I’m starting a new game soon for a new group of players. Well, they’re fairly new—they played a few games of D&D a few years or so ago, but it’s a group I haven’t played with in a while. I’ve decided to run them in Vampire: The Masquerade, which is one of my favorite games of all time. Two of the players were cool with “whatever” and they just wanted to play. The other one is slightly leery of non-D&D games, due to experiences he had with his previous group from a while ago, but is willing to give it a shot. I told him that if we weren’t all loving it after two or three sessions, we’d wrap it up and play D&D instead.
Now, I’ve had an idea for a setting in mind for a while—a “Casablanca” like setting. A “Sanctuary City.” A place where criminals, anarchs, traitors and diabolists have gathered after being exiled from their homes. I had ideas for a complex social structure and for a different take on the World of Darkness, once that brought inter-city conflicts and rivalries to the forefront.
But then I realized that, as cool of a setting that might be, it wouldn’t really work with these players. Two of them have never played Vampire before. The one that has played it has only played in “odd” games—I ran her through Alien Hunger (where the players are the result of a lab experiment) and a Dark Ages game from Transylvania Chronicles, where the focus was on the module and on the various Roads the characters played. None of them have ever been in a “straight” Vampire game. It wouldn’t make much sense to place them in a setting that subverted or otherwise played with the tropes and concepts of the setting if none of them had any idea of what the tropes where.
So, I decided to do the opposite. Strip away everything that has built up around Vampire over the years and focus on what makes the game awesome. I’m talking real, hard core 1st Edition Vampire type stuff. Childer vs. Sires, Anarchs vs. Elders. The Prince needs to be a Ventrue, and an arrogant, scheming, manipulative asshole. The Anarch leader needs to be a violent, idealistic, psychopathic asshole. The Tremere Regent needs to be a cold and calculating asshole.
Basically, the elders need to be assholes, and the bad guys. The game needs to be about the characters, their hopes and dreams and goals, and how the very existence of these dreams and desires enrages the elders and drives them to paroxysms of rage.
So, that’s going to by new setting. I’m not sure what city I want to use yet, or exactly what NPC’s I plan to use—but that, after all, is the point of this blog.