US National Requiem VSS

1. Basic Information

1.1. This VSS applies to the United States Requiem game as a whole, setting the tone for national plot and NPC development, and serving as a baseline for both the style of game play in the US. As such, each element in the play styles section will have two ratings to reflect this distinction. Individual games may vary from this VSS at the presiding Storyteller’s discretion, but this is what is considered “normal” within the US. Small variations are expected and encouraged; games with large variations should expect outside characters to view the residents of such games as odd, deviant, or even dangerous. Outside *players* are, of course, welcome to approve and promote variations that make game more enjoyable and- more importantly- enhance the friendly community of the Mind’s Eye Society.

1.2. The most important element to the game is outside the game: the community of players. If a game decision is in line with canon, but makes the community of players less happy or less able to enjoy the game, then real world concerns override game concerns. That is also true in the converse- if the players love canon and the game deviates from it, it is still making players unhappy. We are people first, and characters are always less important than people.

1.3. There are no set game locations and times for this VSS. There will be occasional proxies, online games, and similar events run by the ANST Requiem or member(s) of the National Requiem staff, but none are regularly scheduled. The focus of this VSS is not on direct storytelling; that is best left to the local ST’s who know their players, and the characters of those players, best.

1.4. The vision of the US National Requiem Storytelling staff is that we, the National Requiem Storyteller staff, will provide resources for the players and local Storytellers to help collaboratively create a community of friends linked through the most enjoyable LARP for Vampire: the Requiem in the world- a growing game people are excited to play and proud to invite their friends to play.

2. Styles of Play: (These are each rated on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest)

2.1. Overall game emphasis: Distributing 10 points between the three categories of Physical, Mental, and Social, the national plot in the US would be Physical 2, Mental 4, Social 4. The average game within the US would be Physical 3, Mental 3, Social 4.

2.2. A rating of “1″ means that the item is never present; 4 means sometimes present; 6 means often present; 7 means usually present; and 10 means the focus of the game, almost always present.

2.3. Action- combat and challenges: 4 (National plot); 6 (the US as a whole)

2.4. Character Development- personal dilemmas and choices: 6 (N. plot); 7 (US as a whole)

2.5. Darkness- PC death or corruption (note: death is not a first resort when dealing with other PC’s; see the Tolerance rating): 7 (National plot); 7 (the US as a whole)

2.6. Drama- ceremony and grand story: 8 (National plot); 5 (the US as a whole)

2.7. Intrigue- politics and negotiation: 10 (National plot); 7 (the US as a whole)

2.8. Manners- social etiquette and peer pressure: 6 (National plot); 6 (the US as a whole)

2.9. Mystery- Enigmas and Investigation: 5 (National plot); 5 (the US as a whole)

2.10. Pace- How fast will stories emerge and resolve: 3 (National plot); 6 (the US as a whole)

2.11. Tolerance- How much effort will be put into social sanctions before PC death is appropriate: 7 (National plot); 6 (the US as a whole) {Note: This is an expected average, so one Domain with a 1 or 10 Tolerance can skew the results}

3. Venue description

3.1. Mood: The US in the real world is reflected under a pall in the World of Darkness. Crime is higher, and people care less about it, so long as they aren’t bothered. 911 is a joke, and racial divisions are yawning chasms. To create this mood, Storytellers are encouraged to use local news headlines, but to make them colder and more unfeeling. Passions have been replaced in most people by isolation as a defense mechanism. Those who don’t protect their hearts find them broken, or- on rare occasion- torn out.

3.2. Themes: The US will be using five themes during the five year Chronicle from 2013-2018. They are:

3.2.1. Year One: May 2013 to Apr 2014-Bringing it together, setting the “normal”. In the first year, players create the new world more fully, putting flesh onto the skeletal structure and bringing it to life. The local VSS is a key tool for that, and should be crafted with great care- see the NST education site for “How to Create a VSS” for details. The key to this theme is identity: each PC should try to develop an answer to the questions “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose?” and “What do I believe?” within the groups of which they are a part- not just Covenant, but Clan, City, Faction if they so choose, and so on. Identity preserves one from the Beast and opens channels of power for success in the Danse Macabre.

3.2.2. Year Two: May 2014 to Apr 2015- Fear of Falling. By the end of year one, we’d like most players to be comfortable, if not entirely satisfied, with their position in the world. A significant minority, though, should still be looking to move up. Year Two will limit the positions at the top a bit more, forcing some conflict for who stays at the peak. Who loses out? ST’s should feel especially free to create NPC challengers for leadership during this year. Some of the sub-themes involved include coming of age (innocent PC’s should often lose out unless they accept that vampires are inherently somewhat inhumane; will they hold onto their decent behavior and lose their standing, or accept the meanness that is the hallmark of vampire politics, and be rewarded for it?) and honor versus duty (when a superior throws an underling in the path of danger to save themselves, does the underling take the hit for the team, placing duty and honor over advancement, or- far more commonly- does the underling dodge the danger and let the problem take their superior down a few pegs, which opens a slot for advancement?).

3.2.3. Year Three: May 2015-Apr 2016- Changes. The midpoint of our scheduled five-year story arc, changes begin to happen, not only within the structures, but *to* the structures. The first two years let players and ST’s review the starting structures; Year Three is the easiest opportunity to make big changes. If the first two years have gone off track in any way, this is the correction opportunity. On a more in-character level, groups that have organized in Chronicle get their big break, and Clans or Covenants looking to oust Factions from the top of the heap have their best chance. Themes will include evolution versus revolution versus tradition in a three-way contest for the future of the Danse Macabre; power and corruption/hubris; and death and rebirth. PC’s who did terrible things during Year Two to retain their positions and power should be open to receiving their comeuppance- or tightening their iron grasp on power.

3.2.4. Year Four: May 2016- Apr 2017- Can we win this thing? The “winners” of year three are trying to keep what they’ve gained, and the “losers” are looking for a sign that they can turn things around. This will be the year of such signs. Prophecies and portents, used very little in the first three years, will become more prominent in year four to give IC means for PC’s to understand OOC changes that will happen. Rules will be created to channel competition. The game will become a little less “free play” sandbox-style (not so structured as Masquerade, with an extensive storyline and powerful NPC’s like Justicars, though). The areas of competition that the players enjoy, as shown in the first three years, will become more clarified. Year Four is the year of reformation after the changes in year three. Themes for year four include fate versus free will (can we change the future to something other than what the omens say? Can we, as players and PC’s, break free from the conflicts we’ve shown the ST’s we want and make the game go in a different direction?); and individualism versus security (Do I go along with the prophecy and take the easy way, or do my own thing?). We’ll be asking the rules team to create benefits for those who align with the prophecy, generating challenges for those who want to go a different route. We will not make those benefits so overwhelming that it is impossible to take a different tack than the prophesied path, but it will be easier to “go with the flow” than to fight the current of fate.

3.2.5. Year Five: Post-May 2017- Tragedy. One idea to keep in mind: Year five may extend, and may even bridge to a longer Chronicle. We are planning for five years, but if, as of May 2017, the senior ST staff has clear signals from the players that the Chronicle should continue, then this plan in no way prevents that. No player should think “Well, we only have a few more months, so…” and then do something that is way out of character for their PC. Chronicle is not hard-fixed to end in five years. That is the plan, but plans can change. That said, year five is planned to be the year of the fall. The world is harsher. Where year two saw fewer social positions at the top, and generated social conflict to keep or attain those few positions, year five will make more basic success harder. Exactly how and why that happens will be determined by the players during the first four years, but things will get tough in year five, encouraging betrayal of one’s closest friends. Resources, from Vitae to skilled Allies may become more scarce, driving more competition. Themes include the heartbreak of betrayal (often foreshadowed in year four by prophecies of treason); temptation; and religion as virtue or hypocrisy. Power will often (not always, but often) go to those who are willing to be the most heartless, and we will ask the rules team to develop ways to reflect that. As year one was the development of bonds, year five is the shattering of those bonds. Trust, in year five, will be a rare and precious commodity. Vampires are very, very rarely heroes, not decent people, and not inclined to keep promises that put them at a disadvantage- and those who are heroes usually get taken advantage of by a cruel populace. Year five will make that blindingly obvious.

4. Storytelling mechanics

4.1. Special venue emphasis: Grand events. The National staff will only handle events that affect kindred over a larger geographical area, generally across three or more Regions. Local Storytellers are the best people to run more local events, and even a two-Region event is likely to be best served by the two Regional Storytellers working in conjunction with one another, facilitated by the National level.

4.2. Proxy rules: Proxies must be conducted in accordance with the US Addendum (link coming soon). A complete write-up, including character sheet, XP log, intentions, personality, and VST contact information is required.

4.3. Travel risks: At this time, there are no unusual travel risks for characters entering the US beyond the TSA and similar mortal security measures. If those measures are disrupted in a way that draws the attention of mortal authorities, then Task Force Valkyrie may respond. If TFV cannot resolve the issue, then it is likely a problem that will draw even more attention, even from very powerful groups typically uninterested in kindred affairs, such as the Seers of the Throne from Awakening.

4.4. Visiting character guidelines: TBD in conjunction with other affiliates

4.5. Experience award guidelines: The standard XP award for participation in an email or proxy scene run by National is 2 XP per week of the event; for online games, the standard is 3 XP per game, with a maximum of 20% of the players being awarded one additional XP for exceptional RP. For online games run by National, a complete character sheet is required, and must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to game start for review so that National- who are not as familiar with your PC as your local ST is- can tailor the game to you for a better playing experience.

4.6. Downtime reports and follow-up actions: Since no characters will be assigned to this VSS, no regular downtime actions will be handled by the National ST staff. Actions that prepare for, or follow up after, Nationally-run events are accepted and will be replied to, but may or may not earn XP.

4.7. Assigned characters: There will be no PC’s assigned to this VSS, though National staff may create NPC’s and assign them to this VSS for tracking purposes in the ST database.

4.8. Rules: If your PC is involved in a National event and has abilities that are not in the core Requiem book, you must furnish a copy of those rules to the presiding Storytellers with your character sheet prior to the event.