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Author Topic: The World of Darkness Thread  (Read 11103 times)

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Offline Two Faced

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #200 on: December 14, 2012, 08:24:39 PM »
I can't really agree nor disagree with you here, because it's clear to me that we've had dramatically different situations and experiences. I have to say, though-- I'm baffled as to why anyone would agree to play a game without understanding at least a rough outline if it's a one on one storytelling/non-system game. I've never had one that didn't end up entirely aimless and unsatisfying.

Again, this lies within our different experiences, then-- I've simply stated what works for mine, while your's seems like it's okay to operate by with a different set of rules without getting all tangled up.

Still, I appreciate your viewpoint on this even if I'm not really able to contribute to this particular conversation any longer. Thank you for taking the time.

(Also I see no reason not to put emphasis on roleplaying at all; my point was simply that it's good to have a stable guideline to start from... in case that got lost in translation? I'm not sure if that was... but I feel like it might have been? So just in case, haha.)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 08:31:36 PM by Sigma Octantis »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #201 on: December 14, 2012, 08:27:35 PM »
The secret, I found, to doing a game in the oWoD was building up reasons for the players to play together as a group rather than a bunch of unaffiliated types. One of the best groups I ran started out as 'wrong place/wrong time' and from there on it was as a method of defending themselves from the folks they pissed off. They didn't always get along .. the Setite was trying to build a power structure in the city that put them in the line of fire a few times.. but it balanced out by the fact that she helped out using the minions she was 'stealing' from one elder.
The Gangrel had a knack for fighting and gang members to help out form time to time. The Malk had 'insight' that clued him into things that no one else spotted. (Of course convincing the other players was half the fun). The Toredor had several havens and a big enough wallet to keep them equipped.

Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #202 on: December 14, 2012, 08:28:06 PM »
I can't really agree nor disagree with you here, because it's clear to me that we've had dramatically different situations and experiences. I have to say, though-- I'm baffled as to why anyone would agree to play a game without understanding at least a rough outline if it's a one on one storytelling/non-system game. I've never had one that didn't end up entirely aimless and unsatisfying.

A rough outline for a system is fine. What I was referring to was the need for a definite working and/or complex system.

To me the systems don't have to work and it don't have to be hard rules. That's all.


The secret, I found, to doing a game in the oWoD was building up reasons for the players to play together as a group rather than a bunch of unaffiliated types. One of the best groups I ran started out as 'wrong place/wrong time' and from there on it was as a method of defending themselves from the folks they pissed off. They didn't always get along .. the Setite was trying to build a power structure in the city that put them in the line of fire a few times.. but it balanced out by the fact that she helped out using the minions she was 'stealing' from one elder.
The Gangrel had a knack for fighting and gang members to help out form time to time. The Malk had 'insight' that clued him into things that no one else spotted. (Of course convincing the other players was half the fun). The Toredor had several havens and a big enough wallet to keep them equipped.

Those are good ideas.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #203 on: December 14, 2012, 08:32:19 PM »
A rough outline for a system is fine. What I was referring to was the need for a definite working and/or complex system.

To me the systems don't have to work and it don't have to be hard rules. That's all.


Those are good ideas.

What got me started thinking about it was the 'connection tree' you used to see in the 'after dark' books. Where they would chart out what each vampire felt/thought of each other.

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #204 on: December 14, 2012, 08:35:53 PM »
We had rep pages for just about every character in the game in the old online Sabbat game I used to play.

ie, what Vampires A, C, D, E, F and G think about Vampire B.  We would ask our fellow players to give a sentence or two on what their character thought of yours and then put them all together on our characters' website. 

It was all kinds of cool.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #205 on: December 14, 2012, 08:38:03 PM »
It really depends on how you define what a game is. It sounds to me like your referring to competition as a game. Having strict rules for competition makes sense but you don't have to have a competition for something to be a game. So rules, good or bad are not a necessity for a creative game to take place. IE: The act of participating in a game involving or where the focus is role playing.
It really is more about the mindset of the players then it is the game itself. You are correct, which is why systems/rules are not really needed (they are optional.) You don't have to have that mindset to play an RPG (tabletop or otherwise.)

Precisely. It may be a big tautological to refer to a game as needing rules because rules make it a game, or something, but I do make a distinction between an RPG and a non-game RP, primarily the inclusion of an element of competition whether it's player against player or players against enviroment/GM. Even if it's just a 'competition' against luck or random chance.

Quote
I'm not a competitive person and I value creativity over competition. As a result of that, rules have only as much meaning to me as I want them to.

I can Freeform then turn around and play with hard rules in the same game/same setting without it making a difference. My friends and I often used to do this when we'd take long road trips. We'd skip the dice, skip the rules and just freeform our role playing until we decided to pick the dice back up. If at all.

Now I'm not saying that you can completely do away with rules.. I'm just saying that the kinda rules that are involved in a "system" are not necessary.


The way for this to work, simply involves trusting your storyteller/GM's judgement and for the players to respect each other.
If you have rules, you've made a system. It might be a rules-light system, and/or a diceless system, but if there is any means of arbitration other than 'talk it out and don't be a meanyhead', you're not longer playing 100% freeform.

Quote
I looked through the group games in several of the different categories here. Most of them look freeform to me. I see, magic, super heroes, fantasy settings, and lots of others that are all freeform/non-system.

So your wrong on that entirely.
Not to mention that fact that the system games themselves tend to not use the actual systems very much at all anyways. So it seems the ability of a system to function or not, if it's broken or not, doesn't matter much because people here at least don't really abide by them anyhow.
I'm not wrong, you misunderstood me. Of the total freeform games on E, the number of freeform games that are 1v1 is a much larger percentage of that total than the ones that are group games. Similarly, of the total system games on E, a vast majority of them are group games, compared to a tiny minority of 1v1 system games.

As for using a broken system...a game that doesn't use the system isn't a system game, whether or not it claims to be using the system. So that doesn't really make sense as a counter-example.


Quote
I think good mechanics are nice to have but bad or good, a good GM/Storyteller should have no problem working with them.

I've been told by a number of people here on the forums how horrible the Palladium system is, yet I never had a problem with it in all my years of play. I never had a complaint from any of my players. No one ever complained about the system.. or any system that we ever played it. We laughed occasionally at some odd discrepancies in various systems but good or bad, the systems never made much of a difference to us as players or GM's(story tellers.)

So the only thing I really agree with is, "prioritize good roleplaying over mechanics."
Your Palladium experiences aside - which may be atypical, since you've said yourself you don't hold very strongly to systems even when you use them, it doesn't really seem arguable that a bad system will make for a worse game using that system, since having the system in the first place assume you'll use it. Different systems are better or worse at different things, different groups prefer different systems (and extensive experience with a system can go a long way towards working out its kinks) - 'good' and 'bad' can be very subjective.

 For example, I'd never try to run a gritty survival-horror game under the D&D ruleset, because its high-fantasy design means characters range from mere superhuman to demigods in strength, which severely undermines the themes and mood of survival-horror. If I wanted to run such a game, I would use a 'good' system such as Call of Cthulhu or All Flesh Must Be Eaten first, but if that was not possible, I'd run it freeform, because resorting to a 'bad' system like D&D would result in me and the group either fighting the rules to tell the intended story, or ignoring them (at which point why not go freeform in the first place).

In direct reciprocal, if I wanted an epic legend adventure full of magic, monsters, and impossibly badass heroes/heroines who can wade through armies of lesser foes, I'd use D&D, or FATE. I wouldn't try to shoehorn in such a game to the World of Darkness (old or new), because the rules would detract from my/our story instead of supplement them.

In both games, yes, it could be run freeform, and for people who prefer freeform to begin with that would be the 'best' option'. But if you're aiming to use a system in the first place, pick the best one you can.


Addendum: This is horribly off-topic. I'm willing to continue, but we should do it somewhere else.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 09:00:00 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline SkynetTopic starter

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #206 on: December 14, 2012, 08:56:16 PM »
Hypothetically speaking, if I were to dip my toes into the pool of Masquerade's Metaplot, where would you recommend that I begin?  Or is it not for the faint of heart?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #207 on: December 14, 2012, 09:00:31 PM »
The Week of Nightmares is never the worst option, because Magical Space Lasers. ;D

Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #208 on: December 14, 2012, 09:01:32 PM »
My point has always been that I can play a system game with or without the system. So if it works or doesn't work is irrelevant.

I can play a game against the environment/npc's or against players and not need a system to do it with for all of the reasons that I've already stated.

On the topic of the amount of rules, what I refer to is taking a system game - EX: V:tM. I ignore all of the books core rulebook mechanics and just go by the general concepts of clans, Camirila, blood lust/frenzy etc... but I don't roll dice, I don't look at the books, I don't care what works or doesn't work within the books. I know how the general story goes in the books and how the characters are supposed to function. I take those things and I play a role playing game, where the players take on roles and go about their gaming lives. They go on adventures, they tangle with each other for political power, they get tied up with mortal world, and so on and so forth. I don't need all of the books mechanical rules in order to do any of that.

Which is crucial to my point that system isn't important. Removing the system doesn't make it less of a game. It may make it less of a game that you'd like to play but it doesn't make it less of one.

*edit* That's not to say that I haven't used the rules extensively. I just simply don't need them. I can do both very easily and have great fun doing it.


Another thing...
Quote
In direct reciprocal, if I wanted an epic legend adventure full of magic, monsters, and impossibly badass heroes/heroines who can wade through armies of lesser foes, I'd use D&D, or FATE. I wouldn't try to shoehorn in such a game to the World of Darkness (old or new), because the rules would detract from my/our story instead of supplement them.

I found that interesting that you said that. My players and I used to do stuff like that all the time, just for fun. It never affected play at all for us. Sure we had to mod the rules to take into account things (like bloodlust/frenzy for V:tM) but it most certainly didn't detract from anything.

We had rep pages for just about every character in the game in the old online Sabbat game I used to play.

ie, what Vampires A, C, D, E, F and G think about Vampire B.  We would ask our fellow players to give a sentence or two on what their character thought of yours and then put them all together on our characters' website. 

It was all kinds of cool.

What you say here reminds me of:


Character mapping. We used to do stuff like this for fun as well. Draw up maps of npc's, characters, organizations... link them all, then tag each with known personality traits, known enemies, etc etc...

It was a great way for players to get a layout of the land as they played. It often helped them figure out who the enemies were and motivations behind plots. Sometimes my players were too smart for their own good.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 09:05:35 PM by Moraline »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #209 on: December 15, 2012, 03:26:23 AM »
It really depends on how you define what a game is. It sounds to me like your referring to competition as a game. Having strict rules for competition makes sense but you don't have to have a competition for something to be a game. So rules, good or bad are not a necessity for a creative game to take place. IE: The act of participating in a game involving or where the focus is role playing.
It really is more about the mindset of the players then it is the game itself. You are correct, which is why systems/rules are not really needed (they are optional.) You don't have to have that mindset to play an RPG (tabletop or otherwise.)

A game is a set of rules with a defined 'win' condition or goal.  And most RPGs have one, usually multiple, boiling down to survival, loot and/or 'experience'.

Free form story telling often has no 'win' condition, and it rarely has any defined rules.

As someone who has roleplayed for over 25 years (I think I'm working on 28 at the moment, man, time just flies sometimes) and have played all sorts of games from Dungeons and Dragons, various Palladium ones, from the original Fantasy to Rifts and every game in between (except Mechanoids.  I missed that one) to White Wolf's oWoD (including a 'crossover' series of games that simply proved that they were not compatible together, mainly Mage, actually), to Amber Diceless, to HERO to Cyberpunk and Mekton, they all have one thing in common: rules to provide a structure and reason as to how that particular 'universe' works.  Some are admittedly slopier about it than others, but they all have a rules to define certain types of actions.

They also have a 'win' condition, what 'beats' the adventure or event or encounter you're in.  Even if it's something as simple as convince the Elder that my view point is worth considering or as grand as smiting the Dragon to save the kingdom.  And looting it's treasure.

Offline Braioch

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Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #210 on: December 15, 2012, 06:14:26 AM »
Most of the way through Wraith ;D

Bad because now I want to play a Wraith too -.-

Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #211 on: December 15, 2012, 10:04:13 AM »
I have 3 main points I want to make:
  • Systems are not needed to play an RPG, they maybe desired but not needed.
  • Systems don't define the RPG, the setting defines the RPG.
  • Games and/or RPG's are not direct competitions unless you want them to be.
A game is a set of rules with a defined 'win' condition or goal.  And most RPGs have one, usually multiple, boiling down to survival, loot and/or 'experience'.

Free form story telling often has no 'win' condition, and it rarely has any defined rules.

As someone who has roleplayed for over 25 years (I think I'm working on 28 at the moment, man, time just flies sometimes) and have played all sorts of games from Dungeons and Dragons, various Palladium ones, from the original Fantasy to Rifts and every game in between (except Mechanoids.  I missed that one) to White Wolf's oWoD (including a 'crossover' series of games that simply proved that they were not compatible together, mainly Mage, actually), to Amber Diceless, to HERO to Cyberpunk and Mekton, they all have one thing in common: rules to provide a structure and reason as to how that particular 'universe' works.  Some are admittedly slopier about it than others, but they all have a rules to define certain types of actions.

They also have a 'win' condition, what 'beats' the adventure or event or encounter you're in.  Even if it's something as simple as convince the Elder that my view point is worth considering or as grand as smiting the Dragon to save the kingdom.  And looting it's treasure.

Nowhere in any of the books that I've ever played with has it said "Do this to WIN the game." The goal of every role playing book I've played has been to "ROLE PLAY" in an imaginary world. I defy you to look up in your books and find the location where it says - "Do this to Win the Game."

Your idea of what the goal of the game is, is a personal choice on your part and the part of the people you play with. My people look at it differently.
Quote
"Free form story telling often has no 'win' condition, and it rarely has any defined rules."
That is a game. I took both a Drama class in high school and an Acting class at Uni and we used to play Role Playing Games all the time. There was never a goal of winning. It was always about freeform story telling in those games.

The world is full of untold numbers of games that have no direct competitive win condition in them. Games don't have to equal direct competition. So, this statement is wrong: "A game is a set of rules with a defined 'win' condition or goal." What your describing is a sport. Sports are games but not all games are sports.

A note on achieving any type goal in a role playing scenario. You don't need systems to accomplish goals. You may personally want them but you don't need them. This has been my core point.

Role Playing Games can be played without rules or with them.

It's all a choice and personal perspective on gaming. Whether you choose to think of it as a competition or not. I simply don't look at my role playing games as competitions. I look at them as character development (and I don't mean getting more stats, loot and xp.)

In the end it's really just the fundamental difference between myself (the people I've played with) and the way some others like yourself look at RPG's.

Let's get back to V:tM for a moment.  This as a game is played with both it's TableTop rules and it's Mind's Eye Theatre LARP rules. For many that play this game they don't use either sets of systems or rules when playing, whether it's Tabletop or LARP. The system doesn't define this game, the setting defines the game.


Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #212 on: December 15, 2012, 10:08:21 AM »
Most of the way through Wraith ;D

Bad because now I want to play a Wraith too -.-

I love Wraith. That was one of my first introductions to White Wolf games. A friend of mine sat us down with no character sheets and no information. We weren't allowed to know who we were or anything.

Then we began the game by having to figure out who we were and what we were doing. It took us several play sessions to discover that we were dead, how we died, and why we remained as "ghosts."

It was also one of the creepiest and potentially scariest games I've ever played. We'd usually do it around candlelight in the dark at night to add atmosphere. We just new it was going to be "one of those games," when we were started. He never even showed us the book for weeks.

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #213 on: December 15, 2012, 10:11:36 AM »
I have to say that the dictionary does disagree with your definition of what a game is, Moraline.

It says "A form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck."

That said, if you or anyone else wants to define whatever according to your own take on it, more power to you.  No one's right or wrong in this instance.

I will say I have never heard of anyone playing a tabletop game with no rules, stats or dice.  That's not really gaming in my eyes (read: in my eyes)... to me that's just sitting around role-playing with no game aspect.

Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #214 on: December 15, 2012, 10:19:49 AM »
Those weeks we spent playing Wraith (see my above post.) We did it in the dark. No dice, no paper.. nothing. We did eventually move to pen and paper along with the dice but not for weeks. I loved Wraith. One of my best RPG experiences ever - of course that might have been because I got to be a player for a change.

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #215 on: December 15, 2012, 10:21:45 AM »
Just curious... how did you handle disputes?  Like cowboys and indians.  "Bang!  Gotcha!"  "Did not!"  :P

Offline Braioch

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Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #216 on: December 15, 2012, 10:34:20 AM »
-Stands in Ferryman outfit-

Dunno about you bucko, but ya'll are already dead...who wants a Harrowing?

^_^

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #217 on: December 15, 2012, 10:35:22 AM »
The Marauders (I think they were called) would say something like "there are worse things than death".  :P

Offline Braioch

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Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #218 on: December 15, 2012, 10:49:17 AM »
You referencing Mage there?

That'd be the Nephandi then.

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #219 on: December 15, 2012, 10:50:22 AM »
Nah I mean the scary Wraith guys who hunt newly made Wraiths to harvest their souls for the forges.

Offline Braioch

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Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #220 on: December 15, 2012, 10:57:07 AM »
Reapers.

And they're not ALL bad, just some. Some really just want help newly formed wraiths wake up and acclimate to their new...err...state of existence.

Offline Moraline

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #221 on: December 15, 2012, 11:11:26 AM »
Just curious... how did you handle disputes?  Like cowboys and indians.  "Bang!  Gotcha!"  "Did not!"  :P

Well in the specific game of Wraith we were already dead. Conflict was in the form of arguing or maybe a game of cat and mouse. We'd try to think our way around stuff. We'd solve intellectual problems, mysteries etc... We spent days just trying to learn our boundaries/limitations. As we did things /or tried to do things we didn't know it but the Storyteller was accumulating ability points for us. So we'd begin to develop abilities then suddenly find we could do stuff.

Of course, keep in mind, it took use a few hours to figure out we were dead. We didn't even know who we were and none of us were together. That took a couple play sessions all by itself.

Usually when combat or direct skill like functions are needed during play sessions of any type we used common sense and bowed to Storyteller/GM judgement.

As a non-Wraith example. If we were playing the part of soldiers(like special forces - normal world stuff) and we got into a bar fight. We would say that we attempt to do things.

For example I might say:

Me: "Alright, well that guy at sitting beside me is pissing me off. I'm going to <attempt> to kick out his stool." (the attempt is always implied as it's never a guarantee)

GM: <the GM having made a decision in the seconds prior to this or through random rolling - has already decided what type of person is sitting beside me> "The guy isn't expecting you to do that and looks surprised as the stool is suddenly kicked out from beneath him." <Here the GM makes a decision about what's going to happen> "As the stool shoots out from under him, his eyes widen and his face comes crashing down into the bar. Blood splatters across the table and he falls to the floor."

Me: "That serves him right for pissing me off. Does it look like anyone else wants a piece of me? Remember I'm a trained special forces soldier. I'm alert and ready as I can be."

GM:  "Before you have a chance to sweep the room for anyone else the guys brother - you gather family by his appearance - was sitting behind you. He's already smashing you in the back of the head with a mug."

Also with things like skills. EX: the old picking locks thing - If you have the skill and use it on a simple lock, the GM would just say it worked. If the lock was hard, he might tell you that it was going to take a few minutes because it was a complex lock. It was up to us to decide if we wanted to proceed. Which was always scary because you just knew if the GM was telling you it was going to take a couple minutes that something else bad might happen (maybe.)

It's really about trust and a willingness to not be the ultimate super duper bestest. We mostly used logic. In the example of the bar fight, if I'd been in a bar in enemy territory , I probably wouldn't have been so stupid as to pick a fight. Or I would have obviously been keeping a better eye out for potential combatants. Instead this was just some greasy bar outside a small town. I was being stupidly aggressive so I got into a stupid fight. It's up to the GM to determine how far my training is going to take me. Sometimes the GM might or might not roll. We trusted and respected each other as players & GM.

You commented once in another thread I posted somewhere here that you felt some players didn't like having their characters look bad so they wouldn't take a dive or lose a fight. I think that is one of the fundamental differences with the people I played with. Our characters lost fights all the time, we allowed ourselves to get the shit kicked out of us quite commonly. It wasn't a problem for us. Good guys(heroes) lose fights, it happens and we were cool with that. It's all part of the game and part of character development. Dice or no dice rolling.

It should be noted that we didn't do diceless stuff all the time. However, when we did it wasn't a problem for us.

I found that the longer we played a game the less we used the system and the dice. We just got a feel for how it should work and how things would play out. We knew how good we should be at stuff - this was for characters at any level from newbs to advanced levels.

As I said, a lot of it was being reasonable or logical. I'm a girl and I know full well that if I go toe to toe with a man in a contest of strength I'm going to lose. That's simple logic. I weigh less and I have less overall physical strength. My character is no different - My female special forces soldier might be able to kick the ass of some flabby business man type chump in a bar but if I go up against another special forces person that is a male - I'll need to think of skills, tactics, and strategy because I'll lose a straight up fist fight.

Offline Geeklet

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #222 on: December 15, 2012, 01:04:21 PM »
I have to say that the dictionary does disagree with your definition of what a game is, Moraline.

It says "A form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck."

The dictionary also agrees with her definition of a game.

Quote
Definition of GAME
1
a (1) : activity engaged in for diversion or amusement : play (2) : the equipment for a game

There are multiple meanings for some words, ya know.

Offline LunarSage

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #223 on: December 15, 2012, 01:06:08 PM »
Touche.

The Google dictionary was more narrow in definition it seems.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The World of Darkness Thread
« Reply #224 on: December 15, 2012, 02:17:25 PM »
I guess it really does come down to group preference. The people I've always known in my gaming circles would fight to the death before voluntarily taking a fall to advance the story - but at the same time, they have an almost mystical trust in the dice; putting their character's fate up to a roll and they're completely fine with the outcome even if it goes against them (and it doesn't have to be odds in their favor, either). They're definitely people who like 'winning', getting loot and XP and being awesome and succeeding, but if the Random Number Gods decree their doom, that is also excellent story, and they'll share stories of utter defeat just as gleefully as stories of epic victory.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 04:38:54 PM by TheGlyphstone »