Blood-Sucking Savages!

Source: via Melanie on Pinterest

Whenever I get around to GM-ing again, I plan to run a Savage Worlds campaign loosely based off the World of Darkness “Vampire: the Requiem” game. It’s going to be bloody good (Sorry. Couldn’t resist).

I used to play the “Vampires: the Masquerade” game back in the 1990s when it first came out. It was fun, but I often felt that actual gameplay didn’t live up to its potential (Whether I was GM-ing or as a Player). I almost want to prove to myself that this game can be not merely good, but awesome. The campaign will be a success if we can avoid some of the problems from my past experiences.

Back in the day, I usually wanted a political game with some ultra-violence thrown in. A pair of Players always wanted to play out their real-life romance in-game. Another player basically wanted to be Wolverine from the X-Men. None of our styles or backstories meshed.

It didn’t help that we usually couldn’t schedule gaming sessions more often than once every couple of months, which killed any momentum we were building (I tried to counter this by running single-session epic campaigns over 6 or 7 hours — which not everyone was up for. Even as late teens, some of us had lives to get to; my pleadings to have patience for just another hour or two so we could finish were not met with sympathetic ears).

One last problem was the predictability of the stories. Since our Players’ personal goals were usually so diverse, the GM (myself included) would often take the lowest common denominator for plot motivations: survival. Most games ended up as big slug-fests with other Vampires or other supernatural creatures. Sometimes we’d completely ignore our characters’ stated desires and just go hunting for trouble.

Still, I always thought that with the right group, more attention paid to the characters’ (and NPC’s) motivations and a somewhat (but not entirely) plot-oriented approach, Vampire could be mind-blowingly awesome. The (potential) focus on personal development for characters lends itself to exploring big themes: redemption, vengeance, romance, etc… These are far more exciting goals than the mere acquisition of gold pieces and XP (the only alternative on offer from RPGs back in the early 1990s). Throw in the novel hook of actually playing the game as blood-drinking, inhuman monsters, holding on to some shred of their former humanity, and you’ve got good times.

Anyone out there have any experience running a Vampire-themed Savage Worlds campaign want to offer some advice or observations? Leave a comment.


One Comment on “Blood-Sucking Savages!”

  1. Theatre of Pain says:

    I had to smile when I read about the different players and their individual styles. I ran through a D&D 3e campaign where the DM was heavily inspired by politics and our group was much more blood thirsty than he anticipated. He had designed a custom fantasy world where some kind of world empire had extinguished almost everything that wasn’t humanoid and most of our battles were against human spellcasters which he loved for whatever reason. It was always the same as the townspeople would beg for our help and then warn us how dangerous the Wizard, Sorceror or Necromancer was and tell us to steer clear of him. So just to be clear, they begged for our help and then told us not to help because it was too dangerous and that got old quick. It seemed that most of the fights went the same way with the blowhard spellcasting tyrants telling our group how great and powerful they were before dying by our hands 2 or maybe 3 rounds later. At one point, I grew so weary of listening to the long-winded villagers that I decided to put them out of their misery myself. My Paladin went Blackguard, our group went rogue and the DM ended the campaign because (and I am guessing here) we were too far off of the beaten path for him to adapt his political world to our savage nature.

    Now some of my friends are in talks of getting back into roleplaying and after looking over and playing a number of systems (including WoD), we have settled on Savage Worlds for it’s universal appeal. I just happened to stumble across your blog through a Google search because I plan on running a mature modern supernatural horror setting and I was looking for inspiration to help fuel the dark dangerous setting. My style is to have an epic arching storyline with a number of subplots along the way and I welcome my players to test my skills as a game master by forging their own paths and forcing me to be more creative in the moment giving the game more of an open ended sandbox feel.

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