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  • "abuse the system" characters

    hi everyone,

    So I was talking with my players about playing VTM in the new year. One of my players (usual one i talk about, the "eat the pope" guy) said the following when I was redesigning a character he made so it made mechanical sense. example: he used "blade mistress" as a melee skill, i asked him and he said knifes. so i changed it to knifes.

    about making characters, his exact message to me when I sent the updated character to him was:

    "Dude thx but no thx I build character based on an idea I have in mind at the time sometimes they built to abuse the system some time it for pure flavour"

    when I read the "built to abuse the system" bit. in my mind that raised a few red flags. when making characters encase he wants to use guns or pick one up after a fight, he picks Rapid Reflexes from Celerity purely so he doesn't have to have the minor action of reloading the gun and doesn't suffer a dice pool penalty due to lack of cover.
    any advice on a player that wants to "abuse the system"? or is it worth having that character subtly get curb stomped into Torpor and sitting out until their character gets awoken again? (a sort of time out) the core book does say:

    "Build the character in your mind’s eye with the dots and numbers of the Storyteller System as the skeleton, not as the soul. Don’t try to create the “best possible” character – not only does that defeat the purpose of drama, it’s also impossible to have more dots than a whole city full of predators, much less a whole World of Darkness."

  • #2
    I don't see anything wrong. Just let him.

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    • #3
      If you don't like playing with the dude, don't play with him.

      Otherwise, A character like this is bound to screw things up and have the court kill or at the very least mock him. Just make sure this is some very in-character stuff and your other players should enjoy the spectacle. Just ask the guy what he's wearing and when he anounces he looks like a mid-strip stripper covered in leather and weapons you make sure every character looks at him like a lunatic and doesn't really want to be seen making conversation.


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

      Comment


      • #4
        We already went over this in the other thread you made. Aslong as he has the points and freebie points for it, there is nothing wrong with his character as is. Nothing mechanically was wrong with your player's character points wise. The fact that you deliberately "resigned" his character and didn't let it be is pretty bad as an ST. Besides there is nothing he can really do to "break the game" by putting points in Celerity.. because as the namesake and general function of the Discipline, it allows you to do things more faster.

        I generally don't see the point of these continued threads or gossiping about a player negatively behind their back. Just let him stat his character, provided with his backstory of the why he has these skills and attributes (within the realm of points and freebies as mentioned before), and just continue the game already.
        Last edited by Shakanaka; 12-27-2020, 09:07 PM.


        Jade Kingdom Warrior

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        • #5
          Find a different player or just veto that character. Or create NPCs with special abilities that render his minimaxing (did I get the word right?) useless (like another vampire who also has Rapid Reflexes and more dots in Celerity than he does). But that will probably just piss him off.


          “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Penelope View Post
            Find a different player or just veto that character. Or create NPCs with special abilities that render his minimaxing (did I get the word right?) useless (like another vampire who also has Rapid Reflexes and more dots in Celerity than he does). But that will probably just piss him off.
            Don't get into an arms race with a minmaxer, all it does is focus the entire campaign around their character, pisses off the minmaxer because it makes the entire game out to get them, and pisses off the other players because they either don't get the chance for focus or get caught in the crossfire.

            I know this may sound strange, but strong characters aren't bad. As long as the character doesn't render everyone else's role meaningless and they actually role-play the character, it adds just as much to the story as any other character.

            It doesn't matter if the player is nigh invincible in combat. Just don't make the campaign only about combat

            It doesn't matter if the player somehow found a way to manufacture vitae for ghoul production. As long as the other players are on board, then the campaign can change focus to supernatural gang-warfare and mafia building.

            It doesn't matter if your player found a way around one or more classic vampiric weaknesses. The character now has a very valuable secret that other vampires are going to want and that allows sub-plots a plenty for how they deal with the efforts of enemy vampires trying to steal or barter for it.

            If your player has found weird bugs in the system that they think are cool or have an outlandish goal, you'll get more milage out of including that into the story with just enough difficulty to make it feel like a challenge than punishing the player for it.

            If your players are having fun, Let Them. Don't be trying to change the players to suite the campaign, Do change the campaign to better fit the players.

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            • #7
              As people are saying, the game will balance itself if you are fair about players facing repercussions for their actions, having NPCs react appropriately to someone acting out, etc. Personally I think the game works best when you have a coterie of characters with very large pools for their specialties and very small pools for their weak points, because it's unlikely that any character will be able to avoid all their weak points forever.

              I will point out though, and this is so often the case with optimizers who boast about having system mastery and making a broken character, it sounds like he doesn't know what he's doing. You're saying he wants the specialty "Blade Mistress" (whatever that means) and refused your change to make it "Knives"? Either way it's just +1 die when using his knife attacks, and I think it'll be easier for you to say that "Blade Mistress" doesn't apply as often as "Knives" would. Moreover, if he actually wanted to abuse the system, he would specialize in throwing knives which is a Dex+Athletics roll for combat, which doubles as the general "dodge" roll which means he'd be just as good at avoiding attacks as dealing them out. Putting points into Melee seems like a waste from a theoretical optimization standpoint, especially if he's not using Potence.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd say just let him do him. Of course, he's likely to end up in situations where the super maxed out special tactic won't work. I'm not sure what good "Blade Mistress" would be during Elysium, or during feeding/hunting, or investigative work, or a confrontation with a character you can't really throw down on without major consequences (like say, the Sheriff or human police).


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

                  Don't get into an arms race with a minmaxer, all it does is focus the entire campaign around their character, pisses off the minmaxer because it makes the entire game out to get them, and pisses off the other players because they either don't get the chance for focus or get caught in the crossfire.

                  I know this may sound strange, but strong characters aren't bad. As long as the character doesn't render everyone else's role meaningless and they actually role-play the character, it adds just as much to the story as any other character.

                  It doesn't matter if the player is nigh invincible in combat. Just don't make the campaign only about combat

                  It doesn't matter if the player somehow found a way to manufacture vitae for ghoul production. As long as the other players are on board, then the campaign can change focus to supernatural gang-warfare and mafia building.

                  It doesn't matter if your player found a way around one or more classic vampiric weaknesses. The character now has a very valuable secret that other vampires are going to want and that allows sub-plots a plenty for how they deal with the efforts of enemy vampires trying to steal or barter for it.

                  If your player has found weird bugs in the system that they think are cool or have an outlandish goal, you'll get more milage out of including that into the story with just enough difficulty to make it feel like a challenge than punishing the player for it.

                  If your players are having fun, Let Them. Don't be trying to change the players to suite the campaign, Do change the campaign to better fit the players.
                  Okay. Fair enough. Idk all that.


                  “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ultimately you need to decide whether this guy adds or decreases the fun at the table for you and your other players. If the answer is his presence creates more fun (even if it is only, I like having this friend here with me), then you'll need to let go and do the best you can. But you should give him warning that there is a potential that your decisions as an ST may anger or annoy him since he's obviously a very different style of gamer than you.

                    If the answer is his presence leads to less fun, then you need to remove him from the game. Because he is who he is and will continue to do all the things that annoy and frustrate you. The two of you simply aren't compatible at the game table for this. Say you don't think it'll work out and tell him he's not invited. You cannot solve an OOC issue (and how someone plays is an OOC issue) through IC means. It just delays the inevitable.

                    Only you know the answer to that.

                    It's been a hard lesson for me to learn when it is best just not to game with someone. I have friends I still hang out and do things with, but I don't roleplay with them anymore. I have friends I will play with for this RPG or that RPG, but not these other RPGs because I know when our styles are compatible and when they clash. And some people I don't hang out at all with because roleplaying was the only thing I ever did with them - and I don't miss them.

                    It doesn't make them bad people. It doesn't even make them bad roleplay gamers. It just makes them people bad to play with you because what you want out of the game is too different from what they enjoy.

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                    • #11
                      I agree with most of what has been said, though I feel there is an aspect of this that should be mentioned in regards to "power fantasy" in games. There are two types of power fantasy categories that people tend to fall into.

                      IRL Power Fantasy:
                      This is all about being something you are not in real life. Thus being a vampire in a vampire game is enough of a power fantasy or playing a different type of person. Now this group can have its own quirks if the players have a lot of real world experience, knowledge, or resources. If you have real world experience in martial arts, it's not much of fantasy to play a martial artist in game, if anything you only get frustrated at how poor the mechanics work.

                      In Game Power Fantasy:
                      It doesn't matter how the game or your character compares to you, what matters is how your character compares to the setting. So it doesn't matter if the character can kill people, a lot if not most vampires kill people, these characters want to kill cities or countries. It doesn't matter if you have magic in the game, depending on how you count there is a half dozen clans/bloodlines that have access to some kind of magic, these players want to revolutionize magic or create a new form of magic. Most vampires have some form of haven, these characters want to build a vampire city. Calling it "breaking the setting" is accurate, but misses the point. These players want to be able to make their mark on the setting by their choices or actions, rather than being a small foot note in history.

                      Both forms of play are valid and can be very fun. But everyone has to be on board for that style of game though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                        I agree with most of what has been said, though I feel there is an aspect of this that should be mentioned in regards to "power fantasy" in games. There are two types of power fantasy categories that people tend to fall into.

                        IRL Power Fantasy:
                        This is all about being something you are not in real life. Thus being a vampire in a vampire game is enough of a power fantasy or playing a different type of person. Now this group can have its own quirks if the players have a lot of real world experience, knowledge, or resources. If you have real world experience in martial arts, it's not much of fantasy to play a martial artist in game, if anything you only get frustrated at how poor the mechanics work.

                        In Game Power Fantasy:
                        It doesn't matter how the game or your character compares to you, what matters is how your character compares to the setting. So it doesn't matter if the character can kill people, a lot if not most vampires kill people, these characters want to kill cities or countries. It doesn't matter if you have magic in the game, depending on how you count there is a half dozen clans/bloodlines that have access to some kind of magic, these players want to revolutionize magic or create a new form of magic. Most vampires have some form of haven, these characters want to build a vampire city. Calling it "breaking the setting" is accurate, but misses the point. These players want to be able to make their mark on the setting by their choices or actions, rather than being a small foot note in history.

                        Both forms of play are valid and can be very fun. But everyone has to be on board for that style of game though.
                        Empowerment


                        “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          what the hell kind of specialty even is blade mistress?
                          that aside, let him be a min maxer or abuse the system if he wants too just make sure he's abusing the system and not breaking it. the rules specifically says you're not allowed to take anything to broad as a specialty like a fighting style so you're well justified to say no on blade mistress.at the same time, don't just change his character/ character sheet, talk to the guy, tell him blade mistress is to broad/vague for a specialty or that the director of the CIA is too powerful/influential as a 1 dot ally (yes, i've seen a guy try to get the director of the CIA as a 1 dot ally) and make sure he knows that nobody is going to take him seriously if he dresses and acts like an anime character.

                          TLDR: let him min-max and abuse the system but talk to the guy about specific issues/concerns you've got about his char or sheet
                          Last edited by archderd; 12-28-2020, 05:35 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Giving him Social penalties for dressing like an anime chick all covered with knives and stuff is also totally valid.


                            “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah my brain goes wonky after reading 'blade mistress'.
                              Has the guy even played the game yet? How many people are you playing with?


                              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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