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View Full Version : What Are The Key Differences Between D&D and WOD Games?



Mulsiphix
12-05-2007, 01:14 AM
I'm a long time BattleTech (wargame) player and have just recently taken up study of the Dungeons and Dragons game. I've bought plenty for it and am already trying to find players in my area that might be able to play. I've actually been asked quite a few times if I would consider learning WOD so I could DM for that (DM'ing in D&D being what drew me to the game). I know that WOD operates on the StoryTeller system but that is about all I know... just the name of it. Can anybody tell me the key differences between D&D and WOD or know where I could find such information? I'd like to avoid adding the WOD core rulebook(s) to my reading list if at all possible :p.

PhishStyx
12-05-2007, 01:46 AM
Can anybody tell me the key differences between D&D and WOD or know where I could find such information?

The biggest differences are that the character creation and game mechanics (conflict resolution) are completely different.
Here is a character sheet from the White Wolf website:
http://download.white-wolf.com/download/download.php?file_id=112
Each different section has points allocated at the bottom for new characters. Notable are the nine Attributes, which compare to D&D's six Ability Scores, the skills, and Disciplines (powers).
As you can tell, there are no "Feats."

The task & conflict resolution mechanic is rolling multiple D10's based on the character's Skill and associated Attribute.


I'd like to avoid adding the WOD core rulebook(s) to my reading list if at all possible :p.

Well, I'm afraid that if you're going to run it, you really ought to have the corebook at a minimum.

Digital Arcanist
12-05-2007, 02:03 AM
My experience comes from OWoD (Old World of Darkness) so take it with a grain of salt.

Mainly the differences come down to setting and magic. In WoD everything is urban fantasy and in D&D its high fantasy. Mainly its set in the real world but everything is grittier and darker. Magic is ritualistic and not readily available or blithely used. In the Mage game, you are altering reality when you cast magic. Altering reality carries consequences in the form of Paradox Points. Accrue enough points and bad things come looking for you. There is also a weighting system assigned to the magic. Calling down the lightning is much worse than giving a little hypnotic nudge here and there so you are creating more paradox because you are screwing with probabilities and whatnot. A common complaint is that the system is difficult to understand but being a physicist dealing in Quantum Mechanics I reveled in it.

The games run on the d10 system which has a difficulty threshold and success scales. I always thought it was a simple system with the drawback being that a mundane action could result in rolling like 10 d10's at once.

Both systems are great and I've enjoyed playing in all the games.

Grinnen Baeritt
12-05-2007, 02:23 AM
I found the rules system for WOD games to be relatively generic, however, it is the BACKGROUND information that is ESSENTIAL if you wish to run one of the settings.

So I'm afraid that you will need to read one.

The basic rules are fairly simple, more so IMHO than D20.

Dealing with D10's (and multiples thereof, generally with a maximum of 10) and comparing them to a target number set by the DM, the more successes the better you are. High rolls are good.

The amount of dice you roll is based upon an attribute and a skill. This is called a dice pool. Total both and roll that many dice.

If you try two actions, you use the pool that has the lowest dice and split that pool between the actions.

The difficulties come with the differences between the various settings, which although they use the same setting use slightly different game mechanics for handling the special abilities of the characters and the ways in which they interact with the "real" world.

For example "Wraith", "Mage" and "Changling", are three of the "types" of characters that can be used in the setting and can interact (to a degree) with each other. All use slightly different mechanics for dealing with the characters powers. Thus all three are, in effect, different rules sets.

Digital Arcanist
12-05-2007, 02:30 AM
There are supposed to be rules for standardizing actions across games in WoD. I remember reading a PDF a few days ago but the specifics elude me.

I don't know if we have a resident NWoD expert anymore, but I think Phish plays it some so maybe he can speak to my inklings.

Regardless, the game is worth your time and the OWoD ar easy to find and cheap.

Mulsiphix
12-05-2007, 02:42 AM
Earlier when I mentioned that I didn't want to have to pick up a WOD rulebook, I said so only in hopes of somebody giving me a summary, as you all have done, of how the game mechanics work. I had no intention of host inga WOD game with barely referencing the games source material :). Sorry I didn't really explain that.

I know the World of Darkness houses, at least in the oWOD, different games that operate on slightly different rules from one another but are all based in the same universe. What I was really hoping to learn was how a typical WOD game differs from a typical D&D game. I know D&D has LOTS of dungeon crawling and is "generally" 50%/50% as far as the combat/RP ratio is concerned. I was told that WOD is more like 15%/85% combat/RP. Is this true?

The setting for WOD is intriguing but no more than D&D as far as I'm concerned. Both are full of "been there, done that" material which can be revitalized and extremely fun with the right group/story. I was very interested in the "Storyteller System" that I've seen referenced but never really defined. I was wondering if such a system could be applied to D&D to achieve the 85%/15% ratio of WOD. D&D dungeon/battle maps in general are an issue for me in my cramped house and I'm more interested in character development and storytelling than in dungeon crawling for hours on end. I realize dungeon crawling is needed but EXTENSIVE dungeon crawling seems to be very popular with many of the campaigns I've found documented on the web. Having plaid D&D computer games (far to many to list here) and a few fantasy based MMO's (Ultima Online, Ragnarok Online, World Of WarCraft, Guild Wars) for the last 15 years I can honestly say dungeon crawling is rarely on my "fun list".

Dungeons are so pre-planned and confining. I like the randomness that meets you at every turn when RP'ing and I enjoy random encounters. I naturally feel more passion describing a group of bandits ambushing us on a deserted road than I do while describing PC's opening a door, seeing two kobolds, killing them, and opening the next door. I'm also very interested in getting my PC's to really take part in the storyline development. I think, for most, this comes more natural in a non-confined setting.

Since oWOD is cheep and more fleshed out than NWOD I plan on playing oWOD for a while before I make the jump to the new stuff. If I get into WOD I plan to run it and D&D. My wife and I have a lot of hobby time and are looking to get away from video game heavy stuff back into more sociable activities that stimulate the mind. I've really got to head to bed. I apologize if this post isn't that well laid out. Please respond with any questions if I've been unclear on anything. Thank you very much for the feedback guys. I really appreciate it :)

Skunkape
12-05-2007, 06:49 AM
You can 'story-tell' with any game system out there if you really want to. Just remember, you don't have to be tied to the rules, they're guidelines for running the game, not restrictions to stifle your creative nature!;)

One thing I always try to keep in mind when running my game is to not let the dice get in the way of the story. Sure, I like the dice to give you the random elements for your story, but I don't allow them to ruin the flow of the story anymore. Does that mean I fudge dice rolls on occasion? It sure does.

But I try to make the game fun for my players and so far, I still have a good sized group who are always ready to play my game when we can get together!:D

Oh yeah, good luck and have fun with your game!

Dimthar
01-01-2008, 02:10 PM
Since oWOD is cheep and more fleshed out than NWOD I plan on playing oWOD for a while before I make the jump to the new stuff. If I get into WOD I plan to run it and D&D. My wife and I have a lot of hobby time and are looking to get away from video game heavy stuff back into more sociable activities that stimulate the mind. I've really got to head to bed. I apologize if this post isn't that well laid out. Please respond with any questions if I've been unclear on anything. Thank you very much for the feedback guys. I really appreciate it :)

I would say the Core of oWoD is Manipulation / Politics. Each Power House including the Antagonists groups had Short, Mid and Long Term Agendas. Humanity is their Battleground and trying to control it is the main goal. Humanity is being pushed from all sides and as a result it will push back (e.g. Year of the Hunter).

It is difficult to have a Party with a Mix of different games (which also complicates your job as a storyteller) but can be done. One time I played an Immortal (From Highlander) along with a Vampire (Malkavian) and a Mage (Virtual Adept) in a Short Adventure, we were trying to stop a Ritual who will bring the End of the World, each of us for our own reasons.

My Mage Campaign (myself as storyteller) can not deny was battle oriented.

Background: The North of Mexico was removed from the jurisdiction of the Central Mexican Technocracy and was put under the Jurisdiction of South USA, a Team under the Code Name "Scarecrow Project" was assigned to this Zone to help the local Technocrats secure it from Reality Deviants (RD). Each Team Member was given a secret identity.

Politics: The Team reported directly to their Supervisor in Dallas (US Syndicate), their HQ was located in Monterrey, Mex. and reported indirectly to the Local Technocrat (Mexican NWO). The Central Mexico Techs (Mexico Syndicate) wanted back their lost territory. I decided that the major Power in town was not a super-natural group but an Industry Family (like Rockefeller) whose Head (Padrino Type) controlled 80% of the bigger corporations.

Adventures:
1) Stop Eco-Terrorists (Werewolfs) attacks on Pentex (a subcontractor to the State Oil Company) facilities in the Gulf.
2) Protect the Head of the Family who controlled the major Corporation from assassination attempts from the Political Ruling Party (Vampires & Syndicate)
3) Shut-Down a Tradition Node in the Durango Dessert, Zone of Silence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zone_of_Silence) (Nuwisha & Dreamspeakers) who was harassing a Progenitor Lab.
4) Investigate the Assassination of a Syndicate Agent (which was loyal to the Central Mexico) in charge of the Steel Industry Town of Monclova (Suspect: Their NWO Local Supervisor)

Then everybody schedules got messed up and we stopped playing (Could not get the same 3 out 5 players in consecutive sessions).

Mulsiphix
01-01-2008, 03:25 PM
Holy crap that sounds complicated. When I think of oWOD I think of the dark ages of Vampire The Masquerade. Then again I've only dipped my hand into the shallow end of an olympic sized pool so to speak. I was never very fond of the WOD in the modern setting. Just never felt right to me.

Digital Arcanist
01-01-2008, 05:34 PM
Dimthar's campaign isn't that complicated really. I like the fact that his players are actually the "bad guys" of the WoD games.

I miss playing WOD games but everyone in my area just wants to LARP and well...that's not really my thing.

Mulsiphix
01-01-2008, 05:43 PM
Larp?

Dimthar
01-01-2008, 08:02 PM
I never played or read the Dark Ages Campaign. To those more educated in the subject:

Does the Dark Ages campaign lack the Gehenna/Apocalypse/Ascension theme? It seems to me that the way oWoD was presented, a modern setting would have a closer feeling to the "End of Days" mood.

Back to the basics

It seems to me that a Player Character will constantly struggle to align his personal goals with those of his "Party" and those of his Clan/Tribe/Tradition. Even within "Cohesive" organizations like the Camarilla or the Technocracy, points of view between the sub-groups are diverse and sometimes opposite, which of course lead to the Political Infighting.

When reading the History of the Technocracy, I liked the idea of the Techs being divided during the WWII, showing that Race and Nation has as much influence and weight as how do you decide to understand "Reality".

At the end you are not just another Brujah vampire, you are a 30y Old (Human Age) Hispanic from the 60's (Joined Cesar Chavez movement) vampire who happens to be also a Brujah.

Digital Arcanist
01-01-2008, 08:40 PM
It seems to me that a Player Character will constantly struggle to align his personal goals with those of his "Party" and those of his Clan/Tribe/Tradition. Even within "Cohesive" organizations like the Camarilla or the Technocracy, points of view between the sub-groups are diverse and sometimes opposite, which of course lead to the Political Infighting.



I disagree....a PC in WoD would mostly likely try to manipulate the goals of the party to align with his.:D

I think all the manipulation and subterfuge is important to the setting but makes it difficult to find a quality campaign or Story Teller. For most this is probably a compliment because, well, who wants to be known as manipulative or sneaky right?

I love to play the game because its like living in a mystery novel and you have to figure out when you are being used and how to change your circumstances in your favor.

Mulsiphix
01-01-2008, 08:59 PM
I thought WOD claim to fame was the horror/scary element to the game sessions. Are they not particularly scary or is WOD more of a political thriller set in a horror setting?

fmitchell
01-01-2008, 10:13 PM
I thought WOD claim to fame was the horror/scary element to the game sessions. Are they not particularly scary or is WOD more of a political thriller set in a horror setting?

In most of the WOD settings, PCs play the monsters. From what I can tell, WOD is about negotiating internal politics, defending against external threats (human and monstrous), and keeping the group hidden from normal humanity ... with a gothic/horror/dark fantasy twist.

Oh, and LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing, where you actually spend a weekend or a convention acting in character, using simple methods to resolve game conflicts (e.g. rock, paper, scissors), and accomplishing some objective under the nose of non-players. WOD-based LARPs seem to be popular, but there's also Call of Cthulhu LARPs (which sometimes become elaborate, especially when actors and prop designers are the participants). If you've heard of Killer, The Assassination Game, etc, where you try to "kill" your friends with toy pistols and laminated tokens marked "Poison", you've encountered a very early LARP.

Mulsiphix
01-01-2008, 10:35 PM
Isn't Mind Eye's Theatre the WOD official LARP product line? Or is that considered something else?

Digital Arcanist
01-01-2008, 10:39 PM
With NWoD I'm not sure what Mind's Eye Theatre is but back in the day it was the guide for LARP'ing. The books were small and paperbacks to facilitate quick searches on the go.

Mulsiphix
01-02-2008, 12:03 AM
I can't find information on it much of anywhere. The wiki for it is practically barren and the white wolf page isn't that helpful either. From what the wiki says it is definitely a LARP though. THE LARP as far as WOD is concerned. Anybody know if other major lines, say D&D, have the equivalent to Mind Eye's Theatre?

Digital Arcanist
01-02-2008, 12:19 AM
D&D LARP'ing?.....I've seen videos of it but don't know any resources you could look at. I imagine the re-enactment societies snap up most fantasy LARP'ers.

Mulsiphix
01-02-2008, 02:23 AM
I'd kill to watch some videos of some Star Wars or other space/sci-fi LARPing. Authentic passionate space LARP'ers :D

boulet
01-04-2008, 03:48 PM
You can 'story-tell' with any game system out there if you really want to. Just remember, you don't have to be tied to the rules, they're guidelines for running the game, not restrictions to stifle your creative nature!;)

I completely agree with Skunkape. Role playing, story telling, the tag doesn't matter very much as long as you entertain your players.

But the focus of World of Darkness is IMHO in the social interactions and investigation than combat. There could be several session in a row during a WoD campaign without any fight occurring for instance. The pleasure of the game can rely for instance in the player trying to apply there supernatural powers (disciplines of vampires for instance) in order to pursue their cause.

You feel uncomfortable with a modern World of Darkness ? Well what the heck, create your own context... Why not use Anne Rice's The Witching Hour and elaborate a campaign in the Caraibes of XIXth century, full of voodoo with a background of slave revolts in Haiti for instance. Or like one friend of mine did, develop a story in XVth century Firenze, with a scheme of political clash between papal emissaries and a rich noble family.

This is one seduction of WoD : pick a place and time in History that fascinates you, do some documention, et voila, you have a campaign context !

Mulsiphix
01-04-2008, 03:59 PM
Now that I can do. WOD meets 1850's rise of Polka in Sweeden! Yodeling Vampires and stylish polka playing Werewolves here I come!

I wouldn't mind starting a campaign in the same way that the video game Vampire The Masquerade did. However I don't think I would include the modern setting and obviously the story would change. That setting to me, dark ages in general, is probably my favorite of all time as far as war, politics, and "the unknown" settings are concerned. Many thanks for the suggestion boulet.

boulet
01-04-2008, 04:26 PM
Looks good to me ! If you use regular WoD stuff you will just have to rework the set of skills and talents : computer knowledge isn't very common a century ago except for Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage :D

Digital Arcanist
01-04-2008, 11:11 PM
Just buy Vampire: The Dark Ages

Mulsiphix
01-04-2008, 11:36 PM
Already working on collecting every last item produced for it :p

MortonStromgal
01-16-2008, 06:02 PM
nWOD mechanically is better for staying out of the way of your story (simplified rules to one roll or an opposed roll). The lines are hit and miss with fans depending on what your after. They have removed the global organizations and meta-plot so you dont need a PHD in vampire history to play anymore. MET is still around and the Cam still runs the show. The new MET is sooo much better IMO rather than paper rock sissors you use poker cards. I think nWOD mortals is an awesome investment (all lines build off the mortal line), Vampire and Werewolf are coming around but the disadvantage with the new is you need several books to equal 1 book of the old when it comes to flavor.

If you play nWOD remember willpower is there for spending its really easy to get back (you even get one back per day for resting). Its designed with the idea that you will use willpower on tests you want to do well on so you might go through 4 or 5 a night.

Mulsiphix
01-16-2008, 06:09 PM
Did you play a lot of the original WOD?

MortonStromgal
01-17-2008, 12:43 AM
I played a lot of old Masquerade and Vampire Dark Ages. I have played the old Werewolf but it wasn't really my thing. I really loved 1st edition Dark Ages partly because of the really terrible IMO video game. Give me a 1st edition Vampire Dark Ages and the Transylvania book and I'll have a chronicle that thrills my players.

For the new stuff I hated Vampire but now I think theres just a couple bugs that can be house ruled out one way or the other. Its all flavor bugs, the mechanics are fine. They opened up the plot too much and it make the old timers who liked the meta-plot (thats me) uncomfortable. As a new GM going it I think its probably better but I have too much old edition baggage. For example the old clan Ventrue and the new clan Ventrue while they carry the same name are very different in nature. The old Ventrue are Aristocrats where as the new are Masters. I chose the word master because unlike the old Ventrue there thing isn't to rule by manipulation any more, oh no now they are out for total domination. The powers even changed to reflect this. Thats one of may examples I could throw out of how its hard to move from the old stuff to the new. They removed the goth punk and went more toward the personal horror. I still love the old stuff (well not the mechanics, they seam old and archaic compared with the slim new stuff) but if I want to run a mortal or werewolf game I'll go with nWOD. Oh and the new Changeling is fantastic! YMMV

boulet
01-17-2008, 11:23 AM
MET is still around and the Cam still runs the show.

What does MET stands for ? And Cam ?

I'm a bit confused by your wording

Drohem
01-17-2008, 12:14 PM
MET = Mind's Eye Theatre

MET the publisher of all the White Wolf LARP books and sourcebooks. There is a LARP version of Vampire and Werewolf; maybe of the other games in the OWoD NWoD product lines.

http://www.white-wolf.com/met/index.php

MortonStromgal
01-17-2008, 01:10 PM
Cam is short for Camerella, the official LARP for White Wolf games. You pay membership dues and everything but in return White Wolf finds you games to be in and places to play. They also have a big hand in writing the MET rules. for nWOD Vampire and Werewolf are out and Mage and Changling are on the way. The Camerella has draft versions of the rules for Mage and Changling that they are tweaking right now. Or at leased thats how I understand it. I do not belong to the Cam so I'm going off of what I read on Forums and what the LARPers I know say. The local chapter plays at the Masonic Lodge in the Queen Ann district of Seattle

Mulsiphix
01-17-2008, 06:21 PM
With the exception of the streamlined, and finally united game product lines, WOD rules I cannot imagine a reason to play nWOD. What do you mean it is more about personal horror? If nWOD is about personal whore what is oWOD about?

MortonStromgal
01-17-2008, 08:40 PM
With the exception of the streamlined, and finally united game product lines, WOD rules I cannot imagine a reason to play nWOD. What do you mean it is more about personal horror? If nWOD is about personal whore what is oWOD about?

Well the main reason is for people who don't want the never ending metaplot. But I'll answer your horror question.

Vampire started out about personal horror then became more gothic punk, and rightly so as they were pulling from more modern myths like Ann Rice where vampires are sexy and not monsters. Over time this changed into dark superheros (which it kind of was from the beginning) and with enough outcries moved into playing the bad guys.

nWOD for good and bad focuses more on you being a horrible monster. Vampire is back to the original story of trying to save your own humanity only this time your not the sexy goth punk of before and instead your this horrible monster. The writing is a lot darker more similar to some of the things you saw out of the later vampire stuff from before while still retaining the save your soul story.

Changeling is by far the biggest change. It went from happy fae children to you were captured and tortured somehow you escaped and your on the run. You can see this change in all the lines except Mage. I don't get a dark feeling from it yet but I don't have any of the extra books for it and frankly thats where the fluff is now, the main books might as well be strait rule books for the amount of fluff.

For me Vampire is a toss up which I think is better. I do like the fact that my beloved Tremere are no longer a clan but rather there are a couple covenants that are similar in idea (I am happy with a Mekhet/Ordo Dracul combo but its arguable how to make a Tremere in the new system). It just makes more sense that they are a society of vampires rather than a clan. I don't like that the Nosferatu are no longer the sewer rats. The bloodlines in the old made a lot of sense. In the new it feels a lot like a D&D 3.X prestige class and I still can't wrap my head around the idea of the new take on bloodlines.

Heres my suggestion while your buying oWOD stuff pick up Damnation City (VTR) its very usable with both and will give you a look into the writing style change. The Blood is probably the best for the flavor of VTR but it wont be nearly as useful for VTM

Mulsiphix
01-18-2008, 12:15 AM
I very much appreciate the detailed information you posted. For once I can clearly see the differences. I will pick up Damnation City as soon as I get some extra cash, which shouldn't be long at all. I'll see if I can't find a copy of The Blood locally and see if I want to pick it up. Good stuff :D