An Adventure Per Year: The Chaos Factor (1993)

In my A Game Per Year project, my goal has been to read one roleplaying game corebook for every year they’ve been published. However, I soon started to feel that it was hard to decipher how the games were really meant to be played. For this reason, I decided to start a parallel project, An Adventure Per Year, to read one roleplaying adventure for each year they’ve been published.

The cover of The Chaos Factor

In the Nineties when I got into the World of Darkness games, there was disagreement in my play community about how to approach the games the right way. Some argued for a street-level horror approach and sticking to a single game such as Vampire: the Masquerade.

Others went for all out rocket launcher high fantasy World of Darkness with all the Baali, Marauders and Abominations that entailed.

The Chaos Factor is an adventure that definitely goes for the latter. It has been designed as a crossover between Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse and Mage: the Ascension but also features elements from Wraith: the Oblivion. It lists thirteen previously published World of Darkness books you should be familiar with before running it.

Samuel Haight was a recurring antagonist who often cropped up in the World of Darkness books of this era. He’s werewolf Kinfolk who has it in for his Garou cousins, seeking to destroy them and create his own tribe of artificially-made Skin Dancer shapechangers. Along the way, he accumulated abilities from other supernatural creatures, becoming a vampire Ghoul and acquiring the ability to do magic.

As a character, Haight is a classic Nineties design, resembling Cable from the X-Men: He’s a driven hypercompetent badass with little discernible personality.

You can play the adventure with a wide variety of characters. There are options for Camarilla and Sabbat vampires, werewolves and mages. Each type of character has a reason to be concerned when Haight, a notorious killer of werewolves, goes to Mexico City.

The book also contains a description of Mexico City in the World of Darkness. It features all the major antagonist groups, largely living in harmony: Pentex, Black Spiral Dancers, Technocracy, Sabbat, Nephandi and Marauders. Indeed, Mexico City is described as a hellhole where all kinds of monsters thrive.

Haight seeks the haven of an ancient Kindred, possibly an Antediluvian. He’s looking for it because he wants to be even more badass than he’s now. The characters need to stop him unless they’re Sabbat in which case they can also help him.

Structurally, the adventure is extremely simple: The characters arrive in Mexico City. They trace Haight to an underground haven but fail to capture him. They find a clue that leads them to a small town called Paraiso Vista where the final showdown takes place. Also, Shaitan is there.

In the middle, there’s a mystifying segment where the characters can make a surprise jaunt to Jordan and fail to engage with two different supernatural settlements who’s inhabitants refuse to engage with them in any way.

I suppose I can’t get too snarky about the gleeful way The Chaos Factor splashes all kinds of World of Darkness elements together because in the game’s I’ve run, I’ve done much the same thing…

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