Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Simple Plan, Scene 2

A Simple Plan

Scene 2

I got out of there as fast as I could. No one seemed to be pursuing me, and I'm not sure I blame them. I figure none of them understood what they had just seen, or why they were fighting. But, it’s not like they would just shake it off and think it was a hallucination or anything. They knew someone had been there.

So, I was now screwed two ways. First, I hadn’t been able to get the files I had come here for. Two, they had seen me. Which is the biggest “no no” I can think of. I managed to make a nice mess of things, and I hadn’t even been able to figure anything out. I just wanted to get out there, crawl up back home, and put the night behind me. But as I was walking away—well, ok, creeping away—a thought hit me. What if they call the cops? What if I they had tapes? What if I had managed to screw up the Masquerade?

And then I thought, what if they don’t call the cops? I knew whoever had hired me wanted information on vampires, which means this quarry was somehow tied up with our kind, in a way I couldn’t yet figure out. So, they wouldn’t call the cops. They’d call someone else. And who they called, and what that person did in response, could still be pretty useful. At least more useful than just skulking away.

So, instead of leaving, I decided to stay. I curled up in the nice dark shadow of a dumpster and waited to see what would happen next.

The prompt for this scene is:

Stake out an Actor or Location. Whether or not you win the check, your opponent gains a Victory point due to delay.

As a Nosferatu with Obfuscate, it’s pretty easy for Terry to stakeout a location. So long as he’s in a shadow he is, for all intents and purposes, invisible. But, there’s still the question of him picking the right spot to see, and maybe hear, what he needs to see. So, that will be his challenge for the scene.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Simple Plan, Scene 1

A Simple Plan

Scene One

See, I wasn’t really sure what they were after, just that I had to get to it before “they” did. And I wasn’t even sure who “they” were, other than the lawyers. But I was sure they were a front, of some sort. Some were involved, probably, but I had no way of knowing who. Not then, at least.

But, whatever, that’s not important. Yet. I had no idea how to get into the Vulcan facility, so I had to hitch a ride on one of their cement truck things. It went pretty well, got me all the way to their quarry. In through the gates, no problem. No one even thought of looking back there. Though, I suppose that’s not surprising. Have you ever been in one of those things? If it was on, or even kind of full, it would kill you.

So, thanks to my brilliant plan, I was inside the gates. Of course, what I hadn’t thought about was that they don’t park the working vehicles near the office. The office gets the sedans and pickup trucks. The construction gears gets parked way on the other side, right by the quarry itself. So, after we parked, I just sat there, probably for a good twenty minutes, freaking out, trying to figure out what’s next.

The place was huge. Like a mile or two across, or something. Lights everywhere. And it’s night, but there’s still people around. Not a lot, sure, but some. So, I’m sitting there, crammed inside this damn mixer, trying to figure out what I’m going to do next. The problem is, I’m decent at
staying hidden, so long as I’m still, but if I move, the jig is up. Given that, just walking across wasn’t an option.

Well, it took me a bit, but I manage to pull myself out of the mixer. Step 1 complete. I figure I can at least look around the garage, maybe find a uniform or something. No luck. I’m stuck with my now ruined suit.

Yes, I wear a suit and tie when I’m working from home. Work is work.

I did find a hard hat, though, so that’s something at least. And then, after a bit more digging, I found a clipboard. Now I’m set. I attached some random pieces of paper to it—receipts, work orders, pretty sure a Chinese menu, whatever I can find. I figure so long as you have a clipboard or a file of folders or something, and you walk like you know what you’re doing, most people won’t look at you twice.

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Simple Plan, Prologue

A Simple Plan


Winter was the best time of the year.

When he was alive, Terry despised the winter. It was cold, and dark, and slick with snow and ice and the dirty sludge that covered the city after every storm. But ever since he died, winter had become the only time he felt even somewhat human.

The cold didn’t bother him anymore, and he had seen far worse things than the filthy sludge. Even better, with his hood pulled up and a scarf covering his face, he could actually go out in public, and be around the happy, normal people who still had their lives ahead of them.

He had slowly and carefully made his way to the park. The wounds were still raw, and would take time and blood to heal. But for tonight, there was nothing more he wanted to do than to be around people. They may not speak with him, the cold driving them to move quickly to their destinations. But he could be at least near them, as if he were one of them. And, for now at least, that was enough.

He made his was to an empty bench, and settled on it. From here, he had a view of the frozen lake, and the people skating on it. Families teaching their small children, and tending to their bruises. Friends laughing and joking. Young couples flirting and “accidently” bumping into each other. In the cold and the dark, life played out in front of him.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Session 0 for A Simple Plan

Last time, we created the character of Terry. Now it’s time to figure out what the world has in store for our poor Nosferatu. For this, I’m going to bring in some additional tools, specifically the Storytellers Handbook.
First, I roll for Theme and get a 6, for Pursuit. Rolling on the subtables, I get an 8—“A new witch-hunter has come to town and has managed to find out something about the character.” Huh, guess Terry’s going to have to come to grips with his nature real fast then, won’t he?

I also wanted to make Backgrounds more of an element in the story. Rolling on those tables, I get a 9, for Resources. Rolling on the subtable, I get a 6, which leads to “Unless the character takes prompt action, she will likely suffer a great loss of Resources.” Maybe the hunter is doing the old “follow the money” play book?
I think I have a pretty good setup for a story, but I roll on Scarlet anyways, just to get some inspiration. I roll a 2 and get
An Antagonist seeks to steal something precious to a Target

I’m not sure how that fits with the Witch Hunter element, but let’s see what else we can get.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Story, New Character

Getting ready to create the next character for my ongoing Solo vampire game, and I realized that I need to do a little bit more book keeping. I can’t keep calling the city “City” or the Prince “Prince” and the like. Riffing a bit off of the background elements from the first story, I’m going to go with the following.

Chronicle Name: Promised Land

City Name: New Canaan

Location: Fictive. Somewhere north of Boston alone the East Coast of the United States.

Prince: Matthew Parker. A Ventrue (seriously, I rolled a 7 on the Clan Chart). He has ruled for the past 50 some odd years, and tends to have a very “hands off” approach to the affairs of his city. Indeed, his tendency to veer between extreme laxity and harsh crack downs is a major source of complaint for the Elders.

Situation: For decades, New Canaan was racked by constant infighting and conflict, and Princes rose and fell with an alarming regularity. This ended when Parker took sides in the last great war. Upon victory, he ruthlessly purged almost half the vampires in the city, eliminating any and all who had the strength or will to oppose him. Since then, though, he has become an almost disconnected Prince. He allows others to embrace freely, and welcomes almost any outsider who comes to the door.

As such, the city is full of rebels, dreamers, artists, anarchs, refugees, exiles, visionaries, and prophets. All mix uncomfortably in the decaying city, and the Elders (as the “native” Kindred call themselves, regardless of age) struggle just to maintain some semblance of peace. When the Prince does intervene, his wrath is legendary. But, more often, he chooses not to.  And for every new vampire who is permitted into the city, another is lost forever thanks to the constant violence.

With that out of the way, it’s time to focus on our new PC. I know a few things going into this. First, per request, the character will be of the Nosferatu Clan. They are a particularly loathsome breed of vampires, whose appearance is uniformly revolting and horrifying. Secondly, I want the character to be somewhat different from Hanson. If Hanson is the classic pulp “tough as nails” P.I., I want this character to play and act as something else. Not sure what, yet, just not Hanson.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Threat, reassessed

With the A Lonely Hope story having come to a close, I'm thinking about where I want to go next in my Solo journey. I definitely enjoyed the heck out of playing Hanson, but there were some growing pains involved in it. The "Scarlet Rules," as a base line, worked out pretty well I thought. Though I did run into some issues with the Threat element of the mechanics.

Now, these rules are of course taken from Kevin Crawford's Scarlet Heroes, an excelled OSR style game. In those rules, Threat is, roughly, related to the character's level. Well, that may not be entirely accurate, but it's close enough for now--I recommend checking out the book on it's own, as it's really an excellent game in its own right. The point is, for my game, I altered how Threat was determined and utilized, to better reflect Vampire and how its mechanics are implemented.

My changes worked decently, but not wondrously, so I want to tweak them a bit. One of the challenges is that Vampire is not a strict level-based system. And so judging challenges and risks is far more of an art than a science, and is entirely subjective based on the character in question. A bad ass Brujah might dominate in a given fight, but fail miserably trying to convince someone to change sides in a struggle. A highly social Ventrue might have the exact opposite problem.

So, instead of assigning a fixed die pool or difficulty derived from Threat, I've decided to use it as subjective guide compared to the character in question. Threat values will still be determined by 1d10, divided in half.

NPC Compared to PC
Difficulty changes for fixed values
Significantly worse
-2 (Default 4)
Slightly worse
-1 (Default 5)
Roughly equal
0 (Default 6)
Slightly better
+1 (Default 7)
Significantly better
+2 (Default 8)

I think this setup is a bit more useful and accurate to the play style that I ended up using. It still allows for extreme danger, as there are times when "Threat +2" comes up as an option in the charts. This at least gives the PC a chance to succeed.

I originally thought of using "2" as the baseline for the levels, with 5 being extremely better than the PC, making for some really intense challenges. But, the +2's still have their place in such cases. Also, in theory this should give each Story it's own flavor--in Story A the Physical Threat is minor, but the Social one is rough, while in Story B it's the Mental Threat that's the real challenge. It's possible that there will be times when the Threat is low across the board, but not every story needs to bring the PC to the point of death, and a less lethal story can still challenge the character morally and personally. Also, in such cases, the minimal experience gained should help balance them against the more extreme stories.

Or, maybe I'll throw the whole thing out and start from scratch. We'll see.  

A Lonely Hope

A Lonely Hope was a Solo Vampire: The Masquerade I played between October 2017 and February 2018. While I have done Vampire games before, A Lonely Hope was a bit of an experiment. For this game, I combined the "urban adventure" rules from the Kevin Crawfords Scarlet Heroes game with Vampire. The result, while rather scatter shot, did end up creating a pretty tense and thrilling pulp-style game.

A Simple Plan, Scene 2

A Simple Plan Scene 2 I got out of there as fast as I could. No one seemed to be pursuing me, and I'm not sure I blame ...