Rusalka's Bad Idea: Single(ish) Sphere oWoD


  • Coder

    New thread, because I didn't want to hijack @Seamus's. Okay, and I didn't want this getting buried at the end of that thread. Sue me. Or merge the threads. Whatever.

    I've had an idea rolling around in my head of making a single(ish) sphere oWoD game. I know, I know, but I really enjoy oWoD, I don't much care for multisphere (and can't run it all by my lonesome anyway), and in any case, the only active place for oWoD at the moment is City of Hope. Which I do play at, actually, but I'm sure we're all aware of its many issues.

    I haven't decided exactly which sphere yet, but I have some candidates, neither of which have historically been very popular. Which is why I'm posting this - I want to know if any of my ideas are of any interest to anyone but me.

    Whatever the setting, the game would:

    • Not be a sandbox. PRPs are fine (not that anyone ever seems to run the things), but I'd be running plots as staff, including larger, overarching ones. And even PRPs should be allowed to affect the wider game world.
    • Have a cohesive theme and focus.
    • Have open, fairly simple CG. I'd require a short background/concept explanation, but that's more of a sanity check than anything. You want to write more, great, I'll mine it for plot ideas to throw at you, but 2-4 sentences is usually sufficient to weed out the really crazy shit.
    • Probably operate a little like an online TT, with regularly scheduled plot one or two nights a week.
    • Eliminate as many OOC hoops as possible. This means automating whatever can be, and not doing things like requiring justifications for XP spends. I'd rather manage game power levels through house rules about how much of what you can buy.
    • Not necessarily use the oWoD canon for splats that aren't playable. Sure, there are werewolves out there, but are they Garou? Probably not.

    And now, the two ideas:

    1. New York by Neon - V20 Sabbat (vampire and revenant) in 1980s NYC

    Grit, glamour, and decadence: 1980s NYC is a playground for the Sabbat. This game would focus on intrasect struggles. Ferret out infernalists, compete with other packs for territory and resources, try not to get screwed over too badly by elders, and maybe indulge in a bit of the ol' ultraviolence in the process. I'd also like to actively give revenants plots of their own.

    2. Apocrypha - Demon and some sorcerer in the modern world

    Demons and occultists go together like peanut butter and jelly. And sorcerers are nothing to sneeze at, power wise, so they're not going to get totally overshadowed by the demons. The focus of this game would be digging up buried secrets, researching the past, trying to find magic artifacts, etc. Honestly, there are parts of a few other gamelines that would work brilliantly for this (Nosferatu, Hermetics, etc.), but I'd have to rip out the rest of the gamelines in question, and I'm hesitant to do that. I mean, does anybody really want to play "Mage, except there are no Traditions and no Technocracy, all the themes about blazing a new path into the future are missing, and you can only play a Hermetic style character"? As for where to set it, I've not decided. London or Chicago would be good conventional choices, but I'm actually leaning a bit towards St. Louis. Why? Because there's an honest-to-God mysterious lost civilization right across the river.

    So, any takers? Am I the only one who'd enjoy either of these options?


  • Pitcrew

    I like any single sphere game pretty much. I don't care what the sphere is. :D


  • Pitcrew

    Number two would be, IMO, pretty damned awesome. That kind of modern day occult stuff is all sorts of fun, and I think Demon is a game I would pretty much only play in single sphere.



  • You need some sort of relevant theme conflict, even inside a single Sphere, that doesn't involve the actual source material. Otherwise, you're all hanging out at bars. Like, in that first sphere, the burgeoning populist movements, both from inside New York and from overseas, resisting the corporate corruption and the police crackdowns.


  • Pitcrew

    Option 2 sounds interesting, though Demon was never my favorite oWoD game. Probably because when I played oWoD it was on New Bremen, White Wolf's official chat, which theoretically supported everything and tended to be a shitstorm of stupid crossover in which Demon wrecked things pretty hard.


  • Politics

    Go with Option 2. Demon was, in my opinion, their best product, and it showed. Be versatile in how you create your demonic avatar, and it'll be a lot of fun to play.



  • Obligatory plug for Option 3: Mummy.

    Demon, actually, kiiiiind of could run well with Hunter: the Reckoning. Hunters have MYSTERIOUS POWERS FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE TO PROTECT MANKIND? Demons come back and... all of the Angels are missing. As a possible alternative. I haven't looked at HtR in a decade, so who knows if the powerscale works out.


  • Politics

    @Jennkryst

    Actually, if you go with Demon, I'd highly recommend just tossing out all other races, save for Mortal+ types, maybe even Hunters.


  • Pitcrew

    The right answer is always the Sabbat.


  • Pitcrew

    Sabbat can be a lot of fun - their focus, theme and organization was generally more interesting than Cammies
    That said, with regards to your 'other stuff out there' bit, that actually was the way the oWoD games handled things. If you remember the old 2e/Revised books they tended to have examples of other supernaturals that, while similiar, weren't actually using the rules set of the fully realized other splat. For example, they had sample werewolves that were listed with equivalencies in terms of having disciplines, et cetera - rather than muddle around with the individual gifts and whatnot. I'd suggest going this route rather than try and incorporate the full sphere mechanics - for one, it keeps all your systems standardized <Easier to remember that that enemy Werewolf over there has the equivilant of Potence 4, Fortitude 3 and Celerity 2 when in Crinos form rather than try to remember what all the form mods, gifts, special rules, etc, etc are> and two, it makes things go a lot faster when it comes down to combat - less fiddly bits to organize on the ST's side.


  • Politics

    @SunnyJ said in Rusalka's Bad Idea: Single(ish) Sphere oWoD:

    The right answer is always the Sabbat.

    Not going to lie. Also, the answer is always you as a Tzimisce. <3


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede I am merely a vessel of the Eldest. <3



  • Controversial idea: WoD game where you play multisphere, but the players are all the black hat factions just ruining the white hat NPCs day. Maybe to be split into it's own thread if we derail on it too much.


  • Coder

    @Killer-Klown

    I didn't mean so much the mechanics as the fluff (which, admittedly, is also often what's suggested in the books). Some of this is for thematic reasons - the theme-diluting effects of multisphere are lessened when it's just NPCs, but not eliminated. Some of it is to allow extra freedom, both to me and players, when designing enemies. You want to run a werewolf that really is a dude who got bitten by one? Have fun! This is related to the third reason, which is that I want the other supernaturals to be mysterious and scary, and that's lessened a bit when the players know what they're dealing with.

    Plus, there are always those players whose characters seem to magically own a copy of the books. This at least limits their fuckery to knowledge of the sphere they're actually playing.


  • Coder

    @Jennkryst said in Rusalka's Bad Idea: Single(ish) Sphere oWoD:

    Controversial idea: WoD game where you play multisphere, but the players are all the black hat factions just ruining the white hat NPCs day. Maybe to be split into it's own thread if we derail on it too much.

    Shoo, shoo! Get thee to another thread.

    Actually, on a slightly more serious note, CoH has a little sandbox subsection for just that. It's kind of its own thing. I don't know how it is compared to the rest of the game.



  • Ooh! ODemon! makes grabbyhands



  • @Rusalka It is a sandbox of the darkside on a mu full of white hats in their own sandboxes, where everyone is an alt of HoneyBadger.



  • I like Sabbat, but, the dinosaurs are overplayed and the tropes never end. The Lancea et Sanctum is basically the best version of The Sword. Anyways.

    Demon: The Fallen gives you stories like Spawn, The Darkness, Cthulu, Hellboy, etc. It also allows you, as the ST, to fuck with players in a great way: Philosophy. There are antagonists in DtF that can really force your players to think, and really flesh out their character - like that tidbit, about how sometimes, The Daemon doesn't remember anything about being God's Servant. Or how a Daemon might believe mythologies over religion, or how The Daemon is weak, and it is The Man who is in control of these mighty cosmic forces or - and my personal favorite - The Daemon is as a Goa'ould, and its Host might have to fight for control, or be devoured.

    P.S - I'll totally make a Goa'ould-like Super being.


  • Pitcrew

    For a meatier response:

    My experiences with the Sabbat on MUs have been less than ideal. People usually use the rabble of the Sabbat as a template for all characters in it, and usually the structure of the Sabbat itself isn't enforced by the game enough for the themes of the Sect to really shine. When all people do in the Sabbat is RP Black Spiral Dancers But Vampires, I think it undermines the potential of it.

    However, one of the best themes of the Sabbat, in my opinion, are the paranoia/conspiracies and its hypocrisy. Paranoia because you shouldn't ever be able to say for SURE you are not playing the games of the Antediluvians/Elders, and hypocrisy because, while the rabble is composed of drooling edgelords who like to Potence hard, the elite of the Sabbat is said to be just as callous and cunning as the Camarilla, making the movers and shakers of the Sect as dominant and manipulative as the elders they deem to hate for that very reason.

    When I envision a Sabbat game, I envision a game where staff enforces the roles of the 'Sabbat Elite' through NPCs, information and plots (and of course allowing players among them), while keeping the rabble following their design. You want to play a mindless monster Pander of no direction but 'who am i killing now'? Sure, but that person isn't going to make Inquisitor, or the head of one of the Clans/Bloodlines, or even make it high in the Black Hand.

    On the Sabbat vs Demon front, all I have to add is that the Sabbat works as a group, and stories can be about a Bloodline, Clan, the Sect as a whole, or even the Sect against itself (with Infernalism, etc). Players are all moving together in the story, which helps a community grow. Demon is a game about personal stories, and monumental shifts in the world that are supposed to be driven by characters. I find it weird to turn that into a cohesive game, and I would find it hard to find a reason to meet too many Demons if I played there.

    One thing is certain: I think a Sabbat game could be immense fun, but it needs a strong theme and it will have to fight against prejudice from new and old players, as well as need to enforce its theme so everyone is either on board with it, or re-educated in what you expect of them in YOUR game.


  • Pitcrew

    @HorrorHound Also, the Lancea et Sanctum is just the Path of the Night! The Sabbat has no equal! #shovelhead4life



  • DtF is pretty easy to give reasons to group up: The Earthbound, The Things From Before, Or even: A single Man who now controls a Host of Fallen. (Which is easy, and doable, and the Tzimisce Kolduns could easily be said antagonist et voila - Castlevania's Dracula)


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