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  • Change powers activation

    The world of darkness system has a hell of a lot of dice roll, especially in combat. Of course this system allows a good accuracy on how successful is the action but the rules ask too much roll

    My players are complaining about it for a while now, so i've adapt v20 rules by mixing them with some v5 rules to reduce the rolls. Unfortunatly we have hard time trying to reduce or even skip the Gifts/Disciplines rolls

    Of course difficulty of those roll are there to prevent getting to much success and get a low level power getting godly efficient but we're looking for a brand new system specially for powers

    A quick exemple: when using a gift that ask a roll you immediatly get as many success as your character willpower, but not the permanent points, the tempopary ones. As you can use them to get auto success or to activate a power and are hard to recover, the longer is the action, the less powerfull will be the character's powers. In addition with this idea they would have to decide if they spend their point to avoid botch or using high level Gifts/Disciplines or if they keep them
    Naturally this would also mean changing the price of activating some of the powers so that they rely more on willpower and they would also lost efficiency by involving the wound penalty to it (ex: a garou with 6 temporary willpower would activate a power as if he had 6 success, but if he's crippled he fall to 1)
    But it isn't right because some powers, especially garou gifts are really powerfull, so a new pc that spend point on willpower at the creation would be too efficient

    So do you think that it's possible to reduce or skip the powers rolls through an houserule or do you think it's better keeping them to prevent issues?
    Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 08-24-2022, 06:00 PM.

  • #2
    It's less a question of preventing issues and more that the powers are the core of the game, and the simplest roll on top of that (the power says what you roll, at which dif, and what you get). Changing them seems to be the worse approach to reducing the excess of dice rolls.

    Changing them in the way you're proposing would be a major overhaul, and in that case I think remaking them would be actually easier. But short of that, you may try to just give your players a "pool of successes" for them to draw from without rolling dice. Lets say, 20 per player per session, add or reduce to adjust to the frequency of rolls. They may be numbered chips, and they can only spend chips with an equal or greater value than the difficulty.

    This will replace the dice with something simpler and maybe more fun for you to use, not too different from the amount of bookkeeping in your idea, but bypassing the need to change mechanics or worry about a character's traits (your idea will make Willpower even more important as a trait, too much important).


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    • #3
      So keeping the roll but add a new mechanic in addition, the pool of success is a good start

      One of my player suggest me this: you can sacrifice some die in exchange of success, they will become penalty for all next roll and will recover only one by one. In game if the player use troll skin gift and sacrifice 4 dices, he will lose them for all his action on the next round and will recocer them 1 by one each new round. He said that it will represent the garou getting exhausted by activating a gift to fast or to strong instead of focusing to use it. I was like "mmmm, i need to think about something else, it might be a good start of thinking but i can't help but think for powerfull powers it's would be overpowered, especially some that inflict unsoakable damage or very powerful effects"

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      • #4
        Firstly, I'd refine the core dice rolling mechanic to make it easier to take half. The easiest way to do that is just use the V5 core dice rolling mechanic, but if you don't want to, here's how I'd make that work with V20.

        Choose one of the following:

        Option 1: Make all rolls aim for a target number of 7+ and make 10s double. (The Exalted method, essentially.)

        Option 2: To retain some classic VTM flavour, aim for 6+, with 1s subtracting and 10s counting double. This is roughly the same as the Exalted method, though those deducting 1s make things a bit more chaotic.

        In either case, just add an extra die for a specialty instead of using exploding 10s or whatever.

        This means each die is worth 0.5 successes, which makes it easy to run the game diceless. Now you can easily take half for all dice pools.

        When using take half, round up for supernaturals and down for mortals.

        Anything listed in the core rules (pre-V5) as difficulty 6 will work using the system, whether going for option 1 or 2.

        If the RAW difficulty in V20 or earlier is 7, 8 or 9, deduct 1, 2 or 3 dice before rolling (or taking half).

        (Difficulty 10+ is no longer an issue, as you can just keep subtracting dice until there are none left.)

        If the RAW difficulty in V20 or earlier is 5, 4 or 3, add +1, +2 or +3 dice before rolling (or taking half).

        If RAW applies a +/-1 difficulty modify, deduct or add a die before halving the dice pool. This works the same as above.

        So if a roll is difficulty 8 with five dice, deduct two dice, and then halve the dice pool. That's your automatic successes (two successes for a vampire).

        If you have five dice but a roll has a +2 difficulty modifier, deduct two dice, and then roll or take half. That would also give two successes (rounded up) if you use take half as a vampire.

        If the RAW difficulty is 8, but there's *also* a +2 difficulty modifier, simply deduct four dice. With that dice pool of five, that's one die (one automatic success, rounded up for vamps).

        This system will work for any dice roll in the game. It's based on the fact that a -1 or +1 difficulty adds or subtracts ~10% chance of success per die.

        So if we take 5 dice as our average dice pool for PCs, a +/-1 difficulty works out as half a success either way (or one die).

        If you have large dice pools (10+), a -/+1 difficulty is equivalent to adding or subtracting a whole success, but those dice pools should be quite rare. So I think basing the maths off 5 dice as an average is better and makes things simpler.

        If rolls are opposed and you don't want to roll, either compare the results of taking half, or deduct the opponent's dice pool from the player's, and then halve what's left.

        But this will result in zero successes for evenly matched opponents, so you should roll one die to settle draws (failure goes to the opponent).

        If you're left with negative dice, the result would go to the opponent. Their relative successes would be half the difference between your dice pools (so if they have 9 dice and you have 7, they'd count as having two dice, or one success with the take half rule).

        Hope that helps.
        Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 08-26-2022, 09:20 AM.


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        • #5
          adambeyoncelowe that was exactly what we were looking for, thanks a lot!
          We already adapt our rule by using v20 and v5 to suppress a lot of roll (especially in combat) but there were still a lot we simply couldn't suppress without breaking the game, so your method fit perfectly

          (Edit) The only bad side i see is that it doesn't work well with big pool (10+) and if you have 5 dice you can pass all rolls whatever difficulty it is. If diff 10 take away 4 dice, then if you have 5 you pass with 1, and with powers like celerity or shifting like hispo and lupus form then you can easily get to 7, 8 or higher. A werewolf with dex 5, stealth 5 and in lupus form has 12 dice to roll, even with the difficulty getting to 10 he would have 4 success, so with the raw difficulty of 6...
          In any case it's not a system to replace rolls just to pass some so it work pretty well
          Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 08-26-2022, 06:46 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
            adambeyoncelowe that was exactly what we were looking for, thanks a lot!
            We already adapt our rule by using v20 and v5 to suppress a lot of roll (especially in combat) but there were still a lot we simply couldn't suppress without breaking the game, so your method fit perfectly

            (Edit) The only bad side i see is that it doesn't work well with big pool (10+) and if you have 5 dice you can pass all rolls whatever difficulty it is. If diff 10 take away 4 dice, then if you have 5 you pass with 1, and with powers like celerity or shifting like hispo and lupus form then you can easily get to 7, 8 or higher. A werewolf with dex 5, stealth 5 and in lupus form has 12 dice to roll, even with the difficulty getting to 10 he would have 4 success, so with the raw difficulty of 6...
            In any case it's not a system to replace rolls just to pass some so it work pretty well
            Sure, but at 10+ dice, you *should* be succeeding all the time, frankly. That's the pinnacle of human competence in most cases.

            If you don't want to roll at all, that may be a problem, but I would always make the players roll for the stuff that really counts. And it seems you don't want to remove dice entirely.

            I would also pay attention to how V20 describes the different degrees of success. One success is actually only a "marginal success". You need two or more successes for a full success.

            I always treat "marginal success" like V5's "win at a cost" -- i.e., you succeed, but there's a complication or drawback. That works well, because players often have a choice between taking a marginal success without rolling, or taking a chance and rolling the dice pool -- but risking failure.

            Using marginal success as win at a cost means you'd need at least three dice after all deductions to get an automatic success without drawbacks (four dice if you're a mortal). At Difficulty 10, that's seven dice minimum (eight for mortals). And don't be afraid to stack modifiers as you see fit.

            The alternative is to double the modifiers, so instead of +/-1 dice per -/+1 difficulty, you use +/-2 dice instead. But that means people will really suck at their lower dice pools, so I wouldn't recommend it.
            Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 08-27-2022, 02:57 AM.


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            • #7
              Oh, and if it's combat you're worried about, use the Streamlined Combat rules from V20DA. Make damage and soak static numbers, so you're only rolling for an attack. Combat is then quite lethal but very fast.

              To balance that, we made it so vamps only enter torpor when they have a health track full of aggravated damage, and they can only meet Final Death if they are in torpor and are dismembered (five actions required to remove head, arms and legs) or suffer further aggravated damage from a bane (sunlight, fire or True Faith). That stops accidental PC death or torpor, while making combat really fast.

              You can also use VTR2e rules for damage: all damage is downgraded one step, so lethal becomes bashing, aggravated becomes lethal, and only the banes of sunlight, fire and True Faith continue to do aggravated damage. Don't halve bashing damage but let one blood point heal two levels of it instead. That means lupines only do lethal damage, as do claws with Protean 2. At your discretion, Discipline powers rated at four dots or higher can do aggravated damage.

              Or you can take half for damage and soak instead of all the above, and then you can use the normal rules for death and torpor. Combat will work much as it is in RAW V20, but there will still be a lot of aggravated damage flying around.

              Either way, if you use popcorn initiative instead of rolled initiative, then you end up with significantly fewer dice rolls in combat.
              Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 08-27-2022, 03:07 AM.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                Oh, and if it's combat you're worried about, use the Streamlined Combat rules from V20DA. Make damage and soak static numbers, so you're only rolling for an attack. Combat is then quite lethal but very fast.
                In fact here's what we have made for combat with my friend:
                When fighting you can use Strength or Dexterity with brawl or melee. The difference between the 2 is you cannot hit specific part of your ennemy by using Strength, if you want to hit non protected part, head, internal organs or use combat maneuvers you must use Dexterity.
                In fight you roll only once against your opponent, and as always in contested roll your success cancel those of your opponent. The last success are the base damage inflicted, on those you add the damage multiplier of your weapon/attack (crinos claws = +2, Double handed sword = +4...) and for firearms we use the same multiplier as in v5. Soaking is always full, so with a resistant opponent players has to weaken him by ripping his protection off or target specific part to avoid protection, and of course if the target cannot soak lethal and/or aggravated, he take full damages

                Initiative is rolled only once at the beggining of the combat or pre-established depending on how the fight start (exemple: if the player successfully attack by surprise his opponent, then he will act first for the rest of the fight). Initiative can change during the fight depending on what happen.

                For other damage like fire we do that: if you cannot soak the damage you take full. If you can but the soaking difficulty is higher than you stamina (werewolf)/fortitude (vampire) then the damage you take is cap a 2 per round max. If the soaking difficulty is equal or lower than your stamina (werewolf)/Fortitude (vampire) then the damage you take is cap at 1 per round. If the action made by the pc reduces flame intensity he take -1 damage for the round (the st is the only one to decide if it's the case or not). To extinguish the flames the pc must spend a full turn doing so without being interrupted.
                For electricity it work the same way but the soaking difficulty is the same as lethal (as said in Vtm v20).

                As you can see most of those are adapted from v5. The last we would like to accelerate or pass when it's possible are Gifts and Discipline rolls. Accelerate whith your method when the player want to or pass when only 1 success is enough to trigger the effect. We know we cannot pass all of them, some are contested or has very high difficulty to limit it's already extreme powerfull effects.

                Plus in my vampire campaign one of my player is a very old 8gen tremere, and he's been frustrated to see that even with 8 or 10 dice to roll (for aura perception for exemple) he sometime doesn't obtain the success he need to get the information he need despite the age and experience of his character.

                I understand that some powers remains hard to use even with experience but on the other side it feel frustrating to live it as a player with that kind of character.
                Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 08-27-2022, 08:00 AM.

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                • #9
                  In VtR 2nd you only roll one pool per attack. Defense is subtracted from Attack dice and damage is successes plus weapon, no rolls. Stamina goes to Health levels, lethal damage is a little rarer and Aggravated a lot rarer even before Vampire's sturdiness being applied. It reduces rolls in combat a lot, and generally works well.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    In VtR 2nd you only roll one pool per attack. Defense is subtracted from Attack dice and damage is successes plus weapon, no rolls. Stamina goes to Health levels, lethal damage is a little rarer and Aggravated a lot rarer even before Vampire's sturdiness being applied. It reduces rolls in combat a lot, and generally works well.
                    I've heard of those rules, it's been part of developpement for the system i described higher.
                    Last edited by Cain Loup-Noir; 08-27-2022, 04:59 PM.

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                    • #11
                      In our party when we think about new gameplay mechanics our first priority is to really incorporate it in the game, not give a meta bonus, that's why it's hard to simplify powers roll.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cain Loup-Noir View Post
                        In our party when we think about new gameplay mechanics our first priority is to really incorporate it in the game, not give a meta bonus, that's why it's hard to simplify powers roll.
                        I think take half solves most of your problems. If people fail too often, you could allow them to spend Willpower after the fact to get a success or re-roll three dice. That might help.

                        You could also make Willpower a bit easier to come by -- e.g., whenever someone rolls 5+ successes (you must roll, not take half), whenever someone gives into the Beast for a moment (such as lashing out or feeding at an inopportune time), at the end of every scene, etc.

                        One way to do it is to allow every character to roll their permanent Willpower every night when they arise, and then restore points equal to the successes. Or maybe do that at the start of the session.

                        Restoring all WP at the start of every session would also work. It may be too generous, though, depending on your own style and preferences.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                          I think take half solves most of your problems. If people fail too often, you could allow them to spend Willpower after the fact to get a success or re-roll three dice. That might help.
                          In fact what my friends want is stability when they use their powers, at least when they're in calm situation instead of getting one time 1 success and other time 4 when they have big pool.
                          The easiest way but the longest is to rewrite each powers to give them fix effect, this way pc wojld roll only when their pool is lower than the difficulty.
                          The fastest but hardest is to rewrite the auto-success system or houserule something for powers only
                          An idea i've had when a power need a roll and need only one success to work you don't roll if you have the same pool as the difficulty. When the effect are defined by the number of succes then you turn that number into fix difficulty. The base would be 6 to the equivalent of 1 success, 7 is equal to 2 success, 8 = 3 and 10 is equal to 5. Spending willpower allow to get the 6th. If you have less than 6 dice then you must roll to atteign only the first success and have the basic minimal effects.

                          Problem is that some power use at the same time difficulty and number of success (the jam technology gift is a good exemple).

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                          • #14
                            I was trying not to go into this, but the more I read here the more I think that you're actually better off learning VtR 2nd and adapting it to the setting of Masquerade. Most of the changes you and your group want are exactly what they did there, period.

                            Sorry, but you're almost on the road of remaking the system anew because you don't really like it. There are other systems that work better for what you want from the game, not only VtR. Unless the huge work you're putting into transmuting the classic WoD system into something else is being that much fun for you, just look for better alternatives.


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                            • #15
                              In fact i like to make it my own, so... the 2nd edition of vampire requiem and werewolf the forsaken is it? I look inside and see what i can find
                              Your pool of success is a good one too, it need some restriction and limit and as i said we need to incorporate it in the game as a real caracteristic and not a meta bonus. The take half and the pool of success are smart trick

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