Saturday, 30 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 30: Best Storyteller You've Had

And finally...

To complete the Challenge, the best Storyteller I’ve had...

Well, here I point out I’m almost always the ST, not a player.

But I can kind of cheat.

This is me with Vampire: The Masquerade lead creator Mark Rein-Hagen, shortly before I got to play a demo of his new RPG I AM ZOMBIE.

But that wasn’t Vampire, so...

Friday, 29 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 29: Favourite Supplement

I’m more than a little tempted just to link back to the Favourite City/Setting post, as Chicago By Night and Damnation City are both classics. But I may as well use my soapbox to speak up for something else while I’m up on it.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 28: History

Where do vampires come from? (And where are they going?) Was Caine real? How about Longinus? Who were your characters’ sires’ sires? And who was in charge of your chronicle’s city before the current prince?

As a big history and mythology geek, this kind of thing tends to interest me.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 27: City Design

City design is sort of a follow-up post to Favourite City/Setting - especially since my favourite Requiem city is a city design book.

So go check out Damnation City, whatever game you prefer. Come back when you have. ;)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 26: Favourite Discipline

Janet makes a strong argument for Protean in her post on this topic - it’s a classic, straight outta Dracula, everything in it is cool. I’ve seen Gleam Of Red Eyes used to destroy the morale of entire gangs.

Doesn’t really fit my general Near Dark side of low-key creepy Vampire, though...

Monday, 25 November 2013

The stuff that dreams are made of

The Maltese Falcon sells at auction for three and a half million dollars.

The film prop. Not an actual 16th century artefact.

Which seems more likely.

Vampire Challenge 25: Broods And Coteries

Or, Player Character Groups And Other Groups Of Vampires.

One thing established early on is that vampires are solitary, but they maintain some social and political connections to one another. Without that there wouldn’t be much room for a group of PCs. But do your NPC Kindred follow suit?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 24: Favourite Background

Backgrounds in Masquerade (mostly folded into Merits in Requiem) are things that provide PCs with help but aren’t directly part of them, from people they know to the contents of their bank accounts. (Apart from Generation.) Backgrounds keep them safe, help with hunting and provide a variety of ways to react to plot hooks.

They are often used as plot hooks themselves - sometimes more than they should be, as Mentors and Allies and Retainers the players have paid for should be helpful more often than they need helping, or it gets a bit like “stop hitting yourself” bullying from the Storyteller. This is where loner PCs with no friends or family come from. Backgrounds are designed to key the PCs into the world around them, so should not be abused...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 23: Virtues And Degeneration

Humanity caps certain behaviours, discouraging the most pragmatic and ruthless solutions as letting the Beast take sway, punishing acts in Frenzy as much as any other as a constant reminder not to lose control.

Friday, 22 November 2013


Siats meekerorum is the kind of dinosaur discovery that the news likes best - Like A T-Rex But Bigger!

That name is not gonna cut it, though. “Syats Meeker Or Um”?

Vampire Challenge 22: Feeding And The Hunt

And here it is - the thing that makes Vampire, Vampire.

And it’s so easy to skip over.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thor: The Dark World

You’ve probably seen this by now if you wish to, but I’ll put in a jump for spoilers anyway.

Darkness falls across the land... the midnight hour is close at hand...

Another entertainment anniversary you may not have noticed in the runup to Doctor Who turning 50 - the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, directed by John Landis, which went a long way to making zombies mainstream.

Vampire Challenge 21: Harpies And Social Games

As well as human society, Vampire characters have to deal with their own. And their own society is not a healthy one.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Oh no, I've been snatched by a troll! Again.

Pretty and annoyingly difficult Chrome browser minigames for The Hobbit.

Transmissions from the Descent underground

Darker Days podcast talks Demon: The Descent, GMC and Dark Eras with Rose and Matt.

“You are an angel who defected to the human race.”

The Elizabethan Vampire: The Requiem chapter is set the year Christopher Marlowe dies...

A quest for members!

The trailer for the RPGnet membership drive is unnecessarily exciting.

Vampire Challenge 20: Princes, Primogen, Prisci And Power

When Todd composed this list, this post argued for the original Masquerade use of Primogen as whoever advises and (theoretically) supports the Prince, rather than the later standard of a representative body of elders from each clan. Kindred: The Embraced has an example of this kind of board, complete with a clan leader who really can’t be said to support the Prince at all.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 19: Boons And Social Obligations

Even in the largest city, vampire society is small enough that it can rely on a barter economy, and mortal money and goods are easily acquired (although not so easily acquired consistently, which is where the Resources Background comes in) so favours are of value. What can you do that will bring some in, what can other Kindred do that you may need, and how can you avoid ending up in someone’s debt for hunting on the wrong block?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Make Your Story Legend

Someone at Wizards just came up with a really nice pitch for D&D, and RPGs in general. Good work, Wizards.

Vampire Challenge 18: Favourite Story Archetype

When in doubt, have a vampire screw up.

Mix this in with plots that should be attributed to malice rather than stupidity, of course, but not all your NPCs should be super-competent all the time.

You probably have several vampires who are liable to screw up at the table, but you have a cityful of potential screw-ups waiting to happen. Botching that Hunting role isn’t just for PCs.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 16: Favourite Theme

This may not be a big shock to those reading up this point...

By becoming a monster, one learns what it is to be human.
Vampire: The Masquerade

Friday, 15 November 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 14: Favourite Alternate Setting

In the original D&D Challenge this meant things like Planescape and Ravenloft, published settings that changed the game substantially, something Vampire doesn’t really have - just Masquerade, Requiem, and the historical settings for each. Although there are a few exceptions, like the four versions of Gehenna and the suggestions for radical changes in World Of Darkness: Mirrors and The Danse Macabre.

And of course the different editions, notably the way the Sabbat moves in Masquerade from a shadowy unknown threat to a playable supervillain horde to a realpolitik sect not so different from the Camarilla. Groups resembling all three styles appear in Requiem: VII, Belial’s Brood and the Lancea et Sanctum.

What else might you change?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 13: Favourite Chronicle Concept

The basic shape of a Vampire game tends to change with the number of players, moving from the personal and emotional to the political and practical. Were I to pick one, I’d probably go for the former, as it’s more unusual among RPGs. There’s room for personal plots and big emotional scenes in bigger groups, but not as much.

The night has its price.
Near Dark

So that’s my pick. Throw a small number of neonates, or a few mortals as well, into the mix and see how much trouble they can get into. Which is usually “a lot”. Throw in an autocratic Prince, an asshole Sheriff, some hunters ready to pick off the weak, and some human loved ones, allow to come to the boil, stand well back.

Maybe just a tad influenced by Never Let Go.

Credit cards at the ready...

Demon: The Descent deluxe edition - already Kickstarted.

Cthulhu Britannica: London boxed set - nearly there.

After The Storm bundle for Doctors Without Borders going to the Philippines, containing Esoterrorists and BASH! and Candlewick Manor and more.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Monday, 11 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 11: Craziest Thing That’s Happened That You Saw

Craziest Thing That’s Happened That You Saw (to party/character/your players etc)

I hear stories about Vampire and other World of Darkness games sometimes and wonder how these things happen. Ask a New Bremen player about the Godzilla Incident sometime...

But here’s one example which is crazy in a cool way and I can recite pretty much verbatim over fifteen years later.

Don’t you hate that? 
Hate what? 
Uncomfortable silences. 
Pulp Fiction

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 10: Favourite Character You Haven’t Played

Hmm. A character I have and have never had a chance to play... or a character I’ve seen someone else play?

What the heck, let’s do both.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Answers on a postcard...

The Cthulhu Britannica London box set approaches, and in advance of the Kicking Starting, asks that we advise Neve Selcibuc what she should do in the Capital after her recent travails up here north of the Border. I am sure a trip to the Museum or a rummage around an old bookshop or two will do no harm at all. Ahem.

Vampire Challenge 9: Favourite Character You Have Played

Wait... I’m supposed to be a player?

Okay, I have actually played various Vampire games over the years as well as running them, but I may have to sneak an NPC in here too.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 5: Favourite Dice / Merchandise / Props

This was originally Favourite Set Of Dice / Individual Die. Which I have very little to say about. I don’t have many superstitions about dice, and only rarely buy them for the ooh, pretty factor. I got a set of original Vampire: The Masquerade dice (with a rose instead of a one) but never really used them, going for plain black with white lettering by default so I can generally tell which are mine.

So I’ll run off in a slightly different direction and talk about merchandise and props in general.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Panem Tours

A nice bit of satirical worldbuilding for The Hunger Games, glossy travel ads for the twelve Districts with a subtle (or not, in the case of District 2) hint of their dystopian wrongness.

Vampire Challenge 4: Favourite City/Setting

I’m going to presume published settings here - I’d rather you check out some books, which helped me define my settings as well. One very old school, one bang up to date and useful for either Vampire game, or a good guide for any city-based game.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 3: Favourite Non-Camarilla Clan / Bloodline

Clans for Masquerade, Bloodlines for Requiem. With six Clans and dozens of Bloodlines to choose from, I’ll cover all of the former and not all of the latter...

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 2: Favourite Camarilla / Core Clan

In which I ramble a bit about the idea of clans in Vampire: The Masquerade, and Camarilla versus other ones, and compare the clans for Vampire: The Requiem too, before I choose favourites.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 1: How You Got Started

As it happens, I already have an article on this very topic here. Having gotten into gaming via the Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf gamebooks, first GMed when I was eleven or so, preferring less hefty systems and being a bit of a gothy-vampire-y-stuff nerd already, I was near the middle of the target for Vampire: The Masquerade from the start...

But since you can read that over there, some added content about that first game I ran.

Vampire 30 Day Challenge

As started here by Todd Rokely after the equivalent D&D challenge, and popularised by Classic WOD writer Janet Trautvetter here, a month-long challenge to write a bit about Vampire: The Masquerade (not the World Of Darkness in general) and Vampire: The Requiem as well, along the following lines: