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Victorian London - a blog about my VTR campaign.

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  • Victorian London - a blog about my VTR campaign.

    At the request of some people I decided to start a blog about the Chronicles of Darkness / Vampire; The Requiem campaign I've been running for a group of friends.

    I will use this thread to keep people updated, to give some extra insights to my posts and to allow you guys to ask questions, give feedback or discuss my campaign. Constructive criticism will always be welcomed!

    Synopsis of the campaign:
    The campaign is set in 19th century London in 1888 during the Jack the Ripper murders. The campaign starts as a Chronicles of Darkness campaign. The players are humans who investigate the Ripper murders. Slowly but surely they get intertwined in supernatural business. Eventually they become ghouls, which is but a teaser of what is to come. The plan is for them to end up becoming vampires, which is when we will switch over to Vampire; The Requiem 2e. The story will involve slashers, ghouls, vampires and the Strix will end up playing a key role in the story later on. It will be a story of personal horror and personal drama. The player characters will have to learn to cope with becoming undead monsters, learn how to dance to the Danse Macabre, all while the Birds of Dis are lurking in the distance, threatening all of London.

    Link to the blog:
    https://cofdvictorianlondon.blogspot.com/


    FAQ:

    1. What kind of game is this? A tabletop game? Online? Play by post?
    This blog is about a tabletop game played by a group of friends. I am the storyteller of this chronicle! We play online, using Roll20 as our digital table.
    Last edited by Ventrue Life; 04-06-2018, 07:22 PM.

  • #2
    Was hoping for this!

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    • #3
      Is this tabletop play? Or play by post or what?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mikerand View Post
        Is this tabletop play? Or play by post or what?
        It is tabletop! The blog is simply a retelling of what happened at the table.

        Comment


        • #5
          New blog post ladies and gentlemen!

          Read it here: The Journal of Detective J. G. Bennett - Part 1

          Summary:
          In this entry we get to read the first half of detective Bennett's story. Bennett started as a player character, the fifth player character in fact. But due to circumstances he had to leave the game permanently after 2 sessions. That being said, I still wanted to cover his story in our blog, so I - the storyteller - pretended to be Bennett for a moment and wrote the first chapter of our players' chronicle from his perspective!
          The post starts with a bit of Bennett's backstory before we dive into the meat of this chronicle. However, things start to get juicy when Bennett meets the other player characters for the first time. Bennett is a bold American detective from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and has been on the trail of a gyps serial killer named Vano Philips for over 5 years. His detective work eventually leads him to London when he learns about Jack The Ripper. Could the Ripper be the guy he's looking for? Could Vano Philips be the Ripper?

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          • #6
            So, I also wanted to make a post about how I set up my game and how I prepare, for those of you who are interested!



            HOW I DESIGNED THIS CHRONICLE:



            The Mood:
            The mood is in my opinion the most important part of any CofD/VTR chronicle. I spend by far the most of my prep time on this. When I began designing this campaign I started with writing down words, words that would immediately invoke a strong emotion in me. Simple but powerful words like: extreme poverty, existential fear, superstition, mass hysteria, Gothic, darkness, beauty. Then I started choosing words and crafting scenarios with them, trying to craft a scenario covering as many of these words as possible. Eventually this led me to the following sentence:

            "In a Gothic city with two sides, both beautiful and dark, with both extreme wealth and extreme poverty, a monster is causing mass hysteria and existential fear in the hearts of the superstitious citizens."

            Perfect! That's a powerful sentence and immediately should put some images and ideas in your head! It certainly did for me. In fact, it immediately reminded me of a city that already exists. Or better said; used to exist. The 19th century, Victorian London. More specifically; 1888's London when Jack The Ripper was on the loose. Victorian London had a lot of Gothic architecture. The sense of fashion of the Victorians was also very Gothic. In fact, even in the modern Gothic subculture we find a fashion and music branch dedicated to the Victorians. Victorian London also saw great wealth in the West End of London, while the East End of London suffered under extreme poverty. The Victorians were very superstitious people and when Jack The Ripper was on the loose it didn't take long for the Victorians to come up with all kinds of ludicrous stories. Stories of the Ripper being a ghost. Stories of the Ripper being a devil, vampire or a werewolf. Stories of the Ripper being a vengeful spirit punishing unfaithful women. All superstitious nonsense in the real world, but all things that exist in the World of Darkness.
            1888 Victorian London seemed perfect for the chronicle I wanted to tell and so I immediately started to do more research on Victorian London so I could truly do the setting justice.

            The next important step for me was to find stimulating visuals and music that would fit my chronicle. Visuals and music I would share with my players to get them in the proper mood. I started looking at 19th century art and listening to 19th century music, but also looked at videogames, movies and television set in 19th century London. Here is a list of all the media that inspired me:

            Asssassin's Creed - Syndicate (videogame): An sandbox free-roam adventure game in which you get to parkour through a true-to-life scale Victorian London. The concept art I found from this game was absolutely perfect for my chronicle! Look at this amazing example, or this one, or this one! The music from the 'Jack The Ripper' DLC was also something I wanted to use. Just listen to this track to understand why.

            Penny Dreadful (TV series): A TV series set in 19th / 20th century London with lots of spooky supernatural stuff going on, loosely based on a collection of 19th centuries horror stories. I didn't use any visuals from Penny Dreadful, but the soundtrack was something I immediately wanted to use for my chronicle. This track for example.

            The Order 1886 (videogame): Set in a fictional version of Victorian London, following group of monster hunters who try to save London from supernatural conspiracies against the government. Again I managed to find some amazing artwork from this game which I used for my chronicle. Look here, here and here for some examples. The music was perfect too, very creepy, very Gothic, very Victorian. Listen to this track. It's even titled 'Brother, Let Us Embrace'! Do I need to say more?

            Dishonored (videogame): Set in a steampunk-inspired setting (very clearly based on London), this game is a dark, sinister, stealthy game with supernatural shenanigans. I have yet to use any artwork from Dishonored in my chronicle, but the music of Dishonored is perfect for a dark suspenseful chronicle set in Victorian London! Especially this track really speaks to my imagination and is usually the track I play in the background when the players are strolling through Whitechapel.

            JoJo's Bizarre Adventures (anime): Yes, I'm serious. Jojo's first season is mostly set in 1888 Victorian London and actually has some amazing sound tracks I could use. Especially this track would work splendidly for when the players would enter Elysium grounds administered by the Ventrue or Invictus.


            I think with these examples we get a good idea of the mood we're gonna set for this chronicle. The music and images will do nicely to lay a solid foundation and to get every player on the same page in terms of experience and expectations. Of course this is only the foundation, but it's an important one in my opinion. After laying this foundation I started to write down descriptions of every area the players would visit. By reading these descriptions out loud when the players enter a new area I hoped to add that final layer of immersion and mood for the players.

            I went a little further than that though. I decided to almost everything in 19th century style. The front page with the player portraits (found here), the map of London (found below), even the portraits of the NPC had to look like they were all real photos or drawings from 19th century London. Yes, I'm a little nuts, but I do take my mood seriously. :P




            The Map:
            When I started setting this up, I decided to use Roll20 as my medium. After all, I'm from Europe, where as most of my players are from the United States. The first thing I did was searching for a large map of 19th century London because I wanted to do a chronicle starting in 1888 London. The map I found was a bit older and is missing some of the structures that were already built or being build in 1888, but close enough. I then started adding pins to the map with labels to point out points of interests for the players. I allowed the players to add their own pins as well. Here is a fragment of the map and pins! The red pins are related to the current main plot, the green pins are safe havens or allied locations, and everything else is blue.







            The NPCs:
            Then I started adding entries for the NPCs. Each entry was originally set to private so only I could see them, and they were made public to the players after meeting the NPCs. The NPC sheets are still hidden to the players and only I can see them, but the players can see the portrait and biography of the NPC. For the portraits of the NPCs I simply used Google to find fitting photographs. Usually I looked for authentic 19th century photographs of people, but sometimes I'd use a modern photograph and then photoshop it to make it look like and old 19th century photograph.
            Yes, I am aware that according to 'The Lost Visage' paragraph in the VTR core rulebook, Kindred cannot be reliably photographed, but I decided to tweak that rule in my game so that I could have photographs for my Kindred NPCs as well.






            The Player's Journals:
            I asked my players to keep an in-character journal or diary of the campaign. These journals would then function as recaps and a reminder of everything that happened so far. I would give the players beats for their journal entries. Some of my players went nuts on those journals and some genuinely interesting written fiction came out of them. I will post these journal entries to my blog at some point, but for now, have this sneak peek:






            And that's it for now! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
            Last edited by Ventrue Life; 04-07-2018, 12:05 AM. Reason: Added spoiler tags for the large images.

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            • #7
              Wow. You're Roll20 map is stressing me out. (But then, I'm a bad ST afraid of putting in even a little effort. :P)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tabanese View Post
                Wow. You're Roll20 map is stressing me out. (But then, I'm a bad ST afraid of putting in even a little effort. :P)

                Ha! Well, the map is a little difficult to read, but it's an actual 19th century map in high resolution, the only one I could find, so I went with it. I added all the pins to make the places of interest easier to find.

                So far I heard no complaints from the players other than it's sometimes difficult to read the street names even after zooming in.

                What part of it stresses you out?

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                • #9
                  Excellent so far. Hope y'all can keep the good work.


                  A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ventrue Life View Post


                    Ha! Well, the map is a little difficult to read, but it's an actual 19th century map in high resolution, the only one I could find, so I went with it. I added all the pins to make the places of interest easier to find.

                    So far I heard no complaints from the players other than it's sometimes difficult to read the street names even after zooming in.

                    What part of it stresses you out?

                    Lol, nothing. It is a great map. I was making the joke that, as an ST, the difference between what you did and what I would be willing to do, stressed me out. The end product looks so professional that it is intimating to match. Basically, I feel like inadequate now. Thanks a lot. :P
                    Last edited by Tabanese; 04-08-2018, 07:17 PM. Reason: spelling

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                    • #11
                      Could you elaborate more on how you did the map? I want to make a map for a game, but I need some help with the technology. You said you used Roll20? Is that some web-based software?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mikerand View Post
                        Could you elaborate more on how you did the map? I want to make a map for a game, but I need some help with the technology. You said you used Roll20? Is that some web-based software?

                        Well in this case I just googled for a high-res map of 19th century London, which I found and used. You can find the image here.

                        For the pins on the map I once again simply googled for images of pins, saved them and used them as tokens on Roll20. Roll20 allows you to put and move tokens on your maps. It's pretty self explanatory once you take a look at Roll20.

                        Speaking of Roll20; it is indeed web-based software used to organize and play online tabletop games. Check it out here. It's free to use.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And so, our misadventure continues. I'm gonna need a bigger dart board to keep on guessing just how messed up the Ripper is gonna get. Already my blood bond to the Ventrue Lord has caused maybe 3 to 5 frenzy checks??? Because I'm just so ducky with m'lord. Opps, forgot social graces 101.



                          We get to search the rooftops soon. And...sadly...the sewers. Yes, sewers hold a special place in the misadventure hierarchy.

                          Side Point: The Lord is havin' me read "The Prince." Its already knocking me on my ass:
                          “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

                          “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

                          “Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.”

                          “if you wish to please me, and to bring success and honour to yourself, do right and study, because others will help you if you help yourself.”



                          Why do I have the feeling that my old Calvary days will be child's play in comparison to the situation after the Ripper.....





                          Last edited by Khristoph McKormic; 04-11-2018, 03:54 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I'm mainly going to post in this thread in character as possible for our current Roll20 VTR campaign. Sorry for any confusion. I figured it would be a fun way to get some tidbits on our various misadventures throughout our London excursions.

                            Also:

                            Charlie is the best warhorse ever. TO end all horses.





                            One day...I'll have that horse bred properly and then Ill make my mark on the world as a true man of merit.

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