rpg

Merging old and new vampires

giovanni vampire masquerade

“Matia Michael Giovanni” by Mattew

Don’t worry, I’m not planning to cross-breed Edward Cullen and Dracula. The title refers to my rekindled passion for Vampire role-playing games, both Masquerade and Requiem.

You see, Masquerade will always have a special place in my heart. It was the RPG that got me into the hobby, and I will never forget my first sessions playing a Toreador poet in the city of New York. Since these first hours of pretending to be a vampire, Masquerade has been the game I must have played most often, with Exalted coming in as a close second. The game had messed-up rules and some really annoying metaplot, but I still feel like it’s one of the best RPG’s I’ve played. Maybe it was just that good, or it’s my nostalgia giving me rose-coloured glasses, but I  feel like returning to the world of the Kindred once more.

There’s just one problem: the rules of Masquerade are an unstructured, frustrating bunch of contradictions and redundancies. As much as the setting was able to evoke the feeling of gothic horror the game was going for, the rules always failed to support that. Fortunately, Masquerade received a proper update awhile ago, in the form of its 20th Anniversary Edition. The rules are much cleaner now, but it still lacks that certain…sex appeal.

Requiem has a lot of sex appeal and I would love to use its ruleset to run a Masquerade game, but the rules of the new World of Darkness incarnation of Vampire support some other themes. For example, Generation is replaced by Blood Potency, giving age an entirely different flavour in the game. There is a Translation Document, which would make conversions easier, but I still don’t know if that’s worth the hassle.

Rules are just one issue, the other one is the actual game. I noticed that I simply lack the time to create big chronicles on my own, so I would have to resort to pre-written stuff. Fortunately, Masquerade has two big chronicles: the Transylvania and Giovanni Chronicles. From what I heard, the second one is a lot better and less railroady, and I’m actually reading through its first part to get a feel for it. It looks like something my players would like, so I’m thinking about giving it a shot. I would still have to talk it through with my players, but the general look and feel of the Giovanni Chronicles seem great!

So, while I’m figuring out which rules I would use, you can help me! What are your experiences with both Masquerade and Requiem? Have you played the Transylvania or Giovanni Chronicles? Do you think that I should not waste my time with bloodsuckers? Share your thoughts below!

Actual Play – Courage Chapter III

courage logo

Wow, it’s been a while since one of these, but the wait’s over: click below for the third chapter of Courage, a solo Exalted chronicle. We’ll meet a Solar in this one, and find out that Courage’s secret are not as secret as he thinks they are. Want to know more? Well, stop reading this and dive into the three-and-a-half pages of RPG goodness. Have fun!

Courage – Chapter 3

A self-inflicted illusion of choice

deadpool options marvel choice

“Here are your options:” by FonteArt

Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a moment to ponder a rather philosophical topic, namely the one of free choice. I’m sure that many great minds have already written about this subject, and that since the dawn of mankind, humanity has asked itself: are my choices made by my free, unchained spirit, or is every road I take predestined by my experiences in this world, thus making me nothing more than the product of my environment? Well, I can’t provide you with an answer to this larger-than-life question, but I can tell you this: when it comes to games, choice is just an illusion.

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A few words about Tenra Bansho Zero

tenra bansho zero title image

Deciding to skip training because of a hypersensitive stomach might sound like a pussy cop-out, but the advantage of having some off-time on a Monday night is that I can dive into some nerdier forms of entertainment. I know that I should have played some TSW, but trust me, I’ll get to that this week. What I did instead was getting my buddy Dee on Skype to check out the fancy-named Tenra Bansho Zero, the first Japanese tabletop RPG that has received a translation. How cool is that, once you move past the funky name and rad artwork? Well, pretty damn cool!

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Strange Sunday – Sidekicks & sponsored heroes

Lately, I’ve been watching a show I should have started watching some time ago: Young Justice. It’s all about those sidekicks of well-known DC heroes, working together as a team to prove their own heroic worth. It’s a cool concept, putting the spotlight on the number twos. It also got me thinking: why always play the big ones in games, when so much can be told from the point-of-view of the up-and-coming? That’s why I dedicate this week’s Strange Sunday to the sidekicks & sponsored heroes, showing you some cool themes that can be explored from their perspective!

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The other kind of experience

Gosh, my players love experience. Especially Dee, who is usually the first one to ask “So, how much XP do we get?” at the end of the session. I can’t blame him, though: getting those sweet points to turn into new, even sweeter points on your character sheet is one of the essential parts of our hobby, so it’s alright.

However, I don’t want to talk about experience points today, but about the other kind of experience. I’m talking about how the players actually experience a game, and remember some parts of a session even years later. This little essay will be about my experience with experience, inspired by this post over at The Pathfinder Chronicles.

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Strange Sunday – highlighting the special

special rpg needs

Yesterday, my group and I played a one-shot-turned-into-a-two-shot of Dungeon World, using our Industrial Revolution Roman Empire with space dragons idea. Dungeon World is a pretty awesome game, and judging by the tweets I unleashed during play, I enjoyed it more than I can actually describe. However, on my way back home yesterday night, I thought about how this really special background we had made up didn’t feel all that special. Sure, the player characters had stumbled upon steam-powered mining operations in the Alps while serving a toga-wearing Roman named Maximus Gracchus, and they even fought a dragon, but it didn’t feel like anything but your standard fantasy world. Is that typical?

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