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Disciplines don't cost blood WTF!!!!

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  • Disciplines don't cost blood WTF!!!!

    First just let me say that I come from a LARP background When it comes to VtM and my experience is with the BNS (By Night Studios) version of The game.

    In BNS, most disciplines cost a blood to use, aside from Obfuscate and the first level of Auspex and Animalsim, almost everything costs a blood to use (Potence and Fortitude are exceptions to this as they Give a passive bonus), some disciplines give a passive bonus but most don't and when you activate them, it costs blood, ie celerity.

    This makes sense to me, I'm running a Dark Ages Vampire game and it shocks me to know that you can just use Dominate, Auspex and most of the other disciplines without spending blood (Dom 5 requires a willpower point but that's an exception).

    This seems to be a poor balance to me. One player said to me "so vampires must be always reading aura's, speaking to their underlings with dominate/presence and generally using their disciplines as a constant factor in their lives then right?"

    Now, this guy is not just trying to min max, not at all, he just made a logical assumption. If there's no cost to these things then kindred must be using them all the time, after all, it never says what the consequences of doing so are (at leas not in the disciplines section of V20).

    Also, if there's no rules to ensure consistent consequences, then how do I enforce consistent penalties, now some will say "there doesn't need to be any consequences," and that's true. Some will also say "there does need to be a consequence for over using disciplines and that consequence is how the character changes into a monster over the years, something which is done through role playing."

    Both these views are right but quite frankly, I think making disciplines generally cost a blood to use is a good idea, after all, what stops Cainites from using obfuscate and Auspex all night, every night? What stops Cainites from using dominate with every word they speak? What stops Cainites from constantly surrounding themselves with packs of obfuscated wolves while floating around in mist form?

    This is not about min maxing, it's about asking how this mechanic alters the very nature of what it means to be a Vampire and how that impacts the themes of the game, because quite frankly, the rules do influence the setting.

    Any feedback?
    Last edited by Zennis; 02-05-2017, 08:59 AM.

  • #2
    - Masquerade

    - Elysium

    - Not making enemies; people know you've dominated them

    - Risks of botching, power not working

    - Powers come with their own downsides vs. just acting normally. For example, Dominate strips creativity and independence. A friend may do a better job than a mind slave.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
      - Masquerade

      - Elysium

      - Not making enemies; people know you've dominated them

      - Risks of botching, power not working

      - Powers come with their own downsides vs. just acting normally. For example, Dominate strips creativity and independence. A friend may do a better job than a mind slave.
      Good thoughts, but

      There is no Elysium, it's the dark ages, the practice doesn't exist in many cities and there is no Masquerade.

      Aside from people kowining you dominated them and powers botching (every skill has risks but sure, disciplines have even worse risks) what stops Cainites from floating around in mist form while obfuscated and using auspex all the time?

      I'm looking for help here twiggins so if you've got something I can actually explain to people then I'd like to hear it. For all the other disciplines preferably.

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      • #4
        I can't remember what book it was (although I think it was NWoD based) that went over the downsides of overusing disciplines, albiet in a very fluffy way.

        Users of Dominate would start to instinctively use it without realizing and would find themselves increasingly become more and more isolated.

        Similarly with Obfuscate, you'd start to fade into the background even when you didn't want to or would go about your life never really sure what face you're wearing.

        As for balance, I've never really had much issue and if you're in a dark ages game to begin with that whole setting is about being the legit fucking lords of the night. Be the gangsta vamp-dogs you were fanged to be yo.

        Edit: as to your question as to what's to stop people floating around in mist form obfuscated... not every power is blood cost free and mistform is like 3 bloodpoints if I remember correctly.
        Last edited by Cantankerous Bees; 02-05-2017, 09:37 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Zennis View Post

          Good thoughts, but

          There is no Elysium, it's the dark ages, the practice doesn't exist in many cities and there is no Masquerade.

          Aside from people kowining you dominated them and powers botching (every skill has risks but sure, disciplines have even worse risks) what stops Cainites from floating around in mist form while obfuscated and using auspex all the time?

          I'm looking for help here twiggins so if you've got something I can actually explain to people then I'd like to hear it. For all the other disciplines preferably.
          Okay, fair enough. I'm pretty sure that Courts have the concept of Elysium, even if they aren't called Elysium. You need permission to use powers inside a person's Domain basically (within reason, and with varying enforcement). As for Masquerade... there kind of is. Vampires don't mind humans knowing about "night folk" as individuals, but there's still a thing called The Secrecy of the Blood. You reveal as little as possible to mortals. If A mortal knows there are LOTS of Vampires, a whole society, that's a problem. If MULTIPLE Mortals know about one Vampire, that's a problem. It's like a half-Masquerade; keep in mind that Carthage was destroyed for having no Secrecy of the Blood (along with Demon shenanigans, but whatever).

          I will try and help you out. Why can't use stay in Mist Form all the time? Well, Mist Form does cost blood, and it has specific weaknesses. You can't touch people, you can't speak, you can't make eye contact, you can't interact with people socially... you get the point. With Obfuscate, being in Obfuscate means people can't see you. That's a HUGE downside!

          Basically there are downsides to every power if you look carefully and think about it, but walking someone through why every power has problems with it would be best done through a Game, not a forum. Suffice to say that Keeping Auspex 1 maxed out when you have Auspex 5 has a huge downside; you get Sensory Shock very easily.

          Last of all, being showy with powers will lead to more Hunters, and more people fighting back. Dracula, a POWERFUL Old Clan Tzimisce of considerable age, was killed by mere mortals because they knew where his haven was (the big castle), and they knew he was a Vampire (he used his powers all the time and treated people like cattle), and he used so much power that he had low humanity since he was used to using blunt force (this meant that during the day he was almost powerless). He had a whole Revenant family serving him, don't know what happened with them... maybe they were pissed off at him for constantly using his powers. Long story short, powers are like tools. Dominate is a Hammer, Presence is Oil, Potence is a power tool... and using the wrong tool at the wrong time will lead to problems.

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          • #6
            Cantankerous Bees It costs 3BP to use it instantly, 1 BP only if you sit and wait for 3 turns for the transformation to happen... IIRC.

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            • #7
              Cantankerous Bees

              You are correct, the example using mist form is clearly inappropriate.

              I shall then say "walking around with an army of wolves under obfuscate while transforming hands into claws and occasionally dropping obfuscate to use dominate on random people"

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              • #8
                Zennis How are you keeping an army of wolves? Animalism 1 doesn't work on crowds of animals, and Animalism 2 only makes the wolves predisposed towards you, it doesn't turn them into drones. And if you're in Obfuscate, how the hell are the wolves following your lead? Even if you take control of the oldest male/female wolf (how wolves actually work, Alpha Pack Structure is bullshit as it turns out), and lead them by a chain or whatever, you're going to break Obfuscate eventually since you're pulling a wolf along by a chain. On top of all of that, an ARMY of Wolves? Hello Mr. Garou. No, I'm afraid I didn't realise some of these were relatives of yours. Oh dear, it would seem you're now 9 feet tall. And you have my scent so Obfuscate isn't going to do me much good.

                Furthermore, Protean 2 costs blood.

                Basically Over The Top uses of powers tend to have backlash, for the same reason that using powerful objects in real life has downsides. If there is a way to win without drawing attention, people will go for that, and the Vampires who play subtle last the longest.

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                • #9
                  The downside to constant discipline use in Dark Ages is that people still believe vampires and witches are real, so if your dominated patsies start walking over town acting all funny, you're gonna find yourself tied to a stake real quick for witchcraft. They don't just explain it away as "wow what a cool video editing trick" when someone turns into mist, they kill them.

                  Not to mention the inquisition and such.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                    The downside to constant discipline use in Dark Ages is that people still believe vampires and witches are real, so if your dominated patsies start walking over town acting all funny, you're gonna find yourself tied to a stake real quick for witchcraft. They don't just explain it away as "wow what a cool video editing trick" when someone turns into mist, they kill them.

                    Not to mention the inquisition and such.
                    Yes, that too. Even a kindly Salubri who heals sick children might find themselves the target of a trial, and considering how common Faith is in this period it could easily lead to destruction. Remember we're in a period where Level 5 True Faith can canonically (at least in the case of one pagan woman) bring Vampires back to life as humans, so the risks of abusing mortals with Disciplines are real. The tragedy of DA:V is that it's the end of an era. The rise of the Inquisition will change everything. Vampires simply cannot rule openly over Mortals. Mortals outnumber them, and can be active at any time of day.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Zennis View Post
                      Cantankerous Bees

                      You are correct, the example using mist form is clearly inappropriate.

                      I shall then say "walking around with an army of wolves under obfuscate while transforming hands into claws and occasionally dropping obfuscate to use dominate on random people"
                      You may say whatever you please but it doesn't change the fact if you can't see the downsides of going through town and bringing a bunch of wolves with you (who are going to be left very confused when you disappear), I don't think I can convince you that actions have consequences outside of mechanical hand smacking.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                        - Masquerade

                        - Elysium

                        - Not making enemies; people know you've dominated them

                        - Risks of botching, power not working

                        - Powers come with their own downsides vs. just acting normally. For example, Dominate strips creativity and independence. A friend may do a better job than a mind slave.
                        Elysium is an odd one to bring up. How's anyone going to determine that you've used Dominate or Presence? Especially if you succeed.

                        Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                        The downside to constant discipline use in Dark Ages is that people still believe vampires and witches are real, so if your dominated patsies start walking over town acting all funny, you're gonna find yourself tied to a stake real quick for witchcraft. They don't just explain it away as "wow what a cool video editing trick" when someone turns into mist, they kill them.

                        Not to mention the inquisition and such.
                        It's a poll from six years ago, but I don't think things changed that much. 73% of Americans believe in some form of supernatural. 21% believe witches are real. The inquisition is indeed a thing of the past though. Now you'll probably see a police checking you for being a cult leader.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                          Elysium is an odd one to bring up. How's anyone going to determine that you've used Dominate or Presence? Especially if you succeed.


                          It's a poll from six years ago, but I don't think things changed that much. 73% of Americans believe in some form of supernatural. 21% believe witches are real. The inquisition is indeed a thing of the past though. Now you'll probably see a police checking you for being a cult leader.
                          1: Well that depends on the power used obviously. Auspex 4 can reveal surface thoughts, which could betray you. Someone might decide that an obviously-presence-induced-response is enough evidence and demand you explain yourself. With Dominate, the target is under no compulsion to keep quite unless you order them to. Once they've finished the task they will slip into Obfuscate, or use Celerity, or whatever they need to do, and inform someone of your crime.

                          2: People SAY that they believe in some form of supernatural power, but that isn't the same as actually thinking it's real. It's easy to tick "yes I believe in demons" but these are people who would still be a tad surprised if the 5th Prince of Hell popped in for a visit. Now yes, superstitious people are more likely to blame odd events on "aliens" or "spirits" or "demons", but who seriously believes in Vampires? Especially considering the job the Camarilla have done filling the media with ridiculous unbelievable Vampire stories. My overall point is that superstition is a help and a hindrance depending on how you play it; if someone is superstitious enough to blame Vampires, they're easily ridiculed and won't be taken seriously. Ironically only the people who would rationalize what they saw and not blame Vampires would be the sort of people with the cachet to blame Vampires and be taken seriously.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                            Elysium is an odd one to bring up. How's anyone going to determine that you've used Dominate or Presence? Especially if you succeed.
                            Presence and Dominate are typically used to introduce marked changes in behavior, which others might notice. Suspicion could be enough to arouse further investigation, and there are vampiric powers that can magically compel or hedge out truth. Since mindraping people in Elysium/a domain is a pretty major offense, they may come into play here.

                            There's a couple powers that can straight up prevent discipline use in certain areas as well, depending on how secure you like your Elysiums.

                            It's a poll from six years ago, but I don't think things changed that much. 73% of Americans believe in some form of supernatural. 21% believe witches are real. The inquisition is indeed a thing of the past though. Now you'll probably see a police checking you for being a cult leader.
                            I know people who believe such things are true, but they (usually) don't think such things interfere with their daily lives. If something weird happens they're more likely to explain it away rationally then say "Goddamn witches" and get the neighborhood together for a lynching.

                            Even if they do think it's true they don't do much about it. Very few people surround their homes with circles of silver and salt, and many people think UFOs are real but there are pretty few dedicated UFO hunters.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                              2: People SAY that they believe in some form of supernatural power, but that isn't the same as actually thinking it's real. It's easy to tick "yes I believe in demons" but these are people who would still be a tad surprised if the 5th Prince of Hell popped in for a visit. Now yes, superstitious people are more likely to blame odd events on "aliens" or "spirits" or "demons", but who seriously believes in Vampires? Especially considering the job the Camarilla have done filling the media with ridiculous unbelievable Vampire stories. My overall point is that superstition is a help and a hindrance depending on how you play it; if someone is superstitious enough to blame Vampires, they're easily ridiculed and won't be taken seriously. Ironically only the people who would rationalize what they saw and not blame Vampires would be the sort of people with the cachet to blame Vampires and be taken seriously.
                              Then who's paying all the psychics, witches and fortune tellers? One in seven americans have consulted a fortune teller, and one in five say they've seen a ghost. I believe the expression is "put your money where your mouth is", and people are doing just that by paying the psychics and witches. Otherwise this must be some kind of conspiracy to trick the world into thinking that a crapton of people actually does believe in supernatural.

                              And put the goalpost back. The event in question was "dominated person acts funny", not "demons from hell are invading".
                              Last edited by Kammerer; 02-05-2017, 12:20 PM.

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