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  • Vikken
    started a topic Working on a Bloodline: Sons of Judas

    Working on a Bloodline: Sons of Judas

    The idea is to take advantage of some of the old vampire lore ascribing bloodsuckers to being of the line of Judas, Christ's betrayer. It works like this: rather than dying by hanging, Judas gets Embraced by an unknown Cainite, but because of the nascent curse on Judas himself, his sire, thinking the Embrace failed, leaves him. He rises three days later as a vampire and proceeds to create his own line independent of greater vampire society, though he does learn a little bit about it along the way. As part of his curse, he has a Mandate to seek out and uncover the sins of others, and his progeny share in this curse. Likewise, they are unable to sire childer in the usual way, needing to use a Discipline to do it. The bloodline Discipline fills both roles.

    What I've got so far:
    ​_________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______

    Sons of Judas

    Historical speculation is rife, but nearly all accounts agree that the founding of the bloodline is attributable to none other than Judas Iscariot, supposedly Embraced by some unknown vampire and cursed by God for his part in the murder of Jesus Christ. Many scoff at this, but the unique method of feeding of these odd vampires and its singular result, as well as the Sons’ strange discipline, Mortification, and its emphasis on sin seem to bear out some relation.


    Nickname: Judges, Betrayers

    Sect: ​None, but they do uphold their own form of Masquerade, known as the Screen of Secrecy, so they tend to get along with the Camarilla when they're not judging them.

    Appearance: ​Members of this bloodline can be of any age, race, gender, or walk of life, but they all have red hair. No one knows if this is because the Sons Embrace only red-haired people, or if it turns red as part of their curse.

    Haven:​ Sons of Judas tend toward the affluent, and this shows in their choices of haven. Many make use of secluded mansions and high-rise apartments, the better to keep their distance from prying eyes.

    Background: ​The lives of their recruits tend to vary, but generally have something to do with sin. Many take childer from among the church or justice system, seeking those who would be good at discerning the sins of others. Other Sons seem to feel it is up to them to pass on the curse and the Mandate to those who have sinned flagrantly, forcing them to take up an existence aimed at countering their own effects on the world.

    Parent Clan: Unknown

    Character Creation: ​Regimented and judgmental Natures are common, with outgoing, exploratory, sometimes even nosey Demeanors. Mental Attributes are primary, with Skills and Knowledges taking precedence over Talents. Common Backgrounds include Generation, Mentor, and Resources.

    Clan Disciplines:
    Celerity
    Fortitude

    ​Mortification
    ​The Discipline of Mortification is unique to the Sons of Judas, being both a boon and a curse from on high. It is the primary means by which they carry out their missions of rooting out sin and exposing or punishing it, as well as the way they manage to sire progeny.

    1 - Tracks of Sin: ​By concentrating, a vampire can look at a subject and discern metaphorical physical features associated with different sins. Track marks for drug use, red hands for theft or murder, disheveled clothing and tousled hair for sexual promiscuity, all show up and are easy to interpret for the user of this Discipline. Conversely, the user can sense sins committed against the subject, as well, seeing bruises for rape, a haunted look or bearing for abuse, even the effects of vampiric feeding, even if they have been hidden. The type and extent of sins brought to light are variable, of course, but can be gauged by the user to determine whether or not he should get involved. To that end, he can even use this power to follow the subject, following the "tracks of sin" for the rest of the night.

    System:​ To view the sins affecting a given subject, the vampire focuses on the target for one turn and rolls Perception + Mortification (difficulty 6). The number of successes achieved indicates the amount of information gleaned as to the frequency and extent of sin. One success might indicate a one-time theft of bread for survival, while five successes would reveal a habit of bilking old ladies. Failure on this roll reveals nothing, while a botch projects the vampire's own sins onto the target.
    ​To use the power to track the subject for the night, the vampire makes another Perception + Mortification roll and spends a blood point to maintain a link to the target. Thereafter, he can follow the subject with ease based on the success of the roll.

    2 - Mortification of the Flesh: ​Traditionally, mortification is the punishment of the flesh in denial of the impulses that lead to sin. Using this power, a Son of Judas can harm another by harming himself, effectively dissuading them from sin even unto death.

    System:​ The character must touch the victim and spend a blood point, then roll Dexterity + Mortification (difficulty of the target's Stamina + Fortitude) while flagellating, cutting, or otherwise mortifying himself. For each success garnered, the victim receives one unsoakable health level of lethal damage for each level of damage the vampire does to himself. Further, wound penalties apply as if the damage were one level higher.

    3 - Sins of the Father: ​One of the worst aspects of sin is its tendency to spread, and using this power, the Son of Judas can spread his own. This power is the means by which vampires of the bloodline continue the line, but it also has another use, as well. The Son of Judas using this level of Mortification can choose to raise someone as a vampire over a three-day span, or he can immediately raise the body of an exsanguinated individual as a mindless blood-slave suitable for nothing more than combat or menial tasks.

    System: ​To create progeny is a simple matter, handled in the same manner as the creation of other vampires, except that the newly-created Son of Judas takes three nights to rise as a vampire, and its corpse is immune to sunlight, stakes, etc., until that time passes. It is believed that it is during this period that the soul of the vampire undergoes judgment for its sins and receives its Mandate to uncover the sins of others.
    ​The other use of this power creates a form of "lesser undead" more akin to a zombie than a true vampire. The creature takes aggravated damage from fire and sunlight, is paralyzed by a stake through the heart, and must be fed blood to operate (one blood point worth per day), but there the resemblance ends. It has no will of its own and can use neither Social nor Mental Attributes, nor can it access any Knowledges or complex Talents or Skills. It can engage in combat and perform simple tasks but must be commanded to do every little thing, including feed itself.
    ​To create a blood-slave, the Son of Judas first drains the blood from a recently deceased corpse, then spends two blood points, one to reanimate the body, the other to power it in undeath. The blood-slave then rises with all its original Physical Attributes at +2, but no Social or Mental Attributes. The corpse has no Willpower and is immune to all mental and emotional magics. It will respond only to commands from its creator, carrying out the last command given it until it is finished or until it is given a new one. It has seven health levels but takes no wound penalties from damage and lacks any sort of survival instinct. This blood-slave is still a dead thing and subject to decomposition. It maintains its form for three nights, after which it collapses into a heap of rotting meat and cannot be reanimated.

    ​4 - Burden of Original Sin: ​Also known as the Confessor's Flail, the Son of Judas can use this power to turn potentially any target, from a simpering waif to a proud Methuselah, into a puling wretch, begging for absolution, a chance to atone, or even Final Death. When used, this level of Mortification shows the subject a rapid-fire montage of all his sins, capped off with a crushing sense of his own insignificance, inherent evil, and lack of worth. This psychological and spiritual barrage can cripple even the hardiest of souls, and only the most debased and jaded of sociopaths escape the visions brought on unscathed.

    System: ​The character must touch the subject and make eye contact, then spend a blood point and roll Manipulation + Empathy (difficulty of the target's Willpower). If the roll succeeds, the target collapses into a ball, trapped in a mindscape of horror at his own actions and worthlessness. He can interact with others verbally, usually begging for help or release, answering questions (usually relating to the sins he is showing himself), but he can take no other actions other than to defend himself if attacked. The results last for one scene, but the repercussions will have effects for some time, possibly even leading to Derangements.

    5 - Dubbelsauger: ​Folklore associates the Sons of Judas with the dreaded dubbelsauger, a vampiric spirit that invades a corpse in a graveyard and takes on the appearance of its victim, then feeds on its own dead flesh while the victim withers away. A rarefied extension of the magic that allows Mortification of the Flesh, this power grants the vampire the ability to visit that curse on a sinner, with benefits. The user can chew his own flesh, which mystically regrows, while at the same time filling his blood pool off the life force he steals from a distant target. The target actually weakens and withers in whatever member is most used for sin; hands palsy for a murderer or thief, a cheating athlete weakens in the legs, and a rapist... well.

    System: ​To use this power, the vampire must have met the victim at least once face to face. The character spends two blood points to establish the connection and mimic the target's form, then rolls Manipulation + Occult (difficulty 8) to transform. This mimicry is not exact; the appearance is imperfect, as height and weight are not affected, only surface features. Clothing does not change, and the vampire retains his own voice, movements and mannerisms. The Son of Judas could, therefore, use the form as a disguise, but could not impersonate a specific individual.
    ​To feed, the dubbelsauger merely begins chewing on its own flesh, consuming itself and mystically regrowing what it eats. A Dexterity + Occult roll (difficulty of the target's Stamina + Fortitude) is made to feed in this way, and for every success, the victim takes one level of unsoakable bashing damage. For every two levels of damage the victim takes, the dubbelsauger gains a blood point, up to his maximum. Supernatural targets of this power can resist with a contested Willpower roll, having to get more successes than the attacker.
    ​The dubbelsauger does not have to be near the target for this power to work, as long as they have met previously. The maximum range of this power is within the same city. Some Sons of Judas will play out the folkloric stories of this power and rest for the night in a cemetery mausoleum, growing fat off the life force of a sinner they have marked, while the victim withers.
    ​The power Tracks of Sin will reveal use of this power, as will Auspex Three, and use of the correct powers will allow one to track the link back to the dubbelsauger. This power's effects last for one night.


    Weaknesses: ​The Sons of Judas cannot lick the wounds of their feeding closed, for one. When they feed, they have to suck on the surface of the skin, leaving a mark like a series of three x's, supposedly representing the Roman numeral thirty - the number of silver pieces Judas sold Jesus out for. In addition, they take aggravated damage from silver weapons and one lethal health level of damage per turn from direct contact with the metal. Add to this that they must use a Discipline to sire childer, and they certainly have their weaknesses.

    Organization: ​The Sons are usually solitary, working together only when they come across one another in the field and have a particularly difficult sinner to take on. The only real structure to the bloodline is the Seat of Judgment and its attendant Justices, elders of the bloodline based in Jerusalem, that intervene and hold court when one of the Judges themselves is found guilty of sin.

    Quote: ​"We are all sinners, some worse than others. You, my friend, are worse than others."
    ​_________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____

    ​Not sure where this falls as far as overpowered/underpowered, but I think I might have overdone it. Tried to keep it self-limiting, though. Any input folks can give me, I would certainly appreciate it.

  • Vikken
    replied
    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back, everyone. The wife has a brain tumour, and treatment and medical considerations take precedence. Life happens. Thanks for your patience.

    ​I have no intentions of giving up on this. I've simply written far too much already to throw it all away now. Just need to keep tweaking it all to make it work.

    I'm focusing on using the Ten Commandments and Humanity, then, but it seems slow going for me. Maybe just gotta try and use the one as the list of sins to avoid to keep from losing the other.

    As for the Discipline, a little overhaul, and this is what I've got:
    Level One: Weigh the Sinner - ​​The vampire can focus on a subject and, with a roll of Perception + Mortification (difficulty of the target's Humanity), determine the level of the target's Humanity and the types of sins that got it to that level (ie, the sin that caused the most recent drop in Humanity).
    Level Two: Mortification of the Flesh - ​The vampire makes physical contact with a victim and spends a blood point, then rolls Dexterity + Mortification (difficulty of the target's Stamina + Fortitude) while flagellating, cutting, or otherwise mortifying himself. Each success causes one level of unsoakable lethal damage to the victim for each level of damage the vampire does to himself. Further, wound penalties apply as if the damage were one level higher.
    Level Three: Webs of Sin - ​The vampire focuses on a subject and rolls Perception + Mortification (difficulty 8) to view the most recent violation committed by or against the subject (vampire's choice) that would have caused a challenge to Humanity, whether it caused a drop or not. Success reveals the sin in question and identifies the perpetrator and the victim(s) by image in the vampire's mind, as well as giving their general locations (distance and direction) with relation to the vampire.
    Level Four: Burden of Original Sin -​ The vampire touches the target and makes eye contact while spending a blood point and rolling Manipulation + Empathy against a difficulty of three plus the subject's Humanity or Path rating. If the roll succeeds, the target collapses into a ball, trapped in a mindscape of horror at his own sinful actions and inherent worthlessness. He can interact with others verbally, usually begging for help or release or answering questions, usually relating to the sins he is showing himself, but he can take no other actions other than to defend himself if attacked. These results last for one turn per success on the initial roll and can lead to derangements if overused.
    Level Five: Hand of Retribution - ​The vampire makes an open-hand strike against a target for no damage, calling them out as a sinner against God, and spends a blood point and rolls his own Humanity against a difficulty of the target's Humanity or Path rating. Each success causes one non-soakable level of aggravated damage manifesting as boils and lesions on the sinner's body and face that reduce his Appearance to zero until all damage is healed.

    ​Still trying to keep it focused on uncovering/redressing sin, so I'm floundering about that score. Lemme know what you think.

    ​As for the bloodline's weakness, it's kind of a twofer. They're driven to uncover sins, and that's psychologically ingrained in all of them. It comes from the three-day stint in the afterworld and what they see as their divine mandate to "clean up" humanity. So, yeah, they go after the "major" sins of those who oppose them, as well as the "minor" ones of the folks on their own side. Gets them into trouble, either way.
    ​The silver weakness was to tie in the thirty pieces of silver thing, but it's not necessary. I rather like having them all have the Flaw: Repelled by Crosses. A holdover from their progenitor's involvement in Jesus' death, kind of thing. Part of the curse, as it were. Dunno, have to work on it.

    Again, sorry I'm so sporadic. Let me know what you guys think of the changes or if you have any suggestions. Thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nosimplehiway
    replied
    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    Thanks, Nosimplehiway, for the input and the insight. It's all definitely stuff to consider. It's becoming clearer and clearer that I've got a lot more work to do on this before finishing, and I'm not sure what all to tweak, and what to throw away.
    Writing anything takes time and work. You have a really good kernel of a concept. I would not throw it away, because there are some really good ideas within it. Maybe, just try to strip it down to the most essential elements, then build it back up with details that advance those core elements.

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​As to what constitutes "sin," would you suggest I use the Ten Commandments or some other brief, codified list, or would it be easier to list it in the writeup?
    The Ten Commandments could work, especially for a small bloodline focused on a narrow religious background. There are still considerable differences in how the Abrahamic religions interpret them, but it's a good start toward tighter definition.

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​Or, is there another way to succinctly define sin that would make it easier for use that I'm just not seeing? Suggestions?
    There is another way to define it, and it already exists within the game. It's not a perfect barometer of morality, but the game does ship with it's own karma meter: Humanity. In fact, it's one of the most distinctive features of the game system. Is there a specific reason you don't want to use "Humanity below x level" as the definition of a sinner? Not using it seems like re-inventing the wheel.

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​As for the niche Discipline, Mortification was originally intended as a vehicle for the bloodline's perceived mandate to uncover and possibly redress the sins of others. It would be possible to go without, but thematically, the intent was to have a potentially divine tool for a potentially divine mandate.
    Having a discipline that detects and punishes sin seems reasonable enough for this bloodline, but the mechanics get a little vague when you avoid Humanity. Maybe you could have low levels simply detect a subject's Humanity/Path score, and what sin caused their most recent drop. Or, scan a crowd for the lowest Humanity score. Maybe a level two power that grants easier feeding on low Humanity vessels?

    Mid-levels might let you find the closest subject with a low Humanity, allowing you to find sinners you didn't even know were there. There might even be a level that allows you to examine a subject's aura, and learn what was the most recent action taken against them by a third person that caused that third person to be required a Humanity roll... then reveal either the location or description of that perpetrator.

    Capstone powers could go a lot of different directions. Maybe a curse of some sort that can only be used against subjects with low Humanity, that does some form of symbolic direct damage like aggravated wound stigmata, or an effect that causes bystanders to attack and work against low Humanity individuals. Maybe an ability that makes it easier for subjects to avoid actions that would risk their Humanity, like requiring the subject to spend willpower before being able to risk their Humanity. Maybe even an ability that buffs the Son of Judas in some way if they drain a low Humanity subject completely. One decent capstone ability could be not having to risk your own Humanity to kill or maim someone of lower Humanity; if it's a sinner, it's a karmic freebie.

    In any case, if you include a niche discipline, at all, then by the top levels, the dark, avenging angel concept should be baked into the cake.

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​I suppose I could retool the bloodline, concentrating more on their reputation as betrayers and have them focused less on the sins of others than on their own creator's role in the killing of Jesus. I don't know. The sensitivity to crosses and silver seems thematically appropriate for that. Have to work on it, I guess.
    It's not really an either/or choice, if you accept that it can be a yes/and situation, the line could gain more depth. How would you make them both punishing sinners and betraying their comrades?

    Remember, in scripture, Judas only has dialogue with Jesus three times. Once, when Judas denied the betrayal. Once, after the betrayal. And, perhaps, most tellingly for your purposes, when Judas complained to Jesus that luxurious ointments were being used, by Mary, to anoint Jesus; this wasted money that could otherwise be used to help the poor. Jesus blew him off, but Judas was (it could be read) calling Jesus out on his own hypocrisy. Now the section of gospel has a line that tries to explain this away as Judas wanting more money in the coffers so he could steal it, but when you read it, it looks like a tacked-on explanation for Jesus' hand-waving away Judas' concerns.

    If, either because their niche discipline makes them hyper-conscious of sins, or their line's weakness forces them to expose even the slightest sin, it could certainly look to allies of the Sons of Judas like they both punish "major" sin in others, and betray their allies for "trivial" sins. (Nearly everyone's differentiation between "trivial" and "major" sins is whether it's a sin of our own or of others.)

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​Considering a drive-by embrace, I still like the idea of the three-day waiting period and coming back with the conviction that they're there for a purpose. In the original conception of the bloodline, a drive-by either wouldn't happen, as the sire would have to be really serious about creating childer, or they'd wake up as a full-blown Son with the Mandate fully ingrained through the process of the three-day Embrace. Doesn't seem like that flies with all you guys, though.
    ​Again, I'm still in love with the three days. Call me silly, but it sets the bloodline apart, and it's a little thing that doesn't really hurt anything that I can think of, other than possibly actually increasing the likelihood of a drive-by.
    The three day thing is fine. More importantly, if you, as a writer, believe in your gut it's central to the story you're telling, then keep it. It's a nice detail that fits the themes. There is even something similar among Malkavians where some of them are full dead longer, and have psychedelic visions in that time. Maybe Judan fledglings experience hell during that time, and so genuinely know that by fighting sin they are helping people? (Of course, it could all be a hallucination...) It does make it more likely that a sire would be unaware of an accidental embrace. This makes it doubly important that the disciplines and weaknesses enforce the themes.

    Just make sure to put it in the actual weakness section, so it's mechanically enforced, and not just fluff. Putting it in the discipline power is awkward, because most discipline powers don't impose a weakness on the user, then immediately give the means to overcome it.

    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    ​In that case, I would say the childe might come to with the typical hankering for blood, but a proclivity to notice and want to do something about the wrongs that others perform. As for Disciplines that enhance this, Mortification would have been choice to start with, but if we're dropping it, we'll go with others. Auspex to notice what's off about situations and people, for one. Dominate second, to get to the truth, whatever it might be. Finally, Obfuscate to avoid others for what they themselves might have done. Avoiding silver and crosses would be taken as simply part and parcel of the vampire package.

    And, yeah, I can drop the hair thing.

    Lemme know what you think.
    Having a niche discipline is not in-and-of-itself bad. The mechanics just need some serious cleaning up, and it needs to be more focused on the themes. And, there needs to be something compelling about the line other than the niche discipline.

    A few nit-picks with the Auspex, Dominate, Obfuscate combo... the Dominate Malkavians already have it, and there's a tradition of not poaching discipline sets. Also, Dominate feels a little heavy handed. Forcing people to stop their sinning doesn't actually change anything in their soul. Though, since there is a school of thought that Judas was just a victim of predestination... but that's a whole other set of themes.

    How married are you to the silver weakness, which tends to be associated with lupines in this game? A feeding weakness that only allows feeding on sinners, or if low Humanity individuals trigger frenzy (anger, feeding, or fear), or if the Sons of Judas have a compulsion to reveal sins, or requiring a willpower roll to refuse taking a bribe to betray allies, or Judans can only spend XP to increase the Road of Heaven... there are lots of other options.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vikken
    replied
    Thanks, Nosimplehiway, for the input and the insight. It's all definitely stuff to consider. It's becoming clearer and clearer that I've got a lot more work to do on this before finishing, and I'm not sure what all to tweak, and what to throw away.

    ​As to what constitutes "sin," would you suggest I use the Ten Commandments or some other brief, codified list, or would it be easier to list it in the writeup? Or, is there another way to succinctly define sin that would make it easier for use that I'm just not seeing? Suggestions?

    ​As for the niche Discipline, Mortification was originally intended as a vehicle for the bloodline's perceived mandate to uncover and possibly redress the sins of others. It would be possible to go without, but thematically, the intent was to have a potentially divine tool for a potentially divine mandate.

    ​I suppose I could retool the bloodline, concentrating more on their reputation as betrayers and have them focused less on the sins of others than on their own creator's role in the killing of Jesus. I don't know. The sensitivity to crosses and silver seems thematically appropriate for that. Have to work on it, I guess.

    ​Considering a drive-by embrace, I still like the idea of the three-day waiting period and coming back with the conviction that they're there for a purpose. In the original conception of the bloodline, a drive-by either wouldn't happen, as the sire would have to be really serious about creating childer, or they'd wake up as a full-blown Son with the Mandate fully ingrained through the process of the three-day Embrace. Doesn't seem like that flies with all you guys, though.
    ​Again, I'm still in love with the three days. Call me silly, but it sets the bloodline apart, and it's a little thing that doesn't really hurt anything that I can think of, other than possibly actually increasing the likelihood of a drive-by. In that case, I would say the childe might come to with the typical hankering for blood, but a proclivity to notice and want to do something about the wrongs that others perform. As for Disciplines that enhance this, Mortification would have been choice to start with, but if we're dropping it, we'll go with others. Auspex to notice what's off about situations and people, for one. Dominate second, to get to the truth, whatever it might be. Finally, Obfuscate to avoid others for what they themselves might have done. Avoiding silver and crosses would be taken as simply part and parcel of the vampire package.

    And, yeah, I can drop the hair thing.

    Lemme know what you think.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nosimplehiway
    replied
    If your goal is to publish a bloodline that might sell, consider your audience. If someone is actually buying a bloodline online instead of either designing one of their own or figuring out a way to fit this bloodline's concept into an existing group, they are the sort of player looking to bring something novel to the table without hours of effort.

    What your audience is most emphatically not, are people who want to spend hours debating what exactly counts as a sin in the context of this game. If the folks here, in the universe's center of over-analyzing game-line minutiae, are finding your discipline to use an overly broad, overly vague definition of the term "sin", you can assume that it will be entirely unusable for the more casual end-user.

    As a storyteller, I would never allow this bloodline to enter a campaign, either as an npc or pc, just because of the possible headaches of definition it would cause. (cf: Try searching for the debates on this board about how Humanity handles the killing of pedophiles. It gets complicated.)

    Personally, I am not a big fan of niche disciplines, so I may be biased. But, try a thought experiment. Imagine you absolutely could not, under any circumstances, use a custom discipline for this bloodline. How would you build it then? If you can devise a way, then use that, for purposes of conservation of detail if nothing else. Would the concept still hold without the custom discipline? If no, then, is this a bloodline that needed a custom discipline to fulfill their themes, or was it a kewl discipline in search of a bloodline? If it's a bloodline that has fully developed themes aside from it's niche discipline, but the discipline helps advance those themes, fine, go for it.

    Consider the Giovanni. They could work as an incestuous, insular, corrupt, untrustworthy, family-oriented clan that has Dominate, Potence, and, umm, Auspex, maybe? They don't need Necromancy to be cool, but, the Necromancy advances their themes of rotten apples falling from a rotten tree. They don't exist simply as an excuse to invent Necromancy, and you can build an interesting and thematically appropriate character without Necromancy. Necromancy improves the clan (as a story device and part of the setting) without entirely defining it.

    OTOH, consider Quietus. Especially for the Viziers and Sorcerers, it feels tacked on and pointless. Why in the world would sorcerers (who can learn some very deadly paths), and viziers (who are hyper-focused on one, usually non-violent obsession) need a zone of silence, plus four ways to poison people? The publishers seem to agree since they re-wrote it to give these two lines their own, tweaked versions of the discipline. For the original concept of Middle Eastern Assassins, maybe. Even in it's earliest incarnation, though, the clan felt like an excuse for a kewl power, not an awesome idea for a clan that, as a bonus, got a kewl power.

    I think another useful thought experiment to decide if the mechanics of a bloodline help advance the themes are the drive-by embrace.

    If a Ventrue, say, performs a drive-by embrace and successfully creates a new Ventrue, built with all nature and no nurture, what do you get? The abandoned fledgling might not even know the word "Ventrue", but they have disciplines that make influencing mortal power structures second nature, and could give someone a slightly inflated view of themselves. Presence creates fawning strangers, Dominate makes your opinion seem like gospel, and Fortitude effortlessly (and unconsciously) soaks up damage, making you think you're a natural born bad-ass. The feeding limitation makes the drive-by Ventrue be careful about maintaining some stable supply of blood, not just grabbing a random stranger. In other words, the mechanics would tend to make anyone Ventrue-ier, even with no training or clan culture whatsoever.

    Is that true for your bloodline? If a random passer-by were embraced and abandoned, would the mechanics encourage the natural development of the themes you want to highlight? If a drive-by fledgling only had the three disciplines and the weakness, would they naturally develop into a reasonable approximation of a bloodline member? If not, then there is a mis-match somewhere, or maybe just conflicting themes.

    PS: Sorry, but to be blunt, unless you have an amazing and vitally important thematic reason for it, lose the red hair thing. It has unfortunate implications without adding anything to the bloodline's narrative.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vikken
    replied
    Yeah, and I guess it makes sense that older vampires would cling to older traditions, but the bloodline as a whole (at least with the influx of younger, hipper neonates more savvy to the ways of the modern world) would move with the times. As for the elder waking up and going house, you also have to remember that it wouldn't necessarily be a bloodbath. The Mandate is more a "discover and expose" thing than punish, and even those that choose to punish do it on a commensurate basis, not necessarily assigning summary executions for every little peccadillo.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Vikken View Post
    Lian, I get where you're going, and I can see it as a viable option. I just don't know for the whole bloodline. I can see it work for a single elder being hidebound and strict, but the whole group of them going off every time they see prepared pork just seems a little off somehow.

    Christianity was very quick to give up dietary requirements, circumcison etc. The blended fabrics, prepared pork etc is probably going to be super rare in a fairly unusual bloodline. I would expect more things like the rights of people, gender identity etc these sorts of things. I Mean having to deal with an elder who wakes up and goes all 7 on a domain seems pretty interesting plus this sort of thing.

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  • Vikken
    replied
    Lian, I get where you're going, and I can see it as a viable option. I just don't know for the whole bloodline. I can see it work for a single elder being hidebound and strict, but the whole group of them going off every time they see prepared pork just seems a little off somehow.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lian
    replied
    I think it would be much more fitting if what was a sin was relatively stagnant to the Vampire. Its much more horrific and plays up the war of ages. Do you as a neonate accept your elder who's going around murdering people for wearing blended fabrics?

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  • Vikken
    replied
    I agree, and I would say that a sin is generally defined by the individual's culture. For Christians and Jews, it would most likely come back to the Ten Commandments and societal mores. For Muslims, the Hadith would have a say, etc. In general, though, as the Sons' Mandate is about uncovering sin and exposing it, it's enough to know that a sin has been committed. If only to bring it to the attention of the one committing the sin, as they may not be aware they're doing it. Exposing them publicly is also an option, which helps to lead to their nickname of Betrayers. More so for those that feel inclined to punish the sin of someone close to them and who didn't see it coming.

    ​I guess the gist of it would be to have a "hierarchy of sins" along the line of what's expected with the Code of Honor Merit, a loose list of what's acceptable, what you'll let go, and what you just won't abide, kind of thing. In the greater write-up I've got a better handle on the Sons and what, in general, is considered venal, cardinal, and mortal as far as sins are concerned, though I don't really call them that.

    ​To give you an idea, the Sons used to be very strict, but as times have changed, the bloodline has had to change with them. Otherwise, they would stand out and become targets for mortal hunters. So, they tended to let go of simple things like Levitical laws about shellfish and mixed fabrics to focus on greater crimes against the will of God, like murder, theft, and cheating for gain. Recently, with the upheavals in the Western world, they've come to abandon practices involving vigilantism against sexual sins like promiscuity, homosexuality, and adultery, though some will still act against perpetrators when they can. Most, though, focus on those that practice sins that materially harm others against their will, including rape, sexual abuse, incest, etc. Sometimes, it can be a fine line where the particular Son will draw the distinction between a sin that he will address and one he will not, but it's up to him (and his player) to recognise whether or not it's a sin.

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  • Kammerer
    replied
    In any case, you should really define what a sin is. Is being rude to your parents a sin? Is getting a tattoo a sin? Divorce? Round haircuts? Wearing polyester? All of those are prohibited by the Bible, do they trigger the sin detector? Is a sin anything the subject feels guilty about? Is a sin anything the vampire would feel guilty about?

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  • Vikken
    replied
    Originally posted by Lian View Post


    Having a flaw is well a flaw. Its not meant to help you. Nos are ugly it gets in the way of politics! Malkavians are crazy! Toreador are obsessed with beauty! Even Ventrue feeding requirements get in the way. Being driven to go play batman(Or only being able to feed off sinners(thus another potential clan connection) is about tension. Vampires play the game of politics so they don't end up killing eachother and to maintain their morality. Having a compulsion that drives them to act on mortal actions should hurt their capacity to engage with politics.

    If they need a place in kindred society their natural apptitudes towards batmanning make them excellent sheriffs/scourges/inquisitors/archons they make use of the practice to apply things to kindred society.
    ​Lian, I agree. And, that's kind of why I made them more "mortal-oriented" in the first place. They're less concerned with the Jyhad than they are the shepherding of their flocks. It does tend to hurt them politically, and they feel it in their dealings with other vampires. As for bloodline weakness, well, that's not it. I guess I'm still working on it, there.
    As for their aptitudes fitting in with different roles in Camarilla structures, you make very good points. It's very helpful. I appreciate it, and I'll just have to keep working on getting them closer to "Camarilla standards."

    Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
    Weakness suggestion. When a vampire witnesses (or senses via a discipline) a sinful act they must perform a difficulty 8 self-control check to resist immediate frenzy directed at the sinner.
    Furthermore, for Sons fo Judas "sin" is defined by vampire's morality (not Path or Road), not by an objective standard or sinner's morality. A christian vampire will go off at the scent of a polygamist, and most former middle class vampires will take littering and jaywalking as a mortal offense.

    Reasoning. The weakness drives the bloodline's behavior as "judges" and creates narrative complications related to such behavior. Sin is defined through the vampire rather than the victim to create horror stemming from value dissonance. Elder vampire coming out of torpor and going on a killing spree as people keep disrespecting the laws abandoned millenia ago is a story.
    ​Kammerer, I like it, and it makes sense, but I don't think I would use it as the bloodline's weakness. The only reason is, how would you go through a story, much less a chronicle, trying to focus on other things when one character steals the action frenzying every five minutes over everything he's supposed to be seeking out? The point behind the bloodline is that they're supposed to seek sins, whether to record, expose, or avenge them. Going into frenzy every time they succeed would get onerous, at the very least. Seems to me it would make a good Flaw, but I think I would need something else for the bloodline's weakness.
    ​That said, story potential is certainly there, and would make for some good drama, especially if the character were a NPC. Dunno how you'd do it as a player character, though.

    ​As for elders, since it came up (sort of), even Judas himself if he were still around would only be about two thousand years old. Generation-wise, I'm picturing him as possibly sixth gen. Few enough Methuselahs in torpor, as far as the bloodline is concerned. Most of the line are still active, if not overtly so.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
    Frenzy is an issue for players. Controlled dispassionate drive is something they would have done anyway by picking this concept.

    I think addiction or using the Ravnos Flaw as a base might work better NEEDing to do it. It makes a scarier potential elder wakes up and is punishing people for eating shrimp.

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  • Kammerer
    replied
    Originally posted by Lian View Post
    I like the reasoning but find Frenzy a bit less scary vs a controlled dispassionate drive..
    Frenzy is an issue for players. Controlled dispassionate drive is something they would have done anyway by picking this concept.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
    Weakness suggestion. When a vampire witnesses (or senses via a discipline) a sinful act they must perform a difficulty 8 self-control check to resist immediate frenzy directed at the sinner.
    Furthermore, for Sons fo Judas "sin" is defined by vampire's morality (not Path or Road), not by an objective standard or sinner's morality. A christian vampire will go off at the scent of a polygamist, and most former middle class vampires will take littering and jaywalking as a mortal offense.

    Reasoning. The weakness drives the bloodline's behavior as "judges" and creates narrative complications related to such behavior. Sin is defined through the vampire rather than the victim to create horror stemming from value dissonance. Elder vampire coming out of torpor and going on a killing spree as people keep disrespecting the laws abandoned millenia ago is a story.

    I like the reasoning but find Frenzy a bit less scary vs a controlled dispassionate drive..

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