After I moved from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa in 2008 in order to start graduate school, I stopped role playing for almost 3 years. I left behind my friends, and despite being in a college town, I wasn’t able to find a new group very easily. I had exhausted myself running Star Wars Saga System, and the 4th Edition/Pathfinder edition war was going strong at that point. There were a lot of reasons that I was burnt out on role playing. Three years later, I made some new friends who were still excited about role playing: Will & Stephen. They were college freshmen and we met at a club meeting for Kami-Con, an anime convention held on campus. It wasn’t long after I met them that I started planning a Vampire the Masquerade campaign. I went home, dug some books out of storage, and convinced Will and some other friends, Matt, Taylor, Joe, and Niccolo to play Vampire.
For the Chronicle, I designed Baltimore by Night, a setting that I intended as a teaching tool for players to explore the themes and possible stories of Vampire the Masquerade. With a Gangrel Prince and an upstart Ventrue pretending to be an Elder who along with his companions were trying to oust the Prince, the city had many conflicts bubbling beneath the surface. I succeeded in not only running a good Chronicle, I got 5 new people involved in the Classic World of Darkness. Five people who, after I moved from Tuscaloosa a few months ago, are still playing Vampire the Masquerade and other games.
I ran a series of stories in Baltimore, each building on the last. I’ve already told two stories about games that I’d run in Baltimore (I Order Pizza and HowMy Last Chronicle Ended). I learned more about role-playing, designing a chronicle, and running games than I had in all the years of role-playing prior. Of course, I had a lot of experience at that point, and I had already made so many mistakes in prior games. I put those lessons into practice and I succeeded at running a great Chronicle.
I guess this post wasn’t so much about the place but the people that I gamed with and my own rejuvenation as a role player. I’m currently reworking Baltimore as a setting and creating a more classic VtM city for the next time I get a chance to run Vampire. I have some new ideas, some new scenes, that I want I to try.