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How do you start a Campaign?

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  • How do you start a Campaign?

    I'm usually a DnD or Call of Cthulhu GM. It's easy enough to figure out how to start those games--quests, mysteries and the like. But with Changeling it feels more about building a home and court politics, and that's where I'm stuck. There's a certain slice of life vibe I'm getting from this game that needs to be established before I can threaten it.

    My players and I have decided to start when the characters are still new to the freehold, but not during their escape so the whole "Returning from Arcadia" opening won't quite work.

    I've never run a WoD/CoD game before. The basic "loop" of the game kind of escapes me a bit. There's not a lot of "fight the monster, get the loot" in here. The aspirations and oaths of the Court leaders is a helpful way of figuring out how to run them, but oh boy I've never run a political campaign before. Constantly sending characters on quests just sounds more DnD than the game is built for, but it sure sounds easy to lean into that.

    When it gets going, I think I'll be fine. Literally every game mechanic imposes consequences in the story which will keep the story flowing on its own, but right now the nerves and unsurety of how to kick the game off is a lot.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Chris_John View Post
    I'm usually a DnD or Call of Cthulhu GM. It's easy enough to figure out how to start those games--quests, mysteries and the like. But with Changeling it feels more about building a home and court politics, and that's where I'm stuck. There's a certain slice of life vibe I'm getting from this game that needs to be established before I can threaten it.
    Kinda agree there! It's why for Changeling I like to play a short session with each of my players "prior to Durance" when they're all still humans, just a "day in the life of" with some mundane concerns and problems, promises for the future, hopes, dreams... and then the session ends with the Keeper snatching them. That's where that ends, and then next time we play it'll be after their escape.

    My players and I have decided to start when the characters are still new to the freehold, but not during their escape so the whole "Returning from Arcadia" opening won't quite work.
    You can just have the local Freehold have a sort of rule where they quickly try to find new arrivals, bring them to some safe place when they're still "fresh", and hold them there until they are sufficiently recovered from their harrowing escape to be abel to interact with mortal society without breaking down and causing Bedlam everywhere. Your first session then starts with you describing how their stay there has been, and then them being brought back from wherever they are (probably a bit out of town) to the main area of your setting.
    Introduce a small task or concern for them as a group, and then encourage them to check on all those NPCs from backstory (or those solo sessions I mentioned!) to see how they're doing... Hint: it should either be "bad" or "good, buut there's this element that will be very inconvenient for you if you want to pick the relationship up again."

    I've never run a WoD/CoD game before. The basic "loop" of the game kind of escapes me a bit. There's not a lot of "fight the monster, get the loot" in here. The aspirations and oaths of the Court leaders is a helpful way of figuring out how to run them, but oh boy I've never run a political campaign before. Constantly sending characters on quests just sounds more DnD than the game is built for, but it sure sounds easy to lean into that.
    There's still a thread on the 1st page about good Changeling loops ^^
    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-changeling-2e

    I like essentially coming up with one big overarching threat that the local Freehold will be faced with, one or two big political disputes within the Freehold, and then 1 or 2 personal problems for each player. And they choose what they focus on, but obviously whatever issues they don't focus on for too long, will get worse. ^^

    When it gets going, I think I'll be fine. Literally every game mechanic imposes consequences in the story which will keep the story flowing on its own, but right now the nerves and unsurety of how to kick the game off is a lot.
    The start is definitely the hardest part!

    Don't be afraid to ask players to come up with some strong long-term aspirations before you start planning, and then leaning heavily into those for the first few sessions.

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    • #3
      I have enjoyed running both Changeling and Hunter chronicles structured as the bisected childhood/adult stories like in Stephen King's It. It worked alright for Werewolf and Mage, but came off a little contrived. For Changeling and Hunter not only did it seem not only plausible but likely and it added wonderful je ne sais quoi which gave the chronicles more weight, strong of character arches, introducing themes which resonated with me and my players.

      I am a HUGE fan of the Innocents book and have made Conditions to approximately translate the mechanics of being a child into 2nd Edition.

      Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post
      Frailty Chronicles Specific Conditions

      Mentally a Child (Persistent)
      You have the mentality of a child literally not figuratively. This may be because you are in fact a child, it also can be caused by a developmental disability, or brain trauma. While your character sheet reflects adulthood level of skills, while you have this condition all Mental skills greater than 1 are treated as 1 less and never greater than two. In contested Mental skills rolls those without this condition gain the Rote ability against you.
      Possible Sources: Being a child, severe brain damage, severe mental development retardation
      Resolution: Grow up, magical or miraculous healing if brain damage, brain-boosting mad-science or magic
      Beat: N/A
      Physically a Child (Persistent)
      You have the physical liability of a child's body. This may be because you are in fact a child, it also can be caused by possessing a child, or severe physical inability to compete with average sized adults possibly caused diminutive size and faulty coordination. While your character sheet reflects adulthood level of skills, while you have this condition all Physical skills greater than 1 are treated as 1 less and never greater than two. In non-Chase contested skills rolls those without this condition gain the Rote ability against you. You only have access to one specialty. Unarmed attacks made by you treat Stamina of the target as armor. Those without this condition use Down and Dirty Combat against you, unless your first declared action is to initiate a Chase Scene, in which case they must defeat you in that chase before initiating Down and Dirty Combat. Also your size is reduced by one.
      Possible Sources: Being a child, be a being or entity possessing a child, being made undead while a child so you never physically mature
      Resolution: Grow up, stop possessing the child
      Beat: N/A
      Socially a Child (Persistent)
      You are treated by those that know you as a child is, and lack emotional maturity to interact in an adult way. This may be because you are in fact a child, or possibly an adult who failed to meaningfully grow up. When socially interacting with those without this condition who have greater than or less than a Excellent Impression towards you remove or add a Door for each level difference in order to influence that character or group. Those without this condition remove a Door for every Impression higher than Hostile in order to influence you. You are unable to use soft leverage against those without this condition and don’t have access to social merits which aren’t suited for children. While your character sheet reflects adulthood level of skills, while you have this condition all Social skills greater than 1 are treated as 1 less and never greater than two.
      Possible Sources: Being a child, never have grown into adult responsibility (significantly enough that it could be the plot point of a Hollywood blockbuster comedy, and is very obvious to everyone you meet immediately). be a being or entity possessing a child with alien-like unfamiliarity with adult human society
      Resolution: Grow up, stop possessing the child,
      Beat: N/A
      I have had great success with running a full story (or two) prologue as the PCs being children whom are friends that collectively trauma-bond over an encounter (or two) with the supernatural or horrific. For changeling specifically I enjoy having the ending of prologue stories be the start of one of the PCs Durance, roleplayed in private, and then they secretly get to play their own fetch with the other PCs until the reveal.

      Then a time jump ahead to the adult lives the PCs whom were not abducted or traded away to the Fairies by the adults overseeing them. We sample with a lives the PCs have made for themselves via roving character spotlight so everyone has a chance to shine. For a changeling game this is where the other PCs get to role play their abduction to Arcadia and start their Durance which lasts a couple months mundane-world side but all PCs escape together because they shared a Keeper. The other PCs get the reveal the twist about character that was was a Fetch the whole time after the child PC was abducted, which primes group to know there are Fetches in their place so they can't jump back into.

      I also like the group to have formed their Motley before being to the mundane world, with the justification is they needed to form a trusting bond and work together to escape, and their childhood trauma-bonding but OOC the prologue and having that set at the beginning of the supernatural part of the chronicle helps form stability. In my setting changeling not part of a Court in a eufunctional Freehold supernaturally attract their Huntsmen,Privateers and even True Fae. So finding and either initiating newly freed changeling or making sure they have a ride outside of town is important for Freeholds. From exiting the Hedge I often have a posse of representatives Freehold whom have used scouts with cell phones (I mean changelings can easily spot other fae since the mien is often garishly obvious from across a street) or more "woogie" means by Portents and Visions to foretell when someone from the Freehold would spot changelings fresh from the Hedge. They make sure the changelings fresh from the Hedge are not privateers and after that is confirmed to the point it seems gracious to offer Hospitality, they do so, and then the PCs may make friendships and work their way into a Court they are suited for. Then settling into some kind of life, either a new one, or dealing with their fetch to try to get their old one.

      I ran an Innocents game where all the PCs where Sin-Eaters, a "little dead kids" game so to speak, within a collaboratively written fictional setting called "Glacier River, Alaska" made with a version of Dawn of Worlds homebrewed to make WoD cities my best friend and I called City Builder with my players. It was so fun we skipped the adult version of the game and played the whole chronicle with the little dead kids.
      Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 07-21-2020, 08:09 AM.


      “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
      "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

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