Random VTM 5e Thoughts

After several months of running VTM5e campaign, plus having now run a one-off VTM5e scenario at least 4 times, here are some thoughts…

  1. No-one wants to play Thin Bloods. They are always chosen last on the sign up sheets for the one-off games. Which means they didn’t get played at all the times I only had 3 players for those games.

  2. The multiple options for Disciplines is a pain in the backside, and makes a bit of a joke of the “statted up” NPCs in the core rules. In Ye Olde VTM, if an NPC’s stats said Celerity 3, Auspex 4, then I knew exactly what they had and what they could do. But in 5e, I don’t - I have to go look at options and choices. This means that if the campaign players suddenly decided to attack one of their NPC allies or unexpectedly took it into their heads to go and punch a werewolf in the face, then the game would abruptly stop. I’d have to tell the players to go and cook themselves a 3 course meal, while I go through all the options and stat up the NPCs.

  3. The lack of any defence stat when you are attacking means the side with superior numbers wins. Every. Single. Time. (Exception: one side is mooks with no proper stats). The Incredible Hulk is fighting Baldric, Mr Bean and Homer Simpson. The Hulk (7d) and Baldric (3d) roll simultaneously, the Hulk gets more successes, and Baldric takes damage. Then Mr Bean (3d) hits the Hulk (no defence) and does damage. Then Homer Simpson (3d) hits the Hulk (no defence) and does damage. The Hulk is now toast. Or the Hulk can split his dice pool to deal with all 3 opponents (3d, 2d, 2d) but he still gets trashed, because his individual pools are so low.

  4. The nerfing of Disciplines exacerbates the above. The NPCs in the core rules look as if they should be really tough to kill. e,g, the Bloodthirsty Sheriff with Potence 4, Celerity 3 and a Brawl pool of 7d. But in reality he’s got a couple of extra hit points and can do some extra superficial damage (4 points, which immediately gets halved) in unarmed attacks. He can add Celerity 3 to Defence once a turn… but you don’t get an attack if you defend! It’s an either/or, so I’m struggling to figure out what that ability is actually for…

  5. The 3 Turns and the fight is over is nice in some ways (keeps fights short), but again it exacerbates the fact the PCs can’t lose when dog-piling a single opponent, and rarely lose when fighting one-on-one with several opponents. The fight just stops at a stage where I as GM have to decide whether (a) yet another NPC throws in the towel, or (b) I do a dick move and have a “with one bound Jack was free” moment for the NPC to get away. Neither are satisfying.

I think I might just give up on bothering with Disciplines etc and see how it works as treating all NPCs as Mooks on Steroids. Damaging a Mook is Difficulty 3, so damaging a Mook on Steroids is Difficulty 5 or 6??? But that might make them unkillable.

I am not Steeped in the Lore™, so I don’t really have a feel for what they do. The impression I’ve got is “even more at the bottom of the pecking order than usual, but k3wl p0werz”.

I’ve heard it suggested that this is reasonable for realistic people. Of course vampires aren’t necessarily realistic people.

You could do it T&T-style by saying that the group combines their pools into a single attack.

That just seems quite strange. I mean, if “we can all see which way this is going”, then fair enough, but it’s not always obvious who has the upper hand.

Can they even damage each other at that point?

Mook fight rules are, as follows, for an example Mook of Difficulty 3

  • You roll. They don’t.
  • If you get 3 successes or more, you damage them, and remove them from the fight.
  • If you get 2 successes or less, they damage you. (3 - your successes = damage you take).

So there is going to be a Mook level which doesn’t scale well. This will vary from PC to PC. Baldrick has 3d in combat and can defeat a 3-Mook, but can’t defeat a 5-Mook unless he gets a critical. The Hulk has 7d in combat and can waltz thru 3-Mooks without breaking sweat and has a good chance of taking down 5-Mooks quickly.

Yeah, but it means my choice as a GM is very binary:
Option 1: the 3 PCs get to fight <3 bad guys and the PCs will win.
Option 2: the 3 PCs get to fight >3 bad guys and the PCs will lose.

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