Nightlife Corebook (Let's Read)

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Black Leaf

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So I've plugged this on here a lot and thought people might like to hear about the game.

It's worth noting that Nightlife is out of print and won't be coming back due to IP disputes. I will also merely observe that one of the co designers has mentioned that you can probably find it on the internet (I believe he mentioned 4chan) but naturally this means he no more endorses pirating the game than I do.

Let's start with the cover.

32_pu74yd.jpg


That's certainly a cover.

Note the mullet and the swooning lady. I'm not sure whether she's a victim or whether she's been having hot monster sex in a subway tunnel. It calls itself "urban horror" which is accurate, although their take on horror is very different than other games at the time as we'll see later.

Play a Vampyre! Play a Werewolf! Play a Ghost!

That's crucial to understanding what the game is aiming for. It has lots and lots of character options. It was one of its main selling points.
 

Black Leaf

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X'ing a Darrow ... Class is in Session

This is the obligatory fiction and it's inoffensive, having the decency to only be a page long. It introduces us to several recurring NPCs. The title shows us the book's love of adorably bad made up slang.

Samantha X who is wearing a dress "that consisted of a black leather trenchcoat she had pulled over a tight T-shirt that had Thrash Rulez printed on it". Our as yet unnamed narrator is apparently into "old Dead Kennedys and Black Flag". Apparently Samantha used to do musical criticism back in Paris and reviewed Rite of Spring. She is going to be the narrator's (and by extension our) introduction to the world of The Kin.

It's worth mentioning that this came out in 1990 originally, so anything that seems familiar from White Wolf Games actually appeared in Nightlife first.
 

Jan Paparazzi

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This game seems much more action focused and turf war than the more political focused WoD games. Cool, keep it coming. :grin:
 

Voros

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That cover is certainly something.
 

Black Leaf

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Introduction

A new definition for horror


This starts with an overview of the author's perspective on horror. It talks about how mankind has been fascinated with horror from pre-history, briefly covering various famous historical monsters from Gilgamesh to the Cyclops. It also talks briefly about how the witch hunts were an example of how the Europeans kept their monsters firmly onstage.

From there it goes on to talk about the Enlightenment putting the monster back into popular culture (which I'm not sure is true) and goes through various famous vampire stories from Varney to Dracula.

It goes on from there to suggest that two major events changed the face of horror; Hiroshima and the Holocaust. It's an interesting theory; because humanity had seen true horror in reality even mutant radioactive metaphors didn't quite cut it and something new was needed. Which, in the author's view was

Splatterpunk

Apparently Splatterpunk is crude and rude and its main ambition is confrontation with the audience. It's about showing the guts spill out to shock a jaded audience. It was about drenching the audience with gore as opposed to hiding it from them.

This probably gives us a good idea of the feel Nightlife is going for, especially with its namechecking of James Herbert and Ckive Barker as seminal splatterpunks.

It also discusses a parallel development, that of the romanticisation of the monster. While not new (Dracula in particular has obvious sensual qualities) it was arguably Lee's 1960's version that really brought Dracula as smoldering lothario into his own. It also mentions The Lost Boys which is an obvious influence on the game as a whole. According to this section modern horror means "Splatterpunk and sexy monsters" which is a good summary of what Nightlife is aiming for.

What Nightlife is all about

Enough philosophising and history lessons and into the actual game now. It tells us that "Nightlife is a game in which Players take the part of extranatural creatures living in a New York City in the near future". The New York part is very specific, I suspect this game probably started as a homebrew campaign.

We find out that all extranatural creatures are considered The Kin (arguable, as we'll see much later on) and that they call humanity The Herd.

It also mentions that various Kin factions exist. The only one mentioned by name here is The Commune, a loose collective that want to coexist peacefully with the Herd.

It gives us three main campaign options.

Its recommended campaign is as Commune members, defending humanity and the Kin from those that would do them harm.

But it also says you might want to play characters from one of the anti human factions, conspiring to take over the earth as its new masters.

The final suggested option is a human campaign, which is basically hunters. (Especially as it mentions the Van Helsing Society and Project Alpha here, both of which are essentially hunter groups).

Incidentally, this section also has their term for GM for the first time. They're now called City Planners. Isn't that just adorable?

Roleplaying Games

The obligatory "what is a RPG" section. It's straightforward rather than going on about jazz or whatthefuckever.

Using this Book

Quick content's description. The book is in two sections. The Player's Section. And the GM's (sorry, City Planner's) Section. Players should know the first but not the second. Maybe it's just me but I find the idea that players will all learn the rules oddly touching in its optimism.

Also a bit about ignoring the rules if you don't like them.

Dice

Nighlife exclusively uses D10s. A summing roll adds up the numbers, a percentile roll you all already know.

Rounding

Nearest whole number. 0.5 rounds up. Actually, I like this being here. It's something weirdly missing from a lot of games.

Mapping

How to use hex paper and minis in your game. Cementing the game's place as the missing link between eighties and nineties RPGs.

That's everything for now. I actually really like the introduction going through it for the first time in a while. It's extensive, but without waffle and covers everything you might want to know. The stuff about the tone of the game is useful although it remains to be seen if they manage it as we go through.

Next up will be everybody's favourite part, character gen. Join me as I roll up Johnny Guitar, ace Vampire guitarist and member of the Commune. (In the world of Nightlife this is one of the less ostentatious names the Kin choose for themselves).
 

FeralToaster

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Oh neat, a modern fantasy genre rpg book I have yet read, those are getting pretty rare these days. Thank you Black Leaf for starting this thread.
 

Black Leaf

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Character Generation

This starts with some more fiction. To summarise, the unnamed man from before is called Tyler. He tells Sam "Vampires don't exist lol" (I'm paraphrasing here). She turns into a wolf, pins him to the ground with a growl and licks his face. Somehow this manages to be more BDSM than VTM without even trying.

Abilities

There are seven, all determined by rolling 4d10 for each one, then applying the racial modifers which we haven't seen yet.

They're pretty self explanatory. Strength, Dexterity, Fitness, Intellect, Will, Perception, Attractiveness, Luck.

Will is essentially Willpower. It's made clear that Attractiveness is solely aesthetic and has nothing to do with personality because "the Player is responsible for that". It can also be improved with the Personal Grooming skill (see nerds, baths work!) and a killer pair of shoes.

Luck is a bit of an odd one and is the first glimpse of some of the mechanical oddities in Nightlife. It's pretty important. It gives a random good luck roll if the City Planner wants one. It also determines Survival Points (which we'll get too in a second. But they're hit points). You can also divide it by 5 and use any skill you don't know. It places no limitations on this, but I would as a GM. Seduction makes sense. Hindu theology not so much. It does max out at 20% though.


The most notable thing about this is that characters get 1d10 more Luck after every adventure. Without limit. Which could quickly lead to it getting out of hand in a regular campaign. And judging by the NPCs that come later it will do. One of them has a Luck of 405!

We then get derived attributes. Survival Points is determined by adding Luck and Fitness. However, this at least has a hard limit of 10x Fitness. They also mention that the Kin can return from the dead up to their Fitness score, unless killed in a specific way (which isn't covered yet). "Goddammit Dave, we've killed you 25 times and there's still 15 to go". Hand to Hand damage is a simple case of Str/5 although it mentions the possibiilty of bonuses from Martial Arts and special attacks.

Humanity is important. All characters start with 50 Humanity and 100 Maximum Humanity.

Edges

These are your supernatural powers. All characters get some Beginning Edges for free; things like Lupine form for werewolves. There's also Common Edges, which it doesn't list yet but says any character can buy. And Racial Edges, which are specific to various Kin races. Everything but Beginning Edges costs Maximum Humanity to acquire and even Beginning Edges cost Maximum Humanity to improve.

Flaws

All the races have these although it doesn't list them yet.

Skills

No skill iist yet, but you generate them by rolling 20 d10s. You can place more than one in a skill but you can't divide the dice. So if you roll a 7, that's a 7 in a single skill.

Each skill has a governing stat, which you add to your dice roll. Some combat skills have two, in which case you just add and divide by two.

Everyone starts out with 30 in their native language, which is considered competency. Players can choose to have their characters worse than that with the permission of the GM.

Some skills have prerequiste skills, which need to be at 30 before you can take the skill that requires them.

Personal Profile

All the little bits that flesh out your character. To highlight some interesting bits.

It specifically says that many of the Kin have names that bear little resemblence to normal names, using titles, anagrams and even numbers as they see fit. The two examples they give are Samantha X and Golgotha, both NPCs we'll be seeing a lot of.

A young Kin is up to a 100 years old.

Kin like funny coloured hair and funny haircuts. Wyghts automatically have white hair although it doesn't say if it can be dyed. If anything, one would think white hair makes it easier.

Favoured mode of dress is very important because "victims are attracted as much by an artfully ripped pair of jeans as a pretty face".

Connections

This is a simple, but nice touch. you roll 1d10 on a table to count your connections from 1-6. These are mostly your bartenders and taxi drivers, but higher rolls allow you to choose someone like the Police Chief as one connection you can spend two connections for importetant figures like Elder Kin.

That's it for now! Hopefully the mechanics are starting to come into clearer focus now.

Next up is experience (which is next in the book for some reason) and then the long awaited Kin Races.
 

Gabriel

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Luck is a bit of an odd one and is the first glimpse of some of the mechanical oddities in Nightlife. It's pretty important. It gives a random good luck roll if the City Planner wants one. It also determines Survival Points (which we'll get too in a second. But they're hit points). You can also divide it by 5 and use any skill you don't know. It places no limitations on this, but I would as a GM. Seduction makes sense. Hindu theology not so much. It does max out at 20% though.

The most notable thing about this is that characters get 1d10 more Luck after every adventure. Without limit. Which could quickly lead to it getting out of hand in a regular campaign. And judging by the NPCs that come later it will do. One of them has a Luck of 405!

Maybe I'm overthinking it, but could this use of Luck for default skill values be intended to reflect really old and knowledgeable supernatural creatures without having to deal with itemizing every skill? So increasing Luck with experience just means you've been around for a while and been exposed to and learned a little bit of everything?

I guess it depends on the description of the NPC with that 405 Luck. That's an 81% default on everything!
 

Black Leaf

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Maybe I'm overthinking it, but could this use of Luck for default skill values be intended to reflect really old and knowledgeable supernatural creatures without having to deal with itemizing every skill? So increasing Luck with experience just means you've been around for a while and been exposed to and learned a little bit of everything?

I guess it depends on the description of the NPC with that 405 Luck. That's an 81% default on everything!
It actually caps out at 20% so above that it's questionable how much use it is.

The NPC in question is Golgotha who is ancient and the most powerful NPC in game. His age is unclear, but he was already a vampire at the time of Christ.

But even considering that, it's a rapid growth rate. Assuming you're running once a week, your players will go up by 20 points a month on average.
 

Ladybird

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Maybe I'm overthinking it, but could this use of Luck for default skill values be intended to reflect really old and knowledgeable supernatural creatures without having to deal with itemizing every skill? So increasing Luck with experience just means you've been around for a while and been exposed to and learned a little bit of everything?

I guess it depends on the description of the NPC with that 405 Luck. That's an 81% default on everything!
Yeah, it sounds good as a "background knowledge" ability.
 

Black Leaf

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I think I'm going to move to a briefer overview now because this will get unwieldy otherwise!

Advancement, Rewards and Penalties for an Adventure

Which is a fancy way of saying "experience".

It works on a skill advancement system, with each character gaining 5d10 skill rolls to put into skills or buy new ones. The CP can also give extra ones for good roleplaying.
You also get a bonus d10 roll for each 5 points of humanity you gain during the adventure. I'm not sure how I feel on that one. On one hand, it does feel a bit constraining to roleplay to have a mechanical benefit for gaining Humanity. But it is probably fair to say that playing humanely is more difficult than just slaughtering your enemies.

You can also buy new Edges, in exchange for Max Humanity. But you can only do that in between games; you can't do it in the middle of an adventure. (It says new Edges take weeks or even months to acquire).

It also mentions the luck gain again. My concern about the rate of character growth rises after this section. I'd look at this quite seriously if I was planning to run Nightlife.

Humanity

We see a lot more detail about this now. It splits it into two stats, Humanity and Max Humanity. Humanity is the character's behaviour at that moment and tends to fluctuate. Max Humanity is their overall worldview and tends to be more static.

This gets a bit mathy so it's worth going into detail.

At the end of an adventure you reconcile the two scores until they're within 10 points of each other. However, because Max Humanity is more immobile each 10 points of Humanity translates into 1 point of Max Humanity.

Humanity Gain

Humanity can never be higher than Max Humanity at the end of an adventure. If it is, you subtract 10 and add 1 to Max Humanity. Repeat the process until Max Humanity is higher.

Humanity Loss

This is similar. If your Humanity is below zero at the end of an adventure add 10 and -1 from Max Humanity. Repeat until Humanity is above zero. It mentions that zero Max Humanity turns you into a NPC but doesn't go into detail at this stage.

Example

Just to show how this comes together.

Rosebud (a particularly spooky animated china doll) is not a nice Animate. She only has 36 Max Humanity and 34 Humanity. However she's been trying really hard to be heroic and gained a whopping 21 Humanity last adventure. This gives her 55 Humanity which is way too high. She drops it to 45 and raises her Max Humanity to 37. But that's still too high so she needs to repeat the process. At the end she hs 35 Humanity and 38 Max Humanity.

Overall I quite like the Humanity rules, clunky though they can be. In particular, the idea that your short term actions take time to be seen in terms of your overall worldview is one that I like.
 

Black Leaf

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Kin Races

Few notes on this before we get to the meat.

I'll be describing pictures because the PDF isn't c&pable and I'm too lazy to scan.

This section does tell us what Edges the races have before they've been described. Thankfullly they're mostly self explanatory - we can guess what "Rat Form" does easily enough.

The seven races described here are just the major races; there are many many other Kin races. And almost all would be playable.

The fiction has Tyler and Sam going to a Kin club and seeing lots of weird monsters getting down with their bad selves. It's a bit pointless but it's fine.

Universal Kin Powers

Every Kin race has a few powers in common.

They're difficult to photograph and need to use the Photogenics edge to appear on film.

They're highly resistant to mortal diseases and immune to most. They also can't infect each other. However, there's an ominous sounding disease called Nerve Rot/The Pox which exclusively affects Kin.

Kin are immortal and don't age. And you have to kill them lots of times as mentioned before.

All the Kin have some Common Edges which they can all buy (expect Sorcerors, who are mentioned in the Magic sourcebook so I won't be covering them again here). Armour, Aura Sight, Claws, Danger Sense, Drain, Event Manipulation, Locate Human, Mental Mapping, Nocturnal Vision, Photogenics, Send Dream, Speed, Time Sense, Weather Control.
 

Black Leaf

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Vampyres

Who all spell badly apparently. We see the legendary Samantha as the header image for this. Well, I assume it's her, unless all the girl Vampyres in New York are wearing "Thrash Rulez" t shirts. She has hair that looks like badger stripes. She's a bit masculine; not really my type but I had lots of mates in the early 90s who had a thing for short haired girls that looked like they'd beat you in a fight.

Vampires are inhumanely strong (+20!) and get a smaller (+5) bonus to Attractiveness, Fitness and Dexterity.

They all start with the ability to Drain Blood and Mesmerise. If they want more, as well as the universal powers, they can buy Animal Control, Ratform, Batform, Mistform, Wolf Form and Infection.

They have a lot of flaws though. Sunlight and immersion in running water hurt them, as does fire, wood and holy relics. (Which means hitting them with a baseball bat works and is a lot easier to manage than a stake). If their Humanity is below 50 they can accidentally turn their victims into vampires (oops) and need to sleep on the dirt from their cemetery every night.


Vampyres with a high humanity look humanlike, low humanity Vampyres look like corpses.

They also take less damage from their banes as Humanity rises and vice versa. They still have to drink blood every night either way though.

Every Vampyre is created by a Vampyre and they tend to split pretty evenly into pro and human factions.

They're a good introduction to Nightlife races I think. As you can see, Nightlife goes for a more traditional approach to its monsters as far as their strengths and weaknesses are concerned.
 

Gringnr

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Not to derail, but didn't all of the Stellar Games products use basically the same system of mechanics? I have seen all of them except for Expendables, and the character sheets are all very similar.

Also, I think I read somewhere that Expendables got them in some hot water due to being very similar, background-wise, to Justifiers...?
 

Black Leaf

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Not to derail, but didn't all of the Stellar Games products use basically the same system of mechanics? I have seen all of them except for Expendables, and the character sheets are all very similar.

Also, I think I read somewhere that Expendables got them in some hot water due to being very similar, background-wise, to Justifiers...?
Yes they did, with a few tweaks. (I haven't heard the Expendables story though).
 

AsenRG

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Note the mullet and the swooning lady. I'm not sure whether she's a victim or whether she's been having hot monster sex in a subway tunnel.
The bite marks on the left side of her neck change the question to "was she a victim, or did she just knowingly pay the usual price for going after a hot vampire":grin:.

This game seems much more action focused and turf war than the more political focused WoD games. Cool, keep it coming. :grin:
WoD is politically focused now? Are you referring to the latest edition:tongue:?
 

AsenRG

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Character Generation

This starts with some more fiction. To summarise, the unnamed man from before is called Tyler. He tells Sam "Vampires don't exist lol" (I'm paraphrasing here). She turns into a wolf, pins him to the ground with a growl and licks his face. Somehow this manages to be more BDSM than VTM without even trying.
Bwahaha, or maybe VtM is trying to live up to the standard and failing:devil:?

I've also noticed that players are two kinds. The kind that will read the rulebook, and the kind that won't, with the rare examples of overlap. I presume the warning is for the former and not the latter:smile:.
Not that most of those that needed the warning wouldn't read the GM section either way. Even if it's in a different book:wink:.

I guess Luck is just background knowledge? I mean, if I was a starting NightLife PC, I'd have a chance to roll on Hindu Theology. Not a good chance, mind you, but then a maximum of 20% isn't a good chance by any stretch of the imagination.
Why would I have had this chance? I'd read Mahabharata and Ramayana translations which I found in my parents' bookshelves, ignored the warning to not read an adult book, and finished both in about a week, that's why:grin:! (I was a voracious reader, yes, and arguably still am. But I guess someone who had more friends than books as a kid might simply have known a Hindu kid who shared some details?)
And then, as evidenced by the language rules example...the game seems to assume that if you don't see it as fitting, you wouldn't ask for a default roll. Or so it seems to me.
 

Black Leaf

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Werewolves

One of the less amusingly gonzo pictures for this one. It's just a casually dressed guy in his various forms.

In human form werewolve are a bit stronger and fitter than average (+5 to each), but a bit hairy (-5 to ATT). They get increasingly stronger and more dextrous with each form, along with a bonus to their pereception. Interestingly, the lycanthropic form isn't as strong as the lupine form so I'd assume it has other advantages.

They start with Drain (Pain) and Lupine Form. They can also buy Animal Form, Sense Acuity, Fear Projection and Lycanthropic Form. I suspect it's a rare werewolf who won't have bought the universal Edge Claws as well.

What's notable here is that Lycanthropic Form isn't free, so you can have the more traditional "guy who turns into a wolf" type werewolf as well as the modern wolfman.

They're vunerable to Fire and Silver (no mention of wolfsbane) and repulsed by silver. If angered or excited they have to make a will roll or shapeshift and start attacking their tormentor. As a GM I might say that's just anger, funny though the idea of rampaging werewolves on the roller coaster is. They also have a chance of infecting victims and turning them into werewolves.

I forgot to mention it before, but the percentages on these involuntary infections are way too high. It only affects those with Humanity under 50, but the roll is the amount Humanity is under 50. This isn't quite as bad with Werewolves, but Vampyrs are feeding nightly. So even one with a Humanity of 45 has a 5% chance of creating a Vampyr. Leading to an average of more than one a month. I wouldn't remove it completely as it fits with the legends and it's a nice touch. But I'd probably divide the chance for 10, which seems about right to me.

Anyway, humane Werewolves take less damage from their banes and are less likely to get their rage on. The reverse is true of inhuman werewolves.

In terms of background it suggests they're mostly European and American, where the legends developed separately. They don't normally gather in packs although there are some exceptions and they can't interbreed. It says that they should use their Infection Edge which ... they don't have. Not just here, elsewhere in the book. I actually like the concept they can only reproduce by accidentally infecting humans; it seems to fit with the idea that lycanthropy is a curse.


Especially considering they Drain Pain. Which inflicts wounds on their victims. In other words, a new Werewolf will, by definition, have been repeatedly slashed a few days before. Which is nasty. Unlike Vampyres Werewolves don't have to Drain to survive though. They can eat normal food, but prefer meat when transformed. It does point out that eating humans is fine but may lead to Humanity loss, which I think we could have guessed personally.

Overall it's a solid treatment. Werewolves don't excite me that much as a concept, I think because I've lived in urban areas all my life. (They feel like more of a rural fear). But it's done well and the whole pain thing fits with a splatterpunk world.
 

Black Leaf

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Ghosts

Friendly or otherwise.

The image for this is a cute punk girl from the eighties, with a safety pin through her nose and a full on eighties bouffant. As we're about to see, that means she was probably killed in the eighties. I like that; it's more interesting than making her from the 18th century.

Not many attribute modifers for ghosts. +10 to Will and +10 to Max Humanity.

They start with Corporeality, Drain (Fear) and Weapons Immunity. They can also buy Alter Form, Fear Projection, Flight, Invisibility, Telekinesis, Touch of Ice and Travel.

Again, this is pretty good. You can go in a lot of directions to personalise your ghost. And while Nightlife has no pretensions at being a balanced game the lack of stat bonuses is decently balanced by the versatility of their Edges.

They're vunerable to and repulsed by cold iron. Is this a thing for ghosts? I don't remember it from folk tales. They also take double damage from form, but that naturally only matters if they're corporal at the time. They have trouble dressing outside of the period of their death; it requires a Will roll per night to wear something different. Although interestingly this is "period", not exact clothes of death. Good news for ghosts that died naked or wearing wellies. Relics are the main thing they have to worry about. Exorcism can be peformed on them, ghosts need to spend at least eight hours a day next to them and if they're destroyed it's a Will roll to find a new relic or gone forever. Protecting relics seems crucial for ghost survival.

Humanity affects damage from iron and fire.

Ghosts are apparently the most common of Kin, being the psychic remains of humans who died violently or with an unfinished task. The book fairly points out that both their strengths and weaknesses are at the extreme end. Immune to almost all weapons, but if someone finds your relic you're fucked. Semi transparency is their natural state, with Corporeality being an expression of their Will, not their true form. Because they remember their human lives so clearly they tend to side with the pro human factions. (Although I suspect that would depend on how they died).

They don't need to eat, although some like to turn corporal just so they can order a hamburger and stuff their little ghostly faces. Their drain is novel; they need to be semi corporal and pass through the same physical space as the victim, causing the icy cold touch of fear.

It also briefly mentions Hauntings, who are like ghosts but without self awareness (so not appropriate for players).

I really like ghosts. They're unexpected as a player race and all the better for it. And the game manages to balance their nature with making them playable.
 

AsenRG

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They're vunerable to and repulsed by cold iron. Is this a thing for ghosts? I don't remember it from folk tales.
Actually it is there.
"Cold iron" was historically believed to repel, contain, or harm ghosts, fairies, witches, and other malevolent supernatural creatures. Hence the nailing an iron horseshoe to a door - to repel evil spirits (and bring good luck by extension).

They also take double damage from form, but that naturally only matters if they're corporal at the time.

From what? Fire?

They have trouble dressing outside of the period of their death; it requires a Will roll per night to wear something different. Although interestingly this is "period", not exact clothes of death. Good news for ghosts that died naked or wearing wellies.
They get to dress like Cromagnons and WW1-WW2 people, respectively?

Relics are the main thing they have to worry about. Exorcism can be peformed on them, ghosts need to spend at least eight hours a day next to them and if they're destroyed it's a Will roll to find a new relic or gone forever. Protecting relics seems crucial for ghost survival.
Yeah, I like that as well.
 

Black Leaf

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Actually it is there.
"Cold iron" was historically believed to repel, contain, or harm ghosts, fairies, witches, and other malevolent supernatural creatures. Hence the nailing an iron horseshoe to a door - to repel evil spirits (and bring good luck by extension).

Ah, nice! I was wondering.

From what? Fire?

Oops, typo. It is fire. Interestingly all the main races at least seem to be vunerable to fire. Which makes thematic sense; fire is one of the oldest ways of driving off supernatural evil.

They get to dress like Cromagnons and WW1-WW2 people, respectively?

Correct! This is another nice touch. Ghosts are somewhat limited in dress, but they can still be fashionable. (And as we'll see later, Nightlife puts a lot of stock on dressing 'right'.
 

Black Leaf

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Daemons

I really wish I could scan this one because it's just glorious. I'm pretty sure it's a guy, leotard and impressive pecs not withstanding. Full on eighties hair metaller. His daemon form is the same, but a bit more bestial.

They're pretty hardcore statwise getting +5 to DEX, WIL & ATT and +10 to PER. However, they have a tendency to be dicks, getting -10 to Max Humanity.

They start with Drain (Life Force), Travel and Flight, but they can only use their Flight in their true form. They can also buy Alter Form, Body Control, Telepathy and Possession. It's worth noting that a Daemon in their natural form looks inhuman, so Alter Form is mandatory if you want to mix with the Herd.

They're vunerable to Flint, Fire and Holy Relics and also repulsed by Holy Relics. They have to feed reguarly on human or animal life force. If they're commanded in Majestic Daemon they have to make a WIL roll not to obey.

The vunerability to being commanded is great and could lead to some interesting plots with mortal occultists. The Fire thing is less convincing. Obviously, it's there because all the major Kin races have it but it feels like a thematic disconnect for Daemons, especially with their fiery breath option.

Humanity affects their damage from Flint and Holy Relics. But the most crucial effect is on their form; as their Humanity drops their horns become larger and more goat like, their wings become larger and their skin becomes darker red. Even worse, if they have a Humanity bellow 50 they have a chance of having their Alter Form fail, more likely at lower levels. This is one of the nastiest low Humanity effects, but it fits.

Daemons are the descendents of those who fled a life as slaves in the Twisted Dimensions. These days, only a handful of Elder Daemons even remember their own home and none wish to return there. Ironically, a lot of Daemons now want to enslave the humans they live with.

This is the least traditional background so far and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I suspect it's mostly like that because of the Satanic Panic being less than ten years before the game's publication date. On top of that, having actual devils in your game obviously comes with a lot of theological baggage.

Daemons generally feed subtly, using Alter Form and persuading or seducing their victims. They drain life force by touch, with a hard grip on the body of a human or animal. Their feeding can be addictive.

They generally have three names, their Street name among the Kin, the name they use with the Herd and their birthname (generally the only time the Daemons still use their native tongue).

Overall, I like the Daemons. There isn't quite the same "wow" factor I get from ghosts, but they seem like they'd be fun to play. Although if running I'd consider making them a bit more traditional. Possibly with a deist conception of God (exists but has no interest in direct interference) to try and avoid making it into a cosmic battle of good and evil.
 

Black Leaf

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Wyghts

So many potential puns, most of which would fall foul of the "no politics" rule. Anyway, this section is headed up by a rather fetching gentleman in a wide brimmed hat and a sleeveless vest.

Wyghts are pretty damn hard, getting +30 to STR. They're no slouch at the other physical stats either, getting +10 to DEX, FIT and PER. On the other hand, they're ugly buggers with -15 ATT.

They have less Edges than most Kin, only starting with Drain (youth). They can also get Infection, Necropathy and Reanimate Dead. Again, this is interestingly balanced for such an unbalanced game. They may not get many unique edges, but the ones they do are pretty rare.

They're vunerable to sunlight, silver and (of course) fire. They can accidentally create new Wyghts if their Humanity is under 50 and they need to feed nightly on animal or human youth. Naturally, they're pretty strange looking and can't pass for human without serious cosmetics.

The damage from their banes is affected by Humanity. It mentions that they're often the most of the Kin to maintain their humanity, probably because looking like a dried up corpse really focuses your mind on these things. And the fact they don't have that many edges to buy will help with this.

Oh, it answers my previous question. Hair dye just washes out of the hair of Wyghts. I'm tickled by the fact the designers recognised somebody was bound to ask this. While some hide their appearance those who mostly hang out with Kin often flaunt it, to the point of working as (ewwww) exotic dancers in Kin clubs. Some also can be found in organised crime as enforcers or paid killers. Their nickname is "Wyghties" which is just lazy, frankly.

Orignally they also came from the Twisted Dimensions and were summoned to guard pagan burial mounds. But the Sorcerors who summoned them didn't realise they could cause Infection hence the population boom. (Research is important, motherfuckers). Almost all Wyghts today come from the descendents of the original rather than being their spawn.

As mentioned, they drain youth, leading to their victim rapidly aging, although this is only temporary and regained as they get their SP back. It's also addicitve, which is somehow the most disturbing detail so far in the book for me. The idea of all these people being addicted to spending time rapidly aging is just odd in a creepy way.
 

Black Leaf

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Inuits

The picture here shows a guy in traditional (I assume) Native American makeup wearing a backwards baseball cap. He is talking to a squirrel. Go home Nightlife you're drunk.

They have pretty basic stat modifiers; +5 to FIT, +10 to PER and +10 to Humanity.

They start with Drain Life Force, Infection and Invisibility. They can also can get Animal Empathy, Aviary, Coronary, Healing, Levitation and Psycho. A slightly disjointed grab bag of Edges here.

They're vunerable to fire and repulsed by holy relics. They have a compulsion to dress and act "flamboyantly" although the book doesn't tell us what that means. They have a specific area of nature they must return to at least a month, so most New York Inuit commute weekly to the West Coast. And whenever they use an Edge they glow green.

Every full moon they get an urge to create new Inuits and humanity affects fire damage.

According to their profile they're American Indian nature spirits...

BUT THEY ARE CALLED INUITS WHICH MEANS ESKIMOS WHAT THE FUCK NIGHTLIFE?

Ahem, moving on. There are lots of Inuits in America although they've migrated worldwide. They like wearing tribal dress, and are often seen in feathers and tattoos. They're also frequently eco warriors because Nightlife never saw a stereotype it didn't like. They're too mischevious to be considered genuinely pro-human but they mostly side with the Commune against the anti-human factions.

They can eat anything but prefer "simple natural foods" because apparently nature spirits are just hippies. Their Drain is non addictive and they don't have to use it to survive.

When a new Inuit is made they're drawn to the natural spot closest to their site of infection, which is why a lot of the New York Inuit just hang out at Central Park.

Overall these are just odd, especially with the naming thing. I'm not sure I'd use them and I'm not sure players would want to play them; despite what the book says it feels like they'd jar anywhere that isn't America.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I own the entire line, I think. This is probably the only weird 90s game I would still consider running. I did once convert some of the key NPCs to Cinematic Unisystem back in the day, though. I thought there were some cool ideas in there. (But my idea of cool is generally pretty lame, so I don't want to get anyone's expectations up.)
 

Tommy Brownell

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Kin Races

Few notes on this before we get to the meat.

I'll be describing pictures because the PDF isn't c&pable and I'm too lazy to scan.

If you're on a PC and have something like Paint or Paint 3D, you can always use Print Screen to copy a screenshot, paste it into Paint, and crop it to the image.

All my books for this are physical, or I would back you up on the pictures, but it would just be shitty pictures with my camera phone.
 

Voros

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Inuits

The picture here shows a guy in traditional (I assume) Native American makeup wearing a backwards baseball cap. He is talking to a squirrel. Go home Nightlife you're drunk.

They have pretty basic stat modifiers; +5 to FIT, +10 to PER and +10 to Humanity.

They start with Drain Life Force, Infection and Invisibility. They can also can get Animal Empathy, Aviary, Coronary, Healing, Levitation and Psycho. A slightly disjointed grab bag of Edges here.

They're vunerable to fire and repulsed by holy relics. They have a compulsion to dress and act "flamboyantly" although the book doesn't tell us what that means. They have a specific area of nature they must return to at least a month, so most New York Inuit commute weekly to the West Coast. And whenever they use an Edge they glow green.

Every full moon they get an urge to create new Inuits and humanity affects fire damage.

According to their profile they're American Indian nature spirits...

BUT THEY ARE CALLED INUITS WHICH MEANS ESKIMOS WHAT THE FUCK NIGHTLIFE?

Ahem, moving on. There are lots of Inuits in America although they've migrated worldwide. They like wearing tribal dress, and are often seen in feathers and tattoos. They're also frequently eco warriors because Nightlife never saw a stereotype it didn't like. They're too mischevious to be considered genuinely pro-human but they mostly side with the Commune against the anti-human factions.

They can eat anything but prefer "simple natural foods" because apparently nature spirits are just hippies. Their Drain is non addictive and they don't have to use it to survive.

When a new Inuit is made they're drawn to the natural spot closest to their site of infection, which is why a lot of the New York Inuit just hang out at Central Park.

Overall these are just odd, especially with the naming thing. I'm not sure I'd use them and I'm not sure players would want to play them; despite what the book says it feels like they'd jar anywhere that isn't America.

So they included an actual existing modernday Indigenous nation as supernatural PCs? I have friends who are Inuit. Seems kind of random. :trigger:
 

Black Leaf

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Animates

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That worked. Thanks Tommy! I actually kinda dig this particular picture. There's something charming about it.

Statswise, Animates get +5 to STR and INT and +10 to WIL, but -5 to Humanity. They also get another ten points that they can divide among any of the attributes except for Humanity. As we'll see, this is because in many ways Animates are the most diverse of the major races. I like that the mechanics help reflect that.


They start with Domination (wait, are we in Gor again?) and Drain (Life Force). They can also get Body Control, Crowd Control and Telepathy. Definite theme here, with them very much being mortal specialists.

They're vunerable to sunlight and fire. They have to feed on human or animal life force to survive. They get Hostility (from humans) and the have Vow, so they have to keep their word.

Interesting contrast here, where they're really good at controlling humans supernaturally but humans dislike them outside of that context.

Which could explain why, according to the book, so many Animates consider Humanity irrelevant or even a bad thing (because higher Humanity makes them more human and less artificial looking).

It goes on to describe them in more detail. Animates are beings created from dead or non organic matter that has gained sentience. Some have a creator while others arose more by chance. They're not as common as Werewolves, Vampyres or Ghosts, but they aren't rare either. Most of them are sadistic and revel in their ability to control others. Pro human Animates are considered outcasts and heretics by the wider Animate community.

Their feeding can cause addiction and drain by touch.

The book then goes into different types of Animates. It only covers the most common. It mentions in passing other types (industrial machines, animated scarecrows) but also says that the least human looking tend not to survive.

Flesh Animates - Created from dead flesh, like Frankenstein's Monster. Mostly look human, apart from the obvious stitching. Adam Noire (most Goff name ever), leader of the Complex, is one.

Homunculi - Clones created by black magic. Look human, apart from a "tell" like weird eye colours or a tinge to their skin. It's likely their creator is still alive, which could lead to some interesting RP.

Golem/Stone Spirits - Created by Kabbalistic or Ameriindian magic. Often look non human, whether that's a lack of fine detail or just being a lump of earh with limbs.

Animated Dolls - Either gained sentience accidentally or fused with a spirit. Frequently abandoned by their owners which gives them a serious Napoleon complex.

Living Statue - A statue so realistic it came to life. Whether it looks human or not mostly comes down to what material it's made of.

Lots of options there, but there's more! It also lists effects of materials used to create the Animate.

Flesh - No special bonuses or penalities, apart from looking the most human.

Wood - Takes extra damage from fire. No advantages because fuck game balance.

Plastic - Must put at least 5 of their bonus points into DEX. Lighter than humans. Take extra damage from Fire but not as much as Wood Animates do.

Metal - Must split their bonus points between STR and FIT. Weigh three times as much as a human. Must buy the Armour edge in character gen. Less Damage from fire.

Stone - Must split their bonus points between STR and FIT. Weigh two times as much as a human. Must buy the Armour edge in character gen. Less Damage from fire.

So that's Animates. Where Inuit are my least favourite, these are definitely my favourite of the Kin Races. What's not to like? I love how customisable the concept is and the irony between the fact they are great at controlling humans but can't get on with them normally.
 

Bourbonjack

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This is a very interesting read through. I saw the title and wondered if you meant the old 90’s NightLife, an was not disappointed :smile:

I actually own a print version of this game, and have played it a few times many years ago.

I’m going to follow this thread.
 

Black Leaf

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Even by Nightlife standards, that picture is fucking special. From the entrails to the guy that's apparently an extra from Zulu it attracts attention for all the wrong reasons. Also of note is the fact that Samantha X looks completely different than she does in any other picture. In fact I'm only sure it's her because of the obligatory "Thrash Rulez" t-shirt, which must stink considering she never seems to change it.

To summarise the accompanying fiction. Sam and Tyler go for a stroll. Some gangbangers decide to mug them, Tyler hands over his wallet so they tell "Teddy" (worst gangster name ever) to kill them as part of his initiation. Sam rips them to shreds. Tyler (who has probably just seen his first ever close up murder) helps dump them into a nearby dumpster, although he has the decency to feel a bit nauseous. Sam on the other hand is just smug. You can practically feel the strut coming off the page.

Anyway, Edges are Kin Powers.

Something interesting here is they get a whopping -50 against other Kin. Another good twist. It has several probably effects I can see. Firstly, it means that Kin on Kin conflict is really risky as they can't use powers effectively. It also means that knives and guns make sense for Kin, more so in other games. It also fits thematically; Kin evolved to terrify mortals, not each other. As an additional bit of chrome, any Kin with a Humanity of 100 counts as human and is fully vunerable. Being too nice is bad for you.

Each Edge costs Humanity, both to buy, to improve and to use. (Always on Edges don't have the last cost). The full list:

Alter Form - Change appearance. Doesn't alter voice or mannerisms so it's not much use for impersonating specific people.

Animal Control - Control a specific animal (rat, wolf etc).

Animal Empathy - Hang out with your little furry buddies.

Armor -Makes you tougher. Not generally detectable.

Aura sight - See auras and find out stuff about people. Also allows you to detect lies.

Aviary - Turn into a bird. The higher your Edge score, the bigger the bird.

Batform - Turn into a bat. Quick and good at doging, but you can't use any Edges apart from Drain and Animal Control

Body Control -Reshape someone's body structure. Great for turning your enemies into armchairs or umbrellas. It's such a big dick move you need to fail a Humanity check to do it.

Burn - Make someone burst into flames. Also a dick move and requires humanity roll.

Claws - Knives for fingers! Works fine on Kin as well.

Coronory -Give someone a heart attack. Which doesn't require a humanity roll. I don't know why. Maybe because it's natural or some shit.

Corporeality - Ghosts can become solid

Crowd Control - Issue short term commands to an entire crowd. You want high WIL for this as only those lower than yours are affected.

Danger sense - Tells you that Sam X is going to start randomly disembowling people.

Domination - Mind and body control. Victims can try and break free with every free command. You can Dominate up to your Edge score which could be quite a lot.

Drain - Nom nom Nom.

Empathy - Read emotions. Also acts as a lie detector.

Event Manipulation - Control time. Wait, what? Ok, it's harder the longer away the event has been but this is nuts and available to all Kin. However, using it pisses a lot of people off and you might get your arse kicked by Elder Kin and Elementals.

Fear Projection - Scare people.

Fiery breath - Bad breath taken to extremes.

Flight - Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a psychotic vampire chick with a Thrash Rulez t-shirt.

Healing - Heal wounds and diseases. Only works on mortals and animals.

Infection - Make new Kin.

Invisibility - Now you see me, now you don't. If you mess up the Edge roll you cast a shadow or light refracts through a body part. Which doesn't need to be your penis, but it would fit Nightlife if it did.

Levitation - Pound shop flight.

Locate human - Ooo, there's one! And another! This mall is full of them! Oh, wait, no it's actually the ability to psychically track a specific human.

Lupine form -Wolf form for Werewolves. Low Humanity Werewolves may have trouble changing back.

Lycanthropic form - The Wolfman.

Mask - A specific human appearance. Not as good as Alter Form, but damn useful if you're inhuman.

Mental Mapping - Know where north is and never use graph paper in Tomb of Horrors.

Mesmerize - Only one command but the victim will forget about it.

Mist form - Turn to fog.

Necropathy -Talk to dead dudes

Nocturnal vision - Looks like all those carrots paid off.

Petrify - Turn someone to stone. (Not make them stoned, which is an Edge reserved for hippies and drug dealers).

Photogenics - Be photographed normally.

Possession - Take over someone's body.

Psycho -Cause violent psychosis. Victim gets doubled strength which is rather impressive, but you can't control them so this is rather risky. The victim can overcome the madness with an INT roll. Only one a day so the stupid could stay like this for some time.

Ratform
- Mentor mutated turtles.

Reanimate dead - Who needs friends when you can make zombies?

Send Dream - Enter and shape people's dreams.

Sense Acuity - All senses except sight are supernaturally accurate. I'm not sure I'd want supersmell if I lived in New York.

Shunting - Take Survival Points from a human and give it to a Kin. Used to help Kin who aren't in a fit state to Drain.

Speed - Run away from Samantha X

Telekinesis - Move stuff with your mind

Telepathy -Mind talk.

Time sense -Save money on watches.

Touch of Ice - Make someone very cold.

Travel - Teleport in line of sight

Weapons immunity - Normal weapons don't affect you unless their damage is over your edge score.

Weather control - Mess around with weather. May annoy elementals.

Wolfform - Turning into a wolf for Vampires. (Not as good as the werewolf equivalent).

Isn't that a lot of Edges? Obviously, not all are available for all Kin, but there's still loads and lots of options to customise your character. (GHOSTS WITH CLAWS FTW). Seems to cover everything I can think of from horror media plus some like Event Manipulation that are just ridiculous in all the right ways.
 

Black Leaf

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This is a very interesting read through. I saw the title and wondered if you meant the old 90’s NightLife, an was not disappointed :smile:

I actually own a print version of this game, and have played it a few times many years ago.

I’m going to follow this thread.
Welcome to the forum!
 

Black Leaf

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Both the picture and the story feel a bit phoned in. In the latter Tyler asks Sam if Vampyre weaknesses are genuine and she goes "yeah, apart from mirrors". That is genuinely all of it.

You can't have all these kewl powers without some downsides, so here's the listed flaws:

Appearance - You look inhuman. There's three levels of this. Strange means you're weird looking and can't pass as human without makeup, heavy clothing or such strange fashions nobody can tell the difference. Grotesque means you're obviously non human but not terrifying; Kin with that level generally have Mask or Alter Form to hide their true appearance. Horrifying will send people running away screaming if they see it. The first sighting of one of these causes a Fear Roll.

Command - If someone has the correct language or ritual you're their bitch and have to do what they say.

Compulsion - Make a WIL roll to avoid doing whatever your compelled by.

Diet Restriction - The reason Sam X will never order a curry.

Enviromental Harm - Take damage from something in your enviroment.

Infection - Like the Edge, but you don't mean to and may not even know about it. Nobody likes a deadbeat Werewolf dad.

Repulsion - Avoid a specific item or substance.

Substance Vunerability - Take extra damage from specific item or substance. (This may or may not be something you're also repulsed by)

Vow - You have to keep your word.

Special - A catchall term for unique flaws, like Vampyres needing to sleep with a handful of earth or Werewolves frenzying when angry. Descriptions for these are found with their individual Kin.

So that's Flaws. Nothing spectacular or exciting, but it's a good and extensive overview of the possibilities.
 

Bourbonjack

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Welcome to the forum!

Thanks!

This morning I went through my bookshelves and dug out my copy.

Interestingly, the interior artwork in my version is different from some of the pictures you’ve posted (or described).

Their must have been more than one printing?

27C0BCF9-9766-46FE-83B5-A53159561DD5.jpeg C8B5C6B9-8B0B-4DAA-96E6-C01148D7FCC3.jpeg 4A73B71C-3D6E-43B4-B762-DB36FAE4F5D7.jpeg
 

Black Leaf

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Thanks!

This morning I went through my bookshelves and dug out my copy.

Interestingly, the interior artwork in my version is different from some of the pictures you’ve posted (or described).

Their must have been more than one printing?

There was. Looking at it, I think yours is second ed, although it might be first. I'm reading the third (and final) edition. Slightly different art plus it incorporates a lot of things like new Kin Races that originally appeared in various supplements.

EDIT: Just looked it up. If it's 80 pages it's 1st ed, if it's 96 it's 2nd.
 

Bourbonjack

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Just checked, only 80 pages long.

I never played this enough to say if the ruleset was good, bad or mediocre.

16 year old me and my friends weren’t really ready for a non-dungeon crawl type of game.

I remember we made characters, fit in to some Kin-on-Kin barfights, and ran a scenario in the sewers fighting some of the weird “monsters”.

Interest flagged and then someone said “hey, let’s try this game WHFRP!”, and after that it was all WHFRP, all the time until college.
 

Black Leaf

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Skateboarding monsters FTW. Also, is demolitions chick naked?

We find out more about Tyler in this piece of fiction. He's an investigative reporter who was first pointed in the direction of the Kin when investigating suspicious deaths. This pointed him in the direction of the nightclub owner "Edward Goth" (who is pushing it with that name) AKA Golgotha. Who has been around since at least 1879, much earlier if you count the "wandering spirit Golgotha" talked about in several culture's legends. So he rings Edward Goth who tells him to talk to Samantha X. This is a great example of the difference in mood between this and VTM. In VTM Tyler would have been mindraped at best and probably killed to uphold the masquerade. In Nightlife the reaction is "cool job Sherlock". Anyway, this story finishes with a car suddenly heading straight for Sam and Tyler. CLIFFHANGER!

The skill list is extensive and divides the skills up into Combat Skills, Archaic Skills, and General Skills. All skills are rolled against a d100, with potential modifers for difficulty. Standard modifers are +/- 10-30%. The book also suggests giving contextual modifers depending on whether the job is rushed or extra time is taken. 01 is an auto success and 96-100 an auto failure. I think it's telling that auto failures are a lot more common than auto successes.

If you have at least 30 in a skill you have "Competence" and don't have to roll for routine tasks. Not a great innovation, but I prefer it in percentile systems. As mentioned before you can use Luck divided by 5 if you don't have a skill. The City Planner can also use Stat Rolls, but that's only supposed to be the case for things like kicking down doors where no skills exist.

There's also Escape Rolls, which are rolls against a stat or skill to avoid a negative effect.

So that's the Skill system. Pretty standard percentile system; solid without being exciting.

What will be exciting is next post where I take a break from the readthrough to walk through character gen!
 

Black Leaf

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So let's run through character gen. As mentioned previously, I'm going to be making up a Vampyre. Firstly, I roll my stats (4d10 each) and get this:

Strength 26
Dexterity 22
Fitness: 21
Intelligence: 10
Willpower: 22
Perception: 14
Attractiveness: 19
Luck: 17

After the Vampyre stat adjustments I end up with these final stats:

Strength 46
Dexterity: 27
Fitness: 26
Intelligence: 10
Willpower: 22
Perception: 14
Attractiveness: 24
Luck: 17

Overall, these are decent but not great. Most of the initial rolls were just a bit above average. Of note is the fact he's not very observant and is extremely stupid. So I change my mind about "Johnny Guitar" and decide to make a drummer instead. (Apologies to all the drummers out there. At least the few literate enough to read this).

For derived stats there's Survival Points (FIT + Luck) and Hand to Hand Damage (STR divided by 5 and rounded to the nearest whole number.

Which gives us

Survival Points: 43
Hand to Hand Damage: 9

Holy fuck, that HTH damage is terrifying despite being only a bit over the average for a vampire.

Now for some Edges. These each have a governing stat (giving you your starting ability in the Edge) and a humanity cost. The humanity cost comes for buying the Edge originally, for improving it and for each use in game.

My starting Edges are Drain Blood (FIT, 1 Max Humanity buys 2 Levels, Special/Varying cost to use) and Mesmerize (INT, 1 Max Humanity buys 2 Levels, 1 cost to use). That low INT is going to really screw up my chances of getting Mesmerize high.

On top of this I can take some of the optional Racial and/or Universal Edges. I decide I want Claws (FIT, 5 to Acquire, 1 Max Humanity buys 5 Levels, 1 cost to use/manifest) because I might as well take full advantage of my high STR. Photogenics (WIL, 2 to Acquire, 1 Max Humanity buys 10 Levels, Free to use) seems necessary as I'm a musician so will have to deal with camera phones. Finally, I get Speed so I can drum really fast (DEX, 10 to Acquire, 1 Max Humanity buys I Level, 1 to Use).

As you can tell, this part of the game is quite mathy. But even after buying all of the extra Edges I still have 83 Max Humanity to play with.

So I buy up my Edges leaving me with:

Edges:

Drain Blood 36
Mesmerize 22
Claws 31
Photogenics 102
Speed 30

Max Humanity: 60

Not brilliant, but fine for a starting character. I shouldn't have any problems with photos which seemed important for the concept. My Claws will add another +6 to my HTH damage (!). I can run at 10 miles an hour and add 30 to my initative. (This is why Speed is so expensive to buy up).

Join me tomorrow when I'll be doing Skills and a quick rundown of flaws.
 
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