Then I'll see which splat seems the most interesting to me and my players, buy a splat or two and then carefully work it into the campaign as I learn what works and not. Try not to overwhelm myself with splats from the getgo.
                              I'd say that's definitely the best plan in my opinion. Get Chronicles of Darkness and Hurt Locker first. They'll give you plenty to start with, and you can expand from there once you're comfortable with the core mechanics. You might also want to consider checking out some of the fiction anthologies if you want to get a feel for the themes and styles of the various splats.

                              Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                              My original idea was to "learn the setting" by having a group start as mortals and then have them "transform" in game. Is it viable to "slap a monster" onto a mortal character or are the splats more or less built exclusively as fully fletched starting characters. Have you dealt with this in game?
                              This is absolutely doable and a great way to introduce new players. I've done it multiple times and find it works especially well with Vampire. The only splats this doesn't really work with are Demon, Promethean, and Mummy. Mechanically it works because each splat has a template you add on top of the mortal mechanics, but narratively it doesn't make sense for these splats in particular because Prometheans and Demons come into being as monsters instead of being humans who are changed somehow, and Mummies technically started out as humans, but were all changed millions of years ago.

                              Originally posted by Ekorren View Post
                              Another question: I understand now that the various splats are tied to very different themes, like how you mention that Demons are very sci-fi thriller. What are people's experiences with mixed group games and transfering splats into completely different themes? Could I, for example, do a shard where I place World of Darkness in a retro cyberpunk setting or something else with a completely different theme and still have the splats feel meaningful and fun? Or should I only get Mummy if I absolutely want to go pulp adventure with historical drama?
                              You can definitely mess with the themes of the games and still have a satisfying experience, but it does require more work to do so. I still have aspirations of running a Yu-Yu-Hakusho inspired, high-action shonen style mixed-splat fighting tournament game, for example. It's going to be very different from the default themes and mood of Chronicles of Darkness, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun.


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