I played one game on Friday night. It was the vampire LARP, following the old LOTN rules. The names was Scions of the Storm, which was a good name, but the plot didn’t follow it as far as I could tell.
Here’s the description in the game book: “Since its founding, Houston has been a quiet and unremarkable home to the small gathering of Kindred who call it home. The year is 1910 and the turning of the century has brought changes, both marvelous and foul. Join us beneath the gaslights for a night of intrigue and horror.” It’s a very general description. Given the name, I thought it would be more about the change of power in Houston after the 1900 Hurricane shifted the seat of local political power from Galveston to Houston.
From what I could tell, it looks like the GMs did not have much time to put everything together. The groups of characters were good. There was the Prince Ibn Tumart and his Nosferatu clan, the Trinity of Malkavians who were very well-played, the Spanish Brujah who were trying to abide the Prince and uphold Camarilla laws, and the Los Ojos Rojos, a family of clanless kindred who nevertheless, were powerful. All these were well thought out.
However, the individual characters were merely character sheets. I showed up a bit late during character selection, and so I ended up with the Brujah elder. The only characterization I had was a Nature of Pragmatist and a Demeanor of an Elitist. Not the most exciting character, but I think I pulled it off.
Here’s what I’ve had in the best of one-shot LARPs I’ve participated in:
- Good, easy to read character sheet.
- A paragraph or two explaining history, goals, and motivations.
- A list of specific goals to be completed this game. (If the game is serialized, this allows a character to grow even if different people play it.)
- A list of key relationships (friends & foes), and a sentence about why that is the relationship.
Sadly, numbers 2-4 were not present, and the character sheet seemed to be a basic printout from Grapevine in a fixed-font. Still, it was operable.
In the Brujah Clan, we had two people who were new to LARPs, including an Australian! (Sorry, I forgot your names.) This made things a bit challenging, however, I really enjoyed it because LARPing needs new blood. They seemed to enjoy the game.
The first hour was mainly getting used to the characters, visiting the Prince, etc. The plot eventually revolved around strange things happening. A Tzimisce war-ghoul attacked, a Lasombra tentacle of shadow attacked, and there were others. So a bit of Chaos. The Brujah then retreated to their lair and discussed. We were investigating three possibilities:
- The Los Ojos Rojos – The Clanless. This was a stupid idea mainly because they had faithfully supported the city for 30 years. While it was a lot of fun role-playing, it hampered us from finding the culprits. More up-front information would have helped with that.
- The Tremere – He was my main suspect. He was helping us SO much, and that raised a flag for me. However, we were dealing with the clanless.
- I can’t remember the third! :-P
The Malkavians thought that some of the Brujah were the issue, and that caused problems.
As usual with Vampire, time-locked scenes are the problem. In one, the Tremere said to the Brujah to stake a clanless vampire. We all had celerity (supernatural speed), but it took a long time to resolve that we captured him. However, after asking the Tremere why, I let him go. I was unhappy with his explanation. This made me extra-suspicious of him, but we didn’t have time to explore that possibility.
The second time-locked scene I was in was when the Malkavians attacked a younger Brujah mentally. It was resolved, but we had to convince the Prince that the Brujah acted out due to being mentally manipulated.
By the end of the game, I was proven correct. It was the Tremere who was actually a sabbat Lasombra doing exactly what I said – trying to pit us against each other to make it easier to attack. What it ended up doing was distracting the Prince enough so that the mystery Ventrue could assassinate him.
After playing other LARPs, I really believe the vampire rules should be simplified to prevent long combat scenes. Resolving combat is essential, but the fun is in the role-play, not in playing rock-paper-scissors.
Still, the role-playing was high caliber and the costumes were excellent! That’s why I keep coming. I need to get to know some of these people better…