It’s the beginning of April. Cold. Biting cold here in the frozen tundra of the Midwest. Snow. No, really. Snow. Yet? I’m excited and that buzz, buzz, buzz is heating up my laptop. This year, Vampire the Masquerade is celebrating its twentieth anniversary.
But that’s not the only reason why I’m bouncy. My story begins with an e-mail from Eddy Webb, the World of Darkness Developer for White Wolf Publishing.
EDDY: How familiar are you with fiction for Vampire: the Masquerade?
ME: (Spacing) Duh… It’s been a while since I’ve read anything…
Several hours later.
ME: Oh, crap! I wonder if Eddy was asking me about a project. DOH!
And so, I ran over to my computer after reviewing the V:tM titles that grace my shelves and proudly declared via e-mail that while it has been a while, I have source material. Lots and lots of source material.
A week later I’m pouring through The Beast Within, which may just be the first-ever anthology published for Vampire the Masquerade. And then I’m watching the Kindred: the Embraced television show, and scanning through the supplements and…
Well, you get the idea.
Every year for April Fool’s, White Wolf offers fans something fun. This year, that stunt is Paths of Storytelling, a “long-forgotten” manuscript that was previously rejected by the good people at White Wolf Publishing due to its sacrilegious nature to their setting. Indeed, the company has taken what we (Jess Hartley, Kelley Barnes-Hermann and myself) wrote and has expressed its outrage at the way we treated this sanctified property.
Today, though, I get to announce I worked on this. For this super-fun project, I wrote and designed the Gangrel storyline. Does it have metaplot? YES, YES IT DOES! Signature characters? YES, YES IT DOES! A hedge maze? A cheesy meata-balla scene? Small woodland creatures?
Um, if I said “Yes!” would you hold that against me? *smiles sheepishly*
For Paths of Storytelling, we were asked to take the product seriously in that the story still has to make sense. Telling jokes and writing bad metaphors over and over again isn’t sustainable to any structure, so while the one-liners and horrible, awful scenes are there, I still had to focus on ensuring the character’s “path” was believable.
With that in mind, I chose to structure my storyline with an adventurous feel, focusing on more metaplot and introducing other signature characters the deeper you got into the story. Remember, I still had the challenge of explaining just enough Vampire: the Masquerade to both character and player. And there’s A LOT of ground to cover. Phew! Written in second person, you experience what it’s like to become a Gangrel by making appropriate choices that appeal to you. How does it end? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.
Anyway, if you haven’t already downloaded it, I hope you take a moment to download Paths of Storytelling. White Wolf is offering multiple formats this time around including Paths of Storytelling in ePub and Paths of Storytelling for Kindle. In addition to the Gangrel storyline, you can also pick your path as a Malkavian or as a Toreador. I had an absolute blast writing this! If it weren’t for those pesky deadlines, I could have easily written a whole novel in this format.
Before I let you go, one last thing…
NO ONE DEFEATS EL DIABLO VERDE!
Okay, fine. One more last thing…
A Personal Message to Vampire: the Masquerade Fans
For those of you who are tried-and-true fans of Vampire: the Masquerade, I want you to know that I am also one of you. That’s the reason why I took a trip down memory lane pouring through books, shows, supplements, etc. Everything I wrote was done in the attempt to jog your memory, to remember what these characters and places are really like. Like every other joke White Wolf has done, some of you are going to laugh and others groan or get really upset. So I want you to know that I understand if you don’t like it and I respect your opinion. I appreciate you reading it, regardless.
It is, however, my deepest wish that after reading Paths of Storytelling, you re-read and/or play the game we loved for so many years. To not only remember the good times, but to bring them out of torpor and relive them.
Also, thank you so much to everyone who downloaded the ninety-nine cent version. As one of the contributors, I can now add best-selling author to my resume and for that, I bow mightily in your direction. It means a great deal.
And have a nice day.