Sunday, March 8, 2020

Unknown Armies-style Stress Gauges for Vampire 5e

As you probably know, I'm a big fan of Unknown Armies. Even though the setting isn't for most gamers, there's just something about the core mechanics of the game which I find satisfying in its utility and adaptable to different genres (for example, were I run a game set in the Firefly 'verse, I would use UA).

I think the most evocative part of UA are the Stress Gauges, which were called Madness Meters in previous editions. They're like the Sanity system of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, only better, because not only are the sources of stress/madness broken down into categories like Violence, Helplessness, and so on, they also give you the choice of being unable to cope with the stresses (and therefore going insane) or become hardened to them (and risk becoming an emotionless sociopath).

In fact, I like it so much that I converted it to use with Vampire: the Masquerade, another of my favorite system. It was a fair amount of work, but I thought it was a great idea and so did my GM, so I did it.

That said, here's a Google Doc for Stress Gauges in V5. Not only did I re-calibrate some of the benchmarks because I didn't agree with them, I also added a sixth gauge called Addiction. Not only is this great for games without supernatural components (like the aforementioned UA Firefly game), but it's also a natural fit for Vampire where hunger for blood, itself an addiction, rules the player characters.

If you like V:tM and you like granular measurements of insanity and sociopathy, I think you'll like this adaptation.

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