June 19, 2014
A Look At The Crunch Of World Of Darkness
It dawned on me recently that as much as I have discussed the new World of Darkness and many of its associated games, I have yet to talk about the game itself in terms of crunch and fluff. So, let’s amend that right now.
As I have discussed before, when White Wolfdecided to start a whole new line of World of Darkness books, they started off by releasing the core rules as their own game. It was a brilliant move on their part, as this helped to give all other related games a sense of unity. Still, on its own, World of Darkness is a marvelous game.
Mechanically, characters are made up of three sets of three attributes, divided into the categories of Physical, Mental, and Social with each category possessing a Power attribute, a Finesse attribute, and a Resistance attribute. These attributes are combined with skills, also listed as Physical, Mental, and Social, in order to determine the dice pool your character is rolling with. For example, if your character has a four in Strength and a two in melee, then they will start with a base dice pool of six for swinging around a melee weapon. That pool would then be modified by the rating of the weapon and whatever variables the Storyteller (Gamemaster) will throw at you, which will likely be a lot.
Other than your attributes and skills, characters have merits that give them additional benefits, some general and some specific. They have their Health track, of course, which is now determined by adding together your character’s Stamina attribute and their size rating, which more most normal humans is five. The last three health boxes are then noted as negative one, two, and three to represent the dice pool penalties characters suffer as they take injury. There is also Willpower, which represents both your character’s determination and focus, but also a pool of energy they can call on to enhance their rolls or defenses.
Finally, characters have a morality track. For mortals – the type of character you are playing just using the World of Darkness book – this is simply known as Morality. In other supplements it takes on different names such as Humanity for Vampires and Harmony for Werewolves. This is a fluid meter that dictates how mentally stable, and how “good” of a person, your character is overall. Most characters start at seven, and that will change based on a character’s actions. Role-playing ethically, and investing experience, will raise your Morality while negative or cruel actions will lower it (quite rapidly at times). The lower it gets, the more vulnerable your character is to insanity.
Overall, I really like World of Darkness. It is a simple but fair system of rules that is easy to learn and a lot of fun to play. It is why I have had so much trouble trying to get into other horror games such as Call of Cthulhu, as I have always had this available to me. So, if you are looking for a system to run your latest horror-themed campaign, I would recommend World of Darkness as a top choice.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing