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Old 07-25-2017, 02:37 AM   #21
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
there was something in White Wolf's ideas about how people behave that I've never quite grasped. This makes it hard for me to deal with the representation of personalities in Storyteller, whereas I can do it fairly easily in GURPS or Hero System.
This is a fascinating topic, and I'd be curious to learn more about your observation, whether in this thread or a separate one. Would you be willing


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Also, as for MtA magic, personally right now I find the rolling and rolling and rolling tedious. I'd much rather have a system where a single roll per spell would be sufficient. I like the thinking about the how and why of spells, but the how and why of spells can be easily applied to Realm Magic in Thaumatology as much as to MtA.

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Another topic of RPG system comparison: what exactly went wrong with Nobilis? I once tried reading it, but found it less approachable than the other (infamous) system of the same author.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:27 AM   #22
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Also, as for MtA magic, personally right now I find the rolling and rolling and rolling tedious. I'd much rather have a system where a single roll per spell would be sufficient. I like the thinking about the how and why of spells, but the how and why of spells can be easily applied to Realm Magic in Thaumatology as much as to MtA.
I don't remember large amounts of rolling. When I ran it, the usual was "you want to cast this spell? Okay, it's Prime 2, Matter 3, vulgar without witnesses; roll your Arete vs. difficulty 7." Maybe once in a while an attribute/ability roll to qualify for a bonus.

Are you doing a lot of extended casting? That's the only thing I'm familiar with that requires multiple rolls for a single effect.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:36 AM   #23
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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I don't remember large amounts of rolling. When I ran it, the usual was "you want to cast this spell? Okay, it's Prime 2, Matter 3, vulgar without witnesses; roll your Arete vs. difficulty 7." Maybe once in a while an attribute/ability roll to qualify for a bonus.

Are you doing a lot of extended casting? That's the only thing I'm familiar with that requires multiple rolls for a single effect.
Yes, we're doing extended casting. Even three successes tends to be not enough for most situations we run into, so we have to spend our time extending it.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:43 AM   #24
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Yes, we're doing extended casting. Even three successes tends to be not enough for most situations we run into, so we have to spend our time extending it.
Well, I'd say that one or more of the following obtains:

1. You're all being overambitious about what you attempt
2. Your GM is imposing excessively difficult tasks that require too many successes
3. Your GM is not enforcing time limits appropriate to an action-focused campaign

I'm sure that I did have extended castins in my campaign. But most of what happened in it was resolved with quick casting, sometimes opposed. So what you're running into isn't inherent in the game mechanics; it's a choice of play style.

Mind you, there may be other valid concerns about MtA or about OWoD. I get, for example, that having from one to five dots doesn't give you high resolution in character definition—though they equate roughly to stats of 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 in GURPS terms, so unless you're going for really high-end characters GURPS has about twice the resolution (classic FUDGE, with seven values from Terrible to Superb, is kind of in between). I didn't find that crippling, but the system does go for broad strokes rather than nuances.
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:56 AM   #25
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Well, I'd say that one or more of the following obtains:

1. You're all being overambitious about what you attempt
2. Your GM is imposing excessively difficult tasks that require too many successes
3. Your GM is not enforcing time limits appropriate to an action-focused campaign

I'm sure that I did have extended castins in my campaign. But most of what happened in it was resolved with quick casting, sometimes opposed. So what you're running into isn't inherent in the game mechanics; it's a choice of play style.
I'm not sure about ambition. Pretty much anything worthy the 2nd and 3rd sphere levels requires 4+ successes. A simple skill-buff requires three for the three levels of difficulty reduction and at least one for a duration of a single scene. Mind-reading and -changing with any reliability tends to require 5-10. Killing a nephandic monster with a mind-blast takes 5-10 for damage, about 4 to get past a remote connection.

The GM and I are occasionally discussing houserules that would trade multiple rolls for one at the cost of each roll taking significantly more time. As it stands, RAW seems to perversely incentivize casting in full time otherwise.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:28 AM   #26
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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I'm not sure about ambition. Pretty much anything worthy the 2nd and 3rd sphere levels requires 4+ successes. A simple skill-buff requires three for the three levels of difficulty reduction and at least one for a duration of a single scene. Mind-reading and -changing with any reliability tends to require 5-10. Killing a nephandic monster with a mind-blast takes 5-10 for damage, about 4 to get past a remote connection.
That last definitely sounds overambitious. What I would expect from a combat, especially a combat with a major foe, is not doing away with it, or even incapacitating it, with one strike, but exchanging blows for several rounds.

A skill buff requires three successes for three levels and one for a scene durationŚbut you could go for a modest buff of one level and only need two total successes. So I'm calling that "overambitious" too.

As for mind reading, deep reading someone's mind is specified in Mage 2/e as three successes. I would take it that reading surface thoughts is easier, maybe two successes. And deep reading someone's mind in a single action really seems like it's getting into "impressive feats for powerful mages." As for mind changing, I'm fine with that being hard to do; I've seen too often how easily cheap mind alteration can wreck a scenario.

A newly Awakened mage, with maybe three arete max, will need to exercise ingenuity, to come up with ways to gain an edge rather than driving over the scenario in a steamroller or a main battle tank. And I think that's what the rules system is optimized for. Though presumably you can play a Deeply Scary Sorcerer if the Storyteller lets you have more freebie points or higher starting levels.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:37 AM   #27
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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That last definitely sounds overambitious. What I would expect from a combat, especially a combat with a major foe, is not doing away with it, or even incapacitating it, with one strike, but exchanging blows for several rounds.

A skill buff requires three successes for three levels and one for a scene durationŚbut you could go for a modest buff of one level and only need two total successes. So I'm calling that "overambitious" too.
Well, at that point, it seems like mundane methods would be more efficient than magic - if you don't go over a half-dozen successes. Especially if you waste one success just to target an enemy within line of sight, which means much of the time your 2-4 levels aren't even sufficient to get past the Soak of WoD's typical combat-oriented supernaturals.

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As for mind reading, deep reading someone's mind is specified in Mage 2/e as three successes. I would take it that reading surface thoughts is easier, maybe two successes. And deep reading someone's mind in a single action really seems like it's getting into "impressive feats for powerful mages." As for mind changing, I'm fine with that being hard to do; I've seen too often how easily cheap mind alteration can wreck a scenario.
Ah, but non-mook enemies can make a Willpower roll to resist, negating 1-10 successes depending on their roll.

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A newly Awakened mage, with maybe three arete max, will need to exercise ingenuity, to come up with ways to gain an edge rather than driving over the scenario in a steamroller or a main battle tank. And I think that's what the rules system is optimized for. Though presumably you can play a Deeply Scary Sorcerer if the Storyteller lets you have more freebie points or higher starting levels.
Oh, ingenuity is certainly required. Mages are very weak when confronting their foes face to face - assuming that 'enemies' covers most other supernaturals. Vampires and weres are quite tough, and even Technocracy HITMARKs aren't a laughing matter when faced. Thing is, for most expressions of Mage-style indirect approaches that capitalize on what makes Mages different from other supernaturals, 1-3 successes is very little.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:44 AM   #28
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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I get, for example, that having from one to five dots doesn't give you high resolution in character definitionŚthough they equate roughly to stats of 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 in GURPS terms, so unless you're going for really high-end characters GURPS has about twice the resolution (classic FUDGE, with seven values from Terrible to Superb, is kind of in between).
Except that as far as I remember damaged human is 1, typical human is 2, best possible human is 3, so where's the nuance in characters' interactions with normal people and their attempts to live normal lives? I'd say it's a quarter or less of the GURPS resolution if you look at it in terms of what stat levels are meant to mean (as opposed to what the system gives you).

Having smaller numbers may well make the game seem simpler, but when I've played it there was much more more arguing over / discussion of / trying to understand the mechanics than there was with the same group playing GURPS, because those mechanics didn't seem to have any usable real-world referents.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:21 AM   #29
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In Waldo and its followup, Magic Inc, the introduction of magic didn't eliminate technology, or cause civilization to crumble - it supplemented technology, enabling devices to do things they couldn't do before (like the flying cars, using an antigravity spell). And honestly, I think I'd rather play in a campaign where magic is supplementing and replacing tech, not causing it to fail - there are still going to be those opposing the process, those seeking to accelerate it, and those who just haven't adapted yet to, say, spies who use crystal balls and have to be stopped by antimagic spells. (Just avoid the high levels of pessimism that permeated Shadowrun... :) ) Oh, and occasional surprises as someone combines things that haven't been combined before, like say a Fireball spell imbued in a BB to give you the world's smallest grenade launcher.

Which also reminds me, that was my only issue with oWoD - it was so very pessimistic. Every metastory in the entire line seemed to be bending toward the End Of the World - which was coming Very Soon. I far prefer nWoD's meta, where there's hope for the future even if you're undead - sure, as a Kindred you're living a life of despair preying upon your former loved ones and only ever able to experience shadows of the emotions you once felt, but there might be a possible way out, and if you want to pursue it you've got centuries to work with (as long as you can avoid Final Death).
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:05 PM   #30
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Except that as far as I remember damaged human is 1, typical human is 2, best possible human is 3, so where's the nuance in characters' interactions with normal people and their attempts to live normal lives? I'd say it's a quarter or less of the GURPS resolution if you look at it in terms of what stat levels are meant to mean (as opposed to what the system gives you).
Huh? No. There's no indication that Attributes are so limited. Abilities are limited to 3 during initial creation, but you can buy them up with freebie points, and actually fairly cheaply. Three dots is described as "on the higher side of average," which surely doesn't sound like the limit of human capability.

For example, the writeup for Intelligence says that 4 dots is IQ 140 and 5 dots is IQ 160+. If you take that literally, I'm at 4 dots, and I think a number of the people I know are as well. Likewise, 4 dots of Stamina lets you run a marathon; 4 dots of Charisma means that large numbers of people are drawn to you; 4 dots of Wits is enough to be a standup comedian. Even if you don't take those literally, they are clearly trying to indicate things that are exceptional but not impossible.
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