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The Problem with White Wolf

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GRIM:

--- Quote from: cnath.rm ---Why can't you talk about WW on rpg.net? Topic ban or somesuch?
--- End quote ---


Topic ban.

Put it this way, I was in The Camarilla for almost ten years and I was not sparing with my contempt for the nWoD or their handling of their fanbase. I also ended up sparring with Achilli a few times and dealing with the mod hypocrisy around gaming 'celebrities'.

Lawbag:
What also annoys me about WW is the way that the game dictates game play/style.

Every game that is released is written to be played, (or I should hope so, but considering what some Forgites pass as games these days, I would question that goal), but rarely does it appear that thought or space is ever given to the style of play or how you should play. Often left at the back as an afterword or brief introduction, most games can be played in any number of styles or genres. There are several books that show a GM how to better understand his players, as well as a few books for players as well. But the idea of looking at playing styles is vastly different from popular gaming theory. So what styles of gaming exist?

For all its faults, mainly the entire dice resolution mechanic and the static gameworld, the WOD games gave some thought and good ideas on adding narration, flashbacks and other cinematic/novel ideas to playing and running the game, but they left massive voids in what a player should actually do. By making the games more narrative the game is heaping much more work on the GM. By eliminating game crunch (the way in which specific rules are applied to a Fireball spell for example) means the "power" is under the control of the GM, leaving the player as the passenger in the GM's story. Because WOD is so crunch free, whatever the players attempt really is decided not by themselves but by the GM, so their involvement and contribution to the game becomes less and less.

A 5th level wizard casting a fireball spell ALWAYS does 3D6 damage, whereas a power in WOD is left open to total interpretation to the GM. So there is always the room for inconsistency. What worked last time doesn't work this time because I forgot what happened last time. It leaves too much in the air and at the feet of the GM. Or maybe it doesn't work the same way this time because I don't want it to. This kind of style is counter productive, and either the GM better be something fucking special or he'll never be allowed to run a game again.

It only takes a room full of Werewolves all pulling their special powers out to play for the GM to say fuck all this. With a crunchier game 90% of the work is done for the GM. Running a game is hard enough as it is, without having to interpret several ingame effects at the same time.

But do games vary in the amount of control a player has over the situation dictate their playing style, their role-playing style and the amount of effort a GM has to inject?

WOD games require too much interpretation on the effects of the character's powers, the system and background require the players to be spoonfeed constantly.

Other games put the ball squarely in the hands of the players and frees the GM to be the impartial moderator and to actually enjoy running their games rather than worrying if a Dominante discipline over powers Celerity in combat.

It is a delicate balance, but I feel the game should allow the players and GM to decide where THEY want the balance to lie. It should be a joint subconscious decision rather than being realised as the game begins.

Pretentious arty games have no place in a gamer's library let alone actually being read and played, and I doubt they make better players despite introducing new styles of playing.

Levi Kornelsen:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---And, finally, we get to the system. This is where it all comes down to the brass balls: everything else would be forgiveable, all of WW's claims to grandeur would be more than just delusions, if the system was designed in such a way that it was actually more suitable to "storytelling" than D&D or GURPS. Sadly, its not.
--- End quote ---


Bingo.

I could quibble minor points here with you all day, but this strikes me as plain fact.  The "storyteller system" is in no way especially good at making stories.

brettmb2:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---...actually more suitable to "storytelling" than D&D or GURPS. Sadly, its not.
--- End quote ---

While I too agree with that statement, I also say that the system does indeed make it easier to worry about the story rather than the rules, however. I find the system easy to use with improvisation, and this is one element that helps with storytelling. That said, yes, the rules don't specifically encourage storytelling, but neither is it any poorer than d20 which needs a rule for characters to take a leak. So what if the GM has to make up a difficulty for a task? Why does it have to be consistent? It's better to be different every time - the players will learn to do things in-story/character rather than things they can win at.

I still enjoy the original Vampire, Mage, and Changeling games (when I say original, I mean the 2nd editions rather than the beta-version 1st editions). Too many editions came along and that totally killed it for me. I already spent enough money on the supplements and they want me to spend more on the same core books and now new and reorganized core books? What?

But... I really don't get all the hate for White Wolf over their games (I'm not talking about policies or anything else, just the pure hatred for the games themselves).

Sojourner Judas:

--- Quote from: Lawbag ---A 5th level wizard casting a fireball spell ALWAYS does 3D6 damage, whereas a power in WOD is left open to total interpretation to the GM. So there is always the room for inconsistency. What worked last time doesn't work this time because I forgot what happened last time. It leaves too much in the air and at the feet of the GM. Or maybe it doesn't work the same way this time because I don't want it to. This kind of style is counter productive, and either the GM better be something fucking special or he'll never be allowed to run a game again.
--- End quote ---
Not sure where you're getting this. Powers that cause a direct effect or damage upon another character or NPC are fairly cut-and-dry in what they can do. Especially regarding damage. Perhaps you've had a bad GM, but even in Mage which is one of the most dizzyingly weaselish games about powers a fireball is a fireball is a fireball the way the mechanics go down. You see if you hit, you allocate dice to damage, the other character sees if he's tough enough to take it.

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