Dire Straits: A Blood & Smoke Campaign
Twin cities, 1 bridge
Dire Straits is the tale of Vampires in the twin cities of Copenhagen and Malmö, two proud but close cities recently connected by a feat of modern engineering. Now they eye each other off, each seeing the potential that would come from taking the opportunity to take control of each other’s domain and add it to their own.
On the one side is Copenhagen. Run for centuries as a strong Invictus Domain, supported closely by the Nordic loving Crone.
On the other side is Malmö. Here the Carthian’s hold a grand experiment, doing away with the idea of a Prince and replacing it with a Priscus Council, their greatest allies the Dragons.
Shadows and Light
This campaign will focus on the players exploits as they get caught up in an old struggle with a fresh outlet. Politics and whose side they take will be important, but so will their opinions on the conflict and their actions to influence it.
This won’t be the only source tension though, as every city is filled with things that lurk behind the mundane. Other supernatural entities sense the oncoming conflict, and know that it will weaken the Kindred’s hold on the city, allowing them to claim more for their own kind.
Then of course there’s getting by night to night, as the need for blood takes hold, and those little chores that build up each night. Mortals living in the area who wonder at these strange folk who come out only at night. Rent that needs to be paid by some sort of income.
All up, a Kindred’s life is never a simple one.
The Rules of Engagement
So while this is going to be a Blood & Smoke campaign and using a lot of the updated rules from the God Machine Chronicle and the B&S book itself, there is just some stuff that we’ve had to change.
The beat system is going out the window completely. It encourages a style of play of having players compete for the spot light, as well as favoring rewarding characters that are constantly going out of their way to get screwed over. It almost doesn’t have any rewards for good roleplaying, and certainly doesn’t reward the more quiet characters that can contribute just as much to a campaign.
The flat cost style also encourages min-maxing, so we won’t be using that either. Also to help prevent min-maxing players will work with the ST on expenditures to try and create more of a well rounded character unless there is good justification for focusing on anything.
The game will also be run at a high amount, with characters earning 7 to 12 XP a session.
So it’s obvious that with the replacements to Virtue and Vice, Mask & Dirge, that they’re trying to come up with interesting story ways for characters to recover willpower. However for the most part these actually break the flow of story, as they don’t organically fit into the characters sometimes. When an actual human is worn out and needs to recharge they have multiple ways to regain their composure and get back into the action, and these can change from time to time.
To this end the players will create a list of standard ways their characters take a time out to recharge. 5 to 10 items, ranging from the simple like an evening home with a beer (maybe feeding on a drunk human first), through to finding some sucker in a pub to beat the crap out of to release that pent up frustration on. These will regain willpower depending on how much it is actually likely to help someone unwind.
During game play characters will also have other ways to regain willpower. Almost replacing beats in some ways, as people do feel better when they accomplish a goal, so characters will regain willpower as they feel better for having accomplished something.
So we will be giving the new humanity a go, but with some slight alterations.
First up is that there won’t be any humanity checks forced on players for things that just happen around them. The idea that they lose humanity simply from seeing a loved one die, or they’ve lived too long is bad story telling. Instead humanity should be about choices and consequences, and what you’re willing to do in order to survive or even just get the upper hand over someone else.
Again pretty bad for roleplaying a character. Very jarring to when you’re trying to play your characters reactions to something and you’re having to make rolls all the time to see what you do, instead of organically deciding what your character does. A crutch my players don’t need, and one that would hold them back.
So these are dropped, and again the focus will be on choices, rather than just having horror forced upon the characters. I trust my players enough to have their characters react how they would react, instead of trying to meta-game for the best outcome.
Yet another crutch for players to try and force certain types of stories. For players that want links to mortals and to roleplay them, then I’ll certainly encourage it, but I’m not going to force something on them that might not fit in with the character concept.
For rules that require Touchstones I’ll work with them to figure out what else fits. The biggest and most obvious being the Ventrue clan weakness. Instead we’ll
Well these are certainly a joke. The concept is good, having simple things to apply to characters makes a lot of sense, and helps keep things simple to track. The downside is that pretty much all of them are horribly written, or at least their resolution and durations are.
There’s going to be major changes to these, and they’ll get their own wiki page. One of the biggest and unified changes that will be applied though is that powers that say they affect someone for a number of days/nights per success/BP will instead have that only work for that long on mortals, other supernaturals the duration will be dropped to hours.