Organizations in a V:tR themed *W hack

edited February 2013 in Game Design Help
So I started this over in @MarkT's Star World thread. His ship playbook examples really kick started my brain about an old idea I had: translating Vampire: the Requiem (or something inspired by it) over to Monsterhearts. Rather than be rude and hijack @MarkT's thread any further, I figured I should start one of my own.

I don't have any concrete ideas for the Monsterhearts/V:tR faction books yet. One of the things I really liked about the V:tR game setting was the mixing of clan and covenant. With 5 clans and 5 covenants (6 if you count unaligned), you had 25 (or 30) different combinations. So my initial idea was to allow players to choose moves from clan and/or covenant playbooks at character creation or as an advance. Take both your starting moves from the Daeva Clan Skin book and you're focusing on your "familiy". Take one move from the Deava clan skin book and one from the Circle of the Crone covenant book and you're a character with a political affiliation.

At first, I imagined the covenant books would just give the character access to new moves and some equipment/help. But after seeing the ship playbooks @MarkT made, I'd really love to make the covenant books "come alive". Beloning to a political group is a two way street; they'll help out members, but you have responsibilities and duties as well. Maybe something like the Operator's gigs. Hmm...
Ah, I love the idea of each Covenant acting as a living organism within the greater City playbook. You could also give over territories to certain Covenants or Clans... and the new moves that come with them. Very interesting! You should write some up and post them in the main Forum.
If you're going to use covenants, allow the players to create them, not unlike how a Hardholder creates the holding. You pick some options, answer some questions, and you have a sense of what kind of group your character belongs to.

You should be able to choose a move from a covenant-specific list, and maybe the covenant supplies you with a move, as well. Something the covenant can do *for you*, when you need it. But also some kind of debt or obligation or trouble that comes from being part of the covenant, as well.

If you set it up right, you can still keep the possibility of remaining an "unattached" character, without a covenant, or switching covenants mid-game. That keeps play more interesting, I would think.

I don't know if this is helpful: I know nothing about the source material.
That's actually very helpful @Paul_T, thanks. Setting up each covenant book like the Hardholder's holding is a fantastic idea, and kind of where I was going. Give the player options to pick from, strengths/weakness, etc. to personalize the covenant a bit.

Unlike the hardhold in Apocalypse World though, each player can essentially be a Hardholder, as each character could belong to a different covenant which they're in charge of detailing. I like the idea of the city playbook (worked on collectively by everyone) somehow laying out the broad strokes for each of the covenant playbooks. Like choices made in the city playbook would roughly lay out how much political power each covenant has, or even if they're present at all. That could (somehow) correspond to the number of options the player would get to pick when detailing the covenant. Not sure how that would really work yet though. I'm just tossing spaghetti at the wall here right now.

I would definitely want belonging to a covenant to be a double-edged sword. Yes, you have a support network if you need help, but you also have obligations, get dragged into "political" squabbles, and are expected to obey the wishes of those higher than you. Being a loner (not selecting any covenant playbook moves) mean's you're on your own with no back up, but can generally act however you want, (generally) get left alone.

Comments

  • Coincidence? PROBABLY: http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/17986/undying-a-diceless-vampire-role-playing-game-of-predation-and-intrigue

    (Doesn't really help with the covenant stuff, but probably a more appropriate base game than MH for this.)
  • Wow. I'm going to check out that Undying stuff. It looks pretty cool. Dunno if I'll use it for the base game though.

    You're right @Felan. Monsterhearts might be a difficult base to use for the covenant playbooks. I was thinking about it last night, and there doesn't seem to be a high school version of them. I suppose I could make faction playbooks that are appropriate for a high school setting though. Like a cheerleading squad, a sports team, the debate club, etc. But they certainly wouldn't be vampiric in nature.

    If I keep going with this idea, I'd probably continue to use Monsterhearts, but just break it out of the high school setting. I can see a game where the vampire community is small enough so that it essentially functions like a high school. The city playbook I'm envisioning would take the place of the homeroom; defining relationships and power dynamics, as well as setting up what's going on. I think this will work, as vampires can't travel very far without a lot of preparation. You've gotta find shelter from the sun every morning or you're toast (literally), and you need a constant food supply. Neither of which are guaranteed when travelling. So lots of vampires simply stay in the city were the were "born". Having a place to live and food is better than the uncertainty of travel, even if you do have to share your city with people you hate and a Prince you don't agree with. You're forced to stay here and deal with your brothers and sisters, much like teenagers are forced to go to high school and deal with the other students.

    It's a slow day at work, so I've had lots of time to think. Both the Sect for the Initiate and the Agency for the Professional from the Monster of the Week game have given me some good examples. I'm thinking that each covenant playbook will make use of similar lists of "good points/help offered" and "bad points/duties owed". The lists will constrain choices (to keep the basic flavor of the V:tR covenants in place) while still allowing the players to personalize them a bit.
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