Monday, February 5, 2018

Threat, reassessed

With the A Lonely Hope story having come to a close, I'm thinking about where I want to go next in my Solo journey. I definitely enjoyed the heck out of playing Hanson, but there were some growing pains involved in it. The "Scarlet Rules," as a base line, worked out pretty well I thought. Though I did run into some issues with the Threat element of the mechanics.

Now, these rules are of course taken from Kevin Crawford's Scarlet Heroes, an excelled OSR style game. In those rules, Threat is, roughly, related to the character's level. Well, that may not be entirely accurate, but it's close enough for now--I recommend checking out the book on it's own, as it's really an excellent game in its own right. The point is, for my game, I altered how Threat was determined and utilized, to better reflect Vampire and how its mechanics are implemented.

My changes worked decently, but not wondrously, so I want to tweak them a bit. One of the challenges is that Vampire is not a strict level-based system. And so judging challenges and risks is far more of an art than a science, and is entirely subjective based on the character in question. A bad ass Brujah might dominate in a given fight, but fail miserably trying to convince someone to change sides in a struggle. A highly social Ventrue might have the exact opposite problem.

So, instead of assigning a fixed die pool or difficulty derived from Threat, I've decided to use it as subjective guide compared to the character in question. Threat values will still be determined by 1d10, divided in half.

NPC Compared to PC
Difficulty changes for fixed values
Significantly worse
-2 (Default 4)
Slightly worse
-1 (Default 5)
Roughly equal
0 (Default 6)
Slightly better
+1 (Default 7)
Significantly better
+2 (Default 8)

I think this setup is a bit more useful and accurate to the play style that I ended up using. It still allows for extreme danger, as there are times when "Threat +2" comes up as an option in the charts. This at least gives the PC a chance to succeed.

I originally thought of using "2" as the baseline for the levels, with 5 being extremely better than the PC, making for some really intense challenges. But, the +2's still have their place in such cases. Also, in theory this should give each Story it's own flavor--in Story A the Physical Threat is minor, but the Social one is rough, while in Story B it's the Mental Threat that's the real challenge. It's possible that there will be times when the Threat is low across the board, but not every story needs to bring the PC to the point of death, and a less lethal story can still challenge the character morally and personally. Also, in such cases, the minimal experience gained should help balance them against the more extreme stories.

Or, maybe I'll throw the whole thing out and start from scratch. We'll see.  

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