[Original Supernatural/Vampire MUSH] Houses of the Blood MUSH

  • @arkandel

    Definitely. I have my vision; that, at least, has not changed. some of the execution has changed, but overall the thing I want to do is still the thing I want to do. I'm just working around other, technical issues at this point.


    • I have scrunched down the timeline entries and am finishing getting them entered tonight; instead of being about 20 pages, it's now about... 5? 6? for the full vampiric history.
    • I have decided to make a very short 'roster' system, using the local Princeps, Legatus and Aedile. These roster PCs will have some rules and guidelines to them, and those NPCs may/will be phased out of those positions as the MUSH gets up and going with enough regular PCs, and if PCs want those positions. The Consul and the Praetor have too much other craziness going on to start out as roster PCs, but they will also eventually open up to PCs in those positions.
    • I have added some basic Application Guidelines, and more will be added as I get closer to being done. Basically these are 'here are some common app pitfalls, here's what we'd like to see if you choose to go these routes'.
    • I squashed the +hangouts bug and added a personal hangouts bit to the code. So now if you want to go to a place regularly, you can just stick it in your own hangouts.
    • I have changed the way that powers are going to work (which I will wax about in another post soon). The baseline is, all vampires can have access to more or less all powers. Rather than building them in levels or trees, when you buy a power you 'buy' it at Rank 1. When you advance it, you rank it up, and this grants it more effectiveness (more thumping for damage-dealing; more likely to succeed for debuffs; more bonus/penalty for buffs/debuffs; more resistance for damage-reduction; overall more effectiveness for non-combat powers and RP-powers, like 'how many people I can affect with mind control' type thing).
    • Have on the project list 'Guidelines for custom powers' ala Devotions or Combo Powers from NWoD/OWoD. Like, superspeed + super resistance = Final Fantasy-style Cover?
    • Have an v0.5 'alpha' for the thoughts on social system. Working on writing this up a bit more before I post more about it.

    AMA, guys. Help keep me on track.

  • Admin

    @bobotron said in [Original Supernatural/Vampire MUSH] Houses of the Blood MUSH:

    • I have decided to make a very short 'roster' system, using the local Princeps, Legatus and Aedile. These roster PCs will have some rules and guidelines to them, and those NPCs may/will be phased out of those positions as the MUSH gets up and going with enough regular PCs, and if PCs want those positions.

    How do you decide who gets to play those PCs when the game launches?

    • I have changed the way that powers are going to work (which I will wax about in another post soon). The baseline is, all vampires can have access to more or less all powers.

    Are you trying to balance the powers out against each other? Is one of your goals in the game to avoid the 'best' setup for a certain type of character (typically combat)?

    overall more effectiveness for non-combat powers and RP-powers, like 'how many people I can affect with mind control' type thing).

    Many games focus more on combat than non-combat abilities. Where do you aim your game to fall in that regard?

    • Have an v0.5 'alpha' for the thoughts on social system. Working on writing this up a bit more before I post more about it.

    With the understanding it's still a work in progress, how much of social powers/skills will be applicable to PCs?

  • @arkandel

    Re: The Roster
    The plan is to write them up, give them some more detailed info on their wikis (without revealing secrets and such), and allow people to essentially apply for them. Part of what those characters are written to do is be beholden to the MUSH and to drive RP and work closely with staff to do so.

    Re: The Powers
    To a point. Powers that are diametric to each other (extra damage vs. extra resistance) are balanced, and I'm going for a variety of options and setups. Some powers might be better than others, but that's also what some playtesting is for; I'm hoping with the variety that there's no 'one true build' thing (I'm sure there will be once people get going, but I'm also hoping that the variety gets people going in unexpected directions other than ALL THE BONUS DAMAGE, for example). It's impossible to make things 100% balanaced, but tweaking and such here and there to make sure that things work is a goal.

    Re: Types of Abilities
    I'm hoping to have it split into about 3rds for each, though combat-specific powers (even if they're based on social or mental abilities, like the Compulsion power that makes a target only able attack you/the user instead of others) are admittedly a bit more out there than ones that are only applicable to social situations.

    Most of the physical powers are specialized around combat, to be frank. And so far, all other powers have at least some combat capability (from a Compulsion power called Self-Harm that does damage based on their currently-in-use weaponry, or a Compulsion power Come At Me that draws attacks from a target; or the Mentalism power Telekinetic Strike, which does what it says on the tin), so people who want to be the bookwormy mental focus guy isn't just fucked. A lot of powers (like social and mental buffs and debuffs) also have use both in and out of combat. Like, if you use the Magnetism power Cult of Personality to give yourself Advantage on social stuff, it works on anything that uses your Social attribute, not just your combat abilities (or, in the beta of my social 'bidding' system, grants you bonus traits to bid, thus making you more likely to be able to win).

    Re: Social/Mental Powers on PCs
    This is one of the things that's getting worked on, mostly because... while combat powers are cut and dry 'if, then...' statements and code does the heavy lifting of everything, non-combat Social and Mental powers require collaboration and cooperation between players. And we all know how THAT can go. But, I'm working on guidelines for this when it comes to non-combat powers like parts of Magnetism (force of personality) or Compulsion (mental control). But in general, powers will work on PCs, though there will be some caveats based on how they function against supernatural beings, of which PCs are included. The Compulsion power Suggestion, for example, has caveats that it can't overwrite the 'core mentality' of a character. So you couldn't use it to, say, make them sexually attracted to you if they weren't already inclined that way, for example.

  • Music for writing today: https://youtu.be/7rclL_8Jf7w

    So, now that the holidays are upon us and I've had a little more writing time, I've been doing some more work.

    On mechanics. Because I know people go insane with this type of stuff, the mechanics are really simple, and function in the same manner for both non-combat and combat resolution.

    For task resolution....

    • Take the attacker/initiator's test pool (for combat, something like Physical + Marksmanship for shooting a gun or Physical + Unarmed for punching a dude/cutting him with the Evisceration power); for non-combat, something like Mental + Investigation) and subtract the defender/target's test pool/difficulty (for combat, something like Physical + Prediction for dodging said gunfire; for non-combat, a flat difficulty rating).
    • This creates a Chance of Success (CoS)%. Generally, equivalent stats/difficulty will result in exactly a 50% CoS. As the numbers increase or decrease from equivalency, the percentage goes up or down, to a maximum of 85% and a minimum of 15% (this is with HUGE swinging differences, like someone with an Attribute at 2, the lowest starting stat, and no ranks in a Skill, attacking someone with an Attribute at 7/max and a Skill at 5-6/max., or vice-versa).
      • There are Advantages that change up how some of the attributes combine into the pools (like an Advantage that makes your Ranged attacks and defenses key off of Mental instead of Physical, for example).
    • The system rolls the appropriate check and tells you pass/fail. The system ALSO acounts for Advantage (granted by some conditions, basically roll twice and take best), buffs/debuffs, and such things like that. For combat, the system also applies any damage and all calculations based on said buffs/debuffs.

    For damage...

    • Everyone has an Endurance rating that starts at 100%. As you take damage/get hit, this goes down. It's a combination of actual hits and abstract other factors that render a character out of steam. At 0%, you're out of the fight; generally, this means that you are knocked out/rendered helpless in some manner. You can only be killed when you're at 0% Endurance.
    • Damage is calculated based on the rating of the weapon or damage-dealing power (1 to 4), plus the applicable Attribute and Skill (and any power modifiers), and Resistance is based on any worn armor (again, rated 1 to 4), appropriate Attribute, and Willpower Attribute (and any power modifiers). Equivalence means a 15% base damage, with decrease/increase to 5%/25% at the highest/lowest differentials.
      • So a guy Highlander'ing you with a katana (a medium weapon, so 2 damage) would be 2 + Physical + Weaponry (plus any mods) against your leather jacket (a light armor, so 1 Resistance) + Physical + Willpower (plus any mods).
        • As much as I know people love things like called shots and aiming and stuff, I'm not bothering to code stuff like that. I may add it in patches down the road, but not starting out. Some of this will fall under qualities on weapons and powers though.
    • Some powers have triggers based on Endurance being at below maximum, such as the Resistance power Pain to Power. Some powers also trigger automatically at 20% Endurance or lower (called Red for short, which will show up in your combat stuff).

    For attributes and skills...
    This stuff is pretty straightforward. The game features four (4) Attributes, in generalized categories and (at this time) 22 Skills.
    The Attributes are...

    • Physical: This Attribute measures a vampire’s physical prowess: raw strength, agility and stamina. This Attribute is used to resolve all tasks involving physical actions such as fighting, lifting things and running.
    • Mental: This Attribute measures a vampire’s mental acuity: intelligence, reasoning capacity, wits and cunning. This Attribute is used to resolve all tasks concerned with trying to notice something or to puzzle out a clue, or thinking quickly. This Attribute is often used for the invocation of powers that rely on the strength of the mind.
    • Social: This Attribute measures a vampire’s social acumen: charisma, attractiveness and presence. This Attribute is used to resolve all tasks concerned with trying to coerce, seduce, convince or con someone into doing something. This Stat is also used for activating powers based on the force of personality or ‘presence’ of the character.
    • Willpower: This Attribute measures a vampire’s inner strength: resolve, discipline and self-mastery. Willpower is used to resolve all tasks concerned with resisting intimidation, fear, temptation and mind control, among others.
      • Attributes are assigned starting ratings, which are increased with XP. Maximum Attribute Ratings are (at this time) set at 7. Set one attribute at 4 (above average), two at 3 (human average) and one at 2 (below-average) at creation.

    The skills are...

    • Academics (learnin'!)
    • Athletics (sports and movement)
    • Awareness (things going on around you)
    • Computers (hacking and building hardware and software)
    • Deception (LIES, subterfuge and persuasion)
    • Drive (THE TRANSPORTER, The Italian Job, stuff that isn't standard cars and trucks and motorbikes; you get general drive competency, and each rank of drive you pick a Drive Training outside, like jets or helicopters or Flying Nightmare Horses)
    • Empathy (reading peoples' moods)
    • Evasion (dodge Unarmed and Melee attacks)
    • Intimidation (duh)
    • Investigation (duh)
    • Leadership (duh)
    • Marksmanship (guns, bows, Ranged attacks)
    • Medicine (general medical knowledge)
    • Melee (swords, knives, power-created Melee weapons)
    • Occult (knowledge of non-vampire supernatural creatures and general occult knowledge)
    • Prediction (represents general knowledge and observation of people who use guns, and predicting where they'll aim and when they'll fire to dodge)
    • Security (larceny and thievery and security-related stuff)
    • Streetwise (knowing the criminal and underground methodology)
    • Survival (wilderness and tracking)
    • Unarmed (punches, kicks, claws/bites)
    • Arts (singing, dancing, performances), Crafts (working with your hands), and Science (mechanics, chemistry, etc.) are bought as separate skills, each with as as their own skill (so you'd have Arts: Singing or Arts: Piano, Science: Hematology, or Crafts: Painting, for example.
      • Skills are assigned starting ratings, along the lines of Attributes. Set one at 4 (near mastery); set two at 3 (advanced training); set three at 2 (standard training); and set two at 1 (basic training). Skill maximums are normally 5 (mastery), though a couple of Advantages can increase the Skill Maximum to 6 (superhuman) per skill per time taken.

    The skills may change, and the percentages and maximums and calculations may change once I'm moved out of alpha testing for the automation. So far though, things have been 'on target' mostly.

    On powers...
    This is the thing that's taking the most time, rejiggering powers. But it's still going. I've got frameworks and things are easily folding into the automation (whether that me the 'attack' command or just the 'test' command). Pulling resources from all kinds of fun places (WoD, Anne Rice/Vampire Chronicles) has been eye-opening. Due to now making it where all powers 'rank up' from a base level, rather than things being done on a per-rank basis like WoD has made some rejiggering a little more difficult, and a few powers I had that were 'do this thing that doesn't increase in power level' don't work now. Which is fine.

    Powers (and how weaponry is written in your combat layout, just because of consistency and need for how keywords trigger in code) are made up of:

    • Rank (written as [X], where X is a 1 through 4; the Rank is also the Activation Cost in Vitalis, the blood-equivalent), for powers, the Rank affects the damage a little more weighted than a standard weapon does
    • Activation (Instant, which uses your turn when you use the +command; or Reflex, which doesn't)
    • Category (Ranged, Physical, Special, Buff, Debuff). Ranged uses the Ranged attack pool and equipped Ranged weapon; will fail if no Ranged weapon equipped. Physical uses the Melee weapon you have equipped or, if you have no Melee weapon equipped, defaults Unarmed. Special is typically used with powers that don't use a standard pool to achieve a non-buff/non-debuff effect, like the example Mentalism and Intensity powers below. Buff causes it to appear in your (or your target's) Bonuses list; Debuff (if successful) causes it to appear in your target's Penalties list.
    • Any effects (target limits, such as things that can only affect yourself, are also listed here)
      The are used in the character sheet as keywords/shorthand. When written up in the newsfiles, it'll have a descriptor of what it does. The keywords are used as shorthand and code triggers, but once you get used to the system the shorthand becomes really easy to translate.

    Here are a few of the rejiggered powers, just as a teaser to whet your appetite:

    • Pain to Power (Resilience): [X], Instant, Physical, Revenge
      • The vampire uses the vitalis in her body to channel her pain into her muscles, granting a boost in strength based on the pain she is suffering. When activated, Pain to Power makes a normal Physical attack, with bonus damage based off of a percentage of the END loss the user is currently suffering, calculated based off of Pain to Power's Rank. This damage is applied before any damage reduction.
    • Flesh of Marble (Resilience): [X], Instant, Buff, Reflect
      • The vampire surges vitalis into her flesh; when she is struck, this vitalis hardens the skin for an instant, the attacker being treated to the sensation that they were striking a brick wall or some other hard surface, causing harmful reverb to them. When activated, Flesh of Marble grants the Reflect effect. (Reflect: When struck by a Physical attack that successfully deals damage, the attacker takes rebound damage equivalent to half of their inflicted damage, plus [X]%, where X is the Rank of Flesh of Marble. This damage is not reduced in any way. IE: A character struck for 12% damage, with Flesh of Marble [2], does 8% damage back to their attacker.)
    • Psychic Assault (Mentalism): [X], Instant, Special, Ignore
      • Reaching out with their psychic powers, the vampire uses their telepathic powers to reach into the mind of their enemy, assailing them with a barrage of mental energy, causing them pain that resonates from mind to body. Psychic Assault uses the standard Mentalism test pool (Mental + Awareness) versus the target's Mental + Willpower, ignoring any physical armor. (Ignore: The attack disregards any armor the target is equipped with.)
    • Shockwave (Intensity): [X], Instant, Special, Burst Stagger
      • The vampire's strength is brought to bear at range when utilizing this power, channeled however the vampire chooses, be it a thunderous clap of their hands that acts like an air cannon or a stomp sending the shockwave through the ground that explodes under her targets. Shockwave uses the vampire's standard Unarmed attack pool versus the target's Ranged defense (Physical + Prediction), can target up to three (3) targets, and may disorient the target. (Burst: The attack can target up to 3 targets. Stagger: Reduces the target's evasion by <undetermined formula>).
    • Crimson Might (Intensity): [X], Reflex, Buff, Self Empower
      • The vampire uses the vitalis that animates her to increase her strength, flowing extra life force into her limbs to increase her power temporarily. When used, Crimson Might grants the Empower condition to the user. (Empower: The target of Empower gains a bonus to their Physical Attribute).

    WHEW! I'm writing, got a bug up my butt. QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS WELCOME!

  • Writing Music of the Moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmQm76wFfKk

    More backstory is done. In writing the backstory, I realized that half of the vampires are descended from a guy who has issues with ennui/sadness, and the other half from a woman with rage issues. I'm pondering turning that into some type of mechanic ala a Humanity-esque system.

    Genitors (House Founders) are done, a couple of interludes in their history are written. Overall, informative... but not WALL OF FLUFF TEXT type deal. Just have to format it and dump it into wikiness.

    Testing a couple of mechanics for viability (Lure, which is typically on Compulsion and Magnetism powers and, when used on a target, 'draws' their attack to you via overwriting the attack input, I'm having slight difficulty making this work with AoE attacks though; Exploit, which grants a bonus to END loss when used on someone who is suffering from a debuff, typically the purview of Aesthesia/enhanced senses; and critical hit/critical evasion mechanics for the autocombat)

    We're chugging along! Anyone got any questions?

  • Humanity systems! Please no. But a system wherein their natural inclination towards extroversion/introversion (via rage/sadness or whatnot) affects the character would be rather cool.

  • @admiral

    LOL. Humanity is the only analogue I could come up with in my sleepiness for a system where, your natural inclination for something (in this case to BREAK SHIT or GET SAD) affects you in some way.

    As I've written things, it's turned out that Titus' morals and way he lives and loves lends itself to heavy emotions -- and when those emotions come to a head, sadness and ennui become a thing. While Licenia's the opposite; her emotional heaviness lends itself to a bent that shows anger and rage and mercilessness. This has also been evident in some of their spawn (Licenia's sirings are done on a level of anger; Titus' sirings are done in some way to stave off ennui or deal with emotions in some way).

  • That is an interesting theme to play with and could serve to give characters extra depth to play with. As for systems related to them... I would say the less crunchy the better.

  • @admiral

    Right. I'm just trying to find a way to make it fun to work with, rather than Ricean 'woe is me' Louis de Pointe du Lac, or RAAAAAAAAAAR I KEEL YOU YOU MADE ME MAD stuff.

  • Admin

    @bobotron said in [Original Supernatural/Vampire MUSH] Houses of the Blood MUSH:

    Anyone got any questions?

    I'll take a few. Apologies if any of these have been covered since it's been a while since we've been at this.

    • How important is a Vampire's age either in terms of prestige or actual power? I.e. how equal or not is an Elder to a neonate thematically and systematically?

    • Is this a 'real world' MU* that follows real world history? If so how much of it has been shaped by the supernatural, and how well known is its existence among mortals?

    • Who or what are the PCs' natural antagonists outside of each other? What do they have to fear?

  • @arkandel

    No worries. Things may have also changed in the design phase, or some things may have evolved since last they were brought up and I may have more/better information.

    1. Age is the biggest 'power' angle, for lack of a better term, for vampires. A vampire who was brought into the Blood during the French Revolution is going to, on AVERAGE, be stronger than a guy just brought into the Blood last Tuesday. This is mechanically represented by an Advantage players can take called Age, which costs some of their limited Advantage points. This will front-load the PC with some extra XP, but the PC goes into XP debt until it's paid off. This roughly represents 'they've already learned a lot, so they take more time to learn things'.

    Regarding prestige, the current setup for Prestige does give a basic Innate Prestige to vampires who are more than 300 years in the Blood, representing that they have, in their time, earned the 'general respect' of the Republic of the Night (this is tied into the Age Advantage). This ties into how the plebeian/patrician split evolved from 'commoners and nobility' to 'earning your way into the nobility' as the Republic absorbed and jettisoned different aspects of society. I'm doing it this way because 1) the logic behind it, and 2) from an OOC standpoint, it's more difficult to divide the Houses into Patrician and Plebeian Houses and it provide as great an RP opportunity. PCs who don't take the Age Advantage can take a cheaper Advantage that represents you did something super badass for the Republic and got that same Prestige from your Consul or someone above the Consul.

    1. It's a 'real world MU*', but I hadn't planned on writing 'And so and so of House Yahtzee singlehandedly started the French Revolution' or involving major real world famous people as vampires. As far as history and backstory, I'm writing things in a general 'this stuff went on in this type of era' setup after the mythic history. I am not adverse to players being involved in those things, but that type of thing will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    2. The antagonists of the PCs are many and varied. The most night-to-night antagonists of the PCs are going to be themselves as people jockey for position, party and exist in a decadent society (I'm going to be pointing out key things in the TV show Spartacus to watch from youtube to give an idea of what things go on).

    • First up is the most important, the three (NPC only) Traitor Houses, who are the biggest threat to the Republic. While smaller in number than the other Houses, the Traitors tend to be ferociously driven and mystically stronger, when they show up. More VII than Sabbat, really, to give a WoD comparison.
    • The Thousand Nights Brotherhood is known to be an apocalypse cult that wants to bring about an End of the World, and they believe that vampires are a key into that. They are the second most common antagonist (really, on par with the Traitors, but weaker mostly but more numerous), as the Brotherhood is known to kidnap vampires and somehow steal their powers, without becoming Servii in the process.
    • The Order of the Silver Cross is a church-militant order that sends out supernatural hunters called Exorcists; the vampires have as much to fear from them as do other supernaturals in the world. Exorcists apparently carry weapons empowered to mimic the banes of supernaturals (fire, silver and sun for vampires, for example).
    • Other supernaturals can be antagonists, as that's very dependent on the city. In the city I've developed, there are a few enclaves of other supernaturals as NPCs (Witches, who are roughly neutral if vampires don't fuck with them; Therians, who ARE territorial shape-shifters who can come into contact with vampires who hunt carelessly; a single Arisen, which are like The Crow or Cenobites depending on how their death fucked with them; and potential for Bygones and Fae, I haven't fully developed all of that; and all of this is subject to change anyway).

    Ultimately, I'm developing these antagonist angles for staff and players to have a stable of things to go 'I need something to punch up tonight; oh hey, a low-ranking Brotherhood squad trying to grab the newly changed Ferdinand would be cool to let Ferdy's player get used to combat' for example.

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