House Rules, Guidelines and Opinions
Using ((PAUSE)) With Disagreements
Scenes often happen when a Storyteller is not around. There are going to be times when two (or more) players are going to disagree on how a scene is unfolding. Does a Discipline 'not work that way'? Is one character doing something in Elysium that another player thinks the everpresent Keeper of Elysium would put a stop to... but said character doesn't stop when the other player points it out? Time to call for a ((pause)).
Pause is used to freeze a scene when two players can't agree on a pivotal point. It shouldn't be used trivially. Examples of when it would be used is when a character is attacked with deathly intent, when someone is too aggressive in Elysium, or when rules/systems can't be agreed upon. This is another reason why players are allowed two characters, and why we do 'time bending'. So disputed scenes can be paused until a Storyteller can be on to review, ask questions, and guide the scene to a close. Is everyone always going to be happy with the outcome? Probably not. But it is a world of darkness...
Role Play vs. Roll Play
On "Storyline nights" where there is a known end time for some of the players, if the scene is going to be dice heavy, the STs are going to run the scene more how it would be in Tabletop - that is "Declare and roll". Instead of typing out a descriptive, emotive action, you may just say ((I'm going to punch the bad guy)). The ST will say ((roll dex plus brawl, diff of 6)). This will allow scenes on these more time-restrictive nights to move faster. This way the scene can wrap up and characters will be free to play in social scenes until the next RP night.
This will also allow storyline nights to move forward even when all the players can't be around. This will allow for the characters to say "I can't get ahold of that guy, let's get going." This will keep a good cadence on storylines, and help keep players engaged.
If a player needs to leave for an extended time during a scene, a storyteller will manage the character until the player is back or the scene concludes. The ST will err on the side of caution with actions as much as possible.
In social play, there are people that want to effectively ignore sheets all together, and there are people that want or demand rolls for everything. We have read some extremely vitriolic opinions on both sides. We are happy to say that there is a mid-ground between them! The sheets and dots should act as guidelines for what your character can reasonably do. If the player wants to (literally) roll the dice to see how well they do, to give their impressive feat some more heft and reference for other characters to respond to, great! If they don’t, and other players don’t challenge when they feel it’s appropriate, they don’t have to.
And how do we define appropriate challenging? If failing to do it might cause the character personal injury, or losing important social standing, or some other measurable impact that could be leveraged later, it’s appropriate (though not required) to roll. Examples, challenging someone who is juggling knives? Sure! Challenging someone because they’re putting on a concert for people they’re trying to impress? Sure! Challenging someone who is just out on the dancefloor having a good time, and failing a dice roll really won’t have any impact outside that moment? Maybe not really appropriate to ask for a roll.
When you’re in a scene with someone, don't be afraid to ask for a roll for social items. If your character is asking himself what another character might be thinking, then you should probably make an empathy check and have the other player elaborate. If you think someone is giving your character a line of bullshit, make a credibility check! Find out if your character actually picks up on it! Just because you can see what's going on doesn't mean your character will. It can be loads more fun too as you let scenes develop. In short, there is a time to throw the dice and a time to just RP. It's not going to offend other players if you ask for a roll or want to make a roll on anther character.
This ties into two other important points: Internal Monologuing and OOC/IC info.
Again there are different views here. Some say that it can “influence” player decisions with their characters. Proponents say it can be used to increase tension and add color to the actions of the character. As with most things, both of these are true for different people. We allow internal monologuing, but it’s not required. If you are worried that your course of action or thoughts your character is having might be influenced by this, our recommendation is to put focus on your characters motivations, try to learn to appreciate the writing effort the other players put in, and know which parts should be “seen” by their character, enjoying the rest as a player. If you are afraid it’s going to influence other players, then don’t do it. And if you do it and it does seem to influence players in a way you’re not happy with… we apologize and suggest you stop doing it. From personal experience we have had scenes that were made all the more intense or heart-breaking by internal monologuing, and it can be a challenge to remember what your character was thinking/feeling and to stay on that course, though it can be done.
Everyone is excited about well layered characters. Especially when another character gets so close to uncovering something, but doesn’t. Sharing OOC information can rob you or the other player from those scenes and the discoveries. That being said, it’s your character! If you want to share things when asked, you won’t get your wrist slapped. If you want to share information proactively, well, again, it’s your character, though we feel you’re robbing yourself of some great scenes. This also means we won’t make considerations if things you gave away in OOC sharpens clues that the players otherwise missed. Simple example, if you tell a player in OOC that your character plays with their Zippo when lying, then don’t be surprised if that trend is more quickly discovered, or rolls to discover it that weren’t done before are done now.
Posting Styles and Consideration
Everyone posts differently, and with the freedoms we allow here (with internal monologuing, for example), there can be a wide range of them. From the "One sentence sniper" to the "paragraph player" to the "rapid fire poster".
It's good to recognize the posting style of other characters, and try to give them time to react to your post in a way that is organic to them. It can be difficult, even frustrating, for a "Paragraph player" to put together a post that is both coherent, and not half-obsolete, with someone else making back-to-back posts at the same time. If you're afraid a player missed your post, or didn't know a post was directed to their character, give a friendly nudge in PM: 'are you working on a post?' is a great way to know what's going on.
Inversely, if a paragraph player actually doesn't have something to say, make an action, or even say ((go ahead)) in the scene so the other players know they don't have to wait. Being curteous of how everyone posts will allow everyone to help weave an interesting story.
This is a world of Darkness, to be sure, that doesn't mean all-that's-good-is-dead, but it does mean the more altruistic Kindred have probably been manipulated on many occasions, and opportunistic Kindred are always eager to be transactional whenever it'll suit them.
1. Regardless of what it looks like on the surface, no character has a perfect life. They have their own troubles, concerns, and secrets. A clever character who puts in the time and effort might be able to find these things and use them to their advantage.
2. Clan/Group stereotypes and cultures are inverted, subverted, and played straight. Lore is rarely a sure-thing when it comes to an individual. This can be used to your advantage, use it as an introduction to conversation, or a way to intentionally make a faux-pas to see how the other character reacts.
6. Your ally today could be your obstacle tomorrow (and vice versa). You may not always know why they flipped on you… maybe it was their plan from the beginning, maybe someone made them a better offer. When working towards your own ends, you might find you're the person betraying another, and then trusting them to watch your back the next time you are in service to the city!
There are a lot of ways to handle combat. And combat can be pretty damn time consuming when it’s played as described in the book. Typically, we will hold off on “By the book” combat for life-and-death situations. If dice-based combat does take place and it’s not a life-or-death situation, we ask the participants to work out before the first roll how they want to handle it. Here are some suggestions (in graduated escalation):
Option 1. One melee combat roll each, most successes wins.
Option 2. Total successes by rounds. Just what it sounds like, each player rolls three times, highest combined number of successes wins the fight.
a. Celerity adds one extra roll per dot.
b. Potence adds to the combined total, not per roll. Example: your three rolls yield you 6 successes. Your character has 3 Potence. Your combined successes is now 9.
c. Fortitude deducts from the opponents combined successes. They have 9 successes, you have 4 Fortitude, their combined successes is reduced to 5.
Option 3. It's war. By the book, time consuming, please have a good reason for making everyone do this, combat.
Duration of Disciplines - Entrancement, Dementation, etc.
When playing a more loosely structured game over IRC, versus focused coterie games from Table Top, the duration table in the book for abilities can be deeply impacting to other players, far beyond what we feel is fair. Here it is 1 success = one 24 hour period. Each additional success adds another 24 hour period.
Max blood buff will function as described on page 138 and 139 of the Revised core book. A player may spend one blood point to increase a single
Physical Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) by one dot for the duration of the scene. The player must announce, at the beginning of the turn, that he is doing this. A player may spend as many blood points on increasing Physical Attributes as the vampire may use in a turn (based upon generation), but may only
freely increase these Traits up to one higher than their generational maximum (i.e., a 10th-generation vampire may increase Traits to a maximum of 6).
With effort, a character may increase a Physical Attribute to above even this limit, but each dot above the limit lasts for only three turns after the character stops
spending blood. This enables vampires to perform truly amazing physical feats, such as throwing cars, moving preternaturally quickly and withstanding blows that would fell trees.
Example: Jerome, an 11 th-generation Brujah, has a Strength of 5. Knowing that he’s about to get into afight, he spends blood to increase his Strength. He spends one blood point to raise Strength to 6 (this enhanced Strength will last for the duration of the scene). Wanting to be even stronger, Jerome begins spending blood, at one
blood point per turn, to increase his Strength to 9. Once he “levels out,” Jerome may maintain his heightened Strength for three turns before dropping to 6 (though his Strength will remain at 6 for the duration of the scene).
Note: No player character may increase Physical Attributes above 10. Generation chart, max rating, blood pool, and points that can be spent per turn is on page 139 of the Revised core book (PDF page number may very. Page number is referencing the number printed on the actual page).
Learning out-of-clan Disciplines
This requires a full blood point to be ingested from a Kindred that knows the discipline. This also means the Kindred will be one-step blood bonded to the teacher, and may find themselves unconciously influenced to be supportive of them.
Blood bonds require at least one blood point to be ingested on three separate nights within a year. With each step, the target will find themselves supportive or enamored with their domitor. This won't stop them from feeling resentment if mistreated, but may make them put up with it longer or rationalize it more than they normally would.
If the bonded is able to avoid drinking a blood point of their Domitor's vitae for a year and a day, the bond is broken. All rules about what abilities ghouls can get is by the Revised book.