An idea I've been mulling over for a while is to start having some of the suggested breakthroughs in the various published books happen as background events for a saga.
In the saga in question we have two magi who are both seeker types, and are starting to see actual tangible results from this. It feels quite flat that while our covenant is coming up with these brilliant new things that the rest of the order is sort of just frozen in time so the idea here is to make the setting feel more vibrant and active when the player covenant isn't present.
This could probably be achieved by just picking some breakthroughs and adding them to the saga over time, but both I and the group I play with have a particular weakness for deciding things by random rolls of the dice...
The format would be like this:
- Compile a list of all of the breakthroughs that can be made, not going too specific or detailed - just a short description and maybe a page reference if there's one applicable.
- Remove any the troupe doesn't want to be a possibility in the saga, or to happen randomly.
- Each in game season (or maybe year if you wanted slower advancement?) roll a die to decide which breakthrough might make some progress.
- Roll a second die to decide if we get a full blown breakthrough (on an explosion, perhaps), some major progress, some minor progress, no progress, or the loss of existing progress (on a botch).
- Come up with the outcome and, if appropriate, introduce it to the characters (otherwise they don't hear about it, or it's kept secret).
So for example say it's our first roll and the breakthrough is in Canaanite Necromancy (from Ancient Magic) which grants a virtue when integrated and a new range Veil of Death.
A full blown breakthrough means someone has actually integrated the virtue. As this is out of the blue we might say that the Disciples of the Worm have been researching this in secret, and this virtue slowly spreads through the upper ranks of that mystery cult.
Major progress may mean someone has made headway in locating the biblical En-Dor, or a similar site that could greatly advance this research. Alternatively a very useful partially integrated spell with the "Veil of Death" range is invented, perhaps by a Tremere Leadworker performing original research.
Minor progress might mean a novel but not very powerful spell is invented, using Veil of Death range.
No progress means that nothing happens.
Loss of progress doesn't do anything as this is our first roll, but if any of the above had been rolled already then this might mean that the supposed site of En-Dor was a hoax, or that the invented spell have been ruled illegal in some tribunals and this looks to spread, or that the original lab notes for the discovery have been destroyed.
Thoughts? Good idea, bad idea, "just... why?" idea? Has anyone tried something like this before in their own saga(s)?