A Lazy Sequence

Directors Handbook: Opposition Forces

This chapter presents the two primary groups of opposition the players face in a Dracula Dossier campaign: Dracula, and the Edom conspiracy. It also rounds things out with more forces for the GM to use as auxiliary threads outside of England and Romania; I skipped these for now.

The primary characters in Edom are "D" (head of the conspiracy in MI6), and Doctor Drawes. Following the pattern of the book, both are presented with a number of options and interpretations. The rest of the Dukes of Edom are far more utilitarian, with a small blurb about their relationship with the Edom conspiracy, and how they respond to the players. Practical but not exciting.

Edom is just the entree to main event: Dracula. A central strength of Night’s Black Agents is that the GM has the tools to make vampires interesting and scary again. My main concern with the concept of the Dracula Dossier is Dracula: would he be too familiar (lacking the fear of the unknown), would the campaign be tied to the vampires that Stoker presented?

I can shelve my concern. In game terms Dracula is a scary bad ass: his aberrance score alone is off the charts. The vampire build provided as an option, Telluric vampires, comfortably rings true to the familiar aspects of Stoker's vampire, but deviates enough to keep things fresh.

Telluric vampires (vampires powered by the electrical current that moves underground across the globe) are an excellent spin on the traditional powers and weaknesses that everyone knows from the novel and pop-culture. Between this build, and the Linea Dracula build from the core book, the GM has the option to run the campaign with the vampires in any of the four modes (supernatural, damned, alien, mutant).

This section – and various pyramids in Opening the Dossier – pull together the core threads of the campaign. The tension between Edom and the Dracula conspiracy is well orchestrated; it’s nice when a campaign author provides two enemy forces that are clearly interconnected but working toward orthogonal goals, while still giving the player characters room to move and be the heroes.

My final observation before moving on is that the balance between familiar and fresh has been well executed here; the telluric vampires are a high point. I think this is an important move for an improvisational campaign.

Next: skipping ahead to Scenario Spines and Capstones.

3 November 2015