Actual Play: The Group Contract

I left off last time having created a campaign outline for myself which included the premise of the game, the roles of the protagonists and antagonists, and a number of adventure seeds for myself. When combined with the notes I’ve made regarding the genre and tone I’m shooting for with the game, I have enough infrastructural material that I’m ready to move on to the next step: introducing the game to the players.

The way I do that is with a Group Contract, which introduces the players to some of the precepts I laid out in the campaign outline and gives some information regarding character construction. Fortunately for me, the game system I’ve selected–Hunter: The Vigil–begins with the assumption that the party will be more or less in line with what I’d already intended. Had we been playing a game such as Dungeons and Dragons or even Vampire there would have been a great deal more latitude in terms of what the “purpose” of the party is within the game.

Most of the Group Contract is therefore filling in the players on the exact structure of their group within the conspiracy I’ve created, providing them with goal posts for their character concepts, and outlining what I’d like out of them as far as background material is concerned.

Continue reading “Actual Play: The Group Contract”

Actual Play: The Campaign Outline

After brainstorming some basic concepts and a list of references, and figuring out my system and setting, I’m ready to hash out a campaign outline. In it I’m going to lay out the premise of the game, identify the genre and tone of the campaign, and identify the major players. Some of this information I will share with the other players, while other bits I’ll keep to myself.

The important thing is that I’m creating a reference document that I can use to get a feeling for the campaign and guide my thoughts while writing adventures, not step-by-step list of where I think the campaign will go.

1. The Premise

The premise of the game is that the PCs are all people who have discovered the supernatural world that exists shrouded behind the mask of everyday reality. This is a darker world than our own, and the things which occupy it are brutal and prey on humanity on a daily basis. Rather than run and hide, you have chosen to step into this world with both feet, and hunt the monsters than would hunt mankind. Continue reading “Actual Play: The Campaign Outline”

Actual Play: System and Setting

Last week I gathered my basic thoughts together, so this week I can sit down and put together the campaign outline that I’ll be presenting to the players. The goal is to get everyone on the same page as far as tone of the campaign, and everyone will be able to ponder character concepts in advance of receiving the Group Contract, which will expand upon the role of the party in the campaign world, and also present any relevant information the players will need to make their characters.

Looking at the list of titles I came up with, there were a lot of “fighting the supernatural” themes: Nightwatch, Hellblazer, BRPD, Supernatural, Men in Black, and Predator all have a facing off against supernatural (or extraterrestrial–basically the same thing) threats. There were also a few titles involving conspiracies and existential wars: The Invisibles, Planetary, The X-Files, Assassin’s Creed, and Dollhouse all play off themes of conspiracy and power. The last few: Eternal Darkness, House of Leaves, and the biggie Call of C’thulhu are all on the horror end of the supernatural genre.

True Blood stands out as an exception to those three categories, except insofar as it is kind of a kitchen sink of the modern supernatural genre–essentially the World of Darkness with the numbers filed off. As much as I may not want to run Delta Green proper, I think the idea of a team of badass humans kicking ass and taking names has sufficiently invaded my psyche to the extent that this should be the premise of my game. Continue reading “Actual Play: System and Setting”

Actual Play: Gathering My Thoughts

I think most people would generally agree that it is a poor GM who fails to follow his own advice. Therefore, in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is I will be taking the opportunity of my gaming group’s current campaign ending to launch a new campaign using the advice from my book  as a guideline.

The game itself will begin in January. Which gives me plenty of time to devise a Campaign Outline and Group Contract, and plenty of time for the players to make characters. Continue reading “Actual Play: Gathering My Thoughts”