Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Campaign Sprawl

Fair warning:  I definitely have some sort of mild to moderate OCD, or other mental issue.  So, take anything I may write on this blog with that in mind.  Want an example?

I'm about 15 games into a Vampire the Masquerade (20th anniversary edition, or "V20") campaign.  And one of the conceits of the campaign is that we play 5-6 games in an "era," and then pick up with the characters again several decades later.  The great thing about this is that the characters really do "feel" old.  They players managed to seize control of the city back in 1863, but now, more than a century later, they still hold bitter grudges against various NPCs over things that occurred way back in 1904 and earlier.

But back to my warning.  So, at the start of our campaign, the vampires of the city looked like this...


BTW, I love, love, love making posters summarizing campaign info, that you can tack up on the wall and reference during the game.  Not only is it very helpful for the players (they can quickly recall names and other information with just a glance), but it almost inevitably leads to the players sitting around the game table, hours after the game, poring over the posters like Napoleon studying maps of battlefield topography.

But I digress again.  Back to that warning...

So, a few years later (the next era - 1904), the campaign map has gotten more complicated.  We've got a bigger, more populous, and more complicated web of vampires in the city:


I've also figured out that, gosh, the mortals are important too, so the important ones in the city get their own poster:


And don't forget those vampire diplomats that visited St. Louis (our home city) during the 1904 World's Fair:


Things keep progressing from era to era, with the game (and the ridiculous posters) growing more and more complex.  Until finally, last night, we have this:


This is our "basic" poster for 1978.  And, yes, that's every vampire in the city (or at least the vampires the players know about), along with their "registered" (with the Prince) ghouls, as of 1978, our current game era.

Have I crossed the line from "helpful player aid" to "crazy guy scribbling all over the walls of his cell"?  Only time will tell...  (But my wife is sitting behind me making fun of me already).