Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My White Whale

Anyone who has read this blog more than twice probably knows that I have been searching in vain (or maybe in vein, ziiiing) for a replacement for World of Darkness.

I want a modern horror game with vampires and werewolves and witches and things.
I don't like classic WoD anymore. I've just plain lost my taste for it.
I tried to like nWoD, but it just didn't do anything for me. Some of the books had cool ideas.
The new Chronicles of Darkness, particularly Beast: the Primordial, had me until I got to all the business about Tilts and Doors and then I hit the spirit manifestation/possession flow chart and I was solidly in "fuck this" territory.

I tried to use FUDGE to create an urban fantasy/horror game, but I just couldn't seem to make it fit.

I tried making a WoD-type game using B/X D&D rules. Some people liked it (including Matthew Skail, who went on to write The Blood Hack, which is way better than what I wrote) and some people didn't. (JB in particular) In the end, it felt somehow 'off.' The basic idea was there, but something about it...I don't know. Maybe it's worth a redraft.

I tried OneDice Urban Fantasy, but I don't like the system very much. (Though I did run a stellar game with it at KantCon a couple years ago)

The Blood Hack is probably the closest thing I have to a satisfactory replacement, but I found I needed rules for witches and werewolves. I wrote a witch thing, which is in working draft form, but the person I wrote it for is no longer in my life and I find I have little desire to revisit it. I tried to write up some werewolf rules, but couldn't get off the launchpad. (I think Mr. Skail mentioned having similar difficulties.)

I've downloaded Feed and Blood Dark Thirst, and read them a little ,but once again I am looking for a game that has a big ol' supernatural melting pot.

I found Microlight Storyteller, which is a neat idea, but for some reason it doesn't quite do it for me. I think I like light, but not microlight.

I tried to write something up with Fate core, but to be honest I really don't have any fucking idea how Fate works, despite having read it and (tried) to run it. The way I handle Fate, you might as well just toss the books and dice aside and just make a bunch of shit up.

At this point, I'm really not sure what to do. I still have the powerful urge to find or create a game of urban supernatural creatures, but I've been looking for years and I'm just spinning my tires at this point.

And of course, all of this is academic, since I haven't had a gaming group since that steaming pile of a D&D5e game that I was playing in last year, and that situation is unlikely to change. Even if I sat down and pounded out my dream game today, I am writing a game for nobody.

...yet the quest continues. Those windmills aren't going to tilt at themselves, you know.


  1. Have you tried Urban Shadows (a PbtA game)? And I think I saw a WoD adaptation for Dungeon World or something like that.

  2. FWIW Dresden Accelerated (used Fate Accelerated), and in play it does end up a bit like just making shit up. But I think that has a long and proud history. Half the reason people used DM screens was the ability to fudge it. In that respect whether d20 or fudge dice, it's all just making it up as you go along. In that respect the mechanics and character sheet really are just ways to express what the character can do. And if that is all it is, then maybe Fate Accelerated is just fine.

  3. Have you tried Night's Black Agents? I feel like it hits a lot of the same notes that the old WoD does.

  4. @Marcelo- I have not. I've never played any of the Apocalypse Engine games. I've read some examples of play and I'm not sure it's exactly my thing, I felt a certain vagueness reminiscent of Fate... but maybe it's worth a second look.

    @mikkelibob- While making shit up is the thing that brought us the hobby, I do like to feel like I'm playing a cohesive game and not just sort of talking out of my ass. I also haven't fudged rolls in years. ;P

    @War- Night's Black Agents is focused on vampires, is it not?

  5. Write a game for yourself. It's all just for fun anyway.

    1. Writing a game for nobody to play might be the height of my absurdity, but it's also probably the closes I'm going to get to playing again, the way things are going.