Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Random Scene Challenges for Vampire

I recently got a copy of the 5th Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. One of its elements that stood out to me was a narrative approach to resolving scenes, often with a single skill check. Basically, the Storyteller describes a scene and the challenge related to it, the player makes the roll, and then together they come up with an explanation of what happened. This is not intended as the primary resolution system, but a way to simplify more basic scenes and to keep the focus on the drama, rather than on the dice rolls.

It honestly reminded me quite a bit about how various Solo games handle scene resolution--in particular Libre and Bivius. You use the rolls to define the action, rather than the opposite. In a standard scene, a player declare that they are going to throw a punch; they would then roll dice, resolve the action, and deal with whatever consequences. Often with a lot of back and forth. In this setup, the idea is that you would roll a single combat roll, and that would resolve the entirety of the fight. 

As both an avid Solo player and a Storyteller who likes to embrace a "narrative-focused, minimal prep" style of gaming, this structure appeals to me. As such, I've put together a pretty simply "Random Scene Challenge" system, for those times when you want to keeps thing unexpected. As it is Vampire, all rolls are made with a d10.

Scene Setup. What's going on in this scene? If you have a solid idea you want to see happen, of course you skip this. But, if you want a bit of variety, roll below to see what changes, if any, happen to your initial thoughts.

1-5
The Scene, and its Challenge, proceed as expected
6-9
Scene is altered. Roll on the tables below
10
Scene is greatly altered. Roll for a new Scene based on Oracle and combine with tables below.

Threat How difficult is the scene? Not everything is going to be a life or death struggle; conversely, some things will be far more challenging than they first appeared. 

1-3
Easy. Either less competent than PC or a lower than average difficulty.
4-6
Average. Comparable to PC or average difficulty
7-9
Tough. Slightly better than PC or of above average difficulty
10
Significant. Much better than PC or of high difficulty.

Challenge Type What is going on in this scene, and what do the players need to do to overcome it?

1-2
Action
4-5
Social
7-9
Moral
3
Physical
6-8
Mental
10
Roll twice and combine

Action Challenges
Physical Challenges
1-2
Ambush. PC at a disadvantage
1-2
Brute force (Strength)
3-4
Straight up.
3-4
Agility and Speed (Dexterity)
5-6
Get the drop on them. PC has advantage
5-6
Survive at all costs (Stamina)
7-8
Thrilling Chase
7-8
I’ve trained for this (see below)
9-10
Escort. Get someone or something out of harm's way
9-10
Didn’t see that coming (see below)



Social Challenges
Mental Challenges
1-2
Make a good impression (Charisma)
1-2
Figure something out(Intelligence)
3-4
Convince others to see it your way (Manipulation)
3-4
Better first than right (Wits)
5-6
Keep your cool (Composure)
5-6
Stay focused (Resolve)
7-8
I’ve trained for this (see below)
7-8
I’ve trained for this (see below)
9-10
Didn’t see that coming (see below)
9-10
Didn’t see that coming (see below)
I’ve trained for this: Character uses their best Attribute in question. If two (or more) are equal, pick one and roll at a lower difficulty than the Threat would otherwise indicate.
Didn’t see that coming: Character uses their worst Attribute in question. If two (or more) are equal, pick one and roll at a higher difficulty than the Threat would otherwise indicate.

Moral Challenges
1-2
Convictions: One of the characters core beliefs is tested. How far will they go to succeed?
3-4
Chronicle Tenets: The character must struggle with a “universal” rule.
5-6
Touchstone: Someone the character actually gives a damn about is put at risk
7-8
Ambition & Desire: They can get what they most want, but what are they willing to give up to attain it?
9-10
Humanity: Core moral beliefs are put to the limit. The PC rises or falls based on their decision.

Example in Play: Hanson is tracking down some rogue Kindred for the Prince. She found out that the mortal junkie Jimmy has been helping them, and she heads over to the Luckee Star, a flea bag motel Jimmy likes to shoot up at.  I assume this is going to be an “Intimidation” based scene (Probably tied to the Manipulation attribute), but it might not be.

I roll Scene Setup and get an 8. The scene is different in some way.

Next, I roll for Threat and get a 6. Whatever is opposing Hanson is either as good as she is, or it will be at a normal Difficulty.

Then I roll for Type and get a 10--I roll for two different Challenges and combine them. For the first, I get a 2 for an Action Challenge, and then a 9 for an Escort. For the second, I get a 4 for a Social Challenge, and then a 1 for a Charisma based one.

I change the scene to a group of armed assholes are also at the hotel, looking for Jimmy. Probably to shut him up (Hanson has been, um, indelicate in her investigation so far). Jimmy doesn’t know who the fuck she is, so Hanson has to convince him to trust her and then get him out before he gets shot. The thugs aren’t actually trying to kill her, after all, just Jimmy.

I decide that the Escort Challenge will be Strength + Athletics (maybe she needs to physically carry Jimmy) and the Charisma one is based on Streetwise (she needs to speak his language to get him to trust her).  She succeeds easily on the Charisma check, but fails the Escort.

Now I write the narrative, telling how Hanson arrives and describing the scene. I’d write out the brief dialogue and how Hanson got Jimmy to trust her, the thrilling escape from the thugs, and then Hanson finding him bleeding out, dead from a stray ricochet that even she couldn’t have foreseen.
Since she succeeded on one Challenge, I’d probably give her a partial clue. Maybe Jimmy died with a name on his lips, or she noticed the unique accents of the Thugs, or got the plate from one of their cars.

2 comments:

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    i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Akhere contact him on email: AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
    or
    call/whatsapp:+2349057261346

    ReplyDelete

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