Grade the Storyteller System

How do you feel about the Storyteller System (any variant or edition)?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 8 9.1%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 18 20.5%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 26 29.5%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 13 14.8%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 6 6.8%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 17 19.3%
  • I have never even heard of it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Also, for @schneeland , I still love cloves, have my black leather duster that I break out when it is cold and wet enough, and my wife still has the chain dog collar that I was wearing when we met.
Then you are clearly in better shape than I am ;) - sold my leather pants and coat a few years back, when I admitted to myself that I probably wouldn't wear them again any time soon.
 

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Then you are clearly in better shape than I am ;) - sold my leather pants and coat a few years back, when I admitted to myself that I probably wouldn't wear them again any time soon.
Ha, tell that to my doctor. Powerlifting injury 13 years ago led to limited mobility and obesity, but I have lost at least 80 lbs in the last two years, and am starting to get guns again. About 50 more pounds to go, and I’ll be back at my college weight, when I was a big martial artist (yes, I loved the Akashic Brotherhood).
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Mechanically, the earliest iterations of Storyteller were bad. Objectively bad. The math was wonky and the system didn't at all do what it said on the tin (support story-oriented play). Later iterations got better as time when on, at least in regard to bad math. I think it peaked in the original Aeon continuum games. Then they went and naughty word it up again for Exalted. Now, all of that said, I love the settings of pretty much all Storyteller games, but that has nothing to do with the mechanics/system.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I absolutely loved VtM 2e - with the modified combat rules my first GM came up with - and would happily still play.

Can I put down I love it if I need that system change?
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
I absolutely loved VtM 2e - with the modified combat rules my first GM came up with - and would happily still play.

Can I put down I love it if I need that system change?

I dunno. "I love it but with significant house rules" seems against the spirit of the poll. 🤷‍♂️
 

I tend to say that a small amount of house rules should be fine; for a larger amount of changes, I would personally rank it down by one step. So it would really depend on how extensive the combat modifications were.

@CleverNickName should probably do the final call, though.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
These polls aren't trying to measure a game's quality, or purity, or completeness or anything like that. We're only measuring your opinion...how much or how little you enjoyed playing it (if you played it at all). If your opinion was improved with house-rules so much that you ended up loving it, then vote accordingly and then let us know the details in the comments.

Houserules are great for discussion, but a poor measure of a game's quality.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Nature/Demeanor is a vastly better way of explaining personalities than any other RPG I'm aware of has managed and it has a once-current psychological basis for its model.

I would love for Paradox to license Storyteller precisely so there could be a document with Nature/Demeanor and it could be used to import it into other systems. (The WoD already had mechanical benefits relying on Demeanor that could easily be adapted as a way to get inspiration in 5E, for instance.)

The rest of the system is OK. It's pretty dated and I don't know that most of the crunch inherent in the system is of meaningful benefit in play. If they were creating it from scratch (not as a legacy product) today, I suspect the game would be much, much lighter.
 
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Nature/Demeanor is a vastly better way of explaining personalities than any other RPG I'm aware of has managed and it has a once-current psychological basis for its model.

I would love for Paradox to license Storyteller precisely so there could be a document with Nature/Demeanor and be used to import it into other systems. (The WoD already had mechanical benefits relying on Demeanor that could easily be adapted as a way to get inspiration in 5E, for instance.)

The rest of the system is OK. It's pretty dated and I don't know that most of the crunch inherent in the system is of meaningful benefit in play. If they were creating it from scratch (not as a legacy product) today, I suspect the game would be much, much lighter.
Nature/Demeanor was so great, that I’ve been sorely tempted to use in my D&D games.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
There were a few more house rules than I remembered for our V:tM 2e game, so I guess I will go "It's Pretty Good". I think one of the other GM's (for a mixed Mage/VtM/Werewolf game) played it straight up by the books, but I don't recall.

Anyway, here are the house rules by the GM George Bednarczyk as complied around January 1997. The damage formula looks ugly written out (mostly the min and max) but I remember it being pretty intuitive at the time in actual play.



General Mechanics:

* A roll of a one always cancels a die that would otherwise be a success, beginning with the 10's first, and then the other successes. On inherently non-lethal rolls, of difficulty 7 or greater, a one may also be cancelled by a roll of one less than the difficulty (note, this will prevent a botch but not grant a success). A roll of a ten that is not cancelled, grants the roller an additional die to roll. All rolls are botchable (having ones left after all successes are used up.)

* Advancement is Stochastic. Generally each game session the characters will earn two experience. Every sixth point may be allocated as they see fit (except that application to virtues, non-bloodline disciplines, new Thaumaturgical rituals, humanity, and willpower must be approved by the storyteller.) Additionally between two and four are awarded at the end of every chapter, the number depending on it's length and rigorousness.

The other 5/6ths of the time it is allocated as follows.

Roll d10
1-3 Applies to an attribute
4-8 Applies to an ability
9-0 Applies to a discipline

For attributes or abilities roll d10,
1-3 Applies to Physical/Talent
4-6 Applies to Social/Skills
7-9 Applies to Mental/Knowledge
0 Reroll from beginning

For Talent/Skills/Knowledge roll d10, if that
Talent/Skill/Knowledge has been called upon or played
some non-roll requiring part of one of the last few sessions,
apply it there, otherwise reroll from the beginning.

For Physical/Social/Mental roll d10
1-3 applies to the first attribute in that column
4-6 applies to the second attribute in that column
7-9 applies to the third attribute in that column
0 Reroll from the beginning.

For Disciplines roll d10
1-6 adds to a clan discipline, roll randomly (rerolling for a 0)
7-0 adds to another already possessed discipline, roll randomly

Costs to advance are:
5c for Attributes
3c for Abilities (5 for the 1st dot)
3c for Clan Disciplines (7 for the 1st dot)
4c for Other Disciplines (7 for the 1st dot)
1c for Virtues, Humanity and Willpower
3c for the first 2 thaumaturgical paths
4c for the second 2 thaumaturgical paths
5c for additional thaumaturgical paths

Additionally a bonus experience point can be earned for an astounding success. On any die pool of fewer than ten dice, with at least difficulty six, seven or more successes result in an experience point being allocated at random to one of the applicable stats.



Combat:

* Initiative is determined by rolling a d10 and adding a bonus based on the wits+alertness:

Wits+Alertness 1-2 3-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-17 18-20
Bonus -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5

* Characters receive an additional "no penalty" damage level called "incidental", and Mauled becomes -4, and Crippled becomes -6.

* Damage is determined in the following way.

min(0,aggravated damage - fortitude + max(0,normal damage - stamina) + number of successes) <- I think my notes had a closed paren in the wrong place and this is right

is soaked on fortitude + stamina at the difficulty determined by the attack type. Buckshot is difficulty 8 to soak, and high powered rifles with depleted uranium rounds or hollow points are difficulty 9.

Example: Ace (Fortitude 1, Stamina 5) is punched by Snake (Potence 2, Strength 3) who gets 4 successes to hit. Ace must therefore soak 5 on 6 dice at difficulty 6.

"Normal aggravated damage" is soakable as normal. Fire and Sunlight are only soakable using the fortitude die pool for vampires. Armor provides extra soak dice which are rolled before the vampire's.

* Aggravated damage may be healed by spending one point of will power and 3 blood points. Additionally, every two weeks, the character may roll Stamina+Fortitude at difficulty 8. Each success above two heals one aggravated damage level (i.e. 5 heals 3 of them.)

* A vampire in Frenzy has 8 extra wound levels (they are zero penalty levels.) If the vampire is unable to heal up to the appropriate level after "coming down" from frenzy they enter torpor. If a vampire is brought to incapacitated and no blood, they are unable to then enter frenzy. Similarly if an attack brings them below incapacitated when they were not in or about to frenzy, then they are just plain dead.

* Dodging: A character dodging must keep track of the successes remaining after cancelling out all the ones rolled. The number of successes in dodging the first attack against the character are those rolls of 6 or more, 7 or more against he second attack, etc... A celerity action used for a dodge roll are cumulative with those from earlier stages in the round.



Disciplines:

* Celerity adds one to the effective dexterity pool for each point of celerity. Additional actions cost an additional x for the xth extra turn. So taking 3 additional actions requires an expenditure of 1+2+3=6 blood points.

* Potence adds one die (not an extra success) to all strength rolls for each point of potence, and fortitude does likewise for stamina.

* Chimestry, Necromancy, etc... are all paths of Thaumaturgy. Thaumaturgy is not a discipline per se, and may be taught instead of requiring blood of the appropriate discipline owning vampire.

* Each (non-Caitiff) vampire has six disciplines which they may advance in without "special help". The first three are those commonly associated with their clan. The second three are there bloodline disciplines which are tracible back to some low generational "ancestor". Any other discipline that is gained by "special help" (that is, Diablerie or drinking other vampires blood) count as bloodline for purposes of advancement, but not for passing on to progeny.



Other things about being a vampire:

* The weakness "thin blooded" is a five point weakness and causes all blood usage costs (except healing of wounds) to be doubled.

* Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina, may be raised to a maximum of six for the duration of the scene through expenditure of one blood point per point desired, for vampires of generations 8-10. All others may "burn up to" there generational maximum. Potence, Celerity, and Fortitude do not change this burn maximum.

* If consciously trying to gain power from the blood of an older (generation-wise) vampire, roll willpower at difficulty 9. For each success, you get a temporary point from the blood, randomly determined by listing all the discipline levels. For instance, if you drank the blood of someone with Fortitude 4, Potence 3, and Celerity 3, you would have a 4/10 chance of getting Fortitude, 3/10 chance of getting Potence, and a 3/10 chance of getting Celerity. Derangements and transferrable clan weaknesses such as the Brujah or Ventrue weaknesses count as 3 levels of discipline Thaumaturgy cannot be gained in this way. Then roll the number of successes on the previous willpower roll at difficulty 9 again. Each success means that there is a permanent point gained, randomly determined from the list of points gained temporarily. If the target vampire is not killed through this process, the drinker is on the way to blood bondage. This may only be attempted once per target vampire (except perhaps over tremendously long periods of time.) To commit the act of Diablerie, complete the above process, and then the drinker must get three successes at difficulty 9 on Strength plus Potence. This is an extended action and successes may be accumulated until a botch occurs, at which time the targets soul escapes.
 
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