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World of Darkness» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Discovery of the New World (of Darkness) rss

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Karl Larsson
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The World of Darkness rulebook was the beginning of the relaunch of White Wolf's very popular World of Darkness line. Where I lived, it seemed like during the nineties that you either played a World of Darkness based game or Dungeons & Dragons. Dungeons & Dragons for the kids and action-oriented, and World of Darkness for the morose and mature. The original World of Darkness swelled to a great number of different games, and the history in the setting was rich, but also constraining. One of the aspects of the setting was that things were coming to an end, everything was decaying. So instead of letting the setting linger forever on the brink of Judgement Day, White Wolf brought it all down in 2004.

In many ways the new rulebook is a generic rulebook, and it presents what White Wolf calls the Storytelling system. The book is the basis for the World of Darkness-setting, but this is a setting were only the most basic information is provided by the sourcebooks. What it does offer is a large amount of possibilities and inspiration for the game master to do with as he or she wants to. The setting is definitely intended for a mature audience. This works very well in the core rulebook. The stories and examples in the book gives a good feel of how the game could work, and later releases have added to that. The artwork also does a great job at conveying the atmosphere of the game.

As the name implies, it is supposed to be a horror game. The horror you find here is more like that kind of horror found in Unknown Armies, than in Call of Cthulhu. The horror is more mundane and personal, and not coming from an ancient and alien source. My neighbour is a vampire, there is a ghost in the attic, and in the garbage dump lives a gnome that eats baby teeth. The World of Darkness have a great many types of unnatural and supernatural creatures and beings. A campaign could include everything between all and none of them, all depending on the game masters wish and the books the group decides to use.

The rules themselves are rather standard. It seems White Wolf have a love affair with the ten-sided dice, and this continues in this rulebook as well. That being said, it works a lot better than it has done before. The level of skill determines the number of dice, rolls over eight are successes and the difficulty decides how many successes must be ruled for an action to be successful. It is a simple system, so it is amazing how much space the book needs to explain it. A large part of the book is used to give detailed descriptions on how to use the rules in a large variety of different situations. This is a waste of space, the book would have been better without it.

An important part of horror games is also their treatment of the psychological. In World of Darkness we find both personality and morality. Personality, in the form of virtues and vices, are encouragements for the player to play in-character. If they act in accordance with their personality, when it is not in their interest, they will get benefits. Morality is an encouragement to play nice, or one risks mental illness. While having mechanics in the game that rewards good play generally is a good idea, morality seems to be redundant, and is probably there because most campaigns set in the World of Darkness usually includes characters somewhere on the edge of good and evil. Vices, virtues and morality is still not enough, and it is very strange that a horror game doesn't have more mechanics for how fear and terror could influence the game.

The relaunch of the World of Darkness-setting, and the new products it spawned, was in most parts done very well. On the other hand, the rulebook is a sad affair. It is pretty and well written, but the rule parts of it is longwinded and too detailed. It is hard to make a generic rulebook good, and while there are some nuggets of gold in here, it is lost among the books many pages. If it wasn't for the many good supplements and games this books supports, there would be little reason to get it.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Quote:
The rules themselves are rather standard. It seems White Wolf have a love affair with the ten-sided dice, and this continues in this rulebook as well.


The silly thing is that rolling 8 or more is a 30% chance, while rolling a 5 or more on a 6 sided die is 33%.

But, then they wouldn't get to sell you those little bags of 10 siders.
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Karl Larsson
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I haven't thought about it that way before, and that makes even more hilarious. Personally I think White Wolf have stocks in America's biggest ten-sided dice factory.
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Cracky McCracken
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The LARP version of WOD uses ordinary playing cards instead of ten sided dice (ace to ten... no face cards). This way the players can draw cards to duplicate rolling dice and one deck of cards can serve four players. i guess this keeps the systems consistant by using 10 siders and cards (and allows WW to sell cool looking 10 siders)

i think it would be interesting to use playing cards in a game like this and let the players decide what cards they are going to play when trying something in question. do you hold back your nine or ten cards for a more important check (such as a fight) or use them up in more mundane checks to speed the adventure along? As the game progresses and certain milestones are achieved, the players would get their spent cards back into their hands to use again...

something like that
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Lowell Francis
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I think what would be an interesting article (or series of articles) would be to compare the "original" Old World of Darkness line with the "revised" New World of Darkness line. Not to look at mechanics or that kind of thing, but what are the thematic, cosmological and background changes between the games. (Mage, Hunter, Werewolf, Vampire, Changeling). And of course interesting to see what lines didn't get a redo (Wraith, Kindred of the East, Dark Ages, Orpheus, [family=433]Mummy[/family], Demon) and the new lines which came up (Promethean, Geist, Innocents).
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edige23 wrote:
I think what would be an interesting article (or series of articles) would be to compare the "original" Old World of Darkness line with the "revised" New World of Darkness line. Not to look at mechanics or that kind of thing, but what are the thematic, cosmological and background changes between the games. (Mage, Hunter, Werewolf, Vampire, Changeling). And of course interesting to see what lines didn't get a redo (Wraith, Kindred of the East, Dark Ages, Orpheus, [family=433]Mummy[/family], Demon) and the new lines which came up (Promethean, Geist, Innocents).

There's a bunch of articles on that very topic floating around RPGgeek already, e.g.

A Comparrison of Changeling: The Dreaming and Changeling: The Lost
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Lowell Francis
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sbszine wrote:
There's a bunch of articles on that very topic floating around RPGgeek already, e.g.

A Comparrison of Changeling: The Dreaming and Changeling: The Lost


Excellent-- we should find and put those articles together in a Geeklist if someone hasn't already.
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Karl Larsson
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Write-ups like these are a good idea. The one for changeling is very good. To put them in a list would be excellent, one could also put a link to them in the More information box on the rpg-entry in the database.
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edige23 wrote:
Excellent-- we should find and put those articles together in a Geeklist if someone hasn't already.

Done and done: Old and New Worlds of Darkness Comparison Threads

Please add more if you can find them.
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Lowell Francis
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Excellent-- thanks for doing that.
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Karl Larsson
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sbszine wrote:
edige23 wrote:
Excellent-- we should find and put those articles together in a Geeklist if someone hasn't already.

Done and done: Old and New Worlds of Darkness Comparison Threads

Please add more if you can find them.


Perhaps we were to quick: Worlds of Darkness, a comparison

Good work none the less.
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Ah crap, that one's much better.
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David S
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Quote:
The silly thing is that rolling 8 or more is a 30% chance, while rolling a 5 or more on a 6 sided die is 33%.

But, then they wouldn't get to sell you those little bags of 10 siders.


Well, you're only looking at a single die in your example. If you explore the math a bit further, you'll find that d10s provide for a slightly higher probability. The math for rolling at least a single success is: ((#sides^#dice) - (targetValue^#dice))/(#sides^#dice)

If you're looking at 5+ on d6's versus 8+ on d10's:

Let's say you're rolling three dice. For 3d6: ((6^3) - (5^3))/(6^3) = 42% chance of rolling a single success. For 3d10: ((10^3) - (8^3))/(10^3) = 49% chance.

Let's say you're rolling five dice. For 5d6, you get approximately a 60% chance of a single success. For 5d10, it's 67%.

I'd choose d10s.

Maybe it's a personal preference, but, probability aside, d6's are rather boring to me.

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot to add in the quote.
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