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About Villon

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    Acolyte of the Shadow
  • Birthday 05/14/1977

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  1. Requiem for Rome

    Thanks for the answer, Wood. Does it matter? It does, to some extent. At the end of the day, you are perfectly right: it's our game to me and my players, and as ST, I make the final choices as to what brings the most entertainment to the game table. The question as to what exactly is the most entertaining for everyone around the table, along with the always important question of time management for a game master, is what matters here. I may come up with some ideas that are fine in and by themselves to discover that RFR comes up with some much better, if conflicting, ideas. I would then have wasted some valuable time working on things the RFR book already does in a much better way. If I can avoid that kind of waste of time by asking this question on a message board, more power to me, wouldn't you say? If I create a bunch of Ventrue NPCs to discover the Ventrue Clan doesn't exist in RFR, that's a potential waste of time if the proto-clan included in the book fits the setting much better. There's also the underlaying idea of the players' expectations. Players wanting to play Requiem for Rome might expect something I would not provide if I was screwing too much with this or that aspect of the background provided in the book. I might have some players at my table who buy the book and get really excited about something in there to discover during preliminary discussions or preludes that their character concept is not going to work in "my" version of the setting. I can refuse or change stuff, sure, but screwing with the players' expectations is like venturing on unstable ground vis a vis their enjoyment of the game, this enjoyment being my ultimate goal along with my own entertainment running it. So yeah. It's all about resource management. Management of time, ideas and expectations for a greater pleasure of everyone involved in the game. In other words, prep work.
  2. Necessary NPCs

    There are many ways to organize the city. Twists on known hierarchies are always interesting, if they remain believable of course. What you need is a body that represents the authority in the city. Who's in charge? It can obviously be a Prince and a Primogen, but that's not automatically the case. For instance, my version of Paris is a bit of a cross-over. The Prince was ruling with the help of the Primogen (or Peers of the Kingdom) and the Council of Major Arcana of Mages. When the Prince disappeared in 1968, so strong was the Pact that organized the Kingdom of France that the Peers and Council went on ruling Paris itself while the Dukes of the Kingdom became more independent. Anyway... you need to know who's in charge. Then, you need to know who/what covenants/factions/individuals support the ruler(s), and who/what opposes him. That's what really matters. The rest is icing on the cake: who enforces the laws of the ruler? Who punishes opponents? Who speaks for him/her? It can be the same person in some cases, and in other cases these will be separate individuals. Just think of what makes sense to you as it relates to the city's feel and history and most importantly, what potentially creates the greatest dramatic effect for the game itself.
  3. Requiem for Rome

    Sure, that too. Let me put it this way: if I come up with Sejanus as a Ventrue NPC who controls say... a group of vampires lobbying within the Camarilla for position of powers and will become part of the future Invictus, then get RFR and read in there that they made Sejanus the Mekhet Herald in Rome... I'm going to have to make choices I would prefer not to have to make. So I'm wondering what level of detail there is in the book as far as "Rome by Night is concerned". See what I mean?
  4. Requiem for Rome

    That's the answer I was afraid of getting. And yeah, I can totally see what you're talking about here, about the research. You're talking to a guy who grew up with stuff like the Last Days of Pompeii, I Claudius and such (not even talking of the mythology) ! I ought to know that by now. *grin* That said, I've done some fair amount of campaign research already and am now in the process of combing Gibbon's works for potential NPCs, plot hooks and the like. I'm just wondering how far I can get into the creation of "City of the Damned: Rome" without jeopardizing/contradicting the information included in "Requiem for Rome".
  5. Requiem for Rome

    I'm deep into the preparation of our Requiem for Rome PbP. At this point, what I really would like to know is whether it contains a sort of "by Night" description of Rome itself or not. Like main factions, NPCs and such of the Eternal City. Could someone answer this question for me (Wood?) ?
  6. Requiem for Rome

    Yes, I am ecstatic about Requiem for Rome. I started watching I, Claudius again. I'm rereading In The Name of Rome of Goldsworthy, I'm about to start The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire of Gibbon, I already started prospecting for a play-by-post game I would run and got five players already... so yeah... I'm totally psyched!
  7. I think theory is just that: theory. Good RP theory comes from practice, and tries to analyze the practice so that future RPG publications become more efficient practically (i.e. more fun for its users). Putting theory before practice is IMO a huge mistake, and any theory that would lose this ultimate goal to become a self-fulfilling system would be useless in the long run. So is theory useful for the gamer and the designer? Yes, so long as you remember it's about improving practice, nothing else.
  8. Just to be clear: I'm no Forge fan either! Gaming theory is just that. Theory. What I'm talking about here is practice and what people actually do with this or that rule, concept, name or idea and how that's put into action for beneficial or harmful effects on the resulting game. Just so we are on the same page. I'm definitely more like you on this Jos. What I do to to get the "thematic agreement" your friend's talking about is just to have a preliminary session/brainstorming where I basically lay out the idea for the next Chronicle as ST and then ask the players what they'd like to get out of the game. We all talk about what we'd like, the characters we'd want, and so on, and that's where I get the feel of what the guys want and how it connects with what I want from the game. That's something I always try to keep in mind while running the game, and it influences how I improvise, obviously, to suit the needs and wants of everyone around the table. But yeah... all that to say, I'd probably be frustrated at your friend's table. I hate linear games where the ST just runs the show and inhibits everything you'd want to do as a player because that would not fit "his vision". Oh and one last thing: it's all about trust. Role-playing games are all about trust, dammit! (pardon my French). I'm the kind of guy who seriously believes that a game master not trusting the players has fundamentally no business running the game in the first place, should step down from GMing/STing and give the reigns to someone who will be better suited to the players' style. If the guy doesn't want to make compromises to have fun together, then he has no business being at the game table in the first place... see my drift?
  9. There's a very interesting brainstorm going on about Jekyll and Hyde in a Promethean fashion over at the WW boards. I think all of you guys would be interested in it, so if you haven't read already, here's the link : http://forums.white-wolf.com/viewtopic.php?t=59864 Good stuff.
  10. Well, names have a power of suggestion and describe something that can be accurate or not accurate, Inhumu (very cool pseudo by the way ! ). So terms are not pointless, or at least, they aren't for everyone. They have a concrete effect on what some people understand to be the meaning or definition of the thing considered. That's why I think terms like "storytelling" and "storyteller" are wrongly used to describe the "guy in front of the players" in the RPG social interaction. Or rather, I understand the pseudo-historical connection (running games like storytellers told their stories around campfires), but the implication of the terms can lead to a misunderstanding of the attributes and functions of the guy who runs the game. But you're right nonetheless : we're basically all talking (and agreeing) about the same thing here !
  11. I think the main things it takes are some experience and a shift in the way you consider your prep work and the actual game. 1/ Some experience, like Mr. Gone just pointed out, to be able to roll with the unexpected and appear as if you're perfectly fine (the players might think at first that you planned it all along, but just as you come to know them, they will come to know you, and will know that you are just experienced and roll with their stuff, which they will like. The trick is: they won't know what's prepared and what isn't and the game will thus feel more believable to them, which is the point of the whole thing really). 2/ A shift in the definition of the prep work and actual purpose of the game. The prep work's destination is to provide game elements and their associations with each other to the ST to be able to run the game. These game elements can be events, clues, situations, NPCs, groups and factions, handouts and so on. A basic frame or notion of the way these game elements relate to each other (A leads to B who talks about place C where you can find NPC D etc.) is needed, but certainly not a rigid description of how these game elements ought to follow each other or ought to happen. Then, a redefinition of the actual purpose of the game, and I guess that's what you are trying to talk about in this thread, Temple: the notion that the game does not "tell a story". It does not. What it does is play out actual events as they occur. The story, if there's any, is what results from the game once the Chronicle is over. What the people involved will tell people who weren't there later. That's why the terms of "Storytelling" and "Storyteller" are serious misnomers to me: they foster that idea that the Game Master/Mediator/Referee (whatever you want to call it)'s actual goal is to "tell a story". It is not. The goal is to run a good, satisfying (whether that means immersing, believable, stress-relieving, drama or action heavy game is up for grabs and will depend with the players and STs involved) game of role-playing interactions for everyone involved. HUGE nuance. The rest is methodology. How to organize the notes, what to prep and not to prep, how to run the game, and so on.
  12. I think it depends mostly on the ST, but we do agree on pretty much everything here. The key word of my intervention here was in fact "definite" in "Writing a chronicle with a definite beginning, middle and end is bad advice. No question about it." You sure, as ST, can get to know your players well, or know what general tendencies might be at work in their playstyles, character styles, group dynamics and so on. With these ideas in mind, you sure can come up with some cool ideas, events, settings, NPCs that could come into play at some point, triggered by the PCs actions, but my point here is that it might, just might not, come into play, and a good ST usually rolls with it, takes the unexpected as boon rather than hindrance for his game-running skills. I'd say that the art of chronicle planning involves a fair amount of guess-work on the ST's part. Guessing what players and their characters might be interested in, how they might deal with that situation or NPC, and keeping in mind that this is all guess work. A good, satisfying Chronicle for all the participants involved will surely grow organically from the interaction of PCs and ST, from the in-game "now", rather than the prep notes, or out-of-game "ST wishes", even though they form a necessary ground work to build the actual Chronicling-edifice.
  13. I agree with the OP to some extent. Writing a chronicle with a definite beginning, middle and end is bad advice. No question about it. Developing an interactive setting with some amount of detail however, this may or may not be good, depending on the types of players you have at your table. Personally, what I have is a background, historical events that occurred in and around the area considered (Paris in my case), tons of fully detailed NPCs, but all that stuff is a snapshot, a painting that comes alive only when a PC interacts with it for the first time in the game (maybe even before that depending on previous actions of the PC). Anyway... my point is, I have a detailed setting, some ideas of the types of secrets and backstabbing and histories that might be found, and from there, I let the PCs do whatever they want: they want to focus on discovering what this NPC's story is? Create a reputation for themselves? Destroy or join this or that faction? Et cetera. Whatever they do, they interact with the milieu, and it comes alive, it's set in motion by their actions. The more the Chronicle goes, the more it's believable, the more stuff happens, the more the NPCs react to the PCs, the more they deal with the consequences of their previous actions, the more they know about the place and its people... and so on, and so forth. But really, if there's one thing that's got to be hammered over and over, it's this idea that writing a detailed plot for your Chronicle including a middle and an end that would have to be met/played a certain way to be able to consider said Chronicle "a success" is really, really BAD advice.
  14. Purpose in Prometheans?

    An interesting theory would be that the human race was, at its very beginning, unnatural to the Earth itself. Pyros was transmuted to create the first "real" humans. Maybe at the time of Atlantis, when beings of Pyros/Essence started to populate the world, part of the experiments that went on was to alter the Pyros to make it compliant with Nature. To understand the material world, the Axis Mundi and its properties. It created humans in time, but maybe the experiments were frowned upon by some of the Atlanteans, like say... Prometheus himself. Maybe he started a revolt that resulted in the Sinking of Atlantis and allowed humans to be free from the influence of the supernal realms to go in the world and multiply. Maybe the process of becoming Awakened is reforging a bond with the lost Pyros or somehow creates an echo of its transcendental particularities. Maybe the links between Pyros and Essence are much closer than we think. Pyros would be a particular, unnatural state of Essence manifested on this world to create conscience and through evolution would need to be put in phase with Nature, thus transmuting the Azoth into a Human soul. One could go far with this. The idea is a patchwork of the themes I use in my own Chronicle, but hey... It's up to what you want from your Chronicle and making sense of it, really.
  15. What would you rather play?

    The Brood for me too. I just reread the sourcebook, and it's just full of ideas for cool characters.