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  • Pregnancy rules

    Is there, in any cWOD book rules for pregnancy?
    I have seen some regarding garou, but those unusable for normal humans

  • #2
    Nope. There aren't really pregnancy rules for Garou. There's some rules that apply to pregnant Garou (like the impact of shifting in late pregnancy), but the WoD games don't bother with rules for getting pregnant, or rules for the potential complications of pregnancy, or any of that.

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    • #3
      Why would you need that?

      Not a rhetorical question, it will be easier to give some feedback knowing what you want out of it.


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      • #4
        I can't remember which book I read this in. It may even have been an Onyx Path YouTube discussion. It was talking about storytelling awakenings or a player and ST coming up with awakening backstory for a female character. It advised Against using the character's experience of being pregnant as a trigger for awakening.

        The differentiation went something like:

        "Awakening is suddenly realizing that the *World Around You* is not what it seems. Being pregnant is an experience of connection between an expectant mother and the life *Inside* her."

        That only pertains to awakenings.


        He/Him... I just Love Witches.

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        • #5
          I understand the desire for rules for pregnancy. There are obviously RPGs out there that go way into the weeds on all sorts of minutiae about stuff that seldom has a material or outcome-determinative effect on dramatic circumstances--Phoenix Command is an extreme example of this (having rules for powder loads and bullet drop is... certainly a choice someone made in 1990s.)

          I digress, if you really think about it, it's almost weird that more games don't have rules for pregnancy. WoD has rules for (among other things, and across various books,) electrocution, drowning, sun exposure, starvation, and the effects of more or less any drug, disease, or other human affliction. And look, I get that these are conditions that can be brought about with magic, and deployed offensively in dramatic situations, so it makes sense to cover them--that's fine. But even by those standards, it's weird that there's no pregnancy rules.

          None of this is going to be new information for anyone: pregnancy is something that that more or less half of the people on the planet will have, have, or have had the biological capacity to experience first-hand. It is an integral part to how our species propagates itself, which means that every single person alive today, or that has ever been alive, was the result of a pregnancy. So it's certainly more common than any one of number of conditions we have rules for in the WoD. That said, it obviously has great dramatic potential for telling stories (even without magic, monsters, the supernatural, etc.,) which is only heightened by the supernatural, myth, and magic, when you consider that pregnancy is at the center of any one of a number of religious and cultural rituals. As for why we might need rules for it, well, it is a literally transformative process, both biologically and psychologically. Pregnancy lasts on average for 3/4 of a year; it changes the pregnant person's body/morphology not-insignificant ways, to say nothing of the changes to one's brain chemistry; and then there's weirder stuff like the fact that pregnant people's immune system do not function with the same efficacy as non-pregnant peoples'. All of this to say that it is something A LOT of people go through; it's not shameful; and it's ripe for good roleplay and very cool dramatic situations... so it's the sort of thing you might want your character to experience, but it's also a complicated enough phenomenon that you're not going to do it any kind of real or dramatic justice by reducing it to one or two rolls, or just declaring the character is pregnant, and never worrying about it or having it affect them in any material way.

          So let's talk nuts and bolts: what does this actually look like from a mechanical sense? At a minimum we're looking at an ever increasing series of some combination of Attribute debuffs, and difficulty penalties. These would only increase as the pregnancy progressed (and let's not even get into all the postpartum shit.) Then you'd need rolls to reflect the chance of losing the pregnancy in response to more or less any even remotely significant trauma--I don't know whether it would basically amount to saving throw whenever the person took a certain amount of damage, or whether bashing damage to different parts of the body might convert to Lethal. And you may also need figure out some pretty dicey shit like whether you wanna wade into the socio-political minefield of determining at what point the fetus gets its own health level, and if so, how many, and for that matter, whether to give HLs to embryos or zygotes (probably depends on the kind of table you're at, the sort of people you're playing with.) As an afterthought disclaimer, let me just say that I'm spitballing here based on what I've read, and what my wife (who trained as an OB/gyn before moving to family medicine,) has told me; so for all I know, these proto-rules I just kneejerk came up in this paragraph with might be horribly offensive and inaccurate; regardless, the best people to figure out what these rules should be should probably be people with the biological capacity to become pregnant (if not people who have in fact actually been pregnant!)

          Having said all that, and though I support having pregnancy rules, I also very much understand why some stuff that would probably be very useful and relevant in certain WoD games would nevertheless not be covered in the books (even amongst other rules like the ones I outline above,) because shit can get very heated and ugly very fast depending on who is at your table. For instance, if you're a pregnant shifter, or a pregnant Mage (particularly one with Spirit, Prime, or Mind,) I can see why it would be incredibly relevant to ask and have answered the question of when a fetus (or embryo, or zygote) gets its capital-S "Spirit" or an (Unawakened) Avatar or whatever other intrinsic metaphysical essence any particular WoD game happens to have (the soul by any other name).

          Mind you, I'm not trying to get into those very fraught sorts of discussions in this thread, or even in these forums. I'm simply making a case for there being value in portraying pregnancy through roleplaying and in games, and a case for having rules that do justice to what pregnancy does, how it changes someone and how it operates--but at the same time, I'm also trying to acknowledge that there are practical and potentially political difficulties to fleshing out pregnancy in every every way that would make sense in these games, which makes the entire undertaking an exercising in needle-threading. But, you know, probably worth it.

          Apologies for the wall of text--this sort of thing has never occurred to me, and the moment I read the thread name, I immediately has a thousand thoughts about this.


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          • #6
            The reason why there aren't pregnancy rules is actually pretty simple:

            Simplifying pregnancy enough to be a fun gameable element without making it so abstract that you lose important parts of pregnancy (and probably end up with a highly idealized version of it that is biased in various ways) as a narrative element.

            Maybe you can import the Conditions from the CofD, you can do something that's a bit better (esp. the concept of sequential Conditions where you lose one and gain a new one), and the opt-in dramatic failure rules make sure players have a say in whether or not certain things don't come up if they don't want to deal with those for their character. But even then it's probably only going to suit a fraction of people that would want it, and you'd need a couple of them to cover a significant number of people's desires.

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            • #7
              EDIT: Eh, never mind. What Heavy Arms said.
              Last edited by 21C Hermit; 09-14-2021, 11:49 PM.


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              • #8
                The first question I would ask is whether miscarriage caused by violence should be avoided in the story altogether. That's something to discuss as a group if one of the players' characters is pregnant. It could be that both Traditions and the Technocracy have rules against harming a pregnant woman of the opposing faction.

                I would also look at how pregnancy affects Willpower recovery. Mages can recover WP in one of two ways. They can meditate. Are there symptoms of pregnancy that would prevent meditation deep enough to recover WP? The other way to recover WP is to act in accordance with her Nature. Suppose her Nature is Vigilante or Martyr and there's a call to action. Would the player be unable to recover WP because she's avoiding conflict until the baby is born? The question that naturally follows is whether being pregnant increases her WP recovery rate, reflecting her determination to obtain what she and her baby need despite mobility issues.

                Can Spirit Magick be used to cause a deceased member of your Tradition to reincarnate as this child if the Magick is done before conception? What's the difficulty and what happens if you botch?




                Last edited by HorizonParty2021; 09-15-2021, 12:40 AM.


                He/Him... I just Love Witches.

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                • #9
                  Just because a phenomenon is natural but complex doesn't means it needs rules and dice rolls.

                  Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day. I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.

                  Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting.
                    That is really callous.

                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
                    If you want to give someone new a chance to ST, you could use this as a guideline. It talks about Lines and Veils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjG-YbG_Q1k

                    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                    Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.
                    Personally, I would just have the pregnancy (chosen by the player) happen during downtime when everyone is learning new Spheres.


                    He/Him... I just Love Witches.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HorizonParty2021 View Post
                      If you want to give someone new a chance to ST, you could use this as a guideline. It talks about Lines and Veils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjG-YbG_Q1k
                      I know a lot of those tools and some more, but unfortunately I'm not sure it will help. I've been trying, but I really became a very annoying player, I just can't stop trying to teach the ST how to do their job, and only recently I noticed how much it is the fear of going through that same kind of BS again.

                      As much as it is just a game, a good story draws you into it, and precisely because that you become emotionally invested, and pregnancy is an emotionally draining theme by nature.

                      To be honest, had he talked with me about it, it wouldn't be completely out of question to go through it. I have zero problems with this stuff and worse in a story, happening to my characters. I've already full on played as the victim of a Nefandus that ended up seeing her daughters dying in a nuclear explosion, destroyed body and soul. I would have some input to make and that's it. Railroading me into a pregnancy and abortion without any input, that was more traumatic than I realized at the time.


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                      #AutismPride
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                        Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day. I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
                        That's so far past the line on so many levels... Railroading. Loss of agency. Character violation. I'm not surprised you have trust issues from it.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                          Just because a phenomenon is natural but complex doesn't means it needs rules and dice rolls.
                          There are enough 'rules lite' games out there--even diceless RPGs--that I would seriously call into question how much rules or rolls the hobby actually "needs". However, if one is playing or running a game in which the outcome of dramatic conflicts is mediated by rules and rolls, I'd question what the point even is of roleplaying a character being pregnant if there's literally no actual effect on how the pregnant character interacts with, or moves through the world. For example, if a character is an Akashic and typically mixed it up in close combat (with all the athletic pizzaz that probably entails,) and they get into a fight while they're 9 months pregnant, but there's nothing in the dice or the rolls that gives any deference whatsoever to the ways that might affect a person's mobility, or the idea that they may need to change their fighting style to avoid getting hit in the stomach (or whatever else,) I can understand how that might not be satisfying to someone else at the table (maybe even someone who has actually been pregnant) who might fairly take the position that it breaks their immersion into the game to see pregnancy handled like it's just a big belly that doesn't have any material effects on any of the person's capabilities. However, by that same token, I can also see a table agreeing to handwave that everything is going to be fine with the pregnancy regardless of what happens in the game (i.e., the character could get shot, but the players and ST would have prenegotiated that there won't be any problems with the pregnancy.) My point is that this is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

                          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                          Pregnancy is a powerful narrative tool, and badly conducted is a powerful way to destroy your game, your players' confidence and the general mood of the day.
                          I agree, but this same sentiment can go for basically anything. Everyone's red lines are different; the obvious and common ones (or at least the issues most often discussed within the ambit of conversations about player consent and content warnings,) are things like sexual violence, child abuse, genocide, and blatant/extreme overt racism; but it can be anything (I know people whose only red line is that dogs cannot be hurt,) because people can have had any and all kinds of experiences in their lives, and they're entitled to say what they don't want to see in the game they're playing for fun (just like the ST and other players are entitled to tell that person that that particular game is going to be fundamentally incompatible with their stated desires.)

                          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                          I had already an ST that made my character pregnant without my input on the matter and it was horrible. Later he made her have an abortion for a plot of his in the same manner and it was absolutely disgusting. I ST nowadays because since that I have a hard time trusting an ST enough to play.
                          This might be one of the shittiest things I've ever heard happening at a table, and I echo other people in this thread in saying that I can't very well blame you for having ST/GM trust issues after that.

                          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                          Don't do rules on pregnancy. Roll with whatever makes sense for the characters and the story, and really, with the input of the players.
                          I only agree with that first part (i.e., "don't do rules on pregnancy,") to the extent that it is subject to the considerations of the second part (i.e., do whatever makes sense for your table.)


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            I know a lot of those tools and some more, but unfortunately I'm not sure it will help. I've been trying, but I really became a very annoying player, I just can't stop trying to teach the ST how to do their job, and only recently I noticed how much it is the fear of going through that same kind of BS again.

                            As much as it is just a game, a good story draws you into it, and precisely because that you become emotionally invested, and pregnancy is an emotionally draining theme by nature.

                            To be honest, had he talked with me about it, it wouldn't be completely out of question to go through it. I have zero problems with this stuff and worse in a story, happening to my characters. I've already full on played as the victim of a Nefandus that ended up seeing her daughters dying in a nuclear explosion, destroyed body and soul. I would have some input to make and that's it. Railroading me into a pregnancy and abortion without any input, that was more traumatic than I realized at the time.
                            In my early days of WoD gaming, I often got into the same argument with a fellow storyteller. He emphasized that it's world of Darkness in which you are DOOMED hero doing their best and facing Personal Horror. I kept saying that it didn't have to be that, especially with Mage and that Constant Horror isn't scary, just oppressive, "Oh, my vampire frenzied and killed his true love - again.". The troupe kept getting larger until this one guy came along who was not a nice person to begin with and reveled in the personal horror aspect, more so for other characters and the players playing them than his own. In Mage, he would approach the ST and whisper, "If you want me to play the Nephandi infiltrator-corruptor I can.". He would take Mind, the overpowered Sphere. Most of us had Willpower 5, making the role of tricking people into entering the Caul easy, rules-wise. The Caul is disgusting.

                            My character being railroaded by RAW into becoming a Nephandi, I tried to roleplay this to the best of my ability, "So what's our goal?". I took the answer to the logical conclusion. The story being set near the capitol of a nuclear armed country, I proposed to cause an ICBM launch against another nuclear armed country. Then, I was personally criticized by the same player for taking the game too far.

                            The troupe got a lot smaller after this guy imposed his hardcore demands on our campaigns. I was an inexperienced storyteller with few books to reference and less space to accommodate play. Given the choice, most people came to me for games instead of the ST with all the books. At the time, we were all trying to navigate adolescent sexuality. It just naturally occurred to me to respect what female gamers were dealing with IRL, the game being an enjoyable escape.
                            Last edited by HorizonParty2021; 09-15-2021, 03:19 PM. Reason: punctuation


                            He/Him... I just Love Witches.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                              However, if one is playing or running a game in which the outcome of dramatic conflicts is mediated by rules and rolls, I'd question what the point even is of roleplaying a character being pregnant if there's literally no actual effect on how the pregnant character interacts with, or moves through the world.
                              How is there no rules for something the same as there being no effect on how the character interacts with or moves through the world?

                              One of those strange things that frequently gets ignored until someone realizes it might matter: the WoD doesn't have rules for swimming (or at least most of the editions/gamelines haven't had them, and even explicitly aquatic characters doesn't have much beyond normal movement, but they can do it in water), even though there are rules for drowning. Does that mean nobody in the WoD can swim unless they're part of one of a few specific splats? Obviously not, it just means that the game didn't feel like we needed more rules than "make an Athletics check with an appropriate Attribute if it seems important."

                              You can already call for a Stamina roll if a pregnant PC is exerting themselves in a risk fashion if you feel it's appropriate. The rules provided in the texts are explicitly meant to be representative of what the system can do, not exhaustive.

                              And, of course, people play these games for reasons other that purely mechanical impacts. A player that wants to explore how their character reacts to being a parent doesn't need rules around pregnancy to experience that. If I make a character from Seattle that just moved to Oklahoma City, there's no mechanics for adjusting to a new home with a very different culture, but there seems to me an obvious point to playing that: it would be enjoyable to explore.

                              For example, if a character is an Akashic and typically mixed it up in close combat (with all the athletic pizzaz that probably entails,) and they get into a fight while they're 9 months pregnant, but there's nothing in the dice or the rolls that gives any deference whatsoever to the ways that might affect a person's mobility, or the idea that they may need to change their fighting style to avoid getting hit in the stomach (or whatever else,)
                              The books similarly don't have the dice show any difference, or reduce the mobility, of a character based on the size of the heels on their shoes. Fighting in flats is the same as fighting in 6 inch pumps; or the ST has to make a rules call on something not explicated in the rules like the rules say they should.

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