So you want less complexity?

Any Rules questions you want to ask.

So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:11 pm

The basic WoD mechanic is quite serviceable. Attribute + Skill (+mods) + d10, compare to success chart for degree of success. However beyond this basis there's actually quite a bit of complexity. You have your Attribute and Skill but now comes the question, is it an Instant test? Extended? Extended slow and steady? The unofficial Instant/Extended hybrid that is combat attacks? And why dose Initiative work completely differently than any other test in the system?

Now obviously at some point you start devolving into subsystems but the fast divergence into different test types mean that I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain that no, 5 successes on an extended test is not an exceptional success, no, you don't redraw 10's for Initiative, no, you can't just pile more successes on that failed extended challenge. If everything used the same test structure then at least I'd save all the bloody time and trouble taken to explain the above and more time and time again.

Now it's easy to see why there are so many test types. Officially Instant tests only normally give one of four result: Dramatic Failure, Failure, Success, or Exceptional Success. Even when you count successes Instant tests are kinda terrible at representing long term action, as demonstrated by the Instant test vs long travel time of hedge journeys. Even odds by the end of it no-body remembers or cares who's driving...

So, boldly on to the point. Wouldn't it be convenient if all (or at least more) tests worked in the same way? Subsystems based on the same test output? Certainly from experience I find it easier to explain to new players how hedge travel and perception work but the instant Initiative gets rolled everything gets all confused. Because Instant tests alone are lacking for some challenges and even most Instant tests could do with a bit of the Extended's "it's how long you take" philosophy I propose changing over to a system in which the basic test is a Instant/Extended hybrid like combat: Every test has clear results but those results can build over time to a final goal. The test would work as follows:

Step 1: Forming the Test Pool
Attribute + Skill. Modifiers are also applied, with several categories of bonus and penalty being especially common.
• Equipment bonus. It's easier to hurt someone with a pointy stick than with your bare hands.
• Difficulty. When acting against another character this is often an Attribute, usually a Finesse one. It's hard to hit someone who's Dexterous, troublesome to pin down a Manipulative bastard in a lie, and a pain in the ass to follow the tracks of someone with enough Wits to muck up their trail. When there isn't an opposing side to a test then difficulty will likely be set by some other trait or arbitrarily based on the complexity of the action.
• Environmental. Sometimes a bonus, sometimes a penalty but the conditions can make a significant difference in one's expected rate of success.

Step 2: Getting Successes
Draw some cards, throw some fingers, or otherwise simulate a d10. Add this to your Test Pool and determine your successes (9 is 1 success, 12 is 2 successes and so on). If you Fail or Dramatically Fail then the ST takes over and bad things might happen.

Step 3: Determine Severity (Optional)
In a simple test we might only care about success/failure. In that case skip this step.

In many cases characters are attempting to make some change to the world. In this case we want to know the Severity of that change. This Severity is calculated as the testers Advantage - the tests Resistance. The Advantage is one of the character's Attributes, often a Power Attribute. The tests Resistance is an Attribute of the defender, often a Resistance Attribute, when there is a defender. When there is no defender the test Resistance is often defined by another trait (Durability) or based on the situation. Some things may modify Severity, such as tools or armor.

Step 4: Spending Successes (Optional)
If the player is satisfied with basic success at their current Severity they can skip this step.

Successes can be spent on "upgrades." One of the most common upgrades is to increase or decrease the Severity by one per Success spent. Different tests have different upgrades. A stab wound might be bleeding out while an impassioned argument might not only convince a character to join a cause but to bring in others as well. When traveling the hedge each Success on navigation can be spent to remove one character from consideration when determining travel time.

Successes can even be spent on additional similar actions using the same test pool. For example one might throw the sword from an opponents hand as well as cut them. These extra actions treat the character's Advantage as 0 for calculating base Severity.

Step 5: Resolution
Apply all effects of the test.

Sidebar: What about my other hand?
Usually characters will be doing one thing at a time. Sometimes however multiple things need doing at once, such as trying to shoot out an opponents tires while driving in the car chase. Characters suffer a -5 to the test pools of all actions for each action after the first.

Sidebar: Everyone wants to do something
When several characters all want to do things time is broken into rounds, each about a minute long. First everybody declares their character's action for the round. Then everybody dose the tests for their character's actions and results are applied simultaneously. The results of the tests represent the aggregate result of the characters attempt(s) over the round. A character might attack with a weapon many times but only connect a few times, for example. Characters can make a Dexterity + Composure? Initiative test to have one of their actions be applied before others in the round but doing so will, obviously, mean doing two things in the round and taking the appropriate penalty.

Sidebar: Didin't you just make the game so much more complicated?!?
Not really. Simple tests can still throw out the optional steps and be handled with a quick "Attribute + Skill + d10, is it 9+?". However the added complexity of this mechanic over what's in the core book's basic test mechanics (my half page to their short, quick 10+ pages) can be more than made up for when combat is reduced from 50 pages to about three pages covering how Severity converts to physical trauma and some example test pools. I will post up some examples of how this all could work in play later but (imo) the above should be clear enough that one can see how you might get injuries, sway, or crafting out of it.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Mephisto Asmodeus has killed another cop and thrown their body in the hedge. In an effort to remain at large he takes some time to clean up the scene. He rolls his Wits + Investigation and gets 2 success. His Intelligence is 2 and the ST decides that the Resistance of the evidence is 1 for a base Severity of 1. Mephisto adds his 2 successes to Severity for a total of Severity 3, which the ST notes down.

Detective Fier is studying the scene of the crime, again testing Wits + Investigation and getting 3 successes. Her Intelligence is 4 which the ST compares to the concealment of the crime, Mephisto's 3 Severity, for a base Severity of 1. Fier knows something is off. She spends 1 success to boost her Severity learning that there was a struggle at the scene which knocked aside furniture before it was replaced. She spends another success for the "upgrade" to ask the ST if there are any tracks. The ST reveals that there are marks that look like something was dragged and ends abruptly. Fier has found the gate and by extension deceased officer. She then attempts to use her final success to track anyone else that left the area but this would be another test tracking Mephisto. Her success is more than canceled out by this test's Resistance of Mephisto's Dexterity, 2.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Ovid » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:04 am

An interesting solution to the problem. I think I'd need to actually see it in play to really judge it, though. It does seem rather like the function of severity is somewhat ill-defined in this description of the rules, though. In the first example, its adding to your successes, and in the second its the target number you're trying to overcome. So is severity good or bad?
User avatar
Ovid
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:06 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:27 am

The number one thing Severity needs is a better name. Really really better name. I am not a poet.

But you have it a little backwards. In the first example Mephisto is adding his successes to his Severity and that Severity defines the degree to which his crime is hidden. In the second example the Severity Mephisto got is the Resistance* Fier has to overcome to get her Severity which describes how well she can see thru the coverup. Mephisto's Severity is good for Mephisto because it makes it harder for other people to tell he did something wrong but it's bad for Fier because she wants to find out Mehpisto did bad. Fier's Severity is good for her because she learns what she wants to know but it's bad for Mephisto because it means the ace detective has uncovered the first clues to the case.

Have you seen the stuff on rpg.net where they talk about the hight and width of success? Basically it's like that. Severity is the core of your success, how powerful your effect gets. Successes are spent to either increase this power or to broaden it. I slash you with my sword and get 3 successes. I could make the slash worse, ie spend successes to boost Severity, or I can spend the successes to get fancy, perhaps forcing you back or disarming you, taking a greater breadth of success.

* Resistance also needs a better name, doubly so because it's also a spirit Attribute.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:48 am

Another example, this time touching on possible crafting rules:
Note: for this example I'm assuming metal gets a Durability of 6 under the new rules.

Lucky Luke and Dr Brown are having a sword making competition.

Lucky Luke decides to make the biggest sword he can wield without penalty, Size 5. He is using his forge to heat the metal, so not cold iron. He makes the test of his Strength + Crafts - 5 (for the Size of metal he's working with) and gets 4 successes. His Strength is 4 and we subtract the metals Durability. Normally the Metal would have Durability 6 but the forge gets the metal hot enough that the durability is dropped by four points to a mere Durability 2. Strength 4 - Durability 2 gives Luke a base severity of 2. The Severity of the crafting roll determines the equipment bonus so Luke drops 2 of his successes on boosting this up to Severity 4 for an equipment bonus of +4 and spends the other 2 successes to buy the 9-agian mod; for the sword. He decides he wants to keep working on the blade but now the melting metal part of the process is done unless he wants to melt down, ie lose, what he's done so far. Luke gets only 3 Successes on his Strength + Crafts this time. His Strength is still 4 but the blades Dupability is 6 for a base Severity of -2. Luke has to spend 2 of his successes to boost the Severity of this test; to 0 before it can even produce positive change and then sinks the last success into Severity, to a total of 1, to give the sword and additional +1 for a grand total of +5.

Dr Brown is making a cold iron short sword, only Size 2. He tests Strength + Crafts - 2 (Size again) and gets 5 successes. His Strength (6) - Durability (6) give a base Severity of 0. He spends his 5 successes on boosting the Severity to 5 to make it a +5 cold iron short sword. He then takes the time Luke is using for sharpening to polish his cold iron beauty, a Dexterity + Crafts action. Polishing is a simple action so it won't have any Severity and will skip step 3. Dr Browns 2 successes on polishing simply give us a general idea of how shiny he makes it.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:57 am

Dr Brown and Beth are sparring. Beth takes a few swings at Brown and gets a single success. Her Strength of 1 and Browns Stamina of 2 give her a base Severity of -1. Adding in her 1 success can only give her a Severity of 0: It's a good she's only sparring. Dr Brown pops Beth one and gets a mere 4 successes. His Strength 6 and her Stamina 1 give him a base Severity of 5. Wanting to pull his punches he spends his 4 successes to reduce the Severity down to a 1, still inflicting a sprained wrist. Moral of the story? Don't spar with Dr Brown.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Byron Black » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:54 am

Sounds like the ST will need copies of every PC and NPC's stats and skills on hand for just about every test, and a large note pad to note down all the successes with what stat and used for what effect. Which sounds suspiciously like more overhead >.>

could be good, could be bad, needs a game or two of play testing and will very in effectiveness depending on the staffer.
Image Striking looks 4, Spring Mantle 3, Resources 5, Fame 1
User avatar
Byron Black
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:30 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:14 am

Bryon Black wrote:Sounds like the ST will need copies of every PC and NPC's stats and skills on hand for just about every test, and a large note pad to note down all the successes with what stat and used for what effect. Which sounds suspiciously like more overhead >.>

???
How do you come to that conclusion? I mean we're basically talking Attribute + Skill + Attribute as Advantage vs Attribute as Resistance instead of (commonly) Attribute + Skill vs Attribute + Skill. In the first case you need to know some of the stats of both parties involved in the test and in the second case you need to know some of the stats of both parties involved.

To put it another way if you don't need copies of every PC and NPC and a large pad to write down successes on now why would you need it with this system? If, under current rules Mephisto takes an extended action to clean his crime scene and gets 18 successes is this easier to remember? When Fier uses an Instant Test to search the area and gets 3 successes is it easier to translate into narrative now than it would be under the proposed mechanic?
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Ovid » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:47 pm

Fetch wrote:Dr Brown and Beth are sparring. Beth takes a few swings at Brown and gets a single success. Her Strength of 1 and Browns Stamina of 2 give her a base Severity of -1. Adding in her 1 success can only give her a Severity of 0: It's a good she's only sparring. Dr Brown pops Beth one and gets a mere 4 successes. His Strength 6 and her Stamina 1 give him a base Severity of 5. Wanting to pull his punches he spends his 4 successes to reduce the Severity down to a 1, still inflicting a sprained wrist. Moral of the story? Don't spar with Dr Brown.


To be clear, here, Beth's dexterity is still being subtracted from Brown's attack pool, yes? As a Difficulty penalty?

(Doctor Brown is obviously all-outing, because its Doctor Brown).

Edit: For that matter, would this system remove the "lower of dex or wits" thing for defense, or would that still be in there?
User avatar
Ovid
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:06 pm

Re: So you want less complexity?

Postby Fetch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:35 pm

Yes, Brown is suffering a penalty. I'm spending less detail on the bits that are the same as what we do now. There's no reason you couldn't use the lower of Dex or Wits but when making changes on this scale I don't see a reason to leave defense costing more than twice what attack dose, point for point.
User avatar
Fetch
Ring Member
 
Posts: 3922
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 pm

Next

Return to Rules Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron