Monday, January 23, 2017

Dark Before Dawn: Puzzle Briefing

This is the document I handed out to everyone shortly before the last Dark Before Dawn session.  Since the actual session used hard skills (though pretty easy ones) to keep folks busy and engaged, but World of Darkness rules uses dice to sort out conflict, I had to create a bit of a middle ground between the two schemes.  You can see how I did it below.

·         Swap around when you feel the need.  You shouldn't feel stuck at a particular station.

·         If you can't solve a puzzle, FIND SOMEONE ELSE WHO CAN.  You are all encouraged to work together and to draw other people onto a puzzle to give them the chance to try it out.

·         NO CHEATING.  Not only does cheating show contempt for all of my efforts during this campaign but more importantly it deprives other players from the chance to show off their skills and actually enjoy the game.  GIVE OTHER PLAYERS A GO.

·         When you first enter the Hall, until I turn on the overhead lights, all puzzles are non-functional.  You may look but you can't touch.  The only exception involves adding vitae (nothing else) to the power nodes.  You will find the red powder in small bowls on the window sills.

·         If there's a black screen on the terminals, they are non-functional.

·         The music represents your time limit and the sense of urgency caused by the gathering power flow.  Increases in tempo will reveal that you are running out of time.

·         If you're not sure how a puzzle or situation works, ask me first rather than attempting it with faulty or incorrect knowledge.

·        Paul is fully empowered to deal with combat situations though Tim is empowered to provide information and guidance based on vampiric disciplines.  Either may request assistance from the LEAD GM.  The players should take their word as law.  Those involved in such combats will have two GMs to draw upon.  This should be enough.

·         Typically the NPCs will have a fair idea of what can and can't affect them and how their puzzle stations operate.  You CAN approach me for further guidance if you have additional ideas that aren't likely to be covered by their briefings.

·         Skill tests are not completely overridden by powers and dice checks, but they can be complemented by certain mechanics on your sheet.  Sometimes certain puzzles can only be used by people with a specific skill level.  There will be OOC cards near standalone puzzles which will provide you with further guidance when and if these will occur.  The same is true for NPC briefings.  In other words, you can't solve the Computer Terminals with a simple dice check.  You *must* use your own skills as well.  This is to prevent our epic finale from becoming a row of players occasionally rolling dice at each other in response to description. 
·         You may use a STONE to fill a power node or to automatically complete a puzzle. However you should wait until you find a puzzle that is too frustrating to solve or until you begin running out of time so that you don't remove someone else's opportunity to be awesome.

·         The red sand you find in small containers next to the power nodes on the window sills are not there in-game and cannot be removed from that spot.  The sand is there so that vampires pouring vitae from their veins into the power nodes can do so quietly and secretly.  Unless it's actually in the Power Node (i.e. vial) or being held by a PC as an offering to an NPC, it's not in-game and doesn't exist.  Please don't panic when you see these red sand bowls.

·         Unless otherwise stated, you can't move a puzzle station elsewhere.

·         Some puzzle stations have special rules, such as that you may only transport one alchemical concoction at the time.  Please read the nearby Rule Card before you begin or enquire with the Lead GM so that you don't accidentally break the game.


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