, the first of the online components tothe
Danse de la Mort
chronicle. We assume your players haveexperienced the events of
and learned a bit abouttheir characters as vampires, about the nights of New Orleans,and have seen hints of the draconian politics of the Kindred. Inthis story, though, we’re going to take a step back and examinewhat happened to the four characters on their last night as mor-tals. During this story, the players will take on the roles of thesame characters, but without the special traits of
char-acters, including Disciplines, Vitae, and so on. The characters arefree from the murderous urges of the Beast… for the moment.
The theme of
is lost time.
moves at adifferent pace from
—the game can move muchmore slowly, as the characters aren’t racing against time. In fact,you should subtly encourage them to linger. This is, after all,the last night they will spend breathing, although the charac-ters don’t know it (the players do, of course, which should onlyadd to the horror). Although the story can only last about sevenhours in game time (from sunset at roughly 5:30 PM to mid-night when the characters are abandoned in Louis ArmstrongPark), the characters should feel as though they have as muchtime as necessary to do what they want. No matter what theydo, they will, in coming years, look back on their last night andlament that they didn’t have enough time, or that they didn’tmake the most of it. This is part of the tragedy of the Requiem.
The mood of the game should be almost surreal. Most mortalinhabitants of the World of Darkness never notice anything be-yond the normal and physical, but another world of monsters andenigmas exists right under their noses. The characters of
Danse dela Mort
enter that world upon their Embrace into the ranks of theKindred; this is, therefore, their last night before taking their firststeps into the World of Darkness. Since you have already playedthrough
, this game should take on the feeling of nostalgia—or, better yet, of a half-remembered nightmare. As youdescribe settings and scenarios, emphasize this growing feeling of mystery. Make incidental Storyteller characters exchange know-ing glances. Describe shadows moving at the periphery of the char-acters’ vision. The aim here is for the characters to be able to lookback on their last night as mortals and know that
washappening, that they were not chosen by accident—even if theydon’t know the extent of the conspiracy that stole their lives.
is a special kind of story called a
. Thisstory exists to give background to the characters and the ex-isting chronicle, to show how the characters got to where theyare. In film terms, it’s a prequel… but roleplaying games aren’tfilms. With five people determining where the story goes,rather than just one director, a prelude story can spin wildlyout of control and leave the characters somewhere very dif-ferent than where
assumes they began. As aStoryteller running
, you have two general optionswhen dealing with this issue, depending mostly on the tem-peraments of your players.Some players look for continuity to match up, and will hap-pily assist you in making sure that all four characters wind upin Louis Armstrong Park just after midnight on Ash Wednes-day, just as
presented. With this sort of group,you should have no problem gently steering the action to leadto that conclusion, and if you have to be somewhat heavyhanded at times, no one will mind.Other players, though, like to have total control of theircharacters and if they feel their characters would or wouldnot do something, regardless of what has gone before, thenthat’s how it’s going to be. It’s also possible that you haven’tplayed through
yet and want to run the Preludebefore that story, which opens up the possibility of significantchanges to the storyline.Before we get into the events and challenges of thecharacters’ last night as breathing mortals, let’s exam-ine some of the biggest potential changes and hiccupsthat might occur and how to deal with them. You mightwant to glance over
again to familiarizeyourself with the names and events of that story beforetrying to digest this information. We’ll wait.
Normally, a prelude involves only one player and the Sto-ryteller running through any number of formative events ina character’s life. A prelude for Becky Lynn, for instance,might include a scene or two with her father, establishingher family’s emphasis on propriety and decorum, and per-haps establish that she has rebelled in the past and thenstepped back in line under her father’s influence.
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