I existentially sneeze.

How to Run a Crossover Chronicle

By David Nicastro

I had run a Vampire chronicle before and I enjoyed it. I had run a Mage chronicle before and I enjoyed it. I had dabbled in Werewolf, touched on Wraith and loved Changeling for so many reasons.

So once upon a time I had these friends (still do, knock on wood). They're experienced gamers and damned good to boot. A good deal of them have theatre experience so sessions are fun.

Now, to open here, I've never been a Dungeons and Dragons kind of guy. I play it, I enjoy it but a fist full of ten-siders is much better than one of every die known to man and enough math to count as a college course.

So we played D&D, Shadowrun, Star Wars and a ton of other systems and while we cleaned up I would say that soon I would run White Wolf. Soon, for those of you who don't know, is a word of impending doom.

One day I pick up Mage and Changeling, a friend gets Vampire, another Wraith and another Werewolf. I should have seen it coming. I've been tested with a high IQ, and that means one thing: Smart but Stupid.

The books float around the group for awhile. I see everyone realize the merits of the system and feel on top of the world. I'm a big shit. . . .then:

"Dave, Can I play a Mage?"
"Sure." Ok, a Mage Chronicle.

"Can I play a Vampire?"
"Sure." Ok, a little mix is good.

"Can I play a Changeling?"
"Sure." Ok, I should have said no, but I like the Fae.

Damage Control!

"John, will you play a Mage?"
"Sure." Can always count on John.

"Bill, a Dreamspeaker would work for you."
"Ok," Good old Bill.

Mage, back on line.
Three Mages
A Vampire
A Fae
It's workable.


"I want to play a Werewolf."
Terror, Silence . . .then, Smart but stupid: "Sure."

But. . .

"A Vampire."
"Not really me."
"A Mage?"
"Maybe later, not yet."
"Hmmm. . .How about-"
"How about a Mortal!"

Smart but Stupid . . .The Crossover Chronicle.

Ok genius . . .what do you do?

How To Make It Work

1.) Experienced Players

I'm not saying you can't have some newbies in the group but if you have a core of players who know what Role-playing is, forget about the system, then you have hope.

Now I'll address rules lawyers later but for now just know that you need people who know haw to do character development. White Wolf is not Hack N' Slash. If the players know that. . .this may work.

2.) Greater Evil

Alright, I have experienced players. Now the characters need something to work against. Something big and nasty that they need to fight together or die. I picked up The Midnight Circus book. It is powerful enough to challenge any level player and it has the benefit of villains cooperating. There are Nephandi working with vampires, wraiths working with fae. You don't need Midnight Circus, but something similar of your own creation will help.

3.) Bend Rules

White Wolf is not a rule oriented system so this shouldn't be too hard. Now there are certain rules that must be followed. Vampire drink blood, Mages incur Paradox and Werewolves are tough to get along with. But you can bend and even break some rules. Read the source books and find the section on the Golden Rule. That's what I'm saying here. . .just keep the Golden Rule nice and shiny.

4.) Don't Guide The Action

All Storytellers have an idea of where they want to go and what they hope the characters do. I'll be blunt, get over it. There's a wonderful article in the Vampire Storytellers Guide that talks about just this. Characters are more willful than the Vampires and Mages they play. Let them do what they want, don't guide them to where you want them to be. That's how you lose players.

5.) People Die In The World Of Darkness

This is a tough one but along with characters doing what they want to do is the fact that characters die. As storyteller give a warning if you wish but if your mortal player character spits in a Ventrue's eye, count on frenzy and hand the poor player a blank sheet.

6.) No Rules Lawyers

In White Wolf rules are flexible. The Storyteller (You) are the rule-maker. A player searching through a book because he/she thinks that the difficulty should be eight and not nine, can break the flow of the story. Don't allow it. Bottom Line.

7.) Invest In The Storyteller Guides

The Book of Mirrors for Mage is the best. But in a crossover you might need the others. I can't stress enough that the informations inside of these books are the most useful articles you can ever read.

8.) Common Goal. . .or Trap them

As I said before the characters need something to bind them to a common cause. There is no rule that says that the characters can't have their own reasons for following along with the group, in fact that's even better. If they seem to have trouble with that and the chronicle is getting fragmented . . .trap them together. Technocracy, Midnight Circus and Nephandus can make life difficult indeed and they might not see as many differences between the characters as the characters do.

9.) Be Prepared To Do Individual Sessions

In order to keep the flow and cohesion of the game you will need to do individual sessions. This can be fun and can save your chronicle at more than one point. One on ones and pair sessions can pave the way from story to story and keep a crossover group together.

10.) Beware The Moon Beasts

Werewolves do not play well with others. I have a suspicion that they also run with scissors when Gaia's not looking. Werewolves and Vampires do not mix. Werewolves rarely mix. I have only one thing to say. One hint on how to work the changing breeds into the chronicle, Pray.

Well, there are ten hints. I could have expanded on each and made them in depth but. . .you're the storyteller. In close I just have to say, I'm running a Crossover Chronicle and I enjoy it.