Feb. 26th, 2010

theron: My Dice Are Probably Older Than You (Default)
I'm lucky enough to have friends in the gaming industry, writers and artists and the like, and lots of people reading this know how talented they are.  But I also know a lot of folks who do stuff for their own benefit or amusement, and, if we're lucky, share bits of it with the rest of us.  Such is the case with "Faces In The Crowd, Vol 1," by Christian Walker of Destination Unknown.  Christian's an old-timer on RPGnet and his game blog is a constant source of "Damn, wish you lived a bit closer to Houston" thoughts on my part.

"Faces in the Crowd" is a forty page collection of NPCs he created for a World of Darkness game.  The cool bit is that he created them before he really knew what flavor of WoD he'd be running for his group.  As a result, the NPCs cover a wide range of types, both supernatural and mundane, all tied to a setting that is mostly implicit.  Since they were designed with no particular campaign type in mind, every single NPC could be an ally, a threat, or simply something weird to deal with.  Here's an example I rather liked:


Who Watches the Watcher?

Who watches the watcher?  Steven is increasingly preoccupied with this question.  From his computer, Steven keeps an eye on the city.  He has rented at least a dozen apartments, setting up a computer and web-cam in each one.  The video streams live online and Steven sits at his desk hour after hour, watching.

Steven can't articulate what he's looking for, exactly.  he doesn't even understand his compulsion to do so.  If pressed for details as to why he spends so much time watching video of alleys, intersections and abandoned buildings, he'll simply say, "I don't know.  But sometimes I think I see things."  He will not elaborate upon the "things" he sees.  Steven isn't really sure himself.

Steven is always on the move.  After a while, people begin to figure out that cameras are watching their street or building.  Sometimes they are resentful and break into one of the apartments to smash his equipment.  Other times, a creepy-looking individual might stand in front of the camera, staring.  It's as if they can see him and know his identity and location.

Such events add to Steven's paranoia.  He likes to be the one who watches.  He doesn't want it the other way around.  Every few months Steven will rent new apartments, set up new cameras and begin the operation anew.

(Followed by a complete write-up of stats, etc.)


To be honest, I rather like all of them.  But Steven is a great example of exactly how versatile this little collection is.  If the PCs are supernatural, he's a potential threat to their well-being.  Even if he doesn't act directly upon knowledge learned about them, he could pass it on to someone who might profit from it.  In a Hunter game, he could be a somewhat unreliable source of information about supernatural activities.  Or he could be a complete red herring, a nutcase whose delusions see things in video distortions.  And that's what I love about this little book, the versatility.

So kudos to Christian, for his talent and his generosity.  I'm rather inspired to try doing something like this myself, if can nail myself down to a single game system/setting long enough to accomplish it.


theron: My Dice Are Probably Older Than You (Default)

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