Recently I’ve been trying to introduce a lot of new players to VTM and each time I run into the same issue. Chiefly, that to get the best from VTM, you really need the players to get invested in their characters, the city, the campaign, and the general lore.
However, this is really hard to do if you’re running a short game, a one-shot, or the such. Players just don’t have the time to get as invested, and with new players, they’re very unlikely to know the lore and it’s not a great idea to throw blocks of text at them unless they get bored.
So I was wondering how other people got around these problems? Ideally, I’d just start running longer campaigns for everyone interested but that’s often just no possible, so tips and tricks for shorter chronicles would be greatly appreciated.
Did you take a look at the free quick start adventure? Its a marvellous one shot!
So I have some experience leading games for not only new, but young players.
One thing I’ve done that helps to get them invested is to offer bonus XP/Freebie Points for backstory and character development. Based on detail. Pictures of the character, related characters, clothes, story, etc… the more thought they put into the character before hand, the more they care. This can also lead to some guidance on your part to find ways to fit what they want into the story/lore.
Harder to do with new players, but it’s also helpful to know play styles. Without previous RPG experience, this can be estimated by asking about favorite books, movies, shows, etc. that way you can tweak encounters to cater to those likes.
Both cases sum up to the better you know the player and their characters the easier it is to “hook” them.
Modiphius is running a one off Vampire 5th edition preview of fall of london tomorrow on twitch, check twitch for times
If you are running a One-shot or short game it is very difficult to get eh players invested in the metaplot of your city or the characters themselves because there just isn’t an investment to be made. The game will be over that night. XP bumps rarely work as the players are not going to play those characters again, so it does not give them anything. For these the story itself must be intriguing and such the players in so your hook needs to be strong.
Here Are some things I have done at convention games to draw players into the story:
1.) Don’t try to give them all of the details of you city all at once. As you pointed out large blocks of text don’t work. Give the the relative parts, Particularly whispers in the descriptive text of the the character, they need to know and give the rest of the characterization during RP with the players. This helps engage them quickly and lets them make up their own minds on who the SPC is.
2.) Capture their attention right off the bat. I like to start them in media rez to kick off the gem with some action. This helps in two ways, they get to explore the powers of their new character and also use it to set the tone. One of the ones I like running is starting off with a second inquisition attack on the location they start in targeting the SPC they are talking too cause he messed up. This means the PCs didn’t make a mistake but the SPC did and it tells them what to expect if they messed up and break the masquirade. this should be a rough fight in a secure location so they can really vamp out to explore their powers.
3.) When you give the players the characters have them choose connections within the group. They get to discribe their characters, assiagn their conviction and set how they know another at the table this allows them to explore the characters and gain some connection as they are the ones making their character come to life a bit.
4.) Write the story first and then look at what is needed to solve the case and give two solutions to the PCs but not on the same character. So for example if you need them to get into the corners office. Give one PC a Police contact that works often with the corners office adn another character a day shift corner. Both could get them into the corners office at night but have a slight challenge for them to do so. See point 1. for these characters.
5.) Don’t just list who the SPC is on the characters sheet but also a reason that the tow are connected. So the Police officer used to take you on ride alongs while you were alive in highscholl or the Day shift corner is someone you feed on in the past while dating them and the break up was mutual but he still has a crush.
All in all, focus on the sotry enough and the players will start to focus on that as well.