Posted on January 6, 2011 by Flames
FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an inside look at the design process for Scenes of the Embrace, a brand new toolkit released from White Wolf Publishing to be used with its Vampire: the Requiem role-playing game.
This exclusive article is broken up into two parts. First, we give you an overview of the design process for this product, which was inspired by Will Hindmarch’s design from Scenes of Frenzy. After you read Eddy Webb and Monica Valentinelli’s exchange, stick around for an exclusive preview from this new e-book.
Behind Scenes of the Embrace
EDDY: For a long time, I’ve wanted to do another anthology of Storytelling Adventure System (SAS) scenes for players and Storytellers. The vampire’s Embrace is a pivotal moment in their existence, but it’s not something we’ve traditionally spent a lot of time on, either in products or at the table, and I wanted to do something with that. In talking it over with Russell [the Vampire line developer], we kicked around the idea that the vampire’s pivotal motivation to Embrace is their Vice, and that’s when the project came together in my mind.
MONICA: The idea of creating scenes based on a character’s Vice was really interesting to me, but it was also a challenge. At first, I found myself writing lots of characters and mini-adventures for each Embrace. These were scenes I wanted to play or run in my own chronicle. Eddy gave me some feedback on what I had written and that’s when it dawned on me: he was looking for something less character-specific so that any Storyteller could use these scenes. His feedback really sank in and helped shape a strong template for my rewrite that was more plug-in-play than adventure-based.
EDDY: I’ll be honest – I was pretty brutal in the first round of my redlines. Monica had some interesting ideas, but it just wasn’t working out. The concepts were too specific – more like pre-generated characters than templates that players and Storytellers can use to inform and shape their own experiences. She was providing a lot of very pretty set pieces, and I was looking for a well-crafted set of tools. We exchanged a lot of emails on the topic, and she went back to the drawing board. What I got back next time, though, just blew me away.
MONICA: One of the things we talked about was how to reference the mortal being Embraced in a particular scene. The idea was that if a Storyteller wanted to use one of these scenes in her World of Darkness chronicle, a mortal character could actually become a Kindred through her game. So, I introduced a new term called a “candidate” and added some character concepts to help flesh out the scenes. Coupled with the covenant goals and reactions to each Embrace, there’s a lot of fodder for Storytellers to draw off of.
EDDY: We did go through a third draft, which is unusual for a product like this, but the next time around it was a lot more like polishing a gem instead of blasting through concrete. I know a product is going to be good when I get excited when reading it. I caught myself sending snippets of passages to my co-workers to share with them. That’s one of the secret thrills of being in development – I get to see this cool stuff before anyone else in the world does, and a good manuscript reminds me all over again why I love the World of Darkness.
MONICA: Some scenes were easier to write than others because I had an idea of how the covenants might react to a new neonate. For those scenes, I basically worked backward from what might happen in someone’s game. For example, both of the Pride Embraces were a no-brainer for me. Other scenes were a little harder to write, but for those I dug more deeply into the setting. I have to say, I really enjoyed writing the Gluttony and Sloth Embraces. I kept thinking how much fun it would be to play through those in a chronicle. Creepy!
EDDY: Scenes of the Embrace is a different kind of product. It’s not entirely an adventure, and it’s not really a Storyteller book, either. As much as I hate to abuse this metaphor, it really is a toolbox designed to focus on one aspect of Vampire games. There are fourteen different scenes that can help make any character’s Embrace a more memorable and dramatic experience.
Preview of Scenes of the Embrace
In this preview, we were provided a snippet from the Gluttony scene called “Taste.” Each scene offers an introduction. The paragraphs that you are about to read follow the introduction to flesh out ideas for the Storyteller to draw from. First, you’ll read a brief overview of the scene. Then, you’ll hear what your Kindred’s Beast has to say.
Scene of the Embrace: Taste
The sire has just fed upon a vessel and is pleasantly surprised by how good it tastes. Maybe she savors the aftertaste of her blood, or maybe she’s aroused by its sweet, coppery fragrance. Whether the sire convinces herself that there’s something unusual about this particular vessel’s blood or not, she may find it hard to pull herself away from it. Since it will be a few nights before the vessel regains his full health, the sire is faced with a tough decision. Can she wait that long to drink her blood again? If she drains his blood dry and kills him in the process, will she be happy knowing she will never taste his blood again? Would she risk creating a ghoul if there’s even a remote chance that he will die? Wouldn’t it be better to Embrace this vessel, fill it up, and drink from it over and over again?
You’re not sure why, but you’re positive that this vessel’s blood smells and tastes differently than the filthy blood of other mortals. Tangy and sweet, your mouth explodes with flavor long after the blood fills your mouth. Maybe this vessel is sacred. Maybe it changes ordinary, boring blood into a perfect and divine fluid. Damn the vessel’s fragile body. It won’t recover fast enough for you to safely feed without killing it and you know it. Of course, you could always Embrace him and feed upon him again. Hell, you could even bring him a few other vessels before you do. More blood that way. More of his sweet blood, that is. And it’s all for you.
To pick up your copy of Scenes of the Embrace, head on over to RPGNow.com today.