How would you hack a VtM lookalike without going anywhere near the storyteller system?

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
You're a Hero guy, though. In terms of system and ethos, you're maybe two beers away from a GURPS dude.

(I say with love for both systems)
Nah, I’m really not a GURPS fan. Besides some of their sourcebooks I grabbed as general resources, I have a single 2Ed core hook because I was in a group in the early 1990s that played GURPS as one of the top 3 systems. IOW, it was purchased out of convenience.
 

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DrunkonDuty

he/him
Hero is always my go-to system as well.

That being said, you would have to kludge a few things to make Vampire fit into the Hero idiom. I'm thinking specifically Blood Points, Generations, Clans, and some mechanic to model the slide from human to monster.

The vampirey powers aren't a problem, Hero is great at modelling powers. But if you want there to be definite models for each power, with generational limits and pre-defined Blood costs, you will have a lot of work up front creating those models. The other option is let your players do that work when they create their characters. But if you've got people new to Hero that'll actually be more work than just doing it yourself.

So... Yeah I've probably not sold you on trying to do this in Hero. But I think it's fair to warn you up front about this.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Hero is always my go-to system as well.

That being said, you would have to kludge a few things to make Vampire fit into the Hero idiom. I'm thinking specifically Blood Points, Generations, Clans, and some mechanic to model the slide from human to monster.

The vampirey powers aren't a problem, Hero is great at modelling powers. But if you want there to be definite models for each power, with generational limits and pre-defined Blood costs, you will have a lot of work up front creating those models. The other option is let your players do that work when they create their characters. But if you've got people new to Hero that'll actually be more work than just doing it yourself.

So... Yeah I've probably not sold you on trying to do this in Hero. But I think it's fair to warn you up front about this.
I don’t remember the details of those mechanics, so I can’t help much without some kind of reference point.

Clans would probably be straight up Bloodlines: a package of set powers, talents, and so forth that each member of the clan gets.

Generations would probably be some kind of standardized package deal the GM would set up. Probably something like a certain number of overall Skill Levels or some such. Possibly with set stat mods. If you wanted to fine tune it, you’d make specific Generations package deals for each Clan type. So Brujah would get certain bonuses, different from Ventrue or Malkavian, etc.

Modeling the Blood Pool? THAT mechanic I remember only vaguely. I would probably be a combination of making all the “vanpire” stuff run off of Endurance Reserve. You might further limit the vampire powers so that they can only be powered at full strength if the End Reserve is above 50%, at half power as low as 25%ENDRes, and maybe 10% under that.

Complex? Sure. Doable? Also sure.
 



jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
I've actually written and published a very light VtM hack called Sex and Blood. You can get it at the following link and, if you'd like to check it out but don't want to throw money at me, you can download a community copy free of charge. Sex and Blood by jdrakeh
 


Voadam

Legend
I'm mostly interested in capturing the background/intrigue and dramatic stakes of the setting than I am in the combat system
This does not really require a lot of system mechanics.

My experience of playing various editions of VtM we would have some dot allocation in backgrounds like resources or fame or whatever and then the game would proceed narratively incorporating these things instead of really mechanically interacting with them.

Lots of systems have something similar like GURPS advantages or 5e D&D backgrounds that can incorporate these types of abstractions explicitly but it can also be just narrative and I think it would be fine.

For the dramatic stakes there is the conflicts between clans, sects, factions, the masquerade, personal advancement, generations, humanity, and different individuals with personal goals. It is heavily depending on individual contexts.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I've mentioned a few times on this board that I've never had an affinity for the White Wolf / Storyteller systems.

Even though I was a teenager in the '90s, for whatever reason the general zeitgeist of Vampire: the Masquerade passed me by.

I've tried looking through some of the more recent Vampire/Mage/Werewolf core books, and they give me the same general impression that turned me off to White Wolf back in the day --- overly pretentious and self-important, with a mediocre/sub-par core system, that's only compelling because the vampire political maneuverings are somewhat interesting.

So I've thought recently --- What if you could lift the vampire political underpinnings out and away from their White Wolf chains and put them into another system, what would that look like?

Consider the following caveats/provisos ---

  • I'm mostly interested in capturing the background/intrigue and dramatic stakes of the setting than I am in the combat system.
  • I already have Savage Worlds and Genesys and like them both, but I'm looking for something else.
  • I'm not interested in some rando GM's pet project Storyteller remake/hack/"personal re-envisioning" of the system.
  • I am not interested in some far out-there, long-tail indie system that a grand total of eight people have ever heard of.
  • I have zero interest in Fate or GURPS.
  • I might be persuaded to consider HERO or BRP, but you'd better sell me on it.
  • I'm very much okay (better than okay) with PbtA/FitD, but I don't want it to just be some reskinned playbooks stacked on top of the AW engine. It needs to be a bit more . . . integrated into a cohesive whole.
  • From glimpses and hints from people discussing it from afar, it seems like Cortex+/Prime might be a decent match, but I have absolutely zero experience with the system. I'm already interested in it based on Tales of Xadia and Firefly. If there is a good Cortex hack, I'm all ears.
  • I already own Night's Black Agents, but am not GUMSHOE is a good fit, nor how one might switch the focus from the investigators/agents to the vampires, or if it's even worth the attempt.
There is a CP2020 adaptation sourcebook for vampires - Night's Edge (Dream Pod 9).
I've not used it myself, but have several friends who did, and they liked it. (OTOH, they also liked oWOD mechanics.)

I've not seen a Cortex Plus/Prime Hack for it. Doesn't need much, tho'. Just define the needs of the specific type, and make them a "type" distinction - one required for every character.

There is a Cortex Classic RPG, Supernatural, but that's for hunting the monsters, not being them. I'm not up to speed on Supernatural, but I am on BSG, Serenity, and Sovereign Stone... Mechanics closer to Savage Worlds than Cortex Plus/Prime

The Buffy and Angel games can be flipped to do the mechanics, but they're generally focused upon fighting the demons (and in the Buffyverse vampires ARE demons). Results not guaranteed.

Chill, like Buffy and Angel, can be flipped. But the mechanics show its age.
 

Von Ether

Legend
The Stay Alive horror supplement for the Cypher System has a whole vampire mini-setting complete with several bloodlines and four adventures. It would only a minimal tweaking to bring it in line with WoD lore.

It also doesn’t hurt that Cypher PCs already start competent and higher Tiers will keep the power level escalating as WoD does.
 



Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Urban Shadows was my first thought as well. It almost feels like a PbtA take on VtM. The second edition is in the works, though a bit behind schedule.
US would be cool. If you wanted some flexibility making up Vampire powers maybe something like Mutants and Masterminds.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
  • I'm not interested in some rando GM's pet project Storyteller remake/hack/"personal re-envisioning" of the system.

The number of professional reworkings is going to be small, of course. Few are going to try to compete with the original.

You might try Magpie Games Undying - based in PbtA.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I might consider using Fate. The rules are relatively simple and Aspects can be used to really emulate the mood of a Vampire game.

I know the OP says no Fate, but I have been thinking about how you might emulate some of the WW-isms...

Assume you're approaching this like Spirit of the Century or Dresden Files - much of what make a vampire what they are is mechanically included using Stunts. Say they need a Fate Point to activate, and vampires have no Refresh - they only regain Fate Points by drinking blood or by taking compels....

Or, you add in a Blood Stress track. This has the benefit of making vampires tougher, as they have an extra stress track to soak stress up. But, some of the Stunts may cause the character to take stress. When you are Taken Out and have no Blood Stress left, the GM will typically narrate this as Torpor. Frenzy can be a Consequence when you run out of Blood Stress, and you only regain that Stress via drinking blood....
 

MGibster

Legend
I know the OP says no Fate, but I have been thinking about how you might emulate some of the WW-isms...
I missed that and I kind of feel like a jerk for suggesting it now. It's been a while, are Stunts the same as Aspects? What I like is the player can tap it to do something useful while the GM can tap it to add some complication to the character's life.
 
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Jer

Legend
Supporter
  • I'm very much okay (better than okay) with PbtA/FitD, but I don't want it to just be some reskinned playbooks stacked on top of the AW engine. It needs to be a bit more . . . integrated into a cohesive whole.
I'll second the folks who are pointing at Urban Shadows. I haven't actually run it because my usual group is more interested in high powered action rather than intrigue, but from reading it it seems like a good example of something inspired by the World of Darkness and put into a PbtA framework.

  • I already own Night's Black Agents, but am not GUMSHOE is a good fit, nor how one might switch the focus from the investigators/agents to the vampires, or if it's even worth the attempt.
I would agree that Nights Black Agents isn't the right fit. It's very much geared towards the investigation side of things - while it can handle social and intrigue the game is built around an investigation model. Plus the magical vampire powers would need to be fit into player side of things rather than GM characters and that would also take work. I think GUMSHOE could work with this kind of thing as a system but there isn't one that works right out of the box with it IMO (and I'd probably look more towards Sword of the Serpentine for how I'd make those modifications than NBA, since SoS downplays investigation in the system compared to other GUMSHOE games).
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
I missed that and I kind of feel like a jerk for suggesting it now. It's been a while, are Stunts the same as Aspects? What I like is the player can tap it to do something useful while the GM can tap it to add some complication to the character's life.

Nope. Aspects describe Who they are. These are tappable by players/the GM.

Stunts are things that let them do things they would not normally be allowed to do by the rules. So they would be the equivalents of the powers/merits in Vampire. They often, but not always have a fate-point costs to use. Can for example be that they allow you to use a different skill than normally used for something.
 

timbannock

Adventurer
I've mentioned a few times on this board that I've never had an affinity for the White Wolf / Storyteller systems.

Even though I was a teenager in the '90s, for whatever reason the general zeitgeist of Vampire: the Masquerade passed me by.

I've tried looking through some of the more recent Vampire/Mage/Werewolf core books, and they give me the same general impression that turned me off to White Wolf back in the day --- overly pretentious and self-important, with a mediocre/sub-par core system, that's only compelling because the vampire political maneuverings are somewhat interesting.

So I've thought recently --- What if you could lift the vampire political underpinnings out and away from their White Wolf chains and put them into another system, what would that look like?

Consider the following caveats/provisos ---

  • I'm mostly interested in capturing the background/intrigue and dramatic stakes of the setting than I am in the combat system.
  • I already have Savage Worlds and Genesys and like them both, but I'm looking for something else.
  • I'm not interested in some rando GM's pet project Storyteller remake/hack/"personal re-envisioning" of the system.
  • I am not interested in some far out-there, long-tail indie system that a grand total of eight people have ever heard of.
  • I have zero interest in Fate or GURPS.
  • I might be persuaded to consider HERO or BRP, but you'd better sell me on it.
  • I'm very much okay (better than okay) with PbtA/FitD, but I don't want it to just be some reskinned playbooks stacked on top of the AW engine. It needs to be a bit more . . . integrated into a cohesive whole.
  • From glimpses and hints from people discussing it from afar, it seems like Cortex+/Prime might be a decent match, but I have absolutely zero experience with the system. I'm already interested in it based on Tales of Xadia and Firefly. If there is a good Cortex hack, I'm all ears.
  • I already own Night's Black Agents, but am not GUMSHOE is a good fit, nor how one might switch the focus from the investigators/agents to the vampires, or if it's even worth the attempt.
There's a Cortex Plus hack that's perfectly compatible with Cortex Prime. I'd do some things differently, but it's a great start.

 

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