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Monte Cook's World of Darkness

DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Critical Failures
So, I haven't bought any PnP RPG books for ages, and I justified the $50 price tag by buying a discount card as well for use this Christmas.

I have just started to read the book, but, while the premise is somewhat jarring for those familiar with the "Traditional" World of Darkness books, I'm finding it pretty facinating so far.

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The game is a heavily modified Open Source Gaming game based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition rules and currently consists of only one book (this might be the only book that's going to be produced, I'm not sure). As would be expected, it was designed by Monte Cook, one of the veteran developers of Dungeons and Dragons.

Setting:

Real world, circa NOW. Well, almost. A year ago in the backstory, Enormous Alien Beings From Beyond Comprehension appeared and turned a 300-mile diameter bit of South Dakota into something akin to The Nothing from The Neverending Story called the Intrusion. Personally, I wonder, if they destroyed the Corn Palace and Wall Drug, can they be that bad? They would have destroyed the earth, but humanity's collective spirit, embodied in less than 1% of the population known as "Awakened," somehow keeps them at bay... like plankton being rather standoffish towards the whale.

Plot:

To get even more metaphorical, the aliens, known as "Inconnu" (I love how Cook uses terminology from the OWoD in a completely different way), bring the cosmic equivilent of blankets filled with cholera to rid themselves of the humans preventing them from destroying the world. Summoning the evil dead (yes) and beastial spirits to possess people, creating vampires and werewolves, as well as calling in demons, they seek to kill the Awakened and complete their absorption of the earth. Some of humanity, in response, were able to tap their potential and become mages, who are the wildcards in all of this. This is all leading to a sort of secret war across a landscape partially ravaged by apocalypse.

Character:

Players can run any of the following types-

Awakened: The allegory for jack-of-all-trades Humans in D&D, these are basically the paragons of the human spirit. They don't have super flashy powers or the ability to shoot chainsaws from their eyes, but they do have a nearly indominatable will, extra skills & feats, and great stats.

Mage: Pretty much identical to their OWoD counterparts in theory, though they do not suffer from Paradox and are limited to a number of Component points per day as far as what magic they can cast (spells cost Component points based on their range, duration, effect, etc).

Vampires: Dead, evil spirits merging with living human bodies to create a joint entity with a personality conflict, they are supposed to be gathering information on the Awakened for the Inconnu, but often get involved with their own obsessions. Some even break from the Inconnu completely to do their own thing. They fit into five psychological profiles represented by the five NWoD clans, Mekhet, Gangrel, Daeva, Nosferatu, and Ventrue; unlike the normal WoD, the clans just signify their mindset and loose organization, rather than an established ancient society (as they've only been in existance a year or so). Vampires have pretty much all the same sorts of powers as they do in the classic games: blood bonds, disciplines, ghouls, et cetera.

Werewolves: Many of the spirits that merged with human hosts are simply raging, beastial spirits from another world. Until they merge with a human to gain human sensibilities (which many proceed to ignore unless convenient). They're from a nocturnal world where it's always night and the moon's phase is determined by your geograpical location (!?). They're governed by those phases even on our world. Some are rational enough to talk to and reason with, but if one changes into their ("fucking awesome") werewolf form, their beastial natures will overcome them and they'll pretty much chew up everyone. That's in fact, their mission from the Inconnu: smash shit up and kill things. If that isn't enough comparison to Barbarians in D&D, they also get d12 for their hit points, +2 Str, and +2 Con.

Demons: Far from the humanized fallen angels in Demon: The Fallen, these are completely alien spirits who craft themselves flesh & blood bodies from inanimate materials like dirt, wood, plastic, or the like. Unlike werewolves and vampires, there is no human soul to mitigate their evil, and are pretty much nasty customers through and through. They can shapechange, have freakish powers, and normally never die. They are catagorized as Tempters and Scourges, and have corresponding stats. Very few demons exist; fewer turn against the Inconnu, and those that do aren't benevolent, they've just got their own agenda.

All PCs start as what would be 4th level characters in normal D&D : they have 4 HD and better saves & skills than a starting character usually has, in accordance with the more fleshed out starting characters that tend to exist in World of Darkness games.

Chronicles:

The book has two chapters based on example cities for use in the chronicle. Chicago is the signature city on the edge of the radius of the Inconnu's nightmare zone, plagued with ghost risings, supernatural creatures, and freak happenstance. I like this; Chicago was always the showcase city for the Old World of Darkness (with three editions worth of "by Night" books), and is a city I'm personally familiar with. The other city is of more interest to me: Minneapolis/St. Paul, the city where I, personally live, is within the original blast zone, and perhaps 50,000 people (and non-people, I suppose) have survived from the few million who once lived here. It's a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with the US military frantically trying to get to the surviving populations and get them to safe havens along I-94 such as Hudson and Eau Claire (my hometown). I hadn't known about these settings when I bought the book, but I was fairly pleased with the level of research in the short chapters attributed to them.

Summary:

As I said, I haven't read the whole book yet, but I thought it at least deserved a mention here (I hadn't seen a thread dedicated to it yet, and I searched for "Monte Cook" and "McWoD"). The section on the Twin Cities kinda makes me want to do a "Year Zero" sort of thing with the players starting off as normal mortals and witnessing the Intrusion and Nightmare Wave firsthand. Of course, I haven't run anything PnP in years, so...

Dracomicron on
Gary Gygax wrote:
''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''

Posts

  • Random-VillainRandom-Villain Registered User
    edited November 2007
    I saw this book at my local book shop. I sat there and read a bit of it but they kinda frown on people doing that, and kicked me out, but from what i saw of it, i cannot justify the 50$ for a book, especially after paying 35$ for the mage book. He made it because Wizard kicked him to the curb for D&D 4th Ed. I might pick it up eventually but for now, not in the cards.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I agree that it's too expensive. The Monte Cook branding must be it, but it also appears to be self-contained... you don't seem to need the 3.5e books to play it, which is good for me, since I haven't been keeping up to date with D&D.

    It's also got all of the rules for five systems, as opposed to having a core book and then buying the individual splats like Mage or Promethian.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • WhiteZinfandelWhiteZinfandel Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    So is it just me or does the basic storyline premise look really stupid?

    Spoiler:
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    So is it just me or does the basic storyline premise look really stupid?

    How so?

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited November 2007
    Seems no less silly than Tribe 8, which seemed pretty awesome to me.

  • WhiteZinfandelWhiteZinfandel Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    The whole alien invasion thing just seems really dumb to me.

    Spoiler:
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    The whole alien invasion thing just seems really dumb to me.

    Well, I think they're doing it in a fairly unique way. It's not the best or anything, but the idea of summoning the spirits of our own evil dead to possess people and create vampires is pretty awesome.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Death Groupie Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    The whole alien invasion thing just seems really dumb to me.

    It's less of an ID4 or ET style aliens, and more Cthulhu style aliens from what I can tell.

    steam_sig.png
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Huh, are the "Class" designs based completely and un-entangle-ably on Mr.Cook's made up new setting, or would it be possible to use knowledge of other world of darkness products and just run a D20 oWoD game?

    Because that would be ballin'

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maticore wrote: »
    Huh, are the "Class" designs based completely and un-entangle-ably on Mr.Cook's made up new setting, or would it be possible to use knowledge of other world of darkness products and just run a D20 oWoD game?

    Because that would be ballin'

    Well, most points where it's related to the official WoD focus on the nWoD... so you have Daeva and Mekhet as two of the five vampire clans, for example. But most of the elements are there and you could fudge the details, assuming enough knowledge of WoD and d20.

    Demon would be slightly tricky, since the McWoD demons aren't possessing humans and therefore have different characteristics (like, they don't possess new hosts on death, they just re-constitute themselves after awhile).

    Mage probably translates the best, they have an entire chapter devoted to rotes and building spells.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • No-QuarterNo-Quarter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I have to say, nice find! This seems like the shortcut into WoD I've been waiting for. I own plenty of the books but unfortunately it's just too involving for my friends to take seriously despite the best efforts of our DM. I think- given the DnD toolset, that this would be much more his speed, and we'd all have a breadth of characters to choose from. It's like the WoD Arcade Game.

    I like the plot too, how's the art?

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    No-Quarter wrote: »
    I have to say, nice find! This seems like the shortcut into WoD I've been waiting for. I own plenty of the books but unfortunately it's just too involving for my friends to take seriously despite the best efforts of our DM. I think- given the DnD toolset, that this would be much more his speed, and we'd all have a breadth of characters to choose from. It's like the WoD Arcade Game.

    I like the plot too, how's the art?

    The art is very typical World of Darkness stuff (the splats look near identical to what you would see in a core book). A lot of it is somewhat uninspired (not as bad as Hunter: The Reckoning art), but there's some great stuff. On page 169 there's a huge picture of a human form werewolf hanging from a fire escape who just apparently punched a gun-toting opponent and knocked off his head. Arterial spray, fist, body, no head.

    I do think that this is a good jumping-off book for d20 players who have never played oWoD or nWoD. Gets them used to the dark modern fantasy/horror setting and the general idea of playing potentially "bad" guys.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • No-QuarterNo-Quarter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    No-Quarter wrote: »
    I have to say, nice find! This seems like the shortcut into WoD I've been waiting for. I own plenty of the books but unfortunately it's just too involving for my friends to take seriously despite the best efforts of our DM. I think- given the DnD toolset, that this would be much more his speed, and we'd all have a breadth of characters to choose from. It's like the WoD Arcade Game.

    I like the plot too, how's the art?

    The art is very typical World of Darkness stuff (the splats look near identical to what you would see in a core book). A lot of it is somewhat uninspired (not as bad as Hunter: The Reckoning art), but there's some great stuff. On page 169 there's a huge picture of a human form werewolf hanging from a fire escape who just apparently punched a gun-toting opponent and knocked off his head. Arterial spray, fist, body, no head.

    I do think that this is a good jumping-off book for d20 players who have never played oWoD or nWoD. Gets them used to the dark modern fantasy/horror setting and the general idea of playing potentially "bad" guys.

    Sounds good, when does this come out?

    I think the main thing is my friend the DM is more used to the standard DnD format of "go on quest, do stuff" then the investigative story bent of standard WoD. Also the recommended depth of character development is trouble for him and us as we are really quite awkward at playing in character + some of my friends don't take it seriously enough. I think I could the in depth "in character" stuff via a forum or chat but that's another matter.

    This however feels like it could be much more our speed.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    No-Quarter wrote: »

    Sounds good, when does this come out?

    It's already out. I bought it at Border's.
    I think the main thing is my friend the DM is more used to the standard DnD format of "go on quest, do stuff" then the investigative story bent of standard WoD. Also the recommended depth of character development is trouble for him and us as we are really quite awkward at playing in character + some of my friends don't take it seriously enough. I think I could the in depth "in character" stuff via a forum or chat but that's another matter.

    This however feels like it could be much more our speed.

    One fun thing you could do is what I'm thinking about doing: Run a "year zero" game (the main game setting is "year one") and have your players play, essentially, themselves. Have the Intrusion happen with your city at the edge of the Annihilation zone, or perhaps in the Haunted region. Your players know your city. They know themselves. They'll have honest reactions. Then during the first session, you can have them choose their character types as the world goes to shit around them. This sort of avatar game makes some players uncomfortable (it did for me for a long time), but might be the best way to introduce your players to a different sort of game: at least they can fall back, RP-wise on the fact that they're playing themselves, only supernatural.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    How are the vampire, mage, etc. laid out? Are they templates or some kind of individual character class?

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maticore wrote: »
    How are the vampire, mage, etc. laid out? Are they templates or some kind of individual character class?

    Each supernatural type is its own class, laid out with a level table just like Rangers, Monks, etc are in the Player's Handbook. Thus, there are five classes, and they're given different power schemes depending on the player's choice.

    Awakened: Don't get powers, but they do get piles of stat bonuses, skill masteries, and feats. They're the human rogue type... lots of flexibility but little in the way of freaky powers.

    Demons: They get feat-like Cants every couple levels, choosable from a sizable list. The player also chooses between Tempter and Scourge; Tempters get more social abilities and Scourges get more combat abilities on level-up.

    Mages: They get "component points" and build their spells from quite a few tables determining effect, duration, range, scope, etc. They get a few rotes that they get discounted, but they can do their spells on the fly as well. They get "Gnosis" type feats that are much like metamagic feats.

    Vampires: Choose between five clans for stat bonuses & penalties, as well as bonuses to Disciplines (Gangrel get bonuses with Animalism, Vigor, and Protean, for example), which are again handled like a seperate type of feat. They can also get Devotions, which are like the old combo Disciplines (Celerity and Heightened Senses let you take Quicken Sight, for example).

    Werewolf: Choose between five auspices for stat bonuses, and their feat powers are called Rites. Some Rites are auspice-specific, but most are available to all werewolves. Werewolves get really strong base-level combat abilities.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Each supernatural type is its own class, laid out with a level table just like Rangers, Monks, etc are in the Player's Handbook. Thus, there are five classes, and they're given different power schemes depending on the player's choice.

    I hunger for this book. It calls to me in the night. Also I want to combine it with other D20 Games, think it'll mesh decently?

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maticore wrote: »
    Each supernatural type is its own class, laid out with a level table just like Rangers, Monks, etc are in the Player's Handbook. Thus, there are five classes, and they're given different power schemes depending on the player's choice.

    I hunger for this book. It calls to me in the night. Also I want to combine it with other D20 Games, think it'll mesh decently?

    It's a lightly modified 3.5E ruleset, so adding in feats and the like from d20 modern-setting games probably wouldn't be a problem. It doesn't really allow for multiclassing, though... you can't be more than one supernatural type, though you could theoretically add in other classes if you wanted to dilute the supernatural creature feel of the game.

    Good luck in getting it, and also with the hefty price tag.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Good luck in getting it, and also with the hefty price tag.

    Jesus day fast approaches! As long as it's not too heavily modified, I'm a huge fan of pulling out stuff from other D20 systems in my D&D and Iron Heroes games. This sounds like just the ticket, because I have a couple guys who know just enough white wolf to fear the sight of a Vampire or Werewolf built using something based on the WoD. Also, I might actually try to run it.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maticore wrote: »
    Good luck in getting it, and also with the hefty price tag.

    Jesus day fast approaches! As long as it's not too heavily modified, I'm a huge fan of pulling out stuff from other D20 systems in my D&D and Iron Heroes games. This sounds like just the ticket, because I have a couple guys who know just enough white wolf to fear the sight of a Vampire or Werewolf built using something based on the WoD. Also, I might actually try to run it.

    Fair enough... I'd be interested to learn how the McWoD classes stack up against other games'. They all start at 4th level, of course, so you'd have to take that into account (level 1 has the stats as if it were level 4 in any other system, presumably to improve durability and de-stress min-maxing).

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    The first thing I'll do with it once I get my hands on it is try to break the crap out of the rules, and if I can't (I usually can't with Cook's stuff) I'll run little numbers comparisons on what I can. And let some players play them in playtests alongside other game system's stuff. Oh snap, i'm getting excited.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maticore wrote: »
    Oh snap, i'm getting excited.

    That's what I like to hear. :)

    I'm going to bring the book for my friends to look at. We haven't gamed in years, so it might be fun to run a few sessions.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • MaticoreMaticore Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    That's what I like to hear. :)

    I'm going to bring the book for my friends to look at. We haven't gamed in years, so it might be fun to run a few sessions.


    Let us know how it goes!

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Oh, Maticore and anyone interested:

    You may want to check the official White Wolf forums over at www.white-wolf.com because there's a whole forum dedicated to McWoD, and a lot of people have written up mods, house rules, and extra disciplines/rites/etc.

    One guy is even trying to mod the Awakened into Hunter: The Reckoning-style Creeds.

    The forums are a bit outdated, but that's part of their charm. ;-)

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited November 2007

    One fun thing you could do is what I'm thinking about doing: Run a "year zero" game (the main game setting is "year one") and have your players play, essentially, themselves. Have the Intrusion happen with your city at the edge of the Annihilation zone, or perhaps in the Haunted region. Your players know your city. They know themselves. They'll have honest reactions. Then during the first session, you can have them choose their character types as the world goes to shit around them. This sort of avatar game makes some players uncomfortable (it did for me for a long time), but might be the best way to introduce your players to a different sort of game: at least they can fall back, RP-wise on the fact that they're playing themselves, only supernatural.

    I like the sound of this. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. :)

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    cytorak wrote: »

    I like the sound of this. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. :)

    You should. I once got two women I know to play a succubus possessing a nun and a fertility goddess possessing a stripper, respectively.

    I miss that game :P

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited December 2007
  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited December 2007
    I picked this up yesterday. The magic system is pretty cool. Not as set in stone as d20 but much better than M:TA's system:

    "You can do stuff. What kind of stuff you say? Well, you can do these two things for sure and also if you ask your GM...look over there!"

    *Sound of footsteps followed by tires screeching*"

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    cytorak wrote: »
    I picked this up yesterday. The magic system is pretty cool. Not as set in stone as d20 but much better than M:TA's system:

    "You can do stuff. What kind of stuff you say? Well, you can do these two things for sure and also if you ask your GM...look over there!"

    *Sound of footsteps followed by tires screeching*"

    Hee, cute.

    Yeah, they tried to be as comprehensive as possible with their magic charts, but ultimately players will come up with stuff that requires a GM call.

    I'm still trying to figure out if I have the player pool to actually run this game.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Echo wrote: »
    Seems no less silly than Tribe 8, which seemed pretty awesome to me.

    Aah, Tribe 8. Great RPG, but unfortunately it really jumped to the shark during the 2nd edition. Change from Vimary to Capal didn't really work, and some ideas introduced in the metaplot were plain stupid.

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    elkatas wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Seems no less silly than Tribe 8, which seemed pretty awesome to me.

    Aah, Tribe 8. Great RPG, but unfortunately it really jumped to the shark during the 2nd edition. Change from Vimary to Capal didn't really work, and some ideas introduced in the metaplot were plain stupid.

    Hum... lemme have a look. Little RPGs like that are always fanciful at least.
    Wikipedia wrote:
    Tribe 8 takes place in a land known as Vimary, which is a post-apocalyptic Montreal, Quebec, Canada. At some indeterminate point in history, something has gone horribly, cosmically wrong. Though the nature of this disaster is never fully explained, the result was the appearance of the "Z'bri", twisted demonic creatures of spirit who either initiated the fall of the "World Before," or came in the wake of its destruction. The Z'bri, needing flesh to sate their demonic hungers, herded the majority of humanity into camps where they were killed or enslaved until the "Fatimas" (avatars of what is called "The One Goddess") imbued humanity with hope and with Synthesis, a potent but subtle form of dream magic. In this way, the Z'bri were fought back into the wilds.

    Oh, it seems like everything's been going wrong since Canada came along.

    Looking at that game's system, all I get is that six siders give me a headache. Not enough variation.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Having just gotten this I have to say wow, much as I prefer to avoid d20, Monte Cook Presents: Monte Cook's World of Darkness: The Monte Cookening is pretty darn good. Needs to play me a game o' this. :D

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    Having just gotten this I have to say wow, much as I prefer to avoid d20, Monte Cook Presents: Monte Cook's World of Darkness: The Monte Cookening is pretty darn good. Needs to play me a game o' this. :D

    That's the Full Monte right there.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    Having just gotten this I have to say wow, much as I prefer to avoid d20, Monte Cook Presents: Monte Cook's World of Darkness: The Monte Cookening is pretty darn good. Needs to play me a game o' this. :D

    That's the Full Monte right there.

    Starring Monte Cook

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited April 2008
    You know what would be super rad?

    If someone ran this game...right here.

    I'm just sayin.'

  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    monte cook's monte cook's world of darkness by monte cook: reloaded?

    Player of Batgirl, Gotham Knights
    GM of Monsterhearts: Blackwood
  • No-QuarterNo-Quarter Registered User regular
    edited April 2008
    I'd play. My Changeling: The Lost idea is going no where until my job situation sorts itself out.

  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Are there any plans for supplements to this game?

  • cytorakcytorak Registered User
    edited July 2008
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