Archive for the ‘Geist: the Sin-Eaters’ Category


Over the past few years, I’ve been pretty much locked into a standard pattern of games mostly revolving around Mage: the Awakening and Legend of the Five Rings. Both are excellent games, and are certainly worth playing, but I think I’ll need to figure out if changing my usual focus will help me improve in directions that I don’t usually take.

I think if anything I’ve learned that my Social/Political games are pretty involved, so maybe it’s time I lean slightly away from those. The current game I’m looking to work on is a Supers campaign, but I’m still not sold if I’m going to expand it to a full-length campaign just yet.

While that’s going on, I’ve taken to the habit of going over my collection of PDF books, some of which I’ve already mentioned in yesterday’s post about Games I Ought to Run. Upon further review, maybe I should force myself to run games that I found to be either too difficult or too arcane the last time.

Push myself further, in a manner of speaking.

So I’ve been taking a look at some of the games that have traditionally been giving me some trouble. Either with concept or getting a game off the ground. I’ll see if I can document the process of planning as well once I successfully sling a pitch to my players as well.

I don’t have a list of games as of yet, but already some of the early shoe-ins for this will be Geist: the Sin Eaters and Hunter: the Vigil but also some of the older classics like Werewolf: the Forsaken or Vampire: the Requiem.


RPGs come in all kinds, but one particular distinction that bears paying attention to is if the game lends itself better towards mission-based play, or a more sandbox style approach.

Mission-based games are those that often have the player characters taking on a specific role relating to a group of PC types that are meant to achieve X goals via Y means.  Games like these often invest a lot of time and effort playing up the group that the players are meant to be a part of, to instill a clear range of acceptable behaviors and actions.  Some examples are:

  • In Flames by Greg Saunders – Features the Player Characters as the Exiles, a group of individuals working for a being calling itself Ghede to fight against abusive individuals known as “Barons.”
  • Eclipse Phase – At its default level assumes that the player characters are part of Firewall, a secret organization created to combat extinction-level threats.
  • All For One: Regime Diabolique – Assumes that the player characters are all part of the Musketeers, fighting against the darkness that is sweeping over France.
The advantage of Mission-based games is that it forms a common element that ties the group together.  This is excellent for games that rely on heavy teamwork and for groups that don’t care for that much player vs. player conflict.  Rather than spending time with keeping secrets from each other and otherwise politicking, the group can focus on a given objective.
Conflicts in this setup tend to be focused on external threats, and don’t leave a lot of room for introspective plot hooks.  This setup is also great for large numbers of players as everyone gets a chance to do something.
Sandbox style games are less specific about their arrangements.  Often, these games focus more on a situation rather than a mission.  While there are exceptions, one of the most common questions Sandbox games tend to offer is “Congratulations, you’ve just become a Vampire/Werewolf/Mage/Exalt/Godling/etc.  Now what do you do?”
White Wolf is notorious for catering to this form of game, but they’re definitely not the only ones:
  • Part-Time Gods – Has various factions, but certainly no unifying group and “mission” behind their existence.  The Player characters find themselves blessed (or cursed) with the divine spark of godhood and have to find out how to live in this strange new world of godhood.
  • Legend of the Five Rings – Is a game that is definitely broad enough to accommodate various sandbox themes.  While one could argue that a game about Duty, Honor and Sacrifice is bound to be mission-based, there’s arguably plenty of room for sandbox style play where one can track the life and significant events of the lives of the various Samurai.
Sandbox play is great for those who enjoy the concept of immersion.  Rather than having set goals and allegiances, the players are free to explore the social landscape of a game and make these decisions for themselves.  These decisions in turn, have consequences that manifest in various ways but always change the dynamic of the game.  Siding with one group will influence the world in one way, while siding with another will have other effects.
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Between the two my personal preference falls towards Sandbox style.  Mission style stuff is convenient and fun, but I find Sandbox style games to be more rewarding from the point of view of a GM.  Mission based games are like a string of one-offs to me, barring a few recurring villains and NPCs, once a mission is done, it’s pretty much over.
Sandbox games appeal to me since it also involves the player characters in the act of changing the setting.  Everything they do and achieve alters the setting somewhat for better or worse.  While this means that some of the more wanton player types tend to make a mess of things, it also means that conscientious players can achieve far greater things with the right contacts and plans.
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That said, neither style is “superior” over the other, and it’s purely a matter of preference.  I’m very curious to find out what people prefer to play though, and why.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

In celebration of the V20 announcement, I figure it might be time for me to go back and try another series of Let’s Study articles, this time focusing on the World of Darkness.  I’ve already done a series on Werewolf, Changeling and Mage, so my selection this time around would include the remaining games:

  • Vampire: the Requiem
  • Promethean: the Created
  • Geist: the Sin-Eaters
  • Hunter: the Vigil

Admittedly I’m the least familiar with Vampire, Promethean and Geist since I’ve already had a chance to play Hunter: the Vigil, but this poll is all yours.  Answer it, send it out to your other gaming buddies, and starting next week Monday, I’ll take the winning entry and start off my Let’s Study articles.