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  • 0 Virtues

    If you botch a conscience roll, you lose a dot of conscience. What if you only have 1 dot?

  • #2
    There are some canon characters who has a conscience rating of 0 (can't immediately recall them atm) I guess you can lose your last shred of conscience and automatically fail every roll from that point onward, making your descent to the jaws of the Beast a quick one

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    • #3
      Yup, i had a character double botch the first of five conscience rolls, loosing both points that he had and nose diving straight into wassail...

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      • #4
        Personally, if a character hit Zero in any Virtue, I'd make them an NPC.
        (not that I can recall ways to drop Self Control/Courage)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post
          There are some canon characters who has a conscience rating of 0 (can't immediately recall them atm) I guess you can lose your last shred of conscience and automatically fail every roll from that point onward, making your descent to the jaws of the Beast a quick one
          Joaquin Murietta in LA By Night comes to mind as a prime example. Also has humanity 1.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Illithid View Post
            Personally, if a character hit Zero in any Virtue, I'd make them an NPC.
            (not that I can recall ways to drop Self Control/Courage)
            Changing Paths requires you to lower virtues down to 1 if you want to change to a path that uses e.g. Insinct rather than Self-control.


            So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"

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            • #7
              Thkaal

              The character isn't necessarily hopeless... yet.

              A Conscience of zero doesn't mean the trait doesn't exist at all. It just means the rating in it is "Abysmal". (V20, p. 247) So, at zero there is still some minimal amount of the trait left. Even the most evil and cruel characters in fiction manage to restrain themselves once in a while. Voldemort didn't randomly kill his followers just for target practice... usually... because he knew they were a useful resource, and doing so would make it hard to get new followers. Not the most noble of motivations, but, hey, if it works, it works.

              A common example of the zero dice pool mechanic, used elsewhere in the game, is the Appearance of a Nosferatu. Yes, they are hideously ugly, and their Appearance doesn't add to their dice pool, but, in theory, they can still succeed at Appearance based rolls with the second half of their dice pool. In earlier editions, this meant an automatic failure, but in V20 it just means the roll is "inherently more difficult". Hey, maybe somebody in the bar has a fetish for albinos with pointy ears and big teeth, who smell like an open sewer?

              Another alternative is to choose to not make the roll at all. If a Nosferatu had no dots in Academics, and the ST called for an Appearance+Academics roll (there was a "sexy librarian trivia contest" at a bar?), no roll would be made at all, right? The action would simply be assumed to have failed, perhaps with the character not even trying1.

              Now, refusing to roll has implications, of course. In the case of a virtue it means the character gives in to some evil urge. Frenzies will become slightly messier, as the difficulty to resist evil urges is 9-Conscience. The bigger issue with a zero Conscience is further loss of Humanity. When a sin is committed, Conscience is rolled, and willpower may not be spent. This means the character is pretty much destined to devolve into wassail eventually.

              Except.... the Conscience roll happens because the game system is modelling the process of self-reflection in which the character decides "was what I did morally okay, or was it wrong?" You can't spend Willpower for this sort of introspection, but V20 says nothing about using teamwork. Now, this is a very serious stretching of the rules RAW, but nothing in the teamwork section (V20, p.253) says everyone working on the teamwork roll must actually have the dicepool in question. It could even be argued that this models a novice lending their support to an expert doing their job2.

              If the zero Conscience character has a very close confidante they trust... say, a confessor, a psychotherapist, packmates, or a regnant, for a few examples... they might accept their judgment on whether the act was evil or defensible, thereby allowing teamwork on the roll. In which case, the confidante could, in effect, make the roll on the zero conscience character's behalf.

              Again, this is a huge stretch of the rules, but technically not disallowed, raw. It involves maintaining Humanity as a white knuckle tight-rope walk, in which the character is likely to drop to Humanity zero sooner rather than later. It also involves turning over the state of their mind and soul to another person... rarely an ideal arrangement... just when the character is at their most vulnerable.

              However, the character is not yet at Humanity zero, and therefore unplayable. Not yet. And, it might be a fun story to watch them getting there. I would allow the player to continue playing the character, if they wanted, but also allow them to retire the character, if they wished.



              1Odd footnote for a zero dicepool is that a botch is simply not possible. There are no dice, so no dice with 1's appear. Yes, this means no Nosferatu has ever botched a straight, unmodified Appearance roll. They look bad every night, so they look really terrible on no nights. It also means they can botch an Appearance+Academics roll if they know Academics, but not if they don't know Academics. Welcome to WW mechanics.

              2Surgeon doing emergency surgery in an earthquake collapsed building says, "Pass the Retractor." Untrained bystander attempting to assist gives a blank stare. Surgeon says, "The thingey that looks like a little, double-ended crowbar. Third from the left. Thanks. Now wipe the sweat from my brow and aim the light a little to the right."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post
                Yup, i had a character double botch the first of five conscience rolls, loosing both points that he had and nose diving straight into wassail...
                I'm curious what you mean. Can you describe more of what happened? Were these five separate rolls in five separate instances? How do you mean "double botch"?

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                • #9
                  Short, non detailed version...

                  My sabbat character went out and did a very bad thing, a humanity one sin, five times one night. Once he was done, he had to make his humanity checks as the reality of what he'd been upto sank in.

                  Conscience 2 (reacently bought up from 1) and humanity 5. The first roll i made was a double one, a double botch. Went down to humanity 4 and conscience 0, so couldn't pass any of the other rolls and went straight to wassail. Had to be put down by the pack and killed one of them before being ashed himself.

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                  • #10
                    Is a "double botch" an established house rule in your ST's chronicle? Unless this is a clearly delineated house rule, outlined by the ST before play, I would have protested.

                    A "double botch" is simply not a thing in book standard V20. Rolls only have a few ways they can turn out: various levels of success usually ranging from 1 to 5, failures, botches, and a few niche cases of interrupted rolls and the like.

                    The dice pool is rolled and each 1 rolled subtracts from the number of successes. If there were no successes in the first place to subtract from, it's a botch. Extra 1's don't increase the effect of the botch. Roll ten 1's or a single 1, and it's all the same. There's even an example on p252 of V20, in which two 1's are rolled, with no successes, and it's simply a botch.

                    Also, I question the rolls being bundled up and rolled on as a group after all the actions were committed.

                    I could see an ST requiring a single roll at the end of a particularly hell-raising night, which would cover the entire night. Waking up with a hang-over is one of the costs of going on a bender. However, the Morality section in V20 specifically states the ST must warn the player before the character commits a sin that this might require a roll, giving the player the chance to abort the action. By looking back at the end of the night, and inflicting a tight series of five rolls, the ST was tipping the odds against your character's survival by denying you full info on the ramifications of your actions.

                    Even if each sin necessitated a separate roll, it should have been made immediately after the sin, before the next sin was committed. Presumably, had you known the first roll was a botch, with associated loss of Humanity and Conscience, you might have made different choices about the second instance of sin. Now, if a houserule had reduced your Conscience to 0, your character was likely done for eventually, anyway, but the character deserved a chance to at least tell that story.

                    This is especially egregious since you had recently spent xp to increase your Conscience, making a good faith effort and signaling to your ST you wanted to stem the rising tide of the Beast.

                    It's fine for an ST to handwave some rules on the fly when stakes are low, but if a character might be lost entirely on the basis of a single roll... well, the ST should know what they're doing before calling for that roll.

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                    • #11
                      The Storyteller handled things almost exactly the way i would have done.

                      Yes, the double botch is an established system we have used basically since day one. It makes sense to me to bundle up the rolls, in this instance it wasn't like i was killing people, i was doing something that would cause a literal lifetime of suffering for a very short term goal. It wasn't till the character stopped to consider how well he'd done that he realised just how heinous he'd been. I was warned by my storyteller, but i was acting as i believed my character would. Personally i never agreed with the whole warn people about humanity checks thing anyway....

                      In no way was i complaining about the situation.

                      The reason i had bought my conscience up was because i had passed multiple checks and it seemed fitting. I was planning on trying to convert him to a Path in the near future, and would have had to lose all his conscience anyway...

                      I was just relating the one time i hit conscience 0.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                        Is a "double botch" an established house rule in your ST's chronicle? Unless this is a clearly delineated house rule, outlined by the ST before play, I would have protested.

                        A "double botch" is simply not a thing in book standard V20. Rolls only have a few ways they can turn out: various levels of success usually ranging from 1 to 5, failures, botches, and a few niche cases of interrupted rolls and the like.

                        The dice pool is rolled and each 1 rolled subtracts from the number of successes. If there were no successes in the first place to subtract from, it's a botch. Extra 1's don't increase the effect of the botch. Roll ten 1's or a single 1, and it's all the same. There's even an example on p252 of V20, in which two 1's are rolled, with no successes, and it's simply a botch.

                        Also, I question the rolls being bundled up and rolled on as a group after all the actions were committed.

                        I could see an ST requiring a single roll at the end of a particularly hell-raising night, which would cover the entire night. Waking up with a hang-over is one of the costs of going on a bender. However, the Morality section in V20 specifically states the ST must warn the player before the character commits a sin that this might require a roll, giving the player the chance to abort the action. By looking back at the end of the night, and inflicting a tight series of five rolls, the ST was tipping the odds against your character's survival by denying you full info on the ramifications of your actions.

                        Even if each sin necessitated a separate roll, it should have been made immediately after the sin, before the next sin was committed. Presumably, had you known the first roll was a botch, with associated loss of Humanity and Conscience, you might have made different choices about the second instance of sin. Now, if a houserule had reduced your Conscience to 0, your character was likely done for eventually, anyway, but the character deserved a chance to at least tell that story.

                        This is especially egregious since you had recently spent xp to increase your Conscience, making a good faith effort and signaling to your ST you wanted to stem the rising tide of the Beast.

                        It's fine for an ST to handwave some rules on the fly when stakes are low, but if a character might be lost entirely on the basis of a single roll... well, the ST should know what they're doing before calling for that roll.
                        As the ST in question, the player base knows that I scale botches for dramatic and mechanical effect. A botch is bad, but it's possible for bad to be very bad (e.g., a long time ago in VDA, I triple botched a Wits + Alertness Initiative roll immediately after botching a melee roll. So, having accidentally thrown my sword away, the triple botched Initiative roll caused me to spend three turns internally debating whether to draw my dagger, or go and get my sword...). So, if a botch would result in losing a dot somewhere, then a double botch means losing two. The character, a sociopathic young child Lasombra (nature: Creep Show), was always going to be a borderline will he, won't he wassail. He'd been on Conscience 1, Humanity 4 for a while, and had passed a couple of conscience checks - so the pangs of conscience somewhere in the back of the character's disturbed mind justified the player buying the second dot. However, the rest of the pack came up with an idea that was utterly monstrous, involving multiple, distinct events, but the sociopathic child didn't understand the consequences (because he was still a child), and he went off and enacted the plan. The player was warned. He made it clear that he'd be enacting the pack's plans regardless of the outcomes of any Conscience checks. So, after he lost all Conscience, Wassail was the only option. Ironically, the PC who came up with the idea was the one that died whilst the pack tried to put down the wassailing monster they'd created. Lasombra are scary in combat...

                        As an aside, I also hit Conscience 0 from a double botch playing a Salubri antitribu in a LARP. My PC was not allowed to Wassail, however, as the pack ended up taking him out in the middle of the street before that could happen. Pulling a sword on some kine that won't get out of your way, then hacking them to pieces, is apparently frowned upon when you're trying to maintain the silence of the blood.

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                        • #13
                          It's fine to have house rules, but when those house rules turn a perfectly playable character into a NPC due to bad luck on dice rolls I feel like you need to reevaluate the rule. But that's just how I feel about it.

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                          • #14
                            Like I said, as long as it was an established houserule, it's fair play. I love house-rules. It tailors the game to the group and is one of the strengths of the system. You should see when I begin a new chronicle. It's always like, "Okay, guys, here are pages one through three... the appendix, which would be pages four and five, has the tables and charts."

                            I imagine the multiple botch rule leads to a fairly gritty adventure for the pcs, where Murphy's Law runs the world. It's the WoD, so that may even be more appropriate than book standard. This has piqued my interest.

                            Do you allow players with large dice pools to use only part of their pool if they want? For low difficulty rolls, actions that aren't life-and-death, and actions that can be retried in the event of a failure, doing so could be to the player's advantage.

                            I mean, if you only roll one die... like the Nosferatu rolling Appearance + Academics example above... it would be impossible to roll a double-botch. So, someone with a five dice pool has a higher chance of success, but also could roll a 5xbotch, while someone with a one die pool has a lower chance of succeeding, but knows the worst possible outcome is no worse than a single botch.

                            As any table-top player can tell you, dice like to be punish to the overconfident. I'd be a little scared to roll a full ten-die dice pool! It's only a one in ten billion chance of a 10x botch... but that's still more than zero. I'd hate to think that I decorated a birthday cake so badly it destroyed the universe.

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                            • #15
                              Speaking personally, i always want to roll as many dice as possible, but my d10s have a roughly 40% chance of being ones, so i need as many successes as i can, (No seriously, i had five dice on a difficulty 3 roll the other night and only got one success thanks to the two 1s... This is not an unusual roll for me )

                              Multiple botches are rare, but the stories they lead to are at the very least memorable. Like double botching a hunting roll looking for a house to break into for feeding on sleepers resulting in my Bratovich being very surprised by the surprise birthday party, and almost staking himself smashing through the door to escape...

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