Wednesday, September 7, 2016

[Esoteric Order Duets] Neon Masquerade (Classic World of Darkness) - Episode Nine: Colors

Aaron and Karen have fled Los Angeles after killing a high-profile Cainite. But whither are they bound, and what may they find when they return to the City of Angels months later?

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The campaign wiki can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. If someone is from Kansas, then "it figures" that they *must* have grown up on a farm... You know, if Trump wins and everyone says it's the revolt of flyover country against coastal snobs, I'm blaming you two :)

    I believed that less than a third of Kansans live in rural areas as defined by the US government, and most of those would not live on actual farms.

    (I have never actually been to Kansas.)

    Aside from that, another wonderful episode. More scattered thoughts:

    -I understand Desirée's concerns about reinscribing annoying tropes. But good news: the white male protagonist being made less clueless by persons of color and women is here equivalent to him becoming corrupted by vampire society. Oh wait: that's an even worse trope.

    But this is basically a consequence of combining a duet game with Aaron the sole protagonist with the Anarch States as the setting. If you want that character (and his adventures and misadventures are definitely fun), I think it's baked into Vampire that he more-or-less has to start as a clueless innocent and be gradually initiated into his new world. And in this part of the world, the people who do that are inevitably going to display a lot of diversity.

    - I was struck by how Desirée talked about how Vampire was provoking her to draw on techniques from acting classes to add depth to her character in a way that other games hadn't. That's one of the things that Vampire did better than other games had - really push you to think about character and make that the driving force of the story.

    Part of this is the small casts. I think the 1 vampire per 100,000 mortals is set a bit too low for historical plausibility - it means that 200 years ago, London had only 10 vampires and nowhere else had anything like that many, and the game certainly doesn't present the overwhelming majority of vampires as being sired only in the twentieth century. But it does mean that you have to get interesting stories out of the same NPCs, over and over again, and that means that they need to be interesting and to have complicated goals and motivations to generate new stories. Which calls out the same in the PCs.

    - I've mentioned that we hardly used the rules when playing. Part of this is that my players didn't want to use their vampire abilities unless they had to, and that was because spending blood points seemed like a big deal to them, because you had so few - even 15 doesn't really feel like a lot -, and feeding could be tricky. I think if I were to play Vampire again, I might play around with doubling blood pools (including the amount of blood points that a mortal contains) to incentivize a more reckless attitude.

    - I will really miss this when it's gone. Easily my favorite actual play podcast ever.

    The commenting problem seems to have been caused by too restrictive cookie settings, in case someone else has it.