Essay on Wod Is a Great Game

Submitted By SweetBrunette1
Words: 4166
Pages: 17

WoD is a great game. After running a WoD game for two years now, understanding more of its intricacies, I have to admit that I found myself charmed by its simplicity. Some people call it a "mediocre" system, but I personally find that it stands up to the rigors of actual game play quite nicely and that it even has some solid strengths: Simplicity and invisibility. You can easily call for a roll, calculate the results, and then sweep the mechanics under the rug and get back to the drama of your story without a hiccup, and it's simple enough while being interesting enough that I often choose it as an introductory game: it's easy to pick up, without being so simple that players stop and ask why we're bothering with a system at all.

While essentially flawless in the sense that it won't break down on you in the middle of a game, it does lack a certain flavor and versimilitude that I look for in alot of my games. Combat isn't interesting enough, and leaves many players scratching their heads at the result. None of this is new: We all know about the dreaded "gun nibble," and the way certain factors just blend together into one tasteless grey blob that quietly resolves who kills who, but never leaves your players jumping up and down about how awesome the fight was.

I don't generally like to hack rules. White Wolf isn't paying me to rewrite their rules, quite the opposite: I'm paying to play their games. I wasted two months trying to fix 7th Sea and threw up my hands halfway through the project, as my experience left me with an even greater awareness of how flawed the game was. On the other hand, I spent 3 weeks rewriting the WotG martial arts (using the Million Style Manual) and I was delighted with the results, and gained a greater understanding of how well put together WotG really was. So, with a fire in my belly, I set out to fix WoD, and found it to be far more consistent and balanced than I realized when I first set out. I wanted to share my results with you, in case anyone else had a similar love of WoD, but wanted a game that had a little more bite, a little more dazzle, to it.

Whiff vs Whittle

Most fights in WoD are between people with relatively close dice pools, which are quite a few dice higher than defense, and generally inflict a health level or two of damage per roll: Consider the Strength 3, Brawl 3 character in a fist Fight with a Strength 2, Dex 3, Brawl 3 character. The result is... not much of a difference, and neither character really hitting the other very hard. We roll off, again and again, with each character taking a point or two of bashing damage, and then someone finally drops, if the players don't fall asleep from boredom first, "whittling" one another..

You never get a sense of how powerful, how different these stats are. Everything melds together flavorlessly. The stronger character doesn't really FEEL stronger, and the agile character doesn't feel more agile (especially if he lacks the Wits to go with that Dex). To really feel a difference, you have to overwhelm your opponent, and that's where you start to see these maxed out character wielding great axes in battle (For that matter, most weapons feel the same, and you just reach for the "biggest" one)

Compare and contrast this situation with what you typically see in GURPS, the polar opposite: in a typical GURPS exchange, neither character will hit the other. They will constantly struggle to hit one another until one of them finally gets lucky (or outsmarts the other) and lands a devastating blow that's often enough to finish the fight (or set his opponent reeling enough that we can secure our victory in short order).

Alot of people dislike this constant exchange of blows where neither character hits the other, "whiffing" one another, and we certainly don't want the complexity that GURPS brings (the simplicity and ease of WoD is its strength, remember). However, "whiff" brings some interesting elements with it: the knowledge that