Good morning, internet. Have you heard about this V20 Dark Ages thing we’re doing?
tl;dr, here’s the outline draft. It’s a Google Doc.
First off, I’m new around the development blogs, so I felt I should introduce myself. I’m David A Hill Jr. I’ve been freelancing for White Wolf, CCP, and Onyx Path for a number of years. Some of my favorite projects have been Invite Only for Vampire: The Requiem, and Forsaken Chronicler’s Guide for Werewolf: The Forsaken. I’ve been putting in a lot of work on Blood & Smoke: The Strix Chronicle for Rose Bailey; if you’re on the forums, you know that I’m pretty active on these internets. I’ve also been about the RPG industry, I’ve worked with Margaret Weis Productions, Green Ronin, Paizo, and numerous others. I run my own small press, Machine Age Productions, with my wife Filamena Young (another Onyx Path freelancer). So that’s me.
Second off, V20 Dark Ages. A lot of people have stories about playing Dungeons & Dragons. They can wax nostalgic about their first game experiences, about graph paper, about Mountain Dew, and about kobolds. My experience in gaming started with Vampire: The Masquerade. It holds many important places in my heart: it’s the reason for my career, it’s how I met my wife, it’s why I write, I still play in regular games, both tabletop and LARP. I owe Vampire quite a bit. Needless to say, returning to those roots with V20 excited the hell out of me. My particular love, however, was for Dark Ages. I felt that it honed in on everything I loved about The World of Darkness. It hit home on topics of humanity, on rebellion against a fearsome status quo, and about questioning your nature. Needless to say, I pitched to develop V20 Dark Ages the moment I felt it possible. When it was approved, I was floored. I got to write a love letter to this thing that changed my life. A 300 page love letter.
Right now, I have a team of crack writers hammering out three hundred thousand words of buttery wholesomeness. They’re writing this based on my outline, the draft of which I’ve posted on the White-Wolf.com forums in the past few days. You can check it out via Google Docs here. A few things I’ll note about it:
- This document reflects almost a year of discussions with my writing staff. Usually we don’t share these outlines, because they’re a waste product of the hive mind. You might read things and think, “What? Where’s this obvious thing that should be included?” It’s probably not there, because we’ve talked about it so much that it’s assumed. Every chapter has seen hundreds of emails, some of these things will fall through the cracks of the outline, even though they’ll see inclusion in the final product.
- I prefer to develop as we’re working. There’s only so much an outline can provide that writing won’t demolish. Think of it like a chronicle in a Vampire game. As Storyteller, it’s good to have a framework, but if you do much more than that, your players are going to eat right through (possibly literally) your plot. Some people like super extensive outlines; I sometimes find them restrictive as a writer. This outline shows how I strike a balance.
- This is very “pull back the curtains”. It’s a little inside baseball. It’s written by a developer, for a team of writers. If some of it doesn’t make sense, you’re welcome to ask, and I’ll try to address it. I’m super transparent about these things, I don’t believe in keeping secrets in game design.
- We’re interested in hearing your ideas. But, as with any open development, come in with the understanding that we’re being inundated with input, so we might not address every little thing specifically. We’re reading all your comments. We’re listening. We can’t integrate every requested change for a myriad of reasons. Ultimately, we’ll make the decisions we feel are best for V20 Dark Ages first and foremost. But even suggestions we don’t use are considered, and will often influence the final outcome.
- You will find that I like bullet points.
I’m going to be doing as many of these development blogs as I can fit in. So I guess the next question I pose to you: What do you want to hear me blabber on about?