Chapter 6 Sidebars
Magellan's Err The famous Majestati sage, Magellan, has not been seen in years. Suddenly, the PCs receive a note from him saying that he has discovered something of tremendous importance deep in Mexico. He begs the PCs to fly to the tiny Mexican town and assist him in uncovering a great secret. He writes that they will know him when they see him. When the PCs arrive in Mexico, they are greeted by a squat Mexican man who introduces himself as Magellan. He is very happy that the PCs have come and quickly shows them around the five-building village. He shows them a small stone hovel that they can stay in, and promptly leaves, promising them great adventure in the days to come. This man, however, is not really Magellan. He was Magellan's guide who was with him when he discovered a magical, Mayan labyrinth. After Magellan wrote the PCs, this man knocked him out, kept him captive in the labyrinth, and pretended to be him in the hopes of using the PCs. So, each day, Magellan takes the PCs on his own adventures. He uses them for money, gambling buddies, bodyguards, everything, always promising that he'll show them the secret soon enough. It may take the PCs some time to figure out what's going on.
Voltaire's Tale While trying to convince somebody that they are a Majestati, the PCs stumble across a nest of vampires, who have captured a ssazanthi woman. She explains that the vampires are looking for Voltaire, who has been a vampire for centuries and lives someplace in America. The ssazanthi tells the PCs that Voltaire knows the location of an ancient elven shrine, which used to hold secret magical equipment and tomes. She has pinpointed Voltaire to a small plantation house in the tiny town of Picket, Mississippi. Unknown to the PCs, they have been spotted by several ulti, who are determined to follow the PCs and destroy the elven shrine and the PCs. Voltaire is thoroughly insane, speaks only in rhymes, and forces the characters to do so as well. Eventually, he says that the shrine is located in Italy, but has become the home of a powerful and reclusive Medean mage. The PCs must now avoid the ulti (and any vampires they might have angered) and find the shrine.
Salieri's Tale Long-lost sheet music of the elves has turned up in the Cloisters, a medieval museum in New York City. Written by a kayanari known as Mesarte, the sheet music is incredibly difficult to play, and no one, human or elf, has managed to play it correctly. What's more, an enchanted harpsichord, one that Mozart himself used, has been found as well. The elves suspect that if someone a great kayanari musician plays the magical sheet music on the enchanted instrument, it will generate a tremendous amount of mana. Shortly after the discovery of these items, the PCs find a young European musician on tour in American that is really a kayanari Innamorato. Not only is Kyle Corinne famed in the Old World for being able to play incredibly difficult pieces of music, but it is discovered that he possesses the Nexus of Mesarte, the author of the sheet music! Kyle Corinne is easily illuminated to his heritage; the bigger problem is that a group of volsunga have been tracking the Innamorato for some time because he is being stalked by a jotun. Why the jotun hasn't already taken over Kyle's body is a mystery, but the volsunga are anxiously waiting for the jotun to do so, so they can kill Kyle and have a chance at getting the jotun too. The PCs must negotiate with the volsunga, deal with the jotun, and get Kyle the music and the instrument to see if he can really create magic from music.
It has become increasingly popular among roleplayers to adapt their favorite settings into live-action roleplaying games (LARPS). GURPS Requiem is a good setting for live games, because it takes place in today's world, and the characters are usually human, and even when they're not, they can easily blend in. Full live games require their own rules. Usually there is little or no dice rolling, less "number-heavy" character sheets, and other house-rules that simplify and adapt the game to a real-life setting. Live games do not concentrate on combat, but roleplaying. Players act out their characters like actors on stage. Live games are often played in populated locations, such as parks, concerts, malls, or game conventions. Players and GMs who wish to adapt Requiem to a live-action game are more than welcome to do so. A semi-live action game is a compromise between tabletop roleplaying and live roleplaying. Most of the game is played on the table, like normal; a few critical scenes, however, are acted out live. Many times, this is as simple as moving the players to a different room. A living room could become a dwarven throneroom, where the GM can plop himself down on a lazy-boy and demand that the players kneel before him. No dice rolling is done, unless a situation really calls for it. The players instantly become their characters, and the GM becomes the NPCs. For large scenes, the GM can have friends play additional NPCs. He can use simple props and lighting effects to add to the scene. A living room with dimmed lights becomes much more believable as a dwarven kingdom. Gels (colored cellophane-like pieces of plastic designed to put over lights; gels are heat resistant so they don't melt. They can be bought fairly cheaply) on top of lights help amazingly. A blue gel bathes the room in blue light, making it look like an aquari underwater kingdom. Red gels give a fire-effect, and gel combinations can make any room really come to life. Props should be kept simple; a dowel makes a good ancient sword. Some players enjoy making costumes for themselves. Even a simple cloak, made out of a piece of cool cloth, goes a long way. Players should remember that their characters live in the modern world, and won't leave the house unless their clothing looked cool. No Incuban worth his Nexus would go out in public with a cheesy vampire cape on. Some GMs prefer to take the players outside, or to another location for the live-action scene. Creativity is encouraged, but players should remember that a live-action game is about roleplaying, not scaring the ordinary people in the world.
Nonhuman races can be inserted into any non-fantasy world with interesting effect. Imagine elven autoduellists competing in the arena against the ulti, or an infamous djinn motorcycle gang. The Majestati may very well appear in CthulhuPunk, either serving, or fighting Lovecraft's horrors with gyrocs and laser weapons. Likewise, they could also appear in the wild west as gunslinging heroes, or their lost cities might even be discovered in a Cliffhangers adventure.
Music adds a lot of mood to all roleplaying games, and GURPS Requiem is no exception. Depending on the mood of the game, players could prefer instrumental music over music with lyrics. Good instrumental soundtracks include Braveheart, The Crow (both the score and the soundtrack), The Hunt for Red October, Rob Roy, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (volumes I-IV), and Batman Returns. For gamers who enjoy a more somber, darker game, Interview with the Vampire and Alien 3 work extremely well. Mozart's Last Requiem (K.626), of course, makes excellent classical background music, as does music from Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach. Gregorian chants can also supply a mysterious atmosphere. For gamers who prefer a harder, metal sound for Requiem, good selections include: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Morbid Angel, Pantera, Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, some Queen albums, Several Prince songs are also good, including `7' for the Majestati who hate the Incubans. The Gone Jackals make a good dwarf band.