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%


Relaxed Intensity

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Thomas Shey

I like a lot of what its trying for mechanically, and on the whole find I kind of prefer die pool systems these days, and I've found some of the specific ideas compelling, but the WoD is, honestly, too dark for me. And there have been a lot of missteps (or in some cases, not so much missteps as choices not to my taste). So I went with "okay".


I voted as "I've never played it." I got the World of Darkness Rulebook PDF when it was briefely offered for free. As well, I bought some of the VtM 20th anniversary PDFs, but I've never got either to the table. I'm a big fan of Call of Cthulhu and the cosmic-horror genre, so it tends to get my attention whenever I want to run or play Horror. I played the VtM Bloodlines videogame twice which IIRC is supposed to be based upon storyteller, but having only given my PDFs a brief browse, I wouldn't no for sure. Or if it is indeed based upon it, whether like many vg adaptations it only represents a smaller subset of the rules. I did really enjoy Bloodlines and liked a lot of the flavor it implemented for the genre.

I've noticed there's official support for a few storyteller books on one of my VTT's and a robust effort by fans on the other. Which has piqued a bit of a desire to do a better read the rules. Something that's holding me back though, is that I've read that while the different books/settings have storyteller at their core, they also vary enogh that they aren't compatible with one another.

I'm a homebrewer more than anything and when I dable with prewritten settings, I prefer those that are built upon universal/toolkit rulesets. I don't mind so much when 3rd parties differentiate from one another from a set of universal core rules, but I dislike it when its done to such an exent for the same genre that mixing conent is problematic, or just not doable. I dislike it that much more when it's done by the same publisher. Admittedly, I could be ignorant enough of Storyteller to not know if that's really the case. If it is though, other than homebrewing my own content with the WoD rulebook, I can't see myself really investing in it.

The vote resultes don't seem very promising or encouraging.


This game conjures up memories of clove cigarettes, black plastic chokers, and Brandon Lee's last movie. It was the 90s, I was a nerd in college, and practically everyone I dated was reading Anne Rice novels, playing Vampire, and listening to Stone Temple Pilots.

Look, dude. I've asked around, and word on the street is that you were very cool back in the 1990s.
VTM was rife with setting elements unsupported and undermined by rules. I get the ideas, but the mechanics reinforce other directions than the setting materials.
I tend to judge a game based on what I think the authors' are trying to accomplish, and I think World of Darkness failed in their early incarnations. And it feels so odd to think that such a successful game failed in any way, shape, or form. (Except one way WoD excelled was their release of respectful material based on ethnicity/race that have not aged poorly in any way, shape, or form over the last 30 years.)
The joke meme showing Batman is all nine alignments really underscores how poor a fit that is. In comparison, I suspect getting the Nature/Demeanor right for him would generate far fewer than nine serious entries and be a good example of how one's Demeanor can be wildly different than their inner nature.
I never took alignment as an attempt to seriously model the complex phychology of a human being. I always put alignment within the context of a world were evil and good were palpable forces. That said, nature/demeanor was certainly a good idea, but one I was unable to truly take advantage of at the time. I just wasn't mature enough.

It's pretty hard to compare because Storyteller games had such remarkably different implementations. Even the basic resolution mechanic varied dramatically between different games (even between editions of the same game).
I'm having a hard time rating this one. I really like 5th edition Vampire (does it even count for this?), but I have problems with some of the earlier implementation of the rules. The common complaint of Vampire is there was a distinct difference between what the game said it wanted and what the rules would allow. i.e. Super heroes with fangs. While some of this is the fault of the players, I don't think the rules helped. When it comes to Exalted, I was all ready to play it until I started reading throug the charms (I think it was charms) and I said, "%$#%# it" and noped right out.

Overall I'm giving it my lowest rating so far. It's pretty bad, but that's taking the whole kit'n kaboodle into account not necessary the rules today.

There were so many games using the variations of this system with varying efficiency that it is hard to rate overall, but I'd say pretty good. (y)

The basic dicepool structure if un and functional. I preferred the later fixed target number version where the difficulty is expressed by the success required rather than changing the target number. (How does Vampire 5e do it? Might genuinely affect whether I'll get it.)

I played a lot of WW games, loved the concepts, if not necessarily the details and every mechanical execution. I also used a Storyteller variant for a good while as my go to homebrew base, as the core system was easily adaptable to various genres. I haven't played it or any related system in a good while though, so there might be some rose coloured glasses effect going on.

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