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On Long-Term Campaigns

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  • On Long-Term Campaigns

    I figure there's a lot of smart and/or experienced people on here, so it would be a waste to not see what advice there is to glean from everyone.

    The basic pitch of my campaign is this: It started in 1703 America and will go to 2300s America. There will be time jumps both small and large -- the next major arc is in 1776, for example.

    I'm sort of musing over a few things at the moment, which is why I posted.

    1) Ghouls and their sheets.

    Some of my players have already obtained capable ghouls, and there's no reason to think that at least a few of them won't survive for a few hundred years. Is there any sort of guideline for how to advance their sheets/capabilities? Or, if not, any advice for it? I'm no stranger to winging it, but I figure it deserves some consideration, especially insofar as Disciplines are concerned.

    2) Making a cohesive story over hundreds of years/how to handle the passage of time.

    We just "finished" our first arc and have split the group into two, with one pair going to NYC and the other pair staying in the city they started in. By the time those arcs are done, we will be at the next major arc (1776). So during it, there will be appreciable time-skips. The NYC part, for instance, will start off with them establishing themselves in the city, and then we will skip forward through time until 1776. My idea there is to ask them what their long-term plans are, then run a scene from that little storyline to encapsulate the idea. A meeting with a prospective business partner if they are investing, an assault on a Hunter hideout if they're trying to secure the blocks around them, stuff like that. I THINK I have that bit figured out, but advice is welcome. I am, however, pretty nervous because I don't know if I can really give weight to the passage of time. Thankfully all of my players are currently in th mindset of "oh God we just went to hunker down and quietly exist" so there's no big questions as to what adventures they're going on in the meantime -- they only react when there's something to react TO, and I have full control over that.

    I'm pretty sure those are my primary concerns for now. Thanks in advance for any advice/feedback you give!

  • #2
    Stuff still occurs during the long time gaps. Make sure to mark major events and poll the players on how they think those events impacted them.

    Use the time-skips to tie in "current events" via flashbacks. If some big new player is moving in, have a short scene of "remember the time when..." that establishes rumors of them earlier that the PCs brushed off. Don't overuse this, obviously.

    For the inverse, leave plenty of unanswered questions and hooks during each flashpoint, to lay the ground work for their later inclusion down the timeline.

    Both will ensure that each time period if play doesn't feel like an island.

    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


    • #3
      Also, personally, I would drown the PCs in XP (or at least Beat opportunities) during the flashpoints, but don't let them spend any of it. That way, they can really apply the large changes possible with enough time passing. If they want their past 5 decades to have been spent establing contacts, influence, and infrastructure, them being able to sink 15 dots into Contacts, Allies, Staff, Status, etc. is a good thing.

      Or, you can always remember the implied inverse to the Sanctity of Merits - if you didn't spend the XP, it isn't safe. You could give the PC all those Merit dots virtually, then tear them down over the course of the flashpoint.

      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


      • #4
        1. Ghouls actually surviving a standard human lifespan would merit a chronicle in its own right, to say nothing of them surviving to see the rise and fall of a relatively stereorypical praxis. I personally would not power them up because it creates too many inconsistent setting discrepancies and the story should be focused on the vampire PCs, not their tools. I'd discuss with the player if they want to do a story thread where the ghoul is retired (it gets killed, gets arrested and goes to jail for the regnant's crimes, goes insane, decides they want to die, etc.) Or just replace them with a similarly statted NPC.

        2. Absolutely get some idea from the players about their long term goals for their characters. None of them want to be prince, a covenant leader, a bloodline inceptor? With that information, you can skip ahead to those plans nearing fruition, or on the verge of being unraveled.