Resource Scarcity System

  • Pitcrew

    So I was musing during my day job, and just thought, there has got to be a good way to do resource scarcity. Not worrying at all about your Blood/Mana/Essence/Glamour is ok sometimes, but mostly it just leads to people dumping all their power points into one or two actions and not having to think up creative means to work around it...

    So, critique this.


    1. Anyone, at any time, can run an 'energy gathering scene'. This requires no approval, no waiting. This is the important part, I think, of rules for this. Can't have people waiting.

    2. Areas are defined on the grid/map/world. Be that 'Domains' or districts, or different for each race, it doesn't matter. Id say generic districts that are the same for each splat is the best way to do it, that way they never need to be updated. Make them along natural geographical lines or city district lines that players would probably pick up for their pack/coterie/domain/whatever territory anyways.

    3. The PrPST of the energy gathering scene will report the result. They must also check the 'Energy Reserve' code (see below) before they run the scene to see any penalties (ie: Too many people feeding here, a -3 to all rolls)

    4. Feeding scenes should be a minimum of x actions that require rolls. For instance 3 roll requirement:
      a ) roll to find an area suitable for your energy gathering.
      b ) roll to break in / roll to coerce stranger / roll to get past obstacle
      c ) roll to gather energy.
      (in other words, the good basics of any scene: Find, Overcome, Gather)

    5. All splats have equal access to this system. Either all splats use this or no splats use this. For vamps its finding blood, for changelings its finding emotionally charged people. For werewolves its finding minor loci that are so small they'll give a rolls worth of essence and then splurt out of existence and die (if you feel this is unthematic, build it into the meta plot). For mages... I donno. I don't know mage. I guess finding minor nodes that dry up like werewolves? Same for Geist? For Demons it would totally be a blast, plugging into the GodMachine...

    Then there is part 2. The code. The code is, from the outside, really simple: but I think thats where all the hitch comes up. Nobody wants to do the coding.

    1. The code can either be in game or on a webpage.

    2. It shows each 'district/domain' whatever for the type of energy gathering available. These should be easily updatable for political changes (packs taking over territories, princes being dicks with domain rights, whatever) or not, if the staff decides just to make all districts static and players have to work around that. A map, or even just a couple of infoboxes.

    3. The PrPST just goes there, checks the district area for any modifiers.
      a ) Click on the district area, popup window says all relevant modifiers.
      b ) and a button to take the prpst to the reporting window)

    4. When done, they input: Joeschmoe fed. There are a couple of check boxes: Anyone die? Anyone see something Supernatural they shouldn't have? and the number of points of energy sucked up.A form with the following fields.
      a ) Who Gathered?
      b ) Who ST'd?
      c ) Anyone die? (Checkbox)
      d ) Anyone see anything Supernatural they shouldn't have? (Checkbox)
      e ) Any blatantly illegal or obvious tracks left behind that could be followed by hunters/police/ect? (checkbox)
      f ) How many points gathered?

    5. The code keeps track of the number of energy sucked up. When it reaches certain levels (40pts of blood, 15pts of essence, whatever is deemed appropriate) it ups the difficulty modifiers for the rolls, up to of course a max of 5. If it gets to a certain point, it reports that there is no possible energy gathering in that district.
      For instance:
      a ) Every 15 points of an energy type, the modifier increases by -1
      b ) Every death in the district adds one 'major complication'
      c ) 120 points per month available (or refresh 30 points every week or something)
      d ) Every time someone see's something they shouldn't adds one 'minor complication'

    6. Complications are like:
      a ) Major: Police patrolling area or Residents not out on streets at night or Gangs think someone is moving in on their turf or Hunters in the area
      b ) Minor: People shying away from strangers or Block Watch on the lookout or People traveling in groups, or additional security equipment installed (flood lights, cameras, ect)

    These complications can totally just be a list that is randomly selected from every time the threshold is hit.

    1. The database resets every month, or maybe if the coder is feeling ambitions, it drops a 'level' every week there is no activity there (So if district A is at -4 modifier, and no one goes there for a week, then it becomes a -3 modifier, a minor complication removed every week, a major every two weeks)

    If the code can be written, then it could be really easy to maintain, and it could spit out a list of whose feeding where that can be archived if someone wants to do some investigating (Why does my packs district/territory have so little essence? oh because the neighboring werewolves are poaching our territory...)

    This kind of code could tie in very well to a Territory system as well. Make the districts defined and static, and allow player groups to claim them. Assign territory merits to each territory and holding them gets those benifits for that pack/coterie/whatever. Splat overlap of course, only one werewolf pack per district, but a coterie and a motley can claim it as well. When those districts run out and all are claimed? Welcome to the world of darkness, sometimes its not so nice if all the big kids have the toys. Join one of the groups, or wage a war to take one from them.

    Think both of these things would work best on a smaller grid, probably 25-30 'outside' rooms at best.

    Poke holes in it people. And if some game runner wants to adapt it to their game, go for it. I'd love to see some actual resource scarcity in games.

  • Just, specifically focusing on Vampire for my comments.

    An in depth, well thought out, coded system for feeding is great and very nice, and adds a level of strategy (sort of) to things like needing feeding grounds and not blowing through 7 vitae for unimportant BS.

    The problem is...I feel like dealing with this is going to get very old, very quickly. Even if you don't do anything at all, your vampire is going through 7 vitae a week (that wake up cost everybody likes to wave), and if you go out to RP (or stay in, to TS), 8/10 times you're acting like the blush of life is active, that's another vitae spend that usually gets waved.

    It will get annoying to deal with. Especially when no other splat (to my knowledge) deals with that struggle (IE, an automatic cost just for existing), and tend to have far easier ways to get their 'energy' back. I mean, mages get mana back from doing stuff like cleaning house. (Been a while since I poked at mage, but I remember that being somebody's form of meditation or wtfever.)

    EDIT : Balancing such a system so that it's actually a possible problem that spawns RP, and is A) not a restrictive pain in the ass or B ) not just a bit of code that is pretty much ignored aside from remembering to run it every couple days, is not going to be an easy task, either. For example, Kingsmouth has feeding code, and actually runs wake up vitae costs, but..the feeding system mostly seemed to be a joke. I heard a staffer say something like there was 650/700 vitae still available on the grid's hunting spots at the end of a week.

  • Pitcrew

    That would be the suckiest part - and truth be told, I don't play vamp so I have no idea what its really like. Maybe HR it to one vitae per week to stay active? Blush of Life always up? Everyone plays that way without spending blood anyways, don't they? :P

  • @Tempest said:

    It will get annoying to deal with. Especially when no other splat (to my knowledge) deals with that struggle (IE, an automatic cost just for existing), and tend to have far easier ways to get their 'energy' back.

    That's because no other splat is so focused on politics, save for Demons (maybe). This is the strength and weakness of Vampire in the oWoD or nWoD: it has the potential to create its own conflict without intercession, if maintained properly, but needs a substantial amount of structure and system-enforced needs to operate.

  • Two possible thoughts:

    From an old vampire chronicle: allow a merit that increases the number of days before a Vitae is lost.


    Base default without fill up scenes Blood Pool level. For instance, assume folks are always down 3, and allow certain merits to alter that amount.

  • Admin

    The main question here (for me) is, if you forget to, don't participate in the system or just don't find gathering scenes appealing - a likelihood when it comes to something your character is, after all, engaged in all the time - do you die from hunger/be drained to nothing eventually?

  • @Arkandel said:

    The main question here (for me) is, if you forget to, don't participate in the system or just don't find gathering scenes appealing - a likelihood when it comes to something your character is, after all, engaged in all the time - do you die from hunger/be drained to nothing eventually?

    Easy code fix: you lose the daily vitae in the event that you log on after a 24 hour cycle. So, if you log on at 0900 on Monday, you will lose the vitae if you log on after 0900 on Tuesday, but if you log on next at 0900 on Thursday, you still only lose 1 day's worth of vitae for waking up.

  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said:

    The main question here (for me) is, if you forget to, don't participate in the system or just don't find gathering scenes appealing - a likelihood when it comes to something your character is, after all, engaged in all the time - do you die from hunger/be drained to nothing eventually?

    Maybe then it could be an option with a bonus?

    You can make a single roll with the district modifiers and report it yourself, no scene needed:

    But if you go through the scene you get .2xp (a beat in 2.0, for instance) and +2 resource? or something like that - Make it so that you can just do the gathering quick, report it to the code, and get your stuff, but get a bit more into it and get a bonus?

  • @Misadventure said:

    Base default without fill up scenes Blood Pool level. For instance, assume folks are always down 3, and allow certain merits to alter that amount.

    You know, I actually kind of like that idea. Simple, and to be frank, seems like it'd be pretty realistic. I can't imagine most vampires would be running around at 10/10 11/11 12/12 vitae 9 out of 10 nights, which they do on most MUs.

  • Admin

    I think most people simply neglect to do it, rather than not log on (although obviously that's a thing too).

    I remember many times in the past being the proud player of a starving vampire who's theoretically near frenzy because he forgot to eat.

  • I think you should have a look at what Requiem for Kingsmouth has done. How you get your blood matters; but it's not normally an issue unless you blow through it recklessly. The racks might occasionally be dry, but mostly there's enough blood to go around.

  • Speaking of being hit with a penalty, like connecting after three days with a frenzy maddened vampire, for not logging on. I usually just steered wide and clear of games like that... Game and chore should not be interchangeable nouns.

  • @Cynder said:

    Game and chore should not be interchangeable nouns.

    You see, this is why I couldn't get into World of Warcraft or Call of Duty games.

  • @Cynder RFK doesn't do that. You don't log on for 3 days, you still only lose 1 vitae for waking.

  • Pitcrew

    Last time I played a vamp , the way I dealt with blood was simple and easy. Make the hunt roll every day, I mean the system is right there in the book. Granted this was not at a place that had the coded blood pools like Kingsmouth.
    I also know that 90 percent or more of players do not do this. I was later told by staff it was one of the things they found amusing the fact that out of a dozen or so vamps i was the only one the concerned themselves with hunting rolls.

  • Did you account for the idea that for a 12 hour day (sunset to sunrise) you used N amount for hunting, every day? When you throw in security f Haven, prep time, travel time, Vamps have a really low number of hours to do stuff.

  • Pitcrew

    For the most part yes, after all given that I was at most on for 4 to 6 hours in a given night that left 6 for off screen things., Mostly hunting and haven management. He had an NPC retainer that could handle mundane tasks as well.

  • Not meaning to derail the thread but this has actually be a concept that I've been bouncing over for my game for a while, particularly because it's the one thing I need to really handle going from LARP to MUSH.

    In the system I'm using, you really have a couple of options:

    • Feeding and Difficulty: Generally you'll enter game at half blood (to represent spotty feeding) unless you've got 1 dot of herd or use a downtime to feed. With those, you come into game at full (locally we play every 1st and 3rd weekend). If the difficulty goes up, it requires more dots of herd, more downtimes, or a combination of the two to come in a full.
    • In game feeding: If you have no herd, spend 15 minutes out of game and get 2 blood to represent going to feed. If you have Herd, spend 5 minutes and return with your Herd in blood.

    It saves a lot on the ST time in general, and then if people want to go do something like kill a homeless dude and get his full blood, they can get a scene like that run. So far we've had one guy do that, after a particularly stressful fight where he got himself cornered by gang members.

    I've been debating having the downtime/herd system essentially function to give players a 'start of 2 week period' pool equivalent to their full blood pool to draw from without having to handle the excess from the areas/grid. Without herd or downtime, you're at the mercy of the city and other people.

    Does anyone have any thoughts?

  • Admin

    @Bobotron said:

    Does anyone have any thoughts?

    My only thought is that constantly managing resources isn't that much fun. I can see it belonging on sporadic, occasional thematic PrPs (feeding gone wrong, for example) but it'll turn into a chore in no time flat since you have to keep doing it. The first time you botch a feeding it's fun! The second time that month it's eh, okay, fun! The third? Forth? Where does the madness end? :)

    And if it's not there for RP but just a command (+feed <place>=<amount>) then what's the point? How is that entertaining?

    What is fun is managing the sources themselves. Struggling to keep domain, toeing the line between too little and enough to piss someone bigger than you off, etc. But that's a different beast altogether.

  • Pitcrew

    Three or four botched hunts in a month? Well that person might want to change the hunting style.
    Granted I have only been on two mushes that had coded hunting, Kingsmouth and Darkmetal way back in the day.
    Both documented what stats go into each hunting style so unless you are determined to do something you come up with botches don't come up often.
    I understand some players do not like the resource management aspect of games, and while Vampire is the only game that you have it for survival it is baked into all the WoD games and serves as a limited factor to power level. Not a I can't do it limit but a is this worth using precious energy on. I think the loosening of that constraint is one reason Mage gets such a bad rep on mushes. When energy/ammo is effectively limit-less there is little disincentive to throw the biggest gun at every problem.
    And if the resources from the source do not matter then what does the source? If I can be at fell blood whenever which is how most games handle it, then why work to maintain all herd or domain it has no real benefit.
    I know on games where i have to do more to refresh fuel, I tend to me more careful about things and likely more in theme then those where it is type a command get stuff with no risk.

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