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Thaumaturgy - Choosing a Different Primary Path

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
    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 don't think you could justify even Celerity 1, since it literally doubles your running and movement speed, which is clearly superhuman even by an untrained eye. Potence and Fortitude you have some more leeway with, I agree, although shrugging off bullet wounds or sword swings unhindered will turn heads.

    So what explanations would you consider reasonable? Some examples would be nice.
    Some of the explanations offered here are good starting points, but not sufficient on their own in my opinion. While having a mentor who's obsessed with a particular path for a good reason is a start the Tremere are very hierarchical, so you'd likely need someone decently high up to approve such a break from tradition. The clan is traditional but it's also very scientific. One possible explanation is that a Tremere not starting on the Path of Blood is that they are actually a Thaumaturgical experiment. You'd want to flesh that out, though.

    One of clan Tremere's other breaks from tradition is that some Tremere are not blood bound during their creation because they are created with a specific purpose. Usually intentionally set up for failure to deflect blame from "real" Tremere, or as an infiltrator into a Sabbat pack. The Tremere wouldn't want someone like that to have knowledge of the core thaumaturgical principles since they have a high risk of falling into enemy hands and no artificially enforced loyalty. Instead, they might set up an infiltrator with something like The False Path to better mimic whoever they're trying to infiltrate. Recruits the Tremere don't value very highly should be the ones not learning Path of Blood first.

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    • #32
      Personally I think the reason the original developers gave the Tremere path of blood is that it's the closest to a physical power of the original paths, and back then they tended to give almost every clan at least one mind-control power and one physical power. So they gave the Tremere the path that makes blood-pumping your stats easier as the default path.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Zanos View Post
        I don't think you could justify even Celerity 1, since it literally doubles your running and movement speed, which is clearly superhuman even by an untrained eye. Potence and Fortitude you have some more leeway with, I agree, although shrugging off bullet wounds or sword swings unhindered will turn heads.
        Celerity 1 used for a single combat round would easily be rationalised, It's two attacks which can be done (With lower accuracy) without the discipline. Same with even celerity 3.
        A boxer can put in more than 3 solid hits in 3 seconds. If you're running from place to place, that's a different matter.

        But the human mind rationalises a lot of things it doesn't understand.

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        • #34
          First looking through canon characters I found a few without Blood as primary, in some cases with none.
          • Malgorzata (embraced 1097) from House of Tremere. Childe of Goratrix. Must have Lure of Flames as primary based on numbers (Lure of Flames 5, Path of Blood 4, Countermagic 3).
          • Helena Taylor (embraced 1938) from DC by Night. Regent of the DC chantry has NO Path of Blood Movement of the Mind is primary based on numbers (Movement of the Mind 5, Lure of Flames 4, Weather Control 3, Conjuring 1)
          • Peter Dorfman (embraced 1700) from DC by Night. One of seven Pontifices assigned to Meerlinda and member of the Traditionalist faction has NO Path of Blood. Based on his numbers Lure of Flames is his primary (Lure of Flames 5, Movement of the Mind 4, Weather Control 4, Spirit 3).
          • Cohn Rose (embraced 1974) from DC by Night. Has NO Path of Blood. Movement of the Mind or Lure of Flames is primary (Movement of the Mind 3, Lure of Flames 3, Weather Control 2)
          • Pieter van Dorn (embraced 1975) from DC by Night. Hates Helena Taylor and the Camarilla. Has NO Path of Blood. Movement of Mind primary based on numbers (Movement of the Mind 3, Lure of Flames 2, Weather 1)
          • Dr. Mortius (embraced 1566) from Milwaukee by Night. Weather Control must be primary based on numbers (Weather Control 5, Path of Blood 4, Path of Conjuring 4, Lure of Flames 3, Movement of the Mind 3).
          • Valois Sang (embraced 1982) from Montreal by Night. Spirit Manipulation must be primary based on numbers (Spirit Manipulation 5, Path of Blood 4, Movement of the Mind 3, Lure of Flames 2, Weather Control 2)
          • John Trent (embraced 1838) from Gehenna. Embrace was illicit and sire was destroyed for it. Alchemy must be primary based on numbers (Alchemy 3, Spirit Manipulation 2, Weather Control 2)
          So a number of canonical examples of characters without Blood as primary with embrace dates ranging from just shy of the clans' foundation to the modern nights and positions from outcast to Pontifex (and including one of the childer of the first Tremere). So 8 of 86 Tremere on the White Wolf wiki (and many don't have statted paths and others have Blood equal to others making it difficult to determine primacy) have a Path other than Blood as primary, 10% is hardly as outlandish as some make it seem.

          There are a few reasons I can think of that might allow for a Camarilla Tremere apprentice to have a Path other than Blood as primary.
          • Be from Washington DC. Considering the Regent and a Pontifex among others there have NO Path of Blood it seems likely that many Thaumaturges from the chantry would have other Paths as primary.
            • If it happened in one place it could happen elsewhere. There might be other chantries where the Regent has a Path other than Blood as primary and would favor their Path over Blood.
          • Embraced because of mortal magical skill or occult knowledge. If the Tremere chose a childe because of a talent they had it seems unlikely they wouldn't try to foster that talent to its fullest potential after embrace. Some examples.
            • A renowned psychic might have Movement of the Mind as primary.
            • An exorcist might have Spirit Manipulation as primary.
            • A yogi might have Focused Mind as primary.
            • A rainmaker might have Weather Control as primary.
            • A druid might have Green as primary.
          • A high Mentor rating and/or Prestigious Sire Merit to represent having a powerful tutor/sire who chose a different primary path for you.
            • A Merit like Spirit Mentor might also cause a different primary Path since the ephemeral teacher might put more emphasis on something other than vitae (like Spirit Manipulation for example)
            • A Flaw like Infamous Sire could serve the same purpose but with inverse implications.
          • Flaws like Bound or Bound to the Clan (Lore of the Clans) could represent the price for having a different starting path.
          • The Mage Blood Flaw (Lore of the Clans). Since you can't learn other Disciplines an alternate path might be chosen to make up for it or to take advantage of your unique state.
          • The Arcane Curse Flaw (Lore of the Clans) and say that prohibits you from learning Path of Blood (I would probably put that at a 4 in terms of value since it is concerning but not lethal).
          • The Flaw Probationary Sect Member could be used for an embraced Antitribu who returned to the fold. Since they were embraced in the Sabbat there is no guarantee they would have Blood primary.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
            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.
            Let's say that Celerity 1 is not a violation of the Masquarade since it makes you run as the fastest man alive. Path of Blood 1 and 3 aren't either, and more often than not even level 2 does not cause a breach. This makes the path of blood more Masquerade-friendly than Celerity.

            And as I previously stated the vast majority of Thaumaturgical powers are clean Masquerade breaches, so I wouldn't really put this in comparison. This is for supernatural combat alone and it's bound to leave some mess, because when a Tremere doesn't need to go all out he either uses Path of Blood 3+dominate (avoid the fight completely, even against other vampires) or Path of Blood 3 + Auspex 1 + Firearms (boost dex, lower to hit difficulty, shoot people).

            Lure of the Flame, Movement of the Mind, Path of Neptune, Hands of Destruction, Path of Levinbolt are all going to break the Masquerade in any combat application, and the other paths with a combat aspect have a decent chance of breaking it anyway depending on how they're used. Thaumaturgy is, after all, one of the most dangerous powers for the Masquerade and the Tremere know pretty well they're not supposed to throw fireballs at every fight. They're not D&D wizards.

            Personally I think the reason the original developers gave the Tremere path of blood is that it's the closest to a physical power of the original paths, and back then they tended to give almost every clan at least one mind-control power and one physical power. So they gave the Tremere the path that makes blood-pumping your stats easier as the default path.
            Hmm, I don't think so. The devs tried to give the clans some balance when assigning powers but they also tried to define them with some kind of characterization. I mean, the Brujah have two physical disciplines while the Malkavians none at all.

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            • #36
              Zanos So probably some higher mentor type merits to justify someone with pull or someone with a rather specific background, it sounds like. I remember the one Lore of the Clans character, Viktor the Assassin, which seems like it fits with that kind of idea.

              Cynic01 I really appreciate the research! Also a somewhat interesting look at things by the numbers. Arcane Curse seems like a particularly easy reason. But I didn't realize the exact spread for NPC's and what not, so that's cool to see.

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              • #37
                Cynic01

                Thank you!

                Well done!

                That is how to write an effective post.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
                  First looking through canon characters I found a few without Blood as primary, in some cases with none.
                  So a number of canonical examples of characters without Blood as primary with embrace dates ranging from just shy of the clans' foundation to the modern nights and positions from outcast to Pontifex (and including one of the childer of the first Tremere). So 8 of 86 Tremere on the White Wolf wiki (and many don't have statted paths and others have Blood equal to others making it difficult to determine primacy) have a Path other than Blood as primary, 10% is hardly as outlandish as some make it seem.
                  Your research has several flaws.

                  1) You're mentioning mostly old Vampire material, in some cases even Dark Age: Vampire (which refers not only to a different time period but even to a different product).
                  2) Canon characters are often designed to be unique white flies, yet you're using them as the average joe.
                  3) NPCs and supplements usually lacks the attention to details that core books have. DC by night was especially notorius for a lousy editing, if I correctly remember.


                  So, in the spirit of an effective post let's quote some current manual:
                  V20: Almost every Tremere studies the Path of Blood as her primary path. It encompasses some of the most fundamental principles of Thaumaturgy, based as it is on the manipulation of Kindred vitae. If a player wishes to select another path as her character’s primary path, the Storyteller may require additional reasoning (though choosing a different path is by no means unheard of).

                  Not unheard of, but almost every Tremere. But this has been going on long enough, let's just keep our own minds and be done.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    I don't really see the issue, here. Sure, almost all Tremere will learn Path of Blood as their primary path, and that's usually the most ideal starting point for players and ST's due to the path's raw power and versatility. But, on the other hand, PC's aren't "normal" vampires in the sense they wake up, do their nightly business, slowly inch their way into age, influence, power, and prestige, and go back to sleep night after night. As has been stated, there are ample examples of such unusual Kindred in the source books from which a Tremere player may want to draw inspiration; likewise, a number of cases in the source books in which the Pyramid may waive its requirement all Tremere learn PoB as their primary path, purpose-built war mages who are more likely to receive instruction in more martial paths among them. And among those, due to the inherent risk to the Masquerade and danger within the Pyramid and without, Tremere "war mages" are going to pay a heavy toll in bonding to the Chalice or additional indoctrination to learn them.

                    The problem -- and controversy -- arises when players want to take "OP" primary paths, like Focused Mind, (old school, using WtA rules) Spirit Manipulation, Path of Corruption, Paths frowned upon by the Pyramid (Technomancy), more esoteric paths (Mercury), or those that skirt the line between Thaumaturgy and Dark Thaumaturgy (Hands of Corruption). Those are paths that, in many cases, are stated outright to be banned, considered heretical by the Pyramid, or instruction in which reserved to only the highest-prestige and trusted members of the clan, and woe behold the neonate discovered with knowledge of those paths (and those who taught them). And, frankly, in my experience in most cases a player wants to step away from PoB as their primary path, it's for twinking purposes which means they may well gravitate to those paths.

                    Which, to a certain degree, is fine -- just not as a Camarilla Tremere in good standing with the Pyramid. If a player wants to play a PC with that deviant a primary path, there are ample options open to them -- Anarch Tremere, Tremere sleeper agent or infiltrator, antitribu, or even a Caitiff who's learned a trick or two as per Anarch blood sorcery. Playing a Tremere in good standing with clan, with all the benefits and responsibilities thereof, has its own costs and drawbacks. A limited selection of primary and secondary paths (at least, at first) is among them.

                    Personally, I've played two Tremere who didn't have PoB as a primary path. One was in a TC game, and I made it clear in the character's backstory he was a rather accomplished former magus, who'd proven his worth to House Tremere many times over, who was eventually Embraced as a war mage to fight the Omen War. His primary path was Lure of the Flames, hardly the rarest or most-guarded of thaumaturgical paths. The second was a modern nights Telyav, who learned Spirit Manipulation (V20 rules) as her primary path, almost exclusively due to having a Spirit Mentor.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post

                      Your research has several flaws.

                      1) You're mentioning mostly old Vampire material, in some cases even Dark Age: Vampire (which refers not only to a different time period but even to a different product).
                      2) Canon characters are often designed to be unique white flies, yet you're using them as the average joe.
                      3) NPCs and supplements usually lacks the attention to details that core books have. DC by night was especially notorius for a lousy editing, if I correctly remember.


                      So, in the spirit of an effective post let's quote some current manual:
                      V20: Almost every Tremere studies the Path of Blood as her primary path. It encompasses some of the most fundamental principles of Thaumaturgy, based as it is on the manipulation of Kindred vitae. If a player wishes to select another path as her character’s primary path, the Storyteller may require additional reasoning (though choosing a different path is by no means unheard of).

                      Not unheard of, but almost every Tremere. But this has been going on long enough, let's just keep our own minds and be done.
                      1) That's because new material with statted characters is still rare so in general data points are going to be older.
                      2) Player Characters are also supposed to have some level of uniqueness to them from V20 pg 87 under Spark of Life
                      This last phase of character creation, while the least “necessary,” is nevertheless important. Otherwise, your Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 will be just like all the other Brujah with Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3 — and believe us, there are a lot of such undistinguished characters out there. And that’s a shame, because characters — especially vampires — should be unique, fascinating, passionate, and memorable.
                      The source material implies that the idea of "average joe" vampires is counter to the intent of the system.
                      3) They are the sources available and are canon.

                      Another current source, Dark Ages Vampire 20th Anniversary, has the following under Thaumaturgy.DAV20 pg 297
                      The so-called lesser paths are most often the ones first taught to initiates in the thaumaturgic arts. Increasing mastery of these paths does not teach the thaumaturge new applications of power, but merely increase the force or scope of a single ability.
                      For note the following Paths are listed as Lesser.
                      • Creatio Ignis (Creation of Fire)[Lure of Flames]
                      • Iter Pernix (Swift Journey)[None]
                      • Potestas Motus (Power of Motion)[Movement of the Mind]
                      • Potestas Tempestorum (Power of Storms)[Weather Control]
                      DAV20 pg 299
                      Unlike the Lesser Paths, thaumaturges cannot master the Greater Paths simply by concentrating more force of will onto a single purpose. Instead, the Greater Paths are collections of related powers that build upon each other through common techniques. Many Tremere teachers require that their apprentices study at least one of the Lesser Paths before being permitted to approach the Greater mysteries.
                      For note the following Paths are listed as Greater.
                      • Potestas Elementorum (Power of the Elements)
                      • Potestas Exsecrabilis (The Accursed Power)
                      • Potestas Vitae (The Power of Lifeblood)
                      So in the current Dark Ages Vampire material Blood would be unlikely to be a primary Path. As for V20 itself the quote makes it very clear that the option for different starting Paths is both open and canon, and 10% would fall under almost all, but not unheard of, well within the quote's parameters. Furthermore I provided an entire list of additional reasoning (which the quote mentions the Storyteller MAY require, not definitely require) most of which are Backgrounds, Merits, and Flaws from V20 and its supplement Lore of the Clans.
                      Last edited by Cynic01; 09-30-2017, 03:30 AM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
                        Another current source, Dark Ages Vampire 20th Anniversary, has the following under Thaumaturgy.DAV20 pg 297
                        My point was that DA rules are different and that sometimes they can even be different between versions. Anything could have happened in the DAV20, but in VtM20 things are different.

                        And, frankly, in my experience in most cases a player wants to step away from PoB as their primary path, it's for twinking purposes which means they may well gravitate to those paths.
                        Yep, there are many powerful paths well suited to min-maxing a young Tremere, but no need to go into the exotic: Lure of the Flames not only allows you to do deal aggravate from distance at low levels but even to cause rotshreck and a very popular choice between roleplayers more used to hack&slash games, aiming for a strong combat-oriented character or generally inexperienced.

                        Of course it's not like playing an action-oriented version of VtM is overall wrong -it's a game after all- but it feels to me like playing soccer with a bowling ball. It wasn't really designed for this and there are better games that offer that kind of experience (Exalted, just to say one).
                        Last edited by Maris Streck; 10-01-2017, 06:25 AM.

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                        • #42
                          Iter Pernix is actually the DAV20 version of Transitus Velociter. They just renamed it for some reason.

                          And, having done this, I'd actually argue LotF is quite overrated, especially as a primary path. Other than rituals and until a PC starts packing on secondary paths, all they can do is set fires. The Rotshreck and soak difficulties are trivial until you get levels 3+, and at that point the player has to start taking into consideration the fire is no longer controllable once it's released, and depending what's around, can and will intensify and grow. Comparing LotF's soak difficulties with fire and heat damage in general, level 5 burns with the intensity of contemporary incendiary weapons (willy pete, thermite) and that fire is large enough to nail a small house or large service vehicle all at once. And atop that, is the consideration the hotter and larger the flame, which means more likelihood the fire will grow and intensify on its own, the higher activation difficulty, which means fewer successes to translate into accuracy in releasing the flame.

                          The Extinguish ritual is of limited utility in this regard, because baseline it'll only affect LotF levels four and below, and the vampire will be clipping the damage the path does (and Rotshreck checks) by using the counter-ritual. Assuming the fire hasn't already grown out of control by the time the Tremere gets around to using Extinguish in the first place, and hasn't succumbed to Rotshreck themselves. So, basically, the times you really, really need Extinguish to work, it won't.

                          LotF has its place, and it's a powerful path. But, having been there and done that, as a primary path it's not all it's cracked up to be. If a player wants a combat- or damage-oriented path, MotM is more versatile and has way more utility, or Levinbolt is more controllable and does way more damage.

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                          • #43
                            This is from an old post of mine about why Path of Blood is generally the primary Path of the Tremere, perhaps it can give insight as to why someone wouldn't have learned it as their primary as well.
                            Originally posted by Possessed
                            Path of Blood is a logical progression for the Tremere to develop as their first path as they slowly discovered how to apply Hermetic principles with the power of Vitae instead of an awakened Avatar.

                            Why?

                            Since Rego Vitae is basically Rego Vis, or Rego Potentiae depending on nomenclature. Based on the Principles of Ars Vis/Ars Potentiae also known as the Sphere of Prime.

                            As they needed to find ways to make their magic work again in their undead form the most logical research direction would be the Sphere of Prime as it's the Sphere that controls magical energies in their purest forms. They likely already knew that Vitae was rich with Vis so the art of controlling that Vis was the natural first step on reclaiming their magic.

                            It even works on Sphere level logic.

                            * Etheric Senses, allow the mage to sense Vis (or Quintessence) around them and inherent in Tass including Vampiric Vitae. And unsurprisingly this is exactly what first level of Path of Blood does it senses the properties of Vitae through understanding the principles of how it preserves Vis and how does the Vis inherent in one clans vitae differ from another or how potent the energy within the sample is.
                            So basically as Sphere levels go the first one is always about sensing whatever the sphere controls, same is true of the Rego Vitae.


                            ** Weave Odyllic Force and how to Fuel Patterns and activate Quintessential Matter and Forces. This is the level of Mastery of the Sphere of Prime needed to extract Vis from Tass and to control raw Vis. And again the Vampiric discipline follows suit although again in a more constrained manner. This level of Rego Vitae allows the magus to release the Vis inherent in the Vitae of others and direct it as they please.


                            *** Channel Quintessence, Activate Quintessential Life and Enchant Life. This level of Mastery of the Sphere of Prime allows the Mage to channel Vis more freely and to enchant living patterns with it's power. Similarly the Vampiric Magus can use this level of Rego Vitae to enchant his unlife to basically condense the Vis inherent in their Vitae thus making it more potent and allowing themselves to use it more freely and hold greater amounts of it, basically lowering ones Generation.


                            **** Sublimate Quintessential Life at this level a mage learns to sublimate Vis into living pattersn creating wonders that bond and become one with a living being and also they learn to Expel Base Energy From Matter and Forces releasing their inherent Vis back into the Tellurian effectively destroying them in the process. Thus the Magus studying Rego Vitae gains mastery over the living, or rather unliving, Tass that flows within the veins of their adversaries and they learn how to expel it from them and draw it for themselves. This is the first step from manipulating purely the energy, or Vis, within the blood and into the territory of using that energy to control the blood itself.


                            ***** Masters of the Sphere of Prime can at this level Expel Vis from living patterns erasing them from the book of life and to permanently enchant living patterns, but like the level before this shows True Sphere Magic at these higher levels becomes even more versatile and moves further away from such limitation that affect static disciplines. Still this level of Rego Vitae allows for similar mastery of Vis for the Magus mastering it allowing him to Expel Vis from either living or unliving patterns, or rather from their blood. The released Vis boils the blood within the very veins that carry it through out the body resulting in devastating injury to the recipient of this power. So while the Tremere have lost the ability to erase things from the book of life itself they can still Expel the Vis from Vitae and living blood alike causing gruesome deaths.


                            So as you see the basic magical path of the Tremere follows the Sphere system quite well it's only the other Paths that diverge from this basic principle. For example to follow this pattern Lure of Flames should first allow the Tremere to sense Flames and Heat energy and allow control and summoning of it only at a later stage. But to reach this most apprentices must first learn the basics of Vis and Vitae through the Path of Blood so as to understand the energies they manipulate to achieve their ends.

                            But basically Path of Blood is the first path because it's the logical way the Tremere used to learn to understand their new state and their new ways to work their Will upon the world. Apprentices should learn these principles before being allowed to move towards other studies because these are the underpinnings of Tremere Magic. And as proven by many before me these powers are hardly useless on the contraire they offer you control over the most important thing in every Vampires existence, blood.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Possessed View Post
                              This is from an old post of mine about why Path of Blood is generally the primary Path of the Tremere, perhaps it can give insight as to why someone wouldn't have learned it as their primary as well.
                              And I agree completely. But in MtA the sphere of Prime is very convenient to learn even for the ones willing to focus on Hermetic magic - rules forbid to make lightnings out of nothing if you don't have Prime 2, after all, and absorbing Quintessence over your Avatar rating is between useful and fundamental - depending on how high is your Avatar background. VtM, though, even while stressing the importance of the Path of Blood as primary didn't really put any mechanical limit for the ones that didn't take it, so it often feels unnecessary for twinking purposes.

                              And, having done this, I'd actually argue LotF is quite overrated, especially as a primary path.
                              It is, especially in Camarilla campaigns. As I said earlier, most of the Paths are quite circumstantial, sometimes only good for a single thing and some others only at specific conditions; the PoB offers a wide array of powers instead and synergizes well with other disciplines... it doesn't look like a weak choice to me.
                              Last edited by Maris Streck; 10-02-2017, 05:10 AM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post

                                It is, especially in Camarilla campaigns. As I said earlier, most of the Paths are quite circumstantial, sometimes only good for a single thing and some others only at specific conditions; the PoB offers a wide array of powers instead and synergizes well with other disciplines... it doesn't look like a weak choice to me.
                                It's not, not by a long shot. Hell, I had to look to some of the most esoteric and rare paths in the game with mechanics that supplement other imbalanced mechanics (Focused Mind) or outright broken mechanics due to lack of definitive rules (Spirit Manipulation), and Dark Thaumaturgy, to really pull out examples of more powerful Thaumaturgical paths in terms of versatility and the power of individual path levels. PoB gets a worse rep than it deserves, because it's "boring but practical" and the levels four and five powers are lackluster, but only in comparison to other analogous powers.

                                My core issue with the vein of conversation, is under V20 rules there are ample opportunities to play a blood sorcerer outside the Pyramid with alternate primary paths. They just don't get the resources and support network of the Pyramid, and that's the cost of admission. At least in the modern nights setting, PoB as primary path, with a handful of exceptions generally purpose-designed as a function of the Pyramid itself and its needs, is a mandate of the Pyramid opposed to requirement of Thaumaturgy as a discipline itself. Playing ball with the Pyramid is part and parcel of playing a Tremere, and it strikes me players who want alternate primary paths absent justification, but still operate within the constraint of the Pyramid, simply want to have their cake and eat it too.

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