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Growth of a Campaign

The First Session

by Et Al
Sep 18,2003

 

Growth of a Campaign, 10th Installment

The First Session



This is a column following the development of a campaign through emails between a GM, his potential players and a few "consultants" (a "Braintrust") as the campaign develops and progresses through from conception to execution. The players have no hand in the development of the campaign, and the consultants won't play in the game.

Rich

Rich is the Storyteller for the campaign.


Hiro

Hiro, or Norwood, is a close friend and a valued resource. He is often the most controversial member of the Braintrust, but he sparks many conversations.


J

J, or Breitzman, is the "grounder" of the group. He keeps our heads out fo the clouds, and although his contributions are infrequent, they are timely and necessary.


Grover

Grover is a frequent contributor, and the two of us often think along similar lines. He has the ability to take my lumps coal and form them into diamonds.

A Nervous GM Speaks



I wanted to drop a line to you guys and let you know the first game session of this "Neo-Nordic" campaign will be (in three weeks). The players are very excited, and I'm amazed at how quickly time has flown.

There are many open issues for the game. I guess I've seen so many thoughts fly back and forth that I'm nervous about how to best tie it all together.

I still need to figure out how to run the first session itself. My original idea was filled with exposition and talking between the PCs and major NPCs, but you guys have recently given good ideas on having the first meeting happen in pairs and based on the interests/backgrounds of the PCs. But, I'm not sure how to tie them together, or set up their meetings. I stated out an email, and copied over the suggestions of Emma making contact with Asny as a gov't contact, and a possible run-in between Asny and Dominic because of their work in the gov't as well.

But I didn't get much farther than copying it over. I'm having trouble moving out the "gathering of the flock" original intro game and moving into this new more interactive and complex plot. When do they all meet each other? Why do they become a group, if the Draupnir doesn't bring them together? How do I work around their freakin day jobs? I guess I'm starting to get nervous about bringing this whole thing together.


Maybe, instead of one big battle royal of a gathering you can break up the intro into several small sessions. Perhaps even they could build. I'm not sure what schedule you have or your other players. Obviously you spend the most time with Cary. Maybe you could prioritize the time you have with various players and then build up the intro around available time before the first actual "game session."

Such as -- Maybe run an intro for Cary that takes a few minutes to get her the feel of her character (Asny). Then, invite Greg over for dinner one night and run a short session that links the two. Maybe Cary's previous adventure has a cliffhanger so that when Greg gets there you can already have some sort of back story for him so that he can jump right in. The two of them then go through this short "adventure" together. A third session can then add the 3rd (and possibly 4th) player into the game. This might allow the first official game session to start with a bang. Maybe the short intro's could stop right before some battle. In this way the first adventure could start out with a group battle, which almost always seems good for building team work. Maybe a few (disposable & long term) NPCs are there to flesh out the group. In the aftermath the group might have to agree to work together to meet their goals. Or, maybe, they have to flee and decide to leave en masse.

It seems like you have a good three-prong start. Asny is tied to Dominic who might also be tied to Emma. I would think that PENTEX, a great common enemy to all Garou, might suffice to help set the group up (plus, it'll set the stage for PENTEX as an nemesis). How to get all the players into the mix? Well, the intro might (instead of what's above) entail Asny leading a normal life until something alerts her that she is not normal. Dominic's intro might be that he is to S&R Asny- The Agency has learned of her and that PENTEX is after also aware of her (this might set the stage for Agency vs PENTEX). Emma might be in the vicinity. Perhaps the PENTEX team is undercover of a subsidiary which Emma is protesting against (monkeywrenching). When she learns of the company having employees in the area she decides to strike against them.

However, she might come upon the scene of the PENTEX squad taking on Dominic and his comrades - I have this image of PENTEX using some exterminator van with a bunch of agents in the back.... very comic book. Some brawl in the streets of suburbia about to erupt.

Dominic manages to grab Asny and Emma follows. Perhaps they manage to take out the PENTEX agents... perhaps it's a stand off until the authorities arrive.... Something that becomes a big event in the news.

I'm not sure about the 4th guy. Maybe he reads/sees it in the news and tracks them down.

just a few random thoghts.


Perhaps Dominic starts with a five or six man team, and loses members fighting this PENTEX team during his mission. That way it can start bloody, and also make it known that the kinfolk can't hang with the big combats.

Trace (the 4th player) could be tracking some info on his mother, and end up near the combat.

With the first official session, I really want all players to be involved, so I will start trying to tie together an outline. My last three games started with individual stories and the group ended up meeting. I think it's a good tool to give each player some time to feel their character out before they "go live" with the group.


Here are my current thoughts on what I could run as the first game.

Version One

Gathering the Flock (Game 1)

I. Intros

a. Dominic completes a Search and Rescue mission with his squad in Southeast Asia, a group of reporters who've been captured for ransom by some guerrilas. As he board an evac helicopter, the gunner hands him a sealed message, which turns out to be an invitation to Vahalla Isle. Included with the invitation is a written authorization for one month's furlough for the team and a first class airline ticket to Miami.

b. Emma is typing up her latest article for her online column when she receives an Instant Message (tm). The messager is a long time contact who has given her lots on information on illegal corporate practices, all of which were accurate and none of which she could figure out how they were discovered. The contact tells her he has information about her birthmother, and some details her surrogate family never gave her about where she came from. She then receives an eticket for a trip to Miami.

c. Asny is involved in a car chase after a counterfeiter down a major city street. As her partner drives, she takes a few shots at the passengers, and the car crashes. As one of the survivors runs out of the car, firing his automatic pistol and carrying a briefcase, Asny puts him down. He flails as he falls, and the suitcase opens, and money flies out of the case and flutters to the ground around him. She receives a text message with an invitation from Razz, one of her father's old friends. Included with the invitation is a written authorization for one month's paid vacation and confirmation for a first class airline ticket to Miami.

d. Trace receives a dream message from Torstain, who tells him the secrets of his birth can be found on Valhalla Isle, and he receives images of Miami and a dock.

II. First Meeting and the Boat Ride

a. D.B., an employee of Valhalla Isle, awaits the group, who all arrive at a yacht names Slephnir, and are taken to Valhalle Isle, which lies in International Waters off the coast of Miami. Also on the boat is Scottie Hatton, another child of the Draupnir (Scottie will be talkative if the group doesn't open up, or very quiet if the group is talkative).

b. A big storm hits during the boat ride, and D.B. orders the group belowdecks (this will serve to force the group into one area so they must converse).

III. Arrival at Valhalla Isle

a. As the skies clear, the Slephnir docks at Valhalla Isle. Freke and Sullivan (two older children of Draupnir and rival pack members) await the group. Freke and Sullivan hit on the females of the group, and welcome the rest.

b. The group is taken to the mansion, and there sees Gere (brother of Freke) training with two sparring partners.

c. Nia (rival pack leader) is still recovering from wounds suffered during the pack's last mission. Lijing (son of Razz) is tending her wounds.

d. The group is shown to their rooms, spacious suites with adjoining balconies.

IV. First dinner

a. The group has their first dinner together. Attendees are Razz, Torstain, Freke, Gere, Nia, Lijing, Scottie, and the party.

b. During the meal, Nia is stiff and obviously in pain, but says nothing. Lijing is concerned.

c. Razz tries to get the group to talk about themselves. He doesn't mention their reason for invitation, and is evasive if questioned.

d. Sullivan talks about himself openly, and flirts with the girls.

e. Torstain never eats or talks, just watches the group

V. After Dinner Mints

a. After dinner, Razz asks the rival pack to leave and brings the party into an observatory to talk with them. He starts with polite conversation until someone asks him again why they're here. He then begins to tell the story of the Draupnir, and their deeds, leading to the return of the Aesir.

b. Before he reaches the Aesir, Brittny comes barging in, loaded with shopping bags from Miami and SoBe. She starts screaming about uninvited guests in her father's house. Razz excuses himself, and tells the group they will talk tomorrow night, and walks out with Brittny.

VI. Next Morning

a. Torstain takes Asny aside to explain to her that Freke and Gere are her half brothers. He'd hoped to talk to her earlier, but they found out last night, and he wanted her to be aware. Gere doesn't confront Asny, ut he glares at her, and seems to be around wherever she goes.

b. Freke and Sully challenge Dominic and Trace to a basketball game. The game starts to get rough, and Gere possibly changes form to dunk on one of the PCs.

c. Brittny catches some sun. Scottie drools. The afternoon passes with the group doing whatever they fancy.

VII. Second Dinner

a. The group has their second dinner together. Attendees are Razz, Torstain, Nia, Brittny, Gere, Freke, Sullivan, Lijing, Scottie, and the party.

b. Nia seems better, and engages the group in conversation.

c. Sullivan is quiet, and looks frequently to Gere, who broods.

d. Torstain never eats or talks, just watches the group

VIII. After Dinner Mints Redux

a. Razz brings the party down to Torstain's cave, and with Torstain near, he continues to tell the PCs about the reason they're here.

b. Razz continues the story of the Draupnir, and reveals the return of the Aesir. He tells them about the Agency, and what's happened to the Draupnir since they split up.

c. Razz offers to answer questions, and pitches the idea of the group as a pack.

IX. Framed!

a. Brittny and Gere wait for the party when they come back up to the mansion. They tell the group they aren't needed, and they should leave. Brittny loses her temper, and ends up attacking the party. Gere backs her play, and the rest of the house soon arrives. Brittny lies and says the party attacked her. The session ends.

Version Two

First Meetings (Game 1)

I. Florida Oil Spill Demonstration

a. An Endron oil tanker dumps thousands of tons of oil on the Florida coast.

b. Asny is part of an ATF detachment assigned to look for protestors with illegal weapons at the Endron protest, an oil corporation with many fines from the EPA.

c. Dominic and his squad are part of the military force called in for police support during the demonstration in case things get violent.

d. Emma is part of the demonstration, and is introduced to the senator's daughter by her editor of her online zine.

e. Trace is in Miami visiting a Bane Tender from his family, trying to find information about his mother. The Bane Tender sends him to the Endron protest because the Bane he keeps has been mentioning it in his dreams.

II. Demonstrate This, Bitch!

a. The protest becomes violent, and the PCs notices that people start acting very irrational. As the violence increases, the crowd storms the Endron Security Force, and Dominc and his squad are forced to defend themselves.

b. As the conflict grows, Dominic notices several oddities about the Endron Force, who wear helmets with visors and are covered from head to toe. Trace smells Wyrm on the Security Force.

c. One of the Endron Security Force team is a BSD, and she frenzies. Her clothes rip apart, and demonstrators flee in terror, leaving mostly the PCs, Dominic's squad, and the Security Force. If the PCs get their butts whipped, members of the rival pack will come in and save them.

III. Torstain shows up and compliments them. He is the man from Trace's dream, the one who sent Dominic and Asny their orders, and Emma contact. He invites them to Valhalla Isle. Refer to first outline for filler events to end off first game session.

Thoughts?


I like them both, but the first seems more detailed and thus more prone to wandering PCs. The second seems a lot like the module on the white wolf website - the one in Utica, NY.

Which do you like and why?


I like number one because it's easiest, and gives me the most control. I'm not sure if you guys have picked this up, but I like control of my own game. In the first version, I tell the story, and I set the stage. The things I don't like are that it begins similar to Mortal Kombat the movie, which I find myself doing frequently. Cut scenes for each PC, then an excuse for a gathering.

But, based on feedback from you guys, I came up with version two. There are elements of this version I like very much. Version is nice because it starts the campaign off with a bang, and it involved conflict with a recurring enemy. But, after the combat, I found myself stuck on how to get them to Valhalla Isle, so I pointed the story back to version one.

I guess my answer would be version two if I could keep the story interesting and unique after the combat with the "Sydron" security force. Or does it work if I just cut into version one, or add the kick off of version two to version one?

Sorry if I'm getting neurotic, I want the game to start well. I want all of our hard work to be successful and entertaining.


Why not go with the "everyone's around when the combat is going down" scenario. You could write up a paragraph describing what their pc perceives and then, in order, ask them to state what they are doing in response to their card. (I see this being very Feng Shei.) After the smoke clears, some of the Pentex team gets away just as some swat troops from the agency show up. The players realize that they are not healing up as they normally do - maybe this is the first time for them in this situation - and the swat team has to give medical aide to them.

Let the players start out the game with a bloody nose and the need for some personal revenge- for pride if nothing else.


Here are my final thoughts on the first game. Please comment if you find ways to improve it. Also, this is mostly notes to myself from work to home, I'm pretty comfy with the game as it is. But, I'm always looking for improvements!



Gathering the Flock (Game 1)

I. Florida Oil Spill Demonstration

Opening Event - A Syrdon oil tanker dumps thousands of tons of oil on the Florida coast.

a. Asny is part of an ATF detachment assigned to look for protestors with illegal weapons at the Syrdon protest. An anonymous tip gave an ATF office information on a militant protest group with plans to use automatic weapons against the Syrdon security force.

b. Dominic and his squad are part of the military force called in for police support during the demonstration in case things get violent. They are removed from the situation, but close enough for quick response. The squad considers it a milk run.

c. Emma is part of the demonstration. Syrdon is part of her personal "companies-to-hate" list for other illegal corporate practices, so this is a chance to vent her frustrations with/at them.

d. Trace is in Miami visiting a Bane Tender from his res trying to find information about his mother. The Bane Tender sends him to the Syrdon protest because the Bane he keeps has been mentioning it in his dreams.

II. Demonstrate This!

Setting - Outside Syrdon Regional Offices, a large building in the Business District of Miami. The streets have been blocked off, and hundreds of protestors flood the block around the office building. Jackbooted thugs wearing Syrdon Security Force uniforms complete with helmets and visors, protect the company workers inside.

a. The protest becomes violent, and the PCs notice that people start acting very irrational. As the violence increases, the crowd storms the Syrdon Security Force. Dominic and his squad are forced to defend them. Asny and her partner watch the crowd for signs of weapons, but find none.

b. As the conflict grows, Dominic notices several oddities about the Syrdon Force, who wear helmets with visors and are covered from head to toe. Asny "smells Wyrm" near the Security Force.

c. One of the Syrdon Security Force team is a BSD, and she frenzies. Her clothes rip apart, and demonstrators flee in terror, leaving mostly the PCs, Dominic's squad, and the Security Force. If the PCs get their butts whipped, members of the rival pack will come in and save them.

d. If they succeed, Torstain shows up and compliments them. He invites them to Valhalla Isle, and hands them each a card with a dock number written on it.

III. The Boat Ride

Setting - The Miami docks. A storm brews and winds whip about in the early evening.

a. D.B., an employee of Valhalla Isle, awaits the group at a yacht named The Slepnir. The group arrives and are taken to Valhalla Isle which lies in International Waters off the coast of Miami. Also on the boat is Scottie Hatton, another child of the Draupnir (Scottie will be talkative if the group doesn't open up, or very quiet if the group is talkative).

b. A big storm hits during the boat ride, and D.B. orders the group below decks (this will force the group into one area so they must converse).

IV. Arrival at Valhalla Isle

Setting - remote island in the Atlantic Ocean owned by the Draupnir

a. As the skies clear, the Slepnir docks at Valhalla Isle. Freke and Sullivan (two older children of the Draupnir and rival pack members) await the group. Freke and Sullivan hit on the females of the group, and welcome the rest.

b. The group is taken to the mansion, and sees Gere (brother of Freke) training with two sparring partners.

c. Nia (rival pack leader) is still recovering from wounds suffered during the pack's last mission. Lijing (son of Razz) is tending her wounds.

d. The group is shown to their rooms, spacious suites with adjoining balconies.

V. First dinner

Setting - Long dining hall, the group takes up one-third of the table. Armor and skins adorn the walls, as do portraits of the Draupnir.

a. The group has their first dinner together. Attendees are Razz, Torstain, Freke, Gere, Nia, Lijing, Scottie, and the party.

b. During the meal, Nia is stiff and obviously in pain, but says nothing. Lijing is concerned.

c. Razz tries to get the group to talk. He doesn't mention their reason for invitation, and is evasive if questioned.

d. Sullivan talks about himself openly, and flirts with the girls.

e. Torstain never eats or talks, just watches the group

VI. After Dinner Mints

Setting - Tower observatory overlooking the ocean, and looking across it.

a. After dinner, Razz asks the rival pack to leave and brings the party into an observatory to talk with them. He starts with polite conversation until someone asks him again why they're here. He then begins to tell the story of the Draupnir, and their deeds, leading to the return of the Aesir.

b. Before he reaches the Aesir, Brittny comes barging in, loaded with shopping bags from Miami and SoBe. She starts screaming about uninvited guests in her father's house. Razz excuses himself, and tells the group they will talk tomorrow night, and walks out with Brittny.

VII. Next Morning

Settings - various

a. Torstain takes Asny aside to explain to her that Freke and Gere are her half brothers. He'd hoped to talk to her earlier, but they found out last night, and he wanted her to be aware. Gere doesn't confront Asny, but he glares at her, and seems to be around wherever she goes.

b. Freke and Sully challenge Dominic and Trace to a basketball game. The game starts to get rough, and Gere possibly changes form to dunk on one of the PCs.

c. Brittny catches some sun. Scottie drools. The afternoon passes with the group doing whatever they fancy.

VIII. Second Dinner

Setting - Long dining hall

a. The group has their second dinner together. Attendees are Razz, Torstain, Nia, Brittny, Gere, Freke, Sullivan, Lijing, Scottie, and the party.

b. Nia seems better, and engages the group in conversation.

c. Sullivan is quiet, and looks frequently to Gere, who broods.

d. Torstain never eats or talks, just watches the group

IX. After Dinner Mints Redux

Setting - Torstain's cave

a. Razz brings the party down to Torstain's cave, and with Torstain near, he continues to tell the PCs about the reason they're here.

b. Razz continues the story of the Draupnir, and reveals the return of the Aesir. He tells them about the Agency, and what's happened to the Draupnir since they split up.

c. Razz offers to answer questions, and pitches the idea of the group as a pack.

X. Framed!

Setting - foot of the long stairs to the party's suites.



Brittny and Gere wait for the party when they come back up to the mansion. They tell the group they aren't needed, and they should leave. Brittny loses her temper, and ends up attacking the party. Gere backs her play, and the rest of the house soon arrives. Brittny lies and says the party attacked her. The session ends.

Score:

I want a soundtrack or set of songs for each setting. Here are my current thoughts

* Florida Oil Spill Demonstration

Protest music. I currently have in mind some Midnight Oil (hope I can find it online, I lost my CDs), Public Enemy, System of a Down, Limp Bizkit, even some Korn. Lots of hip, angry music.

* The Boat Ride

The introduction of Scottie will have some Latino flavored techno by Danny Tenaglia. The storm will also be one of my nature CDs of a huge storm.

* Arrival at Valhalla Isle

Dudes, I have to go with some Wagner here, trite as it may be.

* First dinner

Razz would want a calm beginning to the first dinner, so I see some Pure Moods type music, some Enigma, Portishead down tempo stuff, calm and easy. If I had Morcheeba, I'd play that, too.

* After Dinner Mints

The observatory should have some ambient techno, not intrusive, but enough to carry conversation.

* Next Morning

Beach music, fun music, stuff I steal from Cary's pop section.

* Second Dinner

More Pure Moods.

* After Dinner Mints Redux

Torstain is a techno junkie (like the Storyteller). Dave Seaman will be his theme DJ.

* Framed!

Basic Instinct soundtrack, suspenseful and kind of noir.

STILL NEED TO FINISH:

Mansion description:

I also need a description of rooms found at the Draupnir mansion. It was built in the mid 80s, so it has lots of modern conveniences.


I had my final draft of the first game. So many months of planning, and the first game would be the test. I'd launched campaigns before, but never one where I'd worked so hard on the scope of the campaign and where I'd detailed so many characters and events. Not only that, I wasn't just running my game, I had three good friends who had spent many hours creating the world with me. They wouldn't be there for the launch, and I didn't want to disappoint them.

I spent the last hours before the game prepping my music, re-reading my notes and getting the table and the lighting just right. Then, the call came. Murphy's Law kicked into gear, and one of the players called to say he couldn't make it. Luckily it was the least developed PC, Trace, but I was still panicking. Now I had a three player game, a bit smaller than I'd prefer. But, I couldn't cancel the first session, we may never get off the ground. So, I decided I could work him in later, and ran it anyway.

Game 1 Results Summary



First off, one of the players bailed on me. The player who created Trace was unable to make it to the game.

Before I break down the game play-by-play, I'll say it went close to the outline until they got onto the island, then sequencing changed as I reacted to players' interests.

I. & II. Florida Oil Spill Demonstration and Demonstrate This, Bitch! Opening Event - A Syrdon oil tanker dumps thousands of tons of oil on the Florida coast. The streets have been blocked off, and hundreds of protestors flood the block around the office building. Jackbooted thugs wearing Syrdon Security Force uniforms complete with helmets and visors, protect the company workers inside.

Asny spent time trying to decide if she should intervene when the protest became violent. She and her partner decided the stun batons used by the Syrdon Security Force were illegal, and moved into the crowd as everythign erupted. Asny ended up firing the first live ammo in the fight, and took down several guards (after they attacked her with the stun batons which were putting off high volumes of electricity).

Instead of coming in with his squad, Dominic left his squad behind and arrived with some Reservists. He used them to suppress the crowd at first, then to try to stop the Security Force.

Emma tried to stop the protest from erupting, but once the Security Force started attacking protestors, she went after them. Statistically, she was the weakest fighter, by far. But, she choked the one Werewolf into submission with some fantastic rolls and the group was victorious. Torstain showed up and invited them to meet at a dock for further information. He let them know he knew a great deal about them, and left.

Trace was the absent player's character, so he wasn't present for the scene. The combat lasted almost four hours of real time which was incredibly long. It also put the rest of the game behind.

III. The Boat Ride

Setting - The Miami docks. A storm brews and winds whip about in the early evening.

I made a mistake, and instead of having them meet in the morning for the boat ride, I said 7 at night. This meant when the PCs arrived, it was late. This jostled the first dinner to a first lunch.

D.B. came across as a mountain of a man, and Cary compared him to Hagrid. The players seemed to respond to his broad gestures, booming voice, and simple manner.

Emma was very suspiscious of the other PCs because of their government backgrounds. Once they took sail, she threatened to jump off the boat if this was a military recruitment. D.B. assured her they were ex-military, and left for good reasons.

Asny revealed to the group that she'd been to the island before (in her backstory, Chance had taken her there to meet her "Uncle" George). Dominic spent time revealing his character, and came across as a very funny character. Imagine a cross between the sergeant in Aliens and a barbarian. Emma talked about her journalism, and mentioned she could report all of them, but Asny laughed it off. They ate together. Asny and Emma discovered they're both vegetarians, Dominic is a rather strict carnivore, and liked his steak rare. Scottie was introduced, and said Torstain came to him in a dream, and promised him a destiny, so he came from New York on a bus ride to Miami. I played Scottie as a person who is very young and uneducated, not too bright, but also street smart. He did things like ask Dominc to open his beer bottle, played dumb to get people to talk, etc.

IV. Arrival at Valhalla Isle

Setting - remote island in the Atlantic Ocean owned by the Draupnir

The female PCs reacted appropriately to Sullivan's come-ons. I played Freke as more quiet and cool, so both girls found him more attractive (which led to a funny Star Wars reference later in the game when Emma found out Asny and Freke were half-siblings). They seemed impressed with the island and my description of it, huge and expensive, but not new. I tried to make everything sound as if it were expensive and beautiful, kept up but nothing new has come about in over fifteen years. Rasputin met with them soon after their arrival, and revealed that he wanted to give them information they deserved to know, that he wanted them to join his cause, but he would not hold the information hostage to obtain their service. He told Asny that her "Uncle" George was very sick and that he was not her blood relative. He then showed them to their rooms, and said they'd talk later.

Asny went out for a swim that night to calm down. She was beginning the think her father lied to her about everything. Sullivan came out and talked to her, and she mentioned her father's name was Chance. He told Asny that her group would be the junior leagues of the operation, and if his team needed more bodies, she could receive a call. Sullivan eventually ended the conversation and left.

The next morning, Torstain came in to Asny's room and told her Freke and Gere were her half-brothers. He told her Gere would be upset and may try to kill her, and then left. Asny met with Razz to get more information, and he told her Chance never cheated on his mother, and George and Chance were blood brothers.

Emma sent Razz a message asking to talk to him. Razz told Emma her mom was Leyeir, a lupus, and that she betrayed the Company to keep her safe, and gave vital intel to a group of werewolved so they could steal her away from the company. Razz also told her she was never heard from again after that betrayal until 3 years later when the Company held her funeral. The official line is that Leyeir was active in high security Black Ops. Emma asked Razz what he thought about it, and he said if he ever obtained information proving that the Company tortured or killed Leyeir, he would get payback. Emma said she would only join if Razz gave her all the information on their cause, their resources, and their history. He said he would give this information to the whole group, not just her. He also said if she revealed the information, he would have it suppressed and have her killed.

V. & VII. First "Lunch" and parts of "Next Morning"

Setting - Several tables together on the patio by the pool.

The first meal with Team One (the rival pack) and the party went well. The players were intrigued with Nia, which made me happy. I think the meal suffered from too many NPCs, but I wanted a symbolic first meal together. Sullivan and Gere challenged Scottie and Dominic to a game of basketball, which they accepted.

VI. After Dinner Mints

Setting - Tower observatory overlooking the ocean.

After lunch, Rasputin brought the group to the obs tower, and started talking about the Draupnir's history and their parents. He explained that none of the Draupnir were still with the Company, and named the surviving members of the Draupnir. Dominic started asking questions about his father's death, and I ended up revealing the Norse beliefs of Razz and the group. Dominic and Emma became very nervous at this point. A helicopter came over the horizon, and Brittny arrived, bags in tow. Razz continued to talk about the conflict between the Fenrir and the Einherar which ended the Draupnir's time with the Company and nearly destroyed the world. Then, Brittny came over the intercom and started screaming about unwanted guests in her father's house. Razz left the room and told the PCs he'd talk with them later.

Emma said she wanted to work with enemies of Syrdon, but had problems with their beliefs. She drew comparisons to the nazis belief in the Norse destinies. asny argued that she wouldn't have believed in werewolves, but they exist anyway. Scottie said his mother believed in Hel, and said she worshipped her. He then revealed his father was a Black Spiral Dancer, and he wasn't supposed to be special, but he became special, so his mother kicked him out.

VIII. Second Dinner

Setting - Long dining hall

Didn't get there.

IX. After Dinner Mints Redux

Setting - Torstain's cave

Didn't get there.

X. Framed!

Setting - foot of the long stairs to the party's suites.

Didn't get there.

The game ended with Scottie and Dominic heading over to the gym to play basketball. I think I should have written up how Razz would give the history of the original Draupnir, and I plan on going back through old notes to have stories to tell about the old characters. The players said they enjoyed the NPCs, and are intrigued with the concept, but they thought Torstain was cool when he first arrived at the protest, but came off very antisocial when they were at the mansion.

With the skepticism of the group, what can I do to bring it home, and convince them of the Aesir and the Nordic legends? Should I be direct, and have Torstain take them to Yggdrasil? Or should it be a mystery for a while, they aren't sure if their "bosses" are crazy, but they fight for them anyways?


Just to be clear, the skirmish outside the Syrdon building was not a first change for any of the PCs? Does this mean that all the players, and thus the PCs via extension, are all versed in the cannon White Wolf werewolf mythos? I ask this because it's been my experience that it is rather difficult to get most players to ignore what they perceive themselves knowing and using this as a basis of what their players know. I say this because it seems from the write up that the PCs, with the possible exception of Asny, seemed to be unaccepting of the Norse version of werewolf, as though they would have to choose the Nordic version over some other version. I would think that after a first change one would be willing to accept any reason given, no matter how implausible or outlandish, if it was presented by someone who wasn't startled by the changes. I thought a premise of the game was that the PCs, other than Emma, had no other explanation or mythos for the changes. I was also under the impression that this first episode would be first changes.


Because none of the players seemed to be interested in playing early teens characters, the first game was not first change. However, the PCs were not indoctrinated into the normal Garou culture. They have learned bits and pieces, and lived on their own with their secrets. So, their reluctance is not from switching from one belief to another, but from adopting a belief at all.


Have any of the players made any mention of how they accounted for their werewolf natures? I mean, again, it would seem that some sort of explanation would be severely sought after. Lacking one, any one, the first to come along, I would think, would be a cause of elation. It's easy for us to have sort of a uncaring attitude towards religion since religion, to us, seem unknowable. However, if one truly encounters the metaphysical wouldn't that drastically change the notion of what the meaning of this life is? I think this is what I was hinting at before when I mentioned the whole transcendence and sacrifice.

And even if the PCs haven't been indoctrinated into the normal Garou culture, I would question whether the players have. Emma, and therefore Greg, with her slight background in Garou culture, would seem an exception. The other players, I would think, are sort of holding out for the cannon Garou explanations and realize this for what it is, an alternate cosmological view. I think if this persists, it might very difficult for the PCs to commit to believing in it as a reality. Even if in your game the cannon Garou experience is the divergent, alternate view.

Out of curiosity, how did the NPCs and other players react to the comparisons between the agency and the Nazis?


Asny and Dominic didn't comment on the comparison. Since Emma had already established her hatred of the military, they were nonplussed about her suspicions. Dominic had his own concerns, and Asny was still reeling from the shock of the truth of her father's death to debate it.


The group became a bit quiet after the launch of the campaign. I had game one under my belt, and the campaign became more day-to-day than grand scheme. I started a practice of sending out an outline for the next session, using Braintrust comments to amend it, then sending out game results summaries afterwards, and using the comments to plan for the next session.

We had an occasional spark or flurry of emails over long range details, and this seemed to be the most interesting part to the rest of the trust, but I had to stay focused on the next session or couple of sessions to have my details in order.

Running the game has been a pleasure, but I've had to spend the first ten sessions setting up the world, helping the players build the pack and find a purpose. I'd hope that by Game Ten, the players would be questing for Mjollnir. But, at that pace, the campaign would be more like a novella.

One change in the Braintrust I ran into as the game launched was chat. The night before several sessions, I usually found Grover online, and we would hash out details on the game. Or, while at work, Norwood would pop online, and we would run over some fine points. This immediate feedback was invaluable, and time saving. I think if I had to do it over again, I'd try to set up Brainstorming sessions via chat with the Braintrust, once a week. This would reduce the amount of overall time committed by each member of the group, and maximize the results of popcorn ideas. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the long emails of ideas thrown back and forth.

Regardless of the campaign's success or formula, I took a rough idea of a sequel campaign, and with the help of some friends, molded it into an original and exciting campaign framework. Thanks to the Braintrust, and thanks to my readers (whoever you are out there!)

- et al TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

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