Sunday, February 10, 2013

WPW Hack: Fate, Blood & Seven Sins Part 1

I just love Vampire: The Requiem. It's my favorite game and I usually gm at least a short chronicle each year. All of them set in the same setting, a small city in Northern Germany. On and off, I've been running the game since November 2004. I am looking for a way to marry the FATE mechanics with my setting. Now, White Picket Witches may have given me the right tools.

In the Requiem Chronicler's Guide there was a hack called "Monsters Garage" that stripped the vampiric experience down to a few essential components. They also did away with skills and instead focused on how you do things not what you do. The focus was on employing the seven deadly sins of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, wrath. This matches up perfectly with the seven assets used by White Picket Witches. So I am going to use the seven deadlies as the Assets of the game. But let's dive in from the beginning.

Setting Considerations

The game assumes that vampirism is transmitted by blood, as seen in Vampire Diaries, True Blood or Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. It is up to the gaming group to determine when the blood has to be transmitted and which additional steps (if any) have to be taken to complete the transformation into a vampire (e.g. being dead, dying, having to bury out of the grave, etc.)

Also, I am going to assume that vampires gather, be it as packs, covens, clans, bloodlines, a complete undead society with elaborate rituals and rules, gangs, nests, broods, whatever. This will provide the social dynamic. It is up to the GM and players to define this.

Thirdly, I am assuming that vampires require blood to survive. This will be expresses as an Extra and limitation that all vampires share: they can only heal a consequence by inflicting an equally bad or worse consequence on someone else. Stressing-out nameless NPCs is sufficient for recovering mild consequences, but nothing more serious. A vampire can use another vampire to recover consequences.

Your Aspects

Core Concept: This works similar to the canon aspect of White Picket Witches and the high concept aspect of FATE Core. In two to three words, tell the audience who you are. Are you the Trusted Bodyguard, a Ruthless Drugdealer, the Elderly Executive, an Ancient Relic, the Dedicated Elementary School Teacher, a Suave Tattoo Artist, the Curious Archaelogist or a Famous Radio Talkhost?

Weakness: Vampires have weaknesses as varied as the genre. Some are repelled by crosses, some are vulnerable to sunlight, others are prone to violent rage or hurt by silver. Pick a weakness for your character. Something that will impair her when confronted with it. Put it in an aspect. Not all vampires are created the same.

Casting: How do you imagine your character to look like? You can pick a particular actor (even in a particular role) or just cast your character as a "-type". The purpose of this aspect is to visualize the character in three to five words.

Mortal Days: Who were you as a mortal, back in the day when you could still walk openly among humans? What was the life that was stolen from you? This aspect can be about family or friends, habits, occupations and what not. It should solidly connect you to other humans.

Role in Vampire Society: Even though vampires are predators, they connect to other vampires. This aspect describes your role in vampiric society. Are you a newly converted vampire? The advisor to your broodmaster? The ruler of a respected house or lineage? An enforcer of laws?

Your Assets

Your assets are the seven deadly sins: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, wrath. In this game, you express your actions by describing which sin you are committing in order to get what you want.

As an additional asset you get Age. The asset describes how experienced you are in using your vampiric powers and how powerful you are a vampire. A newly created fledgingly starts with Average (+1) Age, while an ancient vampire alive back in Roman times might have be of  Fantastic (+6) or Epic (+7) Age. Most vampires created since the Middle Ages range between Great (+4) Age and Fair (+2) Age, if they have been around since before WWII.

The group may decide to limit Age to a certain bracket or even require all player characters  to start at the same Age.

Age is rolled, when you are activating your vampiric powers.

Since I don't like spreading points around bit by bit, each player will be able to have one asset at Great (+4), one at Good (+3), one at Fair (+2) and another one at Average (+1). The assets include the sevens sins and Age. At least one of the values has to be put into Age.

Refresh, Stunts and Extras

Each character starts out with one free stunt, three refresh and one extra. Additional stunts and/or extras can be taken by reducing refresh. Stunts can either be invented using the guidelines in FATE Core or by applying an existing stunt to one of the seven sins.

I will provide a short list of extras based upon vampiric powers in one of the next blog posts.

Antagonists

Antagonists are built like in White Picket Witches. Possible antagonists include the vampire who made you, the vampire you created, a rival vampiric gangleader, mortal authorities, competitors for your turf, the usual vampire hunters, other supernatural creatures like werewolves, ghosts, demons or even the devil himself. Just look to the genre for inspiration.

Turf

Each player designs at least one turf. An area her character owns in the world of the vampires. Her hunting grounds, her lair, a place she likes to spend time at or a meeting place for others of her kind. Also, the group should probably design at least one or two turfs that are shared by more vampires, where they can meet, greet and plot.

Turfs are designed along the same rules as places of power. They have a leitmotif, and get three assets (read: sins) assigned. In a given scene, when a vampire is on his own turf, he can invoke the leitmotif once for free (very cool idea by Rob Wieland for The Phaser Chase).

Okay, that's the basics. Next time I'll talk about vampiric powers and then there is this idea about Turf Wars.


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