White Wolf is not a system to use for binary results. A halfway competent character will get at least one success, on average, on a roll of almost any difficulty. Some systems will allow the GM to set a difficulty where failure is an option, success is not assured, and it takes a really exceptional character to get better than a minimum result. That isn’t White Wolf. It’s not hugely improbable that someone with four dice can get just as many successes as someone with eight.

Instead, White Wolf’s system does a good job of modeling the kinds of games that White Wolf makes: no character is an order of magnitude more competent than any other character, almost any action willingly undertaken will be successful to some degree, and victory hinges on luck, tactics, and access to wicked cool powers. In short, it’s a game where characters increase in robustness but don’t become drastically more potent; unlike in many other systems, a specialized starting character differs from the same character after months of play only in degree, not in magnitude.

Straight out of the box, it’s not a great system to use for high fantasy or epic superheroics (though Exalted and Aberrant added enough wicked cool powers to tilt the balance) simply because enough opponents with minimal attack skills remain threatening throughout a character’s career in a way they don’t in linear systems. Instead, it’s a perfect fit for the street-level games that the World of Darkness was built on, where a rag-tag band of PCs really can take on the establishment and succeed in a way they couldn’t if more experienced opponents were completely out of their league. It’s ideal for stories about competent individuals that nearly always succeed at the tasks they’ve set for themselves, but just might not do so well enough or in sufficient time to gain the outcome they were looking for.  These are the kind of stories the World of Darkness was built around, in my opinion, and the system works better to tell them than a roll and add system ever would.

Plus, rolling fistfuls of dice is incredibly fun.

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