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About JanetT

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    Acolyte of the Shadow

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  1. Chicago

    Actual clubs in Chicago (mostly north side) include: Exit Excaliber Crobar Neo Deja vu oh, heck, here's the whole list of goth clubs...... Personally, I find it helpful to use as much of the real city as possible -- it grounds the setting in reality, which in turn gives a stronger sense of reality to the supernatural elements. Besides, it cuts down on the actual work load of creating a whole setting from scratch.... That being said, we added some clubs also... (thinks) there was one called Distorted Image (detailed in the Chicago core book).... and I added a goth club called the Skullery in Three Shades of Night, designed inside to look like a gothic cathedral crypt, with vaulting (fake) stone pillars and crypts in the walls, and of course, artfully placed electric candlelight, to give that necessary spooky shadowy feel....
  2. Maxwell's Minions

    Loki quickly says "No relation!" and looks horrified at the very thought....
  3. Requiem's Art Direction is utterly inept.

    Spelling errors would fall as much on the developer and editor (and the writer). I don't imagine the art director reads the text; he/she would deal with it in blocks, not as words. And as someone who's done layout (the old fashioned way, however, not on a computer -- it's been a few years... er, decades...) I can tell you that when you're dealing with text in blocks and columns, you literally don't see the words. I've misspelled words I was hand-lettering, because I was so focused on the letters I could not see the word. However, none of that excuses sloppy production, it just spreads the responsibility further. I can see some typos getting by (some always do), and there are some a spell-checker won't catch, but three obvious ones in one sentence.... That should have been all fixed before it ever GOT to the production phase. I don't have any of the books in question (don't have a need to collect any more Requiem supplements), so can't comment on anything else.
  4. Three Shades of Night - coming soon!

    Oh? What are they doing in the main Chicago book? I don't remember anything like that in the drafts I saw.... (So I guess that's a "probably not...") My log-in hasn't worked on the White Wolf forums in months... (I've been hiding on the Exalted forums... and other places. Loki's been rather annoyed at me ever since the ... well, never mind.)
  5. Sorcerer (I don't remember your monicker on this board, sorry!) just pointed out that the cover to Three Shades of Night, the World of Darkness: Chicago fiction anthology, is up on White Wolf's site. (I knew it would be the same cover as the Chicago book, I just knew it....) Regretfully, none of those fine monsters of the night on the cover actually appear in the book. But a number of other very interesting ones do. Three Shades of Night consists of three interlocking novellas, one for Vampire (by me), one for Werewolf (by Sarah Roark) and one for Mage (by Myranda Kalis). Each story stands alone. Each story overlaps with the others -- and together they tell a far larger story. Something is rising in Chicago, a foreboding shadowy presence that is greater and more dangerous than any Kindred, Uratha or Awakened. The last time it rose, Chicago burned. This time.... it could be much, much worse.
  6. What was your first thought...

    Well, I'm in the website support business, so my first thought was, "uh-oh, technical difficulties!" But the error message page was clearly still Mortekai's server, so I wasn't really worried about the "suspension" part. And then I saw the somewhat more specific note on the error page and got the email (and heard from Morlandus). Glad it's back though -- I missed it this week!
  7. Shadownessence 2006 Discussion

    In the grand scheme of things, $100/month is not very much money -- it should be possible to get donations to cover that, even if it's $5 here, or $20 there. So long as members know when it's needed (and that little progress report graphic showing money needed this month, next month, end of the year is VERY nice for that), it seems S'n'E folks are willing to chip in to keep this site running and allow for the new developments to continue... I'm looking forward to what's coming in 2006!
  8. This is messed up...

    Sounds like a clever ploy to encourage people to buy books and try things out -- just as many gaming stores offer space for gaming or sponsor competitions, etc. It provides an introduction to a product (whether gaming or something else) for people who might be interested, but don't have the experience or social network or inclination to get involved in it otherwise. Because let's face it, you can't play non-computer RPGs by yourself.... Not a bad idea, really. Would be interesting to see what other courses they've put together to introduce people to various book genres or subject areas.
  9. Mage Runes/Glyphs/Sigils?

    One of the things I liked about the Mage book is its extensive use of Atlantean runic symbols -- not only for orders, paths and arcana, but for each and every rote printed in the book. Now, granted, White Wolf has always been rather big on logos and symbols for its various games. But these Atlantean runes have the added advantage of providing some rather neat visual props as well. Can you imagine providing a prop to the players that they then have to research to figure out what the symbols written on it mean -- and then what they signify in that combination? (But then, I'm the person who bought the Exalted Players Guide just for the Realm script alphabets in the back....)
  10. Oh! My! God!

    You should see the rants posted by working teachers on the American (liberal) political blogs. The nefarious No Child Left Behind Act (translated: Let's Fail All The Schools with Stupid Tests So We Can Use That Money For Privitizing Education) has put far too much emphasis on test scores and not much support at all to schools who are actually trying to TEACH the kids something. The public school systems are in trouble all across the country. Sorry to hear that's happening in other countries too... Out of curiousity, when you were discussing proficiency in English classes - for how many of you is that English as in native language and how many is it the second, third or fourth language? American school systems seem to universally believe that learning a foreign language is something only the college bound kids are smart enough to do, or have any need to -- and they only need to actually be conversant in one if they "plan to teach it some day" (which is hogwash, as most schools will hire a native speaker over a non-native every time). And yet in pretty much every European school system I've heard about, teaching foreign languages (English and others) is standard cirriculum and starts in elementary school. Which is why all the Scandinavians I've met are so fluent in English... The brain is a flexible muscle (okay, not literally, but you know what I mean). To keep it limber, you need to exercise it. And roleplaying games can be quite an exercise! I could rant on the school systems for hours, so I'll shut up now....
  11. War of the Magi

    Old proverb: It is wrong to keep a dragon chained for roasting your meat. (Source: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels) Meaing: Using magic when you can get the same result using mundane means and tools is overkill and wasteful -- potentially dangerous. In other words, if you can accomplish your goal using Sleeper agents or non-magical tricks and a well-laid plan, then do it -- save the magic for when mundane means won't do the job. Mundane means are also harder to trace back to YOU, which might be of supreme importance.
  12. World of Darkness: Chicago

    Just as an aside: The Hull House Haunts and their totem were originally created by Sarah Roark for the fiction anthology Three Shades of Night that goes with Chicago (which will hopefully be out in another month or two) -- you might want to wait and see how that spirit works in context. (The authors of the Werewolf section of Chicago were kind enough to include them in the sourcebook as well). Not all spirits need be recognizable humanoid or animal forms. And in the WoD, there's garbage and then there's... well, garbage. The question might be, does the spirit appear as garbage because that's what it is, or because as long as its territory is polluted, that's the only form it can manifest as? (thinking of the highly-polluted river spirit in Spirited Away for a moment there....) Given where the pack and their totem are based, which is near some really depressing and ugly (and trash-filled, in more ways than one) projects, some of which are abandoned and some being torn down, the spirit's appearance could indicate a lot of other things.... less easily defined and a lot scarier than meets the eye.
  13. War of the Magi

    I didn't get the impression that the Chicago mage war was fought with huge massed battles -- I suspect that it took place over a period of months to years, a series of altercations that gradually grew worse and worse, increasing in severity until you basically had every cabal out for itself. Possibly the remnants of two or three cabals banded together to take out one of the others that still had some strength of numbers (or a very strongly defended Sanctum. By the time that conflict had gotten very far along, it was as much about personal revenge as much as seeking news of a powerful Artifact. The big thing to look at in a mage-versus-mage plotline is what's actually at stake -- what are they fighting over? What's at the root of the conflict -- an old insult or feud? A fundemantal disagreement over how local resources or contacts should be used? One of the conflicts built into the setting (involving Banishers or Seers of the Throne, etc.)? A conflict over who gets to control a valuable Hallow/Sanctum, Library or magical artifact? A conflict between the agendas of different Orders? A conflict between rival Masters who both believe themselves the best choice for the next Hierarch? Once you figure out what the REASON for a conflict is, then you're better set to figure out HOW the conflict is handled. But given the (relative) low numbers of Mages in a given city, the chances of real mass combat are slim -- you're more likely to end up with a cabal versus cabal situation, a series of subtle attacks that first rob the adversaries of resources, then begin to winnow their numbers (usually starting with the younger members, but not necessarily -- the loss or severe injury of the most powerful member of a cabal and leaving only the younger mages to muster their own defense would make a very good storyline.)
  14. Sources of Inspiration?

    You can steal plot ideas from all over, really. Look at the core underlying metaplot for the Harry Potter series, if you twisted it into the Mage universe -- there was once a terrible and powerful Dark Mage who had a brief but bloody reign of terror, but he was mysteriously vanquished... and no one is sure exactly what happened, or if he's really gone... and his followers still are out there, and no one is totally sure who they all were. If your player characters are young, recently-Awakened mages, they'll pick up this history in bits and pieces, and you should be able to involve them so it becomes a personal story as well. Or take the metaplot from Lord of the Rings: A mighty but cursed artifact has fallen into the hands of one of the player characters (whether it is Atlantean or something else doesn't make any difference) -- everyone wants it, including the Banishers or Seers, etc. But throw in a twist -- make that artifact something that means something to its custodian, so it becomes something more than a magical mcguffin. Perhaps it's the promise he made to his mentor on her deathbed. Perhaps it's because he believes the item is something other than what everyone thinks it is, and he feels a strong urge to do something else with it -- whether that is keep it for his own study or just keep it out of the hands of one particularly greedy and powerful Magus, or the Guardians of the Veil are trying to get it back saying he's not fit or strong enough to be its guardian... this could be anything from a Hallow to a book of rotes to an artifact to a secret he doesn't even know he's got. Make it personal. It could be a map or clue to finding some lost Hallow or the buried library of a mage killed in the Civil War. It could be four young Mages trapped in a haunted, cursed house -- when they realize that they are just the latest actors in a once-a-decade ritual, wherein four recently-Awakened Mages face the same fate, locked in this cursed place as a sacrifice to.... what? (nothing like getting your players working together for their own survival right off the bat). The plot is everything. What's at stake, who is the opposition, why said oppposition is doing what they're doing -- and why does it matter to the PCs what happens next? Find out what matters to your players, what kind of story they want to pursue, and build your plot around them. There's some good stuff in Sanctum & Sigil, too, that may provide some ideas. The real question is what kind of story do you and your players want to pursue?