Archive for the ‘Advice/Tools’ Category

Abilities in M20: Brawl Additions!

September 26, 2015

Okay, so anybody that read my previous M20 related post knows that my initial reaction to the division between Brawl and Martial Arts in M20 was extremely negative. During a discussion with Satyros Phil Brucato, the game’s developer, in the M20 Facebook group, this fact came up, and I’ll shortly get to why that fact is relevant to this post. I have great respect for his wide ranging talents, his creativity and his hard-charging work ethic, even if I don’t always agree with his output. To be honest, how could anybody ever really always agree with another creator’s or artist’s or writer’s output if they’re actually thinking for themselves? It’s just not going to happen. So long as folks can be polite about those creative differences, cool.

Anyhow, Satyros argued that I was giving this particular creative decision short shrift and that I ought to take a closer look at how he integrated a meaningful distinction between the two more fully into the combat system and also built it into the Focus rules. He pointed out that this distinction was not exactly new to the Storyteller System, having appeared previously in Kindred of the East and World of Darkness: Combat back during the 2nd edition era. To that last I maintain that I disliked the division back then too and don’t care for either of those prior books. I took those rules’ having been left out of the Revised editions of Vampire, Mage and Werewolf as a sign that White wolf had moved on from the concept also at least insofar as the Storyteller system was concerned. He suggested that I step back, blank my slate and ignore the negative associations I have with the prior sources and look over the combat and focus systems on their own merits with an open mind. This I have done over the course of the past month or more, mulling over the implications of the division within the rules themselves, on play and how I feel about said implications. A more serious and thoughtful dive into the book did change my views on a number of things from my first impressions (the value of Esoterica, for example), but I hardly found all points persuasive. (more…)

Jumping Genres!

July 4, 2014

My last post was written mostly with humorous intent, but also was intended to get some thoughts churning. Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, I wouldn’t derail an existing and relatively serious,steady game so wildly as to put something like the Deck of Many Genres into play. That would be a rather gross abuse of the social contract between GM and players, really.

I would, however, shift genres in a game as long as that made sense within the context of the game… and I would also run a game where the very premise revolves around shifting genres/layers of reality/alternate dimensions where the players move from one genre to the next and possibly back again. It might work best with a certain pre-determined number of predesigned genre/setting/layers where the players will run genre-shifted iterations of the same character/soul/self. I think that could be really, really fun.

Originally I was going to go back to the last post and edit it to that effect, but then after my friend Terry made a comment on his repost that was very much in line with my thinking, I decided this might be better suited if I post it by itself. I’ll share a few specific examples of times I’ve experimented with the genre-shifting concept already in games and found it a satisfying pursuit, point out a few narrative media where this technique or a variant has been used to good effect. I’ve never run a campaign where shifting realities and genres was a major part of the premise, though I have done individual adventures in a couple different systems that explored the concept either seriously or otherwise.
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Deck of Many Genres

July 2, 2014

Mandatory Legal Disclaimer: side effects of bringing the magic item in this post into a game with a group that takes their games too seriously or that aren’t already expecting some serious weirdness may include rage quitting by players, blank stares, loose teeth, lost friendships or, in extreme cases, critical existence failure.

Recently while at my desk, an idea occurred to me for a magic item that might inspire far more dread in the hearts of players than even the infamous Deck of Many Things… as the title suggests, this is none other than The Deck of Many Genres. This is a magic item that is best reserved to particularly open-minded, experimental or creative play groups and GMs, and would clearly be much easier to use in a game like FATE, Wushu, Capes or Savage Worlds that can be retooled to new genres on the fly without hours of number-crunching misery. Alternately, a wily or enterprising GM might have stats generated for existing characters from your D20 or whatever game in FATE, Capes or something similarly fast and fluid that can be taken to hare off into crazy land with this thing as a side jaunt. (more…)

Expanded Powers & Taints Strike Back: Charms II

November 8, 2011

Here’s the second in my series of taking existing Spirit Charms and turning them into Power for Possessed characters. This time I’m taking on a couple of the big, big Powers like Break Reality, Gateway and Warp Reality. I’ve added thsoe Spirit Charms from the Book of the Wyrm, 2nd edition and Umbra Revised that i felt were suitable for conversion, and I’m adding notes on using a couple more of the Charms found in the BotW2 but that may not really merit their own Power writeups. (more…)

Alternate Kami Powers Advancement

October 22, 2011

Here is a tweak to the system by which Kami can advance and gain Powers or improve the Powers that they already possess. I will use these rules for my Awakening chronicle. Note that they have not been thoroughly playtested, and I may tweak the multipliers up a bit if I decide that this is a bit too cheap.

Normally, All Kami are required to pay for all but their first five points of Powers with Taints (and their first five points are covered by their one default Geasa). Unlike Gorgons, Fomori and Drones, they lack any other means to pay for their Powers because they do not have the Autonomy characteristic. This tends to leave Kami weaker in both the long and short run than Fomori or Gorgons, because taking large numbers of Taints is crippling. (more…)

oWoD Grappling Rules! iä! iä!

August 8, 2011

Yeah, we all know that the oWoD grappling rules… make the baby Cthulhu giggle. So I’m trying to give them a little help. I made an exhaustive review of the grappling rules for WtA, VtM, MtA and the nWoD (which has a better system for grappling than oWoD does though it’s still hardly perfect) in order to construct this, and I like to think that the results will be a touch more useful and cover a few more of the possibilities. These rules are not presently set in stone, and are open to discussion and adjustment. I am using these rules in my current Werewolf Chronicle:  Awakening. (more…)

Challenge Systems for Werewolf the Apocalypse

June 3, 2011

My last post examined challenges and their place in Garou society, some of the reasons for issuing challenges and listed some of the types of challenges in which Garou engage.

Today I’m posting an examination of the in-game mechanical systems used to resolve challenges. These rules are scattered across a couple of different sources, and in some cases are not provided in rulebooks so where possible I’m citing my sources, pointing the reader to where to find the rules, and where necessary I’m making them up based on how some other contests work. Unlike last time Black Spiral Dancers are addressed here, so there is some non-explicit reference to how some very twisted sexuality figures in to that tribe’s challenge culture. (more…)

Challenges and the Garou Way of Life

May 27, 2011

One thing that I totally love about the Garou is the fact that, even though they dwell in the modern Gothic-Punk World of Darkness, at heart even the most suave and urbane Glass Walker is at heart a tribesman in a primitive animistic warrior culture.

One of the clearer and more interesting expressions of that fact is their system of resolving social conflicts through challenge. YMMV of course, but I find the process fascinating. Accordingly, I’m going to post an examination of Garou challenge culture as I see it.

When two Garou that are in close proximity have got conflicting interests, desires, goals or personalities, sooner or later there’s almost certainly going to be a challenge of some sort between them unless one of them vastly outranks the other. They’re highly aggressive, tend to take things far too seriously, and they don’t like to back down from what they want. Challenges are really about establishing dominance, appeal deeply to the wolf side of the Garou soul, and provide an outlet to (hopefully) get issues worked out without general carnage erupting. Almost any conflict between individuals or groups in the Garou Nation can theoretically be resolved by a challenge. (more…)

New Talen: Eel’s Gift Card

March 18, 2011

This morning I have a little something for those of you out there that still use the oWoD games, and in particular Werewolf: the Apocalypse. Talens are nifty one-use Fetishes that can be made much, much more easily than true permanent Fetishes. Most PCs, even Theurges, will never make a fetish, but any Garou that can pick up a simple and common Rank 2 Rite: The Rite of Binding can make Talens.

Here’s a new Talen that I designed for one of my characters, who is an outsider that hasn’t been taught proper Fetish-lore and has been having to more or less make things up as she goes along. It’s a weaker version of the relatively cliche Glasswalker Fetish called Loon’s Refund, though it’s distinct enough to be its own item in its own right apart from just being single-use. Anyhow, here it is:

Eel’s Gift Card [Gnosis 6 Talen]

This Talen, in which a Wealth Spirit  is typically bound (in a pinch, Eel herself has been known to use Greed Banes that had to be fought off when she was trying unsuccessfully to make nice with the Wealth Spirits she wanted to bind), is essentially a single-use cousin of Loon’s Refund. It can be used at point-of sale or online like a classic gift card to pay for a single purchase of up to $500 value, and then becomes inert. Note that it does not matter whether the purchase is $1.50 or $400 – either way, the card can only be used once. The funds for this come from cent-fractional rounding errors and moneys that are similarly “lost” in the banking and financial system. The Talen’s single-use nature is arguably a boon, because it is far less likely to attract the attention of the Weaver than the much better known ATM card Fetish. Each of these simple talismans appears to be a fairly generic prepaid credit card or gift card, and those of them that were made by Eel herself generally have an image of her namesake animal printed somewhere on the card itself.

Valkenburg Foundation

March 16, 2011

The other day, I was able to finally acquire my own copy of a venerable 1993 Werewolf: The Apocalypse book by the name of Valkenburg Foundation. This self-contained, ready-to-run Chronicle was the seventh release in the 1st edition Werewolf: the Apocalypse line, and is best known today for introducing the world to that most reviled of all Old World of Darkness villains, Samuel “The Skinner” Haight, Grand High Twinkmaster and Lord Ashtray himself. I suppose there are a couple of items in this post that might theoretically qualify as spoilers, so consider yourself warned.

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