The following modifications to the Storytelling system will be used for this campaign. These will not be added into the game all at once: once we have become comfortable with one of the new rules, we will add in another until the full suite of rules is in play.
Dramatic Failures are fun. Bad luck has a tendency to strike at the worst moments, and some of the most memorable events are when things don’t go smoothly as planned. Most supernatural powers even have special entries for what happens when the power goes horribly wrong. Unfortunately, the way that the Storytelling system works as written makes it difficult for Dramatic Failures to happen. Bonus dice are abundant, and means of subtracting dice can become a somewhat daunting task. In fact I can count the number of times on one hand that I’ve actually seen a Dramatic Failure, and those were on Paradox rolls in Mage the Awakening…and getting a Dramatic Failure on a Paradox roll is actually a GOOD thing for the spellcaster.
With that in mind, I have decided to adopt the Exalted system of determining Dramatic Failure.
If a dice pool roll results in no successes and any of the dice come up as a 1, then the roll is a Dramatic Failure. Approximate severity can be determined by the number of dice that came up as a 1; the more 1s, the worse the accident.
Social Combat: Sway (WoD: Mirrors, p. 100-111)
Sway is a system from Mirrors that gives a more precise, quantifiable benefit to successful social rolls. Similar to how Damage is classified as Bashing, Lethal or Aggravated, Sway is divided into three types: Casual, Intimate and Unnatural. Casual sway allows one to do things like get someone to perform an action they would be inclined to do anyway (or have no objection to), get them to reveal a piece of information that doesn’t outright endanger them or their position. Intimate sway can convince characters to reveal information or take an action that could get them into some serious shit, or take an action that requires a Morality check, or change their opinion on an important issue. Unnatural sway always comes from supernatural abilities and can do pretty much anything, including permanently change a person’s Virtue or Vice.
Anticipation (WoD: Mirrors, p. 111-114)
The Anticipation rule from Mirrors allows the player to spend Willpower points to pause the scene and explain how their character was smart or savvy enough to have anticipated the current development and take steps against it. This should help players whose characters far exceed them in brains to believably portray their genius, as well as allow characters with honest-to-God divination abilities to “see the future” and plan accordingly. Though be warned: Storyteller characters may also use this technique against player characters. In fact, Anticipation can be used as a system for a battle of wits, where both parties keep going until bested or one party runs out of Willpower to continue.
The Setup (WoD: Mirrors, p. 114-116)
The Setup rule from Mirrors works in a similar way to Anticipation, but in more in-depth detail. Instead of merely pausing the scene, Setup flat out interrupts the current scene with a flashback scene. The triggering player pays a Willpower dot (not a point) and frames the flashback scene; where it is, when it is, who’s there, and what’s going on. The Storyteller provides and arbitrates the challenges within as usual. The involved characters may then attempt to take actions within the scene which directly alter the interrupted scene. Combined with Sway, this allows for such treachary as flashing back in the middle of a fight and bribing your opponents mercenaries to turn on him at your signal.
Declaration (WoD: Mirrors, p. 116-118)
The Declaration rule from Mirrors allows the player to spend Willpower points to have their characters become dramatically aware of some fact that the player makes up. This allows the players to make modifications to the setting on the fly, doing things like adding details that become fact within the game’s setting or making statements about NPCs or small groups or organizations. It cannot redefine a player’s character without her permission, nor can it contradict previously established facts or make sweeping statements about whole populations.