#WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?



  • Just to spin off of a popular spin-off (Is this fanfic now?)...

    The problem with nWoD and being too grim-dark or oppressive non-stop:

    Is this a 'players make it grim dark', a 'staff make it grim-dark in theme', or 'ST's never let us do fun campy shit to relieve the grim-dark for awhile' issue?

    Personally, I love grim-dark, but you gotta balance that with some happy, campy shit that makes you laugh til you cry and you can't type. (Looking at you @Cobaltasaurus and your wolf-chucking ways.)


  • Admin

    Players and staff (who are just players with a colored first letter in their names anyway) are the cause.

    This is very easy to see when new games open with brand new themes, yet people try to play the exact same way as they did in the last game, even when it stretches plausibility. So it's in a rural area but my plan is to build a high-tech skyscraper for my character's business empire, or a post-apocalyptic hellhole and I'm running a college student in debt, same as I did in the last six games I played.

    Culture is very difficult to enforce by staff, especially when you're drawing from a very small pool of players. Staff are outnumbered by the players; it's an uphill battle and most don't choose to fight it since they simply lack the resources as they're dealing with a lot of other tasks at the time. So it settles.



  • It's a couple things.

    As for the edgelord creepy stuff, my response is in the other thread: it's the table. We don't have one. Looking someone in the eye when going somewhere creepy limits the amount of that you're going to see at the average table.

    As for the endless bleakness, I think a lot of it comes down to a couple of factors:

    • "We are so proving that this is not a game about tea parties!"
    • "It's not the world of dimmer switches, it's the world of DARKNESS!!! ONLY THE DARKEST OF DARKNESS WILL DO!"
    • The system actually does make success harder in nWoD/CoD than in oWoD by making all difficulty levels the same no matter what, and even success tends to come with some kind of downside (usually some drawback to the use of a power).
    • Edgelords. If it isn't about raping baby seals while clubbing them to death, IT'S JUST NOT DARK ENOUGH.
    • A lot of very commonly-assigned conditions and drawbacks are outright crippling, and written in such a way that they may be impossible to ever resolve.

    More abstractly, some people do the equivalent of taking everything to the extreme, whether the horror they're aiming for is gore, torture, emotional terror, etc. My favorite horror movies are Nightbreed, Frailty, and Pan's Labyrinth. Most WoD games make me feel like I'm playing in The Human Centipede 3, Hostel, and the Saw series. From me, that is not a compliment. (I am OK if somebody goes Sharknado once in a while, because c'mon, SHARKNADO.)



  • the only time I ever did any gaming stuff with other people was like a ted talk on why stereotypes exist to such a degree that people find out I've got felony arrests an eternity before they find out i still have tons of old white wolf books



  • I don't really WoD, but I do think that tone of a game is something that staffers and players collaborate about. There are definitely times when that is in conflict (I remember being real salty about the timing of a beach party scene at one point that made me writhe about the shared environment) but for the most part successful atmosphere has to be a two way street.



  • i now badly want a 1950s beach movie oWoD game just saying


  • Pitcrew

    @prototart said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    i now badly want a 1950s beach movie oWoD game just saying

    Bloodbath Bingo!


  • Coder

    @taika

    Have you played 'Vampire: Bloodlines'?

    It's done entirely in the theme they build, but there is darkly camp stuff all over it. Especially if you play the Malkavian. Especially then.

    Have you played Mass Effect 3 and the Citadel DLC? Almost nothing changes from the rest of the game except the situations they're in are comedic, and Shepherd plays the straight-man (or woman) and there's very light glancing at the fourth wall and it is the best DLC I've ever played because it's hilarious. But it's never not Mass Effect.

    I think that a major problem is that most of us who RP are not writers and therefore don't have the talent or practice on doing things that are more subtle than engage whatever whimsy hits their mind at the moment. Many times, we all play whatever theme we want. We can only hope that we all play it close enough to the one established for the game.



  • @Thenomain

    I have not played any of those, sadly, but I did play the shit out of some Dungeon Keeper and Bard's Tale.

    The snark is fierce with both of those games.

    I wonder if it's a top-down type of thing?

    The theme takes itself too seriously.
    The staff take themselves too seriously.
    ST's take the plot too seriously (this one varies, some plot is best serious, but levity is still usually nice).
    And players take themselves too seriously.

    Maybe somewhere along the way we lost that giddiness of chugging mountain dew, eating cheetos, and casting fireballs at the darkness?


  • Coder

    @taika said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    Maybe somewhere along the way we lost that giddiness of chugging mountain dew, eating cheetos, and casting fireballs at the darkness?

    Yes, it was called Vampire, 1st Edition: The 90s BDSM Goth RPG. Then Werewolf: The Fuckin' Metal RPG For People Who Are Fuckin' Metal. (Seriously, how did they get away with a lawsuit against Underworld when Anne Rice was sitting right there?)

    Sometimes it's fun to subsume yourself into Too Serious for a while. This is my only explanation for Warhammer 40k which makes things so Grimdarque that it's camp, but you're never going to get Cheetos-eating silliness unless there's enough blood to make Monty Python and Gwar fans happy.

    Angel had a Turned Into Puppets episode.

    Every game can be silly within its theme. It's nice to get out of theme, but I don't think anything goes.



  • @thenomain Anne Rice predated them, is why. They're more lucky they never got sued by her. She was a few novels into the vampire series when I was in high school; V:tM1e came out right when I graduated.

    Edit: D'oh, misread. From what I remember, they were going after some really picky trademarked things. Many of which were aggressively WTF stupid. Like 'You used the letter V in regard to a vampire!!! THAT IS OUR THING!' is one of the ones I half-remember. (Ignore the fact that the V was for 'Victor' and not 'Vampire' in Underworld, I guess... )



  • @thenomain
    Interview with the Vampire came out in 1976. And VtM listed The Vampire Chronicles right there in it's inspirational books thing, so... yeah.

    @surreality
    Underworld was really, really close to a story that was written for WW about a vampire and werewolf and forbidden love. They then just listed everything that was a similarity; it felt like they were throwing darts to see what would stick in court.

    Regarding the thread, I feel like it is often a combination of all three. But this swings back around to expectations and putting that forth at the start. But if an ST is all 40k GRIMDERP-type stuff, then... well, you're kinda at the limit of what can be workable if the STs aren't willing to be flexible.


  • Coder

    @bobotron said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    @thenomain
    Interview with the Vampire came out in 1976. And VtM listed The Vampire Chronicles right there in it's inspirational books thing, so... yeah.

    So if Underworld said 'inspired by World of Darkness by White Wolf Games', they wouldn't've been sued? I have doubts. Deep, pulsating doubts.


  • Coder

    @thenomain said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    So if Underworld said 'inspired by World of Darkness by White Wolf Games', they wouldn't've been sued? I have doubts. Deep, pulsating doubts.

    Depends on what WW was going for. If they just wanted to milk it for publicity, they might have been content. But if they genuinely thought their IP had been ripped off or just wanted to take a crap shoot at getting some money out of the deal, their lawyers would've had a field day with an explicit "inspired by". (As would Anne Rice's had she been bothered to sue WW.)



  • @thenomain

    That's not explicitly how that works TBH. If they'd said 'inspired by VtM by WWGS' then it would've actually been even worse because at that point, they can point more directly to that story and be like 'Yeah, this is essential admittance that we used your ideas and filed off the serial numbers' and there would've been more provable points.

    VtM used ideas from Anne Rice in a much more derivative manner, and used them to create their own thing (you can pick out a lot of Anne Rice stuff with a more heavily different gloss in some things, like the Sacred Core into the Generation mechanic; or the Fire Gift or Killing Gift and aspects of Thaumaturgy or the elder power Psychic Assault; shades of the early Sabbat in the Children of Satan). Anne could've sued them, but it'd be a lot of derivative points that would be harder to deal with, and so not worth the time.

    But in particular, VtM is different enough from Anne Rice that there's very little points of comparison beyond the superpowers; Anne Rice has never (until Prince Lestat, anyway) had any type of overarching vampire government, the backstory is noticeably different and the specific plot points (which was a big thing in the Paramount lawsuit) were different. There would be less comparable points when you get past the stupid stuff that came up in the WW lawsuit like 'Vampires and werewolves are eternal enemies' and similar stuff.


  • Coder

    @bobotron said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    That's not explicitly how that works TBH.

    Sorry, I didn't see the logic between when Interview with the Vampire was released and why Anne Rice couldn't sue White Wolf.

    I still don't see it, but since I'm not a lawyer, I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of how things "explicitly work" without a sherpa or a guide-book so I don't make this tragic mistake again.



  • @thenomain In addition to what was mentioned above, Toreador are basically Anne Rice vampires. You can go through most of the VtM clans and suddenly their discipline list makes sense. Brujah are Lost Boys, Nosderatu are... Nosferatu, and so on.

    ETA derp, I can't read, thought you said a different thing. Whee.



  • @thenomain

    It's about the derivation more or less, and whether a similarity can be proven as a 'unique point of similarity'. You can look at VtM and go 'Oh, yes, they took <X> concept from Anne Rice' but you can also look at it and go 'And they did <Y> change/spin on it' with a lot of things. Which ends up pushing it less into the realm of infringement and more into the realm of inspiration and derivation.

    The Sacred Core, which links all vampires back to the first vampire Akasha, is obviously the origin of the Generation mechanic; but the Generation mechanic is changed enough that it's derivative of the concept and is not close enough to a 1-for-1 comparative point, and probably wouldn't hold up to scrutiny in that manner in an IP lawsuit. Many of VtM to Anne Rice's comparisons are like that.

    This roughly explains why Sony settled out of court; likely there were enough unique points to actually go to court (specifically regarding the Love of Monsters story which is comparable to Underworld's first movie story), and so a prolonged court battle would prevent continued development of the franchise, and so they settled out of court for an undisclosed sum... and you can see in the next set of Underworld movies where they hewed further away from things that could be pointed out as 'unique points of similarity'.

    I'm sure Anne Rice could've sued, but there are likely much fewer points of 'unique similarity,' and so it wouldn't have been worth the time to do so. There's also a lot less money to be gotten from an RPG company versus, say, a movie company 'stealing' ideas from VtM. From what I recall, the VtM lawsuit was also pretty flimsy, but the biggest issue was a pretty good comparison to a VtM story The Love of Monsters, as well as a number of terminology and 'setting' choices that, while probably not intentional (like the use of the word 'abomination' used when Viktor is told about the vampire-werewolf hybrid), were enough to go on to actual court.


  • Coder

    @bobotron said in #WIDWW pt 2 - ST, Player, or staff?:

    It's about the derivation more or less,

    And to me the correlation is pretty damn spot-on. But you say they're not and Anne Rice never pushed the topic, so this is all I have to go on.

    So it goes. Here I try to give @Taika her thread back.



  • See, for me, most WoD games are rarely dark at all, and I can't wrap my head around why people say the games are too grimdark when the vast majority of the RP that I see is slice-of-life with magic monsters. It's basically the lovechild of Supernatural and Friends.

    I think that the games would be more interesting if the darker themes were -actually- explored, and we had -less- of the above. Most of the burnout I see is just people getting tired of the Eternal Holding Pattern of let's chat/party/have some babies while we are Waiting for the Darkness to Finally Start.

    Seriously. Where are these Too Dark World of Darkness games that everyone is so tired of? I wanna do -that-. I'll trade you almost every other game I have every played on, where the campy adventure shit is just done to death, and nobody wants to even think about dark themes.

    Once I see these Too Dark games, I may finally be able to reconsider my opinion that it is the campy adventure shit that actually drives these games into the ground for lack of Darkness content.

    That, or we have veeeery different thresholds for grimdark.