Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

VTES Memes

The Prince of Melbourne (Stu "Disco Stu" MacLeod) has started a bit of a VTES Meme Craze on the VTES Australia Group in the lead up to the Continental Championships (Melbourne Oct 6 & 7).

So there have been a LOT of crazy stuff turning up.  Here's one that I haven't posted up myself to the group... but there are plenty more turning up and in the pipeline.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How would you change VTES? Strikes

I think we can streamline a lot of things AND put some extra guts into combats.

This hinges partly on other work I've done to suggest changes to keywords.  I do think that First Strike should be a genuine first strike and resolve before all non-First Strike strikes.  This will give Assamites (and other Celerity users) a little bit more fear power.  At the moment, if the minion doesn't have Potence there is little to fear as a vote deck; I'd like to have the Ventrue use their Fortitude for something OTHER than Freak Drives.

One change I think should be made to the rules is to leave Allies with "blood counters" which represent their life.  Theft of Vitae has been ruled for a long time to treat Life and Blood counters as equivalent, I don't see why this can't be extended across the rest of the game.  It would change a number of other cards, such as Impundulu and Succubus  to say "Steal 1 blood from a vampire or ally"; it will also shorten the text on cards like Cryptic Mission "Burn 1 blood from a vampire or ally".  There may be other cards (and rulings) that would need to be changed to incorporate this change, but I don't think it would hurt the game to make these changes (especially if VTES is to go into POD publication).

Strike Types

Note: All of these strikes are Close Range strikes with the obvious exception of Strike: Ranged Weapon.
  • Nondescript
    Nondescript strikes come with no special type.  For example, Strike: 3. This strike would deal 3 damage and ignores strength values. It is does not have a type, so would not be playable while a card such as Immortal Grapple, is in effect. These strikes can also be ranged.
  • Hand
    This strike deals strength damage and is usable only at close. This is the default strike for all minions.
  • Dodge
    This strike resolves at the same time as other normal strikes. This minion experiences no effects from the opposing minion's strike (good or bad).
  • Combat Ends
    When this strike resolves, the press step automatically resolves as "Ending".  This minion experiences no effects from the opposing minion's strike.
  • Burn
    This strike burns a valid target.  Strike: Burn Mortal would burn any mortal as a strike. Strike: Burn Equipment would burn any equipment on the other minion. Strike: Burn Blood does not deal damage but instead causes the opposing minion to burn blood counters; it will also work against allies.  Strike: Burn strikes never deal damage.
  • Torpor
    Strike: Torpor sends an opposing vampire to torpor. This strike has no effect on Allies.
  • Steal
    Strike: Steal allows this minion to take the target from the opposing minion; these strikes never deal damage.  Strike: Steal 2 blood will steal two blood from the opposing minion; this strike will work on allies.  Strike: Steal Equipment will steal an item of equipment from the opposing minion. 
  • ContinueStrike: Continue causes the combat to end and the action to continue.  This is currently phrased as "Strike: Combat Ends and continue the action".  Creating it as its own strike has the potential to streamline card-text but also allow this effect to potentially appear on minions easily.
  • Melee WeaponStrike: Melee Weapon requires the minion to have a melee weapon. It cannot be played without one.
  • Ranged WeaponStrike: Ranged Weapon requires the minion to have a ranged weapon. It cannot be played without one.

Strike 'Modifiers' 

  • Aggravated
    This strike deals aggravated damage. Aggravated damage has no special effect on non-Vampires. When vampires are dealt aggravated damage, they suffer that damage last.  They must burn 1 blood for each normal damage first; if they have no blood but remaining aggravated damage they are burned. If the minion has been dealt X aggravated damage, they must burn X-1 blood to prevent that damage and go to torpor. If there is remaining aggravated damage and no blood left to burn, the vampire is burned instead.
  • First StrikeThis strike is resolved before non-First Strike strikes; all First Strike strikes are resolved simultaneously. If the opposing minion is not ready after resolving this strike, then the minion making this strike suffers no effects from the opposing minion's strike.
  • UnpreventableThe damage dealt by this strike cannot be prevented. However, it can have its type changed (i.e. changed from Aggravated to Normal).
  • Undodgeable
    The opposing minion will gain no benefits from playing Strike: Dodge. They may choose a Strike: Dodge but it the Strike: Dodge will have its effects cancelled.
  • Ranged
    This strike can be made at any range and will affect minions at any range. Ranged strikes are denoted by "R", such as on Thrown Sewer Lid "Strike: 3R".
  • + damageThese strikes are usually based on a minion's strength or on another effect, such as a weapon.  They do not affect the type of damage dealt but only increase the amount of damage dealt.  Using "Strike: Ranged Weapon + 2 damage" with a .44 Magnum would result in "Strike: 4R" as a strike from the .44 Magnum.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How would you change VTES? Immunity

Immunity as a Keyword

Immunity already exists as a keyword, usually in reference to damage. It means that a particular type of damage basically cannot be inflicted on the minion with that keyword.  For example "Immune to non-aggravated damage" is equivalent to "No other minion can inflict damage on this minion that is not aggravated".

"Immune to (D) actions" would mean "Other minions cannot target this vampire with (D) actions".
"Immune to political actions" would mean "Other minions cannot choose this vampire during political actions".
"Immune to bloodhunts" would mean "This vampire cannot be the subject of a bloodhunt referendum even if this minion successfully diablerises a minion".

Would you find this to be an easy way to set up a broad keyword (Immune) that would be able to be applied very broadly to have the same effect as the "X is immune to Y" or "X cannot be the target of Y"?

[Edit to include newer ideas]

Immunity to Grapples
I actually, the more I think about it, don't have a problem with a vampire being unaffected by a Grapple and the other minion still affected by it.  The deck intending to play a Grapple is likely to have always intended to work under its constraints.  I also can't see a reason why there shouldn't be the press (at superior) included as well.  Immunity to Grapples would just ensure that the minion with that ability can choose any strike they want, even when a Grapple card is played.

Immunity to Action Modifiers
This is a little more obscure.  However, it would most likely not affect stealth (since that effect is given to the acting minion) but would affect things like "Block Fails", "-x intercept", "tap X", "vampire x cannot block" and so on.  It would basically then come down to the target of the effect.  Does the effect target the acting minion or a blocking/reacting minion. A minion should probably not be immune to all action modifiers, but potentially ones related to a specific discipline (similar to Valerius Maior) "Immune to Presence Action Modifiers" (this would prevent Scalpel Tongue, Perfect Paragon but not prevent Bewitching Oration or Iron Glare).

How would you change VTES? Rulebook Section 10 Sects

10. Vampire Sects and Titles

Some of the various clans of vampires have grouped themselves into sects. Each sect represents clans with similar philosophies and goals. Each sect has its own codes of conduct and its own political structure and titles.
No matter what sect, a vampire cannot have more than one title. If a vampire with a title gains another, he loses the first title, even if the new title would be a demotion. If a vampire with a contested title (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2) gains a title, he immediately yields the contested title.
(I have no idea why the "Sect" rules have a reference to vampires having multiple titles, seems like it would be much better to have a subsection on titles or even a separate part to the rulebook)
Each vampire's sect is given in its card text, and that may overrides the default sect of that vampire's clan (see the lists in the following sections). If a vampire changes clans (by means of a Clan Impersonation card, for example) to a clan that belongs to a different sect, he changes sects as well.
A vampire must belong to the appropriate sect to receive a title. If a vampire with a title changes clans or sects to a clan or sect inappropriate for his title, he loses the benefit of the title until his clan or sect changes appropriately. If he receives a new title, or if his title is contested (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2), he immediately yields the old title. (Again, more text that could end up in the titles section).

10.1. Camarilla

One of the major sects is the Camarilla, which is composed of six clans: Brujah, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue, as well as the Caitiff, who are technically clanless. Some vampire cards from older sets do not have any sect designation -- these vampires are all Camarilla vampires.
Only Camarilla vampires can hold the Camarilla titles primogen, prince, justicar and Inner Circle member. Additionally, each clan's justicar and Inner Circle titles are unique (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2) and can only be held by vampires of that clan. The title of prince is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims any title to the same city. The title of primogen is not unique and cannot be contested.

10.1.1 Caitiff

Caitiff are vampires who do not belong to a clan; either they were abandoned by their makers or their vampiric abilities are so diluted and weak it is almost impossible to determine to which clan they may belong.  Caitiff vampires do not form a clan, and any card which requires the a player to choose a clan that player cannot choose Caitiff; they are not a clan.

10.2. Sabbat

The second major sect is the Sabbat, which is composed of 15 clans: the antitribu clans (corrupted versions of some of the main clans) (which are those members of the Camarilla clans who have abandoned the Camarilla and joined the Sabbat) and the Lasombra, Tzimisce, Pander, Ahrimanes, Blood Brothers, Harbingers of Skulls and Kiasyd. These clans' icons all have the Sabbat wax seal underneath. Only Sabbat vampires can hold the Sabbat titles bishop, archbishop, priscus, cardinal and regent. Like Camarilla princes, the title of archbishop is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims any title to the same city. The other Sabbat titles are not unique and cannot be contested. The title of regent is unique (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2). The regent counts as cardinal by cards and other effects, but has an additional vote as well.
The antitribu clans are distinct from their non-antitribu counterparts. A vampire of one of the antitribu clans does not qualify to play a card that requires the counterpart, and vice versa. Likewise, if a vampire changes sects, his clan doesn't automatically change. For example, a Brujah antitribu who becomes a Camarilla vampire via Writ of Acceptance is still a Brujah antitribu, not a Brujah.

10.3. Laibon

The third major sect is the Laibon, which is composed of just four clans: Akunanse, Guruhi, Ishtarri and Osebo.
Only Laibon can hold the Laibon titles kholo and magaji. The magaji title is not unique and cannot be contested. Clan kholo titles can only be held by a vampire of the appropriate clan, and each is unique to that clan (see "Contested Titles," sec. 4.2).

10.4. Independents

Other clans are not aligned with any of the major sects; they are called Independent. Any clan not listed above as belonging to one of the sects listed above is Independent. These vampires are identified simply as "Independent" on card text. Some vampire cards from older sets are identified as "Non-Camarilla" on card text -- these vampires are all Independent vampires. Independent vampires are "Non-Camarilla", "Non-Sabbat" and "Non-Laibon".
Some Independent vampires may start with votes, as listed on card text. Treat these vampires as if they had titles of their own.

10.5. Anarchs

Anarch is not a sect itself, just a special attribute that some Independent vampires can have. An untitled non-anarch vampire can become an anarch as a +1 stealth undirected action that costs 2 blood (or 1 blood if the controller controls at least 1 other ready anarch). A vampire can also be made an anarch by certain card effects. All anarchs are Independent; becoming an anarch changes the vampire's sect to Independent if he was not Independent already. If the anarch changes sect, then he is no longer anarch. Being anarch has no effect on game play except as defined by cards and effects in play. Some cards can only be played by anarch vampires, for example.
Baron is a title that can only be held by an anarch. A ready baron gets 2 votes. The title of baron is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims the title of prince, archbishop or baron of the same city. If the title is contested with a prince or an archbishop, then the anarch's cost to contest it is increased by 1 blood. If a baron loses his anarch status, he loses the benefit of the title until he becomes anarch again, as usual for titles.

10.6 Sect-related Keywords

Many keywords can be related to a sect.  A vampire must belong to the sect to gain and keep these keywords.  Any vampire that changes sect would lose all of these keywords and would not regain them even if they returned to their prior sect (i.e. If a vampire was Sabbat and had a Sabbat-related keyword it would be lost and would not come back even if that vampire became Sabbat again).
  • Black Hand (Sabbat): The Black Hand are an elite group of vampires within the Sabbat. They have taken the role of assassins, special-operations troops and even as counter-intelligence within the Sabbat.  Other members of the Sabbat are unaware of the identity of the members of the Black Hand.
  • Seraph (Sabbat): There are four Seraphs who lead the Black Hand.  A vampire cannot become a Seraph unless they are first Black Hand.  If a vampire loses the Black Hand keyword, they lose the Seraph keyword as well.