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Author Topic: Hacking the Storyteller System  (Read 7985 times)

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2019, 05:02:32 PM »
Spitballing time.

Task resolution: rework the whole pass/fail paradigm of results. Base all results on what would be fun, not simulation. Take a page from Risus: e.g. an action movie hero will never fail to outrun the fireball, but he will have to roll to determine whether he lands in a swimming pool or a stinky dumpster.

Attributes and skills: codify combinations of attributes and skills into "feats" for easy reference. For example, offensive and defensive combat maneuvers would be feats; superpowers may roll particular feats if they are superpowered versions of those feats.

Background traits: use the STing style for perks/flaws. Take a page from V5 and allow a PC's flaws to apply to his backgrounds, meaning they give a constant stream of XP.

Combat: offer a unified mechanic for physical, mental, and social combat a la Risus. Offer both simplified and complex options for combat.

Ethos: optional. Rework it to reflect a more realistic understanding of conscience and desensitization.

I'll try post more detailed approaches later.

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2019, 09:07:29 AM »
Power Paths

And here we come to the cool part, as in the kewl powerz! As I said in the OP, White Wolf games generally implement super powers in a clumsy manner. So I'm not doing that.

The unofficial WoD point buy rules provide a helpful breakdown of how White Wolf powers are generally designed. This is an expansion of Opening the Dark's explanation, which is bare bones.

Basically, Power Paths are essentially supernatural Advantages. A Power Path is ranked from 1-5. In order to learn a Power, or exception-based effect, you must have the prerequisite rank in the associated Power Path. When a PC buys ranks in a Power Path, each rank provides a free Power. Additional Powers may be purchased with XP. (In Opening the Dark default rules, Power Paths are only given one Power per rank. Some Power Paths only have one Power that scales with Rank.)

While Power Paths always provide access to Powers, the reverse isn't true. Depending on their concept, Opening the Dark allows a character may learn powers without learning the associated Power Path.

Powers come in several different types. "Fast" Powers basically work like how you imagine superpowers to work: you can run super fast, read auras, give magically-enforced commands, etc. "Ritual" Powers, as the name implies, are performed as stereotypical magical rituals; Opening the Dark uses Art/Praxis to serve the same role. "Supplemental" Powers don't have any effect on their own, but modify the use of another Power or Power Path; for example: increasing the scope of an effect (e.g. expanding personal invisibility to group invisibility, making magic claws more damaging), removing a limitation (e.g. allowing hypnosis to work by voice alone, allowing invisibility to work through recording devices), etc. (I also had an idea for "Flawed" Powers which are the opposite of Supplemental Powers.) "Combination" Powers combine the effects of two specific Powers or Power Paths; by default a Combination Power only requires sufficient ranks in both Power Paths, but a Supplemental Combination Power requires specific Powers.

Any other number of tags could be used to classify powers for game purposes, a la Exalted. Mental versus Physical, Passive versus Active, "Theme", etc. Separate from Powers, Power Paths are basically just a Theme tag with a rank associated. There's really no end to how one could devise and classify Power Paths and Powers. For example, some Power Paths may simply boost mundane traits a la SP System's mega-attributes: Super Strength, Super Toughness, Super Speed, etc.

Ranks in a Power Path may or may not be used to determine dice pools. In Opening the Dark they don't, although in STing and V5 they are.

[EDIT: A problem I just noticed is that "power" is used for both the attribute function and super powers. For example, Mental Power is an attribute and Mental Powers are superpowers affecting mental attributes. In order to avoid causing confusion I will have to adopt a different jargon in the future.]

Art & Praxis
Opening the Dark uses a simple syntactic magic mechanic. It seems to be based on the "foundation"/"pillar" mechanic from Dark Ages: Mage, with the addition of a neat little rule "law of nemesis" which gives every Praxis a weakness of some kind. The only flaw I noticed is that it fairly bare bones and is far less robust than other syntactic magic systems, but that's not a deal breaker to me.

The unofficial point buy rules include a similar "influences" mechanic which prices XP costs based on the theme of an influence.

I have tons of ideas for powers, but I'm going to save that for when I start brainstorming splats.

Essence
Under this category I'm lumping a bunch of tangentially related mechanics. Opening the Dark has a section on "The Price" explaining how to adjudicate costs for powers and magic, so I won't repeat it here. WoD Point Buy includes a number of buyable traits that deal with this stuff.

Anyway, this category includes the closest thing the S* system games have to character level: generation, blood potency, essence, legend, quantum, blah blah blah. The S* system games have always felt a bizarre need to constantly tinker with how power levels and power costs work. Many games often had characters managing multiple different pools of power points with different applications, such as glamour/banality, rage/gnosis, yin/yang, ba/ka/sekhem, etc.

It took years, but the STing system codified two traits involved in this: Supernatural Potency and Supernatural Tolerance. Supernatural Potency is used to determine things like trait maximums. Supernatural Tolerance is used to boost resistance against Powers. In earlier editions both Supernatural Potency and Supernatural Tolerance were derived from the same statistic (WoD point buy calls this "Arcana"), but eventually the writers decided to change things up for whatever reason.


[/HR]

I'm going to take a page from The Everlasting and use the same rules jargon for these sorts of concepts, while giving each splat their own jargon if desired. For example, all splats have powers, essence, potency, and ethos. Vampires would use the specific jargon dark gifts, blood, blood-potency, and damnation.

As always, feedback is welcomed. Next up: spirits and generic monsters.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 09:25:54 AM by BoxCrayonTales »

Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2019, 09:57:14 AM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1113752
Generally, addressing dump stats requires tweaking the rest of the rules in a conscious attempt to give every Attribute uses.

And not only does every Attribute have to have a valuable use, but they all have to have sufficiently important uses in actual game play that a PC can choose to specialize in them and still be viable.

The downside to that, of course, is that the more important a particular function is in gameplay, the less likely any given group is to be able to do without someone who's good at it. In D&D they used to call this the "Somebody's Gotta Play The Cleric" effect.  And the plain truth is that some functions just are more important than others: nobody ever put together a D&D party without at least one fighter in it.

I like your idea of switching up the stat used by combat style, or even by round to round choice of manoeuvre: you could call the manoeuvres "Quick Strike" (pool = SNS + Melee), "Finesse Strike" (DEX + Melee), and "Power Strike" (STR + Melee), and then throw in a rule that repeating a single attack type too often gets predictable and thus easier to defend against.
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

STR 8 DEX 10 CON 10 INT 11 WIS 6 CHA 3

Stephen Tannhauser

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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2019, 11:18:40 AM »
With regard to "Defense Values", I and many other players actually prefer the chance to make an active defense roll where possible; even if the probabilities amount to about the same, the illusion of being able to "DO something!" in our own defense is a valued part of the game. (Though I do appreciate that setting a static defense value does reduce handling time.) Had you thought about including this as an option?

And with regard to mental/social conflicts, I've always preferred the terminology of Influence Rolls, since the basic game object is a rule-based way to get one character to cooperate with another's wishes.

(One useful technique in such contests is that, if it's possible for PCs to lose them and thus have agency taken away from their character, there should be a compensatory reward or incentive to soften the sting -- perhaps players who cheerfully accept and roleplay the result of losing an Influence Contest get an extra XP for "Going With The Roll".)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 11:22:37 AM by Stephen Tannhauser »
Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. -- Mark Twain

STR 8 DEX 10 CON 10 INT 11 WIS 6 CHA 3

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2019, 11:45:21 AM »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113881
And not only does every Attribute have to have a valuable use, but they all have to have sufficiently important uses in actual game play that a PC can choose to specialize in them and still be viable.

The downside to that, of course, is that the more important a particular function is in gameplay, the less likely any given group is to be able to do without someone who's good at it. In D&D they used to call this the "Somebody's Gotta Play The Cleric" effect.  And the plain truth is that some functions just are more important than others: nobody ever put together a D&D party without at least one fighter in it.
Quite true. That's why I suggested that Attributes could overlap in terms of applications: partly because Attributes are an arbitrary game convention no matter how you distinguish them, and partly to avoid the "somebody's gotta play the cleric" by making all attributes viable but not vital.

That's part of why I can't really decide whether mental and social combat should really be separate or not. I don't want Intelligence to be a dump stat, but I don't want all the characters to be combat spec'd if the adventures aren't about combat. I find the combat focus in S* system games to be obnoxious, especially given that the physical combat rules are used for spirits rather than a more thematic spiritual combat mechanic.

Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113881
I like your idea of switching up the stat used by combat style, or even by round to round choice of manoeuvre: you could call the manoeuvres "Quick Strike" (pool = SNS + Melee), "Finesse Strike" (DEX + Melee), and "Power Strike" (STR + Melee), and then throw in a rule that repeating a single attack type too often gets predictable and thus easier to defend against.
Yes, although I'd leave the level of granularity up to the GM. The basic idea is to let characters specialize without handicapping them. If the campaign is combat focused, then this lets PCs develop more distinct dice pools.
However, I don't think S* Systems are particularly good for combat.


[/HR]

Spirits and planes

The spirit rules in Opening the Dark are comparable to the various spirit rules used in the STer and STing games. Opening the Dark calls all bodiless entities "spirits," with subtypes including ghosts, animae, demons, etc. Spirits have only three attributes, are ranked by a general power level, have a "domain" trait that works like art/praxis, use essence as both hit points and power points, and have miscellaneous spirit powers for everything else.

In terms of rules, I would burrow a few things from other S* games. I'd distinguish manifestation powers (a la STing 2e), essence from hit points (or maybe distinguish peripheral and personal essence a la WitchCraft), and use the same potency ranking that PCs use (a la Exalted). (That last one is probably going to require reworking how super potency works for PCs too, given that since it was introduced in 2004 we've had characters introduced with scores of 0. By comparison, PCs in Exalted typically start around 4 or more.)

Otherwise, I have a beef with how S* games have presented spirits in general. They're basically running under D&D's ethereal plane logic. Fighting spirits consists of finding a ghost touch weapon and hitting them repeatedly with it until they die. I don't find this very thematic.

If you watch movies about ghosts and ghost-like creatures, then you may notice that it is very common for these spirits not to be limited by spacetime like humans are. It makes no thematic sense to assume all spirits have ethereal bodies that can be hit with ethereal weapons.

I'd take that into account and allow spirits to be treated as hazards/terrain rather than para-physical creatures. How do you fight something that you can't punch in the face? Spiritual combat. Remember when I mentioned mental/social combat? That can be retrofitted to represent other conflicts like psychic combat and spiritual combat.

I'll use an example from the IT movies. When the losers are fighting it, they aren't really fighting it physically because it doesn't have a physical form. It can cause physical harm and warp reality, but this is due to its psychic powers. When the losers fight it, they are pitting their wills against it in psychic/spiritual combat.

On a related note, the STing 1e rules mentioned that ghosts had variable appearances based on their Power Attribute. They didn't all look like humans but could appear as ghostly orbs or other spooky SFX (presumably representing how much of their life they remember informing their residual self-image). The STing 2e rules completely ignored this and in general avoided any kind of evocative fluff in that vein. (While I never liked the weird underworld cosmology, I always found Wraith and Orpheus' attempts to include ghosts of variable potency and non-human ghosts fascinating.)

Anyway, this sort of stuff can be represented in game terms through manifestation powers (including not just STing's manifestation numina but also CtL's manifestations). Basically, spirits can't interact with the world until they "manifest" and how they manifest is highly variable.

That brings me to the types of spirits and the planes of existence. I detest the planes of existence, or at least the idiosyncratic way the S* games typically presented it. Which is why I decided to take cues from Everlasting, WitchCraft, and personal fiat.

I decided to jettison the concepts of Spirit World and Underworld completely. I don't see any need for them (other planes are a different matter). Ghosts and Animae exist on Earth and are tied to earthly things. Ghosts are tied to their anchors/fetters/mementos/heirlooms/whatever; if those are destroyed or resolved, they cross over. Animae are similarly connected to their physical counterparts.

Per animism everything can be said to have a soul. For humans (and possibly other things), their souls or echoes thereof may linger on Earth as ghosts after death. For natural phenomena, inanimate objects, and such, there are animae (literally the Latin word for soul). Most of the time an anima is unconscious and may never wake. Animae only become concerns of the PCs if the PCs either need the assistance of one or an anima is the monster of the week. For example, animated inanimate objects are the result of the object's anima awakening and animating its physical counterpart.

OtD mentions demons as your generic beings from hell. An idea that occurred to me was to adopt the original Greek definition of demons as the spirits of abstract concepts. Eudemons are benevolent, cacodemons are malevolent. Given the inherently transient nature of most abstract concepts, demons must continually hunt for essence. Naturally, this means they are likely to attract the attention of the PCs. (From an OOC POV, my "demons" cover the various quasi-spiritual stuff in STing games like passion shades, emotion spirits, demons, angels, goetia, chimeras, and so forth that have accumulated over the years.)

(PC angels, demons, and ghosts wouldn't operate by these rules. STing has this vague design philosophy in which every splat would have an antagonistic spirit and/or monster counterpart, which I'd lay out as explicit here for simplicity and reference.)

I'm not opposed to other planes, but if you include them as more than just a few lines of fluff than there needs to be a very good reason to have them. Don't have them just because earlier editions of S* did. If you do add other planes, then don't feel the need to force them into a pop-Christian worldview either. (The problem I have with STer/STing's "underworld" is that it's limbo/purgatory and not the afterlife of pre-Christian religions; Disney's Once Upon A Time show did the same thing and I still find it grating. When it comes to urban fantasy specifically, I prefer to leave the nature of the afterlife ambiguous rather than definitively prove or disprove any particular real world religion.)


[/HR]

If anyone has requests for me to touch or go into more detail on a particular topic, then feel free to ask.

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2019, 12:02:25 PM »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113881
And not only does every Attribute have to have a valuable use, but they all have to have sufficiently important uses in actual game play that a PC can choose to specialize in them and still be viable.

The downside to that, of course, is that the more important a particular function is in gameplay, the less likely any given group is to be able to do without someone who's good at it. In D&D they used to call this the "Somebody's Gotta Play The Cleric" effect.  And the plain truth is that some functions just are more important than others: nobody ever put together a D&D party without at least one fighter in it.
Quite true. That's why I suggested that Attributes could overlap in terms of applications: partly because Attributes are an arbitrary game convention no matter how you distinguish them, and partly to avoid the "somebody's gotta play the cleric" by making all attributes viable but not vital.

That's part of why I can't really decide whether mental and social combat should really be separate or not. I don't want Intelligence to be a dump stat, but I don't want all the characters to be combat spec'd if the adventures aren't about combat. I find the combat focus in S* system games to be obnoxious, especially given that the physical combat rules are used for spirits rather than a more thematic spiritual combat mechanic.

Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113881
I like your idea of switching up the stat used by combat style, or even by round to round choice of manoeuvre: you could call the manoeuvres "Quick Strike" (pool = SNS + Melee), "Finesse Strike" (DEX + Melee), and "Power Strike" (STR + Melee), and then throw in a rule that repeating a single attack type too often gets predictable and thus easier to defend against.
Yes, although I'd leave the level of granularity up to the GM. The basic idea is to let characters specialize without handicapping them. If the campaign is combat focused, then this lets PCs develop more distinct dice pools.
However, I don't think S* Systems are particularly good for combat.

Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113883
With regard to "Defense Values", I and many other players actually prefer the chance to make an active defense roll where possible; even if the probabilities amount to about the same, the illusion of being able to "DO something!" in our own defense is a valued part of the game. (Though I do appreciate that setting a static defense value does reduce handling time.) Had you thought about including this as an option?
I mentioned before in my analysis of the task resolution that different groups have different tastes and I would let them decide on stuff like this. So yes.

I didn't go into too much detail since I haven't actually addressed physical combat as its own subject, but I guess now's as good a time as any.

The physical combat in S* systems can essentially be broken down into the following steps:
  • Roll to attack
  • Roll to defend
  • Roll to damage
  • Roll to soak

The earliest editions used four rolls, though later editions started changing some to static values in order to streamline combat. STing 1e reduced it to a single roll. If you're going for a modular format like me, then it makes the most sense to explain how these work so that groups may decide what to abstract.

As another alternative to streamline combat, you could try mimicking the "players roll all dice" concept from Unearthed Arcana. Only players would roll dice, whereas NPCs would rely on static values for attack and defense. So when a PC rolls to defend, they subtract that from the NPC's Static Attack Value to determine how much damage they receive.

Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113883
And with regard to mental/social conflicts, I've always preferred the terminology of Influence Rolls, since the basic game object is a rule-based way to get one character to cooperate with another's wishes.

(One useful technique in such contests is that, if it's possible for PCs to lose them and thus have agency taken away from their character, there should be a compensatory reward or incentive to soften the sting -- perhaps players who cheerfully accept and roleplay the result of losing an Influence Contest get an extra XP for "Going With The Roll".)
The Sway rules address this in a section helpfully titled "don't tell me how to play my character." The concept of player control is way too big for me to broach here. In order for relationship mechanics to work, then the players need to actually care about them as otherwise they will complain about losing control.


[/HR]

Spirits and planes

The spirit rules in Opening the Dark are comparable to the various spirit rules used in the STer and STing games. Opening the Dark calls all bodiless entities "spirits," with subtypes including ghosts, animae, demons, etc. Spirits have only three attributes, are ranked by a general power level, have a "domain" trait that works like art/praxis, use essence as both hit points and power points, and have miscellaneous spirit powers for everything else.

In terms of rules, I would burrow a few things from other S* games. I'd distinguish manifestation powers (a la STing 2e), essence from hit points (or maybe distinguish peripheral and personal essence a la WitchCraft), and use the same potency ranking that PCs use (a la Exalted). (That last one is probably going to require reworking how super potency works for PCs too, given that since it was introduced in 2004 we've had characters introduced with scores of 0. By comparison, PCs in Exalted typically start around 4 or more.)

Otherwise, I have a beef with how S* games have presented spirits in general. They're basically running under D&D's ethereal plane logic. Fighting spirits consists of finding a ghost touch weapon and hitting them repeatedly with it until they die. I don't find this very thematic.

If you watch movies about ghosts and ghost-like creatures, then you may notice that it is very common for these spirits not to be limited by spacetime like humans are. It makes no thematic sense to assume all spirits have ethereal bodies that can be hit with ethereal weapons.

I'd take that into account and allow spirits to be treated as hazards/terrain rather than para-physical creatures. How do you fight something that you can't punch in the face? Spiritual combat. Remember when I mentioned mental/social combat? That can be retrofitted to represent other conflicts like psychic combat and spiritual combat.

I'll use an example from the IT movies. When the losers are fighting it, they aren't really fighting it physically because it doesn't have a physical form. It can cause physical harm and warp reality, but this is due to its psychic powers. When the losers fight it, they are pitting their wills against it in psychic/spiritual combat.

On a related note, the STing 1e rules mentioned that ghosts had variable appearances based on their Power Attribute. They didn't all look like humans but could appear as ghostly orbs or other spooky SFX (presumably representing how much of their life they remember informing their residual self-image). The STing 2e rules completely ignored this and in general avoided any kind of evocative fluff in that vein. (While I never liked the weird underworld cosmology, I always found Wraith and Orpheus' attempts to include ghosts of variable potency and non-human ghosts fascinating.)

Anyway, this sort of stuff can be represented in game terms through manifestation powers (including not just STing's manifestation numina but also CtL's manifestations). Basically, spirits can't interact with the world until they "manifest" and how they manifest is highly variable.

That brings me to the types of spirits and the planes of existence. I detest the planes of existence, or at least the idiosyncratic way the S* games typically presented it. Which is why I decided to take cues from Everlasting, WitchCraft, and personal fiat.

I decided to jettison the concepts of Spirit World and Underworld completely. I don't see any need for them (other planes are a different matter). Ghosts and Animae exist on Earth and are tied to earthly things. Ghosts are tied to their anchors/fetters/mementos/heirlooms/whatever; if those are destroyed or resolved, they cross over. Animae are similarly connected to their physical counterparts.

Per animism everything can be said to have a soul. For humans (and possibly other things), their souls or echoes thereof may linger on Earth as ghosts after death. For natural phenomena, inanimate objects, and such, there are animae (literally the Latin word for soul). Most of the time an anima is unconscious and may never wake. Animae only become concerns of the PCs if the PCs either need the assistance of one or an anima is the monster of the week. For example, animated inanimate objects are the result of the object's anima awakening and animating its physical counterpart.

OtD mentions demons as your generic beings from hell. An idea that occurred to me was to adopt the original Greek definition of demons as the spirits of abstract concepts. Eudemons are benevolent, cacodemons are malevolent. Given the inherently transient nature of most abstract concepts, demons must continually hunt for essence. Naturally, this means they are likely to attract the attention of the PCs. (From an OOC POV, my "demons" cover the various quasi-spiritual stuff in STing games like passion shades, emotion spirits, demons, angels, goetia, chimeras, and so forth that have accumulated over the years.)

(PC angels, demons, and ghosts wouldn't operate by these rules. STing has this vague design philosophy in which every splat would have an antagonistic spirit and/or monster counterpart, which I'd lay out as explicit here for simplicity and reference.)

I'm not opposed to other planes, but if you include them as more than just a few lines of fluff than there needs to be a very good reason to have them. Don't have them just because earlier editions of S* did. If you do add other planes, then don't feel the need to force them into a pop-Christian worldview either. (The problem I have with STer/STing's "underworld" is that it's limbo/purgatory and not the afterlife of pre-Christian religions; Disney's Once Upon A Time show did the same thing and I still find it grating. When it comes to urban fantasy specifically, I prefer to leave the nature of the afterlife ambiguous rather than definitively prove or disprove any particular real world religion.)


[/HR]

If anyone has requests for me to touch or go into more detail on a particular topic, then feel free to ask.

BoxCrayonTales

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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2019, 01:30:12 PM »
Splats

S* system games are famous (or perhaps infamous) for their "splats" or character class/faction options.

The World of Darkness games used the same basic rules, so it was possible to crossover and play monster mashes. In practice, there were numerous problems with this. Each splat used a completely different set of superpower rules and their fluff wasn't remotely integrated with one another. One of the supplements, Ascension, outright stated that each game took place in a separate universe which occasionally crossed over due to comic book-style hypertime.

The Chronicles of Darkness games initially tried to be more crossover friendly, but only paid lipservice to the idea while failing to solve the mechanical and fluff barriers.

The Everlasting and WitchCraft were both written in direct response to World of Darkness for these reasons and both were much better at crossover friendliness than Chronicles of Darkness ever was. They used unified mechanics for all splats and their unified backstories made provisions for all splats.

Nightlife, which predates World of Darkness, never had this problem because it started with all characters using universal rules and a cohesive setting. Other urban fantasy games of the 90s, like Immortal: Invisible War and Nephilim, didn't have the problem either.

You can probably guess what school of design I follow.

Anyway, the appeal of splats isn't just their superpowers but also their extensive fluff and ready-made personality templates for characters to follow.

Splats as used by S* games may be divided into a few different types: fatsplats, inherent splats, social splats, and sub-splats. This jargon was invented by fans and there doesn't seem to be a codified jargon in the rulebooks (this is white wolf, after all). Everlasting used universal jargon "genos" and "sub-genos."
  • A fatsplat would be vampire, werewolf, wizard, ghost, or fairy.
  • An inherent splat would be a vampire clan, werewolf auspice, or wizard path. These are inherent to the character based on the circumstances of their initiation into the occult underworld and cannot be changed.
  • A social splat would be a vampire sect/covenant, werewolf tribe, or wizard order/tradition. These are socio-political organizations which the character may potentially change depending on their beliefs and associations.
  • A sub-splat would be a vampire bloodline, werewolf lodge, or wizard legacy. These are further specializations within an inherent and/or social splat.



Anyway, what the splats are is essentially arbitrary. Nightlife, Darkness, Everlasting, and WitchCraft all have a bunch of similar and very different ideas. Most of their ideas are quite niche. If you're writing monster mash game like I am, then it probably makes the most sense to write social splats that cover multiple fat splats. It probably makes the most sense to define all your splats at the start, rather than take the lazy path of making a new one when you want and retrofitting prior work.

When devising the splats, it probably makes the most sense to base them on concepts with a lot of cultural basis. Otherwise the concept may be too niche to attract interest. The vampires, werewolves, wizards, ghosts, and fairies are your go-to choices. Otherwise, I'm just going to quote myself from the last time I tried listing splat ideas:

Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1106074
It's for a potential Storytelling System retroclone based on Opening the Dark, but I had an idea for a monster PC setting inspired primarily by Nightlife, World of Darkness, The Everlasting, and WitchCraft.

(Aside: if I wanted to play investigators, then I would go with one of the many investigation games that already exist like Call of Cthulhu, Cryptworld, Monster of the Week, and so forth. There's no shortage of them.)

It's still in the planning stages, but right now I had several ideas for character options:
  • Vampires, but more diverse a la Nightlife. You aren't limited to a quasi-Ricean chassis. This includes concepts like corpse-eating ghouls and youth-sucking whatever.
  • Werewolves and other shapeshifters. How you become a werewolf is variable, and you can have other or additional animal forms a la Exalted's lunars.
  • Mages and mad scientists and such. All characters can pursue some manner of sorcery, but these guys get additional options based on the Osirians from Everlasting.
  • Ghosts, projectors, reapers, revenants and such. You can play as dead people trying to finish their unfinished business, a ghost who sells their services as an exorcist or spy, professional ghost busters, a combination of Dead Like Me and Tru Calling and Final Destination, etc.
  • Fairies and changelings. You can play as an inhuman fair folk toying with mortals, or as a changeling who exists somewhere between human and fairy and perhaps worried about the evil queen's huntsman. I considered making genies their own option, but decided it made more sense to fold them into fairies.
  • Demons and other fallen divinities. To reflect a less Christian worldview, this includes Greek titans, Norse jotun, Hindu asuras, Persian daevas, etc. It's also agnostic: there's no evidence of what demons were before they escaped "hell" (which may just be the astral plane anyhow) and they have to cobble together their own worldviews, so you can play a demon trying to earn redemption through good deeds or a demon who thinks God put you on Earth to tempt mortals and punish them for sinning.
  • Hunters. Pretty much the same as Hunter: The Vigil. Hunters are essentially normal people who hunt down paranormal phenomena, and sometimes they have paranormal abilities of their own that blur the boundaries between hunter and hunted. That blurring is why I cover them here rather than ignore them as being part of the opposing investigation subgenre.
  • Mummies. You can play as a mummy from any historical period, whether that be the mythical Irem or a celtic bog mummy. I may fold this into the ghosts category.
  • Animates and re-animates. This includes both prometheans and zombies a la Zombie: The Coil. PCs were created by sorcery or super science to be artificial people, slaves, guardians or whatever, but now they're free and seek their own fate. Any homunculus, golem, or zombie created by the powers of other splats can potentially ascend to this state. This category may include spirits bound into physical vessels, like the gargoyles from The Everlasting.
  • All-purpose freaks. This includes things like CoD's deviants and similar fansplats like Pathogen: The Infected, Outsider: The Calling, and Hunchback: The Lurching (yes, that was a thing someone tried). I may fold this into the animates and re-animates, since the only difference is (maybe) the presence of a soul. PC freaks may be on the run from whatever evil organization created them (assuming they didn't do this to themselves or contracted it from the woodwork), or created/employed specifically to help the party. Yes, you can play as the Igor (or whatever) to the party's Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, and Wolf-Man.
  • Angels. The flipside of demons. Basically, you get to play Touched by an Angel or whitelighters from Charmed. The setting is agnostic, so you don't have to be a literal Christian angel. You could have been born from the astral plane or resurrected by wiccans.
  • Mythic heroes. Basically Scion, except agnostic. There's huge overlap between this and Hunter, so I may well fold them together.
  • Generic monsters. They might have survived from ancient times or literally waltzed out of a nightmare. This covers Beast: The Primordial, Levianthan: The Tempest, Dragon: The Whatever, and the Possessed from The Everlasting. You have the option of embracing your monstrous nature and terrorizing humanity, or defying it and becoming a monster hero. Other character types can become this as a result of becoming too evil or whatever.
I intend on balancing these using a point buy system of some kind (like this one), so these categories are essentially arbitrary anyway.


Since characters would use the same guidelines for powers, characters with two fatsplats wouldn't necessarily be gamebreaking. I could try writing various hybrid splats as options, such as ghostly vampires, ghostly wizards, vampire mummies, vampire werewolves, etc.

Since this is an ST retroclone, I feel obligated to include karma/sanity meters despite my noted dislike for them. I could try the same as Everlasting and not tie them to morality or anything.

Burrowing a page from STing, I had this idea that each fatsplat would have associated NPC splats. These would fall into a few general categories: semi-mortal associates, spiritual allies/antagonists, monstrous allies/antagonists, and "villainous" counterparts.

For example, vampires would have renfields, striges, mindless vampires, and demonic vampires.


[/HR]

Vampires

Which brings me to vampires. Vampires and vampiric creatures are probably the easiest fatsplat to tinker with given all the attention they received. Nightlife, World of Darkness, Warhammer, The Everlasting, Dresden Files, Feed, Liminal, and more have all dedicated space to various ideas of vampires. Every character option in Nightlife is essentially vampiric, including the werewolves and demons.

There's pretty much no idea I could do that hasn't been done before. At best, I could try remixing familiar ideas or offering from a selection of example settings. Vampire worlds? Maybe try writing a detailed vampire setting where the majority of vampires are soulless and the PCs are part of the minority?

Anyhow, my basic idea for vampires was to expand their concepts a la Nightlife or Feed. For example, the vampire fatsplat would include blood-sucking vampires, youth-sucking mummies, sex-having succubi, etc. Vampire: The Masquerade basically ripped-off its splats from other vampire media, so I could do the same without fear of copyright suits. Bram Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Lestat, Brian Lumley's Wamphyri, The Lost Boys, Nosferatu, 80s/90s b-movie vampires, etc. World mythology like the lamia, upyr and nekomata.

At that point, one wonders what it is that define vampires as a fatsplat. I don't know if there is any definitive answer, but Feed suggested that it was their need to feed (on humans) and their struggle between their human and vampire natures. In general, if you want advice on designing vampires then Feed is probably the single best resource.

What kinds of vampires would anyone here want to see? What is the appeal of playable vampires in the first place?


[/HR]

EDIT: Vampires haven’t been around in the popular consciousness long enough to have developed any common archetypes. White Wolf attempted to codify archetypes, although it is questionable whether they succeeded.
An article by The Mary Sue describes the following “archetypes”:
  • The Dark Lord
  • The Nosferatu
  • The Zombie Vampire
  • The Sexy Vampire
  • The Romantic Vampire
  • The Teetotaler
  • The Sire
  • The Private Detective
  • The Child
  • The Parasite


YMMV.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 01:48:27 PM by BoxCrayonTales »

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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2019, 08:41:26 PM »
I forgot to mention it before, but I mentioned it in the past when I compared World of Darkness with Monsterhearts.

At some point in time, the Darkness games were supposed to be fantastical metaphors for real human issues. Vampires were addicts, werewolves were mixed race, changelings were abuse survivors, etc. Monsterhearts got a ton of mileage out of this. The White Wolf writers forgot and remembered it many times over the decades, so that's how we ended up with a ton of weird niche game concepts that seem to attract more far more discussion and fandumb argument than actual play.

This topic isn't about recreating Monsterhearts, but I suspect that the same reasoning might be necessary to distinguish fatsplats. A splat might be a creative, but it won't have much interest without the extra oomph provided by a fantastical metaphor for a real life issue. Promethean, Geist and Demon: The Descent seemingly lack that vital human component. Deviant is a scifi rehash of Changeling and Promethean.

I find it a bit frustrating myself. If anybody has suggestions for metaphors that could support splat concepts, then feel free to share.

As always, I welcome feedback, questions, and requests.

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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2019, 10:12:38 AM »
A belated and possibly too-large-to-answer-easily question comes to mind: One of the biggest inherent contradictions of the entire S*oD (Story-Whatever Of Darkness) game lines was, I thought, something that has been talked about before but (as far as I've seen) never really resolved anywhere, which is the basic conflict between the style of game the creators always seemed to assume and design for and the style of game that, in practice, most often actually got played. The former was assumed to always be very heavily character- and emotion-driven with a great deal of underlying philosophical and psychological conflict, where holding on to what the character values is more important than anything else; the latter almost always seemed to turn into trenchcoat-wearing, katana-wielding Hammer-flavoured superhero detectives, with the typical emphasis on "leveling up" and getting more powerful, and where the climax of an adventure was most often still the Big Fight.

That sounds dismissive but it's not meant to be: I think both styles of game are equally valid for those who enjoy them. However, the clash between the setting as presented and the setting as mostly actually played still creates some discord, and I think it was due, essentially, to the creators failing to realize that the fundamental structural assumptions of the game -- i.e., that it is a teamwork exercise in combining character capacities to overcome obstacles and earn rewards through clever manipulation of a rule system -- are themselves just at odds with the kind of story they imagined the players telling. Have you given any thought to how this retro-hack will address that issue?
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2019, 01:05:53 PM »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1113998
A belated and possibly too-large-to-answer-easily question comes to mind: One of the biggest inherent contradictions of the entire S*oD (Story-Whatever Of Darkness) game lines was, I thought, something that has been talked about before but (as far as I've seen) never really resolved anywhere, which is the basic conflict between the style of game the creators always seemed to assume and design for and the style of game that, in practice, most often actually got played. The former was assumed to always be very heavily character- and emotion-driven with a great deal of underlying philosophical and psychological conflict, where holding on to what the character values is more important than anything else; the latter almost always seemed to turn into trenchcoat-wearing, katana-wielding Hammer-flavoured superhero detectives, with the typical emphasis on "leveling up" and getting more powerful, and where the climax of an adventure was most often still the Big Fight.

That sounds dismissive but it's not meant to be: I think both styles of game are equally valid for those who enjoy them. However, the clash between the setting as presented and the setting as mostly actually played still creates some discord, and I think it was due, essentially, to the creators failing to realize that the fundamental structural assumptions of the game -- i.e., that it is a teamwork exercise in combining character capacities to overcome obstacles and earn rewards through clever manipulation of a rule system -- are themselves just at odds with the kind of story they imagined the players telling. Have you given any thought to how this retro-hack will address that issue?


As you say, it is impossible to answer that easily. If people want a superhero game, then they should play a superhero game. Though I would like to fix that mismatch if at all possible. (For reference, I'm not particularly invested in either style. I just want something consistent.)

Promoting the style that the writers desired requires far more effort than the S* Systems put forward. Firstly, it requires the group playing the game actually buys into the idea. Secondly, it requires the rules to support that style specifically. Indie games do the second all the time, but it generally requires thinking around all the assumptions typically made by the pseudo-simulation school of thought.

Retrofitting that onto the S* mechanics would require genuine effort and critical thought. At the very least, you would need to write the mechanics to reward the players for roleplaying in a particular direction but not make them feel like they are being punished for not playing as intended. Essentially, you need to get the players mechanically invested in the intended direction of roleplaying.

For example, the Chaosium game Nephilim included mechanics in one book which ascribed characters "personality traits." Every character have five personality traits based on their splat, rated at statistics. These didn't define the character's behavior. Rather, the character's behavior would cause his personality traits to shift in value to reflect whether his behavior matches them. Cultivating the personality traits would grant the character various benefits including superpowers, so players had a mechanical incentive to roleplay in accordance with their splat's intended personality.

A key design flaw within the S* rules that reinforces the mismatch is that the rules support superhero play more than they do angsty melodrama. (The rules definitely suck at supporting any kind of horror atmosphere. I have no idea why anyone keeps insisting the games are remotely near the horror genre.) For example, a vampire PC may maintain high humanity and accumulate a laundry list of superpowers; that's not horror or melodrama, that's a superhero premise.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that the S* systems are mostly rules for combat and little else. PbtA games like Monsterhearts and Urban Shadows have heavily abstracted combat, with most of their mechanics focused on doing non-combative tasks like investigation, politics, etc. Players aren't punished for engaging in combat, but it isn't rewarding either because there's too little detail to produce an endorphin response.

Feed, which I have praised in the past for its unorthodox construction, has heavily abstracted combat and character traits. It includes social relationships, psychology and philosophical beliefs as statistics on the character sheet, qualitatively unique for every character due to the free-form descriptions. Unlike White Wolf's Vampire, it is structured in a way that it mechanically shows the point as which (for example) your vampire PC loses his human girlfriend or his belief in a loving God and replaces that with some vampiric substitute. It isn't possible for a vampire PC to maintain human relationships and accumulate a laundry list of superpowers because the rules were specifically designed to make that impossible, and in such a way that it doesn't visibly punish the player for going in either direction. Heck, one of the example settings is playing as villainous b-movie vampires.

That can't be easily retrofitted to the pseudo-simulation mechanics used by S* systems, any more than STing 2e could retrofit FATE's aspects without becoming extremely clunky. Exalted 3e easily has the most refined personality trait mechanic of any S* game and it's pretty terrible at measuring character development in the narrative sense (although to be fair Exalted is a straight-up superhero game so it never had the tonal dissonance in the first place). The STing 2e mechanics try to enforce the intended style and don't succeed well.

An embarrassing example of the White Wolf writers subconsciously realizing the problems was when they introduced the touchstones mechanic for the sole purpose of letting vampires violate their humanity without worrying about losing it (and similar mechanics have been introduced throughout the STing 2e games). Introducing a mechanic specifically to cheat a major facet of the game because people keep complaining means that said major facet is broken. A flimsy patch like that isn't going to resolve the underlying problems, the whole thing needs to be replaced.

I honestly don't know how to resolve the underlying problem while maintaining the S* mechanics. The best I can do is try clumsily retrofitting personality mechanics of some kind that reward players for roleplaying as intended without punishing them and convincing them to reject said mechanics. The path of least resistance would be to embrace how the game is actually played and offer campaign settings specifically for dark superheroes and murderous hobos.

I'm open to suggestions.

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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2019, 02:01:09 PM »
At this point I'm considering rewarding action bonuses and XP for melodramatic roleplaying.

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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2019, 10:35:15 AM »
For the purposes of saving time, I'm going to try imagining a dark superheroes setting that plays to the strengths of RPGs and better reflects how people actually play the game. This is going to have ramifications on splat fluff due to writing 101 theme logic.

Take vampires, for example. If you want a vampire superhero, then it probably makes the most sense for them to be one of the few vampires with a soul whereas most are soulless villains; a la Angel, Sonja Blue, or Vampire Hunter D. The Liminal RPG takes this approach. A key ramification of this is that a vampire hero isn't going to have a support network among the vampires, since they're sociopaths and s/he's not.

What do you think?

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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2019, 11:10:27 AM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1113930
If anybody has suggestions for metaphors that could support splat concepts, then feel free to share.

Well, the trick will be finding something that includes both room for a significant dramatic arc and the possibility to resolve it in either direction, as well as being emotionally resonant for the majority of the expected audience.  While being mixed-race is certainly one way to interpret werewolf imagery, I think that's actually an example of something unlikely to engage enough people on a personal level to work; likewise, while addiction is certainly a valid (and frequently used) core element of vampire myths, in practice I've never found the classic addict plot arc enough on its own to hold my interest, and I think a number of gamers would agree with that -- it's too bleak and too strict a story pattern.

If I had to pick a theme for the classic monster fatsplats I might suggest the following:

- Vampires: I'd steal a note from Ron Edwards' Sorcerer and make vampirism ultimately a story of dysfunctional but indispensable relationships. The hallmark of unlife as a vampire is that you will have no such thing as a fully honest, equal and healthy relationship ever again: vampires have to lie to almost everyone, especially their fellow undead, and can only afford to be honest with people over whom they have an unhealthy level of power and control. At the same time, isolation isn't an option because you need blood, and because solitude will drive you mad just as quickly.  One of the things I'd build in as almost a rules requirement if possible is that mortal NPCs have to be a critical part of the game -- maybe each player has not only a vampire PC, but also runs a secondary mortal PC for another of the vampire characters.  So the thematic drive of vampirism is: Juggling toxic but necessary relationships for as long as you can, whatever the cost.

- Werewolves: Ironically, I'd work addiction into the werewolf's theme just as much as the vampire's, because lycanthropy is ultimately about managing something that can provide tremendous power or pleasure in the short term at the cost of creating huge, even potentially fatal problems in the medium to long term. A werewolf should have as much trouble resisting his need to Rage and Change as a vampire does his need to feed, and like a vampire, he has a tremendous need for mortal companionship which at the same time he himself is the biggest threat to.  Moreover, the entire mythical point of the werewolf is the clash between human and wolf natures, so the only place a werewolf can find stable and safe relationships is in the context of a pack that, unless he's the leader, will constrict him and channel him in ways he may not want. Thus the thematic drive of lycanthropy is: Finding excuses to hold onto a power you don't want to give up which (at least semi-plausibly) justify the costs of keeping it, while trying to keep those costs and losses down to what you can tolerate. (The parallels with activists whose lives become distorted in their need to put everything to the service of the Cause are also relevant.)

- Empowered Humans: This can cover mages, psychics, miracleworkers, Hunters, supertech gadgeteers, whatever. The biggest problem with this fatsplat is, if this kind of power is real but the world still appears for the most part to look like our own, you have to think of a very good setting-specific reason why, as Larry Niven pointed out, over the long history of humankind we didn't do more with those powers. Mage (both versions) explains this as a tremendously effective conspiracy backed up by the nature of reality itself; Jim Butcher's Dresden Files writes it off as a combination of the rarity, unrecordability (anything sufficiently magical blows out electronics like cameras) and ostrich effects (nobody believes because the only people who want to believe are crazy enough to freak the rest of us out). However, whatever explanation is provided, it also includes an inevitable element of the same kinds of secrecy, dishonesty and power-danger that both werewolves and vampires represent.  If the Empowered are ostensibly more benevolent towards ordinary humans because they don't need to or want to feed off us the same way, they are more dangerous because they are fatally vulnerable to the temptation to attribute to themselves "a high and lonely destiny," to quote Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew -- in other words, a ready-made justification to ignore whatever rules they like as inapplicable to them, like the Teragen of Aberrant. Thus the theme of the Empowered is: Resisting the temptation to do evil that good (as you define it) may come of it.

- Changelings/Scions:  As I never did get around to reading the Changeling games in full detail this is a lot more free-form spitballing than the above, but the single biggest difference here is that unlike vampires, werewolves or Empowered -- all of whom, at least, started off as human or as beings fully convinced they were human in all the ways that mattered -- a changeling, anyone descended from supernatural beings in any way, should probably have spent his or her entire life aware that on some level, he or she is just not like most of those around him. The parallel with LGBT issues is clear and obvious, but feeling alienated from a community is universal enough that anyone can sympathize. Moreover, like the other supernaturals, the big problem with trying to create a "found family" with other changelings, once you find them and learn what you are, is that it's fatally easy not to realize until it's too late (as people in both fandom circles and outright cults have done) that your superficially welcoming "found" family is actually more toxic and treacherous than your "natural" one would ever have been. If changelings of different kinds are all ruthlessly competing for different emotional highs from the mortals of their acquaintance, the supposed "shared world" of common nature may bring far less peace and happiness than expected. Thus, for me, the theme of a changeling-type splat is: Balancing separate lives in separate worlds, neither of which you can do without but both of which feel painfully incomplete.

That there's a lot of overlap in these themes is obvious -- any of these splats could also be adapted to any of the other themes -- but I think that helps in running an RPG because it offers ways for different fatsplats to come together in one campaign.

Quote from: BoxCrayonTales
At this point I'm considering rewarding action bonuses and XP for melodramatic roleplaying.

Have you ever seen the Spiritual Attributes system of The Riddle of Steel?  It's a very good system for incentivizing character roleplay in player-chosen directions.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 11:19:54 AM by Stephen Tannhauser »
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2019, 12:03:58 PM »
Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1114185
Well, the trick will be finding something that includes both room for a significant dramatic arc and the possibility to resolve it in either direction, as well as being emotionally resonant for the majority of the expected audience.  While being mixed-race is certainly one way to interpret werewolf imagery, I think that's actually an example of something unlikely to engage enough people on a personal level to work; likewise, while addiction is certainly a valid (and frequently used) core element of vampire myths, in practice I've never found the classic addict plot arc enough on its own to hold my interest, and I think a number of gamers would agree with that -- it's too bleak and too strict a story pattern.

If I had to pick a theme for the classic monster fatsplats I might suggest the following:

- Vampires: I'd steal a note from Ron Edwards' Sorcerer and make vampirism ultimately a story of dysfunctional but indispensable relationships. The hallmark of unlife as a vampire is that you will have no such thing as a fully honest, equal and healthy relationship ever again: vampires have to lie to almost everyone, especially their fellow undead, and can only afford to be honest with people over whom they have an unhealthy level of power and control. At the same time, isolation isn't an option because you need blood, and because solitude will drive you mad just as quickly.  One of the things I'd build in as almost a rules requirement if possible is that mortal NPCs have to be a critical part of the game -- maybe each player has not only a vampire PC, but also runs a secondary mortal PC for another of the vampire characters.  So the thematic drive of vampirism is: Juggling toxic but necessary relationships for as long as you can, whatever the cost.

- Werewolves: Ironically, I'd work addiction into the werewolf's theme just as much as the vampire's, because lycanthropy is ultimately about managing something that can provide tremendous power or pleasure in the short term at the cost of creating huge, even potentially fatal problems in the medium to long term. A werewolf should have as much trouble resisting his need to Rage and Change as a vampire does his need to feed, and like a vampire, he has a tremendous need for mortal companionship which at the same time he himself is the biggest threat to.  Moreover, the entire mythical point of the werewolf is the clash between human and wolf natures, so the only place a werewolf can find stable and safe relationships is in the context of a pack that, unless he's the leader, will constrict him and channel him in ways he may not want. Thus the thematic drive of lycanthropy is: Finding excuses to hold onto a power you don't want to give up which (at least semi-plausibly) justify the costs of keeping it, while trying to keep those costs and losses down to what you can tolerate. (The parallels with activists whose lives become distorted in their need to put everything to the service of the Cause are also relevant.)

- Empowered Humans: This can cover mages, psychics, miracleworkers, Hunters, supertech gadgeteers, whatever. The biggest problem with this fatsplat is, if this kind of power is real but the world still appears for the most part to look like our own, you have to think of a very good setting-specific reason why, as Larry Niven pointed out, over the long history of humankind we didn't do more with those powers. Mage (both versions) explains this as a tremendously effective conspiracy backed up by the nature of reality itself; Jim Butcher's Dresden Files writes it off as a combination of the rarity, unrecordability (anything sufficiently magical blows out electronics like cameras) and ostrich effects (nobody believes because the only people who want to believe are crazy enough to freak the rest of us out). However, whatever explanation is provided, it also includes an inevitable element of the same kinds of secrecy, dishonesty and power-danger that both werewolves and vampires represent.  If the Empowered are ostensibly more benevolent towards ordinary humans because they don't need to or want to feed off us the same way, they are more dangerous because they are fatally vulnerable to the temptation to attribute to themselves "a high and lonely destiny," to quote Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew -- in other words, a ready-made justification to ignore whatever rules they like as inapplicable to them, like the Teragen of Aberrant. Thus the theme of the Empowered is: Resisting the temptation to do evil that good (as you define it) may come of it.

- Changelings/Scions:  As I never did get around to reading the Changeling games in full detail this is a lot more free-form spitballing than the above, but the single biggest difference here is that unlike vampires, werewolves or Empowered -- all of whom, at least, started off as human or as beings fully convinced they were human in all the ways that mattered -- a changeling, anyone descended from supernatural beings in any way, should probably have spent his or her entire life aware that on some level, he or she is just not like most of those around him. The parallel with LGBT issues is clear and obvious, but feeling alienated from a community is universal enough that anyone can sympathize. Moreover, like the other supernaturals, the big problem with trying to create a "found family" with other changelings, once you find them and learn what you are, is that it's fatally easy not to realize until it's too late (as people in both fandom circles and outright cults have done) that your superficially welcoming "found" family is actually more toxic and treacherous than your "natural" one would ever have been. If changelings of different kinds are all ruthlessly competing for different emotional highs from the mortals of their acquaintance, the supposed "shared world" of common nature may bring far less peace and happiness than expected. Thus, for me, the theme of a changeling-type splat is: Balancing separate lives in separate worlds, neither of which you can do without but both of which feel painfully incomplete.

That there's a lot of overlap in these themes is obvious -- any of these splats could also be adapted to any of the other themes -- but I think that helps in running an RPG because it offers ways for different fatsplats to come together in one campaign.
My God is that helpful. Thank you so much for sharing. A kernel like that is indispensable to creating an emotionally resonant fluff.

You are definitely right in that these could be adapted to any or all of the splats. Nightlife, for example, has all splats as essentially vampiric in nature.

Quote from: Stephen Tannhauser;1114185
Have you ever seen the Spiritual Attributes system of The Riddle of Steel?  It's a very good system for incentivizing character roleplay in player-chosen directions.
I have not read that. Thank you for sharing. I will need to take a look.

If anybody else would like to interject, then feel free.

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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2019, 01:09:18 PM »
Quote from: BoxCrayonTales;1114190
Thank you for sharing. I will need to take a look.

If anybody else would like to interject, then feel free.

Much obliged, and I'll reiterate the invitation to other readers as well. I actually feel kind of guilty for monopolizing your conversation.
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