Thursday, January 9, 2014

After the Rain ep0 : Houses of the Blooded


After the Rain
"GM Notes"

Episode 0

My group and I are diving back into the world of high drama and vicious adventures that can only exist in John Wick's Houses of the Blooded game.  While my previous Houses of the Blooded games were carefully crafted games with a skeleton of a plot laid down for the players to explore, in After the Rain, I'm focusing more on the fragments of history the game will have but leave a larger percentage of the world, its inhabitants and events for the players to shape freely as co-narrative forces in the campaign.

Houses of the Blooded: After the Rain is a post-apocalyptic version of the standard game, with players portraying Ven who are reasserting their rule over a Shanri that had, as much as the other Ven can assert, nearly devastated them a few generations back.  In this game, the Senate's hold is far more fragmented than usual, with the Houses still reeling over the losses they have suffered.  All the Houses had lost their avirex, and without the Earls to guide them, many of the Dukes had waged private secret wars against one another. Baronies burned.  Countries were decimated.  Even The City Whose Walls Challenge the Sky had fallen.  Davfanna Aldrena, the capitol of ven civilization, lies in a state of repair and recovery.  The Houses have directed Resources for the Shining Star to shine bright once again.  And many of its now empty castles are ripe for the claiming.

The ven are learning that the lands they are inheriting are built upon the ruins of the recently extinguished.  Tales of fire raining from the skies, of geysers bursting through mountain walls, of lightning rolling upon farms and plains, and of Orks, always of Orks, haunt the young ven as their parents warn them that Shanri, their bitter enemy, was once far too close to murdering them all.    There are whispers as well of Sorcery gone awry, of Tulpa demanding freedom, of Bloodswords shedding tears, and of Doom.  Always, of Doom.

Each Province has a ruin, if not three.  Each Castle discovers the remnants of a puzzle house in its midst.  Each whispered intonation to the Suaven, a worried fear that the Suaven hears no more.

But the Blessings come.
The Art endures.
The althua continue.
And the Romances, oh yes the Romances.

The Ven live on.
Past the ruins.
Past the tears.

After the Rain.
After the Reign.

The Ven have faced the end, and whispered back,

"Na Nanva."


Character Creation was the same save for the following changes:
1) All characters start in their Summer Phase.   
The characters are older, having gone through their younger years helping their parents reestablish a semblance of normality.  They are wiser, some say.  Or at least more world-weary.  But with this comes a greater expectation of them accomplishing more.

2) All characters go through the first three Seasons before the initial game starts.
The game opens at Winter, and the players have a better inkling of what they have gone through in the last few seasons, what sacrifices they have made, and what concerns they have to deal with.

3) Houses of the Blooded: Wilderness Regions, Vassals and Holdings are accessible.
Save for those that are Ork related.  But in this time of rising from the ashes of Shanri, it is not uncommon for the ven to discover a volcano among their regions.  Or to find a Jungle at the fringes of their land.

4) Ruins are plentiful.
So plentiful that any action to Explore that bears a Ruin is considered a FREE Season Action.

5) Ruins can be cleared.
Given no ven seeks to have a Province with nothing but Puzzle Houses, a Ruin can be demolished with Season Actions. It takes a number of Season Actions equal to the Ruin's Rank to decrease it by one Rank.  This number can be reduced for each Adventure the ven undertake within the Ruin during a story with the intent of finding ways to clear it out or destroy it.

6) The Senate, and the Houses themselves, are recovering.
So thankfully, this sort of gives the ven much leeway in doing things they want.  However, this also means there is an unstated paranoia among many of the more influential and powerful ven to see upstarts and rebels as threats to the already damaged status quo.

7) The Storm.
The Storm seems different now. Sentient.  Hunting.
Some even whisper that the Falcons now fear it.  That the name they know no longer applies.

8) Together we Build
Given the attempts to recover from the apocalyptic events, Spouses and Children now give 1 Season Action per Rank.  Now when they finally get their own character sheet, if the player does not assign them a Cunning Virtue of 3 or higher, they actually end up with less Season Actions.  This is to represent how family is pushed to help out while they all live with the player character, but once the children are of age enough to be independent, they might not be as helpful.

As of Spouses, perhaps they realized they didn't like handling such things.  Or perhaps they're distracted now with their greater freedom to do thing.  Ultimately, since its the player who allocates their stats, the player has the freedom to maintain their versatility with Season Actions, or have their Spouses focus on other things of interest.

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