*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 12, 2021, 03:24:47 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 78 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: [Solar System] Developing Territory for Werewolf  (Read 21103 times)
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« on: February 10, 2009, 05:23:31 PM »

Sorry to bombard you all with posts, but I am having difficulty coming up with additional crunch for my Werewolf: the Forsaken game which I am running with Solar System and I am after ideas on mechanics on how to develop territory.

For those of you not familiar with the fiction of Werewolf, the premise is that the PCs are a pack of werewolves who have carved out a piece of territory and defend it from threats, usually supernatural. The pack often doesn't legally own property in their territory, and don't usually seek to change the physical landscape in major ways.

Instead, the pack looks after the spiritual reflection of their territory, known as the Shadow realm, and deals with the local spirits who inhabit the territory. The spirits are not ghosts, but spirits of things in the territory - cars, plants, trees, buildings, emotions and even ideas. Usually, a spirit only comes into being if a lot of effort is invested into something, so not every tree in the physical world will have a spiritual reflection. However, once a spirit comes into being it is largely autonomous from its physical counterpart.

Werewolf packs spend a lot of time interacting with spirits, usually in conflict. Werewolves, being half-spirits themselves, have the ability to enter the Shadow through rare gateways know as loci. Over time, packs can also influence and develop the spiritual side of their territory, changing the spiritual ambience to suit them better.

So that's the fiction. What I want to do is design mechanics that handle developing the Shadow of a pack's territory on a large scale. I've looked at the Season mechanics in Houses of the Blooded and also the Company mechanics in Reign, which has given me a few ideas, but I would like to know if there is anything I could use with the Solar System that might assist me. I was thinking of dividing the territory into distinct locations, each being a "character", but I am not sure how this would work.

Any suggestions?

Logged
Eero Tuovinen
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 2775


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2009, 01:14:17 AM »

Have you looked into the Qek knotwork mechanics? Something like that might be interesting, as they deal with a similar notion of spiritual landscape. Under those mechanics you divide the territory into a number of spiritually significant "knots" or points, which are then known to varying degrees by the individual shamans. Each knot is then a Secret, and you can assign mechanical benefits to knowing each terrain bit. Under those rules it would also be easy to make each "knot" a character (or "roho", a disembodied spirit, to use the Qek terminology) if you wanted to.

Both Reign and HoB are fine sources for ideas, although Solar System tends to thrive in a somewhat more dramatic cut - usually we don't track large-scale developments mechanically so much as just state that these developments have taken place and then find out how this impacts the individuals in the story-verse. Thus we usually have Secrets that describe how characters stand in relation to the world, but most of the time the rules for gaining and losing these Secrets are relatively simple and rely on the conflict resolution system.
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
dindenver
Member

Posts: 1049

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2009, 08:58:51 AM »

C75,
  Well, usually, with white wolf ips (I will admit I am not totally familiar with werewolf in particular) there are multiple tribes. So, I think a lot of crunch can ceom from describing how one tribe is different from the other. So, if you used that as a jumping off point, you can get a ton of mileage. So, for instance the Lunars in Exalted have different castes. Full Moon, half moon, etc. So, if I were to try and differentiate them, I would so something like this:
Key of the Full Moon General
1 xp for leading your followers
2 xp for leading them into a dangerous situation
5 xp when they save you from a dangerous situation

Secret of the Full Moon General
You can spend more than one pool on an ability check, if that abilty check is being used to help your followers

  I know Werewolf is totally different, but I think this is a good example of how you can use keys and secrets to really distinguish one tribe from the other, right?
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 211


« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2009, 12:16:43 PM »

I would think traits about the Shadow nature of the territory would be of use. Things like regardless of how it looks now, it has many ancient spirits from the previous centuries, so perhaps many tree spirits in what is now a town. Likweise, just having many spirits vs few would be of note, as would having conflicting spirits, for instance the tree spirits from a century ago and their interactions with the spirits of travel and cars and concrete from the highway than now goes through the area.

Spun the right way, there could be Secrets to handling the situation, and larger or smaller consequences to various conflicts.
Logged
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2009, 05:49:31 PM »

Well, usually, with white wolf ips (I will admit I am not totally familiar with werewolf in particular) there are multiple tribes. So, I think a lot of crunch can ceom from describing how one tribe is different from the other. So, if you used that as a jumping off point, you can get a ton of mileage.

Yep, I have already designed Keys and Secrets to represent the different auspices (Full Moon, Crescent Moon, Half Moon, Gibbous Moon and New Moon) and the five different tribes. I have also designed Keys for Renown and Harmony, which are aspects of the Werewolf game that I want to reflect in SS.

I'm pretty happy with them, except that converted PCs end up with a considerable baggage of Keys and Secrets right from the start.I could probably cull a lot of the Keys, but I wanted to represent certain aspects of the fiction I liked as mechanics in the game.

Anyway, I'm more interested in mechanics to handle developing territory at this stage.

Logged
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2009, 06:06:06 PM »

I would think traits about the Shadow nature of the territory would be of use. Things like regardless of how it looks now, it has many ancient spirits from the previous centuries, so perhaps many tree spirits in what is now a town.

Yeah, I am already doing all of that. I am more after mechanics to allow a pack of werewolves to develop a territory over time and perhaps gaining themselves some spirit allies in the process. I'm still working on that.
Logged
dindenver
Member

Posts: 1049

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2009, 08:08:16 PM »

C75,
  I think the best way to do it would be to set up the spirits of the area and assign a difficulty level to each.
  If they are actively opposed to the werewolves' goals, give them pool, abilities and secrets. For others, set a a minimum Effect to change them.

  So, maybe a Wyrm infected spirit might have a "Spirit" pool of 5, an ability of "Spirit Charms" of 3 and a couple of secrets. But the Spirit of a playground might be tainted by recent activities of drug dealers and might need an Effect of 5 to turn around.

  That's what I would do. although Eero's knots might work, I haven't tried them before though, so I don't know either way.

  Either way, good luck with your game man.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2009, 08:40:12 PM »

Have you looked into the Qek knotwork mechanics?

Thanks for the link, Eero. I had a look and I like the idea. However, it is a bit larger than what I am after. Most werewolf packs are lucky if they have one locus in their territory, which serves as a gateway to the Shadow, as well as source of spiritual energy. Some have more than one, but that is rare. So if the knotwork mechanics are used to simulate a network of loci it wouldn't be much use to an individual pack, as the other loci would lie in the territories of other werewolves. If the pack chose to travel to those loci, they would be trespassing on another pack's territory. As werewolves are a very territorial race, most packs would probably think twice before they attempted this.

Still, a knotwork could definitely be used as a guide to exploring "unclaimed" territory, or a multi-pack raid through the Shadow.

I understand that SS doesn't track large scale developments mechanically and focuses on the impact of developments upon the PCs rather than on the developments themselves. However, I am interesting in developing crunch that generates these developments and has an impact on the story. I really like the idea of giving the players strategic choices about what they can do with their territory which later generates conflict in the story. I prefer this than, as SG, unilaterally announcing that a change has taken place and that the players need to deal with it.

I like the idea of using Secrets in developing territory and I thinking of ways to do this. In the Werewolf fiction, werewolves have access to rites, which are ancient pacts between werewolves and spirits that the werewolves can invoke. Some of these rites can effect the Shadow and I think this might be the way to go.

I think the best way to do it would be to set up the spirits of the area and assign a difficulty level to each.
If they are actively opposed to the werewolves' goals, give them pool, abilities and secrets. For others, set a a minimum Effect to change them.

Thanks Dindenver. I have pretty much already done a lot of that, but it feels slightly disjointed. The problem with spirits in Werewolf: the Forsaken is that they are incredibly hard to destroy. Usually the PCs beat up an enemy spirit until it's form discorporates. However, the spirit is not truly destroyed until it runs out of Essence, which is a spiritual energy. A discorporated spirit can rebuild itself over time, although it is likely to avoid the PCs in the future.

So, the situation is more like a classic guerilla war. The PCs enter a hostile location, discorporate all the nasty spirits and leave to lick their wounds. However, some time after they leave, the nasty spirits return. The trick is keeping the nasty spirits from returning, something the PCs haven't figured out yet.

What I want to do is provide them with a system where they can keep the nasty spirits out by changing the emotional taint (resonance) of a location so it won't attract the nasty spirits anymore. The fiction provides a process in which to do this, but no mechanics. I'll post this process if people are interested.

By the way, there is no Wyrm in Werewolf: the Forsaken. In fact, there is no Gaia or Wyld either. Instead, every powerful spirit is a potential hostile to werewolves, which makes the PCs more paranoid. And that is just the spirits...
Logged
dindenver
Member

Posts: 1049

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 08:31:35 AM »

C75,
  OK, that makes sense, but maybe you are over-thinking it?
  The way I see it, if they win an ability check, they beat down the spirit, temporarily. But if they win an Extended Conflict, the spirit is booted from the territory and the spirit energy of the territory is improved.

  I guess I took the advice to make the stakes of a roll be about what you are fighting for literally. So, in my games, rarely is an Ability check about success as much as it is about how the world is different after the attempt. Because of that I have been able to have players roll for stakes such as, "other factions will think twice before going against us." I think if you brought that logic to your werewolf game, it might fit the bill.

  But on a more direct answer to your question, what if you used the Knot mechanics, but changed what a knot meant? Like each knot could be a spirit in their territory. Gaining the knot would represent the Werewolves' triumph over that spirit. Like maybe it is just dematerialized, but more than that, it is actively avoiding the pack? So, you could have a knot progression:
1) Finding the spirit or learning that it exists
2) Confronting the spirit
3) Exorcism
  And the mechanics could be something like:
1) SG lets the players in on the gag. The spirit of the local playground has been turned ugly ever since that drive by shooting
2) Players investigate, culminating in ability checks
3) Characters buy a secret related to that knot And then perform the actrs that banish the spirit permanently.
  I don't know, its just a loose framework, but it might be a good jumping off point for you...
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
oliof
Member

Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2009, 11:44:13 AM »

Hi,
maybe you can borrow a page out of REIGN's pages and look at that system's Company rules.
Logged

Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2009, 03:17:44 PM »

  The way I see it, if they win an ability check, they beat down the spirit, temporarily. But if they win an Extended Conflict, the spirit is booted from the territory and the spirit energy of the territory is improved.

Thanks Dave. Yes, I probably am overthinking it - I tend to overthink things when they could be a lot simpler.

Still, allowing the pack to eliminate the spirit and improve the territory location by winning an Extended Conflict seems a bit too easy for me. I tend to think that they should be separate challenges. First, they have to eliminate the opposing spirit(s), then then can work on improving the location. In the end it will probably come down to Extended Conflict and some ability checks, but the fiction is clear that improving territory is a difficult task that requires effort from the entire pack and doesn't take place overnight.

I like your interpretation on the knot mechanics. How you have outlined the process is pretty much what the fiction says and what I would like to occur. However, instead of each knot being a spirit, I prefer having each knot being a location in the pack's territory that is either under their control (Dominated) or under the control of opposing spirits (Wild). Packs can attempt to improve the spiritual aspect of locations that are Dominated, but locations that are Wild must first be Dominated in order to do this.

Here is a rough outline of what I think the process of Dominating Wild Locations would look like:
1. Determine and Eliminate Threat: Any spirits that stand in the way of the pack must be dealt with. Usually, this means destroying them, binding them or driving them off. However, wiser packs may be able to bargain with spirits and convince them to leave or even work for them. Even craftier packs may play powerful off one another and trick them into destroying each other.
2. Loyalty: Once the Threat is eliminated, the Location is Dominated. Every werewolf in the pack buys the Secret of Domination (Location). This Secret gives the Location gains a Loyalty Effect. Loyalty starts at 1 but the pack may increase this over time. The Loyalty Effect may be used to provide bonus dice to any checks within the Location once per lunar cycle (28 days or so)
3.Trouble: A low Loyalty Location generates Trouble, usually in the form of rival spirits challenging the authority of the pack. Trouble is an ability equal to Loyalty-5. For example, a Location with Loyalty 2 has a Trouble Ability of 3 (Master). Every lunar cycle, the SG makes a Trouble check for each Dominated Location. If the check is successful, that Location generates rebellious spirits equal in power to the result of the check. If the check result is 6+, the Location turns Wild again and the characters must buyoff the Secret of Domination for that Location.
Logged
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2009, 03:19:55 PM »

Hi,
maybe you can borrow a page out of REIGN's pages and look at that system's Company rules.

Yep, that is where I am getting Loyalty from :)
Logged
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W


« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2009, 07:36:40 PM »

Just a thought, but have you thought of letting players buy secrets for the pack? If you make its cost the standard increment*no. of players, then it makes no difference, but it seems to fit the fiction a little more. On the other hand you could make it cheaper, but I'm not sure whether you want to be encouraging that. It also de-clutters the sheets a bit, if you put some of the keys you were interested in as general werewolf things onto the pack sheet.

The same record that holds the locations you own could be the one for both the pack and your territory, underlining that it has a persistent character of it's own.
Logged
Courage75
Member

Posts: 57


« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2009, 09:16:21 PM »

I have considered allowing PCs buy Secrets for the pack and then keeping track of them on a separate "Pack Sheet" or something. The standard cost seems fair, since every member of the pack can use the Secret.

Likewise, keeping an territorial Secrets on the Pack Sheet seems logical. I wouldn't put general werewolf Keys on the Pack Sheet because those things are individual to the specific PC, even if they all have the same kind of Keys. At the moment, every PC has a Werewolf Pack Key, which looks like this:

Werewolf Pack (Name of Pack): Your pack is an essential part of your existence as a werewolf.
1 XP: Share a scene with your pack.
2 XP: Challenge another in your pack.
5 XP: Make a sacrifice for your pack.
BuyOff: Leave the pack.

The only difficulty I can see with this approach is what happens if one or more of the PCs leave the pack. Do the pack Secrets still work or are they all bought off? My approach is that as long as the pack still exists (has at least two werewolf PCs), the pack Secrets still work for the remaining members and the PC(s) that leave(s) the pack get their XP back.
 
Logged
Eero Tuovinen
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 2775


WWW
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2009, 01:23:21 AM »

My first reaction to that sort of set-up would be to allow the fiction and conflict system to resolve the integrity of the pack. An important member leaves? Let the others roleplay their reactions to it and perhaps have the leader roll a simple leadership check to see if the pack stays together or loses its integrity. The same for if somebody dies or if there's a challenge for dominance or such; just have leadership checks and put the pack integrity up as stakes. Then every player gets to decide how much they care about preserving the pack.

Also consider having the experience kickback from leaving the pack be contingent on the terms of the breakage - I'd probably have it be that the pack leader decides whether anybody leaving the pack gets their xp back or not. Could be interesting, and would make for some pressure to make sure that the leaving happens on good terms.
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!