Congratulations, Jason! Weddings are super stressful, so I hope you take plenty of time for yourself and get some time to relax!
Premature congratulations on the wedding and belated congratulations on the engagement then!
Success costs a lot, doesn’t it? Here’s to hoping for more of it so you can once more share your vampiric ventures with us all.
I felt like the second one needed more action. It did not feel like a sequel.
You know, sequels are always hard to do. Especially in an interactive novel, where you have to give the players a sense of accomplishment and choice, while at the same time keeping the level of variance manageable.
I mean, the goal is to write, what, seven of them? Leading up to present day? How do I keep the game interesting while also continue to let the player’s decisions have meaningful effects?
These are some of the questions that I ponder.
That said, Memphis was difficult conceptually: it’s about the failure of dreams, right? The PC’s efforts to become Senator, and a city on the Mississippi that is supposed to be rejuvenated in the wake of the Civil War, but instead finds itself (literally) hijacked by oligarchs.
It’s also about the PC realizing that there are bigger wheels turning, wheels which the PC doesn’t (yet?) know how to affect. And how can they? Stop a plague? Oppose the will of the Senate? These are big tasks. As opposed to New Orleans and Vicksburg, when the PC was still the equivalent of a child and could do whatever they wanted.
But setting the player up for failure is not satisfying, either. I mean, assuming I do publish at least another two of these things, I think that what’s at stake in Memphis will better come into focus, and when played in concert with all of them, it will be more satisfying. But yes, I recognize your dissatisfaction with it as it stands.
That said, I love getting lost in historical details. I’m spending quite a bit of time on beer and baseball in St. Louis, for example. If getting lost in those details don’t interest you…well, that I can’t help you as much with.
Even though you’ve explained your reasoning for why Memphis had to go down the way it did quite eloquently, as a player I hope you’ll be slightly more amenable to delve into alternate history next time, as I was left quite saddened that my vampire could really do nothing to make Memphis a better place in the end or provide even a minor speed-bump to the resurgence of the Southern reactionaries (even if it was only in the form of a later student or professor commenting on my vampire’s warnings about those roads or his confrontation with mr. Forrest. Though of course you can still do that if and when the series gets to the latter half of the twentieth century and beyond).
Vampire, Broadsides (and the Vendetta wip) were what first drew me to CoG and ultimately these fine forums.
You know, the question of alternate history is a thorny one.
In Vicksburg, you could blow up the weapons depot, or not. And it feels like a victory at the time, but Vicksburg is besieged, its fate is not up for discussion.
What happens when the game gets to Pittsburg during World War II? Should I let the player with a suitably high Technology somehow invent radar earlier rather than later? What about the Germans? Should you be able to provoke sufficient anti-German rage that Congress authorizes internment camps for Germans in addition to the ones affecting the Japanese?
And to get to the nitty-gritty, what if you could show up at the Democratic Convention in 1944, and kept Henry Wallace on the Democratic ticket instead of having him replaced by the shitshow that was Harry Truman? Would the Cold War and Vietnam be averted? But then, if there’s no Cold War, what does the world even look like?
In short, I’m entering some really “big deal” moments in history. Where things can go really off-kilter from where they have actually gone. Figuring out how to do that while also not driving myself insane will continue to be a momentous challenge.
Yay for backroom Vampires!
Or calm them down enough that what they do to the Japanese isn’t so much “internment camp” but more relocation to newly built remote town.
Yeah, I know but the existence of Vampires alone means that your world already is an alternate history in that at least several influential historical figures are almost certain to have been vampires instead of fully human.
Yeah I can see the dilemma and there are so much things we could possibly do. My highly artistic alternate vampire character for example would like to use what patronage networks he has cultivated to make sure he’s going to be commissioned as the chief artist and architect on a civil war memorial for the fallen from both sides, where he plans the exquisitely detailed statue of the Confederate soldier to be an homage to Silas.
Which means the US gets to have either a memorial site it doesn’t have in our world, or one that differs from what it actually is in our timeline.
I think there’s a reason Anne Rice just had Lestat sleep through a whole chunk of history and wake up, in the modern day, and decide to become a rock star.
If influential figures are vampires, then perhaps they’re actively working counter to your own aims. So any attempts to make drastic changes to history will be foiled, and it’s only the little ones that succeed.
Maybe you just end up powerless to make any changes at all, and all attempts prove futile. Just as attempts to save certain lovers were utterly futile. You’re just caught up in this tide of history changing and the world becoming a completely different place, and you might save a family, you can’t save everyone.
Or maybe things get really sticky for vampires at the same time, secret agency hunting vampires, or whatever, and you’re forced into hiding, and your ability to influence things becomes limited.
Wait. Beer? Can a vampire even drink without puking?
Or not intern them in the first place.
Japanese internment was kind of one of FDR’s personal windmills. He got a lot of pushback for even going through with it from his own administration, and no interned Japanese-American was actually proven to have been a spy or saboteur.
As a whole, I think we could safely say that the loyalty of Japanese-Americans, especially nisei, could be better embodied by the combat record of the 441st RCT that of any illusory fever-dreams of Japanese fifth columns.
Ooooorrrr… Give Japan Intel?
Yes, but having everything be futile isn’t much fun, besides saving the right family can also alter history in very unpredictable ways, what if some orphan we take pity on during the great depression, and who would have died otherwise, becomes someone famous that’s a seemingly minor change that could also change quite a bit in (pop)culture or even the face of the nation, should they go into politics or big-business.
In the end I’d like my ancient being to be able to make some mark on history, it doesn’t necessarily have to be YUGE, as “the Donald” would call it but I’d like it to be there, it also doesn’t have to be (directly) political it could also be in art or culture or fashion (my vampire will make sure that stylish knee-high boots remain acceptable for men too, mwuhahah!!).
Anyway best we leave it in Jason’s capable hands and resume this discussion when we know more about the sequal.
Giving intel to Nazi Germany might be more likely there. Unlike Imperial Japan, the Nazi Party actually had substantial support within the US.
Besides, if you’re going to go for “betray your country to aid a monstrous genocidal military dictatorship”, you might as well go for the one with more brand recognition and the better-documented intelligence apparati, right?
FDR was a very powerful personality in American politics though who, overall did more good than harm, though perhaps you’re right maybe we could call in enough favours that Congress doesn’t let him actually do that, perhaps in return for something else of his that didn’t make it otl?
I don’t think the Nazi’s will like vampires very much, then again they were obsessed with some questionable mysticism.
Hem. True, plus you could make a German decent character but Japan was still Isolated back at the start of the game.
True, but that didn’t mean he was untouchable and unstoppable. If you were able to convince enough of his advisors (Marshall especially) then it would have likely been too difficult for him to put the plan into action regardless of his personal opinions.
Come on! Just look at Joseph Goebbels and tell me you can’t imagine him as a bloodsucking predator!
Okay I’ll rephrase I don’t think the Nazi’s are going to like American upstart vampires, we’d be Goebbels’ competition, after all.
If a vampire of German descent actually wants to help his ancestral homeland he’d do far better if he could avoid US military involvement in WWI (and hopefully the entire Wilson presidency with it), so that conflict is actually allowed to reach its natural stalemate. Then we can get a real peace treaty instead of the clusterfuck that was Versailles.
They can’t. But the game takes place in St. Louis, where modern, mass-market beer was basically invented by German immigrants (cf Budweiser). And beer-makers became big sponsors of baseball teams, because people would go to baseball games and sit in the sun and drink beer.
These beer barons became hugely wealthy. And where there’s wealth and power, there’s the opportunity for vampiric shenanigans.
I don’t know. The Nazis weren’t exactly blue-bloods themselves. If anything, it’d be the “elder” vampires like your MC who’d be looking upon those gigantic tools in their black leather and skull cap-badges as the parvenues.
Welp, you’re right we can’t let them defame black leather, it’s a staple of stylish and sexy Vampire fashions.
That calls for drastic measures.
Speaking of sexy, please give us more Jesse, Jason!