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30 July 2015 @ 03:09 pm
Multiple actions in nWoD  
nWoD does not have multiple actions, and normally that's okay for the kind of horror game that it's trying to achieve. I've heard new World of Darkness described as not having a combat system, but rather having a "murder simulator" before. That's fine in games of playing predators of the night or packs of werewolves hunting spirits in the wilds, but using the system for fantasy gaming like what I do with it means that it breaks down a little bit.

As an example, look at the last session of the Flight of the Phoenix chronicle that softlykarou ran. One-action-no-exceptions means that the kind of boss fight she tried to run is basically impossible, since the party outnumbers the boss. Add in that each additional attack after the first in a round reduce the target's Defense, and RPG staple one boss versus many PCs fights have an extremely narrow sweet spot in nWoD. Either the party wipes the floor with the boss, as we did in the Flight of the Phoenix game, or the boss is too strong and wipes out the party. I want to fix that, with a side order of letting the PCs fight hordes of weak enemies without themselves getting wiped out due to the numbers advantage.

So! Multiple actions. I'm probably in the minority who liked cWoD/Exalted 1e's splitting dice pools, which are summarized in post four here, but I think it would actually work here as long as there's no way to increase dice pools too high. If the average starting adventurer has 7 dice in their main pool, then they can probably default to two actions at -2 and -3 respectively. Two attacks, or attacking and maintaining control of a runaway carriage, or swinging on a chandelier while throwing the treasure to a compatriot. I'm not actually sure nWoD has rules for doing two things at the same time like this and there are also other ways to handle the problem (penalty to Firearms roll while also controlling the carriage, for example), but I can deal with that after seeing if this system works at all.

Speed powers like Celerity would not grant extra actions here, they would let the character mitigate some of the penalties of multiple actions. Maybe some kind of bizarre spirit or horrifying cthonic monstrosity is fast and gains extra actions, but not human-scale opponents.

One benefit of nWoD here is that since armor is purely ablative, then doing a lot of small attacks against a hard target might be pointless since none of them will have enough successes to do damage. Or it might be the strategy, as some party members wear down an opponent's Defense with a few attacks while other party members get into place for a single powerful blow. I actually like that possibility.

Problems I can see now: splitting dice pools this way is intuitive for me but might not be for my players, Defense is devalued because the number of incoming attacks increases (though I already house-ruled this, so I need to see how they interact), and high enough dice pools make the penalties trivial. Whether these will come up in play and break the game, I guess I'll have to find out. As Dungeon Fantastic says, actual play is the real crucible.
 
 
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