Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sellswords of Darkness: Ruminating on the Storytelling System

My good friend John W. pointed out to me tonight that I should use the Storytelling system (nWoD) instead of the Storyteller system (oWoD).  And I'd been batting this around in my head a bit and was glad to hear John's POV.

I think I translate most of it and ditch quite a bit of the rules changes.  I might lower the standard TN from 8 to 7.  Which would make most Class TN come in around 5 or 6.

Any opinions?


Unknown said...

Looking at the changes you made in your last post, and being the one who suggested you look at NWoD, I thought I'd throw in my 2c here. NWoD solves many of the concerns you had with the old system. With a few tweaks, I think it would be worth your consideration (especially since the system was written to be adaptable to a variety of stories)

TN of 6 vs. TN of 8.

NWoD increase the TN because of the potentially larger dice pool. When you factor in specializations, environmental bonuses, willpower, you’re looking at the possibility of a high dice pool. I like higher dice pools as it allows the DM the chance to modify the roll in unique ways without feeling like I’m totally destroying a PC.

Further, the higher TN gives a more ‘hurried and scary feel’ that a TN of 6 does not. Now, if you assume a base stat of 2 (average) and no skill (Which OWoD applies no penalty for) you have roughly a 55% chance of success on any roll. That’s neat for getting everyone in on the action (and a high fantasy setting), but not particularly ‘realistic’ (I know, complaining about realism). I, for instance, should not have better than a coin flip chance at picking a lock.

Suggestion: Keep the TN of8, so you can have players add “Specializations” (this would help with your approach to spell casting) and impose penalties to the rolls, but allow players to achieve automatic successes with a dice pool larger than some pre-established number (IE 5 or 6)

1's DO NOT cancel Successes, and you only botch if you have more 1's on your roll than Successes.

I Find Botches to be one of the more
entertaining elements of storytelling, but I realize that for players this can be very frustrating. NWoD does this by default.

10's count as 2 Successes.

If you’re cutting down on dice rolls, this is fine. However, epic rolls are the stuff of table top legend (Check out and the player stories. Many deal with several 20s rolled.) I’d keep the exploding dice, but it boils down to personal preference.

I've decided to alter the Health Track so it works like FATE. If I get hit for 3 points of damage I fill in box 3. If I get hit for 3 again, I fill in box 4 (it "pushes" damage to the next highest open box).

NWoD has a larger health pool that avoids the clunky-ness of the OWoD. “Base” characters have a health of 7 (5 for size, 2 for stam). If you’re setting up a base soak, this should be more than enough for prolonged fights.

Soak will be half your Stamina plus Armor. No rolling Soak.

I HATE rolling soak, this is an improvement for me. However, whether or not you decide to halve the stamina value depends on how available you want armor to be in your system. I, for example, wouldn’t do it in NWoD, because body armor is a rare find.

Damage will be half the value listed plus Successes. So, if I have a Dagger that does 1+Str (3) then I do 4 divided by 2 or 2 points of Damage plus Success. I've always felt that Storyteller and D6, as presented, have too much dice rolling. If I'm rolling a pool of dice for Task resolution, I shouldn't also have to roll damage and then my opponent roll Soak. And then Storyteller adds various types of damage to track, as well.

NWoD has a ‘hurried combat’ version of this. Each weapon has a base damage value, and you don’t add the weapon bonus to your dice pool. So, if I shoot a baddie with a shotgun, I’ll do 4+ # of successes damage (With me rerolling 9's and 10's). You get less dice rolls and more intense combat… and more dead dudes.

So, no difference in Aggravated, Lethal or Bashing damage. It's all the same and it can kill you.

If you’re keeping a magical element here, you might just want to divide it into two groups: Normal and Aggravated. Aggravated specifically deals with “supernatural” style damage, and is harder to get in NWoD (IE no protean 2 power… it’s now rank 4). It adds a ‘horror’ element to the system, that I enjoy.

Allow players to ‘pull their punches’ as per
DnD, and I think this works.

Cross Planes said...

I really like your assessment. I'm re-reading the nWoD core rulebook now. Nostalgia seems to be my biggest obstacle for embracing it. Darn you and all your talk about Vampire 20the Anniversary!!

Unknown said...

Best thing OWoD has going for it is the mythos. There are systems that are built for your own world building (IE Savage Worlds, D&D, NWoD, Dirty World, Hackmaster.) Other systems feel 'off' (at least to me) if you try to ignore the meta-plot (OWoD, Paranoia, WFRP)

It's the reason why I can be forgiving about how clunky/unforgiving it can be. First Time I played OWoD I killed the BBEG in 1 round. I could also NEVER get Obfuscate to work properly.

I would still *love* to use OWoD for a campaign (and am done with the prep work for a new campaign.) I just think that NWoD was built more for the 'tweaking' you're doing.

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