From WoD Gotham
World of Darkness: Gotham is a Crossover Classic World of Darkness chronicle which takes place in a relatively small geographical area which is densely populated. It makes little sense to create a setting with artificially enforced barriers among venues. In any case, we don’t want to. We like the idea of crossover stories and the potential dramatic tension it can create among player characters. However, that necessitates the careful review of all venues in WoDG across a wide variety of texts in order to come up with some sort of method to make crossover easier as the games were never designed to handle it well.
We started with addressing the mundane systems first. They have all been compared and contrasted and inconsistencies were addressed and dealt with. This means that you should refer to these sections instead of any similar section in one of the core rule books:
The Crossover Rule of All Crossover Rules
In WoDG, there will NEVER EVER EVER be a situation where a SUPERNATURAL character has no chance to resist. This means any Kindred, Mage, Garou, or Ghoul will be offered a method to resist an effect, Discipline, Gift, or other power being thrown at them. No matter how unlikely, a player must be given the chance to save his character.
We have tried to address every situation we could think of with broad rules, but there might be instances where there’s a doubt or two. In those cases, grab a ST, look at the Universal Crossover Truths, and work it out using the general resistance rules for each venue provided in this category.
That is our prime directive.
World of Darkness: Gotham Universal Crossover Truths
There are universal truths with respect to each venue that are core to any ruling that is made in WoDG when it involves crossover. These truths should be at the core for any ruling which has not been covered in the Resisting Gifts, Resisting Disciplines, Resisting True Magick, Thaumaturgy vs Magick, and Gifts vs Magick. However, if even after reading those articles a player or ST is still stuck, refer to these Universal Crossover Truths:
Strengths: Mages have the most potent supernatural powers. This is because their supernatural power involves actually rewriting the reality which all other beings inhabit. They literally alter the way the universe works with their magick. Therefore their powers are the hardest to resist if they are resistible at all. It’s hard to resist the universe you live in. Some magick is so subtle that it looks like a coincidence that is called Coincidental Magick. Other magick cast is more flashy and it is called Vulgar Magick.
Weaknesses: They have the same physical frailties as any mortal. They cannot soak Lethal or Aggravated damage normally. Without preparation, they are as easy to pick off as a normal mortal character. Also due to their studious nature and their Awakened state, they are somewhat aloof from the Masses and find their holdings among them limited. This means that they have fewer mortals supporting them than Kindred, but more than Garou. They have no supercharged mortals as Kindred do. They also are fewer in number than Kindred as it is no small thing to Awaken. Mechanically, they pay more in experience for their magick and have lower dice pools for it. They are also subject to a force that will make them temper their power or risk injury and possibly death called Paradox.
Mages = über-hard to resist their powers, but squishy as mortals if unbuffed and less powerful back up NPCs and less mortal influence than Kindred, but more influence than Garou.
Conclusion: STs and players will need to accept that mages have their True Magick and nothing else to bolster them. They do not regenerate, grow claws, or turn into hulking furry death machines. They do not have cadres of Blood Bound slaves with supernatural powers protecting them. They don’t have legions of Kin driven by familial pressures to serve with fanatical loyalty. They have True Magick and that’s it. Therefore resisting magick will be a tough proposition for all non-mages in WoDG. All resistances will favor the mage and not the non-mage. This also goes for mages having an easier time resisting supernatural powers of non-mages. A mage will always have the advantage when dealing with supernatural powers. Period.
Strengths: They have the most influence among the Herd than the other two venues. They have spent years cultivating and acquiring influence through proxies over many many human generations. They can command small cadres of Ghouls, Retainers, Herd, Followers, and Childer. These act as their own private armies of proxies to act on their behalf in the shadows and unbeknownst to all. Some even have their own supernatural abilities and are known as Ghouls. Neither mage nor Garou have supporting NPCs with inherent supernatural abilities. They extend their influence deep into the city this way. Even the weakest of vampires has the benefits of a supernatural body. They can regenerate and they can soak Lethal damage. Some can also soak Aggravated damage. They are immortal. Kindred also possess inherent supernatural powers. These powers stem from their blood and their supernatural unliving state. They are potent in and of themselves, but not as versatile or as potent or as far-reaching as a mage’s by a long shot. However, they are not subject to the whims of spirits as are the Garou.
Weaknesses: Vampires are nocturnal and may not be active during the day. They are vulnerable to fire and being staked. They are also prone to provocation by an inner Beast. They are addicted to blood like a junkie on smack. Many of them have begun to detach themselves from Humanity due to this inner Beast and addiction which threatens to drive them insane. This struggle tends to make it harder for them to blend in with Humanity as the years pass and so they become vulnerable to detection and more reliant on proxies.
Kindred = The most powerful and numerous back up NPCs. Supernaturally a happy medium between Garou and mages. They have decent supernatural powers which can be difficult to resist, but not terribly difficult. They have a tough supernatural body, but not as tough as a Garou.
Conclusion: Kindred will always have the advantage when it comes to influencing the mundane world. They simply have been doing it longer and have more fingers in more pies. They also have Ghouls that can wield some supernatural powers to give themselves an edge.
Not Being Human
Just because we allow crossovers, doesn't mean that players are free to do screwed up and goofy stuff like getting vampires, Garou and mages to all share a flat together. We expect Garou players to be house broken and not to hump the nearest dead thing that gives their player a woody. We don't condone characters sharing the inner workings of their supernatural group. There are consequences for that sort of thing.
We do crossovers that make sense and it's aptly described in our Keeping It Real article. Most successful open gaming crossover encounters include one or more parties not knowing that another is a supernatural.
Unlike other games, WoDG understands that players want to crossover and the team here has done the work to make that possible. However we insist that it be done sensibly. So do not think for a moment that your character will not be held accountable for crossingover in a silly way.
In short, just because WoDG allows a thing, doesn't mean that all the supernaturals get dressed up in their finest and go to the nearest city square where they can sit on the soft, sweet smelling grass and sing Kumbayah together while enjoying a hot latte. It just doesn't work like that.
Strengths: Garou are built powerfully; their bodies are resilient and tough allowing them to live for an extended time with a natural lifespan reaching back around 130 years. Garou are the power houses of the World of Darkness being the best in individual martial prowess of all creatures in the cWoD. They can shrug off most forms of damage and regenerate quickly all but Aggravated damage and even that can be a dicey proposition with certain Gifts and Fetishes. Even the young Garou can hold his own in Crinos form against an ancilla or elder Brujah. They are not human, but part beast and part spirit. This allows them to tap their inner Beast and yoke it for its power – able to ignore wounds in a last ditch effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat or to gain supernatural speed. Their spirit-halves allow them to move in and out of the spirit world (the Umbra). They have an ancient pact with spirits and from that pact their supernatural powers originate.
Weaknesses: Just as Garou derive strength from their Beast and their spirit. So too are they weakened by both. They are subject to frenzy just as Vampires are – even more prone to frenzy. Because of this Beast which constantly is bubbling at the surface of their psyche, even the calmest Garou find it difficult to form lasting friendships with humans. They rely primarily on networks of family called kinfolk to be their link to human society. Their magical power is derived from spirits. Spirits can be demanding and precarious things given to unknowable whims and motives and subject to manipulation by other forces. Finally, just as fire and sunlight harms the vampire, silver harms the Garou.
Werewolf = They are by far the most physically and martially powerful of all the supernatural creatures. That's balanced out as Garou have a strict ranking system and therefore are not able to gain access to the more potent of their powers without a lot of play behind them. They have networks of NPCs, but their number and their entrenchment in human society is not nearly as strong as the Kindred and they have no supernatural abilities.
Conclusion: In combat, Garou have the upper hand when it comes to contests. If there’s a question about a combat system and crossover, any ruling should favor that of the Garou. When it comes to resisting or applying supernatural powers, they are on par with Kindred. Any question arising from application of Gifts and Rites, resisting Gifts and Rites or the Garou resisting a Discipline or Magickal effect, the contest favors the mage but the Vampire is evenly matched.