Bringing it all together: the Campaign Manifesto

22 Oct

I’ve been busy preparing for Blood Money, my Vampire the Requiem campaign set in Moscow. One of the challenges I’ve set myself it to make it a very visceral, exciting and player character oriented campaign. One of the great things about VtR is that it’s at both an empowering game for players — they’re undead fiends of the night, mortals are but cattle to them… — and a way to tell poignant stories — they’re undead fiends of the night, they’re forgetting what it’s like to me human… I’ve made a few notes, my campaign manifesto,  to keep me on track and act as a reference not only when planning the session but also running it:

  • vampires are cool badasses. This is what draws players to the game and it’s important to make them feel what it is to be at the top of the food chain (they smell what’s in the room before they walk through the door, humans quake in fright when they bare their teeth, their hairs prickle with electricity when they’re on the hunt for blood)
  • each player character should have an important human relationship (a mirror to their descent, someone more vulnerable than them) – player characters should hold some cards from the get go – sessions should be all plot, no padding
  • don’t explain everything to the players — let interpretation and inference grow the setting/their world view
  • sessions/Campaign must tie in to the notion of what it is to be vampires — essential ideas like blood, feeding, death, immortality, darkness, monsters
  • remember Justin Achilli’s “build gardens, not museums” game world design philosophy
  • “Moscow Noir” — no guidebooks. A retelling of Moscow. History is the same, but locations and places need to be freed up. Hidden Moscow, forgotten places — metro, tombs, secret clubs. Write a list of cool locations to use on the fly for meetings, unforeseen outings, etc.

Right now I’m putting the manifesto to work as I figuring out a short (dot points) history of Moscow as it pertains to its vampire residents as well as putting down a few names and thoughts on who’ll makes up the NPC vampires (more about this in part two). I’ve also made a city map, that I’m pretty happy with and regular readers will have heard it mentioned here. I’ll post it after the first session so I don’t inadvertently spoil things for the players if they wander past this post 🙂

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