nWoD: the transition from table-top to MU*


  • Admin

    @Thenomain mentioned in a different thread we maybe should look at aspects of the nWoD and see what needs (or could benefit from) adjusting for MU*. That makes sense, so why don't we discuss that a bit here?

    I'll submit some of the things off the top of my head. That's by no means a definitive list so feel free to shoot them down and introduce your own - all I'm asking is that we try to organize our observations on mechanics a bit, just to avoid long rants which are hard to comment on. You can use my format for that or your own, whichever, as long as there's some logic to it. :)

    So here are some initial thoughts.

    Resource management
    Reasoning: Characters on MU* are often played daily, for months/years. It's tedious and repetitive, causing some players to not want to deal with it as an in-game mechanic. Implementations in the past have been iffy either due to the introduction of micromanagement ('my vampire is starving? just because I forgot to type +hunt it doesn't mean he forgot to eat!') or because they made it resources irrelevant by not ever running out.
    Proposal:: Limit resource management to allowing characters to set it manually. Keep them as thematic elements but only keep track of them on a per-scene basis starting from the maximum per power trait, unless explicitly set by the players lower. Assume otherwise the characters are IC replenishing their supply during downtime.

    Powers and effects over timeframes and locations
    Reasoning: On table-top time can be handwaved very easily. On MU* - especially in Vampire - that's not the case since it's a shared setting; for example if a character falls to torpor for a year they might as well be killed. Similarly a power which exiles a character or group from a city is a blow in table-top but it marks the end of the PC on a MU*.
    Proposal: Place penalties or limit the duration of such effects as appropriate. Reduce torpor to a matter of days (or offer thematic alternatives to awaken a slumbering PC), induce penalties for staying rather than forcing the PCs out altogether.

    Telenuke
    Reasoning: Oh, the beloved telenuke. On table-top it's a tool for the PCs, as it'd be a complete jerk of a ST who kills a character who can't fight back. On a MU* it's bad because it's been often used as a way to treat PKs with no way of fighting back and, worse, no way of even at least milking one's death scene for some roleplay.
    Proposal: Limit it to NPC targets. For PCs it can cause damage, trauma etc but it shouldn't lead to outright character demise.

    Arcane XP/Renown/etc
    Reasoning: On a table-top game the Storyteller is always present so that 'special' roleplay happens constantly by definition, yet that's not the same on MU*. Players often have to resort to petition for custom-made scenes just to justify expenditures, leading to pre-scripted scenes no one present enjoys, or to plot starvation in the absence of people running PrPs.
    Proposal: Allow IC justifications for the 'special' stats. Offer incentives to players who do go through the trouble of accumulating on-grid justifications to reward the behavior through extra XP.

    That's what I had in mind to begin with. Feel free to add your own or shoot these down, whatever. :)


  • Coder

    How does Mind's Eye Theatre handle resource management?



  • @Arkandel Good start for sure, you hit a lot of the regular "beefs" right on the head.



  • @Thenomain
    For blood, It's on a per-session basis typically, with blood only really mattering at session start and throughout. If you're running over a full multi-day event, like a big convention, starting blood is usually pre-determined (because running starting blood for 900 vampire players is undoable).
    For willpower, a session with always start out full and then dealing with Virtue/Vice or other methods of recovery during game.

    For blood...

    Laws of the Night has a chop that's thrown; success is full, tie is half, lose is 3, further modified by Herd and other , with hunting tests done in game with 'you can take X blood safely, Y blood dangerously, or kill a human for their max blood value'.

    NWoD MET the 'default' is 'at start of game roll a d10/draw a card, to show how much blood you have' and then alter it with Herd. I've only seen one LARP ever use that RAW and it was not a good setup. Most games devised their own method for starting blood (we used a BP and other factor formula). For multi-day events, STs enforce keeping track of Blood, use of Herd and feeding checks to keep track of that, so if you end Friday with 4 Blood you start Saturday with 3 (barring corner cases like Coil of Blood).

    BNS MET functions assumption of Herd and downtimes. Unless you have a dot of Herd or submit a feeding downtime, or have a related power such as Animal Succulence, you start with half blood. If you have Herd or used a downtime to feed, you come in at full. This is further modified by ST adjustments, such as feeding difficulty levels (making it require more dots of Herd to come in at full or more downtimes put towards it). In game, you take 15 minutes out of game to get 2 blood; or, if you have Herd, you take 5 minutes out of game and gain your Herd in blood, OR an ST can run a feeding scene (though we keep these to a bare minimum).

    For willpower..
    Laws of the Night doesn't have a WP recovery through play mechanic that I can recall, or find with a quick skim. You have WP based on your Generation, a starting/max, and WP starts refreshed at the beginning of each session.

    NWoD MET functions like tabletop; sleep or Virtue/Vice refresh.

    BNS MET has WP start at max at session start, and STs or players can offer a WP refresh (STs at any time except combat, players once per session per person except in combat) for good RPing. Otherwise, WP can change over the course of a multi-day event, depending on factors; generally a full day of rest (or night of rest for mortals) recovers WP completely.

    So not really suited for a MU* as, while lots of MET games (particularly large chronicles like the Camarilla/Mind's Eye Society) have shit going on all the time, it's handwaved typically unless it's at an event, where that stuff is more kept track of.


  • Coder

    I might make myself a pariah by saying so, but I wouldn't mind getting rid of Virtue/Vice entirely. I don't know what Vampire or Werewolf would do about that, as theirs serves a more detailed mechanic than simple 'regain willpower'.



  • @Thenomain
    With the rarity that I see V/V come up in play in tabletop or LARP, I'd say that you could likely strip it out and it wouldn't be a horrible loss. You'd have to come up with something else that handles the mechanics it covers, but overall it's not a big loss.

    The replacement in BNS MET, Archetype, for example, grants a free Retest when something that would be in line with your Archetype comes up (Know it All failing on a Lore check, for example).

    <snipped stuff becasue I am a moron regarding resources>

    I find that blood stuff for Vampire is important, but I'm so used to per session basis for LARP that really, making it only matter per-scene could work. Some people might go left on it, but it could be workable.



  • God do I miss the days of Archetype over V/V. It was overall MUCH more specific than Virtue or Vice covers, and was infinitely more useful.



  • @Miss-Demeanor
    NWoD2e more or less handles V/V as if they were Archetype, as you can make up your own. And VtR2e has Dirge/Mask that is essentially the same, but 'present to mortal world/present to vampire society' division.



  • I'm glad to see that. It might be the one thing I actually like about GMC/2E. :expressionless:


  • Admin

    I've never in my life used any of the Virtue/Vice/Archetype/etc values for anything.

    To be more heretical, I never liked alignments in D&D either, so there.



  • @Arkandel

    To be more heretical, I never liked alignments in D&D either, so there.

    I liked them as they were originally presented in the preview for 4th Edition, likewise heretical as that may sound. The vast majority of people were Unaligned, with behaviors across the spectrum, and only things like Outsiders who embodied particular concepts or ideals, or character classes/individuals strongly linked to those concepts or ideals, got tagged with Law, Chaos, Good, or Evil tags.

    It preserved the cosmic weight of alignment without trying to shoehorn Bob the Human Commoner into Evil because the metaphysical tally of his actions ticked over just this side from Neutral. Bob's actions might serve to drip into the cosmic wells of Good or Evil, but Bob himself will likely never have the sort of significance that capital G for Good or E for Evil would describe. Even if Bob were a 20th level Fighter, still probably not. Bob the Paladin, though, as an anointed champion of Good (I can't remember if they also had to be Lawful in 4th or not) gets the alignment tag.

    Way less nitpicking over whether or not this particular action was good or evil and whether it was enough to sway alignment and how much does intent matter and blah blah blah. Plus when something detected as Evil, it generally represented some oomph.

    ...which has nothing to do with anything in this thread except the bit quoted, but whatever. >_>



  • I hold out hope for things like V/V that both describe character (and as such, offer ideas to players looking for interesting things to play out) and reward on a per use basis.

    I believe Deadlands was the first game that brough up the idea that a disadvantage only mattered when it affected play, so as often as the player wants to highlight the thing, it shows up, changes stuff, and is rewarded.

    FATE seemed to respond a little to that in that you can't tag an Aspect all day for free.


  • Coder

    I think that for Vampire, the resource management is a huge part of what makes Vampire feel like Vampire. The limited supply of easily accessible blood is a great driver of in-character conflict and narrative and requiring players to type +hunt every few days is a small price to pay for that.



  • I think one of the reasons games are hesitant to play the resources game on a MU* is because that is meant to promote a certain amount of pvp. And that's something it would seem most MU*s strive to avoid.


  • Admin

    @Groth said:

    I think that for Vampire, the resource management is a huge part of what makes Vampire feel like Vampire. The limited supply of easily accessible blood is a great driver of in-character conflict and narrative and requiring players to type +hunt every few days is a small price to pay for that.

    A rule of thumb is to assess mechanics based on what they add to gameplay. How are players going to use it long-termly to entertain them?

    When it comes to resource management and Vampire in particular it's not the thematic element that I think doesn't belong - because of course that's a driving force in Kindreds' existences - but the implementation itself.

    How is typing +hunt every few days fun? What does that do for gameplay, how is it converted into roleplay? How can it be tweaked so that a PC doesn't simply starve because the player didn't remember to type the command, making them have to go out and drain buckets' worth of blood in one night to catch up when they realize it?

    Some games had it so that a failed enough roll can alert staff who're supposed to create botched hunts PrPs but a combination of limited ST availability (it scales pretty badly, having to run one-on-one scenes when in that time they could run a more involving story) and repetitiveness (after you've ran the 13th such scene you might start sobbing into your hands) turn that into a chore than something entertaining.

    As a superior implementation - I think there was a thread either here or WORA where we were discussing something like that with @Ganymede - but one which would essentially require the game to be designed around it, consider this:

    Limit the availability of vitae but tie its pools to areas on the grid from which different amounts can be drawn safely, thus heavily encouraging PCs to exert influence over said areas. Having to maintain, defend or expand them holds some appeal and can likely generate decent RP. I'd also give a little freebie 'maintenance' nightly allowance per character too, something like 1-2 vitae acquired automatically, so that if the average person doesn't care to participate in the system they don't have to, but if they're burning through vitae faster than that they would.

    But the +hunt command, no. In my opinion it's useless.



  • @Arkandel
    More will percolate in my brain while I'm at work today, but I do have to say I kinda like the idea of nightly allowance, for 'considered hunting' stuff. Maybe that, combined with Herd and territory control could be fun. It would prevent the 'and I connect, and I frenzy in an empty room because I had 1 blood when I awoke, which was my gripe with the LARP I mentioned above using the 'throw a d10' starting blood.


  • Politics

    It's my goal, for Eldritch, to eventually have some sort of passive resource management that can be circumvented for the purposes of PRP and that generally works on good faith.

    i.e. Characters "regenerate" their fuel stats at a slow rate (probably like 0.3 per day or something). If they control territory where that fuel is prominent, they get a boost to that passive, daily allowance. You can circumvent this, but in general, this represents your day-to-day way you gain your fuel (hunting minor spirits for essence, feeding on your Herd for vitae, siphoning off or trading with other demons for aether, etc.)


  • Admin

    @Coin That sounds like a good idea. I don't like thematic "islands" even when they make sense in a certain context, so tying different things together sounds like a good idea.

    So a coterie or pack controls territory because that's just what they do - that's great, okay, it makes sense. But if they get nothing out of it than the fact this territory is concerned the impact to gameplay is limited, and there's no friction, no emerging need to clash (with NPCs or even PCs depending on where your game is headed) to expand it. If all we have is lines from a page ('Werewolves like territory because they're wolves, see?') it feels ... manufactured.

    But if resources are tied to these blocks the game itself is made better. Suddenly your bloodsucking fiend wants control over that dirty mall packed with strangers, teenagers making out behind the building and hobos walking around in dark parking lots - that's an all-you-can-eat right there. And if there's an additional locus under the abandoned church then the pack will definitely want it, not just because the book says so but because they just wasted a ton of Essence fighting off the Pure last time, and they need to replenish - which is kinda funny because claiming the church suddenly means more clashes, more Essence spent to defend it, and maybe there's another locus in that graveyard nearby? How far do they expand before they're stretched thin or other packs look at them funny?

    There's potential for solid RP right there, created because of resource management.

    But yeah, the whole game has to be built around that, it can't be just an afterthought.


  • Politics

    That's why I presented and designed the Neighborhood system early on. As soon as we can implement it via code, this will start being a Thing. I foresee some delay, but as with all things, delay is to be expected.


  • Coder

    Limit the availability of vitae but tie its pools to areas on the grid from which different amounts can be drawn safely, thus heavily encouraging PCs to exert influence over said areas. Having to maintain, defend or expand them holds some appeal and can likely generate decent RP. I'd also give a little freebie 'maintenance' nightly allowance per character too, something like 1-2 vitae acquired automatically, so that if the average person doesn't care to participate in the system they don't have to, but if they're burning through vitae faster than that they would.

    But the +hunt command, no. In my opinion it's useless.

    That is exactly how it works on Requiem for Kingsmouth. Each area on the grid has its own blood pool that are sized 4-20 and generate 1-5 vitae per day. If the pool is emptied it generates a penalty for a month, if someone dramatically fails or feeds for more then 4 vitae it generates a job. PCs are encouraged to take care of the pools they've managed to claim, if someone doesn't want to rely on hunting they can get the Herd merit which generates 2 vitae per week per dot.


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