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Playtest, Fifth Edition Pre-Alpha Rules: Aftergame Thoughts

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  • Playtest, Fifth Edition Pre-Alpha Rules: Aftergame Thoughts

    I ran a playtest using Fifth Edition Pre-Alpha rules. I only used House Rules if the Pre-Alpha wasn’t clear or if the RAW didn’t jive with the current situation. I’m assuming these nebulous areas will clear up as improvements to the ruleset come out.

    The purpose of this playtest was to mess around with the new combat system, the new physical Disciplines; Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence, the Hunger System, and – most importantly – get hammered with some friends doing geeky shit. To accommodate this playtest, I created a new scenario and three new characters. I didn’t use character creation rules. I just assigned combat stats based on the concept. If other, non-combat related skills came up, I assumed the character had a rating of 1.

    The Scenario:
    In the small town of Settingberg, the Tremere antitribu chantry has been experimenting with reverse-engineering necromantic grimoires. Something went wrong and now zombies overrun the town. The characters are the last vampires in Settingberg. With no humans left to feed from and no back up in sight, these last vampires have to fight a horde of shambling undead and their own Hunger.

    The Characters:
    Ash Williams – Trigger happy pugilist testing out Fortitude.
    Alice Kiddo – Katana twirling blademaster testing Celerity.
    Machete Cortez – Machete-wielding strongman testing Potence.
    The Pre-Alpha rules weren’t clear on Rouse the Bloods (RtB) per turn, so I ruled the characters could do it twice a turn.

    The Zombies:
    Generic stats: 4 attack dice, 7 health levels, too dumb to defend or counterattack.

    Overview:
    The scenario was just round after round of combat, aimed to get a feel for Hunger, Hunger Dice, Compulsions, and the Pre-Alpha physical Disciplines. As such, a play-by-play would be rather tedious. Instead, this is an overview of what I thought.

    Compulsions
    I like the idea of Compulsions and I really wanted to see how the Clan-specific Compulsions would come into play. Never happened. Instead, we used the “space-out” option that made a character lose an action (not a turn). This proved nearly fatal to Ash as his Hunger rose. Each player interpreted the space out a little differently.

    Ash thought about the dead girlfriend he killed his first night as a vampire, Alice thought about the people she wanted revenge on, and Machete had flashbacks to when he was a cartel enforcer. While the Pre-Alpha implied more “guilt-ridden” fluff, I let the players go with what felt right.

    The “space out” Compulsion is the only one that really works in combat. Moving forward, some combat-specific Compulsions would be useful.

    Discipline Activation
    We weren’t sure how many Disciplines a character can activate in a turn. I ruled that as long as it was under the 2 RTB a turn, they could do it. Example: Alice could activate “Alacrity” and “Swiftness” in one turn.

    Frenzy
    The crunch of Frenzy is sparse. It only up came once for Ash, and I ruled that the player loses control (10-Composure) turns. The fluff says something to the effect of unknowingly using the Blood to become stronger and heal wounds, so I used it an excuse to boost his Physical and heal some of his damage.

    Rouse the Blood tracker
    I guessed that the RTB tracker resets after you roll for Hunger at the end of the scene, but the rules don’t explicitly say that.

    Composure
    I went with a “lose it or earn it” mechanic. If a character’s Hunger Dice cause a Compulsion, players can A) Take the Compulsion, suffer, and gain a point of Composure from it (like a mini Catharsis) or B) Spend Composure and shrug it off.

    Automatic Successes and Hunger Dice
    When automatic successes came up, I added them to whatever successes the player already rolled. I didn’t want to make Hunger Dice come up as automatic successes (it takes away the fun of being Hungry) and I didn’t want players to be penalized when using powers like Prowess if they have 4 or 5 Hunger Dice (which is penalty enough).

    Physical Specialties and When to Use Them
    I let players with a Dexterity or Strength Specialty add a bonus dice to Melee and Brawl rolls.

    Physical Disciplines
    Celerity still kicks ass! At least it did when surrounded by thirty zombies. I would have liked to do more tests with it, but we didn’t have time. I really like the changes to Celerity. They feel awesome without feeling overpowered.
    Fortitude seemed a little underpowered, but I can’t tell if that was a mechanical matter or a whiny-bitch-player matter.
    Potence felt like more of the same from 1st through 4th Edition, just a little more interesting. Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into a fun shape.

    Rouse The Blood
    I’m not sure what it sounds like in other languages, but in [American] English it sounds silly. When I was telling the players about “Rouse the Blood” one of them commented how it sounded like we were giving Bloodpoints a handjob; for the remainder of the playtest, the players referred to Rouse the Blood as a “Bloodjob”.

    Me: You’ve taken two levels of Superficial Damage.
    Ash’s Player: I give myself two Bloodjobs and heal.
    Me: I hate myself.


    I’m thinking maybe “Call the Blood” might be a better English translation.

    Final Thoughts
    The Hunger system is more book-keeping then Bloodpoints, but it’s also way more engaging. While the idea of Compulsions is awesome, their execution in the Pre-Alpha needs some work when it comes to combat situations.

    Everyone liked that botches were no longer a thing (‘cuz they suck). When 1s do become an issue, it goes back to the Compulsions, which is still more interesting than “your gun jams” or something else silly and anticlimactic.

    Overall, I dig the changes. There’s an underwhelming amount of crunch, but – as this is Pre-Alpha – I’m fairly confident this is a temporary thing.
    Last edited by Nazfool; 07-05-2017, 04:27 PM. Reason: Me guste palabras!


    This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
    (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
    ").

  • #2
    Well, it's been a hot minute.
    Has anyone else tried playtesting?
    I'd love yo hear how other people handled combat (if it came up), Compulsions, or other mechanical bits of fun.


    This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
    (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
    ").

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    • #3
      I think that a bunch of people are having trouble convincing their players to try out the new rules because the new rules are too alien to VtM, at least that is what I am hearing from my friends across the Eastern USA. At least from the Eastern USA, I have not heard one good opinion about the mechanical changes (and I have heard nothing I can repeat about the setting changes), and I have been chatting with people from Miami to Boston and from Virginia Beach to Chicago. From what I can determine, V5 is DOA in the Eastern USA unless they dramatically change the mechanics and the setting, and that is nearly 60% of the population of the USA.

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      • #4
        Really??
        Gamers I've spoken to (irl) in the Phoenix Area (AZ) are either curious (haven't tried or read much about the changes) or jazzed (messed around with the rules or read about them). I only know one person who despises all the changes and that's the player who ran Ash in my playtest, and he's a bit of a fuckwad wanker (but I love him).
        Too bad White Wolf doesn't have its own forums up and running; I'd love to talk to the gamers who are actually excited about the changes. /sigh



        This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
        (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
        ").

        Comment


        • #5
          I am with Aya, I detest these new rules. Here's my main issues with them:

          Rousing does not allow for casual use of disciplines without huge drawbacks. The more effective disciplines in all previous editions of V:tM (usually) cost blood or Willpower, others did not. Now, any discipline use Rouses. Using Auspex to take in the psychic residue for a piece of art for just the RP of it is now equivalently as "Rousing" as using Celerity to kick ass, etc.

          Compulsions are cartoonish at best, horribly stereotypical at worst. And they are a bad kill to the flow of a game and to RP.

          3 Stats is dumb as it limits character possibilities such as an absent-minded genius (high int, low perception and wits), or anything similar. Now, every bodybuilder is dexterous, not potentially oafish, and can also run marathons with ease.

          Their writing for the new playtest stuff is not up to OldWW standards, as it has been for the limited number of other things they have released.

          This simply does not FEEL like Masquerade to me, at all, which is my biggest gripe TBH, and what they need to address to sell the game at all.

          Here's a thread with a lot of discussion about it, and some random divergences: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...alpha-playtest

          Comment


          • #6

            Originally posted by KRB View Post
            I am with Aya, I detest these new rules. Here's my main issues with them:

            Rousing does not allow for casual use of disciplines without huge drawbacks. The more effective disciplines in all previous editions of V:tM (usually) cost blood or Willpower, others did not. Now, any discipline use Rouses. Using Auspex to take in the psychic residue for a piece of art for just the RP of it is now equivalently as "Rousing" as using Celerity to kick ass, etc.

            Compulsions are cartoonish at best, horribly stereotypical at worst. And they are a bad kill to the flow of a game and to RP.

            3 Stats is dumb as it limits character possibilities such as an absent-minded genius (high int, low perception and wits), or anything similar. Now, every bodybuilder is dexterous, not potentially oafish, and can also run marathons with ease.

            Their writing for the new playtest stuff is not up to OldWW standards, as it has been for the limited number of other things they have released.

            This simply does not FEEL like Masquerade to me, at all, which is my biggest gripe TBH, and what they need to address to sell the game at all.

            Here's a thread with a lot of discussion about it, and some random divergences: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...alpha-playtest
            Is that an opinion based on your impressions or an opinion based on playtesting?
            'Cuz it kinda feels like hate for the sake of hating.
            Whatever. Change is evil.

            Moving forward, anyone with playtest feedback is welcome to post. Any comments akin to "OMG! Thiz is not Maskeraid!!" will be considered threadcrapping.


            This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
            (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
            ").

            Comment


            • #7
              The problem is that however much anyone I know might be interested in the mechanical concepts in the playtest, the non-mechanical stuff is such a big turn off none of them want to give it enough of a chance to play it. So, I think that's a lot of our feedback on the playtest: regardless of the merits of any concepts within, it's written in a fashion that's such a turn off none of us got to actually playing it.

              You've got a group that's down? Cool I don't. And it's not about how Masquerade or not it might be (most of my regulars, and I bias this plenty since I tend to run the games and it's how I feel as well, aren't VtM fans compared to other WoD games and vastly prefer VtR or other non-ST family games for scratching that itch) for us at least. It's "nobody wants to play with these pregens and there's not enough info for making your own characters, and nobody wants to play this scenario, and there's not enough info to make up one we would." Which is important feedback for WW on at least the "how to make playtests" front, because good playtest feedback starts with playtests that don't turn off a significant swathe of potential players from even trying the mechanics.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                The problem is that however much anyone I know might be interested in the mechanical concepts in the playtest, the non-mechanical stuff is such a big turn off none of them want to give it enough of a chance to play it. So, I think that's a lot of our feedback on the playtest: regardless of the merits of any concepts within, it's written in a fashion that's such a turn off none of us got to actually playing it.

                You've got a group that's down? Cool I don't. And it's not about how Masquerade or not it might be (most of my regulars, and I bias this plenty since I tend to run the games and it's how I feel as well, aren't VtM fans compared to other WoD games and vastly prefer VtR or other non-ST family games for scratching that itch) for us at least. It's "nobody wants to play with these pregens and there's not enough info for making your own characters, and nobody wants to play this scenario, and there's not enough info to make up one we would." Which is important feedback for WW on at least the "how to make playtests" front, because good playtest feedback starts with playtests that don't turn off a significant swathe of potential players from even trying the mechanics.
                All I got out of that was, “People are using the skeevy scenario as an excuse to not try the new crunch proposals*.”

                *At this point, that’s all the changes are; rule proposals.





                This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
                (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
                ").

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
                  Moving forward, anyone with playtest feedback is welcome to post. Any comments akin to "OMG! Thiz is not Maskeraid!!" will be considered threadcrapping.
                  Negative feedback is still feedback. If you want to discuss the playtest material, be prepared for the fact that some people really dislike it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
                    Is that an opinion based on your impressions or an opinion based on playtesting?
                    'Cuz it kinda feels like hate for the sake of hating.
                    Whatever. Change is evil.
                    Moving forward, anyone with playtest feedback is welcome to post. Any comments akin to "OMG! Thiz is not Maskeraid!!" will be considered threadcrapping.
                    Considering KRB did a pretty good job of providing justification(whether your agree with it or not) for each of his issue with the playtest, calling it threadcrapping or "change is evil" is pretty disingenuous.

                    I wasn't a fan of the playtest for reasons I discussed at length in the other two threads, but suffice it to say if the playtest is representative of what the final product will look like neither I nor the rest of my gaming group are particularly interested and will continue to play V20 and DAV20. East coast of U.S., for whatever that is worth.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Resplendent Fire View Post

                      Negative feedback is still feedback. If you want to discuss the playtest material, be prepared for the fact that some people really dislike it.
                      That's totally cool! It's cool if your group hated it. What did they hate about it?
                      Did other people find Compulsions in combat weird? What did you do? How did your players respond to Clan Compulsions? Did they feel pigeon-holed? Did they like them? Did the players like Hunger Dice?Two of my players thought they were fun and one hated them.
                      We can't make improvements and suggestions to WW if we don't try this shit out. The thing WW really needs is stress-testing. We can't find the broken and fucked-up crunch if we don't try using it.
                      What kind of crunch did players and Storytellers really dislike?




                      This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
                      (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
                      ").

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
                        All I got out of that was, “People are using the skeevy scenario as an excuse to not try the new crunch proposals*.”

                        *At this point, that’s all the changes are; rule proposals.
                        The skeevy scenario is a sign of the kind of content we may see with Vampire fifth edition. Not wanting to play that scenario because it is terrible is valid feedback.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                          I think that a bunch of people are having trouble convincing their players to try out the new rules because the new rules are too alien to VtM, at least that is what I am hearing from my friends across the Eastern USA. At least from the Eastern USA, I have not heard one good opinion about the mechanical changes (and I have heard nothing I can repeat about the setting changes), and I have been chatting with people from Miami to Boston and from Virginia Beach to Chicago. From what I can determine, V5 is DOA in the Eastern USA unless they dramatically change the mechanics and the setting, and that is nearly 60% of the population of the USA.
                          Thankfully Aya has been able to assess over half of the entire population of the United States views.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Resplendent Fire View Post
                            The skeevy scenario is a sign of the kind of content we may see with Vampire fifth edition. Not wanting to play that scenario because it is terrible is valid feedback.
                            Yes, technically, that is a type of feedback. For this thread, it’s also completely useless.
                            It's right there in the thread's title: "Aftergame Thoughts."
                            Am I really the only person on these forums that bothered trying the new rules out?


                            This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
                            (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
                            ").

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think someone else tried it but I'm not going to dig through the long thread to make sure.

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