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Discipline rarity?

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  • #16
    Here's my thoughts about Protean:
    Yes, the higher level powers are absolutely invaluable for travel and survival, especially in the earlier time periods.
    But here's the thing - to teach your underlings these valuable travel and survival powers, you first have to teach them powers that let them stalk in pitch darkness and wound/maim/kill even vampires with impunity (agg damage claws).
    I have a very hard time seeing the Gangrel just handing out Agg damage to anyone who wants to travel. It's a veeeery valuable skill set that's unique to the discipline (dot 1) or veeeery hard to come by (dot 2).

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post
      Here's my thoughts about Protean:
      Yes, the higher level powers are absolutely invaluable for travel and survival, especially in the earlier time periods.
      But here's the thing - to teach your underlings these valuable travel and survival powers, you first have to teach them powers that let them stalk in pitch darkness and wound/maim/kill even vampires with impunity (agg damage claws).
      I have a very hard time seeing the Gangrel just handing out Agg damage to anyone who wants to travel. It's a veeeery valuable skill set that's unique to the discipline (dot 1) or veeeery hard to come by (dot 2).
      Bite damage from a vampire is aggravated, so long as you don't have a flaw you have a source of agg damage. I'm not saying claws aren't better because of ease of use, but almost every vampire starts with agg damage right out of the embrace.

      As for why would they teach these powers? Prestation, the web of debts which fuels Camarilla (and in the Dark Ages) Cainite society. As independent and lone going as Gangrel are there is likely a point in their unlife where they need something (assuming they haven't gone full animal in the wilds). Gangrel because of their independent and socially disconnected mindset have few things to offer. Training in Protean is one of the big ones they can offer for boons of value. Once the knowledge started to spread it would become easier to find non-Gangrel teachers if one really wanted to. Meanwhile the Sabbat share blood regularly and training one's pack in a tool of war is just good advancement sense.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
        Bite damage from a vampire is aggravated, so long as you don't have a flaw you have a source of agg damage. I'm not saying claws aren't better because of ease of use, but almost every vampire starts with agg damage right out of the embrace.
        While true, Cainites need to clinch, hold, or do something similar before they can bite.

        Claws are more always on, and that offers a pretty big advantage. And, like you said I just don't see them handing out very easily.
        Last edited by Beckett; 01-10-2018, 12:08 PM.


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
          Actually, V20 says that you need to unlock the ability to learn a specific discipline by drinking the blood of whoever is teaching you, so I assume that you should, at the very least, sip the blood of someone knowing Quietus if you ever hope to learn it. Also, I disagree with the idea that everything should be learnable in time: Disciplines are an evolution not only of the blood of Caine but also of the Curse affecting each Antediluvian, and the bloodlines have even more obscure and focused blood-feats.
          Blood magic can't, obviously, be learnt without proper study (so necromancy, thaumaturgy, assamite and kuldunic sorcery...) under any circumstance.

          Even assuming that everyone could eventually learn Bardo autonomously, though, he main issue here should be time: let's say you have 200 years, should you spend them re-developing Bardo 1 or learning like six more common disciplines at level five?
          I mostly agree with you. My answer was to highlight the reasoning behind the idea of learning OoC Disciplines not being so rare, and specially the assumed commonality of the three Physicals. To agree or like such assumptions is another matter entirely, and I didn't get in the details where things can go potentially more complex.

          By my part, I would assume almost all Disciplines as something that anyone can develop in time, but it doesn't mean that you'll have the practical time to do so. On the specifics of magic it wouldn't be an exception, though development there would be far more complex.


          Originally posted by Gurkhal View Post
          But I don't think that Cainites travelled as much back in the day as we do today. Most likely you grew up and existed more or less in the same domain as your Sire, and his Sire and his Sire before him had inhabited, and might still inhabit.
          On that I disagree, strongly. The setting makes it very clear that most Vampires today stay on the same city for good, traveling far less than the Kine. It makes sense, because modern cities are just great for a vampire survival even in bigger numbers. Staying in the same Domain as your sire indefinitely during the Middle Ages would call too fast for a lack of resources. Neither are there enough mortals, nor enough means to keep those mortals healthy as we have today. Travel was a need because the world offered less at a single place, and blood was a rarer commodity.



          Sorry if I seem too straightforward, or if I don't get you. Autism isn't a forgiving condition.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post

            By my part, I would assume almost all Disciplines as something that anyone can develop in time, but it doesn't mean that you'll have the practical time to do so. On the specifics of magic it wouldn't be an exception, though development there would be far more complex.

            I think the blood is more flexible, especially if you're newly embraced. If a Toreador fledgling is abandoned in Siberia and somehow manages not to be eaten by Lupines, they're probably going to manage to teach themselves Protean pretty quickly, because that's what they need. They need to be able to see in the pitch black darkness, they need to dig themselves a hidey hole at dawn, even better they can sink down into the earth.

            After all, there are lot of premade noenates that are presented with odd discipline spreads. They almost all reflect the character's personality or unique situation.
            Last edited by Alucard; 01-13-2018, 06:39 AM.

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            • #21
              Hard to say, as the game(s) have had a lot of different intentions via different authors over the years, and that gives credence to multiple points of view. Personally, I like that some Disciplines are nearly exclusive to different Clans/Bloodlines. It is not that one can not learn them, but rather that they require a teach, (Mentor), and that is very difficult to come by in general.

              Most suitable teachers are older and on much higher political levels, and that means they are giving away one of their edges to a potential future rival. It is risky, because you, as the student could also be a powerful ally, but Cainites are selfish A holes and the nature of the Curse is that it twists everything. The other side of that is Vampires do get lonely, and as much as they hate it, do need other Vampires to interact with.

              I am also a fan of the idea that it requires a BP directly from a Vampire that has a Discipline as a Clan Discipline to learn it, in addition to a Mentor. This is one of the advantages of the Sabbat, as they share Vitae, but also are much more open to sharring their Disciplines within a Pack.

              It is possible, but very rare for a vampire to develope a Discipline without a teacher, (Potence, and a few others being exceptions because they are kind of straight foreward).
              Last edited by Beckett; 01-13-2018, 07:57 AM.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                On that I disagree, strongly. The setting makes it very clear that most Vampires today stay on the same city for good, traveling far less than the Kine. It makes sense, because modern cities are just great for a vampire survival even in bigger numbers. Staying in the same Domain as your sire indefinitely during the Middle Ages would call too fast for a lack of resources. Neither are there enough mortals, nor enough means to keep those mortals healthy as we have today. Travel was a need because the world offered less at a single place, and blood was a rarer commodity.
                The problem I see is that to my knowledge of it, the Dark Ages were a different world also for the Cainites and as such things were different, not just in terms of travel. For example the Cainites population would have been lower, standards of the Masquerade far less strict, death more common among the human population.

                So what I want to say is that the same concerns that's relevant for a modern Kindred might not have held the same priorities for a Dark Ages Cainite as there were very different factors affecting then. Not to mention that Sires were also far more dominating than they are in the modern post-Anarch Revolt Camarilla and Sabbat. Keeping your Childer as a slave for decades and blood bounding them is not uncommon nor is it frowned upon, nor is the Masquerade (which don't yet exist and there's a reason as to why the Inquisition broke out) as important. In fact I'd wager that most humans know about Cainites, they just don't know details regarding them. As such I don't find it odd in the least that some five Cainites might be cramped together in a city of 5 000 people and that these can, together with high mortality and even high birth rates, keep themselves in business for extended periods, even while crisis can naturally arise to threaten their common stay.

                What I think is an important part is that, life is cheap and knowledge is scarce. They don't do forensic examinations of everyone that ends up dead or organize search parties for everyone who gets lost. Between slavers, outlaws, pressgangs and common criminals there's a thousand ways that you can go missing without a Cainite being involved. And between many illnesses, poor sanitary conditions, great tolerance for violence and harsh classicism, there's a thousand ways for a person to die without getting into the hands of Cainite. And this together with high birth rates since adult children is the only somewhat reliable system of care for the elders, men can abuse their partners in ways unacceptable today and a lack of preventine methods like condoms then you get lots of people dying or going missing all the time and a large ammount of births to fill the gaps.

                Or at least that's how I see it and why I think that more static arrangements would be entirely possible in the Dark Ages. Because like someone more famous than me said; "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Which I also easily thinks extends to for example the Victorian Age as its vastly different from the modern ages despite some similarities.

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                • #23
                  The way I see it all common disciplines are just as difficult to learn and require a teacher and to ingest Vitae from a vampire who knows the discipline with all the risks involved.

                  Rare "Clan-exclusives" disciplines are three times as hard to learn because A. You need a willing teacher B. You need to ingest Vitae C. They're all a secret with varying degrees of protection (Protean being least protected and Thaumaturgy being most protected)

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                  • #24
                    Obviously, era impacts this. But the way I've always interpreted it...

                    The only disciplines that are "ubiquitous" regardless of era, are Fortitude and Auspex. More clans have this combination than any other, if I remember right, and even if the two main clans that had this combination are extinct, most of those clans were diablerized by others meaning those usurper clans have ready access to it as well (and in the Tremeres' case, Auspex is already in-clan). And, the raw utility of these two disciplines can never, ever, be understated, as they directly impact a vampire's survivability in ways no other discipline can recreate; any vampire interested in living beyond their ancilla years will inevitably seek out educating in one, or more likely, both. As such, more vampires are going to have these disciplines out of clan than any other, and the ability to find a vampire willing to teach them is going to be higher than any other.

                    Behind those in commonality are Animalism, Presence, and Obfuscate. Obfuscate for its utility in knowing how to Not Be Seen, and Presence or Animalism for their utility in curating herds, retainers, spies, and mortal pawns. In Dark Ages, Animalism is going to be pushed to "near ubiquitous" status due to transportation, manual labor, and protection being so closely linked to the presence of animals; not even a vampire is going to get away from the presence of horses, oxen, donkeys and mules, guard and hunting dogs, and birds of prey. In many cases, being at the least inoffensive to animals isn't going to be just a matter of every-night convenience; it'll be a matter of maintaining the silence of the blood, especially when Inquisitors and local authorities start getting jumpy about those nocturnal fang-beasts intent on owning everything. None of them are "must have", though, but have more than enough utility that vampires are going to pay the price to learn them.

                    Then, of the "common" disciplines, I actually peg Dominate, Potence, and Celerity as the least common. Potence has the least utility of all of these three, and is going to be common among vampires of warrior traditions, but beyond that it has little use and not many vampires are going to go out of their way to learn it. Vampires with Celerity, and who have seen Celerity put to good use, are going to know damn well its power and are going to closely guard that power if they know what's good for them. Fewer vampires know Dominate innately, those who do are going to closely guard that power, and frankly most of its "everyday" utility is replicated well enough by a combination of Presence and the blood bond, and then some.

                    Then there are the clan disciplines. Yeah, Protean is "easy" to learn, in the sense you have to prove yourself to a Gangrel and befriend them to the point they'll teach you (which they'll happily do for a close ally). But, and this is a big but, sure, in Dark Ages travel is long, arduous, and dangerous; remember, World of Darkness isn't the real world, it's a grimdark representation of the real world. This is precisely why the Gangrel WON'T just teach it to anybody. You think they want to give up their monopoly on being the Dark Medieval's heralds, couriers, and messengers?

                    Most clans that would be inclined to travel, or find them in positions they must travel (remember in Dark Ages most vampires don't), have alternatives to Protean to ensure safety. Most high clans can fall back on other disciplines, wealth, and influences to build large and well-armed retinues, or rely on other clans' largesse (or willingness to curry favor) to use theirs. Low clans can rely on spy networks, influences, and contacts/allies in the mortal world to plan routes that include root cellars, caves, or even a corner of a home sewn up inside a hefty burlap bag or barrel if needs dictate. And, for clans with proprietary disciplines that greatly expedite or ease travel, or negate the danger of travel (this even includes two common disciplines' capstone powers -- Auspex and Dominate), all the better for them.

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                    • #25
                      Sorry to beat a dead horse, but Dark Medieval pulp or not, travel is not hard in the middle ages, it is by and large unnecessary (for a large segment of the population).

                      The medieval countryside is not, generally, one of endless forests broken up by huddles huts (that's Frontier America), but of endless plains of crops with small farmsteads, villages, and towns strewn in the middle of it. If you are in a village, the next village is not a day's travel away, it's two hours on a cart away. The next market town might take you the better part of a day to get to, but market towns were market towns because everyone with anything to sell could reach them quickly.

                      Really, take a look at even a contemporary map of Germany or France. Dominated by mid-sized towns a stone's throw away from each other, and quite often, you can still see the medieval villages. That's where Vampireark Ages takes place, not some endless forest. Even the actual Transylvania is densely populated anywhere you can find enough farmland/grazing land/charcoaling.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Herbert_West View Post
                        Sorry to beat a dead horse, but Dark Medieval pulp or not, travel is not hard in the middle ages, it is by and large unnecessary (for a large segment of the population).

                        The medieval countryside is not, generally, one of endless forests broken up by huddles huts (that's Frontier America), but of endless plains of crops with small farmsteads, villages, and towns strewn in the middle of it. If you are in a village, the next village is not a day's travel away, it's two hours on a cart away. The next market town might take you the better part of a day to get to, but market towns were market towns because everyone with anything to sell could reach them quickly.
                        Oh dear lord, it's not how far apart towns and villages are that's the problem, it's what lives in and between them that might drive one to avoid settlements or the wilderness, respectively. That, and one can only expect to cover a couple dozen miles on average per night -- if you have some kind of mount. Visibility's low at night, animals get spooked easier, road and path conditions vary and are rarely straight shots, and one has to account for making/breaking camp, clerical stuff if staying in a village, and husbandry.

                        A hundred-mile trip is still going to take four or five nights at "normal" traveling speeds, even if there are plenty of villages along the way. And, every time one has to stop for the day, the risk factor increases exponentially. Or, if you're a Gangrel, you can fly or run one night, go beddie-bye in nondescript dirt patch, wake up, and fly/run the rest of the way there the next evening.

                        In my TC game, I had a scenario where the PC's were able to get from Brasov to Mediasch in a single night. That's about a seventy-mile trip, accounting for winding paths through mountainous terrain in unseasonably good weather. What it took was them going to sleep for the day ready to ride, leaving the moment they rose for the night without feeding, already being accomplished riders atop the very best (Ventrue-trained, meaning Fortitude) ghoul horses available to them in their city, having among their number a Gangrel with the Open Road merit which meant extensive knowledge of back paths and road conditions, being under such desperate conditions that if they ran into lupines they'd just have to try to outride them. Even despite all the above, they had to ride their horses half to death just to make it there before the break of dawn. If any of those conditions failed, a trip that was done in a single night would have turned into a week, or even two-week if the weather turned bad, trip.
                        Last edited by Theodrim; Yesterday, 11:59 AM.

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                        • #27
                          The Standard Medieval setting of the Transylvanian basin also has it's own issues for transport;
                          1) Lots of werewolves, more than usual for a lot of areas
                          2) It's pretty behind the times for transport and roads
                          3) Hospitality; having to wait at the border for every possible Voivoide of the Tzimece so you don't upset them by running through their domain without asking
                          4) Cultists, Gangrel, Ravnos and Gargoyles all pop up over the years
                          5) Plenty of wars
                          6) Terrible weather
                          7) No, Seriously Terrible weather; Kupala hates the PCs and makes things worse for everyone but doubly so for the PCs

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