mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Breakers. (23)

Second Sight by White Wolf.

...my mind to your mind...
"I'm seeing...blood....everywhere!"
Your thoughts to my thoughts...

Alright, here is the big discussion on the World of Darkness that this book creates: supernatural abilities as Merits. To break down what I mean, let me explain what this book is, in short: rules for psychics & hedge wizards. That is to say, rules for human beings with a pinch of the supernatural. I like that idea; then again, I also dislike Mage: the Awakening for failing to be that game. The way Second Sight attempts to codify paranormal abilities is as Merits-- that is, extra add-ons. By contrast, games like Vampire: the Requiem et al have specific "powers" like Disciplines. The difference is...well, the differences are profound. First off, just look at raw experience point cost. Merits cost New Rating x 2; so level one in an ability costs 2 points, level two is 4 points, etc. Disciplines et al cost New Rating x either 5 or 7. That right there is a pretty sizable gulf, even if you made the argument that a psychic ability might not be as powerful as a vampire power. Except...well, they pretty much are. So, there is that.

The second big issue is something already built into the game-- are Merits created equal? Merits come in different flavors, like attributes: Physical, Mental, & Social. Now, the problem here is one of "external" versus "internal." You could take a Merit like "Fast Runner" & that is built into you. Your character is quick on her feet! Now compare to some of the Social Merits, which are external, like Resources. That is money. Heck, you can MAKE money, you can steal from the vampire's jewelry box or ask the corrupt CEO for a pay-off. Some are even a little more rough, like combat styles. Is knowing Kung-fu really balanced with having Contact in the police department who can tip you off? Well-- sure, maybe, if your Narrator does his job. Add psychic powers to the mix though, & dang.

I guess my answer can only be really shown through further editions of the game, so lets put it aside for now. Just something to be very aware of; it is a make or break issue, I think. Fundamental to the games elegance & playability. The book itself is chock full of information-- that can make it a little confusing, but it is ultimately worth it. In terms of bang for your buck, this definitely pays out. I've got a weakness for psychics in my Vampire game, ever since my old Vampire: the Masquerade character murdered that pyrokinetic who was hanging out with us & trying to betray us to the vampire hunters. I might be falling off track-- so let me summarize. Are you okay with Supernatural Merits? If the answer is yes, than this is the book for you. Even if you aren't, the Rituals in the "Thaumaturge" chapters are worthwhile for your Cruac or Theban sorcery.
Tags: books, haiku, merits, rpgs, wod
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