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Rule of thumb for die pools for NPCs

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  • Rule of thumb for die pools for NPCs

    So, haven't run a vampire game for ages and back then I just statted out all the NPCs on full characters sheets. Ain't nobody got time for that now. I know some games have guidelines like "bonus to roll =level for something an NPC is good at, level-4 for something they aren't good at" (example for illustration not for any real system).

    Is there any similar guideline based on age or generation or station for Vampire? Obviously it depends on a lot of variables including your own campaign, but I'm just looking for a starting point.

    Thanks very much for the hand.

  • #2
    Important NPCs get full sheets, but otherwise I never bother with them for general NPCs. 4 dice for a task they are professionally good at, 6 dice for things they're particularly good at. 8 or more dice in something only happens if they're an expert in something. Nothing changes for Elders that I don't need to fully stat up, except that they have more things they have 6 dice or more in.

    I do the same thing for powers, winging it on determining the dice pool they have for each effect based on how skilled I want them to be based on the purpose they have in the story.


    When one is accustomed to privilege, equality seems like oppression.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TidyGamer View Post
      Important NPCs get full sheets, but otherwise I never bother with them for general NPCs. 4 dice for a task they are professionally good at, 6 dice for things they're particularly good at. 8 or more dice in something only happens if they're an expert in something. Nothing changes for Elders that I don't need to fully stat up, except that they have more things they have 6 dice or more in.

      I do the same thing for powers, winging it on determining the dice pool they have for each effect based on how skilled I want them to be based on the purpose they have in the story.
      This sounds good, I just make shit up as I go, I often toss some dice so it seems like I'm rolling even though I'm making arbitrary calls (for most rolls) based on what seems appropriate. Even the initiatives of NPCs is decided after I get the player initiatives and is determined strictly based on what is going to make combat more cinematic.

      You can't let randomness decided things like who lives or dies in combat, or who rises or falls in the vampire court, you have to make a decision based on what's going to make for a great story!!!

      If the player's all get killed off because they made a series of bad rolls in combat and then you make a series of amazing rolls (for the NPCs who are fighting them), then you have to 'fudge' things.

      Imagine if you're entire game, one which you also long to play (where the PCs become the rulers of the city or something equally tenuous) gets thrown out because of a few bad rolls.

      Sometimes a little regular 'fudging' goes a long way.

      NPCs are whatever they need to be whenever they need to be it. As long as it's not unbelievable to the players, the NPCs can become anything, until the PCs have seen it with their own eyes, it isn't set in stone.

      This includes elements of the plot which have been planned well in advance and which you have put a great deal of work into. A good storyteller has to be able to go with the flow.
      Last edited by Zennis; 03-03-2017, 09:33 PM.

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      • #4
        Thanks both of you. That's very useful. Mostly, it's been so long I just need a guideline for what is reasonable. I THINK I remember things and have a feel for the dice, but I'd prefer not to have to realize that I don't when things go horribly wrong in play.

        To your point Zennis, I'm not OPPOSED to fudging or just straight up adjudicating results. I think definitely has it's place primarily, as you describe: because it suits your story goals or that's just the way you like to ST.
        Me PERSONALLY though, I like to let the dice decide most things and only interfere in the weirdest circumstance. Mostly because I'm old school and fall into the "impartial judge" school of GMing, but also because I enjoy the hot mess that comes with unexpected player action and unexpected success or failure on rolls and the players and myself scrambling to deal with the consequences.
        Obviously your mileage may vary, and I've known a lot of GMs that like to do things the way you describe and who have/had excellent games that were/are a lot of fun.

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