30 #RPGaDay2020 Portal

As someone that loves fusing games, portals are an easy tool to use, but a tool used badly can ruin things. Some of the multiverses of various comic settings are examples of things losing value/meaning when not handled with care; Marvel’s Incursion storyline, realities colliding and one being destroyed, can be considered a literal example of the danger of connecting two points that are not normally connected. The implications of Portals are explored in many popular settings, such as Farscape and Babylon 5 (in particular Thirdspace).

In a recent session of Mage the Ascension, (WoD: Sliders) a player that has slowly been learning the setting, is playing an Orphan trying to get to grips with their awakening. The Chronicle is a complex beast, the players’ clue file is currently up to 30 pages of notes, but they have learned that events in the area are connecting different times, spaces and possibly realities in strange ways. One day the party are talking with Hermetics, discussing clues and the Orphan’s visions about ancient Egyptian Gods, the next they have stepped through a Stargate and arrived upon a Technocractic space station. The player was giggling with joy at the vast differences in paradigms and realities, from the ancient world to being in the distant future. Then things got weirder, they were uploaded to the Digital Web, a sector with a Tron aesthetic. They are heading to the Spy’s Demise in tonight’s session. 🙂

All in all I had been worried it would result in genre whiplash, but the player said they loved it; the veteran Mage player did as well, but it’s all normal to them. 😉 I think it was helped by things having been foreshadowed, plus other weirdness building up. Another key factor was that ‘dynamic reality’ was one of the things discussed before even session 0. Likewise with my Fateful Memories D&D PBEM game I’m running, when preparing the game the player was happy to do something a bit different. The character is currently in Sigil. 🙂

Street Fighter RPG

Of course SFRPG already has teleporting ninjas, plus Warrior’s Fist Special 5 (Punho do Guerreiro 5) introduced a Portal Warp power. An empowered version of Elemental Stride, allowing for a team to pass through. 🙂

For my chronicle that was inspired by Mortal Kombat: Conquest, the PCs never developed access to reality portal generation, that power was kept with the Gods and a few divinely empowered items. I didn’t play a ton of Palladium Rifts, as a teenager it was a zany and Mega-Cool (yes, pun intended) game. The player that was introducing me to it was explaining about his plan to play a Juicer that was going to steal a Glitter Boy suit. That is the sort of thing I wanted to avoid with SFRPG game, well unless a group really wanted to play a game that allowed for Mechas performing Dragon Punches. Nope, I have too many games on the go to entertain this! 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en


Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Bob Freeman @OccultDetective


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow



Melestrua @Melestrua


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

21 #RPGaDay2020 Push

An old work situation, my then boss asking players at a game meeting: “Are saying that want to be able to push a button called ‘Play Game’?!” Several of the players did in fact say “Yes”. A great example of how a room full of players, and in this case customers, want different things, to push things in different directions. The context was to do with whether to simplify some complex mechanics down to a simple process, some wanted it, others preferred to micro-manage things. The following week at work had some lively conversation, but the upshot being goods things were designed.

One of the regular tabletop games I’ve been running has the working title ‘WoD: Sliders’; this is not the TV Series Sliders, but I have used that title because things can slide between realities, they just need a Push. To summarise, characters exist in different realities, the PCs are a connection between the realities, each an axis. I almost choose this game for yesterday’s topic, because the players are investigating a problem that has clues in different realities; player clue file is currently 30 pages. 🙂 In one reality the PC is a Mage, whilst in other realities they are either a: Changeling, Werewolf, Wraith, Mummy, Vampire and finally Hunter. The players have various multi-reality powers, for example they can Push things between realities. Linking back to my opening anecdote, the players choose to have these mechanics hidden from them, to effectively have a button they can push that keeps things simple for them at the start, and they FOIP the powers (Find Out in Play). So far the characters have used a few Push powers, but are not sure exactly what is happening and have become suspicious of them.

Whilst I had wanted to run a game with the players understanding the big picture going in, so their PCs would have control over their multi-reality powers, but the players choose otherwise. I am happy enough that they liked the idea, trusted me to run it, and crucially I didn’t push the system on to them.

Street Fighter RPG

I recently looked through some old SFRPG house rules I made many years ago. One big topic I pushed back then was Fight Camp Preparation. Since then I have learned a lot more about game design, different martial arts and training in general, so some of these old ideas are laughable to me; thankfully a few still hold up IMHO. One of the dodgy ideas was that of a character pushing fitness. The idea actually goes back to old games: Panza Kick Boxing (Amiga) and C64 Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing, both of which had fight camp mini-games.

Note I’ve not posted the mechanics here, because they were part of a package, which I think needs a solid rework. I wouldn’t want to push ideas that I think are faulty. 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow



Kehaar @DissectingWrlds


Melestrua @Melestrua


John M. Kahane @jkahane1


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


Paul Baldowski @deesanction


This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

12 #RPGaDay2020 Message

Thankfully the youthful days of silly, even irresponsible, note passing have long since passed. 🙂 For one-shot games with strangers, like at conventions, I err on the side of no secret messages, helps keep things friendly and better support team-play. I’ve heard of bad experiences, so I can appreciate why some have an issue with this aspect. 🙂

For players I’ve played with a lot, secret messages are an option, but typical I find the player preferences vary depending on the genre. I think some games lend themselves particularly well to secret messages, like Mage: the Ascension, the Avatars feel more personable; I also use for other internal things like dreams and visions, memories in Changeling: the Dreaming.

Street Fighter RPG

For my Street Fighter answer I present a power I originally used in a chronicle that was similar to the TV show Mortal Kombat: Conquest. This could also be a useful power for a game using Extraterrestrials, like Warrior’s Fist Special 05 introduced. Obviously the idea of sending messages via magic or spirits is a common idea in fantasy, but I wanted to retain the psychic angle SFRPG already has.

My inspiration years ago partly came from Æon Trinity, now Trinity Continuum: Æon, the Psi Order: The Ministry of Noetic Affairs (Ministry/Tels/Telepaths), plus pondering the long-distance aspect of Interplanetary School of Research and Advancement (ISRA/Clairsentient). I initially allowed the range to be more like that of an Aberrant, which of course made it ridiculous, but then decided to reduce the range and make a further power that required more extreme range. I also considered a group rite, the Telepath using willing participants to help boost their signal, but I put that idea to one side and never got back to it.

In my old game, only NPCs had the power, but the fact it existed made the world feel more connected, plus dangerous! Powerful organisations could transmit crucial information, allowing them to outmanoeuvre the PCs; the characters were not sure they could outrun problems. The PCs considered whether to pursue the training for themselves, but the chronicle came to an end before that happened.

Telepathic Message

Prerequisites: Focus •••••, Telepathy

Power Points: Aikido, Baraqah, Kabaddi, Ler Drit, Tai Chi Chuan 1; Any 2

Before long distance technology was created, sending a message any distance was difficult and typically extremely slow. So some mystics developed ways to enhance their Telepathic ability, focusing on distance. It takes time to send a short message a long way, requiring the practitioner to focus their mind and visualise the recipient to receive the message.

System: Although built upon Telepathy, this power works differently; this is a long range power and does not link multiple minds. The practitioner needs to be still, also ideally calm. A short message can be sent, up to a 100 words. The practitioner must have met the recipient; roll Intelligence + Mysteries difficulty 6 if close friend, 7 for someone they sort of know, 8 if they barely know them. Optional: using in a stressful situation, like combat, is possible, maybe increase the difficulty by +1.

Botch = the user thinks they succeeded in sending their message.

1 success = 1 mile

2 successes = 5 miles

3 successes = 10 miles

4 successes = 20 miles

5 successes = 50 miles

6 successes+ = 100 miles

The process takes a round (10 turns). If the practitioner is struck or affected by anything then the power fails; this can led to situations of other people needing to protect the practitioner whilst an urgent message for aid is sent.

The recipient of the message is not overwhelmed by a psychic ring, or other cheeky ways to exploit this ability. The recipient gently receives the information in their mind if they want to, they can even choose to reject it. There is no pingback to the practitioner about the recipients choose.

Cost: 2 Chi

Speed: N/A

Damage: N/A

Move: None

Other Peoples’ Answers

Paul Baldowski @deesanction


Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en


Heather Fey @slapjellyfish


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


John M. Kahane @jkahane1


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow



This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

03 #RPGaDay2020 Thread

I had plenty of thread ideas, so I consulted my #PieChartofIndecision. Patterns, Fate, Time, Labyrinths, Ariadne, and TV series The Dark were all strong contenders. I’ll be writing about my Trophy RPG Incursion: Labyrinth of the Mind, after this event. Reminiscing about my long running LARP character’s pattern being merged with a Fate Elemental is probably of no interest to anyone but me. Mystic Threads in Mage: the Ascension are a topic I love, enabling diverse paradigms to more easily tap into potentiality, but I write about Mage too much. Several participants have mentioned running multiple plot threads, see below. So I went with pluralising thread and to write about character and clothing.

An old saying that appears in varying ways is: “the man is his clothing” or “clothes makes the man”; to modernise that: “the person is their clothing”. Whilst I don’t entirely agree with this sentiment, since I’ve met too many interesting people in rough clothing, I appreciate it still holds social power. My first two years of RP mainly covered fantasy clichés, if I even thought about clothes it was to copy descriptions from fantasy novels and the few movies I’d seen. At 13 years of age, it was my old referee Pete that introduced me to Cyberpunk 2013 and “Style over substance”; the invitation to explore what a character wears as an extension of their personality. Obviously many adult gamers, and I’m sure some young, understand the fun of exploring a character’s attire, whether the surface level of appearance, to exploring different fashions, or maybe diving deeper to the psychological underpinnings of why an image may appeal to someone. Add in the social norms and we have a complicated social tapestry, how our threads can quickly weave different groups together, or set them apart.

As a player I like to take a bit of time to consider my character’s look and what it means, implies, and why they care. If a character doesn’t care, that in itself speaks volumes.

GEF 1112 Stalik 2
The cobweb threads of my old LT character Stalik. Hot day, after lots of running around healing, so face paint has mostly melted.

Street Fighter RPG Answer

Keeping with my answer of threads, it is hard not to laugh at the tropey nature of the game setting and the prominent characters and their clothing. Having been part of martial art demonstrations, wearing different outfits in public, I appreciate how weird can people treat you looking silly (to them), so it just goes to show what outsiders/rebels the World Warriors are, to not care about their appearance, or how they’re perceived. Thankfully various comics and anime had the characters wearing clothing more appropriate to the social situation they were in, helping to break the cliché appearance some players assume their character is required to keep.

Building upon Punho do Guerreiro (Warrior’s Fist) issue 5 introduction of Items of Power, and taking inspiration from Jackie Chan’s The Tuxedo, we can explore the idea of magic clothing for SFRPG. This is easier to integrate for a chronicle that utilises True Magick, like issue 8 does with a fusion with Mage: the Ascension.

Duplicating Jackie Chan’s Tuxedo would result in a very powerful item, certainly requiring more than 5 background points. However, if we tone things down, an item could be made giving a non-martial artist basic fighting process. Temple guardians with Elemental Sashes. As normal with SFRPG there is the issue of not overwhelming the core game with more modifiers, if a PC can have magic items, maybe the World Warriors and others have some as well. 😉 It is a busy month, but it is something to work  on later for future issues of Punho do Guerreiro 🙂

Other Peoples’ Answers





Sue Savage presents a story about threads


Complex Games Apologist

Roberto Micheri

What ties sessions together?

The Rolistes discussing threads of Fate

ivanmike1968 discussing social threads

GMSMagazine with a great example of a plot thread

Parts Per Million on Solo Role-Playing and Zweihander


Eleanor Hingley @Magpie_Elle


John M. Kahane with alternate usages for webs



M&B Liam @_Boganova_

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

02 #RPGaDay2020 Change

The Change prompts a passionate response from me, about exploring how a tiny Change can cause large effects. After playing some games for a while, usually a campaign/chronicle, I love exploring how even a tiny change to a mechanic can majorly changes things. I appreciate that this can cause surprising results. Some players don’t like this. Plus, not every game suits this. To clarify, I am referring to things that change during play, the areas of the environment can change, possibly whole laws of reality. Whilst this is not a common event for games/settings like D&D, it can happen, whereas it’s built into Mage: the Ascension via Reality Zones, likewise the varying effects on Changelings that the different regions of the Dreaming have. Similarly, games that focus on parallel worlds like GURPS Infinite Worlds or Cypher System’s: The Strange, etc.

An old work meeting discussing different designs for Quest, our play-by-mail RPG, and how to beat the memory limitations we had; the problem with working with old Pascal code. The aim was to reduce how much human moderation was needed with certain game aspects, so we could spend that time writing more and better stories, providing players more meaningful role-playing choices. The relevancy to tabletop is that I worked on designs to introduce tiny modifiers to achieve large effects on the game. I drew inspiration from RPGs like Mage, WFRP’s Realms of Chaos (Elric setting 😉) and Magic: the Gathering; from the global enchantments to Artifacts like Howling Mine; how different dynamic tweaks in play could change the feeling and maths of a game, without destroying what the game is. I surprised my old boss, who was happy to hear I was improving my ideas and how I explained them; in my first year working with him, I’d typically talked about big sweeping changes; I was still learning how agile the reality of business was and learning the delicacies of balancing the different preferences of each game’s community.

This leads me to my Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG) answer for today. From the 90s I have pages of game notes about adding/tweaking mechanics to achieve different outcomes. Like many role-players passionate about martial arts, real and fake, I was also a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) and Mortal Kombat (MK), etc. When I first saw MK, and learned its setting, I pondered how to handle the mysterious Outland within Street Fighter, maybe borrowing from D&D’s Manual of the Planes, or the various Umbras for the World of Darkness? But… I knew one thing was common for players of SFRPG, the design approach taken resulting in a surprising speed of play, despite the sheer number of maneuvers. So any alteration to combat could quickly bog the flow down.

I ran an alternate SFRPG game that was similar to the TV show Mortal Kombat: Conquest, where characters could receive Blessings and Curses. For example: Shichifukujin (Seven Lucky Gods) Blessing grants +1 Attribute as an Auto Success once per day, which could be allocated before or after a roll! This is not quite the same as a Merit/Advantage or Flaw/Disadvantage, because it can come and go. Although once per day, this is a powerful ability, for example, a botch can be negated, or a character could see how much damage an opponent has done to them and then grant themselves +1 soak, or make their Dexterity one point higher, which could mean they gain that lucky bit of speed to avoid a nasty combo. Crucially once per day is a big restriction; is it best to save it? Luck is a fickle thing, each time they use their Blessing they could lose it, starting at 1 in 10 and raising by +1 each time it’s used. Characters could do things to please the Shichifukujin, doing so could reduce or even reset the counter. Initially, it resulted in players taking more time to decide, but after a short while, most of the time it was quick, thus not undermining the speed of play aspect of SFRPG.

As I’ve nearly caught up on Punho do Guerreiro (Warrior’s Fist) translations, I have been able to see what the team has previously explored. After RPGaDay I can go over my old ideas and work on a series of articles for the fanzine. 🙂 Also I’ll emphasis clarity of presentation, unlike the section above. 😉

Based upon this old temporary blessing idea, I added something similar to my Trophy Gold Incursion entry. I will be breaking down what I did, in a later blog post, the good and the bad.

Other Peoples’ Answers

Autocratik discussing change in gaming tastes




Melestrua with a fun framing for the discussion of an important practical topic, find out what CLOC is:


Complex Games Apologist discusses the interesting topic of environment stats.

IvanMike1968 gives a lovely summary about one of the beauties of this hobby.

Bryon1187 gives an interesting quick answer:

Craig Oxbrow’s The Watch House highlighting the usage animated GIF and RPGs


The Anxious Gamer uses prompt Change to give a review of Magical Fury


This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

#RPGaDay2020 Day 1 Beginning

Since I committed myself to giving two replies each day, one for any RPG and one for Street Fighter RPG, I get twice the fun each day to finalise my thoughts. Where to begin? How best to begin? So many options, so I’ve brought back my #PieChartofIndecision to help me decide, plus to help prevent me from writing a rambling blog; like talking about painting figures and models. 😉

My Street Fighter RPG Answer

I have created a new fighter: Yūta Shirou. They could become a Circuit Prospect, maybe added to a future issue of Punho do Guerreiro (Warrior’s Fist).

My Any/Other RPG Answer

A week ago I began writing a long article analysing about how I started designing my adventure for the previous Trophy Gold Incursion competition. Due to a family health emergency, I didn’t finish it before this year’s RPGaDay started. In part because the article had grown and I also added the question of how and why I begin many of my games the way I do. On a related note, I sometimes use the approach: In Media Res, particularly with one-shots or for short gaming sessions. There is a great video by Complex Games Apologist talking about this technique, linked below.

Linking numerous thoughts shown on my pie chart together, I decided to write about an old subject dear to me: Mage. The classic World of Darkness could end in numerous ways; of course, there was no requirement to align any of the old game lines with what became the Chronicles of Darkness. Interestingly there was one idea that provided a strong link for the end of Mage: the Ascension, to the beginning Mage: the Awakening, which is an idea I have been working with in one of many Mage chronicles. For anyone curious, Charles Siegel explains one method to Terry Robinson on an episode of Mage the Podcast. The World of Darkness infamously almost had its beginning explored via Exalted, but that idea was abandoned, still the links are there. The Beginnings of Cycles.

Other Peoples’ Answers




Complex Games Apologist

The Anxious Gamer discussing a great tool to help with beginnings


A great blog post by Vivek Santayana


Samwise Seven shows us a cool location and discusses family

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

Review Mage Made Easy

TL;DR: the book covers what the title says and has some useful suggestions. If you are a Mage fan this book has ideas for you. If players/STs are struggling then I definitely recommend this book. If you are a Mage expert, maybe this book is just a 3/5 for you, since experts likely have many proven dynamic pitches, plus the ability to quickly adapt and personalise chronicles; but maybe they’d still get something from this book, or enjoy reading more Mage things.

For those wanting more details, here is a deep dive. From my experience, players new to Mage typically fit into one of the following non-exhaustive groups:

A) Those that need help with the scale and implications of the setting. Character creation alone introduces a lot of Factions; does a player need an overview of each?

B) Those that struggle with the concept of what Spheres can do, plus maybe the rest of Mage’s metaphysics: Paradox and its many manifestations, the different realms, and in particular the topic of what counts as Coincidental / Witnesses / Vulgar magick.

C) Those that also that struggle with A + B.

D) Those that struggle with neither.

For people wanting more advice for dealing with Group B, I can appreciate why some might give the book a 3/5. However, from a certain P.o.V., Satyros does provide advice about the Spheres, from Focus over Spheres, ways to reconsider Witnesses and Vulgar Magick, different ways to use Paradox, to highlighting centring a game low level characters and stories, on more mundane but personal matters. My advice is don’t be quick to dismiss how these threads interact with each other.

Some might think advising people to strip back the scale of Mage, especially given the vast number of books, never mind just looking at the size of Mage 20th, is a simple and maybe even useless answer. I disagree, years ago I used to talk about the rich setting and the fun creativity of the Spheres, some of the players admitted to being intimidated before they began. When I returned to Mage I had an easier time persuading some new players to explore the game by focusing on the personal, not trying to summarise lots of factions, history, or metaplot.

I particularly liked the Arcane Approaches section. Whilst some may view this section as being weak or even obvious, maybe in hindsight it is. Personally, I think it helps make things easier, especially when combined with the rest of the book.

Will players in Group D benefit from this book? The title itself then should be an obvious indication to them about the book’s goal. It seems unlikely that Group D will see this book as a must read; I don’t think it is for them, but if someone enjoys reading Mage books, then I’d recommend this.

Could this book have gone further for those in Group B? Maybe, but I’m not sure more explanations will achieve what some are after. I’ve not experienced long-term problems with people in Group B, since over the course of a chronicle they have learned their characters range and explored different potential; but, I appreciate others may have different experiences. There are other products available that look at the Spheres, Nodes, etc., and maybe this work will inspire another product focusing on the details that some are after. I’ll be reviewing Sources of Magick next 🙂

I enjoyed the book and I think this book succeeds in its goals, 5* drivethrurpg, 4* on Goodreads. 😀

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314476/Mage-Made-Easy-Advice-from-That-Damn-Mage-Guy?affiliate_id=11172 (Mage the PodcastMage the Podcast Affiliate Link)


Warrior’s Fist 8 Street Fighter Translation

I’ve finished translating another issue of Punho do Guerreiro, a Brazilian fanzine for Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG). Issue 1 is here, plus an explanation of why I am doing this.

Following on from motor racing in issue 7, this issue includes more rules about driving. Fusing Mage: the Ascension with Street Fighter, this introduces a simple yet interesting way of handling True Magick. This issue adds a new Maneuver: Sense Magic. The tale of Snow and Blood. Ken Master’s Yacht in Kabuki Town. A dangerous Circuit Legend. A clarification about MMA, as well as the difference between a starting character and a fighter that is new to big fight organisations like the UFC.

As normal thanks to Punho do Guerreiro team for the original issue, plus Eric and Odmir also did some extra work for this translation 😃

Issue 8

RPG Impact 8

Continuing with RPG Impact. The eighth RPG that has had a big impact on me is Wraith: the Oblivion. I’ve separated this game from the rest of the World of Darkness, because I think Wraith is the one stands alone, not just in concept and focus, but crucially in playstyle.

Apart from a few friends, nearly all the players I know won’t even try Wraith. For a few of them, the idea of playing a ghost was too much for them, never mind playing another character’s Shadow, or participating in a Harrowing. The troupe style play of Wraith had a big impact on me; this is one of the reasons why I suggest Wraith stands out from the World of Darkness.

Sadly, I’ve not run massive Wraith games, like with Vampire or Changeling, but at least the games I’ve played have been small intense fun affairs. One of my long-running World of Darkness chronicles will soon include some Wraith sessions, which I hope to blog about later in the year.

I think Wraith is brilliant, but no sale pitches here, in part because others have summarised the game so well. If you want to hear more about Wraith, here are 2 great links:

1) sameøldji made a great video about Wraith impacting him:

2) Runeslinger also listed Wraith as being a big impact upon him; he also made a great collection of videos about Wraith 20th.

Part 9

RPG Impact 4

Continuing on with RPG Impact. The fourth RPG that had a big impact on me was Vampire: the Masquerade, then later all the World of Darkness. In early 92 there were only a few VtM books out, so we had to fill in a lot of the blanks. The emphasis on storytelling was not a revelation for most of the people I played with, we’d embraced that aspect of RPGs from playing deadly systems like WFRP and Cyberpunk as kids. What impacted me was the atmosphere, the stronger focus on internal character struggle with their beast within, and the lore, both given and promised.

Rich lore was no stranger to us. At that point I had read enough RPG books, magazines, and novels. I had learned enough bits about the history of RPGs at my local games store and been told stories about Traveller, Paranoia, etc. I’d explored different game settings, delved in to the various D&D lore, visited the planes (pre-Planescape). The same with the scale of the lore for Warhammer and Cyberpunk. I think the key difference is the blending of real life and hidden lore; although, even then I recognised this was a great cliché. I’d read Interview with a Vampire just a few months before playing Vampire, so the setting felt familiar to me. I recall talking to players in other groups about this mix of real and imaginary history, power and monster, of the familiar and the urban myth, everybody was interested.

I’ll borrow from my last blog, the Cyberpunk tagline about Style over Substance, and my claim that it has both Style and Substance. Vampire, the World of Darkness has lots of both.

As much as I loved Vampire, playing/running many games a week, I found the later additions to the World of Darkness to be even better. Since I was buying all the books, I enjoyed adding bits from each game line into another, but I was careful not to swamp the core game being played. I rarely ran games with PCs from different supernatural types (Nightfolk), preferring to keep the focus within each game-line.

Considering how much D&D and Cyberpunk I’ve played/run, it still seems weird to me just how much of an impact the WoD has had on me. I’ve had countless hours of fun; it helped me get a job at a games company. But, over the years I have wondered whether the whole WoD is over-hyped, some people believe so.

  • The debates about power levels.
  • Debates about when to roll.
  • The arguments over Rule 0.
  • Whether pretentious people tarnished the rep?
  • Whether the sheer amount of books produced swamped things?
  • Whether the power creep ruined things?

I typically feel that I also need to acknowledge that the WoD has problems. Like with D&D, Palladium, etc., some become angry at the mere mention of these games. I’ve met a lot of people that hate the WoD, or hate the players they’ve encountered playing the games. I’ve certainly played with a few players who loved playing FangedMurderHobos or SuperFangs, plus encountered some at conventions and a lot more online; whilst not my preference, if the players prefer a silly/crazy/etc., type of game, then I’m all for it.

When the Forge debates over GNS started, I understood why Vampire in particular was in the crosshairs of some, especially regarding it being confusing in its design, or some being annoyed by the writing tone. I’d like to avoid arguments, but decades ago I concluded that the WoD setting being messy is partly because it is myth, plus there are in-game effects confusing things, and the mechanics are supposed to be of a mixed style. The game’s financial and critical popularity somewhat validates my P.o.V., but again I appreciate why many think this is a cop-out, or even nonsense. For those that hate Vampire/WoD, I get it, likewise for those that love Vampire/WoD. I have long since grown tired of these chats, but cannot help but dwell upon them…

Have I been building towards a joke about being an Elder Role-player who is suffering from ennui? An old injured Garou Galliard circling Harano? Somewhat 😉 I hope this response encapsulates a fraction of my passion for this game series, and I’ve not even touched on my love of Werewolf, Changeling or Mage being an order of magnitude more than for Vampire. Mummy, Hunter, and Demon are cool as well 😉

Wraith? Well, even though Mage is my favourite, I think Wraith deserves its own entry.

Part 5