World of Darkness - Alpha Network
“Never in my house.. Ye abide by m’rules ya see…”
The Golden Rule: Always have fun. If something isn’t fun, don’t do it.
1. Learn to improvise. You’ll never find things go perfectly smoothly. Be ready to roll with whatever happens.
2. Tempt your players with A-Beats. Any time their Obsession or something that fits into their character’s larger interests has an opportunity to advance swiftly come up, offer them an A-Beat to act in a (preferably less-than-ethical) manner to further that agenda. For example, breaking into the office of an archaeologist to ransack their records because one of their last findings looks like something from a Ruin.
Edit: Gonna throw in a bit more advice, actually.
3. Have your players figure out why their cabal came together, what their purpose is, and what their rules are. Cabals aren’t just groups of buddies who got together Because. They’re a mystical compact and secret society a group of Mages formed to use for mutual benefit and/or out of shared ideals. Not only does this help give players something to keep everyone on the same page, but it also gives you hooks to hang stuff on.
4. Have a built-in dispute resolution system. Players will inevitably have different ideas on how they want to do things. Have a dispute resolution system everyone agrees on; not only OOC but in-game, preferably with some mechanism to ensure that, if decisions consistently go against one person, they can get something out of it. For example, if a person is the only one opposing a vote, say, they can demand some condition on the course of action to be taken.
Favor speed over accuracy, at least at first. It’s fun to really dive into the system and do everything exactly right, but sometimes it can be a drag. Down and dirty spellcasting is perfectly fine when you don’t want to spend three minutes working out a spell, especially if there’s not a lot of consequences.
Seconding Axelgear’s bit of advice there about getting the players to figure out how they know each other. One thing I do is have everyone go around in the circle with the question “How does your character know the character sitting beside you?” until they have interesting backstory for the group.
Once everyone had a solid character concept I had them add connections between them. I can always find ways to bring characters together, but I find it is better if players work out that bit themselves (with occasional inputs from me).
- “Show…” rather than “Tell…”
- Kill your PC’s slowly…