Wednesday, February 18, 2015

VtR: So what could a herd be?

A vampire's herd includes either a steady stable of humans or a varying array of humans who are consistently put into a vulnerable position.  The situation must be well-considered because overdrawing from the herd can put the individual members at serious risk which can affect everyone included.  Unfortunately for vampires there's only so many people who are either the right sort of people who would willingly enter their parlour or the sort of people who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Each type of herd can be affected by changes in society, i.e. herd from homeless shelters will improve if the homeless rates go up and will decrease if people start dying or starting rumours of a particular shelter.  Each form of Herd will have their own issues, as well, which need to be sorted out either by the vampire concerned.

Herd could be a group who are willing to give up their blood:
  • Religious Cult
  • Sexual fetishists (club members)
  • Groupies (if you're a performer)
  • Blood Donors
  • Secret Society with bloodletting ritual
Herd could be relatively aware of the wonderful necking potential:
  • Blood Dolls (blood bound or simply lovers)
  • Blood Donors
  • Romance (black book, cheating spouses, swingers)
Herd could be locations that allow good access to a variety of mobile yet accessible prey at night:
  • Caravan Park
  • Large Hospital
  • Large Low - Cost Hotel / Motel
  • Pub or Nightclub
  • Animal Shelters (low level) or Farms
  • Abbattoirs
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Brothel
  • Slum Housing

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hunter LARP in Theory

So while thinking on the subject of LARPs, I started considering what a Hunter LARP would look like.  I could have certainly used the current city plots to lead to a consolidation of hunters as the primary enemies and shadow darkness manifestations aren't exactly organised enough to tear them apart the same way that would happen if a super-cell of hunters tried to target vampires or werewolves.

The consolidation of cells would meet at a certain central point to swap information, go over clues, mention tidbits learned elsewhere, and basically put the plot together from the various jigsaw pieces earned during downtimes, forum play, coffee hour or RtRs. Even those who passively set their characters' downtimes up (i.e. always having their PCs trawl the internet unless otherwise stated) would have something to bring to the table.

Balance would be a bit trickier as there are some compacts that would be useful but which just don't get access to the same stuff as the conspiracies. This could be worked out through a free assortment of merits, access to relics or even the creation of a mundane set of 'abilities'. There would be seven categories from which these hunters can be drawn though rather than separate compacts most of them are more like cells of right-minded individuals.

Heritage House would involve a family oriented group that have been hunters over the generations. There needs to be at least two, preferably three, PCs to activate this group. Free dot and two Specialties in Firearms, Streetwise or Survival. Gains one Tactic from this list: Arson, Bait & Switch, Battle Hardening, Hamstring, or Pack of Bloodhounds.

Long Night involves Christian hunters who believe that by destroying monsters they can bring about the second coming of Christ. Free dot and two Specialties in Expression, Persuasion or Politics. Gains two dots in Allies. Gains one Tactic from this list: Exorcism, Helter Skelter, Lobby, Moral Support, or My Brother's Keeper.

Loyalists of Thule are an occult group whose members have committed some great occult sin (causing the possession of a younger sister, as an example) and so mean to atone for it. Free dot and two Specialties in Academics or Occult; may take a one dot psychic merit or two dot relic. Gains one Tactic from this list: Corruption, Defile, Distraction, Cover Your Heart, Effigy, Resonance.

Network Zero uses radio, television and Internet resources to identify, understand and publicize monsters to the world so that people can unite and deal with it. Free Dot and two Specialties in Computers, Larceny or Stealth. Gains Backdoor (specify) into a particular part of the city's electronic infrastructure. Gains one Tactic from this list: Disappear, Measurement, Shadowing, Stakeout, or Tar & Feather.

Null Mysteriis are those scientists who seek to understand the world around them and also include a faction who wishes to try to redeem monsters through therapy and medication. Gain two free dots (may not stack) and two Specialties in Crafts, Medicine or Science. Gains one Tactic from this list: Confuse the Scent, Deprogramming, Domesticate, Excision, or Identification.

The Union are those blue-collar monster hunting vigilante who patrol the dark streets in an aim to keep people from being attacked and killed. Free dot and a specialty in any two physical skills. Gains two dots in a Fighting Style. Gains one Tactic from this list: Bloody Improv, Good Old-fashioned Beatdown, Controlled Immolation, Corral, or Territorial Recon.

SAPOL Serial Crimes Unit include police investigators who focus on dealing with Adelaide's serial killer and possession problem, generally involve psychics. Free dot and two Specialties in Empathy, Intimidation or Investigation. Gains one Tactic from this list: Behavioral Science, Exploit Tell / Bane, Interrogation, Profiling, or Net. Gains access to police databases and forensics reports and two dots in Allies (specific detective branch). On the flipside, is under more scrutiny from the government and mustn't leave evidence of self at crime scenes.

But yes, just my musings and general thoughts.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Foreshadowing Random Encounters

It can occasionally be fun to employ random encounters but such encounters often feel entirely "forced", not least because frequently running into monsters outside of an apocalypse makes one wonder how the local farmers survive without at least a ring of wardstones surrounding their hamlets.  At least those who can't help but wonder how various game elements should impact on the surrounding societies.  But you don't want to brush over every travel journey nor do you want to simply populate it with mundane sights (though you can do so).

Perhaps when you first roll to see whether an encounter happens, you then rolled a 1d6 to determine how many days (or hours, depending on the frequency) between when the characters first get an inkling of it and when they first encounter it.  If you get, say, a three on the 1d6 you pick which of the following foreshadowing elements you would like to use before they encounter the creature itself.

Distant Glimpse
Signs of Feeding
Sighting of the Creature
Threatened by the Creature (or see warnings left behind).
Actual Encounter

Naturally the way these elements would manifest may differ depending on the creature encounter.  A mohrg will leave different signs to a dire bear or a vampire, after all.  One might come across a damaged cart with an irritable farmer who hid when the bear slammed into it or spot the farmer dead and laid out across the back of the cart with his throat ripped out.  Tracks might be left by feet, tentacles or stalks bent by a heavy wind.

What do you think?  Do you ever make a point to really foreshadow your random monsters?

Monday, February 2, 2015

WoTR: Campaign Setting and Adventure Path books differ on Drezen

Now I noticed a very easy to justify difference between the Drezen in the Worldwound Campaign Setting book and the Drezen described in the Pathfinder Adventure Path.  The setting book states that Drezen has a population of 7,489 humanoids with roughly half as cultists and the other as prisoners and slaves.  The AP only has a several hundred tieflings and cultists - likely because the majority were slaughtered or marched down toward Nerosyan with the bulk of the demonic forces.

Still it does provide some food for thought for those hoping to expand the game even further.  Firstly think of their fates.  Were they butchered on the streets as a bit of fun before the demons left en masse?  Plenty of excuses for subsequent hauntings and occasional more powerful undead.  Marched out as meat shields?  Reports from afar describe them as such.  Pinned to the walls half-alive for the PCs to locate?  Driven to hide in the nearby Vescavor caverns or other more hidden cave structures?  Entombed in basements ready for the builders to accidentally unleash?  Infected with demon plague for similar purposes?

Hell I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the initial inhabitants in Drezen were wiped out by abyssal contamination that drove them mad and made them kill each other.  If you like, you could have a bunch of Warped Ones still sealed up in an old ruin who could break out and cause some action at home if you like.

I'll have a bit of a think about how I'll introduce this little fact at this late(r) stage of the game and will put up a post with a few other mini-quests.