Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

[VTM5] Help Expanding the Mechanics for Detecting the "Projects" of NPCs?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • [VTM5] Help Expanding the Mechanics for Detecting the "Projects" of NPCs?

    I absolutely adore the Projects rules (in the second Appendix of Vampire: the Masquerade 5th edition), and am working on a Chronicle that I hope will be driven largely by Projects.

    I've prepared a variety of NPC "agencies" (a catch-all term for individuals and groups with the capacity to launch Projects of their own, and interfere with the Projects of the PC's), and I want to build an interface between the Project rules, and the general Storyteller style of having a "living city" where the NPCs pursue their own goals.

    Unfortunately, while the core rules provide a robust system for initiating and completing Projects, as well as interfering with the Projects of adversaries, they're a bit lacking in mechanics to describe how PCs can monitor for, and ultimately detect, Projects of NPCs.

    I have a few ideas, but I'm unhappy with each of them for one reason or another:
    • Leave It To The Narrative: I believe this is the method implied by the rules-as-written: NPC Projects become known to the PCs as the story directs, by Storyteller fiat. But I want a more sandbox-style experience for my players, where their actions determine who they're looking at and what they find out. Moreover, the robust mechanics of the Projects system appeal to me, and I'd like a similar degree of "crunch" for the detection and investigation aspect of discovering NPC Projects --- it gives players more of a sense of agency and control, in my opinion.
    • Committing Advantages to Detection: Players may commit dots in Advantages (Backgrounds, Merits, maybe even Loresheets) to monitor for Projects in applicable areas. For example, a character with Influence (Criminal Underworld), or a Contact in the police department, could commit one or more of those dots to set up a passive monitoring check. I really like this idea, but I could definitely use some help in coming up with the specific mechanics --- I'd like to find a balance between detection being too easy and too difficult, such that the system poses an interesting and compelling choice to my players.
    • One-Roll Conflict Monitoring: Either via Memoriam or in "real time", players can proactively expend effort in a certain direction to look for relevant Projects. Perhaps they suspect their coterie Adversary is planning something, and so they spend a session performing some sort of surveillance mission to plumb the waters and see what's going on. This is certainly the easiest method, but it's a bit limited: They'd have to know in advance of a potential threat, and while that's definitely something I can give them as Storyteller, I'd still be looking for something that would work to give them a chance to detect Projects they don't see coming.
    I'm sure there are other ideas I haven't thought of, which is why I've come to you fine folk for suggestions! Perhaps there are other game systems I could look at for inspiration? Any help is very much appreciated, and I thank you in advance!


    Amateur dinosaur hunter and extreme weather enthusiast, whose interests include spoken mime, armchair parkour, conspicuous ninjutsu and Schröedinger's pentameter—of which this sentence may or may not be an example.

  • #2
    Why not treat passive monitoring as a Project itself? It gels with your second idea, as the commitments equate to the Stakes in Projects. Just give it a shorter Increment, say daily so it takes about 10 days to perform the passive monitoring. Since the monitoring doesn't give them anything tangible you could set the Scope to 0 which gives the Project a Difficulty of 2 on the Launch. Critical win they don't have to commit anything from the Stake, regular win they have to commit 1 dot of the Stake. And so on.

    You'd basically just be cascading Projects.


    -Red
    V20 Content: Age & Potency
    V5 Content: The Masquerade, Tzimisce and Vicissitude, Loresheet: Chicago, Resonance Flavor
    Community & Project Manager, Developer at Hunters Entertainment

    Comment


    • #3
      I like that! I've come up with a rough idea for a system that satisfies my need for crunch I'd love to hear what you think!

      Detecting NPC Projects

      The various NPCs in Toronto are up to their eyeballs in plots and schemes, and the first step to involving yourself in them --- either to take advantage of them for yourselves, or to defend yourself against threats being arrayed against you --- is to find out what's going on! To do this, you need to launch a special type of Project of your own: a Detection Project. A Detection Project follows the same rules as a normal Project, with these guidelines in place to determine the Project's Scope:

      The Scope of a Detection Project depends on the intensity of your investigation: where you're looking, who you're looking at, how you're looking, how subtle you're being, and what you're looking for. Starting with a base Scope of 1, apply one modifier from each of the following categories to calculate your final Scope:
      • ORIGIN: Whose Projects are you looking for, or what location(s) are you investigating for Projects that originate there?
        • (-1) Narrow: a single individual, a mortal organization, a group of mortals acting together, or a single District
        • (0) Moderate: up to three unrelated Kindred, a group of related Kindred (e.g. a coterie), a broad category of mortal interests (e.g. "banking"), or a collection of neighbouring Districts
        • (+1) Unlimited
      • TARGET: What people or places are you investigating to see if there are any Projects targeting them?
        • (-1) Narrow: a single individual, a mortal organization, a group of mortals acting together, or a single District
        • (0) Moderate: up to three unrelated Kindred, a group of Kindred (e.g. a coterie), a broad category of mortal interests (e.g. "banking"), or a collection of neighbouring Districts
        • (+1) Unlimited
      • CONNECTIONS: You can narrow your focus (and lower your Scope) by relying exclusively on a single Advantage (e.g. Criminal Contacts) to search --- at the risk of missing Projects that lie outside the ambit of the Advantage.
        • (-1) Limited: one Advantage
        • (0) Unlimited
      • SECRECY: Are you attempting to keep your efforts from being discovered by the Detection Projects of others?
        • (0) No Secrecy
        • (+1*) Secrecy
        • (+2*) Extreme Secrecy
          * SPECIAL: You may increase the Increment of your Project by one step to reduce the penalty of this modifier by one.
      • AMBITION: How thoroughly are you searching? This will affect the number of Projects you discover, as well as your chances of discovering Projects that have recently started or that were started in Secrecy.
        • (-1) Cursory: only Projects that are over halfway towards completion, that were not started in Secrecy
        • (0) Thorough: all Projects, unless started in Secrecy
        • (+1) Determined: all Projects, unless started in Extreme Secrecy
        • (+2) Relentless: all Projects, with an opposed roll for a chance to discover even Projects started in Extreme Secrecy
      Example: A Detection Project looking for threats against your coterie from anywhere in the city would have a Scope of 3: 1 (Base) +1 (Origin: Unlimited) +1 (Ambition: Determined), for a Launch roll difficulty of 5. You could lower this by focusing on likely threats, or by taking the risk of missing a Project that was started in Secrecy.

      The duration of any Detection Project is 10 days, though you may increase this to 10 weeks for a free point of Secrecy, or to 10 months for free Extreme Secrecy.
      I think the general structure is sound, but I'm still getting comfortable with the dice system in V5 and I'm not sure whether I've made the difficulty too high. As I said at the outset, I want a system that forces interesting and difficult choices on my players, prompting them to take actions to mitigate their hardships (e.g. maybe they decide to scout around Elysium for a bit, in hopes of learning something that will let them comfortably narrow the Origin modifier, and thus reduce the difficulty of their Detection Project).


      Amateur dinosaur hunter and extreme weather enthusiast, whose interests include spoken mime, armchair parkour, conspicuous ninjutsu and Schröedinger's pentameter—of which this sentence may or may not be an example.

      Comment


      • #4
        It generally works, though I think you missed a part of your own system in the example as it should be a 4 Scope since the Target is Unlimited in the example provided as well.

        Additionally, I would assume the system should be described as having a "minimum Scope of 1" as opposed to a "starting Scope of 1" because if we assume it is starting Scope as stated you could have a situation that produces a negative Scope (up to -4 to be exact) which the Project system as written doesn't accommodate for.

        Otherwise I think that should work at a table just fine. If you really want to go crazy with it you could take a look at the Influence system presented in the Mind's Eye Theater content. That gets pretty in depth on characters flexing their Influence in a city, and a lot of it could be potentially replicated for these purposes and making use of the general Projects framework presented in V5. That would be an alternative approach anyways, if you think you need a bit more crunch for your table - otherwise this should work well enough.


        -Red
        V20 Content: Age & Potency
        V5 Content: The Masquerade, Tzimisce and Vicissitude, Loresheet: Chicago, Resonance Flavor
        Community & Project Manager, Developer at Hunters Entertainment

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks! I'm grateful for your vote of confidence --- I'll be introducing this to my players tonight! As to your points:
          • The Target is actually Moderate, for no modifier: the Detection Project is looking for Projects that target the coterie, which counts as "a group of Kindred". (If the Detection Project were to have an Unlimited Target, it would be searching for any and all Projects going on in the city, regardless of who or what they're aimed at.)
          • You know, at some point I had the minimum/maximum in there, but it got left out of the final draft. The rule is a minimum Scope of 0, and a maximum Scope of 5 (if the modifiers sum to more than five, players have to reduce their modifiers to bring it under).


          Amateur dinosaur hunter and extreme weather enthusiast, whose interests include spoken mime, armchair parkour, conspicuous ninjutsu and Schröedinger's pentameter—of which this sentence may or may not be an example.

          Comment

          Working...
          X