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Anatomy of Failed Design: Vampire
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mask_De_H wrote:

maglag wrote:
Is there any jedi in the movies that commits sudoku to wash his honor? Then I am calling bullshit in the space samurai anology.

Also even samurai used armor. And star wars has plenty of space armors. Yet jedi go to battle in robes to do not disrupt their delicate concentration.


God you're stupid. I swear you haven't said one intelligent thing in the 1142 posts you've made on this board.


Let me upvote this and hyzmarca's comment.

@maglag
A huge influence on Star Wars were Samurai Westerns of Akira Kurosawa, particularly Hidden Fortress. The droids were direct translations of the two peasants from that movie and funny enough, there was a Princess who traveled with the heroes and an Evil Empire. There was..a lot. And George Lucas has explained as much in interviews.

All that being set aside, your idea that a samurai has to look one particular way must be based on the smallest possible sample size. In Seven Samurai (arguably the MOST FAMOUS SAMURAI DEPICTION EVER), not a single one of the titular characters wears armor.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

"GAAA! The Jedi don't speak Japanese! They can't be Samurai!

Their sword isn't called a 'katana'! They can't be Samurai!

Their sword can cut a tank clear in half! Shit... maybe I'm wrong about this."
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd argue that Star Wars takes visual cues from Japanese films, but the themes are more Christian/Hollywood. The Sith and Jedi conflict is more like Crusaders vs Muhajadeen.
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You have to be pretty dense not to see any relationship between Star Wars and martial hero cliches. You don't have to stretch anything to describe Anakin's arc as that of a man failing to uphold the duties of his station before eventually redeeming himself at great personal cost.
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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One off-handed remark about the Jedi and the thread devolves into arguing about Lucas' sources and inspiration for the Jedi.

Truly, I've finally found where I belong.

The question still remains though: Given Frank's analysis of why VTM fails, what can nuWW do to make it not fail?


Last edited by ArmorClassZero on Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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maglag
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Whipstitch wrote:
You have to be pretty dense not to see any relationship between Star Wars and martial hero cliches. You don't have to stretch anything to describe Anakin's arc as that of a man failing to uphold the duties of his station before eventually redeeming himself at great personal cost.


Plenty of other martial heros besides samurai. Super swords and codes of honor and whatnot can be found pretty much everywhere-even among wizards, like Gandalf spends half of LoTR's battle time hitting things with a sharp piece of metal that was probably folded a million times through ancestral elven techniques or something and can cut tanks Balors in half.

Oh noes, Gandalf used a super sword, failed to uphold the duties of his station before redeeming himself at great personal cost, clearly he was supposed to be a samurai all along!

Oh wait, he's still a wizard.

If you want to call something a samurai expy, you need to point out they have something unique to samurais like an obsession with committing sudoku, not something completely generic like "has two legs, clearly a samurai".
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
The Sith and Jedi conflict is more like Crusaders vs Muhajadeen.


Er, not sure what you mean here.
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erik
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ArmorClassZero wrote:
The question still remains though: Given Frank's analysis of why VTM fails, what can nuWW do to make it not fail?


Have you looked at After Sundown? That was an least the first stab at an answer.

Edit: maglag. I canít tell which kind of stupid you are. Do you know what sudoku is?


Last edited by erik on Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

erik wrote:
Edit: maglag. I canít tell which kind of stupid you are. Do you know what sudoku is?


Huh...I didn't notice that in those two posts, and presumably nobody else except you did either.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

maglag wrote:
like Gandalf spends half of LoTR's battle time hitting things with a sharp piece of metal that was probably folded a million times through ancestral elven techniques or something and can cut tanks Balors in half.

...

If you want to call something a samurai expy, you need to point out they have something unique to samurais

Wait. Are you saying that folded Japanese blades aren't unique to Samurai because elves did it?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ArmorClassZero wrote:
Given Frank's analysis of why VTM fails, what can nuWW do to make it not fail?


When I made After Sundown, my analysis of World of Farkness was that it needed the following:
  • A strict codification on things that take up a large amount of conceptual space. Not only do you not bother with 17 tribes of Werewolf, you have a strict limit to the number of hell dimensions and evil global monster conspiracies. Under absolutely no circumstances should there be multiple different magic worlds with the same name (like nMage Arcadia and nChangeling Arcadia, fucking fuck).

  • A unified system of magic. A Vampire who shoots a firebolt and a Wizard who shoots a firebolt and a Demon who shoots a firebolt should all use the same mechanics. And furthermore, the way you interact with magic should be relatively consistent, with a handful of means to handle curses or detect magical interference.

  • A streamlined game system. Basically oWoD and nWoD are just perplexingly worse than SR4 at pretty much everything on a mechanical level and you can very easily replace rules that are bad to the point of unplayability with rules that are still functional and modern looking ten years after they came out.

  • Put all the monsters on the same playing field. If one player wants to play a Vampire and another player wants to play a Werewolf and another player wants to play Frankenstein's Monster, not only should they all be able to do that, but they should be game mechanically defensible in the same team and you shouldn't have to bend over backwards until you're sucking your own ass to justify such a teamup in-world.

  • No player options should be kill on sight to any other player options. This part seems pretty self explanatory, but for fuck's sake if you have any choice of type or creed in character generation that should not require you to fight to the death against any of the characters that the other players could plausibly come out of chargen with.

  • The number of total supernatural creatures need to be increased while the number of different ranks and hats needs to be decreased so that all the supernatural conspiracies can actually fit demographically in the world.


And I stand by all of those decisions. But equally I think there are more things I should have done and which I will do if I can even escape my current working 60 hours a week period and actually get some writing done.

    I went too far on reductionism. There is more conceptual space than what I was hammering on back then. Not only can the world take more than three flavors of Vampire, it should do so. And there's room for there being several specific politically important bloodlines of vampires, and that is a thing that should happen.

    I needed to go after the questions of biology and physics more. The mechanics of blood drinking, the observable effects of size changing, shit like that. It's a cooperative storytelling game, and the fundamental physics conceits of the world as it interacts with the player characters is very important and can't be effectively handwaved.

    Using the power point system from Vampire pretty much as-is was bad because that system is bad. I needed to overhaul the resource management system so that it encouraged people to do more in-character things and also be less fiddly.

    I needed a more formalized presentation of adventure structure and character generation. That's not a fundamental problem with the system or the world, just with presentation.

    In retrospect, a lot of combat rules especially can be streamlined further. I think that's pretty much always going to be the case.


-Frank
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

When I made After Sundown, my analysis of World of Farkness

Can't tell if this is on purpose or not...
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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RobbyPants wrote:
FrankTrollman wrote:

When I made After Sundown, my analysis of World of Farkness

Can't tell if this is on purpose or not...


I assume it was intentional. Like when Maglag said 'sudoku'. Clearly tongue-in-cheek... ROFL
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

maglag wrote:

Plenty of other martial heros besides samurai.


No fucking shit. The thing that makes this conversation stupid isn't that people think samurai stories are built exclusively of unique themes and Star Wars is influenced by them and only them. I guarantee you that nobody here actually thinks that. The problem here is that Hyzmarca said something broadly accurate--namely that "space samurai" is a more apt description for how the jedi concept was developed and story boarded than "space wizard"--and now you're doing stereotypical internet screeching about how that's impossibru because you can find soldier stories from other cultures. That's just a fucking dumb digression and in no way disqualifies samurai from having been a primary fucking influence, which they were, because George Lucas thinks Kurosawa shoots movies good.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:

In Seven Samurai (arguably the MOST FAMOUS SAMURAI DEPICTION EVER), not a single one of the titular characters wears armor.


In the last battle a bunch of them do; and it's a source of concern for the commander that they don't have: bows, arrows, swords, spears, & armour.

The pretender samurai berates the villagers until they give the samurai the army gear they've been stripping from wandering ronin that might possibly threaten the village.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/203403/Seven-Samurai-The-Movie-Clip-There-Are-13-Left.html
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mlangsdorf
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:
As long as your stating powers are limited by your Clan, there are going to be Clan specific archetypes.

Having a Ventrue be anything but a social character is wasteful, because he gets two of the best social powersets and one of the worst combat powersets.


There's no reason why you have to use the same powersets per Clan, or have the same effectiveness for the powersets. Or be as stingy about letting people grab powers outside their base powerset.

Assuming that game play is split primarily into social, investigative, and combat scenes, each powerset could have one power group that is good for each type of scene, and a fourth power group that doubles up on a type of scene. If you then let people grab a fifth powerset that can't be of the same type as the fourth set, then a Ventrue Muscle has the same number of good powersets for combat scenes as a Venture Aristocrat does for social scenes or a Brujah Muscle does for combat scenes.

Set up the game to let people play what they want.
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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

mlangsdorf wrote:
hyzmarca wrote:
As long as your stating powers are limited by your Clan, there are going to be Clan specific archetypes.

Having a Ventrue be anything but a social character is wasteful, because he gets two of the best social powersets and one of the worst combat powersets.


There's no reason why you have to use the same powersets per Clan, or have the same effectiveness for the powersets. Or be as stingy about letting people grab powers outside their base powerset.

Assuming that game play is split primarily into social, investigative, and combat scenes, each powerset could have one power group that is good for each type of scene, and a fourth power group that doubles up on a type of scene. If you then let people grab a fifth powerset that can't be of the same type as the fourth set, then a Ventrue Muscle has the same number of good powersets for combat scenes as a Venture Aristocrat does for social scenes or a Brujah Muscle does for combat scenes.

Set up the game to let people play what they want.

There has to be some explanation of why the clans ended with their recognizable roles, tho.

I don't even care if the explanation is "pure social inertia". Some Ventrue in the past went into finance and the simple realities of networking means they're still strong in this area today. It can be just that, but it should be spelled out, so that people can play in type, or against type, and it makes sense.
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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm curious here if anyone has played or heard of Ron Edward's Sorcerer or Dogs in the Vineyard by D. V. Baker?
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Heaven's Thunder Hammer
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Just wanted to chime and say (jedi and Star wars off topicness aside) this thread makes for really good reading. I identified a number of the problems Frank has with the game back when I played it in the late 90s, but I didn't really have the words to describe what felt wrong. Great thread!
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erik
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ArmorClassZero wrote:
I'm curious here if anyone has played or heard of Ron Edward's Sorcerer or Dogs in the Vineyard by D. V. Baker?


I remember demoing sorcerer at gencon like 10+ years ago, I think run by mr Edwards, and not being impressed at all. It was a long time ago though. I remember the scenario and recall thinking the mechanics were dumb.
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Omegonthesane
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I don't know how I encountered Sorcerer; never played, but I "acquired" the PDFs and it really doesn't give enough mechanical detail for anything remotely balanced. Although honestly the vast majority of the text is given over to potential setting detail in various ways and positions.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

nockermensch wrote:

There has to be some explanation of why the clans ended with their recognizable roles, tho.

I don't even care if the explanation is "pure social inertia". Some Ventrue in the past went into finance and the simple realities of networking means they're still strong in this area today. It can be just that, but it should be spelled out, so that people can play in type, or against type, and it makes sense.


Just having different powers is going to necessarily mean that there will be types that are better at being specific roles. While I think it's a good idea to make sure that whatever roles you envision are potentially playable with all the magic types, there are going to be synergies and costs and there will be things that line up and things that don't. Which is basically a tautology, but let's discuss how that works for a bit.

Consider Werewolf. Not the dog fucking part, the part where there are moon based character classes. I can't remember what the waxing and waning moon classes did because no one fucking cares, but the full moon type was the "warrior" the half moon type was the "face" and the new moon was the "rogue." But here's the thing: all of those fuckers still are werewolves and have the power to turn into a 3 meter tall wolf monster. This means regardless of whether you're a Rogue archetype Werewolf, you're still able to fight better than a Masquerade Vampire just based on the fact that you can turn into a monster and bite peoples' faces off. The Warrior archetype of Werewolf makes them better at fighting, and whether that matters or not depends on the opposition.

In Dungeons & Dragons the ability to be better at your main shtick in exchange for being worse at some secondary shtick is almost always a good deal. On the flip side, being worse at your main shtick in exchange for having some secondary shtick is almost always a bad deal. That's because tasks are level gated, and the ability to do better than your level at the tasks you're supposed to contribute to is really noticeable while the ability to attempt other tasks at a below level appropriate rate is essentially meaningless. It doesn't fucking matter how good your Barbarian is at Diplomacy because the party is going to shake the Bard at the problem regardless. And it doesn't matter how good at stabbing things your Wizard is, because the party wants you casting spells during Combat and not poking things with a stick. But in a modern setting skill based game there is no level gating. Combat and Stealth and Social challenges are simply around in the city and there's no specific level that the party is supposed to be in order to tackle them or order that that they must be attempted in. This means that the question "Should I invest in being even better at biting peoples' faces off or should I get better at hot wiring cars?" is not a question that has an easy answer.

The core issue is what opposition you're going to engage with. It's entirely possible that being a Werewolf and having some baseline combat skill is pretty much "enough" and that more stat points you put into Strength is essentially wasted. In such a scenario a Werewolf is better off being a wizard or a lawyer or something and contributing to non-combat encounters with the rest of their spells and skills. On the other hand, it's possible that you'll be up against enemy Leather Faces that are tougher than a baseline Werewolf and you'd better learn some time magic and strength boosting so that you can fight at that level.

In short, in a skill based system there isn't a consistent answer as to whether playing to type or playing against type is "better." It's answerable for any particular campaign, but isn't answerable for the game as a whole. And that fact has been mistaken by many people for the idea that World of Darkness was "balanced" or that it supported all kinds of characters. Those were definitely not true. It's just that without knowing a lot more about the expected opposition in your particular game I couldn't tell you which of many possible character types were non-viable.

You can definitely do better. But I still think you're going to find a situation where some tables will legitimately find that Werewolves are useless unless they are Warrior archetype and other tables will equally legitimately find that Werewolves are wasted in the Warrior archetype and should be literally anything else.

-Frank
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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

Just having different powers is going to necessarily mean that there will be types that are better at being specific roles. [...] The core issue is what opposition you're going to engage with. [...] In short, in a skill based system there isn't a consistent answer as to whether playing to type or playing against type is "better." It's answerable for any particular campaign, but isn't answerable for the game as a whole. And that fact has been mistaken by many people for the idea that World of Darkness was "balanced" or that it supported all kinds of characters. Those were definitely not true. It's just that without knowing a lot more about the expected opposition in your particular game I couldn't tell you which of many possible character types were non-viable.


Is it beyond the scope of this thread to propose changes to Vampire's System?

I mean, some of us have kinda hit at Setting details, but I mentioned Sorcerer and Dogs In The Vineyard because both of those systems were not skill-based, but much more abstracted having only 4-5 main attributes / stats and then bonuses based on descriptors / traits of your characters.

I was wondering if Vampire's disciplines could be tweaked / reworked to being more abstract and filling the space for task / conflict resolution that the Attributes, Skills, Talents, and Knowledges in the StoryTeller System currently do. For example, maybe Dominate is not literally mind-control, but can be abstracted to be any sort of physical, mental, or social dominance - i.e. you could construe dominate as chaining someone up or grappling them (physical situation), an instance of extreme self-control (mental situation), or a argument winning quip or retort or use of status / authority to get your way (social situation). Note that this doesn't preclude actual mind-controlling someone.

Heaven's Thunder Hammer wrote:
Just wanted to chime and say (jedi and Star wars off topicness aside) this thread makes for really good reading. I identified a number of the problems Frank has with the game back when I played it in the late 90s, but I didn't really have the words to describe what felt wrong. Great thread!

I concur. The thread was so good I had to create an account and necro it.

Edit: I'm reading After Sundown now.


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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

AC0 wrote:
Is it beyond the scope of this thread to propose changes to Vampire's System?

I mean, some of us have kinda hit at Setting details, but I mentioned Sorcerer and Dogs In The Vineyard because both of those systems were not skill-based, but much more abstracted having only 4-5 main attributes / stats and then bonuses based on descriptors / traits of your characters.


Moving forward, I don't think that there is any chance of not changing the Vampire system. Even while oWoD was a thing, the Storyteller System was pretty drastically different book to book and even chapter to chapter because White Wolf never had any "rules guys" until nWoD came around (and even then those rules guys weren't particularly good or inspired). But while I think the existence of Shadowrun 4 pretty much cements the idea that stat+skill dicepool systems can work for modern/near future games with low-end superheroes, things are not set in stone. If you had a radically different vision of how the rules could work, that would also be OK. I could imagine a system based on Feng Shui 1 or FATE, for example.

Now Dogs in the Vineyard in particular is an interesting one-shot party game, but it seems wholly unsuited for a long running campaign. Essentially it's an improve storytelling game where you are required to reference a specific set of keywords in a set of declarations one at a time and then start over with the same trait list two more times with an increasingly violent storyseed. Just the fact that having the trait "broken hand (d4)" is still strictly better than not having that trait in terms of final victory makes the whole thing too obviously ridiculous to sustain a campaign in the form that Masquerade often could.

I can't remember how Sorcerer worked because I didn't much care at the time and still don't. In general, Ron Edwards inspired Forge game design theory necessarily leads to making games that lack depth and would probably be better changed into board games. The most Forge-approved edition of D&D was 4th edition and the most common complaint was "This doesn't even seem like an RPG." Role Playing Games are actually completely the opposite of the "do one thing well" thing that Forgeites demanded out of their weird-ass GNS theories. If I wanted a single pure experience for an evening of entertainment I'd play Settlers or Pandemic. The strength of RPGs is actually the "incoherence" that we can change themes, setting elements, and even genres while maintaining continuity. We can keep a Shadowrun campaign going for 8 years precisely because we can do a musical comedy adventure one night, a bloody mystery horror another night, and a logistics & dragons style spreadsheet-fest another night and still maintain continuity of narrative. If I had to play Stars Without Number, Fiasco, or Dogs in the Vineyard for eight years straight I'd probably just kill myself.

I could definitely see doing Vampire with a more abstract resolution system. I could even see things done in a really weird setup where like the entire game is told past tense as a series of letters exchanged by people affected by the meta-narrative or whatever. But you still want to maintain the core idea that you have an eclectic group of player characters and they can and will have lots of different kinds of adventures that incorporate many different kinds of themes. So no matter how esoteric you decide to make the core game resolution system, you're still going to have essentially no use for the core philosophy of Ron Edwards.

-Frank
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ArmorClassZero
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Also, @Frank: I want to turn the bulk of this thread and your critique of nWoD into a YouTube video. IDK if I will get around to it, but do I have your permission? Lmao.
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