The Chicago Chronicles: Introduction
A Cycle of World of Darkness Chronicles set mostly in Chicago
Vampire: the Masquerade wasn’t my first tabletop role-playing game (that was Marvel Super Heroes in like 3rd grade), but it was my first real love.
I picked up Vampire in 1993 and ran basically nothing else for a decade. In 2004 when White Wolf blew up the original run of the World of Darkness, I did the same and moved on to other games.
But eventually I couldn’t resist the lure of sexy evil bloodsuckers, and so in 2016 I started my first Vampire: the Masquerade game in over a decade, a sort of ironic, post modern take on VtM, that was set in the early 1990s and treated the years when VtM first came out as a historical setting. It was a blast.
This eventually grew into a full blown series of chronicles and one shots and miniseries featuring Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, Wraiths, Changelings, Demons, Hunters, Prometheans, Mummies, and more, all sharing the same overall continuity - The Chicago Chronicles!
The Chicago Chronicles are sort of like the MCU, a collection of a bunch of stories that intersect in ways large and small.
It includes not only World of Darkness games, but I’ve also mashed in the Chronicles of Darkness, formerly known as the New World of Darkness. Sometimes whole game lines like Changeling: the Lost or Promethean: the Created, sometimes stealing chunks of lore or setting like elements from Vampire: the Requiem or Geist: the Sin-Eaters.
A brief rundown of what we’ve played in the last 6 years:
Vampires in 1990s Chicago.
Vampires in 1830s - 1870s Chicago.
Mages and Wraiths sharing a haunted house together in 1990s Chicago.
A misfit pack of Werewolves and Were-Other Stuff being slackers and killing vampires in 1990s Chicago.
Vampires in the 1880s - 1890s Chicago, culminating in over a year spent playing Vampires at the 1893 World’s Fair.
A group of siblings who become lost in the Forest of the Fair Folk in 1893 and become Changelings, going on a grand Narnia/Neverland style adventure.
Doomed humans in a haunted apartment complex in 1970 (and again in 1971).
A whole monster mash of creatures teaming up in a haunted ghost town in New Mexico in 1899.
The cartoonish trials and tribulations of the doomed and cursed Froman family in 1900 - 1910s Chicago.
Demons who escaped Hell and emerged in 1999 Chicago.
Changelings who escaped the Forest and emerged in 1980s Chicago.
The experiments of the Orpheus Group to perfect technology that temporarily turns people into ghosts, at Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1994.
And more that I haven’t even mentioned!
I have bad ADHD, and thus bad Game Master ADHD, where you get distracted by the next shiny game you want to run and lose excitement for the game you are running, and this set up of a wide variety of games all under the same continuity and always adding more detail to the same world, has been absolutely perfect for combating that.
I get all the fun of switching things up a few times a year, but all the joy of a massive, sprawling world full of evolution and change.
We started off in 2016 using a custom set of house rules meant to simplify and unify the famously clunky classic Vampire the Masquerade rules. (The Chicago Chronicles began a few years before VtM 5th edition came out, and while I love V20 for collecting all the lore in one book, I knew I was not going to use the classic rules as written.)
This eventually evolved into The Chicago Hack, a Powered by the Apocalypse inspired custom rules hack for our group’s WoD games.
The Chicago Hack is sadly currently spread across a dozen or more documents and notes and Facebook posts, and is not in any condition to be useable by anyone else.
One goal of In A World… is to change that, and to have a space to piece the Chicago Hack together into something you can use. (I’m not there yet.)
I also will be posting Chronicle Seeds, sort of starting points for games in the Chicago Chronicles, that you can take and run your own games or adapt to anything you want.
Next Time: a bit about the current game in the Chicago Chronicles, Orpheus: Project Flatline, and an intro to Chapter Zero, Lines and Veils, the X-Card, and other safety tools.
Enjoy In a World… of Darkness…? Want to help feed the guy who writes it? Pledge to my Patreon!
Thanks for reading In a World... of Darkness...! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
I’m excited to see my favorite game world on Substack. Yay! Also a fun fact: My partner is the model on the old Chicago Chronicles Vol. 2 splat book. The kneeling guy. She’s also the protagonist of my WoD fanfic The Good Witch (yeah, pronouns, just roll with it, I guess). Anyhow, glad to have found you.