I've chosen to use Werewolf the Forsaken, which is my favourite 'New' World of Darkness game (at
So how do we get them to work with the game?
To begin with let's lay down the ground rules. The group are playing newly changed Uratha who are being given a neglected territory in the south of London. The territory is neglected because the pack that defended it disappeared and the other packs in the city had to take up the slack. Consequently the area has been less well defended than it should have been and unwelcome guests have moved in. The PCs are given a mentor and a 'Green Box', basically a lock up with some resources bound up in it; a small armory, some books about the territory and a chest full of things that could be maguffins.
This automatically suggests a mode of play, small adventures that allow the players, and their characters, to explore the territory and establish the locations and characters within it. Mission based play in other words. What makes it work is that there are shades of Chronicle play here, the adventures are connected and there's a common goal; to establish the condition of the domain. The distinction here though, is that there's no single enemy to work against, but a series of threats ranging from a serial killer urged by murder spirits, a market of spirits trading essence with each other and extending their reach into the real world and a mad cat spirit that's running wild.
With a couple of diversions for games down the road in the form of a brush with a pack of Pure that are hunting for a relic sword (which has ended up in the PC's lock up) and the growing realisation that behind the small threats is a much larger one; the Beshilu, a host of rat spirits who want to tear down the wall between the material and spiritual worlds and unleash an army of spirits onto the unsuspecting mortal populace some sort of world building gets done too. Using
This also sets up the second arc, a more Chronicle based game where the PCs have to deal with the Beshilu permanently. At this point all the plots start to feed into the one goal, setting up the PCs to find and destroy the various nests, allies and other points of power and influence the Beshilu have set up in the domain. Eventually things need to come to a head and this would need to be quite a varied arc to keep things interesting, but keeping the focus on one enemy gives it a single identity which the first 'finding your feet' adventures lack. This is in many ways a simple reversal of the first set of plots; you're only tweaking the structure and its emphasis. It's the ongoing nature of the plot that makes it a Chronicle rather than just a bunch of interlinked Missions.
What you're doing of course is using a central spine and then putting adventures together that feed into it. The showdown under a cinema reveals the nest's plan to rip the spirit wall down on Wimbledon Common; a body the Uratha find after that fight reveals that the owner of a local casino is in the Beshilu's pocket; his safe reveals the main nest and the Rat King that controls the local host are hidden in the sewage works down by the Thames. You take disparate pieces and treat them like a jigsaw puzzle, building up the picture until it is complete.
So these two arcs cover different structures, even if they are in many ways reflections of each other. They also build on each other, providing the players with the tools they need for each part. The contacts, allies and so on they establish on the first arc will inform the second.
Where then do we fit in the Epic? The game's tied to a specific location and the way the New World
So the player characters get put to the forefront of the resistance, a springboard straight into the action, a quest to stop the Pure at any cost. This issue here is finding a way not to just end up with a long slog through blood soaked combat after blood soaked combat as the PCs fight wave after wave of Fire Touched Demented Little Dupes. There are other angles to consider, the internal politics of the other packs, the spirit world aspects where the characters can go to thwart the Pure's attempts to get a powerful spirit on side and the quest can become quite diverse and work, as long as the PCs are kept in the middle of it. This might take them out of the city, it might even take them out of the country, allowing the GM to introduce travel plots or to entangle them in other cities' affairs (or in the politics of mages or vampires). As a result the game folds variation into its structure even when the quest is one that seems like a straight path.
Where it differs from the Chronicle is that you're dealing with one story, not using smaller narratives to build up a spine. Again, its a matter of focus, and arguably hair splitting, but it reflects the experience of gaming and of planning the game. If I'm planning an Epic then I'm starting with the big goal of 'the Pure try to bring a really big horrible spirit to earth to kill lots of other werewolves and take over the city' and treating that as my story. In a Chronicle, I'm setting my sights lower and breaking it into more moving parts, which includes places where the Pure can fail.
In closing, I hope this has demonstrated more of what I see in the three structures and how they are built, how they mutate, interchange and even nest within each other.