Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beat Of My Own Drum

Been quite a vacation, huh? I'm still here. I've been putting together the last bits of Metzgerburg for the Slaughter City chronicle. I'd run out of inspiration as I struggled with Damnation City's way of doing things. I found the stats they offered for each district to be too arcane and hard to use to "define" what I felt was the character of each district. To me, a new location should be like a new playground, with new rules that change how you play. So rather than use their stats, I added "special rules" to each area, ignoring the "stats." Then, while I like the idea behind Damnation City's "Ambiance" rules, and the fact that it lets you change how a part of the city feels, I felt it was too one dimensional (literally, as it's a continuum), so I added my own descriptions and rules for each district, while using the core rules for Ambiance.

The result? I found my inspiration again. Metzgerburg is finished: 60 NPCs, 8 districts. Now all I need is the supernatural, and we can play!

Monday, December 21, 2009

60 NPCs

As promised, I have 60 NPCs for my game.


The process isn't done: Several are very rough, there's not nearly as many relationships as I wanted, and I feel like there are some holes, repetitions, and some characters that need to be adjusted. But that's not the point: I set out to make 60, and I did. And some really interesting characters resulted. I feel really pysched, like I can do this game.

Next, I need to finish Metzgerburg's districts, and then get to the supernaturals, and then return to the NPCs and "fill them out" a little better. Then I should be ready.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


So, we made characters last night. Took far too long to get everyone together and organized, but on the plus side, Walter pulled money out of his pocket and took care of my microphone for me, god bless him. Isn't even playing, as best as I can tell.

After four hours, we had five characters to play with. The group really reacted nicely to my outline and design, and we had some interesting concepts in short order:

(No, I don't have names for characters yet. I'll edit this post and fill them in as I get them)

Dave: Dave's playing 7 and a half feet of ungodly strong Nosferatu. According to his concept, he was a family man ten years ago, when a car accident took the life of his family and his sanity with it. He wandered the streets, desolate and despairing, until his hard-luck life forced him to survive. That need to survive taught him to fight, and he became a street-fighting devil of the back-alleys. The Mafia took him in for some cage fights, but when he wouldn't throw a fight, arranged for him to be eliminated. He'd picked up a fan in the form of a Nosferatu elder, who saved him as he lay dying, blessing him with unlife to keep that fighting spirit "alive." Dave's character has Vigor 2, Nightmare 1, Haunted, Disfigured, Mentor, Fighting Style: Brutal Strength, and Giant. He shares a Haven with Byler, and he and Cass's character know one another. His Virtue is Fortitude, his Vice is Wrath.

Cass: Cass wanted to play a Ventrue, but shifted to Gangrel as it became obvious that her concept was pretty feral. Cass is a cat-lady, one of those crazy people that relates to animals better than people, and had like sixty pets. She took care of them in an abandoned animal shelter in the Shambles, until she found a wounded, half-mad wolf, and "nursed" it back to life. It remembered it's human form and turned into a beautiful, terrible native american elder vampire, who granted her unlife in thanks, and then left. She has Animalism 2, Resilience 1, Behavior Blind, Animal Feature, Striking Looks, shares a Haven with Roomie (her broodmate) and knows Dave. Her Virtue is Charity, but we haven't settled on a Vice yet.

Byler: Byler is playing what you would expect, which is fine, because I chose the game knowing he would want to play this sort of character. In life, he was a grey, outcast loner who had a beautiful knack for artwork. His sire, a hauntingly attractive Daeva from the 20s, fell in love withe "beauty of his soul" and embraced him, unaware of the dark resentment that lingered there. Her touch tainted him, and now he seeks a way to escape the worst of his curse and to exploit his powers for his own gains. He's already caught the eye of a member of the Ordo Dracul, he seeks to steal him away from his Sire... He has Majesty 3, Obsession, Cursed (Cannot enter a house unless invited), Striking Looks, shares a haven with Dave (whom he sees as a kindred spirit), and his sire is friends with Shawn's sire. His Virtue is Fortitude, his Vice is Pride.

Shawn: Shawn's playing a Mekhet. Formerly a private investigator, he discovered some hidden truths regarding vampires and after successfully navigating the mental games of his brilliant sire, impressed the vampire sufficiently that he decided to keep Shawn. Shawn has Obfuscate 3, Light Sensitivity, a great haven and plenty of contacts, his sire knows Byler's Sire, and he often deals with the cops (Roomie). His Virtue is Prudence, his Vice is Sloth.

Roomie: Roomie also went with Gangrel, and is playing what I consider quite unusual for him. Roomie's character is a cop who's very clean and does what it takes to get the job done. His soul is sufficiently pure that he intrigued the newly recovered Gangrel Elder, who stalked him and embraced him to see if damnation would break him or not. Now Roomie struggles to play cop by night, while holding back the hungry Beast within. He has Protean 3, Tooth and Claw, he has Honor and Animal Features, and he's broodmates with Cass and knows Shawn. His Virtue is Justice, his Vice is Wrath.

All in all, a pretty good group, I think. What's cool is I can already see their context in Slaughter City. Roomie hangs with the cops and likely already has a friendship with the mortuary girl. Byler and Dave hang out in Silverside, and Dave has connections in the Shambles. Cass also has connections in the Shambles and will be dealing with some Neat Supernatural Stuff I've had in mind. Shawn knows Mandarin, lives in Chinatown, and will naturally have connections with the mafia and the triad. It'll be interesting to see how all the hooks play out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Spreading the Curse

So, we've got to make Vampire characters tonight. I expect it'll be a disaster, though not because of Vampire, but because this is the first time we've got the whole group back together since WotG, and there's going to be problems, and that will result in drama. Not the least of which: Every time I ask for someone to do something with my microphone, they all hem and haw and pass the buck to one another. *sigh* We'll see if that continues to be the case.

For Vampire itself, we're in touchy territory. Alot of the players believe that it's "gay," by which they mean "Girls love the stuff, and if we got good at it, we'd get laid alot, which is totally not what straight men," or possibly "But... it's not werewolf!" Either way, I need to make my case fairly quickly, though I have been doing so for the past few weeks now, and I think I've solidly sold at least two of the tentative players, and the rest are operating off of trust for my excellent skill (which is good, as I do believe they'll like the game).

Designing Vampires is tricky, though. Setting aside interesting and potentially problematic issues ("What do you mean Humanity? You mean my vampire CARES if he kills people?!"), you can't "just" create a vampire. Too many vampires end up these orphans of the night, who simply stepped out of their coffin without having a personality or a past. World of Darkness centers everything on humanity, so I'll focus the players first and foremost on that. Following my abyssal advice, I'll also try to get the players to think about their relationships with one another, so no matter how much backstabbing and cut throat gameplay we see, the coterie itself will stay united. Vampire, Mortal, Coterie: that's the three-pronged approach I'll take, and we'll sort of flit from one to another until we have everything figured out.

I think the players will have the hardest time grasping both how powerful and powerless vampires are. This dichotomy actually appealed to me, as it melds the "power fantasy" that some players want with the "survival horror" that others want. If I handle it right, it'll be the "best of both worlds," but if I screw up, we could end up alienating both. I'm confident I have it in hand, but the players will need to design their characters appropriately, and that means conveying this truth to them well.

Wish me luck.

Wuxia Weekend

So, I finally got everyone together and had them watch a bunch of Kung Fu movies. We managed to get through Forbidden Kingdom and Red Cliff before exhaustion swept over everyone (Red Cliff is a great movie, but heavy), and we had to quit. Also, I was too sick to cook, so we had to order out. Even so, I managed to pull it off, and I'm very pleased. It's fun to organize a party and have it go without a hitch.

And next came the WotG invitations. I actually have someone who rightfully doesn't have time to join us seriously considering it. I'll know soon enough, I'm sure. Mission accomplished.

On a related note, I had struggled for awhile to know what my story was "about." In general, I know I need a "trick," something that makes the story fun. In this case, it would be three different courts and lots of social interaction, with a solid dollop of the Great Game. But I also generally need a "twist," a cool thing that happens at the climax that shifts the tone of the game and immediately points to where the game is going, and explains why everything just turned up a notch. I had nothing for a very long time, until after Wuxia Weekend, the thought finally hit me: If some of the kewl new Wuxia can steal from Shakespeare, why can't I? Ironically, this thought had nothing to do with Wuxia Weekend itself, but with movies I didn't even actually show.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

1860s up

Here. Hopefully I can at least finish 1910 before we make characters.
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