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[CoD] Supernaturals - How many is to many types to run?

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  • [CoD] Supernaturals - How many is to many types to run?

    I thinking about running 'small town pulpy drama', in kinds of True Blood, Twin Peaks or Riverdale TV series. Idea would be Players Characters start mortal - and then chaos ensures. Probably not more than few, dozen maybe of game sessions.

    Question is how many Supernatural types to let run in team like this? One, two? Six? Dozen? 'Anything goes'? 😲 I would assume each character is ONLY ONE of their type in area. So one vampire, one werewolf, one Changeling, etc.

    Was thinking 'maybe a vampire and werewolf'? Maybe 'add lesser templates - like Second Sight ones - mystic, occultist, medium'? How do you think there would be too much? Or rules will clash with types itself too big? 🤔

    P. S. Do you know VTT encanpasing ALL supers types in it's sheets? Official or non-official one? Probably Roll20, I assume? 🤔
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 05-24-2023, 11:45 PM.

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  • #2
    Depends on how much complexity you are confortable taking on board. So I recommend a system of 3 filters when choosing to add a new splat.

    The first filter is ease of incorporating their key resources into your chronicle in a thematically consistent way. Mages need Hallows, Sin-Eaters need a way to obtain Plasm, vampires need hunting grounds and so on. If you are comfortable accounting for that splat's resource generation, go to the second filter.

    The second filter is how confident you are in your familiarity with the splat. Remember that each splat has minor abilities that are easy to forget. Mages can spend mana to end physical Tilts and mental Conditions on themselves, werewolves can split their senses across multiple layers of reality, etc. If they are being run by players comfortable with the splat, you have minimal work. If the players are not familiar, you need to take time for the occasional reminder. If you are running too many splats, you may end up with analysis paralysis in combat or not leveraging their capabilities well, both in and out of combat.

    The last filter is asking whether you can make do with a subsplat at the moment. Its easier to run a Proximi than a mage, and with minimal changes in the power spectrum. A ghoul is weaker than a vampire, but still more capable than the average person. The subsplat can allow the interesting nuance of the splat to be present, but allow you to modulate how much power and complexity you need to handle at one time. They can act as proxies, so splat representatives can move in while other splats drift out and send their proxies in. The vampire left a ghoul in town because he has other matters to attend to, but now the mage arrives and the Proximi is sent on another mission for the Order.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 05-25-2023, 12:26 AM.

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    • #3
      Going to beat one of my usual drums here and point out that the social structures of monsters tend to facilitate those monsters managing much better without being as given over to the overt drawbacks iconic to their fictional basis, often at least partially by allowing those monsters to not be as isolated by their condition and interact with humanity in a more controlled fashion, which is a little harder to manage if you're literally only going to have one of each supernatural type in the area — this is putting a bunch of different monsters in the same territory without a safety net, which means a lot of the early game (or early prep) is going to have to concern itself with the characters building a support system for themselves and possibly negotiate their respective issues in relation to each other.

      What "the only one of their type in the area" means also will affect the probable viability of any given approach, too — a setting where everyone came into their condition without much in the way of external involvement (spontaneous Embraces, Extempore, Pathologic Divergence, etc) is different from one where this small town happens to be on the fringes of a bunch of different supernatural groups' territorial clustering for some reason (and thus the nearest Caucus, Guildhall, freehold, etc isn't paying much attention to the one among their number who's moved there for some peace and quiet).

      If you're going for a short chronicle, it's sensible to not throw the whole kitchen sink into the mix, especially if you intend to give a monster's story room to breathe — if you're confident in your table's ability to get through a given narrative in one or two sessions you can justify putting a dozen singular gameline-level monsters into as many chapters of the story, but in the name of practicality it's probably wiser to follow Hunter's lead and use generalized systems like the Horror creation rules to model different supernatural creatures that aren't PCs if you don't need to know which Roles a Promethean has internalized or how often the werewolf needs to hunt.

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      • #4
        Small town, pulpy drama?

        I would generally stick with just one, and I'd say at max you could stretch to three, maybe four if one of those is absolutely a singular entity.

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        • #5
          The average troupe should be no more than five players, and five people starting mortal, getting into shenanigans together, and then becoming any supernatural type at or around the same time is pretty contrived. Even sharing a template it would be weird. Only a handful of them really work for that, and most of them would require some kind of a time skip. Hell, getting a template in play without a time skip is going to involve ignoring a lot of stuff, narratively ("how do you know how to use those powers you got just yesterday, how do you know all your weaknesses and limits?")

          I can think of...
          • Vampire: Unless one vampire wants to break the Traditions multiple times, they'd all need different Sires, and usually it takes a while to vet someone
          • Mage: They all Awaken at the same time as some kind of weird event.
          • Werewolf: Maybe they get Lunacy and become Wolfblooded, then First Change over the course of the month?
          • Changeling: A True Fae takes all of them, which would mean drastically changing their characters and completely fucking over their backstories, then having a timeskip to after their Durance (which could be no time in the real world) where they're basically different characters.
          • Sin-eaters: They all die in some major event. This is actually the most reasonable since that's already a thing for Sin-eaters.
          • Deviants: Basically the same as Changelings. It would mean taking their characters and breaking them dramatically, except they wouldn't even have the benefit of a no-time-timeskip.
          • Beast: They all get Devoured by the same Beast, maybe? But even then to be Begotten you have to meet the qualifications, they're like 1e Sin-eaters.
          • Prometheans, Mummies, and Demons are all not human to begin with. Though I guess they could all Fall and realize that their entire lives were just Cover. That would be neat.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
            I thinking about running 'small town pulpy drama', in kinds of True Blood, Twin Peaks or Riverdale TV series. Idea would be Players Characters start mortal - and then chaos ensures. Probably not more than few, dozen maybe of game sessions.

            Question is how many Supernatural types to let run in team like this? One, two? Six? Dozen? 'Anything goes'? 😲 I would assume each character is ONLY ONE of their type in area. So one vampire, one werewolf, one Changeling, etc.
            The wider you spread yourself on supernaturals the less depth you're able to give each one. A campy monster of the week game can work and be fun if you're wanting a light hearted approach. Or you could pick a single splat and go into far more depth, maybe generating a darker tone.

            Imagine a game that starts off kind of campy high schoolers, but takes a darker turn when the PCs accidentally kill a classmate only to discover that the person they killed was really a fetch made of sticks and stones. The town begins a search for the "missing" student while a mysterious person leaves the PCs notes indicating a knowledge of what happened and conveying the possibility that the PCs are in danger for what they know. Eventually the note leaver is revealed to be the changeling of the fetch they killed. After the first, more and more changelings are revealed until the PCs wonder if all their classmates besides themselves are fetches and a final conclusion of the game where the PCs wonder if perhaps they are fetches as well.