World of Darkness: Anderson Island

Raven Releasing the Sun by Todd Jason BakerAfter our recent episode about the World of Darkness, I decided to return to it for a one shot. What I originally planned as a 2 to 3 hour game became a 5 hour epic and possible start of an episodic campaign

A group of writers and artists have traveled to Anderson Island, Washington in October 1980 for a retreat and workshop.Β  A place where they can work and study in peace. Little do they know of the evil buried on the island. After a night of shared nightmares, the first murder convinces a small group of writers to look into the secrets of the island, namely the secretive Christensen family and the ancient myths of Raven and Xelas. But can these temperamental creatives actually work together and solve the mystery or will they perish to the curse of Anderson Island?

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  1. Only part way through the recording and I have to say… Impressive derailment!

  2. looove some WoD. seems like mortals/hunters games are way more popular than supers games among podcasters, which is kinda a shame, but I guess the real lines do have a sorta Eclipse Phasey level of setting you hafta absorb to get into em. I’d love to see what you guys make of Mage. the thought of the kind of plans Caleb could come up with with improvisational magic in his terrible fist makes me shiver.

  3. Ross weaves some impressive stories and I can’t relax and enjoy them because I’m listening to a bunch of players stumble half blind through my #1 system with only Jason to sort of guide them along. Damn it!

  4. @Tad. Ouch, man! I did what I could but I’ve played in less than a handful of nWoD games. I had to refresh myself on a lot of the mechanics. And Ross had my Vampire book, so I couldn’t address all the questions. Moreover, I think this was the first time I really played combat in the new system, so I was more or less learning it as we went along. I also realized I do miss some elements of the old system, like nature and demeanor, but sort of detest some newer elements. I like narrowing down the skills, but I’d go further and narrow them down further. I also prefer Dex+Dodge over a static defense, and soaking with stamina was great in the oWoD.

  5. Say, I hate to be *That Guy*, but since this was apparently at least semi-recent, I figure I should mention that you can’t actually dramatically fail on a normal roll. You can only critically fail when your dicepool has been reduced to 0 for whatever reason, but you decide to roll a single dice anyway. If that roll is a 1, then you critically fail. This is of course assuming you’re playing New WoD, if you’re not, well, then I’m just a dummy that’s talking about the wrong system, feel free to ignore me.

    Rules-Sperging aside, this was a great AP, and I myself would love to see some more World of Darkness stuff. Nice job everyone!

  6. @Jason. Didn’t want to hurt your feelings, Jason, I’m sure you were doing the best you could with what you had; I just gotta tell it like it is.
    If you like those oWoD elements but like some of the nWoD stuff you should pick up the Vampire Conversion Guide. It’s a couple of dollars on DriveThru and it’s got conversion info to go back and forth between old and new if you like using parts of one or the other.
    Personally? I am pure New World of Darkness; basically nothing from the old games I keep.

  7. yeah, there were a couple things, like Celerity granting extra actions (maybe it does that above 5 levels?), dramatic fails on normal rolls (but what the fuck more critical failures is always hilarious)–10 again all the time? I forget if that’s a core feature of the system and wasn’t sure if you were even doing it. wasn’t it just for specialties or somethin Iunno

    broadly though I only register those things when a player doesn’t suffer some sort of horrible consequence that the rules say he oughta and that’s just cause I like it when you guys lose <333

    have you ever podcasted some WoD anywhere, Tad? I'd love to hear a game by people who're really into the systems, and as I think I've said before I lurved your Rogue Trader skype games.

  8. Yeah I think I read the rules wrong on dramatic failures as I was in a hurry to make my character. But I think Ross went with the old WoD Celerity rules, which I didn’t think about at the time. I’m glad to hear we were doing the dramatic failures wrong though. I was seriously beginning to question that due to its frequency.

    Anyhow, I’ll be playing my character as a vampire next time, so I’ll try to try to refresh myself beforehand. I hope this is a sign that we will be playing more nWoD.

  9. I enjoyed the game you ran. It was definitely a good narrative and an excellent horror tale. As a WOD expert however I know that you’ve done a number of rules errors which include:

    1. Dramatic Failures (Botches) only happen if your dice pool is reduced to a chance die from penalties and then only you roll a 1. It was the Old WOD where botches happened with 0 successes and a 1 on the dice pool. I like the change in the NWOD as it gets rid of the larger dice pools = More chance of botching problem.

    2. Shotguns do +4 damage with the 9 again rule. Shotguns are a beast of a weapon. They aren’t a crappy +3 damage weapon. In addition you do not get defense against firearms except at Point Blank Range (Or use of a power like Celerity).

    3. There is no longer “Soak” in the NWOD. Not even vampires get Soak against damage (But take bashing from firearms). Armor subtracts from attack pools, not damage. Vigor just adds additional dice to strength and Resilience gives extra health levels.

    4. Crosses do nothing to vampires, unless he has some kind of derangement that makes him fearful of such holy items or a Bloodline flaw that gives such a penalty. In addition merely being bitten by a vampire does not make you a vampire. If that were the case, vampirism would spread across the world like a plague. Its a MAJOR investment for a vampire to spawn another.

  10. Author

    I spent all my prep time working on the plot for the scenario, not refreshing my knowledge of the rules. The last time I ran nWoD before this was 2010 I think.

    Anyway, I ignored most of the vampire rules and used a traditional Dracula style vampire. I made him insanely powerful in direct combat but had all of the classic weaknesses of vampires. Remember, Hunter the Vigil tells you to make up your own monsters or ignore whatever you don’t want to use. I wanted to capture a Fright Night dynamic where the PCs would have to think of a better solution than a stand up fight.

  11. Yea I can understand when you have to come up with things on the fly. I’ve done it in the past myself when a certain rule I can’t remember comes into play in order to speed up gameplay. I’m also not a complete Rules Lawyer as I have house rolls for “Extras” for combats involving random mooks that I don’t want to do a full write up for. I also allowed the PC’s to adapt a tactic mainly useable against werewolves to be used against a vampire, which they used to draw the vampire away from his bodyguards by using a second team as a distraction. Worked pretty good too as the PC’s basically took out a big fish among the vampires (A vampire just a step down from a Primogen). Was a pretty epic slaying that is for sure.

  12. Is nothing sacred or free from Ross’ Cthulhu revisionism? :3

    (I’d imagine that, in the Lovecraft universe, places like the Pacific NorthWet would be free of all things Cthulhu…that’d be a neat thing to spring on one’s players, that certain parts of humanity in the USA et al are responsible for all the nihilistic et al)

    Did someone in your group just go to Hollyhock or Breitenbush? What was the inspiration for this radio play?

  13. Author

    I have no idea what Hollyhock or Breitenbush are.


    Fright Night for the idea of a group of humans vs a single powerful vampire. I find myself more interested in games where there is a single source of evil than the typical monster mash of horror games (every type of monster exists and they all live in the same city)

    The movie Inferno for the idea of a flooded basement of a mansion.

    Argento and Fulci films in general for the 1980 setting and emphasis on dreams.

    Alan Wake for the idea of a powerful evil wrecking havoc in a desolate rural setting in the Pacific Northwest. The ambiance of a horror game is vital.

    The use of Native American myths just came to me, although I am a fan of Inuit legends and their eerie nature.

  14. Author

    Ah. I’m aware of writer/artist retreats in general. Seemed like a fun concept for a setting – a bit different than the standard ‘you all live here or are stranded here’ set ups you see in horror games.

  15. I love your WoD one-shots Ross. They’re always amazing stories that grab me and won’t let go. The only question I have is if you stabilished that 8 would be your basic difficulty on your games? ’cause that’s the… third game (I think) you used that instead of the basic difficulty 7 nWoD uses.

    If I used 8’s on my games, with the way my players are *so* lucky, they would easily die (sure, there are some heavy challenges where I turn up to 8 or 9 the challenge, but those are from time to time).

    Anyways, thanks for this AP, guys πŸ˜€

  16. You are mechanically unsound, April. New World of Darkness sets universal difficulty at 8. It never changes. Difficulty is measured by removing dice from the pool, never by changing the number one is required to roll.

  17. Oops, I mean “10d10”. I legit though the name you had put down was “April”… and now I see that that is the date in which you posted. I feel extremely dumb.

  18. @Tad haha ok that explains the April thing.

    I checked again and you’re right. It’s 8, now I don’t know if I should laugh or be worried about my players…

  19. ross you should run a vampire game to remind me of when i was 15 and terrible

    be terrible forever

  20. With the players love of intrigue and politicking I’m sure Ross could run a decent mini campaign of Vampire. I’d like to see that or maybe a Tom run action scenario.

    I’m glad for some variety in the APs. And I have new-found love of all that Aaron does, or chooses not to do.

  21. oh my god drew needs to shut up sometimes

  22. Oh my god, I just got to the halfway point. You guys… it’s like watching highschoolers play D&D. I’m not saying it isn’t kinda funny; I’m saying I would’ve ended the game. Wow.

  23. I don’t know if Drew was partaking in the alcohol but if he was, I would venture a guess that he’s new to it, and it might’ve gone to his head a little quickly!

    I’m about halfway through. Aaron continues to be awesome in all games he plays in. Even the awkward stuff is great. Here’s to hoping that the chaos doesn’t continue too heavily. Things *seem* to have gotten a little better since Drew’s and Jason’s first characters screwed each other over.

  24. So much is in this freak’en episode. The fact that two characters had to be replaced because of attempted murder is was their grizzly death.

    Greath episode guys. If you guys are going to keep dabbling in WoD you guys should totally do a Changeling game.

  25. Z, could you elaborate on my needing to shut up? I’m still new to the whole AP set-up I now participate in.

  26. Poetic justice for Drew and Jason player character’s smack dab in the middle of this AP. I loved it!

  27. I dunno why this came so late to me but I feel I should ask it. Was the naming of this AP based in any way on Hans Christian Anderson? Primarily because of the vampire’s name and the Islands name? and the fact it’s a writer retreat. Was doing some research on the guy and also re-listening to this and it just sort of clicked in spots.

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