Mechanical Discussions

Current Design:

OWOD character creation applies to everything. Minor changes to the attributes are likely to more closely resemble the NWOD 3×3 pattern of Power-Finesse-Resistance.

Dice difficulties are replaced by a +/- dice system, while every roll is a raw ‘difficulty 8’. As OWOD assumed a base difficulty of 6, any lower or higher difficulties become bonus or penalty dice, as follows:

Diff 3 = +3 dice
Diff 4 = +2 dice
Diff 5 = +1 die
Diff 6 = +0 dice
Diff 7 = -1 die
Diff 8 = -2 dice
Diff 9 = -3 dice
Diff 10 = -4 dice

A ‘1’ does not subtract a success, but Dramatic Failures function somewhat differently, in between OWOD and NWOD. When rolling a chance die a 1 is always a Dramatic Failure, but any roll with no successes and more than half the dice showing ’1’s also generates a dramatic failure.

Weapons convert their ‘strength+x’ bonus into damage, but this value also becomes the weapon’s default strength requirement. Concealment of Pocket, Jacket, Trench, None are roughly size 1-2-3-4 with reason winning out.

When attacking, a single attack roll is made. A character’s block, dodge, and parry pools are turned into static values by dividing by 3 and rounding up, replacing defense in the NWOD attack resolution. Provided that a character is capable of soaking attack, their soak value is equal to their stamina divided by 3 and rounded down, which subtracts from successes rolled. Players can ‘dodge’ as in NWOD and double their defenses, or ‘abort to soak’ to double their soak value.

These are subject to change as we move on.

Mechanical Choices

Tears is going to be a strange combination of OWOD Fluff and NWOD mechanics… but, that leaves a large number of systemic questions open to discussion.

Think of a slider between ‘Purely OWOD Mechanics off the sheet’ and ‘entirely recreated in NWOD mechanics’, and then try to imagine where on this slider we are.

My plan to begin with is basically, use the dice mechanics of NWOD, while almost purely making use of the OWOD character sheet. This leads to a few odd discussions. The following is a vague list of differences. My goal is to use these in their OWOD form as much as possible, but once play begins and people have seen these mechanics in action we can decide to ‘Update’ specific components.

  • Power Stats and Essence VS. Rage, Gnosis, and Willpower.

NWOD: A power stat (Werewolf Primal Urge, Changing Breed Feral Heart) determines how much of a single temporary pool (Essence, spiritual energy) you have, and how much you an spend in a round. Power Stats are purchased with merits or XP. Essence powers most Shifter powers. High ‘Purge’ also gives you a social penalty with humans, representing the sense of predator coming off a character. essence is regained through spiritual rites or hunting spirits.

Willpower in NWOD is simply resolve + composure, and never rolled itself (although resolve + composure is to ‘keep control’ in many situations. Willpower can be spent for +3 dice on a roll or +2 to a static defense. You regain willpower by playing out your Virtue and Vice (or +1 for a night of good sleep)

OWOD: Rage, Gnosis, Willpower are separate stats, each with a value and a temporary pool which can exceed the stat. The Breed (human-born, animal-born, shifter-born), your Auspice/Pyrio (mystical predilections for your role) and Tribe (Political/Cultural for Werewolves, sometimes species-based for other breeds) all contribute to what these values end up as.

Rage is usually used in combat and can be spent for extra actions or instant shifting. You spend it for many combat gifts. It is rolled to determine frenzies, determines how people perceive you (like Purge above) and you tend to get it back when you’re frustrated. Rage is Auspice (moon phase) related, or tied to Tribe in other breeds.

Gnosis is a pool of spiritual power. Human-born changers are less attuned than animal-born changers, and have lower Gnosis. You spend gnosis for spirit-based powers. Like essence, Gnosis is regained through rites and spirit hunts, but also through meditation.

Willpower in OWOD is determined by tribe for werewolves, and Tribe for most other shifters (the type of animal, not who you were born to) Willpower is spent to remain in control or to push extra effort into an action. You regain Willpower by acting in accordance with your Nature (your inner self-defined archetype) or Demeanor (your external archetype others see) or between stories.

The choice and subtle differences in balance here are complex, and I’d like to try the old forms, but change over pieces that feel ‘Wrong’.

  • Attributes

NWOD: Attributes are a 3 × 3 grid, with categories for Social, Mental, and Physical attributes with a Strength, Finesse, and Resistance rating for each one. At character creation, you distribute 3, 4, or 5 dots to your tertiary, secondary, or primary categories. The stats are:
Intelligence, Wits, Resolve, Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Presence, Manipulation, Composure.

OWOD: Attributes are still 3 × 3, and Social/Mental/Phsyical. However, they are not explicitly split into power/finesse/resistance, and you start with 3/5/7 for tertiary/secondary/primary. The stats are:

Perception, Intelligence, Wits, Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance.

  • Skills/Abilities

NWOD: Mental, Social, and Physical skills are separated out, and prioritized. They usually associate with the same category of attributes, and have ‘specialties’ that give you additional dice. At character creation, you recieve 4 / 7 / 11 dots to spend. Each category has 8 skills, with additonal ones represented by specialties.

OWOD: Talents (inborn abilities), Skills (trained abilities) and Knowledges (what they sound like) are broken up based on how you learn them. For example, Empathy and Leadership are both social, but one is a talent, and one is a skill. You receive 5 / 9 / 13 dots to spend. Each category has 10 skills, with more often added in other books. Specialties are not part of the game by default.

Mechanical Discussions

Tears of Africa: A Chronicle of the Dark Continent BlackTiger BlackTiger