New Rules discussion

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New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:32 pm

So we've updated the House Rules some.
Added some new rules in, clarified some others.

Specifically I'd suggest everyone read the new rules for "Auspice Focus Abilities"
The purpose of this new rule is to make sure specific Auspices are normally going to be the best at what they do, or at the very least, they will be better than everyone else at what they do far quicker than anyone else can be.

So read up, and ask any questions you may have.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Bruce on Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:14 pm

I think Auspice Focus Abilities is a completely unnecessary complication to the game. I hate double spending both time and xp on abilities (or really anything that doesn't specify that it costs both) and I think it slows down character development. Just my two cents.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Rizzo on Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:59 pm

There are a great deal of abilities that are extremely important for any Garou (or Fera) to have to make their jobs easier. None of the Lores that a Theurge should have to be useful are on the list, Like Umbra, Spirit, or just Cosmology. No Tribe's Lore. Empathy is necessary for Shadow Lords to do just about anything with their tribal Gifts. Also, what Abilities are Gurahl "Focused" for? Does an Uktena's predisposition to Magic mean nothing? What about a Get of Fenris' penchant for combat? No Brawl easily for them, even though their Rite of Passage is supposed to be hell compared to any other Tribe? Sounds random, and completely arbitrary.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Consumes The Spirit on Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:16 pm

I agree with Brutus, It seems unnecessary. It seems less like it makes those abilities seem special to the auspice they're geared to and more just a pain for everyone else. Especially when it comes to Empathy, Rituals, and Stealth which seems like just about any character might use those often.

Empathy and stealth in particular are abilities regular people possess at normal rates, why would Garou have a harder time learning them?

I'm not a fan of using limitations to make character types(auspice in this case) feel unique. There should be a benefit, not a detriment to everyone else.

@Rizzo: Brawl isn't an Ahroun ability by the rules entry. It says special fighting types like iskakku and klaviskar.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:25 am

Yeah those abilities are useful to other auspices, but each auspice should be the master of what they do. They should be better at it more easily than anyone else. The problem with Larp garou is that all too often you have people acting outside of their auspice roles all too easily.

You should have to go to a theurge to do spirit stuff easily. You can do spirit stuff without being a theurge, but its harder.
Philidox should be naturally better than anyone else at mediating issues.
Ragabash are the scouts of Garou society and they should be better at it.
Galliards should be the best at telling the stories of the garou.
Ahroun...i honestly had the hardest time with this. I couldn't make it Brawl or melee, since all garou are suppose to be decent fighters.
So I went with what I did to show that they are the ones who will become true masters of all forms more easily.

Any garou can still get to 5 in another auspice's focus ability, it just takes more time is all.
And this doesn't affect a particular garou's learning of his own auspice ability.
Really this will affect theurges the most. Rituals is a pretty big deal over all and having high rituals is a big deal.

As for the questions about Fera, this won't affect them at all for now. Each Fera in a garou game is pretty much a unique type of character that is addressed as it's own entity. So this is just for garou.

They are certainly not arbitrary though. There was a specific purpose behind this.

Shadow lords have one gift that retests with empathy (fatal flaw) and they can still have 2 empathy before they even hit the learning times and they can get to 3 pretty easily. I had fatal flaw on a character for years and never used more than 1 empathy in a night retesting it. This won't affect them, if anything it will affect CoGs more and even then only alittle.

As Adam pointed out this doesn't affect brawl so your statement about Get is irrelevant.
Magic is more Occult, which is unrestricted by this, so Uktena aren't affected much either.
In fact the majority of Uktena gifts don't even list an ability retest (which means they are occult).

Though gift retests weren't the real reason this was done.
Its about what the auspices do outside of their gifts, what their actual jobs are in the nation and this is an attempt to force people to do their job, because everyone won't be able to do out of auspice shit as easily anymore (this still doesn't make it undoable, just makes it alittle harder) so auspice will actually have to do their own jobs if you want maximum effect.

Alot of games have learning times, in fact learning times are some of the optional rules out of the Storytellers book, dark epics, players guide to garou, and various other sources.
I actually think learning times are a very realistic thing, it would in fact take years of training to master any ability to 5. Yes you are supernatural creatures and better at things, but even saying it takes you a fourth of the time it takes a regular human, a doctorate takes 8 years, and that's level 4 in an ability. So saying you are 4 times better than it would take you 2 years as a garou to get to level 4. That's the way it should be....but I honestly know that tracking EVERYBODY'S learning times is unreasonable. There is no way the staff could do that accurately. Nor do I want to try.

But tracking the learning times on just a few abilities is more reasonable and will help to encourage auspice roles to a greater degree.
Plus there isn't even a learning time for your own auspice's focus ability, so there is even less of an issue.

BTW Matt I specifically left lores out entirely, because lores can apply to many types of auspice's natural duties.
Garou Lore keeps the history of the Garou (Galliards) and the laws (philidox). Wyrm lore could help your tactics against the enemies (ahroun) and understand umbral realms of the enemy (theurges). I could go through all the lores like this, so i didnt even try to restrict them.

The only thing i'm thinking of applying to the house rules is saying you can only learn to a certain level of lore naturallly through play, and you need a teacher for anything about 2 or 3. (So you can learn to 2 or 3 (haven't decided yet) without a teacher, and it requires a teacher past that).
Though haven't worked out the details on that yet.

Overall though, this new rule is far less restrictive than even the book suggests in its learn time rules.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Endures the Storms Fury on Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:52 am

I can understand this for things like Kailindo, Klavaskar, and Isakku. Since they come with special combat manuevers I feel that that should be something that takes a while to master (You are getting more than just a retest when you buy the point). However, restricting things like Performance, Rituals, Empathy, and Stealth I don't feel gives anything to the game. Philodox and Galliards both hold roles that some rites are more appropriate for them to do than a Theurge (punishment and death rites off the top of my head). For me though this does nothing for me because well, I likely wouldn't learn any of those unless I got a Klaive (fat chance as a metis).

Personally, this is a HUGE turn off for me. I play WoD games because I'm not restricted to a class or role or anything. I can play what I want how I want. My warrior is going to be different then your warrior. My Theurge is going to do things differently then your theurge. What if I want to play a Theurge that likes to sing to spirits to appease them? Also why is it an issue for a Uktena of any auspice to learn some rituals, thats their thing. Or why would a Black Fury of any auspice have issues with empathy, I think they would empathize with women regardless of their role. Sure its not a mechanics thing, its a fluff thing.

My original concept was a very spiritual warrior, and this further takes away from my chance to do that (on top of being turned down to learn certain things left and right.)

My thoughts are if you want to encourage Auspice roles, then give less renown gain for actions done outside one's auspice. (If a Ahroun does a bunch of rituals he gets way less renown than a Theurge who did the same rituals. Or if a Ragabash does some hardcore war leading he gets less renown than Ahroun would.) I think someone ranking up slowly because they decide to go against their auspice is more motivational then restricting abilities. But that's just my two cents.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:56 am

You're a garou, you are still a spiritual warrior.
Also this doesn't mean you can't get those abilities.
You can get 1 and 2 of the ability unrestricted and get to 3 in the ability within a month after you buy up to 2. So in 2 games you can have to 3 in an out of auspice ability. It just means that it will take alot longer to master the craft of an auspice other than your own.
You can still do it in fact.
And there are classes in Garou. You infact lose renown when you act outside of your auspice. Its in the big renown chart. Thats how the game is setup. Yet everyone still does it.
But you can still customize more than you could in D&D for example. Everyone is a unique warrior, there are so many gifts and powers in the game that every character is different, unlike vampire where i've seen many sheets that are exactly the same, i've never seen 2 garou sheets that are the same.

You say you aren't restricted to a class or role in the WoD, but that's just untrue, Vampire is built in a very similar way, except their society doesn't frown on you for learning out of clan disciplines as much.

Now I admit that the Ahroun one is alittle bit underwhelming compared to the rest.
Though you may never learn Kailindo, and also have a low chance of learning Klaiviskar, you could certainly learn Iskakku, and will likely one day learn martial arts.
I'm willing to think about a way to make the Ahroun one alittle better though.

Also something alot of people forget in our game is that your characters are still very young.
You talk like you can never learn these things, you can. You talk like its the end of the world that we've asked you to hold off on buying out of grouping stuff until you are higher rank, well someday you'll be higher rank and it wont be as much of an issue.

Being lower rank is about learning to do your own role in Garou society well.
You start to diversify at higher ranks. That's how Garou Society is setup.


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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Macaria on Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:18 am

Garou acting outside their auspicial roles can be a problem. I can understand people don't want to feel restricted in our wide World of Darkness. However, if everyone is trying to be a Jack of All Trades, you kind of lose what is special and unique about each auspice. Having 5 in an ability is being one of THE best in that field - period. When everyone is the best at everything, you start to lose something. Mechanically, this doesn't really affect anyone's survivability, just their number of retests for other things. Having a 3 in any ability is still impressive.

On the flip side, Dan, you listed some wonderfully flavorful examples of how others having some of these things can make your character distinctive as well. Brutus and I were mulling this over...what if you have to be a master of the things pertinent to your auspice before you branch off into others? Like you may be able to be the Ahroun that sits down and unwinds with your fellows by playing some Performance 3+ Guitar. You've had time to practice it, because you've already reached your maximum potential with abilities key to your role.

What about giving people bonus traits equal to their current level of their favored ability? The Galliard may have Rituals x 5 and be great, but the Theurge with Rituals x 5 also has + 5 traits and is amazing.

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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:04 pm

After thinking about this some, I'm starting to come to the conclusion that this system won't actually force auspice roles some more, but instead just make it take alittle longer for people to act outside of their auspice roles.
So I'm mulling over whether to remove this rule, tweak it some, or just throw it all out and try to approach this from a different angle.

Some other ideas that i'm thinking about is just having the STs take into consideration auspice when resolving challenges and issues and allow actions taken by a particular auspice within that auspices purview be more effective, but that then leaves alot up to ST discretion, and from ST to ST that could be different.

Also the idea of giving each auspice a free retest on uses of their focus ability, but that could get really really powerful, especially for the Ahroun, as they would effectively have a free retest on all physical combat challenges if they learned specialized fighting styles.

I've thought about how to encourage this genre from multiple angles, and am still trying to come up with the best solution.

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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Bruce on Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:34 pm

I agree with the problem of folks regularly stepping outside of their auspice. I see it in every werewolf game I play in. However I hate crazy learning times because it's a game. Realism is fine to a point, but we are playing huge hairy were-creatures that fight mystical corruption. Micro managing how long a supernatural creature takes to learn an ability seems like a misuse of creative energy when it could be better directed toward figuring out what story the players want to help tell. I think White-wolf felt that that could be a popular opinion so they put most of those suggestions as just that, suggestions, and not hard rules. I really like Crystal's suggestion about making the appropriate Auspice + a trait for each level of the "Auspice Ability" that they have. It's nice and simple and reflects where their expertise is truly focused.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:09 pm

That would be really powerful though.
A Galliard is the one that would gain from that the most, you'd see them getting 5 traits up on Distractions, Shadows by the Firelight, Fabric of the Mind, Call the Wyrm, just to name a few.
Then you go Fianna so you can have 7 performance...you see where this is going.

There are other combinations that would be incredibly unbalanced by that, and what about Ahroun, do we give them 5 traits up on ALL physical challenges involving specialized fighting styles. An Ahroun with Klaiviskar/Iskakku wielding a weapon with decent traits could be getting 10 traits up right off the cut with just the auspice bonus and weapon bonus. That's a pretty big advantage.

I'd like to just have the STs make actions that any particular auspice takes that is part of their purview be more effective. Like a Theurge just gets more out of the spirits and everyone else gets alittle less.
When someone is looking for a Ragabash who's hiding, we take into consideration the ragabash's natural aptitude.
Etc etc.

But even that would get unbalanced as some STs would give it far more than others (though the theurge one actually has backing genre as the spirits really are only suppose to respond the Theurges easily and others are suppose to have a harder time with them).

Maybe i'll just really pay attention and do the renown loss for acting out of your auspice more, the book says its an Honor loss of -1 to -5 depending on how serious the offense is. Perhaps we'll just lean towards the high end of that scale to make it a big deal. Idk yet.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  Endures the Storms Fury on Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:20 pm

Well here's another idea then. What if an auspice can use their Auspice ability to win all ties in a challenge. For example, a ragabash desperately needs to avoid being found by the first team that's hunting him/her. He ties on the challenge and they compare traits. The First team has 14 traits and the Ragabash has 11. So the Ragabash's player spends a Stealth and wins the tie. Maybe even allow it to negate any further uses of retests (just a thought).

It is limited to the number of ability points they have, it's not game breaking, but it gives them an edge. If they lose they can still retest like normal.

As for the Ahroun issue, why not have the player choose a primary fighting style (Brawl, Melee, Firearms, maybe athletics) that they can use this on top of the specialized combat skills. Now if say two Ahroun are squaring off in a challenge, this benefit can't be applied against another ahroun. On a tie, they can compare traits or retest as normal. Same idea if a Galliard uses some AoE ability with performance, another Galliard could retest it.

As a side note: I feel that WoD pushes limits and boundaries of class/role. The game is gothic punk. That screams to me doing as you please period. Now as for most of the roles, there's always the person that approaches their role from outside the box. They may have unorthodox methods.

The other issue is since there is no point scaling for experience (the 1st and 5th dot cost the same XP) I don't feel that it accurately represents the expertise like it does in tabletop. The only time I've seen this really come into play is on things like Lores or other knowledge based skills. Which those have few uses outside of being able to turn to the ST and ask "Do I know that?"

My assumption is that since the LARP is more about resource management than table top, they made it easier to get more resources. Otherwise in an evening when you have a lot of intense chops, then you would run out very quickly, unless you can buy a lot of resources to keep going. It seems it's more about endurance with this than being good at something. I have to use Krystal's argument that things get less interesting when everyone is good at everything. However, without being able to get more resources, we run out a lot faster, until we can find fetishes or gear towards totems to do these things. When I read through things, I begin to wonder why every hardcore combat pack isn't under earthquake or mammoth and every sneaky pack isnt under raccoon or a similar totem. There are totem's clearly FAR more powerful. I think it comes down to power gaming vs flavor.

I think it does get less interesting when everyone is amazing at everything. Which applies to NPCs as well as PCs. I know its difficult to track a lot of NPCs, but when you fight nasty badass after nasty badass it starts to feel like there's nothing else in the world.

From a game philosophy standpoint though, until you hit at least Adren, likely you hit a glass ceiling point wise where you can't spend much else without going out of character or role. I'm sure there's another one after that when you wait to hit elder. If I had to wait another say year before I hit Adren, then I'd likely have a but load of XP either banked or spent into side things.

Another thought on the broadening out, there's a great deal of gaming groups that people get running with a certain small group and they realize they need X skill/Ability. So someone inthe group picks it up, not because its what their character would do but because they feel it is necessary to advance. I've seen it hundreds of times, hell I'm often the one willing to make the changes to get the skill/ability. People who want flavor will go for flavor, people who want to power game will power game. The only way to limit thatis create the rigid class system like DnD. You offer more flavor with a less restrictive system but also create more opportunity for power gaming antics.
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Re: New Rules discussion

Post  HST Jacob on Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:57 am

Ties are terribly unbalanced, they really do make the game all about ties. I do not want to introduce more ties, in fact I try to take them out when I do.
I'd prefer a free retest over ties, that's less unbalanced, but still very strong.

You will not run out of stuff to buy. I guarantee it. I play a 500 point elder and I still have alot of in grouping stuff to buy.
You have a ton of stuff you haven't bought on your PC, there is alot of fleshing out to do still, so while the argument of "well eventually you run out of in grouping stuff to buy" is a valid one to a degree, you haven't reached that point yet, and you are far from it. So is everyone in our game. No one in our game is ever close to that point. So that's not a good reason to buy that stuff yet.
Now there have been some good reasons that we felt as STs who portray the spirits that some garou should learn some out of grouping stuff already, but mostly that is kept for when you get alittle higher rank.

I think you give WW far too much credit for how they planned their system. They didn't have much plan when they made it.
One thing they have admitted to, was why they created a system where your PCs wear out so quickly. That was because they thought larp wasn't suppose to be about chops, and they wanted the system to be very hard to fight alot in, so you had to RP.
That's fine for vampire, which is a game that's based around selfish, petty, creatures who don't want to get into to many fights because they are scared for their existences.
Werewolves seek out confrontation, so the larp system is just bad for them. I think that might be why they made totem traits refreshing in larp, but once again we may be giving them too much credit. They did make alot of arbitrary rules they didn't think about alot before hand.

I wish they did make abilities cost more, and attribute traits. I would make them more important in the game, as it is now its not that hard to max them out, and eventually everyone's traits are just defined by their rank, because they are maxed out for their rank all the time.

In the NWOD larp, they did make Attributes and Abilities cost more, so maybe in 4th edition (which the table top is suppose to be out next year and the larp probably a year after that) they will use a similar xp system to NWoD larp, which is pretty good actually (there were some things NWoD did do better believe it or not). Till then though, i'm not going to tweak XP that much. It's just unfair to you guys to make shit cost more than it does in other games.

In truth, Garou isn't a Gothic punk game, its a different genre. It has some of the same elements, Tradition vs New Age, is a HUGE part of garou genre.
Our game has the problem in character that most of our characters are not traditionalists, with a Metis Alpha, ALOT of bone gnawers around, and alot of new players who haven't gotten into playing more traditional type characters yet, we encounter the problem where if we leave everything to players to drive, we will end up just playing a different game all together.
As an ST it's my job to try and reign that in and find a happy medium. Where players are still having fun, yet are still actually playing the game as it's written (for the most part). A TT game can get far further off course, because it's an isolated island of it's own genre. In a larp you don't have that luxury, because you need to run a game that is balanced, and fair for all the players involved. With 30+ players that we are now dealing with on a regular basis, that's alot of Players to try and create a fair environment for. The more we deviate from the printed material, the more shit is customized, the more room there is for favoritism and unbalanced situations.
If I were to not care about that and just say "well do what will make you the happiest" then i'd be a bad ST, because what makes one player happy, will make another unhappy. So the only way to try an run a fair game is to try and run a game that is close to the printed material, which means it's already being arbitrated by an unbiased source that doesn't know any of the involved players....and that source is the rules.
This is one of the reasons that it's important to maintain a strong connection to genre, canon, or whatever else you want to call it, and in genre it's very frowned upon to work outside of auspice roles. Yet it's done alot in many garou games.
So you see the difficult job of an ST staff trying to run a larp where everything is fair and unbiased.
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