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Running a non standard chronicle, input appreciated

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  • Running a non standard chronicle, input appreciated

    It all started, about 3 months ago with my DnD group complaining how bored they're become of their system. They've all been playing long enough that they know all the mechanics, all the monsters, and the game was becoming very rote. I'd never had the chance to play more then one on one sessions of requiem before, but it was rare chance so I jumped in with both feet. I set up a time to get them all together to talk about what it was they were look to get out of the game, which ended up taking like 6 hours because most of them were looking for different things. For all but one or two, the biggest thing they wanted to get away from, was their knowledge of the system and mechanics. So I helped them build concepts for their characters, then fill in the bare essentials of the character sheet.

    I told them they'd be playing as vampires but they'd start off as humans first. I explained about the setting being a darker version of our world. I let them know there are supernatural creatures but that their character don't believes in them. I made sure I knew any topics that the player wouldn't be willing to play with.

    Then I scheduled the first session.

    I gave them no source book, no mechanics, and especially not knowledge about how vampires work in this setting. We've now played through 4 sessions, it's gotten really bumpy a couple of times, but over all I'd have to say it's going pretty well so far. Players all say they're having a lot of fun, I'm actually having trouble scheduling everybody together often enough to satisfy them.

    Anyone else try anything like this before? Either way pointers, concerns, things I may not have considered. Any kind of constructive input at all. Questions also welcome, we are playing in-person so I don't have like a chat/transcript. If I did I'd post it. But if people are interested I can talk about what's happened Iduno if that interests anybody.

  • #2
    I love this approach, since it really brings the best out of the mystery and horror elements of the setting. I've had only a couple of instances of introducing new players to VtR, and for those instances I've tried to set scenes around organically introducing players to the mechanics of the game.

    For instance, the first scene we did was have a Revenant find their way into one of the player's Hunting Grounds, and left them to deal with it. This forced them into a situation they weren't experienced in, and threatened something they've mechanically invested in. And from that the players got their first taste of combat and Masquerade breaches. Noted: This group started the game as Kindred an were intimately familiar with VtM, really this being their first taste of both Requiem and CofD, but the same principle should still apply.

    Perhaps a bit of a timeline of the sessions so far to see what would be a good rate of progression for the Troupe is in order? Figuring out when to reveal certain bits of the world should also help with organically introducing the setting and mechanics.
    Last edited by Dusksage; 12-14-2016, 12:09 AM. Reason: Spellcheck & Polish

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    • #3
      That's a pretty cool idea, I'd like to try it sometime. i suppose my question is how fast you're introducing them to new things? I imagine that after four sessions they have a good grasp of the majority of the mechanics and they understand things like how Kindred society is structured (at least in their city) and how things like feeding work.

      Did you give them mentors (their sires or other older vampires)?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dusksage View Post
        Perhaps a bit of a timeline of the sessions so far to see what would be a good rate of progression for the Troupe?
        So after the big pregame session, I ran individual sessions with each player, where in they met their sire. Details were obviously different for each one, but one way or another I got them into a situation where it wasn't unreasonable for them to get embraced.

        The first group session I actual got to run over a long weekend well we were all at cabin out in the woods. PC's all end up meeting each other, there was some trouble with the invictus involving some of them not having permission to exist. So they had to do some running around over that. Eventual they made some deals to clean up the mess, if they can do it on their own they wont get killed until later. They learned frenzy's are a thing, drank blood, learned that it helps not frenzy as much. They noticed they don't have heartbeats, and don't need to breath.

        Second session was basically cleaning up the messes, hunting down the sires, dealing with the mob over a scene that got one of them killed. One of them was kinda famous before the embrace, so they had to go make a scene at a popular club so no one believes they're dead, so no one looks too close into the event that got them killed. They 'accidentally' triggered a few of their powers but don't really know how they work. They gathered that they don't need invites to enter places, they know they can cross the river, some of them got some mild sunburns some just assume that's a thing. Ones that slept hurt, woke up unhurt but also more hungry, so they know that.

        third session was around turning over the sire they caught, and mostly just talking to vampires in charge, dealing with using the things they did to get out of as much trouble as posible. They've learned of two locations that two different vampire factions operate out of. After more trying to use powers they've seen actual vampires use and ones they found accidentally they're starting to suspect that not all of them can do all the same things. After been told they're fate will be decided at a meeting at a church, and that they should probably be there for it, they were told they can enter churches, not word on crosses yet.

        At this point they don't know much more then: they're vampire, vampires in power want to keep vampires secret, the punishment for making new vampires with out permission is death for both maker and newbie. Can't think of anything else.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Suzuki View Post
          That's a pretty cool idea, I'd like to try it sometime. i suppose my question is how fast you're introducing them to new things? I imagine that after four sessions they have a good grasp of the majority of the mechanics and they understand things like how Kindred society is structured (at least in their city) and how things like feeding work.

          Did you give them mentors (their sires or other older vampires)?

          Some of them have sires that want to help them some, others not so much, one was an accidental embrace, from a very hostel, very low humanity vamp. All depends how they ended up embraced, figuring out how to make that many vampire, that close together took a lot of creativity.

          Other then willpower points and combat most of them have picked up most of the 'blue book' mechanics.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by worldscoolestloser View Post


            Some of them have sires that want to help them some, others not so much, one was an accidental embrace, from a very hostel, very low humanity vamp. All depends how they ended up embraced, figuring out how to make that many vampire, that close together took a lot of creativity.

            Other then willpower points and combat most of them have picked up most of the 'blue book' mechanics.
            How are they going to learn to use willpower? I assume they'll figure out combat mechanics if they ever get in a fight but they probably don't even know they have willpower.

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            • #7
              It's so rare to get to do this kind of game, especially with something that has the breadth of lore and mystery as Vampire does. So jealous!

              I don't really have any advice beyond be sure to make use of the weirder stuff in the setting as you go along, things that go against pop culture ideas of vampires. Things like Strix and Hollow Mekhet, or the more esoteric Bloodlines. They only get to be newbies once.



              Social justice vampire/freelancer | He/Him

              Actual Play: Vampire: The Requiem – Bloodlines
              Masquiem: Curses of Caine in Requiem 2nd
              Storytellers Vault: Author Page

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              • #8
                Willpower has presented a challenge. right now most they just roleplay it basically, trying really really hard at things, they have used it a couple of times they just haven't figure it out exactly yet they or they will keep forgetting or I have to correct them, no its not one more dice it's three. They're also been in two or three fights now but the combat mechanics are more complicated then the more freeform roleplay parts. The tiny bits of social combat they're seen have also really confused them.

                But all this is just how I've ran it so far, by all means if anyone as idea how to work in any mechanic in a way that the players can learn it, tell me. That kind of why I made the thread

                oh hollow mekhets reminds me, right now they think none of them have reflections, none of them have figure how that works yet.
                Last edited by worldscoolestloser; 12-14-2016, 01:35 AM. Reason: just adding something I forgot

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by worldscoolestloser View Post

                  So after the big pregame session, I ran individual sessions with each player, where in they met their sire. Details were obviously different for each one, but one way or another I got them into a situation where it wasn't unreasonable for them to get embraced.

                  The first group session I actual got to run over a long weekend well we were all at cabin out in the woods. PC's all end up meeting each other, there was some trouble with the invictus involving some of them not having permission to exist. So they had to do some running around over that. Eventual they made some deals to clean up the mess, if they can do it on their own they wont get killed until later. They learned frenzy's are a thing, drank blood, learned that it helps not frenzy as much. They noticed they don't have heartbeats, and don't need to breath.

                  Second session was basically cleaning up the messes, hunting down the sires, dealing with the mob over a scene that got one of them killed. One of them was kinda famous before the embrace, so they had to go make a scene at a popular club so no one believes they're dead, so no one looks too close into the event that got them killed. They 'accidentally' triggered a few of their powers but don't really know how they work. They gathered that they don't need invites to enter places, they know they can cross the river, some of them got some mild sunburns some just assume that's a thing. Ones that slept hurt, woke up unhurt but also more hungry, so they know that.

                  third session was around turning over the sire they caught, and mostly just talking to vampires in charge, dealing with using the things they did to get out of as much trouble as posible. They've learned of two locations that two different vampire factions operate out of. After more trying to use powers they've seen actual vampires use and ones they found accidentally they're starting to suspect that not all of them can do all the same things. After been told they're fate will be decided at a meeting at a church, and that they should probably be there for it, they were told they can enter churches, not word on crosses yet.

                  At this point they don't know much more then: they're vampire, vampires in power want to keep vampires secret, the punishment for making new vampires with out permission is death for both maker and newbie. Can't think of anything else.
                  Alright, this gives a clear picture of their level of knowledge and place in the story as of right now. I have a few ideas about where the story should go from here, but don't want to make any assumptions about your Chronicle so far. If you're open to some story suggestions please answer the following questions:

                  1) This looks like an Invictus city. How powerful is the Conspiracy of Silence in this domain and what are the other Covenants?

                  2) Who is the leader of this Kindred Society? Is it a Prince? Who is the lawman? Is it a Sheriff?

                  3) How is the politics of this domain set up?

                  4) Who is the main antagonist, if there even is one?

                  5) What theme and mood did you want to enforce through gameplay?

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                  • #10
                    1) The Invictus and Sanctum are strongly allied and run the city. Carthians are also strong but it's two against one, the Ordo is present but weak, more just another vampire club then a real Covenant.

                    2) Prince, Sheriff, nothing too crazy here

                    3) The Prince is a bit of a wildcard, he isn't actually super interested in doing his job. The Seneschal and Primogen make most of the decisions.

                    4) If I had to name a main antagonist I'd have to say the pc's own ignorance, at this point. It's mostly about figuring everything out. I'm a little worried that one of the players is gonna try and get the group to go after the prince at some point. Which would be fine but I'm worried what will happen if they'll try it too soon.

                    5) We talked as a group about that at length before I wrought up the story, but I still have a hard time summing it up into words. The unknown obviously, but also the things you think you know failing you.
                    A lot of corruption, everybody's out for themselves, you have to team up with people you don't really like just to have a chance at making it through the night
                    Power vs powerlessness - The world can do anything its want to you and there's nothing you can do about it because the other guy got a few hundred year head start. Contrasted against how powerful these sudden new abilities seem, how weak humans suddenly are, and how open possibilities at first seem.
                    Along with that comes stuff around class division, the world isn't fair kinds of things, like you either have power or you don't, and it's super up-hill to better your place in (un)life. This new curse/gift might give you an edge but with that comes the knowledge that the whole power structure you thought the world ran on is a lie; and the real power is in the hands of inhuman centuries old creatures of the night that you don't understand at all.
                    What ever you thought you were yesterday, now you know you're the middle class. Above humans but below the real vampires, and you don't think you can do anything about it. But if you could what would you be willing to do to change that?
                    I don't know if I'm explaining it super well. It's set up to be more hopeless than challenging, characters are unlikely to succeed and the players know that. If by some miracle one of them does manage some level of success they will have really overcome the odds and accomplished something.

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                    • #11
                      worldscoolestloser, hot damn! Those are some powerful themes there.

                      I'm not sure if my storytelling advice would really help this particular setting you're going for, only because I never present the characters with a hopeless scenario. Or, more aptly, I go for the Power vs. Disempowerment angle over the above mentioned. To me, the idea that a person's actions carry a terrible consequence that will dictate whether or not they survive the story is one of the key elements of horror. Especially since they will be facing the unknown and still have to make the best decisions they can. Like seeing the oncoming night and knowing you have skills and powers never before dreamed of but also knowing that you will be hunted but not by what or where from. This isn't to say your own theme isn't a good option. Powerlessness can be used to help further examine the human condition, and tell a story about struggle and despair that's engaging and meaningful. It's just that those are themes I usually don't use for my own Storytelling preference.

                      In regards to the reveals, here are some tips I can give:

                      1) Once the players have completed their first assignment, have a Grand Elysium. Introduce the Kindred Society, but never have what Covenants and Clans be directly told to the players unless they go out of their way to find out.

                      2) Have a clear antagonist, even if it is the characters (or even the players) ignorance. Have the Sheriff or Seneschal give the Coterie an assignment that they have no clue how to complete but cannot refuse. Let them be forced to delve into the setting for their very lives (...unlives.)

                      3) Make one NPCs out for either the Troupe or just one of the player characters. Let that NPC be powerful, but give them a legitimate and human reason for doing so. It could even be something as simple as them robing them of their vengeance when the Troupe offed their Sire before they could do it themselves.

                      4) At some point in the narrative, have the Wilds either creep into the city or have the Troupe be forced to go into the Wilds. The Wilds, being the world outside the familiarity of Kindred Society. Have them face something strange, unknown, unique, and horrifying to show how even the Kindred they must kiss ass to are just as scared and lost as they are in the grand scheme of things.

                      And I fear this is all I can suggest to help. Good luck with the Chronicle.
                      Last edited by Dusksage; 12-15-2016, 05:04 AM. Reason: Spellcheck

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