Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WoD To Do With Ordo Dracul, Part 1

Hehe, the title rhymes within itself. Kinda rolls off the tongue quite nicely. I'm sure many an Invictus Prince (or a Carthian or whichever covenant) has muttered these words to themselves quite a bit over the years. Why? Well, they're a secretive covenant that likes to dabble in things they shouldn't and if you let them dabble as they will then they'll not only probably support your praxis but will doubtless unleash something awful upon the city. If you try to stop their dabbling, then they'll turn against you, because, really, why not let them have access to that old dock or that irritating piece of land that'll never sell? But, I digress, let's take a look at the Ordo Dracul from a plot perspective.

Theme: Curiosity didn't kill the cat. Ignorance did. Curiosity just reanimated it into a horrible abomination.

Mood: Mystery, Secretiveness, Hierarchical bonds, Discipline, Curiosity, and Exploration.

15 Plot Hooks:

1. The Chapter House librarian has been growing increasingly more secretive and erratic ever since that latest shipment of local history books have been brought into the library.

2. There's a little shop in a busy, yet quite old, shopping mall that seems to be at the locus of several powerful leylines according to a map painstakingly put together by the kogaian with some boons paid to a Crone with Arcane Sight yet ... there seems to be nothing odd about the shop at all. Any investigations into the shop's past do confirm that a mass suicide 10 years ago occured which suggest it might be a powerful Crucible of the Coil of Souls yet the place seems about as normal as you can get.

3. An elder Ordo Dracul begins stalking the coterie, interrogating any human allies, and watching over them from afar. He's even provided them some assistance when they've gotten themselves into trouble but otherwise refuses to get nearer to them. Why? And does it have anything to do with the musical tune he hums to himself whenever he gazes at one of them?

4. One of the Ordo Dracul Daeva's eyes have inexplicable become lined with thick, black veins, that make it difficult for her to deal with humans. What is this affliction and where did it come from?

5. The kogaian has gone into a catatonic state but he's not in torpor. He drinks blood when given to him and sits up each dusk and collapses each dawn as he should. Yet he won't move nor speak to anyone. This began when he arrived on the coterie's secret haven door stop.

6. Using Heightened Senses - hearing in the Ordo Dracul Chapter House reveals the distant sound of screams that seem to come from different places, often from within the walls, but sometimes from outside, poised in the air. The higher ups refuse to talk about it and there's no sign of ghostly phenomena. Some Ordo Dracul have gone missing, though, simply vanished within the house's walls over the years.

7. An Invictus gifts an Ordo Dracul with a book filled with strange scrawls in another language with only a few words within it that can act as a Rosetta Stone. Over time, those who attempt to read it, find the words make themselves known in dreams and nightmares that call to them to open a gate to ... where?

8. The Carthians have grown distant and wary, many of them becoming downright hostile toward the Ordo Dracul, though they refuse to give their reasons. This is quite strange as the relationships between everyone used to be quite cordial.

9. A solitary werewolf notices the Ordo Dracul's interests in his locus and, rather than chasing them off, he desperately clings to them, hoping they can help him keep his territory against the Pure that besiege him. He can reveal quite a lot about the Hisil and the wyrm's nests around the city but the price they would have to pay is one of protection ... against his enemies, their own, and possibly the covenant itself.

10. The kogaian's shadow has begun writhing and twisting in absolute horror and agony whenever people deal with her, gesturing desperately as though trying to warn the other Ordo Dracul, while remaining ordinary on the rare occasions when she deals with outsiders. The kogaian herself seems to be acting strangely - stranger even than usual - and sometimes doesn't seem to recognise those whom she's known for years.

11. The Invictus seem to be purchasing a number of properties and demolishing them to make way for new constructions and they seem to be targeting wyrm's nests and other places of interest though they claim that it is entirely coincidental. Have they figured out these location's value to the Ordo Dracul? If this goes on, then study of the coils will ground down to a snail's crawl.

12. The Lancea Sanctum have been spying on the Ordo Dracul with rats for years, and the Ordo Dracul have built up countermeasures, yet recently, strange golden-eyed rats have joined the normal rodents and they move with an intelligence they should not possess and ignore Animalism from even the greatest master of that discipline. What deals have they made? And what are those creatures? (Maybe Beshilim?).

13. An Ordo Dracul experiment has backfired horribly when the mysterious dealings beneath a local women's and children's hospital becomes public. Many of the human staff are arrested and the scenes of depravity below the school become public news. Yet it's too little, too late, all this attention merely serves to feed the growing wound beneath the school and the ghosts and spirits begin to plague the area, creating a growing Masquerade breach on top of the legal one as curious sightseers and hunters both flock to the area.

14. A Crone becomes romantically interested in an Ordo Dracul and goes to increasingly greater lengths to draw their eye. The trouble is, the Ordo Dracul's mentor believes this Crone is disrupting the student's studies and demands the study rectify the situation.

15. The Harpy goes on a crusade against the younger Ordo Dracul and nothing they say or do is good enough. It's vital to figure out what's drawn the harpy's ire and why the elders within the covenant do nothing about it.

Man, do I love the Ordo Dracul. I'd love to run an Ordo Dracul campaign one day where everyone plays Ordo Dracul and their coterie has to deal with all kinds of stuff. I'm looking forward to writing up Part 2 next week. They're just so awesome. What's your favourite covenant?

Next up will be Goals and Daily Activities and finally will be Iconic Locations and NPCs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

13: Preparing for a Caving Survival Horror, Part 2

So, after all the preparation for the first half of the caving adventure, I'll bet you assumed that my work was done. Well, not exactly. I used a different format for the second session and so I needed to do a whole bunch worth of prep work.

I drew up a map on several A4 sheets of paper and created another layer of room covers so they couldn't see what was within those room. There were six major antagonists to design alongside the Cryers that were almost faced during the session beforehand (a knight in armor enchanted to release pulses of the Decay lore when struck who had a flaming sword Imbued with the soul of a Namaru), a brawler (with brass knuckles enchanted to wrack people with agony), a knife thrower (with knives that each had their own enchanted ability when they struck people), a statue that Nechoshel could possess to attack them, a Mage that she briefly possessed who would keep struggling to disrupt her lores, and Nechoshel herself when they reached her reliquary chamber.

Then there were the traps:

The first corridor had zombies embedded in the doors and a weakly made rug across the floor that stretched out over spiked pit traps so if they tried to crawl over it to avoid the blade-embedded fingers of the zombies, they would fall into the traps. Oh, and one of the Cryers was at the other end of the T-Junction, throwing daggers at them.

The corridor to the right was lined halfway down with dampened sticks of wood from the doors that lined that corridor, and those lines even crossed the corridor at one point at a height of about two feet, and at the other end was a cul-de-sac similarly lined, where the brawler waited out of sight with a hostage (random guy) and a non-safety lighter that he could drop on the chemical-stained wood once the Fallen had come into range. This would fill the corridor with choking smoke that would likely cause them to pass out.

Another couple of corridors had this thick fungal growths (from Earthbound Lore of Corruption) that bulged here and there and would release hallucinogenic spores. I had to make up a bunch of mini-hallucination cards.

There was also a shotgun trap. Just because.

The Earthbound statue possession room also had a similar looking statue sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of a very large and gloomy room, so they would focus on the wheelchair-bound statue when the real possessed statue had taken to the ceiling, using its chameleon-like appearance to blend in (Lore of Corruption).

So, there was a lot of thinking time, though less literal cutting and pasting than when I was preparing for the first session.

Next week, I'll talk about the Downtimes in a Caving Survival Horror and how they really worked to provide some additional tension. If you'd like to read prior articles, you can find them here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Overuse Injury & Plans For The Future

Well, again, sorry for the disappearance, but I've had an overuse injury in my forearms and so have backed off on personal use of the computers to save up my typing-without-pain-time for work-related reasons. Easing off on it has certainly shown some improvements, so I'm confident that I can now type up the odd blog article for you guys again. I'll be aiming to get back into the old schedule.

I've got three more For Players articles and three more A Caving Survival Horror articles before I start something new. I'm thinking to run you two new series on some Campaign Creation guides, worldbuilding and information on both how I've created an Action Hero / Explorer-type pirate-based Pathfinder campaign (and later on how the game is going) and how I've created an Investigation / Explorer type Demon: the Fallen campaign. I look forward to relating the various shenanigans of the players.

One those other two previously mentioned series have ended, I'll be doing the Pathfinder one on Mondays (I run Pathfinder Monday nights) and the Demon: the Fallen one on Fridays (I run it on Saturday).

Obviously, for my players who are reading this, both will contain spoilers so please don't read these articles. I'll try not to put in massive spoilers but some spoilers will be necessary in any worldbuilding sections, so it's best not to read them until you're onto a different campaign.