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Willpower instead of strength to commit Diablerie?

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  • Willpower instead of strength to commit Diablerie?

    I was just reading the section on diablerie and thought it was a poor choice to say a character must roll strength at difficulty nine in order to diablerize a kindred.

    It seems like such a mentally trying ordeal to diablerize someone that I think it should require a willpower roll instead of a strength roll. I may be biased because I don't like the idea of some 'embraced yesterday' neonate who got jacked up on steroids before his embrace and then spent blood to raise his strength to six having an easier time diablerizing an ancient (the exaggerated nature of this example is largely for comedic value).

    To me, it seems a poor choice to say that one must roll strength (extended roll at diff 9) until all the victims health levels are removed, after all, that means if the Cainite in question has been staked and beaten up a bit, the diablerist would have an easier time doing the deed. Also, what if the victim is already at incapacitated, then the rules as written imply you do not need ANY successes at all, it doesn't say "one health level past incapacitated," it says "When all the victim’s health levels have been drained." This means that unless we reinterpret the rules, you don't even need a single success on the role! Though I would then say you must reduce all victims to minus one health level personally.

    I propose this, the diablerist must make an extended willpower roll (difficulty 9) and achieve a number of successes equal to the victim's permanent willpower. Every success drains the victim of one point of permanent willpower, reflecting the soul draining nature of diablerie and the damage even an incomplete diablerie can do to its victim.

    If the diablerist fails a roll, there is a threshold of one on the next roll and if the diablerist botches then the diablerie has failed and the diablerists must try again at some later date (length of refractory period to be determined).

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    You always need a minimum of one net success to succeed at a task. Basing it on Willpower instead of Strength effectively doubles the dice pool. Willpower is much cheaper than Strength, 1 per level instead of 5 per level, and is useful enough that the majority of my players in the majority of my games have created characters with maximum Willpower.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Zennis View Post
      It seems like such a mentally trying ordeal to diablerize someone that I think it should require a willpower roll instead of a strength roll. I may be biased because I don't like the idea of some 'embraced yesterday' neonate who got jacked up on steroids before his embrace and then spent blood to raise his strength to six having an easier time diablerizing an ancient (the exaggerated nature of this example is largely for comedic value).

      To me, it seems a poor choice to say that one must roll strength (extended roll at diff 9) until all the victims health levels are removed, after all, that means if the Cainite in question has been staked and beaten up a bit, the diablerist would have an easier time doing the deed. Also, what if the victim is already at incapacitated, then the rules as written imply you do not need ANY successes at all, it doesn't say "one health level past incapacitated," it says "When all the victim’s health levels have been drained." This means that unless we reinterpret the rules, you don't even need a single success on the role! Though I would then say you must reduce all victims to minus one health level personally.

      I propose this, the diablerist must make an extended willpower roll (difficulty 9) and achieve a number of successes equal to the victim's permanent willpower. Every success drains the victim of one point of permanent willpower, reflecting the soul draining nature of diablerie and the damage even an incomplete diablerie can do to its victim.

      If the diablerist fails a roll, there is a threshold of one on the next roll and if the diablerist botches then the diablerie has failed and the diablerists must try again at some later date (length of refractory period to be determined).

      Thoughts?
      I actually like this system and have used similar before. The actual rules for Diablerie (rolling Strength) seem kind of silly, especially since they are more or less overcome with a single dot of Potence. Switching it over to Rolling Willpower makes more sense to me.
      I think the permanent Willpower damage is interesting, but I don't know if I'd go that far with it. If I were to implement something like that, I would maybe just deal 1 or 2 permanent Willpower damage if the Diablerie got close, but failed. That's a pretty decent XP hit to replace those dots, and having someone possibly have to buy back up from 2 (after a near Diablerie) to 8 is a lot of XP.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        You always need a minimum of one net success to succeed at a task. Basing it on Willpower instead of Strength effectively doubles the dice pool. Willpower is much cheaper than Strength, 1 per level instead of 5 per level, and is useful enough that the majority of my players in the majority of my games have created characters with maximum Willpower.
        'kept that Strength isn't capped at 10 the way Willpower is, since even a 13th generation Kindred can pump his Strength to 6 before we factor in up to 5 dots of Potence. Heck, if the kindred in question starts With Strength 5, he's only out half his blood pool to raise that up to 10, and that'll give him three solid turns of rolling 10 Strength dice before it drops down to 6, and this is before we even talk about Potence. In theory we could be throwing 15 dice at the problem, which number theory tells us is a bigger number than 10.

        I'm not going to give exact figures since there are so many permutations that can get you up to the 7 successes you need to complete the diablerie, but I'll just point out that on a single roll of 10 dice at difficulty 9, it's 60% likely to score at least one success. And frankly, this is the sort of thing you should be spending your Willpower on anyway. No effect for botching a diablerie roll has ever been printed to my knowledge, and I don't feel like digging through the two Diablerie books to see if something special was ever published for that scenario, but let's just all agree that it would probably be a Very Bad Thing to botch your diablerie roll and assume that the character that DOESN'T WP and blood buff their way through Amaranth is going to be a very rare bird indeed.


        I seem to have acquired a site for running play by post games. This is unexpected and frightening and come watch either the glorious play or the magnificent train wreck:

        The Malkavian Madness Network

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        • #5
          I always thought the strength roll was to effectively keep them physically down, and wouldn't call for it if their target was staked, in torpor, or otherwise incapable of physically resisting.

          The black hand book has extended rules for diablerie, and it calls for opposed willpower checks, modified by the number of generations the diablerist gained, to see who controls the result. You could have a look at those. Making it an extended opposed willpower check has a lot of benefits, meaning you can't just throw potence autosucceses or willpower successes at the problem to make it go away.

          I don't think draining permanent willpower on unsuccessful diablerie attempts should happen. Diablerie either works or it doesn't. You can't get part of someone's soul.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
            You always need a minimum of one net success to succeed at a task. Basing it on Willpower instead of Strength effectively doubles the dice pool. Willpower is much cheaper than Strength, 1 per level instead of 5 per level, and is useful enough that the majority of my players in the majority of my games have created characters with maximum Willpower.
            But spending blood on potence, and potence is quite a common discipline, means you can simply auto succeed on diablerie as long as you have some blood in you. Most diablerists will likely have just gained quite a bit of Vitae.

            This makes any diablerie a foregone conclusion as long as you have several points of blood and a single dot of potence as anyone with only 1 dot of potence and a sufficient amount of vitae will automatically succeed on a diablerie roll (provided the auto successes generated by potence can not be cancelled by ones on the strength roll).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by idpersona View Post
              I actually like this system and have used similar before. The actual rules for Diablerie (rolling Strength) seem kind of silly, especially since they are more or less overcome with a single dot of Potence. Switching it over to Rolling Willpower makes more sense to me.
              I think the permanent Willpower damage is interesting, but I don't know if I'd go that far with it. If I were to implement something like that, I would maybe just deal 1 or 2 permanent Willpower damage if the Diablerie got close, but failed. That's a pretty decent XP hit to replace those dots, and having someone possibly have to buy back up from 2 (after a near Diablerie) to 8 is a lot of XP.
              Fair enough on the point regarding the massive loss of willpower. I kind of like the idea of a partial diablerie taking it's toll on the victim on a mental and spiritual level, even having them suffer a derangement and partial memory loss as well seems interesting.

              In fact, I think of diablerie as being so damaging that even a partial diablerie seems like it should leave a vampire partially drained of their disciplines and attributes as their soul and body have been permanently weakened by this terrible process (no hit to generation though).

              Part of your very essence has been drained from you and your body has been sucked dry, another vampire took part of what made you the very thing which you are, drinking in a part of your soul and life's essence. Diablerie seems like something that should leave a vampire crippled when it is almost done.

              That being said, I would never do this to a player character, nor would I use it as anything but a plot element for certain NPCs.
              Last edited by Zennis; 02-11-2017, 09:47 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                I always thought the strength roll was to effectively keep them physically down, and wouldn't call for it if their target was staked, in torpor, or otherwise incapable of physically resisting.
                V20 basically says that drinking someone's soul is a hard thing to do and that's why you have to roll (and fight) your way through committing diablerie.

                Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                The black hand book has extended rules for diablerie, and it calls for opposed willpower checks, modified by the number of generations the diablerist gained, to see who controls the result. You could have a look at those. Making it an extended opposed willpower check has a lot of benefits, meaning you can't just throw potence autosucceses or willpower successes at the problem to make it go away.
                I agree with the fact that you shouldn't just be able to Spend blood and willpower to the point that diablerie is a forgone conclusion.

                Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                I don't think draining permanent willpower on unsuccessful diablerie attempts should happen. Diablerie either works or it doesn't. You can't get part of someone's soul.
                I really, really like the idea of diablerie damaging the victim in a major way, leaving the victim scarred and drained but I definitely respect your opinion and have already asked my players what their opinion is on this so as to handle the issue democratically.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Zennis View Post

                  I really, really like the idea of diablerie damaging the victim in a major way, leaving the victim scarred and drained but I definitely respect your opinion and have already asked my players what their opinion is on this so as to handle the issue democratically.
                  Maybe a happy middle ground here is attempted diablerie draining temporary Willpower, with a side option of a Derangement being gained if the number of temporary Willpower points lost equals or exceeds Path rating or Conscience/Conviction, whichever is more appropriate for the sake of game balance. Or, alternatively, an attempted (but failed) diablerie forcing a Courage roll to avoid Derangement.

                  On the other hand, I've always balanced successful diableries with a Willpower roll, difficulty 9, immediately following, as the diablerist assimilates the diablerized vampire's soul and memories into their own. Dramatic success equals the vampire staying wholly their own. Basic success means memories, attitudes, relationships become jumbled, and the vampire often has difficulty figuring out what's "them" and what's not, but they still retain their basic personality. Failure indicates a failure to assimilate, which can lead to changes in Nature or Demeanor, loss of the vampire's own memories, and/or even Derangements if applicable. A botch doesn't necessarily mean the diablerie failed and the victim's soul overtakes the diablerist's, but it may as well as their victim's personality manifests itself so strongly in the diablerist they begin to think they are that vampire.

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