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V5: Creating SPCs?

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  • V5: Creating SPCs?

    So I'm rather new to both Vampire the Masquerade as a game and I've decided to run a small chronicle for a few friends set in our city. The main problem I've been running into during my preparation though is creating the stats for the Kindred that populate the city. I know that I don't need to create sheets for every single Kindred in the city, but I do want to make a few as both practice and to help me prepare for when my players inevitably stumble into something they shouldn't. Are there any good guidelines to making a good SPC for V5 besides giving them whatever stats "feel right"?

  • #2
    Originally posted by DifferentJustin View Post
    So I'm rather new to both Vampire the Masquerade as a game and I've decided to run a small chronicle for a few friends set in our city. The main problem I've been running into during my preparation though is creating the stats for the Kindred that populate the city. I know that I don't need to create sheets for every single Kindred in the city, but I do want to make a few as both practice and to help me prepare for when my players inevitably stumble into something they shouldn't. Are there any good guidelines to making a good SPC for V5 besides giving them whatever stats "feel right"?
    I generally often use the Pregenerated Archetypes and modify them a bit. But yes, I bought Chicago by Night in all its addition not necessarily to use the NPCs but the fact that they can roughly approximate any KIND of character.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • #3
      Think about the role of the SPC and competence.

      As a baseline I use the starting PC character: Is the NPC more or less powerful / competent.
      I most often just use a dicepool: 4 dice, 6, 8, or 10 dice. If the SPC do have special powers or merits i stat these.

      Often times if these a "single dice roll encounters", I just set a target-difficulty.

      Another way is to look at the highest competence (dice pool, powers or merits) ab build them accordingly.

      Your PC with Resources 5, that changes every problem just into "costs" by trowing money at it? Use an SPC with Allies 5 to freeze it´s bank account.





      Gamelines: Requiem, Lost, Awakening, Trinity Continuum: Aeon, some V5.
      Likes cheesecake (quark-based)

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      • #4
        For my SPCs, I made them for practice the same way you describe. I did all of them as starting PCs, then added 1 xp per year of unlife to grow them into what they become. I had them buy backgrounds aside from status - that was by storyteller fiat. I also gave a bonus of 5 xp per level of status.

        On top of that, I pumped up about 1 in 10 with double xp, with another 2 in 10 getting 1.5 times the "usual" xp. I didn't want the power curve to be as linear. I was tempted to double up the oldest SPCs, but found that it worked much better on the mid- to low-level ones to help make them stand out.

        Example:

        I was setting up the main Lasombra remaining in the city. He was embraced in 1868 giving me a starting point of 152 xp. He has status 4 - the Camarilla and Anarchs both know who he is even if just by reputation, so that nets him another 20 xp. I want him to be one of the nastier things in the story for the PCs to encounter, so I give him a 50% bump - he was active in the Sabbat and survived over a century - taking him up to 258 xp.

        One thing I learned from this is that the SPCs will not be as powerful as in previous editions. Identifying the dice pools I wanted them to be best in was a good starting point, followed by the discipline spread that made the most sense, with their backgrounds the third priority (unless it was more of a priority for the SPC). Their predator type typically had two options for additional disciplines, and for the most part that was all I gave them access to - it helps simplify the process and still differentiates the SPCs from individual clans by prompting you to give them very different types.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JRRParker View Post
          For my SPCs, I made them for practice the same way you describe. I did all of them as starting PCs, then added 1 xp per year of unlife to grow them into what they become. I had them buy backgrounds aside from status - that was by storyteller fiat. I also gave a bonus of 5 xp per level of status.

          On top of that, I pumped up about 1 in 10 with double xp, with another 2 in 10 getting 1.5 times the "usual" xp. I didn't want the power curve to be as linear. I was tempted to double up the oldest SPCs, but found that it worked much better on the mid- to low-level ones to help make them stand out.

          Example:

          I was setting up the main Lasombra remaining in the city. He was embraced in 1868 giving me a starting point of 152 xp. He has status 4 - the Camarilla and Anarchs both know who he is even if just by reputation, so that nets him another 20 xp. I want him to be one of the nastier things in the story for the PCs to encounter, so I give him a 50% bump - he was active in the Sabbat and survived over a century - taking him up to 258 xp.

          One thing I learned from this is that the SPCs will not be as powerful as in previous editions. Identifying the dice pools I wanted them to be best in was a good starting point, followed by the discipline spread that made the most sense, with their backgrounds the third priority (unless it was more of a priority for the SPC). Their predator type typically had two options for additional disciplines, and for the most part that was all I gave them access to - it helps simplify the process and still differentiates the SPCs from individual clans by prompting you to give them very different types.
          Wow I really like this technique. Seems time intensive but precise. Granted my pcs probably gain far more than 2xp a year but they are pcs and therefore special

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          • #6
            Check this document
            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=907756318

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DifferentJustin View Post
              Are there any good guidelines to making a good SPC for V5 besides giving them whatever stats "feel right"?
              There isn't anything better than what "feels right" once you understand what "feels right" -- but getting there can be kinda hard. So let me see if I can offer something helpful.

              If I need to put together a city full of vampires in a hurry, and I want to make sure I'm not screwing up power levels or anything liek that, I'll approach it by f***ing around with the chargen values rather than counting XP. And I don't bother making sure that things are consistent; if a character has a predator type, I don't sweat the fact that maybe I missed some skill he or she was supposed to have been given.

              So you were talking about V5. Let's talk about attributes.

              Base neonate values are 4/3/3/3/2/2/2/2/1. That's 22 dots in total. Imagine that the freebies are already spent -- that's another dot or two. So I'd make a quick chart that looked something like this:

              Neonates: 22-25 dots
              Young Ancillae: 25-27 dots
              Senior Ancillae: 27-29 dots
              Young Elders: 29-31 dots
              Real Elders: 30-34 dots
              Ancients: 34-37 dots (It's my understanding of the V5 Lore that there wouldn't be too many of these.)

              Then I'd do the same thing for abilities. I absolutely hate the way V5 does abilities, but using the "Quick" method a neonate gets somewhere around 20-29 dots. My chart would probably look something like this:

              Neonates: 24--32 dots
              Young Ancillae: 27-38 dots
              Senior Ancillae: 36-46 dots
              Young Elders: 45-65 dots
              Real Elders: 60-80 dots
              Ancients: 80-100 dots

              Same thing for disciplines:

              Neonates: 3-7 dots
              Young Ancillae: 6-12 dots
              Senior Ancillae: 12-18 dots
              Young Elders: 18-26 dots
              Real Elders: 26-32 dots
              Ancients: 32-40 dots

              Etc. Etc. Etc.


              Good luck!

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              • #8
                I give traits by fiat, for the most part, with the understanding that older vamps tend to have higher traits than younger ones. Fiddling around with XP or character creation guidelines seems like it'd take unnecessarily long.


                Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                • #9
                  what 'feels' right is a little harder in V5 since, while the game still does X-nonexistent, 1-beginer/below average, 2, average, 3 Good, 4 exceptional, 5 best you can be' actual roll difficulties are one level higher than they should be so an 'average' person has a 50% chance to fail 'standard' tasks. If you account for this you'll have NPCs that have at least 3's in everything and your players are going to be comparatively shit and will get jealous of all these fabulous NPCs. But if you have all the other NPCs shit ("Normal")... well, the players will have a lot of clean up to do.

                  But yeah, a game master making character sheets always seems self-indulgent unless said character has complicated abilities (in which case I still wouldn't consider a 'full' character sheet)


                  Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
                  There's more coming soon. Pay what ya want.

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                  • #10
                    Like an SCP is a very broad term. In SCP terminology an SCP just refers to a something or person that has anomalous characteristics and is documented by the Foundation m any thing from a magic Iphone loving duck to a endless multidimensional IKEA.

                    I guess the 20th anniversary edition has more rules on associated Wonders,Fetishes.

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                    • #11
                      I'm surprised we've moved from NPCs to a new term.


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                      • #12
                        I thoughts this thread was about SCPs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                          I give traits by fiat, for the most part, with the understanding that older vamps tend to have higher traits than younger ones. Fiddling around with XP or character creation guidelines seems like it'd take unnecessarily long.
                          Which is great if you already know what you're doing. I take it that DifferentJustin doesn't have that kind of expertise yet, based on his question.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          I'm surprised we've moved from NPCs to a new term.
                          Some people have. Not me, mind you, but at least now I know what they're talking about. Eighteen weeks ago I woulda been all, "Huh? What's an SPC?"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Legendre View Post

                            Which is great if you already know what you're doing. I take it that DifferentJustin doesn't have that kind of expertise yet, based on his question.


                            Some people have. Not me, mind you, but at least now I know what they're talking about. Eighteen weeks ago I woulda been all, "Huh? What's an SPC?"
                            I'm in the exact boat that Legendre described here. This is my first time running a Vampire the Masquerade system and I've never played in one before so I don't have any real idea what feels "right". The fact that the book doesn't really give any guidelines for first time Storytellers in making NPCs/SPCs to populate their world is definitely more than a little frustrating for me. I've been grabbing characters from Chicago by Night and Chicago Folios and making them fit into my Milwaukee chronicle, but I don't know how long that will be sustainable.

                            And I started using SPC as that was what the Corebook used to describe any non-player character, but I don't really know what the preferred term is in the community.

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                            • #15
                              Here's something I might recommend. I'm just sketching this out in my head now, but it feels like it might work.

                              Make the single most powerful NPC vampire in your city. Make him or her however you want. Go to town on the sheet. Dots galore. ANything you want him or her to be able to do, make it thus. Calculate XP spent for this monster.

                              Now make the weakest NPC vampire in your city. Again, however you want. Could be a book-fresh neonate. Calculate the XP spent for *this* dainty little bloodsucker.

                              Then you can set your other characters appropriately by figuring the DIFFERENCE between the two and setting things thusly:

                              Elders: weakest vampire's XP total plus 75-85% of the difference.
                              Senior Ancillae: weakest vampire's XP total plus 40-50% of the difference.
                              Junior ANcillae: weakest vampire's XP total plus 30-40%% of the difference.
                              Senior Neonates: weakest vampire's XP total plus 15-25% of the difference.
                              Junior Neonates: weakest vampire's XP total plus 5-10% of the difference.

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