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Your most imbalanced chronicles?

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  • Your most imbalanced chronicles?

    I've been reading through other threads and I've begun wondering what some of the most imbalanced chronicles you've been party to were. Be it from each player having wildly different ages, positions of power, resources, generations or other circumstances. What was your experience like? Are they all bad or have there been some surprisingly good stories that have come out of them?

  • #2
    I am a little unclear as to your definition of "unbalanced" because having a group of characters who are different clans, ages, backgrounds, and playstyles is more common than having the entire coterie being the same clan. I have run games where the baseline of PC power is heavily adjusted to such a degree that things the game becomes something else entirely if that is what you are after. Here are a few examples of games I have run that deviated from the baseline to a significant degree.

    Example #1:
    The Long Night
    Set in prehistory, all PCs are 5th generation Followers of Set. Character builds were standard with the exception of the starting generation and the starter discipline dots being 11. The game ran from prehistory, through most major historical points, to the modern nights, and then finished up a few centuries post Gehenna. Due to the power levels involved most of the game was closer to a low powered Abyssal Exalted game than a standard VtM game. Because the game went on so long, the playstyle of the game shifted with each major time period. Thus it would be fair to say that there were portions that were closer to grand strategy games than personal horror, while other sections can best be described as Vampire Hunter D inspired.

    Example #2:
    Mirror Mirror
    A play as yourself game where character generation was thrown completely out the window. Everyone got together, made our character sheets, then the group voted on if the stats were fair. Interestingly enough in many cases people tended to under stat themselves, though this was made up for by the fact that every person in the group had more dots worth of knowledge, abilities, and backgrounds than average starting characters. The group got caught in the cross fire when the sabbat raided a camarilla town, when the fight was over all the mortals in the room were on deaths door and had gotten a random splattering for vitae from when the vamps went fang to claw. As a result everyone rolled randomly to see what clan and generation they got stuck with. The entire game was just seeing how they survived and figured out how to deal with their new existence while dealing with their real life family dynamics. The brujah frenzy clan weakness combined with not knowing how to feed and family strife is a combination that is way more horrifying that most think possible. Though having the gamer girl who is into hentai and fanfics IRL rolling a Tzimisce is almost as terrifying.

    Example #3:
    Death Inc.
    A mobile chronicle centered on a coterie of Assamite assassins. Each coterie member specialized in a different form of death and as part of the game prep the players had to do a crash course on the subject matter. The sniper had to brush up on the basics of shooting long distances, how different equipment worked, and sniper tactics. The honey trap character had to brush up on etiquette for various cultures high society and on poisons. The hitman with a mob background had to brush up on organized crime information to be to help where ever the group went and to be able to fake mob killing signatures. Each story was a different target and the games were all about the planning and making everything go off like clockwork rather than the usual vampiric angst. The ammount of player prep for this was far more than most games as you can probably see.

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    • #3
      I think that the biggest PC spread I've had is my current group with two fresh neonates (10 yrs), a more experienced neonate (25 years), and a pair of ancillae -- one clocking in at around 100 years, the other at about 220.

      The experience point gap wasn't all that significant -- maybe something on the order of 35-40 points from top to bottom (net of the access to my version of the "Age" background given to the older characters). But the older vampires had a LOT more background in terms of connections and relationships with NPCs, including NPCs in other cities.

      It didn't cause any problems at all. The "older" vampires were sort of the patrons of the coterie, using their resources and connections to keep everyone out of head-on confrontations, while the younger ones provided a lot of the vim and vigor needed to drive the story along. It also managed to set a nice thematic element in place, because the older vampires *also* were the more inhuman of the group, and sometimes shocked the younger vampires with their indifference to moral concerns. This was mostly chance rather than deliberate intent by the players, I think, but there are some elements to the character creation process I use that help push things along in that direction.

      All in all it was (and is) a great experience.

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      • #4
        I ran an all-Setite chronicle set in New York in the late 90's and early 2000's. I wanted an elder, an ancilla, and the rest fledglings. I let the players figure out how to divvy the power levels up, and they decided to do it randomly, except for one guy who offered to take a fledgling. (His concept was someone who was embraced last week, just, just, just before sitting for his PhD oral examinations. So, it just fit.)

        It worked fine for a one-clan chronicle, since they were all presumed to be more-or-less allied. It helped that the elder took the anachronistic flaw, making him someone dependent on the others. I think that was important. Even though everyone was built on a different number of points, they all had areas where they could shine, and they all had flaws.

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        • #5
          There are Three main places I've seen imbalance
          1) Letting people use rules as written in the Elysium book, where people can choose their age, and therefore XP to spend at character creation.
          2) A mixed game, where you have mortals/ghouls with Vampires, or other splat books.
          3) A long running game where new players come in with standard character creation rules

          The answers are
          1) Don't let it happen, it's a bad idea
          2) Balancing that is not something I've ever seen because the systems don't work well, make sure everyone get a chance to shine
          3) The two histories above show how to work it; make sure that the neonates are useful

          There's one other situation that unbalances things and it's all on XP Balance
          - If you give different XP to characters, then you will see a faster growth for characters of PLAYERS that get involved more.
          - Also, sometimes players will cheat their XP...

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          • #6
            so pretty tame i suppose. 6 8th generation tremeres with standard character creation rules +50 xp... So much magic.

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