So some friends of mine are heavily curious about the concept of “role playing”. Only one of them have ever done it in the past.
Here’s the challenge for me: I’ve only invested in one universe. I came through to roleplaying in a rather “backasswards”. Have I played D&D? Yes. THAC0 is a thing I’m very familiar with. Did I ever run D&D? Nope!
The ancient West End Games’ “Star Wars” was my original entry into RP aside from playing Final Fantasy and other RPGs on the consoles. White Wolf’s World of Darkness was my next venture in college.
From there I fell in love with Mage and Hunter oddly enough. Yeah, the “little guys” of White Wolf’s universe. Vampire and Werewolf just didn’t have the charm of being a reality bending Awakened or an Aware Hunter.
So why am I writing this now?
Because I have a decision to make.
What do I run for them?
Mortal: Yes, mortality is an option. Start as plain humans and go from there. Humans who think that the original World of Darkness (oWoD) (because nothing can be simple, there are two versions of that) is similar to ours. Some have had their eyes open and are aware (lowercase) of strange events, but most are not. If I was to start a mortal game I should really use the new universe because it’s simpler. The things that go bump in the night are just as dangerous, but the rules are a bit easier to digest. Another neat way to go about it is to start here and let them join the ranks of the other denizens through play. We’re talking of the assumption of a really long running game in that situation though.
Hunter: There are hunters in the new World of Darkness (nWoD) too, but these guys were the ultimate conspiracy theorists. Subscribing to a web email list called “Hunter-net” they traded stories, debated, and in general tried to figure out what the crap was going on. Your lifespan as a hunter wasn’t a long one. Those that rose in power also fell from sanity. This would be a great way to introduce new players to the concepts of WoD though. The Hunters start out knowing nothing. So would these players. It’s a big enough pillar that it received it’s own video game remake. Never played that though.
Vampire: This was the base game, the claim to fame, of WoD. So much so that the makers of Eve Online, CCP Games, have bought White Wolf and are leveraging this game to make an MMO. I really need to get around to try the free trial of Eve, just to see who is playing in my backyard.
Sadly I’m not a vampire expert at all. I’ve never run a game of Vampire, I’ve never played a game of Vampire. I’ve run into Vampire players in various capacities but it’s almost as mysterious to me as it is to a starting Hunter. I have start the join process of an online Vampire: the Requiem game to learn the ropes, partially because I’m curious, and partially because I ought to know more if I’m possibly going to run something. That’s nWoD though. oWoD is still steeped in mystery for me.
Werewolf: This would be the second pillar in White Wolf’s gaming empire. You’re a giant fur-ball of rage. Honestly, I think the author Ilona Andrews drew heavily from this and Vampire when writing their Kate Daniels series. There’s a WoD feel to the books which keep me coming back for more. The latest, Magic Rises is in my to read pile, waiting patiently. This is another of the games I’ve never played though. I feel I understand it better, thanks to the “Magic” series, than Vampire however.
Mage: Finally, the third pillar. The best pillar. Okay, so that last piece is subject to interpretation… just like reality itself.
These guys morph reality. They bend it to their Will. They can certainly cast your D&D style fireball, but we’re in the modern world, so bucking the consensus of reality (the reality we’ve built as a humanity) has its consequences.
I could probably do a whole post on Mage and still not do it justice. Magic is about being creative, imaginative… thinking outside the box. You don’t get a spell list, you get spheres of influence. Want to hurl that fireball? Forces 3/Prime 2 would let you conjure it out of thin air and do the whole hurling thing. It’s going to be hard to do though. Mages need to be more subtle. We need to gently caress reality by instead finding that one weak link in the gas line the bad guy happens to be standing on and letting it blow up at just the right time (Entropy 2?-It’s been a while).
Other WW games: So along the way White Wolf created these base three games (Mage, Vampire, and Werewolf). They then went and produced Hunter (which is a pillar for me) along with Wraith, Mummy, Changeling, and Demon. I know nothing about Wraith, but supposedly it’s darker than Vampire in theme and deals with you being a ghost (yeah, I’m that ignorant of it).
Demon is somewhat an evolution to Wraith based on the meta-story of the universe (the world was to end in 1999 – OMG! Spoilers!) where you’re a recently escaped soul from Hell who has one last chance of redemption (or a new chance to run amok).
Mummy? Well, you’re an Immortal. No, not a bandaged wrapped zombie but a living soul so infused with life that you’ll just keep coming back (after a time).
Changeling was another one that I barely ever touched. My understanding is that the movie Labyrinth would be a great primer on the way to do it wrong… but only slightly. I picture Amanda Hocking’s trilogy as being more in line with what Changeling probably is (and it’s a good book series so go check it out). You’re a Fae and have your own assortment of powers. Like I said, I’m not very familiar with that one.
So there we have it. A summary of World of Darkness and roleplaying. Partially written because I miss it, partially so I can get it out there and point my friends to it who are pondering the idea of running a game.
So, which game would you want to join? What universe would you like to explore? Or are you a long time player and have a totally different take on things?