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> Played Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines videogame, Got it off Steam...
Wounded Ronin
post Feb 7 2010, 05:59 PM
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As much fun as it is to make fun of White Wolf, I recently got Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines off of Steam, which makes me glad because the last time I tried to buy it used off amazon.com the CD was very expensive.

It's actually a really, really good RPG. There's lots of quests, a well done game world in terms of atmosphere, lots of skills, and a rich enough story backround to really support a decent CRPG. The atmosphere really reminded me of the SNES Shadowrun game. I am completely impressed that they implemented all of the vampire clans, Masquerade violations, and all that kind of stuff, and at the same time made all the quests and storylines work at the same time for, say, the Nosferatu as well as all those other guys who have the actual ability to be social. That's a lot of work, right there, and a lot of gameplay approaches they had to implement. Although I only played White Wolf once or twice in my whole life, from what I recall it seems like they largely avoided dumbing down or simplyfing the RPG rules, and I really have to give credit to any computer game designers who remain true to their source in that way.

I've only just started the game, which Steam should have automatically patched to 1.2, but we'll have to see if I hit any of the infamous game-destroying bugs that apparently ruined the commercial success of this game back when it was released.

I'll play it through once normally, maybe once again as a Malkavian just for the hell of it, and then I'll have to see about all those unofficial patches I've read about on gamefaqs.com

I think it's pretty hilarious that most of the vampires look all chic and artsy. Goddamn, if I were a vampire who was 100 years old, I think I'd have better things to do than go through the trouble to look like an affluent clubbing 20-something.

The whole, "you're tempted and threatened by your hunger for blood and the beast within while striving to hold onto your humanity" sounds like some big allegory to me for some kind of narcissistic personality disorder. With a narcissistic personality disorder you have trouble empathizing with other people although you still have some kind of conscience (because you're not a sociopath) and although you normally give into your own insecurity and fear such that you victimize or use others (drain their blood or ghoul them) you still sometimes feel bad about that and secretly hate yourself (that's your humanity score right there). The fact that lots of the vampires go through the trouble to dress up chic and artsy and/or wear Burberry suits and be very polite seems to symbolize the great lengths a narcissistic individual will go through to maintain a pretense of the ordered or respectable nature of their own life in spite of the fact they're usually experiencing a lot of fear or insecurity about not in fact being a perfect person. I think it's kind of funny because it just sounds like whomever came up with the concept of the game has had some experience with that particular psychological disorder and basically made a game about it. I guess all the vampires would turn out OK if they just took some psychotherapy. Heh, either that or they can just sit around listening to Linkin Park at a bowling alley during the daytime before heading out at night to play their games.

It's also funny because if I were a vampire like depicted in the game I wouldn't feel that I had the time for all those elaborate patty-cake games and pretenses and playing petty politics with other vampires. IMO the big problem with life is that it's too short, whereas there are all sorts of awesome things out there to do such that you probably can't do all of them. There's all kinds of experiences you can have and skills and disciplines you can develop, but again you don't have unlimited energy or time. Add to that the fact that as a normal human you need income, food, etc. and a lot of your time and energy is going to go towards accruing those necessities, and that the end can come very unexpectedly, like you go to the hospital and get a huge medical bill that explodes all the planning and stability in your life. So, if I were a vampire who were immune to the negative health effects of being homeless, who didn't need to buy food, who was pretty much unkillable, and whose only major restriction was needing to avoid sunlight (I don't consider the blood drinking to be a major restriction compared ot being a human...needing to eat the flesh dead animals is pretty similar to needing to drink the blood out of dead animals), I'd aggressively spend all my time pursuing hobbies and interests while not wasting time on things that are no longer necessary. It would also be possible to participate aggressively in physically risky endeavors that would be stupid if you were a human. Kind of like min-maxing my unlife.

All of a sudden it would be realistic to set out to read every book in the Library of Congress, for example, or spend 100 years refining your skill with firearms. If you wanted to learn about wilderness and nature you could just up and walk up the Sierra Nevada for a year, since you wouldn't be able to die of hypothermia. You could just hang out in the woods for as long as you wanted eating rats and bears with a few books on nature and study all about it on site. Wanna go and do archeological studies in a politically unstable region of the world? Go ahead, if some AK wielding tough guys come and bother you at night you can just eat them all and hide the bodies. Wanna visit all the great museums in the world? Go ahead, break in by night when nobody is there using your superpowers and enjoy the exhibits all to yourself. Wanna learn to paint or play the guitar? Well you finally have all the time to practice without being impeded by being poor. Wanna race stock cars? Well all of a sudden now it's safe, even if you suck at driving.

If vampires are going to get all depressed over these kinds of opportunities, well, hell, they're clearly all suffering from a personality disorder. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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CanadianWolverin...
post Feb 8 2010, 12:14 AM
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Oh man, are you going to enjoy the multiple endings and various twisted characters throughout this game.

And unfortunately, not all the bugs in the game got worked out and I am not sure if I ever did get the community/fan made patch to work.

Let me know how you enjoy your playthrough, from what you describe of what you would want to do as a vamp, you sound like one of the kinds of vamp, the magician vamps IIRC. I think there is even a sort of personality test (optional IIRC) that will sort out which playstyle you would enjoy playing most. I went with the animalistic guys.

Oh, and I also got the game off of Steam when there was a sale sometime last year or whenever.
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Angelone
post Feb 8 2010, 12:51 AM
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VtM- Bloodlines is a great game. It's only real weakness is lack of replay value. The game doesn't change the only real change is the dialog for the Malkavians (which are fun(ny)).
[ Spoiler ]
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hobgoblin
post Feb 8 2010, 01:28 AM
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iirc, the community patches work ok, tho i have not tested them vs the steam version.

and i suspect the best part of the game is perhaps how it all ends (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

as for the way the vampire world is setup, i guess it tells a lot that the person behind its creation is a pretentious prick (from what i have been told), and that its the game that basically got the whole rpg theory (nar/sim/gam?) "flame war" going (largely thanks to yet another pretentious prick that seemed quite adept at attracting others of his kind).
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Wounded Ronin
post Feb 8 2010, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 7 2010, 09:28 PM) *
iirc, the community patches work ok, tho i have not tested them vs the steam version.

and i suspect the best part of the game is perhaps how it all ends (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

as for the way the vampire world is setup, i guess it tells a lot that the person behind its creation is a pretentious prick (from what i have been told), and that its the game that basically got the whole rpg theory (nar/sim/gam?) "flame war" going (largely thanks to yet another pretentious prick that seemed quite adept at attracting others of his kind).


LOL, are you referring to this article?

http://rpgpundit.xanga.com/721099387/item/

QUOTE
Anyway, Rob took me over to a little table with one guy behind it. On the table were arrayed a number of freshly printed Vampire books. Rob chatted with the guy behind the table and introduced me to Mark Rein*Hagen. I told him that I thought his new game looked amazing and gushed about it a little. He silently listened to me with an expression that spoke volumes: I wasn’t telling him something he didn’t already know.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rob give Mark a knowing look and motion with his head toward me. Mark sighed, and then said as condescendingly as I’ve even been spoken to, “Here you go, kid.” He didn’t need to add, “Now get away from me, son. You bother me,” because it was already clear.

That was both my first and my last interaction with Mark. I did (and still do) love and appreciate the book. But because of that, it’s not without a feeling of more than a little irony that I present to you Monte Cook’s World of Darkness.

You see, today, I count most of the folks currently at White Wolf among my best friends in the game industry. I’ve worked with them for years as publishing partners for my own Malhavoc Press.
I was a little flabbergasted when Rich Thomas and Stewart Wieck approached me with the offer to take the World of Darkness...


Sounds kind of narcissistic, I guess.
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Critias
post Feb 8 2010, 03:56 AM
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To me, the goofy pretentious self-interested mindset of the White Wolf games was always a turn off. What was a turn on (so to speak) was the fun that could be had -- as a history buff -- in the setting itself. I liked to cook up a character's backstory, just like I always do, but then to also cook up where his Sire had been and what his Sire had seen, what my werewolf's Past Lives showed him, who my Mage was in a prior incarnation...and all of it in the complicated but mildly addictive timeline they had, a mish-mash of real history and their own stereotypes, made-up cliques, and fantastic creatures.

I loved the setting. I hated the system, and the attitude.

The RPG gave me enough of the setting I had fun with it, complete system overhaul (that was pretty well done, especially for as old as the game is), and enough of the attitude to keep me from possibly wanting to play back through it, or anything like that. It was a fun ride, though. For the $9.99 or so I paid for it, it was well worth it. I also have a soft spot for Anarchs and the L.A. setting in the WoD, so the later levels of the game were fun for me (in that sense).

All in all, it was a good game, and one I wish they'd make some sort of prequel/sequel/totally unrelated but remarkably similiar add-on to. It was a well done video game, period.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 8 2010, 04:29 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Feb 8 2010, 04:20 AM) *
LOL, are you referring to this article?

http://rpgpundit.xanga.com/721099387/item/



Sounds kind of narcissistic, I guess.

nice find (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

as for V:tM, i am unsure if i will ever bother to play it, even if i have the book on shelf (bought it to try and interest a person i know in the hobby), as so far my only real game experience seemed to hinge more on the style of dress of my character then much else...
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hyzmarca
post Feb 10 2010, 02:44 PM
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One thing I found annoying about Bloodlines is the fact that normal humans can take multiple headshots without even noticing. I understand that it was meant to be accurate to the P&P rules, but humans should die when you make giant holes in their skulls by shooting them in the face multiple times. At the very least, they should be inconvienced.


Another thing I found funny is that despite the fact that both guns and Toreadors are fairly useless early on, once you've gotten a Steyr AUG your artsy-fartsy vampire can be the most deadly combat monster in the game. Because temporary bonuses aren't capped, Auspex can be used to give a character 13 in ranged combat (14 if he has a certain item that's only available in certain patches) Combine that with Celerity for super speed and the AUG's decent damage and superb full-auto accuracy and you're essentialy a vampire chainsaw that will cut through the most powerful boses with ease.



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tete
post Feb 10 2010, 11:54 PM
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QUOTE (Angelone @ Feb 8 2010, 01:51 AM) *
VtM- Bloodlines is a great game. It's only real weakness is lack of replay value. The game doesn't change the only real change is the dialog for the Malkavians (which are fun(ny)).
[ Spoiler ]


I would say its very replayable for a CRPG. Intimidate, Persuastion and Seduction will all change the dialog. A Social character vs a Physical character is a different way to aproach most quest (there is still some fighting but you can get through most of it talking). The Malks and Nos of course are extream variations in the dialog to. Add 5 endings to the mix and you can play through it with 3 (or more) characters and still have a very different game even if the overarching plot is the same.

QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Feb 10 2010, 03:44 PM) *
...Another thing I found funny is that despite the fact that both guns and Toreadors are fairly useless early on...


As a Tory you should be social in the begining. Just walk up to the chemist and tell him your good for the money, or the cops saying your a news reporter etc etc.
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Wounded Ronin
post Feb 11 2010, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Feb 10 2010, 09:44 AM) *
One thing I found annoying about Bloodlines is the fact that normal humans can take multiple headshots without even noticing. I understand that it was meant to be accurate to the P&P rules, but humans should die when you make giant holes in their skulls by shooting them in the face multiple times. At the very least, they should be inconvienced.


Another thing I found funny is that despite the fact that both guns and Toreadors are fairly useless early on, once you've gotten a Steyr AUG your artsy-fartsy vampire can be the most deadly combat monster in the game. Because temporary bonuses aren't capped, Auspex can be used to give a character 13 in ranged combat (14 if he has a certain item that's only available in certain patches) Combine that with Celerity for super speed and the AUG's decent damage and superb full-auto accuracy and you're essentialy a vampire chainsaw that will cut through the most powerful boses with ease.


Did you notice how the .38 Special cartridges are all hollow points? I thought it was hilarious that a gangbanger can take multiple JHPs to the head and be okay, but I honestly didn't mind because I understood that the game was being true to White Wolf, and that White Wolf was never intended to be realistic tactical combat.

I'm taking the time to aim for headshots, but I'm not 100% sure if the game is awarding me extra damage for headshots.
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tete
post Feb 11 2010, 12:54 AM
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The .38 thing... do you realise that the accuracy is based on your characters skill and not where you aim? If you have a range of 3 and shoot someone "in the head" it does alot less damage than if you have a range of 7 and shoot someone "in the head" with the same gun. There are no "head shots" per say, aiming does add damage but your skill level means more. Aiming will add like +1 to +3 pts of damage were as each skill pt adds 1 pt (or more) of damage. IIRC headshots will grant a bonus 3 pts or so.
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hyzmarca
post Feb 11 2010, 08:04 AM
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QUOTE (tete @ Feb 10 2010, 06:54 PM) *
I would say its very replayable for a CRPG. Intimidate, Persuastion and Seduction will all change the dialog. A Social character vs a Physical character is a different way to aproach most quest (there is still some fighting but you can get through most of it talking). The Malks and Nos of course are extream variations in the dialog to. Add 5 endings to the mix and you can play through it with 3 (or more) characters and still have a very different game even if the overarching plot is the same.



As a Tory you should be social in the begining. Just walk up to the chemist and tell him your good for the money, or the cops saying your a news reporter etc etc.


Toreadors are social, yes. The problem is that their stat bonus is in Charisma, not Manipulation. Seduction isn't a very useful skill (unless you're playing a female character). Its best use is to get free hookers, but that requires a big investment that male characters won't get any other significant benefits from. The best social characters both early on and later are Ventru and (oddly) Malkavalian (Dominate and Dementate help alot, especially Dementate).
Toreadors are the best choice for people who want to shoot things and seduce hookers. They're oddly baddass if you play them optimally, especially since melee combat is so easy early on that it doesn't matter that early guns suck.

.
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Crusher Bob
post Feb 11 2010, 11:00 AM
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I really liked the Malk dialog in the game. As long as the sewers don't make you leave the game in disgust, it's great.
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StealthSigma
post Feb 11 2010, 01:24 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Feb 11 2010, 04:04 AM) *
Toreadors are social, yes. The problem is that their stat bonus is in Charisma, not Manipulation. Seduction isn't a very useful skill (unless you're playing a female character). Its best use is to get free hookers, but that requires a big investment that male characters won't get any other significant benefits from. The best social characters both early on and later are Ventru and (oddly) Malkavalian (Dominate and Dementate help alot, especially Dementate).
Toreadors are the best choice for people who want to shoot things and seduce hookers. They're oddly baddass if you play them optimally, especially since melee combat is so easy early on that it doesn't matter that early guns suck.


Well, compare to the PnP version of V:tM. Toreadors have, in my opinion, a very powerfel set of disciplines. Auspex, Celerity, and Presence are all potent in their own right. The higher ranks of Presence in PnP, are "always on" rather than needing to be activated. Consider that while in Elysium you are forbidden from using powers, Toreadors can frequently influence other vampires while in Elysium while other vampires are forbidden from doing so. Celerity is the best combat discipline of Fortitude, Celerity, and Potency. Then the perception based bonuses of Auspex are very nice as well.

So why do Toreadors not dominate everything? For the most part they're a bunch of narcissists, many despise fighting, and they exceedingly busy socializing to position themselves slight better than each other.

I had the fortune of playing a Toreador who considered fencing an art. He was shunned by most of the Toreadors in the city for it. The GM loved it because it let him really shake up the Toreadors in the city. I ended up being partially responsible for the death of the Toreador Primogen along with about 4 or 5 other 7-9th generation Toreadors. I ended up replacing the Prince's Sheriff when old Sheriff got killed. Good times.
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Adarael
post Feb 11 2010, 06:49 PM
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Also because whenever the Toreadors in Elysium start tossing their Presence around like mad, there are always Ventrue and Brujah to tell them to shut the fuck up. And given the discipline breakdown, Ventrue can TAKE a hit, and Brujah can GIVE a hit, but Toreador can do neither except know why you want to hit them. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

But yes. Presence is why those three clans have a tendancy to (overtly) run everything in the Camarilla. Other clans are more sneaky.

Me, I always liked the Sabbat. Religious fanatics, hurrah!
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StealthSigma
post Feb 11 2010, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE (Adarael @ Feb 11 2010, 02:49 PM) *
Also because whenever the Toreadors in Elysium start tossing their Presence around like mad, there are always Ventrue and Brujah to tell them to shut the fuck up. And given the discipline breakdown, Ventrue can TAKE a hit, and Brujah can GIVE a hit, but Toreador can do neither except know why you want to hit them. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

But yes. Presence is why those three clans have a tendancy to (overtly) run everything in the Camarilla. Other clans are more sneaky.

Me, I always liked the Sabbat. Religious fanatics, hurrah!


And celerity lets you make way more hits. You didn't forget that Torries get Celerity, did you? I believe it's you get a number of additional actions equal to your celerity rating? Which means a Torrie fencer with a sword that deals aggravated damage is a huge PITA to kindred. IIRC it's the lower three ranks of presence that are notable. The top one is definitely passive. Also, don't undervalue Auspex, it's one of the few disciplines that can thwart Obfuscation.
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Adarael
post Feb 12 2010, 02:52 AM
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Not at all. But in a throwdown between Celerity vs Celerity AND Potence, Celerity and Potence have a massive edge in raw screws-you-upitude. Auspex aside, Brujah and Toreador share two disciplines, and Auspex isn't nearly as combat ready as Potence. Sure, Auspex is useful, but it isn't as useful in terms of pushing people around.

Assuming we throw aside all "if I get out of clan Discipline X", both parties will be dealing lethal, but the Brujah will be dealing much more of it. Off the top of my head, the only thing I can think of that would let a Toreador fencer deal agg is Quietus (with a sword) and Protean (with claws). I suppose they could BITE you, but again, the Brujah have fangs too, and can deal damage that way as well.

As for a Ventrue, assuming equal levels of the disciplines (5 in all) and Generation, the Ventrue can just order the Toreador to "lick the bark off that tree as fast as you can", and that'll run a Toreador out of blood in a hurry.
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Critias
post Feb 12 2010, 07:23 AM
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QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Feb 11 2010, 03:32 PM) *
And celerity lets you make way more hits. You didn't forget that Torries get Celerity, did you? I believe it's you get a number of additional actions equal to your celerity rating? Which means a Torrie fencer with a sword that deals aggravated damage is a huge PITA to kindred. IIRC it's the lower three ranks of presence that are notable. The top one is definitely passive. Also, don't undervalue Auspex, it's one of the few disciplines that can thwart Obfuscation.

Where are you getting aggie damage swords in your average Vampire game?

And why the bejeebus would you give one to a Torrie, instead of a Brujah, if you DID come across one? Aggie damage and extra attacks is all well and good, but in a game with such a freakishly fickle die mechanic as WoD, aggie damage and extra attacks and auto damage successes is the way to go.
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StealthSigma
post Feb 12 2010, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE (Critias @ Feb 12 2010, 03:23 AM) *
Where are you getting aggie damage swords in your average Vampire game?

And why the bejeebus would you give one to a Torrie, instead of a Brujah, if you DID come across one? Aggie damage and extra attacks is all well and good, but in a game with such a freakishly fickle die mechanic as WoD, aggie damage and extra attacks and auto damage successes is the way to go.


I may have gotten my damage types screwed up. It's been quite awhile since I played so I am rather fuzzy on the rules.

And from a purely numerical, standard discipline, combat perspective, the Brujah is a better candidate if you're looking at raw damage.
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Adarael
post Feb 12 2010, 04:22 PM
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That said, let no vampire go forth into the wilds of the World of Darkness without Auspex. To do so is a death sentence, not from combat, but from not knowing that the crap is going on.
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tete
post Feb 12 2010, 04:40 PM
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IIRC (just like shadowrun) 2e the celerity monkey went first and used up all his attacks where as in revised celerity monkey still went first for his first attack but then had to wait for everyone else to go before getting to unleash doom. However the guy with potence in 2e could do pretty well with multiple attack to if he had a high enough die pool because if you potence of 4 or 5 who cares if your only doing 1 or 2 pts of damage from the accuracy of the attack, your getting 4 auto successes to damage (with only 7 health levels). I may be remebering it wrong but thats what I remember.
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Wounded Ronin
post Feb 12 2010, 11:39 PM
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Freakishly fickle dice mechanic is right. I remember how the one and only time I played the PnP game how even though my character had full marks in blades or swords or whatever it was called I never really felt he was consistiently doing as well as he should have given that he had what was supposedly the highest level of skill possible in both mortal and immortal realms.
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Critias
post Feb 12 2010, 11:57 PM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Feb 12 2010, 06:39 PM) *
Freakishly fickle dice mechanic is right. I remember how the one and only time I played the PnP game how even though my character had full marks in blades or swords or whatever it was called I never really felt he was consistiently doing as well as he should have given that he had what was supposedly the highest level of skill possible in both mortal and immortal realms.

And that's precisely the problem. In the fluff/descriptors, they act like there's a world of difference between, say, a two and a five. In real life, you're looking at maybe one more success, on average. Part of the blame lies in the adjustable TNs they used to use, part of it lies in how their specializations work (if you ave a 4+ and if the specialization applies and if you roll a 10 and if you don't roll a corresponding 1 to take the 10 away, then you get to reroll that die for another chance at a success), and part of it lay in their botch roll (with every '1' taking away, compounded by NOT every '10' doing anything extra). The end result was just a fundamentally flawed die mechanic. The success/fail mechanic got even worse when one realized that damage came in dice, not levels (Potence notwithstanding), so that every attack gave you two chances to get boned by the flawed probability of their core mechanic.

In one game, a buddy of mine (playing a Toreador, coincidentally) emptied a double-barreled shotgun into a ghoul (who had no armor, no fortitude, and no ability to soak the damage). The guy was quick and nimble with a high Dex, spent some blood to get an even higher Dex, and had invested heavily in Firearms as his only combat skill -- he was rolling 12 dice to hit, against an NPC who was being blindsided by the attack (so no dodge, either). He rolled terrible, magnificent, handfuls of dice that were more than the most well-trained Olympic marksman has ever rolled. The end result was absolutely zero levels of damage dealt, after loosing both barrels. He reloaded and fired again with Celerity actions, once again let fly a thunderous barrage of d10's and buckshot, and once again did precisely dick-all thanks to their silly damage dice.

Ah, fun, fun. Good times.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 13 2010, 12:09 AM
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sounds like a dice mechanic that was designed to get both GM and players to free form rather then roll...
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Wounded Ronin
post Feb 13 2010, 03:10 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 12 2010, 07:09 PM) *
sounds like a dice mechanic that was designed to get both GM and players to free form rather then roll...


"Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."
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