[Character Creation] [VtR] nWoD Vampire Game


I want to get one more post out on Archer's thread. Then I'll sit down with it.

My hunch is that you've deviated a bit from our original discussion. I'll probably need to have a good think to see what is going to fit in where.
Looks good. You're basically set up.

gain though I haven't read it yet.

Sorry. For some reason I thought it was longer. Will email you. Things look generally fine.
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Humanity for XP

OK. Now we can start to talk about the humanity -> xp swap.
I have a post but I think I should hold off to give people maximum chance to speak.

I would still like to get the game going by Friday. Now that Archer's prelude is probably around 80ish% done the next "big thing" is Beths pre-post.

(And Cole's prelude is still running, I'd say we're past the mid-point).


First Post
Here's an email I've received from Graf that should be very relevant.

email from Graf said:
OK. Now that I've gotten most of Archer's prelude up we're in a position to talk more about humanity and xp.

Here's really how I see it, the Vampire book requires "heinous acts" to have been committed in order to swap out humanity for xp. This is an optional rule (again per the vampire book).

As I've mentioned before I don't personally love the rule because it tends to swing the character balance toward people playing psychopaths, etc. A stereotypical "serial killer" character already starts out with certain advantages (they're more likely to have "useful" rpg skills like combat, sneaking, etc). giving them an extra helping of xp doesn't, to my mind, really help the game.

Festy's character was a peculiar mixture for me in that,
1. He didn't have his character actually doing anything particularly bad
2. Most of the stuff he was buying wasn't particularly unbalancing (an encyclopedic knowledge of guns, speaking Mandarin and Arabic, etc. etc); his highest combat skill is a ** (*** really with pistols but he still has 5 dice)
3. Because he'd indicated he wanted to be embraced into the Invictus it gave me a chance to reveal a little bit more about how I see them in the city.

3 was useful to me because the Invictus dominate the city (as we'll probably see in the next post) and I wanted to do some "showing" about how they see the world. (Blood bonds to enforce control are normal, Neonates are property, etc)

So I felt that, while I'd "asked" people not to do the humanity trade in, I hadn't required it precisely, and I felt like Festy had tried to follow the spirit of the request (his character wasn't a high powered psychopath). He's a strong investigator but that's useful for me as a storyteller, and to "effect change" in the world he'd need to go to other player characters (maybe, we'll see of course).

Which got me back to "heinous acts".
Archer's background didn't include any. (To my mind, in a game where characters who hunt things-that-look-like-people-with-a-sword and sold-weapons-to-the-nazis are starting off with Humanity 7 we're talking about some fairly heinous stuff).

In retrospect I should almost certainly have confired with him more but I ultimately just went with my gut and tried to work out something fulfilled the necessary requirements so that we could get started. (I wouldhave found out, for instance, that he wasn't particularly interested in being embraced into the invictus, it was just a reference added for verisimilitude).
But that's life.

The result was some unpleasantness in Archers prelude. (To my mind he lost the first dot around here[/url ] and the second around [url=http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=3960173&postcount=60]here.)

So I said people would get a chance to talk, unfettered. I appreciate everyone waiting and holding back.
Please, tell me what you feel/think etc. Posts and/or email would be fine.

Really, I don't mind the troubles my character has been through. He's ended up more or less exactly as I wanted him to be at game start, if not better due to the embitterment and contempt of things brought on by the treatment he received from his sire. I'll obviously need to revise the background I have posted for the character to include this but that's no biggie.

On the subject of humanity loss, I completely approve of what was done to him. You could say it helps build character :D . On my part, within what I wrote for the character I had alluded to him doing some pretty awful things while he was mortal, but wasn't specific about anything, just giving a general description of what he used to do for a living and leaving it to the reader's imagination as to what kind of nastiness gets performed in the less reputable areas of that line of work.

To provide a graphic example, one hypothetical job could be a client calling upon Archer's company to influence an election in some out-of-the-way country by any means necessary, preferring specified methods for personal reasons. A task force is assembled to fulfill the contract and Archer helps orchestrate the kidnap of children A, B, & C, in order to force the hand of politican A who is childrens' parent or close relative. Innocent blood is spilled, etc, etc. He isn't the guy whose job it is to pull the trigger on these jobs (as previously mentioned he's not a fighter), but he was helping to plan, perform and cover them up. He was essentially telling the guy responsible when to pull the trigger.
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I actually hadn't read about the humanity-xp swap until just now, but I'd been planning on asking if my humanity could start 1 lower (6). There's no single specific thing that he's done to deserve it, but a decade and a half of hell, turning your back on everyone, and seeking out the darkness wears at one's soul/heart, I think.


Festy's post btw, is exactly the post I was preparing to send.

I've decided that when I'm bringing up something about peoples character's I'll try to give them a heads up first.

Jemal said:
I actually hadn't read about the humanity-xp swap until just now, but I'd been planning on asking if my humanity could start 1 lower (6). There's no single specific thing that he's done to deserve it, but a decade and a half of hell, turning your back on everyone, and seeking out the darkness wears at one's soul/heart, I think.

Here's my basic opinion. "Vaguely defined badness" does not equal "heinous acts". In fact I think it's the antithesis of the effect. Is there story value in the things that happened to Archer? I think so. When he smells gasoline, when he meets Celeste and/or Frank again, maybe even when he sees a pitcher of milk put out for the cat then his character will be affected (not hugely of course, but there's story stuff there).
Also, Archer's humanity loss is going to have repercussions for him, some obvious, some not. He acts as a good parable for other characters. For example: having social die pool maximums of 5 with humans is something that is going to affect Archer. People he knew before he interacts with now are going to think there's something wrong with him, he's less likable than he used to be, etc. etc.
For other characters that's not really much of a penalty.

Either way "My character was a bad person, I get more xp" doesn't really work for me. I know Festy suggested that initially at the top of the thread, and I can appreciate that the book seems to offer that up as a possibility, but I feel like some sort of strict interpretation is necessary.
[To put it another way I think that most people in the real world, however flawed they are are still "human" and have a reasonable humanity score (read: 7). I don't think that "being a dick" or "turning your back on people you know" is worthy of humanity loss.]

Festy has also offered to "roll back" his character.
I feel like I need to reserve that as an option instead of winding up in a game where everyone has humanity 5 and has shot their mom to get some extra dots of merits.
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You have "unspent" points from "banked" resources/etc. Why not use those if there is something else you want to buy?

Specifically, regarding your character. Obviously I think that the event in your life was extremely traumactic. The general rule is that your own actions cause humanity loss.

OK. I didn't apply that rule to Festy, honestly at the time I wasn't as familiar with the rules as I am now and I thought/remembered that it was just "heinous stuff".

At the same time I am loath to make that a general rule. Sitting around and categorizing trauma, debating whose character is most tortured and how many experience points they get wouldn't be particularly fun for me.
(is someone's horrible home life work 5xp? Is it worth 10? No? what if I toss in sexual abuse? Can I get 10 then? Ok, what about physical and sexual abuse? Is it 10 yet?)

Honestly, I like where the characters are placed now. I like that people had to make some tough choices and focus on their characters are good at. And that even in those areas they aren't "perfect".
Biggs isn't a modern Miyamoto Musashi yet. He's good, but he's not at that level yet. with 5 xp he'd be close (weaponry 5 (Katana), TWF 4) and he'd really have no way to improve once the game began.
I just think it's a less interesting starting point. On the other hand Biggs is a very focused character and it would make perfect sense for him to start off that way in terms of his internal narritive. (I mean, he's not going to put his points into playing Yatzee).
It's just not were I want the game to begin.
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Sorry if this sounds a bit rude, but I think you play with too many rules-munchers, b/c you're seeing everything as people trying to weasel the most power possible out of their characters, and you're doing everything in your power to prevent people from twinking. Which is fine, but I'd rather you not assume that all the decisions I'm making are for the power (If you'll look, I have a rather UN-optimized character).
Also, if you'll recall, I'd wanted to start with a humanity of 6 BEFORE I heard about the XP thing.

If you don't want me to start at humanity 6 that's fine, however with a character like this, I will end up there fairly shortly, the only difference is that I'll have a chance of going insane (sooner).

(As a side note, I'd like to point out that commiting 'petty theft/shoplifting' forces a roll to loose humanity when you're at 7. "heinous" is proportional to the starting humanity.)

Just so the point's not lost : I don't give a flying Duck about the XP, the humanity 6 was a CHARACTER choice, not a twinking choice.


Fair enough. I'd misunderstood you. I apologize if you felt that my comments were a besmerchment upon your character. They weren't meant to be. And they were general.

Bah. This is going exactly where I thought it would. I don't honestly have the headspace to sit down and think about how optimized/un-optimized/deserving/undeserving each individual character is.

It's my bad for originally allowing the character. I'll apologize to Festy personally and ask him to dump the xp and push his humanity back up to 7.

The optional rule is permanently disallowed.

You are free to "give up" humanity if you want to. I think that the advantages of having a higher humanity far outweight the possibilities picking up derangements. But... whatever. Sure. Start off with humanity 6 or 5 or whatever if you like.

Jemal said:
(As a side note, I'd like to point out that committing 'petty theft/shoplifting' forces a roll to loose humanity when you're at 7. "heinous" is proportional to the starting humanity.)
Obviously a valid point.
The humanity system is sorta flawed*. But like alignment in DnD I don't think we're going to get a better system (I.e. I'm not gonna write a new one).

I do feel obliged to point out that I was speaking in terms of the "swap" mechanic, which does specifically mention "heinous acts". It's not like I was making it up. It's in the book. And I (at least) was talking about swapping.
I understand that it's hard to read through the thread but it represents my context for conversations. If you bring up dropping humanity and we've had a bunch of posts about it already then that's the context from which I speak (however fair or unfair you might see it).

* This is the biggest problem for Diego actually. I'm inclined to give certain kinds of circumstantial bonuses on the check. If you're naked and stealing clothing from the discount bin at a superstore it's different from snagging something from a mom 'n pop shop where you know the owners.
[edit= I guess that what I'm saying is that I'd consider there being some sort of "professional bonus" maybe? But I wouldn't want that for all the acts.
We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.]

Jemal said:
you're doing everything in your power to prevent people from twinking.
For the record I see this as a fundamental, inescapable part of the job description.

As for the people I play with?
Lets just say that my group can't meet anymore, but I do feel there are fundamental differences between how a group that has only met and played online shakes out vs. a group that's met every other week for years.
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I've hit a bit of a break point. We've spent all day on this and though the issue is resolved, at least in my mind. I haven't made any progress on getting reading for game start tomorrow.

And I'm a bit tired.

So I'm pushing game start back to Monday. It'll either start Monday or we won't play. I'm not going to keep futzing around.

I do assert (I realize without much evidence to point to yet) that I think we have the makings of a good game. I'll be fun. Some interesting stuff should happen. After the game starts (and a bit of time has happened) people will get to play in a sandbox type vampire game where you can do the sorts of stuff Vampire allows.

To do my best to make that happen I'm not going to look at this thread and not going to read any (game related) email for the next 48 hours. All my output will either be in the Preludes thread or in an IC thread which should go up Monday sometime.

Hopefully that works for people.

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