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  • Backed myself into a storyteller corner

    So...I admittedly run a Werewolf game and wanted Vampires to be the main shadow antagonist. Problem is 1 of my players took me by surprise and I randomly made up some stuff and have no idea how to proceed. Any advise would be super appreciated.

    Quick summary: Medium strength vampire age ~350 blood potency 5 was exiled from his previous location and moved to rural USA and decided to set up shop due to it being pretty barren both in terms of other vampires and quite literally with the population (~500). Werewolves monitor the area but due to 3 rival factions, they spend a lot of time monitoring each other and the spirit side, but don't pay too much attention to actual....vampires.

    Players found a corpse behind a wheat mill with a plain golden ring on his finger. This is where my problem starts because with a population that small, the person would definitely be noticed missing, much less just have it lying around behind a wheat mill. This presents a problem for the requiem because the vampire (and now a few neophytes) would not have been that careless in such a small community. Now normally I could explain this away as a hack and slash murder but there were no visible signs of a struggle on the corpse either.

    I am familiar with V:TR rules and can tweak as necessary with a good solution. I don't need anything super detailed, but definitely a nudge in a good direction.

    Thanks again in advance for your help!

  • #2
    Easy-add a vampire who could have killed the guy that way, give your current vampire a reason to protect them, and have them go into overtime trying to cover it up and keep the town the way the vampires want it. You got a variety of things you can do play up and work that angle.

    Easier answer? Chat with the play group, admit you feel like you backed yourself into a corner and see if they'd let you backtrack or if they really like the current set up. If they like the current one, then start with the above and then flex and see what else you can spin out from there.

    Don't neglect the fact the werewolves were heavily focused on the spirit side of things as well-it might feel like a stretch to weaponize Dominate or Auspex into murder, but it's not so out of the norm for a spirit. Give your vampires a secretive Crone who can help play up the spiritual activity and make it seem plausible a spirit is to blame.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 03-02-2019, 02:25 PM.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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    • #3
      It's all part of some sort of political scheme. The Elder wants to get people riled up and scared of [insert scapegoat enemy here]. Isn't it a weird coincidence that nobody noticed the body lying out in the open until the PCs just happened to be there? (Answer: Obfuscate was used.) Who do you think the prime suspects are going to be? Especially when it turns out he died of some obscure poison, meaning this was no accident? And by another weird coincidence, the PCs stand to benefit from this man's estate…

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Draconis View Post
        It's all part of some sort of political scheme. The Elder wants to get people riled up and scared of [insert scapegoat enemy here]. Isn't it a weird coincidence that nobody noticed the body lying out in the open until the PCs just happened to be there? (Answer: Obfuscate was used.) Who do you think the prime suspects are going to be? Especially when it turns out he died of some obscure poison, meaning this was no accident? And by another weird coincidence, the PCs stand to benefit from this man's estate…

        I second this.

        If it's at all possible, turn the players themselves into suspects, meaning the local population suspects the players to be behind the murder. Now they have a vested interest into figuring out what's going on while avoiding the local population, who might or might not be under the vampire's control at this point. Sounds like a good start of a new arc.

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        • #5
          Thanks all! I like the idea of vampires playing to their element and somehow catching wind that newer werewolves are in the area and then setting them and spirits up as fall guys as Arcane and Draconis mentioned. Keeps prying eyes away from the blood suckers

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          • #6
            Glad to be of service!

            Thematically, a vampire (especially an Elder) is most in their element when they have social structures around them to infiltrate and control. Vampires crave hierarchies the way werewolves crave packs. Why challenge the werewolves to open combat (where you might lose) when you can just turn the entire city against them and have them driven out?

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            • #7
              I'm with Draconis here.
              I'd leave the "chat with the group and ask for a step-back" part just in case of no other ways do exist. The player would certainly allow that but it still represent a discontinuity and out of immersion fact at least.
              Last edited by Marcus; 03-06-2019, 06:18 AM.

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              • #8
                Unlike the others, i would like to backpedal a bit and adress some basics:

                - Has it been established the corpse behind the wheat mill is from a local?
                Because passing travelers, visiting relatives and vagrants are all pretty possible alternatives and would make the "why nobody noticed" moot.


                - Also, in what state was the body found - is it "fresh", just entered rigor mortis or already decomposed?
                Is the corpse marked, damaged, mangled? And if so, how? In fact, what is the dead person's gender (supposing it's identifiable at a glance).
                What kind of clothes is it wearing (or not)? Any objects in its pockets (supposing it has pockets, that most feminine wear does not, for example)?
                Any objects or strange features - like crop circles, ritual markings, etc - in the vicinity?


                - Do the PCs have any kind of powers that might allow them to speak with the dead or any entities inhabiting the environs in the last few hours?
                Because that would most certainly impact in what info they can quickly get from the situation without outside help, so a good idea to prepare for.
                Speaking of which - any distinctive scents they might get a whiff off from either corpse or locale?


                You know your players than we do and you have their sheets - take a good look at them and try to guess what their first questions might be and how to answer them, having those answers in mind ready should help you with leveraging plot hooks and reactions out of it.

                On a weird segue, what if the corpse got up and just left - with or without the pack looking?
                PS: undead does not have to mean vampire.

                As an aside, ever heard of Laura Palmer?

                See ya.
                Last edited by Baaldam; 03-03-2019, 11:28 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                  Unlike the others, i would like to backpedal a bit and adress some basics:

                  - Has it been established the corpse behind the wheat mill is from a local?[INDENT]Because passing travelers, visiting relatives and vagrants are all pretty possible alternatives and would make the "why nobody noticed" moot.
                  Hadn't actually considered this, definitely possible now that you brought it to my attention

                  Originally posted by Baaldam
                  Also, in what state was the body found - is it "fresh", just entered rigor mortis or already decomposed?[INDENT]Is the corpse marked, damaged, mangled? And if so, how? In fact, what is the dead person's gender (supposing it's identifiable at a glance).
                  What kind of clothes is it wearing (or not)? Any objects in its pockets (supposing it has pockets, that most feminine wear does not, for example)?
                  Any objects or strange features - like crop circles, ritual markings, etc - in the vicinity?
                  I did establish this part already. Corpse was of a man wearing utilitarian clothing suited to manual labor such as hauling, lifting, etc. He was in a fresh looking state with no visible signs of distress and wearing a plain golden band.

                  Originally posted by Baaldam
                  Do the PCs have any kind of powers that might allow them to speak with the dead or any entities inhabiting the environs in the last few hours?[INDENT]Because that would most certainly impact in what info they can quickly get from the situation without outside help, so a good idea to prepare for.
                  Speaking of which - any distinctive scents they might get a whiff off from either corpse or locale?
                  PC's do not as of this time have any sort of abilities to inquire into or speak to the dead. The players are still new to the whole werewolf thing so they have not asked about any scents as of yet. I do intend to remind them of this actually now that it has been brought back to my attention.


                  Originally posted by Baaldam
                  On a weird segue, what if the corpse got up and just left - with or without the pack looking?
                  PS: undead does not have to mean vampire.
                  I am now sincerely toying around with this idea

                  Originally posted by Baaldam
                  As an aside, ever heard of Laura Palmer?
                  Yes indeed!



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But back on the essentials:

                    - The PCs' pack, through circuntances you have not related, came across a male corpse behind a wheat mill, identity & cause of death unknown (so far).
                    - The man's body shows no obvious signs of damage or struggle (would undressing him confirm this or reveal new data?).
                    - It may or not be the body of a local person, this has yet to be established (are the PCs themselves locals? If so they would almost certainly recognize him).
                    - What were the PCs doing in that local in the first place? Would it seem strange, suspicious or lead to inconvenient questions for them to call the sheriff (the basic concerned citizen reponse to finding a body) from there?
                    - This vampire, what do you have in mind for him, what is his agenda that might lead to his antagonism of the PC's pack, if not all local Uratha (you did mention you wanted Vampires to be the main shadow antagonist)? Are there other vampires in the area, like allies, rivals, childer, contacts, etc? Does he or she already have ghouls or a herd?
                    - Do you want to bring the first clues of vampire presence through this case? If so, how? If not, what else might be behind this? Is the cause supernatural, mundane or both (a children of corn-style cult, or mundane killing for ritual/weird reason could be either, for example).

                    I think answering those questions should help you with getting a clearer idea of where you want to lead the story with your group, along with some hooks & complications you might throw in their way.

                    Shaping a strong image of the main characters in your drama and what drives them should be of considerable help in not only directing the story, but giving a solid basis for you to improvise from. Hope this helps you a bit.
                    Last edited by Baaldam; 03-05-2019, 07:50 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Baaldam has the fundamentals lined out. Here are a few vampire-related thoughts however.

                      1. If an elder has come in, he's done so because it gives him space (as you outline) and he has his food source already defined. That means a herd of 2-3 at least came with. At BP 5 he's getting close to feeding restrictions and may be feeling tired. It could very well be that he's "retired" to the boonies to get away from dangerous political entanglements and set up some arrangements in peace before torpor.

                      2. "Dangerous political entanglements" tend to follow vampires ("vampires ruin everything"). The corpse could very well be calling-card from one of the elder's rivals or rival groups. Basically taking a dump on his front porch, ringing the bell and running. The werewolf pack may have a very vested interest in figuring out the death, that aligns well with the elder's interests. They are not natural enemies so long as the elder's activities do not warp the town's resonances unduly.

                      3. If the elder is involved (and it could just be unrelated action), then why be so careless if he's lived so long? Was he coddled for centuries and has moved out from under such care? Is he getting careless and tired? Is he setting something up--maybe related to mortal politics?

                      4. Do the vamps know about the werewolves? This is a big question as they don't tend to come into contact with each other much. It's a rare bird who has any real understanding across splats (both ways).

                      --Khanwulf

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                      • #12
                        Both Baaldam and Khanwulf bring up some good points and I actually just had my game session the other day so a few things happened and a few things didn't. The primary reason the body was found (beyond me throwing it in waaaay ahead of time in a moment of panic) was because one of the Werewolves is a Hunter in Darkness and was doing his tribal thing and getting a nice and close look at their territory after sort of....not doing that for a while and I had to start bringing up the topic of forsaken tribal vows and such.

                        Well the corpse happened by chance to be outside of a rubber factory and the players decided to investigate inside it to see if it was of any relation due to proximity. MULTIPLE dramatic failures later, security alarms were tripped, a control panel was destroyed, and all sorts of cops investigating happened so if the vampires were not aware of the werewolves before (they were, but only to the extend that they knew others were coming to the area sometime in the near future, but they sure as hell are aware now.

                        I'm honestly still working on what angle I want the vampires to play especially since Khanwulf is correct that vampires and werewolves don't necessarily need to come to blows unless they start getting in each others way. I was sort of toying with the idea of the vampire coming to this remote corner of rural America after his exile from Phoenix (accidentally killed the Senescal's favorite toy) because as a Daeva, his mindset literally screams for him to want to be the king of something, even if it is the king of insects atop an anthill. If I decide this path, I also though the persistent condition of obsession would be fitting.

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                        • #13
                          So what I'm getting from this is that these Werewolves are a threat to the Masquade and need to be dealt with. From that prospective the question is will they do something like this again or was this a one time thing? Clearly someone needs to keep an eye on them if not the pack at least being aware of what's leaking to the public. The second question is what to do about what happened and can it be fixed without fluffy liabilities getting in the way.

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                          • #14
                            Well, if we have an egotistical and obsessive vampire who wants to rule, and a dead body and B&E situation in the lap of dogs that needs fixing, then this is obviously the moment for said vamp to be the adult in the room and settle things:

                            No, not that way. Geez. Proles. You're acting just like whatshisface the Senescal in that train stop... right, "Phoenix".

                            There's a mess the people can't handle, so you come in and show them how it's done. That's what leaders do, and then they come back to you and you fix things again, and then you go a little bit further--help them out, and they accept and back in the Old Country we called that "vassalage" and it worked just fine for everyone.

                            Then when the Senechal sends another snoop around? You put "Who Let the Dogs Out" on the record player, sit back in the lawn chair and sip on Bloody Mary.

                            Class, man. Class.

                            --Khanwulf

                            Edit: arrogant, in charge, experienced. He knows what he's doing and chooses to do it someplace beneath himself because he can do it right and doesn't want competitors stomping on his toes. Or burning out his haven. He knows how to be in charge and how to make people WANT him to be in charge--even if they don't realize he's the boss. He can be smooth and direct. He can be distant and mysterious, dealing through intermediaries. He can be diplomatic, or he can make offers you can't refuse (and wouldn't even if you're suspicious).

                            He knows how to negotiate and work the long game, but also knows he's running out of time at that BP level. Clock is ticking and sometimes opportunity hits the floor with a bloody thud. Sometimes you have to cause opportunity, as well.

                            I think the first question you as ST need to answer is "how much does this guy really know about werewolves? How has he interacted with them in the past?" That will arm you with the context in which the character's actions make sense: does he account for the Hisil? Spirits? Silver? Gifts? Or does he understand them as people who get hairy and rip arms off--big, supernatural thugs to be managed?
                            Last edited by Khanwulf; 03-07-2019, 02:06 PM.

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