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Thaumaturgy - Choosing a Different Primary Path

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Lian View Post
    I dislike Blood as the primary path or the whole primary path system at least being your "First" path since you have rituals like enchant talisman that cue off of Primary path and.. are basically worthless for blood.
    I think it's deeply wrong to reduce the value of a Path only to the effects of a Talisman that may or may not even be crafted.

    The main appeal of the Path of Blood is the variety of power they get: investigation, social, combat, honestly Blood Rage is the only one I never use. Theft of vitae is a clear breach of the Masquerade, but most of the fights are not going to happen in crowded areas. Also, you can clean stuff up after that, if needed. Extra successes on Potency is gold, it's easily the best power of the whole Path since it both makes you impossible to dominate and able to dominate elders - and you merely need Willpower for it.

    Other pats may be stronger but way more situational and almost always Masquerade breaches: Lure of the Flames is only useful in combat or for random arsonism, carries the right of incite frenzy (and breach of the Masquerade). Movement of the Mind is awesome, but still a Masquerade breach. Weather Control is slow-acting and very situational, the Green Path is exceptionally situational in cities (also a Masquerade Breach on almost everything), Technomancy is fan-tastic for investigation and sabotage but worthless in combat and wild areas....

    ... I could go on but I think I made my point: not saying that the Path of Blood is the best one, but it is the more balanced and the easiest to conceal. Of course, I often also had the feeling that the emphasis on the Path of Blood was made to contain power players. =P

    Originally posted by Zanos View Post
    Even then any neonates who do not have any knowledge of the Path of Blood what so ever will likely be mocked by any classical Tremere as an ignorant and unacademic. I also recommend a small difficulty adjustment to learning rituals and other paths until the apprentice has at least a dot in Path of Blood.
    Yes, I was thinking about rituals too. Most of them is about blood manipulation, blood detection... for instance, let's take a Circle vs Ghouls: the manual does not specify it but we're talking, likely, of a spell that requires the identification of the target as Ghoul based on the same principle of the Taste of Blood. Or let's talk about Blood Walk, or Recure of the Homeland even...

    A few rituals are forbidden unless you have the proper path, but no one ever thought to put that kind of limitation for the Path of Blood, maybe for user-friendliness. I'm thinking that I just might house-rule it from now on.

    In my games Weather Control is the default path, because I like Dracula, and Dracula controlled the weather, he didn't boil people's blood.
    The Tremere have a very different and rich background rooted in Hermetic traditions, though, and aren't really fit to represent the Dracula rip-off.
    I mean, Telyavalic Tremeres and the Tzimisce are actually better suited to the role, I see no reason to use a regular Tremere.
    Last edited by Maris Streck; 09-26-2017, 05:39 AM.

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    • #17
      They may not represent Dracula per se, but they do represent the archetype of the vampire as a wizard, and that archetype mostly uses weather control, telekinesis, and some minor situational fire-control, mostly stuff like willing candles to light, often en masse.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
        They may not represent Dracula per se, but they do represent the archetype of the vampire as a wizard, and that archetype mostly uses (...) and some minor situational fire-control, mostly stuff like willing candles to light, often en masse.
        Are vampires lighting candles magically really that common in vampire(s)-containing media, that you consider it part of the vampire wizard archetype? What other minor fire control is often displayed?

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        • #19
          It's pretty much one of the three big go-to moves in stories where they play up the vampire as being about mystical, ambiguously wizardlike powers rather than them being feral powerhouses, yes. That version is the root of the Tremere, just as the Nos are rooted in the movie of the same name.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
            They may not represent Dracula per se, but they do represent the archetype of the vampire as a wizard, and that archetype mostly uses weather control, telekinesis, and some minor situational fire-control, mostly stuff like willing candles to light, often en masse.
            I think you're missing the point. Your head canon is whatever you want to be, but the Tremere clan is based on the Hermetic Mage archetype, not on the Witchcraft archetype. They're alchemists and followers of the dry way, much closer to Merlin than Dracula. The archetype of witchcraft Vampire wizards is better modelled by Kuldunic Tzimisces and Telyavalic Tremeres, as I already stated. Hell, even Ravnos are better suited to be that kind of Vampire wizards rather than Tremeres.

            You're rewriting the game lore trying to make them clone the aesthetic of other clans and bloodlines for basically no reason, since there are already clans based on that stereotype.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post

              I think you're missing the point. Your head canon is whatever you want to be, but the Tremere clan is based on the Hermetic Mage archetype, not on the Witchcraft archetype. They're alchemists and followers of the dry way, much closer to Merlin than Dracula. The archetype of witchcraft Vampire wizards is better modelled by Kuldunic Tzimisces and Telyavalic Tremeres, as I already stated. Hell, even Ravnos are better suited to be that kind of Vampire wizards rather than Tremeres.
              Yep. There is not just one "Wizard archetype". The Tremere are mostly Hermetic magi and the Tzimisce Koldun are more likely to be found studying the "Weather and Spirit control" magic .

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              • #22

                Originally posted by Lian View Post
                I dislike Blood as the primary path or the whole primary path system at least being your "First" path since you have rituals like enchant talisman that cue off of Primary path and.. are basically worthless for blood.
                Bonus Dice for Blood path; 30% chance of an extra Agg damage, 40% chance of draining another blood point 50% change of gaining another generation or it lasting another hour 60% chance of forcing someone to spend another blood point and 70% chance of getting extra vital information from the blood. (compared to secondary path)
                I will take that any day.

                Originally posted by Lian View Post
                No, theft of vitae is pretty much completely horrible for a Camarilla clan.
                Only if you use it on the same victim multiple times in a short-medium time. If you’re targeting a vampire with Theft of Vitae, then that Vampire better be dead at the end of the scene.
                And it allows you to feed above normal limit (3/round) if you get enough successes targeting mortals (that are going to die because you’ve broken the masquerade)

                Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                honestly Blood Rage is the only one I never use.
                You’re not a team player then; forcing someone the heal 7 health levels of damage instantly when their gen cap means that should take 7 rounds?
                Forcing an enemy to pump their strength in Elysium to the point of blood sweats, breaking the masquerade (Them, not you) depleting their blood pool and increasing their likihood of frenzy. With a handshake….

                Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                Yes, I was thinking about rituals too. Most of them is about blood manipulation, blood detection... for instance, let's take a Circle vs Ghouls: the manual does not specify it but we're talking, likely, of a spell that requires the identification of the target as Ghoul based on the same principle of the Taste of Blood. Or let's talk about Blood Walk, or Recure of the Homeland even...

                A few rituals are forbidden unless you have the proper path, but no one ever thought to put that kind of limitation for the Path of Blood, maybe for user-friendliness. I'm thinking that I just might house-rule it from now on.
                I like this very much, I’d love to see your list.

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                • #23
                  On another note, there are plenty of reasons why a Tremere might have a different primary Path. Maybe their mentor is really old, and has the clout to teach their student a Path they personally find more useful. Maybe the mentor's unlife was saved by their understanding of Elemental Mastery or Movement of the Mind, so they make sure all of their students understand it.

                  Maybe the vampire was embraced with the intent of using them for more martial purposes. Instead of an academic, the pyramid brought in a soldier or other fighting type, because they need more muscle. Renegade Tremere and uncontrolled Thaumaturges need to be hunted and purged, and that requires hunters (especially if your particular metaplot runs with the idea that the Tremere aren't allowed Gargoyles anymore). In such cases and others, more offensive magic would be more appropriate.

                  Another neonate might have been embraced into a Chantry that is large, and therefore full of kindred who understand the Path of Blood. At a certain point, redundancy can be a liability, if it stops them from having specialists in other types of magic. We don't need an eighth neonate that can analyse blood, but having one that can interface with the infernal computers or manipulate the weather might make the Chantry more flexible. In the latter case, even summoning a fog over the city can save a kindred's unlife if it covers their escape, or arrives in time to blunt the morning sun. And at least Weather Control generally doesn't violate the Masquerade, unless the user is being very blatant with lightning strikes. Less likely to violate the Masquerade than sucking someone's blood out and making it fly through the air. Or boiling a person to death in their own veins.

                  Lastly, sometimes the Tremere embrace people who already knew magic. Even just a regular mortal Sorcerer can pass some of their occult knowledge over. In the case of a character who had a fair amount of magical experience pre-Embrace, it might not be possible to prevent them manifesting a Path similar to one they were familiar with first. If they knew the mortal Path of Conjuration, getting the vampiric Path of Conjuring or Movement of the Mind is quite likely, unless the pyramid is actively preventing them from trying to adapt their old knowledge until they learn Blood first.

                  And I don't see why the Clan would bother doing that. If the prospective embrace already had magic, they were embraced specifically to carry that power over. I would think the pyramid would want the fledgling up and useful as a magician as quickly as possible. All that ignoring the idea that waiting too long to permit them to relearn their old ways may result in them forgetting too much, and making them lose progress forever. Which would just be a waste of good talent.

                  It's probably easier to get a new student to grasp the Tremere's methods if they start with tricks the character already knows.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                    Only if you use it on the same victim multiple times in a short-medium time. If you’re targeting a vampire with Theft of Vitae, then that Vampire better be dead at the end of the scene.
                    And it allows you to feed above normal limit (3/round) if you get enough successes targeting mortals (that are going to die because you’ve broken the masquerade)
                    Are you thinking about blood bonds? V20 specifies that Theft of Vitae protects the vampire from the effects of it, check page 214.

                    You’re not a team player then
                    +4 on the frenzy rolls usually keeps me from helping the Gangrel one-round shift into wolf form =P If I roll particularly good and burn too much blood his hunger frenzy is definitely going out and on me.

                    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                    Maybe the vampire was embraced with the intent of using them for more martial purposes. Instead of an academic, the pyramid brought in a soldier or other fighting type, because they need more muscle. Renegade Tremere and uncontrolled Thaumaturges need to be hunted and purged, and that requires hunters (especially if your particular metaplot runs with the idea that the Tremere aren't allowed Gargoyles anymore). In such cases and others, more offensive magic would be more appropriate.
                    Yes, but if you need a specific path to be known you have an easier time to teach it to already experienced Tremeres. Need people with Lure of the Flames for extra combat power? What's best, teaching it to a fledgeling with no control over magic, no supernatural combat experience and no knowledge of the Camarilla or rather to an elder apprentice that already developed his Path of Blood?
                    As a secondary Thaumaturgical path you'll learn the Lure of the Flame faster, you have more willpower than your average neonate, you know more combat-oriented rituals, you're more familiar with the powers and the weaknesses of the supernatural creatures you're fighting with and generally higher stats to better sustain a fight. The Path of Blood is also going to help you spending and recovering blood points in the fight, so it's really a no brainer for me.

                    Novices will learn to be competent vampires and fighters in time, a few years of head start isn't going to make them particularly worthwhile. Also, it's not like the Tremere are used to fight that much any kind of battle that might be there - sure they'll help, but that's a task for other clans.

                    Another neonate might have been embraced into a Chantry that is large, and therefore full of kindred who understand the Path of Blood. At a certain point, redundancy can be a liability, if it stops them from having specialists in other types of magic.
                    Not if you see it as the base of the blood magic theory. You can't do equations without knowing additions and to properly train a new vampire you need to teach him right. The Tremere are not Brujah, they have a lot of interest in the proper development of their recruits and a plan that probably stretches through the centuries. If they want you to learn Weather Control then you'll learn it as your secondary path, and that's how they specialize.

                    Lastly, sometimes the Tremere embrace people who already knew magic. Even just a regular mortal Sorcerer can pass some of their occult knowledge over. In the case of a character who had a fair amount of magical experience pre-Embrace, it might not be possible to prevent them manifesting a Path similar to one they were familiar with first.
                    This might be actually a valid point: a mage from the house Flambeu is surely more adept to develop flame-related powers, while a general hermetic mage is likely going to understand Forces-related blood magic better than his fellow neonates. Still, it would make sense if the Tremeres tried to teach him how the blood magic works first, since it's not like Awakened magic translates automatically into Thaumaturgy. The whole Clan would have had a lot less troubles in the middle ages otherwise.

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                    • #25
                      I want to make note that I've seen the rationale that 'learning Path of Blood lets you learn other magic stuff easier.' And as much, this is the presentation the book gives for why so many Tremere learn it first. The reason this seems out of sorts is that I don't think Path of Blood actually gives any real effect in this manner. Someone who 'grasps the basics of Thaumaturgy' isn't actually better are practicing or learning other aspects than other NPCS or players. At least as far as I see. Really, for me, I guess I find Path of Blood kind of boring. I understand there are justifications for the various uses, but something about it, not sure.

                      Either way, I'm also looking more for 'reasons why someone would learn a different primary path' rather than 'why do most Tremere learn Path of Blood.' So far it seems like this is what is on the table.
                      - Nobody can teach Path of Blood (either due to lack of personal or resources).
                      - They might be somehow inept at Path of Blood.
                      - The special interest of a teacher (based on a theory or personality quirk of their own).
                      - The Chantry of the said Tremere is extremely dedicated towards a certain type of magic.
                      - They require a specialist towards a specific use. Possibly due to unique problems they are facing.
                      - Player and narrative need (though I'm looking more specifically for theoretical in-game reasons).
                      Good stuff so far!

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                        Are you thinking about blood bonds? V20 specifies that Theft of Vitae protects the vampire from the effects of it, check page 214.
                        Wow, nice change. My knowledge base include DAV20 but not V20 right now and Revised for Vampire.


                        Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                        +4 on the frenzy rolls usually keeps me from helping the Gangrel one-round shift into wolf form =P If I roll particularly good and burn too much blood his hunger frenzy is definitely going out and on me.
                        Well, yes, that’s a problem.

                        Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                        Yes, but if you need a specific path to be known you have an easier time to teach it to already experienced Tremeres. Need people with Lure of the Flames for extra combat power? What's best, teaching it to a fledgeling with no control over magic, no supernatural combat experience and no knowledge of the Camarilla or rather to an elder apprentice that already developed his Path of Blood?
                        As a secondary Thaumaturgical path you'll learn the Lure of the Flame faster, you have more willpower than your average neonate, you know more combat-oriented rituals, you're more familiar with the powers and the weaknesses of the supernatural creatures you're fighting with and generally higher stats to better sustain a fight. The Path of Blood is also going to help you spending and recovering blood points in the fight, so it's really a no brainer for me.
                        Novices will learn to be competent vampires and fighters in time, a few years of head start isn't going to make them particularly worthwhile. Also, it's not like the Tremere are used to fight that much any kind of battle that might be there - sure they'll help, but that's a task for other clans.
                        Not if you see it as the base of the blood magic theory. You can't do equations without knowing additions and to properly train a new vampire you need to teach him right. The Tremere are not Brujah, they have a lot of interest in the proper development of their recruits and a plan that probably stretches through the centuries. If they want you to learn Weather Control then you'll learn it as your secondary path, and that's how they specialize.
                        This might be actually a valid point: a mage from the house Flambeu is surely more adept to develop flame-related powers, while a general hermetic mage is likely going to understand Forces-related blood magic better than his fellow neonates. Still, it would make sense if the Tremeres tried to teach him how the blood magic works first, since it's not like Awakened magic translates automatically into Thaumaturgy. The whole Clan would have had a lot less troubles in the middle ages otherwise.
                        I do like this view of it, with an additional factor – Maybe Path of Blood isn’t required for the theory, isn’t easier than the others as a primary and technically makes no difference. Great. The rules certainly don't care which is your primary for XP costs.

                        The rules and Ritual in the Clan and Hierarchy still mean it will be taught first, because it was always taught first. Maybe your Chantry leader knows that it will make no difference in teaching neonates.
                        But Hells if the upstarts get to learn the fun stuff before the bread and butter. I haven’t used any of that path in half a century and sure another would be more “useful” but why does a raw recruit get special treatment when I don’t.

                        Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                        Either way, I'm also looking more for 'reasons why someone would learn a different primary path' rather than 'why do most Tremere learn Path of Blood.' So far it seems like this is what is on the table.
                        - Nobody can teach Path of Blood (either due to lack of personal or resources).
                        - They might be somehow inept at Path of Blood.
                        - The special interest of a teacher (based on a theory or personality quirk of their own).
                        - The Chantry of the said Tremere is extremely dedicated towards a certain type of magic.
                        - They require a specialist towards a specific use. Possibly due to unique problems they are facing.
                        - Player and narrative need (though I'm looking more specifically for theoretical in-game reasons).
                        Good stuff so far!
                        • But everyone else has it, so everyone can teach it.
                        • Then they are Inept at Thaumaturgy
                        • Possibly they want to try something new, or have special plans in place for a neonate with those powers and an ancillae with those powers as secondary path aren’t as manipulatable.
                        • I can see the new path – Technomancy being something that the elders don’t quite understand or see the value in, so a Neonate would be taught.
                        • If a Tremere was going to go undercover to the Anarchs, learning Punk Sorcery; Old Skool New Age or Hacktivist styles. (Which technically as different styles have a different “Primary” for each style you learn) While Hermetic Thaumaturgy incorporates every path that the Tremere have access to, and have invented, some styles don’t even have versions of Blood Path

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                        • #27
                          Overall, I think teaching non-blood is a sign that the mentor is up to something that Traditional Tremere would probably not approve of.

                          But that makes for interesting stories; doesn't it

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                          • #28
                            Zanos I think they were referencing the fact that Theft of Vitae is a rather large Masquerade break.

                            Illithid Fair points. I agree with the first two being unlikely. Wily Tremere being wily, it sounds like, being the most reasonable reason.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                              On another note, there are plenty of reasons why a Tremere might have a different primary Path. Maybe their mentor is really old, and has the clout to teach their student a Path they personally find more useful. Maybe the mentor's unlife was saved by their understanding of Elemental Mastery or Movement of the Mind, so they make sure all of their students understand it.
                              Older Tremere are very likely to be extremely conservative in this regard given the nature and origin of the clan. Possible, yes, but unlikely.

                              Maybe the vampire was embraced with the intent of using them for more martial purposes. Instead of an academic, the pyramid brought in a soldier or other fighting type, because they need more muscle. Renegade Tremere and uncontrolled Thaumaturges need to be hunted and purged, and that requires hunters (especially if your particular metaplot runs with the idea that the Tremere aren't allowed Gargoyles anymore). In such cases and others, more offensive magic would be more appropriate.
                              Path of Blood has offensive uses. 3, 4, and 5 are pretty much dedicated combat powers, although they have other uses. The Tremere also leverage ghouls, boons, and gargolyes if they need more physical servants.

                              I'm not sure what "Tremere aren't allowed gargolyes" means in this context. As I understood it the metaplot had the Tremere sign certain agreements that prevented them for creating new Gargolyes and they weren't allowed to keep them as "slaves", but the difference between something entirely dependent on you for its (un)life and slavery is pretty moot. Many gargolyes are still subservient to the Tremere in practice. As far as creating new ones goes, one of the Tremere mottos is just don't get caught.

                              Another neonate might have been embraced into a Chantry that is large, and therefore full of kindred who understand the Path of Blood. At a certain point, redundancy can be a liability, if it stops them from having specialists in other types of magic. We don't need an eighth neonate that can analyse blood, but having one that can interface with the infernal computers or manipulate the weather might make the Chantry more flexible. In the latter case, even summoning a fog over the city can save a kindred's unlife if it covers their escape, or arrives in time to blunt the morning sun. And at least Weather Control generally doesn't violate the Masquerade, unless the user is being very blatant with lightning strikes. Less likely to violate the Masquerade than sucking someone's blood out and making it fly through the air. Or boiling a person to death in their own veins.
                              Path of Blood is fundamentals. You wouldn't want someone that doesn't know Path of Blood studying other paths for the same reason you wouldn't want a civil engineer who didn't know algebra building a bridge. The rules for this could be better represented, I suppose, but they aren't because the general assumption is that Tremere start with Path of Blood.

                              Lastly, sometimes the Tremere embrace people who already knew magic. Even just a regular mortal Sorcerer can pass some of their occult knowledge over. In the case of a character who had a fair amount of magical experience pre-Embrace, it might not be possible to prevent them manifesting a Path similar to one they were familiar with first. If they knew the mortal Path of Conjuration, getting the vampiric Path of Conjuring or Movement of the Mind is quite likely, unless the pyramid is actively preventing them from trying to adapt their old knowledge until they learn Blood first.
                              I've only heard of embracing sorcerers extensively on these forums, and always in the context of minmaxing starting discipline dots.

                              And I don't see why the Clan would bother doing that. If the prospective embrace already had magic, they were embraced specifically to carry that power over. I would think the pyramid would want the fledgling up and useful as a magician as quickly as possible. All that ignoring the idea that waiting too long to permit them to relearn their old ways may result in them forgetting too much, and making them lose progress forever. Which would just be a waste of good talent.
                              Considering clan Tremere shelters fledglings between years and decades before considering them adults suitable to take own their own projects, I find that highly unlikely other than during times of extreme emergency that they'll be rushing an acolytes education.

                              Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                              Zanos I think they were referencing the fact that Theft of Vitae is a rather large Masquerade break.
                              True, but so are Potence, Celerity, Fortitude, and Protean, all of which are very popular combat disciplines. The majority of supernatural combat disciplines are quite obvious masquerade breaches. You shouldn't really be using them in public.


                              I'm not saying that Tremere can't start with paths other than Path of Blood, but as an ST I would expect a pretty in depth story explanation that goes beyond your mentor being very eccentric.
                              Last edited by Zanos; 09-28-2017, 01:06 PM.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                                True, but so are Potence, Celerity, Fortitude, and Protean, all of which are very popular combat disciplines. The majority of supernatural combat disciplines are quite obvious masquerade breaches. You shouldn't really be using them in public.
                                Well, yes and no. I think there are ways to write off certain uses of Potence, Celerity, and Fortitude at lower levels. Whereas there isn't a way I can conceive of to write-off someone using Theft of Vitae. I don't disagree, just figure that was their rationale for the statement.

                                I'm not saying that Tremere can't start with paths other than Path of Blood, but as an ST I would expect a pretty in depth story explanation that goes beyond your mentor being very eccentric.
                                So what explanations would you consider reasonable? Some examples would be nice.

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