Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Initial Thoughts and Plans -- Great World of Darkness Chronicle

"A plan is just a list of things that don't happen."
Parker The Way of the Gun

Before I begin this mammoth undertaking, I want to spend a few moments collecting my thoughts and figuring out exactly how I intend to do the "Great World of Darkness Chronicle." It's easy to get lost with something like this, and having some rough guidelines will hopefully help keep things clear for everyone. Obviously, these are just my current thoughts, and they will naturally evolve as I get a better grasp of what it is that I hope to accomplish with the Chronicle. If I start straying too far from this, I'll stop to make clear what I'm changing and why. So, in no particular order, here's where I'm currently at.

This will be a Solo game.
Probably not a surprise, since this is something of a sequel/expansion on my Let's Play Alien Hunger series. But, there is a question of why I'm doing it this way, rather than a standard table top game. First, there is the matter of time. I'm already running a Vampire Chronicle, but that one is straying pretty far from the "canon" of the World of Darkness. And I'm playing in a long running D&D campaign as well. I lack the time to engage in something this massive with other players. And that's one of the appeal, to me, of Solo gaming. I can do it when the kids are asleep or whenever else the time presents itself. In addition, and more importantly, it's rewarding in a different way than standard role-playing, allowing me to challenge myself and push my creativity in different ways, regardless of me being a Player or a Storyteller.

Not sure what Solo gaming is? I had planned to write my own introduction to it, but RPGReady has a a better take on it than I could do. Check it out here. Of course, most of their examples are fantasy based; to get an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish, here's my Alien Hunger series.

This will be a group game
Unlike a typical Solo game, this Chronicle will feature few, if any "one player" stories. Not so much for the difficulty, as White Wolf modules are rarely "deadly," but more for the emulated experience. As the characters age and the world changes, how the coteries interact with each other becomes the emotional glue that keeps the game functioning.

As such, I will be using the "PC Emulator" idea, which I first heard about via Lone Crusader. In short, the characters themselves will be semi-randomized, as I use the GM Emulator to help direct how they respond to the events they experience. Of course, any results so attained will be filtered through the characters current situation, Nature, Demeanor, Concept, Virtues, and Path. This helps to keep things fresh and exciting for me, and is actually an element of Solo gaming I've brought into my standard games, at least as a player.

There will be multiple coteries (packs, chantries, etc.)
One can certainly run the Chronicle with a single group of players. Heck, merging the Transylvania Chronicles and the Giovanni Chronicles is a long standing tradition among Vampire Storytellers. Here is a great example of what outline to follow to accomplish this. But, each Chronicle has their own themes and struggles, and I want to keep them separate, at least to an extent. So, there will be a Transylvania Coterie, a Giovanni Coterie, and a British Coterie (mainly following Clash of Wills and the Ventrue Chronicles). Inevitably, these groups will overlap or at least come into conflict with one another. But, each will have their own struggles and challenges, and will attempt to influence the flow of history.

This will be an "ironman" Chronicle
No character should be so important that they can't die, and the dice will fall where they may.

In my dreams, by the time Gehenna rolls around, there will be only a few PC's left, some young and new, others the last survivors of a millennial long conflict. I naturally won't go out of my way to kill off the characters. Well, unless we get to the end and I have an absurd number of characters left.

There will be an introduction before each Story
To help deal with the sheer quantity of characters and plots being dealt with, each Story will have its own introduction. This will either introduce the PC's and explain who they are, why they are together, and what they're up to. Or, if the PC's have had a previous Story, this will serve as a reminder of who they are and provide an update of what they've been up to since we last saw them. I'll also include the credits for the Story being told (author, original book, link to drivethrurpg to purchase it, etc.).

Character creation will be randomized
I hate optimized characters--I want them to have a bit more flavor and interest than the "ideal" allows. I want my Brujah to be scholarly recluses, my Tremere to be fool hardy men of action, and my Gangrel to be charismatic con-men. I'll be using a variety of tools for this (Central Casting, Universal NPC Emulator, the Masquerade Players Kit, etc.), but hopefully each character will end up at least somewhat unique. So, if you're wondering why anyone would build a Ventrue who is so bad at Dominate, well, there you go. Not every Ventrue is the same.

I won't post how I came up with each character, just know that if they aren't an already established NPC is the Stories, then they're probably created randomly. The exception to this will be cases where the Story demands certain types of characters, or does not allow certain ones. For example, there has to be a Ventrue in the Ventrue Chronicles series of Stories.

I will skip the boring bits
One of my maxims when running a game is "the game does not begin until the players can make meaningful decisions."  The worst element of any game for me, either as a player or as the GM, is the seemingly legally required "briefing."  You know, the scenes where the characters are brought before a powerful NPC who gives them the quest and orders to not fail them. They may only haggle in one extremely particular way, or else suffer dire consequences--thought, not so dire that they won't be able to do the quest. It's boring, and tedious, and I'll probably just gloss over sections where the PC's can't do anything.

For some of these, this might result in skipping a significant chunk of the Story. Ah, White Wolf and their love of railroads...

Once the Stories begin, this will be a "standard" Solo game
I'll be using Mythic as my GM emulator. Once the Story begins (generally after the boring bits), the game can fall in any direction, based on the typical Mythic rules and the characters actions. Naturally, I'll try to use the material provided as best I can, but the Stories may end up quite different from what is published.

Spoilers are to be assumed
This is not a review of the Stories that compose the Chronicle. This is a blow-by-blow "Let's Play" of them. I'll include a standard spoiler warning in each introduction, but such things should be unneeded.

My grammar and spelling suck
Yes, I am aware. There is a damn good reason why I decided to not be an English major long ago when I was at University. I do try my best, and I will gladly fix any errors. They'll probably seem glaringly obvious to you, but I always miss things. I do proofread before I publish these. For all the good it does me...

Alright, enough talking about what I want to do. Let's get to it! We'll begin in the next post, as a group of young vampires are about to receive a commission from the undead lord of London...

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