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  • Help and Advice for My First Chronicle

    So, after several sessions of someone else's game, I've decided that I want to try my hand at running WtF. However, I'm a bit flummoxed when it comes to actually preparing something. I've run many games of D&D, but I'm at a loss for how to put together a chronicle that is compelling in that special World of Darkness way.

    I know that character backgrounds should play a major role, but I wanted to get the setting fleshed out first so that I can give my players an idea of who the movers and shakers are.

    After talking with my players, we've decided to use the Bristol setting from the corebook. There is tons of stuff going on, and I feel like it has the potential to be a rich, story dense area. I'm just not sure what to do with it. The following pieces are currently on the board:
    • Imminent beshilu outbreak
    • Incoming Pure attack
    • Hyper-organized Forsaken societal structure
    • Idigam killing people and spawning aberrations
    • Patron spirit of the Forsaken in the city is going mad due to the Idigam's influence
    Can anyone help me weave these threads together so that they become an interconnected plot, instead of just a list of problems that they players need to solve? In particular, I'm trying to work out a prelude that will tie my players together as a pack, while also setting up the main situation in the city.

    Thanks to everyone in advance.

  • #2
    Okay. For a first chronicle, that's way too much stuff at the outset. Pick one that you like (talk to your players to see which they're most interested in if you want) and concentrate on that as you primary antagonist/problem. The other stuff can still exist in the background, but isn't going to have as much of an impact on your particular pack unless the characters head off that way.


    Aims to write stuff you like.
    WoD | Changing Breeds, Umbra, Book of the Wyrm, Shattered Dreams
    CofD | Werewolf the Forsaken 2nd ed, Idigam Anthology, The Pack, Demon Storyteller's Guide, Hurt Locker, Dark Eras Companion, Beast Player's Guide
    The Trinity Continuum | ├ćon

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    • #3
      Agreed with Bunyip, you probably don't want to deal with all those things at the same time.

      Arguably a good starting point to deal with would be entering the weird social structure they have there, and how it affects werewolves when dealing with other problems. You have an easy startup there, as they assign territories and everything works in the 'traditional' way. This way you can have tension without it necessarily derailing into combat outside of the more specific hunts. So you have the territory, maybe put on the outskirts of the city, so that they can sort of be a front rank meatshield against the Pure. You could introduce some neighbors, though you don't have to have a huge party or anything, some can be standoffish until the pack has proven themselves. Perhaps another, neighboring pack, has seen this happen to the last pack who had that territory, and know the Pure are gearing up for something, or the beshilu are amassing, or fishmen are being sighted, whichever plot hook you like or make up. Maybe someone in the neighboring pack starts mouthing off or demanding that the leaders do something about it, they do after all have an army, only to be silenced by the Blood Talons, showing what kind of situation the players are in. For more Spirit and social-minded players, this can be a further area to investigate, as the deal the protectorate has with the River is a bit off.

      But if the players are interested in the other plot hook, that can be left to simmer while they deal with what, at first, seems to be just a pack or single nest of beshilu, or whatever, that ends up revealing something better.

      One thing I've found running these games is that you don't want to plan for everything, but instead be prepared for anything. If you've built a great campaign around the Pure army invading and a few sessions in the players are way more interested in that weird fishman you threw in, you won't have to scrap your entire story and hastily whip up something to explain the fishman. Maybe you've made some particularly charismatic Pure, and players wouldn't want to kill them. In the midst of a war the arrival of the idigam could be a turning point that lets them fight together.

      Another thing I've found to be great advice is to just make a list of NPCs. Names, titles, quirks or little things you can use to fill out a description. I've also found something that they want or can offer is nice, as it gives them some reason to possibly need the players, rather than just having them just sitting around waiting to be spoken to. It's basically giving them Aspirations but also some reason for the players to become invested in them. You can tie some of these in with the Aspirations or backgrounds of the player characters, too.

      Starting games with a sacred hunt seems to be a good way to do things. The players get to know the capabilities of their characters, and for werewolf there's a lot of capability. Most games don't start you off able to turn into Gauru, full healing every round and capable of doing Aggravated with a bite. So knowing what they're able to do might help them get into the role. It doesn't have to be all combat, either, werewolves have obscenely powerful senses and investigative abilities, so be sure to have some tracking and investigation involved. When a fight does break out, it will also help you gauge how much the PCs are capable of. It's easy to look at a character's 3 Strength and 1 Brawl on a character sheet and think they're not much of a fighter, but then they turn into Urshul and that's 5 Strength and their Brawl adds 2 successes to damage and they're one-shotting standard antagonists. And there's a whole pack of them.

      I hope that helps a bit, it can seem daunting, especially with the added population of the Hisil, but it's really fun. I'll probably be adding to this post as I think of other things.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by nofather View Post
        Arguably a good starting point to deal with would be entering the weird social structure they have there, and how it affects werewolves when dealing with other problems. You have an easy startup there, as they assign territories and everything works in the 'traditional' way. This way you can have tension without it necessarily derailing into combat outside of the more specific hunts. So you have the territory, maybe put on the outskirts of the city, so that they can sort of be a front rank meatshield against the Pure. You could introduce some neighbors, though you don't have to have a huge party or anything, some can be standoffish until the pack has proven themselves. Perhaps another, neighboring pack, has seen this happen to the last pack who had that territory, and know the Pure are gearing up for something, or the beshilu are amassing, or fishmen are being sighted, whichever plot hook you like or make up. Maybe someone in the neighboring pack starts mouthing off or demanding that the leaders do something about it, they do after all have an army, only to be silenced by the Blood Talons, showing what kind of situation the players are in. For more Spirit and social-minded players, this can be a further area to investigate, as the deal the protectorate has with the River is a bit off.

        But if the players are interested in the other plot hook, that can be left to simmer while they deal with what, at first, seems to be just a pack or single nest of beshilu, or whatever, that ends up revealing something better.
        I do like the idea of the Council saying, "Since you're all new here, we are giving you a small neighborhood near the center of the city. There has been evidence of a beshilu infestation, but the Hunters are busy dealing with a strange new Host that is rising from the sea, so we need someone to take care of it."

        That raises a couple of questions, though: how "new" is a pack of werewolves fresh out of the corebook, and how do I make a single plot thread interesting? I'm pretty new to WoD, and my only frame of reference is the VTM video game. One of the things I loved about that game is the fact that many of the quests always had an extra layer, something hinting at what was really going on in the metaplot. As a result, I've come to associate that sort of layering with a good WoD game. How can I give a beshilu hunt layers?

        Originally posted by nofather View Post
        Starting games with a sacred hunt seems to be a good way to do things. The players get to know the capabilities of their characters, and for werewolf there's a lot of capability. Most games don't start you off able to turn into Gauru, full healing every round and capable of doing Aggravated with a bite. So knowing what they're able to do might help them get into the role. It doesn't have to be all combat, either, werewolves have obscenely powerful senses and investigative abilities, so be sure to have some tracking and investigation involved. When a fight does break out, it will also help you gauge how much the PCs are capable of. It's easy to look at a character's 3 Strength and 1 Brawl on a character sheet and think they're not much of a fighter, but then they turn into Urshul and that's 5 Strength and their Brawl adds 2 successes to damage and they're one-shotting standard antagonists. And there's a whole pack of them.
        I'll be honest, I really don't get the sacred hunt. I haven't yet read an example that goes from "Wow, we need to sacred hunt this dude," to the killing blow.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CoronaBlue View Post
          I'll be honest, I really don't get the sacred hunt. I haven't yet read an example that goes from "Wow, we need to sacred hunt this dude," to the killing blow.
          It gives you a Persistent Condition that rewards you for engaging with the prey through your areas of expertise, it lets you learn Gifts or permanently destroy spirits without gambling on aggravated damage, none of the specific tribal benefits are anything to sneeze at, and it's necessary to reset the timer your Primal Urge applies to stave off daily Essence drain and breaking points toward Flesh.

          This is a practice that serves as both basic maintenance and regular growth opportunities for a pack. Contextualize. What does the prey mean to the pack and/or its members and/or their territory?


          Resident Sanguinary Analyst
          Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CoronaBlue View Post
            That raises a couple of questions, though: how "new" is a pack of werewolves fresh out of the corebook, and how do I make a single plot thread interesting? I'm pretty new to WoD, and my only frame of reference is the VTM video game. One of the things I loved about that game is the fact that many of the quests always had an extra layer, something hinting at what was really going on in the metaplot. As a result, I've come to associate that sort of layering with a good WoD game. How can I give a beshilu hunt layers?
            A werewolf straight out of character creation has been a werewolf for an indeterminate amount of time but long enough that they've performed three acts of Renown and been initiated into a tribe, unless they're a ghost wolf. Odds are one of the Renown was what brought them into the tribe, either as part of an initiation or something done so noteworthy they were given entry. They've also dealt with the spirit world enough to get a few Gifts. Most werewolves are going to be considered 'new' but you could easily justify someone who's been a werewolf a long time but hasn't really done much as one.

            Making plot threads interesting is about a lot of different things, engaging the players, playing on their interests, as well as yours, and making interesting NPCs and scenes. There's a lot of advice out there for making interesting stories. I really do suggest you direct at least some for your group, if you know some of their interests. The backgrounds of their characters and Aspirations are basically notes telling you what they want out of the story, so you should have that to guide you once you get started. For 'generic' storytelling advice, I recommend the Alexandrian and the Angry GM. Like most advice you'll find out there regarding RPGs, it's 'made' for D&D but the story and world building advice is fairly universal. A lot, I think, is going to hinge on the characters involved, not just the players.

            The fiction in the Werewolf second edition core book depicts an interesting beshilu infestation and hunt that goes on for years. One of the books published for first edition, Shadows of the UK, depicted the beshilu of England as religious. They even had their own scripture, the Book of Broods, They're led by Ministers, each with a title, and each has a Sacred Mission. 'They spread the word of Thisrah, the Rat of Unrest, a Rat Messiah whose return will bring about the End Times and the Tearing, and the ascension, the Final Joining of the faithful.' Imagine going on what seems to be a hunt for demonic rats and finding pieces of their scripture. Talking about places of power and ruin that, actually, seem familiar. Signs and portents that suggest this Thisrah is about to return. Or what if a simple rat hunt reveals a whole underground vermin holy war?

            I'll be honest, I really don't get the sacred hunt. I haven't yet read an example that goes from "Wow, we need to sacred hunt this dude," to the killing blow.
            You hunt what you need, what's dangerous or upsetting your territory. The tribes give you some direction in that regard. But the hunt is something werewolves need to do. Even at the start, they feel the urge to hunt, and if they don't give into it, don't have the sacred hunt, they weaken and waste away. At higher Primal Urge they need to perform the hunt more and more. It's a big part of their life. The Wolf Must Hunt. Satchel's got it right.

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            • #7
              If many players want to be from same Tribe ( like 2 or 3 even ) you can start with hunting it's Sacred Prey by the Pack. Rest of werewolves join on Hunts even of not their Sacred Prey cause it helps maintain their Harmony and it's still one enemy of Pack defeated. I guarantee you that once you ran one Sacred Hunt story, it goes all simple, as you understand mechanics and setting implications of it.

              And, really, if you want better to understand pack as social entity, I really advise you to look over The Pack book that came last year.


              Conquest of Paradise - Fan Dark Era about Portugal and Spain conquests in XVI century - Mage & Beast ( & Hunter )
              My Hubs - MtAw 2E Legacies and System Hacks & WtF 2E Lodges and System Hacks
              MtAw 2E - History of Awakened - (almost) canonical game timeline of events

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              • #8
                On general, 'how to run first chronicle in Werewolf', I would start with 'Common Enemy' hunt first, but connect somehow first Sacred Prey of pack to planned main problem of chronicle. Let's say you go with 'Imminent Beshilu outbreak' as chronicles main plot. If you have most Hunters in Darkness, just simply run confrontation with one Beshilu, but point in midst of it that 'large nest' is brewing under city. If you will have most Blood Talons, run chase after some imbalanced in Harmony poor fellow that is now killing in Death Rage at the Full Moon ( or other his Auspice ) - he will be telling, in mad ravening, that 'rats in walls talks to him' - or something like that. If you will have Iron Masters, nearest human cult start to kill people and wolves left and right. At their underground temple, PCs uncover that Rats have made some apostole or similar figure and it's him that stirred them to bloody action. There - first Sacred Hunt run and PCs are shown to main chronicle antagonists. Now they need to make Protectorate to agree on massive rat infestation or maybe even create Protectorate with neighbor packs.
                Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-04-2017, 03:38 PM.


                Conquest of Paradise - Fan Dark Era about Portugal and Spain conquests in XVI century - Mage & Beast ( & Hunter )
                My Hubs - MtAw 2E Legacies and System Hacks & WtF 2E Lodges and System Hacks
                MtAw 2E - History of Awakened - (almost) canonical game timeline of events

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CoronaBlue View Post
                  So, after several sessions of someone else's game, I've decided that I want to try my hand at running WtF. However, I'm a bit flummoxed when it comes to actually preparing something. I've run many games of D&D, but I'm at a loss for how to put together a chronicle that is compelling in that special World of Darkness way.

                  I know that character backgrounds should play a major role, but I wanted to get the setting fleshed out first so that I can give my players an idea of who the movers and shakers are.

                  After talking with my players, we've decided to use the Bristol setting from the corebook. There is tons of stuff going on, and I feel like it has the potential to be a rich, story dense area. I'm just not sure what to do with it. The following pieces are currently on the board:
                  • Imminent beshilu outbreak
                  • Incoming Pure attack
                  • Hyper-organized Forsaken societal structure
                  • Idigam killing people and spawning aberrations
                  • Patron spirit of the Forsaken in the city is going mad due to the Idigam's influence
                  Can anyone help me weave these threads together so that they become an interconnected plot, instead of just a list of problems that they players need to solve? In particular, I'm trying to work out a prelude that will tie my players together as a pack, while also setting up the main situation in the city.

                  Thanks to everyone in advance.

                  So, the Bristol setting was based on the 2-year-long game I ran for my group back in Forsaken 1e days. That began in the aftermath of a Pure attack, and ran throughout one in-character year with each of the seasons being a major story-arc. What I did throughout that was have a major strand of plot at any one time, with lesser threads winding in and out as needed; so, for example, the first arc of Autumn's Rot was focused on the emergence and damage caused by the Plague Doctor, a spirit of the plague that was freed by Bale Hounds and let loose on the city; while that was unfolding, the player characters were also getting tangled with Beshilu on their territory, trying to wrangle insane spiritual bureaucracy, getting in conflict with neighbouring packs and generally settling in. Hints at the year-long plot (featuring an ancient threat,the inspiration for what eventually became Afzu'Um'Ia) would emerge, but things were more down-to-earth especially in the early season. Clashes with the Pure only really began to be a feature towards the end of Autumn's Rot, laying the groundwork for the Pure as the main antagonists in the winter season.

                  What I'm saying is, focus on one thing at a time with a few other elements as supporting threads so as to avoid burying your players in an overload of Stuff Going On. Later on you can turn up the heat, dump increasing numbers of urgent problems to deal with on them, etc. But to begin with, introduce one thing at a time so they can grasp it - have mentions and suggestions of the other stuff going on, but don't try and put everything front and centre from the beginning.

                  I personally would start with internal elements - securing territory and introducing some of the local problems for that territory, especially spirits and friction or friendships with neighbouring packs. Lay the groundwork for the Pure and other major future threats, but don't go all-in with those initially - there's plenty to play with just in terms of 'shit going wrong on Your Turf' and problems with the council, etc. I'd pick one of the elements of the beshilu, water-entities or spiritual break-down and have that as a significant early feature, not necessarily going full-throttle on it but focusing on how something is wrong.


                  - Chris Allen
                  Freelance Writer, Deviant: the Renegade / The Pack / Dark Eras / Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition / Idigam Anthology / Fallen World Chronicle / Trinity Aeon

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CoronaBlue View Post
                    So, after several sessions of someone else's game, I've decided that I want to try my hand at running WtF. However, I'm a bit flummoxed when it comes to actually preparing something. I've run many games of D&D, but I'm at a loss for how to put together a chronicle that is compelling in that special World of Darkness way.

                    I know that character backgrounds should play a major role, but I wanted to get the setting fleshed out first so that I can give my players an idea of who the movers and shakers are.

                    After talking with my players, we've decided to use the Bristol setting from the corebook. There is tons of stuff going on, and I feel like it has the potential to be a rich, story dense area. I'm just not sure what to do with it. The following pieces are currently on the board:
                    • Imminent beshilu outbreak
                    • Incoming Pure attack
                    • Hyper-organized Forsaken societal structure
                    • Idigam killing people and spawning aberrations
                    • Patron spirit of the Forsaken in the city is going mad due to the Idigam's influence
                    Can anyone help me weave these threads together so that they become an interconnected plot, instead of just a list of problems that they players need to solve? In particular, I'm trying to work out a prelude that will tie my players together as a pack, while also setting up the main situation in the city.

                    Thanks to everyone in advance.
                    All of them are good, but as Acro said, split it up.

                    One good first arc is focused on the organized Forsaken stuff.
                    In the background you can have the Beshilu boiling, to grow into a 2nd arc problem. Possibly a two-pronged assault with Beshilu from one side, and Pure (Fire Touched preferably for the disease angle).
                    All this is being manipulated by the Idigam who wants the area for itself, but thus far tries to act through puppets, to conserve strength.
                    Also in the background is the patron spirit being driven insane by the Idigam, who wants to get that spirit (and the werewolves it is a patron over) out of the way.
                    Final arc about the Idigam's direct assault.

                    The patron spirit going nuts should happen slowly, without any big focus on it in the background.

                    And don't rush things. Let them take time. Let them have a build up. And let there be a cooldown in between, to see if the players want to strike out at something new.

                    Oh, and of course, be prepared to just jury-rig everything when the players goes COMPLETELY away from what you've planned.
                    Good games and plans don't work together, one always kills the other.

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