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  • [W20]Rules Light?

    Rules Light Werewolf 20?

    I just can't wrap my head around the rules' needless complexity and, in some places, contradictions. Combat, most of all.
    I've looked at ways to cut corners and improve the flow.
    I've looked at more narrative systems like Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark.

    Yet, my picky self still doesn't like the look of things.

    Paring down the existing system feels like just replacing one complexity for another in that I have to do mental gymnastics to remember the adjustments and conversions.

    Using another system satisfies the immediate desire for simplification, yet leaves me with an ongoing need to convert and adapt ever gift, rite, enemy, etc.

    So, like the Bernie Sanders meme, I am once again asking...for your ideas and suggestions.

    How can I lift the setting and aspects I love (triat, rage, umbra, 5 forms, gnosis, gifts, tribes, breeds, auspices, aggravated damage, etc) and drop it down into a system that actually flows and doesn't rip our mindsets out of the RP?

  • #2
    My friends and I say that while we love the World of Darkness setting we hate the Storyteller system (the game mechanics).

    The way we try to run it now is to reduce the dice rolls to the absolute minimum. We utilize the rules designed to simplify things as much as possible. Some of my players have experience with diceless RPGs, so we try to utilize a lot of lessons from there for many scenes.

    So we encourage players to spend 1 WP to get one success, if that is all the success they need (especially for uncontested rolls where someone else is not trying to thwart you). That sometimes requires the ST to be less stingy in rewarding players with WP so players don't feel they may run out when they do need it.

    It also means to use the rule if the dice pool equals the difficulty, then they can get an automatic success. That means trying to identify the true difficulty of a roll, and not just to always default to 6. A difficulty of 6 implies 50/50 success if all you have is one die, and is the default people roll against each other. It should not be used for more routine tasks. Unless there is a significant chance of failure (like hitting a target with a gun if you have not been trained to use firearms), don't assign a difficulty of 6 or higher. Assign 5, 4, or 3 as appropriate. That will be equal or less than a lot of dice pools. And for some tasks, I don't even ask for a roll at all. I just ask how many dots they have in an Ability and assume that's sufficient. And there are a lot of actions that should be automatic actions that do not require a roll. I try to only have players roll if I believe there should be a significant chance of failure, or if it is to determine how long something might take.

    Botches are never fun and occur way too often. So we always count a "6" as a success in terms of removing botches, even if the difficulty is greater than 6. That makes certain traits like Ancestors more useful, as its default difficulty of 8 greatly increased the chances of a botch. We're also experimenting with the idea that any roll of a "10" prevents a botch. Rolling 1s can still cancel out a success, but even if one die is a 10, it eliminates the risk of a botch. I cannot say we've playtested this extensively, and we keep evaluating after every game session to see if we want to keep it.

    I don't have any suggestions for combat, other than I have learned it is best to not try to "balance" combat like you do in D&D and many other RPGs. A scene of bad dice rolls for the PCs and good dice rolls for me is enough to upset combat so that even less powerful Wyrm creatures have a chance to kill the PCs. So I don't mind now if the fights don't seem "balanced", or if the PCs just run through the opponents. I actually found the players prefer it better that way, as they finally feel like they are killing machines the game describes them as being. And there's still enough tension because of the dice rolls.

    I'm sure there are many people on this forum that have far better ideas than I.

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    • #3
      > I've looked at more narrative systems like Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark.

      Scene, What Happens?
      Roll 2d6:
      If 2-6 Something Bad Happens
      If 7-9 Something So-So Happens
      If 10+ Something Good Happens
      (Powered by the Apocalypse)

      Jokes aside, if you really want to cut the system down to very core. I'd recommend picking like 10 possible "skills" (Like Primal Urge or Charisma) then have your players pick 2 at seven, 3 at five, 4 at three, and the last at one. these are your d10 dice pools for those skills and whenever the skill comes up you roll the dicepool. Normal Difficulty is 6, kind of hard is 7, very hard is 8, close to impossible is 9. Basic rules lite for WoD.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnnyArkham View Post
        How can I lift the setting and aspects I love (triat, rage, umbra, 5 forms, gnosis, gifts, tribes, breeds, auspices, aggravated damage, etc) and drop it down into a system that actually flows and doesn't rip our mindsets out of the RP?
        I think for a more fiction-first, story-focused, rules-light approach the most important thing is specificity. In my experience any PbtA-game or FitD-game is helped a great deal by pursuing a very specific vision of what the game is about and what the mechanics are there to highlight. Very specific themes or genres can be these neat little boxes that set parameters for what's relevant and what isn't in the storytelling (lower-case s storytelling in that case ). Of course, this is a very general and broad notion but I think this should be the first step in realizing what your goals in making W20 "rules-light" are.

        Additionally, you have the advantage of your houserules only having to work for the W20 game you're going to run. The only target-demographic you have to keep in mind are the players at your table. So when you think of what sort of specificity you want to go for in making W20 more rules-light try to keep in mind what your players enjoy and try to keep the stuff they enjoy.

        Of course, there's no one true way to make W20 "rules-light". Ultimately it's just gonna be a mix of what you want W20 to be and what your players want to get out of playing W20.

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        • #5
          Did you consider the Revised era quickstart? It's pretty simple and shortened from the standard form.

          Switching to something like Fate would work, but would require people to like Fate's approach to narrative construction. PbtA games can be good, but they require a lot of design time and adaptation to make things work correctly, and are at their best when they are centered around a formulaic activity. Things like Masks or Avatar who focus more on the internal drama of the characters and their relationships with organisations would be a good place to start. If I did go for something like that, I'd probably base it off the Resistance system (Spire/Heart), as it could map form changes and being amazing at certain things pretty well. Your beats would be based on your auspice, and the different tribes would offer variations of their trademark tricks and gifts as Advances.

          There's also a number of hacks to simplify the WW system that are commonly used, but not sure that's what you're looking for. This is my preferred way of running it.


          What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JohnnyArkham View Post
            Rules Light Werewolf 20?

            I just can't wrap my head around the rules' needless complexity and, in some places, contradictions. Combat, most of all.
            I've looked at ways to cut corners and improve the flow.
            I've looked at more narrative systems like Powered by the Apocalypse and Forged in the Dark.

            Yet, my picky self still doesn't like the look of things.

            Paring down the existing system feels like just replacing one complexity for another in that I have to do mental gymnastics to remember the adjustments and conversions.

            Using another system satisfies the immediate desire for simplification, yet leaves me with an ongoing need to convert and adapt ever gift, rite, enemy, etc.

            So, like the Bernie Sanders meme, I am once again asking...for your ideas and suggestions.

            How can I lift the setting and aspects I love (triat, rage, umbra, 5 forms, gnosis, gifts, tribes, breeds, auspices, aggravated damage, etc) and drop it down into a system that actually flows and doesn't rip our mindsets out of the RP?
            Somewhere in Rage across the Amazon there is a quick references rule for fighting in big groups / packs, which is really fast.

            When I used to play werewolf with classic rules from 20th/revised I used Rage like celerity/potence. Automatic success on strength or dexterity per point spent.
            Celerity was automatic success on dexterity.
            Multiple actions were abolished except for some non combat situations.

            If a crinos scored 10 or more 10 against lesser fomori or humans, they died instantly.


            -'' We are the unsullied.
            We are the inheritors.
            We are the Pure ''-

            Comment


            • #7
              I’ve worked on a rules-lite version of werewolf based on Fate Accelerated, and have gotten to run a few one shots - mostly Ratkin games.
              Because I was working from convention assumptions (A: my players would be new to gaming and not heavily invested in the setting; and B: it’s be short lived chronicles, mostly one-shots), there’s a LOT that got paired down that I think a real fan of W20 wouldn’t jive with.

              But I turned a lot of elements into character Aspects, gave guidelines for converting gifts/rites/merits into Stunts (and provided tribe-iconic stunts to pick from PbtA style), and mushed Rage and Gnosis into Fate Chips.

              I don’t think I ever got far enough to have, like, a public facing rule book. But, like I said, I did run a few one shots, using a single rules page for the table (plus some rules on the character sheet), and one or two pages of scrawled GM notes about how to run regen, banes, spirits, rage, etc.
              If you’re interested, I can dig up what I have


              Second Chance for

              A Beautiful Madness

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              • #8
                Some tips for simplifying combat:
                1. Roll initiative once, or use popcorn initiative.
                2. Drop the reverse declaration phase.
                3. Take half for damage and soak dice pools OR use the V2DA streamlined combat rules.*
                4. Simplify all the Gifts in combat -- PCs can say which Gifts they have that might help a given action, and you can just award them a "stunt bonus" (see Exalted) of 1-3 dice. No cost and no action required.

                Exalted Essence might make a good chassis for a rules-lite WTA. You'd need to make the Gifts work, but the example Charms would give you loads of inspiration. You'd have three Attributes and 10 Abilities, and that's it.

                *This means damage and soak become static numbers, not dice pools, making combat much faster but also deadlier. If you do this, you might want to rule that death can only happen if you lose all HLs and someone spends an action and a WP point to consciously finish you off.


                Writer, publisher, performer
                Mostly he/his, sometimes she/her IRL https://adam-lowe.com

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