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  • Power Stat 0

    Our Chronicles of Darkness group has recently begun a new campaign, and in addition to a small handful of house rules our ST has devised a way to quantify the XP values of supernatural templates.
    His method is more complex than I care to extrapolate upon in this post, (I might share it in the future if there's interest), but the end result is an XP cost to buy into the template without any of their extra gifts. No supernatural faction reputation ranks, no extra specialty, and a starting power stat of 0.

    My main concern here; I very much understand a fledgling starting out without any special spells or moon gifts, but a power stat of 0? It's not something that most rulebooks consider, and I'm curious if it's actually viable.

    A Vampire without Blood Potency is a glorified ghoul, I know this much. But what about a Mage without Gnosis? A Demon without Primum?
    Or, since I'm most familiar with the rules, a Werewolf without Primal Urge; could they still regenerate, use wolf senses, shift?

    Any opinions and input would be really helpful!

  • #2
    Supernatural Potency determines several different things; most notably how much of their fuel trait can be stored and how much can be spent per turn (for all except beasts and mummies).

    A werewolf without Primal Urge has no regeneration because regeneration is based on Primal Urge and the table doesn't go below 1. They would have the ability to shift forms except that new werewolves start at Harmony 9 and shapeshifting at that level requires Essence which is tied to Primal Urge. Without shapeshifting, Gifts or Rites they are extremely unlikely to ever reach a level of Harmony that allows them to shapeshift without Essence.

    A mage has no rules for having Arcana because their maximum ratings are tied to Gnosis and Gnosis doesn't go below 1. Gnosis also affects a lot of spell casting (if they had Arcana) but the most notably and most brokenly part is their lack of Paradox for over-Reaching. Having no Gnosis or Arcana also goes against the fluff and the rules for freshly Awakened mages, as described in Signs of Sorcery. Lastly, a mage without Gnosis, Arcana or Mana capacity is straight up just a human with a weirdness sensor (Peripheral Mage Sight; which they can't turn to Active Mage Sight since they don't have Arcana). That is literally it for a mage without those traits.

    A vampire gets the absolute worst part of it because without Blood Potency they have no Vitae capacity, can't gain any Vitae (which they can't store) because you can get a maximum of your Blood Potency dots of Vitae per turn when feeding, and have no ability to spend Vitae (that they don't have) to wake up each night.
    You could house rule it to work like ghouls and/or revenants, but why not play an actual ghoul at that point?

    Mummies straight up doesn't work in this system. They start at Sekhem 10. It's their thing. The result of Sekhem 0 is ending your current Descent and returning to Duat, which can very well reset your Sekhem back to 10 anyway (without any XP costs).

    Same thing with the Bound (aka Sin-Eaters). You're stuck at Synergy 0 until you've completed a Remembrance tableau to increase Synergy to 1 (which doesn't cost XP). Without having reached Synergy 3 (where you gain the Remembrance Touchstone) you're extremely unlikely to be able to do that unless the ST basically hands you what you need on a platter.
    Also, how is this new XP system supposed to work when the Geist has its own stats? Technically it starts with a Supernatural Potency of 3 (and it literally cannot be lower because otherwise it could never make the Bargain).


    There is no point to start with Supernatural Potency 0 because either you go literal as I did above, or you would already grant basically everything that is available at the first dot to make them playable, in which case why even bother creating an extra step?


    Additionally, I'm extremely wary of not granting any powers at all because that goes against a lot of the fluff (such as changelings signing/learning Contracts during their Durance in order to escape, werewolves gaining Renown and their first Moon Gift due to their Auspice that they start with, mages gaining the knowledge behind their Path's two ruling Arcana during their Awakening, etc).

    And, I have to ask, how fun is it to gain most, if not all, of a splat's weaknesses but close to none of their advantages?


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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    • #3
      So... yeah... what Tessie said.

      Thought I'll add that Beasts can't exist at Lair 0. While Lair 0 is never really addressed, the only way they could have Lair 0 is for their Heart Chamber to be destroyed, which would kill them.

      The main reason the concept of Power Stat 0 even exists in the books are for minor supernaturals like Ghouls.

      While I can see some merit to coming up with some sort of comparative rating like this (you could give lower rated PCs extra XP to make up for it or something), it's inherently flawed by the fact that weaknesses can't be quantified with XP. There's also things like the value of Integrity analogs being all over the place in fashions that can't be summed up easily. For the life of me, I can't figure out how you can plug Humanity, Harmony, Clarity, and Satiety into one formula and generate a comparative value that's remotely accurate to how they operate in play.

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      • #4
        I'm going to go the other way on this - Most of the power stats can by extrapolated backward to get a useable level 0. The first few dots of power stat after 1 generally give +1 to maximum fuel storage so it stands to reason that going from 1 to 0 would involve -1 fuel (for a maximum of 9). Several splats would, logically, wind up being able to spend 0 fuel per round but they allows universally can spend extra time to spend all the fuel required for high cost powers. It stands to reason, in this thought exercise, that 0 fuel per round simply means they can't burn enough fuel in combat time to usefully activate powers but could, presumably, burn fuel over the course of several rounds. It really just comes down to the assumptions/house rules the ST in question makes for Power Stat 0 characters.

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        • #5
          All this feedback has been wonderful. Thank you!
          Now to defend my Storyteller for a moment.

          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
          Additionally, I'm extremely wary of not granting any powers at all because that goes against a lot of the fluff (such as changelings signing/learning Contracts during their Durance in order to escape, werewolves gaining Renown and their first Moon Gift due to their Auspice that they start with, mages gaining the knowledge behind their Path's two ruling Arcana during their Awakening, etc).

          And, I have to ask, how fun is it to gain most, if not all, of a splat's weaknesses but close to none of their advantages?
          I don't know the specific ins-and-outs of every template's power list beyond Vampire, Werewolf and Demon, but I can say that our group has had a fun enough time exploring each character's descent into the supernatural realm one power at a time. Starting as mostly human characters, it's been interesting to explore not only how everyone else reacts to a single person's growth, but also to earn that growth individually - My werewolf going through the First Change and earning her first dot of Renown shortly after, for example, was a fun story beat.

          Starting out with all the weaknesses a template gets, but very few of the advantages, has also been more than enough fuel for dramatic scenes and breaking points.
          I suppose that aspect boils down to what you have the most fun with in a splat - the power trip, navigating around weaknesses, or a mix of both.

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          • #6
            IIRC, I could swear Requiem 2nd ed straight up says a Vampire with Blood Potency 0 is limited to having Vitae equal to their Stamina...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jacob View Post
              IIRC, I could swear Requiem 2nd ed straight up says a Vampire with Blood Potency 0 is limited to having Vitae equal to their Stamina...
              Ghouls have a Vitae pool equal to their Stamina, but they don't have the Blood Potency trait. Revenants, the closest thing to BP 0 you can get, are still considered to have Blood Potency 1 (but a Vitae pool reduced to Stamina+5).


              Bloodline: The Stygians
              Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
              Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                Ghouls have a Vitae pool equal to their Stamina, but they don't have the Blood Potency trait.
                Originally posted by Vampire: the Requiem Second Edition, p.297
                Add Ghoul Traits
                Blood Potency: Your character gains the Blood Potency trait at 0, allowing him to store and spend Vitae. This trait cannot be increased with Experiences or time.
                I'm pretty sure this is why the Blood Potency trait in 2e has a row for 0 in the first place. (Max Vitae = Stamina, per turn is 1.)
                Last edited by Stupid Loserman; 06-17-2020, 03:34 PM.

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                • #9
                  I see. Anyway, that means that applying Blood Potency 0 on full Kindred means they become worse than Revenants who are supposed to be the tragic result of faulty Embraces that can only hope to be uplifted (or uplift themselves) into becoming real vampires.


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                  Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tessie View Post

                    Ghouls have a Vitae pool equal to their Stamina, but they don't have the Blood Potency trait. Revenants, the closest thing to BP 0 you can get, are still considered to have Blood Potency 1 (but a Vitae pool reduced to Stamina+5).

                    May I trouble you to refresh my memory. Were these rules in Requiem 2nd ed or Half-Damned?

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                    • #11
                      Deviants start with power stat 0, for what it's worth.

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                      • #12
                        Another point to add, fae touched work on rules like ghouls and act as if wyrd 0. A 0 in your power stat is more often than not a minor template that has some capacity of a the full template but in the end is still mortal.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chronicled Egg View Post
                          All this feedback has been wonderful. Thank you!
                          Now to defend my Storyteller for a moment.



                          I don't know the specific ins-and-outs of every template's power list beyond Vampire, Werewolf and Demon, but I can say that our group has had a fun enough time exploring each character's descent into the supernatural realm one power at a time. Starting as mostly human characters, it's been interesting to explore not only how everyone else reacts to a single person's growth, but also to earn that growth individually - My werewolf going through the First Change and earning her first dot of Renown shortly after, for example, was a fun story beat.

                          Starting out with all the weaknesses a template gets, but very few of the advantages, has also been more than enough fuel for dramatic scenes and breaking points.
                          I suppose that aspect boils down to what you have the most fun with in a splat - the power trip, navigating around weaknesses, or a mix of both.
                          That makes no sense and to be blunt, I think your Storyteller is being a little cheap.

                          Simply being a werewolf gives you Renown, not just mechanically, but narratively as well. A Rahu doesn't earn his Purity Renown, he already has it simply by virtue of being Rahu, it's the reputation of the Rahu that gives any newborn Rahu his free Purity Renown. Think of it as spirits and other werewolves already having expectations from you because of the Auspice you were born into. Earning your first Renown through your actions as a Forsaken should be on top of the Renown you already get for free after your First Change.

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                          • #14
                            While I have quantified the xp cost of the splats, in regards to how much xp to give a minor template PC, I don't think doing an xp buy in to a template is a good idea. Especially from nothing. If you want to use that xp cost to get you to the starter stats, I guess, but its much better as a free, but narrative thing. Becoming a vampire shouldn't be some xp cost in between sessions, but a short story by itself. Have the person be front and center, spend a session on setting up the splat, then one or two more as he and the group adjust to this change, with him choosing his powers over those couple chapters.

                            Taking the vampire as an example, one session should start with a hook taking him and the group into vampires sights, ending with the players being embraced. The next is him and them adjusting to it, dealing with the new vampire world that has opened up for them, and the third session should have him settling into his new unlife probably with a covenant. Over the course of session two and three, he should pick which attribute gets increased, making this a narrative point, (ie he goes to angrily knock on his loud neighbor's door and accidentally cracks the wood because he increased his strength.) And then do similar things for the disciplines and three merit dots. Really show what he can do, and show how he's learning about it along side the group. You don't need xp to make a good story.


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