Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Sample Player Applications
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
The GM has read a lot of player applications for B&B over the years. Some have been amazing. Some have been terrible. More have been somewhere in between. What follows are a pair of amazing applications written in 2020 by Pete and Emily, two of the game’s current players. Emily’s application got her into the game. Pete had already been in the game since 2015, but his would have too. (He wrote his as an example for prospective players to take inspiration from.)
Some of the questions Pete and Emily answer in their applications are different than the question I ask now, or don’t answer all of the questions I ask now: the application process has changed over the years. No matter how much it does, though, prospective players will always be able to use these sample applications to help write PC pitches that are more likely to get accepted into the game. Pete and Emily do pretty much everything right with their applications that a player can do right.
Hey there. So this got a little long. I just had a few ideas and figured I’d throw them all out there to see what stuck. Last time I tried posting it there was an error, so I’m going to break it up. In the meantime here’s a convenient Google Doc link with all of the information.
#1: 30, female. (GM’s note: as of 2020.) She/her/hers. I have worked in various fields, almost all of them creative. I recently started back at school to pursue a different degree after deciding to switch careers. I would describe my playstyle as “sadistic.” By that I mean I thoroughly enjoy setting up my characters to watch them fail, though they try their damndest to get out of every situation that I throw at them. This does not mean that I throw games or that I do stupid things for the sake of doing stupid things; I simply enjoy the struggle and challenges that the World of Darkness brings. I do not like it when things are easy for my characters, or when STs handhold players through their games or fudge dice rolls. I love the personal horror aspect of World of Darkness, particularly Vampire, and plan to fully explore and embrace that side of things. My life is happy enough; I don’t want more of that in my games. I write well. I type quickly. I am very active on Discord and quick to respond.
#2: I have been roleplaying for 18 years via text, and started playing D&D in 2005. I first played Vampire: The Requiem around 2009, and a few years ago (2015) I got into Vampire: The Masquerade. I have been part of multiple campaigns that spanned many years as various characters in various clans. I have played vampires (Sabbat, Camarilla, Anarchs) and ghouls and am currently in a Hunter game as well. I am not as familiar with V5 as I am with V20, and I saw that there was a little bit of blurring of the rules so that’s why I mention it. I haven’t read any of B&B’s sourcebooks.
#3: I am fully on board with the reading commitment. I totally understand the reasons why, and in fact commend you for taking the time to put the wiki together. It is an absolutely beautiful tool that I look forward to exploring further. Also it’s super intimidating to join a 5-year campaign with no idea of what is going on, so thanks for making it available. Your desire to fully integrate PCs into the setting is commendable.
#4: Discord handle is #DiscordIDHere.
#1: Character Concept
Esthetician Social Media Influencer
#2: Basic Shtick
It started in middle school. The whispering, the pointing, the questions about if she had chicken pox. Ugly red bumps on her face. Deep, cystic acne that she picked and picked at until she was raw and bleeding. Giant pores on her nose and forehead.
“Have you tried Accutane?”
“Wash your face more.”
“Flip your pillow.”
“You’re moisturizing too much.”
“You’re not moisturizing enough.”
“It’s because of your makeup.”
By high school she was caking it on, globs and globs of foundation that did nothing to diminish the redness. Every penny from her part time diner job went to concealer and green sticks and more setting powder than she knew what to do with. She could tell you the top ingredients in all of the top brands, how salicylic acid made her nose flake and her cheeks red. She’d given herself home facials and chemical burns and had once taken a knife to her face in a desperate attempt to rid herself of the stupid spots before Prom. She avoided having her picture taken, avoided family gatherings, avoided being social.
But that was then.
And this is now. Now, with ten thousand followers on Insta, she takes pictures all day long. Landscapes. Yummy food. Her Pit/Corso mix.
Herself more than anything, with clear, glowing skin and bright eyes. Pictures of her at clubs, in her kitchen, at work with the girls. Flawless, she called her business. And they were. Every single client that came in left their flaws on the table. Under her tweezers and salves they were a masterpiece waiting to happen, soccer moms and bored housewives and college girls blowing daddy’s money, women who had been brainwashed into thinking that laugh lines weren’t sexy and gray hair was the beckon of an open casket.
With needle and hot towels and steam machines she was an artist, they her clay sculptures. Beauty was the gift she gave them. Youth. Magic in a bottle that they dutifully swallowed once per month, the label proclaiming antioxidants and restorative properties and botanical-based benefits. Whatever the buzzwords were that year she worked into her marketing, though the majority of her business came from organic, word of mouth referrals. They came alone, in pairs, in groups for birthday parties and hen parties and divorce parties. She took them all.
“Like magic,” they said to her when they stopped aging, when their wrinkles disappeared, when long dead follicles started sprouting hair once more.
“I can’t believe it,” they said to her when she fixed their acne scars, their hyperpigmentation, their uneven lips.
She took from them as much as they took from her, filtered their blood through her body to give it that mystical property that kept them coming back for more. A veritable army of loyal men and women, all of them clamoring for her assistance to keep their youthful appearance.
* * *
The ideal vision for the character is that I get to play the Vicissitude game and turn her into an actual plastic surgeon, using her abilities to alter the faces and bodies of people that pay. Alternatively fall in with the criminal crowd and alter people for a human trafficking ring. I also see her being sort of a science-driven, meddling kind of character that runs experiments and wants to “solve problems.” Ends up leading to a lot of failures on her end since a lot of what she’s looking to solve or alter are just game facts about Kindred, such as infertility and blood bonds.
The premise is that she uses her blood and abilities to keep other people young and beautiful. It leads to money, it leads to fame, it leads to adoration. She is shallow enough to want all three after not getting it while growing up.
• Fame: Gain more influence via social media, particularly with the young and beautiful. 10k followers is not enough. She wants legitimate fame. She wants the wealthy families of New Orleans to respect or employ her.
• Money: Grow her business. Become independently wealthy.
• Get in with the Krewe of Janus or the sheriff and his hounds to protect her own secrets
• Finger in every pie. The thing about clients is that they like to gossip. Use them as a source of information as to the happenings of the city, while avoiding notice.
• Potential breach of the Masquerade
• Potential out of control ghouls
• Rising too far too fast, pissing off the old money & the elite
• Rising too fast, pissing off North by stepping on his toes
• Criminal ties if she starts doing actual facelifts, which is MY goal with her but also a complication
• Someone figures out her secrets
• Probably easy to manipulate because of lingering low self esteem
• If she’s accepted in as Tzimisce or someone with Vicissitude, there are A LOT of questions to be answered. Definitely blackmail worthy. 100% down for that.
#3: Preferred Clans & Sires
Tzimisce: Would prefer to run as Tzimisce (or at least someone with Vicissitude) for this to work to the fullest extent of my plans. Since that is a clan that is not on your always allowed list, I have no problems working with you on how to best implement this idea. I have a few ideas of my own on how it could be done and why she’d be allowed in Cam territory, but am perfectly flexible and willing to play something else.
Outside of that I’m leaning towards the following, but still flexible.
Toreador: Donovan/Camilla, Amaryllis, Bran Garcia [I kind of just love Donovan as a concept so idk man]
Tremere: Mallory or Marie, or North if the player is willing (could also see them being rivals, which would be fun too)
GM’s Note: Toreador and Tzimisce were not off-limits clans when Emily applied to join the game.
Anarch, Invictus, or Ordo Dracul
• Jasmine Hailey – appeared on her show
• Katherine Merlou – contacted her about doing something on the scar tissue with Vera
• Lewis Ray Burns – rival
• Denise Bowden – client, possibly traded services
• Nerea Ericson – possible client
• Amanda Williams – possible client
• Rebecca Thomas – possible client
• Chelsea Donaldson – possible client
• Abby White – new client
• Bruce Bufalino – sent to teach her a lesson about overreaching
• Bradley “Brady” Semer – probably gets some fun ingredients from him
• Chuck Pavaghi – possible client, or sends his lady friend in for “touch ups.”
• Christina Roberts – possible connection, sends her girls in for “touch ups.”
• Joseph Montobon – possible “romantic interest,” to gain access to his circle
• Talal al-Faisal al-Saud – possible “romantic interest,” to gain access to his circle
Also have a handful of other ideas for NPCs to flesh her out that aren’t on the wiki that include employees, wasn’t sure how much info I should give you on them. But the ones on the wiki already had jobs, so. :^)
GM’s Note: I did not ask players to fill out this section when Emily applied to join the game, so it’s blank. Current prospective players obviously shouldn’t leave it blank.
GM’s Commentary: Emily’s Application
That above application was written in May 2020 by Emily when she applied to join the game over Roll20. Out of all the applications I got, I liked Emily’s the most. All of the game’s current players raved about how awesome her application was. What made it so good?
• Really good writing. This was the biggest thing. Specifically, the writing under Step #2: Basic Shtick. Emily basically wrote a short fiction piece and it was really good. My first thought when I’d finished was, “Wow, this player is a really good writer. I want her to write for the game.” That’s pretty much what sealed it. She showed me she was just an objectively great writer.
• Cool PC concept. An esthetician who fleshcrafts her clients. It’s just inherently fun and cool. Emily doesn’t mention this in her application, but she also works at a salon (following the advice on writing what you know), and was able to play the PC with incredible authenticity.
• Fun goals and story hooks. This character has a very clear focus: I know exactly what she’s about. You will notice that Emily provides almost zero backstory for the pitched PC. She didn’t need to. Backstory only matters insofar as it informs your goals. The character already had cool goals listed, so she didn’t need a backstory. Like I say elsewhere, goals are more important than backstory.
• Two more PCs. Emily included a whopping three PC pitches in her application, all of them also very compelling ones. (I’ve not reposted them here for brevity’s sake, but they were also really good.) This was another way of showing she was very passionate about the game and willing to put in a lot of effort. Players who show lots of effort in their applications are more attractive than players who don’t.
#1. Hi, my name’s Peter, I’m 31 (GM’s note: as of 2020) and I’ve been playing tabletop RPGs for about 16 years. I prefer long-running texted-based games with open narratives that allow characters to grow, evolve, and accomplish their own goals and agendas within the game world and have played in two such long-running games. Character progression, both in terms of accomplishments and in terms of attitude, is very important to me, but less important than a vibrant realistic-feeling world with well-developed NPCs I can interact with.
#2. I’ve played one game of Masquerade, though it ran approximately five years. Other than that, I’ve played mostly D&D (3.5), Pathfinder (1E), and a couple random one-off games for other systems. I have not read any of the source material that might specifically apply to B&B (i.e. the VTM/VTR setting books for New Orleans) but I’m fairly well-read outside of those.
#3. The game world presented in Blood & Bourbon is appealing to me because of just how large, developed, and deep it appears. It’s easy to present a game world with a thousand NPCs listed, but rare to see the kind of exhaustive lists and descriptions presented on the wiki alone. It gives me confidence that the time I’m investing is equaled and exceeded by a GM who finds value in more than just hack and slash, and that genuinely cares about world presentation (see point #1 for how important that is to me).
#4. My Discord ID is #DiscordIDHere.
#1: Character Concept
Reformed Hoodlum Unable to Escape
#2: Basic Shtick
Conceptually, Furnie as a character is one born and raised in New Orleans, but apart from it for long enough to provide ample reason to be unfamiliar with recent events (especially as the face of the city changed post-Katrina). His ties are deep and bound in blood, and those past ties have not only pulled him back to the city, but continuously pull him down into the past—a past he largely escaped though discipline and brotherhood. He’s torn between loyalty to blood and knowledge of a life beyond that most of ‘his’ know in New Orleans, his violent skills and desire to be defined by more than them, and the deep racial tensions in the city and his own more egalitarian experiences beyond it.
Skin the color of milk chocolate and piercing black eyes. Too-calm eyes. Eyes that have seen things. Wrapped around them high cheekbones and a strong jaw—firm, uncompromising. Close
ropped hair-that high and tight. The hint of a beard—god, he hated the Corps’ policy on shaving. Just over average height and built like a brick shithouse. He always had muscle, even as a teenager, but a decade in the Marine Corps gave him every reason and opportunity to add to it and he’s maintained his habits since his return to civilian life. Working out helps give him clarity, gives him focus. It’s how he started most days when he was still alive. Tattoos on both arms, across his chest, dark ink fighting to stand out against dark skin. They circle nasty puckered scars, bullet wounds that tell a tale of a history of violence.
Furnie was born in New Orleans, raised in it. Its poison seeped into his bones like the crack his teenage mother smoked when he was in the womb. She didn’t give him a father, she wasn’t around to give him her love, but she gave him an addiction to fight from birth. ‘Raised’ by his ‘grandmother’ in Treme (the matriarch of a sprawling family), he in fact floated among relatives across his childhood, often living with an aunt, great-aunt, or great-uncle for years at a time. The rotation and relatively tightly-knit family helped him escape the worst effects of the birthright his mother left him. By high school, though, he fell in among an increasingly violent and criminal crowd that were quick to capitalize on his quick wits, largely intact education, and bulky frame for their own ends. Increasingly identifying with them, he embraced violence, hatred of authority, and the independence his criminal enterprises presented him with. It was a means of overcoming his conflicted emotions regarding his absent parents, broken childhood, and feelings of inferiority associated with his dependence on his array of relatives. He flaunted his newfound ‘success’ until his activities drove a wedge between him and most of his family, especially when he dropped out of high school in his senior year.
Arrested when he was 17 along with several others as part of a larger investigation, he was given the choice of prison time or (if he could pass the GED) enlistment. To the chagrin of his friends, he chose the latter. The enlistment term was shorter than the jail sentence they threatened him with. It was the height of the Iraq War, enlistments were at an all time low, and the only ‘waiver’ he required was for his arrests. His trip to Parris Island was by bus in the summer of 2005.
He’s never talked much about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they shaped him, molded him. Forced him to grow, to develop both independence and interdependence. To trust others and let go of his hatred for authority, for ‘the man.’ The experience convinced him to re-enlist, and he didn’t finish his time in until 2015. By then the wars were largely over, and he’d decided it was time to reinvent himself. To become something more than a soldier—and to return home.
His return to New Orleans was unheralded, his plans unremarkable. He had an ‘in’ with Blackwatch—easy work without even anyone shooting at him that he could work around his schedule and desire to build on the associates degree he picked up in his later years in the Corps. He enrolled at Tulane using his GI Bill and started his new job. The former was everything he expected—the latter was not. Disgusted by the rejects, lack of discipline, the borderline personalities that gravitated to the mercenary company, and the racially tinged violence that so colored so many of their activities in the Crescent City, he quit in favor of more humble work while he went to school. He wanted that part of his life behind him. He did not get what he wanted…
As a character, Furnie is interested in reconnecting and looking after his extended family in New Orleans, especially the many (now older) aunts and uncles that helped with his upbringing and (if still alive) the now-aged family matriarch. He wants to grow personally beyond his background in the military, and avoid regressing into being nothing but a street thug—both things firmly at odds with the likely desires of his (proposed) sires. Continuing education is a goal, financial security, and a position as part of a group or organization are all personal goals for the character. Ultimately, he gravitates towards some figure of authority. If firmly aligned Sanctified or with the Baron, a growth in religious knowledge and relationship with ‘God’ are both priorities.
As a player, those same goals (growth into an organization, personal growth) are points of significant interest. Beyond them, I’m interested in using Furnie to explore the racial tensions of the city and the areas in which they are racially driven and financially-/class-driven. Conflict between violence as part of Kindred existence and a desire to be more than violence is a major driving point in the character—indeed, identity at war with itself is a major facet I want to explore with him. The idea that violence isn’t an answer he wants, but is sometimes the best answer he has, is compelling—as is the idea that it often begets new problems.
#3: Preferred Clans & Sires
I’m relatively open-ended on possible clans and sires, and to support that I’ve left both the beginning and end of his background slightly open ended to facilitate easy massaging into a number of potential sires and factions—i.e. making him a slightly better fit by giving him more of a tie to Vodoun, or a turn to faith in recent years, or neither. Clans are listed in relative order of what I think would be most interesting. Sires I think most interesting from the below lists are in order (Lidia Kendall, Alexander Wright, and Camilla Doriocourt).
The Brujah ‘free spirit’ and inclination towards violence and rage aligns well with the idea that Furnie is a man who’s done great violence in his life, while clashing with his desire for order in his life and (in many ways) a desire to move past it. It offers several compelling sires with ties to ‘street’ level existence.
• Alexander Wright: Wright’s a well-placed sire in the prince’s faction that could be eligible for a ‘legitimate’ Embrace that might quickly be drawn into the conflict between the Sanctified and the Baron, while trying to balance his own identity and desire to be more than another foot soldier in that conflict. Potential conflict or relationships with his grandsire add more to the interest in him, and the Brujah clan just further pens him in as one of the most interesting sires for me. He’s got a fair amount of screentime, but remains relatively unexplored as a character, and the way in which he is a ‘reformed’ individual himself that nonetheless has had to immerse himself in the street-level goings of the city creates the potential for an interesting dynamic between them.
• Shep Jennings: Shep Jennings offers a sire from the other side of the tracks, an Anarch that with his recent embrace of the opposition party to the prince that might have an interest in bringing in added ‘muscle’ but who might be less domineering than the prince’s faction. A place in the Anarch’s krewe would offer ready character relationships for Furnie on the Kindred side, even as it increasingly pulls him towards violence and illegality as an illegal Embrace unable to find a place in the current order. I think there’s the potential for a very nuanced relationship there, but it likely cuts out a lot of the religion on either side of the character that could be present if he aligned with the prince or the Baron, and I think thus a lot of the potential points of interest for him as exploring relatively new ground. On the other hand, it would pretty firmly wed him to a lot of the street-level stuff that I want to be a major part of Furnie’s story—gang warfare, turf wars, drugs, and so forth.
• Jonah Freeman: Jonah Freeman offers his own ties to the third faction, as the sort of outlier among the Baron’s people also tied to the Anarchs. He’s a relatively powerful sire who could see something of himself in Furnie, vice desire him purely as a pawn, and offers an interesting relationship with his focus on racial justice juxtaposed again’s Furnie’s own moderated racial views by years away from New Orleans and in the military. He’s actually a pretty good middle ground between religion and street level conflict, but arguably the least compelling sire in terms of outright motivation to Embrace Furnie.
A Caitiff Embrace would definitively put Furnie down at the bottom of the barrel and inherently aligned with the Anarchs, Crones, and in opposition to ‘the man’ who literally ‘does’ have it out for him. It would push him further away from Kindred high society events and towards street-level conflicts, as well as drive home the inherent inequality of his status. It also pushes further that he has to make/find a place for himself, lacking the inherent clan structure other clans possess.
There doesn’t seem to be a Caitiff page (GM’s note: a Caitiff page has since been created), but any sire aligned with the Anarchs or the Baron could be a potentially appropriate sire for Furnie. One with more ties to the setting than a vagrant is inherently more appealing than the old ‘mystery’ or ‘absent’ sire routine. It could be particularly compelling if he had a Caitiff sire that was less attached to him than he was inclined to be, and could present an interesting opportunity to develop bloodlines (if those exist in the world) as a way around it for him to find greater belonging and purpose.
The Gangrel, ultimate survivors, are appealing for their independence, so far as clans go, combined with the pair of relatively compelling sires among them. I could see his background really appealing to a lot of them, and there are a couple particularly compelling options that raise this up to be a point of greater interest than it might be in and of itself.
• Lidia Kendall: A powerful and compelling sire with deep ties to two largely unexplored factions (the Baron & the Dragons), Lidia offers a chance to see parts of the setting relatively unexplored, while her ties to the street level and place as one of the Baron’s lieutenants present ample reasons why she might Embrace a childe of her own—especially one that showed a more independent streak that could appeal to her. It would place Furnie in the awkward position as a near-certain illicit Embrace, while also making him semi-legitimate within one of the major power blocs of the city. If she was available, I think it makes a lot of sense to tie much of Furnie’s family to the Vodoun faith, and the established community, perhaps even giving them more overt ties to the Baron as part of his flock. Even if Furnie drifted away, he could have an inherent pull towards it that would ground him in the faction and a desire to explore the faith in a way we haven’t seen from other characters. At the same time, her practicality and age creates potential conflicts with him and his desire to engage with/protect his mortal family—something she didn’t really have the same experience with that I think creates interesting tension.
• Charlie Harrison: Sire trying to drag his childe into his own private war, and/or relate over shared military experience, has a lot of potential to produce interesting relationships and interactions. In addition, with the loses to his (Charlie’s) krewe of late, there’s all the reason for him to bring another childe in, and one with ‘muscle’ in particular. Harrison’s one foot in approach to a lot of other Kindred politics and overt militarism/violent tendencies make him a relatable and compelling sire to have a relationship with, while also planting ample seeds for conflict in that relationship that can grow as Furnie develops his own interests—they clearly got different things out of the service.
Overly further down the line in preferred clan, the idea of a Toreador sire is rooted a lot less in the idea of Furnie as an artist (art is not foundational to his background) and more to the clan’s deep ties to the city as a whole, the significant number of poseurs within it, and the past history of the clan using its less artistically inclined members as tools (like myrmidon) that could create an interesting conflict inherent in his character—especially if it’s the only way he can find ‘value’ in his new ‘family.’ I list this mostly because (like the Gangrel) there are a number of interesting potential sires that I think would all bring interesting things to the table.
• Donovan: The high profile ‘not artist’ among the city’s Toreador, Donovan looks like an interesting sire because there’s relatively little of him shown that isn’t him simply being a cold, indifferent machine. Seeing if there was another side to him has the potential to be really interesting and give a look behind the curtain of a major NPC. It would also make sense to see him take another childe in the setting, as his position as a loyalist makes it plausible, and it would strengthen his own position as a candidate for prince and as the sheriff in an increasingly lawless city in which the current declining prince is in need of a strengthened position.
• Accou Poincaré: This is sort of the ‘swing for the moon’ sire on the list, and arguably the least likely among them all. That said, he’s been a prolific sire in the past, and his position of prominence as a major candidate for prince could inspire him to bring in a more utilitarian childe, especially as he’s so focused on maintaining his own sire’s crumbling influence as well.
• Camilla Doriocourt: As an alternative to Donovan, his own childe has no childe and could induct her own for similar purposes. Could create interesting relationships with a lot of other characters of interest, including Donovan and Wright, while also having some ties to other PCs (Rocco) in interesting ways. I could see him following her path in a lot of ways, while also having conflicts that she didn’t/doesn’t experience as a white woman vice black man.
Furnie fits in neatly (with minor tweaks) to any of the major factions in the game, as identified by his range of proposed sires. Each major faction would present its own conflicts for him, and while his starting relationships would largely be defined by sire, he’s not a neat fit with any—identifying with at least two regardless of the sire he ends up with. Of them, an overt Anarch lean is the most appealing, especially if he’s not quite an ‘illicit’ childe and has the option to grow beyond them or embrace them. I’d particularly enjoy the tension of him making a place for himself amid the Anarchs, but then having to experience the conflict as he saw how little that place actually meant.
• Vidal’s Sanctified: If tied to a Sanctified sire, Furnie’s background can be easily be leaned towards a growing religious calling associated with a call to the ministry driving his departure from the Marine Corps. Such a twist would make him deeply faithful, and with openness to the hierarchy and religious trappings of the Sanctified as an actual true believer, even as he was pulled towards what might be family ties to more local faiths firmly opposed and persecuted by the Sanctified.
• Anarchs: An Embrace into the Anarchs presents Furnie as someone ultimately orderly and hierarchy based, forced back into a framework that more closely resembles his gang lifestyle and which conflicts with his desire to be something more as so many younger Anarchs rage against ‘the man’. An illicit Embrace might further color this, as it forces him to the outside even as the community he is forced into clashes with many of his values.
• Baron: If Embraced by a sire aligned with the Baron, Furnie’s background tweaks neatly to fit in a family history of Vodoun. Ayido “Mama Wedo” Dufrene (now deceased) might make the compelling ‘matriarch’ figure for his family, and give him ties he doesn’t even fully understand to that community in the present. The street-level nature of this faction is likely to appeal to his family/early history, even as its racial animus and more free form nature conflicts with his rejection of racial identity and desire for hierarchy and order.
• Savoy’s Sanctified: The Savoy side offers the least to Furnie by default, but could easily ensnare him as the conflicts of his Requiem (including a possible illicit Embrace) close the door to more traditional halls of power. If Savoy is presented as a more overtly ‘just’ ruler in the face of the prince’s ‘tyranny’ that could make Furnie a useful pawn to him and his.Savoy—the Savoy side offers the least to Furnie by default, but could easily ensnare him as the conflicts of his Requiem (including a possible illicit Embrace) close the door to more traditional halls of power. If Savoy is presented as a more overtly ‘just’ ruler in the face of the prince’s ‘tyranny’ that could make Furnie a useful pawn to him and his.
• The Invictus: Furnie is likely to clash with many of the Invictus for their racial prejudices, for his lowborn background, and his more natural ties to the street level going-ons in the city. That could create an interesting dynamic though as he tries to make more of himself and grow, especially if he’s not cast as particularly religious and is forced to find allies among the more orderly and hierarchical Invictus that naturally appeal to him (and where he’s perfectly comfortable starting at the bottom).
#5: Mortal Ties
Furnie has deep (though now somewhat faded) ties to an extended family in New Orleans, including an array of aunts and uncles that had a part in helping to raise him, many of whom were delighted to see him return home as something greater than he left as. He also has many cousins, many of whom are professionals of some success…. and some of whom are still tied to the same street life he was when he as in his teens. He has similar ties forged in blood to many veterans in the community, some of whom he served with, and some of whom he simply knows by association from his (year?) or so back in New Orleans and brief time with Blackwatch. Finally, he has a combination of classmates and professors from Tulane that he has ties to:* often relationships slightly skewed by his greater life experiences than the average student. While his family has been left purposefully vague to bend one way or the other based on inputs from the GM, the following mortal ties immediately jump out in addition to them:
• Ben Chandler: Served together. Frequented the same gym in New Orleans later (owned by Brian Fuller). They both look like meat heads, and the Corps tends to breed an internal fraternity.
• Curtis Morris: Served together and frequents the same gym. Shared heritage and background made them fast friends in New Orleans. Now helps look after Curtis’ aging mother since his untimely death.
• Ridley Jones: Furnie was one of the Dis that washed out Ridley Jones, and was disgusted to find him employing his ‘military training’ as a resume point with Blackwater.
• Brian Fuller: Furnie met Fuller in Iraq, where the corpsman saved his life. Feels deeply indebted to him, but turned down his offer of work when he got back to New Orleans in the security field after his experience with Blackwatch.
• Edward Cherry: Met at a veteran support group at Tulane. (If Furnie leans more towards religion, Edward is a good fit for shared interests and move towards US withdrawal from foreign conflicts).
• Jake Abel: Attended the same Vet support group at Tulane. Looks at him as something of a little brother. Very excited for the young man’s imminent fatherhood and possible figure for ‘godfather’ to the child.
• Shawnte Irving: Volunteers at the soup kitchen. Is interested in working with programs for urban youth with him.
• Chastity Pierce: Furnie shared classes with Chasity and ‘hooked up’ with her early in his first semester at Tulane. Subsequently given the cold shoulder by her, he repeatedly tried to ‘make things right’ without success, but eventually discovered her real profession. Aghast at it, and has tried repeatedly to convince her to stop—to her growing irritation.
• Ayido “Mama Wedo” Dufrene: Potential ‘matron’ figure in his family that helped guide his path. Would also set up tie ins to Corey Expose and Ronald Expose.
Significant additional family ties that can work into a number of other existing ones to be developed as we go on. No matter which direction we go, it’s important to me that he have a large family with lots of ties to the city to rope him into plots, need things, and so forth, at multiple levels of society.
GM’s Note: I did not ask players to fill out this section when Pete wrote this sample application, so it’s blank. Current prospective players obviously shouldn’t leave it blank.
GM’s Commentary: Pete’s Application
Pete did not actually join the game with this application, as he’d already been part of B&B since 2015. When we went on a recruiting drive in 2020, he thought it would be helpful to write a sample application that prospective players could take inspiration from. His application was also really, really good, and would’ve convinced me to take him on as a player if I hadn’t already. So what made it so good?
• It shows a ton of research. Pete includes a mountain of NPC names and connections to his PC, as well as lots of information on those connections. Honestly, it makes me wish Furnie could have more than one sire, just because so many of the pitched relationships all sound so interesting. Pete grabs my interest and makes me excited to do things with the PC. That’s exactly what any player should want to do in their application.
• It shows a ton of player effort. The player goes above and beyond the minimum I ask of an application. Pete does not actually have to write such a long application, but he does anyway. “Long” doesn’t automatically equate to “better,” but Pete DOES show me that he’s passionate enough about the game to put a ton of effort into his application. All of that makes me want to bring him aboard as a player. In many ways, your application is not about what you specifically write so much as the personal impression you make on the GM.
• The backstory is open-ended. Unlike Emily, Pete included a backstory (and a name) for his PC. Furnie was a troubled youth who joined the military, cleaned up his act, then came home. All of this informs his present rather than past character: he’s a changed man in an unchanged environment, trying to figure out where he now fits in. Pete doesn’t detail Furnie’s specific experiences overseas, which are unlikely to be relevant to the chronicle’s events. Moreover, there is still room for me to run a prelude with the character. Pete doesn’t say how Furnie got Embraced. The backstory is a springboard rather than a straitjacket. The GM can do a lot of things with it without contradicting it.
• He articulates what he wants from the game. This might seem obvious, but Pete goes pretty out of his way to emphasize what things he’s looking for in the game and why B&B is to his particular tastes as a chronicle. I appreciate a player who knows what they want and whose personal tastes sound like a good fit for the chronicle.
GM’s Commentary: Comparing the Applications
Emily’s and Pete’s applications are very different from each other. Neither is better. Both are good at different things.
Emily’s application is more tightly written, has a great fiction mini-piece that shows off the player’s writing skills, and has an immediately cool PC concept. Pete’s application is beefier, shows the player has sunk a ton of effort into understanding the game’s setting, and provides a plethora of detailed potential relationships I can use with his PC. Both applications make me excited to bring both players into the game.
That’s really what a good application comes down to. Does it make the GM actively excited to bring you on as a player? Is the application so good (or simply shows so much effort) that your takeaway is, “Yeah, this will REALLY stand out from the others”?
Poor applications simply provide the minimum information the GM requests and no more. The prospective players feel like they’re getting a chore done. They go through the application’s mandatory steps, post it, and hope the GM gets back to them, but oh well if he doesn’t. Pete and Emily feel like they are really giving their all to their applications. They feel like they’re playing to win, not just taking a shot.
There is no cookie cutter formula for what makes a great application. Prospective players shouldn’t try to directly copy Pete’s and Emily’s: find your own voice and play to your own strengths as a writer/player/person. It will show in your application and come off as more authentic, which is what Pete and Emily ultimately do.
The main thing they have in common is showing lots of enthusiasm for the game. Everything after that is just details. I’m a pretty firm believer that enthusiasm is the most important trait in any player (or GM).