Monday, January 05, 2009

The Size of a Book

So now I (finally) have Promethean, Mage, and the World of Darkness corebook. Still haven't had a chance to go through them properly. I'm half way through the core book, currently trying to work up the gumption to get through the combat section. Not that I'm not interested in it -- I'm intrigued by the system. I've never really looked at a dice pool game before, and this one has a number of features I quite like. Number one is getting to roll handfuls of dice all the time. I like rolling dice. And I like getting new dice -- I've only got six d10s at present, so if I decide I'm going to run these games I'll need some more.

I haven't even cracked Mage and Promethean yet, but I've already noticed one thing: these books have a very attractive feel to them. The corebook is about the size of the average D&D supplement, but the others are practically proper tomes. Particularly the Mage corebook, which is now the thickest RPG I own. I'm not used to it, and it gives the book an attractive heft and unusual feel. Vampire and Promethean are both about the size of the 3.5 corebooks, maybe a little heavier. Which still gives them a reasonable attraction, seeing as their dimensions match the first RPG books I ever owned, and the ones I've spent the most time with.


  1. The Mage book is also very pretty.

    The combat system is pretty straightforward, but we've been frustrated by the conflation of 'to hit' and 'damage' rolls. The one change major we've used to fix this is to separate the dice added into the attack roll by the weapon and only roll them if the attack otherwise hits.

  2. If you're looking at running WoD, you might be interested in this page by John Kim on Storyteller Dice Mechanics

  3. You should really take a look at White Wolf's Innocents while you're going through your "scanning" phase... It wasn't until I read Innocents that I finally "got" World of Darkness...

    Related to your other posts, I've displayed similar tendencies in that I buy a ton of games that I've never played but have given me much inspiration... My latest group of readings has been with Amber Diceless, Hollow Earth Expedition and the old Prince Valiant Story Telling Game.

    I think that Prince Valiant is the Grand Daddy of both WoD and HEX, while still remaining both Simplistic and Brilliant at the same time. Amber looks like an interesting concept, but I'm not too sure how well it'd all play out...

    BTW, I have enjoyed following your blog the past couple of months!

  4. Good to know that I'm not the only one who picks up a load of supplements before I even play the game ;)

    I'll be interested to hear what you think of Promethean. I took a look at it on the White Wolf website and there is something about it which grabs me a lot more then Vampire and Mage. Luckily, WW have downloadable previews of a lot of their supplements.

  5. The pitfalls of buying several WoD games and their supplements is that you start to justify spending all that money by trying to cram everything into one game. Sure, they're fun to read, but I can tell you from experience that the themes of the individual games become diluted fast when you start adding in things from the other games. Take a look through the WoD games you have now, pick one, and stick to it for the foreseeable future of the campaign. Just the basic World of Darkness game can be as fun and interesting as any of the Big Splats.

    Be particularly wary of players cajoling you into letting them play a character from another game line. Each of these games is quite prep-intensive as it is, and adding more types of characters can multiply the GM's workload while marginalizing the ordinary, mortal NPCs.

  6. szilard: The Mage book is beautiful. They all are, but Mage is the best looking RPG I own.

    Finished the World of Darkness book (well, finished skimming it at least) and combat does look pretty spiffy. I was mostly just getting anxious to get on to the setting stuff that I really wanted to read. So far I like what I see of the core system, but I really need to play it to make any definitive statement of quality. I've had several experiences where I had one idea after reading a system and another after playing it -- and yet another after playing it for a while.

    jamused: Spiffy charts. I'm not sure how I feel about the math behind dice pool systems -- the increased complexity compared to roll and compare systems makes it harder to weigh the odds, but that in turn makes it harder to game the system, but then I sometimes like having players who game the system.

    Todd the Viking King: I don't normally do this! It's crazy! Then again, for a while I just picked up the occasional D&D supplement, maybe something from Malhavoc Press, so it's probably just a symptom of expanding my horizons a little. And books are fun.

    Glad you've enjoyed it. I've certainly appreciated the help its gotten me on my crazed journey into unknown gaming lands.

    Hammer: Promethean is responsible for me getting any of these books. It was the first book of White Wolf's that I thought looked kind of cool, rather than something those dang kids were ruining my local scene with. I have a weakness for robot angst; it trips some strange lever in me.

    Tim Jensen: That sounds like very good advice, and I intend to follow it. I mostly got them because they looked fun to read; I'm not even sure I'll run any of them, still having Traveller and Swords & Wizardry on deck. Kind of depends on the group I assemble.

    I'll admit that I do have some vague, crazy plans to combine all the major splats into some weird parody of a standard fantasy world, where your average adventuring party consists of a Vampire, a Werewolf, a Changeling, and a Mage, or similar mad combination. But crazy campaign ideas are just kind of what I do. That'd be an exercise in creating an entirely new game out of the bones of the old, and best left on the shelf for a while anyway.

  7. Awwww. NWoD. I will say this about NWoD: I was incredibly skeptical. My game progression as a young 9 yr. old, just 15 years ago, went something like this: AD&D 2 ed., GURPS, and the OWoD (namely Vampire the Masquerade). I played Vampire: the Masquerade probably twice a week with my friends. The game was amazing (although Tremere were completely broken). Then NWoD came out, all shiny and new with rumors of an "easier" feel and "more dynamic" settings.

    I wasn't convinced when Reqiuem came out, and if I wanted to play mortals in a dark world, I'll use Call of Cthulhu.

    Changeling, however, has made NWoD a must have product. Reqiuem - meh (some fun stuff), Mage - better, Promethean - interesting, Forsaken - very good step for the Werewolf line (this is my second favorite of the settings), and Changeling: The Lost - best game of 2006(7?), easily. Best White Wolf product to date.

    End blurb. Nice selection you picked up. The NWoD is pretty solid, but you must, must, MUST by Changeling: the Lost if you ever get the extra cash.

    Skip on Innocents, skip on Hunter, and even skip on Forsaken and Reqiuem... Changeling is where its at :D.

    Also, if you want to check out another similar d10 roll again systems, should check out 7th Sea, best of the "old", a true OG of the gaming world (but make sure its not the perverted d20 version... ick.)

    Have fun NWoD-style. They are so tempting to run together, but its generally much easier, and more fun in my opinion, to just pick one. They all have different themes to, just have to find the one that fits.

    From reading your blog about your gaming habits and experiences, I would bet that you'll really dig Mage. Let me know how wrong I am :D.

  8. Mage is a gorgeous book. I have to say I was really impressed with the design when it first came out. It's a chunky little puppy too! Or at least I thought it was until I got a hold of Hunter.

    I used to be a die-hard Forsaken fan, and then I started running a couple of Changing Breeds characters (the *other* shifters). Some of them are really ridiculous - like who would want a were-elephant in a game?

    Mage and Changeling were always too complicated for me to follow. Although I have to say that the Changeling LARPs were kind of fun.

    Promethean was an interesting concept and probably only good if you're running a purely Promethean chronicle. I can't see more than one Promethean PC in a crossover game at any given time.

    One new book coming out that I'm jazzed about is the nWoD supplement "Inferno". Looks like they're bringing back the demons (If you can get a copy of Demon: The Fallen, do so, it's great).

    I love the fact that you're exploring this system. In a world of D&D it's really hard to find good discussion on WoD these days. Thanks!

  9. John: Your Changeling actual play reports have intrigued me. I may just check it out once I finish Promethean, if this madness hasn't run its course by then. Forsaken, too, now that I've got a better idea of what's up with these books.

    Requiem hasn't buzzed me much either, though probably for different reasons, not having any experience with the original. Not that it doesn't look cool, but I think it's more of a player game for me.

    vegaspen: Who wouldn't want a were-elephant in their game? That sounds like a recipe for excellence. (Though brief excellence, perhaps.)

    I really, really want to run (or even better, play!) a Promethean game. Don't think it'll happen, though. The themes involved would be pretty specific to my own wacked out tastes, and it's rare that I can get the whole group to go along with "character" type stuff. Which isn't a big deal in something like D&D, where you just pepper the drama with fights (and vice versa) and everyone's happy. Haven't read the book yet, though, so maybe the mechanical stuff is interesting enough to keep the gearheads in my group on board.

    I'm having fun giving the nWoD a good working over. I like the mix of fellow curious but slightly confused novices to the system and WoD old hands explaining what's up that I've been getting responses from.