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  • #16
    Kammerer, I run a game in ancient Rome, based in politcs. People normally use ghouls and so on - they are hardly alone. So, I guess we just don't feel how much o.p obten is due to the setting?.. it could be. Most vampires in my game use mortals as a tool. Tbh, I hardly see storytellers using mortals as tools -normally, ya, mortals are food and cattle, and vampires don't fear them at all.
    In my game, tho, some 30-40 ppl are able to kill any vampire, and that is just using the basic rules(Fire+clinch manuever+ multiple opponent penality)

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Schrodingoethe View Post
      Kammerer, I run a game in ancient Rome, based in politcs. People normally use ghouls and so on - they are hardly alone. So, I guess we just don't feel how much o.p obten is due to the setting?.. it could be. Most vampires in my game use mortals as a tool. Tbh, I hardly see storytellers using mortals as tools -normally, ya, mortals are food and cattle, and vampires don't fear them at all.
      In my game, tho, some 30-40 ppl are able to kill any vampire, and that is just using the basic rules(Fire+clinch manuever+ multiple opponent penality)
      Again, I totally agree - hired goons are the ultimate way to win. But it's not a cool way to win.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Schrodingoethe View Post
        To be honest, if you're going to attack the prince, the game itself is probably focused on high politcs - and once you are indeed inside his house, unless he is very incompetent, he will have defended it very well with taumaturgic rituals and whatnot. The situation isn't that simple - once you get in there and go trough all the ********** the prince was able to use to defend his haven, then he's pretty much dead. I'd say it is almost impossible to sneak attack a vampire in his own haven without having political support, depending on his power. So, it is situational at best, in my view. Do remember - princes can use boons to get thaumaturgic rituals from tremeres and use them to protect themselves. Any vampire with political power can do that, in reality.
        Does that make obt easier to use to tackle low power games? More or less. Level two breaks the masquerade pretty much, but that aside, the lasombra can sneak up in people as you said. But each clan has their own 'powerhouse' which makes them shine in their own way.
        It was a hypothetical example ok, it was just to illustrate that the power gave one an advantage that having ghoul allies couldn't replicate.

        Sure ghouls can do lots of cool stuff, but shadow tentacles provide one with all kinds of advantages a group of ghouls simply don't.

        Just recently, in a larp I run, a character used shadow tentacles to great effect against a coterie of vampires who tried to kill him, so finally I disagree with your characterization. Maybe I gave a poor example but nonetheless, Ob 3 is a useful power that is more than just a spare hand.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
          "Naked in an antimagic field" is a retarded test case for any and all powers and practically never comes up in an actual game.
          honestly kammerer, I think you can tell the difference between being able to catch someone off guard and being naked in an anti magic field, it's a little ridiculous to ignore the fact that this power can potentially catch people off guard sometimes.

          In fact It's ironic that we're having this discussion at the moment because one of the players in the LARP I run recently used this power to outwit and escape from an unsuspecting coterie of PCs

          I've seen the power used to surprise players on a few occasions and I think it's not unjustified for me to point out that it has uses that animalism and ghoul retainers don't have.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Maris Streck
            That was not what I meant. With BM you can have an extra attack, if that sounds too little then you can not use the power.
            Oh, I can do a lot more than that. Besides, spending points on a power I don't want to use sounds like an awful waste of points (I do need it to get lvl5 after all).

            But there could be situations where going all out is exactly what you want and since they makes it harder to soak it could be useful for a dogpile attack of all your tentacles against a single target.
            Well sure, there are going to be situations where that would be desirable. I was just saying that you were using that as a reason why BM would be too powerful if the tentacles got their own attacks, so I suggested then not allowing that as an option. If you prefer using it conjunction with AotA but don't like the combination being too powerful then you're already set with the way things are.

            Hrm. Obt 4 tentacles look more "personal" (they use the kindred's physical stats and are an extension of himself), and the wording they've chosen "may do an additional attacks using the tentacles" should mean that the Cainite has a regular extra attack, as if he was under a constant Celerity 1 effect, and the tentacles are the cause of it; so Brawl dots definitely applies to them.

            AotA tentacles look a bit different, though, and the way it's worded makes me think they're not extensions of the Vampire: they're summoned from the Abyss and merely controlled by his will, so they act like minions with their own stats and the only traits they have access to are the ones specified in the description (STR+1 damage, DEX to hit, no Brawl value).

            I guess you could always think of the BM tentacles like a second set of arms? You have two arms but can only do one attack because your mind is only focusing on one target; wanna do two, split the dice pool. So, you now have 6 arms but you can only focus on two tasks; of course if you had enough multitasking capabilites you could use them for six different attacks but your brain can't just handle the thing. Even if you could still try, actually, should your opponent be held or paralyzed and you had no interest in an high attack dice pool.
            I guess you misunderstood me, because I already anticipated these things and responded to them in the part of my last post that you quoted. I was trying for brevity however, so if it's still unclear I can expound if you like.

            With Celerity, probably. Celerity asks 4 blood points to gain 4 extra attacks for one round only, Obt 4 would be 2 blood points for the entire scene. That's also why I doubt the AotA tentacles can attack adding your brawl stat, it would make Obt way stronger than Celerity - and with just two powers out of five.
            I can kind of see that, but on the other hand, Celerity is a lot more versatile of a discipline. With it you can not only attack more, but also run faster, and perform non-combat tasks faster, and those are two things tentacles don't help with. On top of that is the fact that personally I'm still not 100% on board with the new rules for Celerity as I'm used to do doing things the old way and unlike some people here, I don't find it overpowered that way. But I already am discussing this in the V20 Potence thread. My point is that my suggestion for a BM house-rule does not appear as powerful in comparison to Celerity if you are using the old Celerity rules.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Murdoc View Post
              I guess you misunderstood me, because I already anticipated these things and responded to them in the part of my last post that you quoted. I was trying for brevity however, so if it's still unclear I can expound if you like.
              I'm saying that the consistency issue should be solved by thinking at the Arms as self-thinking minions and at the BM as an extension of your own body. Tentacles "are the same" probably means aesthetically, since they're not presented as the same and have different statistics and behaviour.

              I can kind of see that, but on the other hand, Celerity is a lot more versatile of a discipline.
              Obtenebration also has the cloak of shadow and the shadow form tho, so it's not like it lacks versatility. Especially shadow form can let you slip between the cracks, under the windows or simply fly upward, or maybe vanish from the shackles holding you. It's a lot of value.

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              • #22
                I'm saying that the consistency issue should be solved by thinking at the Arms as self-thinking minions and at the BM as an extension of your own body.
                Ok, but I don't see that as consistent, it seems quite inconsistent to me. Why are there two different kinds of tentacles? And even if there are, why use the inferior kind for a higher level power? And also, if they are an extension of your own body, and effectively act like another pair of arms, then why are there 4 of them? Are the extra two just to look a bit scarier? Or are they just harder to control somehow, which again raises the question of why call forth inferior tentacles? I'm not asking for guesses as to why, I'm saying that these questions are unanswered in the book, and that's a problem that makes me want to fix it.

                I could get a roughly comparable effect overall by using lvl1 to cast shadows on myself, then cause AotA to emerge from those shadows. So I get better attacks, a little less scariness, and not the ability to see in darkness, all for the price of not having to buy a level 4 discipline, but with the same blood cost.

                Tentacles "are the same" probably means aesthetically, since they're not presented as the same and have different statistics and behaviour.
                You say "probably", but that's in your estimation. It does not read that way to me, because it says that they are the same except that their Attributes are different*. That says to me that they are the same in every other way, so the attack differences make it inconsistent. But this is why I said that the rules seem to be open to a lot of interpretation.

                * I imagine this is because at lvl4 having the attributes be equal to your Obt level would be kind of moot, unless you are lower than 8th gen, in which case there'd still be little difference since the cap on both disciplines and attributes rises up. Quite sloppy really, since it not only muddies the waters in terms of consistency, leading to discussions like ours, but also raises yet another unanswered issue about whether the tentacles now benefit from attributes raised by blood expenditure.

                Obtenebration also has the cloak of shadow and the shadow form tho, so it's not like it lacks versatility. Especially shadow form can let you slip between the cracks, under the windows or simply fly upward, or maybe vanish from the shackles holding you. It's a lot of value.
                I was speaking of the tentacles, not all of Obtenebration; sorry for not being clear on that. But taking it as whole, and if you use the V20 rules for Celerity, and want them balanced, that makes sense. Me personally, I'd prefer to have Obtenebration 'balanced' with itself before worrying about other disciplines, and then on top of that use the older Celerity rules which would make it moot anyway. Just my preference.

                Oh, and another thing that 'balances' BM down over Celerity is the fact that it is not guaranteed to work, you have to roll to make it work, unlike Celerity, along with the possibility of of getting 2 unsoakable levels of lethal if you botch. Ick.

                And looking at it again you also have to spend more than 1 turn activating it if you are 10th gen or higher, whereas Celerity specifically bypasses all generational limit rules.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Murdoc View Post
                  Ok, but I don't see that as consistent, it seems quite inconsistent to me
                  How so? If Obt 3 summons entities from the Abyss and Obt 4 morphs you in something tentacle-like, it seems pretty clear why the two of them should be different. It's not like they are two different types of entities, obt 4 are your tentacles while obt 3 just tentacles.

                  And even if there are, why use the inferior kind for a higher level power?
                  I don't really think it's inferior. Also, higher levels doesn't always mean "stronger combat power", just do harder things.
                  I mean, Auspex has Heightened Sense as level 1 that is just the best in the whole discipline, an almost useless aura reading at level 2 and a good but circumstantial Psychometry at level 3; Protean gets its most useful power at level 2; and the Path of Blood works mostly on synergies and it's hard to think which power is the most powerful one.

                  I could get a roughly comparable effect overall by using lvl1 to cast shadows on myself, then cause AotA to emerge from those shadows. So I get better attacks, a little less scariness, and not the ability to see in darkness, all for the price of not having to buy a level 4 discipline, but with the same blood cost.
                  Those tentacles would be attacking at best with a to-hit dice pool of 5, or 3 if you actually never bothered to buy Obt 4; they would be less dangerous than a dog and I don't really see "better attacks", maybe only more attacks. The only way to make them useful is to not consider Obtenebration by itself but to bring in the Potence synergy, that would allow them to be quite dangerous if grappling.


                  You say "probably", but that's in your estimation. It does not read that way to me, because it says that they are the same except that their Attributes are different*. That says to me that they are the same in every other way, so the attack differences make it inconsistent.
                  But your whole case exists only because you're choosing to consider exactly the interpretation that raises a consistency issue, while common sense would usually seek among the interpretations that make the rules coherent with themselves. Basically, the rules are not consistent because you're choosing to read them as such.


                  And looking at it again you also have to spend more than 1 turn activating it if you are 10th gen or higher, whereas Celerity specifically bypasses all generational limit rules.
                  Two rounds are not really much for a power that lasts a whole scene, you can use it before combat starts or hide behind a corner and go at them after you're done. Even if they ambush you, cloak of shadows will give you just the time you need to hide and morph. As a comparison, Protean 4 asks for three turns to morph and you don't really get anything more than Protean 2 in combat, while Vicissitude 4 is still 2 blood points and roughly on the same power level of Obt 4.

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                  • #24
                    How so? If Obt 3 summons entities from the Abyss and Obt 4 morphs you in something tentacle-like, it seems pretty clear why the two of them should be different. It's not like they are two different types of entities, obt 4 are your tentacles while obt 3 just tentacles.
                    Again, I guess we're reading it differently. I don't see it as "morphing you into something tentacle-like" so much as "summoning Abyssal shadow-things and merging with them." But I can see either interpretation as valid since the whole nature of the Abyss and Obtenebration is left deliberately vague. (This is starting to sound like a pair of mages arguing about the same magical effect but from two different paradigms ).

                    I don't really think it's inferior. Also, higher levels doesn't always mean "stronger combat power", just do harder things.
                    I mean, Auspex has Heightened Sense as level 1 that is just the best in the whole discipline, an almost useless aura reading at level 2 and a good but circumstantial Psychometry at level 3; Protean gets its most useful power at level 2; and the Path of Blood works mostly on synergies and it's hard to think which power is the most powerful one.
                    I'm not saying that BM has to be a "stronger combat power" just because it's a higher level, I'm talking an "apples to apples" comparison here, in this case, tentacles to tentacles, not Heightened Senses to Aura Perception. The utility comparison of such different things is a lot harder and will vary between people. But yes, this is only an issue if your interpretation of 'what's really going on' is that the tentacles of the two powers are the same. If not, then it's not an issue.

                    Those tentacles would be attacking at best with a to-hit dice pool of 5, or 3 if you actually never bothered to buy Obt 4; they would be less dangerous than a dog and I don't really see "better attacks", maybe only more attacks. The only way to make them useful is to not consider Obtenebration by itself but to bring in the Potence synergy, that would allow them to be quite dangerous if grappling.
                    I think that you are coming from the unspoken assumption that the Lasombra in question is a combat master, because your argument only holds if they have enough combat Ability to outstrip the benefit of additional attacks. And again, even in the case of having such Ability, that benefit has to warrant the cost of buying a level 4 power. So in order to make BM worth it, I not only have to buy the new power, but also have to spend the points to raise both my Attributes (because those tentacles are based on my Attributes now instead of being automatically lvl 4 like AotA would be) and my Abilities in order to make it worth it. That's a lot of points for something I don't see as being sufficiently superior advantage, but maybe that's just me.
                    And the Potence synergy is quite likely since it is in-clan for Lasombra.

                    But your whole case exists only because you're choosing to consider exactly the interpretation that raises a consistency issue, while common sense would usually seek among the interpretations that make the rules coherent with themselves. Basically, the rules are not consistent because you're choosing to read them as such.
                    Not my whole case, it's only a part. I have raised a fair number of questions, some of which remain unanswered. I'm choosing to consider the interpretation that both makes more sense to me, as well as is consistent with the other issues I've noticed.

                    Two rounds are not really much for a power that lasts a whole scene, you can use it before combat starts or hide behind a corner and go at them after you're done. Even if they ambush you, cloak of shadows will give you just the time you need to hide and morph.
                    Yes, of course there are situation and tactics that can mitigate that shortcoming, but there are also ones that do not, which still make it a shortcoming. And my point was that there were several shortcomings that help make Ob4 not as powerful in comparison to other disciplines.
                    And while I can agree on the Shroud of Night strategy being helpful in such cases, even its utility is limited, because it screws up your allies as much as the enemy.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Murdoc View Post
                      But yes, this is only an issue if your interpretation of 'what's really going on' is that the tentacles of the two powers are the same. If not, then it's not an issue.
                      The main difference is that one moves on his own and the other shares the action of the caster. So the first one needs to have a mind while the second one won't; I'd say that the main reason to have the mindless ones is to avoid their horrible combat stats.

                      I think that you are coming from the unspoken assumption that the Lasombra in question is a combat master, because your argument only holds if they have enough combat Ability to outstrip the benefit of additional attacks.
                      They just require different stats... one power is for melee warriors and one is for casters. Even if Manipulation is rolled for Obt 4 you don't actually need many successes on that roll (even with just a 4 dice pool you have a fair chance to score one success).

                      Yes, of course there are situation and tactics that can mitigate that shortcoming, but there are also ones that do not, which still make it a shortcoming. And my point was that there were several shortcomings that help make Ob4 not as powerful in comparison to other disciplines.
                      Of course, but since you asked what was it balanced with I took a peek to other disciplines and as you can see all the level 4 metamorphosis are quite in line with each other. If there is a power issue it should be resolved on the lower side (aka: nerfing the arms of the abyss) to avoid giving the Obt metamorphosis too much edge over the others.

                      Or perhaps it's not even needed. Say, are AotA tentacles even able to move? Given the context (balancing issues ad the fact they have a fixed length) I believe they could be designed to be static and not, like, slide in the shadows. So yes, you can summon them from your own shadow but they won't follow you, they'll just stay there and try to hug people. That alone would explain why you'd want to mount them on your body in the first place.

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                      • #26
                        The main difference is that one moves on his own and the other shares the action of the caster.
                        But do they really? I know its easy to assume since they are 'attached' to your body, but they do not require any more attention than the AotA tentacles. They give you an extra attack, but don't take up an action, so that strongly implies that they are attacking on their own, just at targets you specify, just like AotA.

                        They just require different stats... one power is for melee warriors and one is for casters. Even if Manipulation is rolled for Obt 4 you don't actually need many successes on that roll (even with just a 4 dice pool you have a fair chance to score one success).
                        I'm talking about the combat rolls, not the power activation rolls. If the character is not very good at combat, the ability to use your combat Abilities with your extra attack doesn't really add up to much more (if at all) that the combat pools of the AotA tentacles, which makes the utility of that extra attack fairly minor, which as I've said, make the utility of the entire power relatively weak, especially for a level 4. Thus, you need to spend points into both your Attributes (since they are based on yours now and not your Obt level) and your Brawl in order to make having 1 good attack be even on par with several lesser attacks, let alone better enough to warrant getting a whole new power. This makes it very costly.

                        Of course, but since you asked what was it balanced with I took a peek to other disciplines and as you can see all the level 4 metamorphosis are quite in line with each other. If there is a power issue it should be resolved on the lower side (aka: nerfing the arms of the abyss) to avoid giving the Obt metamorphosis too much edge over the others.
                        You're only comparing the combat utility of these other disciplines. Protean has many other uses including better perception and movement, not to mention being able to blend in. Perhaps the perception bonuses between the two powers can be considered comparable, and the being able to blend in comparable with the Intimidation bonus of BM, but that movement bonus and only 1 BP cost certainly give Protean an 'edge' over BM. So does that 1 extra attack equate enough to agg claws, double speed or flight, and half the cost? It gets tricky to compare, not really apples to apples.

                        Horrid Form is at least more combat oriented, but given that it is still not apples to apples it's still tricky to make any real comparisons on effectiveness without say, computer simulations and statistical analysis. But again I say that this is only an issue if such balancing between disciplines is important to you.

                        So let's see if I can summarize this all up. I see three main issues that we've discussed (correct me if I'm wrong):

                        1) Paradigm: Should the tentacles of AotA be the same fundamentally as the ones in BM, with only specified differences? If yes, then there is a problem with their difference in behaviour. If no, then the RAW is fine. So really this boils down to personal choice.

                        2) Utility: Are all the traits of BM sufficient to warrant buying a fourth level power? I think they are not. Other considerations aside, BM does not provide sufficient advantage over other uses of Obtenebration (like seeing in the dark, which you may already have, or being a little scarier than levels 1 & 2) to warrant buying a whole new power, let alone a level 4. The only advantage of having that extra attack comes in being able to use combat Abilities with it, but that's only an advantage if you have sufficient Attributes and Abilities to make it worthwhile. Plus its not entirely clear that you can even do that anyway.

                        3) Balance: Should BM be balanced against other powers like Celerity and Horrid Form? This can be a tricky to be able to tell, and YMMV. However, if this is important to you then the RAW is fine (or you may want to reduce the power of AotA). If this isn't that big of a deal, then that opens up the doors to other problems. So again its personal choice really.

                        x) A minor point but it still bugs me as to why there are 4 tentacles if only 1 attack.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Murdoc View Post
                          I'm talking about the combat rolls, not the power activation rolls. If the character is not very good at combat, the ability to use your combat Abilities with your extra attack doesn't really add up to much more (if at all) that the combat pools of the AotA tentacles, which makes the utility of that extra attack fairly minor, which as I've said, make the utility of the entire power relatively weak, especially for a level 4.
                          If the character is not very good at combat then AotA will be better. If the character is good at combat then BM will be better. And AotA is going to be still very costly if you plan to extend the tentacles' reach or boost their stats. Also, consider how AotA tentacles are probably just staying in place after your summon rather than following you, so if your opponent flees away they won't be able to reach him anymore.

                          You're only comparing the combat utility of these other disciplines. Protean has many other uses including better perception and movement, not to mention being able to blend in. Perhaps the perception bonuses between the two powers can be considered comparable, and the being able to blend in comparable with the Intimidation bonus of BM, but that movement bonus and only 1 BP cost certainly give Protean an 'edge' over BM. So does that 1 extra attack equate enough to agg claws, double speed or flight, and half the cost? It gets tricky to compare, not really apples to apples.
                          Protean already had aggravate attacks at level 2, so it's not really something you should take into account. What Protean 4 gives you is running speed, bonus perception and a shape able to blend more, Obt 4 gives you an extra attack, nightvision and inflicts soak penalities on your opponent. Not apples to apples, but Obt 4 is definitely better.
                          Vicissitude 4 is a bit more apples with Obt 4 and I'd estimate the two of them to be roughly equal as effectiveness.


                          2) Utility: Are all the traits of BM sufficient to warrant buying a fourth level power? I think they are not.
                          They may not be, but in that case you should raise the power levels of every other morphing (and make, dunno, diff 5 bite attacks with Protean 4 or Str+2 Aggr damage).

                          x) A minor point but it still bugs me as to why there are 4 tentacles if only 1 attack.
                          I'd have made 2 tentacles and relate them to regular arms, 4 tentacles feel a bit too much unless you think they're really clunky to coordinate. You can lower it to 1 tentacle and 1 extra attack only though =p

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