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> Vampire: The M/R vs Shadowrun 4
Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 07:28 PM
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In another thread I was quoted as saying that Vampire and Shadowrun 4 bear "no resemblance to each other". Much care has been taken to point out that everything I have said about the subject is wrong because I stated that there is "no resemblance" when there is, in fact, smilarity.

I'm starting this thread to be a discussion of how the fixed target number, attribute + skill +/- situational modifier, multiple dice per roll game system and how it relates to Vampire.

First of all I'd like to point out that the nWoD fixed TN is 8 on a d10 whereas the TN of SR4 is 5 on a d6. From a mathematical/statistical perspective, there's a 33.33~% of a SR4 success, but only a 30% chance of a nWoD success. So, even at their most basic level, the games are very different.

Now, just to start this off, what do the games have in common, besides their dice system?
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Eldritch
post Jun 3 2005, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE
First of all I'd like to point out that the nWoD fixed TN is 8 on a d10 whereas the TN of SR4 is 5 on a d6. From a mathematical/statistical perspective, there's a 33.33~% of a SR4 success, but only a .30% chance of a nWoD success. So, even at their most basic level, the games are very different


Can I assume you meant a30% chance in nWoD? .3 seems kinda slim.....

And if you are trying to compare odds, 33% vs. 30%, I wouldn't consider that a significant difference.

But Okay, I haven't picked up a WoD book in a long time...

WoD Caps skills and Attributes at 6? or 5? Don't remember. SR caps at 6.

Edges and flaws? Point based char gen?
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 07:46 PM
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Ask any d20 player about how important a 5% difference can be on a saving throw.
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Critias
post Jun 3 2005, 07:46 PM
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Hahahah. A 3.3 percent difference in probability for a single die, and you're gonna say "so, even at their most basic level, the games are very different" -- right after you rattle off that both use attribute + skill +/- situational modifier, with a fixed TN. Hahahah. And you're serious, that's the best part.

And you can't say "what do they have in common besides their die system," because their die system is what people are all talking about. That's ALL people are comparing, at this point.

How far have you taken this probability "difference" you're harping about? Have you compared the average successes when an average WoD character (2 skill, 2 attribute) and an average SR character (3 and 3) both roll at their "very different" base difficulty/target number? What about when a world class (5 + 5 in WoD, 6 + 6 in SR) set of characters rolls off?

Of course you didn't. Because -- despite both system being as close to a 1/3 chance as is possible for their well-nigh trademarked dice flavor -- they two are so "very different."
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 07:49 PM
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This is exactly my point. Fixed TN is so utterly meaningless to how the games are played relative to each other.

Take a group of five Vampire characters. Attack a secured office building. Kill 20 guards. Do this 10 times. Those five characters will no longer be playable. You'll have to throw them out and start over.

Take a group of five Shadowrun characters. What's their primary goal in life? Isn't it pretty similar to "attacking secured office buildings and killing guards" in the long run?
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Critias
post Jun 3 2005, 07:57 PM
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No. That isn't your point, or you wouldn't be disagreeing with me.

Do that math. Compare the average characters, and the super character, and even the superhuman characters. You'll find that the smaller die pools in WoD (compared to SR4) make up for the larger chance of success in SR4 (compared to WoD), largely negating the mind blowingly important 3% difference you're hung up on.

And the "take a group of five Vampire players..." notion is inherently flawed: what kind of vampires? What faction? What clan? Are they all built to be as combat effective by nature as your average Shadowrunner? What sort of gear do they have? What sort of mindset? Are they too busy angsting and moaning about the Beast within to cover one another in a firefight? Are they going to try and out-seduce one another, or will they shoot the guards? What skill set do they bring to the group that's doing the storming?

And -- on top of all that, which is just me drumming in that your average vampire character and Shadowrun character are very different on purpose -- there's the simple fact that the focus of the games is very different (in case you missed me harping about it, last paragraph). Shadowrun characters are made to storm buildings and pull heists. Vampire characters are made to wear black and cry blood. The similarities between the two system's die mechanics do not carry over into the combat rules and player mindsets, necessarily.

That doesn't mean the two die mechanics aren't well-nigh identical, though. No matter how big a deal you think 3% is.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 08:03 PM
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The simple fact of the matter is that every time a Vampire kills someone, mechanically they risk losing humanity and gaining a derangement.

And unlike Masquerade, where there was a way around this with Paths, there's no such thing in the nWoD. The game which you're so spastically enthusiastic about comparing.
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Critias
post Jun 3 2005, 08:07 PM
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I just said what you said. I acknowledged that was a point. I acknowledged, however, that the point has nothing to do with a basic comparison of the core die mechanic. I made it very clear that the die mechanic does not necessarily carry over into the combat rules or player mindsets. I did.

I just said that. Just now. Look up from your post, like, four inches. You're repeating me, only not finishing the sentence (or the thought).
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Bigity
post Jun 3 2005, 08:23 PM
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Maybe Shadowrun needs an Insanity mechanic, like WHFRP.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 08:24 PM
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Critias, losing Humanity is a CORE MECHANIC of Vampire.

Or is the dice system for performing actions the only core mechanic a game is allowed to have?

Ok, lets look at tresholds. nWoD has no thresholds. One success acheieves the result and five achieves an exceptional result. You're always allowed to reroll.
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Ol' Scratch
post Jun 3 2005, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE (Bigity)
Maybe Shadowrun needs an Insanity mechanic, like WHFRP.

Dear god no. :)
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frostPDP
post Jun 3 2005, 08:33 PM
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Nerbert, in another forum I mentioned something about the core of an apple. In calculus its called derivation - How you get all the other junk.

That is att + skill +/- situationals.
SR 4 uses this formula.
V:TM uses this formula.

End of discussion. Same core mechanic. Let me list two other popular-on-this-board games I have some degree of friggin experience with.

D20 uses 1d20 +/- modifiers.
SR3 uses the skill as the number of dice to roll, occasionally added to/subtracted by tactical pools, etc.


As to fixed TN.

Shadowrun used variable TN based on situational modifiers.
D20 (D&D my specialty) uses variable TN based on situational modifiers. Similar, but not exactly. (Knowledge check? Well your char is in a library and has 6 ranks of skill + 2 from intellegence...)
V:TM uses, from what minimal knowledge I admittedly have, fixed TN.
Shadow: The Running (I like this one!) uses fixed TN.

Four seperate games, four drastically seperate dice mechanics (In that V:TM uses d10 and SR4 d6. Netting an amazingly difficult 3% chance of failing.). You neglected to mention one other thing: In SR4 you have a 1/6 chance of "glitching," WHATEVER that is, because we don't know, and some things can't be done but improperly (I fired the gun but umm..5 hits and 1 glitch? Oh it jammed? BS, get me my D20! 2 maybe, but 1?) So the +3% chance to hit in SR4 over V:TM is made up with by a 16% chance to glitch in SR4 as opposed to a 10% chance to get a 1 in V:TM.

Nerbert, correct me if I'm wrong, but your argument isn't holding to well. The games are not the same - If we were all playing vampires in SR, we'd have a problem on our hands - but they aren't looking terribly different, either.

Furthermore, just to completely derail one line of argument, we have to keep in mind that the dice mechanic, target number, and such things are a -system.- That system can be applied to anything with some imagination. D&D could easily be moved up to Shadowrun (D20 modern, I believe, is the closest thing to it. Never played it, myself.) while you could use SR rules to play as characters in the Earthdawn years. You could play a Vampire in 2000 or 1000. Or 0. Just use appropriate story developments/restrictions (I.E. if a clan isn't known yet, you can't be one of them. If firearms aren't around, you can't use them.) and you can do it.

Therefore, arguing that a Shadowrun character and Vampire character are different is moot. Of course they are - They are a product of their times. Fortunately, a reply made earlier int his forum also applies: The Dice mechanic does not weigh in the character's mind.

When I RP, my character might say "Hmm, this sounds like a cool spell. Let me research it. Levitation...Wish I had that when I fell out of that helicopter at the Hilton. Would have saved me a trip to Tir Tangiere..." He doesn't say "I need another point in strength so I can roll another die, letting me have a great chance to overcome that troll's Body of 10."

This being said, Vampire characters are made more for general RP than shadowrunners. By general I mean they don't weigh everything towards their job, which is guarenteed to be illegal stuff in some fashion or another. One vampire character may be a politician. Another might be a performer. Mine? Well, he's an enforcer for the Boston Prince, soooo he's a swordsman. But that's fine - He has a personality which still works in the V:TM world (though parts of it certainly could carry over to SR, the bondage and all that.)

Anyhow, I have to wash my car. Nerbert, I think we as a forum group get your point about the games not being identical. I think you even get our point about the similarities being incredibly forward and annoying. If you have an argument, remember that the core is the center of all that is, and that the core is, by your own admission, the same.

Then maybe I can start figuring out why this forum exists? Besides as fun discussion, of course.
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nezumi
post Jun 3 2005, 08:36 PM
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QUOTE (Nerbert)
The simple fact of the matter is that every time a Vampire kills someone, mechanically they risk losing humanity and gaining a derangement.

Is this detail a core mechanic? Is it a part of the probability curves? I daresay, it's attached to the character, just like cyberware is in shadowrun (and mage), going crazy from eating blood is in vampire. It doesn't make SR4 mechanically different from Vampire any more than the general uselessness of mideival armor makes D&D 'fundamentally' different from D20 modern.
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Shadow
post Jun 3 2005, 08:45 PM
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I think a definition of what a "Core Mechanic" is would be in order.

I can try but I am sure I will fail miserably. A core mechanic is the dice system used in the game.

Shadowrun: Skill (in dice) against Variable TN with +/- modifiers

D&D: Dice (d20) against Variable TN +/- skill and modifiers

These are core mechanics, they are the only core mechanics. Everything else is built up around them and they effect the balance of the entire game. Change them and you risk changing the feel of the game. Notice that D&D still feels like D&D when you play 3ed. Thats because while they changed a lot of the ancillarary rules in the game, the core mechanic stayed the same.

SR can lay no claim.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 08:56 PM
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See, but the assumption is that because the core dice mechanic is the same, SR4 will feel like nWoD when you play SR4.

Any anyway, does anyone want to comment on the Threshold differences?

QUOTE (Nerbert)
nWoD has no thresholds. One success acheieves the result and five achieves an exceptional result. You're always allowed to reroll.


That is part of the core Dice machanic, and it does greatly effect probability and game balance.

Actually, I started this thread because people have been comparing the two games a lot, and initially I thought that was a good thing, because I think the nWoD game is simple, elegant, and functional. Now, primarily because of the threshold issues discussed above, I've changed my mind.
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frostPDP
post Jun 3 2005, 09:02 PM
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I seperate (In my messed-up mind) the mechanic into two things for more practical purposes: How you derive the dice thrown/what kind they are and their application. But Shadow said it quite well; combined, they are the core of the game.

He also got it right when he said that a player gets a feel based on a mechanic. In old, old online RP (AOL's Rhy'Din, if anyone was around...) the starting point was 2d20, 15-19 is 1 hit and 20 is 2. You could of course advance, with every 5 being an extra hit and extra dice based on mortality. It wasn't a terrible system, just impossible to moderate, which is why the whole community has gone diceless pretty much.

[Edit to reply to above Nerbert post]

Furthermore, my nWoD knowledge is minimal but V:TM was in many cases a success-contest. I'd hit someone and he'd need to succeed at a soak test. If he performed at such-and-such a level, he'd reduce or negate my damage, even if I succeeded 10 times (I think my first hit on him was like...7 successes. I got the 2nd lowest level of damage.)

Sooo again, while 1 success is a success, 4 successes was better - A Shadowrun-esque thing. Now its more like SR4 is copying V:TM. The feel is the same and I haven't even played, which is never a good sign.
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Cain
post Jun 3 2005, 09:15 PM
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QUOTE (Nerbert)
The simple fact of the matter is that every time a Vampire kills someone, mechanically they risk losing humanity and gaining a derangement.

And unlike Masquerade, where there was a way around this with Paths, there's no such thing in the nWoD. The game which you're so spastically enthusiastic about comparing.

You keep missing the point, so I'm going to try it this way. I don't have the nWoD main book, so you'll have to tell me something: is the humanity roll a part of the rules for humans? For Werewolves? Mages? Changelings? Wraiths?

If the answer is "no", then the humanity mechanic is not part of the core system. It's a special-case mechanic applied in one specific situation, like spellcasting is in Shadowrun.

QUOTE
See, but the assumption is that because the core dice mechanic is the same, SR4 will feel like nWoD when you play SR4.

Which is true. Star Wars d20 feels more like D&D in space than the old WEG Star Wars d6 game. Luckily enough, Star Wars lends itself to heroic fantasy, being essentially a heroic space opera. But whenever the core mechanic of a game changes, the feel of the game itself is altered. This is inevitable.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 09:21 PM
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nWoD is mortals, vampires, werewolves and mages. And yes, they all use a system of morals and derangements, although the specifics of what qualifies as "immoral" vary. And furthermore, it is a fundamental and unavoidable contributor to the "feel" of the game.

Its true that the "feel" of SR4 may very well change, its difficult to anticipate. but I can vitually guarantee that SR4 will not "feel" anything like nWoD.
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nezumi
post Jun 3 2005, 09:21 PM
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QUOTE (Nerbert)
See, but the assumption is that because the core dice mechanic is the same, SR4 will feel like nWoD when you play SR4.

This assumption isn't outright wrong, but it is flawed. Does D20 modern feel like D&D? Well, they feel similar, but not identical. The mechanics naturally lend themselves to certain mindsets, but not others. For instance, playing D&D lends itself to charging in and killing everything, since you're not (usually) worried about being killed in one hit. It also lends itself to specializing in one area, since multi-classing is so painful. So you end up with a lot of very courageous, very tough people fitting set archetypes based off their class.

SR3 lends itself to the oppositte in both cases. You CAN get hit in one hit, and specializing, while useful, becomes more expensive. So you end up with more cautious, more thoughtful characters who dabble in a number of different fields (when's the last time you saw a mage or a decker who couldn't shoot better than your average security guard?)

V:tM lends itself also to certain ways of playing. Part of that is the character of the game (it's about vampires in the modern day setting), part of it is mechanics.

So yes, if SR4 used the V:tM mechanics, you would see some similarities. I don't play WoD enough to say what those similarities would be necessarily. However, they would be in no way identical, and will likely have some significant differences (like the difference between mage and vampire, d20 modern and D&D).
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frostPDP
post Jun 3 2005, 09:28 PM
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:proof: - Sorry Kagetenshi, had to steal it for this one.

Neither of us have played SR4, so I admit that's a little strain on the system.

Regardless, if someone listed things in the below linear fashion, tell me which you (as a self-proclaimed V:TM fan.) would think of first.

Number of dice derived from attribute + Skill +/- any modifiers.
Fixed TN.

About here I know I would think "V:TM." If I didn't think it earlier. If all the information provided about the game was the two lines above, you would think of V:TM. (this is a guess, but its based on the fact you are far more experienced with V:TM than SR4 - Familiarity breeds such things as this. And contempt, of course)

Sooo you be honest and ask yourself if there won't be a large amount of familiarity. Don't mis-read me, they won't be the same. From what has been presented, it seems like SR4 will be more like V:TM than SR3 - Based solely on the two lines that almost certainly made you think of V:TM before SR3.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 09:36 PM
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FrostPDP, you're talkign about Vampire: the Requiem, V:tR, the new world of darkness game, not Vampire the Masquerade. Vampire the Masquerade had a variable target number.
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Kagetenshi
post Jun 3 2005, 09:42 PM
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QUOTE (frostPDP)
:proof: - Sorry Kagetenshi, had to steal it for this one.

I know I'm pretty much the only one who uses it anymore, but last I checked it isn't tagged "Kagetenshi only—hands off!" in the smiley list ;)

~J
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frostPDP
post Jun 3 2005, 09:44 PM
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Hehe Kage, but you're cool so I felt like giving you cred.

Neb - Again, my V:TM experience is ONE playing session in person and ONE online. Not to sound too sharp-toned, but you completely ducked my question about what you thought of. Not a terrible duck, but in a way you also answered it.

So it wasn't V:TM you thought of you thought of V:TR. It was fun, though.
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Cain
post Jun 3 2005, 09:56 PM
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QUOTE
nWoD is mortals, vampires, werewolves and mages. And yes, they all use a system of morals and derangements, although the specifics of what qualifies as "immoral" vary. And furthermore, it is a fundamental and unavoidable contributor to the "feel" of the game.

Considering that Mage isn't even out yet, I find that statement hard to believe.

As I said before, I was mildly obsessed with M:tA for a while, and there is no morality mechanic in that game. Since Mage 2.0 isn't out yet, one cannot conclude that a brand-new morality mechanic is "fundamental and unavoidable contributor to the 'feel' of the game". In fact, since the specifics vary, it's pretty clear that the morals/derangements system is an additional system, not part of the core mechanics.

The old system of morals/derangements in V:tM was a game-specific mechanic, not part of the core dice mechanism. It wasn't part of everyday task resolution.
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Nerbert
post Jun 3 2005, 09:58 PM
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When I picked up SR3 I thought "Oh hey, multiple dice, variable TN, this'll be a lot like Vampire."

For all of about six seconds, then I opened the book up and actually looked at what else was going on.

I expect pretty much the same reaction to SR4.
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