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  • Playing from far away

    A player of mine pointed everything in Allies, Contact, Retainer and mentor so that now he is far less "powerful" compared to other player that bought more direct powers like Dominate, Vigor and so on.
    For this reason, obviously, he feel himself useless in first line, together with other coterie mates, so that he is in a point where he decided to go outside Rome (requiem for Rome chronicle - 2ed rules), using his allies and retainer to do things. He has also Auspex 5 with which he can be everywhere and fallow quite everything.
    Now, because my inexperience with this way to play, I feel to not give him much fun in the play.

    i.e.: he just fallow every vampires, discover their heaven, and tell me to sent his retainers to kill them o whatever.

    One time I used an expedient. I let the target vampire (rolling humanity - lets call her Milivia) wake up and dominate (mix Dominate 2,3 and 4) the retainer so that, everyday, for the fallowing days, he would go to kill the PC's allies (one per days) triggering the reset of memory where he would have remembered he had killed the Milvia instead. So that, every night, like in an endless loop, the PC woke up with his retainer with the same smile, washing the same sword, telling him: "I did it".

    But I really would have from you other tips on how to deal with this kind of play style. How can I make the things interesting even playing not directly?
    Last edited by Marcus; 09-23-2017, 11:39 AM.

  • #2
    How does he contact his allies and retainers from outside the city? He won't be able to react to anything quickly, it'll always take at least an extra day for anything to happen. If an important event occurs, he won't learn of it until his Contacts send word, which is half a day to get to the outlying towns, and then again another half a day for whatever his response is to get back to Rome.

    So if you want to play with it, have something with that. Have something happen that he can't respond to right away.
    Also, unless his retainer is also a skilled vampire-slayer, chances are there'd be a larger chance of failure.
    Do you require him to keep up appearances with his allies and so on? How does he keep in contact with mortal allies in the city if he's never in the city?

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    • #3
      I see your point but, my fault, I'm not saying 20 km far away, just outside the walls. And he use crows to sent messages that can cross many kms in less the 1 hour. The point is: even if he would be into the city, he simply could be in his heaven and let do the thing to his fellows. That is quite fair; it's like the elders do... but for a PC it's not so fun.

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      • #4
        Animalism the crows. Fuck with him, get him off his comfort zone.

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        • #5
          First off, I don't see a problem with players sending allies. One of our favourite part of the game (me and my players) is the decision making part. Lots of talking and planning. The execution of it is fun too, mind you, but sending minions can be cool as well.

          That being said, I see your point and I personnally ran into this imbalance you are talking about. I recently decided to strip the Merit system completely for that reason. I never felt very comfortable with PCs having to buy Allies with XP to validate something they actually acquired in-game through their own play. I could never, for the life of me, justify why they would not have an ally or contact after having spent a full game session on it, just because they did not have the XP (and I don't like sanctity of merits either). I could also never justify why a contact could not also be an ally just because the two merits were separate. It put rules where it wasn't needed and it created imbalances between players.

          So, it might not be the answer you were looking for, but by stripping the merit rule system, I allowed players to focus their XP on their skills and powers while developping their network through play. The result for us was more flexbility, more balance and less headache.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lestat View Post
            First off, I don't see a problem with players sending allies. One of our favourite part of the game (me and my players) is the decision making part. Lots of talking and planning. The execution of it is fun too, mind you, but sending minions can be cool as well.

            That being said, I see your point and I personnally ran into this imbalance you are talking about. I recently decided to strip the Merit system completely for that reason. I never felt very comfortable with PCs having to buy Allies with XP to validate something they actually acquired in-game through their own play. I could never, for the life of me, justify why they would not have an ally or contact after having spent a full game session on it, just because they did not have the XP (and I don't like sanctity of merits either). I could also never justify why a contact could not also be an ally just because the two merits were separate. It put rules where it wasn't needed and it created imbalances between players.

            So, it might not be the answer you were looking for, but by stripping the merit rule system, I allowed players to focus their XP on their skills and powers while developping their network through play. The result for us was more flexbility, more balance and less headache.

            Let me second this: the player is "doing it right". A more manipulative, distant game is what plays to Vampire's strengths, however it does NOT play to Storyteller strengths, in that we're raised (?) on media that's very hero-centered and presents plot "in the action". Being the distant vampire doesn't hit the same notes and plays differently.

            That said, you could encourage the player to focus his attention on things that easier to affect than running remote haven-raids. Mess with the target's social infrastructure, get his haven re-zoned (whatever that means for Rome), pick at the target's allies and try to turn them against him. Make the target look like an incompetent buffoon who's a risk to the masquerade and needs official sanction. Attempting to flat-out murder a target is both dangerous (you can turn the city back on yourself) and crude. It's the mark of a neonate and not a player who's in the Game for the long-haul. You might have powerful NPCs impress that on the PC.

            Another side-effect of having allies and contacts, however, should be positioning the PC as someone to whom others go who need said ally/contact's help and want to trade favors to get it. The PC becomes powerful by being a web spider, not a wolf-spider in-your-face hunter.

            Now this gets back to merits. This is how I play it: I can understand the desire to start with a set of contacts and allies and the like, reflecting past history before play starts. Buying them with XP means sanctity kicks in when (not if) the contacts/allies are screwed over during play. During play, however, the PCs (all of them) should be awarded dots in social merits that reflect current conditions. You might have them marked differently however, because such "free" dots are subject to loss without recompense. They are vulnerable until the PC solidifies them with XP, representing a tie not just to the person, but to their circle or network.

            --Khanwulf

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            • #7
              How about having the player play one of the retainers ? That way, he could take part in the adventuring part of play.

              I'll agree with other messages, that plan, while a good plan, should backfire if he uses it to murder vampires left and right. First, his humanity (and that of his minions) are going to take a dive if he does that a lot, and second, yeah, a wave of kindred murdered in their sleep is one thing that could make the rest of the kindred stop infighting for a minute and cooperate to find out who's doing all that. Mekhets can examinate the crime scenes, chase the minions and identify them in crowds, Ventrue and Daeva can make them talk/forget about their boss/turn on their boss, Ventrue and Gangrel can force the crows to bring back fake intel/reveal the location of the mastermind's haven, and Nosferatu and Gangrel can raid the vampire's haven once the minions have talked. The problem with using humans to do all your work is that they have to know something at some point. The more responsibility they have, the more of a liability they become.

              And ok, sanctity of merit means that if retainers/contacts/allies get killed, the player can just get some more, but the human population isn't limitless, those people will be missed by other people, and that many disappearances/deaths will eventually be a threat to the masquerade. Plus, nothing prevents other vampires from using retainers to protect their havens. If it becomes obvious that someone is killing vampires, any alliance to stop that would probably involve a vampire who's able to rent guards or organize street patrols to arrest the minions based on their description.

              Twilight projection is very powerful, but other Mekhet could very well see him, and recognize him. Another vampire with 5 Auspex could just as easily follow him to his own haven when he goes back there. In a plan involving several kindred, a Mekhet with Auspex 5 could play astral chicken with him. The first one to go back to their haven loses, because the other one will know where they are (and if the other vampire has a higher BP, they're also much faster then him, preventing him from following them), except while that's going on, the other vampires are getting busy tracking his minions and locating his haven. It's a no win situation unless he's got kindred on his side who feel it's worth it to work with a serial kindred murderer, and chances are, at some point, he's going to have to face a home invasion and will have to get his hands dirty.

              About the Auspex, I guess that also depends on what the GM decides works and doesn't work. If two twilight projected vampires see each other, does diving into the ground mean the other one can't see them anymore, or does Auspex allow them some manner of seeing through stuff as long as what they're looking for is a being in twilight ? If not, all he'd have to do to go home would be to dive, go in a certain direction, pop out his head to see where he is, dive back and go in the direction of his haven. He can still be recognized, though.
              Last edited by S. Brechen; 09-26-2017, 07:40 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
                How about having the player play one of the retainers ? That way, he could take part in the adventuring part of play.

                It's exactly what I did
                Anyway good point.

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