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University as a setting for a Chronicle?

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  • University as a setting for a Chronicle?

    any thoughts on the idea of a chronicle set in a University?

  • #2
    Easily done, but anything in specific you would want to accomplish?


    • #3
      We have a FATE game currently on hold that centers around Miskatonic University and the town of Arkham. We have a Fae, a Were-Rat and a Young Dragon as the primary characters. It is pretty interesting.

      The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. - James. D. Nicoll


      • #4
        Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
        any thoughts on the idea of a chronicle set in a University?
        If you have it handy, the classic World of Darkness supplement, Freeholds and Hidden Glens (for Changeling: the Dreaming), covered UC Santa Cruz, from the timesharing arrangement between the local changelings and a Verbena coven, to a couple of the local umbral spirits (including Plato the banana slug, the university mascot), and the local Brujah who cruise the boardwalk on their bikes (allegedly the inspiration for Lost Boys). Not all of it would translate, but it might give you some ideas.


        • #5
          What I might want to accomplish is to focus on the university as a community in its own right.


          • #6
            Ok, that makes sense

            First thing I would look into is do you want an isolated university where the supernatural can act more overtly due to less risk of being noticed, or do you want it in a much more high traffic location such as Catholic University.

            With setting down, I would then figure out what my ultimate goal was, especially if I am going to be the storyteller. Are the players going to be mortals or supernaturals? Do you want a murder mystery or overt horror?

            Perhaps students randomly go missing, only to reappear 24 hours later with no recollection of what has happened? To all parties involved, nothing strange seems to have happened to the individuals, but the frequency of the disappearances are increasing. This could turn into a more detective themed approach where the culprit is a spirit or ghost.

            Perhaps a student is found brutally murdered and pieces are found everywhere as if they had been exploded into tiny fragmented chunks. Problem is there is no trace of explosives in the area and no damage to any of the surroundings. In an effort to find out what happened, entire teams of detectives begin an investigation while the school building is temporarily shut down. One day, the radio updates cease and when a search party goes in, all of the detectives are found dead and appear to have been carved up and placed in strange patterns on the floor.

            These are just a few examples of what can be done using a University as a setting. I personally suggest figuring out what you want as the tone, and working your way backwards by creating the culprit first, determining the motivations, and how they operate. With that figured out, the rest should come fairly easy, especially if you plan on running this as a stand alone.


            • #7
              Some World Of Darkness books feature colleges and universities - 13 pages in Mysterious Places, 7 in Block By Bloody Block. Both of these examples have some sinister things going on around campus.

              Other RPGs also feature college settings and some have entire sourcebooks, from Miskatonic University in Call Of Cthulhu to East Texas U for Savage Worlds to the fight for tenure helped by a mind-controlling space bug in The Shab-al-Hiri Roach.

              Most developed settings have strange things going on there already suitable for mortal characters to stumble into, but the reverse option of a (nearly) mundane setting for supernatural characters could work as well - maybe there are just a few other monsters on campus for them to contend with. Setting a "weird level" also helps - one cult on campus is one thing, and maybe just about everything strange there ties in to it, but multiple unconnected cults, hauntings, monsters and so on in this one smallish location will give it more of a feel like UC Sunnydale or Silas University.

              Personally, I ran a Buffy game set in and around university for six years, and while the setting was mainly a backdrop for the action, it influenced some adventures. The characters had to deal with student society politics, suspiciously long tenured professors, sporting achievement being given undue support, academic overachievement and one-upmanship, weird university traditions and superstitions, and kids away from home for the first time partying like crazy.

              Craig Oxbrow
              The Trinity Continuum freelancer


              • #8
                I'm interested in this topic too, but more the fleshing out of one. The big thing with a University is you have a relatively closed community. You don't have to stretch for reasons people might have for meeting up and joining, since people there are still at a point in their life when the people they meet can be so easily controlled. Some people go to class together, some are in the same study group, some work together after classes at the same place, maybe they ride the bus with the same driver late every night, maybe they're the only ones who showed up to join this student organization only to find an empty room that looks like it hasn't been used in decades. Obviously you still have various cliques, skaters and political activists, faculty of different schools and staff, but before or after that people are wrangled into classes.

                I'm not sure exactly what you mean, Prince of the Night, but I guess a good way to showcase the college as its own entity is to have some sort of rally. Whether it be getting everyone engaged for an upcoming game against the school's rival, or students organizing and trying to get something done, or reacting to something horrible that happened, any of those things might do the trick and show people what the population can be really like (though obviously nothing's going to have 100% participation).

                The book Mysterious Places has a setting, the University, but I forget offhand how in depth it goes.
                Last edited by nofather; 01-04-2015, 05:13 PM.


                • #9
                  I think it can work pretty well. My Geist game has a University as a major site though not the focus of the whole game. Universities are interesting microcosms, and having mysterious events can work well.

                  I, uh, also came here to mention Mysterious Places and Carmilla web series, but Craig has swooped in and covered those before I could. So let me just second those.

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                  • #10
                    I have a few "joke" Mystery Cults that I worked out as clubs and Greek organizations for "a local college".

                    The only one I'd be willing to write up and share would be the Paladins of Or, a LARPing group that just so happens to hunt monsters. The others are either terrible, awful, or both.
                    Paladins of Or

                    Considered by most of the outside world to be an (overly) enthusiastic but ultimately harmless group on the local campus, they hold some LARPing events on Mondays that anyone interested can join in on. Most people don't dig any deeper; after all, it's just a bunch of nerds having fun, right?
                    Actually... they hunt monsters. There aren't a lot of them on campus, granted, but someone has to keep everyone else safe. And, I mean, it's not like the Paladins are hurting anyone, right?

                    Boffer Weapons: A 'boffer' weapon is a foam melee weapon used in LARPing. Designed to be more-or-less harmless, a boffer weapon deals Bashing damage, which does not wrap. However, they reduce their initiative penalty by 2, to a minimum of 0, due to being far lighter than the "real deal".

                    Total Newbie • - Before you can LARP, you have to learn the ropes. You gain a Weaponry specialty in Boffer Weapons.
                    Habitual LARPer •• - With a little practice, members of the Paladins learn how to protect themselves from being hit by bringing their "weapons" forward. They gain the Defensive Combat merit for Weaponry.
                    Weekend Warrior ••• - The new member has been inducted into the Paladins, and has been taught the signature "Blade of the Paladins". At this point, they participate in the monster hunts. They gain the Numbing Touch merit at 2 dots; they may use the "invisible blade" facet of Numbing Touch as part of a Weaponry attack with a Boffer weapon.
                    Squad Captain •••• - After a semester of 6-hour LARPs and late-night monster hunts, Paladins become better able to coordinate their comrades - they gain the Small Unit Tactics merit, regardless of whether or not they meet the prerequisites.
                    True Paladin ••••• - At the pinnacle of their training, a Paladin knows how to inspire their friends in battle; they gain the Temple Guardian merit at 3 dots. However, their version of Eris' Glory does not grant a bonus to Cruac rolls.

                    I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

                    So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.


                    • #11
                      I did a game using the university from Mysterious Places as an inspiration. I personally liked the idea of the school itself being alive, because how could you really stop something like that without burning the whole place down? Unfortunately, I had a player that decide to a Fish Malk, without the vampire part and the game went downhill.

                      While things were going right, it was pretty fun. I definitely recommend taking a look at Mysterious Places.