Monday, January 18, 2010

Slaughter City: Post-script

So, I ran my first Vampire game, and it exceeded all expectations. When I asked if they thought my notes made a difference, they unanimously agreed that it did (which surprised me, as I didn't feel I could tell a difference). Roomie declared that "It felt like you've been running this game for a year, and we're only just now getting to play it." Since I generally take "a year" to get that much detail on my NPCs, I can see where he's coming from on it. Both Roomie and Byler have asked when the next game will be, and very much want to see what happens next. The fact that everything has so much context likely contributes to this: Roomie's character nibbled on someone he probably shouldn't have. In a normal "first session" vampire game, you wouldn't expect anything from this, as the character was probably someone tossed together last minute by the GM. In this game, you know I've already tied her into the setting, so he's tugging on strings and he isn't sure where they lead.

So, this technique is a resounding success. I can already tell that if someone asked me to run a game tomorrow, with like 30 minutes prep time, I could give them a session just as good. Now that they've been introduced to the setting, I have more than enough hooks and interesting story elements to keep them going for quite awhile. I should use this technique in my other campaigns as well, I think.

I have rarely seen the group so wildly excited after session 1 of any game.

Vampire itself turned out to be alot more interesting than I expected. I mean, alot more interesting. It's fun when a system pleasantly surprises you, when it rewards you for choosing it. First, the Beast offered me an amazing amount of control. Just ask people to roll for frenzy and whisper in their heads whenever I want to emphasize something vampiric, or show them some of their vampire nature. I also like how keenly aware my players were of their blood pool, their hunger. Furthermore, their powers were awesome. Byler thoroughly enjoyed being the seductive Daeva loaded with Majesty and getting a small crowd to adore him and spill their guts about what they knew, or Cass pinning some dogs with her Animalism and turning them to her side, and so on. I can see where Vampire games quickly turn into "Dark Superheroes." People complain that nVamp isn't "epic enough." I think my players would disagree after the last session.

Dramatic Combat is really such a wonderful hack. I expected that even with the hack, the combat would be boring, but nothing could be further from the truth. Both battles were fast, brutal, and awesome. I think the players were excited, scared occasionally frustrated, which is exactly what you want in a fight. Because the fights weren't a stand-up, "Kill him before he kills you" affair, but a wild, shifting battle with highly mobile characters and lots of goals. Roomie pointed out that the fact the vampires tried to kidnap mortals helped, because we had multiple objectives going on.

Dave dropped two humanity in one session. He's actually a little scared now. That's awesome.

With so much detail, though, I forgot and flubbed some elements. I never described the streets of Nation Street despite Roomie visiting twice (It's where the police station is located). Emma went a little mad after Vampires attacked her, and I gave her a phobia. I think I'll change it to Narcissism to reflect her independent and fierce spirit (hopefully the players won't mind). And I left Roomie out of the fights when I really should have found a way to include him, but he says he had fun anyway.

So, all in all, a big success. We're all looking forward to the next session
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