January Storytellers Vault Roundup

Welcome to this month's Storyteller's Vault Roundup! This time around we have more exciting news to share for fans of alternate Vampire: The Masquerade settings, and we'll be taking a look at the products coming out from Josh Heath and his team at High Level Games.

First up, as teased in last month's Roundup, the templates, art packs, and style guide for Victorian Age Vampire dropped on December 29th and are now available for content creators. Accompanying this release is Clanbook: Bloodbrothers, which we'll be taking a closer look at in the following Roundup.

Also announced since the last Roundup is the exciting news that soon creators will be able to submit content for the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom line. White Wolf's Shane DeFreest says, "While Ebony Kingdom…was never given its own full V20 update we will be releasing new color Ebony Kingdom sourcebook and Legacies templates to go with the V20 line of products. These are in addition to the standard 3rd Edition black and white templates…. We don't have a set release date for this material but expect it before the end of the month."

Hopefully we'll be seeing plenty of new content for both lines in the weeks and months to come!

High Level Games has an established presence on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, but have recently begun expanding into the Storyteller's Vault as well with a series of releases they're calling One Page Chronicle Jumpstarts.

As the name implies, these are "plug-and-play" documents intended to help Storytellers launch their own chronicles without the usual amount of extensive preparation that comes with running Vampire. Thus far High Level Games has put out five jumpstarts set in Modern Nights and one Dark Ages jumpstart, all penned by Joshua Heath.

Mr. Heath is currently working on his own personal update of the classic Vampire supplement Dark Colony, and the five Modern Nights jumpstarts are all set in the same "Dark New England" milieu originally outlined in that supplement. Each may be purchased separately, or purchased as part of the omnibus edition Dark New England: Five Chronicle Jumpstarts, which is what we'll be spotlighting here.

After a brief Introduction outlining the purpose and general Moods and Themes of the jumpstarts, as well as noting that these were designed with V20 in mind, we are presented with the five jumpstarts. The different modules ("A Singular Darkness," "The Templar's Childe," "Things Go Southy," "Monastery of Metamorphosis," and "Obelisk of Oak Island") all follow the same pattern: a one-page chronicle overview/instigating incident, followed by stats and background for a variety of Storyteller characters.

The jumpstarts feature as few as a single Storyteller character up to as many as six. One of the jumpstarts also features a new Ritual and Bloodline.

In addition to the five Dark New England jumpstarts, Mr. Heath has also written "The Curse Pole" for Vampire: The Dark Ages 20th Anniversary Edition. Unlike the Dark New England jumpstarts, the Storyteller characters in "The Curse Pole" are kept fairly generic, with a list of suggested names and backgrounds that are fluid enough to be adapted to a variety of Dark Ages locations across Europe, and even into the Muslim world and points beyond.

Because Vampire games are so intensively focused on interactions between characters and factions, setting up a chronicle is often the toughest part of playing the game. Each of these jumpstarts takes a significant amount of work off the Storyteller's plate.

If you wish to see examples of the Dark New England jumpstarts in action, the Caffeinated Conquests actual-play crew tackled two of them ("Things Go Southy" and "Obelisk of Oak Island") at this link.

contributed by David Larkins

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