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Author Topic: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]  (Read 327 times)

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Offline RajahTopic starter

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« on: December 19, 2013, 07:42:49 PM »
You don't have a lot of time. The earth is shifting under your feet. Old graves are opening up.

New ones, too.

Orchid Falls, Maine. New York never sleeps; Orchid Falls, located upstate - the cold place - never really wakes up. It's a city - of sorts - or maybe more of a town playing at being urban. A restless place. Founded in colonial days for its rich veins of silver; abandoned; left to rot. Silver was rediscovered in the 1960s with more modern mining techniques...and then that ran out too, and once again Orchid Falls died. Only it still didn't die all the way; like the hollow monsters that rule its nights, Orchid Falls is undead. A place that can't quite be killed, not even with its heart pierced, its living blood all drained away.

A restless place. An undead city.


They're giggling in the dark of the basement, two little vampires. She turned him almost as soon as she was Embraced, as soon as she killed her sire, drunk on bad supernatural dramas and trashy porn-with-fangs romances. They're going to spend forever together, fucking like bunnies, king and queen in the night. Except forever is over already, they just haven't smelled the gasoline being splashed around the first and second floors yet. She broke three laws in her first week of Requiem, you see. For now, they are on fire with passion. In just a few moments, unfortunately, it's going to be literal...


They were running, Kate and Shelly, running full-tilt for the bridge. And that meant running fast, faster than any human ever could, flickering in and out of sight through the strobelight mania of Celerity - appearing here and there but never seen crossing the intervening space. Their blood sang as it drained away, propelling them ever faster.

It wasn't enough. The blood in them, the fruit of stupid college kids, frightened mortal siblings, and one very unlucky member of the Neighborhood Watch - it gave out just as they reached the bridge. And of course they weren't alone. Four of them in that gaudy joke of a vehicle, the Hummer's floodlights near to blinding. They were getting out armed with stakes and magnesium flares. The other car coming up behind the girls.

"Come on, girls, don't be like that. We're not asking for much. Just a little blood, a little power every now and then. We'll keep you fed. Healthy. And we got plenty of lovin' to go around if you get lonely down in the dark. Mattresses and everything. Beats a coffin, right?"
"We only got one mattress, Trevor."
"Oh, shit. That so? Well...I guess one of you gets lucky."

He stepped forward, so they could see him. He was overweight and unshaven, grinning with teeth that saw a brush maybe one day out of three. He pulled the knife out of its sheath at its side, a long saw-edged fantasy blade his mom had reluctantly bought him two Christmases ago. He threw it between the girls, letting it clatter against the asphalt, and then stepped back.

"My dad said your kind wants to live so badly they cheated death and rose again. That's why you drink from us, because it's as close as you can get to the life you've lost. That it's all that matters to you. He said a lot of stupid shit, though, especially when he found out I had a way around the curse. Jealous asshole. If I drink from one of you, I get all the power, none of the consequences...I live forever for real. Something you'll never understand. If I was like you, I'd kill myself. But you haven't killed yourselves. So you must want to stick around pretty badly. But we're only taking one, girls.


Kate looked at the knife, then at Shelley. They were sisters in a very real sense - they shared a sire. Shared everything. Boys and secrets, ambitions, fears. They were so alike.

Except for one thing, thought Kate. Just one tiny little difference. The knife's closer to me.

There are other stories to tell...but vampires write best in blood. You want to fight your nature? Master it? Embrace it? Redemption, resurrection, revolution, evolution, there's a door in every shadow - and every one locked against you. The key is sacrifice.

If you are very clever, it doesn't have to be yours.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 05:32:31 AM by Rajah »

Offline AndyZ

Re: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 11:48:58 PM »
What did they change?

Offline RajahTopic starter

Re: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 01:24:09 AM »
Just about everything. I'm not sure what they didn't change at least a little. They went through and rebuilt the nWoD with an eye to make every choice feel good and add something both useful and interesting. Vices and virtues don't have a list of presets any more; combat is smoother and far less exploitable (no more multiple actions); social intrigue has its own full system that is NOT just a reskin of combat, a process of push-pull influence that can be very gradual. Every Merit from Barfly to Fighting Styles to Mentor has been updated to feel like a viable and important part of the character. Morality isn't a sanity-evil meter.

Vampires feel more powerful, more dangerous, and most of all more iconic - you are not a walking corpse with superpowers, you are a vampire, and you do vampire things. Every vampire can see in the dark, spot or scent blood in tiny quantities, and hear heartbeats - the stronger you are, the clearer your senses, and an elder can tell you what floor a mortal is hiding on from the bottom of a building by the furious hammering of its terrified heart. Tasting blood gives you almost as much information as a medical battery - as well as other insights, if the blood you've tasted is Kindred. They treat all mortal weapons as bashing, save of course fire. They also treat all aggravated weapons as lethal, save again fire and the sun and certain very rare powers - Protean isn't enough any more, for instance, though it will let you deal lethal damage to vampires.

Every Discipline is potent and adds new options at every dot, with the exception of the Physical Disciplines that all include active and passive benefits instead. They have the same shape - Protean is still about shapechanging - but different functions. The first dot of Protean lets you sink into earth, stone, or concrete and drink blood spilled where you rest; the second grants you a list of animal traits; the third lets you take the forms of predators you kill yourself (limited by size and by the predator/plague-bearer/parasite/carrion-eater type restriction, but otherwise whatever you hunt is yours); the fourth adds the traits of monsters and, yes, you can manifest wings, webbed claws, or blood-drinking sharkskin whether you're human-faced or a spitting cobra. With the fifth dot, you still turn into mist, only now you can drink from open wounds or asphyxiate hapless mortals. Every Discipline got a similar treatment. Most Disciplines are more powerful and provide better options earlier - you can actually order someone around effectively from Dominate 1, for instance, rather than waiting until 2 - but Vampire was always the least "potent" line in that regard and overall the game feels more intense rather than just scaled-up: a Kindred with powers you don't know is scary.

Predator's Taint is gone. Vampires still recognize each other immediately, but they don't provoke strong reactions without choosing to lash out in one of three auras of the Beast - the fight-or-flight (Strength), the mindless indulgence (Presence), or the dominate-or-submit (Intelligence) depending on their intentions. This evokes a contest between themselves and their target, winner takes all - the other Kindred chooses their own form of lashing out, and if they win their Beast overtakes yours. It costs Willpower, but you can lash out at mortals for free.

Embrace costs a dot of Humanity, not of Willpower. Humanity works differently, with the need to maintain Touchstones - human vulnerabilities that can be discovered and exploited - and develop Banes should the Beast begin to overtake you. Cruac and Theban Sorcery have been refined (although Blood Sorcery is notably still supported as a replacement); Coils of the Dragon are awesome where once they were only conceptually awesome, and include unique Devotions called Scales if you want to get really freaky.

Lots of other stuff, like the Strix themselves - hungry darkness, vampires that were never human and consider the Kindred to be weak, pointless, and perverse, in desperate need of teaching - or making into lessons, corpse-possessing demons and relentless in their taste for pain, death, and the ruin of the world. They especially hate Humanity and any Kindred above the level of draugr they see as an affront to vampirism, often one in need of correction one way or another. They're not neat and clean - in their natural forms as owl shadows they drink breath, but when they wear corpses they are more likely to consume flesh directly. They don't care about Kindred courts or the Masquerade: when they come, they steal life and tear apart whoever and whatever they please and leave the streets drenched in mortal blood, jumping corpse to corpse at whim, laughing at the terror of their once-human cousins. If the Kindred are lucky. God or Crone help a Court that has to face even one Strix strong enough to take vampire corpses, which, yes, some of them can do. There may be no help at all for the more terrible truth that however strong they are, many Strix have all the intelligence and patience to stalk and destroy Kindred society from within or without as they prefer. And all of them have the desire. Rather than just the standard toolkit approach there's actually 20 unique Strix to use, if you're interested in ST tools, and of course the full make-your-own guide is there as always.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 01:50:21 AM by Rajah »

Offline RajahTopic starter

Re: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2013, 09:58:53 PM »
Okay, so that's looking like a no-go. Anyone else interested in playing? Let me know here and if there's enough interest I'll run it myself - it will not be first come first served and I will not have a minimum number of players, so without knowing anything about the setting, I'd also like you to throw me a concept sketch of the kind of character you'd like to play in like a paragraph or two (you can play something completely different in the end, I just want an idea of you as a player).

Offline Ghostwheel

Re: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 04:28:00 AM »
I've been wanting a game recently with every stripe of supernatural available for play--would that be possible? Changelings and vampires and werewolves and mages--oh my!

I think that's one of the advantages of nWoD--makes it much easier to combine the different sourcebooks in one game, as compared with oWoD where they didn't interact very well.

Offline RajahTopic starter

Re: Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicles [nWoD, V:tR]
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 04:45:36 AM »
So far, Vampire and Demon are the only GMC-ready gamelines. Most of them have good houserule patches up by now - DaveB's for Mage are probably the best - but the way Vampire is fully adapted to the new system (Demon being made in it from the start) presents some challenges to keeping everyone feeling like they're on the same page. It probably won't break the game, it's just that vampires have gone from being the game's weakest splat to just under mages, and they key off points of interaction with the new system no one else has just yet. I wouldn't be averse to playing in a multi-supernatural game, all things considered...but I wouldn't like to run one. I dislike managing fractured settings.

If there was a ton of interest I could run Demon instead, but I'd really like to run or play Vampire.