April 4, 2014

My Vampires

I've talked about running Night's Black Agents before.  I love the game because it encourages me to wiki-dive for hours about ancient legends and mythology, occult practices and organizations, international organized crime, spies and tricks of tradecraft.  Just thinking about the setting and characters is a lot of fun.

If you're are curious about this game, you should know that there aren't stats for vampires per se.  You, the "director" (which is a pretty good name for the GM of an action thriller game), get to make up your own vampires.  That means the legend, the mythos, the facts about them, their supernatural ecology, their stats, etc.  You do this with a little input from the players - what they would like to see, and what they would rather not see.  But you keep it a mystery from them.  Night's Black Agents uses GUMSHOE, a system built for investigation, so it focuses on tools to create a strong discovery aesthetic.  That means your players are not empowered to direct the narrative.  What are they empowered to do then?  In GUMSHOE, they are empowered to find clues - GUMSHOE characters cannot fail to find clues that move the story forward.

So you build a huge secret mythos for your vampires, and then a huge conspiracy that the vampire master is at the head of.  The players spend the campaign looking for clues to unravel the conspiracy, foil the vampires' fiendish plots, learn how to destroy them, and then do so.  But it's not just following from one clue to the next -- anytime the players want to learn something, they can set about to learn it, at which point you, the GM, have to either give them the information they want or give them a clue to how to find the information they want.

Anyway, here's what my vampires and my conspiracy look like.

(If you're one of my Night's Black Agents players, don't look at these!)

This is what my vampires are like.  I left out the game mechanics and stats and focused just on a brief overview.  I also left out a lot of the results of my wikidiving.  You can do that on your own!

This is what the conspiracy looks like, just in Marseilles.  I don't think my players would be surprised to hear that it goes way deeper than just one city.