Friday, July 6, 2012

Guest Spot: Vampire: the Masquerade conversion

About a minute ago, I referenced David Phillips, and wouldn't you know, he wrote a blog entry here today.  Mr. Phillips has a few thoughts on Vampire: the Masquerade, Vampire: the Requiem, Dark Ages: Vampire, and his work tying them all together in his most recent campaign.

I have recently started running a Dark Ages: Vampire game that using the classic setting and the new World of Darkness system.

I was inspired to do this by a recent trip that I took to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Bruges. If you are not familiar with Bruges, you should definitely check it out... in person! It is a city near the coast of Belgium that has barely been changed or developed since the 14th century. I felt, while walking down the stone streets, that a vampire would jump out and drink my blood at any moment. That part didn't happen, fortunately, or for some people, unfortunately.

With my recent adventures in writing, I have been led time and time again to a final conclusion. I would love to write fiction for White Wolf. The last few campaigns that I have run in Vampire: The Requiem, and Mage: The Awakening just have novels written all over them. I know, I know, a lot of people say that about their campaigns. I guess I'll join the hordes and hope to get lucky one day.

The biggest time burner has been converting disciplines and thaumaturgy that were not in the Vampire Translation Guide. The conversion is actually fairly simple, if you are not trying to convert the math probabilities over, which RPGs rarely do.

Take a look at what I did with one of the paths of Mortis:

1: Masque of Death

The character can assume the visage of death or apply it to another as a minor curse.
System: 1 BP to gain the palor of the dead. The target also gets +2 on Intimidation rolls. If the character uses this to pass as a dead person, the perception roll to discover the Cainite is undead suffers a -5 penalty.
To inflict the curse spend 1 BP, touch the target and roll Stamina + Medicine + Mortis – target’s Stamina + Resilience to inflict it as a -2 to Dexterity and Composure. It lasts for a full night and day.

2: Cold of the Grave

Can take on the semblance of the dead to resist physical and emotional pain.
System: Spend 1 Willpower and gain +2 to Resolve, Composure, and Stamina for the scene. The Cainite also suffers -1 die on Presence and Manipulation rolls.

3: Curse of Life

This curse gives a reminder to the weaknesses of the living without the benefits of it.
System: Spend 1 Willpower and roll Intelligence + Medicine + Mortis – Stamina to affect a target within line of sight and 20 yards. The victim gains -2 dice on all rolls, cannot heal with blood, or raise physical attributes. This can be ignored for a scene for 1 Willpower. Remains until the next sunset.

4: Gift of the Corpse

Ignore most of the inherent weaknesses of being a Cainite.
System: Spend 1 Willpower and roll Stamina + Occult + Mortis. Each success gives one turn for this condition to stay in effect. The Cainite is immune to holy artifacts, sacred ground, frenzy, and Rotschreck. Sunlight and fire only do lethal and stakes have no effect.

5: Gift of Life

The knowledge of death allows the Cainite to echo the abilities of being human again.
System: Spend 12 BP with no turns that no is not spent. Roll Stamina + Occult + Mortis. She becomes immune to the sun and act during the day with no restrictions. After one full day, the power goes away and the character suffers a -3 on all checks to resist frenzy for 6 nights.

Now, after having done this conversion, I have to say that my review of the Vampire Translation Guide is not as good as I first thought. The guide is a good way to make players feel comfortable with converting from one system to another, but it isn't that great. The writers essentially just changed the dice pool rolls and did little else. The "feel" of the new system is not there. The "speed and simplicity" of the new system is not there. It could have been so much better.

Also, if you like anything I have said here and want to support a kickstarter for cyberpunk fiction, please check out The Trivium Proportion.

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