This system is heavily inspired by WoD (or CofD if you prefer), and has been bouncing around inside my head in its nascent form for years. Basically, with every session, I discovered a bit more about our preferences as players, and what we really liked. Requiem for Rome, in my not-so-humble opinion, was our best game, especially in its first chapters. the game was vibrant and interesting, frequently funny and almost always fun, and not too heavily quagmired by rules-lawyering. Over the years, as we attempted to out-do our previous characters and provide more interesting (and let’s face it, frequently outlandish) examples of characters, we started to get bogged down pretty badly, almost as if we were trying to hack our way into better characters.
This for lack of a better term power-creep resulted in our GMs (myself included) attempting to corner us in new ways, and an escalation of resistance that started to feel mildly claustrophobic. Even for me, with my last game of Beast, I was more tuned into providing deep challenge than deep story, and that felt wrong somehow.
It should be noted the reasoning for better challenge is very sound because it is exactly when we are outclassed that we make our best, most memorable moments of awesome. But I am of a particular, indomitable opinion that colors my own approach to gaming, and it is this:
Hot-headed or lazy players should pay the price; properly prepared players should almost always win, even against seemingly insurmountable odds.
This is kind of a two-edged sword, since proper preparation requires discussion and planning, and one of our group weaknesses is to get bogged down in planning. We have for too long been trying to outmaneuver each other, and we know our predispositions in a challenge; that is a ding against both us as Storytellers and as players, because we have begun relying on particular strategies and tactics to the exclusion of other more feasible or even logical courses of action, due to our deep knowledge of the systems.
This called for a shaking up, a revolution of sorts. So I started breaking things down. In terms of system, WoD/CofD is a great setting with somewhat weak mechanics, especially where combat is concerned. i know this is not errant because the system has been partially overhauled numerous times, while the story remains largely consistent with some tweaks to mood or theme’ this tells me the developers are like-minded.
So the story is not the issue, and the players are behaving like, well, players, so the most obvious target for revamp is the system. Don’t get me wrong – I understand how daunting the mere suggestion of revamping the entire system is, and that’s not exactly what we are trying to do here. What we are doing is developing an entirely new system, taking our cues from some WoD/CofD elements and using their story as our backdrop, because why reinvent the wheel entirely? The goal here is not to supplant or hack the WoD system but rather to cross-develop an alternative system for it (not unlike d20 WoD) that keeps some of what we love and removes most of what we hate.
This is NOT an independent system, per se. It is an evolution of the system tailored specifically to OUR interests as a RP group. It is a way to infuse life into our games without stepping too far outside a system we have invested a ton of time and thought into. A new way of framing an old concept. It is not a house-rule compendium, but a completely new approach, using what we love of these systems as the foundation for making a system we can also love.
I know this was rambly, but I wanted to get it out there. If you made it here, congrats, I hope to hear some feedback.