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  • #16
    I don't think Elders are complete sociopaths, but I believe the vast majority of them have severe sociopathic tendencies by mortal standards. While they might have tightly held beliefs that they will not violate, they will be severely degenerated by mortal standards.

    IIRC the "average" humanity score for an Elder still on humanity is 3-4, so they pretty much have no real compunctions about killing. They are definitely Evil by the standards of most humans, but that doesn't mean they will be devoid of any redeeming qualities. They're could be an Elder who feels legitimate love for a human, or always keep their promises, or truly has pride in keeping their domain prosperous.
    Last edited by Zanos; 10-11-2017, 09:24 PM.

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    • #17
      What surprised my players the most was the kindest, most helpful and open minded "elder" they met, an old Anarch who was born during the 12th century, had seen the Anarch Revolt and remained an Anarch since then. They liked the guy so much they went to great lengths to save his life and keep him in good terms with the Camarilla. At the end of the game they asked me what his Humanity rating was, and the answer "none": he was actually very high on the Path of Entelechy, a Brujah path that puts the emphasis on fighting the Beast in himself and others, helping others to stay on the road of humanity and actually not being a huge douchbag. For my players until then "paths" had been for the baddies of alien characters, and that guy was probably the less alien guy ever.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by PMárk View Post

        http://science.howstuffworks.com/lif...-feel-pain.htm
        http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170...ll-and-respond

        Of course, one could argue about the definition of "pain", but in my eyes, if a being could sense a harmful effect to itself and is responding to it in some way, especially immediately, yeah, it "feels pain".

        Of course plants work differently than 'us', animals, but they're alive, and they are have some sort of awareness, even if we don't understand it fully at this point. We're biased towards animals, because they're more like us (and as mentioned, we're more empathetic toward the ones which are more "cute", ie. more akin to us, than to, for example, toads or fishes). That's a natural bias, i'm biased like that too, but acting like it is some kind of ethical superiority is indeed a degree of hipocrisy in my book.

        Of course that has nothing to do with the meat overconsumption in the West, which is, indeed a big problem.
        For some researchers, evidence of these complex communication systems -- emitting noises via gas when in distress -- signals that plants feel pain. Others argue that there cannot be pain without a brain to register the feeling. Still more scientists surmise that plants can exhibit intelligent behavior without possessing a brain or conscious awareness [source: Pollan].
        So while it is useful to describe plants in anthropomorphic terms to communicate ideas, there are limits. The danger is that we end up viewing plants as inferior versions of animals, which completely misses the point.
        "
        We plant scientists are happy to talk about similarities and differences between the plant and animal lifestyles when presenting results of plant research to the general public," says Cvrčková. However, she thinks reliance on animal-based metaphors to describe plants comes with issues.
        "You want to avoid [such metaphors], unless you are interested in a (usually futile) debate about a carrot's ability to feel pain when you bite into it."
        Further, describing 'responding to harmful stimuli' as 'feeling pain' isn't really accurate.


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        • #19
          ​These articles are making highly spurious conclusions based on equating biochemical responses with familiar human experiences, and really just come across as click-bait.

          ​I mean come on, equating the fact that a plant emits sound when it releases certain gases with screaming in pain? Is a deflating balloon screaming in pain as well? Is the sound of a shattering glass its last will and testament? The thud of a thrown knife against flesh a declaration of war?


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            ​I mean come on, equating the fact that a plant emits sound when it releases certain gases with screaming in pain? Is a deflating balloon screaming in pain as well? Is the sound of a shattering glass its last will and testament? The thud of a thrown knife against flesh a declaration of war?
            It is when you have Elemental Mastery 2 :P

            Wooden Tongue

            A vampire may speak, albeit in limited fashion, with the spirit of any inanimate object. The conversation may not be incredibly interesting, as most rocks and chairs have limited concern for what occurs around them, but the vampire can get at least a general impression of what the subject has "experienced." Note that events which are significant to a vampire may not be the same events that interest a lawn gnome.

            System: The number of successes dictates the amount and relevance of the information that the character receives. One success may yield a boulder's memory of a forest fire, while three may indicate that it remembers a shadowy figure running past, and five will cause the rock to relate a precise description of a local Gangrel.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Zanos View Post
              I don't think Elders are complete sociopaths, but I believe the vast majority of them have severe sociopathic tendencies by mortal standards. While they might have tightly held beliefs that they will not violate, they will be severely degenerated by mortal standards.

              IIRC the "average" humanity score for an Elder still on humanity is 3-4, so they pretty much have no real compunctions about killing. They are definitely Evil by the standards of most humans, but that doesn't mean they will be devoid of any redeeming qualities. They're could be an Elder who feels legitimate love for a human, or always keep their promises, or truly has pride in keeping their domain prosperous.
              I think Elders tend to reach those lows, not because they don't believe in morality, but because they've grown accustomed to doing terrible things to survive. It is often said that killing becomes easier the more you do it.

              Well, just imagine how many lives an Elder has taken by accident. How many times they fed just a little too much, and ended up killing a mortal. After a while, no matter how bad the vampire knows such an act is, it's difficult for them to drum up the proper emotions they "should" feel when they've lost count of how many have died at their hands. Not even for purpose or being overcome with emotion, but just from accident. From carelessness. By the second century of unlife, the Elder has long since reached a point where they care more about how they'll dispose of the body than for the life they've snuffed out. They aren't sociopaths; they're just numb.

              And once you've gotten comfortable with the fact that you've committed manslaughter and lot, and will likely commit manslaughter many times in the future, it's easy to then get comfortable with other kinds of killing. Killing out of passion, or because you thought it was necessary for survival. The Elder doesn't need to think killing is a good thing, or has no moral weight one way or another. They just know that they can do it and not stress out over it. If it can be avoided, sure, but it's an option they are fully prepared to pursue when needed.

              Maybe they lament, at times, how used to killing they are. How it doesn't get any sort of reaction. Just like every other aspect of their life. *Sighs*


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                It is when you have Elemental Mastery 2 :P
                Now I'm just imagining a Tremere trying to interrogate information out of a balloon from a Toreador's birthday ball. With the balloon giving out a high pitched plea of 'help meee, help meee!' a la The Fly.

                Originally posted by Zanos View Post
                I don't think Elders are complete sociopaths, but I believe the vast majority of them have severe sociopathic tendencies by mortal standards. While they might have tightly held beliefs that they will not violate, they will be severely degenerated by mortal standards.

                IIRC the "average" humanity score for an Elder still on humanity is 3-4, so they pretty much have no real compunctions about killing. They are definitely Evil by the standards of most humans, but that doesn't mean they will be devoid of any redeeming qualities. They're could be an Elder who feels legitimate love for a human, or always keep their promises, or truly has pride in keeping their domain prosperous.
                Also wanted to confirm the book says that many Elders hover around 4 Humanity, assuming they haven't adopted a path. They have no compunctions about killing 'if the victim is deserving'.
                Last edited by Monalfie; 10-12-2017, 08:59 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
                  The blood hunt thread got me thinking about something: players tend to assume that elders are all complete sociopaths with absolutely no moral lines. To me that doesn't seem realistic, as in real life even mafioso with huge numbers of kills often have some lines they won't cross, some acts that still morally outrage them. So I was wondering: do you ever punish players for just assuming elders are pure evil? For example, do you ever have a player accumulate boons, try to use those boons to bargain for the right to diablerize someone, only to discover that the Prince is someone who genuinely, morally loathes diablerists, and won't bargain for such a thing even if the payment is outrageously good?

                  It seems to me that just assuming everyone is a sociopath is just as naive and dangerous in its own way as assuming everyone is noble. It was something I was reminded of when Stannis Baratheon burned Shireen and had half his army abandon him in the night.


                  Diablerie is not a reward in the camarilla. It is the ultimate punishment. If a player has the idea "i'm going to trade boons for this" I'll just politely remind them of this fact. That this is not how I run the game and they shouldn't consider this a possibility. If you wanted Easy Gen you should have bought the background.

                  That being said if I were running the game in "Simcamirilla' Fashion and a character tried that. A blood hunt would be called on the person who tried it, because irony is delicious.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Lian View Post
                    Diablerie is not a reward in the camarilla. It is the ultimate punishment. If a player has the idea "i'm going to trade boons for this" I'll just politely remind them of this fact. That this is not how I run the game and they shouldn't consider this a possibility. If you wanted Easy Gen you should have bought the background.

                    That being said if I were running the game in "Simcamirilla' Fashion and a character tried that. A blood hunt would be called on the person who tried it, because irony is delicious.
                    "In others, diablerie is not only permitted but encouraged. For example, a Prince who declares a Blood Hunt often decrees that those who diablerize the outcast will be pardoned." Run it how you will, but per the book, sometimes it is a reward. Further, the term 'easy gen' for succeeding on a Blood Hunt seems inappropriate. Furthermore, a Blood Hunt seems extreme for asking about diablerizing someone, given it is 'used sparingly' and 'only for the most grievous crimes'.

                    Small bit that I didn't notice before. Apparently the Inner Circle decreed that only a sire may diablerize their childe during a Blood Hunt. Just food for thought, but I suppose if a Prince pardoned someone, it might be overruled by a Justicar or at a Conclave.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                      "In others, diablerie is not only permitted but encouraged. For example, a Prince who declares a Blood Hunt often decrees that those who diablerize the outcast will be pardoned." Run it how you will, but per the book, sometimes it is a reward. Further, the term 'easy gen' for succeeding on a Blood Hunt seems inappropriate. Furthermore, a Blood Hunt seems extreme for asking about diablerizing someone, given it is 'used sparingly' and 'only for the most grievous crimes'.

                      Small bit that I didn't notice before. Apparently the Inner Circle decreed that only a sire may diablerize their childe during a Blood Hunt. Just food for thought, but I suppose if a Prince pardoned someone, it might be overruled by a Justicar or at a Conclave.


                      I interpret that as not a reward for the diablerist but a punishment for the diablerised. You pardon the person for doing what you wanted them to do as Prince. Blood hunt is not execution or Exile its the ultimate punishment. If you want to get some gen by eating someone and do so "legally" what you do is set said person up for it. You get the prince to hate him so much that he wants you to eat his soul. You don't do that with simple boon trading.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Lian View Post
                        I interpret that as not a reward for the diablerist but a punishment for the diablerised. You pardon the person for doing what you wanted them to do as Prince. Blood hunt is not execution or Exile its the ultimate punishment. If you want to get some gen by eating someone and do so "legally" what you do is set said person up for it. You get the prince to hate him so much that he wants you to eat his soul. You don't do that with simple boon trading.
                        I mean, as for the first aspect, this is definitely splitting hairs. The person who succeeds in fulfilling the Blood Hunt is being legally allowed to commit said diablerie in some circumstances. If it was merely about punishment, there would likely be included mention that Prince's request the victim brought back for diablerie by themselves or an underling. Instead it is being given to the hunter for their service. The person who succeeds is allowed this because they fulfilled the Hunt.

                        I don't disagree that 'simple boon trading' isn't really the situation for it. But with enough boons and when a Blood Hunt was already called? See no reason they might not agree, given the possibility of offering it to the general public. That it is encouraged at times.

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                        • #27
                          Before I even start, because the DSMV isn't available online and free, let's look at some of the criteria for antisocial personality disorder as listed by the Mayo Clinic:

                          ...impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead...hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence...unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others...failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them...being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations...

                          Any of that sound like traits a vampire who would even survive to become an elder in the first place would have? To me, those are traits that would make a vampire lucky to survive long enough to become an ancilla.

                          If elders are to be considered sociopathic, it is by contemporary, Western, individualist, pop psych standards. Elders think in the long term, and in the big picture. Except for outlying circumstances, individuals don't matter to them and are expendable as compared to a community, institution, or society.

                          Consider a Ventrue elder, whose chosen prey are members of a very specific pagan tradition that is slowly dying. The big picture is the preservation of that religious tradition, as without it they can no longer feed without turning to vitae. Individuals who practice that tradition matter only insofar as instruments of preservation and proliferation; they're worthless to that Ventrue if they cannot propagate their beliefs or help preserve them (like for example, lobbying a government to enact religious freedom/preservation laws), and in some cases may be worth more in death should that death bring martyrdom to reinforce the sentiments of the already-faithful, or convert others to that tradition. Individuals of that tradition who act poorly in the context of the society in which they live, and therefore spread negative stereotypes or promulgate negative perception, are worth more silenced than alive.

                          Or, consider a Tremere elder whose specialty is Biothaumaturgical research and experimentation, and has worked hard over the course of decades with the Pyramid's blessing to build a mortal biotech firm to provide capital, research material, recruitment prospects, and probably even real estate for their chantry. Who that firm's CFO is doesn't matter to that Tremere, as long as the board keeps shares high, FDA/FTC/SEC interference low, the government paid off to ensure lax regulations, and questions/leaks to a minimum. What matters is the preservation and growth of the institution.

                          Or, a Toreador elder whose hobby is keeping an eye out on the welfare of their mortal family. They probably couldn't name all their great-great-great-great-great-great grandkids without the help of a genealogy service, so if one takes a drunken nosedive off a cliff at the driver's seat of a car at ninety miles an hour, as long as there are smarter, better kids to keep the family name alive, better the stupid ones get pruned before they can bred more stupid into the family and impugn its good name. At that point, to the Toreador, it's all about the family name and legacy than it is who did what, when, and who got pooped out of whose crotch.

                          Likewise, while foresight and risk aversion are key to surviving to elder age and as an elder, so is a track record of being good to one's word and one's debts. It doesn't matter how old a vampire is, sooner or later they're going to need a favor and a friend, and no one will stand up and put their own ass on the line for a vampire who doesn't make good on their debts. Moreover, a reputation of being someone to not piss off, and with whom it is a good idea to curry favor, because one will be repaid in kind, is equally if not more invaluable to an elder. Elders have to be someone for whom there is no worse enemy, and no better friend, and that's not something sociopaths handle well in the long run.

                          Low humanity doesn't mean sociopathy. It might seem like it, but it isn't. Sociopathy is a derangement, and just like Paranoia it may seem like a derangement that suits elders well, it definitively isn't. 'd actually argue that while elders may be (and usually are) near-irrevocably degenerated, genuinely antisocial vampires are less likely to survive to become an elder in the first place. Not only do elders have to exist in the same physical and social spaces as other vampires, they are even more constrained by them thanks to entrenchment, old habits, obligations, prestation, and social connections (alliances, friendships, rivalries, enmities and grudges) that go back centuries and may even be so ingrained the elder may have long forgotten what even started it.
                          Last edited by Theodrim; 10-12-2017, 09:31 PM.

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                          • #28
                            I was referring to sociopathy in the "pop" sense I suppose as someone who lacks a moral center. As far as I'm aware sociopath isn't a defined medical term in the DSMV. And neither sociopathy or ASPD(which is not the same thing as sociopathy) are derangements, at least not in the v20 book. Since sociopath was deprecated, it's only use today is in the "pop" sense, as it's no longer a medical term. That's a fairly common occurence when it comes to medical terms entering the common lexicon and then being deprecated, so I don't lament my word choice.

                            The point is that Elder vampires don't have a moral or ethical center, or at least not a very human one. They're very utilitarian, simply by virtue that they're in constant competition and a strong conscience is an easily exploited weakness.
                            Last edited by Zanos; 10-12-2017, 10:04 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Monalfie View Post


                              Further, describing 'responding to harmful stimuli' as 'feeling pain' isn't really accurate.

                              Yes, you're right, it isn't accurate, it's a metaphor. They are just working totally differently than animals, including humans and we don't really know just how aware they are, really and in what way. So again, being biased toward animals is understandable in my book, but taking it as some kind of ethical superiority is indeed hipocrisy. Also, putting one being's life on a higher shelf because it's closer to the "human experience" just doesn't sit right with me. Honestly, I'm a lot more saddened, when I see an old tree, cutting down with no good reason, besides avarice or convenience than when I see a chicken killed for meal and I refuse the notion that killing an animal for food in the fastest way and with the less suffering possible is a sign of a serious antisocial mental disorder.


                              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                                I mean, as for the first aspect, this is definitely splitting hairs. The person who succeeds in fulfilling the Blood Hunt is being legally allowed to commit said diablerie in some circumstances. If it was merely about punishment, there would likely be included mention that Prince's request the victim brought back for diablerie by themselves or an underling. Instead it is being given to the hunter for their service. The person who succeeds is allowed this because they fulfilled the Hunt.
                                If the Prince just wanted someone executed, he'd do that. IF he wanted some special underling to get closer to his gen.. he'd do that. Blood Hunt is the most special of public methods of punishment. Everything that could have been done up to that point has been taken off the table.

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