We don’t have our Vampire OSTs yet but that doesn’t mean we don’t have any plans what we’re doing next. No matter who ends up running things we have some ideas for the structure and what we want to do.
New Troupe Admissions
You need to apply to have a Vampire troupe in Chronicle 2! Your game isn’t automatically being pulled forward into Chronicle 2. We need to hear from you so that we know you’re still undead and not breathing! Start with this page to get in touch with us http://www.undergroundtheater.org/start-a-troupe-2/. If you have any questions feel free to email or contact us. If you’re not sure exactly what you want to do, but know you want to do something go ahead and send an email. We’ll happily help guide you into it.
The Chronicle Arc
Stories that rely on tried and true structures tend to be easier for everybody to follow. The classic follows a path from exposition to the action building up to a climax that we fall away from and then watch the consequences play out. In LARPs it often feels like we focus too much on the first three steps and not enough on the rest. This can leave you stuck in “Lost syndrome” where you know the answer to it already, but we’re just not getting to experience it for some reason.
What I’m hoping to see with the next Vampire chronicle is that these pieces are spread out more evenly following the pacing of a 5-act play over the next four years.
The story will begin slowly with everybody getting to know their characters and their domains. In the Summer of the first year the first big rumblings of the larger-than-local plot start making it to troupes. These gather up steam and momentum as players pick sides in the inevitable conflicts. Around the beginning of year 3 the real choices have to be made at the national event. Those that maneuvered themselves to be ready for the storm will find those preparations put to the task. Going through year three, with sides chosens, the conflicts play out. Alliances end. Final death and political destruction are the fates suffered by those who chose poorly. In the fourth and final year the victors enjoy it and those that were just along for the ride try to pick up the pieces of what the venue has become.
There’s a lot of pieces that have to fall in place in order to make it happen. If we set our sights on this structure we can all know what to expect. It’ll help the OSTs plan the major events they want to see. It’ll help the Patrons plan for their personal character arc and how it might fit into the timeline. There are some that fear having a structure will remove some surprise from the story, but I think it’ll do the opposite. Knowing when the next piece is likely to be revealed might make it easier for players and the OST to collaborate on it. The framework will help give us a discipline to enjoy each element of the story so none of them feel rushed.
Yorick will now be required. Even if it is not your primary system, there will need to be some relatively up-to-date version of each sheet within Yorick.
I know this will cause consternation for some storytellers that prefer a different workflow from the way that Yorick works. Yorick is oriented around the player. The interface generally allows them to make the modifications they want, and then later a storyteller with approve of that view if they agree with it. Nothing stops storytellers from having another version of sheets which fit a management system they prefer, but for the sake of consistency, troupes need to be able to rely on the most recently approved copy in Yorick.
It may not be the best system, but it’s our system, and we can suffer its flaws together.
Speaking of which, Yorick is a free-software project. This means that those of you with the desire to learn or some existing technical know-how can extend it yourselves and possibly make it better for everybody. I know at least once a year somebody at a game decides to embark on making a new system for downtimes or XP tracking. Why not take a stab at doing it in a way that’s integrated with Yorick so every game can use it?
Firstly I would like for us to be running at least one event a year that are entirely ours. This is an event that Underground Theater is going organize, run, and staff. This will be the events where we guarantee that we’re going to push our metaplots forward. We have a great time with our games that are attached to other major events, and they’ll still go on, but we want to be able to give patrons an idea of the number we’re targeting where it’s guaranteed that something big is going to go down.
After the success of the Nashville and Atlanta events we’d like to try to repeat that. A sincere goal is to make sure we can spread the locations around to give different regions representation and a chance at an event that’s easy for them to get to.
We want to start fresh with Chronicle 2. What we’re going to do is rename all of the current in-character lists to reflect their historical nature. We will then begin the process of creating new lists and accepting applications to them. Initially this will only include the main lists for each sect. As we have time and the number of players in the new chronicle builds up we’ll begin to add the other lists back.
We’re going to try to do a good job with setting the expectations about the list from the start this time around. The major policies are the following:
- The lists are in-character and should be treated as in-character. Going out-of-character for any reason should be considered an exceptional circumstance. If the moderators do not agree that going out-of-character was justified, we’ll begin an increasing series of temporary bans.
- The lists will not actually be a Facebook group, but all of Facebook’s methods of expression will be taken completely in-character. If you click the like button it should be interpreted that your character took some action to express that emotion to the person. If you post a meme it is to be interpreted that you sent the photograph to the person or otherwise literally displayed that picture to them.
- There is no guarantee that these lists are secure. We will do our best to audit who is on the list, but we have no way to audit how information was taken from the list to other places. Perhaps it was an infiltrator. Perhaps it was somebody that should be there and just likes to share information too much. Avoid saying things on lists that you truly don’t want spread around. I know this is often a source of frustration for some people that wish things could remain secret, but, remember, nothing actually prevents any of the characters you play with in person from spreading your secrets around anyway.
- There are no mechanics allowed on lists. Nobody can use any powers on each other.
- There are no status mechanics on lists and nobody’s jurisdiction applies to lists. Usage of status are adjudicated by storytellers through troupes. You may announce status usage to the lists after the storytellers involved have ruled that the expenditure is valid. If the first time a storyteller is finding out about your status expenditure is over the list, you have done things out of order and are causing headaches for everybody.
- Incorrect statements of powers, punishments, expenditures of the status, and other things that are governed by mechanics is not a justification to go out-of-character. It is the opposite actually. Taking a political argument out-of-character on a list is ruinous to a game about corrupt, political, conniving monsters.
- You may not delete a post or comment on lists. Only moderators may do this.
- You may not edit a post or comment to substantially change the meaning of its content. Be careful about what you type before submitting it.
- You must include a signature on every post and comment you make including your PC’s name
For Chronicle 2 we’re putting together slightly stricter moderation policies and will be looking for Patrons to help us in enforcing them. It’s easy for lists to fly off the rails very quickly in a 24-hour game. We will find moderators empowered to call time-stops, freeze threads, and to issue temporary bans to people who are going out-of-character.
Facebook is a popular tool that allows for a lot of engagement, but every year they work diligently to make the interface increasingly terrible for our purposes. They show posts out of order. They hide comments and subthreads essentially randomly. The mobile application sometime refuses to show updated comments. You should bear these things in mind and be patient when using it. When a moderator calls for a time-stop it may be that one hundred people post before Facebook even attempts to show them the message. When we go to look at a message to see if somebody was metagaming, it may just not even be there through no malfeasance on anybody’s part. As a result its important to remember that we really don’t have any way to audit it. If you don’t like the pace or the unbridled frontier nature of it, then take a step back or only look at it every so often. Sometimes it can be just as much fun to hear about it later at game.
An Explicit Glass Ceiling
For the Camarilla there will be no PC Justicars or Inner Circle members. The Camarilla is built largely around absolute power, so it would be problematic for a PC to take over. There will be PC Archons, but expect these to be doled out sparingly and to come with a large burden OOC to use such a larger-than-local position for the benefit of all Patrons.
For the Sabbat there will be no PC Cardinals or Regent. There is a remote chance that a PC may get a seat on the Prisci council. There is a fixed total number of Prisci and most of them have been defined so any PC that manages to secure such a position would have had to work hard to earn it and work hard to keep it. This also would come with an OOC expectation to respect their impact on all Patrons in the venue considering the larger-than-local effect it will have.
The Independent Alliance doesn’t currently have any explicit positions above local, so there is no reason for any sort of limit at this time.
The Anarchs generally despise the sort of constructs that would need to be limited in a section like this.
Underground Theater strives to have a minimal set of modifications from the core BNS book, but our experiences with the first chronicle have highlighted a need for some. There are no individual house rules in UT, so each troupe will be bound by these modifications. We’ll be putting together better reference pages on the website for this chronicle so all of these changes will be easy to find and reference for Patrons.
We are keeping most of the document from the player’s handbook with the exception that the membership of the Independent Alliance is resetting back to book. Specifically the Ravnos and Gargoyles will not be considered members of the alliance at chronicle start.
A Priest may perform the Vaulderie for members of their Pack without requiring the expenditure of any Status. The intent of this rule change is to allow Packs to choose to have a Vinculum Rating of 5 by performing Vaulderies over the downtime. Note that we are making no modification to the rule on page 427 that the correct abiding status is required to enact the rite. As in, if the Priest expends all standing that could be used to enact the rite, they may not enact Vaulderie with their pack until the abiding status returns next game. Also recall that you lose Abiding status until the next game when switching Packs, so this can’t be used to justify creating Vinculum ratings of 5 to more than a pack’s worth of Sabbat by changing packs during the downtime.
The Regent and Cardinals may initiate the Blood Bath ritual without being physically present. As long as somebody physically present knows the Blood Bath ritual this will work. The Regent or Cardinal is considered the initiator, but if a test is required due to a faithless Cainite being involved, the physically present participant makes the test. This is to enable local games to choose Archbishops without a member of the content team having to physically travel to their game.
Those possessing Ascendant are immune to the status expenditures of those that don’t possess Ascendant. This was actually something that BNS clarified for us in the middle of the first Chronicle, but we decided not to use it since so many stories had already been told in which Ascendant wasn’t immune.
The Blood Hunt
In Chronicle 1 we let the Sovereign status dictate our rules. We have since gotten clarifications from BNS and they have released a Werewolf book with a better explanation of monikers. For Chronicle 2 we will use the following rules for the Blood Hunt.
The text of the Spent effect of the Sovereign status will now only read as: “Spent: Expend the status trait Sovereign to give your target the fleeting status Sanctioned or to initiate a blood hunt against your target.” The Blood Hunt section on page 388 is considered the complete explanation.
This leaves us with this somewhat confusing line: “A blood hunt is limited to the borders of a single domain, although the social penalties for carrying the Forsaken negative status remain in effect as long as the target has it.” As has been explained to us by BNS, Bloodhunted is a moniker that refreshes the Forsaken negative status each game that the Prince who called the Blood Hunt plays. This Forsaken negative status applies wherever the quarry goes. The other laws of the Blood Hunt do not.
For example, let’s say that the Prince of Atlanta has declared a Blood Hunt on a character named Andrew. That character now gains the Bloodhunted moniker which confers the Forsaken negative status. Within Atlanta, all of the laws of the Blood Hunt and Forsaken apply. Andrew decides to flee to the friendly city up north of Chattanooga. When Andrew arrives, he carries the moniker and the Forsaken negatives, but the laws of the Blood Hunt don’t apply to Andrew in Chattanooga. The Prince of Chattanooga takes pity on Andrew and removes the Forsaken negative status. Andrew is still Bloodhunted, and in Atlanta the laws of the Blood Hunt still apply, but he is not currently considered Forsaken in any city.
When status would otherwise refresh, Andrew regains the Forsaken Negative status conferred by the Bloodhunted moniker. When the Prince of Chattanooga regains their Abiding status they again remove the Forsaken status from Andrew. As Andrew leaves the room he is heard making fun of the Prince of Chattanooga for being so gullible. In retaliation, this Prince extends the hunt called by the Prince of Atlanta over Chattanooga. Now Andrew isn’t considered Forsaken anywhere, but the laws of the Blood Hunt now apply to him in both Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Now that the Blood Hunt extends to Chattanooga as well the fact that Andrew is no longer Forsaken offers him no protection. Like when was within Atlanta, he flees as soon as possible avoiding the local populace who would have little choice but to see them as an enemy.
Architect of the Tower
You may only take the Architect of the Tower merit if you were one of the following clans: Gangrel, Toreador, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Ventrue, Brujah, Tremere. All Architects must be logged with and approved by the CCST for both consistency of story and to ensure a shared understanding of which sort of Kindred was there at the founding of the Camarilla.
Prestigious Sire and Social Nobility
Prestigious Sire and Social Nobility must be approved by the CCST in order to maintain story consistency.
Elder of the Camarilla
We are making a modification to the Social Station section to curb the accumulation of advantages to Elders of the Camarilla. In order to create a character that is of the Pretender Elder, Master Elder, or Luminary Elder generations and has been known to be active for at least 300 years you must purchase a 1 pt merit named Elder of the Camarilla. If your character’s age or Generation changes while in play in order to meet this definition, you may not claim the Abiding status of an Elder of the Camarilla until you purchase the merit. If you are out of merit points at the time, your character may never gain the Abiding status traits.
A Short Aside on Machiavellian Prodigy
The newly introduced merit has no direct effect on Machiavellian Prodigy, but we did use that merit to help decide on what the true cost of playing a social Elder should be. Here’s an illuminating example.
Make a Luminary Elder that is 299 years old at year 0 for the chronicle. By base he would be an Ancilla and get Confirmed. If you purchase Machiavellian Prodigy, now you gain Confirmed, Established, and Privileged for 1pt. Now year 1 starts.
By the base book you could now, with LST permission, remove Machiavellian Prodigy and purchase a new 1pt Merit without ever materially losing the benefit of the original merit. With our change you’re paying the same you were already paying.
As of right now we aren’t aware of any necessary changes for the Anarch setting.
We are changing the consequence of the Nightmares flaw as the current one generally has no effect on the character. Characters with Nightmares begin game with 1 Beast trait.
We will use the Influence Initiative from the Werewolf book.
Storytellers may optionally choose to have a static challenge invoke an overbid against a player.
Stock NPCs of supernatural types may specialize in their type in order to spend more Blood, Gnosis, or other special trait per round.
We will use the Alternate Identity rules from the Werewolf book. The most pertinent change this leads to is to clarify that Alternate Identity only gives you a perfect paper trail, but does nothing to make you resistant to powers or gaffes that would otherwise reveal you to be a fake. Ultimately this is more in keeping with the spirit of the following text from the book about The Black Hand: “[Approved Cainites only] infiltrate enemy organizations, and even then, only for a matter of months. Considering the effectiveness of vampiric powers of investigation, it is often better to cycle a number of short-term infiltrations than to attempt deeper infiltration.” The text of Alternate Identity essentially reversed this logic and was inconsistent with the story we’re trying to tell.
We are only porting over the expanded Stock NPC rules (Elder, Epic, and Giant Monster) located on pages 612 and 613 of the BNS Werewolf book.