Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Greatest campaigns that never happened

You always think to yourself..."One of these days, before the heat death of the universe, I am going to run that game!"

You get an idea, You think it would be a cool idea to fool around with but lack of time or lack of energy or lack of players or player intransigence keeps you from realizing the vision in your mind.

Still, Some ideas never really die. They become part of the back story of existing campaigns. Or they become con games or they keep coming back until finally you have an opportunity to use them.

This is why I say unto you, O my students, Never throw anything away.

In recent years, Three of my "never happen" game ideas got made into actual games. My Vampire game starring a motorcycle gang of anarchs got up and running. (not a complete success). My Freelance Police game got up and running (a decent success) and then there is always Ascension by Gaslight, which I had to hound my regular group into playing for nearly an entire age of mankind. (flat out success)

Of course there is always some leftover stuff that will seemingly never be used. So I post it here in the vain hope that someone will find a use for it...Use it....And then write me and tell me about it so that I can say, "SEE! I TOLD YOU I WAS GENIUS!" to my player group.

A War in Heaven
Aeon Adventure got me thinking along these lines. Plus, reading too much Ken Hite. At the zenith of prehistory there were two major powers in the earth. The Egyptians and the Atlanteans. Both had sprung from common evolutionary stock. Both were technologically advanced far beyond their primitive human kin. Not satisfied to merely coexist, they started a war for dominance of the globe. The Egyptians had the edge in technology and Magick but the Atlanteans made important alliances with extra terrestrials. The Greys were fighting a war of their own and with the help of the atlanteans they used as many of the humans as they could capture as batteries for their technology. (Which run off of raw psychic power.) In return, the Greys supplied new forms of technology to the Atlanteans (Such as genetic engineering. Vampirism was actually a form of biological warfare agent.) The tide of the war was beginning to turn against the Egyptians. Until they were contacted by the other side of the intergalactic war. The N'Sharren were a race of beings of pure psychic energy. While humans meant very little to them, they had to stop the Greys from using them and they weren't willing (or able) to simply steam clean the planet and have done.

Once the N'Sharren entered the fray, It was on like Donkey Kong. Flying pyramids and stranger warships filled earth's skies. Primitive humans told stories of the War in Heaven that got passed down. The Greys were "Demonized" and the tide of war turned again. Until finally, Egyptian scientists found a way to effect a Pole shift which covered Atlantis in snow and ice. Antarctica became a mass grave for the powers of Atlantis and many of the Greys fled from Earth. Sadly, the Pole shift wrought unexpected climactic changes upon Egypt and destroyed it's verdant Eden-like ecosystem utterly. Egyptian society suffered a massive slide and many of the secrets of the first kingdom were lost in the sand.

Millennia pass. Enter the player characters.

One of my players had the neat idea of finding a steel pyramid in Antarctica. This player became convinced that he was a reincarnated engineer of the first kingdom. And his Super science mojo had a distinctly Egyptian bent. All of the material above followed from this basic idea of his. I had hoped that he would be able to tease the secrets of prehistory from the machinery of the flying pyramid. I had in fact figured out a very complex linguistic scheme used by the atlantean.which was all over the inside of the craft. (an alphabet of over 100 characters that gave a symbol to each and every sound) The AI of the craft was a series of control stones that were triggered by psychic power and caused the operator to hallucinate the computer's interface system. (a sort of primitive virtual reality)

Naturally there would be all sort of complications. Secret societies dedicated to keeping this technology hidden, Maniacal despots who would kill to get their hands on the stuff. Grey agents looking to reclaim a measure of their power. N'Sharren agents looking to stop that at all costs.

I had hoped to tease this out over the course of the year, but the Adventure campaign never seemed to get enough playing time in the face of the popularity of the Huntington Academy Game. Ah well...Perhaps some day I'll get back to it.

Dark Ages
I was having trouble. Some friends were after me to do a Vampire Dark Ages game. But the various character concepts were so disparate I couldn't figure out a way to put them together. I had stipulated that the campaign would take place in northern Italy and would be close to Venice. My layers had gone in damn near every direction. One wanted to play a French cappadocian scholar. One was a Scottish highwayman gangrel. Another was an accidentally embraced Venetian lasombra. One would be an Italian noblewoman of Clan Ventrue. Couldn't figure out how to put them together.

My brother Bill had to listen to me bitch about on a long car ride. Bill doesn't give a shit about RPG's but at least he seemed to enjoy my predicament enough to help. "Why don't you give them the Keyser Soze treatment?"

Shockingly, this had not occurred to me. I had a perfect character to use for it too. His name was Commodus Antoninus. He was a roman general and tactician and he was obsessed with games of all sorts. He had been embraced by a grandchild of Malkav himself and he was a terrible force of destruction when roused. He would often times go to an area and become familiar with it and spend 20 to 50 years sussing out who the major players in the area were. When he had done this he would move his pawns into an advantageous position and begin playing against them. At this time and in this place that would have been a 3 cornered contest between the Vatican (and their Nosferatu allies) The Baali (gathering in various nest all over the country) and the Lasombra methuselah Narses of Venice. (the only one who would really know what was happening.) Each of the players allies and mentors would be part of this vast conspiracy with varying levels of knowledge of their own involvement. Heck, some of their allies might be Commodus in disguise!

Sadly, the woman who would be playing the Ventrue noblewoman decided that she didn't want to play after all. Since she was kind of the hub around which much of the action would revolve, I was forced to scrap it.

Prom Night
I keep threatening to dig out my copy of Wraith and to run a short duration campaign about a group of kids who are killed in the same car on their way home from the prom, by a drunk driver. The game would be set in a small town and the player would slowly discover the seedy and supernatural underbelly of the town they live in. Would they hound the other driver into an early grave? How would they comfort their grieving parents? Could they stand by and watch as their friends went to college?Got married? Killed themselves? Southern Gothic at it's very best.

Kind of an extension of my New York Macrocosm Chronicles, This campaign was to take place entirely in the sewers underneath the big apple. Each player was to be a Nosferatu Vampire or something very similar and they would have to deal with all sorts of conflicts. Sect vs Sect, Nosferatu versus Spiral dansers, Noseferatu versus surface dwelling vampires, Nosferatu versus underground oddities and the Tzimisce antediluvian... Cool shit like that. Some thought it was a cool idea but nobody wanted to actually play a Nos.

Tales of the Delta Queen
I like Werewolf the Wyld West because it plays with a trope or two that I dearly love. The Game I had in mind would not be a Werewolf game in the strictest sense but it could and would borrow from that game. The setting of the game was a decrepit riverboat named the Delta Queen. Enter one Slick Willie Clanton. Riverboat gambler and Toreador Vampire. Willie had won the boat in a high stakes game in St Louis. Oddly, the man who lost the boat didn't seem all that torn up about it. Willie discovered why after he took possession of the boat. It was haunted and it seemed to be a high caliber weirdness magnet besides. The players would play friends or hirelings of Clanton's that were their to help him keep a lid on the craziness of trying to run a riverboat casino that attracted all the worst sorts of trouble. Apparently the Wyld West bores the shit out of my players in one way or another. Are you fucking kidding me? Mexican Setites! Pissed off Technocrat Son's of Ether in full on Brisco County Junior mode! Bastet cardsharps! Verbena schoolmarms! Pinkerton Men in Black! River-dwelling Fomor! Wild west ghost stories! The Eunthanatos Gunsligner who is literally the fastest gun in the west! Upset Indian garou! Poker! Gunfights! Aigh! What do I have to do?

Sono Finito


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