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V20 - Organizing the Merits & Flaws from Lore of the Clans/Bloodlines

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  • V20 - Organizing the Merits & Flaws from Lore of the Clans/Bloodlines

    Introduction
    Hello all, I'm the creator behind the VTM Character Creation site here: https://drsharky.github.io/VTMsite/#!/creator
    Basically just an interactive character creation site, (still in progress, I know it looks awful!) and I'm adding some merit/flaw stuff.
    Not an advertisement, I assure you, I would just like some assistance in clarifying things.

    What I'm trying to do
    I'm trying to include the merits and flaws added in the Lore of the Clans & Lore of the Bloodlines books in the site.
    Thus far, I have organized the merits & flaws how they are in the V20 core book, separated into categories (physical, mental, social, supernatural). Instead of fitting all the merits & flaws from LotC and LotB into those categories, I decided to try and keep them within their own groups, based on which clan they're listed under. So if you've seen my site, I was going to have a separate drop down list for "Clan specific flaws" and "Clan specific merits". Then I would change the content in those lists based on which clan you choose. So you wouldn't see Assamite merits/flaws if you choose Gangrel. Instead you would only see Gangrel merits & flaws.

    Main problem with this
    The merits and flaws in LotC and LotB are sometimes undoubtedly clan specific, for example the Giovanni merit Sanguine Incongruity (Giovanni painful bite doesn't apply to your character, but you look like a corpse, giving +1 difficulty to all rolls including Social attributes). Then there are also ones that seem like they could be for any clan, for example the Nosferatu flaw Dangerous Secret (you know something you wish you hadn't discovered, & the people involved in the secret know that you know). In that one there isn't any implied text that the Kindred must be Nosferatu, other than that Nosferatu is the clan under which the flaw was listed. It made me think, but not enough to change my mind on my process. Even more confusing, there's the Tremere Flaw, Mage Blood, which basically says that you can't use any other discipline other than Thaumaturgy, "...(and for Kindred who are not Tremere, it is still paid for at out-of-Clan rates)."

    First approach
    I was going to make them simply clan specific until I got to this flaw. It appears to imply that you can take this flaw while not being Tremere, which would make my organization incorrect. So my issue is that I don't know how to integrate these sometimes clan-dependent merits & flaws into the current merit/flaw lists.

    Second approach
    Another approach I considered was simply adding them into the same lists as before, and just specifying the clan from which the merit or flaw came from, like this: "[Tremere] Mage Blood (5pt)", There's 2 problems with this though, because it inherently leaves that categorization up to my interpretation, which is bad. I never want my interpretation to be included in the rules of creation on the site. It also allows the user to take any merit/flaw from any clan, with it being up to them which ones make sense to choose. And I'm trying to avoid allowing a Brujah taking the Giovanni merit Sanguine Incongruity, (not that they'd need or want it), because it doesn't make any sense. Other than labeling it, it doesn't make it impossible for the user to take the flaw. And if I use this, then ones like Mage Blood that seem to imply you can take them out of clan, are just adding to the confusion in this approach.

    Summary
    It's hard to organize the Lore of the Clan & Lore of the Bloodlines merits/flaws in relation to the V20 categorization, and I need help figuring out the most appropriate way to do it. Any and all help is appreciated, thanks.

  • #2
    I would simply list all merits and flaw without categorization, not even into mental, social, physical, etc.
    I don't think doing so creates any real issue, and it's up to each ST to set the houserules or review character sheets, at least merits and flaws, to ensure weird things don't take place. Even if they do and he hasn't checked before, if he believes a character has no business having a certain merit or flaw, he can require the player to change it when he realizes the issue. It's annoying sometimes, but it's the game.

    Comment


    • #3
      To be clear, I start from my take that the merits and flaws in LotC and LotB are fair game unless they're obviously incompatible with the character.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hermeticus View Post
        I would simply list all merits and flaw without categorization, not even into mental, social, physical, etc.
        I don't think doing so creates any real issue, and it's up to each ST to set the houserules or review character sheets, at least merits and flaws, to ensure weird things don't take place. Even if they do and he hasn't checked before, if he believes a character has no business having a certain merit or flaw, he can require the player to change it when he realizes the issue. It's annoying sometimes, but it's the game.
        I appreciate the response, thanks. That would unfortunately leave the drop down list to be extremely long. Like, ridiculously long. It doesn't help that I list different point versions of the same merit or flaw as different from another. For example, the Enemy flaw can range from 1-5 points, so I list each version of that one as different. They appear in the list like this: Enemy (1pt), Enemy (2pt) and so on. Not to say that couldn't change, none of the systems I already have in place are flawless of course. I could possibly allow the user to choose the flaw, then if it has a range, choose the point value, etc. In any case, listing them in this way would make finding one you want a chore, even if I changed the different point distinction.

        The larger purpose of the site is to create a thing where players without extensive knowledge of this can create a character with relative ease. That means I am restricting things based on what the rules of creation state. It might seem counter-intuitive to character creation as a whole especially when WoD stuff is always more story-driven, but that's what I'm aiming for with making this. Anyone can look up the rules, open a character sheet, and make a character. But you'd have to remember all the things, like you can't put more than 3 dots in abilities before using freebies, etc. This tool enforces that automatically. In fact, my inspiration for this project largely came from Orcpub.com, the creation tool for D&D. I know that info isn't necessary to the problem, but maybe it explains why this is an issue for me.
        Last edited by DrSharky; 10-25-2018, 03:55 PM.

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        • #5
          Option two seems the best. And I don't think it much of an issue to use your personal judgment. It is kind of necessary for some. There just isn't labeling requirements, but some text implies one a lot stronger than others.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
            Option two seems the best. And I don't think it much of an issue to use your personal judgment. It is kind of necessary for some. There just isn't labeling requirements, but some text implies one a lot stronger than others.
            I think I might just use enough judgment to figure out which ones are intended to be clan-specific, and then put all of these in separate lists depending on which book they are sourced from. Eventually I want to make a second page that doesn't have rules applied, to provide a more sandbox experience in creation as an alternative to the rule-based page I have now. So far this route makes the most sense, for now at least. Thanks for the input!

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            • #7
              A Left field suggestion - What about a Category for LotB/LotC merits (Like Physical/Mental) and have the second option for best fit by Clan.
              I personally read the merits/flaws in these books to apply to the clan unless it explicitly mentions others being eligible as well.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                A Left field suggestion - What about a Category for LotB/LotC merits (Like Physical/Mental) and have the second option for best fit by Clan.
                I personally read the merits/flaws in these books to apply to the clan unless it explicitly mentions others being eligible as well.
                Yes, the part about a category for LotC and LotB merits is what I think I'll be going for. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the 2nd part. As for making the merits/flaws available to more than 1 clan, I somewhat agree, as they certainly are purposely placed under the clan they best fit with. But even discipline powers aren't necessarily clan exclusive, because other clans can learn those disciplines too. That would leave the merits and flaws the only mechanical things that are clan specific included in these books. I'm still not totally sure on how to use them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DrSharky View Post
                  Yes, the part about a category for LotC and LotB merits is what I think I'll be going for. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the 2nd part. As for making the merits/flaws available to more than 1 clan, I somewhat agree, as they certainly are purposely placed under the clan they best fit with
                  For the second part; Use Second Approach to list merit as [Clan] Merit, points but have their own category of LotC/LotB Merits and Flaws.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If I may suggest...

                    There are scores and scores of books across the whole of VtM. There are hundreds of merits and flaws available. Most confusingly, some share the same name but have different mechanics.

                    If your tool is aimed at new players who need automated assistance with character generation, it seems unlikely they will be digging deeply into books other than the corebook. That is, if a new player is playing in a VRev chronicle, it seems unnecessary to list all the merits and flaws from V20, V1, DSotBH 1 and 2, LotC, etc. Even if the new player finds a listed merit from outside the corebook interesting ("Hmmm... how is Routine a flaw?") they likely won't have the books to look it up.

                    Might it work to have a master "setting" menu in which the user selects the corebook being used. This would then cause the merits and flaws from that corebook alone to be available. (It would also allow for different lists of skills to be available. For example, V1 had Acting and Bureaucracy, but neither Academics nor Performance.)

                    In addition, if selections are available generically at each cost level, the player could go in and text edit the field to list any non-core merits and flaws they choose, while retaining the price for calculation purposes. For example, the fields available could read "[other merit] 3pt", "[other merit] 5pt", or "[other flaw] -2pt". This eliminates the overly long list in the bringdown menu, while allowing oddball traits to be purchased.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      point one, I think the suggestion of Nosimplehiway is solid
                      on the other side, if I understand it, that's not what you want
                      so, here's my 2 cents :P

                      1. You're already planning to use a "flag" for selecting flaws/merits, based on Clan (i.e. if you select Nosferatu, you get "Paddle Tail" in the menu, if you select any other you don't). So I suggest you to implement a double flag.
                      Grade and Clan.
                      "Grade" is a three-way mutually exclusive flag: Common, Clan-Intended, Clan-Restricted, Clan stays as Clan/Bloodline (ie. you select Clan Restricted and Giovanni, you get the menu where is Sanguine Incongruity; Clan-Intended and Common are actually... well... common for all the Clans, but in the "Clan Intended" list you actually specify for which Clan the Merit/Flaw was intended, like "[Tremere] Mage Blood" )

                      2. Put the Flaws/Merits below the other traits, in horizontal instead than vertical on one side. Like this is a pain to pick them :P


                      Dark Shores: Lineages of the Great Lakes

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                      • #12
                        SalamanDer

                        I have no idea what "Paddle Tail" is, but it sounds awesome and I want it for my next pc for the name alone. If it isn't canon, please write this up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What Nosimplehiway suggested seems really solid.

                          I'm an intermediate player and wannabe ST and I'll say that it can be possible to sometimes get confused about what the core book says without considering potentially contradictory elements from other books.
                          So Keeping It Simple would be awesome.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                            For the second part; Use Second Approach to list merit as [Clan] Merit, points but have their own category of LotC/LotB Merits and Flaws.
                            Thanks for the clarification, I get what you mean. I definitely like the separate lists for LotC/LotB. I'm unsure about tagging the clans, but with an added layer of advanced settings somewhere in the rest of the post I've written below, (good luck on the text dive) I think I will add that too.

                            Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                            If I may suggest...

                            There are scores and scores of books across the whole of VtM. There are hundreds of merits and flaws available. Most confusingly, some share the same name but have different mechanics.

                            If your tool is aimed at new players who need automated assistance with character generation, it seems unlikely they will be digging deeply into books other than the corebook. That is, if a new player is playing in a VRev chronicle, it seems unnecessary to list all the merits and flaws from V20, V1, DSotBH 1 and 2, LotC, etc. Even if the new player finds a listed merit from outside the corebook interesting ("Hmmm... how is Routine a flaw?") they likely won't have the books to look it up.

                            Might it work to have a master "setting" menu in which the user selects the corebook being used. This would then cause the merits and flaws from that corebook alone to be available. (It would also allow for different lists of skills to be available. For example, V1 had Acting and Bureaucracy, but neither Academics nor Performance.)

                            In addition, if selections are available generically at each cost level, the player could go in and text edit the field to list any non-core merits and flaws they choose, while retaining the price for calculation purposes. For example, the fields available could read "[other merit] 3pt", "[other merit] 5pt", or "[other flaw] -2pt". This eliminates the overly long list in the bringdown menu, while allowing oddball traits to be purchased.
                            Thus far I'm focusing on V20 material only for the tool. So the fact that I'm including LotC and LotB over other source books might make more sense based on that. But I understand your point in how that would work with a new player. Before I saw your post I was sort of working around it with a section that labels the LotC and LotB lists as an advanced option, with a suggestion to consult their StoryTeller before using. I suppose adding a setting to control whether they see those options in the first place would work well, and avoid any unnecessary confusion.
                            I see what you mean about the kind of generic merit/flaw system as well, that might be an option I could employ for heavy customization. I might not want to do that for this particular page since I'm trying to keep it simple, but that again might be solved by another setting like you mentioned previously.

                            In fact, I'm starting to see that this master setting feature might be much more of a major controller in the system than I first thought. I eventually want to add a "free-spend" page that lets advanced users do what they want. Possibly controlling which version of the creator they see could be completely controlled by this master setting they choose before getting started. I have to thank you Nosimplehiway, I believe this will be a major contribution to the direction I take this project in! Even if it's not implemented exactly as described, this definitely gives me something to think about, and the basic idea will be the same. I guess the only problem left is to make sure that the master settings you choose in the beginning isn't confusing in the first place. Because that would defeat the whole purpose of it.

                            Originally posted by SalamanDer View Post
                            point one, I think the suggestion of Nosimplehiway is solid
                            on the other side, if I understand it, that's not what you want
                            so, here's my 2 cents :P

                            1. You're already planning to use a "flag" for selecting flaws/merits, based on Clan (i.e. if you select Nosferatu, you get "Paddle Tail" in the menu, if you select any other you don't). So I suggest you to implement a double flag.
                            Grade and Clan.
                            "Grade" is a three-way mutually exclusive flag: Common, Clan-Intended, Clan-Restricted, Clan stays as Clan/Bloodline (ie. you select Clan Restricted and Giovanni, you get the menu where is Sanguine Incongruity; Clan-Intended and Common are actually... well... common for all the Clans, but in the "Clan Intended" list you actually specify for which Clan the Merit/Flaw was intended, like "[Tremere] Mage Blood" )

                            2. Put the Flaws/Merits below the other traits, in horizontal instead than vertical on one side. Like this is a pain to pick them :P
                            This is a pretty good system, and I particularly enjoy the technical description, with included examples. Very nice job. I might include this in combination with different settings that are specified with the master setting system that Nosimplehiway suggested. The issue I have with tagging them with things like "[Tremere]" is that I would have to explain what that means, and why it's there, instead of hiding it because you didn't pick Tremere, which inherently complicates the process. I know that was one of my approaches in the first place, but that's just one of the things I tried, I wasn't sure if it was a good idea or not. However, if that was included in an advanced setting, and the user confirms that they know what they're doing (or at least they think they do) when using that setting, then I wouldn't have as much of an issue with explaining why it works that way to someone who knows more. So I'm thinking maybe combining these features would be good. It sounds rough at the moment to say "I'll just do both!", but I'm sure during implementation I'll figure out how to properly integrate both features and make it work well. Abstraction yay!

                            Originally posted by DuncanD View Post
                            What Nosimplehiway suggested seems really solid.

                            I'm an intermediate player and wannabe ST and I'll say that it can be possible to sometimes get confused about what the core book says without considering potentially contradictory elements from other books.
                            So Keeping It Simple would be awesome.
                            I appreciate the extra opinion! Especially because (and this may be a surprise) I've never actually been a player OR ST before! So for those who actually use it (or consider using it), I love to hear feedback. In fact, my full list of bugs/feature requests is here: https://github.com/DrSharky/VTMsite/issues And there is a page on the creation site itself to submit to that list without needing to make a Github account. Again, I don't mean to advertise, but I do like seeing more users and activity.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              DrSharky I was actually a user (not for very long, though) on your site before you posted this here 😇😉
                              I have to say that it's already a very very nice tool and that everything beyond is gravy. 😁
                              I have made a couple of suggestions 😇

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