System Selection: White Wolf

Thursday, 2. December 2010

It’s nice to be able to talk about all sorts of obscure as well as ancient systems and their tweaks, but what if you want to get a game and play something right now?  Well, you are limited to what you can get off the shelf or at your local hobby shop.  With dwindling numbers of hobby stores, if you’re really lucky (like myself) you might only be able to get whats available at your local book store.  Fortunately however,  they are carrying more and more.  So, over the next while I’ll be looking at commonly available games, as well as their flaws and perks.  You might think I’d start with Dungeons and Dragons in this case, but actually I’m going to start with White Wolf, simply because I think it gives character details the emphasis that are required to get players somewhat excited about them from the get go. 

Game System:  White Wolf – Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Wraith.  I am gloming these all together because they’re all World of Darkness settings, even though they have vastly different focuses.  The various groups tend to hate each other as well so it can make for some pretty interesting role playing if you have a mixed group.

General Setting: Wold of Darkness – Alternative contemporary, but can also be alternative historical given the number of resources available.  This makes setting up games rather simple as you can simply look around your area and “White wolf-ify it” as in make it dark and sinister.

Detail Focus:  Mystery, Intrigue, Drama, Character relations are all major driving factors in white wolf games.  These games are very heavily based on actually role playing and the character generation and notes reflect it (as does the character sheet!)  There is a lot of complicated interpersonal relations that get played out that drive the plot.  Combat although important is a small portion in comparison.  The game certainly can be a combat game, but the system is rather abstract compared to others out there.

System Difficulty: Simple (3-4 out of 10) with a major Caveat.  The system in WoD is very simple to learn the mechanics of and you can be up and running in a day pretty confidently.  Caveat – Tons of customs and behaviors need to be learned to play your character effectively.  You’ll either be riding the learning curve with a storyteller or more hopefully have a group and storyteller that will be along with you to help you “ride the lightning,.”

Kid Suitability:  Rather Low.  The setting is very dark and sinister, and if you aren’t getting the life sucked out of you, ripped apart, tortured, turned into a ghoul etc (or doing the same to others) you are doing something wrong.  Not something I would teach to kids although teens are going to get into it for  those very factors. 

Cost: 35$ or less if you find it used gets you started on a particular journey.

Other Notes:  While I don’t play this a whole lot, I love the concept and settings as well as the simplicity and role play focus.  I am back in second edition with these games however, and I understand there have been at least 2 more revisions since then.  Not a huge problem, but apparently a lot of what was considered canon within the settings have been changed which makes for some interesting schisms.

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2 Responses to “System Selection: White Wolf”

  1. Don Says:

    D&D Basic… where Elf and Dwarf was a class, not a race! And you could even rock them out to level EIGHT!!!

  2. Grey Says:

    Hells yeah! I need to find where my old basic books got lost to :/

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